John Durham’s Record Club Puts Fresh Spin on Sharing Music with Friends

  • By cvbizz
  • June 10, 2020
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Brett Barest

Somewhere in mid-March when the flood of cancellations hit, we collectively lost concerts, school, bars, and restaurants and, in many people’s cases, work itself. Besides the obvious headline events, we all lost personal events as well, ranging from things like a kid’s birthday party or simple gatherings of friends. For his part, The LOZ Band’s John Durham notes that one of the first things he canceled during all of this was a good old fashioned “sit around the record player and trade LP’s session” with band mate Josh Forbus. Being the ever creative mind that he is, naturally this gave John his next great idea to adjust and make the most of things during the current pandemic.

The idea is a relatively simple one that John goes so far to call “not particularly novel” although I tend to disagree, mostly because I do not know anyone else that has thought of it. Basically, he has created what he calls “Record Clubs” with friends where participants select and share albums that members listen to and discuss over a group text at an agreed upon time. It is like a book club in that friends are meeting to reflect upon a selected piece of art but, unlike a book club, they are experiencing and talking about things in real time.

John tells me that “When the social isolation phase hit in mid-March I kind of forced my brain to ignore the fact that my ‘industry’ essentially ceased to exist and instead tried to see it as an opportunity to listen to tons of music. Because for the first time since I was like 14 I didn’t have any music I was ‘supposed’ to be listening to. Without shows there was nothing concrete for which to prepare. So I was suddenly presented with vast amounts of time to just listen purely for the sake of the emotional response.”


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Record Club

This craving and fresh perspective for music would lead him to think about that canceled listening session with his friend and how they could still experience that. Thus, the first Record Club was born with LOZ band mates Forbus, Wes Treadway, and Dr. LuvBeatz. Each week, one of the four musicians would pick a different album for all of them to listen to together and discuss via text. The task of picking a given week’s album is not some challenge to bring the most obscure or avant-garde record to the table but, rather, simply an opportunity to share something you enjoy or holds influence over you. To date, this first group has shared albums from Ben Harper, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Umprey’s McGee, and The Weeknd – a fun and eclectic mix by any measure.

The technology of all this is simple as it requires only the ability to access music and send a group text. John notes that despite the popularity of Zoom calls during Corona-times, it would be an infuriating task to have one album playing almost-but-not-quite-simultaneously over four or more streams while trying to listen and discuss at the same time. Over text, thoughts are shared “more like a live Tweet rather than Mystery Science Theater 3000” which is a sentiment I can hardly appreciate more.

John also points out that this is a great way to share an appreciation of music for artists and casual listeners alike. For his part, he sees it as a way “for bands to develop a shared language/background” but notes that it is “clearly not just for performing musicians. It definitely is for people who consider music to be an important part of their life. It’s not a theory class so there is no ‘knowledge barrier’” for participation.

All of this is so intriguing to me that I am only left with a couple of questions. First, how have I not heard of such an idea before and second, and perhaps most importantly, why am I not part of a Record Club of my own? Personally, John is maxed out with three groups three nights a week but there is no reason any group of friends could not organize a Record Club with just a few clicks.  A glance at my phone shows me being a part of more group text threads than I can shake a stick at but none of them are a Record Club. Thanks to John Durham, I am about to see how I can remedy that and cannot encourage you enough to do the same.

One more thing…

As long as we are on the subject of sharing music, The Radio Room’s Wes Gilliam is compiling and sharing his own weekly Spotify playlists entitled “The Other Side of SC Music”. This week’s edition features the likes of Shyland Flowers, a new release from a collaborative EP between Human Resources and Little Stranger (called Human Stranger, of course, because Little Resources would just be uninspiring), as well as a great selection of other SC artists. Check out the link here, and enjoy.

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