DJ Neil Armstrong on Finding Paul C
In May of 2009 Davy Rothbart and Found Magazine published the book Requiem for a Paper Bag. The book consisted of interesting stories about found items from various actors, authors, musicians, and other creative types. I interviewed several people about found items and made submissions to Davy. Unfortunately, none of my stories made the final cut.
I always loved the story DJ Neil Armstrong shared with me about a special record he owns. I rediscovered it today while going through some old articles of mine and decided to share it.
Disclaimer: While it is believed that the record discussed in my interview with Neil belonged to the Paul C. mentioned below, it has not been verified with 100% certainty.
DJ Neil Armstrong: I know exactly where I found the record. It’s not like finding buried treasure in the sense that I had to go search for it. It was entirely by accident. I was in Toronto. I go there every so often to do some gigs.
There’s a record store up there called Cosmo’s Records. For the diggers it’s a really well known store and the owner is a cool cat. I was sifting through some records and happened to cross a copy of a Paul Hardcastle record. He did what you could define as an electro-funk/freestyle song. It was instrumental, with no words, and synthesizers were used.
“In hip hop there are these secret, iconic characters, and if you’re a head you know who they are. Paul C is one of those characters.”
I have this thing about buying records. It’s still important to me. If I really like a song, it’s important to have a physical copy of it. I don’t know if it’s just a collector’s mentality. Most collectors are like that. If you collect shoes, you don’t want a picture of the sneaker, you want the actual sneaker.
I was just looking at the record one day and I saw a stamp that said “Property of Paul C” or something along those lines. In hip hop there are these secret, iconic characters, and if you’re a head you know who they are. Paul C is one of those characters.
“His record ended up all the way in Toronto, and I brought back home…back to Queens and back to New York.”
He was a mentor to Large Professor, and he passed away a while ago. He was actually shot to death in his home in Queens, and his death is still unsolved. People like him…they’re the workhorses of the culture. They kept it going without a need for money or fame. They did it just because they loved it.
My only assumption is that someone bought some of his records after he passed away and brought them all the way up to Toronto. The universe is real funny sometimes. History gets passed on. This dude who I never met, I now own his record. His record ended up all the way in Toronto, and I brought back home…back to Queens and back to New York.
I am a director of academic support/special education teacher and writer. I love writing about/interviewing people about books, movies, music, records, and samplers.
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