HomeCD JunkiesCD Junkies: Collector Mark Lopez

CD Junkies: Collector Mark Lopez

Writer and editor Mark Lopez is 360°Sound’s latest CD Junkie. Born and raised in Corpus Christi, Texas, the 34-year-old now calls Austin home. Lopez’s journalistic writings have appeared in numerous publications, including CHAOS Magazine, The Weekly Alibi, MusicOMH, and Corpus Christi Caller-Times. His poetry has appeared in The Maynard, Borderlands, Juked, and the Bacopa Literary Review. His debut novel, Laura from the Valley, will be released on RIZE Press in 2023.

“I like the CD format because it’s what I was raised on,” Lopez told 360°Sound. “It’s how I learned to listen to music. So, because of that, it’s a ritualistic approach to listening to music. I prefer it to streaming because I can hold it. I can touch it. It exists. And music needs to exist.”

360°Sound: How long have you been collecting CDs?

Mark Lopez: Since I bought my first CD when I was around 11, but my family always bought CDs, so I grew up hearing music all around me.

Do you remember the first CD you ever bought?

I want to say it was Mechanical Animals by Marilyn Manson. I still remember writing down the name of the CD on a paper and giving my dad the money to buy it for me while he was running errands. The look on his face when he handed it to me was priceless. I looked down and saw that it was the cover where Marilyn Manson had boobs, and I was just like, “Thanks, Dad!” and ran upstairs to listen to it.

Approximately how many discs do you have in your collection?

I have 262, which doesn’t sound super impressive since I’ve been buying since I was little, but I’m also very selective about what I buy. I don’t just buy every CD I want because I’m not rich, so I only buy CDs I feel like I absolutely need to have.

How regularly do you buy CDs? What are your favorite places to buy CDs?

Not regularly at all. I usually have a few CDs in mind that I’m always on the lookout for. It just depends on what I find and if I think it’s worth the money. My go-to record stores here in Austin are usually End of an Ear or Waterloo – if I can find a parking spot.

I also like to check out Disc-Go-Round in Corpus Christi when I go visit family. I always find really good, random stuff there. If it’s something I really want and am not able to find in a store, I buy directly from the artist’s website. I try to steer clear of Amazon or places like that unless they have a really cheap price.

How do you organize your CDs?

No organization at all, except since I keep them in these large CD booklets, I try to group a particular artist’s albums together. It doesn’t always work out though, because once I buy a new CD by a particular artist, I have to do some rearranging. Depending on how lengthy and tedious the task is, sometimes I’ll just place it wherever, as long as it fits snug and doesn’t scratch.

What are your favorite genres and artists?

I’m always asking people these questions, yet I hate when it’s turned back on me! I grew up hearing Tejano and country from my parents, rap and hip-hop from my brother, grunge and alternative from my sister, and oldies from my cousin, so I feel like I wasn’t made to just pick one favorite.

I’ll say that my favorite singer is Karen Dalton. My favorite singer-songwriter is Fiona Apple. I also love Devendra Banhart. The Breeders are one of my all-time favorite bands. I love folk, rock, R&B, just depends on what’s around or what catches my attention at any time.

What artist do you have the most CDs of?


What are some of your most prized CDs? And what makes them so special?

Nevermind by Nirvana, Tidal by Fiona Apple, and Celebrity Skin by Hole come to mind. My sister left those for me, like that scene in Almost Famous where his sister leaves him some records. That was kind of my experience with a lot of music because when my sister moved out, she left me all of her CDs, and it was this treasure trove.

Karen Dalton’s It’s So Hard to Tell Who’s Going to Love You the Best, I found that one in Dublin while traveling. It’s a reissue, but such a random find! Even the clerk was a little mad because he didn’t know they had it. Also, American Teenage Rock ‘N’ Roll Machine by The Donnas, just another random find that I cherish. The Sonics’ Here Are The Sonics is another one that I love.

What makes these special is just that they were random finds of bands I absolutely love. So many times, I’ll find something of an artist I haven’t heard much of, and buy it on a whim, just to see what happens. But when you find something by an artist you love, and something you might not have heard yet, it’s like finding an actual piece of treasure. You get to take it home, dig in, listen to it, examine the artwork, read along with the lyrics. It literally gives you an entire experience where no experience had existed before.

Do you think CDs will have a revival?

I don’t know that I’d say it will have a revival, especially now that people are starting to question sustainability practices and if CDs are the most sustainable medium to digest music. I like that vinyl has seen some sort of a resurgence. I even bought my 18-year-old niece a record player and some records for her birthday. So, I like that younger people are delving into alternative ways of taking in music. As far as CDs though, I’m not sure.

Even Lorde released her last album as a “music box,” where there was no CD, just pictures, artwork, and a download code, because she stated how wasteful CDs are. I get that aspect, but I feel like I’ll always buy CDs as long as they’re available, which I hope is forever.

Follow Mark on Instagram @markgregorywuzhere

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