Enjoy The Experience is the largest collection of American private press vinyl ever amassed and presented, featuring over one thousand cover reproductions from 1958-1992. It is the seventh major book release by Johan Kugelberg, the author and editor behind The Velvet Underground: New York Art, Born In The Bronx and Punk: An Aesthetic (Rizzoli), True Norwegian Black Metal (Vice), Brad Pitt’s Dog (Zero Books) and Beauty Is In The Street: A Visual Record of the May ’68 Paris Uprising (Four Corners).
The subjects of Enjoy The Experience range from Lesbian Folk singers to Psychedelic Disco bands; Awkward Teen Pop combos to Pizza Parlor Organists; Religious Cult Leaders to Swank Sinatra Imitators. But this is not a novelty freak show: also profiled and discussed are some of the most highly regarded rock, soul, jazz, funk and singer/songwriter albums from the latter half of the twentieth century. From the awkward-yet-talented to the genius-yet-bizarre, one thing unites all musicians presented here: they sincerely hoped to become stars, they committed themselves to record, and they left themselves vulnerable to an industry not understanding of nuance, not appreciative of character.
Enjoy The Experience begins when the custom pressed American record plant came into existence and ends, largely, with the birth of the CD. As such, it is a snapshot of America in the second half of the twentieth century and manages to collate a bevy of tales and albums released by the brave souls who took the plunge and committed their musical vision to wax in the fifty states between the years of 1958 and 1992. Enjoy The Experience details a forceful American cultural experience that stands in juxtaposition to the mainstream even as its creators attempted to infiltrate it.
Enjoy The Experience includes an introduction by editor Johan Kugelberg, a lengthy overview by legendary rare record dealer Paul Major, along with commentaries, hundreds of reviews and over fifty biographies by noted enthusiasts and collectors like Gregg Turkington, Will Louviere, Brandan Kearney, Geoffrey Weiss, Jack Streitman, Eothen Alapatt, Rich Haupt and Mike Ascherman.
This 512 page book is presented as a hard cover visual catalogue with a download card to select some of the greatest private press songs culled from the book.
“The greatest coffee table book ever made”
– Larry Clark
“The recordings collected here are artifacts of a media universe that no longer exists. They were created, against very high odds, in a world in which both the means of production and the means of distribution were held as near-complete monopolies by the ‘record’ industry.”
“The albums memorialized here aren’t from a better time or a more passionate place – the internet is full of evidence that the beautiful, iterative spirit of humans is hardly dead. But there is a specific light shining through the detritus of all the missions noted here: Once upon a time, it was really difficult to release your own album. The time and focus necessary to make one of these things was part of a ritual act. Reaching even the most distant shore of the mainstream was about devotion as much as ambition. Salute the sweat.”
– Sasha Frere-Jones, The New Yorker
“By far the partiest book I’ve ever seen that exclusively focuses on music, albums, and people you might not otherwise have ever encountered!”
“These discs are a magnificent collection of lost sounds. Organ-fronted orchestras that make you wish Washington Phillips had gone electric; a few songs imaginable as hits which still never neared any chart, western yodels that somehow become confrontations with other dimensions a la Dormmamu, bouncy numbers reveling in the forthcoming, blood-soaked apocalypse, lounge singers appearing each night at ever-more Nabokovian Holiday Inns.”
– Jack Womack
“Featuring the best (and worst) music that was too good for major label backing, Enjoy The Experience is a hilarious and obsessively passionate collection of vanity and insanity from the depths of human creativity.”
– John Zorn