JOHNNY ROCKS IT
"You like deep soul? You've got to have Betty Wright . . ." DJ, record seller, and local music icon John Dixon (a.k.a. Johnny D) tells a record buyer as he throws a 45 into his pile of vintage finds.
Dixon has a booth at the Record Swap Meet, where he's currently selling a fraction of his soul 45s.
"I don't sit around and count my records," he says, estimating that he has 150,000 to 200,000 albums, 78s, and 45s. That doesn't include the loads of cassettes and archives he's received from local people in the business over the years.
He started collecting in grade school, when he learned that music companies give away free copies to people in the biz. He became a DJ in high school and collected more records. He eventually went into distribution and accumulated even more.
He's a lover of music and collector of vinyl, but even more importantly, he's an archive of Arizona music . . . and loves to share it.
He has a copy of Alice Cooper's first album, cassette tapes of obscure rock bands from the 1970s, even square-dance records that were made in Arizona. He also owns the rights to archives from now-defunct local studio Audio Records, including early tracks from Wayne Newton and Waylon Jennings.
Listen to him spin his collection and you won't hear scratching or mash-ups. The former radio DJ plays the whole song from beginning to end and seems to know everything there is to know about each one he plays.
"The main thing," he says, "is enjoying music."
Find Johnny D at the Record Swap Meet every other month at the Arizona American Italian Club, 7509 N. 12th St., rare-az.org/. He also plays gigs (about one a month) around town, often with DJs Gentrification and Smite.