Photo by Collins Laatsch

Kyle and the Gang

Any local fan of vinyl has no doubt spent some time digging through the crates of Lost Weekend Records. And anyone who has spent time digging through the crates of the store has been audience to the yarns of owner Kyle Siegrist.

That’s part of the charm of his Clintonville mainstay: whether you browse or buy, you’re going to get an earful from Siegrist—aphorisms on Dylan, ruminations on the health of the local scene, debates as to which Fleetwood Mac album is the best, or just general observations on the weather.

In recent months though, you may have been privy to a new voice from Siegrist: his first proper album.

The cheekily titled “Solo” Album, was a labor of love written and recorded over the last two years at Musicol Studio, with engineer Keith Hanlon, and the help of myriad local talent.

“I didn’t do it for ego,” says Siegrist, when pried about the title from the Country and Oddities section of his store. “I just wanted to have some control and to call all of the shots. But it’s in quotes, because it’s not really a true solo record—most solo records aren’t. I think overall there are like 15 people playing on the record.”

Indeed, only Siegrist could birth the goofy fun of “Audrey Hepburn” and “Scary-Go-Round,” and a sound that veers between ’60s psych, Husker Du, the Ramones, and the Archies, with that patented peculiar Columbus bent inherent within. Most comfortable behind a guitar, Siegrist wanted the freedom to “just sing” the songs that he had written for the record, so he enlisted a revolving cast of players—including, but not limited to: Brian Baker (Brat Curse), Mickey Mocnik (Nervosas), Nate Farley (Quemado), Chelsea Simmons (Kizzy Hall), and Matt Duckworth (Orchestraville)—to serve as his band. He soon found that the configuration would elicit even more songs, written in the sessions, and the sessions took on a spontaneous “rock potluck” vibe that really shaped the record.

“In many ways, I’m the weak link on my own project—and yet my crazy ideas [are] what made it all happen,” he said. “I think my main strength is bringing people together. I knew getting the right combination of people together would could create what I heard in my head.”

Finding that balance wasn’t a matter of scouring clubs, putting up want ads, or groveling on Facebook. Instead it happened quite organically, with Siegrist rarely having to leave the stool behind his register. As a hub, Lost Weekend has become more than just a record store in the 15 years since it has opened. The sunless and cramped hovel (two redeeming qualities of a record store) Siegrist took a chance on—after leaving a career in major label music management and promotions—has regularly hosted shows, hootenannies, and mini-conventions, flaunted its Columbus and Ohio sections, and always has at least one local musician on paid staff. If being surrounded daily by the physical history of music itself wasn’t enough to influence his album, the presence of the Columbus community in his store, and now life, certainly shows in the grooves. His service to the community was reciprocated in great performances on “Solo” Album, most notably by Simmons, whose drums appear on nearly every track.

The collaboration became big for Siegrist. He knew he wanted the record to be a blueprint for future albums and set the stage invite even more people on board in the future. Though he talks like a lifelong fixture among the fabric of Columbus lore, he readily admits that he didn’t even consider playing music—let alone being in bands—until he was 28.

“I always put musicians on a pedestal and thought they were magical,” he says about life before the store, “but being in the business and meeting so many people, like Bob Dylan and Tommy Stinson, I found that those people were all real people, too. They were human. In the ’90s all of my friends were in bands, so I decided that I could do that too.”

Call it osmosis. Lost Weekend just seems to be a place the music community gravitates towards. Siegrist shows his gratitude and what he’s absorbed in every note of “Solo” Album. And the weekend of shows he’s put together for the store’s 15th anniversary—featuring Vacation, a reunited Brainbow, Counterfeit Madison, Sega Genocide, Corbezzolo, and of course Siegrist’s “Solo” band—reflects the breadth and diversity of musicians stepping up to celebrate. With a little help from his friends, it’s certain Siegrist will be around for 15 more years.

Lost Weekend 15th Anniversary

2.8-2.10 @ Ace of Cups

lostweekendrecords.bandcamp.com.

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