chuck_oney_ezoIf you happened to be driving past Natalie’s Coal-Fired Pizza on Wednesday and saw two guys in the middle of a business transaction, don’t worry, it wasn’t anything illegal. I suppose I have a reputation among friends and Columbus record store owners as an ’80s hair metal fan and that reputation often leads to emails, texts and private messages from people saying, “Hey, I found a copy of Pretty Boy Floyd’s debut, want me to pick it up for you?” or “Just got a huge collection of hair metal albums that I’m getting ready to put on the floor. You might want to stop in and check it out.”

A year ago, I mentioned that I was looking for a copy of EZO’s self-titled debut but not looking to pay $45 (the price the CD is currently going for through a third-party seller on Amazon). A few days ago, my friend Chuck Oney sent me a note. “Hey, you still looking for the EZO album? I found a copy for $1 at Used Kids. It’s an album, not a CD, but let me know if you want it.” Want it? OF COURSE!

EZO was a Japanese hard rock band that had a few minor hits in the late ’80s (“House of 1,000 Pleasures” and “Flashback Heart Attack”). I owned the cassette but it’s been lost (or, more likely, thrown out) along the way. This is one I’ve always wanted to replace and I always … and I mean ALWAYS … check the “E” section (both vinyl and CDs) at every record store I go to, hoping to come across a copy so when Chuck said he not only found a copy but a $1 copy, I was floored.

EZO – Flashback Heart Attack by trashking

For the record, Lost Weekend Records has a copy of EZO’s sophomore release, Fire Fire, for sale … on cassette. I don’t think I’ve ever heard that album and Chuck tells me it’s not nearly as good as the original.

Chuck and I met in Natalie’s parking lot where he handed off the precious package and where I showed him the Dangerous Toys (Hellacious Acres) and Mr. Big (Bump Ahead) CDs that I picked up on the cheap on a recent trip to Cleveland. We talked about the ever-changing music world and how obscure ’80s hair metal is getting harder and harder to find both on vinyl and CD. And we talked about how “kids” don’t necessarily value having something physical to hold in their hands when it comes to music.

As a recording artist himself, Chuck is wondering whether or not it’s even worth putting out new music? His 2014 release, Shimmering Hearts, didn’t exactly burn up the charts, even when he handed out FREE download codes at the CD release party. If you’d do me a little favor and at least give one of the songs from that CD (“Dear Miss Roberts”) a listen, I’d appreciate it. And, if you like it, I’m pretty sure you can pick up a copy of Shimmering Hearts at most record stores around Columbus (only available on CD though) or digitally on Amazon and iTunes.

Who knows, maybe some day in the future – when CDs make their come back – two guys will meet in some parking lot in Columbus where the passing off of a CD copy of Shimmering Hearts will take place.