Old Dog, New Tricks

Phoenix music legend Johnny D gets props in the hip-hop scene

At the house in downtown Tempe where Dixon's lived with his mom, Helen, for 35 years, three rooms are dedicated to Dixon's massive vinyl collection, shelves stacked floor-to-ceiling. In his bedroom, one entire wall is dedicated to Phoenix artists, arranged alphabetically. Along the top of the shelves, and running from room to room, are white boxes of soul 45s, with their alphabetical parameters written on the front -- "Jam Ð Joh," "Joh Ð Ken," etc. An Elvis the Cat poster hangs near a shelf full of analog tape recordings from Valley studios, with a Tubes eight-track tape proudly displayed.

In the hallway connecting the three rooms, there's a framed album cover of Phoenix legend Duane Eddy's first LP, Have ÔTwangy' Guitar, Will Travel. The rooms are scattered with memorabilia: classic fliers, Wallace & Ladmo badges, framed sheet music. This is Dixon's utopia, and if he had his way, all of his wax babies would see circulation again.

"Maybe it is good nobody came here 25 years ago and discovered everything," he says, still somewhat flabbergasted by the resurgence in interest by the new generation of collectors. "I'm just kind of amazed sometimes that maybe things do work out. At 58, I still feel part of the scene; it's neat."

Johnny D: "I just dig the music."
Johnny D: "I just dig the music."

E-mail brendan.kelley@newtimes.com

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