When it comes to Iron Maiden and their fans, exaggeration is not a concept and devotion is meant very seriously. The merch the band has released through five decades is immense, yet there is someone who has managed to gather most of it in one place, creating The Soundhouse Collection, which is a point of reference for any Iron Maiden collector and fan. Let’s see what it is all about by the words of the owner of this collection, Kenny Maxymowich.
Hello Kenny and welcome to Metal Invader! First of all I would like to simply ask you why Iron Maiden? When was the first time you listened to the band, what does it mean to you and how did you decide to start collecting Iron Maiden related items?
Hello Nick and thank you for the opportunity to speak to you today!
The first time hearing Iron Maiden was in high school in 1982. “The Number of the Beast” and “Run to the Hills” were getting airplay on the radio. I bought the album at that time and then Killers and the first album soon followed. I remember running for student council and being a DJ playing all school events through high school. The Maiden font and Eddie were on all my promo ads! My first Iron Maiden concert was 1982 and of course there’s nothing like seeing ‘em live!
I began collecting Iron Maiden essentially the Christmas of 2008 I believe. I received a Trooper poster from my Son Diamond for Christmas. I discovered Ebay shortly after and the obsession began. I started buying everything that looked kool, not knowing at the time what was Official or not. I remember thinking at the time, I’ll just buy everything available from the band and that’ll be it. Then I’ll quit! A bit later I joined the Fan Club and my eyes were opened big time. I was introduced to huge collectors and even bigger collections. I absorbed all the information available and decided then that my collection would be of official items. I did not intentionally decide to get into collecting but was drawn into it really.
How many items are there roughly in your collection? How much time (I don’t dare to ask about money…) are you investing daily in that collection and its exhibition?
Now we are well over 10,000 items. I think the Guinness World Record may be 4000 items. I’m very proud that The Soundhouse Collection is of Official items only. The work maintaining the Collection takes up an incredible amount of time. Infinity comes to mind when I think of Iron Maiden collecting as it really is endless. I’m very lucky to have an amazing group of friends that we call The Soundhouse Team. We come from all ends of the planet and truthfully The Soundhouse Collection Website and Face Book Pages would not be alive without this team. Belynda Salinas Martinez, Christopher Kahui, Jose Carlos Zuniga Trejo and myself, together are responsible for creating The Soundhouse Tapes and The Soundhouse Collection Website and Face Book Pages. Also Matt Ward must be commended for bringing his incredible Iron Maiden shirt collection to The Soundhouse Collection Pages. It gives us and all fans great pleasure to see these vintage shirts on display in our folders.
What is The Soundhouse Collection project, when will it be launched and in what ways will it be accessible to the public?
The Soundhouse Collection is the largest amalgamation of official Iron Maiden memorabilia ever accumulated in one place. The physical collection is brought to life by means of the website and fb page. Here it is displayed in chronological order broken down in yearly folders. Our primary goal was to inspire and help Maiden fans with their collections. We also want to help them discover what Iron Maiden items are available in a very user friendly way. We released The Soundhouse Tapes Website and Face Book Page with these same goals in mind. These Pages help fans determine a real The Soundhouse Tapes, which to some is the holy grail of Maiden collectibles. We also did an article in the latest FC Magazine on this topic and the reason we dedicated so much time and detailed information to this is because so many fans are spending their hard earned money on the many fakes available.
Well we decided to unveil The Soundhouse Collection FB Page early to surprise Iron Maiden fans. It’s still early days but it’s gone over very well. I’m pleased to say we are not only promoting the band but also helping fans daily determine legitimate items from fake and bootleg.
Regarding the Website, we still have a great deal of work left as there are items being added daily. We hope to unveil The Soundhouse Collection Website very soon!
Are you considering of turning your collection into a museum, or a place of interest where Maiden fans could gather? I am thinking of the Ramones Museum in Berlin for example, or the recent mobile Pink Floyd – Their Mortal Remains collection, yours seems exhaustive enough for such a venture.
Well to be honest, the Collection is set up for viewing now. When I built my house a couple years ago, I included a 3000 square foot gallery to accommodate the Collection. I’ve displayed it in chronological order. Essentially you can go around the room, starting from the late 1970’s to present day and observe all the memorabilia along the way. There is nothing like it on the planet. Just the framed items alone are over 2000. It’s continually being added to. Of course there is never enough room. It would be nice to eventually display so many of the items like shirts, jackets , posters, etc. that are stored in containers at present.
Are you a collector of other bands’ items or any kind of collectibles as well, or just Iron Maiden is enough?
I get this question asked of me a lot. Collecting Iron Maiden is at times too much!
How attached are you with the items of your collection and if it were to choose a couple, what would those be?
There are some amazing stories attached to so many items that I have collected but only a few are sentimental. The Trooper poster given to me by Diamond is one. When I arrived home after the last tour doing FTTB the band passed along an award presented to me which was kool. I’ve received gifts from close friends along the way as well so those I hold close.
How has the ways of collecting changed through the years? Since the internet has made knowledge available to everyone, prices has been raising rapidly. How is this collectibles’ price inflation affecting collectors worldwide?
Collecting has changed drastically in the last decade since I’ve started. At that time we were all on the FC Forum and most of our items were obtained by trading with fellow collectors or purchasing on Ebay and similiar sites. Now Face Book has taken over. I very rarely visit Ebay and because Christopher Kahui and I created The Soundhouse Forum and The Soundhouse Shop, all our time is spent here now. These Face Book Groups are dedicated to helping Iron Maiden fans. We believe Maiden fans are very special and no matter the size of your collection, we are all great fans of the greatest band in the world.
The internet has definitely helped collectors complete parts of their collections. Most Maiden collectors collect specific items. Some will concentrate on viny, others Japanese items, some certain eras of the band, etc. The Soundhouse Collection is different in that it covers absolutely everything official Iron Maiden. I don’t agree though that the prices have gone up because of the internet, just the opposite really. A lot of items have come down in price because they are so much easier to find on the internet. Prices have gone up because there are more collectors now and only so many of a specific item.
Around Iron Maiden and since their beginning there has been a big community of fans and collectors. Is looking for the rare item a healthy competition, or more like a stock market where the fastest and ruthless wins? Have you met fellow Iron Maiden collectors through the years and are there channels of communication about authenticity and prices?
I try to help make it a healthy competition. It was our main goal when we started the FB Groups with Chris. We wanted to create an atmosphere away from Ebay where prices are inflated, there’s a high commision for buyers and sellers, and there really is no social interaction connection. Even though our groups have more than 10,000 members each, most of us know each other and with feedback the dishonest ones get weeded out. I have a lot of good friends in the Maiden world and if I know they are bidding on certain items I will stay away. I’ve travelled on most tours in the last years so I’ve met a lot of fans worldwide. The Soundhouse Forum and The Soundhouse Shop are the best places to discuss collectibles, prices, authenticity, and all other Iron Maiden news.
I ‘ve heard many glorious stories and some of horror by collectors, finding an original copy of The Soundhouse Tapes 7’’ in a crate of 50c vinyls, or having to cut a cardboard display in pieces at the last moment, because it wasn’t allowed to be boarded on the plane. Would you like to share some of yours?
The story that comes to mind is this one. A few years ago I had the great opportunity to purchase a few items from a former Maiden crew member. In his wares was a copy of the Soundhouse Tapes signed by Paul. Long story short I received the record and noticed the labels were pressed on the wrong side of the record. I remember discussing it with the seller and after doing some research realized I had purchased the mispress of The Soundhouse Tapes simply by accident. If and when I ever decide to sell this copy, I’m compelled to contact the seller and plan on compensating him as he had no idea what he had.
Have you ever been close to the band, worked for them or toured with them? Are they aware of your collection and your project? What do they think about it?
In 2013 I did the initial British Lion Tour that took us across Europe. Since then I’ve been close to the Fan Club. The last Book of Souls Tours I’ve had the opportunity to run the First to the Barrier contest for the band. I ran fttb in my own unique way and brought fun and excitement back into the contest, something it was lacking. Even though I was backstage every gig, it was the fans that I always have a special connection to. Working Madison Square Garden was memorable. Travelling with friends through Japan, China, El Salvador, Costa Rica, New Zealand, and Australia were highlights.
A collector is like a librarian and an apothecary, you keep track of a piece of history and codify the knowledge for the generations to come. Umberto Eco, talking about book collections, wrote that a single man’s library is not an individual, but a universal memory. Would you say the same about your collection?
The Soundhouse Collection is my legacy. The Collection itself is by far the largest accumulation of Iron Maiden items in one place. There is nothing else like it on the planet. We are so happy to bring it to life in the mediums of a website and the social page on Face Book.
The Soundhouse Collection website and fb pages were created to help all Iron Maiden fans. These Pages will change the way we collect. Collectors and fans can click their way through the chronological folders and observe photos of memorabilia amassed from around the world. Both pages were created to be very user friendly and fans can easily comment on any photo or message the Soundhouse team for information. We take great pride knowing we can help fans in this way. Not only do we have over 30,000 photos of the Collection but we will have a complete history of the band. Also every tour will be included with merch from those tours and a complete list of tour dates.
What would your advice be to someone who starts collecting Maiden related items? Any tips of the tools you use besides the usual sites (although recently you mentioned that you don’t use discogs at all) and maybe the Iron Maiden Companion books?
My advice to collectors young and old would be to use the mediums we have painstakingly created to help you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions from knowledgeable collectors and fans. Most are readily available now on social media and a lot are eager to help others. By visiting The Soundhouse Collection Pages you will see any official Iron Maiden item you will ever encounter. You can compare items for sale to the zoomable photos on the Collection Pages. It took an incredible amount of work to bring this project to light and to see others use it and benefit from using it is our greatest reward.
Thank you very much for this interview and I wish you all the best with The Soundhouse Collection. The last words are yours.
I really want to thank all our friends that have supported our groups and projects in the last few years. We could not have done anything without your continued participation and valued support.