CLARK, NJ — Clark resident Phil Laskowski began collecting autographs at a local drum clinic, where he met one of his favorite drummers, Carmine Appice, a member of both the Classic Drummer and Modern Drummer halls of fame.
“After the clinic, Carmine met with attendees and signed posters and whatever,” Laskowski told LocalSource in an email on April 17. “I decided to bring my CD from a band called Blue Murder that Carmine drummed on, and that became my first autographed CD.
“Around that same time period, I was working in Madison, N.J., and not far from the WDHA-FM studios. They had made an announcement that Peter Frampton was going to be stopping by the studios the next day. So I called the studio and asked the DJ if it would be okay for me to come by and hang out in the parking lot to try and meet Frampton. The DJ went one better and made the offer for me to hang out inside the studio when Peter was there, so I was definitely going to be there! And I think from that point on, I started to collect these autographs from these musical heroes of mine whenever the opportunity arose.”
That was 25 years ago. Now, Laskowski estimates, he has close to 500 autographs in his collection. He shares them with the public on his website, Phil’s Rock and Roll Autographs at http://www.pldesigns.net/autographs/.
“After I started to compile a decent number autographs, I found myself telling people, ‘Oh, I met so and so’ and ‘I have an autograph from this person or that person,’ so I decided that I would scan in my autographs and create a webpage that I can share with friends and whoever,” Laskowski said in the email.
“And what I try to do is include a little story about each one so it’s not just a bunch of photos on a page. I think it’s interesting for the person that stops at my website to get a little insight on how I came about getting a particular signature.”
While Laskowski sticks mostly to autographs of rock’n’roll musicians, he does have a few others in his collection, including those from actors Kevin Costner, Dan Aykroyd, Joe Piscopo and Tommy Chong.
“In some respects,” he said in the email, “sticking with one category of autographs just makes sense.”
Laskowski is in the process of updating his website, which he hasn’t done since October 2016, and he is also considering showcasing his collection in a room in his house.
“Generally, after getting an autograph, I would scan it and then I just store them away with my collection of CDs and vinyl,” Laskowski said in the email.
“But now I’m considering taking a room of my home and making it a sort of showcase for the more interesting and artistic pieces that I have signed. I try to pick things that I have that are more interesting to have signed than just a greatest hits or ‘best of’ package.
“Back in the day, I would buy something on vinyl or CD that was a bit unique or nowadays would be hard to find. That’s the kind of thing that I like to have signed. I have a photo of guitarist Robin Trower that he signed a few years back. It was a photo that I took back in the late ‘70s when I saw him at Radio City. So something like that is unique and special to me.”