It has taken Big Deal Music Group’s Jamie Cerreta many years to get to just the right stereo equipment for his record collection. A self-professed audiophile, Cerreta has gone through various setups trying to ascertain the perfect sound quality for his home for over a decade.
“I am a very vintage audiophile. I have all tube gear and stuff is from earlier decades,” Cerreta told Amplify. “Everything is made from before there was any other technology other than technology for record players. That’s kind of the theory.”
Cerreta’s current set up features Macintosh tube amplifiers from 1964, a Merantz 7 preamplifier from 1961, and JBL speakers from 1973. He believes he’s found the right setup, but it could just be the best setup for right now.
“What I have done over time is make investments in gear and then I upgrade,” Cerreta said. “You find a piece of gear, you have that, and you try to figure out how it works within your system. Then you sell that piece of gear and the next tier isn’t as expensive.”
The record collection has been growing since Cerreta was eight years-old when he recalls getting his first piece of vinyl.
“It was an Aerosmith live bootleg double vinyl,” Cerreta said. “I grew up in Boston. Aerosmith was what all the older, cool kids were listening to. I still have a bunch of records that I bought as a kid.”
Cerreta mowed neighborhood lawns to support his vinyl habit for years before going the way of the industry and spending his hard-earned cash on CDs. It wasn’t until he was working in the industry that he came back to vinyl. After working for various record labels, Cerreta felt more at home working in publishing at Chrysalis Music.
“The vinyl habit got started again when I was at Chrysalis Music and there was another collector there. I remember hearing Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue and I could hear a really substantial difference in the sound quality. I went over and asked if that was a vinyl record. He said yes and that just started me collecting records and stereo equipment,” Cerreta said.
In addition for rekindling his love for vinyl, working in publishing was also a better fit for what Cerreta wanted to do in the industry.
“A lot of the experiences you have at labels is that you get to go through one record cycle. I got into publishing because I wanted to stay with artists for longer in their careers,” Cerreta said. “I wanted to work with them purely as songwriters, find different revenue streams, and be able to have some longevity with the artists that I work with.”
Currently, as Executive Vice President/Partner at Big Deal Music Group, Cerreta works with Jim James (My Morning Jacket), Blake Mills, FIDLAR, Ray Lamontagne, Shungudzo, Ethan Gruska, Jonathan Wilson, Local Natives, The Frights, Dave Sardy (Unequal), Ra Ra Riot, and Superet.
“They start as young people who don’t have any experience and are just starting their creative process. You get to hopefully be part of team where they make their masterpiece, maybe after a few records,” Cerreta said, adding “When you’re there for a long time, you can play a role in their artistry.”
Amplify caught up with Cerreta to learn about five of the best shows he’s attended.
AC/DC at Worcester Centrum in Massachusetts
Sept. 6, 1985
This was my first real concert. I was in 7th grade and my older brother’s friends (seniors in high school) took me. I remember being on the floor and being blown away by the volume and the spectacle. They did “Guns for Hire” off Flick of the Switch, a super rare track now, that I doubt they have played since that tour. It was an amazing show, but no canons. The Centrum didn’t allow pyrotechnics. It wasn’t until much later that I saw them at the Forum in Los Angeles and they played “For Those About to Rock” with the cannons. I would say an AC/DC concert is not complete without this, but fortunately my 7th grade self didn’t know that at the time.
Bob Dylan with Paul Simon at Hollywood Bowl in California
June 22, 1999
This was the Time Out Of Mind tour. Time Out of Mind is one of my favorite records of all time. He played most of the record that night. He was in great form and simply blew me away. He played the song “Not Dark Yet” off the record and in the open air of the Bowl it was spectacular. It was very moving to be in the presence of Dylan and I will never forget it. Paul Simon was good too, and oh yeah I met Eric Clapton at the show!
My Morning Jacket at Troubadour in West Hollywood, California
May 29, 2003
This is the first time I ever saw My Morning Jacket. I was looking to sign them and was in love with their music. They were incredible. Needless to say it was something else to be able to see them on their rise, not too long after this they would be playing to 50,000 people at Bonnaroo. I have been very lucky to work with them ever since.
Stevie Ray Vaughan at Lake Club in Western Massachusetts
My friend won tickets from radio station, WAAF, in Boston. We were still teenagers but the over 21 show never checked and we were let in as radio concert winners. It was at a Lake Beach Club type of place and only winners were allowed in. There were like 300 people, literally you could float on a tube on the lake and watch the show. I remember just being able to walk directly up to the stage and watch Stevie Ray Vaughan play, it was mind blowing. The openers for the show were Buddy Guy and John Lee Hooker. It was a completely insane line up and they played together at the end. My buddy and I drank beers, floated on the lake, and we were the happiest teenagers you have ever met!
James Brown at House of Blues in Hollywood
I will never forget this show. He was amazing, he could move like no one else and his vocals were spot on. He did all the songs. Bootsy Collins joined him on the stage, and then Rick James came up. He had just gotten out of prison. They did “Superfreak” together. Funniest moment of that show was when Corey Feldman somehow wandered onto the stage and started dancing while James Brown was playing with Rick James. James Brown turned and motioned to his security and had him tossed off the stage. I got to see all the sides of the great James Brown!