Midland geologist wins music gold with memorabilia collection


Every oil tanker in Midland has a story about ‘the road not taken’ and what they should have, could have, would have done. But probably few, if any, wavered between promoting concerts and trading in oil. What makes Jamie Small’s story even more unusual is that he claims he can’t wear a tune or dance with just any beat.

Over the years, the success of his business fueled his passion for collecting musical memorabilia and beyond, so much so that he needed a vacation home with a large barn to contain the overflow.

Jamie grew up in Virginia Beach and worked as a promoter for Whisper Concerts. He remembered having dinner with his parents and after they went to bed going to clubs with pockets of money to listen and then pay the bands he had contracted. At Washington & Lee University, he headed the office of student activities and was involved with Sigma Nu. It was therefore possible for him to organize concerts on campus for singer-songwriters like Bruce Hornsby.

A geology degree brought Jamie to Midland to work for Marshall Young Oil Co. He later consulted for Cobra Oil and Gas and eventually formed Icon Petroleum and Element Petroleum.

Jamie claims the first piece in his collection was a Lowell George maraca after a Little Feat concert. He also collected a series of endorsed and void checks from each member of this group that were signed by Frank Zappa after the opening of one of his concerts. Soon he was collecting signed lyrics, not just guitars. In fact, before the items were sent to Las Vegas to be framed in a ghost box, Jamie compiled other memorabilia, such as signed stage passes and guitar picks.

As he inspects the walls of his office and barn, Jamie said he focuses on the bands of his youth – from the 60s to the early 80s, and the collection is eclectic as he wanted to cover genres. musical during those years. That’s why it’s not just rock’n roll: it has a guitar signed by the Bee Gees, one by Glen Campbell and one by the Beastie Boys. And he’s proud of the little things he found like George Harrison’s sunglasses his driver picked up from his limo, a crumpled note from Tom Petty to his future wife, and a songlist stuck to the floor during one of Bruce Springsteen’s concerts.

No, he hasn’t been able to attend all of his favorite bands’ concerts, and he never buys on E-bay because there are a lot of fakes in circulation. He has a few scouts who contact him when unusual things go on sale, like the back pocket of Jimi Hendrix’s jeans accidentally dedicated to “Jamie.” All his memories are fully authenticated.

A few other items he collected include signed guitars from The Police, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Lynyrd Skynyrd, KISS, Queen, Grateful Dead, the Eagles (for his wife), Modest Mouse (for his son) ); a signed harmonica, sketches and a handwritten copy of the lyrics for studio musicians by John Lennon; a set of mallets, a cymbal and a sketch by Ringo (for his son); signed lyrics to “Our House” by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (for his daughter’s housewarming party); and his precious possession: handwritten lyrics to the Allman Brothers song, “Whipping Post,” which are yellowed and written on tri-ring binder paper. Jamie guesses it was a practice copy.

So the walls of his barn were soon covered, but he needed to fill the space below. Now comes the “caveman on steroids” part of his collection. Virginia Beach had an oceanfront arcade on the 31stst Street that Jamie loved. So he got the old Brunswick pool table from this place and gradually acquired some rock ‘n roll themed pinball machines including Captain Fantastic and Elton John’s Pinball Wizard, a rare one on the Beatles and one with KISS. . He found a baseball game from the 1950s and some old pinball machines from the 1930s as well. Bowing to the pressure, he bought two first-generation electronic machines – Ms. Pacman and Asteroids – to remind him of people like his college roommate who spent a fortune playing them. Jamie points out that his barn is not a museum and that everything should be played, including his wife’s favorite, skeeball. There is also a foosball table and a shuffleboard. And to tie it all together, he bought an antique Wurlitzer jukebox, had it modernized to play CDs, and loaded it with songs from all the bands flanking the barn walls.

At the end of the day, Jamie admits, “I loved my days as a promoter because I was fascinated with how it all comes together. Drilling a well is like giving a concert, ”he thinks. “After all the planning and preparation ahead of time, when you walk into a pay zone, that equates to a concert day. “

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