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Big move for Surrey musician’s 200K-item record collection from one house to another

Drummer John Cody counts close to 200,000 vinyl records, CDs among his cherished collectibles
Surrey resident John Cody with part of his massive collection of vinyl records, DVDs and books. (Photo: Tom Zillich)

One very large collection of vinyl records and DVDs is being moved from one house in Surrey to another.

Musician John Cody is masterminding the transit of his treasure trove of music and movies, now that his family is vacating their former home.

It’s a rather big job involving Cody’s significant collection.

“It’s hard to say what the exact number is, and I’ve never counted every single one of them, but it’s around 200,000 records – that’s probably close,” Cody explained.

“That’s vinyl and CDs together, probably,” he added. “I don’t know. There are other rooms in this house that have records, and there’s stuff underneath us, downstairs. The music room in the new place will be double the size of this one, in a freestanding building.”


A freelance drummer, Cody teaches music in the room that currently stores all those records and DVDs.

Among his nearly 200 band projects over the years is a current one led by his wife, Ontario-born singer Lee Aaron, whose hard-rock and metal career began in 1980.

“She gets overwhelmed by all of this, and she’s not a collector at all,” Cody revealed. “Karen (her real name) doesn’t have any of her old stuff, unless people send it to her, and I’ve tried to collect some of it, but we’re missing all sorts of her music in here.”


Cody’s collection was recently featured in “Record Collector” magazine, in a two-page spread that tells the story of how he scooped up the vinyl from the collection of legendary Vancouver DJ Jack Cullen, and more from CKLG/CFOX when those radio stations transitioned to CDs.

“I’ve always collected things, since I was a kid,” Cody elaborated, “and this collection really started to grow in the 1990s. I’ve been on the road pretty much my whole adult life, and when we travelled I always went to the local record stores when the band had breakfast. So every day I’d buy a couple of albums and bring them back home. I really had a massive collection starting in the 1980s.”

The old CFOX collection included “some interesting stuff,” he recalled.

“DJs had written on some of the jackets, sexist stuff,” Cody said. “I gave Joey (Keithley) from DOA one of their albums and it had the words ‘Never play this’ written on it – you know, ‘it’s crap,’” he added with a laugh. “Some of the vinyl, they’d just put pen (ink) on the songs they didn’t want played.”

The collection in Surrey includes a wide range of music styles – “almost everything,” as Cody puts it.

“I don’t collect opera,” he noted. “I’ve got a minimum of classical records, even though that’s the kind of music I started playing growing up, orchestral percussion, with Delta Youth Orchestra. But I say ‘minimal’ and it’s more than most peoples’ entire libraries. I have around 500 classical albums, right. That’s minimal for me.”

A lover of silent films, Cody and his family can always find something to watch.

“My kids love it,” he said with a smile. “Once a week we have a family movie, and Karen and I watch a lot of stuff. There are a lot of options.”

The future is not clear for all those records, DVDs and books, as Cody has no firm plans for what must be among the largest private collections of vinyl records, and is in no hurry to sell, either.

“I love the collection together,” he said, “so if I get rid of anything it will be minimal. My son, he’s getting more and more interested in collecting, so maybe one day he’ll take them. Ultimately I’d like it all to go together to one person who’d appreciate it, it’s not so much the money.”

Cody says he’s never really talked publicly about his record collection, until this year.

“I don’t advertise it, and they got in touch with me,” Cody said of the “Record Collector” magazine story. “I’m not on collecting forums, and oddly enough I don’t really relate to collectors, even though I’m worse than any of them, probably. I know one day I’ll get rid of it and it won’t be a big deal, it’s more about the music I love or the film I love, that’s all it really is.”

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Tom Zillich

About the Author: Tom Zillich

I cover entertainment, sports and news for Surrey Now-Leader and Black Press Media
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