SEPTEMBER 18, 2003
Rock Around the Clock
Records Tell Time at Cup of Joe
By Jamie Gadette
Stefan Marsco's record clocks are designed with the true music aficionados in mind. See what all of the fuss is about at A Cup of Joe.

tefan Marsco doesn’t make a living out of defacing vinyl—he simply alters it in his free time. However, the modifications inflicted upon old records are done so out of love.

Marsco is a clockmaker. His kitschy creations are currently on display at Cup of Joe as part of the downtown coffeehouse’s Artist of the Month series. Responses to the exhibit have been overwhelmingly positive. In fact, one customer offered to purchase a particular piece before the collection had been hung in its entirety. Though flattered, Marsco is somewhat surprised by the sudden praise. “I still have a hard time considering what I do as art,” he says. “More than anything, it’s just been a lot of fun.”

Marsco isn’t concerned with the reasons people appreciate his work, as long as they are satisfied with the finished product. His vision originally developed after a trip to New Orleans where Marsco discovered the perfect “gag gift” for his girlfriend—a 12-inch Rod Stewart picture vinyl of “Blondes Have More Fun.” The present was a success, but Marsco was fearful of losing the gem to the deep cavities of a dresser drawer. He decided to increase the record’s appeal further by transforming it into a decorative, yet functional fixture.

A man named Roger Williams may or may not have been the original creator of the record clock. However, devoid of any copyright, the concept is open for anyone to recapture. Marsco’s first encounter with the unusual timepiece occurred at the Greater Avenues Street Fair where he picked one up for a song. Unfortunately, the record clock was rather plain—not something easily confused with art.

“It didn’t connect with me,” Marsco says, adding that he was certain he could do better. Transforming his girlfriend’s clock thus became a quest to improve upon average. The first attempt was such a hit, Marsco was inspired to continue. Eventually, friends and family were clamoring for their own custom-made originals. Marsco, realizing that he had stumbled upon something special, turned the hobby into a business—Record Time Clocks. The increasingly successful venture is reflective of an entrepreneurial spirit laced with artistic sensibilities.

“The reason I (originally) got into marketing was to use my imagination,” Marsco says. However, the aspiring advertiser soon learned that most campaigns are simply vehicles for manipulation. Disillusioned, Marsco turned to his primary love—music. He took on positions as manager for local bands My Density and Hello Amsterdam. Although he and the groups have since parted ways, Marsco maintains a positive outlook on the experience.

Now he’s located another method of marrying music and business. Marsco reaps great pleasure out of salvaging lost—but not completely forgotten—records and turning them over to people who appreciate the effort. His target audience is mainly music aficionados willing to pay the price for guilty pleasures.

He prefers to sell his clocks to thrift stores and art galleries; however, he has plans for opening a Web site to make the product accessible to a broader audience.

Although concerned with reaching the average consumer, Marsco makes it a priority to address specialized tastes. “I pride myself on special orders. If there is an artist you want, I’ll find it,” he says.

Marsco purchases most of his products from the Internet, occasionally enhancing the collection with relics from Las Vegas.

Notable finds include red vinyl Miles Davis, Led Zeppelin’s “Swan Song” picture vinyl, and a 12-inch Kraftwerk album that’s glow-in-the-dark. The most requested items are Prince’s seven-inch picture vinyl and a rare cut-out record of David Bowie’s “Survive.” In order to ensure that each one emerges distinctly different, Marsco employs local artist Andy Benson to further modify the pieces with various painted accents. Thematically appropriate additions include Grateful Dead “Jerr-Bears” and tiny hemp plants for Snoop Doggy Dogg’s “Doggystyle.” Marsco often finishes by affixing guitar picks to the clock’s 12, 3, 6, and 9.

“I think that 99 percent of people who buy picture or colored vinyl don’t buy it with the intention of playing it—they buy it to collect it,” he says, adding that the valuable items don’t need to remain hidden. “These things are way too cool to stuff in a box.”

Marsco’s clocks will be on display through the month of September at Cup of Joe, 353 W. 200 South. For more information, contact

  Artist Trinity Unites Somewhere in Hell  
  Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company Announces Rare Nikolais Night with 40th Anniversary  
  Scraping the Stradivarius: Abravanel Hall Welcomes the Return of Joshua Bell  
  Revelling in Poetry: Insightful English Professor Satisfies Cravings for Literature  
  RED herring!  



RED Magazine is a publication of The Daily Utah Chronicle. RED is published every Thursday. For information on advertising, call 801-581-7041. To have your event considered for publication, write to Copyrighted material remains the property of the original owner.

Web Site Copyright 2003