Saturday, August 18, 2012

The record store-Once upon a time

If you are of a certain age you probably spent some time at some point at your local record store. Whether that was an independent store or a chain store probably depends on your area although most areas probably some of both once upon a time. Now I am old, but I am not some old crotchety geezer that scowls at the digital format and says everything was better in my day. There are good things about both periods. My intention today is just to remember my local record store. I lived out in the country and the mall didn't pop up until 1987. Before that the big record in the county was a Sound Waves that wasn't that close, but I got to go there on occasion. They were typical of a non-mall chain store of the time. Everything very organized and tidy with posters of the latest pop releases on the walls, but they did have a pretty good metal selection on vinyl. In 1985 Curry's Music popped up closer to me This was an independent store in the true sense of the term. There were no uniforms and neatness in the store was relative. There weren't posters announcing the upcoming Moody Blues album, but instead there collage posters of Maiden, Dio and others as well as tapestries of Judas Priest and Black Sabbath tacked up on the walls. They burnt incense and played music regularly. On occasion it may be to promote a new release, but more often than not they put in 70's ZZ top, Motorhead or whoever they wanted to hear at the time. For workers it was one guy and a few occasional other workers. The owner was a thirty something guy who was into classic rock and metal. He was always quick with recommendations and everything he suggested that I bought was good. Between 1985 and 1986 he recommended albums by Loudness, King Kobra, Executioner, Grim Reaper and others to me and I loved all of them. He once ranted on about how good this band from Detroit called Halloween was and he even played me some of their cassette on the player he kept behind the counter. I was interested and asked him if he had a copy for sale and he said "no, the only copy I ordered was this one for me". Even at 15 I was able to realize at that moment that despite having a cool store maybe his priorities were not in  order for him to be a great businessman. That may be because he was indeed a fan of the music more than a businessman and that may be why the store only lasted a couple of years. However his interest in music and his willingness to have conversations about Slayer, Whiplash, Black n' Blue, Warrior, Armored Saint or whoever was the main reason I liked going there. Later there were some other stores where a conversation about the new Exodus album could be struck up with the guy working at the counter, but it was hit and miss. Curry's eventually couldn't compete when the mall stores popped up with their big selection and occasional sales so the little local record store went out. I enjoyed it while it was around and on occasion I like to remember the times I spent there.

**Did you have a local record store that you grew up going to?

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Blogger non de guerre said...

I bought my vinyl at the Record Town (I think it was) at the North Hanover Mall. There was a cute blond girl usually working the cash register and when I'd bring up a record to purchase - AC/DC, Ozzy Osbourne or whatever - she would look at me like I was a creep. Ha Ha!

12:09 PM  
Blogger Pat said...

Having just discovered Iron Maiden, Scorpions, Krokus, and Def Leppard in the previous year or two in a surprisingly cool mall store called DJ's Sound City, soon after and just up the road, I discovered Easy Street Records in Bellevue WA. This was around 1981. There was where I really discovered the NWOBHM as well as killer bands from around the world on the store's "Wall Of Death": Loudness, Saxon, Helloween, Trance, Baron Rojo, Glory Bells, 220 Volt, Silver Mountain, EF Band, Armored Saint, Metallica, Mercyful Fate, Picture, Raven, Proud and even Ratt and Motley Crue before they got major label deals (Crue's Too Fast For Love on Leathur Records for 5.99!!!). I even bought my first Kerrang! there (issue #5 with Biff on the front, I still have it!) The owner, Kim Harris was an older guy, but very enthusiastic about the whole metal scene. He'd play us stuff like Trance and Helloween as well as older stuff he was into like Gong and Hawkwind. He also played all kinds of demos of local bands like the very early Metal Church demos, Heir Apparent, and Myth. Around 1983, he played the Queensryche demo....a lot because it was just so jaw dropping! They would come into the store all the time and he quickly made a deal with them to release the four song EP on the store's own 206 label. I was even there when Scott Rockenfield's (QR drummer) brother Todd came in with the Queensryche logo (from the first EP) to show Kim. Kim and his wife, Diana managed Queensryche for a few years until some kind of shady dealings went down and they were fired. I have awesome memories of those early days at Easy Street. There are two Easy Streets in Seattle now, but under different owners and the old metal magic's long gone.

11:50 AM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

Tom-I went to that store some. I once got a Mercyful Fate-Black Masses/Black Funeral single there for $4.99. Still have it too.

Pat-Cool story.

When I was in college we would on occasion go up the road to Recordsmith in Richmond, Kentucky. They sold albums and comics. On the outside of the building they had this thing mounted on the side of the building that was like 12 very warped records painted in neon striped colors, it was kind of cool. They always have some good used stuff, lots of metal. I think they went out of business a few years after I graduated.

1:00 PM  
Anonymous scott whitt said...

There was this place in South Houston called Texas Tapes and Records. It was a huge store that had all types of music but during the metal heydays they were all in. Had several in stores with Quiet Riot, Stryper, Celtic Frost and tons more. Tom Warrior even mentioned the place in his book. Places like that were a news report n what was cool. Still remember buying Maiden Japan from there.

2:48 PM  

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