Ah, Record Store Day.
Just what is it, hmmm?
A chance for some wag to release those outtakes from William Shatner’s spoken word on 200 gram purple vinyl?
The day to finally –finally! shop at 6 a.m. and pick up Pussy Galore reissues along with some Krispy Kremes before the household awakes?
Or maybe just a day for the real record geeks to stay home and badmouth the proletariat on the web?
Amateur Hour….. like drinking on New Year’s Eve!…oooh–you got us there, tubby!
But maybe to most of us, who haven’t had a turntable in 2 decades, Record Store has become the day that lets the world finally peek into these stubborn last outposts of music worship, often lured by the unique chance to see a band playing in broad daylight:
wedged between the bargain bins and the Tshirt rack, the nocturnal creatures can be finally studied under steady flourescent lighting.
One day, as I’m walking out of Pavillions clutching my daily ration of short ribs and half-off Malbecs, I notice a new shop on the horizon:
Good Lord, someone had the balls to open a Record Store in Seal Beach of all places?
And named after one of my all time favorite songs, no less?
Don’t get me wrong, I love our little Mayberry-by-the-sea (so nicknamed for the inherent racism and plentiful supply of town drunks I presume!), but it is not exactly music hipster-central, ya got me?
I’d think you’d be safer selling hearing aids or Old Guys Rule T-shirts in this town brother!
I stopped in a few times and got to know Geoff, the owner.
Lots of times, on those early dark evenings of dead Winter, I’d run past with a bag of groceries and I could see him manning the counter.
Sometimes with some shoppers in there, sometimes none, and I worried that this cool little oasis wouldn’t survive to the Spring.
And by saying that, I’m not taking the easy target of the music industry or independent shops in general, no.
For the darkened storefronts along Main Street and PCH all tell the same story—-each empty window reminding us that we’re all in the same pierced boat, bailing water as fast as it comes in, this wicked economy threatening to pull us all down!
Besides, where else would you get to go in and see some real rockstars up on the wall–huh?!
But survive it did, and we stopped in to congratulate them on a Year Anniversary….and we thought, hmmm?
Could we possibly pull off an in-store in this wacky little town without the citizens of Leisure World coming down on us like a pack of Nazis in walkers?
See, we tried to play in town a couple times before, years ago, and the cops were on us by the end of song one.
Disturbing the peace, no live music permits, blah blah….
But, ya know, what are they gonna do to us now?
We’re easily twice as old as the average police officer—-show a little respect, Sonny!
The day arrives, and we all meet up next door at Coach’s for a pregame tune up.
Or, for some of the crew, now is the time to stop in for the weekly pedicure!
We squeeze in tight at the back of the store, a few stragglers wander in.
The plastic cups of mystery are filled, drained, and filled again: Downbeat!
We switch on tiny combo amps, Alfie squeezes behind the bongos.
And for a glorious 40 minutes, we are playing in front of family in friends on a Saturday afternoon.
There is none of the hipster scowls or sloppy drunkeness of the usual club gig, for we are playing to the genuine music fans now.
And that’s when the very real value of music, and having a place to get what you’re looking for!— that’s when you realize what a jewel the corner Record Store is!
Next week it’ll be back to normal.
We’ll be onstage in a darkened club well past midnight, playing for angry winos and half assed hecklers.
The set ends, harsh lights are switched on and we’re left to load out in a damp parking lot.
And as you’re humping those cabinets over the pebbly asphalt, getting ready for the hour drive home, you sometimes wonder why you do this thing.
But ya know what?
We made a record, once, at least.
There’s still places out there, bless ’em, that will sell them.
…..and I know where you can get signed a copy, cheap!
As always, Thanks for the extra photos and coverage from our good pals @ BigWheel Magazine