I attended Sierra Vista Elementary School (La Habra, CA) in the 1960’s.
Every week (if I was good!) my dad would pay me an allowance, and I would hop on my Schwinn Sting-Ray and head to one of the town’s record stores. Record Town was on the corner of Central Ave. & Beach Blvd; they had lots of 45’s and all the sections that “normal” record stores had: Easy Listening, Broadway Shows, Classical. I would alternate my browsing between the singles and the Pop/Rock section. The staff seemed really old. They were probably in their 30’s…
MusiX Box was closer to my house near the corner of Harbor and Whitter Blvd’s. The name was dumb. Why the “X” in “MusiX” which was pronounced, “Music“????? The staff was unusual: Chuck had a squeaky voice and installed car stereos outside, leaving people uncomfortably alone in the store. There was dude we called “The Swede”. I think he was British. He had long blonde hair and talked funny. My friend Brian Mulvey and I used to get him to answer, “It Hahsn’t Been Releeesd Yut” when we’d ask him about something we KNEW wasn’t out yet- just so we could hear his unusual accent…
I was never friends with any of the people that worked in record stores when I was growing up. In fact, I don’t think they knew my name as we didn’t small-talk. What is really strange is that I never thought about working in a record store. I had so many records that my collection had American groups filed separately from British groups. I knew the record labels, read all the liner notes, etc. but I never envisioned myself as a record retailer.
Now after 38 years in the record biz (30 here in Santa Rosa) I can’t imagine doing anything else. I’ve made many friends over the years, and met some of my very best buds within the walls of The Last Record Store.
I love watching people shop for music. Seeing quirky shopping styles, listening to conversations, checking out people digging music. My people. It’s like the best Reality TV- without the television!
Six years ago on the first Record Store Day, we were given bags and lots of cool shit to stuff them with; “give-aways” to our most rabid customers.
Hey RSD people! Why the lack of SWAG?? Sadly, we have no bags o’ swag…
I just so happen to have few copies of my album (wait to roll your eyes until I’m not looking) “Voices in the Wind” which was mastered at Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs and pressed on 180 gram vinyl. What an irony that the demographic of my modest fan-base doesn’t listen to vinyl! The cover was designed by local legend Michael Houghton (his firm is called “Designed By Monkeys”). Anyway, please accept this LP as a token of my high regard for you, as well as an apology for not having something cooler to give away..
Thank you Last Record Store customers.
Long May You Run!