101 Musicians Discuss Their Favorite Record Stores
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31. Laura Ballance
Store: Record Bar
Location: Atlanta, Ga.
One of the first record stores I can recall going to was the Record Bar at Lenox Square Mall in Atlanta, Ga. back in the early ‘80s. I was probably 14 or 15. I was easily intimidated, because I did not know anything, I just knew that I had heard some songs I really liked on WRAS and I had recently gotten a job elsewhere in the mall selling horrid baked goods, so I had a little pocket money. For a long time I would just go in there and wander around looking at record covers and try to make sense of what I saw. I was too scared to ask for any advice for a long time. Sometimes I knew what I was looking for and would pick out an Adam and the Ants or Duran Duran record to buy (kid’s stuff!), and eventually I was there enough that this guy who worked there started talking to me. I remember being impressed with the blondness of his hair. He was very fair and I remember him as being almost transparent. I don’t think he ever set foot in the sun. He suggested some new records for me to try that I might like. It was so enlightening and awesome, and I bought things that I might not have discovered for many more years thanks to him. I am so grateful I had a record store clerk like that in my neighborhood. I don’t know how kids figure out the world of music now! Back then there were way fewer records coming out on any given week, and still it was mystifying.
32. Daniel Pujol
Store: Sound System
Location: Northgate Mall, 1600 N Jackson St, Tullahoma, Coffee, Tenn.
I grew up in almost-the-middle-of-nowhere. We had this one record store in a mall that had about four-to-five stores in it. Now that I’m older, I realize this one record store had a pretty eclectic selection. The records were usually too expensive, but one time I bought a copy of Big Audio Dynamite II’s The Globe on cassette tape and it blew my mind in half and that’s why this store is my favorite. Later on, when the town was taken over by franchising Internet tycoons, there were others. But the thrill was gone and we both knew it.
33. Ben Jaffe
Preservation Hall Jazz Band
Store: Louisiana Music Factory
Location: New Orleans, La.
I’ve spent many of my waking hours digging through the shelves of this store dedicated to Louisiana music. It’s my library. The staff have an encyclopedic knowledge of local music. They specialize in local music that you can’t get anywhere else. And it’s still open!!!! Long live vinyl!!!
34. Steve Terebecki
Store: Wax ‘N’ Facts
Location: Atlanta, Ga.
Just the smell of this store is so great. I got so many of my first records there. When I was 15 or 16, I was really into Eberhard Weber, the jazz bassist. I also had just recently acquired my first cassette player for a while (can’t remember what happened to my old one). One day I walked into Wax ‘N’ Facts and they had Eberhard Weber’s Pendulum on cassette and I don’t think I have been so excited in a record store as that moment. It was perfect timing.
35. Jake Orrall
JEFF The Brotherhood
Location: Nashville, Tenn.
Every day is a new favorite memory at Grimey’s. I go every week and have a great time.
36. Catherine Irwin
Store: River Town Records
Location: Louisville, Ky.
I always hated record stores. When my brother went into Karma Records, he would be in there for like an hour. I would wait for him over at The Circus arcade which was a really good place to smoke cigarettes and watch redneck hippie boys play pinball. River Town Records was on Bardstown Road in Louisville, Kentucky. My brother and I started going there in around 1976 and I think the store was closed by 1980.
I loved it there. It was really filthy. The records were so cheap that we could buy things just because the cover was cool or the band looked like the Manson Family. It was the greatest super musty, dimly-lit used record store ever. Records were stacked up all over the floor and the bins were all jammed really full. We found all of The Incredible String Band records there. They had a lot of trippy English freaky folk. There were always tons of old Folkways records and lots of records that were so weird that I have never seen them again anywhere.
After River Town Records closed the building became a lesbian bar called The Unicorn and then for a while it was a pet store.
37. Tony Ruland
The Lonely Forest
Store: The Business
Location: Anacortes, Wash.
I grew up about eight blocks away from The Business. It was an everyday after-school trip for me starting at age 10. It’s hard to pick a favorite memory as I’ve seen dozens of great shows there and bought numerous life-changing records. However, seeing Death Cab For Cutie in ’98 play to about 10 or 20 people ranks pretty high on the list. I remember just knowing that they would be a big deal someday.
38. Dent May
Store: The End Of All Music
Location: Oxford, Miss., just around the corner from my residence at the Cats Purring Dude Ranch.
This store just opened earlier this year, but my favorite memory would be Dead Gaze playing their in-store show. My good friends David and Bruce did an amazing job opening this place. I think it’ll be known as one of the best around very soon.
39. Eric Hutchinson
Location: College Park, Md.
This is a great new-and-used shop next to University of Maryland that wasn’t too far from where I grew up. It’s a huge room, stuffed wall to wall with CDs of every genre, waiting to be filed away, which makes the crate digging even more fun. Never knew what I was gonna find. Had some great grabs over the years, from out-of-print Prince albums to random Bach cello recordings to Indian Sitar funk compilations. Nothing like seeing that album you’ve been trying to track down. Like the holy grail!
I used to carry a list in my wallet of all the music I was looking for and I’d systemically check it all out, read over the liner notes, double check the song titles. My friends went with me at first, but after a while they told me to go on my own. They couldn’t handle the three-hour visits!
40. Steve Marion
Store: Eyeconik Records
Location: Franklin, N.J.
The closest record store to the woods of my hometown, run by a young guy named Justin. He had a playpen for his daughter back behind the cash register. He used to let us put on shows there and also let us sell albums in his store that my friends and I made. There were two really tall trees you could climb back behind the store which I always did when shows were going on. I bought Innervisions there.