Yes, today’s the day, folks: Record Store Day. Halloween and St. Patrick’s Day are probably still my favorite holidays. But Record Store Day is close. I got very little sleep, as last night I went to see Hot Club Of Cowtown (I’ll be posting photos later), and they did two sets – they were actually still playing when I left at 1 a.m.
Woke up at 6:27 a.m., showered, then called my brother. He’s on the east coast, three hours ahead of me, and I figured he’d already be inside the store. Nope. He was in line, and had been for a while. We went over each other’s wish lists, and he said he’d call me and let me know what he got.
Meanwhile I headed to Amoeba in Hollywood. I parked a good distance away, on a street where there are no meters. It took me several minutes to walk to the store, and right as I got to the corner of Sunset and Cahuenga, my brother called me.
He managed to get me the Grateful Dead CD, the Mumford & Sons CD, and the Richard Thompson 7”. I was of course especially excited about the Richard Thompson record, as there were only 500 made. He also picked up the Trey Anastasio record and the Patty Griffin record for himself. The Patty Griffin one was also limited to 500. The Newbury Comics that he went to had only one copy of it, and he grabbed it. He wasn’t able to find a copy of the Page McConnell LP.
As he was telling me this, I turned the corner and saw the line to get into Amoeba. It wasn’t even 8 o’clock, and the line went all the way down the block, and possibly around the corner. There were hundreds of people there, and clearly many of them had been there for hours already. I figured there was no way I was going to get any of the records I wanted, and made the sudden decision to leave there immediately and head to Freakbeat Records in the valley.
Freakbeat doesn’t open until 11 a.m., and in previous years, I hit Amoeba first at 9, then drove up to Freakbeat to pick up an extra copy of one or two important records (like the Leonard Cohen “The Future” single a few years ago), plus anything Amoeba had run out of. Freakbeat is a much smaller store, and they get fewer things in, but it was definitely my best bet at this point. Plus, it’s a totally cool store, and I like to give those guys my business.
Parking is annoying, because it’s all two-hour spots, and I was going to need at least three hours. So I parked a bit away on Moorpark, then walked down to Ventura. There were approximately thirty people ahead of me in line. It was a little after 8:30 a.m. I had a book with me (two, actually), but ended up chatting with the couple in front of me, and the time went by pretty quickly. One of Freakbeat’s employees came out with paper and had everyone write down their wish lists.
- Neal Casal: “Mountains Of The Moon” 7”
- Page McConnell: “Unsung Cities And Movies Never Made” LP
- David Bowie: “The Stars Are Out Tonight”
- David Bowie: “Drive-In Saturday Night”
- Patty Griffin: “Ohio”
- Billy Bragg: “No One Knows Nothing Anymore”
- Grateful Dead: “Rare Cuts & Oddities 1966”
He then came back around, and asked each person in line what his or her number one choice was, and he made a list of those. The guy in front of me said the Poltergeist soundtrack (a very good choice, as it’s limited to only 500 copies). He was told they got only one copy in, and it was his, so he was lucky. I gave as my first choice the Neal Casal record, as that one too is limited to only 500 copies. And I was told the same thing: the store got in only one copy, and it was mine. Hurrah! And he continued down the line. The idea was that no matter how far back you were in line, you would still get at least one thing that you wanted. That’s cool, but I started to worry that someone else might choose Patty Griffin. Even if it was someone like 50 people behind me, I then wouldn’t get a copy.
When I got into the store I handed an employee my list, and then stood in the much shorter line inside. There was an old issue of Rolling Stone magazine there from February 1972, a month before I was born. The Grateful Dead were on the cover, Bob Weir in a giant fur coat. I really wanted to buy it. It was $15. The photo captures the band at an interesting moment, because this was after Keith had joined the band, but before Pigpen died. And it was after Mickey had left, but before Donna had joined. I looked at that photo for a while.
And then it was my turn. My stack was very small. No Patty Griffin. No Page McConnell. And only one of the two David Bowie records. No picture disc. They did have the Grateful Dead on vinyl, but it was $35 or $36 (which means $40 with tax), so I didn’t buy it. Since I have the CD waiting for me in Boston, I can live without having that album on vinyl (okay, I still really really really want it, but I’m broke).
So here is what I bought:
- Neal Casal: “Mountains Of The Moon” 7”
- Billy Bragg: “No One Knows Nothing Anymore” 7”
- David Bowie: “The Stars (Are Out Tonight)” 7”
Okay, yes, I was a bit disappointed that I couldn’t pick up the Page McConnell record for my brother, and I was disappointed that I couldn’t get that other Bowie record for myself. But still, I got most of what I wanted. Most of the people who had come out of the store before me were carrying these nice black Beatles bags. When I was handed a black bag, I assumed it was the same one. But when I got to my car I noticed it was a Metal Blade bag. I don’t know who Metal Blade is. Oh well.
But here is what else was inside that bag (yes, there are lots of free items on Record Store Day – I’m telling you, it’s a great holiday):
- Lucinda Williams: “World Without Tears” on vinyl (two records)
- Fiona Joy Hawkins And The Blue Dream Ensemble: “Live At The Q” CD
- The Silver Ticket: Terminal Sales Vol. VI compilation CD
- It Must Be The Music compilation CD
- Rock Paper Music compilation CD
- Caroline Record Store Day compilation CD
- Selecto-O-Hits Limited Edition Sampler CD
- Record Store Day sticker sheet (stickers of album covers)
- Promotional poster for Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me
That’s a lot of stuff. Obviously, the item I’m completely thrilled about is the Lucinda Williams 2-record set. That’s fantastic. Now I just need to get my turntable fixed.
By the way, it's not too late to enjoy Record Store Day. Check out the record stores in your area. Most have special events happening throughout the day, including concert appearances.