LP: Rough, Raw, and Amazing (Live at Leicester De Mountfort Hall 1972)
2015 Record Store Day Limited Edition, Dandelion Records OZIT DAN LP 8024, yellow semi-translucent, 14 out of 1500
Favorite Track: When It Blows It Stacks
My Record Store Day 2015 was yellow. No, seriously. Three of the four RSD vinyl purchases I made were on yellow vinyl. There must have been a lot of leftover dye at the factory. How was your Record Store Day? I would really love to read some comments about this “holiday” if you allow overt consumerism to be considered a holiday. Of course you do. I would also love to hear from record store employees and their opinions on RSD. Not all of it is pretty, but I support it. People come out in droves to spend their hard-earned money at a local, independent business and then, at least in my case, spend the afternoon with friends.
Speaking of the ugly, let us get the parts of Record Store Day that I don’t like out of the way. I would rather focus on the positive, but feel necessary to espouse a little on the negative. The prices have reached a high where I am starting to become frugal. This year I bought almost as many non-RSD purchases as RSD records (taking a chance on the Tom Verlaine/David Bowie split was worth the money.) I was really curious for the Johnny Thunders, Stooges, Captain Beefheart, Kinks Size, Brian Eno, the 101ers, and Violent Femmes records. Some of them were 35.99, which in the case of the Johnny Thunders I already had an original Live at Max’s Kansas City volume 1 (for 14.99) and wasn’t going to spend that much money for 5 more Heartbreaker songs. Kinks Size was 11.99, again just reaching a price tag too much for me. Actually, I ended up purchasing the most expensive album [Captain Beefheart at 40 making it the 2nd or 3rd record tied for most spent in my collection] because a) I lovvvvvvvve Captain Beefheart and b) I decided I wasn’t going to buy Thunders, Stooges, Eno and the 101ers. Also, it was the biggest risk I took because even the back sleeve said the recording wasn’t great, which is true. Luckily, the bass and drums thunder along on Click Clack, Grow Fins, and When it Blows it Stacks. What Record Store Day really needs is a time machine to send you back to a concert of your choice.
I’ve read a couple of online articles criticizing RSD along the lines that major labels hog the vinyl factories to chug out all these releases and a lot of independent music labels are put on the back burner. I also read that two pressing plants were discovered and are being fixed up, which hopefully will help address this problem. Ultimately, however, RSD has become huge and with large-scale success comes lots of problems. People often forget or don’t know that Starbucks was once just a coffee bean retailer back in ’71 and it wasn’t until ’87 when they began expanding did they become the coffee empire they are today. I think if people want to preserve vinyl records and have a fair usage between major and minor labels, independent people need to start their own pressing plants. I believe there are only 15 plants in the nation. But with that solution will only come more problems. The world operates on Aleister Crowley’s theory of the Solider and the Hunchback: behind every Aha Idea! is another question with another idea behind that and another question, etc.
Now for the good. I stayed at a friend’s house on Friday night and enjoyed a lovely grill-out and Wisconsin beer. Then I woke up at 5:30 am to promptly hit my snooze button for another 15 minutes. After a muffin, I was ready to stand and sit in the street for a couple of hours in line. We were about 40th in line which quickly filled behind us. The doors opened at 8 am but it was probably about an hour before we actually got to the records. Luckily, Rhinegeist brewed a specialty A-Side IPA and gave out samples which made the wait much more tolerable. A pint would have been nice. I was amused at the purchases people clutched in their hands as they lined up to buy. Sorry to be a “music snob”, but Stonesour and Phish really? Rounding the corner, the records came into view and I found a reissue of X’s Adult Books and a Side by Side: Tom Verlaine/David Bowie 7 inch. I didn’t know much about the latter, but it was one of the cheapest items I saw on sale and, wisely, purchased it. For a moment my heart leaped into my throat when I saw a kid in front of me grab the Happy Mondays record–the number one item on my list. But they had plenty of copies so I had no reason to worry. At this point, I was tired of being in line and instead of splitting my purchases between the two great record stores in the neighborhood, I decided to just buy all the RSD records at the current location and just look for other goodies at the other. Again, prices were part of this decision. Then I strolled downstairs and found an original albeit censored version of MC5’s Kick Out the Jams and a dubious import of Tom Wait’s Bone Machine. At the other record store, I found the Kink’s Kinkdom.
But the day was just beginning even though I had been up for five hours already. We stopped at a cafe for some much needed caffeine and to wait for friends. Then we shared a lovely lunch. Some went home after that, but others went to a bar where we played Barbie’s Queen of Prom Adventure or some such silly name. My hussy was only good for collecting money and talking to (closeted?) Becky. I only wound up with Tom by default as sexy Pointdexter and Ken were swooped up as well as someone taking a liking to creepy pencil-necked Bob.
Then I went home and listened to records when I should have taken a nap. I fell asleep at 9:30, the earliest in probably four years. I am glad Record Store Day is only once a year (I do not go on Black Friday) but I am also glad it happens every year. By the way, I should have mentioned that this was the first year I have gone in a two/three years because I normally work on Saturdays and the last few times I had friends pick up my requests.
Thank you record stores especially ShakeIt, Black Plastic, and Papa Jazz–the three apostles of Vinyl Jesus.