Today, April 18th, 2009, is Record Store Day and Amoeba Music is among the countless independent record stores today celebrating the annual event. RSD this year seems even more worthy of celebrating than ever. We all have our own record store memories. My earliest ones go back to when I was just a little kid -- maybe four or five -- growing up in Ireland where my dad, a DJ and avid music collector, would take me along with him on Saturday mornings when he would make his regular stops at tiny record shops in the heart of Dublin. I remember that always reassuring familiar record store smell. These were shops where he knew the owners by name and they knew him and would always have that record he was "looking for" set aside. I remember how they would keep the actual records under the counter, all carefully catalogued and filed in their sleeves, with the empty floppy album covers out in the bins that I was barely tall enough to see.
Click on Amoeba Music Record Store Day for details of the music & fun packed events jumping off today at each of the three Amoeba Music outlets, including both Wendy & Lisa and DJ Babu spinning at Amoeba Hollywood at 1pm and 5pm respectively; Kylee of Loquat, Kelley Stoltz, John Vanderslice and Aesop Rock all spinning sets at Amoeba San Francisco; and Yoni Wolf of Why? spinning a set at Amoeba Berkeley.
On the official Record Store Day website, which you should check out if you haven't already, they have lots of wonderful items to mull over (videos, audio, text), including many musicians/artists' memories of record stores and of the importance of independent record stores to them. I have gone through them all and edited down a select few (below) that I found particularly interesting and worth reading from artists including P.O.S., Paul McCartney, Slug of Atmosphere, Jack White, Brother Ali, Peter Gabriel, Abstract Rude, Joan Jett, Henry Rollins, Del The Funky Homosapien, Psalm One, Patton Oswalt, Tech N9ne, and DJ Jazzy Jeff.
“The record store is where me and my friends cut our teeth growing up. I love getting lost trying to master every section, walking with a stack of possible purchases and weighing all my choices at the end of it. Nothing will ever replace that for me.
You can't trust a Wal-mart to have anyone who will know what they are talking about if you are talking about music. Indies take time to think about the music they sell, and the people who frequent their stores."
- P.O.S. (Note: P.O.S. plays a free instore @ Amoeba Berkeley on Monday, April 20th at 6pm.)
“The idea of, ‘The journey is the destination’ is put into action by browsing in an indie record store. Besides, a human being is a much better guide than a ‘More Like This’ link on the internet.”
- Patton Oswalt
“I think it’s high time the mentors, big brothers, big sisters, parents, guardians, and neighborhood ne’er do wells, start taking younger people that look up to them to a real record store and show them what an important part of life music really is. I trust no one who hasn’t time for music.
What a shame to leave a child, or worse, a generation orphaned from one of life’s great beauties. And to the record stores, artists, labels, dj’s, and journalists: we’re all in this together. Show respect for the tangible music that you’ve dedicated your careers and lives to, and help It from becoming nothing more than disposable digital data.”
- Jack White
“I have watched independent record stores evaporate all over America and Europe. That's why I go into as many as I can and buy records whenever possible. If we lose the independent record store, we lose big. Every time you buy your records at one of these places, it's a blow to the empire.”
- Henry Rollins
"Independent record stores are like the best thing going for real music lovers. There's just no way you're gonna find those elusive grooves that a fan salivates over at a chain store. Those important records that shape the industry and add so much dimension to it can be found at the indie spots. I remember going to a store named Leopold's in Berkeley, CA when I was younger. Man, I used to live in that place. They were pretty much the only place I could find Hip hop.
Back then, there wasn't much at the chain stores. You had to go forth and discover stuff, and the indie stores is where the discovery begins. People in the store are informed; they can actually HELP you find stuff that you're interested in or suggest things that you may be interested in. It's just a hip place to be, man."
- Del The Funky Homosapien
"The Independent Record Store is the reason why I STILL do music...It seems like they're the only ones that really care about the real music lovers...we need them...they're our balance to all of the music we are FORCED to listen to...they're the only ones that may still suggest something NEW and FRESH instead of just what's popular."
- DJ Jazzy Jeff
"I've always loved independent music stores because the staff is usually there because of a genuine love and appreciation for music. They're more in-tune with the customers and I'm willing to pay the extra dollar or two for the service they provide. Some of my greatest music discoveries have come from picking up an album at an indy store and the cat behind the register saying 'You like this man? Have you heard of so-and-so?' I prefer to shop where people understand me and the music-- the music I like."
- Brother Ali
"The indie record shop is the nucleus of the nerd...the internet has its temptations, but physically digging for booty? There's no substitute."
- Ursula 1000 (DJ on ESL – Thievery Corporation label)
"There’s nothing as glamorous to me as a record store. When I recently played Amoeba in LA, I realised what fantastic memories such a collection of music brings back when you see it all in one place.
This is why I’m more than happy to support Record Store Day and I hope that these kinds of stores will be there for us all for many years to come. Cheers!"
- Paul McCartney
"We are drowning in a sea of Myspace, blather, and too much information. Music is everywhere and nowhere. The independent record store is the solution-- a place staffed by friendly (or not) people who are actually paid to weed through this crap and help you find the good stuff.”
- Dean Wareham (Luna)
"I grew up in independent record stores. As a teenager, I would hang out in them, looking at records, learning about records. Eventually I spent my twentysomethings working behind the counters of two of the more prominent indie stores in my city. Graduated from that to co-owning one. So I'm sort of biased, I guess. If I were to make a list of the traits that make the indie store a vital part of the music industries movement, this blurb would be too long. So I will stick to two basic points:
1. Breaking new bands.
2. Great place to meet awesome women.
Don't need to go any further than that. In fact, looking back, I can't really come up with anything negative to say about indie stores. Well, except that the indie store is what made me a music snob. And honestly, I'm even thankful for that."
- Slug (Atmosphere)
"I was introduced to lots of great music through my local record store. It was a place where people knew music and they knew me, and could make great suggestions and discoveries. Whether it is in the physical world or on-line, the value of a great and knowledgeable record store has not gone away."
- Peter Gabriel
“First off, I dig the stores who still keep the word record in their names, especially seeing as how the vinyl record has waned in its popularity of being the current buying public's choice for music medium. For me, my family's record collection was my gateway drug to the record store. Also my older sister's rap tape collection that made me want to own my own music -- she was stingy with loaning me tapes! The local record stores became like my gateways for expanding my knowledge of hip hop culture in various neighborhoods and cities worldwide. I know we got the internet today, but honestly, it sucks even trying to buy music online sometimes I think I'm getting the right version of some song or lp, then I buy it and it was the wrong version -- I end up buying it like 3 times on 3 different projects...no joke, try to buy "Mind Playing Tricks on Me" on itunes and see if u get all 4 verses before you buy like at least 2 mixtape versions missing Bushwick's last verse...man -- screw that! I'd rather just go to the store and ask a cat or even listen to it there at the store. Also, there's the looking at the art and touching the product -- let's not get so disconnected with the physical product that we become virtual fans -- naw, man! Besides, DJs who actually spin at clubs and on the radio always seem to be able to get a job at a record store, so those types are on deck to influence the ears of impressionable youth as I was. For many musicians/artists who were and still remain fans 1st before becoming colleagues, the record store is where you peep your peers & favorite artists, but also the brand new artists coming out and get influenced to get your new shit in there right beside one day. I hope there are record stores that continue to stay open no matter what and those fans and artists like me who wanna keep supporting em!”
- Abstract Rude
“The indie record stores are the backbone of the recorded music culture. It's where we go to network, browse around, and find new songs to love. The stores whose owners and staff live for music have spread the word about exciting new things faster and with more essence than either radio or the press. Any artist that doesn't support the wonderful ma and pa record stores across America is contributing to our own extinction.”
- Joan Jett
“The indie stores were the first to initially support me and gave me my first opportunities. Similar to the indie store, I, too, am an indie artist and that in part makes us the master of our own destiny. I can create my own music without a major label telling me which beats to use, what my lyrics should be, and how I can be commercial. Instead, I choose to make my own music and hope the fans dig it as much as I do. Similarly, indie stores create their own unique atmosphere within their stores, giving their customers a true sense of what the music is about instead of cookie cutter stores that all look alike, carry the same product, and have the same guy who is selling me a washing machine telling me what the hottest new record is. I, personally, have major love for all the indies. Because I am an indie artist, radio has shut me out in favor of major artists who pay to get played. The indies recognized my talent and actually promoted me as an artist and exposed new people to my music. As a result, with the indies' help, you have now heard of me throughout the U.S. They gave my music an opportunity to be heard and now with the fans support, I have become the largest truly indie rapper.”
- Tech N9ne (hip hop artist / co-owner Strange Music)
“In high school there was this shop that my friends worked at and bought from that made me feel not so lame. In college there was a shop that took my first EP on consignment. When I did my first LP there were 7 shops in Chicago that took my CD, straight from my hand, and weeks later gave me lunch money. Digital is convenient. Shops have character, and have always supported the independent (and the major) artist. They support the artist. Selling records is an art, too. I look forward to making art with you for many years to come, Mom & Pop.”
- Psalm One