On Memorial Day --this Monday, May 25th, sometime between 1 and 2 in the afternoon, four guys from Light In The Attic Records (LITA) up in Seattle are expected to roll through the doors of Amoeba Music on Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood.
The four may look tired and understandably so, as it will be Day 8 of their unique road trip that will take them from Seattle to San Diego and back. But expect the LITA four and the Amoeba folks who greet them all to be smiling widely once they peep the cool music these guys are coming armed with -- all from LITA's deep catalog: stacks of wax, rarities, and lots of goodies from the indie label known for its roster of reissue projects and its distribution catalog, with artists including Serge Gainsbourg and The Monks.
On Monday last, May 18th, they crammed thousands upon thousands of pieces of music into their van and since then have driven all the way down from Seattle, through Tacoma and Olympia, then through Oregon and into California, stopping all along the way at a total of 50 indie record stores to personally deliver the goodies. This 50 store/10 day/3000 mile music road trip will take them as far south as San Diego. Then it's back north and inland to Sacramento, their last stop before heading home to Seattle by Friday, May 29th. For those of you with calanders asking, doesn't that then make it an 11 or 12 day trip? Well, technically it is still 10 days, since the record store part of the operation runs from May 18th to the 28th.
Among the four travelers is LITA licensing guru Sandy Wilson, who also happens to be the bassist in the music/comedy group Black Daisy. Hence, two of his fellow road dogs are also his bandmates -- Cody Hurd and Troy Nelson (Troy is also a DJ on Seattle's cool community public radio station KEXP). The fourth traveler is good friend Tyson Pickerel.
"In this digital age, Light In The Attic is kickin it analog... on a mission to connect directly with the intrepid indie retailers that make the wheels of commerce turn... hawking wares direct and showing the love and without shipping costs!" reads their mission statement. Along the way they are both blogging and twittering about their journey and encounters on the road. They are also posting video clips.
From following their blogs and twitter reports -- both very entertaining and informative -- you can tell that it is a lot of fun for these four road dogs, although also pretty demanding when you have to stop and visit an average of 5 stores a day and cover an average of 300 miles a day. At the end of Day 4 (Thursday, May 21), in which their itinerary had taken them to Missing Link in Arcata, The Works in Eureka, The Last Record Store in Santa Rosa, and Backdoor Disc & Tape in Cotati, I caught up with the road weary but happy Sandy, Troy, Cody, and Tyson. In true democratic style (just as they take equal turns at driving) the quartet chose to answer the Ameoblog questions as a group.
Amoeblog: Of all the American road trip movies, which one is yours closest to?
LITA: Ooooh, I would have to say it's a mix of Easy Rider and Dumb and Dumber. We're rolling along like bandits and getting shit done, but we also keep getting lost and are laughing our asses off half the time. The van conversations have been from mildly amusing to brilliant. Thankfully we are documenting this trip well, and we're going to put together a hell of a video for people to enjoy.
Amoeblog: How has it been so far? Has the trip been as fun or as tiring as you initially anticipated?
LITA: It's actually been a lot of work. Believe me, it's fun to see all these cities and record stores, but our schedule is so intense that we've got to keep moving.
Amoeblog: What kind of vehicle are you guys driving and do you have a system for checking the oil & water & air in the tires daily? Any flat tires or mechanical problems so far? If so, are any of you guys mechanically minded?
LITA: I think none of us know anything about vehicles. One of us knows how to change the blinker fluid, but that's about it. We borrowed this mammoth sized van from this country band in Seattle called Brent Amaker and The Rodeo. It's funny too because they have their band name in huge letters on both sides of the van, so everywhere we go, people think we're in this country band or something. But no, no problems yet.
Amoeblog: How different is it from a regular Black Daisy road trip?
LITA: It's actually really similar. Except in a band, you just have to be at a venue at a certain time each evening. With this tour, we have to be somewhere every few hours all day. It's really preparing our band (Black Daisy) for future touring, that's for sure.
Amoeblog: Do you guys perform as a band along the way or will you?
LITA: It wasn't in the plans, but we have friends in each city that want us to play some on-the-spot shows at cool little venues or even people's parties. Our schedule is so tight though, I don't know if we would have time to play. That, and we haven't played too much outside of Seattle yet, and we're not sure how a band with wigs and mustaches would go over in these here parts. Maybe after our album comes out.
Amoeblog: What is your favorite music, agreed upon by all, to listen to on the road so far?
LITA: That's easy-- we all have extremely similar tastes in music. We've been listening to T. Rex, The Black Angels, Ten Kens, LCD Soundsystem, El Goodo, Spoon, and much, much more. We're all really into whatever we think is good. Don't we all? But Cody jokingly keeps saying he wants to hear this rare Nickelback B-sides CD he bought online.
Amoeblog: I like your blogs and how they vividly describe the individual record stores -- posters on the wall, what was playing etc. -- but overall, what has the vibe been in the record stores you've visited, considering the current music biz and economic environments?
LITA: It's better than we thought it would be. It's also interesting to see the amazing interest in vinyl. I realize there's always been a huge interest in vinyl, but with labels like Light in the Attic who are re-issuing such classic albums and hidden gems, people are going ape shit over this stuff. People's faces light up when we pull out the Serge Gainsbourg vinyl or the Monks stuff. I was a bit skeptical, like I said, but these record store owners are buying and buying and buying. Mostly vinyl, but CD's here and there as well.
Amoeblog: I also have been enjoying your Twitter updates and was thinking that Twitter seems like the perfect medium for updates on a trip like this.
LITA: Yeah, we initially all didn't want to use Twitter, but only because we hate that name! Really though, it's been a great way to keep people who are following us updated more frequently. The whole "micro-blogging" thing is new for us, but it's really easy and we've been getting more and more subscribers every day.
Amoeblog: Do you think you will be able to stick to your itinerary/timeline for the full ten days?
LITA: Well, we kind of have to, we have jobs that we have to get back to in Seattle. There's really no leeway on that, so that's why we're busting ass to do this in our given certain amount of time. Plus, it sounds cool. 50 record stores in 10 days. It sounds almost impossible, and it may be, but there's only one way to find out. We're giving it our best and so far, so good.
Amoeblog: How are you gonna make sure you don't run out of stuff by the time you get to Amoeba Music in LA?
LITA: Oh, I'm sure we'll have product, we brought a ton. But if that happened, that would be a success, right?
Amoeblog: Exactly when do you think you will arrive at Amoeba in Hollywood and will there be anything special folks can expect when you get there?
LITA: Well, you never know what to expect. We're four dudes that have been on the road armed with cameras getting cool and weird footage of everywhere we go. Each experience has been totally different and totally great. We expect to roll in at 1:30 pm on Monday, May 25th. We want to say hide your children, but we're not tough enough to back that statement up.
Saturday- May 23:
Remaining stops on Light in the Attic Road Trip 2009
Remaining stops on Light in the Attic Road Trip 2009
The Groove Merchant & Rasputin's - both in San Francisco, Streetlight Records & Metamusic in Santa Cruz.
Sunday- May 24:
Boo Boo Records in San Luis Obispo, Buffalo Records & Salzers - both in Ventura, CD Trader in Tarzana.
Monday- May 25:
Freakbeat Records in Sherman Oaks, Don's Music in Los Angeles, Amoeba Music in Hollywood, and also in LA area Vacation Records, Origami Vinyl, and Rockaway Records.
Tuesday- May 26th:
Fingerprints in Long Beach, Lou's Records in Encinitas, and in the San Diego area Music Trader, Thirsty Moon Records, Record City, and M Theory.
Wednesday- May 27:
Rhino Records in Claremont, and Poo Bah Records in Pasadena
Thursday- May 28: R5 Records, Time Tested Books, Records, and The Beat - all in Sacramento
Light In the Attic Road Trip 2009 - Episode 1 (as the they receive their "mission")