December 04, 2012
Hollywood’s Music Trading Post: Amoeba Music
From humble origins as a tiny hole-in-the-wall record shop in Berkeley, California, Amoeba Music has grown into the world's largest independent record store. The Sunset Boulevard shop is the largest and most recently built of the three Amoebas, and is known internationally for drawing big-name performers to its intimate stage.
Often the performances are by local bands or indie acts, but in 2007 a secret show by Sir Paul McCartney went not-so-secret, resulting in Beatlemania coming to Sunset Boulevard between Ivar and Cahuenga. “It turned into total insanity,” floor manager Daniel Tures remembers, “People flew in from Tokyo and camped out on the street for three days.”
The day of the show, thousands of fans filled the streets in front of the legendary store. Management graciously left the doors open so all could hear, and the result was “an amazing show,” according to Tures, “It sounded just like The Beatles. He had this great band that recreated that early sound.”
Check out the rest of our interview with Daniel here:
The story of Amoeba’s move to Hollywood was actually a bizarre self-fulfilling prophesy, foretold by two of the many rabid Angeleno music lovers who made the habit of driving up to San Francisco to buy rare vinyl and CDs. As Tures tells it, Amoeba founder Marc Weinstein overheard the two LA roadtrippers discussing the rumor that Amoeba was expanding to Los Angeles, and though it had no basis in fact, he actually thought it was a pretty good idea—so, he decided it was time to scout locations in Hollywood.
Tures and Weinstein found the ideal spot on Sunset Boulevard, though it looked a little different a decade ago. “I remember before we got here there was just a chained-up mini-mall and tumbleweeds blowing down the street,” Tures half-jokes, “We were on the cusp of a big renaissance of Hollywood nightlife and fun things to do.” Now, those fun things include happening night spots along the Cahuenga corridor, a revitalized Hollywood Boulevard, and new developments like The W Hotel and the proposed Millennium Hollywood project.
Amoeba Hollywood now sees thousands of customers each day, including most of the musicians you’ll find on its shelves. “Just from working here, I’ve met every insanely famous rock star, and when they come here they’re focused on buying some records,” Daniel explains, before recounting the week that Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page came in daily, fixated on digging for old British Beat records.
Though the record industry has been in upheaval for over a decade, Tures believes Amoeba is valuable and unique enough to survive—“the thing about Amoeba that’s really special is the energy in the room—something that you can’t create online. If you sit at home in your pajamas and push buttons all day, it’s not as much fun as going out and meeting people [at the store] and seeing what other people are into.”
If it’s good enough for Jimmy Page and Paul McCartney, it’s good enough for you. Check out Amoeba Hollywood’s live calendar here, and don’t forget to pay them a visit on Record Store Day, April 20th.