To “gotta be able to hold it in their hands” music geeks, Saturday is a day like no other day. The rest of us music fans pop into a record store occasionally, more out of respect for the institution than for any other reason. This writer is as guilty as anyone else when it comes to the dismantling of this rite of passage. I just don’t get out to the shops like I use to. I want to and when I do, I once again enter the time machine. A place that seems far separated from the rest of modern society, like it’s own little world orbiting inside a universe made up of new and old release posters, bargain bins, and hard to find collections. Book stores and record shops have that effect on me. Always will.
This year, Record Store Day falls on Saturday, April 21, and independent record stores around the country will be cash-mobbed by music fans beating down the doors to get their hands on real physical copies of music. Yes, actual items made of plastic and vinyl, with music information magically etched into them. After a year of being able to access just about any piece of music out there without any human interaction, Record Store Day brings out the collectors and fans. It also brings out the artists. Hundreds of artists in the United States and in various countries across the globe will be making special appearances and performances.
It always falls on the 3rd Saturday in April, just in case you’d like to get a jump on things and mark it down in your 2013 calendar, and there are hundreds of Record Store Day exclusives to choose from when you get there Saturday.
Here’s some of your choices: The Record Store Day List
Chris Brown came up with the idea for Record Store Day and in 2007 founded it with Carrie Colliton, Amy Dorfman, Eric Levin, Michael Kurtz, Don Van Cleave and Brian Poehner as way to celebrate the unique culture that is the record store. To date, there are approximately 700 independently owned record stores in the USA, with many more internationally.
Record Store Day has a Facebook page, and there are a great many things going on to help persuade you to get out to the stores.
Here at the American Rock Scene, we have put together a list of quotes from several popular recording artists on what record stores have meant and do mean to them. In fact, we were recently interviewing Alligator Records artist Curtis Salgado for another publication when he mentioned he had just been at an “Instore”, (industry jargon for a record store signing event), for his new CD Soul Shot, and while he was pleased with the 20 or so people that showed up, he said it was nothing like it used to be at Music Millennium (Portland, OR) and other local record shops. “We used to get hundreds of people coming out to these things”, says the man who was the inspiration for the Blues Brothers.
“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
“Going to the record store as a kid was always an exciting affair. Like most kids my mother dragged me along on every shopping excursion but the one saving grace was at some point I would be able to sneak off to the record store (next to Cloth World). The excitement that I felt back then is rekindled every-time I go into a real independent record store today.” - JJ Grey
“Record stores keep the human social contact alive it brings people together. Without the independent record stores the community breaks down with everyone sitting in front of their computers” - Ziggy Marley
“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
“Buy real records in real shops, or I’ll come round your house and scream at your mother.” - Ian Gillan (Deep Purple)
“Music is an important part of our culture and record stores play a vital part in keeping the power of music alive” - Chuck Berry
“I think record stores play a huge part in discovering new music. When I was growing up I would spend hours going through all the bins looking for something new that seemed interesting to me and that could relate to what I was listening to at the time. This is why I want to support National Record Store Day. ” - Joe Principe (Rise Against)
“Independent record stores are a vital source of the ever-changing cool. They respond to the street faster than the chains can. They help us telegraph to each other what’s “now” and what’s not, what we should be telling our friends and neighbors about, and what’s about to take off, or, no longer hot. Musical trends are confirmed at the local independent record store, by you and me. Hanging out, listening to something you’ve never heard before, being enlightened by the staff, getting into something new, finding that old recording you’ve been searching for, having your local band’s newest offering stocked right next to major label stuff, it all happens at the local indie shop. Why would we want to do away with all that?” - Joe Satriani
“The ‘old school’ record store, with a knowledgeable staff, could connect you with new music that you might enjoy. The power of suggestion “Check this shit out man, it’s totally cool!” got me to listen to stuff I never would have found on my own (hello Steely Dan). I miss the old stores terribly.” - Dudley Taft
“I used to work at an indie record shop so I’ll always have a soft spot for the places where I still go to find the most vital music, whether new or still hidden.” - Billy Corgan
“The record store. Where true fandom begins. It’s the soul of discovery, and the place where you can always return for that mighty buzz. The posters. The imports. The magazines. The discerning clerks, paid in vinyl, professors of the groove. Long live that first step inside, when the music envelopes you and you can’t help it. You walk up to the counter and ask the question that begins the journey — “what is that you’re playing?” Long live the record store, and the guys and girls who turn the key, and unlock those dreams, every day.” - Cameron Crowe
It was in a tiny little Record Store back in the early Sixties in my Hometown of Hannover, West Germany , where I put the headphones on to listen to a rare song that was really hard to find in those days. “My Bonnie” by Tony Sheridan & the Beat Brothers (later known as) rocked my heart and started a passion that never left me….. RECORD STORE DAY FOREVER…….Cheers.” - Klaus Meine (Scorpions)
“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
Buy real records in real shops, or Ian Gillian will come round your house and scream at your mother. You wouldn’t want that now, would you?