Okay, so for the last four years I’ve been pretty active in RSD(Record Store Day for you folks not familiar.) And when I say active I mean I get up early on a Saturday morning in April and head into a record shop to wait in line for exclusive records. My first year was 2012. I hit up a couple record shops in Fort Wayne. Waited in line and got nothing. Pretty much picked over by the time my daughter and I got in the building. Granted, I wasn’t going to be waiting in line at 1 am to get some exclusive record. Sorry. Won’t do it. Still, I snagged a 7″ at another shop and on the way out of town stopped at one more and ended up getting the record I really wanted(Flaming Lips Heady Fwends.)
It’s fun, and agonizing. The thrill of the hunt, but the anger is quite bitter tasting in the mouth when you’re out hunted by a bunch of people camping out for the whole night like its 1981 and they’re waiting for the box office to open so then can snag Springsteen tickets. I’m too old for that shit.
So from 2013 on I’ve been celebrating at my local record shop. Karma Records of Warsaw. It’s run by a super cool guy named John(very cool name) and a small crew of music fans and record collectors. Everyone’s tastes differ and that’s a really cool thing. John has been working in music retail for a few years now. I first met him when he was much younger and worked at our Sam Goody. Him and a cat named Justin kept the shelves interesting with Pavement, The Clash, Built to Spill CDs alongside the usual schlock the corporate schills forced them to have boxes of in the back. Anyways, John was a cool dude to run into there when I was looking for something. They closed their doors in early 2009 and then about a year and a half later I run into John at the newly opened Karma Records(in a new location with new owners.) Karma was the go-to music shop back in high school, but by the time it was at its near demise the music was allocated to what amounted a tiny kiosk in the middle of the shop while the rest of the place was for 18 year olds to come in and get tattoos and piercings, talk about how cool Black Veil Brides were and mope I assume. It was pathetic. So when I wandered in at the end of 2010 and John was working it was a nice surprise. New location and they were at least trying to make an attempt to get back to music selling. By then I was rarely buying CDs, but I did buy a Black Angels disc for the heck of it(and an Of Montreal CD back in the fall.) The vinyl was pretty meek in there, but over the next couple of years they began growing the vinyl section, both new and used. John had said if I wanted to special order something to just let him know and he’d get it in. So I gave him a shot and the first two records I bought from him were The Soft Moon’s Zeros and Wild Nothing’s Nocturne, both he special ordered in for me. I haven’t looked back since. Ownership changed hand and John Vance became the Big Kahuna at Karma Records of Warsaw. He’s turned a joke of a record shop from 6, 7 years ago into one of the premier places to get vinyl(as well as skateboards, incense, tobacco products, smiles and hugs.)
I still have love and respect for Morrison Agen at Neat Neat Neat Records and Bob Roets at Wooden Nickel Music in Fort Wayne, as well as all the independent record store owners I’ve met over the years. That’s what today is about. It’s about showing those guys and gals that they are still appreciated. Appreciated by us music lovers. Music is music, whether you’re downloading or buying a physical copy, sure. But there’s still a few of us left that appreciate the interaction with other weirdos like ourselves. The conversations and quirky personalities you run into as you browse those 12″ sleeves. The surprise purchase just because it catches your eye, and of course the physicality of something to hold and carry out the door with you. The collector in us needs that item to hold and feel is our own. There’s so much to appreciate in that kind of transaction. So much more to it than clicking “buy” and “download”. Is it impractical in these times of 64 gig iPhones and 500 gig external harddrives? Maybe, but there’s nothing practical about art, music, and the obsessing over of those things. It’d be much easier to hit “random play” on an iPod at a get together, but for my money I’d much rather get up and flip the side. An excuse to grab another beer anyways.
So today is about money. It’s about sales, sure. That’s how these brick and mortars keep the lights on the other 364 days out of the year, folks. But there’s cool stuff, too. Me, I snagged the Lush vinyl box set. I’m listening to it right now. I feel like I’m 17 years old driving from my girlfriend’s house as I listened to Spooky as loud as my Nova would allow. I also grabbed a split 7″ with Metz covering Mission of Burma’s “Good Not Great”and Mission of Burma covering Metz’ “Get Off”. Super cool. As usual, the Karma crew did a great job of keeping things orderly and they had their best turnout yet. John was out greeting the folks prior to opening the doors. He’s a nice guy like that.
So another RSD down. I still believe in it. Underneath all the bitter comments about overpriced exclusives and the lines and blah blah blah, the principals of the day are still alive and well, at least in Warsaw(and I’m sure in Fort Wayne, too.) Like-minded folks chatting and having a good time and buying some great, exclusive vinyl and showing our local brick and mortars some serious love.
*Alright…more than a few words. Sue me!