Two years ago, I had to toss my mid-1980s combo-radio/CD/tape/record player in the city dump. Actually, it was my parents,’ but I secretly nabbed it from their basement. I couldn’t bear to see it go; that would signify albums really are dead.
But the turntable had speed issues. The rectangular metal buttons with the little finger divots weren’t operating. I’m guessing one of the last things it played was one of my mother’s Luther Vandross CDs, possibly “Give me the Reason.” Mostly, it sat in my cellar, occupying quite a bit of space.
It was a warm sunny day in May– I drove out solemnly to the dump, lugged and hoisted that 15-pound behemoth out of my trunk. I carried that poor thing over to the metal bin 10 feet down, lobbed it as far as I could and watched it fall. It then sat in the blazing sun among quiet vacuums, an endless conga line of wires, and more than a few flies.
Thankfully, records are not dead.
It’s time to have some human interaction and experience the most glorious of days– Record Store Day.
On Saturday, a healthy number of record stores all over the U.S. and the world will tout hundreds of special releases, rehashes and maybe some free goodies for the year’s annual event. Time to queue up and wait. Most music stores are not specifying what they will have. Stores request a certain number of whatever they think their customers might like, then wait to see what they get.
My advice would be to not waste too much time on record stores’ websites. I’ve clicked on a few — some are informative, some not. A lot lead to “404 Not Found.”
From the little information I found for record stores in northern New England:
If REM played a big part in your high-school career in the 80s, if “Hairshirt” was your song, then you should make your plans now. Bassist Mike Mills is going to be at Bull Moose in Scarborough, Maine, at 2 p.m. to sign autographs. Mills will be there to celebrate REM’s release from their MTV Unplugged sessions from 1991 to 2001. Eleven of those tracks were not in the original broadcast.
For the stuff that doesn’t sell that day, Bull Moose says it will put them up for sale on their website April 21.
Also from Bull Moose’s website, a very thoughtful public-service message– “Resellers Bite.”
“RSD is a celebration of the special relationship between music fans and record stores. Nothing spoils the fun more than people buying to resell later. If that is your plan, please reconsider. Why spoil everyone else’s fun just to make a few bucks? You can also make money selling single cigarettes at the school yard.”
What a happy image!
Spun Records in my hometown of Dover, N.H., is expecting a bunch of RSD jewels. That’s where I’m probably heading first. I’m not expecting to be first in line and I don’t plan to get fixated on finding cool stuff, although I probably will. Since this will be my first RSD experience, I hope I find something good that’s affordable. Keep dreaming, right?
Here’s the list. It’s huge.
For me, a little Joy Division (An Ideal for Living- 1978) would be nice, or Meltdown with the Ramones (10″ vinyl). I may make a beeline for Parquet Courts’ “Sunbathing Animal.”
You could find Johnny Cash, John Oates or Johnny Winter.
Not sure I want to spend my money on this one, but someone will: Ron Jeremy: (yes, that Ron Jeremy)–“Understanding and Appreciating Classical Music with Ron Jeremy.”
Porn star notwithstanding, a lot of Record Store Day is really for collectors. But it’s also a time to remember when records were the only game in town. Stores had what they had, and if you were lucky enough to live near a good one, you had a friend for life. Records will always have their place in music history and RSD is here to remind us of those days– days of disco, Led Zeppelin and Michael Jackson.
So celebrate your heritage.