Saturday, April 20, 2013

International Record Store Day

I don't remember when a loaf of bread began costing at least a couple bucks but I do remember when vinyl went up a couple bucks from 5.99 to 7.99. I was outraged.

When we were in grade 7 my pals and I started a record club. We used to each put in a quarter and walk up the street to Record World, look through all the 45s and collectively decide which one we would buy that week.

I remember some of the records like Angel and The Ruttles. Our main directive was to buy something we had never heard and could not even imagine what it would sound like. We would take it home and listen to it on my record player and then talk about it. Eventually I think we gave it a rating.

Record World was a cool place. That is all I really remember about it. I knew you could buy band buttons there and I did.

Eventually I would walk the extra ten minutes to the Burlington Mall to buy my records. I always price compared between Sam the Record Man and AandA's. (Heck I might have saved seventy five cents!)

AandA's was also the place that we basically slept out over night in high school to get "floors" at Maple Leaf Gardens for Rush. Although I was there quite often I don't really remember ever getting to know any of the people that worked there. I guess Burlington had a pretty quick turn over in staff as people who were really into music were probably trying to get out of Burlington and move to Toronto.

As I grew up there were always record stores in my life. I even worked on the Yonge St. strip at Cheapies when I was in University. (I can spin a record on my finger to this day!)

When I moved to Montreal we always went to Cheap Thrills and bought piles of used jazz vinyl. Later on when I started touring with my own bands we would always find the local record store. There was always one in each town that was THE cool place like Soundscapes is now in Toronto. It would be a great place to try to let a couple local people know about our gig, put up a poster and we had to go through the bins to see what treasures we could find. That was always a bit silly because if you bought vinyl you had to carry it with you for the next week or two of the tour.

Before the internet I would go to the record store to see if new releases were out yet. The new Rush record was always a big day as well as the mysterious release of Zeppelin's In Through the Out Door. I also clearly remember waiting for and eventually buying Pat Metheny's Song X. I was very excited about the meeting of jazz legend Ornette Coleman (who I knew little about) and guitar god Metheny. I brought it home, put it on and yelled out "Yuckkkk!!" I literally pushed it into my garbage can right there in my bedroom and swore I would never listen to it again. Today it is on my top five list of greatest recordings ever.

I still haunt the record stores in my neighbourhood week in week out, June Records, She Said Boom, Rotate This or Grasshopper Records. I still like a good deal. ie. I almost never spend more than ten bucks on a piece of vinyl. I love the dollar bin!

My kids go with me sometimes now (and I think even go without me sometimes!) but really I like being alone so I can take my time and look at every record if necessary to find that one gem that will make my day, improve my week or even change my life.

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