Inner Sanctum Records, 1980, by Ben DeSoto
David Lewis, owner of Columbus's Elizabeth's Records is actually an Ohio transplant. He spent many years in Austin and even pulled a stint as manager for the legendary Inner Sanctum Records.
"1986, Austin TX. Inner Sanctum Records was in the throes of a long, difficult death by the time I took over as manager after agreeing to work for minimum wage until the store could afford to pay me more! It was five years past any kind of heyday, in its second set of owners.
Still people knew the legendary name, bands wanted to do in-stores, Dez Cadena and the DC3 came by one day for one, 10,000 Maniacs did one weeks later, but it was obvious to everyone the store was dying.
I let the part-timers go, discovering later that the strange odor of decay was quite literally that: one of the guys I let go had left his take-out from the burger joint next door under the ticket counter and it was growing new life-forms. Still legends from previous era's would stop by, and when word got around that we were trying to put together a benefit show Roky Erickson stopped by and introduced himself, offered his services and wrote on a napkin: "I, Roky, promise to play the benefit for the record store".
I stapled it to the wall, gleefully unaware that all these years later I would wish I'd just kept it for myself.
We were in the midst of lining up bands to play when rumours started getting back to us about certain people not wanting to give the store money because it would all go up somebody's nose. We knew that a great deal of the stores dwindling funds went to grass because the wooden desk in the office upstairs was still an inch deep with it, but nose-candy?
Then it started coming together one night when one of the owners called and told the other employee to take the 60 dollars we had made (somehow) that day and take it out front to give to his friend. I had met this friend a few weeks earlier and he kept looking at me like he was saying "yeah, that's right, it's me!" as though I should recognize him. When he left I learned that he was the bassist for a band called Bubble Puppy...and so it turned out that this person was the boss' connection...my friend and I both quit a month or so later when the only other source of revenue in the store, the Coke (beverage) machine didn't have enough quarters to pay our wages..."
-- David Lewis
"Mark Rudolph's haunting CLOSING DOORS is a lament for much more than the record store. It's also a eulogy for the locally owned book store, the corner drug store, the comic book shop, the corner grocers, and every other small shop that once dotted the streets of our cities and small towns. These were the businesses that made the places we lived distinct, and our own.
Rudolph fills his engaging tale with loving detail and the familiar
characters that those of us, who spent more time in such places than we should have, knew all too well. This is no mere nostalgia trip. CLOSING DOORS is about the American Dream, when someone with an idea and a work ethic could scrape together a little cash, open a store and make a life. CLOSING DOORS shows the death of that dream, as the bigboxes and the all-consuming internet sweep over the nation like barcoded Four Horsemen.
Do we even understand what we've lost? Rudolph does."
By Ken Eppstein