You might have noticed that I've pulled back the “Record Store Lost” updates for the Indie Go Go campaign. It wasn’t for lack of material or even, I confess, any sympathy for your inbox load. I stopped because I received a couple emails from friends who thought I was collecting stories for a documentary about record stores closing. Smart friends whose intellects I trust. So, it seemed that despite my earnest attempt at posting updates that weren’t just sales pitches, I was clearly “doing it wrong.”
That said I don’t want to abandon the idea entirely! I’ve gotten some really cool stories. I’ll just probably bunch ‘em up as a once a week type deal. (So please keep sharing! email@example.com)
(Inserted plea for assistance: The campaign itself has stalled a little. If you wish to and can pledge, please do! Please do me a favor and post the link on facebook and twitter and G+ with some kind words about Mark and/or Nix Comics. If this campaign is successful a great book by a great artist will see print and Nix will be in a better position to start bringing more books by similarly great artists to print.
The Used Kids notice about the fire comes courtesy of facebook friend and musician Jason McKiernan. That story, as Columbus residents know, has a happy ending. Used Kids found a new spot and is still in business today. Jason also sent me a flyer pic for my old shop, Rudy Goose Comics. Since I’m an egotist I’ll cover Rudy Goose and Evil Empire in separate blog posts!
“This story is about Mole's Record Exchange. After cutting my rock incisors on the Dolls and the Stooges via articles in Creem Magazine, I found Mole's. Crazy to name a second-story shop after a tunneling critter. It was there that I found out about used records, cutouts, and bootlegs. My record-shopping experience up to this point had been chain stores in the malls. So I didn't grasp the fact that the guy at the counter(a classically surly and mole-looking guy named Dave Diemer, or Captain) couldn't order the records I requested. Every visit for months, I asked if he had a copy of Funhouse, and each time he dismissed me with a snide version of "no". Many months after that, when I'd learned not to ask, he slowly lifted a record from behind the counter. It was the Stooges record I'd long wanted! I took it home, put it on the platter in the home-entertainment center monstrosity in the living room, and listened.
I didn't like it that much. RIP Captain and Mole's.”
Cartoonist & Musician
“The first music I ever bought was music I was forced to buy. I grew up in Buffalo, New York—in the wonderful North Buffalo Hertel-Colvin area, where I could walk to movie theaters, paperback book shops and family pizzerias—but we did have a neighborhood bully. His name was Mike, and his form of intimidation involved (1.) making cheap cassette tapes of records in his collection, and (2.) riding his bike around the neighborhood to “sell” the tapes to kids smaller than him, including me. I put “sell” in scare quotes because his sales pitch went something like this: “Hey, this is a tape of Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy, and you’re gonna give me a dollar for it, or I’ll kick your ass.” I should be mad at Mike for forcing his tapes on me, but it’s because of him that I first heard Abbey Road, an album my second-grade friends and I loved more than any other. I still remember us acting out the lyrics to “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” as part of a Muscular Dystrophy Carnival we held in my friend Joey’s backyard.
Eventually, Mike moved away from the neighborhood—undoubtedly to accept a position in Pol Pot’s government—and for a while I heard all my new music on WKBW, Buffalo’s most popular top-40 radio station. I listened to AOR stations occasionally too, and that’s where I heard the Moody Blues’ song “Steppin’ in a Slide Zone,” which I found fab gear enough to actually buy. With money from my paper route, I rode my bike to The Sample, a retail complex on Hertel Avenue that sprawled across multiple stores covering almost an entire city block. One of those stores sold records and tapes, and although their selection wasn’t impressive—a buddy of mine would later joke that their inventory boasted “Tens of records!”—they did have the Moody Blues’ Octave, and that was the first vinyl record I ever bought. I listened to “Steppin’ in a Slide Zone,” over and over, and hated the rest of the album.
Though I did buy several records at The Sample that I’m now ashamed of (most notably the Bay City Rollers’ It’s a Game and the Knack’s Get the Knack), I did eventually graduate to groovier music. Thanks to intriguing reviews in Rolling Stone, I picked up This Year’s Model, Fear of Music, the American version of The Clash—all special-ordered at The Sample. I went to Heatwave, a 1980 mega-concert at a speedway outside Toronto that featured the B-52s, Teenage Heads, Rockpile and others, and by 1983 loitered around Home of the Hits, a record store Ground Zero for Buffalo hipsters and punks (and a Western New York institution until it closed in 2006). I didn’t tell anyone at Home of the Hits, though, that my love of music was jump-started by pretending to hit Peter Marinaro over the head with a hammer. Bang! Bang!”
Associate Professor Appalachian State University,
Contributor to The Comics Journal