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I’ve been busy trying to activate the neural pathways that lead to the part of my brain that contains the memory of when I first met Bela Koe-Krompecher. It’s just not happening. I was living a lifestyle not conducive to clear memory. The high and low points are crystal clear but everything in between is just blurry. Dollars to donuts our first encounter was him selling me some record or another at Used Kids Records.
If I’m fuzzy on the good folks who worked there, the actual original Used Kids storefront is vivid to me. I remember the tiny aisles created by the center display and the CDs racked above the vinyl, us REAL record buyers had to fight elbows out for space from the CD buyers.. The pegboard walls covered with photocopy flyers for upcoming shows. Prominently placed displays of records from labels like Estrus, Get Hip and Crypt… Personal favorites that were usually hidden away in some dark corner by other record stores, if stocked at all.
Used Kids is still around, but in a new location. The original burned in a fire about 15 years ago. Brazilia is long gone, the genius behind Hot Nuts closed up shop to open a rotisserie chicken and noodle restaurant somewhere on Morse road. (Also gone.) In fact, much of what attracted me to Columbus in the 90s is gone. Larry’s Bar, a true bohemian and beatnik bar is no a Moe’s burrito place. Staches and the Monkey’s Retreat in the north campus area were forced to move so that the powers that be could build another strip mall, both of which petered out in their new spots in Columbus’s short north. Crazy Mamas, our town’s weird combination of studio 54 and CBGBs was mowed down to put up the slick, modern and quite possibly already obsolete campus Gateway Center.
And, honestly, that’s what I feel “Do You Remember Rock ‘N Roll Record Stores” is all about. You probably never met the Ramones, but I bet you always thought that it was a possibility… until it wasn’t possible. Maybe you never been to Columbus or Used Kids, but there’s a lost record store, a comic shop or a dive bar that you used to habituate that you wish you could step into one last time. And people whose lives you ran parallel to, but regrettably never intersected with.
"Do You Remember Rock N Roll Record Stores" is a love letter to times past... Which is to say, a cheap excuse to post one of my favorite power pop tunes.