I've written about my Record Store Daze B4, at my old website, but I didn't write much about the people I worked w/, Xcept in the most general sorta way. Not sure why, didn't think about them much.
But I've bn wanting 2 write more about my record store Xperiences (really my Dream Job), & 2nite was a pretty good nite at work, & I started thinkin about some of those folks & laffing, & I haven't Cn NE of them since 1982. So here goes. I figure if I laff, mayB U'll laff.
(& if, by the wildest chance, NE of these folks R out there in Netland somewhere, I hereby apologize 4 writing about U, tho I'm pretty sure there won't B NEthing lawsuit-worthy here (skip 2 next post....)).
We were all raving music fans, of course. Or as raving as it was possible 4 us 2 B in the sheltered environment of Boise, Idaho, in the late 1970s. I was told after I was hired at The Musicworks that co-owner Steve Breen was looking 4 some1 w/ cashiering & customer-svc Xperience (which I had), but was actually hoping 2 find some1 who WASN'T 2 much of a music fan.
So I guess he messed-up when he hired me. All I remember about my job-interview was him asking me 2 name the members of The Band, the Grateful Dead, Creedence Clearwater Revival, & Van Morrison's & Bruce Springsteen's backing bands. I got summa the names wrong (BAD case of nerves) & thot I was sunk. Imagine my suprise when they called me the next day & asked if I'd B willing 2 work 4 hrs/day 2 days/wk. I woulda worked all wk long w/o pay if they'd wanted!
It didn't take long 2 spot the movers & shakers. They say U can't judge people by their musical taste, but....
R Manager, Gary Apter, reminded me looks-wise of science-fiction writer Spider Robinson: A little shaggy, glasses, fun but serious. & if it was weird & British, Gary knew about it. He was an absolute Ncyclopedia of facts about off-the-wall British acts. He was the 1st person 2 point me toward Caravan. He also knew what sold well & steadily, what 2 keep in stock, & what older stuff would sell quick. He also memorized catalog-numbers of albums; he knew w/o pausing 2 think that Pink Floyd's DARK SIDE OF THE MOON was Harvest/Capitol album # 11163. That's an EZ 1 -- he could rattle off 100's more from memory, all U hadta do was ask him. I never heard him miss 1. Yrs of working in record stores in California & Idaho did this 2 him....
Assistant mgr & later mgr of her own store Robin Royball was a big British pop fan -- 10CC, ELO, Moody Blues, Roxy Music, Fleetwood Mac, Barclay James Harvest, Cliff Richard, etc. She didn't much care 4 a lotta the arty stuff I was in2 (tho she got me hooked on Kate Bush by tossing me a homemade cassette of Kate's collected works up thru 1980), but if it was even a little "pop" she could go w/ it. She also had a weakness 4 pretty boys -- she hadda pretty big thing 4 Cheap Trick & was madly in lust w/ Tom Petty.
Asst mgr Rick Delyea was a white Inner City Kid from Baltimore w/ a wild sense of humor. At 1 point he suggested that we in 99.9%-white Idaho should stock-up on some of the more esoteric works of Parliafunkadelicment & Hamilton Bohannon. He guaranteed they were both gonna B monsters. & mayB they were -- in Baltimore. Rick usedta walk in 2 work acting like an avg customer off the street & ask me "Yo, U got NE Bohannon?" His favrite greeting was: "What it is, what it was, what it B like? What it is being, what it was being, what it shall be being?"
The guy who trained me was named David (I've 4got10 his last name), & if it was British & "sensitive," he knew about it. He was the 1st guy I ever heard mention British bands like Spandau Ballet, Ultravox (SYSTEMS OF ROMANCE was his all-time fave album) & Gary Numan. David's constant playing of Numan & The Headboys (& The Rollers' great ELEVATOR) 4ced me 2 take copies of all those albums home.
When Robin got her own store, Loren Clements was her asst. mgr. Loren was pretty laid-back, but he was a big backer of new-wave stuff. Loren's the guy who played the 1st Cars album over & over & OVER in the store until I finally caved-in & admitted there might B more than 1 good song on the album ("Just What I Needed"). Why did it take me so long 2 hear that great triple-whammy finish, "Bye Bye Love"/"Moving in Stereo"/"All Mixed Up"? (Loren, I now have that 1st album on CD....) ((I owe Robin & Loren a LOT -- they got 2 work w/ me during my last yr at MW, during which I was NOT A Happy Guy....))
...& there were others. We went thru a LOT of people -- the record store was everybody's Dream Job, but the turnover was pretty high. Some folks went on 2 better things or didn't Cm 2 fit in. A couple got PO'd when paychecks started bouncing.
Brad Peterson Cmd 2 always B smiling & happy -- but he was also our in-house Collection Agency. Whenever somebody bounced a check on us, Brad would call them, then make jokes after he got off the phone about how he was gonna havta go break somebody's legs.... Brad liked pretty-much NEthing commercial -- big Journey & Starship fan (so was I, back then).
We had another Brad who mainly worked mornings & put on Squeeze's ARGYBARGY album every chance he got....
Spike Ericson looked JUST LIKE Dan Fogelberg & was cast as JC in a local stage production of JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR. I don't remember Cing much of him after that....
Robb Campbell wasn't w/ the store 4 long after I was hired -- but if it was weird he knew about it. After he left MW, 1st he worked 4 a competing record store across town, then he hit the air as a DJ on the local area's 1st college radio station, KBSU-FM at Boise State University. Robb took his musical tastes w/ him -- tho he loved new wave stuff 2 (Fischer-Z, Flash and the Pan), listening 2 Robb on-air was the only time I've ever heard King Crimson's "Starless," Barclay James Harvest's "Spirit on the Water" & Steeleye Span's "Allison Gross" on the radio. & I bot all 3 albums after I heard those songs....
Robin Reineke was kinda big & pretty nice, & I guess she kinda sorta hadda crush on me. Which I Was Not Ready 4. + I was w/ some1 else at the time.... (I'm sorry, Robin....)
Sue Nelson, along w/ her friend & non-Mployee Sue Sword, were the 2 biggest Who fans ever -- at the time I was convinced they knew more about The 'Oo than NE1 xcept the band themselves. Obscure trax? They knew about 'em. Outtakes? Got 'em. Bootlegs? Well.... We tried 2 convince Sue Nelson that there was more 2 music than Pete, Roger, John & Keith, but she rightly countered that after starting w/ them, what else did she needta hear?
A rather large, chunky guy w/ a gruff sorta voice earned the nickname "Wall of Voodoo" -- probly Bcos he was the only person we knew who bot the 1st album by the band that later sang "Mexican Radio." The Wall was an absolute heavy-metal FANATIC. If it was loud, he knew about it. & he'd tell U XACTLY what he thot. Which made him a key member of R team, cos most of us didn't know R heavy metal that well. A normal Ncounter w/ The Wall would go something like this:
"Hey, Wall, is the new AC/DC NE good?"
"It's fuckin' GREAT, man!"
What else did U needta know?
& if he wasn't around, we'd pass on his recommendations:
"How 'bout these Iron Maiden guys?"
"The Wall raves about 'em."
Def Leppard? Ask The Wall. Judas Priest? The Wall approves. Scorpions? AbsaFuckin'lutely. Van Halen? U betcha. Black Sabbath? Well, they were better when Ozzy was with em....
We were ALL BIG music fans. There were no putdowns of other people's tastes (Mgr Robin 4bade me 2 tell customers that the Cars' album PANORAMA sucked -- she suggested I say "If U like them, U'll like it...."), tho we all liked 2 play "Stump The Band" & trivia games w/ each other while working.
We all hated The Knack, we all loved Blondie, most of us thot The Ramones were great (some of my co-workers got a chance 2 go C The Ramones 4 FREE when they played Boise, & I PASSED?! But I took-up the offer of free Blue Oyster Cult tickets....), & most of us were sucked-in by Punk or New Wave.
Including me. I'd bn strictly a non-radio prog-rock guy B4 starting at The Musicworks -- played Caravan in my car tape-player & screamed along w/ it 2 & from work. But after starting at the record store I quickly bot & took home Shoes, The Records, The Police, The Pretenders, U2, Squeeze, Split Enz, The Headboys, Gary Numan & many others. Course I kept buying my fave weird stuff 2: Sky, Moodies, Group 87, Steve Tibbetts, Pat Metheny....
It was my Dream Job, at age 19. & I'd still B there if my paychecks hadn't started bouncing. Course awhile after that, the shops closed up. & I went on 2 more Dream Jobs later, & they went on 4 20 yrs....
(Oh, U're wondering about this post's title? "Guaranteed Great Music" was a deal The Musicworks offered when a record company really wanted 2 push a new artist -- we'd sell their album 4 $4.44, even $3.99 sometimes. A pretty good deal back then, when albums were selling 4 $5.99 2 $6.99. I only remember the deal Bing offered a few x -- w/ Judie Tzuke & Red Rider & Duncan Browne, & even The Knack 4 the 1st couple wks of their 1st album's release, B4 it caught-on & sold a coupla million copies....)