1nce I was old enuf 2 get out&about w/o the help of my parents, I started seeking out my own places 2 buy music. 1nce we moved back 2 Idaho, I was disappointed 2 discover there wasn't much 2 choose from within walking or bike-riding distance of my house, 4 music-buying purposes.
1 old department store -- an old Boise landmark called Grand Central (long closed-up) -- was able 2 supply me w/ copies of "Tubular Bells" & "I've Been Searchin' So Long," + a couple albums, The Carpenters' SINGLES & Neil Diamond's DOUBLE GOLD best-of -- but the store wasn't much 4 atmosphere. I hadta seek that out elsewhere.
Thanx 2 old highschool buddy Jeff Mann, we began journeying 2 such places as Budget Tapes and Records, The Nickelodeon, & The Musicworks -- where I Nded-up working a coupla yrs later.
Nickelodeon was pretty great 4 atmosphere -- there was a Head Shop next door (closed within a coupla yrs), & a "balcony"-style 2nd floor w/ nothing but Xotic imported albums & used records. I bought a copy of "Born to Run" there, but Nickelodeon seemed geared more 2 pot-smokers than 2 "serious" music fans. By the time The Musicworks bought the store a coupla yrs later & I briefly pulled a few shifts there, the Head Shop was gone & hardly NE people came in....
Budget was perhaps somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. With a whole long wall full of pre-recorded factory cassettes & a full table's worth of cheap "cutout" albums (from which R friend Don Vincent could pull brilliant-yet-unheard-of albums with amazing skill), Budget was briefly the destination of choice. I grabbed Blue Oyster Cult's AGENTS OF FORTUNE & Janis Ian's BETWEEN THE LINES and AFTERTONES from Budget. (Bet that's the only time U'll ever see Janis Ian & BOC mentioned in the same sentence....)
Budget also had a clerk named Robb Campbell who seemed really cool, knew his music trivia, later worked for Musicworks, & was 4 awhile a DJ at the local college radio station, KBSU. Robb's show was the only time I've ever heard stuff like King Crimson's "Starless" & Steeleye Span's "Alison Gross" played on the radio.
The Musicworks was a little more family-oriented, but the folks who worked there told great music-related stories -- store manager Gary Apter helped Caravan haul their equipment in2 a concert in San Francisco -- & just walking in2 the store you'd overhear an ongoing musical game of Can You Top This? They were all hilarious & fast & smart & cool -- no suprise I wanted 2 work there.
+ they hadda HUGE selection that covered the spectrum from rock 2 punk 2 country 2 jazz 2 classical. + imports, & 2 WALLS full of cutouts, amazing stuff amazingly cheap -- LOTS of old ECM jazz releases, Gryphon's amazing RED QUEEN TO GRYPHON THREE, Can's FUTURE DAYS, EGE BAMYASI & SOON OVER BABALUMA (neat covers, but I knew nothing about Can then), old Hawkwind albums like HALL OF THE MOUNTAIN GRILL, & TONS more.
The store staff probly had me marked from the moment I walked in the door. I walked in asking if they had any copies of Boise band Providence's album EVER SENSE THE DAWN (which had bn outta print 4 5 yrs by then). Gary said it was EZ -- just give him $2,000 & I could have his copy of the album. (I later found 6 copies 4 $2.19 each -- they made great Xmas presents that yr.) Gary quoted me the same price 4 a copy of Cheech & Chong's "Santa Claus and His Old Lady" 45.
Musicworks only stocked about the Top 30 local 45's, but I was getting 2 the point where I was more intrested in albums. During early visits 2 the store I bought copies of The Beatles' '62-'66 & '67-'70, the WHITE ALBUM & ABBEY ROAD. This was followed by almost the entire Moody Blues catalog, & Mike Oldfield's TUBULAR BELLS & OMMADAWN. Yes's YESSONGS came soon after. Then Caravan's FOR GIRLS WHO GROW PLUMP IN THE NIGHT, King Crimson's imported best-of THE YOUNG PERSON'S GUIDE TO...., & after that you couldn't stop me.
At 1 point, Don & Jeff & I all shared an apartment that was basically right around the corner from the store -- & 4 awhile I would pop in there EVERY DAY & just BROWSE 4 an hr or 2. & sometimes I wouldn't even BUY anything. It was fun just 2 hang-out & overhear the jokes & conversation.
I probly nagged them 4 months B4 a job opened up. Store-owner Steve Breen didn't wanna hire another music freak -- he wanted somebody w/ some cashiering Xperience, which luckily I had. + I guess I was nice enuf 2 people. Steve gave me a music-trivia test, which I'm pretty sure I failed (could YOU name all the members of Van Morrison's 1978 backing band?) -- but somehow a few days later assistant mgr Robin Royball called 2 ask if I'd B intrested in working part-time Tuesdays & Fridays, 8 hrs a wk.
U bet yr ass I was intrested, since I'd bn unemployed 4 6 months & had bn forced 2 move back in w/ my parents -- I jumped at it. I Nded up staying with The Musicworks 4 almost 3 years -- it was my Dream Job. When my shift was over I stayed as long after as possible just 2 B THERE, cos the rest of my life seemed pretty boring in contrast.
I Nded-up Bcoming a full-time employee w/ MW, even hadda T-shirt w/ the store's logo, which I wore ALL THE TIME.
After a yr or 2 I became the 4-store chain's official "singles buyer," responsible 4 making sure we had all the local hot hits on sale in R stores. It was a lotta fun trying 2 guess what Idaho teens circa 1980 would & wouldn't buy.
Unfortunately, I had pretty-much given-up listening 2 local radio about 3 years earlier, so I was maybe a little out-of-touch (tho not as much as I am now). Among many other achievements, I was the guy who told my bosses that Queen's "Another One Bites the Dust" would NEVER be a hit....