My favorite stop was Big Al’s Record Barn in San Jose, which didn’t host any special deals for Record Store Day, because frankly it didn’t need to. It’s basically a big dark warehouse of vinyl owned by this old guy with a parrot, which is where I got Ram for $2. Awesome place!
In celebration of RSD14, here is a quick run-down of some of my favorite record stores in the places I’ve lived:
Spin Records – Carlsbad. This place will always have a special place in my heart because it was probably the first record store I ever went to. My dad would take me here before I could drive, and soon we were both building up our own collections. Thanks Dad, for encouraging my vinyl obsession, and thanks Spin for providing me with my first rock albums!
Record Surplus – Santa Monica. This was my main music resource in LA, before it moved from Pico Blvd. I even did a report on it for a music class (yep, those are the kinds of papers I wrote in college). When I met Alex, we realized we had a mutual respect for Record Surplus and spent many a weekend there (and bought a lot of Paul Simon albums).
Recycled Records – San Francisco. One of my favorite things about San Francisco is the chain of awesome record stores along Haight Street. Recycled Records is great because it doesn’t bother with brand new re-issues like Amoeba and Rasputin, just used stuff. I got into a conversation with the cashier about Tom Waits one day, and he told me he designed the booklet for Orphans and has hung out with Tom (who is a “super nice guy,” btw). One degree of separation!
Also, special shoutout to The Music Store in West Portal, which we recently discovered. Don’t be fooled by the ordinary name, it’s a super funky place:
I love the dedication of most record store owners (did you watch that video about Al’s Record Barn above? it’s a prime example). It’s also comforting to know that there are still plenty of people, young and old, who like to spend a day sifting through record bins with Exile on Main Street playing from the speakers above. People tend to lament the decline of vinyl, but as long as those folks are still around, I think we’ll be just fine.