Defend your Record Store Day purchases!
Spencer Madison, Originally from Massachusetts, now living in Denver. Shopping at Wax Trax
Spencer was surrounded by friends and proudly showing them his purchases. He had bought more than 20 used vinyls from a wide range of artists and genres. When he's not speaking to Westword about music, he's a bartender at Sputnik speaking to customers about music.
You're shopping today at Wax Trax. Are you a longtime customer or a first-timer?
Absolutely, since before I moved to Denver. Probably since 1988. It's great to see independent record stores still out there. I remember as a kid, I would travel to the next town over. I grew up in a small town, and there was a record store there -- Main Street Records in Northhampton, Massachusetts. That's how I got my start listening to music of my own, not my parents' music. It was like an education.
Were you into bootlegs?
No, not so much. The best bootleg I've ever had was a Sex Pistols bootleg. It was an import release. It was a horrible, horrible recording, really grainy, and some live recording of the Sex Pistols. I never had a chance to see those guys.
You bought a lot of records today. How many would you say? Fifteen?
Fifteen or twenty pieces of vinyl today.
We've been asking people what's in their bag, but I think we should do this a little differently. Pull out one record at random and let's see what we come up with.
Just one, eh?
We'll do a few, but it seems like you've got a smorgasbord of music, so just reach in your bag and let's talk about one of your picks today.
Oh, what's that? What's this right here? Cheap Trick, Live at Budokan. I mean, if you're gonna have a Cheap Trick album, you should have this album.
I have to ask you to defend that. What was going on with this album that makes it the definitive Cheap Trick?
This broke Cheap Trick as a band in the US. Cheap Trick had been recording for a while, but they were huge overseas, and not so huge in the United States. Releases from this album came out, and suddenly they were gigantic.
That's got "I Want You to Want Me" on it?
It does, absolutely. There's an album version (of "I Want You to Want Me") but it's not as fun. Unfortunately, in some cases, engineers get ahold of records and it just takes all the soul away.
And this harks back to the day when a live album actually could break you out commercially.
Absolutely. I can't even think of musicians now that would be broken live. When you think about things like the Grateful Dead and Phish -- people that have to be seen live. But now, who? Katy Perry live? You can't see Katy Perry dancing with fifteen other people (on a record); it's just a show now. I've heard that the amount of talent that an artist has is inversely proportionate to the number of background dancers they have.
Can I have you pull another one out?
Here we go! Prince, 1999. Whose parents thought it was a good idea to let us listen to this when we were like thirteen years old? They had no idea what Prince was saying to us, and look what happened. We got a whole generation of crazy-ass people.
There's a penis on that album cover, but it took me years to realize that there is also a vagina.
How could there not be?
I was a child, so I hadn't seen any vaginas.
I hadn't seen my own vagina at that point.
Was this something you needed to add to your collection?
It was something I needed to add to my collection on vinyl. It's all over my computer or whatever, but I had this on cassette when I was a kid. I had a record player, but records were already on their way out when I was a kid. On cassette, sure, played the crap out of it. Probably went through two or three 1999 cassettes. This one has been loved, it's got some tears. Unfortunately it's incomplete, No picture sleeves, but for eight bucks...
A really complete one is probably gonna run you about fifty bucks.
That would be my guess.
If you had to pick a track off of this album...
"Baby I'm a Star"
That's on Purple Rain.
You're right -- that is on Purple Rain. That was not good. Let me refresh my memory.
I have my favorite from 1999, which is "D.M.S.R."
I almost said that...ah! "Let's Pretend We're Married"...go all night.
Now, I've heard that song is about sex.
I don't know how it could be; I don't know how it could possibly be. I don't know how any Prince song could be about sex. It's all about God.
Oh, yeah, here we go. The English Beat What is Beat? I don't have any English Beat on vinyl anymore.
Do you remember that time in the '80s when this music first came over to America?
Have you ever owned a scooter?
I have never owned a scooter; I've always been a motorcycle guy. I had a moped -- does that count?
Were you a child?
I was a child. I never owned checkered Vans, though.
Anything else you'd like to say about the English Beat?
It was a style of music that I had never even come across. Like I said, I'm from a small town in Massachusetts. If I was listening to music on the radio, it was Aerosmith and the Cars. We had no idea what ska music was. We had no idea what reggae music was, unless your parents broke out a Bob Marley album. And then to hear the Clash, and then to hear ska music, and real ska -- that was thanks to these guys and the Specials.
So can we go for one more?
Let's hit the bag and see what we got. Ahh, Billy Preston, Wildest Organ in Town.
The unofficial fifth Beatle. Are you aware of the urban legend that John Lennon actually didn't want Billy in the Beatles because he would have upstaged them all?
He would have definitely gotten upstaged by Billy Preston.
Died broke, unfortunately. But this is a jazz release, isn't it?
No. This is a covers album.
That is something that's always fascinated me. Back then, new artists were known to release an album of other people's material first.
Well, yeah, nobody wanted to hear your crap -- they wanted to hear you do people's crap they liked.
Billy Preston, there's a million reasons why, but give me one specific reason.
There's just so much funk in there. It oozes sex without having to ooze it. Where Prince is like: "This is my pelvic area, why don't you look at it," Billy Preston is coming at it from a different angle.
One of the best smiles in music, and easily one of the best Afros when he grew his hair out.
Him and Bootsy Collins, although I was looking at some Commodores albums in there, and there were some crazy good shit going on those Commodores albums.
Andrew, Brandon & Alex Fort Collins, Littleton, & Greeley shopping at Twist & Shout
These three guys displayed great courage and didn't hesitate when asked to show us the goods. We could only hope that their musical taste was equally valiant. We started out with Alex, a precocious young man with a sizable stack of new and used vinyl.
Did you come out specifically for Record Store Day?
Alex: Yes we did, and it was pretty cool!
Was there something specific you wanted to pick up?
Uh, I didn't know what there was until I got here. I got this Dio record that they made specifically for Record Store Day. So it was pretty nice!
Let's take a look! [Just then a random passerby sees the record and shouts: "Ronnie James Dio!!! I saw him in concert once! Sweet!!! He's a very short man...or was..."]
Okay, the Dio find is dope. What else do you have in your bag?
Um....Black Sabbath; nothing crazy, some Bad Company... [he tries to shuffle quickly past a brightly colored sky-blue 12" issued by Sugar Hill Records] Ummm....
Hold up, wait a second, what's that on Sugar Hill Records?
Um...you know...I like....some...various things.
So let's capture this for the record: That is West Street Mob, Rock the Party. Now, that's some serious old-school hip-hop, and you're obviously a huge One Direction fan based on what you bought, so I'm trying to understand how we go from Ronnie James Dio to West Street Mob.
It's the cream of the crop, right? So I like a lot of metal, but I like to hit the high notes on other genres, as well.
Brandon, you didn't buy anything?
Well..I had some stuff but my card was declined. Bummer.
Credit card or debit card?
It's a MasterCard -- credit.
Oh, okay, so you had no idea; you just rolled the dice.
Yeah, no idea. It's a bummer.
So what would you be standing with here now, had your card not been declined?
I would be standing here with a Flogging Molly and a Mighty Mighty Bosstones.
So does Record Store Day mean anything to you?
Well, I just love music, and vinyl is awesome.
Forgive me. but you look young. How old are you?
Last but not least...
Yeah, I'm Andrew. I got a bunch of stuff. Everytime I come I gotta get Genesis!
Something from Genesis, or the same album?
No,no. Something from Genesis: Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins -- anything.
So you don't make a distinction; you love both the Gabriel and the Phil Collins Genesis?
Yes, love it all. Every single time I come to a record store, gotta get something Genesis.
If you had to call a favorite Genesis album...?
Oh...The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, easy.
Okay, and what was the big hit off of that?
Big hit? I have no idea.
I don't think there is a big hit off that.
It was very conceptual, so it's not really (from) the pop days. Before the pop days, definitely.
What else did you get?
What else? I got Rush, Farewell to Kings; I got the Dire Straits, the Echo & the Bunnymen self-titled.
Is that original or reissue?
I believe it's an original, because it was only like five bucks or something. But it's in really good condition. And I got Streetlight Manifesto, Everything Goes Numb.
Katherine Denver shopping at Twist & Shout
Katherine is a lovely woman who has lived in Denver for the last twenty years. She seemed reserved at first, but then fearlessly agreed to show us the goodies she picked up.
Have you been shopping at Twist & Shout for twenty years?
More or less.
Did you come out today for Record Store Day?
I came out today for Record Store Day.
All right, show us the goods!
Let's see, I have this one (Peter Gabriel, Scratch My Back and I'll Scratch Yours Special Edition double disc) and Broken Bells, After the Disco, and a used Gary Numan, Replicas.
Kind of an '80s vibe there, except for the Broken Bells.
In a way, yeah. I have really mixed-up tastes. This just happens to be what interested me today.
Is one album more exciting to you than another?
No, [holds up Broken Bells] I was looking for this one for my husband, and we just saw Gary Numan at the Gothic, and we saw Peter Gabriel when he did the show at Red Rocks.
Obviously, you are hugely into music, because you are overwhelmed with excitement!
[Laughter] I'm sorry -- I'm feeling a little under the weather, so I'm on low energy today. I just smashed my fingers, which is why I'm carrying this [cold compress].
Oh, no! You've got to be kidding me. We will let you go get that taken care of!
Jake and Morgan are a pair of siblings from California who were proudly wearing their musical taste on their sleeves, or at least in their hands. They were flashing their RSD finds for the world to see.
You guys are brother and sister?
Did you drive out from Ventura for Record Store Day today?
M: I live in Denver right now; he's here visiting.
Jake, what's your local record store in Ventura?
Jake:There was one but it closed, and it's now Salzers.
M: I moved here in October.
Because you hate warm weather, sun and fun?
M: Yes, and I love the cold.
Well, welcome! Do you usually shop at Twist & Shout?
M: I've never been!
So Record Store Day brought you here?
And, Jake, she's just the one with the car, right?
J: Yeah, basically. M: He collects records, too!
So you two have been record collectors for how long?
J: I just started, actually, probably this year.
M: Since high school actually, probably like ten years.
Let's talk about what's in your bags, or not. I noticed we have a lot of pride in our taste because we neglected a bag and we are just rolling with the day-glo cover for The Knife, so talk to me about why you bought The Knife today.
J: I bought The Knife album today, probably because it's one of my favorite albums, and I'm also going to their concert on Monday. That's why I'm here. So, yeah, this is one of my favorite albums of all time, so I figured I might as well get it. This was the only one in there, so...
M: In honor of the show, and the day, and as a souvenir.
Super-cool! Talk to me about Tame Impala, Live Versions. That's a Record Store Day release!
M: It was a Record Store Day release. The guy told me I should buy a lottery ticket, I'm so lucky to get one at 4 o'clock. They only got five of these things, so I was really happy to find it. And then, the other one I got is an old David Bowie: Changes One.
Let's talk about that!
M: It's a good little lineup right there.
I'm thinking that album came out twenty years before you were born, maybe?
Where does the love of Bowie come from? Or is this just pure hipster posturing? \
M: No, my parents. I definitely listened to David Bowie as a kid. I was raised on '80s music.
Okay, so what's your favorite Bowie? Androgynous Bowie? Man Who Fell to Earth?
M: Ziggy Stardust! The Look!!!
How do you feel about current David Bowie? He looks like a leather couch now.
M: He looks good for his age!!! But he's real quiet. He released the album last year; that was cool after ten years of silence. I think he's doing his thing. I just think he wants some privacy.
If you had to choose, Tilda Swinton or David Bowie?
Cool guys, thanks. Enjoy the Knife.
J: We saw them a week ago at Coachella.
You guys went to Coachella...and?
Did you go to OutKast?
M: OutKast was NOT awesome.
J: They weren't good.
M: We heard "Caroline" ["Roses"], that was a song we knew, but they did a bunch of solos, so if you're not a huge OutKast fan, you didn't know what they were playing.
It was two in the morning at that point?
M: They end at midnight, but they got cut off right at midnight, so they were all pissed, playing with their backs to everybody.
J: The crowd wasn't going with them.
M: They do Coachella twice, so they played again last night, and I guess it was a lot better.
Michael Darnell Denver shopping at Twist & Shout
Michael was far too modest about his own level of cool. He sheepishly admitted that he had found out about Record Store Day listening to NPR. There should be no shame in that -- nowadays only the cool people listen to NPR.
Did you come out specifically for Record Store Day?
For a specific purchase?
Uhhh, Bruce Springsteen has a new one that he did with Tom Morello.
And they were sold out?
No, I got it!
Do you mind showing us what's in your bag?
I got High Hopes [Springsteen] and I got some indie releases.
So I'm supposed to antagonize people about their purchases, but I fully approve of what you've bought today, supporting indie music. You're making this difficult. So I guess I'll ask, are you originally from Jersey or something?
No, originally from North Carolina, but lived in the District of Columbia for ten years.
Are you a lifelong Bruce fan?
It was my first CD. My parents gave me my first CD player, and my first CD was Born in the U.S.A. and a couple of Billy Joel albums. [laughs]
There ain't nothing wrong with The Joel, my man. Did you know he was doing comeback shows at Madison Square Garden?
I didn't know that, but he can do whatever he wants to.
And are you also a Tom Morello fan? Rage Against the Machine?
Yeah, that was an early like. Especially their first album, and the second was okay. Their third, I was like...eh! It's hard to rage against the machine when you've made a million dollars. I like what Tom Morello did; he went the folk route, and he also stuck to his roots.
Is Audioslave indeed terrible?
Hmm, I've heard of them...
The splinter band that Morello was in with Chris Cornell from Soundgarden.
YES!! I tried to get into them because of [Tom Morello], and I thought the same thing.
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