Record Store Day is this Saturday, and I’m really excited about it.
Even more than usual, I’m really looking forward to this year’s event. It has nothing to do with the exclusives, there’s only a handful of those I’m really want anyway. Considering all that has been going on in my life over the past two weeks, I’m just looking forward to a fun day of hitting up a whole bunch of record stores in Knoxville, which is where I’m going to spending RSD this year.
I know the whole limited runs thing has been a little wishy washy for people. I get that. A bunch of people show up to only get the limited editions, then mark them up on eBay. To me, those exclusives are not the reason I go out record shopping on Record Store Day. I go because I love record stores. I go because I love music. I don’t just like music, I don’t just have a small number of songs I like because they’re catchy and everyone else likes them. I love music in a way that is overwhelmingly deep. My love for music is an intrinsic part of who I am as a person. It’s in my heart, it’s in my soul.
I’ve always had a deep passion for music, I honestly can’t recall a time it hasn’t been a significant part of my life. I think it’s why I sometimes have a hard time pinning down favorites, because I love so many different kinds of music, and from practically every era recorded music has been around. I love songs from 2015 as much as I love tunes from 1935 or 1975. I love the sound of Joey Ramone’s voice as much I love Frank Sinatra’s voice.
When I was around 23, I began going through a period where I didn’t like myself very much. I felt like I was just the worst around, and I was hanging around with some people who were pretty crappy to be around on a daily basis. On the nights when I felt at my lowest, I would get out of bed, and I would listen to The Beach Boys’ Album “Pet Sounds” on a loop, sometimes till three or four in the morning. It always made me feel better, it’s a life affirming record. Sometimes I would get so overwhelmed by how beautiful and spiritual that album is, that I would start to cry. Not tears of sorrow, but tears of joy that made you feel thankful to be alive.
Then one day Grimey’s in Nashville, one of my favorite stores, had an in-store singing with Brian Wilson. I went. I got to stand directly across from one of the great geniuses of American music, and watched him sign my vinyl copy of “Pet Sounds.” That’s why I love Record Stores.
I love the people I’ve met in records stores, and through record stores, and around record stores. I’ve made some of the most wonderful friends through music and our love of records. It’s so nice to feel at home in a place where you know people are just as crazy and passionate about the things you love as you are. That’s why I love Record Stores.
But I love Record Store Day because at the end of the day, when it goes the way it should, you’ve spent your day supporting a mom and pop business. I come from a small business background, and I love them. We need more of them. We need more places like Record Stores where your neighbor has turned their passion into a place of business because they had no other choice but to do so. Where you’re greeted by name, instead of walking into a giant cookie cutter box that the world didn’t need another one of, and now stands where a beautiful historic home once did.
That’s what I’m most excited about, and looking forward to. Watching people buy records, watching shop owners smile, finding that coveted LP you’ve been dreaming of finding for years—and I’ve been tipped that one on my want list is sitting in a shop in Knoxville, assuming someone else hasn’t snatched it up yet. If it’s there, I’m gonna get it Saturday, and will most likely geek out about finding it here. I’ll do that a lot on Saturday, because it’s going to be a really fun day. It’s a celebration of record stores, which in turn is a celebration of music, which in turn in a celebration of life.
So, go out, find a local store, and buy some records.