There are many reasons we all love vinyl: the sound, the feel, the album cover, the liner notes, the instant gratification of putting the needle on the record so the drum beat goes like this…..But what of the record store? You know, the place where you go to get your vinyl. In recent years, there have been less and less of these places. Sure you can got to any big city: New York City, Philly, Chicago, LA, San Francisco, London, etc., and you’ll find thriving shops with vinyl ranging from Punk Rock to Turkish Funk to Jamaican Dub and beyond. How about the smaller, rural areas? You may find some Mom and Pop places, who have Stax dead stock from when Harvey Scales put out his 7″ (in that case you’re damn lucky), or the odd little nook that has some Danzig 45’s up on the wall (fat chance). You may even find that place called a record store that has like 3 picture discs of Gaslight Anthem and the rest of the store is full of tees and ‘zines. Whatever the case is, they’re selling vinyl. You know, a 7″, 10″ or 12″ round thing that you have to put on a turntable to listen to. I don’t care if you’re listening to it through a Fisher Price portable, a Sound Burger, a console turntable that looks like a piece of furniture, some 1200’s, or one that rips it easily into an MP3, you’re playing vinyl, and that’s what matters. You see, even though there is a resurgence of vinyl releases (I mean they never really went away, despite what the naysayers shout), there is a disappearance of the record store. Long gone were the days when you had to go to the department store (mine was a KMart) to pick up some new releases. I still have that Eric B. and Rakim “Paid In Full” Cold Crush Remix from the day it got released. I saved up and bought that, as well as Devo’s “Whip It” on 45. From there I graduated to an actual record store, on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. I was in between 7th and 8th grade, and when I went there, I got lost. Golden Age Hip Hop, Reggae, R & B, Rock, Dance, you name it, it was there. Herbie Hancock’s “Rockit” was played over and over. I wanted that 12″, and I wanted to learn to do what DST was doing over the beats. When I finally saw him scratching on the video, I tried to do it on my own stereo, with not much luck. That’s for another day though. I can remember driving an hour to get to Vintage Vinyl in Ocean, NJ (RIP), the Princeton Record Exchange, Rock & Soul, Fat Beats, and then when I went on tour, every record store across the country in every city we played in. Fast forward to 2010. The digital age and the digital DJ are all around us. Some things have made it easy for real DJs (Serato, thankfully, and you still get to spin vinyl. You still have to be able to DJ though, it’s not a free pass), while other things have given access to a whole generation of kids who have never even touched or felt what a record is. To me, if you’re a DJ and you haven’t ever, or refuse to use a record, you’re missing out. I’m not saying that DJs aren’t capable of mixing CDs, because there are a few that have made it. Kudos to them. However, if you talk to any major DJ, you’ll find that they got their start with vinyl, fell in love with vinyl, and don’t stop buying vinyl. That’s a fact. In fact, most people who are vinyl obsessed revolve their life around it. I can admit I am one of them.
So, that’s where we are for this post. On Saturday April 17th, from 12 noon til 2 PM I will be DJing at Hold Fast on Cookman Avenue in Asbury Park, in honor of Record Store Day. You can review their event page here. Let’s remember to give support wherever you are to all those record stores that feed our vinyl habit. I’ll be spinning an all 45 set of Deep Funk and Raw Soul, plus some other surprises. There is no admission, so if you’re in the area, come check out some great choons in Asbury Park. I’m going on early due to a prior engagement, so grab a mimosa and some brunch and groove to some afternoon cheer. See you there. Keep Diggin’!