Record Store Day 2014 (The Vinyl Frontier)

Yesterday, April 19, was my favorite “holiday” of the year: Record Store Day!I don’t necessarily go for the special deals or releases, but rather just for a good excuse to go record-hunting. This weekend we were in the South Bay, so we visited about five different record stores in the Mountain View/San Jose area. Rasputin and Streetlight had lines out the door for deals, but we bypassed those for the regular LP stacks, and came away with these goodies:

Purple Rain, Prince | Live at Leeds (German press), The Who | Berlin, Lou Reed
GP, Gram Parsons | Harvest, Neil Young | Ram, Paul McCartney


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.

Top Fives: John Entwistle Edition

Top 5 Who Songs Sung by John:
Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (I love this one so much, don’t judge)
Boris the Spider (obvi)
The Quiet One
Trick of the Light
-I know it’s kind of a stretch, but A Quick One because John’s falsetto at the end is too. much.

Nikki’s Top 5 Favorite Johnfacts:
-He had a thing for Irish wolfhounds (bonus pics).
-He played the trumpet & french horn – all of the brass parts you hear in The Who’s songs were arranged/played by John.
-He was blonde but dyed his hair black throughout the 60s-70s.
-He and Keith were BFFs (more bonus pics).
-He did the cover art for The Who By Numbers. More of his drawings are here, along with a funny autobio that he wrote just days before he died. :(

Top 5 “John DGAF” Moments:

– The skeleton suit, an excellent example of “John does whatever the f@*& he wants”:


– The entire Smothers Brothers performance, but especially around this part:


– His bass-playing on The Real Me (UNREAL):


– The rogue lick at 0:23, and also the 2:40 mark of this video, when the rest of the band has finished and John just thunders away:


– And finally, this little montage:

Conclusion: John Entwistle is my favorite.


Peace & love from Monterey

I thought this post was appropriate for this weekend, 1) because a lot of people I know are at Coachella right now, 2) I just bought my tickets to Outside Lands (TOM PETTY, YOU GUYS), and 3) I’m writing this from the garden of a bed & breakfast in Monterey, CA.

I’ve been meaning to write a post about Monterey Pop since…well, the beginning of this blog. It is, in my opinion, the greatest music festival in history. A big part of that was the timing: the festival took place at the start of the Summer of Love, not far from San Francisco where the counterculture movement was in full swing. It basically represents all that was good about the 60s, before things started getting messy and disillusioned (see: Woodstock). It was also the major American debut of The Who, Janis Joplin, and Jimi Hendrix, which is kind of a big deal.
Basically, if I could travel back in time to any time/place in history, it would be the Monterey Pop Festival. All of my favorite 60s artists were either performers or spectatorswith the exception of the Beatles, but they did send along a personal message; see belowand everything went on without a hitch. No drug problems (drugs, mind you, but no problems), no violence, no arrests. I think the most violent part of the weekend was probably The Who and Jimi Hendrix destroying their instruments, haha.
A weird thing I noticed while watching my Monterey Pop DVD recently: I’m starting to look at these old performances and think, “Wow, everyone looks super young!” And then I realize that’s because they’re younger in these videos than I am now, which is rather startling. I mean, Pete Townshend was 22!
Bebe Pete!!
Michelle Phillips was 23…Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin were 24…Simon & Garfunkel were 25, same age as me. I’ve idolized these people since I was about 13, and now it’s weird to watch them in their prime and realize that they were younger then than I am now. In short, it makes me feel old.
Anyway, at this very moment I’m listening to sea gulls and ocean waves and feeling grateful that we decided to take a spontaneous trip down along the coast. We already visited a record store in Pacific Grove and got some goodies: 3 Prince albums, Lou Reed, The Byrds, and some kind of radio special about Graceland. Tomorrow we’re going to the Aquarium and then of course, the Monterey Fairgrounds where history happened in 1967.