I’m a planner. I like lists (that much you know). I like to know what’s going to happen when I go places and do things. I would not describe myself as particularly spontaneous, although I occasionally surprise myself. I mean, I did move to California sort of out of the blue so you know, I can work without a plan.
I don’t usually plan Record Store Day. I don’t make lists of albums or special releases I’m looking for. I don’t normally go to more than one store in a day. I like to just enjoy the day and buy some music (and support local businesses). However, I do like an event. And I really like a theme so this year I changed up my RSD habits and planned a record store crawl.
My (ambitious) goal: to go to 4 record stores in 3 cities in 1 day.
The stores: Rasputin Music, Amoeba Music (both in Berkeley); 1 2 3 4 Go! Records (in Oakland); Fats Music/Record Gallery (in Alameda)
The wrap-up: Watch Empire Records and/or a dramatic reading from the book High Fidelity
Here’s what happened: I should have planned better. I don’t pay attention to the goings-on of the UC Berkeley campus so how was I supposed to know that yesterday was also Cal Day? Freshmen open houses are crazy events (I know, I used to be in admissions) and it was as if every prospective freshman and their parents were in Berkeley yesterday taking up parking and not crossing streets like normal people. Seriously, you are about to go to college. Take a moment and learn how to walk across the street without texting, stopping in the intersection, or pushing people. This is not the 7th grade field trip to the state capital, this is Record Store Day and you are in my way.
After I finally found a parking space on College Avenue (and it was shear luck that I found it), I finally made my way to Rasputin. For those of you not familiar with this particular part of Berkeley, Rasputin and Amoeba are about a block away from one another. There are lots of shops and restaurants and on the weekends there are street vendors so it's normally crowded but it was insane. It’s near the People’s Park so to say that the neighborhood is interesting would be an understatement. Anyway, I started at Rasputin. It wasn’t as crowded as I thought it would be but by the time I got there the special RSD releases were pretty wiped out. Curses to you shoppers who are now selling those records on eBay—y'all suck. I did find a Lou Reed album and a few CDs (Dr. John’s new one and a great 2 CD set of The Replacements) that I had on my list (yes, I brought a list this year) so I made my first purchase of the day. I got a nifty reusable RSD bag for my purchases and got to listen to a little live music (I heard the end of The Blank Tapes set).
At Amoeba, I had more luck with the special releases. I got Karen Elson’s Milk & Honey and the Side by Side record for “You Be Illin’” as done by Run-DMC in 1986 and the Carolina Chocolate Drops in 2012. Later in the day I learned that the labels are on that record incorrectly so it’s an awesome RSD buy (or so I’m told). I just really like that Run-DMC song and the Carolina Chocolate Drops are pretty cool. All I can think about when I think of Run-DMC is that time they played Loup Garou at Loyola. They were on my college campus and played a show in the quad. Crazy. I also got The Civil Wars CD Live at Amoeba. I thought it appropriate to buy it at an Amoeba Music store.
I decided to skip 1 2 3 4 Go! Records. The parking nightmare of Berkeley made me cranky and it’s probably a good thing I skipped this one. My friend, Erin, lives nearby and told me later in the day that the line was insane all day long. It may have ruined my RSD buzz. Waiting in line in the heat (because it was hot yesterday) was not really on the list of things to enjoy on RSD. Anyway, I made my way back to Alameda to my last destination, Fats Music/Record Gallery. I’m not entirely sure what the deal is with this store. There are two names and it seems like there are in fact, two different stores at this location. Up front, it’s Record Gallery (used CDs/DVDS/LPs and other music stuff) and Fats Music in the back (instruments, more LPs). This was the only place all day were I got normal record store snark—no wonder I never come in here. I was the only person in the store at the time and all I could think was “Find something to buy so you can get out of here.”
And find something I did. I found two somethings: Elvis’s “Aloha from Hawaii” and a hard to find Monkees album “The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees”. It was worth the snark for these two albums. My mom and I both love “Aloha from Hawaii.” I remember a VHS copy of the 1973 concert being in our VHS collection (yes, we had a collection and I’m sure they’re still my parents’ basement if I really wanted them) and watching that tape on occasion. My mom has the concert on CD and I borrowed it from her a few years back. (Borrowing music from my mom?! Yes, please.) This is Elvis in all his white sequin jumpsuit glory. It’s a phenomenal concert and album (Burning Love or maybe Suspicious Minds). I love “Suspicious Minds”; he kisses the lady twice towards the end. You know she died a little that day. If you haven’t seen the whole concert, you should be ashamed of yourself and you should find it now. I’ll wait.
I love Elvis. I once had a boyfriend who told me that you were either an Elvis person or a Beatles person. While I believe this is absolute crap, it makes sense to me now. I’m an Elvis person; he was definitely a Beatles person. I like the Beatles but only after 1967. I love Elvis no matter what. Maybe this is the gauge that I should use for all relationships.
I also bought The Monkees album. I wrote about my love of Davy Jones a few weeks ago so I was super excited to find this gem. I’m guessing from the title, that we’re supposed to learn about love and relationships from The Monkees. Why not? If you can’t learn about those things from rock music, where else will you learn them? There are two amazing things about this album's artwork: the guys on a boat on the upper right hand corner and the back cover. This is why I miss albums—the artwork is the best part.
I didn’t finish the day by watching Empire Records or reading from High Fidelity. I’m saving the movie for today (to watch while I anxiously await the return of The Real Housewives of New Jersey). I think next year I might celebrate RSD by dressing up as my favorite character from Empire Records and only sticking to one store. I’m not sure anyone will get it and I’m really not sure that I can commit fully to being Deb since I’m not shaving my head but maybe I can be Deb before her haircut or something. I've got an entire year to plan.