Record Store Day was conceived in 2007 at a gathering of independent record store owners and employees as a way to celebrate and spread the word about the unique culture surrounding over 700 independently owned record stores in the US and thousands of similar stores internationally.
This is the one day that all of the independently owned record stores come together with artists to celebrate the art of music. Special vinyl and CD releases and various promotional products are made exclusively for the day and hundreds of artists in the United States and in various countries across the globe make special appearances and performances. Festivities include performances, cook-outs, body painting, meet & greets with artists, parades, djs spinning records and on and on. Metallica officially kicked off Record Store Day at Rasputin Music in San Francisco on April 19, 2008 and Record Store Day is now celebrated the third Saturday every April.
Record Store Day is currently managed by Michael Kurtz and Carrie Colliton, in coordination with Michael Bunnell and Eric Levin.
Even though all of the post-Sandy repairs have been finished at my house, I haven’t put things back in their proper place yet. Things like my turntable and speakers. That didn’t stop me from venturing out on a little journey from Asbury Park to Red Bank to Fords and then to my parents’ house in north Jersey. I figured since all of the shops were “on the way” I might as well.
Unfortunately, I got a late start after DJing the Graham Parker & The Rumour show at The Stone Pony the night before so I thought that some of the “good stuff” would be sold out by the time I got to all the stores. I should have been discouraged when I heard at each of my stops that they’d had a line of people waiting to get in when the shops opened in the morning. But, I actually found the news encouraging and I was delighted. Well, I was a bit worried that I wouldn’t find anything left for me, but I was more encouraged by the fact that for each Record Store Day, since the first one in 2008, the excitement to go record shopping has seemingly increased with each passing year. And it makes me hopeful that someday we’ll be celebrating the opening of great new stores instead of lamenting the closing of yet another landmark shop.
I started in Asbury Park at Holdfast, a clothing and record shop on Cookman Avenue. Continued to Red Bank to check in at the long standing Jack’s Music Shoppe on Broad Street. And finished up at the legendary Vintage Vinyl on Lafayette Road off of Route 1 in Fords. I found some good stuff in all three, ran into some friends and had some great conversations with those fighting the good fight. I will, eventually, get around to actually listening to the things I bought.
It really is a lot more fun to visit a record shop in person, to actually pick up and hold albums or CDs or DVDs in your hands, to have a conversation, to inspect the merchandise, to experience “the hunt,” than it is to download a bunch of ones and zeros with a few mouse-clicks. You all should try it as often as possible.