RECORD STORE TALES Part 64: Niagara Falls
I never was the traveling kind, so when I had to spend a weekend working Niagara Falls, I wasn’t too thrilled at the prospect. I warmed up to the idea after I met Mike and Greg, the new owners of our latest franchise.
I packed the Deep Purple box set in the car, a box of pepperettes, and hit the highway. I arrived at the store on a bitter cold Saturday morning, and we worked the day away. It was a tiring day, as we bought and shelved a lot of merchandise that day. We were constantly pricing discs.
The best thing about Niagara was the co-owner Mike. He was a funny guy. Great stories. Massive Kiss fan. Great stories about meeting Gene and being promised all sorts of things on the forthcoming Kiss box set. Mike also played bass. He was a long, long time Record Store Guy.
Mike was in this insane punk band called The Legendary Klopeks. He wore a blonde pigtail wig and went by the name of Lemon Kurri Klopek. The lead singer, Josh, was Sweet Pepper Klopek. He is quite legendary today as an extreme…well I dunno what you call it but he bleeds a lot and he wrestles and he is a Guiness’ Book record holder for something that nobody should really do.
Their lyrics were hilarious. Take, for example, “Ric Flair”:
I wanna (something something?)
I wanna do a “woo” (“WOOO!”)
I wanna be like Ric
’cause he’s so fucking cool
I want a son
who doesn’t suck
That’s the only thing that’s wrong with Ric
So who gives a fuck?
He’s the king, the king of the ring,
He’ll fuck you up just like it ain’t no thing.
Every song on the sophomore album Straight To Hell ends with the words, “Fuck you!” Even the short ones, like “Where’s My Soup?” The lyrics to “Where’s My Soup?” are as follows:
Where’s my soup?
The other owner, Greg, did merch for Blue Rodeo and in fact when he said this, I realized I’d seen him at the last Blue Rodeo gig that I attended. I bought a shirt from him!
Because of the Legendary Klopeks, Niagara had a bit of, I don’t know how to put this…an entourage, maybe? All interesting characters. The most interesting was Gary James Dean. Otherwise known as The Deaner.
The less said about the Deaner, the better. But I will say this. He liked to tell people that he masturbated with his Justin Timberlake doll. And he phoned about 25 times a day. Not even exaggerating about that.
Anyway, Niagara was a fun store to work in. They always played good music, and they had great stories. Today Mike tours with Steve Earle, doing his merch, and I am insanely happy for him and jealous at the same time. He’ll post a picture on Facebook like, “Me and Steve eating sushi.” Stuff like that.
The best score that I got from that store was actually a gift from Mike. It was the Bruce Dickinson CD single for “All The Young Dudes”, the Mott the Hoople cover. (B-sides: the acoustic “Darkness Be My Friend”, and the AC/DC cover “Sin City”.)
I’ll always remember good times in the Falls: Rock n’ Roll, the Klopeks, sushi, and the Deaner!