RECORD STORE TALES Part 211: The House of Lords Debacle
Joe was on the other end of the phone. “Mike,” he said. “I have three CDs here by a band called House of Lords. You want?”
I’d first heard House of Lords in ’88. Gene Simmons was promoting them like mad. They were signed to his new imprint, $immons Records. A guy called Loz Netto was his first signing, but House of Lords was his first rock acquisition. They included ex-members of Guiffria, Quiet Riot, and Alice Cooper. I picked up their debut on the week of release, but I missed the second and third albums.
“I’ll take two!” I responded without hesitation. “I’ll take the ones titled Sahara and Demons Down.”
Joe laughed. “I knew you’d know who these guys were,” he said. I saw the pictures of the hairdos on the back and I knew it.”
“Thanks man, send ’em my way. I will buy them both for sure.”
Yes, Tommy Aldridge was in House of Lords for a minute
Joe had the two discs sent to my store, attention to me. But in between his store and mine, they had been intercepted. Someone had written on the transfer slips, “Sell at $11.99 — no discount.”
No discount? On House of Lords? The fuck was this?
Not that $11.99 is a bad price. That was a high but realistic sticker price for used copies of these albums. I can get Demons Down on CD from Discogs right now for under 8 bucks. If I had walked into another store and found them for $12, I would have bought them without hesitation. It was the principle of the thing that bothered me. I’ve talked before about how we didn’t get staff discounts on certain special or big ticket items. House of Lords was hardly the kind of band that would negate a staff discount. In fact, my boss (who had written the note) had no idea who House of Lords was.
He had obviously seen that the two discs were being sent to me, since he had written the note. Perhaps he looked at the back and spied the Simmons Records logo. Either way he personally nixed the the discount. I called him up to ask what the deal was.
“Hey,” I began. “These two House of Lords discs. What’s up with the price? No discount on these?”
“Nope,” he answered simply.
“Why?” I asked. “Nobody knows who they are.”
“That’s just what we’ve decided they’re worth,” he replied.
“Alright, well I’m going to pass on them then. I’m sending them back to Joe’s store.” I was disappointed. This kind of penny-ante crap had picked up in recent years. It was petty. It seemed arbitrary.
A few years later, more copies came in. I snagged those, discount intact. Much like most of the world, the powers that be had simply forgotten who House of Lords were. And I wasn’t about to say, “Hey, by the way, in case you forgot, staff aren’t supposed to get a discount on House of Lords.”
I’m listening to House of Lords right now. The funny thing is, for such “special” items, neither is really as good as their debut!
Next time on Record Store Tales…