RECORD STORE TALES Part 235: Steve Perry
One Saturday in 2002 after a long (8 hour +) shift at the record store, I went over to my friend Shannon’s house. Her next door neighbors were having a karaoke party that night and we were invited. I like karaoke, although Shannon warned me in advance that her friends didn’t have many songs I’d like. If any.
She was right. Among the Shania Twain, Meat Loaf and Grease songs were a few rockers, but her neighbors didn’t like rock. So I sat quietly and listened to some of the worst singing I’ve heard this side of Britney Spears. A little bit later on, another rocker guy showed up. For the life of me I cannot remember his name. (George? Gord? Gomer?) It doesn’t matter, because from that day forward he was known to us as Steve. Steve Perry.*
As soon as he walked in, long hair and pack of cigs in hand, I whispered to Shannon, “Does that guy not look like Steve Perry from Journey?”
Shannon turned and looked. Turned back. “Oh my God. He kind of does!”
Once Steve Perry showed up, we managed to get a little rock into the night. I dueted with him on “Jump” by Van Halen, but I was most excited to share the microphone with Steve on “Don’t Stop Believin'”. A picture was taken of this life changing moment. Incidentally, singing Journey songs in general is really, really hard! I don’t recommend it to the weak willed.
I sent the picture to My Favourite Aunt. “Doesn’t this guy look like Steve Perry?” I asked in the email.
She responded, “No. Steve Perry from Aerosmith is sexy. That guy doesn’t look anything like Steve Perry.”
I was a little ashamed that I had to explain the difference between Joe Perry and Steve Perry to my Aunt. She told me she didn’t know who Steve Perry was so she couldn’t offer her opinion on his doppelganger. However I remain convinced that my co-lead vocalist that night bore a passing resemblance to the rock great. Visually, not vocally. Vocally, “Steve” would have given Rebecca Black a run for her money.
Note: Shannon tells me that for some reason, she still remembers Steve Perry’s real name: Ed!
RECORD STORE TALES PART 108: Building the Store, Part 2
Last time, Statham posted something about a dream he had, of us putting together our own record store. I wish I could have had the experience of opening a store without doing work! The reality of it varied. On the couple of times I helped set up a store, it was hardly glamorous.
The first time was when we opened up the first store that I managed. It was the biggest one so far, lots of stock, all crap. Junk. Shite. Basically what we did was, maybe starting six months in advance, just buy lots and lots and lots of stock. Before long we had, I dunno, maybe 5000 discs, all garbage. Dozens of Jann Arden, Spin Doctors, Michael Bolton…I had so much Michael Bolton that he took up three fucking rows! I even had rare Michael Bolton. Nobody had rare Michael Bolton! Nobody wanted rare Michael Bolton! Then you’d go to the Metallica section, nothing. Kiss, a couple copies of Kiss My Ass. And we had soooo much country. We had buckets of country. And rap artists that you nor I have ever heard of.
Waltz back over to the rock section and browse the classics. Did we have any Floyd? Nothing. Led Zeppelin? Just the tribute album, Encomium. Meat Loaf? Bat 2, but not Bat. We had a couple of Rush discs, like Counterparts, but nothing from the 70’s. No Maiden. No Miles. No Dylan. No Hendrix.
We had no standardized pricing scheme back then. So, if I was pricing Eric Clapton’s Unplugged at $9.99, the guy next to me might have priced it at $11.99 because maybe he liked it more. It was very subjective. Sometimes you knew what a CD was worth brand new and based it on that, sometimes it was so common that it didn’t matter, and sometimes nobody had a fucking clue. We’d try to fix the pricing it as we went, but it was slow. After we opened, a customer would come up with three copies of the same album. “This one is $8.99, this one $9.99, and this one $11.99. Is that because one is more scratched?” Logical question! But no, we just cocked up.
It took weeks to manually input and price all those discs. Shelving them took a couple more days. Making the header cards, setting things up, all told we were at it for maybe a month. Then the big day came and we did our opening. We were only half-equipped: there was no second computer yet, and only half of our CD players for listening station had been bought. Signs were still arriving to be put up.
I’ll never forget our sign that showed up that said, “WE PAY CSAH FOR YOUR USED CDS!”
Regardless of how crappy the stock was, it sold! I couldn’t believe it! There were only a few decent albums and I figured once they were gone, that was it. That wasn’t the case at all. People kept buying the old rap and country discs. Tanya Tucker? Check! We had lots! And people were buying it!
Then, used stuff started coming in at a rapid pace. Crazy stuff too. I remember this one huge Tangerine Dream box set coming in, on the Thursday of the first week.
After we opened and good stuff started coming in by the box full, all the hard work seemed like it was paying off. But the setting up was long and tedious, and I couldn’t stand Todd, who was also on setup duty. But who gives a crap? I spent weeks doing nothing but data entry while listening to music (our own music, which we brought in – of course). I rocked a lot of Deep Purple those weeks. It was awesome.
I remember that I had just found two Purple albums that I wanted: Concerto For Group and Orchestra, and King Biscuit Flower Hour. I also rocked Purpendicular, which had just come out, as much as I could. Todd didn’t understand the music at all. All he was interested in listening to was Floyd, nothing else. He played Bush once or twice, but otherwise it was all Floyd. He really, really liked P.U.L.S.E. And he just murdered Floyd for me, for a long time.
When I listen to albums like Concerto and Purpendicular, it brings me right back to doing data entry in that store. Not a bad soundtrack to work to.