pink floyd

#672: “The”

GETTING MORE TALE #672: “The”

In the spring of 1996, the Record Store chain expanded to its third location. This was a life-changer for me, as it was my store — the store that I had been assigned to manage.  I spent eight years at that location, and that’s where most of Record Store Tales came from.  Myself and a young employee who was obsessed with Pink Floyd stocked the place.  It took weeks to manually clean, input and price thousands of used CDs.  We had fun working in a closed store away from the public, but the used CD stock we opened with was very monotonous.  It was just overflow crap from the other stores; a lot of the same-old-same-old.

When training the new young Floyd fanboy, the Boss told him, “When you enter a band’s name that starts with ‘The’, skip the word ‘The’.”  This makes sense for three reasons:

  1. Speed of data entry.
  2. Saving on the cost of expensive Dymo tape for the labeling gun (for the header cards).
  3. Alphabetical listings becoming much more tedious and cumbersome when scrolling through hundreds of “The” bands.

It’s pretty logical.

  • BLACK CROWES = The Black Crowes
  • FABULOUS THUNDERBIRDS = The Fabulous Thunderbirds
  • FUGEES = The Fugees
  • KINKS = The Kinks
  • SEX PISTOLS = The Sex Pistols

This worked especially well with Fugees and the young guy’s favourite band, Pink Floyd.  Both artists had a “The” in their name in the past.  You don’t call them “The Pink Floyd” but it was certainly possible you’d see something when they still had the “The”.  Dropping the “The” on our header cards kept things simple.

The young fella got it, but followed it a little too closely.

One of his header cards said simply:

  • THE

“What is this one?” I asked and he showed me a CD by The The.

I told him to change it to The The, but he didn’t get it.  The Boss told him to drop the “The” on every header card.  But the header card didn’t make sense without it.  He wouldn’t change it, so I did it myself.

It seemed pretty clear to me then, and still does now.  The name “The The” just doesn’t make sense on a header card when it’s just “The”.  Tell me I’m wrong.

I was at Sunrise Records the other day, where I found The Best of Sword on CD. I eagerly put it under my arm, since I was missing the three previously unreleased bonus tracks.  (In case you didn’t know, Sword recently reunited and are recording a brand new studio album.)  But guess where I found the CD?  Or, rather, guess what two bands were filed together under the same name?

  • SWORD

Sword is from near Montreal, Quebec.  The Sword is another band altogether, from Austin Texas.  They both play heavy metal but are nothing alike.  In this case, there need to be two header cards, and one needs the word “The”.  It’s another rare exception.  The Sunrise store should have made these two header cards:

  • SWORD
  • THE SWORD

Even better:

  • SWORD (Montreal band)
  • THE SWORD (Texas band)

But clearly nobody who worked there knows enough about either band to see this.

A customer who enjoys The Sword could be very disappointed by picking up The Best of Sword.  Likewise, a fan of Sword might have thought the live Greetings From… CD was a reunion CD by the French Canadian metalers.

This is why it is critical to have staff who know music.  It’s the kind of proficiency that in our insta-knowledge internet era, most people don’t maintain anymore.  Proper header cards were a problem when I was managing the old Record Store too, and it was the same root cause:  It’s hard to find staff who know and care about this stuff.  And it’s not impossible to learn it.  The truth is, if I were a young The Sword fan today I would already know there was another band called Sword, because I would have stumbled upon their albums and looked them up on Wikipedia.

You could take this header card business too far, of course.  Just as you don’t need both “Pink Floyd” and “The Pink Floyd”, a record store doesn’t need two Queensryches or two L.A. Guns.  But you do need two Swords…with “The” and without.

* Here I am nitpicking about proper filing of header cards, when I should be complaining about the mistakes on this Sword CD.  Right there, on the back and inside covers, is a massive typo:  “Get It Whole You Can”.  Inside, the liner notes make the classic “there/their” screw-up.  Can’t believe nobody caught these before they went to print, but there it is.

 

 

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RIP Stephen Hawking

The most brilliant mind in a generation has gone.  Stephen Hawking’s impact will be felt for generations more.

You may be familiar with A Brief History of Time, but are you familiar with Hawking’s musical debut, “Keep Talking”?

Pink Floyd used Hawking’s voice in their 1994 track from The Division Bell.  Please enjoy as we remember the great Stephen Hawking.  Rest in peace.

#621: Bad Axes

GETTING MORE TALE #621: Bad Axes

Ever have extracurricular activities at work?  Do you enjoy them?

We had very, very little at the Record Store.  In 1995, the mall had a bowling tournament.  Different stores faced off against each other.  The Record Store had to take on the ladies from A Buck Or Two, a bargain shop.  We had a lot of fun, and I cannot recall who won, which means we probably lost.

We did have annual Christmas parties at the Record Store, and for a while we even had summer parties.  There was nothing else though that would have qualified as an extracurricular activity, unless you count endless staff meetings.  I know some places have team building events, like going to an “escape room”.  That sounds like fun, unless you don’t like your co-workers.

The best work event I had the pleasure to attend was Jan 31 2009, right after Jen and I married.  I received four passes to go see the Toronto Maple Leafs from a private box.  My boss and I went, and of course I had to bring Jen.  It was fantastic!  So much food:  nachos, chips, prime rib, chicken, sushi, ribs, wings, everything!  On top of this, it was Dougie Gilmour night, and they raised his number 93 to the rafters.  I didn’t even know who Doug Gilmour was.  But the Leafs beat the Penguins and Sidney Crosby.  Good thing; the rest of the season sucked!

Our work is doing a team building event this Friday, which unfortunately conflicts with Star Wars, but that’s life right?  We all voted, and for our event we are going axe throwing!  How metal is that?  Fortunately I do like all my co-workers, so I’m not worried about any errant axes headed my way.  The establishment is called Bad Axe Throwing.  By that I hope they mean I’ll be like a bad ass, not that I will be throwing axes badly.

Knowing my teammates, we’ll be laughing as much as throwing.  I’m looking forward to it, though the timing is shitty.  This will be the first Star Wars Saga* opening that I’ve missed since Return of the Jedi.  No big deal; it’s only a movie and I’ll see it soon enough.

Axe throwing is just so metal!  With that in mind, here are five awesome tracks involving axes.

1. KISS – “I Love it Loud”, because of Gene’s axe bass.

2. KICK AXE – “On the Road to Rock”, because they have axe in their name.

3. PINK FLOYD – “Careful With that Axe, Eugene”.  Not metal, but good advice.

4. HELIX – “Axe to Grind”, from my home town!

5. THE SWORD – “How Heavy this Axe”. Really fuckin’ heavy!

#504: Waiting

Note:  This tale is from 1996 and does not reflect current tech.

GETTING MORE TALE #504: Waiting

The store that I managed for the longest period of time was opened in April of 1996.  The format was 95% used stock, about 5% new.  It was fun being a part of the cutting edge in retail.

When we opened that store, we were inundated by customers who had never heard of us before.  Every day for months, somebody would wander in who had never been in one of our stores before.  It was cool.  We were different, and we wanted people to know it.  We were eager to promote our special features and strengths, such as our listening stations and reservation lists.

The reservation list caused a lot of confusion among new customers.

Here’s how it worked.  Let’s say you’re looking for a CD that is hard to find used – Pink Floyd’s The Wall.  That one was expensive brand new.  Usually it ran for about $33.99.  Customers would much rather pay less, so they put themselves on our waiting list.  At the time we opened, the waiting lists were for that store only.  We didn’t have the ability to share our waiting lists with other branches yet.  This was still a massive improvement over the old system:  a notebook with phone numbers and titles written in it.  (There were lots of names and numbers with the title “any Beatles”.)

The list operated on a first-come, first-served basis.  If you were the very first customer to put their name in for The Wall back in April ’96, then you would get dibs on the very first used copy that came in.  If you were second, you’d get the next shot at it, and so on and so forth.  What seemed to confuse my early customers the most was “Where do these used CDs actually come from?”

There was no magical land of used CDs.  There was no massive warehouse from which to pick and choose copies of The Wall in various conditions.  There was no place from which to order used CD stock like you could with new.  If there was a Used CD Magic Wonderland, then it was in your basement, because the only way we received our stock in those days was via the customer.  If a customer came in and traded a great condition copy of The Wall, then congratulations – the first person on the waiting list received the first call.

On down the list we went.  If the first person no longer wanted The Wall (a frequent occurrence) then we’d go down the list to the second person.  We would phone each customer and give them a week to pick up their CD.  Unfortunately most customers who no longer wanted the CD never bothered to tell us, so it would sit there for a whole week before we could put it back in the hopper.  We wiped out our entire waiting list for Last of the Mohicans (Soundtrack) with just one copy, because none of the reserved customers wanted it anymore.  There were five names on that list, and then suddenly none!

So: reserve a CD, and we would let you know when one was traded in.  This doesn’t seem like it should be hard to understand, but apparently for some it was.

One upset customer came in about two weeks after reserving a rare CD.  “Is it in yet?”

I checked.  “No, it’s not in stock, but since you have a reserve for it, we’ll call you when it does show up.”

“When’s that going to be?” he asked.

“Hard to say,” I responded, trying to answer his question.  “Whenever someone trades one in, which could be tomorrow or it could be next year.”

Then he bellowed, “What do I have to do to get this thing to come in?!”

Sometimes, I just didn’t know what else to say.

“You don’t have to do anything,” I said, not sure how to explain this further.  “Somebody will get tired of their copy, or just need the money.  If they sell it to me, you’ll get a phone call right away.”  Then, feeling a little snarky, I added, “Unless you know somebody with a copy that you can talk into trading it in to us.”

There was actually one nearly-surefire way to guarantee a used CD would come into stock.  T-Rev discovered this, inadvertently.  Somehow, any time either of us bought a new CD that we’d been hunting for, suddenly a used copy would show up in store.  Sometimes on the same day.  This happened more than once!  I was there when it happened with a Primus CD he was looking for.  (Wish I could remember which one.)  It was eerie.

Everything has changed today, obviously, and now you have access to the world’s inventory from your PC.  It’s hard to imagine there was once a time when you (gasp!) had to actually wait to find a used copy of The Wall!

WALL

#367: Greatest Hits 2

lebrainsgreatest2

RECORD STORE TALES MkII: Getting More Tale
#367: Greatest Hits 2
A sequel to #364: Greatest Hits

The last time we talked about greatest hits albums, I listed seven reasons that die-hard fans usually shun them.  Readers came up with some of their own, and also arguments to defend greatest hits albums.  I usually advise fans to buy key studio albums rather than compilations, depending on the person.  Yet I still own a few hundred greatest hits albums. There have to be good reasons.

And what about you?  How many do you own?  What are your favourites?  Why did you buy them?  I asked myself those three questions too.  #1. I don’t know.  #2. There are many, but Double Platinum and Killers by Kiss are up there.  #3.  Let’s talk about that in depth…I broke it down into seven points:

KENNY_00011. There are some artists that I barely know. Neil Diamond or Kenny Rogers, for example.  There might be a handful of songs I like, but not enough that I have heard to take the plunge and buy an actual album. Or, I know it’s an artist that I don’t want many albums from.  I have a feeling that I only want one or two CDs, so one of them is usually a greatest hits.  I collect a lot of music, but I can’t collect everybody. Sometimes I’ve done the research to know that I need one or two CDs and nothing more.

2. Exclusive tracks are often dangled as bait. But sometimes greatest hits albums are stuffed with exclusive radio edits and remixes that aren’t obviously credited. Kiss’ Double Platinum is one such album. Aerosmith’s Greatest Hits had a number of special edits of songs. Collectors like myself often look for such versions. They make for an enjoyable way to hear a familiar song with a slightly different slant.

SAM_17443. Artwork. Younger folks might not understand why this matters, but I come from the age of physical product. With some bands, you don’t want just the music. You want all the album covers too; they are sometimes as important as any other aspect of the music. Iron Maiden is the first, obvious example. I own several Iron Maiden greatest hits discs simply because I wanted to own all the Eddies. There is a certain satisfaction in viewing them all lined up in order.

4. Historical importance. Some greatest hits albums are just historically important. Best of Van Halen Volume I for example – even if I didn’t buy it for the two new songs, I would have wanted it for the significant role it played in breaking up Van Hagar! You might want to own Their Greatest Hits by the Eagles for the fact it’s the top selling hits album of all time.

5. Sometimes, I actually do listen to greatest hits! Sure, not often by comparison. But if I’m in the car with the Mrs., she might prefer a Deep Purple greatest hits set to a 5 disc version of Made in Japan. I own ‘em, so if they’re good I may as well play ‘em. Also, If I’m going somewhere and I only have an hour or so to listen to music, a greatest hits album often scratches whatever itch I have.

6. Gateway music. My entrance into the world of Thin Lizzy was one CD (Dedication: The Very Best of).

DEDICATIONThat point is the most important one.  Using a greatest hits album to delve further in the discography is such an excellent experience.  My first two Deep Purple’s were greatest hits.  Now my Purple collection is of a prodigious size.  I don’t even know how many I have.  100 maybe?  More?  And it keeps growing!

My first Floyd? Echoes: The Best of Pink Floyd.  My first Rush?  Chronicles.  First ZZ Top? Greatest Hits.  See where I’m going with this?  These are bands that, today, I am still collecting.  I still buy whatever’s coming out.  Which brings me to my last point.

7. Personal history.  I’ve developed a relationship with some of those greatest hits albums over the years, even if they have been superseded by better ones.  Something about the familiarity, I suppose.  But even though all my first greatest hits albums were on cassette, I still went and bought CD copies of them all.  In some cases, vinyl too!

What are your favourites?  Does it bother you to own multiple copies of the same songs?  If your favourite band came out with a greatest hits album tomorrow, would you consider buying it?  Let me know!

 

#350 The Year in Review / Top Five of 2014 (and 2004)

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RECORD STORE TALES MkII: Getting More Tale
#350 The Year in Review / Top Five of 2014

Another year come and gone!  Am I older and wiser?  I think so, musically speaking anyway!  It was a great year for music (and a baffling year too, hello Scott Stapp and Phil Rudd)!  Narrowing down my favourites to a Top Five wasn’t all that difficult once I thought about it.  There were some clear contenders so it was more about sorting out the order.  I’ll save the Top Five(s) for last.

I lost two friends this year, both of whom went way too soon.  Both had moved out of town long ago (one out of the country), but we recently reconnected via social media.  Warren was the guy who helped get me started on this crazy journey of writing, being the first to publish me.  George, an old friend from childhood, helped me discover Kiss.  Both left this earth in 2014, and the world is sadder for it.  Rest in peace boys.

That aside, my proudest writing achievement was finally finishing the Record Store Tales.  I had so much fun sharing those stories over the years.  I took my time ending it; I was having a good time.  But I knew there were people who wouldn’t like it; that’s happened before.   Again I’ll apologize to the two who complained, for any offence I caused them.  These two guys were friends from the store, but neither had really expressed any support for what I was doing, and I don’t think they particularly liked it.  I never had anything bad to say about either of them, but I get that they might not like things I had to say about their friends; I totally get that.  I also get that they had different experiences at the Record Store than I did.  That’s fine.  I want to be clear that my experience was mine alone.  I cannot speak for anyone but myself.  (Interesting footnote though:  Back in Part 170, I mentioned that our accountant Jonathan used to talk about who he trusted at the store, and who he didn’t.  One of the people he never trusted was one of those two guys, because of his personal friendship with the higher-ups.  Just a footnote.)

Anyway, I don’t want to focus on the negative.  I did some rough calculations and by reckoning, the number of Record Store Tales that were negative towards the store was only about 16%.

So!  Onto the lists!  My Top Ten Favourite Record Store Tales of 2014:

Part 258: Uncle Meat
Part 264: Garbage Removal Machine
Part 265: A Nightmare on Cocknuckles Street Redux: Special Edition
Part 269: CD Singles (of every variety) featuring T-Rev
Part 270: Star Trek vs. Star Wars
Part 281: People of Walmart
Part 285: Chinese Democracy
Part 289: Tom’s Frozen Beater
Part 319: The Musical Crimes of LeBrain (by Mrs. LeBrain)
Part 320: End of the Line #2 (The Last Straw)

And my of course Top Five Abums of 2014:

5. FLYING COLORSSecond Nature
4. PINK FLOYDThe Endless River
3. HELIXBastard of the Blues
2. ACE FREHLEYSpace Invader
1. JUDAS PRIESTRedeemer of Souls

As an added bonus, I also found my Top Five Albums of 2004 among my journals!  For shits n’ giggles, here is a “bonus” installment of Record Store Tales for you!  And Happy New Year to ya!

BONUS RECORD STORE TALES Part 350:
Top Five of 2004

5. BRANT BJORKLocal Angel
4. PEARL JAMLive at Benaroya Hall: October 22, 2003
3. THE KILLERSHot Fuss
2. THE HIVES – Tyrannosaurus Hives
1. MARILLIONMarbles

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Stay tuned for more Top Lists of 2014 in the days ahead!

 

REVIEW: Pink Floyd – The Endless River (2014 CD/Blu-ray)

NEW RELEASE

PINK FLOYD – The Endless River (2014 Columbia CD/Blu-ray deluxe edition)

Sometimes you just have to take a chance.

Perhaps that’s the theme of The Endless River, but I’ll warn you in advance that it’s the theme of this review.  Sometimes, you have to take a chance, and buy an album on pure faith.  Sometimes you want something to be good, just because you liked the idea of it.  I took a chance on it, not really expecting too much, but liking the concept enough to try.

IMG_20141123_171023The Endless River is an intriguing idea with successful execution.  Even though these recordings were made 20 years ago during The Division Bell sessions, David Gilmour gambled that there might be something worth salvaging here in memory of late keyboardist Rick Wright.  When they recorded Division Bell, they actually thought they might have two albums’ worth of material.  The second album, which they never finished, would have been more instrumental and ambient in nature.  Less song-oriented, more meandering and scenic.  Not too far off from what The Endless River is, perhaps.

Unafraid of a little work, Gilmour and Nick Mason got back together and finished what they had started with Rick.  According to David, “We listened to over 20 hours of the three of us playing together and selected the music we wanted to work on for the new album. Over the last year we’ve added new parts, re-recorded others and generally harnessed studio technology to make a 21st century Pink Floyd album. With Rick gone, and with him the chance of ever doing it again, it feels right that these revisited and reworked tracks should be made available as part of our repertoire.”

I will state for the record that there is no comparison between the CD and 5.1 surround Blu-ray listening experiences.  The Blu-ray enveloped me in electronic warmth from the start, occasionally startling me with an unexpected bit of guitar here, or sax there.  By comparison to the 3D experience of 5.1 surround sound, CD is flat and tinny.  Having said that, the CD is one of the best sounding CDs out there right now.  Sonically, this is absolutely flawless.  The keys, organ, and drums are warm and genuine, sometimes wrapped up in dreamy synth.

The Endless River is divided up into four sides, but is best experienced in one sitting.  The four sides have distinct “song” sections within them, but everything flows with a purpose.  Some of the more composed sections really stand out as potential fully-fledged songs:  The chugging “Allons-y (1) & (2)” for example, or the guitar showcase of “It’s What We Do”.   A track like “Sum” takes a while to build, but when it does, it’s into another impressive Gilmour show piece.  (Then on the same side, Nick Mason gets his own moment on the percussive “Skins”.)

Other memorable moments include “Talkin’ Hawkin'” which reprises the Stephen Hawking voice from The Division Bell‘s “Keep Talking”.  I love the haunting church organ on “Autumn ’68”.  There is also one vocal song, “Louder Than Words”, which was chosen as a single.  It’s not a particularly special Pink Floyd song; I think the instrumental pieces are far more interesting than “Louder Than Words”.

A number of bonus tracks are included on the DVD and Blu-ray deluxe editions.  These include unreleased studio jams and unfinished tracks, as well as a couple rough album tracks.  “Anisina” and “Evrika (a) & (b)” are cool, relaxed jams.  “Evrika” is similar in nature to parts that made it to the finished album.  The most interesting unreleased song is easily “Nervana”, a basic guitar riff jam that doesn’t sound anything like Pink Floyd at all.  It does sound cool though, a detour into what might have been…if only Gilmore had taken a chance.  Some of these bonus tracks are accompanied by 1994 black and white behind the scenes footage and stills.  Very cool stuff, if you’re into watching the best musicians in the world getting the job done.

The deluxe comes in a box with some post cards (one with lenticular art), a hardcover booklet with more photos, credits and lyrics, and individual sleeves for the discs.  Nothing overly fancy, it’s the Blu-ray disc itself that is the selling feature of this set.  Some of the bonus tracks are cool and worth having, but it’s that awesome dreamlike 5.1 surround mix that is the clincher.  If you’ve ever wondered, “What’s the big fuss about surround sound anyway?” then see if you have a buddy who can demonstrate this album to you in surround, on a good system with a decent subwoofer.  Strap yourself in.

I think Rick Wright would have been very happy and proud of the finished product, all these years later.  Take a chance on The Endless River and see if you too will be swept away.

4/5 stars

Part 283: Shopping at Other Stores

RECORD STORE TALES Part 283: Shopping at Other Stores

Straight from my old journal:  This is what can happen when Record Store guys go shopping at the competition!  Keep in mind these are 2005 prices, not 2014 prices.

Date: 2005/12/12 21:34

Forgive me for praising the “competition” tonight, but I just got home from HMV.

I have no idea how it’s possible to have titles like Pink Floyd’s The Wall, Ummagumma, and Ben Harper’s double Live From Mars, all on sale at 2-for-$30. Ummagumma has a regular price tag of $46.99 on it! Yet they were selling them at 2 for $30! INSANE. I could buy three of ’em for less than it would cost to buy ONE. That is so…fucked up! So I got one of those, and A Collection Of Great Dance Songs remastered. (Strictly for the “new” version of Money.)

And then I sent an email to a co-worker:

I was at HMV tonight, and they have a CRAZY 2/$30 sale on. Check this photo
out. That’s right, Pink Floyd UMMAGUMMA remastered for $15. If you buy
one, it’s $46 bucks. If you buy two…it’s $15 each. Crazy. BUT they had
a bunch of Beatles and a few Stones as well. Double live Ben Harper, all
kinds of crazy stuff. I don’t know what you still need for yourself or even
gifts, but that kind of sale is worth taking advantage of.

Cool huh? I still have those albums too.  I kind of like that I will always have a record of the exact date and circumstances of purchase.

Picture 383
Original photo from that day

Part 231: Top 5…of all time?

RECORD STORE TALES Part 231:  Top 5…of all time?

I put in just shy of 12 years at the record store.  That’s a lot of time to work retail.  If you’ve worked retail, you know what I’m talking about.  If you haven’t, it has its ups and downs.  The ups include discounts.  The downs entail being abused by the general public on a daily basis.

I have a nice plaque around here somewhere, commemorating 7 years at the store.  It was a pretty cool gift.  It was a total surprise, how it happened.  My boss phoned me out of the blue one day.

“Mike,” he said.  “I need a list of the top 5 albums of all time.  It’s for an article we’re doing.”

“Cool!” I responded eagerly.  “But what are the parameters?  Is it like rock, or all genres?  Because that’s just a wide-open question.”

“Just what you think are the top albums of all time, that’s all I really need.”

Cool!  I started work on it.  I wanted to be objective, fair.  If I were making a personalized list of a top 5, it would be easy, I know there would be some Kiss and Sabbath in there.  I wanted to discount my own personal biases and try to be as open as possible for this particular list.

First of all, I chose The Wall.  I admit that I chose this over Dark Side due to personal preference, also I think a double album like The Wall deserves many accolades.  I obviously had to give respect to two of the greatest bands of all time, Led Zeppelin and The Beatles.  I chose Zeppelin IV and Abbey Road.  I really couldn’t choose a Zeppelin, so I went with IV as kind of a default answer.  Abbey Road is arguably the most genius the Beatles ever were, so I could easily choose that over Sgt. Pepper’s.

OK, three down!  Even though all three artists I chose were different from each other, they were all rock, so I needed to go outside that box.  To represent country, I decided on Folson Prison by Johnny Cash.  Were this a more personalized list, I would choose San Quentin, but I went with Folsom as it seems to be the best known.

I didn’t know what to pick last, so I went with a cop-out answer.  Back In Black.  What a weak, spineless choice!  What am I a college student?  Anyway, again I decided to be open and think about how many copies it sold, not about the many superior AC/DC albums.

I submitted my list.  A month or two later, I was presented with this plaque!  And these five albums were on the plaque!  My boss had collected lists from a few of us who had been there a while, and given us custom made plaques, with the CDs and everything.  It was really cool and I treasured mine for years.

I only wish he had worded his question differently!  If I had known in advance what he was really asking (thus spoiling the surprise) I would have chosen these five:

5. Iron MaidenPiece of Mind

4. KissAlive

3. Kiss Hotter Than Hell

2. Deep PurpleFireball

1. Black SabbathBorn Again

The original plaque is packed up in a box, as Mrs. LeBrain and I are planning a move to a bigger place.  Here’s the five albums that made it onto the plaque though, at least all albums I proudly own.  And because I don’t do anything small, I own them all in some kind of crazy deluxe box set.  Enjoy.

Part 221: Frustration Blues

RECORD STORE TALES Part 221:  Frustration Blues

Sometimes, shopping in a music store can be a frustrating experience especially for those who don’t know a lot about music. They might not have a clue what section to find (for example) Linkin Park in. Are they rock? Metal? Alternative? Something else? Somebody who only knows a couple songs might spend a long time walking around aimlessly in a store trying to find Linkin Park.

Sometimes just the simple act of trying to find where Linkin Park is filed alphabetically can be frustrating to the uninitiated. Some people are confused. If Barry Manilow is filed under “M” instead of “B”, why is Linkin Park filed under “L” instead of “P”? This gets even more hard to understand when the band’s name sounds like a person’s name. Max Webster. Pink Floyd. The difficulty is tripled when you’re shopping in a store that has a loose grasp on the alphabet in the first place. Ever shopped at one of the local HMV stores?

Sometimes in order to find something, you might have to get the store employee’s attention. If he or she is busy with customers, please don’t yell across the store. “I can’t find anything in this damn store!” I’ve heard that too many times. Come up to the counter, wait until I’m done giving my full attention to my current customer, and ask. I know some people think they are more important than other customers, but that’s life. Sometimes you have to be patient.  And please don’t yell, “Hey, buddy!  Little help?”

Here’s a true story:  One of my staff members, Matt, was once hailed by a 300 pound Jamaican man with, “YO!  WHITE BOY!”

Be clear about what you want to know. For example, a lost customer once had this question for me:

Him: “Who designed your shelves?”

Me, slightly puzzled: “The owner’s dad built them. Why?”

Him: “Well is the owner’s dad dyslexic? Nothing makes any sense! You’ve got B coming after C, everything’s backwards, upside down, I can’t find anything!”

Hey, thanks for the feedback! Here’s how it works – it’s like reading the page of a book! Go across, then down. Across, then down. Across, then down. Then when you’re at the bottom, you go over to the next section! Across, down. Across, down. Across, down. No need to be a dick about it.

For those who get frustrated finding music in a record store, I offer you these three tips:

1. Before you get too frustrated and feel like blowing your lid, ask. Ask in a clear, reasonably polite manner.

2. If all the staff is otherwise busy with customers, wait your turn. Don’t yell, don’t interrupt, don’t get yourself all worked up over a CD.

3. If the store doesn’t have what you’re looking for, don’t tell the staff that they or their store sucks. Some kid making minimum wage doesn’t care what you think.

Following these three simple tips will make your shopping experience that much more efficient, stress-free, and pleasant. You might even want to say “thanks” for the staff’s help. Saying thanks will help ensure a better experience next time you come in.

Enjoy the music!

frustration