These paragraphs were chopped from Record Store Tales Part 6: The Record Store, Year 1. I dunno why.
GETTING MORE TALE #715: The Lost Chapters – “The First Year”
Ever seen High Fidelity with John Cusack? When Cusack says, “I hired these guys to come in three days a week, and they started coming in every day. There’s nothing I can do to stop it.” That was us. That me and T-Rev. The boss man hired on Trev in the fall, two months after I started. We worked opposite nights and opposite weekends. We were like ships passing in the night. We never would have gotten to be such tight friends if we didn’t keep coming into the store every freaking day!
See, as used CD store, we got in new inventory every day. We were getting in cool shit. I was just beginning to transfer my music collection over from cassette to CD, so I just started to upgrade and buy up old back catalogue. I snagged You Can’t Stop Rock And Roll by Twisted Sister that year, which was a big deal to me because it was deleted at the time. I got some Dio CDs that I never had before. I began collecting Rush in earnest. We had rarities too. I got a split King’s X / Faith No More live bootleg called Kings of the Absurb which is pretty damn good. I really got quite a few CD singles at that time too. A few previously unknown Faith No More singles dropped into my lap. It was crucial to come in frequently. If you didn’t, you might miss something you were looking for. Or something you didn’t know you were looking for.
After two months of shadowing the owner, I was working solo and loving it. I got to pick my own music every night, within reason. There were obscure rules. Judas Priest was out, but Soundgarden was OK. Anything that was a new charting release was considered OK for store play. We were allowed to open anything to play it, as long as we didn’t abuse that. For the first while we were even allowed to bring music from home.
That ended when I brought in a bunch of recent purchases to listen to one morning. They included an indi band from Toronto, called Feel, formerly known as Russian Blue. The sound was vital, and the early 90s buzz was that Toronto was going to be the next Seattle. I was all over these bands, like Slash Puppet, Russian Blue, Attitude (later Jesus Chris), Gypsy Jayne, and the rest.
[An aside: I caught a little flak when I took in a used copy of Slash Puppet. “This is an indi band,” the boss complained. “It’ll sell,” I defended myself. “Trust me I know this band.” I knew half a dozen customers by name that I could recommend it to. I sold it to the first of those guys to come in, this insurance guy named Tony who loved 80s rock. He bought it after one listen.]
The day I had my personal Feel This CD in the store player, a customer noticed it. He thought it was cool, wanted it, and asked how much. I had to tell him it was my own personal copy, and no I couldn’t order it in because it was an indi band. He would have to write to the band to get a copy, and I wrote down the information inside the CD for him.
The boss thought this was kind of a silly situation, and rightfully so. Why play music we weren’t selling and were not able to sell? This was a store. So that ended. No more bringing music from home. I guess I’m the guy who ruined it for generations of Record Store employees to come.