The first time I remember waking up this early in the morning wasn’t from the sugared haze of too much wine, or the screaming of night terrors coming from my son’s head in his bedroom… It was when a new record (RECORD=ALBUM, not SONG singles) was coming out that day. That I wanted. Real bad.
I used to wake up and just stare at the posters that I had tacked onto my A-framed style, attic bedroom walls of my parents’ house, counting down the days/months/years that I would be done with school and could move to LA, where I heard they had this holy mansion of all things rock n roll, Tower Records Store. And also Amoeba Records. Posters of Hendrix, 7” singles, imports of black metal records and tapes and even Swede glam pop, books on how to play Elvis Costello chords and songs, tee shirts with Van Halen or Farrah Fawcett on them. Until then, I had Record and Tape World in Cartersville, Ga…
It was opened at 10am everyday, much to my drummer buddy’s hot, older sister’s disgruntlement. But she was a good sport, especially when I came in to comb the alphabetized bins looking for it. I knew it had been released that day. I’d been up since 4am. And I wanted the first copy. Hell, I coulda swore she would flirt with me from behind the counter, but they also did that at the Mall clothing stores The Merry-Go-Round and the Chess King to tell you how “boss” you looked in this new double wrap around belt and grey Capezio shoes. I bought anything from those girls with my allowance. I sorta looked like the mustachioed idiot best friend of Adam Sandler in the Wedding Singer. Kinda Michael/ Kinda metal/kinda stupid.
Either way, it felt really good waking up before daylight, and realizing that something untapped, unheard by any common folk, and ready to be cranked to the point of speaker blowout on my Sansui Hifi system in my room was gonna happen that day. Allowance well spent. Just staring at the Album’s double gatefold artwork for hours, combing the credits, lookin for a picture collage of the band doing something controversial, racy, dirty, or just plain normal (no Internet then kiddies. Or even expanded cable TV). Maybe pics of them actually recording the record I was getting lost in. It was a 6 bucks well spent, and weeks of entertainment.
Nowadays, it’s one listen of a downloaded single from iTunes, no artwork, stories, liner notes, or connection to the artist. Just a funny little picture icon of a Korean rapper, illustrated into a cartoon character, rapping in the Korean language over a stock music track that sounds like someone opened the club door of the Roxbury in ‘98. That is all you get. And for the most part musically, that’s all you’re buying. A song. Not a collection of them on one disc, made to tell a story if sat and listened to, front to back, in one sitting. But I’ve got to go stand in line at Starbucks for a “coffee” drink, politely decline the pushing of the new Kenny G record on me at the checkout counter, get over to Target to buy some new underwear, electronic cigarettes, and dog food (I guess if I wanted a Toby Keith record, or maybe an old Ja Rule overstock cd, this would be Davy Jones’ locker), then I have SO MUCH TO DO. I am SO BUSY FOREVER for the next.. Well.. Ever. I don’t have time to sit and listen to a new record on vinyl, let alone, all the way through. (how am I gonna jog or power-walk with that? Please..)
But today, I sit here on the eve of 4/20 at 4:20am in the morning, being awaken by some notion to take my 5yr old boy into town and show him all things RECORD STORE. Hell, he may never even give a shit. He’s got too much competition these days with other media and friends, but at least I will get a kick out of it. And if he surprises me and asked if he can have the new Macklemore song, the one that “talks about popping tags and paying $50 for a tee shirt” (that’s his favorite lines to sing), then you’re damn skippy I’m gonna find it and buy it for him (it’ll be a fucking break from the normal of downloading another Plants vs. Zombies iPad game). Hell, it’ll probably be the first time he’s ever seen the artist’s face on a back cover or inner sleeve. And hopefully he will show even a fraction of the excitement my dad would see when I got to get a new record.
Damn right I support it.
Happy Record Store Day y’all.