From the monthly archives: "June 2011"

It was his first Buffett concert, he squirted me with that gun.

June 26, 2011—

Children have the best dreams. They are pure and sometimes scary and what these visions lack in ambition they make up through innocence.

A Jimmy Buffett concert brings out the child in everyone—-if you are a willing participant.

Buffett is not for everyone. He is proud to play the role of jester, and his crowd is often an intoxicated court. He will never be Pitchfork-approved, but I argue music is a random adventure. Sometimes you eat steak, other times chicken, maybe pasta, or Thai. Some nights I like to hear Jimmy Buffett. Other nights I prefer Curtis Mayfield.

This soft toss  game was called “Pin the Johnny on Jimmy.”

After 30 years of these affairs, my memories at each concert are stirred like the ceiling fans at Sloppy Joe’s in Key West.

There was the road trip to Poplar Creek with former Quiet Knight club owner/timeless hippie Richard Harding and then-Bulls guard John Paxson and his wife; all in my car. Harding had fallen off the enterainment grid and Buffett called an audible.

At the last minute he included the ballad “He Went to Paris” in his set, a nod to the Quiet Knight’s Eddie Balchoswky. Buffett wrote the ballad about the one-armed painter-poet who during the 1970s worked as the day man at the Quiet Knight. With his omnipresent pens and pencils in his tattered shirt pocket, the white bearded Harding was surprised and happy.  I remember the tear in the eye of Harding’s  daughter.

Not long after that a courtship led to a New Year’s Eve show with Buffett, the Neville Brothers and Black Elvis at the just-opened Margaritaville Cafe down the street from Sloppy Joe’s. I think of marriage and divorce and an Alpine Valley concert where we didn’t drink because of a pregnant girl friend.

Children’s dreams don’t consider the passages of time.

Sometimes I remember things I lost in Colombia, on the way home I thought of the nurse I met from East Troy, Wis.

She was grateful I was armed with Leinenkugel’s Sunshine Wheat. She had a beautiful Wisconsin accent.

I thought she was asking me for some “Sunshine Weed.”

There’s been the discovery of the Steel Crazy steel drum band of middle-aged women from Sugar Grove, Ill. (they were in the parking lot on Saturday afternoon playing “We Will Rock You”) and Reed Carlson’s “:Tiki Truck,” a restored 1933 International Model B-3 fire truck repainted tropical yellow.

My life seems to be an endless calendar of Come Mondays.

On Saturday night I didn’t sit far from Jim Mullen, the former Chicago police officer who was paralyzed by a bullet in 1996. The bullet entered Mullen’s right cheek, bounced off his jawbone and loged in his neck, penetrating his spinal cord. I glanced back at him as Buffett sang “One Particular Harbor.” Mullen smiled. Maybe, for that moment, he was young again.

I keep going back because I’m still a kid.

There is a lid for every crooked pot.

Here’s a few more  of my favorite images of Alpine Valley 6/25/11.

I’ll come back to them when I’m feeling old and cynical.

30,000 people at Alpine doing that “Fins” thing.

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This is an edited version of an essay I wrote for my upcoming column for the Kane County Cougars of the Midwest League.

June 21, 2011

DAYTON, Ohio—-Baseball Hall of Fame writer Hal McCoy has covered 7,000
Cincinnati Reds games in his 39 year career with the Dayton Daily News.

He knows every game is as different as a cloud in the summer sky.

In late May I took McCoy to a Dayton Dragons game at Fifth Third Field in Dayton. McCoy, 70, said he is semi-retired but he still does a popular “Real McCoy” blog for the Daily News and appears on the Fox Sports affiliate in Cincinnati.

He is legally blind.

He said it was the first time he had sat in the stands for a game in 30 years.

We were discussing all aspects of baseball until the third inning when a torrential storm rolled through downtown Dayton. The power at Fifth Third Field went out. We were instructed to seek shelter in the bathrooms. I have been to maybe 2,000 baseball games, but nothing like this happened to me. Or him.

I quickly saw what a beloved figure McCoy is in Dayton.

People said hello and shook his hand in the crowded concourse. Some fans offered him a ride.

I dodged through the thick  raindrops to fetch my car and drove McCoy home.
The game stopped at 7:37 p.m. It resumed at 10:07 p.m., when I was somewhere
north of Indianapolis. I thought about McCoy during most of my drive back to
Chicago.

I considered his humble nature, his dignity and his loyalty to his native Ohio. I saw a rainbow over Dayton as I left town.

I know he still sees rainbows despite going legally blind after a sudden August, 2003 stroke to the optic nerve in his right eye. In January, 2004 the same thing happened in his right eye.

“Everything is dark and fuzzy,” he told me as the Dragons game began. “Things up close are real fuzzy. I do better with the distance. I can see the scoreboard. When the pitcher throws the ball I can see it. When the batter hits a live drive or on the ground I can see it.  When someone hits up in the air, I’m lost. I haven’t seen a home run since 2003.

“But what I’ve learned—-and it took me 35 years to learn this—I noticed by watching the hitter that when he hits the ball his head immediately follows the ball. If he hits it to left field, he’s looking left, if he hits it to right, he’s looking right. Most people follow the ball when the batter connects. I keep watching the batter to see which way the ball goes. Then I watch how the outfielders react.”

McCoy watches games from the press box at the Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. He types on a magnified screen laptop.  A large flat screen television is above his seat. It is on seven second delay. If McCoy misses a play, he looks at the television set. “The Reds did that for me, which is very cool,” he said. The Daily News hired a retired school teacher to drive McCoy back and forth between his home and the ballpark.

McCoy has been up and down and all around this big country. He’s still
impressed by the small gestures.

Dayton; before the storm.

Hal McCoy was born in Akron, Ohio and grew up a Cleveland Indians fan. His father
worked on the assembly line at B.F. Goodrich, his mother raised the four McCoy children while jobbing in a laundry on the side.

“I am the only person in three generations of my family that went to college,” he said. “We came from a very poor family. Blue collar. No books around the house. I didn’t start reading until I was in college.”

McCoy is 6’2”, still  lean and lanky. He played on the basketball team at Akron East High School. During his junior year he took a typing class with a teacher who was the newspaper advisor. “She asked if I was on the basketball team,” McCoy recalled. “I told her I was. She didn’t have anybody on the paper to write about the basketball team.”

McCoy had never written anything in his life. He filed a story and the teacher was impressed. She suggested he take some journalism courses. “That was it,” he said. “Had it not been for Mrs. Rose Picciotti when I was at Akron East, I don’t know what I would be doing. But it wouldn’t be this.”

He remembers the small gestures.

McCoy attended Kent State University on a partial baseball scholarship and studied journalism. He began his career in Dayton in 1962, straight out of Kent State. “Its not like it  is now,” he said. “When I graduated I had 11 job offers, including the Wall Street Journal. I wanted to write sports. They didn’t have a sports section. From 1962 to 1973 I covered everything for the Dayton Daily News. The Cincinnati Royals of the NBA, the Open and the Masters, the Indianapolis 500, the Cleveland Browns. I didn’t do any baseball until 1973 when our baseball writer (Jim Ferguson) left to become PR director for the Reds.”

McCoy had done some back-up baseball writing. He recalled, “The first manager I covered was Dave Bristol (Red manager 1966-69), a surly son of a gun. I was scared to death. The day of my first game Jim Ferguson told me Gary Nolan had a sore shoulder and he would be throwing in the bullpen before the game, so be sure to ask Bristol how he did. The Reds won 2-1. So after the game I go in there, bright, young enthusiastic reporter and I’m going to ask the first question. I said, ‘How did Gary Nolan do before the game? He goes, ‘JEEZZUS CHRIST, we just won a 2-1 game and you want to know how the hell Gary Nolan did?’ I didn’t ask another question for two weeks.”

Besides Bristol, managers ranging from Sparky Anderson to Pete Rose to Lou Piniella have rolled through Cincinnati during McCoy’s time.

‘In my 39 years of covering baseball, Dusty Baker is the best,”  McCoy said in straight ahead tones. “As far as dealing with us. Dusty has never told me a lie. He’s answered every question I’ve asked him. He’s great with the media.”

Hal McCoy is as synonymous to Dayton as the Wright Brothers.
After the season ends he hosts a Hal McCoy baseball clinic for a couple hundred inner city children at Fifth Third Field. He has lived in Dayton every year since 1962 except for 1967 when he spent a year writing for the Detroit Free Press.

“I didn¹t like Detroit,” he said. “That was the year of the race riots and the burned the city down. The sports editor of the Dayton Daily News called and asked if I wanted to come back. I said, ‘I’ll be there tomorrow.’.”

McCoy knows his way around Dayton as well as he knows his way around baseball America. “My favorite restaurant in Dayton is a steakhouse called the Oakwood Club [2414 Far Hills Ave.; (836) 293-6973.] I’ve eaten all over the country and that’s as good as any of them.

One of my top three restaurants is in Chicago, one you’ve probably never heard of. The Saloon. Its a steakhouse in a residential hotel (200 E. Chestnut) behind the John Hancock building. The first time I walked in there (actor) George Clooney was sitting at the bar with (late Reds announcer-pitcher) Joe Nuxhall. The meal I had there was unbelievable. I told (former Chicago Sun-Times baseball writer) Joe Goddard about it. He had never been there. I told (Chicago Tribune baseball writers) Dave Van Dyck and Paul Sullivan. None of them had heard of it.”

My friend Joe Goddard, also a great music fan.

McCoy was on a roll: “There’s  a very good Italian restaurant called Mamma DiSalvo’s (in Kettering, a suburb of Dayton). I can’t go in there. The owner is a huge Reds fan. He wants to pick up my meal, give me a bottle of wine, sauce to take home. I said, ‘Bobby, I can’t do this. I have to pay.”

McCoy’s journalism hero was the late Jim Murray, a Pulitzer Prize winning sports columnist for the Los Angeles Times between 1961 and 1998. Like McCoy, Murray wrote with a gentle cadence and sly sense of humor.

“Its funny his career ended with eyesight probems too,” McCoy said as Dayton manager Delino DeShields ran to the third base coaching box. Yes, that former Montreal Expo and washed out Chicago Cub. McCoy continued, “Jim’s problems were much more severe than mine. I’d read him and say, ‘I know all those words. I just can’t put them together that way.

“One of my favorites in Chicago was Bob Verdi. He was a very good writer and a verygood friend. I’m a newspaper nut and I hate to see the way the business is going now. The Dayton newspaper is disappearing. When I traveled I read every newspaper I could get a hold of. I loved going to Philadelphia, because I loved the Philadelphia Bulletin, the old PM newspaper. Because they were writer’s newspapers. Just like the Boston Globe. Or the Los Angeles Times (before Tribune Company microwaved it).”
Chicago was Bob Verdi. He was a very good writer and a very good friend.

McCoy resisted blogging over and over until the Daily News made him do it.
“Now I love it,” he said.
What does he love about it?
“No editors,”he answered. “No space limit. Nobody screwing with your copy.”

Just like this blog.

McCoy is working on his memoirs. He subscribes to the belief that baseball lends itself to poetic writing. “No doubt about it,” he said. “People ask me all the time how I come up with something different every day. Its because every game I have ever covered is different. I see something every week I’ve never seen before in a baseball game. It amazes you. Its like what Bart Giamatti wrote, ‘Its a game designed to break your heart.”

Around Southern Ohio McCoy is best known for his full-circle relationship with Reds icon Pete Rose. In 1978 he co-authored “The Official Pete Rose Scrapbook (The Life, Times and Streak of Charlie Hustle)” with Rose. “The amazing story about that book is the publisher gave me 500 pictures of Pete,” McCoy said. “I got together with Pete in Philadelphia one morning to get information for my cutlines, I had this stack of pictures for him to go through. He picked up every picture and told me what it was: ‘That’s the day I went three for five against Phil Niekro.’ We’d turn the photo over and he’d be right. We did the entire book that way. Amazing memory for baseball.”

Things changed.

Pete Rose (left) and Fred Lynn

“Its a long, long story,” McCoy said. “When Pete played he and I were great friends. You’d ask him a question and he would fill your notebook. In 1989 when all this broke my sports editor called me in. He said, ‘I know how close you are to Pete and can you cover this?’ I considered it an insult. I consider myself a professional. I said, ‘Yeah, I’ll do the job, wherever it takes me.”

McCoy spent all of the 1989 season grilling the feisty Rose with tough gambling related questions.
“I had to cover the games and also address that,” he said. “1989 was the bane of my career, plus here was a guy I loved and admired going down the tubes. We had four or five people covering the story but I was the guy who had to take it to him every day. He got to hate my guts.”

After Rose was suspended, McCoy and Rose did not speak for 15 years.

Furthermore, Rose would rip McCoy in comments to the press. Rose confessed to betting on baseball in his 2004 autobiography “My Prison Without Bars.” McCoy did not co-write that book.

McCoy said, “A year after that my wife and I were in Las Vegas during the all-star break and Pete was in a memorabalia shop signing autographs. My wife tells me to go say hello.” McCoy first thought that was a very bad idea but decided to follow through.

“Pete had his head down signing,” McCoy recalled. I said, ‘What do you say old timer?’ He looked up and his face turned red, purple and blue. But he jumped up, shook hands with me and invited me behind the table. We had our picture taken together and he signed it, ‘To a great Hall of Famer from the Hit King, Pete Rose.‘ We’ve been close ever since. I have his number in my cell phone.

“Pete’s not allowed in the press box, but soon after that he was outside the press box in Cincinnati and asked for me. I went out and Marty Brennaman, the Hall of Fame broadcaster came by. So the three of us are standing there talking and a fan came by with a camera.

The fan asked if he could take a picture of the three Red amigos. They agreed.

“The guy says, ‘Look at this, three Hall of Famers!,’ McCoy recalled with a smile. And Pete says, ‘Well, two and a half.”

McCoy has hall vote (he has voted for Ron Santo) and believes Rose should be in the Hall of Fame, but he shouldn’t be involved with major league baseball. “That’s the Catch-22,” he said. “To be eligible for the hall, he has to be reinstated. Bud (Selig, commissioner) hates him. It isn’t going to happen.

“Its an American sports tragedy.”

Characters in the game have changed over the years but McCoy doesn’t think the game itself has changed that much. “The major change is when they brought in the designated hitter, which I hate,” he said. “I’m a purist and a dinosaur.”

I told McCoy I think the game is slower than it was during the late 1960s and 1970s when I grew up watching a golden age of baseball.

“I tell people, if you love baseball, why do you care?,” he answered. “I know I complained about it when it got close to deadline, but that’s being selfish. Although its true, the batters get out of the box after every pitch. Readjust their batting gloves. Readjust their helmet. Knock the dirt out of their cleats. Step back in. Throw the pitch. Then do the routine all over again. (Former Reds first baseman) Sean Casey used to drive me crazy with his routine.”

Sean “The Mayor” Casey, Ertic Davis and  Ken Griffey, Jr. are among the favorite players McCoy has covered. “In 39 years of covering baseball, I’ve only had one player call me at home,” he said. “On the morning of my wedding to my current wife, my second wife, the phone rings. I pick it up. I hear, ‘Hal, it’s Sean Casey, I just want to congratulate you and wish you good luck on your marriage.’ Number one, I didn’t know he had my phone number. And number two, I didn’t know he knew I was getting married.

“But my all-time favorite is Aaron Boone.”

McCoy had gone blind. He was using a flashlight to help see things he dropped on the floor. He was depressed. He hadn¹t missed a Reds road trip in 35 years. “I only went to spring training that year because the sports editor made me,” he said. “I looked around the clubhouse in Sarasota and it was dark and blurry. I couldn’t recognize the faces of guys I covered for years. Aaron asked me what was wrong. I said, ‘You’re seeing me for the last time. I’m going home.’ He said, ‘What do you mean?’ I told him what happened.” Boone grabbed McCoy’s thick elbow and took him to the stool by his locker stall.

He told the old sportswriter to sit down.

“Then he said, ‘Don’t ever let me hear you say the word ‘quit’ again,” McCoy recalled with a twinkle in the eyes behind the glasses. “He said, ‘You love your job, you’re good at your job. We’ll help  you any way we can. And I was going home. I’d written critical stories of Aaron Boone, but for a ballplayer to do that for a writer is something.”

I told McCoy I sensed rebirth in his spirit.

“No doubt about it,”  he answered. “I would have been done. I’ll admit there were nights I laid in my condo in Florida during spring training and cried all night. Then I’d turn on my laptop and read e-mails from people encouraging me and telling me how much I meant to them since I’ve been around so long.

“Now there’s a whole lot more.”

A rainbow loomed in the distance.

 

June 10, 2011—

What’s up with grumpy record store guys?

Everyone has a bad day, but I’ve visited three record stores in three states this year and each experience was as uplifting as walking into an H&R Block office.

This cannot be a coincidence.

My conclusion was drawn at Magnolia Thunderpussy on High Street in Columbus, Ohio. It was around 11 a.m. a few Mondays ago, I was jacked up on coffee and Mountain Dew, the sun was shining and I was in a good mood. When I am on the road I go to record stores with the same M.O. as a visit to a Farmer’s Market. I ask questions about local stuff.  I pick up newspapers, fanzines and buttons.

And I look for regional music.

I was trying to find the Chrissie Hynde-J.P. Jones and the Fairground Boys collaboration. I gingerly told the old bald dude I wanted some Ohio music for my drive back to Chicago. I understand that Hynde is from Akron and realize Akron is 120 miles from Columbus.

“SHE’S NOT FROM HERE!,” he snarled.   I did know David Allan Coe once did prison time in Mansfield, Ohio, Maybe he shot a grumpy record store guy.

Although I was a taken aback by his attitude  I later asked about locating calypso and She & Him vinyl. “That’s all vinyl over there,” and he nodded over to a section of mostly dusty metal vinyl I had already perused. No one was in the store but him and me.

He declined to help me out.
I just left. He lost a sale and the assurance of a no-return visit when I come back to Columbus.

This behavior also happened to me at B-Side Records on State Street in Madison, Wis. and Streetside Records on Broadway in Kansas City, Mo. I was telling my retired Pabst Blue Ribbon pal Kyle Wortham these stories over a beer at the Black Beetle in Chicago. In the middle of our conversation I realized what all three of my experience had in common: each store was empty during my visit. And guys my age or older were on duty.

Wortham said The Numero Group in Chicago got called out by one of the co-founders of Record Store Day for opening a one-day pop-up store in a Wicker Park storefront during this year’s Record Store Day. (I was in Atlantic City on Record Store Day, where there are no record stores.)

I have spent most of my life playing records.
Vinyl fosters community and conversation, they’re more fun to bring out at parties than CDs or MP3s, and back in the day we rolled great joints on the inside of double albums like the Allman Brothers’ “Eat a Peach.”

Now many record store people are just no fun.


“It depends on the kind of record store it is,” said Ken Shipley, co-founder of The Numero Group. “If you have a record store that’s being run by people in their ’50s and ’60s who are dying to get out of the business, the record experience will be from someone who is burned out. Its tough to be a record store owner when the entire business is basically collapsing around you. But there’s a lot of younger people who are starting record stores where there’s a lot of positive energy going on.

“I’ve noticed the stores that are going to survive are the stores who have an older owner who lets go. And says, ‘I’m not capable of keeping up with all the new records and I need to find somebody who is going to do this younger stuff’ in the way that Reckless (in Chicago) does. They’re hands off. They’re letting the people manage the stores make decisions about whats going to come in and the people managing the stores are getting talented buyers to come in. Rick (Wojick) from Dusty Groove is another great example. He’s a family guy. He can’t be living and breathing records seven days a week any more and its that kind of key to not burning out entirely.
“You have to learn to let go.”

Ironically, last week I went to see “Everything Must Go” (with the Numero Group release
Group release “Traigo Montuno” by La Solucion on the soundtrack) for my birthday.
The Will Ferrell character based on the Raymond Carver short story found it difficult to part with his records.

After the rather dark movie I went to buy some calypso LPs at Dave’s Records in Chicago. It was about 6:30 p.m. on a Thursday. There were about 10 young people in the store, which carries more than 40,000 pieces of vinyl including ’45s and ’78s.

Owner Dave Crain was happy. The record store dates back to the late 1970s and he has worked in the same space for 27 years. Crain, 51, bought the former 2nd Hand Tunes store in 2002 and renamed it Dave’s.

“You don’t  want to see an empty record store,” Shipley said. “Dave’s riding this wave he’s probably been waiting for the last decade. You have to give people an experience they can’t get online. It has to be something more.”

HAPPY TIMES AT DAVE’S

That’s  sort of how Record Store Day spun out, but the event bothers me as someone who buys vinyl all the time, Why is it such a big deal once a year? I sent two proxies to Laurie’s to fetch a Steve Earle record (New West) on this year’s record store day and they were sold out by 10 a.m. I knew I would be out of town and called the store offering to pay for one in advance but I was nicely told that was “against the rules.”

Shipley told me “The Record Store Day people were upset with Numero’s custom release “Pressed at Boddie,” which was made just for Record Store Day. I didn’t even know there was a  Record Store Day governing body. I thought it was some organic thing, like Boddie.,

Boddie was a one-stop recording and production plant that flourished between 1969 and 1987 in Cleveland, Ohio.


Like a smaller version of King Records in Cincinnati, artists could cut a record, have it pressed and printed all in one day. Boddie grinded out gospel, soul, New Wave (Devo) and punk records. Boddie was the first to record the O’Jays live.

The love train has no room for grumpy record store guys.

The storefront label was owned and operated by Louise and Thomas Boddie. Thomas Boddie died in 2006.  On Record Store Day Numero Group sold out 1,000 LPs, 1,000 CDs and 300 cassettes of “Local Customs: Pressed at Boddie.” Some CDs are still available on The Numero Group website.

“On Record Store Day the competition was colored vinyl versions of records that already exist, Death Cab From Cutie made a record that was a seven inch needle drop, so there was 30 second samples of their record on a seven inch which is absoultely stupid,” Shipley explained. [It was the band’s idea.]

“We wanted to make a record that people would want to buy every day instead of this panic and purchase mindset. There’s never been a reissue label who has participated in Record Store Day like this, making a full fledged release.
“It was not tossed off.”

“Michael Kurtz (Record Store Day co-founder and president of the Music Monitor Network marketing company) was very upset about this. He didn’t bother to do any research on Numero, He decided to type in Boddie Recording Company and calls up this 80-year-old woman (Louise) who ran this label with her now-deceased husband. And he starts railing against her about Record Store Day. He didn’t understand this woman had no concept what Record Store Day is. Then he put a note on our blog that it was a hoax release, Its not the Record Store Day business we had a probem with, but it was with him. He went way over with what was okay.”

In a phone conversation from Los Angeles Kurtz said, “I’m not upset. I never was upset. I did call Louise because someone forwarded me the link on what they were doing. As coordinator of record store day, stores depend on me to find out what’s available, what’s not. I wasn’t familiar with the record. It was a real innocent thing for me. She was very nice. It was like talking to my Mom.

“Then I typed an e-mail to The Numero Group saying I called her. And Numero Group got real mad, They went off on how record labels were whoring out vinyl . We asked them (artists) to do a lot of this. Its important for us to connect with the Lady Gaga fan as much as it is to connect with Big Star or some obscure new band. Record Store Day  is not agnostic when it comes to that.

“Record Store Day is all about the stores and celebrating the culture of the stores. They’re mainly family owned businesses that are there for the community. Its not about someone trying to use it for their own marketing purposes. If they are so unhappy about Record Store Day, why are they marrying their name to it? Why don’t they do their own thing and call it ‘Numero Day’  or whatever. That’s cool.”

Kurtz said opening a pop-up store is a trick that takes advantage of Record Store Day, but added “that’s just life.” Kurtz learned about The Numero Group pop-up store because other record stores e-mailed him.

“Jack White opened a pop-up store, too,”: Kurtz said. “Any time something this cool occurs people are going to ride it different ways.”

Kurtz was happy I was writing about grumpy record store owners.
“When I started working on Record Store Day five years ago I ran into a lot of that,” he said. “It was very discouraging. All the bad decisions the music business made like giving marketing dollars to the mass merchants so they could sell CDs cheaper than the stores could buy then, that was the biggest example of disenfranchsiing a business. And they’re still bitter about it. Record Store Day has gone a long way to heal some of those wounds.

“But, man there’s a lot of people who are not happy campers.”

According to Record Store Day research, in 2008 there were 429 stores worldwide that participated in Record Store Day. In 2011 there are 1,967 stores registered on the site (1,117 in the United States, the U.K. next at 173).

“Pressed at Boddie” is just the tip of the iceberg for The Numero Group. The label is doing a 3-CD, 5 LP box set later this year that will tell the full story of the label. Shipley said, “The CD’s material that won’t appear on the box set. Its exclusive to the record. We wanted to do something that was an alternative to the madness of people trying to buy exclusive records that were coming out on Record Store Day. We wanted to give people who like to shop for records 365 days a  year a place to do so without standing in line just to get inside. Circus tricks and in-stores has its place and I Iove that Dusty Groove, Reckless, Laurie’s and Permanent all have their best days of the year, but that shopping experience isn’t one I consider to be very fun.”

I concur.

Dance to the music.