For the Record

I’m quoted in an article about B-Side Records in this week’s Isthmus. Record stores are a sacred place for me and many folks of my generation. I grew up in a small college town but in the early 80’s Cedar Falls had a couple of decent record stores. I loved going into just to look at the posters and flip through heavy racks of lps even when I was broke (which was most of the time). As the decade wore on, these places all folded and my only option was to enter the local mall and pick through the craptastic selections of the local Musicland. They did boast a decent bargain bin–for $3.99 I got a split cassette of After the Gold Rush and Harvest–but the feel of a mall music store always left me cold.

Here in Madison there are lots of options for music: Mad City Music, B-Side, and Resale Records are the main ones I go into but there are tons of other used shops all over the place. There’s something great about hanging out with strangers looking at records (or cds or whatnot) with tunes playing in the background and oodles of music paraphernalia adorning the walls. I’m a nervous and shy person who sometimes has trouble answering the phone or talking to strangers or walking into a store but record stores do not frighten me because music is so everything to me. Plus in Madison I know many of the clerks who are either fans or are in bands or are just nice enough to take an interest in what I purchase. Music stores are so 20th century and just like the movies and the newspapers I’m afraid they’re going to fade away way before their time.

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