Record stores: Unchained vinyl

(Manual Scan/Lemons Are Yellow vet Paul Kaufman recalls a time when music shopping meant leaving the house.)

Licorice Pizza logoIf you’re like me, you spent many hours flipping through records at stores, looking for treasures.

As a small kid, I started out locally, on Garnet Ave. in Pacific Beach. The Wherehouse and Licorice Pizza were a couple of blocks apart, so when I was just learning my history, I could spend hours looking at album covers and picking up magazines at those places.

As a 13-year-old, something commercially available was usually on the top of my list (early Badfinger fixation), and those sorts of places usually fit the bill. For a while, Licorice Pizza had a cut-out bin that had some real finds. They also carried imports, and I have distinct memories of saving up the princely sum of $2.50 each to buy the early Sex Pistols and Clash 45s (with real art sleeves! And no big hole in the middle!). It was a double thrill, because it was the closest thing to international travel I would experience until I was much older.

As my tastes matured, a big, commercial record store just wouldn’t do anymore. Fortunately, further down Garnet Ave. was a little store called Stiff Competition, run by a local rock ‘n’ roll dude named Larry, who had been a manager of the Licorice Pizza and also the drummer for Land Piranha. They had lots of used records, imports, and they carried the new local stuff coming out- I remember buying the Penetrators singles there. The used stuff and cutouts were cool, too — much of my hard-earned dishwashing money went there. I got the fabulous first Moby Grape LP (with the original poster!) there for $2.

I have fond memories of Off the Record for being totally up-to-date with everything I learned about from Rodney on the ROQ, and I liked how they would play everything from Crass to reggae on the sound system. But the most special record experience for me was a trip to Blue Meanie Records in El Cajon. Since this was almost an hour drive, a ride there was the Holy Grail. So much great ’60s and punk stuff, all at the same time! I liked it better before it moved to the new location; the old, tiny house they used to occupy was packed but had so much character. I remember seeing an original copy of the live EP “Something Else by the Move” behind the counter for $50, an astronomical figure.

To be sure, the CD-reissuing wave followed by the MP3 era has made a lot of music like that way more accessible than it was back in the day. But part of me still misses flipping through the stacks, looking at the covers.

Remember records? Album covers? Record stores? Tell us about your favorites.

– Paul Kaufman

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123 Responses to “Record stores: Unchained vinyl”

  1. Mmrothenberg Says:

    I went on a Googling expedition to find out the fate of the Licorice Pizza and Wherehouse chains. (Remember the tagline “Where? At the Wherehouse!”?)

    The 60-store Licorice Pizza chain was bought out by Musicland in 1986. And here’s a great thread devoted to defunct record chains. According to one reader, “Wherehouse bought Blockbuster Music in 1998. Wherehouse filed for bankruptcy in 2003 for the second time (the first time was in 1995). Wherehouse is now owned by Trans World Entertainment, which also owns FYE, Sam Goody, and Suncoast among others.”

    My own education in the world of alternative vinyl was shaped by Lou’s Records (“Slingin’ records since 1980″) when it was at its original location by VG’s donuts in Cardiff-by-the-Sea. As with so many of my standards for underground cool, I was guided by the example of marginally older North County hipsters like Todd Barker, Tammy Pollard, Steve Duke and Margarat Nee. (The Lou’s home page currently features a memorial to MRAT’s dad Tom and suggests donations in his honor to the THOMAS NEE COMMISSION c/o La Jolla Symphony & Chorus, 9500 Gilman Drive, UCSD 0361, La Jolla, CA 92093-0361. It’s hard to picture Amazon making such a gesture.)

  2. Mmrothenberg Says:

    I went on a Googling expedition to find out the fate of the Licorice Pizza and Wherehouse chains. (Remember the tagline “Where? At the Wherehouse!”?)

    The 60-store Licorice Pizza chain was bought out by Musicland in 1986. And here’s a great thread devoted to defunct record chains. According to one reader, “Wherehouse bought Blockbuster Music in 1998. Wherehouse filed for bankruptcy in 2003 for the second time (the first time was in 1995). Wherehouse is now owned by Trans World Entertainment, which also owns FYE, Sam Goody, and Suncoast among others.”

    My own education in the world of alternative vinyl was shaped by Lou’s Records (“Slingin’ records since 1980″) when it was at its original location by VG’s donuts in Cardiff-by-the-Sea. As with so many of my standards for underground cool, I was guided by the example of marginally older North County hipsters like Todd Barker, Tammy Pollard, Steve Duke and Margarat Nee. (The Lou’s home page currently features a memorial to MRAT’s dad Tom and suggests donations in his honor to the THOMAS NEE COMMISSION c/o La Jolla Symphony & Chorus, 9500 Gilman Drive, UCSD 0361, La Jolla, CA 92093-0361. It’s hard to picture Amazon making such a gesture.)

  3. Kristen Tobiason Says:

    Great topic Paul.
    My vinyl stomping grounds begin with Tower Records in the Sports Arena area (its doors closed forever in 2006) and I remember perusing the independent/alternative section in the late seventies for punk titles worthy of my allowance money. The excitement I equated with record shopping is comparable to most women buying new shoes…they were my candy, my Christmas, my Disneyland trip. I remember making late night record runs with my dad to get something “I had to hear right now” -- a Jimmy Reed or Ray Charles album.
    As I grew older, and familiar with San Diego Transit, I’d venture out to 60-somethingth (can’t remember) to explore Off the Record, enjoying the flood of 60′s reissues and compilations coming out in the early 80′s like Pebbles, Nuggets, Back from the Grave, Chocolate Soup, et al.
    Blue Meanies had some gems but an, correct me if I’m wrong, overpriced connoissuer attitude that is common amonst the collector clan,so that if you weren’t flush, it was almost uncomfortable to shop there. They were STUCK UP. (That might have changed after the place went Heavy Metal.) To rebel against the meanies, I became a faithful patron of “Swap a Tape” on Mainstreet in El Cajon. This place was full of unexpected surprises. I got my first Soft Boys album there, and some posters I wish I still had today -- Iggy Pop, Syd Barrett, New York Dolls. Long, long gone….
    My ex Danny Hammond and I spent our weekends hunting for records, from Ramona thrift stores to Flipside in the Sports Arena strip mall. Kobey’s Swap Meet was another great place, as long as the vendors kept ‘em out of the sun! Scoring used records was a crap shoot. Recall one time walking into Record Vault and someone had just dumped their entire Residents and Faust collection -- I bought the whole thing. That is a sweet memory and cannnot be duplicated. :)

  4. Kristen Tobiason Says:

    Great topic Paul.
    My vinyl stomping grounds begin with Tower Records in the Sports Arena area (its doors closed forever in 2006) and I remember perusing the independent/alternative section in the late seventies for punk titles worthy of my allowance money. The excitement I equated with record shopping is comparable to most women buying new shoes…they were my candy, my Christmas, my Disneyland trip. I remember making late night record runs with my dad to get something “I had to hear right now” -- a Jimmy Reed or Ray Charles album.
    As I grew older, and familiar with San Diego Transit, I’d venture out to 60-somethingth (can’t remember) to explore Off the Record, enjoying the flood of 60′s reissues and compilations coming out in the early 80′s like Pebbles, Nuggets, Back from the Grave, Chocolate Soup, et al.
    Blue Meanies had some gems but an, correct me if I’m wrong, overpriced connoissuer attitude that is common amonst the collector clan,so that if you weren’t flush, it was almost uncomfortable to shop there. They were STUCK UP. (That might have changed after the place went Heavy Metal.) To rebel against the meanies, I became a faithful patron of “Swap a Tape” on Mainstreet in El Cajon. This place was full of unexpected surprises. I got my first Soft Boys album there, and some posters I wish I still had today -- Iggy Pop, Syd Barrett, New York Dolls. Long, long gone….
    My ex Danny Hammond and I spent our weekends hunting for records, from Ramona thrift stores to Flipside in the Sports Arena strip mall. Kobey’s Swap Meet was another great place, as long as the vendors kept ‘em out of the sun! Scoring used records was a crap shoot. Recall one time walking into Record Vault and someone had just dumped their entire Residents and Faust collection -- I bought the whole thing. That is a sweet memory and cannnot be duplicated. :)

  5. Paul Kaufman Says:

    Thanks Kristen, for adding a necessary word: excitement. Nothing was more exciting when I was 14 than going to record stores.

    I do recall that there were financially unreachable collectors items on display at Blue Meanies like that picture sleeve EP I mentioned, but there were a lot of used records there for cheap, too. I’m sorry to hear you had negative experiences there- I never did, even though I was usually buying items that cost $2. It was more like a museum to me.

    And when did they go Heavy Metal? I think I’m glad I never saw that.

  6. Paul Kaufman Says:

    Thanks Kristen, for adding a necessary word: excitement. Nothing was more exciting when I was 14 than going to record stores.

    I do recall that there were financially unreachable collectors items on display at Blue Meanies like that picture sleeve EP I mentioned, but there were a lot of used records there for cheap, too. I’m sorry to hear you had negative experiences there- I never did, even though I was usually buying items that cost $2. It was more like a museum to me.

    And when did they go Heavy Metal? I think I’m glad I never saw that.

  7. Kristen Tobiason Says:

    Last time I went to Blue Meanies was in the late 90′s -- emphasis on speed metal -- employees resembled long haired tattooed Saxons reincarnate of the movie Beastmaster.

  8. Kristen Tobiason Says:

    Last time I went to Blue Meanies was in the late 90′s -- emphasis on speed metal -- employees resembled long haired tattooed Saxons reincarnate of the movie Beastmaster.

  9. Mmrothenberg Says:

    “By Odin’s beard, that’s a an album! Excellent purchase, wench. Wouldst thou like the making-of DVD?”

  10. Mmrothenberg Says:

    “By Odin’s beard, that’s a an album! Excellent purchase, wench. Wouldst thou like the making-of DVD?”

  11. Kristen Tobiason Says:

    A little Molly Hatchet…a little Roadwarrior…like the Riders of Rohan plugged in and revved up on east county sugar. To illustrate my point, go to any Guitar Center.

  12. Kristen Tobiason Says:

    A little Molly Hatchet…a little Roadwarrior…like the Riders of Rohan plugged in and revved up on east county sugar. To illustrate my point, go to any Guitar Center.

  13. Mmrothenberg Says:

    To read and discuss: The Gray Lady talks graying record-store patrons.

  14. Mmrothenberg Says:

    To read and discuss: The Gray Lady talks graying record-store patrons.

  15. Kristen Tobiason Says:

    HOPE FOR US:
    Record stores still exist and are thriving! My uncle owns a record store in Portland, Oregon called Vinyl Resting Place, specializing in collectable blues/folk/jazz records -- I repeat RECORDS -- not digital frisbees -- and he is self-supporting from the store. He reports that business is booming. I think the growing DJ population has helped vinyl flourish and the little jaded emo hipsters competing to outdo each other in obscurity.

    San Diego still has Lou’s, Off the Record, Record City and M-Theory, as well as Cow Records in OB.

  16. Kristen Tobiason Says:

    HOPE FOR US:
    Record stores still exist and are thriving! My uncle owns a record store in Portland, Oregon called Vinyl Resting Place, specializing in collectable blues/folk/jazz records -- I repeat RECORDS -- not digital frisbees -- and he is self-supporting from the store. He reports that business is booming. I think the growing DJ population has helped vinyl flourish and the little jaded emo hipsters competing to outdo each other in obscurity.

    San Diego still has Lou’s, Off the Record, Record City and M-Theory, as well as Cow Records in OB.

  17. Jason Seibert Says:

    We use to take the bus from Poway to blue meanie. It would take all day and we didn’t have any money so it was like we were going just to be surrounded by all this amazing stuff that was completely unattainable. I did buy the NON (from SD) single there. It had 2 holes in it and sounded so different, I didn’t know which one was correct. I bought the Sex Pistols live at winterland too. Big adult purchase, investment for me back then. It was easier to take the bus to Lou’s or Off the record, but for me it wasn’t the same experience. I remember buying the Circle Jerks album Group Sex the same day I saw them open for X at the Roxy in PB. That was one of my first shows and I still have that album and the reader clipping. Wasn’t Hall of Records in S.D.? Fuck, I just remembered, I use to take the bus to fashion Valley to go to the whorehouse or tower or whatever was there and steel like 5 records at a time. That’s how I got AC/DC powerage. Then I went outside and checked out my loot, sat down to read the Reader and there’s a whole article on Bon Scott’s Death. I wonder if I still have that album, hum……

  18. Jason Seibert Says:

    Hey, is that record store in the house with the old guy still on Adams?

  19. Jason Seibert Says:

    Hey, is that record store in the house with the old guy still on Adams?

  20. Paul Kaufman Says:

    I went to that Circle Jerks/X show! I thought it was funny that I was seeing that show in the same 99 cent theater where I had seen Jaws when I was 11.

    I love that first CJs album. It’s like 20 songs in 15 minutes.

  21. Paul Kaufman Says:

    I went to that Circle Jerks/X show! I thought it was funny that I was seeing that show in the same 99 cent theater where I had seen Jaws when I was 11.

    I love that first CJs album. It’s like 20 songs in 15 minutes.

  22. Simon Says:

    Jason: I still have that NON single you bought at Blue Meanie. It’s autopgraphed by the guy who wasn’t Boyd Rice. I can’t remember what I traded you for it. Sucker.

    On the larger topic, I want to put in a word for the late and lamented Arcade Records of Ocean Beach, first of Voltaire and then of Newport Avenue. That was where I went when I didn’t have the dough for Tower Records or the energy to get somewhere hipper. Great prices. Bins and bins full of crap and the occasional gem.

  23. Simon Says:

    Jason: I still have that NON single you bought at Blue Meanie. It’s autopgraphed by the guy who wasn’t Boyd Rice. I can’t remember what I traded you for it. Sucker.

    On the larger topic, I want to put in a word for the late and lamented Arcade Records of Ocean Beach, first of Voltaire and then of Newport Avenue. That was where I went when I didn’t have the dough for Tower Records or the energy to get somewhere hipper. Great prices. Bins and bins full of crap and the occasional gem.

  24. Simon Says:

    Oh, and I went to X and the Circle Jerks at the Roxy, too, and it blew my mind. Some girl got a broken nose in an altercation with John Doe, if I remember correctly. I know it was broken, because she ended up treated by mother, an ER nurse at Mercy Hospital, later that night. Are you on here, O broken-nose-punk-rock-girl-of-yore?

  25. Simon Says:

    Oh, and I went to X and the Circle Jerks at the Roxy, too, and it blew my mind. Some girl got a broken nose in an altercation with John Doe, if I remember correctly. I know it was broken, because she ended up treated by mother, an ER nurse at Mercy Hospital, later that night. Are you on here, O broken-nose-punk-rock-girl-of-yore?

  26. Dave Ellison Says:

    That was Folk Arts Records…I think it’s still on Adams, but in another location. I was at that X/Circle Jerks show too…that was the very last show at the Roxy before they tore it down. What’s funny is that there was a shop here in L.A a few years ago with a bunch of old punk flyers on the wall behind the counter. They had a flyer for that show, and I told my wife “I was at that show.” The kid behind the counter rolled his eyes at me and said, “You werent at that show.”

    We used to take the bus from Poway to Blue Meanie or Off The Record when we were 15, and yeah, it was an all day trip for either one…so you couldnt do it all the time. Blue Meanie was great because they always had old videos playing…it was worth the trip just for that. They also carried bootlegs, which Off The Record didnt, and had stacks of old rock magazines for sale.

    Most of the music I bought was from Licorice Pizza in Escondido, which was much easier to get to by bus. They had a good selection of imports (for the time).

    Licorice Pizza was open late on weekends. It was on Valley Parkway, which was a big cruising spot…lots of low riders. My friend John was 16 and could drive, so he borrowed his parents Buick (after being told by his dad not to take the car) and we went record shopping there. We were in the store for 15 or 20 minutes, came back out, started up the car…and it wouldn’t move. We checked it out, and it turned out people had stolen the driveshaft… right in the middle of the parking lot on a Saturday night! They must have spotted us while we were driving and followed us waiting until we parked. So we had to call his dad (who was not happy) to pick us up.

  27. Dave Ellison Says:

    That was Folk Arts Records…I think it’s still on Adams, but in another location. I was at that X/Circle Jerks show too…that was the very last show at the Roxy before they tore it down. What’s funny is that there was a shop here in L.A a few years ago with a bunch of old punk flyers on the wall behind the counter. They had a flyer for that show, and I told my wife “I was at that show.” The kid behind the counter rolled his eyes at me and said, “You werent at that show.”

    We used to take the bus from Poway to Blue Meanie or Off The Record when we were 15, and yeah, it was an all day trip for either one…so you couldnt do it all the time. Blue Meanie was great because they always had old videos playing…it was worth the trip just for that. They also carried bootlegs, which Off The Record didnt, and had stacks of old rock magazines for sale.

    Most of the music I bought was from Licorice Pizza in Escondido, which was much easier to get to by bus. They had a good selection of imports (for the time).

    Licorice Pizza was open late on weekends. It was on Valley Parkway, which was a big cruising spot…lots of low riders. My friend John was 16 and could drive, so he borrowed his parents Buick (after being told by his dad not to take the car) and we went record shopping there. We were in the store for 15 or 20 minutes, came back out, started up the car…and it wouldn’t move. We checked it out, and it turned out people had stolen the driveshaft… right in the middle of the parking lot on a Saturday night! They must have spotted us while we were driving and followed us waiting until we parked. So we had to call his dad (who was not happy) to pick us up.

  28. Jason Seibert Says:

    I remember all thoes bootlegs. I still have alot of vinyl. Through all the moves and life changes, still with me. I cant remember my wife’s phone # but i can pick up some albums and reflect on the day I bought it. Simon, do you still have generation X and the Jam promos from your father? Dave, ill dig up that RD photo with Scott. I think Alan Clark took it.

  29. Jason Seibert Says:

    I remember all thoes bootlegs. I still have alot of vinyl. Through all the moves and life changes, still with me. I cant remember my wife’s phone # but i can pick up some albums and reflect on the day I bought it. Simon, do you still have generation X and the Jam promos from your father? Dave, ill dig up that RD photo with Scott. I think Alan Clark took it.

  30. Ray Brandes Says:

    The old Folk Arts is now Curves, a gym, but Lou Curtis has a new location in a house on the same side of the street a few blocks west. Lou is a San Diego legend, a contemporary and friend of Tom Waits, and used to have his store on the corner of India and Washington Streets, back in the early to mid seventies. Lou is a virtual encyclopedia of information about folk, blues, jazz and country music. He’s got hundreds of hours of tapes, including extremely rare Bob Dylan live performances and bootlegs. I was hanging out in his store once and overheard him have a forty-five minute detailed conversation with a customer about Australian truck driving music! He also organizes the Adams Avenue Folk Festival and writes a column for the Troubador here in San Diego.

    Bart Mendoza is a great source of information about Licorice Pizza, particulary the Chula Vista store, where he worked from about 1978 or so. In addition to meeting all of the earliest San Diego mods in his store, his role as a buyer put him in contact with a lot of cool bands, and got him free concert tickets, promo stuff, etc.

  31. Ray Brandes Says:

    The old Folk Arts is now Curves, a gym, but Lou Curtis has a new location in a house on the same side of the street a few blocks west. Lou is a San Diego legend, a contemporary and friend of Tom Waits, and used to have his store on the corner of India and Washington Streets, back in the early to mid seventies. Lou is a virtual encyclopedia of information about folk, blues, jazz and country music. He’s got hundreds of hours of tapes, including extremely rare Bob Dylan live performances and bootlegs. I was hanging out in his store once and overheard him have a forty-five minute detailed conversation with a customer about Australian truck driving music! He also organizes the Adams Avenue Folk Festival and writes a column for the Troubador here in San Diego.

    Bart Mendoza is a great source of information about Licorice Pizza, particulary the Chula Vista store, where he worked from about 1978 or so. In addition to meeting all of the earliest San Diego mods in his store, his role as a buyer put him in contact with a lot of cool bands, and got him free concert tickets, promo stuff, etc.

  32. cricket Says:

    i was at that show with sean mc muffin ! thats where i first made buddies with chriss jarhead ! whata fuckin great guy, r.i.p., seans brother vince saved us after we all got kicked out, in his bitchen camero. we were little and drunk and cought in the frackus, what joy ! We have 3 independant record stores with in a few blocks of our house in down town st pete. well, ones a bit further out. me and the mrs still will spend a day sorting through records and hand the guy the card asking him to keep the tottal to himself. its been one of the greatest ways to stay connected and in love after being together for almost 18 years. a day in the record store, me running over to the other side to see what she found, her darting across the store as i recite loudly from the back cover in my best king lear. still feels the same. still buy records by bands i have never heard of cuz it looks promising. abba on 8 track -- i’ll take it ! an old adam ant picture disc i never saw back then or i did and couldent get it under my jacket fast enuf, put it in the pile. makes me feel like the koolist 15 year old in town ! then we can run home and sit on the floor drink tea and yell excitedly about all the bands we love and sort through all the stuff we havent looked at in a while. wishing we still had a record player that we could stack 3 or four platters on. still get lotsa great stuff out of thrift stores as well. the don hoe collection martin denny ect . all for .25 a peace ! i love you guys

  33. BOogie Says:

    a great record store was stacks o tracks and paperbacks over on india st, that fat sweaty doo wop guy over on 30th had nostalgia which was retarded expensive but there were deals to be had and the back room at the old dav was also my favorite. i now work in the oil business so between tulsa and houston there i have found some incredible records, no rock and roll but plenty of country and r and b.

  34. BOogie Says:

    a great record store was stacks o tracks and paperbacks over on india st, that fat sweaty doo wop guy over on 30th had nostalgia which was retarded expensive but there were deals to be had and the back room at the old dav was also my favorite. i now work in the oil business so between tulsa and houston there i have found some incredible records, no rock and roll but plenty of country and r and b.

  35. Tony suarez Says:

    I remember all those places. Nostalgia had stuff in his dollar pile that I still play to this day, soul and funk he had and didn’t care for. It was my treasure! People’s choice, I likes to do it I have a hard time going into Folk arts, the cat pee smell made it’s so way over to the newer location on Adams, just 4 blocks from Chez Suarez. Downtown, there was Arcade and Tasha’s. It finally closed. I have seen the tasha’s guy at record shows and he still has a ton of 45′s.

  36. Tony suarez Says:

    I remember all those places. Nostalgia had stuff in his dollar pile that I still play to this day, soul and funk he had and didn’t care for. It was my treasure! People’s choice, I likes to do it I have a hard time going into Folk arts, the cat pee smell made it’s so way over to the newer location on Adams, just 4 blocks from Chez Suarez. Downtown, there was Arcade and Tasha’s. It finally closed. I have seen the tasha’s guy at record shows and he still has a ton of 45′s.

  37. Bobby Lane Says:

    Lou Curtiss has a really cool radio show on 88.3,jazz 88 on sundays at 8 pm,dont know if you can get it on line but it is a great listen and a real treat,only an hour,so dont be late.The selection is mostly 20′s and 30′s music,but that’s where the roots of all the great music we all dig lies,so check it out.One of the last records I bought from Lou was a collection of Lonnie Johnson sides,a real find.If you want to hear something more contemporary,i.e. 60′s up til nowlisten to the Swami show on Saturday nights on 94.9 from 10 til 1 am,or you can check out archived shows on the 94.9 website anytime.Swami is actually John Reis of Rocket,Pitchfork,Drive like Jehu,Hot Snakes,Sultans and now Nightmarchers.Lots of 60′s 70′s and early 80′s punk as well as soul,funk and some pretty obscure psyche.you’ll dig it the most,if you dont already.I’m sure many here already know about both of these shows.

  38. Bobby Lane Says:

    Lou Curtiss has a really cool radio show on 88.3,jazz 88 on sundays at 8 pm,dont know if you can get it on line but it is a great listen and a real treat,only an hour,so dont be late.The selection is mostly 20′s and 30′s music,but that’s where the roots of all the great music we all dig lies,so check it out.One of the last records I bought from Lou was a collection of Lonnie Johnson sides,a real find.If you want to hear something more contemporary,i.e. 60′s up til nowlisten to the Swami show on Saturday nights on 94.9 from 10 til 1 am,or you can check out archived shows on the 94.9 website anytime.Swami is actually John Reis of Rocket,Pitchfork,Drive like Jehu,Hot Snakes,Sultans and now Nightmarchers.Lots of 60′s 70′s and early 80′s punk as well as soul,funk and some pretty obscure psyche.you’ll dig it the most,if you dont already.I’m sure many here already know about both of these shows.

  39. BOogie Says:

    yeah nostaligia is also where i got hooked up with love jones by the brighter side of darkness “it’s almost like that of a junkie”….”a test paper with nothing but a name on it?”

  40. BOogie Says:

    yeah nostaligia is also where i got hooked up with love jones by the brighter side of darkness “it’s almost like that of a junkie”….”a test paper with nothing but a name on it?”

  41. Bobby Lane Says:

    I think Tasha’s might be on 5th between elm and fir now,thats where he told me he was going when he closed,his son,dustin,also known as”Dirty” was one of the horn players in Rocket from the Crypt.Marc Rude told me to go there when they were on 4th at Horton plaza when I was getting into Blues.I got a Little Walter record,”Too Late”,that still frequently makes its way to my turntable now.A guy named Gary who worked with the Penetrators somehow steered me to that one and also proclaimed”Trout Mask Replica” as the greatest record of all time so much so that I eventually bought it.Dont know if I agree but it is great nonetheless.They had T-shirts with Marc’s artwork for sale there in the early eighties.I still see Gary around now and then,too.Anyone else know who I’m talking about?

  42. Bobby Lane Says:

    I think Tasha’s might be on 5th between elm and fir now,thats where he told me he was going when he closed,his son,dustin,also known as”Dirty” was one of the horn players in Rocket from the Crypt.Marc Rude told me to go there when they were on 4th at Horton plaza when I was getting into Blues.I got a Little Walter record,”Too Late”,that still frequently makes its way to my turntable now.A guy named Gary who worked with the Penetrators somehow steered me to that one and also proclaimed”Trout Mask Replica” as the greatest record of all time so much so that I eventually bought it.Dont know if I agree but it is great nonetheless.They had T-shirts with Marc’s artwork for sale there in the early eighties.I still see Gary around now and then,too.Anyone else know who I’m talking about?

  43. dylan rogers Says:

    I recall in 1979 standing in front of a Licorice Pizza my eye’s fixated on a gaint Devo poster in the window. My dad was laughing at the Devo poster, he was saying something about wearing planter pots and there head.

    The first records I ever bought were at the sports arena Tower Records.
    There was a small record store in O.B. were I bought my first Yardbirds record.
    My brother Sam and I bought our records together and shared them. We got our first Small Faces record at Kobeys flea Market. We lent it to someone and there kitten shit on the cover. Bummer.
    BUT… to me OfftheRecord was the shit. Sam and I would talk out mom into driving us out there in her yellow v.w. bug. It really seemed far away from O.B.
    I got some great records, T-Shirts and The Who patch that was on my parka which I still have and will till I die.

  44. dylan rogers Says:

    I recall in 1979 standing in front of a Licorice Pizza my eye’s fixated on a gaint Devo poster in the window. My dad was laughing at the Devo poster, he was saying something about wearing planter pots and there head.

    The first records I ever bought were at the sports arena Tower Records.
    There was a small record store in O.B. were I bought my first Yardbirds record.
    My brother Sam and I bought our records together and shared them. We got our first Small Faces record at Kobeys flea Market. We lent it to someone and there kitten shit on the cover. Bummer.
    BUT… to me OfftheRecord was the shit. Sam and I would talk out mom into driving us out there in her yellow v.w. bug. It really seemed far away from O.B.
    I got some great records, T-Shirts and The Who patch that was on my parka which I still have and will till I die.

  45. matt johnson Says:

    Dave E -- Must be something about surreptitious record store trips and drive shafts. Sean McMullen and I had just purchased karate shoes (which would make it what, like ’83?), and were behind the Tower Records on El Cajon Boulevard foraging through the dumpsters for displays & stuff. I had left the motor running “just in case”. Sure enough, someone opened the cargo bay. So we jumped in the van and I revved it up and slammed it into drive. Broke the U joint and had to call my parents. Sean had to walk/take the bus home. I only had a learners permit and couldn’t have passengers. I forget how I explained being there. Blame it on the karate shoes….

    When I was in Denver, I used to love Wax Trax.

  46. matt johnson Says:

    Dave E -- Must be something about surreptitious record store trips and drive shafts. Sean McMullen and I had just purchased karate shoes (which would make it what, like ’83?), and were behind the Tower Records on El Cajon Boulevard foraging through the dumpsters for displays & stuff. I had left the motor running “just in case”. Sure enough, someone opened the cargo bay. So we jumped in the van and I revved it up and slammed it into drive. Broke the U joint and had to call my parents. Sean had to walk/take the bus home. I only had a learners permit and couldn’t have passengers. I forget how I explained being there. Blame it on the karate shoes….

    When I was in Denver, I used to love Wax Trax.

  47. Dean Curtis Says:

    I loved Blue Meanie and Off The Record, but for different reasons.

    At BM they had so much stuff from the 60s British Invasion it was incredible. That was their main focus, so they had tons of vinyl from that genre, including bootlegs, as Dave E. mentioned. I remember buying the Who Zoo double LP bootleg that had almost every single they released in the mid 60s plus some great live recordings of them at The Richmond Jazz Festival and their incendiary version of My Generation from the Smothers Brothers TV show. I still have that album. BM also had magazines galore going back to Beatlemania. Plus, I spent countless hours sitting on the floor watching videos on weekends. They didn’t care at all if I hung out for hours.

    Off The Record was best for new stuff, like all the British imports, and singles by local bands. The owners, Larry and the other guy (who’s name escapes me), knew a ton about pre-punk like The Stooges (who they saw many times back in the 70s), 70s punk, and post punk. Later on they were the place to go for 60s garage.

    I also went occasionally to Tower at Sports Arena and near SDSU. A couple of times I got a job working at Tower in El Cajon when they close for inventory, which lasted 2 or 3 days. When they paid me I could buy anything I wanted for half-price! Needless to say I blew all my pay on records.

    In the 70s I used to ride the bus to Encore Records on El Cajon Blvd (near Euclid) for 45s. The place was filled with 45s, all for 35 cents each!

    Best thrift store vinyl finds in SD:
    The Troggs’ first album, Velvet Underground’s first complete with intact banana sticker, and Richie Valens’ first LP.

  48. Dean Curtis Says:

    I loved Blue Meanie and Off The Record, but for different reasons.

    At BM they had so much stuff from the 60s British Invasion it was incredible. That was their main focus, so they had tons of vinyl from that genre, including bootlegs, as Dave E. mentioned. I remember buying the Who Zoo double LP bootleg that had almost every single they released in the mid 60s plus some great live recordings of them at The Richmond Jazz Festival and their incendiary version of My Generation from the Smothers Brothers TV show. I still have that album. BM also had magazines galore going back to Beatlemania. Plus, I spent countless hours sitting on the floor watching videos on weekends. They didn’t care at all if I hung out for hours.

    Off The Record was best for new stuff, like all the British imports, and singles by local bands. The owners, Larry and the other guy (who’s name escapes me), knew a ton about pre-punk like The Stooges (who they saw many times back in the 70s), 70s punk, and post punk. Later on they were the place to go for 60s garage.

    I also went occasionally to Tower at Sports Arena and near SDSU. A couple of times I got a job working at Tower in El Cajon when they close for inventory, which lasted 2 or 3 days. When they paid me I could buy anything I wanted for half-price! Needless to say I blew all my pay on records.

    In the 70s I used to ride the bus to Encore Records on El Cajon Blvd (near Euclid) for 45s. The place was filled with 45s, all for 35 cents each!

    Best thrift store vinyl finds in SD:
    The Troggs’ first album, Velvet Underground’s first complete with intact banana sticker, and Richie Valens’ first LP.

  49. Todd Lahman Says:

    Oh my god! I was at that Circle Jerks/X show too! I think they played two sets. An early show and another. If I remember correctly I think John Doe was pissed about something and got into a little altercation with someone in the audience. I vividly remember Keith Morris drinking a Budweiser and spilling it everywhere.

  50. Todd Lahman Says:

    Oh my god! I was at that Circle Jerks/X show too! I think they played two sets. An early show and another. If I remember correctly I think John Doe was pissed about something and got into a little altercation with someone in the audience. I vividly remember Keith Morris drinking a Budweiser and spilling it everywhere.

  51. Jason Seibert Says:

    i just rememberd something else, everyone was chanting “nutrons Executives”, i guess they were sposto play and the CJs played insted?

  52. Jason Seibert Says:

    i just rememberd something else, everyone was chanting “nutrons Executives”, i guess they were sposto play and the CJs played insted?

  53. Harold Gee Says:

    A question…I went to a record store in Mission Hills, and it was only in business for a few months, but the guy was a total punk rock nazi. Anybody remember the name of that record store? I’ve got a great story from one of my visits there, and I’m just curious if anyone else went to the place. It was like on Goldfinch, or one o’ those streets just south of Washington Avenue. I hope somebody remembers this short-lived record store…because the owner was totally in love with punk rock.

  54. Harold Gee Says:

    A question…I went to a record store in Mission Hills, and it was only in business for a few months, but the guy was a total punk rock nazi. Anybody remember the name of that record store? I’ve got a great story from one of my visits there, and I’m just curious if anyone else went to the place. It was like on Goldfinch, or one o’ those streets just south of Washington Avenue. I hope somebody remembers this short-lived record store…because the owner was totally in love with punk rock.

  55. Harold Gee Says:

    And of course, one must include the two incarnations of Monty Rockers…the first one when Larry Shadget owned it, with the second owner being Dan Mclain. It was an important record store and I’m surprised it wasn’t mentioned. Also, how about Tasha’s Music City, that was run by Mike Milsap in downown San Diego for years and years, and got screwed when the gentrification of downtown was underway. As I remember, their rent tripled in one month, or something like that…a long time ago. They found a new location, still in downtown. Gary Rachac used to work there. Another person that knows a LOT about San Diego music history is Jan Tonneson, a guy with a good memory who’s been making music in San Diego for an embarassingly long time.

  56. Harold Gee Says:

    And of course, one must include the two incarnations of Monty Rockers…the first one when Larry Shadget owned it, with the second owner being Dan Mclain. It was an important record store and I’m surprised it wasn’t mentioned. Also, how about Tasha’s Music City, that was run by Mike Milsap in downown San Diego for years and years, and got screwed when the gentrification of downtown was underway. As I remember, their rent tripled in one month, or something like that…a long time ago. They found a new location, still in downtown. Gary Rachac used to work there. Another person that knows a LOT about San Diego music history is Jan Tonneson, a guy with a good memory who’s been making music in San Diego for an embarassingly long time.

  57. Dave Ellison Says:

    I used to have a flyer for Monty Rockers that I got handed at the first show I ever went to when I was 14. It had a picture of Gene Vincent on it and at the bottom, along with the address and phone number it said “Alcohol and drugs ok.” By the time I started going out to record stores that store was gone though.

  58. Dave Ellison Says:

    I used to have a flyer for Monty Rockers that I got handed at the first show I ever went to when I was 14. It had a picture of Gene Vincent on it and at the bottom, along with the address and phone number it said “Alcohol and drugs ok.” By the time I started going out to record stores that store was gone though.

  59. Tony suarez Says:

    Aww, Bobby! Now you got feel all bad about messing with the Lou Curtis. His radio show is amazing. Where does this stuff come from? He’s not just a magnet for all things americana, but a musuem of popular recorded music. Have you ever seen those large transcription discs he has? They look to be much larger than LP’s and spin at 16 rpm.

    I do the dj thing with Dirty at the Pink elephant, usually once a month. Kids will dance to anything after 3 or 4 strong drinks. It’s fun to watch the cute girls dance to “black Water Gold” by the Sunshine Band (without K.C). And at 11:30pm it gets interesting on the dance floor. We keep it 45rpm and scratchy.

  60. Tony suarez Says:

    Aww, Bobby! Now you got feel all bad about messing with the Lou Curtis. His radio show is amazing. Where does this stuff come from? He’s not just a magnet for all things americana, but a musuem of popular recorded music. Have you ever seen those large transcription discs he has? They look to be much larger than LP’s and spin at 16 rpm.

    I do the dj thing with Dirty at the Pink elephant, usually once a month. Kids will dance to anything after 3 or 4 strong drinks. It’s fun to watch the cute girls dance to “black Water Gold” by the Sunshine Band (without K.C). And at 11:30pm it gets interesting on the dance floor. We keep it 45rpm and scratchy.

  61. Mmrothenberg Says:

    Lou Curtiss wrote a neat article on SD music prehistory I referenced as a jumping-off point to discuss San Diego’s real old school. I’d love to interview him as well as some of our other veteran visitors to the site.

  62. Mmrothenberg Says:

    Lou Curtiss wrote a neat article on SD music prehistory I referenced as a jumping-off point to discuss San Diego’s real old school. I’d love to interview him as well as some of our other veteran visitors to the site.

  63. Kristen Tobiason Says:

    Harold Gee: That was Escort Records and it was on the corner of Goldfinch and University.

  64. Kristen Tobiason Says:

    Harold Gee: That was Escort Records and it was on the corner of Goldfinch and University.

  65. dylan rogers Says:

    Harlod Gee: Did the place on Goldfinch have a a glass counter with stickers and patchs, near the front door? I think I went in there once.

  66. dylan rogers Says:

    Harlod Gee: Did the place on Goldfinch have a a glass counter with stickers and patchs, near the front door? I think I went in there once.

  67. Tom Griswold Says:

    Dave: That Gene Vincent Monty Rockers flyer was by me. (Small world, huh?)

    Harold: Dan McLain (AKA Country Dick Montana) was the first owner of Monty Rockers, followed by Larry Shadgett. When Dan ran it, it was the single best hang-out record store that I have ever been in. And never crowded, save for the occasional party. He opened it up after shows on occasion, and the rock n’ roll vibe, mixed with beer and sweat, was like coming home.

    If you’re interested, here’s a thing on my blog about hanging out at Monty Rockers and how McLain turned me on to Gene Vincent and the Blue Caps: http://ladimensiondetrastos.blogspot.com/2007/12/behold-economic-solo.html

  68. Tom Griswold Says:

    Dave: That Gene Vincent Monty Rockers flyer was by me. (Small world, huh?)

    Harold: Dan McLain (AKA Country Dick Montana) was the first owner of Monty Rockers, followed by Larry Shadgett. When Dan ran it, it was the single best hang-out record store that I have ever been in. And never crowded, save for the occasional party. He opened it up after shows on occasion, and the rock n’ roll vibe, mixed with beer and sweat, was like coming home.

    If you’re interested, here’s a thing on my blog about hanging out at Monty Rockers and how McLain turned me on to Gene Vincent and the Blue Caps: http://ladimensiondetrastos.blogspot.com/2007/12/behold-economic-solo.html

  69. Harold Gee Says:

    Tom,
    Of course you’re right…I just sorta spaced out, probably from the heat and humidity down here…August in New Orleans, ya know. Monty Rockers when Dan owned it was superbly cool…and Dan would take beer in trade for records too.

    Kristen & Dylan,
    The little record store in Mission Hills was only open for a short time…I was only in there once or twice, and the first time I went there, I told the owner I liked punk rock, and he was instantly my friend, chatting excitedly and showing me records. There was a woman shopping while we spoke, and she comes up to the counter with a non-punk record she wanted to buy. He looks at the record, and asks her why she wants to buy such a stupid record. She’s dumbfounded, and then he starts yelling at her to get out of his store. It was pretty damn funny, but I guess that’s why he wasn’t in business very long.

  70. Harold Gee Says:

    Tom,
    Of course you’re right…I just sorta spaced out, probably from the heat and humidity down here…August in New Orleans, ya know. Monty Rockers when Dan owned it was superbly cool…and Dan would take beer in trade for records too.

    Kristen & Dylan,
    The little record store in Mission Hills was only open for a short time…I was only in there once or twice, and the first time I went there, I told the owner I liked punk rock, and he was instantly my friend, chatting excitedly and showing me records. There was a woman shopping while we spoke, and she comes up to the counter with a non-punk record she wanted to buy. He looks at the record, and asks her why she wants to buy such a stupid record. She’s dumbfounded, and then he starts yelling at her to get out of his store. It was pretty damn funny, but I guess that’s why he wasn’t in business very long.

  71. Dave Ellison Says:

    Tom, that’s funny you did that flyer…I kept it for years. Your description of Monty Rockers on your blog sounds like exactly what I imagined it to be when I was 14. I didnt know at the time who it was in the photo on the flyer, but this picture of a guy from the 50s with a cast on his leg rocking out with a pained looked on his face made a big impression on me.

  72. Dave Ellison Says:

    Tom, that’s funny you did that flyer…I kept it for years. Your description of Monty Rockers on your blog sounds like exactly what I imagined it to be when I was 14. I didnt know at the time who it was in the photo on the flyer, but this picture of a guy from the 50s with a cast on his leg rocking out with a pained looked on his face made a big impression on me.

  73. dylan rogers Says:

    Harold Gee: I went into that store once and I came and it was gone. The owner was very nice to me also. man I was pretty young then…. 82-83?

    There was a guy who lived across the street from where that shop was, acouple of years later.
    Jeff Flecher. I have always wondered what happen to that guy. He was a nice dude.

  74. dylan rogers Says:

    Harold Gee: I went into that store once and I came and it was gone. The owner was very nice to me also. man I was pretty young then…. 82-83?

    There was a guy who lived across the street from where that shop was, acouple of years later.
    Jeff Flecher. I have always wondered what happen to that guy. He was a nice dude.

  75. Tom Griswold Says:

    Harold: The record store on Goldfinch that has you wondering was callled Scratching the Surface, and the guy you’re talking about is Frank Gutch. I pay tribute to him on my blog as well:
    http://ladimensiondetrastos.blogspot.com/2008/01/were-going-to-take-short-break-while-we.html

  76. Tom Griswold Says:

    Harold: The record store on Goldfinch that has you wondering was callled Scratching the Surface, and the guy you’re talking about is Frank Gutch. I pay tribute to him on my blog as well:
    http://ladimensiondetrastos.blogspot.com/2008/01/were-going-to-take-short-break-while-we.html

  77. Mmrothenberg Says:

    Scratching the Surface: a great name — completely of the vinyl era!

  78. Mmrothenberg Says:

    Scratching the Surface: a great name — completely of the vinyl era!

  79. scott harber Says:

    On the sidebar of the Roxy, I remember going there to see a show that may have been the Penetrators or? There was a band called the Snails that opened and Kim Hideous brought a produce bag w/ loads of snails. They start playing and a few of us start throwing them at the singer kind of slowly pelting him in a cruel fashion. This then mutates into cigarettes etc. Really fucked up but very funny.

    Licorice Pizza in PB and Off the Record were the mainstays for our searches. I still have some Stiff Little Fingers and Magazine singles that I slipped into the middle of a Reader. Yes I’m working on the karma thing still.
    The big trips were to Lou’s and Blue Meanie. I still have a smelly Damned-Strawberries album that smells. PIL tin release.
    And Cliff Cunningham working later at OTR and releasing a few bottleg 45s of the Cramps etc. from shows in SD.
    I loved going and looking at the artwork-Generation X-Valley of the Dolls, Dead Boys, loads of cool odd compilation-Live at the Deaf Club.
    Great time spent but not good for the neck.

  80. Patrick Works Says:

    Tashas Music City was my alltime fave. I used to work the 45 bin for an hour and then haggle with Gary for another hour over the price. He always slipped me a couple of discs gratis ’cause I liked the same tunes he did. And I bought a LOT of 45s.

    My alltime fave was High Heel Sneakers by Tommy Tucker on Checker. Never played. Still had a little wax “X” on the inner groove. Gary’s 45 stash was primarily jukebox destined that never made it out of whatever warehouse he got ‘em from…top state secret of course…so they were mint. Freakin amazin.

    This was at 4th and Bway. I’m extatic to hear he’s still around…or at least Tasha’s is. My mom used to buy records from Tasha’s.

    2nd all time fave was Strictly Reggae run by Christifari, who also did very very very early dub parties as “rent me and I bring my 30 rasta friends” billed/booked as the “Christifari HI-FI”. My dad used to send me over there after school as he and Chris were friends. They’d have me clean the place and then pay me in …er …trade.

    He had an amazing pipeline straight to Jamaica and got a ton of very rare 45s. He and I parted company over my evolving love of Ska, which he had no respect for.

    I still have most of my 45s…the LPs escaped me.

    Pat

  81. Patrick Works Says:

    Tashas Music City was my alltime fave. I used to work the 45 bin for an hour and then haggle with Gary for another hour over the price. He always slipped me a couple of discs gratis ’cause I liked the same tunes he did. And I bought a LOT of 45s.

    My alltime fave was High Heel Sneakers by Tommy Tucker on Checker. Never played. Still had a little wax “X” on the inner groove. Gary’s 45 stash was primarily jukebox destined that never made it out of whatever warehouse he got ‘em from…top state secret of course…so they were mint. Freakin amazin.

    This was at 4th and Bway. I’m extatic to hear he’s still around…or at least Tasha’s is. My mom used to buy records from Tasha’s.

    2nd all time fave was Strictly Reggae run by Christifari, who also did very very very early dub parties as “rent me and I bring my 30 rasta friends” billed/booked as the “Christifari HI-FI”. My dad used to send me over there after school as he and Chris were friends. They’d have me clean the place and then pay me in …er …trade.

    He had an amazing pipeline straight to Jamaica and got a ton of very rare 45s. He and I parted company over my evolving love of Ska, which he had no respect for.

    I still have most of my 45s…the LPs escaped me.

    Pat

  82. Mmrothenberg Says:

    Patrick’s back! Patrick’s back!! First Jeremiah, now Patrick … It’s a fall harvest of coolness!

  83. Mmrothenberg Says:

    Patrick’s back! Patrick’s back!! First Jeremiah, now Patrick … It’s a fall harvest of coolness!

  84. James Harrell Says:

    Strictly Reggae- I still have every record that I ever purchased there. He had stuff I have never seen again. I seem to recall one of his Jamaican connections was straight to Trojan Records.
    Blue Meanie- Like Dean, I used to hang out watching videos for hours. They also had bookshelves full of cheap 45′s that formed the foundation of my soul/R&B/Motown collecting interest. They also were the go to store for import 45′s- I still have all the early punk and Mod singles I bought back then.
    Off The Record- Another hot bed for punk/mod/ska as well as soul albums. Larry and Rich(the other guy) were unlikely looking rockers, but were encyclopedic in their musical tastes and knowledge.
    Tasha’s- I spent many hours digging through boxes when Tabitha was working there in the early 80′s, rustling up the as many of those mint gems as I could afford.
    Lou’s- A long drive for me, but was, and remains a treasure trove. I hadn’t been there in nearly 15 years, when I made a visit after returning to San Diego. I had to go without groceries for a few days after overspending at the store.
    LA Favorites- No trip to LA was complete without trips to Aaron’s and Vinyl Fetish. I would always be returning down the freeway with a pile of records strapped to my scooter. There werc one or two others on Melrose, but their names escape me now.
    One of my most pleasant memories in my life revolves around record stores. It is of a day that has become especially poignant over time. The day of my high school graduation sucked. Several friends who had promised to attend the ceremonies no showed, I was graduating from a school I hated, night time parties were a washout. But one friend made the trip down from North County- Steve Foth. We spent the night driving around the streets of San Diego, drinking heavily along the way. We woke up the next morning with pounding hangovers. But, I was flush with graduation cash from my relatives. Steve and I hit the road on our scooters, with the intent of hitting as many SD County record stores as we could, in a single day. We started out in East County at Blue Meanie, and ended the day at the original Lou’s location, with another 8-10 stores in between. I spent several hundred dollars on records that day. I don’t believe I have purchased as many records in a single day since then.
    It was a sunny day, just me and my best friend, on our scooters, a pocketful of carefree cash, and a mutual love of recorded music.

  85. James Harrell Says:

    Strictly Reggae- I still have every record that I ever purchased there. He had stuff I have never seen again. I seem to recall one of his Jamaican connections was straight to Trojan Records.
    Blue Meanie- Like Dean, I used to hang out watching videos for hours. They also had bookshelves full of cheap 45′s that formed the foundation of my soul/R&B/Motown collecting interest. They also were the go to store for import 45′s- I still have all the early punk and Mod singles I bought back then.
    Off The Record- Another hot bed for punk/mod/ska as well as soul albums. Larry and Rich(the other guy) were unlikely looking rockers, but were encyclopedic in their musical tastes and knowledge.
    Tasha’s- I spent many hours digging through boxes when Tabitha was working there in the early 80′s, rustling up the as many of those mint gems as I could afford.
    Lou’s- A long drive for me, but was, and remains a treasure trove. I hadn’t been there in nearly 15 years, when I made a visit after returning to San Diego. I had to go without groceries for a few days after overspending at the store.
    LA Favorites- No trip to LA was complete without trips to Aaron’s and Vinyl Fetish. I would always be returning down the freeway with a pile of records strapped to my scooter. There werc one or two others on Melrose, but their names escape me now.
    One of my most pleasant memories in my life revolves around record stores. It is of a day that has become especially poignant over time. The day of my high school graduation sucked. Several friends who had promised to attend the ceremonies no showed, I was graduating from a school I hated, night time parties were a washout. But one friend made the trip down from North County- Steve Foth. We spent the night driving around the streets of San Diego, drinking heavily along the way. We woke up the next morning with pounding hangovers. But, I was flush with graduation cash from my relatives. Steve and I hit the road on our scooters, with the intent of hitting as many SD County record stores as we could, in a single day. We started out in East County at Blue Meanie, and ended the day at the original Lou’s location, with another 8-10 stores in between. I spent several hundred dollars on records that day. I don’t believe I have purchased as many records in a single day since then.
    It was a sunny day, just me and my best friend, on our scooters, a pocketful of carefree cash, and a mutual love of recorded music.

  86. Blake Wilson Says:

    I remember Scratching the Surface, I believe. Was it a tiny little place, maybe painted pink? I might be confusing it with a shop near University and 5th/6th that was kind of at an angle. I remember they had all the free Joy Division flexi’s you could want there.

    I haven’t seen anyone mention Arcade records at (I believe) Market/7th. I believe it’s now a parking garage. I bought the Battalion of Saints “Fighting Boys” 12″ EP there; it was proudly displayed at the counter!

  87. Blake Wilson Says:

    I remember Scratching the Surface, I believe. Was it a tiny little place, maybe painted pink? I might be confusing it with a shop near University and 5th/6th that was kind of at an angle. I remember they had all the free Joy Division flexi’s you could want there.

    I haven’t seen anyone mention Arcade records at (I believe) Market/7th. I believe it’s now a parking garage. I bought the Battalion of Saints “Fighting Boys” 12″ EP there; it was proudly displayed at the counter!

  88. the P Gargoyle Says:

    RICHARD HELL & THE VOIDOIDS-Blank Generation/Love Comes In Spurts 2 SIDED PROMO 7 INCH $ 85
    HELMET-Repition 7 INCH $
    HELMET-Give It /Meantime/Oven (Melvins) 7 INCH $
    HOUSE OF PAIN-Shamrocks & Shenaningans 7 INCH $
    INFA RIOT-Winner 7 IN $40
    INFA RIOT-Kids Of The 80′s 7 INCH $28 VG+/VG+
    INGNITION-Anxiety Asking 7 INCH $28
    INJECTIONS-Prison Walls/Lies 7 INCH $450
    JAM-In The City 1977 1st 7 INCH $22
    JAM-This Is The Modern World 7 INCH $28 VG+/VG+
    JAM-News Of the World 7 INCH $25
    JAM-A Bomb In Wardour Street 7 INCH $15 VG+/VG+
    JAM-When Your Young 7 INCH $15 VG+/VG+
    JAM-Eton Rifles 7 INCH $7 VG+/VG+
    JAM-Absolute Beginners 7 INCH $
    JAM-Going Underground/Dreams Of Children WHITE LABEL PROMO 7 INCH $25
    JAM-Funeral Pyre 7 INCH $10
    JAM-Pop AT Poem YELLOW FLEXI 7 INCH $30
    BRIAN JAMES-AInt That A SHame 7 INCH $
    JFA-Blatant Localism 7 INCH $45
    JERRY’S KIDS-Spymaster ./ Need Some The Original PRESS Red Wax $15
    JERRY’S KIDS-Spymaster ./ Torn Apart The Original PRESS $15
    JESUS LIZARD-Gladiator /Boilermaker DEMO VERSION 7 INCH $25
    JESUS & MARYCHAIN-Side Walking 7 INCH $25 VG+/VG+
    JESUS & MARYCHAIN-1st SINGLE 7 INCH $50 VG+/VG+
    JESUS & MARYCHAIN-Double 7 INCH $25
    JJISO_1978 KBD 7 INCH $38
    JOHNNY & THE SELF ABUSERS-S/T 7 INCH $35

    Sorry,I had to post this in this area since I didn’t know where else to put it. TAANG records in Hillcrest is the hottest new record store in the area. I went in a few months ago and chatted with Miggs who runs the shop. I found out that the owner is an Injections fan. I had to post all of these 7 inches because I was blown away by waht the Injections 7 inch is selling for. Back in the day we called them 45s :) Anyways I digress. Carry on.

  89. the P Gargoyle Says:

    RICHARD HELL & THE VOIDOIDS-Blank Generation/Love Comes In Spurts 2 SIDED PROMO 7 INCH $ 85
    HELMET-Repition 7 INCH $
    HELMET-Give It /Meantime/Oven (Melvins) 7 INCH $
    HOUSE OF PAIN-Shamrocks & Shenaningans 7 INCH $
    INFA RIOT-Winner 7 IN $40
    INFA RIOT-Kids Of The 80′s 7 INCH $28 VG+/VG+
    INGNITION-Anxiety Asking 7 INCH $28
    INJECTIONS-Prison Walls/Lies 7 INCH $450
    JAM-In The City 1977 1st 7 INCH $22
    JAM-This Is The Modern World 7 INCH $28 VG+/VG+
    JAM-News Of the World 7 INCH $25
    JAM-A Bomb In Wardour Street 7 INCH $15 VG+/VG+
    JAM-When Your Young 7 INCH $15 VG+/VG+
    JAM-Eton Rifles 7 INCH $7 VG+/VG+
    JAM-Absolute Beginners 7 INCH $
    JAM-Going Underground/Dreams Of Children WHITE LABEL PROMO 7 INCH $25
    JAM-Funeral Pyre 7 INCH $10
    JAM-Pop AT Poem YELLOW FLEXI 7 INCH $30
    BRIAN JAMES-AInt That A SHame 7 INCH $
    JFA-Blatant Localism 7 INCH $45
    JERRY’S KIDS-Spymaster ./ Need Some The Original PRESS Red Wax $15
    JERRY’S KIDS-Spymaster ./ Torn Apart The Original PRESS $15
    JESUS LIZARD-Gladiator /Boilermaker DEMO VERSION 7 INCH $25
    JESUS & MARYCHAIN-Side Walking 7 INCH $25 VG+/VG+
    JESUS & MARYCHAIN-1st SINGLE 7 INCH $50 VG+/VG+
    JESUS & MARYCHAIN-Double 7 INCH $25
    JJISO_1978 KBD 7 INCH $38
    JOHNNY & THE SELF ABUSERS-S/T 7 INCH $35

    Sorry,I had to post this in this area since I didn’t know where else to put it. TAANG records in Hillcrest is the hottest new record store in the area. I went in a few months ago and chatted with Miggs who runs the shop. I found out that the owner is an Injections fan. I had to post all of these 7 inches because I was blown away by waht the Injections 7 inch is selling for. Back in the day we called them 45s :) Anyways I digress. Carry on.

  90. P Gargoyle Says:

    @ footnote: TAANG recprds isnt that new…just to me :)

  91. P Gargoyle Says:

    @ footnote: TAANG recprds isnt that new…just to me :)

  92. P Gargoyle Says:

    p.s. I still need spellcheck.

  93. P Gargoyle Says:

    p.s. I still need spellcheck.

  94. Bruce Injection Says:

    I Love the $450 for an Injection single ! I don’t think we ever got paid that much for an entire show.

    Bruce

  95. Bruce Injection Says:

    I Love the $450 for an Injection single ! I don’t think we ever got paid that much for an entire show.

    Bruce

  96. Mmrothenberg Says:

    WOW! Four hundred and fifty bucks!! You guys are like … the Magna Carta or something.

  97. Mmrothenberg Says:

    WOW! Four hundred and fifty bucks!! You guys are like … the Magna Carta or something.

  98. P Gargoyle Says:

    Did we ever even get paid for a show?? Weren’t they always trying to charge US for a broken mic.

  99. P Gargoyle Says:

    Did we ever even get paid for a show?? Weren’t they always trying to charge US for a broken mic.

  100. P Gargoyle Says:

    OH …and I thought it was extremely interesting that our single was selling for more than a boxed set of Johnny Cash. Who would have thought.

  101. P Gargoyle Says:

    OH …and I thought it was extremely interesting that our single was selling for more than a boxed set of Johnny Cash. Who would have thought.

  102. Bruce Injection Says:

    I have a guy from Texas willing to fly to RI to buy original 45 cover art ! The word “Art” is used so loosely nowadays, huh?

    bruce

  103. Bruce Injection Says:

    I have a guy from Texas willing to fly to RI to buy original 45 cover art ! The word “Art” is used so loosely nowadays, huh?

    bruce

  104. Dr. Eustaquio Kirby D.O.D. Says:

    Speaking of cool record stores, I remember back in 1977 in Escondido, I chanced upon this rather small, yet impressive store called Gary’s Record Paradise. This guy (Gary Goldstein) had a slough of insanely great records of all types in just about all genres. As well, he had cassettes and the old 8-tack tapes which were neat because that’s what my car had in those days. My buddies and my girlfriend would make a pilgrimage to that store to find the Holy Grails of records every week or so, then afterwards head on down to George & Ann’s Burger place (also in Escondido), and then at night to the Escondido Drive-in Theatre. Gary’s record paradise enabled me to learn a wealth of appreciation for music and music history that I would probably never have known about otherwise, due to Gary’s never ending dispersal of education foisted upon his customers (in good taste, of course). I have since as a result, passed this musical history for better or for worse to my kids. Gary sold the store to Pauletta & Michael Burke in early 2003, and have retained Gary’s old Manager, Eustaquio, as a consultant. This is great because he’s also relentless as to educating his customers as well (also in good taste). The store has moved many times since 1977, but it is still there in Escondido at 440 West Felicita Ave. Suite 106. Phone: (The same as back then) (760) 741-8778.

  105. Dr. Eustaquio Kirby D.O.D. Says:

    Speaking of cool record stores, I remember back in 1977 in Escondido, I chanced upon this rather small, yet impressive store called Gary’s Record Paradise. This guy (Gary Goldstein) had a slough of insanely great records of all types in just about all genres. As well, he had cassettes and the old 8-tack tapes which were neat because that’s what my car had in those days. My buddies and my girlfriend would make a pilgrimage to that store to find the Holy Grails of records every week or so, then afterwards head on down to George & Ann’s Burger place (also in Escondido), and then at night to the Escondido Drive-in Theatre. Gary’s record paradise enabled me to learn a wealth of appreciation for music and music history that I would probably never have known about otherwise, due to Gary’s never ending dispersal of education foisted upon his customers (in good taste, of course). I have since as a result, passed this musical history for better or for worse to my kids. Gary sold the store to Pauletta & Michael Burke in early 2003, and have retained Gary’s old Manager, Eustaquio, as a consultant. This is great because he’s also relentless as to educating his customers as well (also in good taste). The store has moved many times since 1977, but it is still there in Escondido at 440 West Felicita Ave. Suite 106. Phone: (The same as back then) (760) 741-8778.

  106. Mmrothenberg Says:

    >>Speaking of cool record stores, I remember back in 1977 in Escondido, I chanced upon this rather small, yet impressive store called Gary’s Record Paradise. This guy (Gary Goldstein) had a slough of insanely great records of all types in just about all genres. … My buddies and my girlfriend would make a pilgrimage to that store to find the Holy Grails of records every week or so, then afterwards head on down to George & Ann’s Burger place (also in Escondido), and then at night to the Escondido Drive-in Theatre.

    Dr. Kirby: That’s a cool thing about San Diego County I should’ve appreciated more … I wanted everything concentrated and urban, but there were actually these pockets of funkiness scattered all over those thousands of square miles.

    I know none of the Escondido institutions to which you refer, and I lived, what? Twenty minutes from Escondido?

  107. Mmrothenberg Says:

    >>Speaking of cool record stores, I remember back in 1977 in Escondido, I chanced upon this rather small, yet impressive store called Gary’s Record Paradise. This guy (Gary Goldstein) had a slough of insanely great records of all types in just about all genres. … My buddies and my girlfriend would make a pilgrimage to that store to find the Holy Grails of records every week or so, then afterwards head on down to George & Ann’s Burger place (also in Escondido), and then at night to the Escondido Drive-in Theatre.

    Dr. Kirby: That’s a cool thing about San Diego County I should’ve appreciated more … I wanted everything concentrated and urban, but there were actually these pockets of funkiness scattered all over those thousands of square miles.

    I know none of the Escondido institutions to which you refer, and I lived, what? Twenty minutes from Escondido?

  108. Scott Farrar Says:

    I love Gary’s-it’s where I bought my first 8-track (Boomtown rats) and my first Album (Ramones R-to-R). Escondido had the quirky combination of being a rural enclave but also an urban center for inland North County. Jeez-The Escondido Mall built in the early 70′s was the first major indoor mall west of the Mississppi (I think). The Vineyard Plaza had the ‘King of England’ English Pastry shop (best British Pastries and Teas in the US…). The Drive-in was always fun-during the day it was a huge swap meet, then at night it was make-out central. And I must say then numerous thrift stores offered awesome opportunities for vintage clothing due to the aged population in Escondido and Rancho Bernardo. Sigh--I’m getting homesick

  109. Scott Farrar Says:

    I love Gary’s-it’s where I bought my first 8-track (Boomtown rats) and my first Album (Ramones R-to-R). Escondido had the quirky combination of being a rural enclave but also an urban center for inland North County. Jeez-The Escondido Mall built in the early 70′s was the first major indoor mall west of the Mississppi (I think). The Vineyard Plaza had the ‘King of England’ English Pastry shop (best British Pastries and Teas in the US…). The Drive-in was always fun-during the day it was a huge swap meet, then at night it was make-out central. And I must say then numerous thrift stores offered awesome opportunities for vintage clothing due to the aged population in Escondido and Rancho Bernardo. Sigh--I’m getting homesick

  110. Dawn Says:

    Trips out to Blue Meanie and Lou’s, et al, on the bus….me, too! My friend Sid and I got stuck out there one night as the buses had stopped running. We ended up hitchhiking and got rides back to Pacific Beach with a couple cool bikers. Am I remembering this correctly -- did Blue Meanie have a deal where you could get a paper shopping bag full of promo 45s for one price?? I loved those stores for new alternative music, Arcade records downtown for great retro used stuff (although wasn’t it on 5th and down some stairs from street level?), Licorice Pizza in CV for new imports, The Wherehouse in CV for new 45s and their small bin of imports/alt vinyl (I bought a Pretenders one-sided single there -- anyone remember that short lived idea?), Stiff Competition in PB for imports and bootlegs (they had a great boot supplier who I’d run into often and my current hubby worked there part time with Kenzo of SD fanzine LIVELY ARTS when Dave owned the shop), and, I am surprised no one has mentioned this place, The Hall of Records on Garnet in PB. Not the greatest store, but I would find a good deal on something every so often.

    Folk Arts Rare Records is a fabulous store. And that’s not cat pee you smell….it’s Lou’s pet hamsters. A great collection and a great, knowledgable man.

    I miss shopping with Ruth and Betsy at Nickelodeon Records on Adams Ave. in Normal Heights. I found a lot of great stuff there over the years, including the original vinyl LP from the tv show DARK SHADOWS, an album by THE MOVE (pre-ELO), and an Aquanettas 45, of all things.

    Anyone remember a small store that opened in the early ’90s on 5th downtown that was downstairs from street level and had punk/mod books, flyers, records and stuff for sale?

  111. Dawn Says:

    Trips out to Blue Meanie and Lou’s, et al, on the bus….me, too! My friend Sid and I got stuck out there one night as the buses had stopped running. We ended up hitchhiking and got rides back to Pacific Beach with a couple cool bikers. Am I remembering this correctly -- did Blue Meanie have a deal where you could get a paper shopping bag full of promo 45s for one price?? I loved those stores for new alternative music, Arcade records downtown for great retro used stuff (although wasn’t it on 5th and down some stairs from street level?), Licorice Pizza in CV for new imports, The Wherehouse in CV for new 45s and their small bin of imports/alt vinyl (I bought a Pretenders one-sided single there -- anyone remember that short lived idea?), Stiff Competition in PB for imports and bootlegs (they had a great boot supplier who I’d run into often and my current hubby worked there part time with Kenzo of SD fanzine LIVELY ARTS when Dave owned the shop), and, I am surprised no one has mentioned this place, The Hall of Records on Garnet in PB. Not the greatest store, but I would find a good deal on something every so often.

    Folk Arts Rare Records is a fabulous store. And that’s not cat pee you smell….it’s Lou’s pet hamsters. A great collection and a great, knowledgable man.

    I miss shopping with Ruth and Betsy at Nickelodeon Records on Adams Ave. in Normal Heights. I found a lot of great stuff there over the years, including the original vinyl LP from the tv show DARK SHADOWS, an album by THE MOVE (pre-ELO), and an Aquanettas 45, of all things.

    Anyone remember a small store that opened in the early ’90s on 5th downtown that was downstairs from street level and had punk/mod books, flyers, records and stuff for sale?

  112. Mmrothenberg Says:

    Here’s a gratuitous comment aimed purely at pulling this thread back into the light. Let’s hear more about record stores!

  113. Mmrothenberg Says:

    Here’s a gratuitous comment aimed purely at pulling this thread back into the light. Let’s hear more about record stores!

  114. louis damian Says:

    record stores are
    the best therapy

    i stop in to chat up
    lou curtiss
    at least 2 days a week
    and we all get together
    at the bar on the
    corner
    every other
    tuesday eve
    harpn and a stringing

  115. louis damian Says:

    record stores are
    the best therapy

    i stop in to chat up
    lou curtiss
    at least 2 days a week
    and we all get together
    at the bar on the
    corner
    every other
    tuesday eve
    harpn and a stringing

  116. Darren Bolforth Says:

    Of late the pickings are getting thinner in the city, most of the vinyl shops have moved out to the sticks ;) . About the last holdout is Tashas Music City in the Banker’s Hill/ Little Italy area. Downtown proper has been pretty much taken over by yuppies and their larvae.

  117. Darren Bolforth Says:

    Of late the pickings are getting thinner in the city, most of the vinyl shops have moved out to the sticks ;) . About the last holdout is Tashas Music City in the Banker’s Hill/ Little Italy area. Downtown proper has been pretty much taken over by yuppies and their larvae.

  118. tony Suarez Says:

    Let’s hear for the swap meets in San Diego: El cajon, the sweetwater/spring Valley one. Kobey’s is good for copping a 45 or two (and you might run into Eric Bacher, like I have). I’ve taken home many a treasure and find over the years.

    Tasha’s is precious. I remember when it was across from Horton Plaza pre Horton Plaza.

  119. tony Suarez Says:

    Let’s hear for the swap meets in San Diego: El cajon, the sweetwater/spring Valley one. Kobey’s is good for copping a 45 or two (and you might run into Eric Bacher, like I have). I’ve taken home many a treasure and find over the years.

    Tasha’s is precious. I remember when it was across from Horton Plaza pre Horton Plaza.

  120. Gabriel Corona Says:

    In response to Eustaco Kirby’s message I have to say that Gary’s Record Paradise is the best record store I have ever been to. It provides a comfortable and warm atmosphere, which are things that are lost in stores such as F.Y.E and Best Buy. Lou’s Records has become such a lame place to visit.
    One mentionable record store is in Temecula, CA. They carry a lot of rare items. As far as Gary’s Record Paradise goes, it will be closing very soon. The owner is selling all his records half off and used cd’s. The new cd’s are 25 percent off. This sale will remain in effect until we close. The store would appreciate your final visit along with its great offers. Go visit.

  121. Gabriel Corona Says:

    In response to Eustaco Kirby’s message I have to say that Gary’s Record Paradise is the best record store I have ever been to. It provides a comfortable and warm atmosphere, which are things that are lost in stores such as F.Y.E and Best Buy. Lou’s Records has become such a lame place to visit.
    One mentionable record store is in Temecula, CA. They carry a lot of rare items. As far as Gary’s Record Paradise goes, it will be closing very soon. The owner is selling all his records half off and used cd’s. The new cd’s are 25 percent off. This sale will remain in effect until we close. The store would appreciate your final visit along with its great offers. Go visit.

  122. Dean Jones Says:

    I saw someone had mentioned “swap a tape” I worked there for a few months in 1990. It was a dirty little shopt that had a lot of records no one wanted and a lot of Cassette tapes and a whole wall of 8-tracks that were all stuck together.
    The place was kind of lame in that whatever good stuff came in, the owner “Chet” would take to LA and sell at weekend swap meets there, and most of the stuff on the floor was unsellable. If you found something you liked, you were lucky.
    I think I remember that he had some “Bootsy Collins” Albums behind the register, but that was about it.-

  123. Katie Says:

    I used to work at Wherehouse Records and then Licorice Pizza in Pacific Beach, and also Wherehouse near SDSU (77-83). Coolest low paying job ever…Looking for others who used to work there -- Marian, Dave, Virginia, Kim, Mark E., Mark B., Lynda, Claude, etc. Anyone out there?

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