Vinyl Veneration: Record Store Day Pays Tribute to Wax and Beyond

image courtesy of MySpace

image courtesy of MySpace

The second year in its running, national Record Store Day is a music geek’s Christmas, Halloween and 4th of July weekend all rolled into one. The usual favorite spaces to check out old and new music and jaw about Pete Townshend’s famed Fender Stratocaster, hang show fliers and load up on stickers for your thermos will max out the cool factor by providing that and more with the addition of live bands and one of the only chances to eat a submarine sandwich that close next to that new stack of Thermals albums. The East Side Exclusive Co. (1669 N. Farwell) is just one of the many record stores across the country (as well as Milwaukee) that will take party in this entertainment extravaganza. Along with Rock Sellout.com and 91.7 FM, WMSE, they will be throwing a party this Saturday that will celebrate and reinvigorate the city’s love for their own, local music and give hope to those who hope to keep the institution of the record store alive and kicking in this city and all cities across the country. Fan-belt speaks to the Farwell Avenue Exclusive Co. Manager, Terry Hackbarth, about the party to come.

When did Record Store Day get its start?

A couple years ago; this is the second one. It definitely put the spotlight on local, independent record stores. It just raises awareness that they still exist and that you don’t have to go to Best Buy or Walmart or wherever else to get your music, or the internets, for that matter. 

With everything that happened with Atomic Records recently closing, do you think that this Record Store Day will have a bigger turnout?

I hope so. I was kind of surprised at the turnout last year and how big it was. My first thought was, ‘Well, this might be kind of dumb,’ but when it started leading up to it and I started getting calls for interviews, and seeing the national press that it was getting, I thought, ‘this might be something’. It was still beyond any kind of expectations, and Rich [Menning] from Atomic was in the same boat, and he had a store-full of people all day, so we were all pretty pleasantly surprised by it. It definitely made us excited again that people were coming out and being more aware of what is going on. People were asking me, ‘Is it going to be at capacity this year?’, and I said, ‘I’d be shocked if that happened because it’s a pretty big store’.

Are you going to move all the merch over to make room for the live bands?

Nope. We’ve got a stage that’s in the back of the store. We’ll move probably a row of bins to accommodate people so they can see better, but it’s a pretty open area back there. It’s pretty cool that the vinyl is back there, too, so people can thumb through records while watching rock and roll. 

You’ve got a pretty awesome lineup this year…

It is very awesome and I’m totally excited about it. Just like last year, I thought of all my favorite bands in town and asked them all, and for the most part, everyone was up for it. 

There are fifteen bands this year in probably twelve hours…half an hour set list. They’re going to be sharing amps and drums, so just a fifteen minute turnaround between bands, so it’s going to be solid. If you have a short attention span, just stick around, because there’s going to be another band up that maybe you’ll like.

Have you been noticing any changes in the business of the record store, recently? Any pick-ups?

Well, it’s definitely not what it was ten years ago, when I first started, but we adapted and some stores haven’t. We’ve always been pretty eclectic here. We got more vinyl, more used vinyl, turntables, we sell books, now, we’re doing movies. It’s still a lot of esoteric stuff, Criterion films…

Anything special about this year?

We have our CD [Buzzcity] that’s benefitting WMSE, which we want to get more involved in that stuff; more involved in the community. It’s a tribute to all the local bands, too. 

It’s going to be just more of everything. We’re doing a raffle for 500 LP’s. We have a good pile of random LP’s. There’s a ton of cool stuff we’ve got now, too: live records, cool 7″s. Also, people are more aware of it from last year, so they’re gonna come out and actually look at the stuff.

We’re going to get some businesses to have some free food available. We’re trying not to have it just be about this record store, but about our community and trying to get them involved, all working together and supporting the other Wisconsin and Milwaukee businesses. La Dolce Vita (Mediterranean restaurant) next door is a new restaurant, Jimmy John’s, Transfer Pizzeria, Coffee With a Conscience will be selling coffee and record-shaped cookies here. It’ll be one of the only days you can have food in here and beer in a paper sack. It’ll be a fun time.

For line-up information and show times, visit the Exclusive Company’s MySpace page.


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