There's a Bob Mould interview over at Gay.com that got me thinking: first, about how cheap it was of SPIN magazine to out Mould the way it did. Here's that exchange:
Back in the '90s, SPIN magazine threatened to out you. Did that piss you off because it's really no one else's business?
It was either "You can talk with us and we'll write about it, or you won't and we will," and I was like, "Well, that sort of sucks."
So I could either not talk to them and have them write about it their way, or talk to them and have them write about it their way [laughs]. Now it's just a funny story to talk about, I find it quite humorous. But at the time, it was a little unnerving -- in fact, it was upsetting. I felt like I had made a poor showing of myself through no fault of my own. The few attributable quotes were stretched a little outside the context in response to a simple question. The answer I gave appeared to be even more self-hating that I actually was. [Laughs.] I was like, "Wow -- how did I do that?"
Second--and there is no relation to the first item here--about how many incredible record stores we've had in the Twin Cities. Here's the relevant excerpt from the Gay.com interview:
When you met Grant Hart at a local record store, you guys formed Husker Du. Back then, the record store culture was a vital part of creativity for emerging musicians. Are you sad or nostalgic at the disappearance of the neighborhood record store, and the whole community and scene that surrounded it?
Oh, absolutely. It was a different culture and a different time. I think the sadness sets in for me when I consider the ritual of having to get a job to make money, to get on the bus to go to the record store, to spend time reading about music -- buy the right records, going to the counter and hoping they don't sneer at you when you bring the record up. That whole thing added value to the process and to the music, made it more valuable as an experience. You had to really work for it, and you had to study, and that's all gone.
It's kind of silly, but I always kind of liked the challenge of not making the counter clerk sneer at my purchases. It made me sharp--made me dig a little deeper. It never meant I didn't buy what I came for, but it did often mean I threw a little something extra in. To this day my record collection is full of those little somethings, and I'm glad for it.
You've got to make the snobbery work for you. That's the moral I suppose.
I digress. Constantly.
It's the record-store-as-community thing I'm interested in here. Let's get sentimental...
I'll start--here are four really good memories I've shoveled from the recesses of my tiny brain:
@ OAR FOLKJOKEOPUS: When I was in my early 20's and mowing lawns in the suburbs, I'd cash my paycheck each Thursday and take $50 to Oar Folk to buy records. All Thursday, which was usually the day I'd mow that Golden Valley shopping plaza (where Down in the Valley used to be) off of Olson Memorial Highway, I'd be thinking about what I wanted to get. Usually I'd just think in genre, sometimes just aesthetic: "I'm only getting blues albums with black & white jackets today." It was a delightful game.
@ GARAGE D'OR: Remember when the Melvins played there sometime around 1998? They still had Mark playing bass: the guy who always dressed sharp and wore a cowboy hat and, rumor had it, never cussed. That show was so packed I had to go outside and climb up on the window behind the makeshift stage to catch a glimpse.
I think they had just released Stoner Witch...
@ AARDVARK: Okay, nobody from the city ever went to Aardvark (the sister store to Roadrunner), but a counter job there was my ticket out of lawn mowing. And yes, I was a snob. I was playing The Residents one day when a middle-aged woman complained. "Play something normal she sneered." I asked her what that meant. "I don't know. Just play some R.E.M.!" I obliged, sort of. I put on an interview with R.E.M.--and she was out in a huff.
I also remember stealing the concrete brick we used to prop the door in the summer. I found a photo of Babes in Toyland playing at the store and that brick was keeping Lori Barbero's bass drum in place. In those days, as far as I was concerned, Lori had invented cool. She even had a cool drummer's face! So I took the brick and used it at home and on tour to hold my bass drum in place.
@ HYMIE'S: I discovered Tanya Tucker there. I was looking for a song I had heard over the First Avenue P.A. before a Golden Smog show back in like 1995 or something. All I knew was it was about New York City. I bought that record Tucker made when she was like 13 because it had a song with New York City in the title. It was the wrong song, but hell if I didn't spin that record at my wedding a decade later.
What about you? Is anybody out there? Get sentimental with me...