Last year I got to the record store right before they opened, and there were about six of us waiting in line, maybe a little more. Either way, it wasn’t a huge line and still a couple of the items I wanted were sold out when I got to the front. Determined to not let that happen again, I decided to go a little earlier, scheduling myself to arrive thirty minutes before opening. Previously I had gone to Saki, which is a great record store albeit a small one. We’ve moved since last RSD, so this year I went to Reckless which is a much larger store.
When I woke up Kari told me that there was already a line outside Saki, so I decided to move up my schedule and get to Reckless an hour early. I got off the bus at about 9, and to my shock, I had to walk around the block and into the alley to find the end of the line. My hopes of getting anything that I wanted fell by the wayside, but I figured I’d endure the line anyway, just in case. I ended up sandwiched between two nice guys who politely made conversation with me about records and live shows and all the other things that we vinyl collectors enjoy chatting about. I asked what they were looking to get, and neither wanted anything that I was hoping for, so my optimism started to creep up again.
A few people ahead of us there stood a group of kids (I call them kids, they were probably all 20 or so). They were loud and annoying, as kids often are, and they said some of the most obnoxious things. For example: “I really like Jack White, but I hate The White Stripes and The Raconteurs.” Or this classic, “If I could just get a copy of the M83 single, I’ll be happy.” They were joined in line at around 9:30 by another group of youngsters who had already gone to a record store that opened earlier. They had ALL bought a copy of the Jack White album, Blunderbuss. They also purchased The Flaming Lips With Heady Fwends. I laughed a little when they were so excited to get the White album a week before it’s officially released since I reviewed it last week and have had a copy for two, though not on vinyl.
A little before ten the line started moving very slowly. It was eleven before I could actually see inside the store through the window. The guy behind me was looking for the Phish Junta three-vinyl deluxe release with the special artwork. He looked on ebay and found that they were already going for a couple hundred dollars from east coast sellers. Crestfallen, he decided to wait it out and see if he could get lucky. I still hadn’t heard anything about any of the releases I was looking for, so I was getting more and more excited as I walked into the store and could finally smell the vinyl and plastic sleeves.
Once inside the store proper, I came up with a brilliant idea that was immediately hailed as genius by those around me: The store we were in is about a hundred feet from a Chipotle. My idea was to have a little burrito and taco line set up where you could grab something to eat while you wait in line. Then the idea of having a taco cart set up outside while the line was passing by was put out there and we all decided we’d be millionaires. Sadly, the conversation only lasted for a few moments, as the guy behind me was told undoubtedly that the store did not have what he wanted. Reckless only got one copy of the Junta release with the special artwork, and the third person in line claimed that prize. Luckily they did have the non-special artwork version in stock, and he was willing to settle.
When it came to my turn at the head of the line, I just handed the clerk my phone which displayed my list in Notes. I didn’t want to be greedy, so I kept it to five things:
Uncle Tupelo 7″ singles box set, The Tallest Man On Earth King Of Spain 12″ single, The White Stripes 7″ Hand Springs/Dead at 6:14, Otis Redding & Aretha Franklin Respect 7″, and Death Grips-The Money Store LP (released a week early).
He looked at it for all of a second and said, “Ok, I’ve got Tallest Man, and that’s it.” Ouch. But then, a lightbulb appeared above his head and he looked into a box that was sitting behind him. He pulled out the Tupelo box set and all was right with the world. My number one and two choices were securely in my hands, and I could go home with a smile on my face. While I was in line, I also picked up a copy of The Stage Names by Okkervil River (a band I love but have never bought a vinyl from). It was only ten bucks, which is cheaper than I’ve ever seen it on Amazon. So I ended up buying three items that I really wanted and didn’t feel stuck with something that I would have been settling for. A record store day success story if ever there was one!
One great thing about buying vinyl is the digital download codes. I don’t know who the first person or band was to do this, but they deserve some sort of great prize. Not only is it great for people who normally buy records, but don’t have the means to play them everywhere they go, it also gets people who might not normally purchase vinyl to pick it up knowing that they’ll get their mp3s as well. It’s innovations like this that help keep the recording industry, and record stores, thriving. If you didn’t make it out this year, I really hope you try to get to a record store soon, even if it’s just to browse.