Record Store Day 2015

Today is what I’d consider the greatest holiday in the full calendar year. Today is Record Store Day.

My local store opened two hours early today – 8am versus its usual 10am on Saturday – and I knew the line would start forming early. Out of the house by 6:15, I stopped for coffee and found myself in line by 6:30. I had planned to pop on my headphones and just mind my own business for 90 minutes but found myself in some pretty good conversation with the guy in front of me in line. We speculated about the music preferences of others in line, discussed our careers in the counseling field, and agreed that Kris Bryant had a crappy day at the plate yesterday but he’ll be okay.


[Photo courtesy of my local record store]

I have to give credit where it’s due. My local store did a fantastic job of keeping the opening of Record Store Day organized and efficient. Sure they’ve scheduled live music to play all day but how would they handle the long line of eager music collectors ready to snatch up the items on their respective wish lists?

The answer – they’d handle it perfectly. That's what they'd do.

The first twenty people were asked for their top five items as they stood in line. Assuming the items were in stock, they would be bagged and waiting for them when the doors opened. Of course, everybody would still have the opportunity to browse the other items as well, but if the five requests were still available, they’d be guaranteed.

I was #17 in line.

I made my requests but was told that one of my items may be gone following the requests of line members 1-16. The guy who was #15 asked for the same item and got the last one. Unfortunately, it was the one item I wanted most – a “live at Grimey’s” album from Justin Townes Earle. I made a quick call to my brother who was just hitting the line at Vintage Vinyl in St. Louis and asked him to grab me a copy if they had one.

He texted me later.

They did.


Awesome.

So what did I actually come home with today?

Aside from Justin Townes Earle, what I wanted most was the 7” release from “Citizen Dick.” For those unfamiliar with the movie Singles, Citizen Dick is Matt Dillon’s band from the film which consists of him and the members of Pearl Jam. The 7” features their single from the film – "Touch Me I’m Dick."

 

Cooler yet, inside the jacket was a Citizen Dick sticker that will look just dandy on my turntable case somewhere in the neighborhood of my “Pakelika For President” sticker. The B side of the record has no audio content but does have an excellent quote from Cliff (Matt Dillon’s character from Singles).

 
“I think ‘Touch Me I’m Dick,’ in essence, speaks for itself, you know. I think that, you know, that’s basically what the song is, um…about…is about, you know…I-I think a lot of people might think it’s actually about, you know, ‘My name is Dick, and, you know, you can touch me,’ but, I think, you know, it can be seen either way.” – Cliff Poncier
Here's Cliff himself.


The only 12” I picked up today was from handsome Johnny Prine – a recording from 1978 with him looking his most handsome ever on the jacket cover.


This one came with an mp3 download but I actually already have a bootleg copy of this live recording. Still, I’m guessing the download will be of better quality.

The coolest thing about this Prine release? Orange vinyl.


From one storyteller to another, my man Todd Snider put out a 7” with a new track on Side A and a cover the the Stones’ “Shattered” on the B-side.

 

Todd’s music never gets old. Never.

Two hip-hop releases came home with me today. The first was a “Side by Side” 45 featuring the same song on both sides but performed by different artists. Back in 2012, I picked up one of these with the original Run DMC version of “You Be Illin’” on one side and the Carolina Chocolate Drops doing it on the other side.

The B-side sucked.

This one had equal promise and totally paid off. On one side is the original version of the hip-hop classic “The Message” by Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five. The other side…same song by punk legends Stiff Little Fingers.

Awesome.

 

The vinyl itself is pretty cool, as well.


Last but not least was the most expensive item I picked up today…but I couldn’t pass it by. There’s a lot I could say about KMD and about their album Black Bastards. You can check out the story behind the album on your own though. I first remember hearing KMD, specifically Zev Love X, on the 3rd Bass track “The Gas Face.” But, man oh man, chalk these guys up on my list of most underrated MCs ever.

 

This release of Black Bastards was sold as a “children’s pop-up book” with two CDs (one of the original album and another of extra material) and a vinyl picture disc. A cool concept but the pop-up book idea was a little over-exaggerated as it was limited to one very simple pop-up.

Still. Well worth the cost for this cool release of such an underrated album.

No gas face for KMD.

No gas face for Record Store Day.

The Faces of Graffiti Rock

Anyone who follows me on Twitter knows that I watch Graffiti Rock about twice a week. For those unfamiliar with Graffiti Rock, it was essentially a hip-hop version of Soul Train and American Bandstand. There were dancers. There were live performances. The catch was this -- only one episode was made.

Originally aired in June of 1984, the one episode of Graffiti Rock featured recording artist Shannon, the New York City Breakers, and a completely staged rap battle between Run DMC and Kool Moe Dee and Special K of the Treacherous Three. A few of the young dancers went on to become semi-familiar names among celebrity circuits -- specifically actress Debi Mazar and actor Vince Gallo. A few years ago, Debi Mazar spoke with Jimmy Kimmel about her experience on the show.


The host of the show, Michael Holman, took to Kickstarter several months ago to fund a Graffiti Rock documentary celebrating the show's 30th anniversary -- a documentary that we're all still patiently waiting for almost two years later.

In the meantime, here are my ten favorite people found in the one 23-minute episode of Graffiti Rock.

1. Michael Holman. When you give cool a mic, great things happen.


2. This guy's got one chance for a close-up shot and he chose to do a fish face.


3. White.


One of these dudes was pretty excited when there was talk of a rap battle.


4. Shirt and jacket? Check. Gloves? Check. Hat? Check. Sweating profusely? Check.


5. I spy with my eye a dude wearing a karate-style bandanna.


6. My man in the Nike jacket just wanted to be on TV and the girl in the pink polo kept getting in his shot.


7. This guy.


8. Not sure whose arm this is, but they had to get Michael Holman's attention on camera when it was time for a transition from the host.


9. Forget the guy dancing center stage. Check out the dude on the riser in the shorts and trucker hat.


10. Hands down, my favorite person on this entire episode is the guy in the Kangol hat. Wonder why?


That's why.


If you don't know, now you know.

Winning at Saturday

My daughters have birthdays two weeks apart and my wife had a terrific idea this year now that they're forming their own individual groups of friends -- two parties, back-to-back, one day. First was an Ever After High party for a recently-turned five-year-old. Then came the Pokemon party for the soon-to-be seven-year-old. But I won't talk about cupcakes. Let's talk about the hours prior to the parties.


This is the weekend of the monthly flea market I like to visit and somehow my wife was okay with me going despite the last-minute party preparations. After verifying that she wasn't just saying this and would not be harboring resentment towards me while I was away, I poured a cup of coffee and headed out. I stopped for cash, gas, and breakfast.

Now let me say something very clearly. If there is a current fast-food trend that could ultimately cause my demise, it's Taco Bell's breakfast menu. I was already in love with their A.M Crunchwraps based on the few times I'd had one, but then today I saw something on the menu I hadn't seen before -- the Country A.M. Crunchwrap. I have weaknesses, people. And one of those weaknesses is biscuits and gravy. Taco Bell is essentially hitting me where I'm weakest with this tortilla filled with hash browns, cheese, sausage, scrambled eggs, and country gravy.

They had me at gravy. There's gravy in this thing! I repeat. THERE IS GRAVY IN THERE!

Got it to go and scarfed it down on my way to the flea market.


Not including my stop at Taco Bell and the gas station, I spent a little over ten dollars today -- ten of the most fun dollars I've spent at the flea market in a long time. First up was a cheaters manual to mastering the Rubik's Cube, compliments of "schoolboy cubemaster" Patrick Bossert. It was bagged with what seems to be a knock-off Rubik's Cube still in the original box and cellophane wrap.

Two bucks. Sold.


Then a few minutes later, I about peed my pants when I found this guy in a box mostly filled with McDonald's toys. Yep. That's the G.I. Joe version of William "The Refrigerator" Perry. While I already have one of these, I couldn't pass this by. Especially considering the price tag.

75 cents. Sold.


Then there was the item I'd been eyeing for the past few months at the flea market. With a price tag of twelve bucks, I'd always passed it by. This month it was still there but the "12" was scratched out and replaced with an "8."

Eight bucks. Sold.


What we've got here is a plastic View-Master collector's case with a blue viewer and reel container inside along with 29 reels. I didn't have a blue viewer and the case was pretty cool. That's quite a few reels, too. But a more fitting collection of reels could not have been made for me unless this was a stack of 29 Karate Kid reels. Here's what was included: Michael Jackson's Thriller, Scooby Doo, G.I. Joe, Garfield, The A-Team, The Muppet Movie, Knight Rider, Superman II, Smurfs, and Spider-Man.


You might think all of this was a waste of ten bucks. But you won't be looking at three dimensional images of B.A. Baracus tonight. Will you?

Video Game Resurrection

Easter Sunday produced a box of awesome that I wasn't expecting. Walking through my mother-in-law's garage, my wife spotted a box of cords and cables topped off with a very familiar site -- an original NES console!


Absolutely intrigued, I checked it out for myself and found that underneath the dust-covered NES were wads of wires packed around equally dusty Nintendo 64 and Sega Genesis consoles! Assuming these belonged to my wife's youngest (now grown) brothers at one point, I asked my mother-in-law if she was looking to get rid of it all. Based on the layer of dust and grime covering everything in the box, she concluded that if they (my wife's brothers) had wanted the contents, they would have taken them long ago.

So the plan was set into motion. I'd take the box, see what was there and what was missing, clean it up, test what might be complete, and maker her an offer.

Like a kid in a candy store, I couldn't get home fast enough at that point. I was dying to dig through this box. Once we got home, that's what I did...and here's what I found:

SEGA GENESIS

For years I've regretted selling my Sega Genesis during grad school. I can still taste the crazy amounts of Topper's pizza and gallons of Mickey's that were consumed during undergrad while spending hours attached to this system. I've often looked for a replacement at flea markets but have never pulled the trigger. I'm glad I waited.


This was the dirtiest of all three consoles in the box so I was surprised to find that it actually worked the first time I plugged it in.

Sort of.

The picture was fine but there was a very noticeable hum behind the audio. When I decided to open it up to investigate, I quickly found the probable source of the issue -- a water-damaged and extremely dusty circuit board.


With the outside of the console cleaned already, I tackled the inside with an army of Q-tips.

 

Properly cleaned -- at least as properly as I'm able and willing to do at this time -- the hum is mostly gone and I'm jonesin' for some NHL action!

NINTENDO 64

I've already got an N64 on hand but it's on semi-permanent loan from a friend. I don't use it much because this wasn't a system that I grew up with so there's no nostalgia factor at play. A good thing, I guess, since I can't get this one working (yet).


I haven't decided if I need to open this one up, too (as I probably will) or if there's some key piece(s) missing. Again, I'm not too familiar with the N64 so I've got a little investigating to do here.

NES

I've got an NES on hand, as well -- in fact, it's the actual one that my brother and I played on as kids. Having some issues with it recently, I was at the point where replacing the pin connector (again) was going to be necessary. Then along comes this box with a dusty NES on top.


Cleaned up and plugged in...it works perfectly.

 

Now I can replace the pin connector in my other system and let my brother have it back. There will be RBI Baseball in my house tonight. I guarantee it.

JOYSTICKS & CONTROLLERS

There were a few random parts in the box as my brothers-in-law had later game systems as well. Still deciding what to do with these.

 

JESUS

There was more there besides just video games -- stuff that didn't interest me like a few cordless phones, some computer mice, and about thirteen miles of phone and cable TV cords. There was this old slide viewer which is cool...but I don't have any slides to view (What am I gonna do with a slide viewer? I don't even own a slide. Let alone many slides which would necessitate an entire slide viewer. What am I gonna do with a slide viewer?).

All of this goes back to my mother-in-law for a future garage sale.


But then there was the most random item of them all -- a framed picture of Jesus in the bottom of the box.


How fitting, right? It was Easter Sunday, after all -- a day set aside to remember Jesus' resurrection. What better timing to bring these game systems back from the dead for what is sure to be the second-best resurrection in Easter history!


[Photo courtesy of gamechurch.com]

Oh no. He didn't.