The Ron Kane Files

Writing About Music

Monday, July 07, 2008

Record Collecting #6

7-7-08 Record Collecting #6

Who was the genius that told me about the Capitol Records parking lot LP swap meet?

I don’t remember, sorry. But by 1975 I was attending it regularly. At first I went with my brother, but later on – when I was driving by myself – I did it alone. As I recall, it started out beginning at, like, 5:00am or 6:00am. It was free to go and look, and it was something like $15 to sell, from the trunk of your car.

On July 2, 1976 (2 days before the U.S. bicentennial!) I got my first record store job. I got my orange Datsun B-210 shortly thereafter. By this time, the ‘Capitol meet’ (as it was known) began starting the night before! So, if one was truly crazy – you went to a show at The Whisky or someplace – and just went on over to the Capitol parking lot about midnight! I didn’t really drink alcohol until the summer of ’79 – but I definitely remember the Capitol meet as a drunken affair.

You’d get there about midnight, snag a decent spot in the main lot – lock the car up, and stroll around checking out what everyone else was doing / selling. People wandered through the parking lot – couples (or not)…sometimes you could tell they were drunk. Hey, we were only a block off of Hollywood Blvd.! The bars closed at 2:00am, and some rock ‘n’ roll drunks found their way to the Capitol parking lot. Of course, one would only hope that some amusing indiscretion would take place, if the people were drunk enough.

When did I get ‘salty’? I sold at the swap meet for a long time, eventually becoming jaded, bored…and impatient with idiots. I’d price all the records at $3, and people would STILL ask for discounts. Or intense fans of bands / artists would come up and say, “Got any Springsteen?”. One guy said, “Got any “G”? What the hell was “G”? (I found out eventually that he meant Genesis). Some fans were obnoxious.

I do not now remember if my famous antics transpired after I was drinking but… eventually, I started pulling crap on people – they’d argue with me on an already low price, so I’d say, “Too expensive for ya? Ya want it for nothin’?” – then I’d snap the LP in half and throw it at them. The dirtclod people would bait me: “This is the guy that broke the Lene Lovich 12”!” or something. So, I’d just say “Get lost” (in possibly a less eloquent way) and go back to selling my LP’s and leering at drunk girls. Well, it was going to get out of hand sooner or later – I lit a record on fire…and threw it under someone else’s car. I think it freaked people out, and someone got it out from under there. Of course, I hadn’t paused to consider that the car could actually blow up. This is why I wonder if I was drinking when I did this…

I remember when the entire vault of international releases from A&M Records showed up – I got a Japanese Esperanto 45, and my friends got Cat Stevens EP’s. I bought Frank Zappa Verve label 45’s at the Capitol meet. Lots of my ‘core collection’ came from the meet – guys becoming disillusioned with their progressive rock when punk / new wave started to happen.


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