The Ron Kane Files

Writing About Music

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Record Collecting #7

7-8-08 Record Collecting #7

So, I got my first record store job in 1976. I helped inventory the “hit sheets”, so the buyer could place his order with the distributor. I also got to clean out the ashtrays in the store – that’s how long ago that was! Our store hosted a Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers in-store – when they were nobodies. Our assistant manager knew them. I remember making T-Shirts for them, with their iron-on logo. I think I met Denny Cordell, who had on a T-shirt for a British band called “Starship” – and it wasn’t “Jefferson Starship”!

Eventually, I made it up the ladder to being an assistant manager; I followed my manager to a second store, in 1977. It was punk rock (from England) time. The girls at that store were only just deciding to give up their Hall & Oates and Aerosmith records for The Damned and The Jam. I was not on the punk bandwagon. !977, and I has hard-core collecting Italian horror film soundtrack LP’s! The apple of my eye was “Suspiria” by Goblin – with the pop-up in the inner-sleeve.

In search of the Goblin LP, I went to a Soundtrack specialist store. In addition to finding the octagonal-shaped “Andromeda Strain” LP…the owner of the shop hit on me. “Do you have a girlfriend or a boyfriend?” I paid for my Goblin LP and split.

I left the world of retail in 1978 – and went to work at the record distributor. I worked in the “45 Department” and later drove a truck for them, delivering records all the way from West L.A. to San Diego. The miracle of full-time employment moved me up the rung of existence. I got a car, then – in the fall of 1979 – I went to Europe.

At some point, I got invited to ‘come up front’ and work in the “Buying Office” – as they could tell that I knew what I was doing. When the foole who was the “Import Buyer” moved on, I got his job. My brother worked in the next office – he did all of the ‘special orders” (and a few smaller labels) for the distributor. I had to sit next to some guys who were much older than I was – what, maybe 8 or 10 years older then me? But they seemed older. I was 21 – 22. But it was a hippie record distributor – you could say stuff like, “I’m going to go to New Zealand, maybe for a month. Is that OK?” – and they’d say “Yes”.

I met some real good people, working at the record distributor. People that I know and am friends with 30 years hence. Warren Bowman, Dana Madore, Steve “Mott” Hernandez, Steven Wolloch etc. There are millions of record distributor stories – guys arrested for pushing 25-count cartons out of bathroom windows, guys coming to work stoned – too stoned to work. I remember getting blind drunk at lunch time – Rusty’s Hacienda! Once I came back to work drunk from a Rusty’s lunch – and a sign was placed upon my back: “I pack a big weenie” – or words to that effect.

But, y’know…21, 22, 23…I wasn’t thinking of much. I had a working band that was making records; I was going to Europe and New Zealand. And I had the brains to get another job – at a different record distributor – an importer of phonograph records.

= = =

Back from S.F. - good haul!


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