(Arriving at the Electric Fetus. 6:45 a.m. April 21st, 2012)
Once again we have arrived at the holiest day on my personal calendar: Record Store Day. As always for the most pious devotees of the faith, this day is somewhat of a trial by fire. Or rather, given my particular habitat, a trial by clammy, 40 degree chillyness. Keeping to the true faith requires sacrifice. Lost sleep; tedious extended meditations in the brisk early morning air... "Why am I here?"; "What does it all mean?"; "Is there really any meaning to it all?"; "Is it really all worth it?"; "Why am I not in bed?"
Once again this year, despite all of my doubts and fears, I have found that clinging to the purer faith has yielded great fruit. And I am better for my perseverance. Here then is a brief chronicle of my personal journey on this, the highest of music geek holidays...
6:00 a.m. - Scrape myself out of bed. Shower. Shove cold pizza down my waking gullet.
6:45 a.m. - I arrive at the Electric Fetus to find that the line has already extended around the corner off of 4th avenue onto Franklin. I begin to curse the Record Store Day Gods; somehow I arrived half an hour earlier than last year, but find myself twice as far back in line. This can't be good. Perhaps next year I'll have to bag it. Much internal fuming commences as I put my earbuds in and try to kill the time with the Mighty Boosh.
7:30 - The Dunn Bros. people have come by with coffee and pastries. Truly they are saints in the Record Store Day canon.
8:10 a.m. - The line suddenly and unexpectedly begins to move. I soon find myself on the 4th avenue side wondering how I got here. Did they somehow decide out of some sense of mercy to open early?
8:15 a.m. - A Fetus minion arrives handing out numbers for entry into the exclusive, limited edition vinyl corner. Apparently the reason for the line movement was that many people ahead of me, having received their all important numbers, decided to bide their time in the relative warmth of their cars, secure in the knowledge that their numbers will grant them appropriate chronological access once the store opens at 9 a.m. Meanwhile, my number turns out to be 68, considerably better than I had expected given my original position around the corner. In addition, while it has had no change whatsoever on my fate, the fact that the line movement has moved me to the front side of the building has had a remarkably positive effect on my mood. Between that and my unexpectedly low number, I find my spirits buoyed and renewed.
8:30 a.m. - The Dunn Bros. coffee man is back, bless his soul. Note to self: Pocket cups.
8:35 a.m. - Two Fetus minions come by asking if we have any questions. I ask how many copies they have of the #1 title on my list. I am informed that they "only had like three copies, and one of them was given to a radio promo winner". I tell them that radio promo winners can suck it. Spirits newly diminished, but not crushed. I remain faithful that much of my wish list will be available.
8:40 a.m. - Two spots ahead of me in line, a young man in a Misfits shirt whose stated goal is to get the exclusive Misfits and The Refused rekkids approaches his leather-clad female companion, and grasping both her hand in his says, "I really want to see 'The Cabin in the Woods' with you" in a manner which suggests that this is the highest romantic proposal he could possibly make. Ahhh... young geek love.
8:45 - The two uber-geek hipster girls in front of me have been sharing an mp3 player by splitting one set of earbuds. I have already stowed away my iPod. If I have to hear this girl say "This is my jam!" one more time, I may have to kill everybody in line.
9:00 a.m. - The Electric Fetus finally opens its hallowed doors and lets the rabble in. Thus begins the warm, yet claustrophobic indoor portion of the Record Store Day waiting game. Oh well, might as well do some CD shopping while I'm waiting.
9:15 a.m. - I can't go into details here. The who, why, and how of it must remain as secret as possible. In fact, just mentioning this here could be problematic. Let me put it this way... I got the hook-up. It's going to be a very good Record Store Day.
10:10 a.m. - My number is finally up, and I am invited into the exclusive region to select my 10 items. Somehow nearly everything on my wish list is still here (a Record Store Day miracle!), however, sticker shock sets in when I see the price tags on several items. I choose to ignore it and push through the pain. It's Record Store Day; the holiest day on the calendar. Let's just call this "tithing".
Electric Fetus RSD scores:
Lee "Scratch" Perry/ the Upsetters - "Blackboard Jungle Dub" (3x10'' box set on red, gold, and green vinyl)
The Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends (2xLP with custom covers on colored vinyl)
T. Rex - "Electric Warrior" (6x7" box set)
Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band "Diddy Wah Diddy" (2x7")
Arctic Monkeys "R U Mine" (7" on purple vinyl)
The Black Keys "El Camino" (2x12" 45 with bonus 7" & CD, numbered edition: 2099 of 6000)
The White Stripes "Hand Springs" (7" on colored vinyl)
Paul Weller "That Dangerous Age" (7" on red vinyl)
St. Vincent "Krokodil" (7" on red vinyl)
Mike Watt & the Missingmen/ The Chuck Dukowski Sextet (Split 7")
10:30 a.m. - Call the mrs for a ride, head to the Electric Fetus parking lot to get a "Natedog" with caramelized onions and Surly Furious mustard.
10:45 a.m. - My chariot arrives (chariot... bag lady car? It's a thin line). Time to go home and return the Dunn Bros. gifts to the Mississippi.
11:45 a.m. - Time to head out to Hymie's Vintage Records' block party and survey the scene.
Noon - Arrive in the drizzle to find Hymie's hopping despite the weather. Live music outside in the street and inside the store. The move and subsequent revitalization of Hymie's is a great boon to the neighborhood and the city. Shopping the narrow and crowded aisles, I find myself faced with my usual Hymie's conundrum: Every time I go to Hymie's I set myself a spending limit; every time I end up spending nearly double that amount. Oh well. Once again, let's call it "tithing".
12:30 p.m. - Checking out at Hymie's I am once again astounded at one of the owner's frightening ability to manually enter prices into a cash-register at a pace that would make a hummingbird say, "damn, that's fast!" She is clearly a blessed saint of Record Store Day.
12:32 p.m. - I've spent too damned much money, but I couldn't be happier with the situation. The rain's become a bit much. Time to let the mrs have a go in the bouncy castle in the Ace parking lot, then it's home again home again to bask in the majestic presence of the holy spoils of Record Store Day.
Hymie's Vintage Records scores:
Peter Tosh "Legalize It" (10" picture disc with remixes)
Afrika Bambaataa/ MC5 "Kick Out the Jams" (split 7" on colored vinyl)
Joe Jackson "Look Sharp" (2x10" 45)
Elvis Costello "Veronica" (7")
Grace Jones "Fame" (LP)
Grace Jones "Slave to the Rhythm" (12" single)
Los Lobos "And a Time to Dance..." (LP)
Modern English "Ricochet Days" (LP)
Radio 4 "The New Song and Dance" (LP)
Patti Smith Group "Radio Ethiopia" (LP - one of my favorite rekkids EVER)
All told; a fabulous holiday. Kinda like xmas, but you buy your own presents.