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- Posted on Apr 16th 2010 12:00PM by Steve Baltin
"I've always loved record stores, always loved visiting them as a kid and looking at the posters," Calamar tells Spinner of the inspiration for the book, aptly titled 'Record Store Days,' which is available now. "When I went to school at one point in Boston, in college, there were two stores in this one little block where I'd have to walk by to get to classes and I would literally go into both stores every day. Then I started working in some record stores, and I just always thought it was fun and a great place to meet people and hear music."
Plenty of musicians felt or feel the same, as evidenced by just the front and back inside covers, where artists from Regina Spektor and Joan Jett to Brett Gurewitz and Damon Albarn provide quotes on record stores. Gallo found getting people to share their love for record stores was as easy as it sounds. "There were so many great stories and what's almost comical in a way is the minute you tell people you're doing the book they immediately start telling you a story," he says. "It's like, 'Let me tell you about my experience.' It didn't seem that tough to get people to kind of share something, whether it was Ryan Adams or Lucinda Williams."
And there were some artists that were determined to help out the record stores. "It was funny -- Steve Van Zandt was just so busy with the Springsteen thing and satellite radio, but he really wanted to do something so finally he just said, 'Record stores are cool,'" Calamar says. "And that was his quote. He just really wanted to be in the book."
The book contains a foreword by R.E.M.'s Peter Buck, who recalls meeting Michael Stipe in a record store. Buck writes, "I think he was buying a Suicide record that got me talking to him. He was looking to form a band; I was looking to form a band. It worked out."
"Someone like Peter Buck, it was great he put aside some time to talk with us and put that foreword together. And he is just one of the key people in the record store story because he said he goes to the record stores several times a week and he still loves it as much as anybody," Calamar says. "I think that's part of why he made time for us, because he really loves record stores."
That's one thing 'Record Store Days' shows, that record stores are not dead. There were a few that emerged in this book that Gallo believes carry on the tradition of the great stores of the past. "[There's] Amoeba, Twist & Shout in Denver, Ear Ecstasy in Louisville, Waterloo in Austin and I'm a big fan of the specialty shops like Aquarius in San Francisco, Dusty Groove in Chicago, and Downtown Music Gallery in New York," he says. He also gives special props to two. "The best in-stores possibly in the country are Fingerprints in Long Beach and Music Millennium in Portland, Ore."
And for those whose only music-buying experiences are online, make no mistake, there is a great tradition of buying physical copies. In the book, Cameron Crowe has a two-page spread that he dictated to Gallo. In it he writes, "Record stores are a community of shared passion. You see the look in people's eyes and you know they're like you; everybody was there for the same reason. The music just sounds better. And you feel like you are in the beating heart of the thing that you love." Amen.