Record Store Day

Last night, Joe Castle & I went out to Rhino Records Claremont for Record Store Day, as they opened their doors at midnight!

We waited in line with the young people, and I got:


ROLLING STONES – Brown Sugar EP 7″

DEREK & THE DOMINOS – Got To Get Better In A Little While 7″

QUEEN – Keep Yourself Alive 7″

OZZY OSBOURNE – Flying High again 7″


SYD BARRETT – An Introduction To Syd Barrett 2LP

All the kids were buying different stuff from us, the old guys.  The guys who worked in Rhino Claremont recognized us (Joe & I).  It was the 2nd record store of the evening – we’d already been to Amoeba in Hollywood!

So, enjoy Record Store Day, folks!


Been working on this one for quite a while now, but very soon (not just yet) I will announce

I’ve been writing 5 days a week since July, 2002.  I’ll try to distill some of the better writing once we get to the new site.

2011 may well be a ‘turning point’ year for me.  The only new music discovery for me recently is Polar Bear, from England. British jazz and wonderful.

I am buying tons of 45’s, as I feel that I still have a lot to learn from 45’s.  My retirement is still a ways off, but I thought that I’d better get a dedicated website up and running for a few years, before I try to depend upon it for income.

That’s right! I am going to have a website where I sell stuff.  Not interested in Yahoo or Amazon; the fees at eBay drive me nuts.  With my own site, I can set the prices – and not have to ‘watch auctions’.  Set sale only.

I ran a small mail-order company in the 80’s called ANZ (for Australia / New Zealand), so it’s not like I haven’t done this all before.  I’ve worked in numerous record stores since 1976, I worked for Music Inferno before most people even realized the power of the internet – way back in the mid-90’s!

It was hell getting it released from Google / Go Daddy, but with the help of Barbara Hughes, this monumental feat was accomplished.

So, my website will be and will officially be called “Ron Kane – Music Life”.  Not sure if I’ll get a Chase account (shopping cart), or if payment for stuff will be via PayPal.  Any thoughts?

You can go there now, but you will be greeted with a “Host Gator” screen, as no content has yet been added.

Record Stores in the L.A. Area, 2011


L.A. Area Record Stores, 2011

The pickins are gettin’ slim for what record stores are left in Los Angeles.  Lots of cruddy ones have closed, and only a handful of new stores have come along to take their place.

10 years ago, Joe & I could drive almost anywhere in Orange County and find 5 – 8 record stores a night to go to.  Now, north of San Diego County, I only know of a few:  Second Spin in Costa Mesa, Burgertime in Fullerton and an FYE (what used to be The Wherehouse) also in Fullerton.  Out in the inland empire, one can visit Rhino Claremont and their sister store, Mad Platter in Riverside – but both of those stores are a real drive!  Buena Park is home to the famous record collector swap meet that takes place there – in the union hall.

In the south bay, where I live, it’s really bad.  Steve Mintz / Bagatelle on Atlantic Ave. downtown is still there, but…he’s never open when I can go.  I heard that Fingerprints closed on 2nd St. in Belmont Shores and moved downtown, near Steve Mintz – but I’ve never seen their new store.

Over in Torrance / Gardena, there’s the big Wherehouse (SE corner of Artesia and Hawthorne; and another FYE down the street from it), and a small store on Crenshaw Blvd. that is still there, called something like “Cash For Records” (there isn’t a sign).  I bought LP’s there a while back, and I see that it’s still there.  I like to shop at Soundsations, in Westchester (near LAX), and even though it was recently sold, Record Surplus on Pico Blvd. is still a favorite of mine.  I hope it doesn’t change; there’s a rumor that they have to move, though.  Second Spin on Wilshire Blvd. in Santa Monica.

Hollywood yields Amoeba Music, a place I go all the time.  Dana M. calls it “the Home Depot of music”.  Near Dorothy’s there’s a few samller stores:  Rockaway Records on Glendale Blvd. is still there and open for business, not a bad place.  I wish they’d bring back the $2.99 LP’s!  Over in Highland Park / Eagle Rock, there’s Wolbleton Records, guys that travel and bring back oddities – not cheap, but sometimes very interesting!  Pasadena has Canterbury Records and the relocated Poo Bah Record Shop, both on Colorado Blvd. – I go in Canterbury all the time.  Pasadena is also home to the PCC Swap Meet, where I shopped at the end of last month.

In the San Fernando Valley, all three stores are on Ventura Blvd.:  Freakbeat Records in Sherman Oaks, Second Spin in Van Nuys, CD Trader in Tarzana – two good stores.  There are some other smaller stores in the valley, but…not much going on at Backside Records in Burbank, last time I checked.

So, is that it? Lou’s in Encinitas; Folk Arts in San Diego; Record City in San Diego; Grady’s Record Refuge in Ventura; Salzer’s in Ventura…anything other than these and you’re more than 100 miles from Los Angeles.

My History


My History

I bought records at Morey’s Music (Pine Ave.); Licorice Pizza (W. 5th St.); Platterpuss (E. 7th St.); Bob’s Records (E. 4th St.); Larry Records (E. 7th St.); Mundae (Belmont Pier); Phineas (E. Anaheim St.); Wheatstone (LB Blvd.); The Wherehouse (E. 2nd St.); Jeremiah McCain (E. 2nd St.); American Records / The Wherehouse (near Bellflower / Carson); The Wherehouse (Candlewood St., Lakewood); “Musical Jewel Box” (Los Altos Plaza); Wenzel’s House of Oldies (N. Lakewood Blvd., Downey); Gemco; The Treasury; Cal Store; White Front; Zody’s; Singer Sewing Machine Store; May Company Record Dept.; Wallach’s Music City; Thrifty Drug Store; Dooley’s Hardware; Steve Mintz / Bagatelle; Record & Tape Room; Woolworth’s; Grant’s; TG&Y (TGNY?)…

Later on, I discovered driving around, in search of records – mostly with someone else driving!  Ray Avery’s Rare Records (Glendale); Vogue Records (Hollywood Blvd. and Westwood); Lewin’s Record Paradise (Hollywood Blvd.); Pacific Discount (Hollywood Blvd.); Platterpuss (Manhattan Beach and Santa Monica); Fields of Zaad (Santa Monica); Rhino Records, Westwood; Crane’s (Crain’s? Pico Blvd., L.A.); Tower Records, Hollywood (and many other locations); Wallach Music City (South Bay, Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood, West Covina); Poo Bah Record Shop (old town Pasadena); Moby Disc (Victory Blvd., Van Nuys); Aron’s Records (on Melrose Ave.);  Rhino Claremont (when it was in the hallway); lots of Licorice Pizza locations; Record Trading Center (Tustin);  Rene’s Records (Melrose Ave.);  Blue Meannie (both El Cajon and Tarzana); many places I can’t remember the name – a place in Garden Grove that had a black light tunnel; a nice hippie store in Laguna Beach; a hippie store near Chapman College in Orange County; several stores on Ventura Blvd in the San Fernando Valley – “Music & Memories”, and at least two others; Mole Music & Od Tunes (near Topanga Canyon); Morninglory Music (Isla Vista / Santa Barbara)…Rather Ripped Records (Berkeley); House of Records (S.F.);

Rock On (Kentish Town); Record & Tape Exchange (Notting Hill Gate); Crocodisc (Rue Des Ecoles, Paris); Concerto (Amsterdam); Boudisdque (Amsterdam); Saturn Musik (Koln); FNAC (Brussels and Paris)…

Silvio’s (Cuba St., Wellington); Chelsea Records (Manners St. Mall, Wellington); numerous Auckland records stores whose name time has erased; numerous places in Melbourne, Australia.

Tokyo record stores: Casa Bianca (Takadanobaba); Wave (Roppongi); Rare (Ogikubo); Time (Takadanobaba)…

Just yesterday, I shopped at Amoeba Hollywood and Record Surplus on Pico Blvd. in West L.A. – great stores, both.

Once Upon A Time (in 1988)


Once Upon A Time (1988)

The man in today’s photo is approx. 30 years of age.  The T-shirt is for the debut LP from Schnell Fenster, “The Sound of Trees”.  The road is the North 101, right before you get to Salinas (or thereabouts).  We had seen a bunch of vegetables on the side of the road, so roadside portraits were taken.  Mine has survived!

In 1988, I would’ve likely been on the road to visit Mark Moerman in San Jose, CA.  Mark and I had been friends for a while already, and we were always up for visiting a myriad of record stores, in whatever locality we happened to encounter one another (and we still are, whenever I visit Portland, OR, as Mark now lives in Vancouver, WA).

In 1988, CD’s had been on the block for a few years.  It wasn’t quite time for genuinely inexpensive CD’s; one of my scams was finding $1 CD singles in L.A. and selling them in San Francisco, for $4-$6 each!  Tower Records was still very important in 1988; and there was not yet any Amoeba stores!

In 1988, my last international trip has been to Australia and New Zealand in 1987.  My next international trip would be to England in 1989 – making plans for my 1990 move to England.  I do not believe I was “fully employed” in 1988 – so I may have been visiting Lite-A-Line with Joe Castle a lot, too.

Somewhere, I believe I made a stop-motion videotape (8mm perhaps?) of “My First 100 Compact Discs” – how many of those do I still own today?  Not many, I’d bet!  It took ages for me to ‘warm’ to compact discs; in 1988, there were still numerous Frank Zappa titles yet to make it to CD!  And let’s face it – those mono-only Beatles CD’s were not so enticing, back then.

And in 1988, we were all watching music videos on TV, eh?  A few short years earlier, my dad and brother had erected a C-Band satellite dish on our roof – and I regularly viewed MuchMusic, out of Canada (Anik D6)!  C’mon, I probably sent everybody reading this at least one “City Limits” aircheck, didn’t I?  Laserdisc was the ‘cadillac’ of video formats – but we somehow never found a Laserdisc recorder, did we?

This is rather juicy, trying to find some pleasant nostalgia for an age where I was rather under-utilized.  However, it was a walk in the park compared to what happened in the 1990’s (divorce; depression; more under-employment; redemption; discovery of new girlfriend, new job etc.)

You Loved Music, So You Worked In A Record Store…


You loved music, so you worked in a record store…

“It never occurred to me to work in a record store”, says reader Jim Donato.

Uh, it never occurred to me to not work in a record store.  I was in the record store all the time anyway.  The manager noticed me, and told me I should fill out an application, which I did.  After working in two different locations of this particular record store (“Licorice Pizza”), I got offered a job working at their distributor.  From there, I got offered a job working at an record importer.  From that job, I got offered a job to run a record importer and mail-order outfit.  After that job finished, I got offered to run an exporter in England…this paragraph describes roughly 1976 to 1990 in my life.

14 contiguous years of my life were dedicated to working in the music business.  Even after my time in England finished, I spent a few additional years working at record stores and working for a friend running a mail-order CD / poster business.  All together, it must be close to 20 non-consecutive years working “with music” for me.  It’s really only in the last decade that I haven’t actually worked for anybody other than myself, re: music.  I’ve been in my current ‘clerical’ job since 1999.  With any luck, I’ll “retire” at 55.

I have been selling stuff on eBay for the last decade, with varying degrees of success.  Over 500 positive feedbacks, but not without some headaches.  And the fact that I am presently very bored with eBay.  I’m not bored of the extra cash it can generate, but…it’s mind-numbing work to earn it via selling LP’s & CD’s on eBay.  All the stupid questions, all the mis-communication between seller and buyer (and vice-versa).  In the end, it sometimes feels like the only entities making any real money out of eBay transactions are eBay and the US postal service.

I do not regret my time spent working in the business of music.  I learned a lot about what interested me.  It was my ‘education’, per se.  I got to travel for my work, which was amazing and invaluable.  I got to make friends with neat people while ‘on the job’, too.

What would I have done, if not “the music business”?  I was not talented enough to be an artist working with visual media.  I didn’t have any friends at publishers, so a writing career was not considered.  I didn’t have a strong disposition about what other industry I would’ve enjoyed – music was it.  My parents had been beauticians, and, believe it or not – that career was ‘offered’ to me…and I did ‘check it out’ – but I knew it wasn’t “me”.

The roads not taken:  Travel agent, zookeeper, hotel desk clerk (Quentin Hotel, Amsterdam – two winters: ’91 & ‘92), pharmacist assistant (only until my current clerical job came through), truck driver (I did used to deliver cartons of records!), post office (only lasted a single day) etc.

As Popeye would say, “I yam what I yam!”: Ex-Music Business.