Hundreds of independently-owned music, movie and video game stores across the country will celebrate Record Store Day this Saturday (April 19) in honor of the culture and unique place they occupy nationally and in their local communities.
Record Store Day is organized by MonitorThis.com, the Alliance of Independent Media Stores, the Coalition of Independent Music Stores, Newbury Comics, the Value Music Group of Indie Stores and thousands of independent artists from around the country.
The campaign, conceived last fall, aims to battle "a perception that record stores are something of a joke; like we are all dinosaurs stuck in the tar," says Eric Levin, an Atlanta retailer who heads the 32-store Alliance of Independent Media Stores.
Mike Portnoy (DREAM THEATER):
"Growing up a rock and metal fan on Long Island in the '70s and '80s was very different than it is today. There were no chain stores like Virgin and Tower and, of course, no Internet mailorder services like Amazon. The only way to pick up albums was to shop at your local 'mom and pop' record stores...
"In the late 70s, it was always easy to find the latest releases from my favorite bands LED ZEPPELIN, THE WHO, KISS, PINK FLOYD, QUEEN, etc were all readily available at any record store. But in the early '80s, as I discovered more 'underground' metal bands like IRON MAIDEN, JUDAS PRIEST, MOTRHEAD, ACCEPT, MERCYFUL FATE, LOUDNESS and RAVEN (from reading my imported copies of Kerrang!), there was no place in small town Long Beach, Long Island to find the latest records from these bands I was reading about. Then I discovered Slipped Disc Records in Valley Stream, Long Island. They not only carried the albums from these bands, but also the 12" singles with bonus tracks, the t-shirts, the imported live videos and anything else that existed! When the American thrash scene was beginning to erupt around 1983, I could always count on Slipped Disc to carry anythings I was looking for from bands like METALLICA, ANTHRAX, SLAYER, EXODUS, TESTAMENT, FLOTSAM AND JETSAM, DEATH ANGEL and NUCLEAR ASSAULT. Taking the train there every Saturday was the highlight of my week! And on the day I received my driver's license, the very first place I drove to was Slipped Disc to pick up METALLICA's 'Ride The Lightning' album which was released that VERY day! (The imported version, of course!) Now in 2008, the world is a very different place...the aforementioned chains and online stores have made it very difficult for the mom and pop stores to compete. In fact, my beloved Slipped Disc just announced it will be closing its doors for good. So let's hear it for people like Mike from Slipped Disc and all of the independant store owners that have helped shape the metal scene for the past 25 years. Without them, a lot of us may not have existed... (Or at least have been as metal as we are!)"
Brian Fair (SHADOWS FALL):
"Independent record stores have always been the only place to find great music that is off the mainstream radar. I used to love heading down to our local spot to sift through the new imports or albums from some small label I had never heard of. In the days before the Internet, the only way to find out about new underground bands was either a cool neighbor an older brother or the local independent record store. Luckily, I had both and it lead to a record collection I am still very proud of. I still love that feeling of walking into a great independent store and having no idea what I might find. It's like a treasure hunt. Hahaha."
Tomas Haake (MESHUGGAH)
"It's sad to see some of the developments in society where every day more and more things conform toward a bland, non-diverse medium or 'standard,' if you will the big, monetarily strong chain stores and companies are slowly burying the smaller, diverse (read: cool) indie ones!! No matter if it's clothes, music or otherwise this steady decline of uniqueness, diversity and 'individual expression' is truly scary!!
"In all honesty, how cool is it to have to go into a 100.000 square-ft., fluorescent-lighted warehouse, where none of the 'meek, perfect-skin, fuckwhats-type employees' know the first thing about any music outside of what's on Billboard's Top Ten only to find that the brand new SLAYER album you so desire to own is found on the 'CD-pick-of-the-week' rack, right in between the spankingly fresh releases of Ms. Aguilera and 'Dance Mania No. 987'....!?!?... Honestly...
"Support your local indie and underground stores! Seriously!! For the good of all!!"
"Independent record stores are a vital source of the ever-changing cool. They respond to the street faster than the chains can. They help us telegraph to each other what's 'now' and what's not, what we should be telling our friends and neighbors about, and what's about to take off, or, no longer hot. Musical trends are confirmed at the local independent record store, by you and me. Hanging out, listening to something you've never heard before, being enlightened by the staff, getting into something new, finding that old recording you've been searching for, having your local band's newest offering stocked right next to major label stuff, it all happens at the local indie shop. Why would we want to do away with all that?"
For more information about national Record Store Day, visit www.recordstoreday.com.