You're opening a Record Store?
I say that's great news! Some will say you're crazy. Some will say it won't last. But still... you're doing it; here... in our town, shelving dust-frayed sheaths of grooved wax mystically inscribed with music, 3-minute snippets of history, melodic musings of trailblazing troubadours, be they disco balladeers or nightclub crooners, be they antagonistic folk strumming scribes or guitar-shredding arena rockers...
A Record Store.
The idea of it seems ever quaint or futile in the midst of our losing The Record Collector, with owner/manager Warren Westfall closing his doors within the week.
In a letter to his community of supporters and crate-digging shoppers printed in the Ferndale Friends this month, Westfall sent his thanks and explained why he had to close his store (after 31 years) but reaffirmed his purpose, his commitment "...to making a difference in your listening."
Find Westfall's continued vinyl dealings on Ebay via "recordcollectormichigan"
"...a difference in your listening..."
When Found Sound (inside the former location of Mother Fletchers -234 W. 9 Mile Rd), I was happy, heartened, and hopeful. Two enthusiastic souls, two 20-something music-mavens, committed to lifting heavy crates and painting high ceilings and tediously sorting, pricing, cataloging and alphabetizing a sea of flat, black and circular historical documents.
Co-managers Ray Hayosh and Chris Butterfield would likewise commit themselves to offering a difference in our listening.
Think of the cold, empty experience of hearing Blood On The Tracks or After The Goldrush or Abbey Road or Nevermind or even The Suburbs, Wrecking Ball or any iconic classic - new or old - via stabbing, flimsy earbuds transmitting compressed MP3 versions from your smartphone... Compared to hoofing through this new cozy clubhouse, Found Sound, grasping the treasure in your hand, meeting Ray and Chris, shaking their hands maybe, then coming home and laying the modulated grooves down onto your turntable and engaging with the piece, feeling the warm crackles throughout...
The difference between finding and searching... Come see Chris and Ray -and you'll find what you're looking for... Resolve yourself to just keep scanning the internet for the next new blog-buzzed MP3 to stream on your iPad only to forget about it the following week and that's all you'll have, an empty experience of endless, cyclical searching...
When Butterfield visited the opening of the new 1480 Gratiot Gallery and saw a piece by Baltimore-based Monty & Booze Hound that he just had to buy.
"It was staring back at me," Butterfield recalls, "a life preserver ring that reads: 'SOS 2012'"
With a Record Store opening here in my city, in a year full of disconcerting news and sutured with dubiously hollow pop-culture trends, a year ostensibly tagged as a possible apocalyptic calendar marker... a Record Store opening throws a life preserver to the culture of our community. It's some humble assurance that our reverence for recorded music as a fine art form will persevere.
"Ray and I were fresh from working at Record Time (in Roseville)," Butterfield said. "A storied shop in its own right that closed after decades in business."
They'd learned from their experience there, wise to the whims of the music industry and warily anticipating that it'd be an uphill battle.
"(Found Sound)'s owner is a music collector with big ambitions," Butterfield said. "Ray and I approach Found Sound on dual-fronts: he manages accounts and I'll book events."
So far, so good. Business has been steady and "...new folks are finding us."
"Everyone's been very supportive," Butterfield said, "and we're continuing to keep our bins filled. Since the 'Internet-Boom' in music, it seems there is a sharper focus on community-minded small businesses. This is the key difference between online vs. brick and mortar. Whether it's offering live music (-see list below-) or building personal relationships with neighboring businesses, there is symbiosis."
Since their summer opening, Ray and Chris have hosted the following local bands:
Cosmic Light Shapes
In about three weeks (Jan 12) they host a neo-hardcore punk/urban-folk-styled duo called the Counter-Elites. This band is part of the Simple Living Ferndale collective, run by singer/songwriters Jon Berz and Shaun Wisniewski.
Speaking of Berz - he just finished a new X-mas themed song called "Your Holy Ghost" -have a listen. It's a soothing, surfy little strummer that bares the sensibilities of the season to their core: the sancity of friendship.
Click below for more info on:
The Counter Elites (release show, 1/12 @ Found Sound)