WAKE UP AND SMELL THE VINYL

March 20, 2013 – 5:36 pm

Owns a record store? CHECK. Heads a record label? CHECK. Makes all kinds of records? CHECK. We can think of no one better to fly the flag for Record Store Day 2013, can you? Let’s let Ambassador Jack White speak for himself, both on video and in his official Ambassadorial quote.

Years ago someone told me that 1,200 high school kids were given a survey. A question was posed to them: Have you ever been to a stand-alone record shop? The number of kids that answered “yes” was… zero.

Zero? How could that be possible? Then I got realistic and thought to myself, “Can you blame them?” How can record shops (or any shop for that matter) compete with Netflix, TiVo, video games that take months to complete, cable, texting, the Internet, etc. etc?

Getting out of your chair at home to experience something in the real world has started to become a rare occurrence and, to a lot of people, an unnecessary one. Why go to a bookstore and get a real book? You can just download it. Why talk to other human beings, discuss different authors, writing styles and influences? Just click your mouse.

Well, here’s what they’ll someday learn if they have a soul; there’s no romance in a mouse click. There’s no beauty in sitting for hours playing video games (anyone proud of that stop reading now and post your opinion in the nearest forum). The screen of an iPhone is convenient, but it’s no comparison to a 70mm showing of a film in a gorgeous theater. The Internet is two-dimensional… helpful and entertaining, but no replacement for face-to-face interaction with a human being. But we all know all of that, right? Well, do we? Maybe we know all that, but so what?

Let’s wake each other up.

The world hasn’t stopped moving. Out there, people are still talking to each other face-to-face, exchanging ideas and turning each other on. Art houses are showing films, people are drinking coffee and telling tall tales, women and men are confusing each other and record stores are selling discs full of soul that you haven’t felt yet.

So why do we choose to hide in our caves and settle for replication? We know better. We should at least. We need to re-educate ourselves about human interaction and the difference between downloading a track on a computer and talking to other people in person and getting turned onto music that you can hold in your hands and share with others.

The size, shape, smell, texture and sound of a vinyl record; how do you explain to that teenager who doesn’t know that it’s a more beautiful musical experience than a mouse click? You get up off your ass, you grab them by the arm and you take them there. You put the record in their hands. You make them drop the needle on the platter. Then they’ll know.

Let’s wake each other up.

As Record Store Day Ambassador of 2013, I’m proud to help in any way I can to invigorate whoever will listen with the idea that there is beauty and romance in the act of visiting a record shop and getting turned on to something new that could change the way they look at the world, other people, art, and ultimately, themselves.

Let’s wake each other up.

- Jack White

For those who are partial to the internet, click here and let Jack White take you on a visit to a record pressing factory.

Note: The above article was posted at recordstoreday.com.

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  1. 8 Responses to “WAKE UP AND SMELL THE VINYL”

  2. their loss my gain, less crowded.
    Every new city ,or town i`m in I look for the used bookstores and record stores[used and new]
    I can spend hours, lost , looking and finding, or just absorbing .
    a passion..you can`t expect a generation that is addicted to instant gratification i.e. the internet and gaming to actually want to step back into a dusty dimly lit store to expand their horizons can you ?
    like i said, their loss our gain..

    By sluggo on Mar 20, 2013

  3. I used to love - LOVE - browsing the racks at record stores. The town where I live now doesn’t even have one….

    By Eric on Mar 21, 2013

  4. At least ONE of the best record stores I’ve found in the western United States(And yes, they have CDs and DVDs)? AMOEBA RECORDS in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco. It’s originally a bowling alley converted into a music store! IT’S A FEAST OF FRIENDS!!!! Get there if you can! They have a website, but physically going there and taking a journey throught what they have to offer is a high in itself!

    By Daniel Kershner on Mar 21, 2013

  5. Daniel, I haven’t been to your Amoeba Records store in Haight-Ashbury, but I have friends that lived there in the mid 60’s to early 70’s. But I have been to the huge Hollywood Amoeba Store. Full of people, experiences, shared interest in vinyl obsessions and auditory journeys. Ventura has the 2-story Salzers Records since 1969 next to Victoria and the 126 Freeway, Wild Planet for CD’s in old town Ventura, Buffalo Records and CDs new and used sits between Main and Thompson. Sadly, Lancaster CA no longer has RaveUp nor Crosstown Records (used vinyl shops).

    By 4yrsnojob on Mar 21, 2013

  6. oh, and Salzers Records carries the music DVD’s including imports, new and used. Across Victoria is the 2 story Salzers (all other) Video Store.

    By 4yrsnojob on Mar 21, 2013

  7. 4yrsnojob: Yes, I’ve also been to the Amoeba store in Hollywood - it’s about the same size as the one in Haight. THANK GOD FOR THESE PLACES! Nick Mason, the drummer for Pink Floyd, told a story about how he was once in THAT AMOEBA STORE in Hollywood and bought a huge box set by John Coltrane apparently containing everything in the vaults that hadn’t been released that was releasable, and that’s when he finally got why the fans crave all that wonderful unreleased stuff. Right after that is when they began releasing those wonderful IMMERSION box sets. Anyway, and thanks for the info on those shops in Ventura. I live in Salinas, so I need to check them out!

    By Daniel Kershner on Mar 21, 2013

  8. Also on th west coast, but further north are several very good record stores in Vancouver, BC. If you ever visit our fair city by the sea, make sure to drop into both Zulu Records and Neptoon. BOTH have new and used vinyl and CDs, as well as books and collectables. BOTH host in-store live music events, record signings, poster art shows and of course, Record Store Day celebrations. BOTH have knowledgable staffs to help you- or just to rap about music.

    Best regards,
    Peter Grainger.

    By Peter Grainger on Mar 21, 2013

  9. Peter: Thank you as well for the info. I grew up in Montana and had been to your beautiful area (Vancouver Island - WOW!) several times. Now I have definite inspiration to come back!

    By Daniel Kershner on Mar 21, 2013

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