Record Store Day? More Like Record Store Life.

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Record Store Day is tomorrow. So I shouldn't have been surprised when my editor said, "Hey, maybe you can write something about Record Store Day."

Makes sense. I do write under the moniker Record Store Geek.

It's just that my editor has only asked me for one specific column in the entire two years I've been here: My first one (Defending My Guilty TV Pleasure: Ancient Aliens). So I was surprised.

You think I'd be thankful I've had this much freedom (I am) and serve it up, but here's the problem: I don't want to write about Record Store Day.

But I'd love to write about record stores. Hell, I'll teach a class on record stores.

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Record Store Reminiscing: Arguing About Music

Flickr via vermilionink

I don't even know you, and I want to argue with you. About music. That's right. It's been almost two years since the record store I used to own, Hoodlums Music, closed -- and that's the main thing I miss about it. Arguing about music.

Seriously, Geek? You owned your own record store for 15 years and that's what draws your nostalgic urges? Arguing? It's true. Let's start with Lennon vs. McCartney.

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A Father's Duty: Listening to Worn-Out Classics

Aerosmith can be heard practically 50 times a day on KSLX.
A few weeks ago, I wrote a cheery little ditty titled Five Things I Hate About Music. In case you somehow haven't read it (that was a joke, although I do seem to have a few deeply disturbed readers), one of the five was Obvious Songs.

While expanding on said annoyance, I took to task local classic rock radio legend KSLX. I claimed that I had a tough time listening to KSLX because "I go nuts in about 25 minutes because every song it plays is so damn obvious."

When I submitted it, my editor mentioned the irony that Up on the Sun had named KSLX "Best Classic Rock" radio station in its 7 Best Radio Stations in Metro Phoenix blog posted earlier that day.

After my initial "How the fuck could the New Times staff have decided on 'Best Classic Rock' anything without polling the old man?" reaction, I started a month-long experiment on the subject of worn-out music.

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Record Store Geek: 16 Sweet Slices of Soul

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Motown Records
R&B/soul icon Stevie Wonder
Chances are, if you met me -- I'm a tall, goofy-looking, middle-aged white guy with a Canadian accent (it's actually North Dakotan) -- you wouldn't think, "Hey, I should get some recommendations on fantastic soul albums from this cat."

Of course, I'm stereotyping myself, and you would be, too. I understand that we all make assumptions, usually based on some level of previous experience, and that's a fairly good guess.

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Now Forming: The Church of Music

"Jesus H. Tapdancing Christ, I have seen the light!"
On Thursday, the Arizona Senate okayed a bill that would allow denial of services on religious grounds. A move civil-rights groups (and yours geekly) believe would allow discriminatory actions by businesses.

As I read the news, shaking my head and thinking, "What will the crazy conservatives in this state do next?" my mind turned to the so-called separation of church and state. I was reminded that religions have massive political power in this country, yet they don't pay any taxes. What a deal.

I should start a church. No, really.

Why am I bringing this up here? Because my church is going to be The Church of Music. Read on and I'll start you on a path to enlightenment.

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Five Things I Hate About Music

For almost a year now, I've been writing about music on this blog. Wacky little observations from the viewpoint of a 25-year industry veteran and independent record store owner.

Mostly, I ramble poetic (hopefully) about how much I love music. How much it means to me and how it has weaved its way into every facet of my life. I've been sharing my favorite albums, artists, and memories in this regard.

However, like most things in life, there is a duality to my love of music. A darker side. The inevitable result of a long-term relationship. It's time I talked about it.

So join me this week as I share Five Things I Hate About Music.

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Seven Music Lessons I'm Passing Down the Family Tree

Photobucket via YdissacEcirp

My oldest daughter arrived yesterday with my two grandsons, ages 1 and 3.

That's right. I'm a music-blogging grandpa. If you've ever read any of my past rambling, you may remember that I'm still wrangling kids as well (five kids total, three in the house). That means I've got myself seven descendants. Not bad for a wee pup of 48, eh?

As timing would have it, I promised my editor that I'd start writing again this week. God forbid I would have thought that through. So I sat there at Kiwanis Park and watched the kids play this morning, mildly lamenting my failure, and the fact that I'd soon have to sequester myself from these amazing little beings to write.

Then I had a realization that cheered me up. This week I'll write about music for them.

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Seven Things for Which I'm Musically Thankful

Used CDs in a store
Jeffrey Smith
Pick out a few you're thankful for.
I haven't had to work on Thanksgiving for a long time. But I had a column to write, with a Friday deadline, so work I must. I know it seems obvious (because it is obvious), but if I was going to be writing on Thanksgiving, I truly thought it would be wrong of me not to be thankful in my column.

No problem, my friends. When it comes to music, giving thanks is not hard to do.

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Nine Things I Would Do In Rock and Roll Heaven

Like most American children, I was indoctrinated into the Christian tribe. In case you somehow aren't familiar with the mythology, one of the main ideas is that if you do what the book says, you'll go to a place called heaven.

Now, the book doesn't lay it out very clearly, so my God-fearing mother couldn't explain exactly what this heaven joint was like, except to say that I'd be able to do whatever I want there. Seemed like a cool idea.

So sometimes I'd imagine what I'd do if I got to this wonderful place. See the Dinosaurs. Meet the Vikings (Fran Tarkenton, not Hagar the Horrible). Live in the tree house from Swiss Family Robinson. That sort of stuff.

I'm tribe-free these days, but I still like to imagine what I might do if there really is a place called heaven. I'd still see the dinosaurs in the treehouse with Fran, but as you can imagine, I've added some wishes to the list. Rock and roll wishes.

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9 Guilty Pleasure Admissions of a Record Store Geek

Starship - "We Built This City" video
Look, it's not like you think.

If you've read any of my prior ramblings, then you know that I explore the topic of musical credibility a lot. It's in my nature. Should you and I like what we like, regardless of critical stature, or should we concentrate on artists with a certain level of critical credibility?

Here's the general answer from your average record store geek: Of course you need to have standards. Popular music is shit, and it always has been.

I'd be lying if I told you I have been immune to that sort of musical peer pressure, but I'm okay with it -- because ultimately that pressure has resulted in a better music collection and a better understanding of the art.

However, I'd also be lying if I told you there weren't a few things that go against that theory. A few guilty pleasures. Read on and I'll surely embarrass myself with nine of them.

See also:
- Record Store Geek: Five Statements Guaranteed to Piss Off Music Elitists.
- Music Parenting: Expand Kids Musical Horizons While They're Young.

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