Record Store Day returns to independent shops across America on Saturday, Oct. 24.
This year finds the annual celebration spreading its exclusive titles out across three weekends to assist with social distancing concerns related to the spread of COVID-19. Saturday will be the final day of the three.
As Jason Woodbury, the marketing director for ZIA Records, a Phoenix chain with stores in metro Phoenix, Tucson and Las Vegas, says, “Record Store Day had to roll with the punches the same as everybody else this year.”
The first of three RSD Drops, as the event has been rebranded, was Saturday, Aug. 29. The second Drop was Saturday, Sept. 26.
Record Store Day was launched in 2008 as an annual celebration of the independent record store as a cultural hub for hardcore vinyl geeks and casual music fans alike to not just purchase records but to congregate and revel in the atmosphere.
Those social distancing requirements are bound to make it hard to revel in the atmosphere the way you may be used to reveling.
So we reached out to all nine metro Phoenix stores officially participating in the second of three RSD Drops to see how that initial drop went and what shoppers should expect.
RSD October exclusives
Whichever store or stores you plan to hit, there are plenty of October titles that are well worth tracking down.
The Who’s performance at the legendary 1967 Monterey International Pop Festival is available for the first time on vinyl as “A Quick One Live.”
Tucson’s Calexico are releasing a 20th anniversary double-LP edition of “Hot Rail” on 180g gold vinyl in a full-color gatefold jacket with new cover art and bonus press photos.
“McLemore Avenue” is a 50th anniversary reissue of Booker T. & The M.G.’s tribute to the Beatles’ “Abbey Road.”
“Out to Get You! Live 1977 captures Cheap Trick a year before “At Budokan,” rocking the Whisky a Go Go, where they played fan favorites that wouldn’t appear on an album for years.
“Live from the Apollo Theatre Glasgow Feb 19.1982” captures Alice Cooper on the “Special Forces” tour.
Dandy Warhols cover the Velvet Underground’s “Femme Fatale” with Bebe Buell on vocals. The cover art for the 7” single features Buell and Nico back in the 70’s.
“Double Image: Rare Miles From the Complete Bitches Brew Sessions” features 10 embryonic recordings that paved the way for one of Miles Davis’ most acclaimed releases. “Mingus Ah Um Redux” is a two-LP edition of the classic Charles Mingus album with a second LP of alternate takes for the first time on vinyl.
Humble Pie’s “Official Bootleg Collection Volume 2” curate rare and previously unreleased live shows that were illicitly recorded between 1971 and 1981.
Lil’ Kim’s “9,” her first release in 15 years, will be available on sky blue vinyl.
Before the September Drop, ZIA CEO Jarrett Hankinson said, “The first Record Store Day Drops went really well, so we’re feeling good about maintaining our approach. We had people line up at all of our locations but they were masked, distanced and overall in great spirits.”
The store received a lot of comments from satisfied customers.
“Everyone seemed to get what they were looking for,” Hankinson said. “But given that these titles are really limited, sometimes you don’t get exactly what you’re looking for if you’ve got a really limited-edition title in mind.”
Because it went so well the first two times, ZIA plans to take the same approach to this month’s Drop.
Customers can line up at any location beginning at 7 a.m.
“We’re gonna be monitoring the social distance, of course,” said Woodbury. “And then we’re gonna let the first 10 customers in to shop for 15 minutes, ring them up and then the next 15 will come in.”
At 10 a.m., all remaining RSD exclusives will become available online for curbside pickup or delivery.
In the interest of safety, masks have been required on all customers and employee since the stores reopened.
They’ve installed plexiglass, required customers to maintain a safe distance and changed the way they handle trade, now disinfecting items customers bring in and keeping them in separate containers overnight.
Zia Camelback: 1850 W. Camelback Road, Phoenix.
Zia Mill Avenue: 3201 S. Mill Ave, Tempe.
Zia Thunderbird: 2510 W. Thunderbird Road, Phoenix.
Zia Chandler: 3029 N. Alma School Road.
Zia Mesa: 1302 S. Gilbert Road.
Stinkweeds will again be going virtual for the October RSD Drop, taking orders by phone from 7-9 a.m. with all remaining RSD exclusives becoming available for sale at 10 a.m. on stinkweeds.com/RSD.
Store manager Lindsey Cates says the September Drop went even better than the one in August, which had some hiccups as far as people being able to get through on their phones.
“We got rid of all our bugs in the phone lines,” she says. “And it went really smoothly, so we’re excited about the third round.”
The decision to go virtual was made after considering the weather and the store’s square footage.
“It’s just the only thing that makes sense,” Cates says. “I just can’t imagine having people waiting in line for hours in 100 degree weather while we service five people at a time.”
That first day is curbside pickup only. No mail orders will be taken until Sunday.
“They don’t have to pick it up that day,” Cates says. “But we’re just trying to retain that element for Record Store Day.”
Stinkweeds has been open, doing curbside pickup and appointment shopping.
With appointments, shopping customers have the store to themselves for 45 minutes.
“So a lot of people have really been enjoying that,” Cates says. “It’s kind of like a dream come true for a lot of people.”
Stinkweeds has been blown away, Cates says, “by the support of our customers and the community in general. We know the internet is servicing everyone right now. And we’re just so blown away by the amount of people that continue to shop with us consistently.”
Details: 12 W. Camelback Road, Phoenix. 602-248-9461.
For the fifth year running, Asylum is hosting a signing by Rock and Roll Hall of Fame guitarist Michael Bruce of the original Alice Cooper group, whose songwriting credits include such iconic recordings as “I’m Eighteen,” “Ballad of Dwight Fry,” “Under My Wheels,” “Be My Lover” and “School’s Out.”
In the past, he’s performed at the store, but not this year.
As store owner Scott Robenalt says, “We don’t want to have a big gathering with the social distancing thing going on.”
Bruce was also at the August and September Drops.
For the third Drop, Bruce is joined by wrestler Greg “The Hammer” Valentine and David Ellefson of Megadeth.
The Hammer will be at the store for two days — from 5-8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 23, and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24.
Ellefson and Bruce will be on hand from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on Saturday.
On Asylum’s Facebook page, Robenalt writers, “You don’t want to miss this one. I gotta feelin somebody’s gettin BODY SLAMMED by the end of the day.”
The store opens at 7 a.m. and Robenalt will have a record rack up front with all the RSD exclusives.
“We’re gonna let people in in little groups if they come together or one or two at a time to go through the rack, go to the register, buy it and go out,” Robenalt says.
“Or look around in the store if they want. But as soon as somebody finishes, somebody else gets to come in.”
The store will also offer 20% off on all used items.
Details: 2990 N. Alma School Road, Suite No. 5, Chandler. 480-964-6301.
The Record Room
Store owner Jon Rose says the Record Room had planned on having live bands and a DJ for the first of three Record Drops.
“But right now, with the COVID, it’s just too weird of a time,” he says.
It’s still too weird a time to have live music at the third Drop.
Rose says he’ll be taking precautions to make it safe to shop there.
“We’re big enough to where we can have people come in and they’re not gonna be on top of each other,” he says.
“But it’s mainly just you’ve gotta wear a mask. Don’t go coughing on anyone. Try and stay away from people. We have hand soap by the door, but what else are you gonna do?”
All merchandise will be 20% off, and there’s a bunch of used LPs they’re putting out that day.
“I’m also doing a ‘come down and make a deal with the owner’ type of thing,” Rose says.
Details: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. 2601 W Dunlap Ave #21, Phoenix. 602-460-0040.
The ‘In’ Groove
Store owner Michael Esposito has advice for regulars.
“It’s really optimal for the locals to get here before the stuff goes online,” he says.
The store opens at 8 a.m. and local shoppers have a window of two hours at the ‘In’ Groove before Esposito makes the RSD exclusives he has left in stock available online.
At the first Drop, Esposito says, “I think it took us seven minutes to sell about 1,200 records once they went online. I think people are under the assumption that they can go around and shop throughout the day. They weren’t expecting, nor was I, that so many stores would have absolutely nothing after 10 o’clock. It was really wild.”
In a normal year, stores selling those exclusives on their website is “very taboo,” Esposito says.
“They don’t like it, which is totally understandable. You want to get people in the store.”
Esposito, as always, ordered what he says are “absolute massive quantities” of all the RSD exclusives.
For those who do show up in person, face masks are required and the store will limit the number of customers allowed inside at any given time.
“But to be honest,” Esposito says, “we’ve been open six years, and the very first Record Store Day, we opened the door and it was kind of like a free-for-all. So ever since then, I’ve just always had a policy of regulating the amount of people that come in the store.”
Details: 3406 E. Thomas Road, Phoenix. 602-957-2453.
Tracks in Wax
Store owner and sole employee Timmy Stamper says things went great at the first drop for Tracks in Wax.
“Just about every RSD title sold immediately,” he says. “So it was good, a great turnout and everybody respected the pandemic and acted accordingly, without even really having to be told.”
Masks are required and Stamper keeps hand sanitizer on the counter.
The store will be open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“I’ll have lots of great stuff in stock,” Stamper says, “things I’ve been holding aside that didn’t hit the first Record Store Day, vintage stuff I’m gonna price out, a lot of great things, and I’ll have the new RSD titles as well.”
Details: 4741 N. Central Ave., Phoenix. 602-274-2660.
Uncle Aldo’s Attic
Uncle Aldo’s Attic sells vintage collectibles including board games, records, toys, costumes, books and more.
They’ll have a limited selection of RSD exclusives, but they’re running a 10% discount on their vintage vinyl.
“Because we’re a smaller shop, we get a smaller selection of exclusives,” says store owner Desi Scarpone.
“But at the same time, we also have all of the vinyl in the store on sale. So that’s kind of our thing. People come in for the Record Store Day stuff and stay for the savings.”
Masks are required, the store offers gloves and they’ve been taking other precautions.
“It’s almost impossible to keep everything clean in a record store,” he says. “But the surfaces that people use — the door handle, the credit card machine — we keep those clean after every use, but there’s not a whole lot else we can do.”
Details: 6016 E. McKellips Road, Mesa. 480-218-1415.
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