I so wanted to title this “I’m spinning vinyls at Woodlands” but didn’t have the guts to go through with it. Anyhoo, Woodland’s Tavern on 3rd Ave is starting a new series hosted by Floorwalkers frontman Jon Elliott and I’m joining him for the debut show on Tuesday, October 8th. 7-9pm. Free.
The idea is pretty simple. A couple guys play a bunch of records and tell stories and hopefully a bunch of folks drink beer and sorta listen. Since I know some real record collectors, I don’t consider myself an actual record guy, but I suppose I probably have 200 or so scattered around my house and maybe once owned closer to 500? Or 700?
See, growing up in Worthington, OH, myself and the other Watershed guys started riding the COTA #2 bus down to the campus record stores at a young age to blow our paper route money on used records. It was a weekly ritual from about 6th grade until records got replaced by CDs. When people ask me why I got into writing songs and playing music, I give all the credit to the #2 bus and the campus record stores.
We almost never paid full price for a record unless it was something brand new from Cheap Trick or The Kinks and we just had to have it NOW. But other than that, we would just comb the bins every Saturday weighing quality versus quantity. I’ve still got price tags on some of my records including an excellent condition Born to Run from Used Kids Records for….$1! And I got the double record The River for $2. Folks, that’s what I call value. Obviously these records were priced before Jerry DeCicca started working there.
A couple other random memories off the top of my head:
Asking Ron House what Bob Dylan record I should buy, “Highway 61 would be good for someone like you.”
Purchasing Rush - Grace Under Pressure at Singing Dogs, stepping onto High Street and barfing. I had chicken pox and summer was just starting. Oof. Not cool when you are 12. But at least I had a new record.
Johnny Go showing me an Aerosmith album I HAD NEVER HEARD OF. That’s right, pre-internet it was possible to discover a record by one of your favorite bands that you never even knew existed. In this case it was Night in the Ruts. Oh Chiquita!
I bought Styx Cornerstone and never listened to it once.
I asked Captain what Jerry Lee Lewis record I should get. “If you like Jerry, they are all great, if you don’t like Jerry they all suck.” Turns out I like Jerry.
Eventually, Watershed moved down High Street to campus and combined most of our records. Instead of a bus before record shopping it became bars before shopping. The picture on the cover of this story captures that vibe. It is interesting to note that Biggie, Joe , Herb and I had somehow had five copies of Blue Oyster Cult - Some Enchanted Evening. So someone bought it twice. It must have been really cheap because it’s really not very good. As records went out of style and we moved apart, we cherry-picked the stuff we wanted to hold on to. “Hands off that Billy Squier, asshole.”
Anyway, I don’t quite have the cash flow to keep buying records every weekend but I still love hanging out in record stores and when I can justify it, buying a new record. My son asked for a record player for his 16th birthday so I’ll take that as a sign that it's time for me to pass the obsession to the next generation. - Colin G.
Colin Gawel founded Pencilstorm and wrote this while ignoring customers at Colin’s Coffee. He plays in the band Watershed and solo with The League Bowlers.