Record Store culture celebrated

“Give me the scratches, give me the skips. And I love the way that you move your hips.
“I’ve made up my mind, my decision is final. Drop the needle, play some vinyl.” — Jeffrey Halford and the Healers

Recycled Records is doing good business in Reno's counter culture area, the Midtown District. Tim Parsons/ Tahoe Onstage
Recycled Records is doing good business in Reno’s counter culture area, the Midtown District.
Tim Parsons/ Tahoe Onstage

Record stores these days are as rare as Pinto sedans, phone booths and cassette Walkmans, but there is one in Reno that is thriving.

Recycled Records celebrated Record Store Day on Saturday, April 18 with 11 live bands and new vinyl releases which are distributed exclusively to independent records stores.

Record Store Day 6Vinyl sales is what keeps the business going, said Paul Doege, who bought Recycled Records in 1980. He said 75 percent of the customers are age 25 or younger.

“They are drawn into more of an experience,” Doege said, describing a ritual that has gone away for many in the digital age. With a record, listeners can enjoy the artwork, read liner notes, drop the needle on the vinyl and sit and listen to the warm analog sound. “That’s the way it’s meant to be heard,” he said.

There are two constants I remember from my record store visits: First I would always check the “B” aisle to see if there was anything available by David Bromberg, who was mysteriously absent from the recording industry for a couple of decades. Then as I perused, I’d groove to the music that was played throughout the store, something that I’d never heard. Music always sounds more avant-garde cool in a record store.

The same thing happened last week when it stopped by the Reno store. Alas, there was no Bromberg, but there was cool music being enjoyed by numerous music enthusiasts.

“I don’t care what (the clerks) play, I just don’t want it to be quite,” Doege said. “All music is good. As long as it makes you happy is all that counts.”

Record Store Day 5Doege said he was recruited to move his store three years ago from the longtime location at Kietzke and Moana to 822 South Virginia in Midtown District, Reno’s answer to San Francisco’s Haight. With used a clothing store, a renovated theater, restaurants, pubs and a farmers’ market, it’s the biggest little counter culture area in Northern Nevada.

“It’s the best location we’ve had in 30 years,” Doege said. “It’s a neighborhood, not a strip mall.”

On Record Store Day, which since 2007 occurs on the third Saturday of April, special vinyl issues of hundreds of bands, including the Stooges, Foo Fighters, Grateful Dead, David Bowie, the White Stripes will be available. And Doege said his regular inventory will be boosted by more than 1,000 records.

Mimosas were served in the morning and beer in the afternoon. Live music highlights from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. included Max Volume, Portland’s the English Language and Loose Cannon Mariachi from Grass Valley. A donation to a Food Bank of Northern Nevada barrel was reciprocated with CD and record discounts.

Selling used music is a sounder business practice than offering new music because the mark up is so small. “If one new CD gets stolen, you have to sell 10 just to break even,” he said.

Record Store Day 3Record Store Day 4

ABOUT Tim Parsons

Tim Parsons
Tim Parsons is the editor of Tahoe Onstage who first moved to Lake Tahoe in 1992. Before starting Tahoe Onstage in 2013, he worked for 29 years at newspapers, including the Tahoe Daily Tribune, Eureka Times-Standard and Contra Costa Times. He was the recipient of the 2011 Keeping the Blues Alive award for Journalism.

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