Sometime in the latter part of 1977, I was wandering through the South Shore Mall in Bayshore. I saw a sign at Record World. They were hiring. How cool would it be to work at a record store? I certainly wouldn’t need any training.
I applied and got the job.
Record World was the biggest record chain store on Long Island in those days and I was thrilled to be around music all day. Part of the job was actually playing records. Insane.
However, it was on a sharing system so I had to compete with some of the worst music I had ever heard. Specifically, DISCO. Disco was making a huge impact on the pop music scene. I hated it with a passion. I wanted it to die. I even joined in on the “Death To Disco” movement that seemed to be gaining momentum.
Nipo, wrapped up in the punk movement, started his own record label called Death Records. It was a very exciting venture. The first single released was Jimi Lalumia & The Psychotic Frogs “Death To Disco” And we were waving our punk flags high aimed at the destruction of this horrible music.
Since Disco only lasted about three years at best, I am taking personal responsibility, along with my punk rock revolutionaries, for the killing of this abomination. Recently, I have grown fond of some the music of that era. I was a young angry rebel back then. Now I’m old and couldn’t care less. Life.
Being a rebel at Record World, I wanted to convert the huddled, suburban masses to punk rockers. Mostly, I failed miserably. Customers were set on buying Billy Joel. Meatloaf, Donna Summer and The Village People. I felt powerless. I was at least able to convert the co-workers. One story that comes to mind is a young Rich Dolan started Record World at 17 yrs old. My first question was “what kind of music do you listen to”, he replied with his voice cracking “Kansas”. After wincing, I replied “I can fix that”. With in a week, little Richie Dolan was listening to The Clash.
However, my co-workers for the most part were music geeks and aficionados. I learned a lot about music from those folks. We existed in a bubble, apart from the mainstream.
I can talk forver about specific life-changing moments that occurred at Record World. The obvious one is meeting Margie, my future wife. We just passed our 30 year mark, so I guess it’s working out.
Musically, I can point to some specifics.
Russell was a co-worker, who looked like Peter Frampton (70’s) Russell was a Robert Plant wannabe. He loved Zeppelin, and all the usual bands that fall into that category. I had already passed that stage, but he was a good guy so I was forgiving. The cool thing about working here was we got the first shot at any new releases that came in. We were the first line of fire in the recording industry, or so we thought. Russ was unpacking a box of new releases when he called me over. “Look at this, some new band I never heard of called Van Heflin” (Van Halen). Getting a good feeling about it, he snuck it on the turntable. At this point in time, heavy metal or hard rock was pretty much dead. When we heard the opening track “Running With The Devil”, we both looked at each other and knew immediately this band was going to bring back that hard rock sound that had been missing. Obviously we were right.
That was the beauty about working there. Discovering the next big thing and sharing our personal favorites with eachother.
Ron Tedesco was an assistant manager and an avid Kinks fan. I had lost track of The Kinks. Ron got me back into them. I eventually became quite a Kinks collector, completing the catalog of albums and singles.
Ken Cassidy was a great guy and introduced me to the genius of The Beach Boys, Bob Dylan and other great songwriters. My mind was pretty open back then, as long as it wasn’t disco, Billy Joel or Meatloaf.
Steve Matteo and I shared the same musical tastes. Steve was a huge fan of The Who. I will never forget the day he chatted with a customer and she was so impressed with his knowledge of The Who, she revealed that she worked for Pete Townshend and hired him to also work for Pete. PETE TOWNSHEND. I hated him for that. Lucky bastard.
I will never forget all my Record World friends. Bill Cowan, Rita Randall, Karen in 45’s, Don Neckameyer (the boss), Alan Tesman (RIP), Patti Wrobleski, Steve Gravano, Lou ( the heroin addict), Cowboy Al, Marion, Nancy, all the Christmas temps that wanted to hear Meatloaf and Billy Joel while I wanted to hear The Clash, The Sex Pistols, The Ramones and Blondie.
Those were the days.