It all started somewhere in the early/mid-’90s. Highly anticipated periodic pilgrimages to my all-time favorite store on planet earth. Amoeba Music in Berkeley (and later, the Haight). You know, Mecca. With a record-funds-only filled piggy bank underarm, I was always happier ‘n all hell to unreasonably drive 12 hours round trip, for a glorious day/afternoon/evening chock-filled with pure unadulterated crate diggin’ bliss. Spending infinite hours perennially powered by the what-will-I-find-next factor, it’s always had EVERYTHING I was ever looking for, and more importantly, the undiscovered hidden obscure gems I never knew I needed till they landed in my hungry hands. But it was the fun eccentrically encyclopedic minded employees that really knew their shit, I paid particular attention to. What a cool-as-fuck job. If only.
And then…it happened. Amoeba Music announced it was opening a third store right here in Hollywood. The Gods WERE listening. Within that first year I filled out an application, passed the “Please, Tell Me What Genre Does This CD Get Filed Under, By Only Looking At The Spine Test” with flying colors, and before I knew it, I had what would become my favorite job I’ll ever know. It was special. It was real special. I was actually getting paid to completely immerse myself in a stew of pure music film art tv pop culture hollyweirdness. All day, every day.
The collage of customers I’d get to recommend stuff to, and equally be turned onto, through endless random conversations and encounters, was thirst-quenching. I loved it. Also, helping famous faces find treasures proved itself interesting enough. On any given weekday afternoon, I’d find myself helping Elvis Costello find some disco records, Quentin Tarantino seek out spaghetti westerns soundtracks, Elijah Wood build his Grateful Dead catalog, Matt Groening search for a copy of Meatballs on Laserdisc, or Joe Perry dig up some choice reggae 45’s. It got interesting.
And maaaaaan, those live music in-stores. Los Lobos, Queens Of The Stone Age, Pat Benatar, Puffy AmiYumi, Dilated Peoples, Jane’s Addiction, The Raconteurs, PJ Harvey, The Flaming Lips, Paul Westerberg, Raphael Saadiq, The Kills, Black Flag, to name a few. Not to mention that unfathomably intimate I’m not crying you’re crying performance with Sir Paul McCartney. Astounding. Those unforgettably EPIC Christmas parties. The get-away-from-it-all rooftop breaks (before the fun got ruined for everyone, thanks to Travis.) The highly anticipated, always entertaining Amoebapalooza annually held throughout town, where one year at The El Cid, a world-renowned critically acclaimed performance of “The Last Supper” from Jesus Christ Superstar was note-perfectly performed by Patrick & myself.)
The wacky lunchtime breakroom antics. The “where will the employee parking lot be next week” game. That secret secret secret room tucked away in a nook in the DVD storage closet, that had a complete mini living room setup. The insane daily stories from the Buy Counter. The insane daily smells from the surrounding customers (it IS Hollywood, folks). Getting to spin indulgent vinyl sets for my Amoebite peers, on any given Sunday afternoon.
But unquestionably I’ll treasure the lifelong friends I’ve had the privilege to meet along the way most. Faces I miss seeing every day. Homies por vida! People I will hold close to my life for as long as I’m livin’ it. Life-changing friends. Ones I’ve backpacked through Belize with. Ones who recommended me for a job at Dick Clark Productions, that ended up leading me down a sixteen-year career I’m very privileged to still call home. (Brad) Friends that are now family. Bravo: Marc, Karen, & Jimmy. Quite the understatement to say how special that time was for me. It was an absolute honor to be a part of it.
As sad as I am to see the Sunset location close it’s doors forever, I’m eager for the next chapter and optimistic for what’s ahead. The new location looks fanfuckingtastic! If everyone can just ride this out and play the god damn game, we’ll kick this evil virus to the curb, letting doors reopen by the fall, and we can all get back to diggin’ for new music & films. In the meantime, you can still get the goods you need on www.amoeba.com (free shipping) Please, please, please support your local record store! They need your love right now, more than ever. Everyone standby, this isn’t the end, it’s just time to flip the record over.
Peace Through Music.
To find out how you can support your local record shop, visit Record Store Day dot com.