July 2, 1976 was the day I went to work in the record store for the first time. I graduated from high school (contrary to popular belief), messed around for two weeks, then…started working in a hippie record store – Licorice Pizza, at the corner of Artesia Blvd. and Bellflower Blvd. (Store #15). I inventoried hit sheets, emptied the ash trays with a kitty-cat pooper scooper, refilled the licorice, worked the register, took the trash out etc.
Believe it or not, I still know some of the people who I worked with, on my first record store job! Steve “Mott” Hernandez still hangs out in Ventura, CA! When we get together, we continually quote to each other from John Entwistle’s “Smash Your Head” LP, mostly “Pick Me Up (Big Chicken)” or perhaps a recitation of “Billy The Mountain” (by Frank Zappa). Still.
I followed my manager to a different store, the Licorice Pizza in West Covina – quite a drive from my home! The other people who worked there weren’t ‘new wave’, like the folks I had worked with in Bellflower. The women (girls?) all liked Aerosmith and Hall & Oates. By 1977, I was mostly interested in Basil Kirchin, Javanese Gamelan music and Anthony Braxton. What can I listen to and enjoy that these other people won’t have any idea at all about?
Oh, I started going to lots of live shows, ‘round about now! Split Enz, and P.F.M. @ The Golden Bear, The Tubes (The Pantages Theatre in Hollywood?), John Cale (Whisky A-Go-Go) (goodbye, hearing!), The Screamers, The Rolling Stones (Anaheim Stadium), The Deadbeats, Black Randy, Tom Petty… definitely went to lots of record collector swap meets, mostly @ the Capitol Records parking lot – in Hollywood.
Working in a record store? The list of important music is super long – really impossible to single it out to a few titles. We all loved The Beatles. I didn’t much care for the UK punk “Class of ‘77” (Sex Pistols, The Jam, The Clash), but the “Class of ‘78” was reasonably impressive: Magazine, XTC, Ultravox!
By 1978, I got snaked away from the store to work at the record distributor that owned the store: Superior Music, Glendale, CA. “Mott” joined me there – and I met many of my adult friends there – secure finally in the place of acceptance, my spiritual home. The record distributor. There were punks (punk rockers) working there, but there were also punks working there. A reasonable percentage of the staff were drinking and / or using drugs – on the job. Anybody here want to go to Rusty’s for (strawberry) margaritas?
I think I saw Ultravox (with John Foxx) at least twice, maybe three times. I also remember some of the girls at those shows! Holy crap! She just lit up a match, blew it out and inhaled the fumes! I can see right through that girls blouse!