2013-04-19 / Front Page

Doors Open for Record Store Day

By Jack Flagler
Staff Writer

John Densmore signs a book for Tim Waitley of South Portland. Waitley was one of more than 300 people who waited to have their CDs, books, records and concert posters signed by the former drummer from The Doors. (Jack Flagler photo)John Densmore signs a book for Tim Waitley of South Portland. Waitley was one of more than 300 people who waited to have their CDs, books, records and concert posters signed by the former drummer from The Doors. (Jack Flagler photo)SCARBOROUGH – There weren’t many casual music fans among the group lined up around the sidewalk outside the Scarborough Bull Moose on the morning of Record Store Day.

These people have done their homework. They have made lists of the special releases they want to add to their vinyl collection, prioritized those albums, and come to the store on Saturday, April 20 with a plan of action.

Ashlee and John Godin left their house in Dover, N.H. just after 5 a.m. to be at the front of the line. They arrived early to make sure they could find a copy of Phish’s “Lawn Boy,” and picked up one of just 7,500 vinyl copies of the Vermont band’s second album.

“I take my fun seriously,” Ashlee Godin said.

Just behind the Godins, John Giard of Auburn and his son Max, 14, waited to pick up a copy of Mumford & Sons “Live at Bull Moose,” recorded at an Aug. 3 performance in the Scarborough store. John Giard said he noticed a tweet from Bull Moose of the album cover among pictures of the other special releases.

Giard initially did not realize the album was from the Scarborough performance. He noticed a man wearing a white T-shirt in the front row of the crowd, watching the British folk band, and said he thought, “That guy looks like me.”

When Giard realized both he and his son were on the album cover, he rushed to get Max out of bed. They picked up three copies of the vinyl Saturday, one of which they plan to frame.

When Bull Moose employees opened the doors at 9 a.m., dozens poured in and headed straight for the bin of special edition vinyl. A few minutes after the initial rush, another line began to form inside the store. John Densmore, former drummer for The Doors, was scheduled to begin his national book signing tour in Scarborough that afternoon at 2 p.m.

Donna Plummer of Windham and her husband Mark came both to shop for records and meet Densmore. Plummer jokingly said she hoped the younger crowd  “wouldn’t be going after the same things” in the morning rush.

By the time Densmore arrived, nearly 300 people waited with CDs, records, concert posters and copies of his book, The Doors: Unhinged for the drummer to sign. Donna Plummer and her husband have been collecting records for 40 years, but many fans in line had yet to be born when The Doors released its first album in 1967.

According to local musician Spencer Albee, Record Store Day is less about the nostalgia for a bygone era of music and more about the shared experience of music fans celebrating what they love. Albee performed songs from his upcoming self-titled record, scheduled for a June release, at Bull Moose’s Mill Creek store in South Portland.

“There’s something about the record store experience, getting to know the guys and gals who work at the store. It’s a good way to find out what’s going on and be part of a discussion,” Albee said.

That was the inspiration behind the idea of Record Store Day in 2007, according to Chris Brown, a Bull Moose employee and founder of the event. Brown said at the time, there was a lot of negative press regarding chain music stores closing, while independent record stores continued to grow.

“People were paying attention to one thing and missing what was happening next door. We heard the same reports, stores were saying, ‘We’re having our best year ever.’ I thought people deserved to hear about that,” Brown said.

The first Record Store Day launched in April 2008. Brown said initially he expected the live performances to draw music fans nationwide, but because of the record company’s involvement, the special releases have become more of the main attraction.

“It gives (the record companies) an opportunity to do something that’s super creative and weird that they might not be able to do during the rest of the year,” Brown said.

The impending doom for vinyl music never came. In fact, vinyl sales in 2012 hit their highest point since 1997, according to an industry report. Albee said there’s room for vinyl and digital music to coexist.

“I would say 85 percent to 95 percent of the time, I listen to my music in a digital format, but I really enjoy putting on a record for the whole experience,” he said “It’s much more of a ceremony than just scrolling to your Shins record on your iPod. I love them both.”

The way to keep the record industry growing, Albee said, is to introduce it to a new generation. In Scarborough, teenagers scoured through the vinyl bin alongside longtime collectors. Some music fans who were at least 40 years younger than John Densmore approached the drummer for his signature.

Quinn Cuneo may have been the youngest fan at Saturday’s event, but she was already a Record Store Day regular. The 14-month-old was attending her second Record Store Day as her parents, John and Meghann Cuneo of Buxton, waited for records from David Bowie and former Pavement frontman Steven Malkmus.

John Cuneo wasn’t sure if his daughter would remember the day, but Quinn was more confident.

“We asked her. She said ‘yes,’” John Cuneo said.

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