Thursday, February 22, 2018
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For Record Store Day, indie meets mainstream

On a typical day in the hipster enclave of Daddy Kool Records, 100 or so people will wander through the doors of the St. Petersburg indie music shop. It's the kind of joint where fans of the Black Twig Pickers outnumber fans of Bruce Springsteen about, well, 100 or so to none.

On Saturday, however, well more than 1,000 customers are expected to visit Daddy Kool — many of them Boss fans — when the fifth annual Record Store Day draws diehards and casual lookie loos to the Central Avenue store and many more record shops throughout Tampa Bay.

Even before the doors are unlocked at 8 a.m., a line will snake around the block, most of the early risers hungry for "exclusive" one-day-only vinyl records — an antiquated format that's hot again — from acts that are more mainstream than indie.

"Oh, they'll be here," says store manager Manny Matalon, who also goes by the nom de rock star Manny Kool. "There'll be a lot of people making the rounds on Saturday."

Record Store Day, a national retail "holiday," has come a long way in five years. It was started to help celebrate indie music shops, the kind of joints that sell vinyl with passion and are often overlooked in the shadow of more profitable box stores. But the day has turned into something of a household event, suburban dads mingling with the punk and the pierced.

With vinyl sales up 30 percent in 2011 — heck, you can even buy a turntable at Target these days — more major labels (Warner Bros., Columbia, Virgin) and big acts (Coldplay, Paul McCartney, Iggy Pop) are getting involved with Record Store Day.

More than 300 "RSD exclusive" items — including a few CDs and oddities as well — will be sold along with regular stock. When Record Store Day started, it was mainly arty bands that released the one-day-only collectibles to seduce people into stores. And yes, uber-cool bands such as Beach House, Carolina Chocolate Drops and the Civil Wars (a snarky vinyl cover version of Michael Jackson's Billie Jean!) will have RSD-exclusive merch this year.

But for the first time, the bold-faced names will outnumber the smaller acts. For instance, both a 7-inch record (a.k.a. a 45 rpm) of new Bruce Springsteen single Rocky Ground and a 25th anniversary 12-inch record (a.k.a. a standard vinyl LP) of Paul Simon's Graceland will help stores fill registers.

"There's not as much in the way of really small bands (issuing RSD exclusive merchandise)," says Matalon. "This year, you have stuff from the Janis Joplins and the Ozzy Osbournes and the Bruce Springsteens."

Plus Ray Charles, James Brown, Genesis, Bruno Mars, Metallica and Grace Potter. Oh, and don't forget Katy Perry's 12-inch pink-vinyl copy of Part of Me (Thin White Duke Remix).

Mainstream and indie: It's an odd partnership, but does the influx of major pop and rock acts bother Matalon? Not at all. "The big names are what get people out," he says.

Those fans will be headed to stores throughout the bay area, including Bananas Music in St. Petersburg and Sound Exchange, Hot Wax, Microgroove and Mojo Books & Music in Tampa. It's music shopping in a partylike atmosphere, with live music morning to midnight; a couple of places will even dole out free Pabst Blue Ribbon.

Eight thousand copies of Springsteen's Rocky Ground will be dispersed across the nation. But exclusive printings are usually kept in the 1,000 to 2,000 range. Only 890 copies of a "transparent blue glitter vinyl" ABBA LP were made. Prices are kept reasonable — maybe $6 or $7 for 7-inch 45 record — which only makes things sell faster.

"Sometimes I order 10 copies of something, but I only get three or five," warns Matalon. Because of the short supply and high demand, huge crowds are expected to line up hours before Daddy Kool opens.

One of the hottest exclusives? A 7-inch record of Jimmy Fallon's Tebowie TV performance that blended the worlds of Ziggy Stardust and Florida's beloved Gator.

Matalon smiles: "I have 10 copies of Tebowie coming."

Sean Daly can be reached at [email protected] Follow @seandalypoplife on Twitter.

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