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The Journal Gazette

  • Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Neat Neat Neat Records and Music owner Morrison Agen is excited the Guided by Voices’ album “Isolation Drills” will be available during Record Store Day on Saturday.

  • Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Entourage Music owner Chris Roets will have Survivor member Jim Peterik at his Glenbrook Square Store.

  • Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Wooden Nickel Music owner Bob Roets has a lot planned for Saturday's national Record Story Day. At his three locations, there will be live music and giveaways, including a Fender guiter signed by Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters.

Wednesday, December 02, 2015 12:56 am

Celebrating vinyl

Keiara Carr The Journal Gazette

Here’s a secret that Bob Roets, owner of local Wooden Nickel locations, believes people didn’t realize about the 1990s: He couldn’t find a new vinyl album to put in his stores for nearly 17 years. 

"I was the first guy in Fort Wayne to sell CDs back in 1983," he says. "The funny thing is by 1989, record companies had pretty much stopped making vinyl because CDs were so dominant."

So what changed after 17 years? Roets believes it was the birth of Record Store Day in 2007.

The national celebration of brick-and-mortar independent record stores across the country has resurrected not just vinyl albums in its past eight years but a culture of music lovers who enjoy searching through stacks of albums and audiophiles who appreciate the crackle of a 12-inch LP on a turntable.

This year’s Record Store Day happens Saturday.

Wooden Nickel, Neat Neat Neat Records and Music and Entourage Music inside Glenbrook Square have a full day of events and live music planned to supplement what is usually a crowd of fans showing up early for Record Store Day’s more than 420 releases this year. 

Owners believe the vinyl reissue of Brand New’s landmark album "Deja Entendu" and the first-time vinyl release of the White Stripes’ 2005 LP, "Get Behind Me Satan," will be two of the most sought-after albums.

Roets says while patrons will be able to sign up for giveaways at all three Wooden Nickel locations, most of the entertainment will be at the North Anthony Boulevard location.

"I don’t have exact numbers, but I know our store on (North Anthony Boulevard) last year had well over 3,000 people who came out for the whole day, and there’s several parts to that," he says. "The reason we do so well at that store over the other ones is because when you have 18 to 20 bands play – as we have been doing – their family, friends and fans are all coming out to see them throughout the day."

Where Roets sees Record Store Day as the pinnacle of vinyl’s comeback, Morrison Agen, owner of Neat Neat Neat Records and Music on South Calhoun Street, believes there were a few variables at play that led up to vinyl’s return.

"I think there were multiple cases where the (vinyl) boom started to happen at the same time as Record Store Day came on," he says. "The boom started to happen as a backlash against the MP3 industry, so Record Store Day hit at a very opportune time. It was just a perfect storm of events."

Neat Neat Neat is celebrating its fifth Record Store Day, and Agen says the day is about appreciating those who feel like every day is Record Store Day, while opening up the record store culture to those who don’t usually stop in.

Agen says Neat Neat Neat will host a full day of in-store performances by local and national-touring bands with an after party planned at Calhoun Street Soups, Salad and Spirits.

"I think that especially for people who don’t go to record stores very often and it’s not a part of their cultural experience, it’s a way for them to get a really heavy dose of what we do for communities and how we add to the community, both socially and monetarily. We put a ton of money back in the community as far as buying collections," Agen says.

Entourage Music owner and Bob Roets’ son, Chris Roets, explains that while standalone record stores may have new faces drop in for this particular event, he often has the challenge of making regulars out of shoppers who happened to be strolling in the mall.

He is hoping to attract a crowd with Jim Peterik, founding member of the band Survivor and his bandmates, coming to the store for a book signing of Peterik’s book, "Through the Eye of the Tiger," and a performance.

"I think I am bringing some more people into the fold that might not have been into music as much because it’s such a different clientele," he says.

And although each store may have its own particular way of doing things, all three owners agree that vinyl has brought in younger customers because of the textured sound that’s missing in a digital format. Also, it’s also more interesting to collect vinyl records that can come in bright colors and different shapes with big, bold cover art than your average MP3 file.

"The reality is that has always been the case," Agen says. "The primary people who buy music – and I’m talking about when Edison was selling C19s (phonographs) and Edison discs – the primary people who were buying those machines and the music were people who were 18 to 34."

Bob Roets says it’s more a balance. The older customers are looking for nostalgia, but the younger customers are embarking on a discovery.

"We didn’t have the Internet. We didn’t have video games, all the smartphones, all the distractions. Back then, I would get my bean bag chair out in the middle of the family room, I had my stereo with speakers and a nice turntable, and my entertainment was to sit back and really get into an album. I would sit there and actually listen to it," he says. "I think that experience was lost for a long time, but I think now we’re starting to see people get back into it again and I think it’s great."

kcarr@jg.net