March 7, 2011
When someone tells Bob Gamber—the bearded owner of Vinyl Revolution in Monterey—that vinyl is making a comeback, his reply is usually along the lines of: "It never went away in the first place." Even during the height of the CD age Gamber saw compact discs as a "cute, mini version of a record" that lacked in sound quality and would never fully replace the 12".
The longtime, record store owner's prediction about the fate of the CD was somewhat right on: Year after year, CD sales have continued to plummet while vinyl sales are on a steady rise. The evidence is now apparent everywhere you go. In 2007, Eric Levin, Michael Kurtz, Carrie Colliton, Amy Dorfman, Don Van Cleave and Brian Poehner founded Record Store Day—a celebration of the vinyl culture surrounding more than 700 independently-owned record stores in the country and beyond.
The April 16 (the third Saturday of every April) festivities usually include in-store performances, food, meet and greets with musicians, DJs, and limited edition EPs and LPs released especially for Record Store Day.
Metallica, Pavement, Beck and Smashing Pumpkins are among a small sampling of bands that have participated in the past. Oh yeah, all these shows are free.
Here in Monterey County, vinyl love has expanded beyond Gamber's shop: Last summer's first annual Vinyl in the Woods, at the Henry Miller Library in Big Sur, drew indie record stores and labels—including Amoeba and Drag City—and vinyl enthusiasts from all over the country.
Check out my recap of last year's Vinyl in the Woods, HERE.
Record Store Day is not only about vinyl appreciation, it's about appreciating the mom and pop independent stores that are disappearing everywhere at rapid rates. Keep these places alive. Stop in (230 Lighthouse Ave., Monterey) and give Gamber a hug on April 16 or any day, just to let him know you believe in the cause. A couple miles down the road stop in Recycled Records, another Monterey Record Store Day participant.
Also, stay tuned for info about another vinyl festival in the area.
"If we lose the independent record store, we lose big. Every time you buy your records at one of these places, it's a blow to the empire.” - Henry Rollins