We signed up to RSD 2012 only when we found that some of the releases would be easily available to us through the smaller distributors. It is the distributors not the labels that provide the releases to the shops. I’m told there are around 30. I’d given up trying to get them in the months prior to RSD as I couldn’t find out who the distributors were for the biggest record companies.
Warner/EMI/Sony/Universal. Can we open an account? Who is your distributor? Predictably and very naively on my part, I didn’t get a reply from these guys at all (why would they? Really, why would they?)
You too can enjoy this laborious process. First try finding one on Google. Try emailing them. Then try emailing the bands. Try the record label. Email them. Email Universal for instance. No reply? Telephone Universal… You may speak to a nice person who may helpfully advise you to send them an email, they will look out for it. And wait.
Through some luck firstname.lastname@example.org started getting emails from the smaller distributors. This was it. At last we’re on a mailing list! This year we will do Record Store Day!
This was three weeks before Record Store Day.
When friends of the shop Andy and Paddy from Gerry Loves Records and Ian of Song, by Toad found out about the plan then took the idea of staging an event and ran with it faster than Meatloaf running out of hell flapping his flaming arms like a bat on fire chasing a tasty flaming and bloodied running meatloaf. They three were really very impressive.
Before the end of the day PAWS were coming through from Glasgow to be do a gig for us on RSD. Neil Pennycook of Meursault would be joining in too with an in-store. A poster was designed in no time and sent to me for printing and distribution. I am the weakest link. Most of the posters were available for the customers as a souvenir on the day. Limited edition of 100! They look good enough to keep though. When PAWS and Meursault make it they’ll be nice for the collectors and fans to have too. Andy did a fine design job and is himself a handsome man.
Neil Pennycook of Meursault -acoustic set in shop at 1500
PAWS at 1600 at a secret location. (The pristine and beautiful Those Were the Days Vintage clothes shop down the road)
We’re on! Now we need some records.. We bought a selection of what we could from a handful of distributors. (two). The accounts were opened and the choices were decided upon while on holiday in Orkney with limited internet access. George was away in Cyprus and I had free reign to carefully randomly pick the titles. But there was a problem:
Those Were The Days can’t do it due to logistics.
I worked my way down our fine street.
The Baillie can’t do it.
The Saint is closed for refurbishment
The Antiquary has gigs often, I’ll ask there -the landlady is away.
Three days to go. No records. “We’re still waiting for BRMC to arrive before we ship your box”. This is terrifying. The Antiquary says, “Are they young?”, “aye”, “then yes”. Try Purslane for food. “No problem”. Phew.
Finally a box arrives on Thursday. I need to sort these out. Mmm not too bad.
Friday arrives. Another box! I need to price these but only after I poster some of the town. It is coming together. Ian’s girlfriend has made VoxBoxMusic cupcakes. Nice. It will be OK.
Paddy calls. PAWS can’t make it! Someone forgot to tell Josh the drummer and he has other plans.
Two days to go and after some last minute behind the scenes something, PAWS can make it again but the latest they can come on is 3pm. That’s fine. Seriously it is. It is incredibly fine. Another call and Yusuf Azak will do an acoustic set in the afternoon. We’re back on!
Come the day. We need bags. Up at 0830 to get carrier bags. I print out 10 copies of the list of RSD records we have to give to the queuing people so they won’t waiting for things we don’t have. At 0930, driving down Frederick Street it is worrying that there may be a crowd of soon to be disappointed people. Turning the corner it becomes worrying that there is no-one there at all. Nada.
Safehouse guitarist John Bruce arrives early to lend a hand controlling the crowd. Two people are outside. This is a queue or 2 outside of VoxBox! I can say people were queuing to get in. When I opened the door at 1025, within 2 minutes we were suddenly full and heaving. There had been more people nearby. Someone asked, “Do you have the Arctic Monkeys?” And strangely and happily, yes we did.
The day was a roaring success. The shop was busy all day and the atmosphere was terrific. There were lots of new faces. Some who had never heard of our shop until they found us on the RSD website. I’ve grown to appreciate Twitter and Facebook for it’s reach in finding people and communicating the changing plans.
The guys from Song, by Toad and Gerry Loves Records were really instrumental in making the day such a fun event. I cannot thank them enough. The artists on their books for me were the best part of the day.
Yusuf Azak played a fine acoustic set in the shop to entertain the punters. A great voice and phrasing. It’s clichéd to say but he was reminiscent of a young Bob Dylan. Saying that he did do a Bob and the Band cover in tribute to Levon Helm of The Band who passed away last week.
PAWS were fantastic. They were LOUD. They put on a high energy performance that blew the roof off of the ‘Tic. Iggy and the Stooges would be proud. Strangely enough, I’m told Iggy once frequented the Antiquary.
Neil from Meursault played straight after. More subdued than PAWS but incredibly intense. One man with guitar and compelling and fine lyrics.
I heard two people arguing after that: “PAWS are the best band in Scotland just now!”, “No PAWS are good but Meursault are the best band in Scotland!” Sadly the performances were not filmed. If you were there, I’m sure you’ll feel the same -that something really special was happening and that you may have seen the top 2 performing artists in Scotland at the ‘Tic on St Stephen Street on Record Store Day 2012.