Echoes and Reverberations: The Twisted Fate of a Lifetime Crate Digger



Many of them were tucked away in suburban strip malls, their storefronts always the black sheep of the retail family. They were usually owned by a single lifelong music fan, someone who relished the opportunity to dog-paddle in the eye of the pop culture hurricane. Sometimes they smelled like incense or cigarette smoke. You could hear the music coming out from 100 yards away.

Most of the formative moments of my life happened inside a record store. My grandfather bought my first album, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, at the Melody Shop in Northpark. In 1977, the managers of Sound Town at Promenade in Richardson gifted me with free copy of Never Mind the Bollocks... and introduced me to punk rock. A year later, I met the guys in Van Halen at Disc Records in Valley View Mall.

When I was 22 years old, Bill Wisener at Bill's Records bought me a bass guitar so I could try out for a band called The Doo (aka Group Six). I got the band gig, which inevitably led to a job at Theatre Gallery in Deep Ellum.

Fast forward to 24 years later in 2009: As I write this, there is a band practicing in the back of Bill's Records. In honor of National Record Store Day, I figured this would be a good occasion to look back at many of the people and places that helped shape who were are as a culture.

This collection of proprietors, record collectors ("crate diggers"), musicians, store clerks and myriad characters represent a small cross-section of our particular underground phenomena.

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Hal Samples
Bill Wisener
Bill Wisener (Bill's Records): "The first place you used to buy records in Dallas was at the corner five-and-dime store. They would have the stands on the ends of each aisle that were stocked with 45rpm singles. The rack jobbers (record wholesalers) would come by once a week and keep them all stocked. Then a few years later, actual record stores started popping up all over town. I remember a music store downtown that was on the first floor of a building and had doors on two different blocks. I used to pass through there almost every day. Then an older woman who had a store called Preston Records at the corner of Preston Road and Northwest Highway--she used to have these big stand-up cardboard cuts of the artists at the end of each aisle. It really was exciting back then. After the '60s kicked in, there were record stores and head shops all over town."

Richard Ross (artist): "Back in the late '70s, there was a little record store hidden in a shopping center in Irving called The Crate. I loved this place. I worked out how much of my daily lunch money I could save by forgoing different items, so that by Saturday I could have enough to go and buy an album each week. The Crate was a new and used record store, and had every type of music you could imagine. Big bins of albums and records everywhere. At the time, it seemed you might have to go to VVV or Metamorphosis to find punk albums, but The Crate already had them. I got my first introduction to the Dead Kennedys and Circle Jerks there, and bought my first album by The Clash at the store. After several years they moved to a bigger location up the street, but it only lasted about a year. I miss The Crate, and wonder if it just disappeared, or was absorbed into another bigger store. Its disappearance happened about the time Forever Young opened in Irving. That was a great record store, but didn't have the charm of The Crate; the guy behind the counter treated you as if you were stupid if he didn't agree with your musical tastes."

Darin Robinson (musician): "The Crate in Irving was a true labor of love for the owner Roger, who I think was a Marine. It was messy, somewhat disorganized, tiny and perfect. I bought my first The Jam record there. On my birthday he'd allow me to go find 'something' and take it home. I walked in one Saturday morning and he just handed me 'Discipline' by Robert Fripp and King Crimson and said, 'Here you go... it's right up your alley...' I became a Japanese import vinyl snob because of the place, and his taking the time to point out the differences by playing The Wall side one domestic, then playing the Japanese import. Sure, it costs twice as much. The Crate just disappeared one day. I wish I knew what happened and where Roger went."

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Peaches' grand opening flier.
Alan Levy (Peaches/Melody Shop employee): "For a record geek like me, coming from Abilene in 1978 and getting a job at a store with the size and selection of Peaches was an eye-opener. For one, it was still the height of the disco era, and we were mere feet away from two of Dallas' premiere gay bars that are there to this day: Zippers and the Crews Inn. I reiterate, coming from the somewhat repressed atmosphere of Abilene, something like that was a big eye-opener. But we were the destination point for every walk of life, including local musicians and national touring acts. Working with people like Mike Haskins of the Nervebreakers, the late Will Clay of The Telefones, the late David Lee of The Toys and The Doo, and amazing characters like James "Bucks" Burnett, was not just an honor to me, but I learned so much from all of them. We were a family and it was the norm for us to gather after our midnight closing at watering holes like The Old Church or the original Knox Street Pub and talk about--what else--music. There were in-store appearances by great folks like Ian Hunter and Mick Ronson, Robert Fripp of King Crimson, and one of my early faves (ahem) Foghat that were just thrilling. Sure, there were some stinkers--The Police were assholes, The Cars (except for Elliot Easton) had no personality whatsoever, and Parliament-Funkadelic sent so many people in that it took awhile to realize that people were getting autographs from ancillary band figures at best! But it was without question the best way for someone like me that's kinda stayed a part of this whole Dallas deal, whether it be from the sidelines or not, to get their start--their baptism of fire, as it were. I stayed at Peaches for three years until Sound Warehouse took them over. About a month after that, I got a job at Melody Shop at Northpark, where I worked for 8 years."

Frank Campagna (artist): "I was working at Peaches at Fitzhugh and Cole on the day after John Lennon was shot. Every freakin' Beatles record sold out in no time. Q102 was in there trying to get folks to comment on the air, but they would not allow me to air my opinion because I said to the DJ, 'Who cares about the Beatles? It was terrible to loose such a great human being.' I guess he really hoped they'd get back together. That was a really tough day to work at a record store. Overall, I miss record stores to kill time and mill around in. Sometimes you could find great, hard-to-find stuff, and sometimes you could get to know good friends and/or make connections."

Gerald Iragorri (musician): "Every time I'd come to Dallas to visit my brother, we'd go to Northpark, and Melody Shop was my first stop. I loved looking at the records and instruments as a kid. I bought some 45s and some LPs there but it was the instrument department that seemed like Shangri-la. Since we came to Dallas quite often before we moved here, I'd become friends with a cool guy who worked there named Buddy Berry (RIP) who was the drummer in Feet First. When we moved to Dallas, I was 16 and my first order of business was to buy a new drum kit with the money I'd been saving for a year. Buddy saw to it that I got a great deal and some excellent cymbals, and later became my first formal drum teacher. During my high school years, I would make it a point to go to the Melody Shop every Saturday looking for records to pad my collection, and to check out cymbals, guitars, basses, and to hang out with the guys in the music department. Guys like Alan Levy and musicians who played in bands like Loco Gringos, The Telephones, Feet First worked there at the time. I learned quite a bit about music, being in bands, and gigging from those guys. It was a community center for young musicians. Later one day, after not having been to Melody Shop for some months, I went to Northpark wanting to chat with the guys and check out the latest wares. The store had closed. It was surprisingly sad seeing that the store had closed for good."

Clint Phillips (musician): "My first indie record store experience was with a place called Wray's Records in historic downtown Grand Prairie. It was right around the corner from where my mom and I lived at the time. I must have been about eight or nine years old. Every Friday after she got off work, she would cash her paycheck, give me five dollars and take me to Wray's. She would sit in the car while I shopped. Wray's sold 'singles', a 7-inch vinyl record played at 45 RPM. I would usually walk out with about 4 or 5 of those things... quite a nice haul considering how expensive shit is today. I scored some good stuff in that place: Blondie, DEVO, The Police, etc. Most I still have today."

Amy Turner (crate digger): "14 Records on Fry Street in Denton (and later on Greenville Ave. in Dallas) was The Shit! Witty as hell owner: Big Bucks; I'm still a huge fan. It was my own personal High Fidelity. Stopping by to shop then skipping class to hang there way too long; car seat behind the counter; digging your name into the back of the desk; people stopping by in the middle of the day with a blender to make strawberry daiquiris; hearing the
history of so many bands, albums and cover art; bad art museum in back of store, 3D pictures of Jimmy Page behind the counter, Robert Tilton Fan Club, 'Tinypolooza', Beatles 8 Track display... I could go on and on about this place and I'm sure others could too."

Gary N. Audirsch (musician): "Big Bucks Burnett was the kind of personality that inspired you to support his business. He might not have had the most stuff or the highest quality inventory, but he was choosy about what he did have and always had brilliant oddities. I remember hanging out in the afternoons discussing the merits of Tiny Tim (Bucks was the head of his fan club after all) or watching clips from his 8-track documentary continual work in progress or watching a news clip of him in Waco picking up a sample of the dirt from remains of the Koresh compound. Bucks is an unsung hero of local music. He's put so much of his heart and soul and blood into music and has gone largely unrecognized. The man knows Jimmy Page personally, he's been to Andy Partridge's house where Andy gave him a preview of a forthcoming album at the time and provided support for Ronnie Lane in his times of need. Bucks is an invisible legend."

Bucks Burnett (owner of 14 Records): "Dallas currently is host to an astonishing NINE independent record stores--and four of them have been in business for over twenty years. The oldest is Top Ten on Jefferson Blvd in Oak Cliff, which opened in 1958. Most of the owners have told me that business is pretty good, all things considered, and that the renewed interest in LPs is not just hype. Let that sink in: Dallas, the supposed least of artistic cities, has nine independent music stores. We rock, even if we hate to admit it. My store is protesting Record Store Day. We're staging Underground Record Store Day instead. Undie not Indie!"

Frank Campagna: "Stacks o' Tracks was another killer shop. Curtis and Marsha Hawkins had this amazing rockabilly memorabilia in the store. To this day, I have one of Elvis' earliest promo shots because Curtis' Dad worked with Gene Vincent once upon a time. The story has it that his Dad grabbed a few because Sam Phillips of Sun Records was going to throw them away because it had the wrong street address on them. Lucky find and very collectible!"

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Outside of VVV Records.

Jason Cohen (owner of Forbidden Books and Videos):
"The first time that I ever walked into VVV Records, Mark Griffith (MC 900 FT Jesus) greeted me with a smile and immediately started recommending one amazing band after another to me. VVV was always was very clean and organized, so I never had a problem sifting through tons of crap to find the gems as It seemed to only have a very focused selection of music. I remember one day I walked in and Mark handed me this 45. He said 'Just buy it--you will like it!' I still own that first single by Jesus and the Mary Chain! Music suggestions like that one were the greatest asset of independent stores to me: It created an instant bond and friendship that lasts forever."

Raine Devries (crate digger): "Bill's Records had the most robust collection, but for some reason I felt a particular affinity with VVV. It was a fraction of the size of the other stores but it seemed to go deep in the particular genre of music I most liked. Neal Caldwell, who owned VVV, was knowledgeable and gracious about setting aside magazines and records for me until I came in. After a while, the only competition for my affection was the Sound Warehouse on Greenville and Lovers. That location started bringing in bands like Berlin and Thompson Twins to do autograph signings. The music was the common denominator for us at that time--which albums did we have? Which releases of which albums? Which concerts did we attend and then always making sure we sported the ticket stubs on our school binders. There was no Internet or cable TV. The music was it and I feel kind of sad for kids these days not having that in their lives."

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Inside VVV Records.

Brad Sigler (Bill Records/RPM employee): "I worked at Bill's and RPM between 1985 and 1991. What a great time for music retail! I spent all my money on records and couldn't get enough. I think VVV and Metamorphosis were my other favorite stores; although I loved Record Gallery and Seldom Seen, too. I remember Randy at RPM had a friend from the UK that shipped over around 2,000 45's and LPs--punk, post-punk, new wave--stuff I'd never seen before (and since). Jason Price and I stayed up until 2 am sorting through singles and albums trying to figure out what would actually make it into the bins, and what was going home with us. When CDs hit, the scene changed very quickly and it was never the same. Damn! I feel sorry for this generation--downloads, iPods, mp3s--boring! Nothing will replace the feeling of holding an album jacket in my hands, while I watch it spin on the turntable."

Frank Campagna: "VVV was also fantastic. Neil Caldwell had so many great records and would have all this excellent reggae dub tunes playing. I bought at least a dozen Japanese David Bowie singles just because I like the lettering, even though I already had most of the songs already. Eventually he started the VVV record label and began releasing local artists like Stickmen With Rayguns and the Hugh Beaumoint Experience. My first record cover ever came out on that label--the Telefones' 'Jerry Godzilla' single."

Jason Cohen (Bill's employee): "I started shopping at Bill's Records in 1982 and then I began working there in 1983 or 1984. My best memories from working there were of all the different characters who would shop there--and Bill of course! So many stories! What made his store great--no matter what your taste in music was--if Bill did not have it he would get for you quickly. It seemed like a golden age when records were beginning to get imported from overseas--every week was like Christmas when a new shipment of vinyl would arrive and there would be all of these amazing new bands popping up! U2, Bauhaus, Birthday Party, and so many more; I never made much money as It was all spent way before payday on records!"

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Record Gallery.
Paul Riddel (crate digger): "Aside from going over to Direct Hit Records and going nuts in the 'zine section? I'd have to say that my weirdest one was seeing my fingers and teeth at the old Record Gallery on Lower Greenville. The summer of 1986, I was experimenting with serious theatrical makeup work, so I cast my hand in dental alginate and filled the mold with plaster. The plaster was really cheap, so the fingers broke off as I was removing the alginate. I later did something really stupid and cast my teeth and tongue by pouring a batch into my mouth and hoping that I didn't choke before it solidified, and put the resultant cast into plaster as well for an ashtray. About six months later, a goofball roommate stole both and put them on display at Record Gallery, and I was almost angry when the Gallery shut down without warning and I never got them back."

Peter Marince (photographer): "CD World at Greenville and Mockingbird was my haven. I started going there as soon as the original location opened. It was small, but the people who worked there were nice and well informed. They opened right around the explosion of grunge. I was able to purchase several live bootleg CDs from the old cardboard box hidden behind the counter. Such good stuff--most of which I still have! Then the store moved around the corner. Funland did an in-store show there for the release of their full-length CD. There was no stage--they just cleared an area by the door, and rocked out. Greatness! CD World was always a big supporter of the local scene. I was so sad when they closed, but saw the writing on the wall. CD World was a big part of my music buying life."

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Bill Wisener with Eazy E.
Clint Phillips: "When I was about 13, my mom would drop me off at Bill's while she would go to her voice lesson. She was an opera singer back then. I would spend hours rummaging through tons of great punk and hardcore records. Bill's was great. I had never (save for the floor of my own room) seen so much shit in my life. It was a beautiful mess. Over the years, I would spend a lot of time and a lot of dollars in Bill's. It was great; so big and cluttered. Bill smoked like a fucking freight train back then--just one right after the other. You never knew what you would find there. You just had to be patient enough to dig. It was there somewhere."

Darby Orr (Musician): "I remember dropping off five cassettes of my band at Bill's Records. Every few weeks I'd zip by and take inventory and restock. I just thought it was so amazingly cool that I'd tell Bill 'we sold 3' and he'd pull 15 bucks out of his pocket. No accounting, no hassle... just a guy who'd do business on a handshake. I also remember pondering how and why someplace as hip as Bill's could be located in North Dallas/Richardson. It was like an oasis."

Chris Savage (Buck Pets): "To Bill at Bill's Records, I do believe that it is I who owe you a very sincere 'thank you'. Where else could I have found all the music, t-shirts, posters, pins, etc. that was such a huge part of my youth, and that I still love today? Just the fact that you were there, and it was a refuge for the cast-outs, freaks, punks, whatever we were at the time. Where else could I have skipped skool in the 9th grade and hung out and felt safe? I think you mean a lot more to a whole bunch of people than you could ever imagine. (Not to underestimate your imagination.) I'll definitely have to come in very soon to say 'hello'. Plus, I need some music. You take care of yourself, and if there's anything I can do, or my band can do to help in any way at all, just lemme know."

Peter Marince: "Pagan Rhythms was another favorite of mine. That's where I found my CD version of The Sound of Deep Ellum; I got the vinyl when it came out back in '87--that was a nice find, as I love that record. VVV on Cedar Springs was also very cool, but since it wasn't in my neck of the woods, I didn't get there very often, but I went there any time I was close. Got some cool NIN vinyl there back in the mid '90s."

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Metamorphosis Records.
Jimmy Holcomb (crate digger): "Mike and Barb Rainey of Metamorphosis Records allowed us to live in our own little world, completely oblivious to the crap that was on the radio. My friends and I piled into a car once a week, with either allowance or job money, to see the latest UK import 45s. Often, we'd never heard of the group and bought the $3 singles just on the basis of the cover artwork. (English Beat, The Jam, etc.) NME, Melody Maker, and Sounds were also there fresh off the plane... if we hadn't heard it on George Gimarc's radio show, we could at least read about it. One time, we were shopping and were asked if they minded if we locked the door while they 'lit one'; and when we said 'sure'. I think it was the first time I'd ever seen anyone smoke pot. They even let us put up a flyer for our band's 'forthcoming album,' which never materialized (other than a lone 45, which they carried, bless them). I still have many records with those little white Metamorphosis price stickers on them. I wouldn't scrape them off now for anything."

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Good Records' current home.
Peter Marince: "Since it's inception, I've frequented Good Records. While I like the newer location more that the original one, that first place had a certain quality that was all it's own. Maybe it was the paint fume buzz from the place next door--haha! Saw many in-store performances there, and got the Polyphonic Spree to sign my copy of their CD when it came out. I remember all the tables set up outside the store for all the members to sit at while they signed. The line of fans got pretty long. I have some pictures of that somewhere. Have to dig 'em up. I've always supported the local indie record stores, wherever I've lived... they're the best!"

Chris Penn (Good Records): "Good Records was on Good-Latimer in Deep Ellum for six years. We were next to an auto paint store and the fumes would seep through the walls. (Maybe that is why I am extra crazy now.) We had some great in-stores that spilled out into the street at that location, including Death Cab For Cutie, Grandaddy, Queens of the Stone Age--and Daniel Johnston came in to do an in-store and had at least 12 sodas and hit on young girls. The Polyphonic Spree started after Good Records was founded and saw us traverse the globe for several years. I loved it. We got to visit several great record stores; either the band did an in-store, or I just sought out to buy some records. The Polyphonic Spree enabled me to feed my record store habit. In 2006, we had to make the decision to move Good Records to its current location. The city was making a DART rail stop on the outskirts of Deep Ellum, causing the rail line to run down the center of Good-Latimer. We were forced to move or close; the plans called for them to tear down two-thirds of our building via imminent domain."

These days, the last remaining crate diggers represent the heart of the faithful; the club DJs, the record collectors and producers, the wax tourists who go from city to city looking for rare grooves they can sample for new hip-hop artists. There is an art to it. The lifestyle requires taste, patience, time and money. It also requires the ownership of a functioning record player and needles. All of that stuff takes up space and requires attention.

In a world where people are downsizing and putting their lives on a hard drive, the commitment to collecting records usually means dedicating the extra bedroom in your house or apartment just for climate-controlled storage. You don't keep records in the garage.

Today is Bill Wisener's 65th birthday. The party is going on right now as we speak. His store has been a part of the Dallas music mosaic for over 30 years.

Tomorrow, Good Records celebrates its ninth anniversary and National Record Store Day, with a daylong concert featuring Erykah Badu and seven other artists.

This promises to be a weekend to remember. For the first time, Bill will close his store and venture over to Good Records and share in the festivities. Good owners Chris Penn and Tim DeLaughter, along with Erykah and her management team, felt that it was absolutely essential to invite Bill to their party and have him introduce her performance.

That's class, for those of you prone to disparaging anonymous comments about a 65-year-old man and his stubborn propensity to run a record store--his record store--like an old school booth at a flea market. This gesture on behalf Good Records and Erykah Badu is the kind of thing that still gives me real hope for the future.

When Badu released her album last year, she insisted to her record label on doing the release party at Bill's store. I love the idea that all of these people are coming together to show solidarity while the music business still scrambles for new retail business model.

These are folks who see the glass half full, not half empty.

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Roger Daltrey at Sound Town.

National Record Store Day is a great reason to come together and celebrate the crate digger lifestyle and everybody who comes along with it: the DJs, the collectors, the musicians and producers. And also, most importantly, the people who still spend money to keep our record stores open.

This is the kind of thing that makes me happy to be alive.



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37 comments
wholesale belt buckles
wholesale belt buckles

 Impressive collecting information about what people are searching on internet. Good share.  

advinjhonsean
advinjhonsean

The Spree have allowed to feed usual record shop. It had decide to have a good record of your current location. The city became a rail stop on the outskirts of Deep making the railway line into the center of Latimer good.

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Honey Badger
Honey Badger

I worked at Musicland and Sound Warehouse during the 80s and 90s.  However,  it was always a treat to go into VVV, Oak Lawn Records and there was another cool record store on Lemmon right before the Tollway.  I forget the name.   Direct Hit was another favorite to go and check out.   I never discounted Pipedream either.  I found cool 12"'s there from time to time.  I still have my "Looking From A Hilltop" 12" by Section 25 I found at Pipedream in Arlington. 

George Gimarc
George Gimarc

Everybody seems to have forgotten about Collector's Records in east Dallas, who sold from around 1982 or so up thru the late '90s (is this right?) Huge store - astounding array and deep finds day after day. They got a lot of stock from a place I shopped in the early '70s called the Dallasan Shop, which was a card shop with a full record store hidden in the back. They had 2 enclosed listening booths and tons of records they'd had in stock new since the mid '50s, including 78s. All sold with their original price tags. Got amazing stuff from there too.

rawars
rawars

Does anyone remember the name of the record store before it was called Sound Warehouse, circa 1974-1978?

drain clearance
drain clearance

Hello Blogger can I use some of the facts from this post as long as I link back to your website?

anon
anon

Wow. I clearly remember digging through the boxes at Bill's to find what was the debut album by Young Fresh Fellows and absolutely loving it. And made all kinds of excuses to borrow the parents' car to eat at the area's kosher deli, then scoot over to Bill's without missing curfew. I lost that album and a ton of others when a pipe burst in my place last year. It didn't spare another album either -- an autographed Fred Raulston LP with Sr. Guerrero (RIP) on drums.

Bucks ... you were the one who turned me onto Forever Young Records. At the time you worked there, if I remember

There was a decent record store at Richardson Square for a while. You'd go there for mainstream, head over to the Christian bookstore next to the pet store for your U2 fix.

If I remember, Curtis worked for A&M/IRS as the college rep about that time (about '84 to '87).

Anywhooo. This has been a trip down Memory Lane, which is either Lower Greenville or Spring Valley or the 635 ...

Laquanda Plys
Laquanda Plys

This is an awesome article, I�ll be adding you to my list.

nathan
nathan

Great to see pictures of VVV Records! My uncle gave me a ton of records that he bought at VVV back in the day. I love that we still have Good Records and Bill's as part of the community. Both are great places...

Liles
Liles

So why did you keep going back to Bill's store again?

You apparently weren't too bothered twenty-something years ago, why are you doing this to him now? What is your motivation? To embarrass a 65-year-man in a public forum two decades after the fact?

You should be ashamed. You do NOT know what he has been through in the past. You have NO IDEA why Bill said the things he said. Disturbed? You weren't disturbed. YOU KEPT GOING BACK TO HIS STORE.

Why?

J
J

LOL dude you are insane! Bill said these things to me! and my friends! I very much doubt they were said to men, or women! I have nothing against Bill as a businessman, I have know clue how you got that idea (maybe your insane?)But when me or my friends are 14 yrs old and tells me I'm a good looking boy that disturbed me! Now do you really expect me to run to the fking authorities over that? And when he comments to a friend how he's getting hair on his chest (albeit I think we may hav been legal then) thats creepy...I know what you are speaking of that Bill went through...BUT IT IS NO EXCUSE TO MAKE CRUDE COMMENTS TO TEENAGE BOYS...Deal with it!

Liles
Liles

J, since the late-70's, Bill has always had a very weird sense of humor.

I don't doubt for a second that during the 80's Bill said things to people that weren't at all PC - and that was exactly why he was saying them. I've known the guy for almost 30 years, and I interviewed him on camera for almost 60 hours. Many of these interview sessions were very revealing. The guy wears his heart on his sleeve, his life is open book. There was plenty of stuff he told me "off the record", but none of it was illegal, abusive or malicious.

Say whatever you want about him, but he has never laid a finger on anyone. I know this because I know if he had, he would have told me. He tells me everything.

There is a very reasonable explanation for why Bill is the way he is. I won't go into detail here to protect his privacy, other than to say that something traumatic happened to him during the 70's that affected him in a very profound way. His reaction to this set of circumstances shaped his personality for years afterwards. The way Bill "processed" this situation was to say reactionary things that often appeared shocking or overtly uncomfortable.

If you had any idea what I was referencing you would never again embarrass yourself by disrespecting this man with your ongoing secondhand innuendo. You have no idea what this man has been through in his life.

Here's another thing I know for sure: in almost 30 years, no customer has ever felt so verbally "violated" that they felt the need to go to the authorities or "retaliate" against him. Why not? Because people are smart enough to know that's just Bill being Bill. Talk might be cheap, but comics like Rodney Dangerfield, Eddie Izzard and Chris Rock have made millions of dollars saying the EXACT same types of things... if not far more graphic and less PC.

There are two groups of people involved here; first, there are the people like you - who think Bill's is overpriced and resent the fact that they're aren't price tags on the records, and feel the need to assassinate Bill's character in your effort to bring his store down. Then, there is the other group: a far larger group than that of the spineless haters; many who have known Bill personally for 30 years (people like the late Stanley Marcus of Neiman-Marcus, Jeff K, Erykah Badu, Donnie Nelson and Tim DeLaughter) who all know that Bill is a decent man who has given every waking hour of his life to running a record store.

What the fuck have you ever done? Go to Bill's Myspace page and look at his default photo of his senior class picture. This man accomplished more when he was in high school than you ever will in your entire life.

Your "guilty until proven innocent" mindset was right in line with the way the Bush Administration sold the public on the Iraq War. "If everybody is saying it, then surely Saddam's got WMDs!" Remember that?

Stop acting like an idiot. You have no idea what you're talking about.

J
J

There have been more than a few people who have said Bill hit on them when they were teenage boys...Do you think everyone just makes this shit up?!?! Why would several people accuse an innocent man of this? It was damn creepy and it happened whether anyone accepts that truth or not...

CAMorris
CAMorris

This is good stuff Jeff. And it is journalism. It's memories-meets aggregating, but it starts with sources and information and gets packaged. You do a great job with these. Years ago I painted the Queen 'News of the World' record cover on Bill's wall and also the John Lennon psychedelic specs headshot. I think the Queen painting was lost when Bill expanded through the wall next door.

keep up the good work.

CM

Liles
Liles

"Everyone knows... (blah, blah, whatever...)"

Speak for yourself. I've known Bill for almost thirty years; I was 16 when I met him, and he has never hit on me once. Not one time. I sure as fuck wouldn't cover for him if he had.

The title "The Last Record Store" was an obvious ref to the film "The Last Picture Show". At the time we shot that "myth", there were still 12 record stores scattered around Dallas.

Forgive me for thinking that someone like you might have the imagination to make that connection.

NoBill
NoBill

Everyone knows that Bill made passes at young boys in the 80's! It's not slander or speculation - it happened! Blaming a 13, 14 or 16 year-old kid for not going to the authorities - you're an ass! Would you blame a rape victim if they were too ashamed to identify they're attacker. Jealous? Of what? High prices, no prices, smoke, dirt, rotten customer service? The only guys that ever hit on Bill, were the ones trying to get cash out of the old goat! The perpetual myth that Jeff Liles and others keep alive about Bill's is just that and nothing else. The Last Record Store? What a joke....

mm
mm

you have to love bill. he has always had a weird sense of humor but he's harmless. best radio ads too. happy birthday bill!

Jim
Jim

I remember going to a combination record store/head shop off of Davis in Oak Cliff called "Dirt Cheap". They had THOUSANDS of records (in no particular order) for $1 a piece. First found out about them in '89 or so. Over a couple of years, the prices dropped to 50 cents, then 25 cents an album. We'd go in there and I'd walk out with 20-30 records that I'd never have had the money to listen to/experience on CD. Double Live Gonzo, Inner Mounting Flame(Mahavishnu), Marshall Tucker Band, Ravi Shankar; found them all, there. Didn't seem all that "cool" to my teenage buddies, but I loved that 70's stuff.

The other "fun" part was watching folks come in to buy pipes and stuff, and then accidentally mentioning that it might be for purposes other than smoking "tobacco". The clerk would grab the stuff out of the customer's hands and lots of good arguments would ensue. That, and the huge jar for the "bail" fund (when one of the employees would get busted for seling "drug parapharnelia(sp)".

Even better (as a 16 or 17 year old), when your buddy locks his keys in the car, and his mom has to come all the way to Oak Cliff (from the 'burbs) to unlock the car that's parked right in front of a head shop......

Really?
Really?

If that was true, why didn't you got to the authorities?

It's one thing to be jealous, (or an employee from another record store), but to make an assertion like that - without you (or anybody else, for that matter) ever having done anything about it - makes it look like pure character assassination on your part.

Bothered you, huh? Maybe you were hitting on him, J.

J
J

I remember when were 13 14 yr olds and Bill hitting on us...It bothered me.

Liles
Liles

UR, not sure if you're new here, but lemme give you just a brief rundown with what I'm trying to do here with "Echoes and Reverberations".

Very little of what I'm writing about here is happening in real time. Clearly, I'm not a journalist. This isn't breaking news.

"Echoes" is a collection of memoirs; not just mine, but everyone who has participated in the DFW music community, and now feels like contributing. I have no choice but to write in first person, because I wasn't walking around with a reporter's notepad and tape recorder at the time. (If I had been, it's doubtful that I would have ever got the straight story about anything from anyone. People spin for the media; they tell the truth to the people in the peer group.)

And you're right - I'm not Dr. Hunter S. Thompson (although we were both born on July 18), but I am flattered that was who you thought of when you read this story. As far as I can tell, he didn't own a copyright on writing in first person, or sharing his personal experience within the context of a story about something else.

Media is changing. There are plenty of online destinations where you can find breaking news delivered in real time by dutiful robot reporters. However, most publications are finding that the best way to engage and keep readers is by having signature writers throw themselves into each story. Jim Schutze does it. Robert Wilonsky does it. Dave Faires and Alice Laussade do it, too. CNN's Michael Ware has been doing it in Iraq for going on five years now.

If you need your news delivered without personality or embedded experience, enjoy the Dallas Morning News while you still can. But if you think they aren't trying to sell you a fancy bridge or taxpayer-funded hotel in the process, then you're not capable of reading between the lines. Their agenda is far more shameless.

"Echoes" exists so we can own the legacy of creative community. For too long we've let other cities co-opt our artists and their work as their own. I'm not about to let that happen again.

Mark Allen
Mark Allen

This is one of my favorites in this series so far Jeff.

Interesting point someone pointing out the little price tags that Metamorphosis put on their LPs that said "METAMORPHOSIS" at the top (I think VVV had similar price tags? And also Record Gallery?) I still have a few LPs and 7"s with those in my old collection. I remember being annoyed back then, 25 years ago, when stickers would get on LP art and leave a little mark (do I tear it off and risk it ripping? do I leave it on so it just looks neater?) Now I wouldn't take them off for anything.

aaron gonzalez
aaron gonzalez

You interviewed Jason Cohen, but I saw no mention of the short-lived but glorious Forbidden Music/Out to Lunch. I bought some incredible essential initiatory weird and disturbing sounds there (Swans, Coil, Nurse with Wound, Diamanda, Merzbow), and was fond of the 'sleazy listening' section (if only to browse for celebrity, serial killer and religious cult recordings and such). However, the icing on the cake was co-owner Ed Stafford's dizzyingly deep avant-jazz section, which in my opinion was the greatest jazz section of any record store I've ever seen in Dallas! Twas a bright spot on my formative (y)ears...

Rachel Weiner
Rachel Weiner

Bill was present the day I first discovered my love for vinyl. I thank him every day for it. I was 13 and my mom took me to a store that she used to shop at when she was in her 20's. We stepped in and it was like watching a kid in a candy store. After a couple of hours walking up and down the jam-packed isles I emerged to the counter where I handed Bill Peter Gabriel's SO. I didn't even have a record player at the time, but it was love at first sight. I really couldn't tell you where I would be today without that experience. My collection is magnified ten-fold and I am still loyal to Bill at his new location.It's an experience and a way of life, and I thank people like Bill every day for the great life experiences!!!

Thank you for writing this article!

ChrisU
ChrisU

Metamorphosis: most customers there for Depeche Mode or Joy Division, I found those first Stray Cats records(before they had a deal in the States). also have many collectables from Bill's on Spring Valley.found most all NRBQ at Melody Shop.URnot, go piss on someone else's party. you give the letter U a bad name.

guy
guy

dont forget direct hit records. kelly keys was always super cool and would get you anything you wanted. she was 10 years older than me but always had some weirdo cougar crush on me so she hooked me up. great selection- and when fugazi played here and the show got shut down- we went to her house afterward and hung out all night. classic times.

george
george

Or what happens?

Somebody writes something interesting or real?

UR not HST
UR not HST

The writer serves the story, not the other way around.

stubbie-q-nation
stubbie-q-nation

dude you rock thanks for the slip down memorie alley jeff here the blast link i have been sending your articiles out to my twitter followers and they are asking who you are and where they can follow you so are you on twiiter if not you should be thanks kelly at celebritymonkey on twitterthanx brah also if you still want that pet monkey we are selling on line here http://www.celebritymonkey.net

george
george

Liles, don't listen to that guy for a second. Your stories are priceless. This one is no exception.

U R not HST
U R not HST

A writer should only insert him/herself into the story if it serves the story.

Craig DePoi
Craig DePoi

Craig Depoi

April 16 at 4:02pmI remember going to Forever Young Records back in the early 90's. I first discovered Dave's record store when I was looking for some 12 X 12 frames for the signed L.P.s I was hanging up inside of TREES.

His store was ALOT smaller & I mean ALOT! He had a small display case w/ an old KISS belt buckle & also a toy ELVIS guitar from '56. And lots of records too. But now... Man Forever Young Records has exploded into this Mega~Vinyl Paradise! Anything you're looking for on wax, he's got it! And it's Completely organized too.

Over the last 8 years I've helped him stock 12 display cases full of 50's 60's 70's gems from rock eras gone by. MONKEES, BEATLES, KISS, ELVIS, toys galore that kids from the past once opened on Christmas morning.

So check it out man! It's worth the drive to Grapevine/Arlington & I assure you that you can find just about Anything you're looking for!

FOREVER YOUNG RECORDS... Quite a store to behold.

Bucks Burnett
Bucks Burnett

First, a big thank you and lots of love to everyone for their kind words; it is always nice to be remembered, for any reason. Next, a salute to all the past and present owners of Dallas record stores. It is often a thankless, but fascinating task. And thank you to everyone who has ever bought a record from anyone, and a bigger thanks to those who continue to buy music.

These are hopeful times; the big chains can't smell the money anymore, and are leaving the game; music can be OURS again. Against all odds, the indies are surviving the chains, and vinyl is cool.

You can read about one of Dallas' best record stores, Hit Records in Oak Cliff (1970's) this week at http://sonicboomers.com.

And my new shop, Earotica (in Dolly Python), is just as stoopid as my old shop, so come on by - I just opened my second location (in a head shop), which means the music business just got bigger - by a few square feet. Love and like to all y'all. Right on, Jeff.

ken
ken

I grew up in rekkid stores, albeit in a different zip code, and acquired a lot of knowledge there (not all of it musical). I'd mourn the passing of the mom-and-pops and the culture they represent. The last couple of years seem to have given them a shot in the arm, though, which I couldn't have foreseen five years ago when I was traveling with Nathan Brown the week when every alt-weekly in America seemed to be running a "death of the record store" piece. Happy birthday Bill and good onya to him and the folks at Good for keeping it going.

LisaBrooke
LisaBrooke

@George Gimarc George, thank you for this! I was dismayed to see no mention of Collectors in the article. It was such a great shop and all of us employees were knowledgeable and helpful. I spent 8 years of my life working with Dorothy, Richard, Roland, Chuck and Bess, and I count them as some of the best years of my life.

John C.
John C.

Sure I remember Collectors Records! Dorothy and Richard Pherigo, Roland, Tom, John, Jack, Jimmy. I Loved that store! Must have...I worked there for 4 years...I was a great education!Good to hear from you George!

frankturrentine
frankturrentine

@John C. The Pherigos were friends of my family during my childhood, They were fixtures at my family's parties. I knew Dorothy'n Dick and Will and John, but I never went to their store and lost track of them once we were grown.

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