Monday, September 24, 2018


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The last column I wrote for this blog was published June 8, 2011. Yes, that's more than seven years ago.

In that installment, I summarized what I learned from writing over 300 weekly columns for Rock n Roll Graffiti and, while moving on, promised occasional updates.

Well, that occasion has finally arrived.

Don't ask me if I've been too busy to write, but my wife Sue and I did retire from the Record Rack.

We closed the shop on July 25, 2015, exactly 30 years from the date we opened. We invited several hundred of our friends to a bash featuring local musical favorites Tohubohu. Band leader John Beck honored us with an clever original song he composed.

That final get-together included the premiere of a film about the Record Rack compiled by videographer Nick Jensen of Iron Mountain, to say nothing of free pizza and soda.

While we downplayed it at the time, we had planned our retirement for about a year. We sold most of our memorabilia, including the much-envied Kiss bicentennial mirror and Metallica's "Master of Puppets" album cover signed by the late bassist Cliff Burton, as well as hundreds of autographed photos and other mementoes.

Closing meant emptying a 2,500-square foot building of merchandise, fixtures and equipment. It was exhausting. We donated the remaining unsold stock to the Escanaba Public Library, Bay College Library and Goodwill.

In the midst of closing we added to the chaos by moving our personal residence from Escanaba's southside neighborhood to a vintage Victorian home on Ogden Ave.

Moving included transporting my very large collection of LP records. Long-players are very heavy and it took months to alphabetize several thousand titles, collected over the last half century. Did I mention, it was exhausting?

Later we sold the commercial property at 1212 Ludington St. to Peggy O'Connell who runs her "Positively" store from that location.

We still see our "old" friends and customers when we're out and about and we do miss seeing folks on a regular basis. We also miss the excitement of opening shipping boxes full of much-anticipated new releases.

Just this month saw the release of 19-CD Grateful Dead box set, a new album from Paul McCartney called "Egypt Station" and a collection of early singles from Bob Seger on the Cameo-Parkway label.

All three of these releases are getting extended time on my compact disc player.

CD's, however, are rapidly declining in popularity, while records are enjoying a slight resurgence.

Which brings us to Alexa. If you don't know Alexa is a voice-activated music delivery system, among other things. We got one back in 2015 when we were busy closing the shop and moving.

We debuted her during an Independence Day party and before long, many of our friends and relatives had ordered one. You just name the song and Alexa plays it for you. That makes playing music almost effortless.

While records and CD's are now dispensable, I still play them virtually every day. I'm that busy.

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