Some Thoughts on Tower Records for All Things Must Pass
Hi guys. Hope all is well with everyone.
Last week my pal Colin Hanks was kind enough to come on Occasionally Awesome (my podcast. Subscribe already!) to discuss his new documentary, 'All Things Must Pass.' It's a great doc about the history of Tower Records that you should all see. Afterwards, he asked me to write a few things on my experiences there and put together a playlist for the All Things Must Pass station on Rdio (a streaming music service. Subscribe already!) I was honored to do it. My playlist is in good company next to playlists by Patton Oswalt, Les Claypool, Albert Hammond Jr, Fred Armisen and way more.
I know a lot of people use Spotify and Apple Music so I'm putting what I wrote here too. I will also include links to the playlist for you current Rdio users and hopefully this will also lead to some of you giving Rdio a chance. It truly is the best streaming service available. Anyway, here you go. Enjoy.
My Tower Records
What I miss about Tower Records is the conversations. Conversations with yourself about artists you would see on giant posters or peppered through aisles on tiny jewel cases or whether or not you should take a chance on a $5 classic rock bargain bin album only because the dudes on the cover looked like they knew how to party. More importantly, I miss the conversations I had with other music fans. It was not uncommon to talk prog rock with a total stranger, have it turn into a heated argument and minutes later be laughing at how refreshingly eclectic and crazy the jazz stylings of John Zorn can be. No one ever took it too personally. At the core we were all just being passionate about the music we loved.
The last Tower memory I have was on a new music release day, which always fell on a Tuesday. The Tower on Sunset Blvd would re-open Monday nights at midnight for an hour to give hardcore fans their late night fix; because why wait an extra ten hours for a new album especially since I would be sleeping through most of them when I NEED TO HAVE IT IMMDEDIATELY? In 2001, a new Tool album was coming out. I calmly walked over to the Sunset Tower after a set at The Comedy Store and-- Ok fine. I ran and cheered the entire way. The line that week was especially long because that same night some massive teen pop band was releasing a pile of overproduced sugar pop into the world. We stood, we talked, we waited.
At the time it was uneventful. Looking back from the world we live in today, where albums and singles are downloaded and streamed from a couch and the majority of conversations are one-sided blog posts or insults traded in comment sections, the memory of that line grows more important each year, because a bunch of black t-shirt and jeans wearing metal heads and bright pink and white clad bubblegum pop fans stood together and got to know each other. We asked one another about our musical tastes. A few of the pop kids enjoyed metal because their older brothers were fans. Judgment subsided and all that remained were fans and music together under a once familiar red and yellow sign.
The playlist is some of my favorite albums I remember purchasing in CD form from Tower.
Wilco – Being There
Gordon Lightfoot – Gord’s Gold
The Mars Volta – De-Loused in the Comatorium
Counting Crows – August and Everything After
Bright Eyes – I’m Wide Awake It’s Morning
Jeff Buckley – Grace
Queen of the Stone Age – Songs For the Dea