Support Your Local Record Store

Jeff Miller, star of Wiley's Golden Oldies in Tacoma, Washington

I know that iTunes is the wave of the future for the way most music will be sold in the 21st Century. When James Brown died on Christmas, I certainly couldn’t go to Tower Records to satisfy my urge for hearing “Funky Christmas.” Nobody was open that day, and frankly, I didn’t want to deal with traveling anywhere on that day. I know that eBay is the world’s greatest garage sale, and Amazon seems to do a decent job of shipping CDs for what’s probably the cheapest price.

That being said, independent little record stores will always be my number one choice when it comes to buying my music. Give me a little record store run by someone that actually loves the music they sell, and if they’ve got the stuff I want to hear, I’ll always support the little stores!

My friend Jeff Miller of Wiley’s Golden Oldies in Tacoma, Washington has been one of the best supporters this documentary project has ever had. He’s provided me with a wealth of information, and an archive of vintage music photographs that continues to blow my mind. Every time I visit his store, I feel my head exploding with all the beautiful images I’ve never seen before. Whenever I visit the store, I tend to run into a lot of old rock and rollers there. Just last week, I met Chuck Wood, a member of the Rhythm Rockets, one of the earliest rock bands in the Pacific Northwest, formed years before the Wailers or the Ventures ever came together. At different times, other folks I’ve met at Jeff’s store included J.D. Roberts of the Kingsmen (the Tacoma band before the Portland band), Mike Burk of the Wailers, and a whole of other folks. I’ve been told that even the notoriously-elusive Gerry Rosalie of the Sonics made a visit to the store, just to check out the goods.

Like all of the finest record store owners I’ve ever known, Jeff is certainly opinionated on a variety of different subjects, which is what I love about the guy. He’s passionate about the good stuff, and he’s turned me on to some wonderful things I probably have have never know about. That’s what a good record store can do – expose you to things you didn’t know about or expect to like.

While some record stores like Wiley’s Golden Oldies sometimes feels like a great museum of bygone era, it’s actually much cooler than a museum. You don’t have to pay admission, and if, god forbid, you actually bring pizza or beer into the store, you’re more likely to gain a new friend instead of getting kicking out.

My point is that if you enjoy the good record stores, please support them. Don’t just look at the fun stuff on the wall, and then leave. Buy some records. Grab that another copy of that CD that you feel in love with, just to give to someone else that appreciates the good stuff. Don’t be afraid of buying any accessories. Follow temptation and snag some of those dumb little impulse items that are near the cash register. If you know someone that would appreciate some of the things you’re seeing sold at these stores, gifts are a wonderful gesture.

It is tough for record stores to survive in the 21st century, and price of rent seems to get higher and higher all over the country. Whatever you can do to support the good businesses, you should do so, because things are tough all over… especially in the record business.

Here’s a photo of one of Jeff’s business partners, a furry guy named “Otis.” If you ever see Otis, he’s one of the mellowest creatures around, and you’d have to work very hard if want to see him bite. He’s more likely eat the extra slice of pizza, and take a nap in the corner.

Otis the dog at Wiley's Golden Oldies, Tacoma, WA

1 comment to Support Your Local Record Store

  • Carroll Hill

    Hey, are you still alive? You don’t look any older. Okay, I want to see if you want the old records and tapes (including the reel to reel deck). They’re yours if they’re worth anything to you.

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