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Former Kalamazooan, writer, filmmaker, musician chimes in about his kzoo memories.
CHRIS BRYERS vs BRENT OBERLIN (or... Why I REALLY miss record stores)Share
Friday, May 28, 2010 at 10:46am
We're going to see the Sinatra's tonight- There like the best band you'll ever hear!
-Pat Bley (explaining to me on my way to club soda that I was about to see a life changing band!)
LOOK MOMMY I'M A GARBAGE MAN!!! (pt 1)
A friend of mine made a comment about a band she really liked that I turned her on to- It made me realize how much I miss walking into a record store (well... SOME record/ Music stores) and hearing something brand new and cool. I remember walking into FLipside Records one boring summer afternoon on a Tuesday with an itch for some new music. I walked into Flipside and went directly to the same spot I ALWAYS went as soon as I walked in- The bargin Albums- These were records deemed "bad condition" and they were like .79 cents or something with tax. Now... what the people at Flipside considered "bad condition" most people who have records aren't going to be botherd by a little "snap, crackle and POP" and maybe even a skip or 2- so to me the records weren't in THAT bad of condition and the main reason I liked going to that spot 1st was because there were usually some NEW records in there that had just come in today or yesterday- THIS was key for me because I stopped in there about every other day looking for a GEM or a sweet little nugget of music.
One day I walked in and B-4 I could even get to the "spot" I had to look and see who was working because whatever it was I was hearing is exactly what I wanted- I looked over and it was Paul Kiry with a BIG grin on his face- Snidley Whiplash curly WAXED mustache- he knew I was gonna dig this band. I said, "who is this?" he said, "it's the guys from "Venom P. Stinger" with a violin player- There called "the Dirty Three". I said, "I want it NOW!" And then of course I hear- "ya can't have it but I'll order it for you." I said, "I want in NOW!!!" to which Paul replies with a bunch of blips and bloops and bleeps- ya see... of you don't know Paul Kiry and I had to relate to you who he was as in terms of a Star Wars character- I'd tell you that Paul is 100% R2-D2. If you think about it... and you know him- It even makes more sense- R2 is always making wise cracks and he's always there in Lukes corner (and now we see that he was with Anakin as well) usually saving everyone's ass from a heep of trouble. something that I've realized over the years is that it;s just natural for him to crack up the people that LOVE him. wow... did i just go way off the subject and profess my love for Paul Kiry? well... I don;'t care- it's true. Paul is just one cool ass CAT in my book. If he were a Wizard of Oz character he'd definately be the Lion even though he's already a BEAR I don't care.
FLIPSIDE vs BOOGIE (pt 2)
When I worked I played music depending on who was out in the crowd of customers. There's this scene in "HIGH FIDELITY" where John Cusak looks out at the customers and he tells his employee, "I'll sell 5 copies of this before the 1st song ends." and he puts in the music and the camera shows people moving to the music and then someone asks, "Who is this?" When I saw that scene I KNEW that the writer had definatley either worked or owned a cool record store because Mike Huff and I used to do that all the time at Boogie- In fact we'd have little challnges to see who get people to buy whatever we played. I'd ALWAYS and I'm saying this as a fact- I ALWAYS won when I pulled out my final secret weapon- Peter Gabriels: Passion - (the Soundtrack to the Last Temptaion of Christ) which is probably on of the most PERFECT ALBUMS ever made- It's #1 with a bullet on my top 10 albums I can bring to the LOST island. I think I've sold about... honeslty... I've probably sold about 200-250 of those albums in the 4 years I was working at record stores in Kalamazoo-
My Boss (slime bag) Jeff Boyd was amazed when I showed him why i always needed at least 3 or 4 of those cd's in stock- One day I sold the 2 way had and Boyd took the orders from 2 other people in the store- ya see... when 2 people buy something other people just want it because- and that's something you just have to be aware of when you're selling music- Every once in a while NEW people would come to work at Boogie and they'd think they were all cool (Justin Frarr) because they were playing indie music that was hard to find or whatever... I'd come in to work and the 1st thing I'd do is take off his music and put something on that we had IN THE STORE TO SELL!! I'd say, "Justin!! how many times do I have to tell you that if you want to play YOUR kind of music then make sure Boyd knows to order it- otherwise you don't get to play ANYTHING- I mean... Jesus Christ GO PICK A USED CD OUT OR SOMETHING- but DO NOT MAKE A CUSTOMER walk out of here with NOTHING in their hands because they had to "special order" something GOD ARE YOU REALLY THAT STUPID!!!"
yes I really did talk to people this way back then because I was a TOTAL EGO MANIAC ASSHOLE! I even made my friend Erin walk out of the store crying... I later told her how totally sorry I was and that if she never forgave me and didn't ever want to talk to me again that i would understand... I told her the truth too- I did what I did because I was still hurt by some of her actions from past things she did that I didn't agree with... anyway... She did forgive me and we became better friends than B-4- I think I bumped Barry B-4 all that... yeah... because J.W. actually had to let Erin and someone else go.
We started LAPD Riot Midgets with Sean Wood and I on Vocals and Erin on Bass- it started as a joke - after the 2nd show Erin and Sean were basically fired because Paul & Joel wanted to play for real and not as a joke thing- that's why we changed the name the SHAZAM when Maggie Z took over on Bass- but anyway... so yeah... I could be a REALLY big jerk to people- ecspecially people that were hired by the owner- We had hired my friend Ethan and I told some of my other friends that there wasn't any more hrs to give- and then Boyd hired Justin because he WOW'ed Boyd with a bunch of ass kissing- I never liked that kid- he brought his Dog to work one day and it growled at Tina- She didn't wanna work the ticket master because she was afraid tthe dog was gonna bite her- so she calls me at HOME to come down and tell Justin he can't have his Dog there- See... when you're an asshole and not afraid of people- SOME people that you're nice to end up asking me to do there dirty work!! hahahah (kidding) I love Tina she was awesome to work with- If i was her I'd call me too (or Mike Huff- we were the resident asshole's)
wow... am I just babbleing the hell out this??? what was I talking about.....?
Customers- Record store- yeah.
I had people that would come in looking for me- I'd order stuff and people would just by it B-4 they heard it on my suggestion. (Boyd loved this too) Kalamazoo was just that kind of town. I still keep in touch with a customer I met when I 1st started working there- He was actually a part of the K-zoo Film society and he was the reason I 1st saw Resivior Dogs up at Western- I walked out of there... I'll never forget- I was like... I want to do that... I wanna make a film. It was so simple and yet really complex if you really started to think about all the fat he trimmed to make that film work- It's almost like a Play really- that was the 1st thing I thought when I started to realize how brilliant a film it was that i was watching- It was my 1st time seeing a film up at the School and I told him the next time i saw him that Res Dogs was probably the best film I'd seen in like... EVER!! it was definately something that made me think... hmm... maybe I can try doing something like this- suddenly it occured to me what you could do with the writing - and maybe because he was contempurary - ya know? he was NOW! Actually... I saw this B-4 it hit video stores and became this big "thing" - and so the music of the time was NOW and then all of a sudden there were all these indie film guys- Slacker, Clerks, and Spike Lee was already up and coming- (i still think Spike's best film is Mo'Better Blues- With Denzel as the Trumpet Player) so yeah... customers...
well... My time at the Library has come to an end
Word to Bryers
( i know I used people's real names but I really don't care if I offended those people or not)
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Becky- I was totally honored to work with you at Boogie- You definately gave the place a softer feminin side with your presence and yet you still were able to be on the citting edge of all kinds of interesting music- When you started ordering things like John Cage and Morten Feldman, David Tudor and Dead Can Dance I know you were SUPER cool and ... See More
May 28 at 10:26pm · Like · Flag
Becky Cooper Aw, thanks, JC. Haven't seen the photo of JW, ha ha. I worked at several stores and saw them all fade out...yikes. When I was little, my dad owned Warren Sporting Goods across from Flipside when it was in that tiny space where the museum is now. When I was 12, I used to walk over there on my work breaks and absorb the good vibes. My first records ... See More
May 29 at 10:14am · Like · Flag
NO RECESS (pt 1)
I forgot to ask if anyone had any of my old FANZINES I did in 97 while working at Flipside- I used to print up about 50 or so and left them out for FREE- everyone at Flipside wanted one and there were people at Repeat the Beat that wanted one too- So I'd have to print up about another 20 or so - so that the people I didn't know could get one- Flipside and us would have people come in and as if there were any left- they didn't know I made it and I didn't tell them. I put out an issue every 2 weeks- and it was harder than i thought it would be- because I wanted to look and feel a certain way. I wanted all the pages to sort of GELL together - and EVERY issue had a CENTERFOLD- Matt Dorbin told me years ago that he had every single one- I told him i just wanted them to make copies- I can't beleive i didn't keep any- well... actually I did but I always ended up giving them to people because they asked. Even Kneil Juhl (Flipside Owner) wanted his issue. Like I said- I had everything from Poems from famous peole and not so famous people from Kalamzoo- and sometimes my poetry. I'd do an intervew with one of the Kalamzoo character that lived in the group homes (for the not so stable people but also not aggressive people) I interviewed Purple Dave for one issue and in that interview I asked him- What do you want to do B-4 you die?" and he said, "I wanna play in my own band man- but I wanna be up on stage playing a solo man with my band behind me just rock'n with a wall of noise." and then he's SMILE his great SMILE and nod his head up and down- and repeat "yeah.. yeah... that would be just... well?? what's bigger than that around here right?? i mean there have been a LOT of GREAT bands that have played on that stage and I saw them for the 1st time here man! Yeah... to play Club Soda but with a BAND man... yeah...."
Incenceadently this is where I got the idea to start a band for Dave and I knew Paul would do it for sure but we didn't have a bass player.... And it just so happend that we were hanging out with this really cool kid named Anthony Gentile- Paul and I wanted to make sure that it was clear to Anthony that this was all about Dave and that Paul and Anthony just have to keep playing together and watch me for the changes in some of the songs- while Dave just did whatever he wanted. I think it was actually Purple Dave that came up with the idea that the 3 band mates where Womans under garments or womans little night'eez- so Paul wore a Braw while playing the drums- and I think Anthony and I wore nighty'z that the Zutaman girls gave us. Then the girls put all kinds of make up on us- Paul with Lip Sticka nd Eye Liner - god I'll never forge thet 1st night at Harvey's- see... Harvey's was just the Warm up show for Soda- and there were soooo mnay people at Harvey's we had to actually stop people from coming up- people were outside in the deck looking in and there were people packed in there like I'd never seen. THe crowd was loud and we were all kind of nervous-
the joke was... Purple Dave always wore make up to all the shows in K-zoo and sometimes fish net stocking- he looked like he shoudl have been in POISON or some Glam Rock band from LA- He wore a suit to the show that night- He was being IRONIC- all 3 boys dresed up like girls and he dresses up in a suit and tie- I LOVED IT- so that's what we did- I guess Jeff Brgenzer or John Clark has a tape of it because UI saw it later on.
We started out with "School" by Nirvana and then played some Black Sabbath songs and then Crazy Train and then we let Dave just off until he got tired-
The 2nd time at Soda we didn't where drag clothes or make up - Anthony wore a Wig and Spit out blood within the 1st song which was AWESOME- and I smashed my Guitar and Paul smashed though his drums- B-4 the 1st song was over- I just felt like nothing could top that 1st night and there were all these people there to see what all the fuss was last time- well- the 1st time was really radical and the 2nd time it was all about seeing this Purple Dave character. So I said- F8C# all those people- I let Anthony's band "The Carpet Knights" and "Eye Teeth" play at the Soda show because Dave requested them to open for him as he really like both those bands. and after we smashed our instruments and did our thing we let Dave solo for about 10 minutes and then Eye Teeth came on and played with Dave which DAVE just LOVED- you could see it in his face!! a lot of people thought I was trying to be an asshole about the situation and that's why we broke our instruments- no. I did it so that Dave could just be up there alone for a while- The Eye Teeth thing was planned- Dave didn't know it but the guys in Eye Teeth and I talked about it B-4 hand- I said, "It's Dave's DREAM to play with you guys on stage so after we trash our shit- let him play his solo and then you guys go out and Jam with him until your tired. Dave was the happiest man alive - FOR THE 2nd TIME in one Month- and everytime I still see him he says, "is that you? that is you man." and then he'll tell who evers listening that I was his lead Singer and Mgr for his band back in the late 90's- I LOVE it- i love Purple Dave!!
Word to Barry
(couldn't have done it without you)
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FREE (the Fanzine)Share
Yesterday at 11:37pm
Most of us tend to take life for granted and never delve very deeply into the meaning of our existence. We look for different objects and pleasures to enrich our lives and remain unaware of the hidden treasure that is ours. God/ The Force/ whatever you call it is in us in the from of our own inner self.
THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT BE TELAVISED (pt 1)
Scott Town & Paul Kiry were down at Pirahnna Alley one day chatting and hanging out- (it's a Skateboard shop that sells clothes and shoes and skatboards- GREAT idea for a store- and Scott and Paul were making this Fanzine about what people did last week and who was wering the raddest shoe's and then they'd make fun of some people too (of course) and they were putting it in this Fanzine- Scott didn't have enough to make more than life 5 so i used repeat funds to make sure that everyone who wanted one could have one. 2 weelks later I was creating my own Fanzine- it was like all of a sudden I could just see how everything would just fit together- and I'd make it so that some people would get it and other's wouldn't. I used my Poems and I used Anias Ninn Poems (always making sure people know who it is) and then I'd cut out all these little pictures and make all these advertisements in the little fanzine- it was fun for me- In fact... I put a LOT of work into them- a lot more than these blogs- but I also got other peopel to allow me to use their poems or idea's or whatever- I have a couple left- I think Matt Dorbin might have some- it was called "FREE" and they were FREE of charge- I got a LOT of really good response with them- but I was about to leave Kalamzoo in a few more months- If anyone doesn't have one let me know and whne I get X-tra cash I'll make a copy for you- they are 20 page Fanzines and I have 2 of them- My brother started a Fanzine in his H.S. and it was called "the Bird" as is... givng someone the "bird" as in F-U - the stuff he wrote in his Fanzine was un believable - it was political and very very intelligent sutff- I think they let it all fly because it was so far over their heads- all of his friends say they knew Brett would live in like NY or London or somehwere away from here- I read his Fanzine from 11th grade and he's just an amazing and smart writer-
anyway - I'll copy some if anyone wants one-
also- thanks for those of you who told me the truth when i asked if they really cared about getting comiccs in the mail- Some of my kids friends enjoy them, and I think some of my friends husbands enjoy them with their kids- anyway I'd rather know so that I can get them to people who rather have them becuase there's so many of you on the list now!! but I'm happy to be able get the reject stuff or bent stuff to the kids who'll enjoy them- and the kids at my CHess club.
To be honest... there really isn't all that much going on in comics today... they've kind of hit a platue and they've streteched a LOT of the GREAT WRITERS & ARTIST out too much and you can see it in their work- the art work is a little off and hurried- and the writing is kind of dull and there's just not enough character driven stuff out there- now... that's not to say there isn't ANY comic out there worth reading- but unfortuneatley when those get bent they get grabbed right away- the 3 of us get to pick out 4 at a time until it gets down and then 3 at a time and 2 and so on. So the 1st comics I grab are for my personnel collection- the rest are for ALL OF YOU GUYS READING THIS!! Can you beleive a comic costs $4.00 now... that's just a real shame... Marvel Comics could sell there top titles at $3.00 and the rest of the B-titles at $1.00 and they would sell a lot more comics- again- if I had to pay for ANY of the comics I sent you guys I'd just be broke by now- 90% of those are free and maybe 10% I bought when I was a kid for ,50 cents so... ya know. most of the other comics I get at other stores I by from the .50 cents bin cuz sometimes you can find a really sweet comic in there- some weird indie thing you've never seen. so the only thing I really pay for is POSTAGE. So anyone who wants to send stamps I'll send you some sweet comics and I'll send the old FANZINE if you want one-
WATING FOR SUPERMAN (pt 2)
Last week I gave Michaels boy Gabe the re-teling of the 1st adventures of the old school X-men- What Marvel did was take the main characters in the original comic and tell a more updated story of how they would react and talk to one anohter today- The art was REALLY cool - the story'Z were were for younger kids too because the X-men in this comic were in H.S. - so Gabe really thought the comic was cool- and he thought it was X-tra cool that I gave him issue #1-10 - I told him he can start a collection now. I give him comics here and there but Gabe is kind of falling into that "how much is it worth?" thing... and that's just not what COmic Books are for- I hope he'll see that it's the ART & STORY that make the comic-
Some comics I give to friends with kids and i say "this comic is actually worth some money and in 15 or 20 yrs it'll be worth a LOT MORE MONEY because of the low print run so keep it in a bag and board and in about 20 years a lot of what send you will be worth a lot of money becuase for the 1st time in Marvel History - they aren't printing sooooo many that any kid can get one at a 7-11 or any other book store. Everythings valuable when there's only a few left in the world. And it's the one's that cost about $30 or $40.00 - some of those comic covers are on a 5,000 print run- and think about this for a second. In 1985 Marvel Comics was printing up a quarter of a million X-Men Comics- and that was just ONE title- and then they finally broke that record and sold over a million issues in 1991. Today The Uncanny X-Men print run is about 50,000 and it's still one of there top 5 sellers every week. But the mood in comics has chnaged. The Editors and the business men had a little conflict and the business guys one. So they tore down everything they built at Marvel and they are trying so hard to put it all back together again- and yet they havent' even finished it!! I mean... it's F'd up over there at Marvel Comics. DC on the other hand has there shit together- They are rock'n along!!
I just recently got Mark Milliars new comic called "NEMESIS" lwhen it came out about 3 or so weeks ago. Now there on the 2nd printing and the 1st printing is going for like $20.00 on e-bay- this is what I'm talking about- this is what makes a comic have value- I have the 1st print- and each print that sells out they order for a new print- some books haqve gone into like 10 or 12 prints- BONE #1 had like 7 or 8 printing of #1- and #2 and #3 had reprints in 3 and 4 reprints. it's crazy one a book gets how like that- but it does something that makes comics special to collect- Once that issue #1 goes into the 4 or 6th printing- the 1st print goes wayyyyyyy up because they're aren't as many out there-\]
but again.... I've said this a Million times- if you're young- and you're going into comics to just collect them and think you'll make $$$- you won't- and.... you'll be missing out on the best part of comics books- opneing up and enjoying the colors, characters and magic.
Word to Mike Visser
(i've got some SWEET stuff for you and the boy)
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