Since I’ve been old enough to drive myself around, I have loved going to record stores. I wasn’t necessarily looking for records, but instead CD’s. I was and still am a huge junkie for physical media, and having something to own and hold in my hands when it came to music. If I had to go anywhere, I would always need an extra 10 minutes to get ready because I would need to file through my CD’s to pick about five to make sure I had the right music for whatever mood I might find myself in on a 15 minute round trip car ride. Often times, that car trip would be to a music store. Record stores have been a part of my life since. I can recall using my time between classes at U of W to walk down to A&B Sound. It was there that I bought nearly the entire Dave Matthews Band catalog in a single day. I had seen the video for ‘Grey Street’ while flipping channels at night and was captivated. I head heard ‘Crash’ before, but was never interested in pursuing more on the band. So, after seeing this video I walked down to A&B Sound and picked up the album ‘Busted Stuff” that ‘Grey Street’ was taken from. It blew me away when I threw it in my DiscMan. So much so, that I marched back to A&B Sound and bought all the albums they had released up until that point.
While A&B Sound was cool, my haunt of choice was CDPlus in Madison Square on Ness Ave. I would go there and filter through the used CD’s, looking for that gem to add to my collection. As a student with limited income, I often had to wait out new releases until some fool parted with it and I could buy it for half the price. Stores like CDPlus, Music Trader on Osborne, Into the Music on McDermot, and Planet of Sound on Henderson provided (and with the exception of CDPlus, still provide) a wonderful service to consumers like me and were just cool places to hang out. I can recall discovering new music like the band Mastodon, when I stumbled across their album ‘Leviathan’ in 2004. I had never heard of the band, but the cover had a sticker on it that said ‘Rush meets Metallica’. That tag-line sold me instantly and I became a huge fan of the band.
In an era where everything is going digital and physical record stores are fading away into obscurity, the idea of discovering music on a shelf is sadly disappearing. Another instance where I discovered music was at Into the Music. The guys there are always playing vinyl, and it’s often some really cool, but obscure stuff. I never know what I’m going to hear when I go in there as all of the clerks have such different tastes. One day, I arrived and heard some really cool 80’s pop rock and wondered what it was. I approached the counter and found out that it was a band called Red 7, which was a side project of Genesis and Mike + the Mechanics member Mike Rutherford. Their self-titled debut album was playing, specifically a song called ‘The Way’. I asked how much the record was, and was told it was $1. AMAZING. I was sold instantly and I’m still keeping an eye out for it on CD.
The reason that i bring all this up is because two Winnipeggers have put together a documentary called ‘New & Used: Winnipeg’. Dave Kornas and Jamie Mierau put together the documentary to chronicle the history and the people behind some of Winnipeg’s classic record stores. These stores have meant so much to so many like myself and, like I illustrated above, have created so many memories and helped shape our musical tastes. I simply would not be the person I am today without these stores and the people who worked at them and brought them to life. Heck, I wouldn’t be writing this blog, because I might not have ever gotten into radio if local record stores hadn’t fostered my love of music.
You can check out the trailer below, and if you’re like me, you will recognize a whole bunch of people. This project will be coming to MTS’s ‘Stories From Home’ On-Demand video service soon, but there will also be a screening of the doc on March 11 at the Gas Station Theatre. If you’re interested in tickets, you can contact Dave Kornas at email@example.com.