What's All This Then

Why should I care what this guy has to say?

The correct answer is that you shouldn’t. We’re all entitled to our opinions. Develop your own. I try to be sane and rational, but that may change with the level of caffeine intake. I’m just telling my stories in the hopes they may amuse and/or inform others. And... I Confess... I'm showing off my bitchen collection a bit.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Inland Empire Record Shopping Adventure

I recently had to drive to Temecula (about halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego on the inland route).  The route took me right through California's Inland Empire - a desolate wasteland of railyards, meth labs and 909ers.

The area has a few claims to fame.
  • It's the birthplace of Camper Van Beethoven.  
  • It was where a baboon heart was first transplanted into a human
  • It's the location of the very first McDonald's
  • It was where the Rolling Stones played their first US concert.  
  • It was where Grateful Dead played Terrapin Station for the first time.  
  • California Jam and The US Festival were both Inland Empire events.
  • It's the birthplace of The Hells Angels
  • It's the title of pretty bitchen David Lynch movie (although it doesn't really take place there)
The area also boasts a few record stores.

Before I dig into the individual stores, let me explain something most crate diggers know.  I'm never looking for for anything in particular.  I always wait for that magic moment where selection, price and whim come together at the same time.   If it doesn't happen, it's not the fault of the store.  I came up empty handed a few times on this trip.

First stop.  Rhino Records in Claremont.                 Rhino's Website

Located in the 'village' section of town.  Right next to the Claremont Colleges.  Once affiliated with Rhino Records near UCLA, they went independent many years ago.  It's a pretty large store that shouldn't be embarrassed by their selection of vinyl.  They should, however, be embarrassed they sell Crosleys,   Nothing really clicked for me in their regular section, but I found a few things in the bargain bin.  Most notably a mono copy of Terry Knight and The Pack - a Detroit garage band that later morphed into Grand Funk Railroad.

Next Stop.  Penny Lane in Upland.        Penny Lane's Website

An odd little store located in the back of an industrial park with no signage.  I spoke with the owner about the rare LA punk singles he was selling for $50 - $75,   I didn't need them because I had most of them.  The owner told me he's actually selling them at that price.  Great selection of 45's.  Unfortunately for me, nothing really clicked.   No fault of the store.  I will definitely return if I'm ever in the area.  It's down the street from a restaurant shaped like a boat and a motel that's a collection of Wigwams.   Remnants of Route 66.

Next.  Mad Platter in Riverside.     Mad Platter's Website

Located in a butt ugly newish shopping center adjacent to UC Riverside.  Post Modernism at its worst.  They're a sister store to Rhino in Claremont.  Great selection of vinyl.  Nothing clicked for me here other than a hacked up twist record in the cheapo section.  I can't resist twist records.

Finally, made it to Temecula and visited Old Town Records.   Old Town Records Website

Temecula used to be a small town on Route 395.   It's recently gentrified due to a local wine business, fancy ass spas and Indian gaming.  The east side of the Interstate is where they keeps their ugly shopping centers and Olive Gardens.  The west side has managed to keep it's old charm, even though  upscale restaurants (with tablecloths and everything) and antique shops have taken over the buildings.   Old Town records is right at the center.

And thank you for not adding an 'e' to the end of Town.  I always hated that.

Enjoyed this store a lot.  Great selection of old blues and pre-70's stuff.  Lots of 45's and picture sleeves.  Cool things on the wall for big bucks (like a copy of The Velvet Underground's Loaded autographed by Lou Reed - $700).  Nice vibe in the store as well. I left empty handed and spent the next half hour with a magazine and margarita across the street.

The day of my trek was President's Day.  I didn't get a chance to sample Groovers in Riverside as they're closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.  No exceptions for holidays.  Maybe next time I'm in the area - or more likely just passing through - I'll hit them up.