EXPERIENCE 1970’s ROCK ‘N’ ROLL CULTURE!
Record Store Manager – Part Two:
Adventures as an L.A. Record Rack Jobber 1972-1973
After co-managing historic Crane’s Record Store in Inglewood, California, the Home of the Fabulous Forum, and then managing the Crane’s Store in Palos Verdes; 00individual became acquainted with the One-Stop (records and tapes) distributors through runs to pick up stock for the store. One of the major L.A. distributors, Record Rack Merchandise, offered him a lucrative position as a Rack Jobber: a Record and Tape Buyer for Retailers; basically a traveling Record Store Manager.
Back then major department stores such as Broadway, May Co, Sears and just about every retail outlet had Record/Music Departments in their stores where you could purchase all of the different labels’ current and catalog releases on all formats; 33 1/3 Rpm LPs, 45 RPMs, 8-Track tapes and Cassettes.
Rack Jobbers would act as Record Store Managers for those departments. They would take inventory, set up displays, re-arrange stock, collect any returns, and then go back to the distributor to pull their orders and return several days later with all the new releases and replenish the bins and cases with the merchandise that the stores previously sold.
00individual’s memory of all the record and tape catalog numbers was good, too good actually, as decades later he still has many of them locked into his brain – seriously.
With accounts all over greater Los Angeles and even down into Orange County, behind “the Orange Wall” (a mostly Republican and conservative anti-Hippie area); 00individual was a very busy guy. He even had accounts at military bases; some had little shops and others were in a small mall. It was a very cool job and really satisfying to be able to see the servicemen waiting for the Music to arrive and to be the first to get the new releases – delivering the joy of music made the job that much more special.
Plus most of the outlets, especially the department stores, had women who would run the record/music departments or had women cashiers that he dealt with regularly and was able to get friendly with. And since this was a time when women were expressing themselves sexually through their clothing, looks and attitudes, he was in a nice position to flirt with the ones that enjoyed that interplay. It was harmless and enlivened their day and his – and there was no such thing as sexual harassment back then so they both could push it to the fun limit.
00individual would be on the road Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and on Tuesday and Thursday he’d be at the warehouse to fill hid orders to load into a company van for delivery.
Unlike today’s constant access to music, back then our delivery vans didn’t even have radios and he’d find himself “playing” songs in his head.
One day while driving along and totally into a favorite song at the time that only he could hear, a guy in a car cut him off and he had to swerve to avoid a collision, when he regained his composure his first thought was, “Hey, what happened to the music?”
It was then that he realized and remembered that the music was being performed by him – in his head! He’s sure many have had experiences like that, but for a moment there, it was as if he had a real radio blaring!
00individual’s image was that of the complete Hippie/Rocker Businessman with long hair, beads, sandals, jeans, Rock ‘n’ Roll band t-shirt – and briefcase. And like many back then who were persecuted for their display of individuality, 00individual unfortunately had an ongoing clash with one of the “butch” officers who managed the LTA (lighter than air) helicopter military base store he serviced. Butch would always make cracks, serious cracks, about wanting to cut my hair, which was the usual sign of latent homosexuality for that uptight type; 00individual would just laugh it off and go about his business.
On my way to that account, and the El Toro Marine base store he traveled a long strip of the 405 freeway where the speed limit was posted 70 MPH, so he’d push it to 80, 85, 90 – the same relative ratio as everyone does with today’s limits. He had been a driver for an air-freight forwarder at seventeen and later drove limos, taxis and was even a Malibu mailman for five years and drove a Jeep with the steering wheel on the right side, like they do in Europe – and had three perfect driving awards – and this is from driving on Pacific Coast Highway, one of the most dangerous stretches of highway in the world – he was and still is an ace on the road.
But on this day another driver apparently didn’t like the way he was driving and pulled up alongside him and was yelling and shaking his fist. He was obviously having a bad day before he decided to be the “God of the Freeway” so 00individual just gave it the gas but the crazy guy proceeded to chase him!
So 00individual decided to have some fun and took him on a wild ride weaving in and out of the little traffic there was. 00individual finally got off at his exit and continued to his stop at “Butch’s” helicopter base but the driver still followed in hot pursuit!
The officer at the gate knew 00individual well and waved him through, but could see the obsessed driver in his rear view mirror, out of his car, arguing with the officer at the gate – but he wasn’t getting in.
A little bit later, while 00individual was in the store doing his job, “Butch” came over and said there was an irate citizen at the gate hopping mad at him and the way he was driving. 00individual just smiled and continued his work. “Butch” apparently took it personally and started to get very angry with him and once again threatened to take him in the back and cut his hair – and that’s probably not all he wanted to do.
00individual just calmly finished up with his business, grabbed his briefcase, said goodbye to the lady cashier and took off out through the back gate, which was his regular route to the El Toro Marine base’s mall store to finish that leg of his run.
A few days later, on his next trip to the helicopter base store, “Butch” wasn’t there, and the cashier lady told 00individual that he had a heart attack and died. With such an uptight attitude and an unhealthy preoccupation with hair length 00individual was surprised that he lasted as long as he did. At least he wouldn’t be threatening anyone anymore – 00individual was sure he wasn’t the only one in Butch’s sites.
During his days as a Record Store Manager, before and after the Rack Jobber gig, 00individual made many really good connections with really cool people at all of the One-Stops and accounts that he regularly frequented. Butch was the exception.
00individual would get free promos and advance copies of virtually all new releases over the five year period from 1971 through 1976 and is why he became so well-versed in all music genres.
It wasn’t all Rock ‘n’ Roll, (OK, it was) but he was also exposed to film soundtracks, jazz, comedy, Big Band-era, country, electronica, the whole current singer/songwriter-era, disco(!) and even classical. It was a very cool time in music history and a great time to absorb all that was there to enjoy and appreciate – and he did!
1960s – 1970s Culture Archives
Adventures as an L.A. Record and Tape Store Manager!
THE MAVERICK YEARS!
(view it now!)
1st quarter 1971 to 2nd quarter 1971 – Crane’s Record Store, Inglewood, CA
2nd quarter 1971 to 1st quarter 1972 – Crane’s Record Store, Palos Verdes, CA
1960s – 1970s Culture Archives
Record Store of the Stars!
(view it now!)
1st quarter 1974 – Grammy n Granny’s Record Store, Westchester/LAX
(The Grammys threatened to sue so the owners changed their name to DisConnection)
2nd quarter 1974 thru all of 1975 – DisConnection Record Store (GnG’s), Westwood Village/UCLA
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