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Dennis Callaci, general manager & buyer at Rhino Records

Dennis Callaci, general manager & buyer at Rhino Records

Published by Leonardo Calcagno

In collaboration with Kaneshii Vinyl Press

Who are you and your current job : 

I am Dennis Callaci, General Manager/buyer/lord of nothing at Rhino Records in Claremont among a couple of other things.

What musical styles do you specialize in?

Rhino is a full-service record store, not a little kitchenette/closet. We carry the grand scope of all genres from noise to classical music.

Can you give a small tour of the music scene in your town?

There is a vibrant Inland Empire music scene that rises and wanes, currently a myriad of good younger bands playing in the downtown Pomona arts district and at house parties scattered all across Riverside.

What’s it like working in a record shop? 

Today I vacuumed up a bunch of crushed Cheetos next to the Blues section, yesterday it was calming down 10-year-olds that were in a puddle of tears awaiting their Lil Xan signature at an in-store. Tomorrow I will probably be doing what you are doing, pulling someone’s hair out of my lunch & wondering, who in the hell dies their hair orange, grey & deep urine yellow? The only difference is I may have a respite, and get to hear some Charlie Ives, NY Dolls or WCKR SPGT in between it all.

What mind-blowing album are you listing right now? 

Been so many great records this year, Rolling Blackouts, Ben Frost, Flat Worms, Norma Winstone, Jack White, Black Panther OMS. What is 48 yr old to do?

What does it take for an indie record shop to survive?

You got to know how to spray Lysol in the air like you just don’t care. Get tips on how to nonchalantly wipe the sweat off yer brow w/ your T-shirt sleeve so it doesn’t drip on Don Henley’s “Boys Of Summer” used 7” w/ picture sleeve (he isn’t worth your body fluids). Don’t be an asshole, not only to your customers but to anyone you see walking down the street if you can help it. Remember that you were the uncool kid in the back of the classroom, that no one really likes you or your record store – that will help you from being or becoming an asshole. I say this because it seems like I see a lot of assholes working at donkey sushi restaurants I have visited of late (maybe it is only an LA thing), padlock security T-shirt shops & the local breath bank that donates air to the lungless aren’t the kindest of people, or even semi considerate to me.

What does Record Store Day, mean to you and your business?

In all seriousness, most of your favorite record stores were probably on the verge of serious cutbacks or going under at the time of the first Record Store Day. What joy to have so many of our favorite customers and favorite musicians/ non-musicians that play music visit us that day both in our bricked up mortar hearts and on the line, running up the virtues of record stores. If it weren’t for the record store that I type this from today, I wouldn’t have met my wife, formed bands, run a record label, worked with or met so many of the friends that, scattered as some are across the globe now, mean the world to me. I also wouldn’t be working at a record store where I am surrounded by a kind-hearted & nimble staff as well as some of the unique folks you would ever hope to run into. It is my wish that our customers have won some kind of lotteries like that as well. That they made lifelong connections, not just with the pulse of music which is the language of so many of us, but with a community of pals to get through the darkness of this world. 

The wizarding wonder of internet hand jobbers are trying to replicate this thing that is in the ether of record stores, but I hear there are trolls & bad actors and sorts of shit you don’t want to know about residing there. The big boxes online keep recommending that I buy Eagles records just cuz’ I pick up cat litter from them. 

Fuck, I don’t even like The Eagles. If I am going to be put down for my musical preferences, I prefer getting slapped in the face by a customer in the real world as opposed to some imaginary legal eagle Irving Azoff DNA replicant at the non-local digits-and-passwords shop. You don’t need to remember a secret handshake to get through our door, we aren’t going to follow you home w/ cookies and breaches. We work really hard, especially on Record Store Day, to not be assholes.


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