In collaboration with Kaneshii Vinyl Press
Who are you and your current job :
Okay, basically I decided I want to own a record store because of my job experience. My first job was at Stans Record Shop in Shreveport. Stan’s was a very famous record store. Elvis Presley and Bob Zimmerman aka Bob Dylan bought records from Stan before they made it big. After I worked at Stan’s I worked at Hastings Records and Tapes and they still have a story in their warehouse about how I ordered 50 boxes of cutouts. In the old day's cutouts were records that had slowed down in sales and the prices on them were lowered and they were sold in cutout bins. Hastings thought these cutouts were never going sell and they all sold except for one and a half boxes. They all contained punk and new wave. I was the first in Shreveport to sell and promote new wave and punk. Then after that, I worked at a Sooto’s (Something Out of the Ordinary) Records. After a while a bought a Sooto’s records, which folded in the late eighties I then went into real estate. After years of real estate, I decided to come back and open another record store in Shreveport and started Ricks Records. I started with 30 albums and the store has now grown to 70,000 records.
What musical styles do you specialize in?
We have many musical styles: Punk, New Wave (80’s), Jazz, Country Musicals, Soundtracks, Classical, Folk, Progressive (Prog Rock), Heavy Metal, Blues, Reggae, Soul/R&B, Children’s, Comedy, Rap, 12 inches from the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s. We have every genre you can think of.
Can you give a small tour of the music scene in your town?
Well, the tour of the music scene in our town is basically a bunch of bands playing in bars. There have been big names coming into town like Elton John, Paul McCartney, The Pretenders, Stevie Nicks, Pat Benatar, Alice Cooper, Modest Mouse etc. Basically when it's not that it’s a lot of bands playing at bars. At one time Shreveport could have become like Nashville because of the Louisiana Hayride, but the powers that be wanted to keep the town where it was at. Since they made that decision Nashville became the country capital of the United States. But at one time Shreveport Louisiana could have been where Nashville is today.
What's it like working in a record shop?
Working at a record shop could become a record collectors worse nightmare. You see everything good that comes in and leaves. You're like a kid in a candy store but you have to make sure that you don't become a diabetic. You get to see new bands and artist that are out like Sturgill Simpson who isn’t even played on the radio but still sells millions of Lp’s. So you become champions of those who you consider good. Those who you consider fluff you don’t bad mouth because you don’t wanna run people out of the store, but you don’t push them either. It’s great seeing an obscure artist of the past like Brian Eno and Lou Reed become popular and well known now.
What mind-blowing albums are you listing right now? and why?
We have a John Lennon album that's called Sings the Great Rock & Roll Hits Roots. Which is the Adam VIII label. John didn’t like the presentation of the Roots album so he had it recalled. It has two tracks you can’t hear on the regular Rock n Roll release that he did so it’s interesting hearing it again after so long. I just heard Dust, a group I haven’t listened to in years. They’re a cross between Cream and Mountain. William DeVaughn, who sounds like Curtis Mayfield. The album is called Be Thankful For What You Got. Even Curtis covered the title song. Hearing bands like Boards of Canada and MGMT are interesting you can hear the influences of Brian Eno from them. John Cale’s Island Trilogy with Eno, Phil Manzanera, and Phil Collins are priceless as well as John’s Paris 1919 album on which Little Feat plays.
What does it take for an indie record shop to survive?
First thing is to build your base up with old vinyl. Some people do not want to buy new vinyl. Then you want to intermittently sprinkle the new vinyl amongst the old vinyl. If there's an album that's never been released before its safe to buy. But if they have a chance to buy the copy of the old vinyl they will buy that first. 75% of your business will be made up of old vinyl. So don’t start with all new vinyl or your store could go under.
What does Record Store Day, mean to you and your business?
Record Store Day has a very positive thing for record stores because it brings people into record stores searching for those wonderful and rare Record Store Day releases. That is a very positive thing. The negative side of it is the larger the store the more likely they're going to have the best Record Store Day releases. They order more so they get more. As the old adage goes “the squeaky wheel gets the grease”. So smaller record stores are suffering because of this. The bigger stores are getting the choice Record Store Day releases. You can’t ask customers can’t put money down for a record and you can’t hold them so you are basically having to fly by the seat of your pants. Then you have some stores saying to their customers that they are out of some of the releases so they can put them on eBay to sell for exorbitant prices. These things aren’t the fault of the people who created Record Store Day. It’s the fault of some of the distributors and the record store owners taking advantage of the event. If the distributors would send the records fairly to all stores and then the stores would sell the records like they're supposed to sell them everything would be fine.
Tips for musicians launching an album?
Never ever put out music that sounds like somebody else. That's like the kiss of death. What you do is you listen to all these great bands and you incorporate and you figure out what was good in all of those bands and you incorporate that into your music. You take the best aspects of what they did. When you want to hear the doors you're going to put on The Doors, not an album that sounds like The Doors. Too many bands make that mistake. You also have to make music that you like because you’re going to replaying it all the time. The Ramones, for example, were fans of the Beatles and the Beach Boys. They took what they liked from those bands. They sped it up, mixed in some heavy guitar distortion and created there own sound.
5 local musician/bands to check out!
The Hwy Lions, Lane Bayliss, Neutral Milk Hotel, The Seratones, Brian Blade the drummer, Aj Cascio Two Tone Blues Band. The native residents who are huge in the 80’s were Danny Johnson (played with Rod Stewart, Steppenwolf); he’s also from the band Axis. Then there’s Leadbelly, Johnny Horton, and James Burton. James Burton is one of greatest session guitar musicians ever. Keith Richards inducted him into the rocking roll hall of fame.
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Shreveport [Louisiana] city guide x Rick's Records
Café | Rhino’s Coffee
Nice atmosphere and friendly staff. | 721 Southfield Road | facebook.com/RhinoCoffee
Restaurant | El Compadre
Shopping | Hot Topic
Grocery | Brookshire’s
Band | Hwy Lions