Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Phoenix, Arizona

2-9-10 Phoenix, AZ

I just returned from my first real visit to Arizona. My friend Joe & I went to 18 record stores in 2.25 days. I liked Arizona (and Phoenix, in general) real well – despite the “Big Brother” cameras on the (sometimes confusing) freeways.

Sorry to see “Circles” (on Central Ave.) going out of business. I understand that they had been in business since ’72. I was told that they had two storefronts, at one point. I was also told that they were closing at the end of the month (Feb. ’10). I got a lot of very inexpensive CD’s there (3 for $1 type stuff). I photographed a ball made exclusively of “Topper” strips from CD’s over a 5 year period. It was most impressive.

We knew the 4 x Zia Records stores from the 2 x Zia stores we have visited in Las Vegas, NV. Yes, we went through all 4 x Phoenix area Zia stores – each one was different. We would’ve liked to have gone to the 2 x Zia stores in Tucson – but that was over a hundred miles away from Phoenix – and we had already driven enough! It was purely “luck of the draw” and both Joe and I each found lots of stuff in the Zia stores in Phoenix.

Near Zia in Tempe was a neat vinyl-heavy store called Eastside Records; at first, we weren’t even going to look! I added 2 x Yello titles to my collection there, and got a great Chris Spedding 45! (“Get Out Of My Pagoda” French RAK picture sleeve).

Really enjoyed our visit to Revolver Records, near downtown – very unusual vinyl selection; I found delightful stuff, adding to key collections (Mike Oldfield, George Melly, Suzi Quatro, Level 42 and more). When I visit Phoenix again, I will definitely be going there! (I hope they stay in business!).

Joe & I went to “Alice Cooper’s Town” (sometimes spelled as one word) – a sports bar, some good draft beers, burgers & BBQ. Wish we had ordered a “Big Unit” (something like a 22” hot dog!), it would’ve made a great photo. There was Alice Cooper ephemera all over the place, and the wait-staff all wore Alice Cooper face make-up. I’m not kidding.

I would’ve liked to have seen some of the assorted Frank Lloyd Wright architecture around Phoenix, but…busy using the G.P.S. unit finding record stores…and Bookman’s. Primarily a used book store, I don’t think there’s anything that Bookman’s doesn’t sell. Long story short: an interesting place that we didn’t buy much stuff at.

Yes, there were even more record stores – but we didn’t buy stuff at each and every store we hit. Nothing for me at Stinkweed’s, an indie store – but I could see that they may be useful, if searching for a non-major label CD. We also went to lots of F.Y.E. stores, at Joe’s request. One never knows what will turn up in those places! (I got a Peter Gabriel SACD for $7.99 at one, “Up”).

It took us about 6 hours driving from Long Beach to Scottsdale (where we stayed).

- Ron

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