Letters Column

Week of June 22, 2006


Keep the faith:
I am a record collector. It is a religion and [records] are my divine inspiration. The music I seek soothes everything. There will always be people out there like me to keep wonderful places like Vintage Vinyl and Euclid Records open. We are devoted and have attended their services since we stopped listening to Color Me Badd, Creed and Limp Bizkit and started listening to Joy Division, Queen and Gang of Four. If Vintage Vinyl and Euclid Records are scared for their businesses to remain open, they shouldn't be. There are enough of us out there that find the "download phenomenon" an insult and are willing to buy that one extra album we were debating about per visit to keep them calm.

We love your stores. We find ourselves there. Our history is there. You are part of our family. Your product is our tangible relics and artifacts. I cannot find Kiss' Love Gun on vinyl on any Web site to download or at Circuit City because I have to hold the actual album and look into Ace Frehley's eyes and hear the few crackles on old vinyl to remember fifth grade. I cannot find that online for $0.99! I cannot remember one beautiful summer listening to Nine Inch Nails' Broken and trying to figure out how to play the mini disc it originally came with by purchasing just "Pinion," one song, online. Some of us respect the music and the artist enough to actually buy their whole album, take the ride with them. We read the lyrics. We imagine being in the artwork. We enjoy figuring out what the cover means to us. Public Image Ltd.'s "Rise" wouldn't sound the same without the rest of Compact Disc, the album, to back it up. It is an insult to want to only buy one song. Can you imagine someone only buying Gary Numan's "Cars," but not sticking around to hear "Metal"?! The independent record store should not be scared of this recent farce. As long as your store offers what it has for years — great music, great diversity, great prices, great sermons — we will always return for more. Our collections are never really complete, now are they?
Chris Koenig Jr., Kirkwood

Pricey CDs, snooty staff — who needs it? As a teenager in the early '90s, I loved going to Vintage Vinyl. It was like a musical Disneyland. By the late '90s, I rarely stopped in — the CDs were pricey and the staff was snooty. I moved back to St. Louis last year after six years away. I've been to the store a couple of times since coming home and it was like the late '90s all over again.

I'll stick to the Internet and my friends for my musical fixes.
Terry Blastenbrei, St. Louis

Too dire to read: As a devout music lover from way back, I found myself not being able to finish Randall Roberts' article about independent music stores. I have been a customer of Vintage Vinyl for decades and the thought that a business that has seen us through 45s, LPs, eight tracks and CDs for over 26 years and is now fighting to stay alive because of the Internet is a very sad commentary of where we are today.

I can't even think of the Loop without thinking about Vintage Vinyl, the street musicians playing and the music coming out of the store. The employees have always been helpful, knowledgeable and are always able to either find or order anything that I need. My daughter's boyfriend has a band that is able to play there and sell his band's CDs. The kids hang out at the store and talk music until midnight on the weekends. I remember seeing other popular musicians like Jason Mraz and Matisyahu play there for free. Where else can you go in this commerce-driven society and be with people who really understand music? If people want to sit in their p.j.'s and download music, that is their problem. They are probably the kind of people who choose cybersex over the real thing. I just don't think they get it. They are missing out on what music is and they don't truly understand what Vintage Vinyl has brought to the St. Louis community for a quarter of a century.
Barb Roodman, St. Louis

Why the Mason Jennings dis? Randall Roberts' short but bleak take on Mason Jennings in the cover story just evidences how the journalist puts his personal bias against major-label music before actually investigating an artist's past and humble beginnings. Sure, he might find Mason Jennings to be boring, but insinuating he's just the product of a major label and failing to mention that he started as an indie artist who has produced his own past records evidences a lack of interest in providing a well-rounded view.

I have listened to Jennings for a few years now and think he's a good-enough songwriter to be given more credit than was afforded him by Roberts. I hope that he isn't continuously cast as a flash in the pan because he's moved on to a bigger label.
Heather Lawson, St. Louis

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