Akashic Records: A Long-Lost Haven of Counterculture Cool, Full of Stooges Fans

Feb 11, 2011 at 10:00 am
Akashic Records, back in the day - courtesy of Denis Toler
courtesy of Denis Toler
Akashic Records, back in the day

This week's music feature is a look back at Akashic Records, which was the hippiest record shop in town for a brief moment in the '70s. Writer Jack Partain talked to principal characters and musicians associated with the shop, and reconstructed a time when used records were a new thing and British imports from Bowie and Roxy Music were the pinnacle of cool. The store also had a tight connection to legendary Michigan garage snarlers the Stooges:

[Akashic co-owner] Denis Toler describes the Iggy Pop-fronted Michigan band as "number one for me and my friends," while [Dizeazoes member] Paul Wheeler recalls that the store was decorated primarily with pictures of Iggy and the band in action. A fascination with the band also seemed to permeate the patronage.

But the store had a connection to the Stooges beyond mere fandom. Mike Shelton, the Dizeazoes' vocalist and a close friend of Denis Toler, had befriended the Stooges during its early appearances in St. Louis. Through Shelton, Denis Toler and some patrons of the store met the band after its show at the American Theater in 1973; at the hotel, Paul Wheeler recalls receiving a quaalude from Pop.

"It's interesting that most of my memories about Akashic involve the Stooges, and it says a lot about Akashic records," Wheeler says. "In those days Stooges freaks were few and far between, and the fact that I and at least some of the people involved with Akashic were Stooges freaks made us part of a very small brotherhood, even though we never got to know each other that well."

The article has already garnered a few excellent comments that are also worth reading; head on over here to read it.