By Patrick Prince
Record Store Day, as an organization, is extraordinarily busy this time of year, preparing for America’s annual shopping phenomenon known as Black Friday. Record Store Day promises there will be fantastic RSD-supported music releases on November 27. So let’s get right down to it. Goldmine asked RSD founder Michael Kurtz a few questions about what is to be expected for this year’s event.
Goldmine: Do you find that record collectors/stores still misinterpret Record Store Day’s participation in Black Friday?
Michael Kurtz: Well, sometimes people refer to it as Record Store Day and it’s really not. Black Friday is smaller in scale, with only about 100 releases, as opposed to about 400 for Record Store Day itself. And we don’t have as many freebies to give away to folks like we do for Record Store Day. What we wanted to do with Black Friday is create cool stuff that record store customers would either want to either give or get as a gift for the holidays. We also wanted to subvert the corporate concept of Black Friday where people are talking mainly about money and getting something cheap. We all like to get a deal but the holidays are really meant to be a time of reflection, sharing and showing love. What better way to do that than a John Malkovitch album made especially for RSD’s Black Friday featuring Yoko Ono and Sean Lennon, Dweezil Zappa, Chris Stein, Ric Ocasek, The Dandy Warhols, OMD and Placebo (at left).
GM: Are the majority of record stores still unanimous that they do not want a second Record Store Day?
MK: We hear the refrain “every day is record store day” all of the time but the truth is it is a gargantuan task to pull Record Store Day off. If we did a second one I think we’d give a few people a heart attack, including ourselves. We don’t want any record store owners keeling over because of Record Store Day. So, I think the majority of stores think that once a year is quite enough.
GM: Do you expect more and more holiday-themed items for future Black Friday releases?
MK: We actually have a few this year. We’ve got a really cool Christmas-colored, green-red Les Paul and Mary Ford 10.” If that’s too traditional for some, we’ve got a “Merry Muthaphuckkin’ Xmas” 7” from Eazy-E. It’s all about inducing a smile and having a good time. There is a holiday vinyl album being released by Nick Lowe and Los Straitjackets called “The Quality Holiday Revue Live.” It’s got some great performances by Nick and Los Straitjackets together and separately. They perform the Peanuts’ track “Linus and Lucy,” and a bunch of other awesome holiday songs. I know what I’ll be listening to while the chestnuts are roasting this year.
Goldmine’s 10 picks for Record Store Day Black Friday
GM: Do you ever recommend artist releases/ideas for this event to record labels, especially regarding the holiday theme?
MK: Yes, the Bessie Smith “At the Christmas Ball” 7-inch was one that I asked for. I’m a big Bessie Smith fan so I was thrilled when it became a reality. We also asked Warner Bros. if The Flaming Lips could roll out something special for the stores for Black Friday and they came back with Christmas release “Imagene Peise: Atlas Eets Christmas.”
GM: Can you tell us about other anticipated releases for this year’s Black Friday?
MK: Record Store Day has been working with Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo on the “Jaco” film for a couple of years and we’re really excited that it’s coming out on Blu-ray and DVD on Black Friday. There is a special edition version of it that will be sold only at participating Record Store Day stores that includes the full-length movie, a second DVD of artist interview outtakes with folks like Joni Mitchell, Peter Erskine and Flea. It will also come with a CD that includes music made for the film by Robert’s band Mass Mental. Robert’s going to celebrate the release at the Syracuse location of The Sound Garden and at Radio-Active Records in Ft. Lauderdale. There will be screenings by record stores, too. It’s a long overdue celebration of the genius and music of Jaco Pastorious. I couldn’t be more thrilled. And Megadeth is going to release their latest new song on Black Friday and record stores will have it on a 12-inch record, along with a B-side made just for the Record Store Day Black Friday release. Dave (Mustaine) is talking about visiting a store, too, so that’s pretty exciting. Like a lot of things that happen with Record Store Day, we often don’t know about them until they occur. It’s kind of magical.
GM: Is there a Black Friday release you are particularly keen about?
MK: Beyond the “Jaco” Blu-ray/DVD/CD release I’m also excited about a Frank Zappa Record Store Day Black Friday record called “Feeding The Monkies At Ma Maison.” It’s a work that Frank originally intended for vinyl but when vinyl went away a few years back, plans for the vinyl release went away with it. It’s finally going to be released in the intended format. With his wife Gail’s passing I’m especially passionate about it. Gail was such an awesome, kick-ass person. She really was super kind and supportive of Record Store Day and record stores. I’m really going to miss not being able to work with her.
GM: What releases will be the most limited in release?
MK: Considering that the average RSD release is manufactured in a quantity of 2,000 or less, they are all pretty limited. Some of the ones that I personally find interesting include The Clitboys RSD reissue of their “We Don’t Play The Game” 7-inch. They were an openly pro-gay hardcore band in the early ‘80s, and years ahead of the queercore and riot grrrl movement. There’s a Mercury Rev 7-inch that is coming out in a very small run that looks interesting. It includes a B-side by the band Lost Horizons, which includes Simon Raymonde of the Cocteau Twins. There is also a very limited run LP that features legendary UK Punk Rock innovators The Mekons paired with country folk-genius Robbie Fulks. It was recorded in the Scottish Highlands on the island of Jura around the time of Scotland’s vote for independence. My understanding is that the songs were impromptu, and that the recording session was done on the spot by The Mekons and Robbie.
Lastly, please update us on how Vinyl Tuesday is going.
MK: It’s going well. Stores have asked us for years to help them celebrate throughout the year, and Vinyl Tuesday does just that. We just released 10 pink vinyl releases under the banner of “Ten Bands For One Cause.” The cause is to raise awareness and funds for cancer research in the name of Gilda Radner and we had artists as diverse as Al Green, Chet Faker and Clutch participate. We want to kick cancer in the ass.
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