I got my first record store job in 1990. I was 19 years old and they were still called "record stores" despite the fact that CDs had long since dethroned the vinyl LP as the industry standard. I was fortunate enough to work at the coolest record store in the uncoolest city in Texas-- RPM Records in Garland, Texas. It was there I was exposed to a world of music I'd never imagined during my high school days spent as an uncommitted new-waver and part time punk.
I'll cop to it right now-- I was one of those record store assholes. If you've seen or read High Fidelity, that was pretty much me. If you bought something unhip or, god forbid, mainstream from me, chances are I ridiculed you to your face. I won't apologize for it. You shouldn't have been buying awful music.
No, what you should have been doing is listening to me. You may have never guessed it, but underneath that asshole exterior, the thing I loved most was turning customers on to new music. Impossible as it seems, I actually had quite a number of people who would come to me and ask me what was good and I would tell them. What's more is they would buy and come back the next week for more. To these people, I wasn't an asshole (or at least not a total asshole, ) I was an oracle, a guru, a matchmaker.
Many of those good people followed me from store to store, big and small, across the vast, flat Dallas metro area for the next dozen years or so, buying what I suggested, making their own memories with a soundtrack largely curated by me. I actually thought of it that way and it meant a lot to me. I took it seriously and, as time went on, I became much less of an asshole.
In 2002, I moved to Los Angeles and tried to do something different with my life. I've watched in horror over the last several years as what we once called "record stores" have become endangered species; as the entire music business struggles to find its footing in fickle, shifting sands and as people who love music lose that personal touch they used to get when they visited the record shops and relied on people like me to turn them on to something new.
When it comes to finding out about new music, there are more choices and sources than ever. In a way, that makes it even more difficult. You don't have to leave your house, there are infinite choices, and here I am, adding to the mix. You might ask why, or why now? The answer is simple. Despite being out of the music retail environment for some time, I still have in me that passion to share good music, to turn you on to something you may have missed or not have found on your own. I fought the instinct for a while, bottled it up. And now, in 2010, it's practically bursting out of me.
I know from the outset that this podcast and blog is not for everyone. In fact, I prefer that it's only for a select few someones. Makes it feel a bit more cozy. And maybe a bit like we're up to something we shouldn't be. I like that.
The Brewing Luminous mission is threefold. First, it's a blog. What I write about won't strictly be limited to music, but it will be music-centric. Second, it's a podcast of reviews. As of now, the plan is to review 5 CDs a week. Third, there will be less frequent podcasts that are basically an hour-long set of music inspired by the radio shows I did on KSCR while at USC. I'm not sure what I'll be able to get away with, so we'll just see how it goes.
I swiped the title of my blog and podcast from the Cecil Taylor album It Is In The Brewing Lumnious. And yes, I've seen someone else has a blog here with the same name who posts downloads of out of print jazz stuff. But it looks like he's been inactive for a year. And though I love jazz and will review lots of it here, it's not my main focus. I will say, if you get the chance to see Cecil Taylor live before he leaves this planet, by all means, do.
2 years ago