"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Put the Needle to the Groove


In the spring of 1996, my friend Mike took me to A-1, a record shop in the East Village. I looked through a couple of crates of records and then started a conversation with a blond-haired kid who was hanging out talking music. An hour later we were still talking.

Mike had been looking through the $2 dollar bins on the floor and he came up with two steals: Ice Cube’s Kill at Will ep and BDP’s By All Means Necessary.

Right there, I knew the difference between a dedicated beat digger and me. I liked the music but didn’t have the stamina to go through the entire store for a bargain.

That fall, the Yanks won the World Series and I went to Los Angeles for four months on a job. The next time I went to A-1 the blond-haired kid, Jared Boxx, was working there.

It wasn’t long before he left with two co-workers to open their own record store, The Sound Library. And when the partners there split up, Jared co-ran Big City Records.

Now, The Sound Library and Big City are history but A-1 is still around.

And wouldn’t you know it but my friend Mike works there. Seventeen years after he first brought me in I stopped by to say hello. Bags came along with me and took some pictures.

DJ’s aren’t buying vinyl like they used to. And now A-1 sells a lot of rock albums. Mike said they can’t keep records by Blondie, The Talking Heads of Led Zeppelin on the shelf. He blames the video game Guitar Hero.

It was great catching up, hearing some music, and seeing my old friend.



1 Ben   ~  May 20, 2013 8:43 am

Mike. Hey, give him my best next time!

2 Alex Belth   ~  May 20, 2013 10:11 am

Will do. He's doing well.

Funny how value changes in that line of work. 12" inch records used to be the most sought after rap records. But since DJ's no longer buy vinyl like they once did, the value of a 12" has declined big time.

I saw about 15 copies of Stevie's "Songs in the Key of Life" on the shelf and asked Mike about that because it's a commonly-found album. But he said it sells all the time. And with a record like that, the pricing depends on the condition of the record of course, but also if it comes with the original booklet and 45. Said when Stevie dies all his vinyl will really shoot up in value.

3 thelarmis   ~  May 20, 2013 11:23 am

very cool.

4 Chyll Will   ~  May 20, 2013 4:58 pm

Yeah, that's really cool.

5 Mr OK Jazz Tokyo   ~  May 21, 2013 2:23 am


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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver