By now, you’ve likely heard that Saturday is Record Store Day. Independent record stores across America are having special events.
Here in Green Bay, The Exclusive Company will have guest DJs in the store all day long. It’s part of small chain of stores reaching from here down to Milwaukee and over to Madison.
Tom has been running the place for as long as I’ve been in town, almost 18 years now. I may head over there. Might be a fun scene. A lot of my CDs came from Tom’s store.
If nothing else, it has me thinking about the record store I’d really like to visit again.
Inner Sleeve Records in Wausau, Wisconsin, started out in an ancient storefront across from the cemetery some 33 years ago. Then it moved to the edge of downtown and into an old building it shared with a bike shop.
A lot — and I mean a lot — of my vinyl came from the Sleeve in those days. Every two weeks, after I got paid at the Pizza Hut, I’d head down to the Sleeve and buy two or three new albums.
After I moved away, the Sleeve moved to the heart of downtown, in a narrow storefront next to the sporting goods store … until someone torched it on Labor Day weekend in 2006.
That almost was a fatal blow. Mike, the old hippie who has run the Sleeve since the beginning, lost most of his stock, didn’t have insurance and wasn’t sure he wanted to get back into business.
Mike may not have realized that wasn’t an option. The funky store that carried everything you wanted — and introduced you to everything else — had become a cultural icon in town. Wausau wrapped its arms around Mike, threw a few benefits and helped him get back on his feet.
It took a while for the Sleeve to open up again, but Mike found still another narrow storefront in the heart of downtown, this one on the ground floor of what once was the most elegant hotel in town.
That’s the record store I really want to visit. It’s been too long.
“Things Goin’ On,” Lynyrd Skynyrd, from “Pronounced Lynyrd Skynyrd,” 1973 (purchased at the Sleeve). You probably know this one. It’s one of my favorites. It’s a protest song by Ronnie Van Zant and Gary Rossington.
“Things Goin’ On,” Lynyrd Skynyrd, from “Endangered Species,” 1994 (purchased at The Exclusive Company). And now, the unplugged version. Still one of my favorites.