Wednesday, October 18, 2006

tower of babel

Attention Tower Customers, Tower Records will be closing in 15 minutes, please take all of your final purchases to the cd register and pay for them there, we will be open at 9:00 for all your shopping needs, once again Tower records will be closing in 15 minutes, please take all your final purchases up to the cd register and pay for them there. Thank you...and have a good night.

So I come back to New York for the weekend for my obligatory Dr's appointment and a camping trip the old boys, (forever wild bee-otches), only to find out that tower records is closing it's doors in a mere matter of weeks. Why does this matter, because I spent 6 of the finest years of my life inside the walls of one said store located on Old Country Rd in Carle Place. The rise and fall of Nirvana, the macarena, the relevance and irrelevance of Lollapolooza, the death of Tupac and Biggie—anything that was happenening musically between December 12, 1991 and December 30, 1997 had some sort of effect on me.
But the music was only a bit part in the saga that was Tower Records. For six years that place was my life. My work was there, my friends were there, tons of free music, (free for me, not so free for everyone else). I met great people there, people I don'tnecessarilyy see very often but when i do there is a bond above others.

Attention Tower customers, Tower Records will be closing in 10 minutes, TEN MINUTES Tower Records will be closing. Please take all of your final purchases to the cd register and pay for them there. We will be open at 9 am for all you shopping needs. For the benefit of the hearing impaired I will repeat the last announcement in sign language...

Of course it sounds cheesy, It was a record store. But in those days, Tower Records, as a chain, was abehemothh. It crushed every record store known to man. The Wiz moved next door and sold record up to $3 cheaper and still went under like Joe Namath's career. It was a business that didn't act like a business. No dress code, we played whatever we wanted (explicit and all) over one of the greatest sound systems known to man, and the employees came from all walks, deadheads, hip-hoppers, goth's, kiss army, US Army, mental institutions,whatt have you, it was represented by the staff. People would come to Tower just to hang out, cause it was the place to be.

Many a time there I would be holding court outside the doors smoking a cigarette. I spent a lot of time out there generally hanging out and learning about life. You see there is a lot to learn about people in the parking lot of strip mall located between one of the richest parts of Long Island and one of it's poorest. Mix those people together and it makes for quite a show.Sometimess I considered my time out there more of a social experiment than just me sitting out there smoking a cigarette and not tending to the duties I was paid for by MTS Incorporated.

Attention Tower Customers, Tower Records will be closing in five minutes, FIVE MINUTES Tower Records will be closing. Stop what you are doing this instant, do not pass go, do not collect $200 and proceed to the cd register immediately, and pay for final purchases there. We will be open at 9:00 for all of your shopping needs. Thank you...and have a good night.

Another place I spent a lot of time is the pic above. It's a point of view shot. By standing there apersonn put him or herself in a perfectblindsidet from registers, and from security cameras. Did I steal from Tower Records? GreatSpaceghostt, no! Did I liberate? Just call me Che. You see one evening I was reading a music magazine, the exact one I don't recall, I believe it was around 1993, about a year and a half into my tenure there. It was an article about Kurt Cobain, Nirvana, and how they made a lot of money for the record selling industry. Kurt, explained that he used to work for Tower Records, and this and that and it sucked because they only paid $5 an hour (like we were every worth more than that). The magazine called out Tower Records for this but to it's credit actually reached out to the head man Russ Soloman for comment. Russ, in his infinite wisdom and probably right after snorting a line of coke off an 18 year old girls ass while wearing nothing but those ridiculous looking cowboy bootsasided, and i paraphrase, that the reason the pay rate was left so low was because he felt there was a large number of his workforce, (at the time there had to be over 50 stores nationwide and a couple here and there overseas) if not all of them were stealing. Really. Stealing. Well, let's just say I got up from the lounge table and a legend was born. And since the legend doesn't know statute of limitations on such matters, this is where this part of the story ends.

Point is an important part of my life was lived within those walls, I can't go into all of the stories, maybe one day I'll finish the script, (I'm about 3/4 through give or take). There are so many stories, so many people, so many things about that time I can't really put into words. For a time it was my home. So i walked in there Thursday afternoon and said my goodbye. Maybe it will still be open when i make my way up at Christmas. Maybe I'll take one more trip behind that blind spot. We'll see.

Attention Tower customers, Tower Records is now closed...GET OUT, GET OUT, ALL I HEAR IS GET OUT!!...We will be open tomorrow morningg a nine o'clock for all your shopping needs. Once again Tower Record is closed do us all a favor and leave immediately...Thank you... and have a good night.


1 comment:

FreeThinker said...

No Music,
No Life.

and now

No Tower.