This Saturday, the 19th of April, brings the seventh annual International Record Store Day.
Slow Boat has been with it since the start, in 2008, when it was almost more of an idea, or concept than a real, actual, genuine thing. Now there is a flash website, Chuck D is the Record Store Day ambassador, and there are supporting quotes from Paul McCartney, Iggy Pop, Henry Rollins.
There has been some criticism that it has just become another way for the big companies to fleece us, the music-buying public, with unnecessary re-presses of things we already own, and that online retailers buy up the limited releases for sale at grossly inflated prices. I totally get this, and am happy to say we have never held back anything for later sale (once the day is over, though, I reckon everything is fair game).
There seems to be a common misunderstanding that we just get presented with a whole bunch of stuff with which to make our millions – not quite the case (I wish it were!). We order what we can of the limited stocks, and what we get is often incomplete, or in substantially smaller quantities than we had hoped for. This year it looks pretty good – Universal Music NZ look to have done a grand old job of getting the limited titles in, and there are some things I’m really looking forward to getting – the Nirvana Penny Royal Tea 7”, Sam Cooke’s Ain’t That Good News on LP. Southbound Distribution also get a bunch of titles through – opening the boxes of RSD goodies is the closest I can recall to actually being excited about Xmas!!
The other thing we always try to do here at Slow Boat is to make it a bit of an event. Last year we hosted the magnificent Mr David Kilgour – it was a bit of a dream come true, to be honest, the previous year an amazing performance from Mr Lawrence Arabia and chums. And this year is to be no exception.
This year we play host to an artist who is unquestionably one of our greatest singers and songwriters – Mr Dave Dobbyn. Again, it’s a bit of a dream to host such an icon of New Zealand music, and the composer of so many wonderful, wonderful songs. How did this happen, you might well ask? Well, simple, really – we asked him. And, after waiting on seeing whether his writing and recording schedule would render it impossible, he said yes. And it’s going to mean a great deal to host Dave here for this most special day on the record store calendar.
Joining Mr Dobbyn will be another couple of singer-songwriters who we just happen to love – local fella Louis Baker, who has one of the finest voices we’ve heard in a while, and the lovely and extremely talented Ms Julia Deans.
The thing that we want out of this more than anything else is your energy, your enthusiasm. We want people to have an experience. It’s great to see people bringing their toddlers and kids in, in the knowledge that someone’s first experience of live music may be here in the store – the “temple of the music”, as Lou Barlow described it when he played an instore here a couple of weeks back, and that it may be with The Phoenix Foundation, or David Kilgour, or, indeed Dave Dobbyn. It gets people – performers, as well as audience – back to that essential experience of why they loved music in the first place.
Which sometimes feels like an easy thing to forget, when we are so surrounded by media, entertainment, distractions. I often draw the analogy of the modern world being like a gigantic buffet table, where everyone is hungry, but no-one knows where to start eating, or what they may enjoy. I feel like Slow Boat helps provide that filtering service – wading through all the stuff that is released that we may separate the wheat from the chaff, and share it with you.
If anything, Record Store Day is a day to celebrate this – to celebrate our unique place in the musical fabric of Cuba Street, and Wellington, and New Zealand, and to give thanks for having the ongoing ability to share this with you – hopefully you are able to come and celebrate with us – there will be prize draws and limited edition vinyl releases as well as the instores, and hopefully plenty to surprise and thrill!
Bravo, Slow Boat customers – we thank you from the bottom of our hearts (that sounds like a song!) for choosing and supporting us, and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to give this back to you.