This year’s Record Store Day in Bakersfield is looking to be one of the best yet with both Going Underground Records and World Records hosting a full day of festivities.
Founded in 2008 to celebrate independent record store spirit and culture, Record Store Day (RSD) today has become the calendar date for music collectors around the globe.
From special limited-edition vinyl pressings and other official Record Store Day-branded merchandise, the highly anticipated list of releases is teased leading up to the big day. Over the years everyone from Nirvana/Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl to Public Enemy’s Chuck D and more have been named official ambassadors for the day. This year’s official ambassador is veteran rock band Pearl Jam.
At World Records, doors will open Saturday at 8 a.m. for attendees to peruse the bins. According to store owner Pat Evans, who has been in business since 1982, the longstanding store will be offering a number of official RSD selections along with a full stock of new and used music for purchase.
Just a reminder for those coming in with their highlighted RSD music wish list: There are no guarantees in local offerings.
“No one item. But lots of requests,” said Evans, who noted that store owners are shipped boxes with a mixed bag of various exclusives, leaving collectors (myself included) frowning.
To brighten the day, World Records mini-kitchen will offer light breakfast fare, tea and coffee. As lunch nears, tap and bottled beer, wine and soft drinks will be sold along with salads and sandwiches to be enjoyed once the free live music begins in the World Records theater (formerly Dream Theater).
Slated to perform are local artists Bernardo Toledo-Reyes, The DeWalt Corporation, David Tetz and '90s Bako Brit garage pop outfit Brian Jones Was Murdered, who will perform its second of two local shows in 20 years beginning at noon. (The band will also open the sold-out Los Lobos concert at World Records on Friday.)
Brian Jones Was Murdered is probably most remembered for its mod Beatle-esque look and style — complete with Royal Air Force roundel — that helped it stand apart from most of the local music scene, but the band’s music was every bit as catchy and identifiable. They rocked, rolled and made audiences dance and sweat to the wee hours inside every popular all-ages venue and beer-soaked dive bar of the time.
“The inspiration was the idea of what the Beatles sounded like when they were playing the clubs in Hamburg and Liverpool,” said Charles McNeil, the group’s founder who now lives in Long Beach. “Imagine the Sex Pistols playing The Beatles, is how I used to put it. I made everyone watch the movies 'The Commitments,' 'A Hard Day's Night' and 'The Rutles,' and later 'Backbeat.'”
During the band’s early to mid-'90 run, it released a vinyl 7-inch titled “Beat Me Like a Star,” full-length CD “Death of a Pop Star” along with compilation singles.
The band even recorded a commercial for Golden Empire Transit (GET). Those recordings helped the band build a fan base locally as well out of town where mod culture and garage rock music enjoys a sizable listenership.
“I loved going out to the Wall Street alley on the weekends, back before they took out the curbs,” recalled McNeil of downtown in the '90s. “The old bar at the Padre. We rehearsed upstairs in the building on the corner of 18th and Eye. After we played Chaos Coffeehouse, or Bottoms Up (now Riley’s), or Jerry’s Pizza we’d move our gear back up to our studio, then head back down to the alley for drinks. It was a great time for music in Bakersfield; there were a lot of really good bands.”
Ah, memories. I was present for the release show of the “Beat Me Like a Star” single and still have my original vinyl copy.
Over the past two decades and following the group’s earlier disbandment, McNeil has brought the group together with rotating lineups for a few sporadic shows as well as a special remastered, repackaged 20th anniversary “Death of a Pop Star” CD release in 2017.
“As you’ve surmised, this isn’t a one-off reunion; we’ve been playing now for a couple of years as well as a number of gigs around greater L.A. and San Bernardino counties.”
Also joining McNeil in the new BJWM lineup will be bassist David Pearson, Dan Delcastillo on lead guitar and Joe Curet on drums; all of whom will be traveling to Bakersfield for the show. Bust out your black skinny tie, parka or mod skirt and hop on your scooter and catch up with the mates. Don’t forget to buy some band merch.
“We’ve been trying to play Bakersfield since 2017, but no one would book us. I really have to say thank you to Pat at World Records," McNeil said. We concur.
World Records, 2815 F St., will host its Record Store Day festivities from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call 831-3100 or visit shopworldrecords.com. You can also keep up with Brian Jones Was Murdered at Facebook and iTunes.
Heading into the heart of downtown on Saturday, Going Underground Records will feature a selection of top local DJs spinning direct from the vinyl of yesterday to today, as well as featuring the largest grouping of Record Store Day selections available between Los Angeles and Fresno.
For store owner Ronald Ramirez, RSD preparation starts months in advance to ready for the long line of shoppers who arrive early year. Once the gates open and doors are unlocked at 9 a.m., it’s showtime.
“Our line was very long last year, so please arrive early," Ramirez said. "As a record store, we try to be strong in every genre, so anyone can come in and hopefully find a record.”
If not an RSD release, you will definitely find something cool at Going Underground, whose bins are always well stocked and organized. From punk to jazz and beyond, it’s bound to be found.
Making this year’s RSD sweeter, Going Underground is also celebrating the first anniversary of its second location on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles.
“All I can say is that there is not enough time in the day to get everything done, always more collections to buy and records to price," Ramirez said. "I’m very proud of both of our stores and wouldn’t have it any other way. The first year in L.A. has been a great experience and the store is still growing and doing great. Might be another one soon, only time can tell.”
In addition to all the fun of searching with your best music mates, local DJs Wreck (Hot 94.1 FM) and Sparkle will keep you in step. Plenty of deals in every department.
According to Ramirez, some of this year’s hot RSD vinyl collector items include: “E. 1999 Eternal” from Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, the Ace Frehley (Kiss) picture disc, Frank Black (The Pixies) solo releases, Green Day “Woodstock ‘94” and Colemine Records' “Soul Slabs Vol. 2” box set that features local vintage reggae soul group The Soul Chance and its sweet recording of the Delroy Wilson classic “Give Love a Try.” The three-LP set is limited to only 2,500 copies worldwide.
“They are in fact the first Bakersfield group to have an RSD release and we will have plenty in stock," Ramirez said. "I’m sure AJ (of The Soul Chance who also works at the store) would love to sign copies so bring a pen.”
Going Underground Records, 1312 19th St., will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday. For more information, call 633-0111 or visit goingundergroundrecords.com.
As an added bonus, downtown cocktail bar Tiki-Ko, 1919 K St. will once again offer a specially priced cocktail for anyone who brings in a Record Store Day purchase receipt from Going Undergrounds during regular business hours on Saturday. The Purple Rain is $6 with a receipt, $10 on its own.
Happy record hunting!
'Up In Smoke'
The Fox Theater will present the 1978 Cheech and Chong comedy classic “Up In Smoke” on Monday as part of its monthly Cults & Classics series.
Known as one of the best stoner films of all time, it certainly was the template for the comedy sub-genre. If you haven’t seen it before, the plot goes a little like this:
Unemployed hippie musician leaves home and crosses paths with his kindred spirit while hitchhiking. Together they go on a wild marijuana-induced adventure that takes them all over Los Angeles, Tijuana, and eventually to The Roxy in Hollywood for a punk rock musical climax like no other with their band Alice Bowie.
There are countless memorable comic moments, but it’s the film’s opening scenes featuring late veteran actors Strother Martin and Edie Adams as Arnold and Tempest Stoner, parents to Tommy Chong’s character in the film, that kick off the high jinks.
Fans may not know about the local connection that Adams purchased a 200-acre almond farm in Shafter called Ediad Farms a year after the movie was released. During that time, the farm produced mostly almonds along with some oranges and jojoba.
Adams' son, Josh Mills, who spent a number of years on the farm, recalls his experiences.
“In 1979, my mom sold our beach house in Malibu. She wanted a ‘money earner’ and literally bought the farm. We spent a ton of time in the 805 until about 1985 on weekends and summers until the bottom dropped out of the market and she went bankrupt.”
Adams' place in Hollywood history dates back to the golden age of television with legend Jack Parr and her first husband, comedian Ernie Kovacs. An artist of many talents, she was a regular on TV and Broadway, winning Tony and Emmy awards for her work.
“I used to say to people my mom was an actress and they thought she was Donna Mills. But some highlights were learning how to play chess on the 'The Love Boat,' spending Christmas at Jack Lemmon’s house every year, getting to meet Carl Reiner and John Candy on the set of the film 'Summer Rental' on spring break in Florida and I was able to get autographs from anyone she met — Whoopi Goldberg, Robin Williams.”
When it comes to "Up in Smoke," Mills recalled knowing about his mother’s work with the comedy duo.
“She loved working with Cheech and Chong. She wasn’t fond of director Lou Adler. It wasn’t that he was a bad person or anything. He had never directed a film before. He was a well-respected music executive, but if you look at the film there are no establishing shots. He didn’t know you needed to film the outside of the house to show you where you were inside the house. She didn’t care for that. She said that the best part about working on the movie was that after it came out, she always got her car first at valet parking, ‘Hey, (it's) that lady from Cheech and Chong.’”
Upon release, the $2 million budget movie quickly gained cult status, making $44 million at the box office and solidifying Adam’s place in stoner movie history. Mills has all of his mother’s work archives in safe storage, including items from “Up In Smoke,” and continues to manage Adams official website edieadams.com. Adams passed away in 2008 at the age of 81.
“My mom saved everything, so I have her shooting script, which is almost entirely different. In fact, it has hand-written notes written in there with new dialogue they wrote on set. It wasn’t even called 'Up in Smoke.' We have the painting of my mom that is seen behind her when she’s in the mansion. That’s actually a painting she brought to the set. They used her painting the set decorators used to make it look like the Stoners lived in that house.”
Another memory Mill’s recalls was one of the family’s famous neighbor, Buck Owens.
“When I say neighbor, I mean he was the next farm over. If we had 200 acres, he had 10,000 acres or something insane like that. We used to ride ATCs (all-terrain cycles) and dirt bikes all over his property and he never complained. He was a nice guy. We met him a few times and he came to our house.”
“Up In Smoke," doors open at 6 p.m., movie at 7 p.m. Monday, Fox Theater, 2001 H St. $5. thebakersfieldfox.com.