Rolling Stones gears up for independent dealer day
Rolling Stones Music in Norridge sells CDs, DVDs, video games, T-shirts and other music merchandise. It opened in 1970. | Ryan Pagelow~Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 20, 2012 8:32AM
The building on the northwest corner of Irving Park Road and Octavia Avnue in Norridge couldn’t be anything but a music store.
Rolling Stones Records, 7300 W. Irving Park Road, stands out with its loud multi-colored facade and posters of recording artists covering the windows. The independent record store, which stretches a block, is a beacon among big box and chain stores in the area.
Record Store Day, a national celebration of independent record stores that still manage to hang on in this age of digital downloads, is Saturday. It’s an especially good time to at least visit Rolling Stones Records, which has been in business 41 years, since 1971. The store will be featuring special releases that day.
“Our target market is adult males, 25 to 65,” said store manager Paul Steinbrunner. “There’s still collectors, they still want the hard copy. The kind of stuff we bring in, like the import stuff, the collectible stuff ... it’s all geared toward that sort of thing. Like a 1973 Deep Purple concert. That’s not going to sell to my son, but my son’s friend’s dad might buy that and something else. That’s been our key.”
But mostly the store carries CDs with less obscure titles and music DVDs, and it does attract a variety of music listeners, from college kids to families.
College students are expanding their horizons by straying from contemporary rock and pop and exploring other genres, such as the blues and country/Americana, Steinbrunner said.
“They’re looking for different things instead of your B96 stuff,” he said. “So, that’s cool.”
Top selling albums for the week of April 8 at Rolling Stones were “Stalingrad,” by heavy metal band Accept, “Slipstream,” by blueswoman Bonnie Raitt, and “The Strange Case Of...,” by hard rock band Halestorm. All are 2012 releases.
“We’re mainly a rock store,” Steinbrunner said.
And, parents are bringing their younger children in to show them what a record store looks like, even though Rolling Stones Records sells a small amount of vinyl.
The store is like a flashy museum, with lots of neon that reflects off the thousands of CDs dangling from the ceiling. Steinbrunner estimates there are 25,000 discs. Customers can listen to music before they buy it, too, which is a throwback concept to the record stores of yore.
“It looks just like your old style record store back in 1965 or something,” Steinbrunner said.
Except for the CDs, which came into vogue in the 1980s, and the DVDs, which became popular in the 1990s.
The store can be like a circus at times, too, when it hosts recording artists. Long lines of fans stretched out the store when Ozzy Osbourne and Rob Zombie visited on separate occasions in 2001.
Steinbrunner said buying music at a record store is more fulfilling than buying it off the Internet.
“You get the whole record, you get the artwork, you can actually hold the piece in your hand, you can listen to it before you buy it, which you can do there (on the Internet) too, but you don’t get the whole record store experience,” he said.