Vinyl fans find their groove on Record Store Day
DARIEN — Vinyl is still popular, and the big turnout for Record Store Day proved it.
Johnny’s, the 40-year-old mainstay music store in Darien center, was flooded with phonograph fans Saturday. Along with a visit from a Grammy-winning guitarist, the day had 350 official new releases put out by record companies in honor of this celebration of original analog sound.
“There were a whole bunch of non-sanctioned ones as well,” said owner John Konrad, who hardly had a breath all day due to the mob of customers.
“I heard about this online,” said Danny Noe, 17, of Trumbull, who secured the new 21 Pilots release. “There were a couple of cool albums I wanted to see.”
Everyone who stopped by was in full agreement as to why records have things to offer that digital products never could.
“The physical product that you get from it, the artwork,” said Jody Cross of South Salem, N.Y.
“And I like this store because it’s still an independent store that’s local.”
Konrad opened the store in October 1975, having started his career as a fiction writer. Since then he has not only proven to be a sound merchant, but a knowledge vinyl enthusiast.
“We’ve been here for 40 years,” he said. “We’ve seen everyone else come and go. We’re the last one in Fairfield County.”
Asked what makes records special, he said, “There are a bunch of answers to that. Number one is they’re much more social than anything else … By the time you got to MP3s, it became such an isolated experience,” versus the communal one of listening to a record.
“Plus the sound is much more physical,” he said. “It’s more ambient. The room fills.”
“I’ve come here since birth,” Nelson said of the store, setting his amp up outside Saturday afternoon to blast some slide blues across downtown on his Fender Strat.
“I’ve brought people here from all over the world,” he said, including Winter, who put in a priceless appearance at Johnny’s just before his passing. “They go nuts here.”
Nelson, who recently signed The Paul Nelson Band with Sony, just released “Badass Generation.”
“It’s great when we can have Paul here,” Konrad said.
“The physical aspect of a record,” explained Doug Plourd of Tolland, who drove down for the sale, “is for me like getting back to my youth and listening to 25 minutes of music in a row, as opposed to a single at a time.”
He explained that newer artists are changing their philosophy and beginning to create full, cogent albums, versus singles.
“There’s something about holding actual physical music,” said Greg Schramek of Greenwich. “A CD or an MP3 is never going to be considered a collectible, or it’s never going to be an antique or have any value.”