"I've got it under control now, but once you love vinyl it holds a spell over you forever!"
Mixmaster extraordinaire and airwave celeb, Stephen Grainger - better known as Stevie G, adores records, especially the hunt for that vinyl-plated diamond in the rough. So much so that our recent interview teetered on the cusp of becoming an intervention at one point. Read below for the gory details.
The G-Man: What is your favourite record store, where is it located and why does it hold a special place in your heart?
Stevie G: Plugd Records in Cork City is my favourite record shop. It’s original premises on Washington Street also housed the hugely influential Comet Records run by Jim Comet in the 90s and I worked there for 4 or 5 years. Plugd have kept the independent record buying vibe alive in Cork and it’s one of the best shops in the country. All City in Dublin is great too.
What do you get from local independent record stores besides the obvious?
Record shops are a hub for the music/arts scene. Tourists and visitors find out what’s going on there, DJ’s, bands, writers, producers and music fans in general gather there and shoot the breeze. Even when I’m too broke to buy anything, I leave there inspired having learned about a gig or a new artist or something. Or even just a chat with the lads.
What is the last record you bought?
The last few were the new INC album and a Nicole Wilis 7 inch in Plug’d and some second hand jazz in Ripall skate shop by Sheares st.
How has a record store benefitted your life/current job etc.?
I’m in my late 30’s but have been in record shops all of my life really. I was a heavy buyer of vinyl even at 12 or 13 and it has defined my life in many ways. I can tell you the story of my life through records, though I’ve had to curb my vinyl addiction in the last 5 years due to finances, family etc!
Do you visit record stores when you head off on holiday? What is the weirdest (or simply most original) record store that you have ever visited?
I was lucky enough to have spent over 10 years travelling here and often abroad DJing so the record shop was always my first port of call whether it was Manchester or Dublin or wherever. One summer in 1996 I visited my brother in London. I had saved all summer and before we met for lunch I decided to pop into a shop to just get a quick fix before my proper buying excursion the following day. I ended up giving him some money to head off for lunch while I spent 4 hours buying cheap and rare jazz and reggae, which he then helped me box up and send back to Cork. The jazz funk I bought that day was pretty unfashionable at the time, but I knew it was dynamite and it was hard to leave it there as it was so cheap. This is the way of life when you are a record junkie.
I only kicked my habit properly in 2006 during my honeymoon in New York City and even then I had to wean myself off the vinyl by buying some CDs. I’ve got it under control now, but once you love vinyl it holds a spell over you forever! I can’t pinpoint a specific store, but I could go on forever with similar stories to the above!
|Courtesy of Stevie G|
It’s an era thing really. I grew up buying punk and indie and hip-hop, and got into digging soul and jazz through hip-hop sampling too. Record shops are still here, and I’m glad youngsters into all kinds of music seem to see that the likes of Plugd is a significant player in our music scene. I’m not gonna preach to kids, though my own little girl already enjoys our visits to these shops. I just hope she isn’t looking for pocket money soon though!
Describe your last record shopping trip.
I went digging through the 45’s at Ripall the other day. As ever, it takes ages to get something amazing but I have a good sense of smell for good vinyl and I knew I’d find some good bits!
What record store rituals do you have if any?
I don’t have the money to go on proper digging excursions these days but I usually set enough time to check literally everything there. I have often bought on instinct and I’m never one who likes to listen to everything in a shop, but I’d stay there all day if I had the time and cash.
What does Record Store Day mean for you?
It brings attention to record shops and in these times we should be more appreciative than ever that we have shops surviving.
April 20th 2013 will be the sixth annual record store day. Any fond memories from previous Record Store Days that you would like to share?
It’s just another day really, for regular visitors to the record shops, but I do remember them being busier those days which is great. And in Plugd I have to say big ups to Kim and Aoife for bringing some nice food for the masses a few years ago.
If you owned a record store, what would you name it?
The G Spot!
Why would you be an amazing/terrible record store owner?
I’ve worked in one for long enough - believe me, I’d be crap. I’m not good at business and I hate getting rid of records!
Tune to Stevie G on Cork's RedFM every Saturday from 7pm until 10pm
For more on Stevie G visit:
- Record Store Day takes place across thousands of independent record stores on Saturday, 20th April
- For further Record Store Day content click here
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