Record Store Day spotlight: Rollercoaster Records

Rollercoaster Records
Kieran Street, Kilkenny, Ireland
Contact details: +353 (0)56 7763669 or

How can you not smile at the thought of an indie store known locally as "the happiest little record shop in the world"? Located on Kieran Street at the heart of Kilkenny city, Rollercoaster Records - like all good record stores - sits right at the heart of Kilkenny's music scene, pumping information about upcoming gigs and new tunes to the midlands(-ish) masses. Having expanded the store back in 2009, co-owners Willie Meighan and Darragh Butler have built steadily on an already solid and loyal custom that has seen Rollercoaster masterfully weather the storm that currently is music retail. The G-Man caught up with Willy recently to see how things are going and what they have in store for Record Store Day 2013 whilst simultaneously spilling the beans on Dave Grohl's buying habits.

The G-Man: April 20th 2013 will mark the sixth annual record store day and indie stores all over the world are still going strong. What does it mean to work in a record store in 2013.
Willy Meighan: It's a dream job. I've been at it as a manager of Top Twenty from 1990 to 2004 and owner of Rollercoaster since then. I get to listen to music all day long and advise and receive advice from my fellow music-obsessed oddballs!

How many of the past five RSDs have been celebrated in your store?
I have celebrated them all but 2009 was when it really took off and it gets bigger every year so 2012 was the most memorable when we had Clive Barnes, Seamus Fogarty and more play live instore.

What do you feel sets your store apart from all the rest?
I don't like to compare but we've a really knowledgeable bunch coming in to the shop and they all seem to buzz off each other.

In January HMV closed its doors in Ireland with many closures in the UK to follow yet independent record stores such as Plugd Records (Cork) and Tower (Dublin) live on. What role do you feel local independent record stores play in the community as opposed to large chains?
Rollercoaster is as much a drop-in centre as a record store with lots of musicians coming in and hearing new things. I was sorry for anyone who lost their jobs when HMV closed, all of them genuine music fans, but I don't think the megastore model can survive in today's music industry.

Whilst working in a stationary shop, a friend of mine once sold pencils to David Gilmour of Pink Floyd.
What famous musicians have visited the store over the years and can you remember what they bought?

Dave Grohl was here when he was with Nirvana. He bought Pixies' Trompe le Monde, Sonic Youth's Goo and a really bad compilation called We Will Rock You which had the likes of Queen, Lynyrd Skynyrd etc - all cassettes of course. He was touring Ireland with his mum!

What kind of original ideas does your store come up with to entice folks to buy music?
I profess my hatred of Led Zeppelin constantly. Regulars come in to complain and end up buying something!

I love it when the guys from my local record store greet me with "I've got a record I know you are going to love"!
In what ways do you try and personalise your service for specific customers?

If I think they'll like something new, I'll stick it on and let them decide for themselves. We don't want anyone leaving with something they're going to hate when they get home.

When on holiday do you like to go snooping around other stores?
Any store still open in this day and age is alright by me though since I was a kid, I've always loved Freebird Records in Dublin.

Reveal one fact that not many people know about your store.
Davy Holland is the brains behind the whole operation!

Many of the next generation (and probably the current one) do not buy physical records as they simply have known no other way. What do you feel these kids are missing out on?
The feeling of walking out the door with a new vinyl record by your favourite band that you waited months for since you first read about it in the NME. Alright grandad, get over it!

What does Record Store Day mean for your store?
Best day of the year. Absolutely buzzing for a week before and all day long.

What RSD releases will you be trying to slip into the bag before the store opens on April 20th?
I'm still waiting for the full list but Husker Dü will be in there.

What kind of treats have you got lined up for Record Store Day 2013?
Lots of free stuff. The Kilo 1977 DJing from early morning and lots of bands playing all afternoon and warm, fuzzy feelings!

What three words describe your record store best?
Happiest little record shop in the world - you said 6 words yeah?

For a full breakdown of Record Store Day shenanigans in Rollercoaster Records click here.

For more on Rollercoaster Records 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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