If you haven't heard, Radio Free Records, a highly specialized independent record store in Durham, was broken into in the early morning hours of Tuesday, June 4. Owner Ethan Samsky, who'd moved his store cross-country (from San Jose) to Hillsborough Road had no insurance. Whoever broke into the store made off with not only the stereo, CD players and the cash register, which contained several hundred dollars, but wiped out most of Samsky's CD stock--more than 4,000 discs, as well as some vinyl. The CDs were located behind the counter in plastic sleeves, filed alphabetically in boxes of 150 or so, meaning that the CDs weren't in jewel cases and would be difficult--if not impossible--to sell. With the store's inventory wiped out, RFR remains closed. Says Samsky, who's been trying to inventory what's left of his store: "Decisions have to be made--of if there's enough stock left and if there's any sort of recovery [of the CDs] in the near future."
Samsky is personally offering a $500 reward for "the return or information that leads to the recovery of the CDs in salable condition."
Although the break-in is tragic, the event continues to bring the Durham (and the Triangle) music community together in way few can remember. Jett Rink frontman and former RFR employee Viva went as far as to organize a dumpster search for the CDs. There have been a series of benefits, including last weekend's huge double-header at Bully's Basement in Durham (organized by Lora Brooker and Jason Jordon). Says Brooker: "It's galvanized the Durham music community." Saturday's Basement benefit, which featured eight bands ranging from Malt Swagger and Des Ark to Transportation, had well over 200 people in attendance. Between an auction, a raffle (with coupons for things like a visit to Dogstar Tattoos or a local restaurant) and a yard sale organized by WORD (Women of Rock in Durham, which features members of the group Roxotica), Brooker estimates the weekend take at around $6000. In addition, Ringside has held one benefit and hosts a RFR dance party sponsored by Duke radio station WXDU this Saturday, June 22 featuring DJs Viva, BJ and the Bear, Dizzy and Colonel Klink. And both Kings Barcade in Raleigh and the Cat's Cradle in Chappie have stepped up to host future events. A PayPal account has also been set up for donations to RFR--just log on to PayPal and send money to firstname.lastname@example.org. (Should Samsky be unable to reopen, all funds raised for Radio Free Records will then go into a musicians' emergency fund).
If you have any info regarding this robbery, contact Durham Police officer G. Andrea at (919) 560-4582 regarding Case Number 02-15778.
Name That Bar
And speaking of the Basement, the upstairs lounge, which is currently in the middle of a "name that bar" contest, has opened. (The contest ends June 29.) The lounge features retro-kitsch furniture--velour chairs and couches adorned with furry throw pillows--all courtesy of Durham vintage shop The Untidy Museum. Besides its custom-made mosaic cocktail tables and hanging silver-painted mannequin parts, the space features a DJ area where DJs will spin on Fridays and Saturdays. Says Lora Brooker, who's working with Bully's as a consultant, the new lounge is hoping to attract the local musician and artist community--sort of an Orange County Social Club type hang-out for the Durham crowd.
Also, look for live rock club Kings Barcade in Raleigh to begin renovations at the end of this month or beginning of July. While there's still no word on whether Kings plans to become a private club, expect more booths to rest your weary booty in and more cool surprises ...
Plenty Evil, Just Not Big Enough
Pumped-up humorless New Jersey Italian guy Glenn Danzig (see interview on page 67), who pioneered schlock-horror rock with The Misfits and Samhain before getting more musically heavy-handed with Danzig, pulled out of his Raleigh Lincoln Theatre gig at the eleventh hour. A rep from Danzig's promoter, Mission Concerts, said that the show was canceled because the venue size is too small. The Lincoln's Pat Richardson said that "tickets were on pace for a sellout" and that the band only recently contacted them about "production issues" such as bringing in a larger mixing board, more outboard processing and other demands, which the Lincoln agreed to.
Richardson says that on Friday of last week [six days before Danzig's show date], the band's road manager contacted him, saying, "We just do not feel good about this gig." Says Richardson: "Apparently, this has happened with some other shows on Danzig's tour." Maybe the 47-year-old rocker just needed some R 'n' R ...
New Local Product
Pure country tenor Thad Cockrell, who aims to "put the hurt back in country," is currently spending time at Modern Recording (Chris Stamey's studio) working on the follow-up to his debut, Stack of Dreams. Cockrell is recording a three-disc CD set titled Morning, Noon and Night. It's a concept album of sorts, with each disc's tracks chosen to fit the mood of their corresponding time of day. Hear some of his new material this Saturday, June 22, at Go! Room 4. Cockrell shares the bill with Jackie O Pillbox, former Squirrel Nut Zipper Don Raleigh's new sextet, which features vibes and horns. They're gearing up to release their first album, Sing Along with Jackie O Pillbox, later this month.
Look for Raleigh garage duo The Loners to debut soon. We'll have an interview with band members Eddie Taylor and Chris Jones next week, and look for more on the Patty Hurst Shifter's upcoming Rice Box Records release, Beestinger Lullebies.
Free at Last
No longer part of the circus that surrounded the Robinson Brothers and the final days of the Black Crowes, Raleigh-ite and former BC guitarist Audley Freed has been busy gigging out with Government Mule. He also has a fun side band called Peaceful Knievel in the works, which unites the shredding guitarist with vocalist Mike Farris of The Screamin' Cheetah Wheelies.