April 16 was National Record Store Day, at least according to record-store owners. In conjunction with that not-quite-national-holiday, Rolling Stone crowned the Bay Area’s very own Amoeba Music the best record store in the United States.
The Rolling Stone piece ratifies what any local music lover has known since the first time he or she wandered into an Amoeba on Telegraph Avenue or Haight Street. The depth and breadth of Amoeba’s stock can dazzle and overwhelm even hardcore collectors. Their cups runneth over in gluttonous delight when scoring an out-of-print Zappa album; making strides in a lifelong quest to procure every Duke Ellington recording; or even scooping up a handful of second-tier Bowie albums, ignored upon release but attractive at $1.99 a pop.
Last week I interviewed Amoeba founder and co-owner Marc Weinstein about the store’s history, its business model and continued success in the face of music-industry contraction, and about the overlooked place of the record store in our national culture. Says Weinstein about why he got into the business of selling records: “I feel like I’m selling little bits of a spiritual high.”