Monday, October 09, 2006

Tower Records R.I.P.

Yes, it's like hearing about an old friend who, to be honest, you haven't thought about in years: Tower Records is gone after 46 years.

Like most folks my age, Tower was where I first learned my Music Geek ways. I spent ALOT of time (and money) at the local Tower (Mt. View, CA) in my formative years.. In the beginning I took the bus from my parents' house, then I rode a moped (before I had a drivers license!), then I drove my old VW down El Camino to rifle through the albums (VINYL!). Some Tower memories that quickly come to mind:
  • Coming across Iron Maiden's Killers album in the import section and buying it only because the cover looked cool.
  • Meeting Y&T at an in-store for the Black Tiger album
  • Old friend John Silence worked at Tower Mt. View circa-1990 and his co-worker, a kid named Al, always wanted to talk Black Sabbath with us. History says that Al went on to become a Rock Star with the legendary band Sleep and now OM.

A coupon from Tower Records Mt. View - 1981

Y&T - Tower Records Mt. View - 1982

Anyway, Umlaut buys almost all of his CDs, 7" singles, etc. online now, so I suppose I'm partly to blame for Tower going into the shitter. Oh well!

June 5, 2007

What a bunch of crap:

Dear Customer,

We are very pleased to report to you that the legacy of Tower Records will live on through We are currently in the final stages of the sale of to Inc., which is committed to upholding and maintaining the integrity of Tower Records, and positioning as your preferred online shopping experience.

I am also very pleased to tell you about some important commitments to you with respect to the privacy of information you have provided us in the past. Inc. will continue and is legally obligated to:

* abide by the Privacy Policy that has been posted on;
* honor customer preferences and opt-outs; and
* continue the licensing relationship has had with TRUSTe since 2003.

We respect your privacy and should you wish to continue receiving more information about in the future, you don't have to do anything. However, if you would prefer your account information be deleted from the database, you may click here for the next thirty days, through July 5, 2007, and your name and information will be removed from the database which may take up to 10 days.

Thank you again for your business and your loyalty to Tower Records and

Joseph L. D'Amico

Didier Pilon
CEO Inc.

Umlaut says: The only way the "legacy of Tower Records will live on" is if there's another late night, well-stocked, brick & mortar record store and I can jump in my car at 11:30PM on a Wednesday night and jam over to it to buy a copy of an album I just realized I have to listen to NOW.

Sometimes I wish The Information Superhighway had never been born.

April 21, 2008

This past weekend, Metallica had its first in-store appearance in 10 years at the old Tower Records Mt. View site as part of Record Store Day. The space is now a Rasputin's Records, a local Bay Area indie chain. Click HERE to see the festivities.

Umlaut and his Old Metal friends Big Wayne and John Silence spent MANY, MANY hours at Tower Records Mt. View.. John more than most since he worked at the Tower Books side.

Big Wayne: I drove by there twice yesterday. Honestly I can say it was one of the greater gatherings of white trash in quite a while. I joked about all the pickup trucks and El Camino flatbeds but some guy was there with his semi cab. I chuckled.

John: Ha ha ha! I remember working there, safely tucked away in the bookstore, of course, and watching the line to see (insert rock star name here) next door at the record store slowly move past. People would bring all sorts of things to get signed, like drums and who knows what else... I once sent a bookstore employee next door to have Danzig sign her absentee permission slip - just for laughs. Still earlier, I remember standing in that damn line myself to meet Y&T. I still have those pictures somewhere...

Big Wayne: The second time I drove by there was a fire engine out front. No doubt a fan got flustered and fainted! I miss visiting the bookstore and with you and Al. One of the hourly workers at my job was working at the new Rasputin's, part time. He landed a managerial position and took me around the "new" store. It was kind of surreal going in the back offices again.

Umlaut stood in line with John to meet Y&T... Click HERE to see the festivities. He also once went record shopping with Lars Ulrich and James Hetfield at that same location many years ago. The Drummer and The Front Man only garnered curious looks from patrons and no one asked them for autographs.

No one.

Sometimes I wish The Information Superhighway had never been born.