I got a postcard today from one of my favorite music stores. Well, let me rephrase that. It's one of our only music stores, and it's been around forever. It's been in business for 30 years and according to this postcard, the owner has decided to fold up his tent.
Normally, you would think that the reasons for getting out of the retail music business would have a lot to do with the cost of maintaining a storefront when the warehouse-based internet music stores like Sweetwater are deep-discounting the same gear you're selling for 30% less. You have to get tired of cheap-ass musicians coming in and taking up your valuable time to try something out, and then going home and ordering it from the 'net. You also might think that dealing with musicians would be pretty sketchy business in general, since they're not known for their stellar credit.
Those are all very good reasons for deciding to pack it in. His reason is none of those, however. Actually, it is one I didn't expect.
The postcard said he was getting out because he felt that "God is calling me to start something new."
I'm betting that conversation went something like this:
"Dave's Guitar Shop, this is Dave. Can I help you?"
"Hey, man! This is God. You get those new HHX Sabians in yet? My old Paiste cymbals have been really sucking it lately."
"God! Holy shit! I haven't talked to you since you drunk-dialed me from Vancouver on your last tour. How's it hangin' bro? Yeah, we just got a shipment, but I haven't unboxed it yet. They should be here. Can I get your number and I'll give you call when I know for sure?"
"Well, it's unlisted and I don't usually give it out. I had it in the book for a while, but people kept calling me up and asking for this and asking for that...it was a major pain in the ass so I quit that shit and got a new unlisted one. Anyway, I hope you don't mind, but I'd prefer to just call back."
"No worries. I'll probably know later tonight. We have to do inventory. Not to use your name in vain or anything, but Goddammit, I hate doing inventory."
"Yeah, I hear that one a lot. Hey, wait a sec! I just remembered something. I'm all-knowing! Let me check....hot damn! Yeah, they came in. They're in the second box closest to the loading dock door. Think you could pull them for me?"
"Sure. You coming in to pick them up? Hey, any chance you can send down a quick inventory? It would save me a shitload of time."
"Sorry, man. I only help those who help themselves, remember? Get off your lazy ass! Ha. Actually I was thinking that maybe you could deliver them unto me. It'll give us a chance to catch up. I've been meaning to talk to you about this idea I had, and I guess this is as good a time as any."
"What now? Not Amway again, I hope. I already told you, I'm not buying any of that shit off you."
"No, nothing like that. OK, are you ready for this? I'm putting the band back together. AND I was hoping maybe you could come on the road with us. Hear me out on this. I know how much you miss playing, and well, frankly -- Luke's been a bit of a dick lately, and he's been missing rehearsals. We've been doing some bar gigs to try out some new material, and he can't even play his own solos for My sake. Plus, It doesn't look very professional when he's all raptured up on whatever the hell he's on. I think I'm gonna have to cut him loose. The rest of the guys agree that he needs to be replaced, and your name was the first one that came up."
"Really? Me? Dude, I don't know what to say. I mean, I'm honored and everything, but...I'm not really into that Christian Rock stuff. No offense, but it's always about You. Which is cool if someone else is doing it, but when you guys do it, it comes off like you're a bunch of pompous pricks."
"DO NOT MAKE ME SMITE THEE!!"
"OK, OK! I'm in! E-mail me the mapquest directions, and I'll grab my guitar and be there in the morning. Chill out. Jesus! It was nothing personal. Hey, speaking of that crazy son of yours, is he still doing sound?"
"I'm sorry, man. That was totally un-fucking-called for. It's been a rough night. Yeah, Jesus is still doing sound, you know, still diggin' it. Between you and me, though, the last rehearsal didn't go well at all, and we're looking for you to be the glue. And I know you've probably heard that I've been going through some shit with Mary...anyway, all stories for another time. I'll see you in the morning. It'll be fun."
"Done deal. Want me to bring anything?"
"Nah, just the cymbals. I'll fax over the song list -- and oh, a word of advice -- Avoid I-90 like, well, like the plague. Trust me. You won't be sorry."
"Thanks. OK, I gotta go get some postcards printed. I'll see you around ten or so. Later, G."
"Later, D-man. Keep it real. And hey, there's a box under your desk. I admit I'm no graphic designer, but check out the postcards and let me know what you think."