It was perhaps inevitable, as plenty of other indie record stores and bigger music outlets around the country have gone out of business, and even the big-box retail chains, and bookstores like Borders, are shrinking or gutting their CD sections.
But, still … it’s really sad news.
Vinyl Fever could always be counted on as a place that stocked the pop/rock, indie rock, country, folk/country, jazz, blues and world music releases — primarily vinyl at first, when it opened in ’81, then CDs, too — that weren’t available at the other outlets. The store also was known for employing staffers who knew the difference among Radiohead and Portishead and Head East, and for being strongly supportive of local musicians.
I’ve been going to Vinyl Fever for forever, it seems, since back when the store was located on Fletcher Avenue, not so far from the USF campus. I frequented it even more often when it relocated in 1989 to a spot across the street from Plant High School on south Dale Mabry – my neighborhood. Late rock drummer and all-around good guy Jeff Wood worked at the store during that period. The store in 2003 moved to its current location, 4110 Henderson Boulevard, also close to me. I’ve enjoyed talking music with owner/manager Lee Wolfson, and such staffers as Gabe and Carl.
As noted in Wolfson’s press release on the closing, Rolling Stone recently named Vinyl Fever one of the Top 25 record stores in the country.
The store’s final days will be marked by deep discounts and a celebration of the store’s history. “”We want to make this something of a celebration of our life in business here,” Wolfson told the Tampa Tribune’s Curtis Ross for a story published today. “We’re going to have some parties around it, some bands performing at the store and some big sales. We’ll give ourselves a New Orleans-style funeral.”
Coincidentally or not, the FYE Records store at Westshore Mall is also closing, meaning that there will now be NO CD/vinyl stores in south Tampa.
Guess we’re getting closer to the day when there won’t be ANY real “record stores” left open anywhere.
Sorry, kids, but shopping online & downloading will never replace perusing through record and CD bins and bringing home something you can hold in your hands, a physical object featuring art that can be enjoyed as well as music that can be appreciated.