Jack White Hails Record Store Day, New Releases

Music fans started lining up outside Jack White’s Third Man Records shortly after midnight, vying for something special on Record Store Day.

White was more than willing to accommodate them, opening his store a little early Saturday for vinyl enthusiasts.

“Record stores are closing all over the place, yet vinyl record sales are the only thing growing in the music industry,” White told The Associated Press. “So it’s a beautiful thing that everyone can come together and release these special releases, whether they’re brand new or old or obscure or never released tracks, whatever they are, it’s really cool that people can get out and buy them. I mean look at how many people are here to buy records. That’s pretty cool. Very cool.”

Photo: AP Photo
Receiving the first ever Music City Ambassador Award from Nashville Mayor Karl Dean at Third Man Records in Nashville, Tenn.

Labels big and small released more than 300 items exclusive to Record Store Day this year, the fourth year of the celebration meant to draw fans to their local independent record store. That’s nearly twice as many as last year.

White contributed two 7-inch rereleases of The White Stripes’ first singles and those tiny platters of goodness brought Craig Jackson and Mark Klacik out at 2 a.m. to camp behind Grimey’s New and Preloved Music, a record store about a mile from Third Man Records.

“We slept right here under this tree in the rain,” Jackson said.

They fired up a grill to warm up and cook a breakfast of steak, sausage and toast. As the store’s opening approached, hundreds stood behind them in a line that wrapped around the block.

Clouds threatened more rain and a chilly wind dropped temperatures into the 50s but that didn’t deter anyone. However, the severe weather did postpone the Jerry Lee Lewis’ concert at White’s record store until Sunday.

Before the concert was postponed, White talked about Lewis, known as The Killer.

“This is a guy who he was setting his piano on fire before Hendrix did it,” White said. “That shows you how wild the early days of rock `n’ roll were and how important it was, breaking up the cookie cutter sort of clean-cut pop music that was out there at the time. It’s just as important today as it was then. He’s a founding father and it’s incredible to even be able to do something like this.”

The Lewis concert wasn’t the only one involving big names. The Foo Fighters were scheduled to play at Fingerprints Records in Los Angeles. My Morning Jacket set up at CD Central in Lexington, Ky., The Drive-By Truckers were at Plan 9 Music in Charlottesville, Va. and the Del McCoury Band teamed with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band in Greenfield, Wis.

At Grimey’s, Jackson and Klacik, both 27-year-old, carried blue carry-all bags to haul their loot.

“After it stopped raining it kind of got colder,” Jackson said. “We got soaked but it was kind of worth it.”

Doyle Davis, owner of Grimey’s, turned the day into a true celebration with eight concerts by acts like Matt and Kim and Jason Isbell.

He’s had customers inquiring about the Ryan Adams double 7-inch, the Nirvana Hoarmoaning EP rerelease and the release of the test-pressing of Big Star’s Third for days. He was initially worried about the cash outlay for all that product, but the line around the block took the pressure off.

“This is the biggest event we’ve ever tried to set up,” Davis said.

James Riley, his son Connor and girlfriend Heather Barrett had already hit two record stores by the time they made it to Third Man Records. Connor had his heart set on The White Stripes 7-inches and some new Jimi Hendrix, and scored both at The Great Escape, another Nashville record store.

“He’s probably the only 10-year-old who plays records for his friends,” Riley said.