Music reverberated from the doors of Fingerprints Music Saturday afternoon as local music fans and legends came together to celebrate Record Store Day in downtown Long Beach.
The indie pop quartet Milo Greene took the stage at Fingerprints Music. It was their fourth in-store gig in eight years at the record store, and for good reason.
“It has a lot to do with the owner Rand,” singer and multi-instrumentalist Marlana Sheetz said. “He’s so passionate about the artists that he brings in here. He’s been a huge fan of ours and a big champion, so we’ll do anything Rand wants.”
Throughout his 27 years of running Fingerprints Music, Rand Foster has long preferred bringing in artists that he likes
“I do that, because I’m a music fan who doesn’t play music,” Foster said. “So I feel like, ‘What can I give back?’”
By 2019 standards, Fingerprints Music sits on the larger side of the record store spectrum. It’s not an overwhelming superstore like Amoeba, but it’s got the size and clout to pull acts this year ranging from Milo Greene to Chicano Batman to the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Chad Smith and Josh Klinghoffer jamming T-Rex covers from a new seven-inch record.
Foster knew inviting the latter was an ambitious ask. But if anything, Eric Avery, the former Jane’s Addiction and current Garbage bassist accompanying them for the set alongside Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready saw the intimate gig as a refreshing break.
“We were laughing about it, that this is in a way a little more nerve-wracking than playing the Enormo Dome,” Avery said. “Because [at] the Enormo Dome, you got 15 or 20 feet of stage between you and the people. This is like, you’re playing at someone’s house and everyone could just say, ‘Care to comment?’”
For Foster, this lineup acted as a luxury bonus for fans coming for the usual Record Store Day events and experience where artists release exclusive vinyl to independent record stores.
“The people got here last night at 11 o’clock and spent the night sleeping on the sidewalk. We have to respect all of that,” Foster said.
Once the doors opened early at 6 a.m., die-hard fans were among the first to pick up popular new records, including releases from Death Grips, R.E.M. (under the one-time moniker Bingo Hand Job) and a reissue of the soundtrack to The Crow.
Around 3 p.m., while rock band Reignwolf warmed up the people on one end of the store with their fiery brand of scuzzy garage-blues, fans on the other side lined up around the block for post-hardcore veterans Thrice to sign copies of their new EP “Deeper Wells.” It reflected the kind of organized artist interaction Foster wishes he could have experienced as a young fan taking the bus to Tower Records.
“There would be a mob of people standing, screaming at an artist, waving a record to be like, ‘Please write on my record,’” he said. “It wasn’t good as a fan, it wasn’t good as an artist, and I brought that to this when I did it. I’m like, ‘How would I want this to be if I was the 15-year-old kid out front?’”
That effort was recognized by artists like Avery, Klinghoffer and Sheetz, among others, who hung around the store long past their set times and encouraged their peers to do the same.
“Anybody who wants to keep that flame lit really has to do stuff like this,” Avery said. “Otherwise that flame will go out as you get older.”
Twelve years in, Record Store Day has established itself as a critical day for many independent stores, bringing in crowds of hundreds who will hopefully stick around for the other 364 days.
“You always have to support and keep these places open,” Sheetz said.