Saturday, September 10, 2011


When I began writing this blog it was in response to a story about Wuxtry Records by Steve Pick. I think there were a few inaccuracies I wanted to set straight.

Wuxtry was the first real used record store in St. Louis. We also sold comic books, so I had to work there.

I was Wuxtry’s first local hire and only employee for years. I became so associated with the place that, when Marge and I were robbed in our apartment at gunpoint (I was hit on the back of the head twice by a gun butt) and then rolled up in carpets, it was because they thought I owned the place and couldn’t believe there wasn’t money somewhere in the apartment.

In St. Louis we ended up with 3 stores. The first one was on Euclid, then on Cherokee Street and finally the Delmar Loop. They were three incredibly diverse neighborhoods with incredibly diverse customers. I remember kids walking into the Cherokee store with rags in plastic bags soaked with tulio. They must have been huffing all day. The room would spin as soon as they walked in. What a way to experience life!

Wuxtry started in Carbondale, expanded to St. Louis, Colorado, and then Athens and Atlanta, Georgia. The Georgia stores are still there. Members of REM and The B 52s worked in the Athens store. Fojammi moved there to work at that store for a while. He lived with Cindy from the B 52s in an old church. My friend Dan Wall opened that store with his college buddy Mark. He tried to get me to move down there, tempting me with the church as a rehearsal space. This was just before all those bands broke.

I opened a sister store in Charleston, IL for Dan’s brother. I’ll never forget the bus ride there. It probably would have been only been a couple of hours drive, but the bus stopped at every tiny, ancient gas station bus stop in every tiny, forgotten Illinois town along the way. It took all night. I was the only passenger, so I had to keep the driver company. I remember it being hard to keep my eyes open listening to his boring stories with only the faint glow of the dashboard lights to see him by.

The store was called Mazuma. That was Dan’s idea. Mazuma means money and the name combined two of Dan’s favorite ideas; money and a memorable name.

Charleston is a college town and I arrived during the Thanksgiving break. The town was deserted.

I slept in the back room of the store. I’d start every morning looking up and down the desolate, chilly, wind blown streets. Man, it was lonely.

Every night I’d play a 1940s antique guitar Dan left for my amusement to old Bing Crosby records. I still love those records. Instead of comic books, Mazuma sold romance novels. I had nothing to read. It was a retreat of sensory deprivation except for old records and the guitar. It was like fasting. I found it very cleansing.

Dan collected instruments and amps; that’s how I was often paid. I acquired a 12 string acoustic guitar, a flute, an alto sax, and a beautiful Ampeg VT-22 amp which I rented to the group in Hail, Hail Rock and Roll, the Chuck Berry movie. I don’t know who ended up using it, but there were only legends in the band. I finally sold that amp last year.

I can’t figure out how I ate or paid rent.

Wuxtry in St. Louis turned into Euclid Records and Steve Pick still works there.

It turns out Valerie was going to school in Charleston when I was there. So close and yet….

My brother Patrick and me in front of Wuxtry on Delmar in the 70s before Joe Edwards rebuilt U City. Matt O’Shea took the pic.


Anonymous said...

I love this post! As usual, you've filled in some more information into your (not misspent) youth.

Your Mom

Anonymous said...

As I recall, in those years, even after you worked and received a paycheck, you quite often did not eat, or ate very little.

The burning question, during the Wuxtry years, was how did you buy your Cokes and cigarettes?

Again, your Mom

...Sharon said...

what language is 'mazuma'?