This week's 5 Favorites is a week late. It's so late that I will spare you the long intro and get right into it.
All Things Must Pass
“All Things Must Past” is a wonderfully executed documentary directed by Colin Hanks about Tower Records. Tower Records went out of business sometime around 2006 but in the late nineties was a billion dollar company. I know there may be a lot of people now that have never heard of or have been to a Tower, but for me, it was an institution. To say that it was important to me would be an understatement. See, I’m originally from Sacramento and that’s the home of the first location. I spent most of my free time at Tower rummaging the racks for new music. They carried LP’s, 7 inch’s, cassettes, maxi single cassettes, CDs or CD singles and I had all of these formats in my collection. Tower was the first place I can remember that did Monday midnight releases. This was a big deal to me as a kid because my friends and I would get super excited to line up for our favorite groups like Tribe Called Quest & Beastie Boys, sorta similar to how kids line up these days for video game releases. Tower was even open on Christmas day! That meant that all the gift certificates I got that morning were immediately redeemed that day. I had many fond memories including getting to see Metallica do a free concert in the parking lot at the Watt and El Camino location in ‘96! When I moved to San Diego I was super stoked when I learned that there were two locations and I instantly made the Sports Arena location my new home. Tower was the spot you would go to when you didn’t have shit to do. You would look at your friend and say, “Hey? wanna go to Tower?” Now that it’s gone all I can do to try to fill the void is take trips to Target. Damn, that sounded pretty sad when I just read that back myself. The sad fact is that it’s not the same now that Tower is gone and I truly miss that place.
When I first saw the trailer for the new Tower documentary by Colin Hanks I was over the moon. I immediately looked up show times and was off the theaters to see it. Watching the movie was like a trip down memory lane. At first it reminded me of all of the great times that I enjoyed as a kid. But, the thing that I didn’t expect from the film was to see Tower Records from a different lens. Now that I am older and have a business of my own the film really gave me a sense of just how quickly progress can replace old with new. We have all, for the most part, accepted that it’s ok for progress to do this. Tower was at the front lines for all the new technology to come through the music industry. When the record labels were unsure of using cd’s (due to piracy) as the new listening media, Tower Records was an advocate for it. It was always like that for the CEO Russ Solomon because he was a good businessman. Maybe not with money management, as you can see in the movie, but from an understanding that you have to adjust with times and embrace progress.
In the end, it took some computer genius to figure out how to compress a song so the data could live online (for free) and that was pretty much the final blow to the music giant. Because, no matter how great your progress is you can’t ever compete with free. Although most of the larger free music sharing sites are shut down now, it’s still relatively easy to find free music online or at the very least pick up the one song you like on iTunes for ninety-nine cents. This new technology pretty much eliminated all records stores. If building a physical collection isn’t important to you then what’s the importance of having a record store? This can be said with many forms of media these days and we’re seeing a giant shift that's leaving almost no one safe. The movie industry now has to worry about theater goers because of the availability to find what you want online for free. The cable companies are being replaced by things like Apple TV, Netflix and Hulu. Shit, you can even build guns on 3D printers nowadays. These are just a few examples and I barely even scraped the surface. You constantly have to adjust or adapt for your business to keep up and sometimes even that is not enough. Look at all the apps that exist these days that help market or run your business? Sometimes I feel like we have to drink all the Kool-Aid in-order to have a successful business these day.
I’m not really sure what my point was to that rant, but I do want to raise this question. You guys ever think that the world will say, enough is enough? That we’re happy with the way a particular thing is and we don’t need more technology/advancements to improve it? My guess is that it will never happen, leaving it up to small groups of collectors in this world that embrace the old way of doing things. Tower Records is no longer part of pop culture and is now for the nostalgists like me. Check out this cool site called TowerRecordsProject.org It’s deadicated to preserving the history of the retail legend. If you’re a Tower lover like me, you can submit personal photos of the retailer or memorabilia to the site to help preserve this rich history.
Let me start off by saying I don’t actually own one of these yet, but I had the opportunity a couple weekends ago to see the entire line of Motopeds at SD Wheel Works during the VIP fest held by Auto Fashion. We go back a few years with the guys from Auto Fashion and try our best to support when we can. Freddie, the owner, and I have shared similar war stories about owning a business and even though we’re in different industries we share similar clientele. I owe a lot to Fred including inspiring us to create Motor Union and If it wasn’t for Fred and the guys at SD Wheel Works coming together for this event I might have never got the chance to find out about Motoped.
The Wheel Works fellas have a very interesting business when it comes to two wheeled transportation. It’s not your typical bike shop. Yeah, from what I could tell they do have a few single speed and fixed gear options but it looks like their speciality is more in BMX freestyle and hybrid bike conversions. There we several options in the hybrid category including the Motopeds.
What are Motopeds you ask? Basically, what a Motoped looks like to me is a mountain bike frame with a 49cc or 125cc motor slapped on it. It’s either that or a small dirt bike with pedals. Either way they look extremely cool. My favorite, and the one I’m going to try and get my hands on, is the Motoped Cruzer. It looks similar to a vintage Harley Davidson. The build of the bike is really clean and even though it's styled after a vintage motorcycle it looks like there are a lot of new parts and technology that go into this bike including the suspension, brakes and front LED light. Apparently the red tape to operate one of these things is pretty minimal as well. I don’t want to miss quote but I heard it’s a basic registration/license and apparently you don’t even have to insure them. This is all depending on the motor size, I believe. Anyways, I’m going to do my best to try and score one of these in the near future and hopefully I will have some updates about it. I already have some customization ideas floating around in my head.
Those of you that know me or follow my personal IG know that I enjoy fishing. I’ve been fishing since I was a kid on the rivers and lakes of Sacramento but it’s only been in the last year that I started to take it more serious. I have my friends Spayde and Johnny to thank for pushing me back into fishing. Of course I never half step, so I’ve already invested a crap load in gear and equipment. Along my new fishing journey I have already picked the brands that I want to sink my hard earned money into. 13, Shimano, Phenix, War Bait, Recon are a few of the companies that I like. Aside from their quality products the customer service behind these brands is off the charts!
This new found love of fishing also brought me to a brand called Salty Crew. It's an apparel based brand started out of San Diego and I first stumbled across these guys when I was looking into buying a fishing Kayak at Fast Lane. The guys at Fast Lane carry a wide variety of Salty Crew product and that's the place I first got my hands on it. Right out the gate you just gotta love the name! These guys have dedicated their brand to the almighty sea! This is a much larger brand than I originally thought and can be found in a couple hundred mom and pop shops nation wide, but at the heart of it, it is very much a small family owned and operated business. It is the only brand in my closet that I wear as much of if not more than 5&A Dime. They have a crap load of great tee graphics and accessories but my personal favorites are the functional pieces. Some that I currently own and enjoy are the “Captain Short”, the “Deep Sea Short” with pockets for pliers or other tools, the “Crusty Boat Snap Jacket” and “The Gaff Jacket”. Both jackets are waterproof for those rainy days or days on the boat. Based on the reasons listed above it is 100% a brand I can support!
Tribe Called Quest on the Tonight Show
This past Friday “A Tribe Called Quest” performed on the Tonight Show to promote their latest re-release of the 25th anniversary of “People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm”. First off I have to go on record and say that the Tribe is my all time favorite musical group. Did I say of all time? I mean, they released Peoples Instinctive and Low End Theory during my days in high school. Midnight Marauders came out the year after I graduated, Beats Rhymes and Life dropped the year I moved to San Diego and Love Movement came out during one of the best years of my younger life. Love Movement would later be considered their least popular album due to their internal issues and separation, but it's still an amazing album to me. I can listen to all five albums from start to finish and not skip any tracks. There isn’t another group in the world I can say that about. I’m one of the many Tribe fans that would freak out every time I heard any kind of rumor that they were finally getting back together and that they might release a new album.
Even though the 25th Anniversary of People's Instinctive wasn’t exactly them getting back together or even a new album it was still nice to listen to again. Plus, there's three remixed tracks, Footprints featuring Ceelo, Bonita Applebaum (Pharrell Remix) and Can I Kick it (J.Cole Remix). I have to say the Ceelo Footprints track is hard as hell! They even produced a special box set of 7inch records that I need to get my hands on. As part of the promo for the release all the guys finally came together to do a performance of “Can I Kick It” on the tonight show. I got the chills as soon as Mark Kelley from The Roots hit that first bass string and It was immediately followed by Tip telling the crowd to get up out of there seats and repeat back “yes you can”! I mean, holy shit! Jarobi was even there! For that four minutes of my life I felt like a teenager again!
Alright, Mona Lisa sandwiches are the shit! I don’t want try and doll this write up to make them sound fancier than they are, they’re just some straight up good sandwiches. I could eat a sandwich every day and practically do. There is nothing better in the world to me than a good sandwich, bag of chips and a coke. We take trips to Mona Lisa at least two to three times a week that's how much we love them. Also, their deli/market is pretty rad and it’s attached to their restaurant. Do us a favor and go get yourself a Mona Lisa sandwich tomorrow. Do it!
Thanks for reading this edition of 5 Favorites. If you have any questions or would like to contribute to any of the topics I wrote about please make sure to leave us a comment below.