- Independent Records Facebook page
The Independent Records & Video network of shops has long been a musical fixture in Colorado Springs, as anyone who still enjoys buying physical media surely knows. But as far as local musicians go, the record stores have been more than just a place to cop new releases or rare LPs; they have functioned as a sort of hub for musicians and music junkies alike.
Much as you’ll often find musicians on both sides of the counter at Independent Records, you can’t really attend a local show and manage to avoid someone who has worked there, be it onstage or in the crowd. I even put in some time at the Annex location before I followed the lucrative siren songs of touring and music journalism, and I still fondly remember having an extended conversation with a customer about John Coltrane on one occasion. Those are the things that stay with you — certainly more so than filing away countless moldy copies of Rumours under the bins.
Given Independent Records’ inextricable connection to the local music community, as well as its fairly iconic status, news traveled quickly of the downtown location closing its doors after a 38-year run overlooking Acacia Park. And just as quickly the local music community was aflood with memories.
Local bassman-about-town and former KRCC deejay Gabe From the Future, like many, fondly recalls perusing the bins for vinyl gems, recalling particular selections from Rainbow, The Beach Boys, and “a sweet picture disc of [Outkast’s] Aquemini.”
Meanwhile, if you worked downtown in 2000 and wondered why there was an ashtray full of cigarette butts in the manager’s desk for a year, you can blame The Who’s John Entwistle, not then-manager and singer-songwriter Chuck Snow.
“I was managing the downtown store, and we received a last-minute chance to have an in-store with John Entwistle, who was on tour at the time and had a live CD out. He showed up with a small group of guys, and I took him back to my office to relax,” says Snow. “I was kind of at a loss as to what to say — it’s John Entwistle, and I’m star-struck. So I asked him if there was anything he needed, and he says, ‘I’d like some Courvoisier and an ashtray.’ So I ran to the liquor store. All these thoughts of who he has played with were rolling through my head, and I think he picked up on my nervousness. He grabs a CD copy of Who’s Next, studies it for a bit, and says, ‘Look at those trousers I was wearing. What was I thinking?’”
Of course, while the downtown location — and the vague memories of the skate park in its warehouse — may be gone, not all the news regarding Independent Records is grim. The chain’s Platte Avenue, Platte Annex, Security, North Academy and Pueblo locations are still in operation, and the renewed interest in vinyl virtually assures that as long as audiophiles remain passionate, shops like the Annex will always have an enthusiastic clientele.
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