The Record Store Report: Buch Spieler Records (Montpelier, VT)
Hey, Eric. You want to go to a record store?
Yeah, let’s go! Let’s do it! So, today, we’re heading to Buch Spieler
Records in Montpelier Vermont… I think that’s how you pronounce it — “Book Speeler” — I guess we’ll find out, right. We’re coming from Burlington… how long is
the ride gonna be? It’s like 30-something miles…
Not too bad. Heard a lot of good things about this place. So, we’re definitely
gonna check it out and maybe we’ll buy some records. Stick around. So, I guess the first question is how do
you pronounce the name of the store? Okay, yeah, common question, all right.
So, “Book Speeler” One other way I do it instead of
trying to talk like I’m a substitute teacher is… when we answer
the phone, you know so… Buch Spieler Records and The Getup Vintage, this is Xav. Buch Spieler Records and The Getup Vintage, this is Knayte. And it’s not actually
someone’s name, right? No, some people’s like, yeah it’s like, “Who’s Butch?” or
“I’m Butch”… no, no, it’s yeah, Buch Spieler is “book player” and it’s, you know, I
talk about it kind of being before all the big-box stores that were trying to, like,
sell books and music and cards and everything under one roof.
Fred Wilber, God bless him, was… he was doing whatever worked for the
community, he was dialed in and that’s really what I would say my partner and I are trying
to do. It’s a very community style store.
When we were buying it, we didn’t want to… we thought about it… there’s lots of cool
names, lots of really hip, fresh names, you know, the record revival’s bustin out
and we could, um, we could name it something different but that would
probably be a little bit weird or cruel to the community for being a part of it.
It’s like kind of losing a part of a community so, yeah, it’s an institution
and I think being 47 years old, it’s probably one of
the oldest shops in town. Yeah, we keep growing every year since… I saw the
numbers and everything when I was coming in as a fresh sort of collaborator/
partner, putting my life savings of my record shop into this one… “Hey, Greg!” We
don’t have the same larger populace than maybe other towns do. Burlington is much, much bigger than us.
So, we have around 8,000 people in town and it expands and contracts around, like,
I think, 22,000, like, lunchtime, with National Life and state
workers and then it comes back. And that’s our core of, like, 8,000 and then out of 8,000, who is discerning and likes what we do and loves music deeply. And
vinyl’s doing great because of the resurgence of it, that’s fantastic.
Sure, I think it’s like, yeah, there’s people are into slowing down, there’s a
lot of glowing face stuff, wanting to put their phones down and that’s great, it’s
music to my ears. Before I was even trying to be too crunchy or yoga, I thought, you
know, records are a moment of zen. Something you do when you get done work. What’s the strangest record somebody’s tried to sell you? Strangest
record… Bootlegs are kind of common up here as
far as, like, Grateful Dead and things like that, Allman Brothers bootlegs,
something… but I would say it’s more, like, kind of like in the realm of, like, field
recordings or, like, stuff where, like, your grandpa was in overseas, military, or
something like that. Sometimes I do analog to digital transfers. It’s those type
of records that I find really weird and, gratefully, those things are so precious
to the people that they don’t want an offer on them. They want them just sort
of archived. So, that’s kind of good. Have you ever been stumped as to
how much to value a record? Yeah. Sometimes it’s really tough when the
record is, you know it’s so dope and it’s got to be the earliest one
But then there’s like a slight compromise with it.
And those are a little tricky cuz then it’s like we have to kind of go into
our… what I think is kind of really special about my partner and I… it’s
kind of like… we’re like dials, we can’t, like, switch off and on. We’re
thinking about, like, Gary or Chris or anybody in their musical sensibility so,
that record comes through, then that’s like, you know someone and it’s, like,
direct line. Here’s the thing, man, I found a little thing on it. You’re gonna
hear for about four seconds, slight compromise, barely there — you know,
anything. But, like, I would think, like, it’s… I don’t want to sell kind of a
goofy compromise on a record that’s a sick-ass record. I’d rather
find a really genuine community pal that’s just been looking for, like, it’s
their unicorn and then they can get it and it’s like, wow, they just got to
the almost the mythic beast and it’s… you know, maybe there’s a cleaner one out
there in the world in Japan but at least they’ve come to like full beast or
something, you know, close enough. We’re the safest place for the weird,
I would hope in town and maybe all across, like,
record… any place that’s, like, by selling and trading and then the fourth thing we
put on our thing is buy, sell, trade, hang! So hanging is free. Guys can come in
and… that means everybody, you know. There’s no, like, parenthetical-small-text
underneath that’s “(oh no but the really weird, no).” They’re all in and everybody’s
welcome. And I think that sometimes people just need to get some [bleep] off their chest And we’re, like, the sounding board for that. And weirder than Burlington, right? Well, they call this place “Montpeculiar,” and
I think, maybe it’s Montpeculiar because you kind of see everybody all the time.
But then it’s, like, maybe I can put [bleep] together, you know. But, you could
blow off some steam here and everybody can do that.
I say Matt, man, thanks for your time and it’s always good to meet another crazy
vinyl guy, you know, and I think it’s, you know… I can’t ask
you to move from Burlington because they’re probably how lucky to have a
discerning musical guy over there (oh, I appreciate it) but I think it’s, like…
that’s one thing that happens all the time over here is and I’d imagine all over
the place, other record shops, where people move to town and they come here
and a lot of the times they say, “I kind of came here for the record shop,” you
know? I love hearing that. I’m from out of state,
my partner’s from out of state, and even our collaborators there — half of them —
there’re from out of state. And, so there’s a magnetism to this place
and kids grow up well here. I think parents feel culturally fueled.
So, one thing I forgot to mention before is that Eric and I have
been friends for about 35 years 1984? Since high school. Since high
school. We were teenage metal fans and still fans to
this day. If you watch The Vinyl Reacquisition Project, there have been a
couple of episodes with teenage pictures of you and I and… good times, yes, good
time, definitely. So, with that out of the way, we went to Buch Spieler and we got… we got nifty bags, you can see that, and
they were really nice. It was a cool store. Yeah, what did you think of it? I
liked it. It’s in a really good location, too. Right in downtown Montpelier. There’s
good parking nearby. I mean, there’s spots on the street ro park but it’s all a matter
of luck getting those spots. But there’s a good-sized lot not
even a quarter of a mile away from the store. And the guy we interviewed
that you had just seen, great guy, friendly, into his community, into vinyl. You can
tell he has a passion for what he does, he and his partner. We didn’t get to see
his partner but he spoke for him and himself and, uh, great time. Yeah, yeah. Each category was sectioned out well… like, there was a rock section, there was a rap section, there was a metal section, jazz… hardcore and punk were
separated, which is interesting. Yep, they had a hard rock section, which
is interesting, they had some New Wave of British Heavy metal in there, which is
interesting. And then they also have cassettes and CDs as well. I think there were DVDs and some other things, too. There is a store that’s in
the same lot. It’s a clothing store — kind of a hippie, vintage-y clothing kind of
thing… they’re separate from the record store. They’re different people who are
running it and own it, but they’re in the same space, so it seems like the same
store. Yeah, you have to go into the Buch Spieler to get into that. So, yeah, if you’re ever in Montpelier, you should definitely go to Buch Spieler. Yep,
it’s on Langdon… it’s either Langdon Street or Langdon Road. That’s the name of the street it’s on. Cool, alright. Well, Eric, thanks for coming
with me or taking me, as the case might be. It was MY idea. It’s his idea, anyway, so… you know, great time.
So, yeah, definitely. Long live metal! Thanks for watching. If
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