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Mike Grimes: Grimeys New and Pre-loved Records

Posted: March 8th, 2011 | Filed under: collector, feature, mini-feature, retail, storefront | 1 Comment »

Everything comes full circle. Jon and I stood there in Grimeys Records the other day, on Eighth Avenue South, and he gently pulled out an LP from the liner, and said, “You know, there’s just something about holding a large record like this. Holding it in your hands, and reading the lyrics off the liner, and having a large 12″ piece of art to look at; it’s just so different from downloading a record off of iTunes”.

I’m 52 years old. Of course I knew what he was talking about. I can remember vividly one of the first records I ever bought — it was a Carly Simon record, from Taylor Drug Store, in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Not sure the year — probably about 1972. I loved Carly Simon at that time, but the main reason I bought that particular record was because of the nipples sticking thru her blue T-shirt. Let’s not forget — I was probably 14 years old at the time, and in 1972-repressed-Southern-Baptist-Kentucky, that album cover was pretty scandalous. (I can imagine that panicked scene today, in some record company conference room, when the film was delivered — that look of panic on the publicist’s eyes, saying “We can never send out these pictures; we’ll have to Photoshop them out!”) I guess I justified buying it to my mother because it had “You’re So Vain” on it, which was a huge hit at the time.

Fast forward to about 1976 or so. I was a redneck goofball, about to graduate high school. I made this deal with the local record store (and Head Shop), to drive to Nashville and pick up a stack of concert tickets for every show at Municipal Auditorium. I think the name of the shop was Headquarters. Hint, hint. And yes, those bongs under the counter were meant for tobacco. Right. I’d ride my father’s Harley from Bowling Green to Nashville, pick up a stack of concert tickets, turn around and ride right back to Bowling Green. For this service, I was paid two concert tickets. I loved it. I felt important.

So Mike Grimes is preserving this period of time. I can’t imagine that vinyl has a chance to compete with iTunes on any large scale, but maybe there is enough market share there to at least stay profitable. I completely understand the tactile quality of a 12″ record, that Jon mentioned. There’s nothing like it — even the pops and cracks and skips. I can still remember when Physical Graffiti came out, and the record was die-cut, and the title of the record showed through the window frames of that building.

I heard the other day that there’s now a guy trying to bring back the eight-track tape as well. Vintage is nice, but some things just ought to die, for good.

Edit/Update: I received this note from Mike after posting. He wanted to add this to the message of the video:

If you don’t mind, perhaps place this at the end of your piece:

‘Grimey sometimes gets nervous being interviewed on camera, when viewing please
replace the term Contemporary Country Music for Traditional Country music, he loves
Hank, Ernest and Buck, not as crazy about Rascal Flatts, Toby Keith, you get it.’

Would really appreciate it.

This man’s name is Gary Gray

Posted: March 1st, 2011 | Filed under: great face, mini-feature | 3 Comments »

I was shooting today, at The Springwater; doing a feature on the legendary Dave Cloud, to be published later. It was a gorgeous day, and we were all hanging out back, under that covered deck. Dave introduced me to his friend Gary Gray. (They’ve called him Gravy Train since high school). Anyway, I just made friends with this guy. Tough story — when Gary was 25, (he’s now 54), he worked downtown at Chilton’s Engines. He drove a new Camero SS, midnight blue. One day, he and his buddy decided to go to a Harley rally in the Midwest. So off they go. Somewhere in Wyoming, they hit a car head-on at 85mph, and Gary’s buddy was killed instantly, but they cut Gary out of the car. He died twice in the ambulance, on the way to the hospital. He was in a coma for 105 days, then one day, he just woke up.

I could bullshit you, and tell you that I’ve spent a lot of time with guys who live on the street, but that would just be me lying. I have not. Of course Gary “had a hand” in what happened to him, but still, there sits a man — a nice, warm man — who now walks very slowly, with a cane, and as I write this at 10:20pm, he’s trying to find a place to sleep tonight, maybe in Centennial Park or somewhere nearby. I’m just saying it affected me pretty deeply — me knowing that I was going to drive home to a warm home, and me realizing that come sundown, Gary was going to be looking for a place for his sleeping bag. I had offered him one of the 4×5 Polaroids to keep, but he told me he didn’t have any place for it; that’s what started the conversation.

I’m not sure what I’m trying to say, but when you spend an afternoon with someone, talking about cars, and adventures, and travels, you just make friends. You have things in common. And then you realize they’re going to be searching for a place to sleep that night.

Zack Maddox and Booger: Skateboarding fun

Posted: February 27th, 2011 | Filed under: chef, dog, great face, mini-feature | 11 Comments »

This is a crazy story — so last summer, I’m on my road bike, on Russell Street in East Nashville, and out of the corner of my eye, I see this guy on a skateboard round a corner, being pulled by a dog on a rope. I did a double-take, turned around, and tried to catch them. They were gone. Poof. Thin air. Like an apparition. For days after that, I went to every bike shop and skate shop in East Nashville inquiring about this mystery couple. No one knew a thing.

Fast forward to a week ago — I’m in Antioch, photographing Gillian St. Clair and her husband. As I’m packing the car to leave, she casually says, “Oh, you ought to photograph my brother; he has a dog that pulls him on a skateboard”. My jaw dropped. I’d finally found him.

So today, we knocked on the door of Zack Maddox, a chef at The Boundry, and we met his wife Lindsey, and his dog Booger. Booger is a boxer, age ten. Watch the video below, and let Zack tell you how Booger got started in the business. He sees a skateboard, and he goes nuts — grabs the rope in his jaws, and takes off, pulling Zack down the street. Happy as a clam.

Zack also told me about his buddy, who has a Blue Heeler that climbs trees to chase down frisbees. I can’t wait to photograph that.

International Market: Bell and Kont

Posted: February 24th, 2011 | Filed under: great face, mini-feature, restaurant, retail | 3 Comments »

We had a very productive day today with this project. This morning, Jon and I photographed performance artist Tom Mason in Shelby Park (to be published later, with video), then grabbed some fine lunch at Turnip Truck in the Gulch, then made our way over to photograph Mike Grimes at Grimeys (to be published later). Then out to Trader Joes to try to convince this guy that works there to allow us to photograph him; “Please say yes, you have a great face”. Then back to International Market to buy a rice cooker for a party; while we were there, we saw Kont and Bell behind the counter, and asked if we could photograph them.

I’ve eaten a thousand meals at International Market over the years; (Tom Yum and Ka Pow). Whenever I order from the kitchen, Kont usually brings me the meal out, and we have this ritual where I thank her, and we look at each other and smile, and she says, “You’re welcome”. It’s just a nice little dance we do; so sweet and kind. I found out today that Bell is from Thailand, and Kont is from Laos. Kont doesn’t speak much English, so Bell stayed with us and translated. (Mostly, I just waved my arms, smiled, and talked louder than normal, as if that would help). We photographed them both out on the sidewalk in front, on Belmont. We got off about six or seven sheets of each one, before they had to go back in to work.

Was a very good day.

Bell grew up in Thailand.

Kont grew up in Laos.