Chris Brown from Bull Moose in his element. Photo by David Terwilliger

Record Store Day is on Saturday and Chris Brown, vice president of finance at Bull Moose, is as excited about it now as he was when it started in 2007.

The celebration of independent record stores was, in fact, his idea, and it’s grown into an international event where vinyl lovers all over the world seek out the limited-edition Record Store Day releases.

Globally, more than 250 stores participate in Record Store Day, 16 of them in Maine, including all eight Bull Moose locations, as well as Newbury Comics at the Maine Mall in South Portland and Everyday Music in Farmington.

What are some of the releases you’re most excited about for this year’s Record Store Day?

Ringo Starr “Crooked Boy.” His last few EPs have been surprisingly good. He worked with Linda Perry and the guitar player from the Strokes (Nick Valensi), so this is guaranteed to be interesting. The Beatles turntable and 3-inch records and the George Harrison and John Lennon releases are of interest, but that’s just to have the physical objects. Sun Ra, Yes and The Yardbirds are three artists I collect, and they account for six releases I must buy. RSD always has more great jazz releases than I can afford or have time to listen to. I will buy a few of them depending on what is left after our customers have a chance. Forest City & Friends are releasing an LP on RSD. I’m excited that they are doing that and hope that people take a chance on an excellent local artist.

How has Record Store Day changed through the years?


My idea was to promote stores, and within the industry, the focus has remained on promoting the stores. In fact, it has resulted in a year-round “every day is Record Store Day” effort from many record labels. Externally, a lot of people think Record Store Day is about the records. That has led to some funny situations in which people think they have to apologize if they mention CDs in front of me. It’s like they are swearing in front of their grandma.

How old were you when you first started buying vinyl, and do you remember what some of those albums were?

When I was 4 or 5, I bought two 45s: “I’m A Believer” (backed with) “Pleasant Valley Sunday” by The Monkees and Ringo Starr’s “No No Song.” The first LP I bought was the “A Hard Day’s Night” soundtrack on my sixth birthday. More Beatles 45s and LPs followed. I started earning money as a boy soprano when I was 10 and that allowed me to buy a lot more Beatles albums and 8-track tapes. That year I also bought Kiss’ “Destroyer,” Peter Criss’ solo album and comedy LPs by Richard Pryor, Robin Williams and Steve Martin.

Why do you think the love of vinyl by music consumers continues to gain momentum?

Vinyl must make them feel closer to the music and the artists. A lot of new vinyl fans are coming over from streaming, and they are finally experiencing uncompressed music. Most people can’t describe what is missing from an mp3, but it’s clear that mp3s diminish the emotional impact of the music.

Another reason people buy records is to ensure their favorite artists can make a living. Everyone knows that streaming pays almost nothing. Most new vinyl fans are from the generation that fully embraced Patreon (crowdfunding platform) and fought for higher wages during the pandemic. They believe that people deserve to be paid for the work they do.

What is one of your most prized vinyl possessions and why?

My grandfather’s copy of Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos. He introduced me to the joys of listening to classical music when I was still a baby. One night I requested “Baby Likes Best.” My grandparents and father put on many records but couldn’t figure out which one I wanted. They asked what color it was. I could picture the record in my head, but I didn’t know the word for purple. Imagine having a favorite recording before you know all your colors. One of the things that draws me to this job is helping other people find their next “Baby Likes Best.”

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