Villains and vinyl: April 21 Record Store Day was inspired by Free Comic Book Day, happening May 5 | VailDaily.com

Villains and vinyl: April 21 Record Store Day was inspired by Free Comic Book Day, happening May 5

Saturday, April 21, felt like Christmas morning for dozens of Eagle Valley residents, and not because there was a layer of fresh snow on the ground.

It was Record Store Day 2018, and locals were once again celebrating the fact that we have a real-live independent record store right here in our small community.

The line began forming outside Eagle Valley Music & Comics during the six o'clock hour on Saturday morning.

By 10 a.m., when the shop finally opened, there were more than two dozen people outside. Nick Larson was among them; he got there at about 8:45 a.m.

"People were tailgating, playing music, there was about 20 people behind me once it opened," he said. "But then once it did open, we were still waiting for each person to flip through."

Eagle Valley Music & Comics owner Tom Robbins said while it was frustrating for those who were waiting, he felt it was important to let each person in line into the store one at a time, so those who were waiting got a chance to make their purchases in peace.

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"We gave everyone a chance to get one copy of everything we had," Robbins said.

Larson, who has been living in Eagle County on and off since the early 2000s, works at Craftsman restaurant in Edwards, where the music heard by patrons is often being transmitted via record player.

Last year, Larson spent Record Store Day in the Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota area. He said he was glad to be back in Eagle County for this year's event.

"There's a lot of cool indie records stores in (Minneapolis/St. Paul), but since it's a bigger city, they get picked through faster," Larson said. "Up here, it's well organized."

SUPPORTED BY THE LABELS

Record Store Day started in 2008 as a way of celebrating the independently owned record stores of the world. It's main supporter — besides the consumers who shop at record stores on that day — is the big record labels of the world, which press limited runs of unique records specifically for Record Store Day.

Some records that are only available on Record Store Day have as little as 900 or 1,000 copies made, and if a shop near you was lucky enough to get a few of those rare pressings, they often become collectors' items that have surpassed their pricetag value before the day is through.

In Colorado, there's only three shops on the western slope that celebrate record store day, and one of them is Eagle Valley Music & Comics in Minturn.

A common theme among those visiting Eagle Valley Music & Comics on Saturday was how lucky they felt to have such a shop in their town.

"We're very fortunate," Mike Fairbrother, of Red Cliff, said. "Extremely fortunate. Without a record shop like this, all you have are thrift stores, which is usually just Christian and Christmas records."

Fairbrother switched from digital to vinyl a few years ago, and hasn't looked back.

"One time I found a Supertramp record at a thrift shop in Leadville, but that's about it," he said. "This is really the only option for record buyers in the area."

ALTER EGO

While there are more than 1,000 independently owned records shops in the U.S. which participated in Record Store Day on Saturday, very few of those record stores double as comic book shops.

Eagle Valley Music & Comics is one of the few shops in the country that must start preparing for the next big holiday — Free Comic Book Day — as Record Store Day is concluding.

In an unsurprising overlap, Record Store Day was actually inspired by Free Comic Book Day. They both happen within a few weeks of each other every year, creating a busy season at Eagle Valley Music & Comics that's tantamount to the post-Thanksgiving season for many retailers.

Robbins said Record Store Day amounts to 2-3 weeks worth of sales in a single day.

"You don't end up seeing what your profits are for a couple of months, because some companies give you time to pay and some companies don't," he said. "But on new release sales alone, it could amount to six weeks or two months worth of sales, but only if you stay in business year round."

Staying in business, for independent record shops, is harder than ever these days, despite the new demand for vinyl among music purists.

Robbins says record shops who want to survive as long as he has (Eagle Valley Music & Comics has been in business for 34 years), must have two important traits: knowledge and dedication.

"You have to be knowledgeable about the music all people like, not just the music you like," he said. "And you have to keep regular hours in your shop so people know you're going to be open when you say you are."

So, what type of music has Robbins spent hours studying over the years that he doesn't necessarily enjoy?

"I know a lot about Phish," he said with a laugh.

To celebrate Record Store Day 2018, Phish released their sixth full-length studio album in a 7,500 copy limited 2-LP vinyl set.

FREE COMIC BOOK DAY NEXT

Like Record Store Day, Free Comic Book Day will also commence at 10 a.m. Guests are invited to show up in costume, and there will be lots of free gift items (in addition to the free comics) for kids who dress up as their favorite super heroes.

There will be 50 free titles made exclusively for Free Comic Book Day 2018, each person to visit Eagle Valley Music & Comics gets three free books, and if you make a purchase, you'll get more free books.

"The Marvel and DC titles always go first," Robbins said.

FREE COMIC BOOK DAY TITLES

Available May 5 at Eagle Valley Music & Comics

2000 A.D. Regened

Adventure Time Fionna & Cake Special

Avengers Captain America

Barrier

Berlin By Jason Lutes

Bobs Burgers

Bongo Comics Free-For-All

Comics Friends Forever

Crush

DC Super Hero Girls

Die Kitty Die I Love You To Death

Disney Princess Ariel

Doctor Who

Fantagraphics Worlds Greatest Cartoonists

Ghost In The Shell Global Neural Network

Graphix Spotlight Sparks

Howard Lovecrafts Big Book Of Summer Fun

Infinity Watch Amazing Spider-Man

Invader Zim Floopsy Bloops Shmoopsy

Invasion

James Bond Vargar

Lady Mechanika

Legend Of Korra & Nintendo Arms

Malika – Creed & Fury

Maxwells Demons

Metabaron Meta Guardianess And Techno Baron

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Special

Miraculous Adventures

My Hero Academia & Rwby

Nightmare Before Christmas Zeros Journey #0

Only Living Boy

Overwatch & Black Hammer

Pokemon Sun & Moon & Horizon

Relay

Riverdale

Scout Comics Presents The Mall

Shadow Roads

Shadowman Special

Silver

Spongebob Freestyle Funnies

Star Wars Adventures

Starburns

Strangers In Paradise

Street Angels Dog

Tank Girl, A Brief History

Tick 2018

Transformers Unicron

Ultra Street Fighter II

Worlds Of Aspen

Worm World Saga