We started our weekly look at the last real record stores alive—the City Guide’s Wax Nostalgic—in New York City, so this week we're heading to the Midwest to visit the Windy City's eclectic vinyl haven, Dusty Groove America.
Birthed by former radio DJ/record collector Rick Wojcik (and a partner) as an online store in 1996, the shop has since gained an international following for its vast collection. Expect to find Afrobeat gems by Fela Kuti or compilation mixtapes of Korean boogaloo by DJ Soulscape alongside a deep stockpile of jazz and funk records. Like the web store, Top 40 hip-hop singles aren't available, but prepare to dig up rare underground gems or early 90s staples instead. Although it doesn’t floss a friendly selection for rock, pop, or classical enthusiasts, for anyone down to expand his or her musical horizons in other directions, we can’t recommend anywhere better in the Chi. Rick got with us to take our Wax Nostalgic 7 Question survey, and shared his love for records.
What's the first record you ever bought? What was the last?
Rick Wojcik: I think it was “Saturday Night” by Bay City Rollers. I think I was about 7. I don’t know what’s the last record I bought. I just purchased 2,000 of them this morning in a collection. I buy records seven days a week. There’s no end to it.
What's your favorite record of all time?
Rick Wojcik: Impossible. If I’ve had one favorite record of all time, I would be so static I wouldn’t be able to move forward, right?
What's the most valuable/expensive record you own?
Rick Wojcik: You know, that’s really hard to say. Because it’s pretty relative, things go pretty expensive on the Internet, but we don’t sell them nearly as much here. It kind of goes up and down. Things used to be valuable aren’t as much so I can’t say I have one Mona Lisa in my collection.
If you didn't own a record shop, what would you do?
Rick Wojcik: I don’t know. [Laughs.] I’m unemployable really, so it’s lucky I got this, I guess.
Have you ever played a certain record and gotten laid?
Rick Wojcik: No, if anything, records have prevented me from getting laid for the most of my life. [Laughs.]
Why should people buy records?
Rick Wojcik: I think people are excited about any kind of culture. People loved poetry and literature for hundreds of years, and it’s the same thing with popular music. Records are just a way for people to have a very personal relationship of their own with music. You can’t go to shows every night of the week. You can’t play an instrument. But records are out there to do that.
Vinyl will never die because...
Rick Wojcik: Oh, it’s such a variety. There’s so much amazing music out there. Well, we feel the same way about CDs. CDs are equally beautiful. There’s just so much good stuff out there circulating. Things you didn’t think were great, you pick it up, check it out, and it’s 50/50 for us. We sell as many CDs as we sell vinyl. I think a lot of people tend to think only good music comes out on vinyl. It’s been 25 to 30 years since CDs have been around, and there's so much good stuff out there in CDs, too.Dusty Groove America
1120 North Ashland Avenue, Chicago, IL