By Jaeki Cho (@JaekiCho)
Unlike other record shop owners who traded in their day jobs to pursue their passion for records, Mark Methe was, and still is, a straight-up record guy. Ever since his youth he's worked at record stores, and after a brief stint in college as a DJ, he started the first Wuxtry Records location in 1976. The “almost” 60-year-old shopkeeper once had 14-plus staff members to maintain the store’s operation, but with those days long gone he’s been keeping the lights on dolo (for the most part), and considers it a secret to his success. “The boss works all the time," he says with a laugh. "I don’t pay anybody to do it. I’m the only person at the store, much of the time.” On a side note: When the boss wasn’t the sole person behind the counter, notable names like Peter Buck of R.E.M. were moving crates and helping customers. (Buck eventually moved to Athens, and continued to work at Wuxtry’s second location there.)
From run-down posters, to aging wooden bins, the decorum of the shop reflects the history it holds as its own. Both used and newly purchased records from distributors and labels are available, but you can’t sleep on its sections full of 45s, 78s, 8-tracks, cassettes, and CDs. Growing rows for hip-hop, R&B, Latin, Brazilian, African, reggae records, boast not-great, but good selection. For those fans of jazz and rock, however, the shop offers a ton that’ll require some serious digging (the owner is noted as an advocate of those two genres). Methe, who hasn’t personally collected records for a long time, considers his shop to be his prized posssesion. He gave us a concise rundown for our Wax Nostalgic 7 Question Survey this week.
What’s the first record you ever bought?
Mark Methe: I really don’t remember.
What’s your favorite record of all time?
Mark Methe: Sorry to be so obtuse here, but, I don’t really have a favorite record. Out of all the rock & roll stuff, though, I’m a Rolling Stones fan.
What’s the most valuable/expensive record that you own?
Mark Methe: That I bought? Hey, I’m the guy who buys them and sells them; I don’t pay too much for records. [Laughs.] I actually just got back from buying a bunch of records 50 miles away. I’ve been doing this here for over 30 years. People call me, I go out, and I look at their records.
If you didn’t own a record shop, what would you do?
Mark Methe: I’d be damned if I know. [Laughs.] I often wondered what am I going to do if this doesn’t work.
Why should people buy records?
Mark Methe: Because they love music. Some people like to have the artifacts in their hands, while some people think they sound better than visual music, but it’s all opinions. I think records sound great. I don’t think CDs sound bad.
Vinyl will never die because…
Mark Methe: I think there’ll be a market for [vinyl] for a long time, but most them will be in landfills, eventually. That’s what I think. I mean the good ones will be around. And there are going to be record collectors for another million years, I guess? You know, unless a meteor hits the planet or something. [Laughs.] Yeah, there’ll be a market for the good ones forever.
Have you ever played a certain record and gotten laid?
Mark Methe: Did I what? [Laughs.] No.Wuxtry Records (Decatur)
2096 N Decatur Rd, Decatur, GA
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