By Jaeki Cho (@JaekiCho)
Despite being the biggest city in North Carolina, Charlotte lacked a record destination that catered to a smaller, niche-based audience with an appetite for underground, punk rock music. Recognizing this void, Scott Wishart, a longtime record store employee of a mini-chain from the region, decided to fill in the gap. Lunchbox Records, a name derived from his older brother’s former record label endeavor (which Scott holds down at the moment), opened its doors five and a half years ago. Since its humble inception, the shop has become the stomping ground for indie bands like Astronomers, Coke Bust, Blank Stare, and Grids, with in-stores that keep local crowds satisfied.
Along with his brother, Wishart’s childhood meddling with music, and teenage fascination with punk rock eventually lead him into the record business. Originally hailing from Atlanta, Georgia, where the bulk of his tuneful traits took shape, Wishart relocated to Charlotte where he helped mold the city's punk scene, all the while peddling 12", 7", and CDs for the local customers. With its rock-oriented selection and steady line of customers, Lunchbox has a stronghold on North Carolinian. We got down with the modest owner for our Wax Nostalgic 7 Question Survey.
What’s the first record you ever bought?
Scott Wishart: New Edition’s “Cool It Now.” I was like 8 or something. Now, with the Internet, there are kids who get into punk rock when they’re 8-years-old. But you didn’t know anything about that shit when you were a little kid back in the ‘80s unless you lived in L.A or New York. When I was a little kid, I lived in Panama City, Florida, and there was definitely none of that stuff. But, yes, I think I bought that record at some department store, back when they were selling records. I just thought the music was cool. “Ronnie, Bobby, Ricky, and Mike, if I like the girl who cares you like…” You see, I still remember the song. [Laughs.] I still have the record. It was a 7". Back then, those things were like ¢99, and they were real easy for kids to buy.
What’s your favorite record this week?
Scott Wishart: The new Charles Bradley record, No Time for Dreaming. It’s a soul and funk record. It’s catchy and I like it. Everything I listen to, I take a little bit of something from it. Some things influence you as a good idea, while some things influence you as what you shouldn’t be doing.
What’s the most valuable/expensive record that you own?
Scott Wishart: Probably this Youth of Today record that I have. It’s on a red vinyl, and they only made like 150 of them. I bought it from a friend, who had, like, a mid-life crisis. He sold me all his records, and [the Youth of Today record] was mixed in there. There were a lot of valuable records in the pile I got from him, but that was definitely the most ridiculous.
If you didn’t own a record shop, what would you do?
Scott Wishart: I have no idea at this point. I was in college for graphic design and printing. The school I went to focused more on printing than actual design; most of the stuff I learned was technical stuff. You actually ran a giant press, screen print stuff, had to do eight color theory, all that stuff. A lot of that doesn’t really come too handy for my store, other than times when I send in ads for newspapers or something. [Laughs.] I really don’t know what I would do, because everything I do pretty much focuses around music.
Why should people buy records?
Scott Wishart: Because music is awesome. [Laughs.] I personally like to have something tangible, and something to look at when I listen to records. I also like to support the artist. People download all they want, and I don’t really care, but obviously when you do that it does hurt the artist no matter what people think. No matter how big or small the label is. A lot of people think it only affects the big labels, but when you’re a label selling 500 copies of something, and 5,000 people download it, that itself is a huge difference in your income, and your ability to put out another record. I know a bunch of people who are sitting on music, but can’t put out their next records because they didn’t sell enough of the previous one.
Vinyl will never die because…
Scott Wishart: Because it’s petroleum based, and it can’t biodegrade. [Laughs.] I don’t know about never, but I don’t think it’s going to die anytime soon. Other than having a really fancy tape machine in your house, where you have master tapes, it is the best way to listen to music as far as fidelity. Plus, I think people enjoy having something physical.
Have you ever played a certain record and gotten laid?
Scott Wishart: Obviously I was getting laid while music was playing. Well, I don’t know it’s obvious, but I would assume it’s obvious for most people. I guess the type of mood record I'll play depends on the lady. It’s kind of a weird question for me. [Laughs.]
Lunchbox Records (Charlotte)
1419 Central Ave, Ste A, Charlotte