By Jaeki Cho (@JaekiCho)
The owner of Hoodlums Music, Steve Wiley, was originally a manager for a record store chain in the Arizona State University area for many years. During that time, he referred to his store employees, a unique bunch of individuals, as a group of hoodlums, borrowing the word from Stevie Wonder’s famous song, “I Wish.” After setting off from his managerial duties and decided to start his own venture in ’98, the name Hoodlums stuck, and it has been the store’s nomenclature since its inception.
Located in Tempe, which Wiley calls “a little blue oasis in a big red state,” Hoodlums Music serves its local college scene, which includes a wide variety of clientele, from high-schoolers to baby boomers. Offering both new and used selections of vinyl and CDs, the shop’s biggest crates are in the rock, jazz, and hip-hop sections, as well as big indie releases. Wiley, who’s a co-owner of this record destination gladly opened up for our Wax Nostalgic 7 Question Survey.
What’s the first record you ever bought?
Steve Wiley: Boston’s "Don’t Look Back" was the first record I bought. My friends bought it for me on my birthday when I was in the eighth grade. It was the title track off [Boston’s] second album. It’s a good, accessible rock & roll song. I still listen to it to this day.
What’s your favorite record of all time?
Steve Wiley: I don’t know, man. That’s a good one. Anyone with a collection my size it’s difficult to narrow it down to one. But for me the biggest band ever is obviously the Beatles. To me the best Beatles album is Abbey Road. So go ahead and put me down for that one.
What’s the most valuable/expensive record that you own?
Steve Wiley: My Beatles’ Butcher album. I just bought it over the counter.
If you didn’t own a record shop, what would you do?
Steve Wiley: Good question. You know? I don’t know. I guess it’d be something related to music or entertainment. You know I’ve been doing this for so long, I would have to be doing something I’m passionate about, because owning a record store isn’t a get-rich kind of gig, especially in 2011. I’m the Webmaster of Hoodlums, too. I’ve got a great Mac, and an awesome iPod. I’m not anti-technology by any means. I mean, it doesn’t matter how it gets delivered, it just has to be something you’re passionate about.
Why should people buy records?
Steve Wiley: Well, I’m not here to talk people into buying or consuming music a certain way. I’m here to serve people that want to collect music on vinyl or CD. And for me, personally, that’s the way I want it. I collect music. For me, having a digital file doesn’t feel like I own it. I still run a record store because if I didn’t own a record store I would still want to go to a record store. I’m not here to talk people into changing whatever their patterns are, but I’m here to serve people who want to either collect vinyl or CD just like me.
Vinyl will never die because…
Steve Wiley: People enjoy the vinyl experience. The sound, the artwork, and the act of sitting down and listening to a record, and also flipping over from one side to the other. I just think it’s sort of an experience unlike anything you’re going to get digitally.
Have you ever played a certain record and gotten laid?
Steve Wiley: Umm, I had music on while getting laid, for sure. I prefer jazz, or something spacey. I guess it depends on the situation. I’m a married guy now, 15 years strong, but I suppose if I’m a rowdy rascal like you then I suppose it’ll depend on the situation.