Line Out Music & the City at Night

Friday, January 18, 2013

Even More Memories From Easy Street Employees

Posted by on Fri, Jan 18, 2013 at 10:04 AM

In this week's paper, on the occasion of Easy Street Records' Queen Anne store closing Jan. 18, we're running reminiscences by current and former Easy Street Records employees. We lacked space to include responses from all of the people interviewed, so I'm going to post them on Line Out throughout the next week. I hope this proves to be an entertaining slice of anecdotal history of Seattle's musical ecology.

(By the way, Easy Street QA is selling its used vinyl, CDs, DVDs at 40-percent off. New product is 20-percent off. Today is the last day to get these deals. Yo La Tengo play an in-store at 7 pm. Early arrival is recommended; invasion of personal space is guaranteed. Sunday at 11 am there will be a public auction of various Easy Street furnishings, billboards, and posters.)

SHANE TUTMARC (floor/register/accessories/used-product buyer, 2006-2009; has been living in Nashville since 2010)

Best thing about working at Easy Street QA?
[C]onstantly discovering new music. As an employee, not only was I familiar with everything coming out each week, but I was always constantly digging deeper and deeper into old music—whether it was jump blues, ragtime, gospel, world music, you name it! Which had a major affect on me as an artist, as well. If anyone was curious how I went from a making everything-and-the-kitchen-sink pop records with Dolour to putting out live-in-the studio rootsy rock ’n’ roll with the Traveling Mercies—Easy Street was a key ingredient. And I also have to say that my coworkers were a major bonus. I worked with a really eclectic group of people, who were all very talented in their own area—whether it was sketch comedy, graphic design, photography, songwriting...

Best in-store performance?
I would have to say that my experiences playing Easy Street would have to be my "favorite in-store performances." I first played Easy Street QA in 2003 after the release of my band Dolour's second album, Suburbiac. And then I played there again in 2008 with my family group, the Traveling Mercies supporting our second album, Hey Lazarus! And I played there one more time in 2009 when my first solo record, Shouting at a Silent Sky, was released. Easy Street was always a very supportive place to be.

Craziest or strangest customer encounter?
There was always crazy and strange customers, every single day. In fact, there were times when it felt like they were the only demographic of people that shopped at record stores. But one story that comes to mind was this kid who had just gotten out of jail and must have come straight to Easy Street. He was looking to replace his Insane Clown Posse collection. He kept saying, "But these guys are super underground, you probably don't have them." We had way more ICP in stock than we should have. He left happy.

How do you feel about the store closing?

I am very heartbroken about the Queen Anne store closing. Not only for my own loss, but also for Lower Queen Anne. Easy Street leaving that block is gonna hurt business all around there. Who's gonna leave their neighborhood to go to a Chase Bank, and then stop and get coffee or a slice of pizza?! I know I will have very few reasons to ever hang out in Lower Queen Anne now. This isn't just a reflection of the declining interest in record stores worldwide, I hear 2012 had been a very good year for Easy Street, this is more of a classic George Bailey vs. Mr. Potter situation, with Chase bank literally chasing them out (bad pun!). I will definitely be making more trips to West Seattle on future visits to the Emerald City because Easy Street is a big part of the Seattle experience for me, and I'm glad that shop looks to be sticking around for a long while. Viva La Easy Street!


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