Forty years ago today, only three days removed from New York City, I walked into Tower Records on Sunset Strip. I was looking for a job. I had just spent nearly a year working for a guy named Sam Goody at his flagship store in Rockefeller Center, but I was not prepared for the size and breadth of “Tower Sunset” – or the staff. At Sam Goody’s the staff wore shirt and tie, the managers wore suits. We were exceedingly attentive to our customers. We closed at 6pm.
I was awestruck by this enormous Hollywood record store and wandered gob struck in a straight line until I came to a wall, a wall of cassette tapes. An endless wall of cassette tapes. A bit disoriented, I looked up and there was a gent behind the counter, with long flowing hair and an astonishingly expansive mustache. He was absentmindedly drumming away on the counter with a Bic pen. He couldn’t be bothered to acknowledge me staring at him. Finally, I mustered the strength to say, “I’m here to see the manager”. Without looking up, or missing a beat, he said, “Back room”.
I found my way to the back room. I filled out a job application and was led into a tiny office where a rather tall, blonde, hippy-looking guy sat behind a desk wearing dark sunglasses, faded jeans and a raglan t-shirt. His sneakers were on the desk and he looked at me like I was a bill collector. I asked to see the manager. He said, “Yeah, I’m Bob” and reached for my application. As he glanced at the paper, I perused the dirty, cluttered, fluorescent lit, white walls. My eyes froze on a picture of this same guy standing with his arm around Bob Marley. Before I could finish my gasp, Bob said dismissively, “You worked in a record store for a month and you put it on your résumé? I arrogantly replied, “I worked there from January to December. That’s eleven months”. Bob grumbled something under his breath and said, “Okay. Thanks for coming in. Got any questions?”
I answered, “Just one. When do I start?”
Bob started to answer a couple of times, but couldn’t find words. Finally, he managed, “Come back tomorrow at 3:30. Ask for David. Shift ends at 12:30am”. A tiny woman materialized, escorted me out of the room, gave me some paperwork to fill out and wrote me out a schedule.
My 26 year journey with Tower Records had begun.
First day on the job? April Fool’s Day, 1980
Wow! How gratifying to see so many reactions. Thank you!
Right after I wrote this little piece, I realized that I forgot a great detail. During the interview, Delanoy asked me where I saw myself going with the company and I said, “I think I’d like to have your job”. Hahaha! True story.
Nine “short” years later, that little office was mine.
And here’s a picture of me and some random job applicant in that very room.