Taking a spin through SpinMore

Jeremy Nobile

Record enthusiasts reflect on people, times and trends

Brando Andexler, an employee of SpinMore Records, stands in front of his hand-drawn caricatures for sale at the store. Rachel Kilroy | Summer Kent Stater

Credit: DKS Editors

“Opening a record store nowadays? I would never do it. I don’t do a whole lot of business here,” said 60-year-old SpinMore Records owner Philip Peachock, who now conducts about 25 percent of his business online. “In the ’80s it was great, but it’s coming back a little bit because of the resurgence of vinyl. It’s amazing; the record companies are putting them back out again. All the Dylan albums and all the Queen – it’s amazing the stuff they’re reissuing. As far as I’m concerned, CDs are dead.”

SpinMore Records is a privately owned record store nestled in downtown Kent, right next to the Kent Stage on Main Street. This family-run business has been frequented through the years by artists ranging from hardcore punk rockers to jazz and country artists spanning popular culture’s last 30 years. Peachock, and his adopted son, Brando Andexler, have seen countless superstars and faithful customers alike venture into their store.

The genuine kindness of SpinMore’s two faithful and friendly workers has welcomed quite a diverse array of customers. From appearances by members of the Ramones and The Cramps, SpinMore is at the heart of Kent’s rock history. Throughout this vast paradise of records and seventies memorabilia, it became increasingly apparent that its collection of music merchandise is second only to its endless collection of stories.

It’s all about the people

It’s impossible to ignore the vintage vinyl smell of the classic record players darting through the air. Although they target a collector’s market and sell mostly vinyl albums, their extensive merchandise collection covers two rooms, top to bottom. Records are stacked by records that are stacked by more records, all of which are neatly arranged and in surprisingly pristine condition. Albums obviously dominate the majority of the two-room shop, but there are cases of collectibles ranging from mugs, action figures and T-shirts to old turntables and an all-Beatles jukebox from the ’60s.

“That’s definitely my favorite piece,” Brando said.

Yet, these two will agree that the real reward of operating the store isn’t in collecting possessions, but the experiences they’ve had and the people they’ve met.

“It’s been an interesting 28 years; a lot of interesting people have stopped by,” Philip said. Brando, Philip’s 34-year-old son who was taken in by the Peachocks as a teenager, stood next to him, framed by years of artwork and autographed posters from the likes of Elvis and Pink Floyd.

“The Ramones stopped in one day, and at the time I sold posters. Johnny was looking for sci-fi posters and at the time I had a big collection. They spent a couple hours in here. Anyways, this girl came up to the counter and she had this double album from The Ramones that had come out not long before. This would’ve been back in ’83,” Philip said, deep in thought.

“Johnny Ramone was right there looking at that poster,” he emphasized.

“I said, ‘Hey, you wanna get this autographed?’

And she just looked at me like I was a little nuts, you know? So I pointed to him, right behind her. He (Johnny) looked back and they (the customers) were like -” Philip’s eyes widened as he made a face of silent, awe-struck exasperation.

“He signed their record and eventually stuck around to sign more autographs. It was amazing.”

“Fred of the B-52s stopped in once with this lady, his companion,” Brando said. “They were back there looking for soul 45s. It’s funny, I remember because he had this great vanilla cologne on, like vanilla bean or something.”

Philip interjected, “Probably to cover up something, eh? Hahaha!

“I remember The Cramps stopped in one time. You know Lux Interior? He collected rockabilly, and I think I must’ve sold him the most expensive record I ever had in this joint. Some rare record worth a couple hundred dollars,” Philip said, unable to remember the specific album.

Brando, who has worked at the store since he was 15, likes a bit of everything, but really likes The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Johnny Cash and Roy Orbison. At his home on Mantua Street, Brando designs all of the hand-drawn artwork lining the walls, which include countless artist caricatures.

“I do mostly stuff that interests me. When I’m not here, I’m listening to music and watching movies and painting. So, I’m pretty much a full-time slacker guy,” said Brando with a chuckle.

Philip, who lives on Lake Street in Kent, originally worked at U.S. Steel in Youngstown and opened SpinMore with the help of a friend and his wife of 39 years after losing his job. He has always had a passion for music, but mostly prefers rockabilly, classic rock and “kick-ass country,” as he described it, such as Wayne Hancock, Conway Twitty and Dwight Yoakam. Basically, “people who branch away from the garbage on the radio nowadays,” Phil said.

“Wow, how the times have changed.”

Brando recalls a story about Little Feet, a Grateful Dead-esque country jam band who played many years ago next door at the Kent Stage, which reminds them how times, people and trends can evolve.

“It’s funny how times have changed. They were all in their mid-fifties, they been around for 30, 40 years. The first guy comes in and is like, ‘Hey, where can I get all-natural coffee? Where’s the whole grain breads?’ One guy wanted free-range chicken. It’s like, all the years they smoked and now they’re worried about their health? Even a guy from the band was like, ‘Yea, 30 years ago we would’ve walked in the record store and said, where’s the booze and where’re the chicks’ . and now they want organic coffee. Just like, wow, how the times have changed.”

Although SpinMore has a modest collection of CDs to complement their endless record collection, they have a personal affinity for vinyl. Business was better back in the ’80s and early ’90s, back when customers would line up down the street for the new Guns N’ Roses album. They also prefer having tangible copies of their music, which Brando explained will long outlast pirated music and digital copies. In a world of finnicky, trend-conscious consumers, retro fads often come back in full circle. Is SpinMore’s vinyl fixation simply a link to the past or a bridge to the future?

“Yea, vinyl is where it’s at,” Brando asserted. “It’s to the point where everyone downloads everything. The computer is so impersonal, but the vinyl is something tangible, something you can touch and feel and hold and love and you gotta take care of it. And when it’s on your computer (music), when your computer crashes, it’s gone.”

Although times have changed and so has popular music trends and formats along with it, Philip and Brando love their jobs and say they wouldn’t rather be doing anything else. They do what they can to make sales, but don’t care to conform to all the interests and music trends of the average consumer. Even though it’s impossible to predict where the next fad will lead society, these shopkeepers don’t plan on changing. Both music enthusiasts intend on sticking around as long as they can.

“The store, the history, it’s kind of my life. I don’t know what else I’d do,” Philip said.

Contact features correspondent Jeremy Nobile at [email protected]