About Friendly Records
Give us the background... when and why did you decide to open a record shop?
I did A&R at various record labels in London for years and then moved to Bristol looking for a slower pace of life once we had children. I managed bands, taught at a music college, opened an art gallery… and then conversations with friends (mostly in pubs) led to me declare “I’m opening a record shop!” fulfilling a lifelong dream really… Spending your days listening and talking about music and records - Can’t be that bad can it?
All kinds of people really, from first time record buyers to people who’ve been buying records all their lives! We stock most genres but we probably lean more towards the slightly left of center stuff, we have a good Jazz section. The stock is a selection of new and used records, from the rare and obscure to the more common variety! I’m lucky to have had some great people work in the shop in the first two years - Michal, Daisy, Gareth… Currently it’s George who is working in the shop most, he has a great knowledge and is unflappable even dealing with the most demanding customers! I’m also lucky to have my brother at hand to help out and also a good friend of mine John and his 13-year-old son Frank who have single handedly sorted out and built our new, and very impressive 7” single section!
The first record we sold was to a chap called Ben, it was The White Stripes - ‘Elephant’ … I like selling people their first record, Frank who I mentioned earlier bought his first record from us aged 11 - pretty good start too… ‘Die Mensch-Maschine’ By Kraftwerk!
I first started buying records in my local town called Bridgwater, there wasn’t a record shop there so it was Boots, Woolworths and WH Smiths - I’m old so it was back in the day when they had a pretty good record section! I then started to travel up to Bristol and spent a lot of time (and money) in Revolver, Tony’s, Replay and later Purple Penguin, Imperial… Once in London it was Music & Video Exchange in Notting Hill Gate, Rough Trade on Talbot Road, Selectadisc in Soho, Honest Jons…
I still really dig the Rough Trade on Talbot Road, Piccadilly in Manchester. My friend John Stapleton has my favourite shop in Bristol - Wanted Records… Always full of great records!
Probably record shopping abroad, going to Groove Merchant in San Francisco back in the very early 90s right through to recent trips to the many shops in Copenhagen and a great shop in Granada, Spain called Discos Bora-Bora!
Too many to mention but I’ll say The Stone Roses at Spike Island, awful sound but brilliant memory/experience.
Shakey - Neil Young’s Biography by Jimmy McDonough
‘I Want To See The Bright Lights Again’ - Richard & Linda Thompson