About Phoenix Sound

Give us the background... when and why did you decide to open a record shop?

I started working for Virgin Records in the Bristol store in 1982 - an exciting time. Then spent 10 years, suffering the indignity of being 'bought' by Our Price, who gradually ruined everything to the stage where I left in 1992 to become a teacher. 10 years of that, then the opportunity arose to get my own shop and I was back in like a shot. Everyone said I was mad....

We are a fairly mainstream shop, not unlike an old Virgin or Our Price in many ways (surprise, surprise) with a range of all genres and formats. We're not too proud to sell X Factor singles - it means we can also play and sell the music we love. If you'd come in yesterday you'd have heard Hiss Golden Messenger, Steve Miller, Hayley Bonar, The Beatles, Wilson Pickett, etc - you get the picture! We sell so much from people hearing stuff in the store. Yesterday we also stuck on some old Peter Green era Fleetwood Mac and sold 3 copies!

I grew up in Paignton - small seaside town in Devon - with 7 places you could buy records. That was the 70s! I recall getting the staff in Woolworths to play the whole of Beefheart's Lick My Decals Off one Saturday afternoon. But the first one I bought is not so cool - unless you are a fan of Australian folk foursomes...in my defence I was 9 years old.

Naturally I always have to check all record stores out - I love a good 2nd hand shop and we have a great one nearby in Teignmouth.

The best instore I ever did was back in the Virgin days - we got Frankie Goes To Hollywood to open the Torquay store. Utter chaos. Two Tribes was Number 1. And Relax was Number 3! A certain member of the band requested coke and was bemused when my mate Roger got him a can from the fridge...

Alabama Shakes at the End Of The Road secret gig a few years ago - I'll swear I levitated. Or Bowie at Torquay Pavilion, the week before Starman was on TOTP and everything changed. Or Beefheart at the Rainbow. Or...

Loads - but I recommend Thin He Was & Filthy Haired by Robert Llewellyn - brilliant 70s memoir.

2001 - I saw it when it came out. I was 11 and my mind was officially blown. I read an article explaining what it meant once but have forgotten every word. Doesn't matter.

Be My Wife, Bowie Direct Me, Otis Sunday Morning, Velvet Underground and nearly everything by the Kinks.

I don't think you could beat the 1983 Saturday night line up I saw there - King Sunny Ade and Curtis Mayfield. Take me back! 

The Kinks - Arthur, Or The Decline & Fall of the British Empire