Growing up in the southern half of Missouri, I didnt have much access to a record store in the traditional sense. We had Wal-Mart and Sam Goody and Tower in the mall in St. Louis or the tiny now defunct Coast-to-Coast records in my hometown of Farmington. So when I first visited the stretch of Delmar Avenue in St. Louis University City called The Loop, I was amazed to find a fantastic record store that actually had records! They had CDs sure, but also vinyl! So much glorious vinyl for me to waste my money on since I didnt actually have a record player. Worth it. The music and vinyl Mecca was Vintage Vinyl – a St. Louis institution for 30 years.
The Loop in St. Louis is a sort of arts and shopping haven for artists and hip kids (think an incredibly condensed Wicker Park for you Chicago kids), so obviously as a 15 or 16-year-old wannabe hip kid I was drawn to it like a moth to the flame. Once I discovered it I spent many a day wandering down the mile-ish long strip of Delmar going into vintage shops, eating Middle Eastern food (WHAT?!), going to shows at The Pageant, and shopping for records at Vintage Vinyl. I remember my friends and I searching through stacks and stacks of CDs looking for any Saddle Creek band singles, Radiohead imports, or local St. Louis bands albums we could get our hands on. Vintage Vinyl always delivered.
Their collection of local St. Louis music was, and still is, extensive and they do a great job of helping local bands out by selling the bands merch and CDs. I bought a few CDs by The Urge, Fragile Porcelain Mice, and So Many Dynamos. I also bought a few t-shirts there I believe, including a Rage Against the Machine t-shirt that I was forced to turn inside out in high school because it had nuns holding guns on it. Just the man holding me back.
Vintage Vinyl not only has a fantastic selection of music from all over, but they also have some pretty great bands come through to play in-store shows. Looking at their back log of performances on their website they have everyone from Marilyn Manson to Chingy to Rob Zombie to The Donnas. Not all have played, but they have done CD signings and such in the store. Anything that the store can do to bring the bands closer to their fans they do, and that is definitely invaluable. Especially for kids or teenagers to be able to see their music heroes up close for a quick hello and a signed CD.
In writing this article it makes me miss The Loop and Vintage Vinyl quite a bit. The long troughs of CDs and albums, the in-stores, and just the overall good vibes of the store are something you cant find just anywhere. Many local St. Louis musicians, famous musicians mind you (Chuck Berry for one), make it a point to stop in and shop their extensive blues and jazz sections (what St. Louis is known for after all) as well as perform there and in The Loop. If you are making your way through St. Louis and need a break from the road I definitely suggest making a stop at the marquee and buying an arms load a vinyl. Totally worth it I promise.
6610 Delmar Boulevard
St Louis, MO 63130-4503
Click here to view a schedule of upcoming events.