A little over three years ago, I wrotehere
in my column Revolver about the sad descent ofZia Records
from a truly indie and customer oriented record store into an algorhythmically stocked clone of chains like Tower and Best Buy. I would venture to guess that a lot of Zia's current customers don't remember back in the day when Brad Singer (who passed away in 1998) ran his company like a family, and when the store could be counted on to stock obscurities and imports that you couldn't find anywhere else.
Sadly, things haven't changed much. Except for the fact that indie bastions Eastside Records and Stinkweeds have had to downsize — Eastside cutting its store size in half, and Stinkweeds closing up its Tempe location. And Zia, it appears, has stayed its course, perhaps picking up the slack of Tower Records' recent demise.
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I haven't shopped a Zia in a while, because I don't care to support that business, but I did receive this email this morning, so I don't think things have changed for the better:
This article explains the corporate feeling you get when you arrive at the store including the unwelcome/welcome by heavy-metal costumed employees. The University location in particular (because I was there yesterday)has a real snobbish dude behind the exchange counter. "Give me five minutes," says Mr. Wonderful as he goes to organize some cd's he just ripped someone off for. I should've said "No, give ME five minutes dude, I only have a handful of cd's, why are you making me wait?" I used to like this store and the one on Thunderbird back in 1998, but it only irks you as a customer when you think you've been burnt after you leave the store and are down the road. I admit I had a couple of obscure or "dated" items like La'Boush but honestly, U2's AchTung Baby, and Pixies' Doolitle were right there in the racks and only one of each new. So, why with that little inventory would dis guy not want 1 each used. If there's that little in stock, doesn't that mean they are selling? Oh yeah a couple items were cassettes Flaminco something or other; hey like the article said wasn't the community in mind when it came to finding obscure items. Wake up and smell the corporation no surprise from Snottsdale. In a recent article in "Get Out" about Mr.Larson formerly of the Refreshments, he states he prefers the sound of cassette over cd's. OK big woop, I'm a dinosaur, I also liked the coolness of 8-tracks because yuo could find a certain part of a song if you memorized the 4 sections of the sequence, dinosaur again! OK, bottom line is I don't foresee returning to this store, if corporate is the way of the music business and people like being lead by the nose cause they have no say or believe they have no say in this administation then let's all go to Borders and get it over with. I didn't see their old Eric Burden War cd's flying off the shelves but they had the audacity to stock it!
John Cassano Phoenix Too bad. If ever we needed an indie record store to step up its game, it's now (whether you're an admitted dinosaur like John or not).