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The El Cajon Wherehouse closes its doors forever tonight. One insider says that its managers will likely be transferred to other stores but that many employees will be out of a job. In the early '90s there were 23 Wherehouse stores countywide; after today there will be one in Escondido and one in Del Mar.

El Cajon's Blue Meannie record store, meanwhile, recently faced a similar fate.

"Christmas ended up okay, but I was shitting myself the first two weeks of December," says store owner Norm Leggio. "I was seriously thinking about getting out altogether. But I started thinking about what I could do. I haven't had a real job since I was 18.... I thought maybe I'll work for the House of Blues. I put shows on now and then. Then I thought, 'I love boob. Maybe I'll get a job managing a strip club.' I love Little Darlings in Spring Valley."

Leggio eventually decided to open band-rehearsal rooms; to do so he'll divide his 3000-square-foot building in half. He plans to ask for between $300 and $500 per month for each space.

"I already have bands asking to move in," says Leggio. "You can't get a better creative vibe than practicing in the back of a record store. If I rent to a cover band, hopefully they can buy a CD from me to learn a song."

Leggio has hosted in-store concerts at Blue Meannie since he took over the store in 1995. The last Blue Meannie show is this Saturday at 1 p.m. Appearing will be Asesino (members of Static-X and ex-members of Fear Factory) and both bands that Leggio plays drums in: Broken Foundation and Brick Bath.

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