“Most people into vinyl have an addiction,” says Eric Howarth. He’s only half-joking. Howarth’s collection numbers in the neighborhood of 1000 records, and it’s been bigger. “I’ve been tearing it down over the past year. I got to a point where I had so many records that it was kind of ridiculous. Then again,” he admits, “half the fun of collecting is going out and finding records.”
I catch up with Howarth by phone on a Saturday afternoon while he takes a break from spinning records at the Whistle Stop in South Park. He calls that gig a fun holdover from the days when M Theory, a record shop he both founded and operated, was across the street in South Park. He sold M Theory, which has since relocated to Mission Hills, over three years ago.
But Howarth’s not out of the record business entirely. He plans to launch the Vinyl Junkies Record Swap on Saturday, August 3, at the Casbah. “This is the first one. I was talking to [Casbah owner] Tim Mays about vinyl and stuff one day,” he says, “and the idea of bringing a record swap to the Casbah and just having a fun afternoon came together. We’ll be pretty much using all the space there — the patio, the Atari lounge, the main room, and the stage.”
The idea of a record swap in a nightclub isn’t entirely original. Rocket from the Crypt founder John Reis used to hold one at a venue he co-owns in North Park called Bar Pink. Josh Barnes promoted record swaps at the Shakedown while he was working there, and the Tower Bar was home to a record show as well.
“The L.A. Record Truck — that’s a record store on wheels — he’s coming down, too. This isn’t just for serious collectors; it’s also for people who are just getting into collecting.”
Since divesting himself last year of Hi-Speed Soul, the record label he owned for six years, Howarth says he’s onto something different that he refuses to discuss. “I’m working on a couple of ideas, but I can’t really divulge anything yet.”
2501 Kettner Boulevard, Little Italy
In the meantime, Howarth plans to stage his Vinyl Junkies swaps bimonthly. “There’ll be deejays and drinks and food,” he says. “That’s a different angle.” The 21+ swap is either $3 at the door or free with a canned-food donation. “I was really careful to make sure that all the vendors have great reputations,” he says. “There’s gonna be something there for everybody.”
The August 3 swap at the Casbah (a 21+ venue) is from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m.