Through farmer’s market haze and foodie festivals sits The Record Truck. Think senior shuttle but replace the octogenarians with vinyl. Stacks of vinyl. Kirk Dominguez has gussied up his truck with a Rat Fink statue, some rock icon posters and a genuine mobility that is part cramped, part swap meet. He’s selling vinyl records on the move throughout Southern California furthering the theory that anything can be purchased off the back of a truck. When I met Dominguez he was parked on the fringe of a food truck festival in the Highland Park neighborhood. I purchased an Elvis LP for $6.
What does it mean to you to sell records for a living?
It means I am capable of surviving doing something I have excelled at for over 30 years; buying records.
Your last job?
Millionaire in training; real estate
Some people say that records made a comeback, but others would argue that they never really left. How do you see it?
I’m so entrenched into vinyl that I never thought they went out of style. When CD’s came around in the late 80’s EVERYONE dumped their vinyl & purchased CD’s. Those were the golden years for records. I would run around, up & down the coast buying up records for $1.99 to $3.99. All those records now fetch anywhere up to $20 to $200.
What does your personal collection look like?
I call it a library. At its phatest it’s ballooned to over 15,000, but currently it’s a more manageable 10,000. I have a little of everything. Mostly jazz, blues & punk, some glam & a lot of post-hardcore too.
Rarest or most prized record?
I’m obsessed with test-pressings. I own a few hundred, but my most prized record is actually an acetate, or lacquer, if you will. It’s a set of reference disc’s made by Chris D of the Misfits, Walk Among Us LP.
What makes your shop unique?
As far as i know, I’m the only record store on wheels, completely mobile. I hand inspect & research every single record. Every record I sell has an OBI where I clearly label. A- what pressing it is (1st, 2nd, reissue), B- the overall condition (NM, EX, VG, G & B), C- the year it was released, D- what country it originated in, E- label it’s on F-G-H- if the LP has a Gatefold, Printed Dust Sleeve or an Insert. And I- Notes section where I describe the physical condition of said LP (vinyl is shiny & glossy, cover has light ring wear etc.)
I also outfit every single LP in a Japanese resealable sleeve. this way peoples’ (naturally) greasy finger tips don’t cause the LP damage and by doing this I don’t need to put an adhesive sticker on the cover of the LP. Basically if you are a record collector on any level my shop is heaven on wheels.
What is your background in music and how do you think it helps in the record selling business?
I have been collecting records since I was about 13 years old. Over 30 years. Also, I have been photographing/documenting underground music (punk/harDCore/post-harDCore/noise & grunge) since I was 15. Eventually starting my own fanzine in high school. After a few years of struggling I folded my zine and went on to write, photograph for FLIPSIDE where I stayed until I felt the underground music scene had nothing new to offer; the mid-90’s.
Could you recommend an album that needs to be listened to on vinyl?
All music should be heard on a turntable.
Now some record labels include a free digital download with their LPs. Do you think this defeats the purpose of selling a physical copy?
That option never interrupted me because I don’t listen to music on a computer.
Will cassette tapes ever see a rise in popularity?
I sell a lot of tapes and it’s a great DISPOSABLE format for enjoying music in a car or at the beach. But it is NOT to be taken seriously as it is a very delicate format.