Elvis in Village Music docu. , 2011

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Elvis in Village Music docu. , 2011

Postby johnfoyle » Thu Dec 28, 2006 2:59 pm

One of Elvis' favourite stores is closing.



Some of my best discoveries have been made in what may be the greatest record collecting store in the world: Village Music in Mill Valley, California. Any shop that confronts you with its own ever-changing "hall of fame" (Which might include a Lester Young, The Fairfield Four, some Bill Monroe and a great Otis Rush anthology) AND a rack called "sometimes the cover is enough" featuring such classics as Music For Sleepwalkers, Must be doing something right.

It was here that I bought The Supremes Sing Holland/Dozier/Holland. It included some of their own best-sellers and "covers" of other Motown artists' hits such as "Same old song" and "Heatwave".

Kojak Variety sleevenote


John Goddard, owner of Village Music in Mill Valley, stands with a life-size cutout of Conway Twitty in the third room of albums in June 2000. Goddard says high rents downtown are unreal' and play a major role in his decision to close the music mecca after five decades. (IJ archive/Jeff Vendsel)

Swan song for Mill Valley music mecca
Paul Liberatore
Marin Independent Journal
Article Launched:12/27/2006 08:09:16 PM PST

Village Music, the famed rock 'n' roll record store that has been a hip institution in Mill Valley for a half century, is closing in the new year.
John Goddard, who has owned and operated the nationally known vinyl-emporium-cum-rock-museum since 1968, will selling his vast trove of vintage records and rock memorabilia over the next nine months and shutting his well-worn Dutch door for good at the end of September.

Goddard, a familiar figure around town in his ever-present Village Music T-shirt, jeans and Converse tennis shoes, cited the burden of higher and higher rent in downtown Mill Valley as the major factor in his decision to call it quits after five decades.

"Bottom line is, I can't pay the rent here," he said. "If I could afford it, I'd stay open. But I really can't blame my landlord because, as high as the rent is, it's lower for this building than most of the buildings in town. In the whole town the rents are unreal. It's a fact of life in Mill Valley."

The funky shop at 9 E. Blithedale Ave. - its walls papered with vintage posters and rock collectibles - has been a favorite hangout for roots music fans and record collectors as well as some of the biggest names in pop, rock, jazz, R&B and blues.

George Lucas researched the soundtrack for "American Graffiti" at Village Music, and B.B. King, Bonnie Raitt, Tom Waits, Ry Cooder, Mel Torme and Elvis Costello are among the many stars who have shopped there over the years.

"There were times when B.B. King came in on every tour," Goddard recalled. "I'll never forget the day he pulled up here with both his tour buses. He wouldn't let the band go to their hotel until he came here first. He must have had 40 people waiting in the buses while he came in and bought some records. He's been a huge fan of the store over the years."

Kathy Severson, executive director of the Mill Valley Chamber of Commerce, was shocked when she heard the news.

"There goes an institution," she said. "I hate to see this happen. John Goddard is an icon in town. This is very sad for all the people who come from near and far to enjoy what he's kept dear. I'm very sorry to hear this."

Born and raised in Mill Valley, the 63-year-old Goddard began working at Village Music in 1957, when he was a 13-year-old record collector just discovering the roots of rock 'n' roll.

"By working in the store I got a discount on my records," he remembered. "I pretty much went from Elvis Presley to Little Richard to Muddy Waters in a space of about eight months."

In 1968, he took over the business and built it into a shop that is revered among rock music cognoscenti and collectors of rare and vintage vinyl records.

But, in recent years, Village Music fell victim to the economic shifts in the music industry, unable to compete in the iPod era with Internet music sales, the rise of the CD, aging baby boomers no longer buying records and changes in taste among young music buyers.

"The fact that the record business isn't much fun anymore had a lot to do with my decision to close," Goddard said. "But there are a lot of things."

Known as much for speaking his mind as his knowledge of roots music, Goddard blamed a lack of support from people in the community for contributing to the demise of Village Music.

"The fact is that this store isn't supported locally anymore," he complained. "Twenty years ago, 80 percent of my business was local, and now 80 percent of my business is out of town.

"I'm going to spend the next nine months talking to people bemoaning the fact that I'm not going to be here anymore, and these will be people who haven't bought anything here in 20 years," he added. "There's going to be a big uproar about how sad it is that I'm going away, but the uproar is going to come from people who don't shop here. If I sound a little bitter, it's because I'm a little bitter."

Over the decades, Goddard celebrated various anniversaries and occasions by producing and hosting memorable concerts at nearby Sweetwater nightclub with stars such as John Lee Hooker, Jerry Garcia, Carlos Santana and Robert Cray as well as reviving the careers of lesser known R&B legends like Bettye LaVette, Howard Tate and Little Jimmy Scott.

He said he would not be averse to selling the business to someone else, although he can't imagine why anyone would want to buy it.

"It just isn't feasible anymore," he said. "And it hasn't been feasible for a long time."

Last edited by johnfoyle on Mon Dec 05, 2011 7:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby verbal gymnastics » Tue Jan 02, 2007 9:41 am

It's such a shame to read stories like this. But there's a lot of realism in John Goddard's words.
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My how things have changed

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Postby johnfoyle » Mon Mar 26, 2007 2:07 am

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.c ... OMBI51.DTL

San Francisco Chronicle

Aidin Vaziri

Sunday, March 25, 2007

( extract)


After nearly 40 years of operating this Mill Valley institution, Village Music owner John Goddard announced that he was planning to permanently shut its doors in September.
"I got this place rolling on my own terms, I ran it on my own terms, and I'm closing it on my own terms," he says.

There are several reasons, he says, among them a lack of local support and general burnout. But ultimately it was a business decision.

"The price of rent in Mill Valley is absolutely insane," says Goddard, who started working at Village Music in 1957, when he was 13, and took over in 1968. "I can't afford to stay open."

In recent years, the cluttered warehouse -- stocked with a treasure trove of 33s, 45s, 78s and rock 'n' roll memorabilia -- has mostly served as a popular destination for international collectors and touring musicians such as Tom Waits, B.B. King and Elvis Costello, who once called it "the greatest record-collecting store in the world."

Goddard says the only thing that has kept him around this long is stubbornness.

"The man created the store out of nothing and operated it almost as a public service to the community," says blues guitarist Ry Cooder, who recently made an in-store appearance at Village Music. "But that's not good enough anymore."

Many regulars would like to see it granted landmark status by the city, which they feel is quickly homogenizing.

"It's sad to see an institution close," says Richard Vivian, owner of San Francisco's Rooky Ricardo's record store. "It should be a museum."

But Goddard doesn't seem likely to change his mind in the next few months.

"I might be open to the idea of somebody buying the store and having me run it for a while, but it depends on the day you ask me," he says.

In the meantime, Village Music will get a bang-up goodbye. Costello has agreed to perform in the store sometime in May, and DJ Shadow (Marin resident Josh Davis) has designs on playing every day in September until the doors close for good.

"Might as well," Goddard says. "He's practically paying my rent now."

9 E. Blithedale Ave., Mill Valley. (415) 388-7400, http://www.villagemusic.com.

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Postby johnfoyle » Wed May 02, 2007 3:04 pm

Elvis says goodbye to his favorite record store on thursday, May 3

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Re: Village Music in Mill Valley to close

Postby johnfoyle » Mon Dec 05, 2011 7:25 pm


Kickstarter campaign launched for film on Mill Valley's Village Music

Marin Independent Journal

Mill Valley

Filmmaker Gillian Grisman and her musician brother, Monroe, are raising money through Kickstarter.com for their nearly completed documentary on Mill Valley's legendary Village Music.

Titled "Village Music: Last of the Great Record Stores," the film tells the story of the famed vinyl emporium and its longtime proprietor, John Goddard. The store closed in 2007 after decades of serving record collectors, casual fans and famous musicians.

The documentary features appearances by Elvis Costello, DJ Shadow, B.B. King, Ry Cooder, Bonnie Raitt, Sammy Hagar, Bob Weir, Huey Lewis, Jerry Garcia, John Sebastian, Maria Muldaur and the filmmakers' father, David Grisman, among a host of others.

To view a video and make a financial pledge, go online at http://www.kickstarter.com and enter "Village Music" in the search field.

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Re: Elvis in Village Music docu. , 2011

Postby Man out of Time » Thu Mar 22, 2012 7:38 pm

An update on this documentary film which still seems to be happening and claims to be in post-production, although the director is still looking for funding. According to the fundraising page on Kickstarter.com:

"Some of my best discoveries have been made in what may be the greatest record collector store in the world: Village Music in Mill Valley" -Elvis Costello


Village Music: Last of The Great Record Stores is a compelling music documentary that celebrates the life of an American musical institution and the tremendous impact it had on the famous (and not-so-famous) patrons who were part of itʼs unique history. The film includes candid interviews, rare archival performances, exclusive in-store appearances and all-star tribute concerts. With over thirty artists featured, the film interweaves Village Musicʼs vibrant past and rich musical community with the final six months of its existence – marking the true end of an era. In doing so, it also tells the larger story of the many changes the music business has undergone and the direction itʼs heading - a world where listeners download invisible music and the album is considered a dying art. Even though Village Music is now closed and the last of Goddardʼs rare vinyl and memorabilia is to be sold off, the film has preserved this extraordinary, one-of-a-kind chapter in music history for generations to come.

You can see a trailer for the film here:


In the trailer Elvis is interviewed in-store and shown playing PLU at the closing day concert. If you pledge US Dollars 500 to the cost of the film you'll receive a large Elvis Costello Concert poster and a special thanks in the credits of the film.


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