Florida. A weird and mysterious state that you gotta be from to truly understand (yours truly, Patrick, hails from the Northern “Southern” reaches of the state). Smack dab in the middle is the sprawling magical metropolis of Orlando. Largely known for its amusement parks and mosquitos, Orlando’s also got a thriving underground music scene that is centered around Rich Evan’s record shop, Wiggly World, and his label, Floridas Dying. This week we sat down with Rich to talk popsicles, the Beatles, and the strangeness of the Sunshine State.
Here we go: Record Store of the Week - Vinyl Richie’s Wiggly World of Records (Orlando, FL)!
Tell us some stuff about the shop!
Shop has been here for just over two years now. It’s an area of town called the Milk District. There is only one Milk factory so I don’t think that technically qualifies as a district, but whatever it’s Florida. We make our own rules. I’m in a free standing building at the back of a parking lot. It’s great for doing in-stores. Jay Reatard played my parking lot for the one year anniversary. The store actually grew out of my house. I started an online distro about 6 years ago, and it started to take my life over and a friend used to rent the space I am now in. Her boutique was moving to a larger location up front, so the building was available and super cheap so I snagged it.
What kinds records/CDs/ etc do you carry? Used & new? That Cramps Memphis Poseurs record I got from you kills!
I carry mainly records but also some tapes and zines. I carry a lot of punk and psych reissues, and mostly smaller current garage/ indie labels.
Is there a record you play that someone will usually buy/inquire about every time?
When I had it the Better Beatles was almost always a definite sale. An insanely understated synth and drum back track with a girl singing a monotone non-version of a Beatles classic over it. Completely stupid and totally better than the Beatles.
What’s the coolest/most prized record that has come into your store that you never thought you’d ever see?
Well unfortunately I don’t sell used vinyl at this point so for me it has been the records that are slow to show and have somehow already become ebay fodder. I don’t do the ebay thing, but it insures that the copies I sell for a reasonable price to end up there. I’m just the middle man.
How about your awesome label Floridas Dying. How did that come about? Didn’t you just celebrate 6 years?
Yeah I celebrated 6 years in January. Floridas Dying stated because Florida really does not get any respect musically, especially 6 years ago. And while I agree that a lot of what goes on here musically should be kept a secret because its shameful there are some really good bands, and some really cool people down here. I was bored here so I figured I better do something to change that. I think its been a real good run so far. I’ve brought a lot of amazing bands down here that would not have come down otherwise, and kids down here have really gravitated towards it. I’ve also got to help some bands down here get some much wider attention nationally which is a great feeling. There are a lot of good bands going on right now, and Im excited to get to be a part of it.
Are the label / shop associated?
Oh god are they associated. I spend pretty much my entire day from the time I wake up till the time I hit the bar to “unwind” working at the shop. I love what I’m doing and couln’t think of anything else I would rather be doing, but it’s a lot of work for one person, which thankfully is starting to pay off. I no longer live on a couch.
Floridas Dying has some great bands on it–Jacuzzi Boys (who just signed to Hardly Art, right?), Dead Ghosts, Shannon and the Clams, Cop City, etc the list goes on…
Yeah I put out mostly Florida bands. I’ve done two singles by the Jacuzzi Boys as well as the first LP. I also put out two Electric Bunnies singles and their full length. I’m currently working on the Cop City / Chill Pillars LP. They are a new band from Lake Worth who I’m really excited about. Also starting a reissue label called Floridas Dead. The first release will be a Roach Motel LP collection. They were an incredible hardcore band from Gainesville in the early 80′s. Floridas Dead is going to do all Florida reissues. Also just started a singles label called Total Punk! It’s gonna be a fun singles label. Real cheap hand stamped covers, two songs a record. All punk of course.
Are all of these bands local or do you have greasy A&R dudes out patrolling house party shows across the USA?
I’ve done mostly local bands, but have also done records for bands outside of Florida. Most of the bands I work with are people I know through traveling around, or have met through booking shows down here. I work pretty much exclusively with friends.
OK, what’s your favorite Light in the Attic release and why?
What’s the funniest/weirdest/strangest encounter you’ve had with a customer in the store?
I’m in a bit of a weird area in town. I had a homeless guy that would give me $20 bills for a while. That was pretty cool. He’d tell me “You look like you need $20.” Then he would produce a bill. There was a guy at the milk factory for a while who was standing up on top of the silos during his breaks, and would shoot out windows with a high powered air gun. He was going up there on his break eating popsicles and shooting holes in windows. They never caught the guy, but the police found the spot he was shooting from. There were popsicle sticks and bb’s all over the ground. There is a techno record store in the next parking lot so sometimes they have barbqs where they blast techno music and people throw fire.
The store has a ton of in-stores, right? Have a favorite?
Yeah Thomas Function did an instore that was really great. The Jay Reatard one was the biggest. I’ve also had Pink Reason, Jacuzzi Boys, and the Electric Bunnies play my parking lot. This Friday Cop City is playing.
Lastly, tell us about the scene down in Orlando. Any more cool bands we should be on the lookout for?
Lots of great bands. I play drums in a few bands so everyone should check them out. Garbo’s Daughter is great. 60′s girl group stylings. Mandy Mullins, Garbo’s Daughter mastermind, has a beautiful voice. Slippery Slopes are the go to party band in town. Fun sloppy punk. Hungry Gayze, Vein Cranes, Sexcapades. Snakehole from Miami are great. Love Handles, James, Cop City, Electric Bunnies, Jacuzzi Boys, Ghost Hospital. There are a ton of great bands.