‘It’s a tragedy’: Basement Discs to spin last in-store record – The Age

Musicians and customers are lamenting the impending closure of Melbourne CBD record store Basement Disks and praising the venue’s support associated with local acts.

Co-owner Suzanne Bennett said she was heartbroken that she and her husband, Rod Jacobs, will close the bricks-and-mortar shop, which is downstairs in the Block Arcade, after 28 years in January because of a drop within revenue.

Suzanne Bennett and Rod Jacobs at Basement Discs.

Suzanne Bennett plus Rod Jacobs at Basement Discs. Credit: Joe Armao

Although the couple will continue to run the online store and hope to reopen the physical shop some time in the future, fans are lamenting losing a famous gig venue.

Renowned Australian and international musicians such as Paul Kelly, Billy Bragg, Donovan and Justin Townes Earle have performed there.

Melbourne roots band the Teskey Brothers, who have since gained international fame, played at the store to promote their first album in 2017, and at another gig Courtney Barnett accompanied Jen Cloher on guitar.

Customers have included the Eagles’ Timothy B. Schmit plus country superstar Emmylou Harris.

Rod Jacobs at Basement Discs soon after it opened in 1994.

Rod Jacobs at Cellar Discs soon after it opened in 1994.

Bennett said that will during the COVID-19 lockdowns, revenue dropped by up to 80 per cent and it is still down by about 50 % upon pre-pandemic levels.

In May, musicians Alison Ferrier and her husband Jeff Lang raised more than $20, 000 inside a crowdfunding campaign to save the location.

Bennett said the funds had paid debts plus bought stock, but given the store’s reduced income and the particular CBD’s languishing foot traffic, the business has continued in order to struggle. Lease and rent negotiations have also failed.

Ferrier stated she is devastated.

Tony Joe White on stage at Basement Discs in 1997.

Tony Joe White on stage at Basement Dvds in 1997.

“It’s not going to be the same city without Basement Cds, ” she said.

Singer-songwriter Yolanda Ingley II mentioned the store’s closure has been “a terrible shame”.

In 2015, the store played Ingley’s first album of original material, This Dangerous Age group .

“And it sold a lot of copies and gave me a whole following of people who are still interested in my music and buy my stuff and come to gigs, ” the girl said.

Northern Irish musician Brian Kennedy (second left) and guitarist Calum MacColl with Basement Discs owners Suzanne Bennett and Rod Jacobs, date unknown.

Northern Irish musician Brian Kennedy (second left) and guitarist Calum MacColl with Basements Discs owners Suzanne Bennett and Rod Jacobs, date unknown.

Broadcaster Francis Leach said it had been “more than just a shop” – it was the place to find your tribe of songs lovers.

“It was part of a regular ritual to head there on a Saturday morning and see what was in the racks, plus it’s very sad in order to think that it’s not going to be there any more, ” he stated.

Melton’s Kevin Keay, a customer of 25 years who buys CDs in the store several times a month, said it was “very sad” the particular shop was closing.

“It’s nice to come into a store and browse, plus more importantly you get recommendations from the staff. ”

Di-vinyl: Detail from a corner of Basement Discs.

Di-vinyl: Detail from a corner associated with Basement Discs. Credit: Joe Armao

Trevor Leeden, a writer for Rhythms magazine through Glen Iris, described the closure as “just the tragedy”. He has bought thousands of records there and before COVID-19 would visit weekly.

“Suzanne and Rod both know, back to front, what they sell, ” he mentioned.

“It’s an empathy and understanding of their client base that’s missing from your chain stores. ”

He stated Basement Disks had been “a fantastic supporter of Aussie music plus pretty much every major roots music group in Australia offers played in the stage downstairs”.

Yolanda Ingley II (left) with fellow musician Sam Teskey at Basement Discs.

Yolanda Ingley II (left) with fellow music performer Sam Teskey at Downstairs room Discs.

The closure was “a reflection of the tough times”, he said, and the particular independent music store has been a “very quickly dying breed”.

One associated with the last Basement Dvds gigs will be held on Saturday from 12. 30pm, with Alyce Platt, High Ace (Jeff Lang and Alison Ferrier) and Tanya-Lee Davies performing.

Bennett stated Basement Cds might reopen as a physical shop in the future, but probably not within the CENTRAL BUSINESS DISTRICT.

She mentioned many CBD stores were for lease and some closed with 3pm due to poor pedestrian traffic, as many office workers were still working from home.

“Who knows when it will bounce back… but the vibe of the city has changed so much, ” she said. “And we’ve lost so many associated with the small, independent, interesting stores that will made the particular CBD the destination. ”

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