Best way to keep Tower Records’ spirit alive and kickin’

Zack Shaw of River City Record Diggers Society

Photo by ryan donahue

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Tower Records may be gone—along with The Beat and many other record stores that once dotted the area—but Sacramento might still have a chance of returning to its former glory as a record-store destination, if Zack Shaw has his way.

Shaw, whose dad was a Tower Records employee from 1964 to 1976, helped start the River City Record Diggers Society in July after recently moving to Sac from Los Angeles and hearing that The Beat was closing.

“We’re super close to [matching Los Angeles] with a rich record-selling history,” said Shaw. “This is a place where we can get great records, [and] I realized that there was a way to help people buy records.”

Though Sacramento may no longer be in its record-shop prime, it still has some good ones, and the city is certainly not short on vinyl enthusiasts: Ben Johnson (of Records on Broadway) and Marty DeAnda (of the Dig Music label) have participated in past RCRDS (perfect acronym) events, along with eight to 12 other people. The monthly traveling RCRDS swaps take place on Second Saturdays and have attracted anywhere from 50 to 100 people, and featured upward of 1,000 records at hip venues, such as Bows & Arrows and Jimmy’s Barber Garage. It’s a free-form record swap, meaning that anyone interested in selling records can email to sign up.

Shaw said he wants Sacramento to be a destination for record enthusiasts in the same sense that tour buses regularly unload shoppers at Amoeba Records in Los Angeles.

“We’ve got a bunch of guys invovled, and it’s a good, growing group of people [selling records],” Shaw said. “It’s evolving, maybe even beyond Second Saturday.” River City Record Diggers Society, .