Having worn many different ‘hats’ within the Brighton music scene over the years, Simon Parker is a vital player in the city’s rich musical tapestry. Here, he discusses his most recent venture – Vinyl Revolution and waxes lyrical on his colourful past.
My name is Simon Parker and I am one of two Directors at Brighton’s Vinyl Revolution, a completely new experience in music retail! Previously, I played in many underwhelming bands (beginning in the late 80’s and then throughout the 90’s and into the 00’s), getting signed to record labels and publishers along the way but somehow always managing to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory!
I then set up Cable Club promotions which put on shows between 2002-2014. Highlights were many but bringing Kasabian, The Cribs, Keane and Sixty Five Days of Static to town for their first Brighton live dates was particularly memorable. I then wrote a memoir called ‘Road To Nowhere’ about my time in bands (currently being re-written for a second run!), and I then took a post at Truck Records in Oxford and helped put together a new deluxe vinyl sales floor complete with stage, coffee bar and lots of records. It was here that the idea of Vinyl Revolution first came about.
What made you decide to open up a record shop and what sets it apart from others?
My girlfriend and business partner Rachel Lowe decided to open a record shop because we were both in full agreement that record shops needed a shot in the arm to meet a new breed of customer requirements. The market had changed but the shops and staff clearly hadn’t. Vinyl has been a life-long passion of mine (I started collecting in 1979 when pocket money would allow!) and I have a decent knowledge of music and pop history.
Vinyl Revolution has done away with the awkward and unfriendly atmosphere which can be a problem in many older records shops and replaced it with a light, airy store with approachable and helpful staff! We also sell our own range of clothing, art prints and things for the home in an ethical and green manner-so our shop really is a different and unique shopping experience. We’re very proud of it!
What are your favourite places in Brighton?
We have a dog called Treacle, so we’re often out on walks! Ditchling Beacon is a favourite, followed by lunch at Riddle & Finns or The Open House! The Duke of Yorks Cinema is another great local place although we’ve not had much time for films since opening the shop! And The Prince Albert is still the best place to see live bands.
What advice would you give to a new music student in Brighton?
Pace yourself! There will be lots of things to get involved with whatever your particular interests are. If you’re forming a band there are many places to play but choose wisely or else gigs will quickly become ill-attended and drab affairs. Write, rehearse and develop your sound as much as you can and don’t do anything half-cocked because you can be sure that this will be the time someone important is watching! I would also recommend any new music student to come visit Vinyl Revolution as we are the only record store in town that offers a discount!
Name your top five desert island albums.
- Talk Talk – Spirit of Eden
- The Cure – Disintegration
- Weezer – Pinkerton
- Sex Pistols – Never Mind The Bollocks
- David Sylvian – Secrets of the Beehive