• Vinyl Revolution Spreads to Pacific Grove

    by Peter Mounteer

    Owner Bob Gamber-0724After 20 years and hundreds of thousands of records, Bob Gamber at Vinyl Revolution in Monterey is packing up shop. He’s moving his business from its 230 Lighthouse Avenue location to a new location at 309B Forest Avenue in Pacific Grove. The building he’s operating out of now has been condemned by the City of Monterey for being structurally unsafe. Gamber speculates the building may have been damaged in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake that rocked California’s Central Coast.

    Whatever the reason, Gamber’s last day in the Monterey location will be August 22. He says it feels like just yesterday when he first opened for business in 1994. After working at various record stores around the peninsula, Gamber decided he wanted to work for himself. He was once a roadie for Metallica and accompanied the influential thrash metal band, Death Angel, on a tour of Japan in the late 1980s.

    Gamber’s zeal for music of all kinds, but particularly rock and roll, is evident the moment you walk into his store. The business features shelf upon shelf of records, many of which are decades old. The walls are lined with posters of big name artists like Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix and those of a lesser known ilk who released material independently on small labels. When Gamber talks about the old days, there’s a twinkle in his eye as he describes with palpable energy the things he’s seen after almost 40 years of following a passion he kindled at the tender age of 15. He has been collecting records for decades and could only quantify the size of his personal collection with a single word: “many.”

    Starting out with a late girlfriend’s record collection, some unwanted stuff from Recycled Records down the street, and $10,000 dollars he borrowed from his dad, Gamber set up shop. Over the years the store’s collection has grown substantially.

    He’s kept his shoulder to the wheel and for the last twenty years the wheel has been turning. Seven days a week from 10a.m. to 6p.m. its been Gamber all the way. He says he’s going to miss the Monterey location, which has allowed him to hold a substantial inventory of vinyl records, cassette tapes and CDs. The new location will be a smaller space for Gamber to manage. “I’m excited to have a different kind of shop,” he said. “Its almost going to have a boutique kind of feel, but without the specialization. I’ll still carry all the genres and formats I’ve been selling.”

    Some of the material on the walls will be coming down for good. Gamber intends to sell that merchandise. “I’ve enjoyed it all for a long time, its somebody else’s turn now,” he said of the decorations.

    He would love to run a vinyl only store. When Vinyl Revolution opened in 1994 it did so as the CD was becoming the premier format of choice for record companies to release their content. Gamber hopped on the CD bandwagon to help support sales and appeal to a younger generation that was more interested in the  convenience of the CD format than overall sound quality provided by vinyl. He stopped keeping up with format changes after CDs became popular. To that end, Gamber has never used a computer or a cell phone to purchase music over the internet. The advent of the MP3 format and iTunes music store that rocked the music industry did not phase the vinyl aficionado. “Vinyl is king, man. A CD will be unusable in ten or fifteen years but vinyl, if it’s well taken care of, can last a century.” He said of the format. “This is a format that stands the test of time. It’s one of the coolest things we’ve ever invented! I gotta keep it going man. People like me need this format to stick around. We collect them, this is what we do.”

    Gamber is referring to something called “disc rot.” A phenomenon that occurs in all compact discs that involves the gradual degradation of the reflective layer of a CD, which is made of highly reactive aluminum metal that oxidizes easily in the presence of oxygen or sulfur. So a scratch that penetrates the protective layer lacquer present on a CD has the potential to oxidize the aluminum it exposes, causing laser within the player to be unable to read that part of the disc. The disc gradually becomes less and less readable as scuffs from wear and tear repeat this process over and over.

    Gamber’s last day of business will be July 22, after which he will begin moving his merchandise to the Pacific Grove. Vinyl Revolution will reopen for business on August 1.

    All kinds of stuff-0710

    posted to Cedar Street Times on July 18, 2013

    Topics: Front PG News, Peter Mounteer

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