Dr. Strange: I stared Dr. Strange in 1988 as a mailorder for rare Punk vinyl out of my apartment.
Hayden: What inspired you to start Dr. Strange?
Dr. Strange: I was already collecting records for myself. Had made a few good contacts in the UK (trading with people and bands) and noticed, when going to other local records stores, and throughout Holllywood they were selling records, for a LOT, and that I could for much less. I thought "Why not get a few extra when I buy for myself, and sell them for a FAIR price"?
Hayden: How have you enjoyed running Dr. Strange?
Dr. Strange: Well, put it this way. I still, after nearly 23 years, love going to "work". Having the mailorder and label has allowed me to meet tons of people, go to Europe to buy records and so much more. I'm VERY lucky. Yes, it IS a lot of hard work but worth it 100%!
Hayden: How was working with Government Issue?
Dr. Strange: No kidding, they are one of the, if not THE, best people to work with. I grew up listening to G.I.. They mean a lot to me and to call them "friend" is priceless. Great, good hearted people for sure.
Dr. Strange: Hmm... Good question. Off the top of my head I'd have to say maybe the 999 LP, "The Biggest Prize in Sport", or The Dickies "Incredible Shrinking..." Or even Devo's LP, "Duty Now for the Future". All of those are records I played non-stop as a kid, and they're still awesome releases today. Good music stands the test of time.
Hayden: I see a lot of Wattie of The Exploited on the site, if you dont mind me asking; why is this?
Dr. Strange: Oh, on the front page? Yes. I took that photo on their first U.S. tour with the UK Subs. It was an instore at a Clothing store called "London Exchange" in Costa Mesa, Ca. I just thought it was a cool photo and I needed "something" for the site so presto!
Hayden: On the site it says youve been to a lot of stores, and travelled around the world. Out of any other stores which would you reccomend and why?
Dr. Strange: Another good question. The one that comes to my mind at first is/was a great store outside of London in a city called Croydon. The next is Beano's. It was a three story building with new and secondhand records. Amazing store. I'm not sure if they are still around. I know during this Recession they were hurting. Hope they still are.
Another great one was Toxic Shock Records in Pomona, Ca. He stared out in 1979 and was THE place to get great Punk Rock. I went their while in high school. He's actually still "out there". He moved to Tuscon, AZ and changed the name to Westworld. Good guy.
Hayden: Of every venue in the world you've been to, whats the best one?
Dr. Strange: I have to go with the Whiskey in Hollywood. It's the first place I EVER saw a band play; The Dickies. I guess it's sentimental to me.
Hayden: What's the craziest thing you've seen that's happened at the store?
Dr. Strange: Well there's a LOT of "weirdos" that come into the store, almost daily! But nothing I'd classify as "crazy". Things alomost got "crazy" (out of hand) years ago (about 10-11) when we had The Casualties play. Kids in the street (13-14 year olds) drinking beer and throwing bottles at cops. I was a little nervous that things may get out of hand, but they didn't...
Dr. Strange: Extemely. I have nothing but respect for ANYONE that owns their own business. Whether it's a record store or not. Being self employed is one of the most difficult and time consuimg things you'll ever do; trust me. It's a job that you NEVER clockout from. 24/7 until you quit or die. But I couldn't imagine doing anything else.
Hayden: Is there anything youd like to do with the store in the future, if so what and why?
Dr. Strange: I did toy with the idea of opening another years ago but just having one takes up ALL my time and life is to short. I always strive to make the record better in every way; getting in more rare Records, Clothing, keeping up with demand, having instores etc... It has to remain fun for ME and the customers.
Hayden: Who all is currently under your label?
Dr. Strange: The next releases I have scheduled are:
Symbol Six lp (old Posh Boy band; released and unreleased)
Government Issue lp "s/t" (out in a month)
The Billybones lp "The Complexity of Stupidity" (lead singer of 1977's The Skulls new band)
plus a few others in the works.
Hayden: How has it been working with these people?
Dr. Strange: I've only had two "bad" experiences with bands in the past so 99% of the time it's awesome!
Hayden: Any local/small time bands you'd like to recommend?
Dr. Strange: We did have a band from back East stop by the store called No! Really cool early 80's punk/hardcore stye. I liked them a lot. A local band (old timers in the band) is Standard and Poor. Sound like a great solid "PUNK ROCK" band circa 1982 Southern California style. Very cool.
Hayden: Is the store's current location the original location?
Dr. Strange: Well, at first it was my aprtment then my house and now the store (13 years now).
Hayden: What did it take to open the store?
Dr. Strange: A LOT of saving, LOOONNNGGG hours and determination (and a little luck).
Dr. Strange: Not really. Punk has never been for the masses.
Hayden: How long have you run the store and what's been the best part of it?
Dr. Strange: Since day one. The best part is being able to hang out with customers, have some laughs and introduce them to new bands.
Hayden: What do you personally think your best release has been?
Dr. Strange: Hard to say. I've been asked that before and it really just depends on my mood at that time. I wouldn't want to hurt anyone's feelings by putting it in "print" so I'll say they are ALL amazing.
Hayden: Will you ever open a sister store elsewhere?
Dr. Strange: No. Especially not with these current bad times the world is having. Plus we have a great website so anywhere there's a computer there's a Dr. Strange Records Store.
Hayden: Well I'm gonna try and wrap this up with one last question, have you ever been to Texas, and if so how did you like it?
Dr. Strange: Yes! Years ago but only for a few days. We went to San Antonio. Nice city.