A Visit To Generation Records

February 14, 2014 — Leave a comment

As a recently-concluded St. Patrick’s Day celebration ended, I wandered the neighborhood around Washington Square Park, not really ready to head home yet. Turning onto Thompson Street in the fading dusk, I spotted a familiar red awning.

I had been there enough times to know that it was futile to tell myself I would “just browse, don’t buy.” It simply couldn’t be done. With that comforting knowledge, I was under no delusions as I stepped in.

Generation Records is a fine establishment indeed, specializing in metal and punk music. Serious vinyl junkies are especially fond of it–for pure selection, it’s almost impossible to beat. Loaded with vintage posters and artwork, as well as its selection of new vinyl, CDs, and DVDs make its ground floor impressive enough upon walk-in.

But as serious fans know, including Miss Awesome who introduced me to the store, the “real” Generation Records is downstairs.

The used section is in the basement, and as you clang down the metal steps past the posters of Radiohead, Slayer, and the movie “Begotten,” the tantalizing smell of used music rises to meet you. It’s a different vibe from upstairs, and although the CDs and vinyl down here are a bit more scuffed and scratched, it is here that I’ve consistently found the most heavy metal-related treasures. Many times have I flipped through the enormous variety of shirts and posters, several of which hang in my apartment. I found one of my favorites, a vintage Who poster, here.


But tonight after a few strong ales, I felt even more inclined to buy the entire store than usual. I made a beeline for the used metal CD rack, and as I glanced around I kept expecting to see someone crouched on the floor to examine the lower shelves of vinyl.

I had caught Generation Records at a very opportune time. Someone (I have no idea who) had unloaded the entire Judas Priest discography onto one of the fortunate shelves, more than a dozen all told at $7-8 a pop. If I didn’t already have most of it myself…

But there’s always at least one incredible find in the basement of Generation, whether you’re looking for it or not. It was only a matter of time before my eyes would settle on an album that screamed out, “BUY ME!!!”

I didn’t have to wait long. Just one shelf down from the “J”s was the pink, red, and black cover of Kreator’s thrash classic, “Pleasure to Kill,” mocking me with its $7 price tag. And then there was the Black Sabbath live set “Live Evil” with Ronnie James Dio, that lineup’s last effort for ten years in a clamshell case the double-CDs don’t come in anymore.

With a colossal effort of the will, I tore myself away from the shelf. I had to stop at two, which was tough as I thought about the other classic albums I had picked up here on the cheap: The Stooges’ “Fun House.” Cradle of Filth’s “Midian.” Morbid Angel’s “Blessed Are the Sick.”

The point is, go. And when you do, back up the dump truck.

210 Thompson Street, New York, NY




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