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Music store to go quiet

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Johnny Mathis lives here, so do Metallica, The Monkees and Mott the Hoople.

They stand shoulder-to-shoulder on the shelves lining the walls, and back-to-back in the wooden record bins.

"People like their records, you know," said Brittany Nasser, manager of the Last Vestige music shop, where the history of music is present in all its forms, including CD, DVD, cassette and vinyl — those big, mainly black, 12-inch platters that once ruled the musical world before the birth of their polycarbonate plastic offspring, known as the compact disc.

The used record shop opened on Broadway in Saratoga Springs in 1999, a secondary location to the company’s original Albany store. It has served the community well, delivering a bounty of tunes for a decade at prices as cheap as a cup of coffee.

In a few weeks, however, the local store will close its doors.

Elvis will be leaving the building, and he will take all his friends with him. That is, unless Nasser has anything to do with it.

"What I’m trying to do is keep a music store in downtown Saratoga Springs," said the 24-year-old store manager.

"I feel it’s necessary to have a place like this in a college town. I mean, there are some things here that appeal to that set — the coffee shops, the bars — but how much liquid can a person consume?" she said.

Nasser has been working at the shop for the past five years. After recently learning of the company’s plans to close the store, she has set out on a mission to own a store of her own and to keep it at the present location on Broadway where she works.

Her vision is to maintain a similar-looking store that will showcase used records, CDs, tapes and vintage clothes.

She said she would like to add the works of contemporary mixed media artists as well, from the small, collectible plush toy Labbits created by designer Frank Kozik, to the works by San Francisco-based illustrator Jeremy Fish, who grew up designing skateboard decks as a teenager in Saratoga Springs.

All of it plays a role in bringing the underground, hip, rock’n’roll style full circle, she said, from the sonic legacy of its beginnings on vinyl to the creation of physical pieces made by contemporary artists.

"Back in the day, they would have been designing art for album covers," Nasser said.

The Internet has changed the business by providing an easy place where music fans can purchases something tangible, as well as download specific tunes. But Nasser said there’s something to be said for the anarchic wonder of plundering through the bins to learn what surprises may be there.

"I think there are still a lot of people who want something physical. To be able to browse through the racks, to read the descriptions, to find out something that you didn’t otherwise know," said Nasser, her frame draped in a black leather jacket that is fastened with pins, heralding the band The Misfits and singer Iggy Pop.

Nasser said she has begun the bureaucratic task of filing the necessary paperwork for starting the business, as well as putting together the funds required to operate the shop on her own.

A number of area musicians who want to see a music shop continue on Broadway have also taken up the cause.

At noon on Saturday, a fundraiser will be held at VFW Post 420 at 190 Excelsior Ave. in Saratoga Springs.

The event will feature more than a dozen bands as well as an auction and raffle. Admission is $10 and performances will continue throughout the day.

Saratoga Bureau writer Thomas Dimopoulos can be reached at His column appears on Mondays.


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