Rhino rising (temporarily)

rhino.jpgRhino Records was one of the glories of the Los Angeles music scene, the record store that spawned the label that did more than any other to preserve and protect back-catalogue pop music. Founded by Richard Foos in 1973, the Westwood Boulevard store was a ramshackle place crammed to the rafters with music of almost every stripe. You never knew what you were going to find there, and it seems like everybody who was in Los Angeles from the early '70s through the mid-2000s has a Rhino story. (Here's mine: My wife bought me a gift certificate to the store as a birthday present. It was signed by the store manager on duty, one Scott Kempner. Figuring it was better than even money that this was Scott "Top 10" Kempner, who'd been the guitarist in The Dictators, founded The Del-Lords and backed the great Dion DiMucci in a one-off called Dion 'n' Little Kings, I took my Del-Lords CD into the store with me and asked. It was. I couldn't tell whether Kempner was pleased to be asked to sign the CD, or embarrassed. Later, in Rhino's dying days, I heard he'd decamped across town to Amoeba Music, which is today the largest surviving record store in town. Sic transit gloria.)

The store closed in early 2006, shortly after the shuttering of Aron's, the other legendary music shop in town, and record shopping in Los Angeles has never really been the same. Amoeba is good but it's huge, and its very size can be intimidating. (The first time I walked through its doors I almost literally started to hyperventllate, and had to turn around and leave.) So I'm curious to see what Rhino's latest incarnation, a two-week pop-up store just down the street from the old location, has to offer. Proceeds go to Chrysalis Enterprises, an LA charity. I'm headed over there in the rain today, money in my pocket. If you're in LA, you should too.