Thursday, February 11, 2021

2021 - It’s a start.

Hi everybody. I hope you all fare well. Things at Twist And Shout are pretty good. We have stuck with our safety measures and as a result we have gotten through three major national peaks with nobody on our staff getting sick. I’m so pleased with this. It was my most fervent desire that customers and employees remain safe above all else. Happily, business has almost returned to pre-pandemic levels, even with the limited capacity shopping. You, our beloved community of music-lovers, have figured out the rules and just gone about your music-loving ways. We are all so grateful for you patronage and friendship. In spite of the fact that we could be doing much more business if we’d just throw open the doors and damn the torpedoes, that’s not what’s going to happen. We will continue with this course until we as a staff feel that it is safe to do otherwise. Things are starting to look better, locally and nationally, but we have learned that relaxing regulations has resulted in explosive growth. This time it’s a little different, because we (thankfully) have vaccines nipping at the heels of this damn disease. So, the end of this hell is in sight, but we are going to wait a bit longer before we start the party. Maybe this year’s Record Store Day - Saturday June 12th - will signal the return to our old lives - we’ll see. Until then let’s stay safe everybody!

I believe we will all be permanently changed by the events of the last year. I know I will. Here are two reasons. Many customers continue to ask me about ‘Stereo Pete.” Pete Fassoulis, also known as Peter Fast and Stereo Pete, passed away two nights ago. He had been struggling with a terrible disease called PSP for a few years. Pete was one of my best friends and a building block in the Twist And Shout story. Years ago, I did a Fred Neil radio special on KGNU in Boulder. The next day a guy came into the store and said “Are you the guy who did the Fred Neil special?” I was, and it was the beginning of a long friendship. We bonded over music. Pete lived for music. He was such a true believer. He had moved to New Orleans for a number of years so he could be closer to the source. He lived his life without fear or artifice. He didn’t care about being cool, or rich, or with it - he was just Pete, a guy who loved music, fixed stereos and made life more interesting for others. Pete would eventually become the stereo fixit guy for Twist And Shout, building a loyal clientele of old-school hi-fi nuts who trusted Pete to diagnose and fix their sound woes. For me, the important thing was that I got to eat lunch at El Taco De Mexico with a great friend every Saturday for over a decade. Oh man did we laugh. I will miss Pete for the rest of my life.

Hard to believe someone could be even more important to me, but on January 25th I also lost my Mother, Miriam Epstein. She was 99 and succumbed to COVID 19. It was awful. The last year has been so hard. I haven’t been able to hold her hand and comfort her in the last year of her life. I felt so helpless. Any good thing about me came from my Mother. She taught me to not judge people, but find the good in them. She was incredibly proud of Twist And Shout and never wavered in her support of me. Over the years, I’ve seen how debilitating a bad parent can be to people. When I think about my life, the one overriding truth is that a good Mother can set one up for a good life. I had the best Mother. The best! Here’s a picture of my Mother, my wife Jill (right) and my sister-in-law Peggy. Three women I love!

I wish you all the best. Hold on to your favorite records and hold on to those that you love.
Paul Epstein