Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Chicks-a-palooza Party

Chick's Legendary Records Party
The Ottobar
2549 N. Howard Street
August 31, 2014

The Legendary Chick Veditz

Veni, Vedi, Veditz. Harry "Chick" Veditz: he came, he saw and he conquered the local music scene by opening a legendary record store - Chick's Legendary Records on Sulgrave Avenue in Mount Washington Village - with partner Don Webb back in the late '70s. As Rafael Alvarez recalled in a 1992 Baltimore Sun tribute ("A swan song for Chick's record store"), "Back in the glory days of Chick's Legendary Records, gangs of rock 'n' roll bands would hound owner Harry Veditz Jr. for the chance to play for free at his annual summer thank-you party for customers. That was in 1978, during the first flowering of the punk movement in America, when the record store was on Sulgrave Avenue." Over the years, the record store specializing in hard-to-find vinyl and local tunes would move to Smith Avenue and later Reisterstown Road, before finally closing in 1992, a victim of the rising popularity of cassettes and compact discs. "You have to move with the times," he lamented to The Sun. "I didn't."

T-shirt commemorating Chick's Legendary Records' First Anniversary Party: July 14, 1978

Slickee Boy Mark Noone and Katie Katatonic enjoy a cold one at Chick's 2nd Anniversary Party

I recall those days well, having been in Thee Katatonix, one of the bands that successfully hounded "Chick" to play at his 2nd Anniversary Party in 1979. Of course, the default house band at any Chick's party was always his beloved Slickee Boys, and no one championed them more than Chick. (Alas, the Slickee Boys are now no more as well.)

36 years later, Chick's Legendary Records is long gone, but neither Chick nor his fans are forgotten. That's why Chick is hosting a private party for his friends at The Ottobar on Saturday, August 31 to celebrate his glory days - as well as other notable milestones. As he wrote in his evite:

Among the many occurrences the party is to celebrate-the 30th anniversary of Arlene and Chick; my 31 years with the State of Mayland and pending retirement at the end of January 2015 (another party then); What would have been the 36th anniversary of Chick's Legendary Records (I missed the 33 1/3 party opportunity); the 31 years since the Orioles won the World Series; The many summer parties at my parents place on Bodkin Creek; record store employees reunion; softball players reunion; mini Marble Bar reunion; seeing friends, relatives, and co-workers; and I have wanted to throw a party for a long time.

As we go to press, at least two bands - Chelsea Graveyard and Garage Sale - are scheduled to play, with possible guest appearances from the great local bands of the last 40 years.

Video killed the radio stars and CDs killed record stores like Chick's, so it's rather ironic to see vinyl make a comeback as a hipster collectible these days. If he were opening a record store in Mount Washington Village today, he might actually flourish. Still, Chick remains a committed to the purity of vinyl uber alles. As he told Alvarez,

As Chick told Rafael Alvarez, "I'll argue with any CD lover that albums still sound better," he said. "And I like the packaging of albums, the art that comes with them. I know that albums scratch, skip and pop, but we have CDs that do the same thing."

Though Chick still has his private collection of over 12,000 LPs and 7,000 45s,  in recent years he's devoted himself to his other passion, selling baseball and other collectible cards at area flea markets and conventions.

My girlfriend Amy Linthicum remembers she sold all her 10cc records there



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