My Jaco Moment…By Michelle S.

Back in my early eighties record store days, I was working for a record store chain that unfortunately, no longer exists. But the cool thing about working at this store was the eclectic group of people that frequented it.  Carole King stopped by buying cassette tapes of her music to use at a radio interview, the regular customer we had that came in daily around 3 p.m. to play Elvis 45’s on our record player because he said that he had to have a conversation with the King of Rock N Roll and that he would be done shortly.  Who was I to stop this conversation? It was Elvis that he was talking with! I also tried to sell Perry Farrell of Jane’s Addiction his own record because he was looking for new music.  He just laughed about it and said that it was cool that I suggested his band and music.

We had a lot of famous people that came in over the years such as WWE wrestlers, popular comedians, musicians, famous socialites etc. Back then, the pay was horrifying but the experience was well worth it.  It made me the music geek I am today.  It also turned me on to other styles of music that I would not have ever ventured into. Now musically, I bounce all over the place. Working in music retail and the antics along the way is something I won’t forget.

One special moment that I had working at this record store was when I was at the front register and this guy came into the store, at first, he just walked around looking at different things mumbling to himself but when he went to the vinyl area, he just gets upset and started throwing vinyl records everywhere.  Saying that they were garbage. So, I called my manager up to the front and asked him what we should we do? He just looked at me and said “we’re not going to do anything” I gave him a weird look and then he told me that these records can be replaced if they get damaged, but you can’t ever replace a moment basking in the likes of greatness.

I asked him what the hell are you talking about?  He said that this guy is Jaco Pastorius and he’s one of the greatest bass players in the world! He then just waited for him to finish his rant and then he went over and handed him his own album and said, “this is all you need.”  Jaco eventually calmed down and then thanked my manager and walked out the door.

It was one of the strangest times I ever had working at this store.  My manager schooled me on the importance of his music and that he had a few mental issues he was working out.  I’m sure there are a lot of other “Jaco moments” out there in the world. Sadly, Jaco passed a short time later in 1987 but, his family is still today, keeping his legacy going and he’s still revered as one of the best electric bassists of all time with the likes of James Jamerson, Victor Wooten, Cliff Burton, Jack Bruce, John Paul Jones, Geddy Lee, Les Claypool, McCartney, Flea, John Entwistle, Aston Barrett and the many others that stand out.

I have to say I became a big fan of his music and the range of techniques, his versatility of playing and the Latin influence when he was just starting out.  Even if you’re not into the funk and jazz style of music, you should still give check out his music, it’s truly inspiring!  Below is a live performance video of Jaco in action. There’s also a great documentary about him that you should check out: Which was produced by Metallica’s Robert Trujillo.

Michelle S.