Kevin Grigsby, vinyl purist, and Deadhead is reliving and reselling the ’60s in his Lynnwood garage.
'She’s a Rainbow” by the Rolling Stones crackles from the turntable.
Aisles of records crowd the floor.
Blacklight posters cover a wall.
What’s up with that?
It's not some acid flashback. It’s The Vinyl Garage — Kevin Grigsby’s shrine to analog.
“When I was a kid in the mid-’60s, I listened to a lot of cool music. I was all happy with no money,” Grigsby said. “Now I’m in my 60s, have no money and I’m happy to be listening to music, so I became myself 50 years later.”
Now he’s an old hippie (his words), with graying curly hair and a classic Grateful Dead T-shirt.
Four days a week in warm weather he lifts the double garage doors of his makeshift music store where he buys, sells and trades.
The blue frame home at 21130 22nd Ave. W. is tucked at the end of a cul-de-sac in an unincorporated area of Lynnwood. It’s not likely you’ll just happen upon this one-stop throwback shop. He puts a sign at the corner when the doors are open, and also takes appointments at 425-492-6949.
“I’ve been buying records since I saw the Beatles on Ed Sullivan,” said Grigsby, 61. “I never quit vinyl, even when it went out of style.”
He has about 90,000 LPs, 6,000 45s and 1,000 78s. And counting.
“My problem is, for every one album I sell, 10 come in,” he said. “I have been doing this so long people bring me boxes. I pay money for them.”
It’s hardly lucrative.
“I’m not a capitalist,” Grigsby said. “I just want to get by. I just need a little bit of scratch money.”
In the vinyl garage, albums are grouped by genre in record store display bins and piled high in rows.
“The perennial sellers are Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin. More than the Beatles by far. The younger generation that buys records, they consider the Beatles as Grandma’s music. That’s like me going out and buying Lawrence Welk; I’m just not going to do it.”
Inside the home is his personal collection of 30,000 albums. “I have them insured for three-quarters of a million dollars. More than my house is. It’s only $400,000,” he said.
He’s not a capitalist. He’s a vinylist.
“Records sound so much better. You got the separation which you never got on a CD,” he said. “By 1973, engineers were making music. No matter how good you were, they made you sound great. Rock and roll got too clean. It became corporate.”
He has as many theories as albums. Sometimes, he sounds like a broken record.
Price depends on condition more than the cover. The 1980 Stevie Wonder “Hotter than July” is $3, complete with the scrawled signature of the former owner. An added feature.
“I’d rather have someone’s name on it than not. That means they took care of their records,” he said. “In the ’70s, we took them to parties. You want to make sure you took it home again.”
He tried selling online but said it takes too much time and money. “You are paying for a new computer, new software, there’s Amazon, PayPal, packing material. I don’t support the modern world anymore.”
Grigsby’s garage sale attracts sporadic — not steady — traffic.
“It’s part of the neighborhood,” said Dennis Maxwell, who lives two doors down but doesn’t partake.
Maxwell quit vinyl when it went out of style, and he likes it that way. “Now I’m a Sirius guy,” he said.
Grigsby isn’t out to convert people.
He said his wife of more than 20 years likes Top 40 tunes.
“She doesn’t go deep when it comes to music,” he said. “She likes Lady Gaga.”
Don’t get him started on Lady Gaga.
He won’t play her music, but he honors his wife’s request that he not wear a band T-shirt when they go out.
“I have 200 rock shirts in my closet,” he said.
A few hundred more band shirts are for sale in the garage, where he keeps his other toys.
A dancing James Brown doll belts out “I Feel Good.” On the ceiling are two skeletons with a guitar and drum.
“My tribute to the passing of rock artists,” he said. “My ode to my old heroes when I was a kid.”
There is no offspring to inherit his fondness for the phonograph.
After graduating from high school and college, he managed a bar in the Lake City neighborhood of Seattle. He moved to the blue house in Lynnwood in 1991.
It’s his nirvana.
“My favorite band is The Who. I saw them play live 20 times. I saw Led Zeppelin 20 times. I saw the Stones a lot,” he said.
Now his music venue is his garage. He puts the needle on the groove for “She’s a Rainbow.”
And it’s 1967 again.