Raves From The Grave
In the first of an occasional series of features on independent record shops, Tom from Frome’s long established Raves From The Grave tells us about the highs and lows of running a CD and vinyl store, and about the challenges of keeping things going during Lockdown:
How did RFTG start? Was there a definite need for a record store in Frome/Warminster? Other reasons?
Richard had worked for national retail chain for 20 years, and had decided he wanted to start his own business, a record shop. He knew a few people in the Frome area, and did some recon work, and decided Frome might be suitable as there was no record shop, and the property was cheap at the time.
Richard was at the stage of having two shops in Frome, one for vinyl and one for CDs/DVDs but having to close the vinyl shop in Frome, it was decided that Warminster might be as suitable location for a second branch.
Since RFTG opened, what have been your most popular items? Which bands and albums keep selling? What are your most popular items recently?
All the classics such as Pink Floyd – Dark Side Of The Moon, Beach Boys – Pet Sounds, Oasis – What’s The Story, Fleetwood Mac – Rumours, Nirvana – Nevermind, Radiohead – The Bends, Primal Scream – Screamadelica, Kate Bush – Hounds Of Love, Prince – Purple Rain and others continue to sell regularly and we can’t see them stopping.
With regards to more record success – Arctic Monkeys catalogue sells extremely well, as well
Nick Cave, Panic! At The Disco, Anderson Paak, Harry Styles, Lana Del Rey all selling regularly.
A great seller for 2020 was Phoebe Bridgers – Punisher album, and naturally Idles sophomore
album Ultra Mono sold very well.
Are there any areas of music that you specialise in?
We don’t really specialise in anything as such, we like to carry a large range to cater for all tastes as much as possible. We don’t like the idea of people coming in a feeling alienated because we’re too niche, and don’t have anything they’ve heard of.
How has the lockdown affected your business? Are you confident that you can keep RFTG going?
Massively. We rely so heavily on browsing and having the doors shut for, what’s looking like 6-7 months out of the past 12 is naturally going to be pretty disastrous.
The government grants have helped, but mostly it’s down to sheer determination to keep going – we’ve worked exceptionally hard to get our website up and running and have gone from 0 titles to 5000 titles in the past 10 months.
We have a great hardcore mail order customer base from around the country, who have been a lifeline over the past year.
We’re reasonably confident we can keep Raves From The Grave going, but can never be 100% sure!
Any interesting stories/memorable moments from the past? Things like in store appearances or gigs you helped organise etc.
We’ve had a few people play in/out side the shop,which includes.
Tom Robinson, Billy Bragg, Ethan Johns, Mick Quinn (of Supergrass), Chris Diffordm Ginger Wildheart, Honeyblood
Plus we’ve had viisits from Robert Plant (twice), Russell Brand (twice), Van Morrison, Joe Wright (director), The Skids.
We also had our 20th anniversary back in 2017, and hosted an event with a whole bunch of our regular customers and friends – with Tom Robinson headlining.
Tom Robinson 1978 © Deviation Street Archive
What do you feel the future holds.
We have a fairly positive outlook on the future, our online sales are generally buoyant, and when we’re back open, we’re confident most of our customers will return for browsing. Really hard to know though!
Raves From The Grave 2 – 3 King Street, Frome, Somerset, BA11 1BH
Tel: 01373 464666