Seasick Records — the newest of Birmingham’s three independent record stores — celebrates its three-year anniversary on Friday, November 4. It’s a big milestone for the store, which has established itself not only as a nexus for purchasing vinyl and CDs, but for in-store shows, community events and, of course, the annual event Record Store Day.
Seasick has grown considerably in its three-year existence, moving into a larger space in Crestwood last year that allowed for an expansion of inventory and more space to host concerts, listening parties and art shows, among other things.
“When we started, I didn’t expect to be in this [Crestwood] location we’re in now and have as much inventory as we do,” said founder Daniel Drinkard, reflecting on the store’s first three years. “I didn’t have any expectations. I just wanted to have a store that sold music I wanted to listen to and not have to buy on the internet.”
In an age where digital stores are the norm, opening a large storefront could have been huge gamble, but the community immediately supported Seasick and its vision.
“All of the things and events that have happened in the last three years is all a pleasant surprise,” Drinkard continued. “There has been a lot of great support from people in Birmingham, publications, radio stations and friends. It’s been awesome to have people really latch on and accept what we’re doing.”
Along the way, Drinkard has recruited a knowledgeable and enthusiastic staff to help run Seasick.
“I’ve been lucky to see how some of the best stores in the country operate and have been privy to what they do,” said Jim Fahy, who helps with promotions and events for the store. “What’s been astounding to me is to see how much Seasick has grown since it opened. I started working here not long after they moved to Crestwood. All small business owners are crazy in some way — because they have to be —but I have met very few people who have had such a zen approach to running the store. Dan is open to trying a lot of stuff, and that improvisational spirit works well with me.”
In addition to the obvious stock of records, tapes, CDs, music-related books and T-shirts, Seasick also carries products by other small Birmingham businesses like Great Bear Wax Company, hosts pop-up shops with vendors such as Hero Doughnuts and even shares part of their space with Newman’s Classic Cuts.
“It’s kind of a no-brainer. We have friends who have businesses in Birmingham and outside of Birmingham that make killer products they started doing themselves,” Drinkard said. “We like to support them. It makes sense to sell them here.”
“Sometimes, those businesses don’t have storefronts themselves, so it’s easy to sell when you have portable merchandise,” Fahy added.
Seasick Records also does its part to support the ever-growing Birmingham music scene.
“We do consignment for bands around town,” Drinkard said. “Anyone who has a physical release that is local, we’ll carry it and sell it. [The bands] can sell them at shows, but it’s nice for them to have a central location where any band in Birmingham with a physical release can point people to the record shop. There’s a lot of really good music in Birmingham, and it’s awesome that we can showcase that.”
Seasick Records will be celebrating its third birthday on Friday, November 4, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Along with cake and drinks (wine for those 21 and older), the event will feature DJ sets from many of the staff as well as a performance by Birmingham musician Errol Stubbs, who formed an interesting relationship with the Seasick crew.
“He’s been washing our windows for a year and half since we’ve been in Crestwood, but he’s also a musician,” Drinkard explained. “His first single came out in the ‘80s, and it’s kind of a rare 45 that you can’t find anywhere. He also has a few self-released, self-produced CDs that he’s put out over the last few years. We’ve been talking back and forth about doing a show up here, and I thought it would work well for him to play the anniversary party. He’s going to play a 45-minute set. He’s a guitarist who sings, and he’ll also have a bassist and some pre-recorded drum tracks. It’s a jazz, soul and R&B type thing. He even played guitar at some point with Clarence Carter.”
The celebration will also give attendees the opportunity to participate in Seasick’s annual canned food drive to provide food for the local homeless shelters during the holidays. The drive also has a musical incentive. For every two cans donated, people will receive an entry into a raffle where the grand prize is one record per month for a year.
“Part of the canned food drive is just a thank you to the people that support us,” Drinkard said. “We want to give back to our community and help those who need help.”
For more information about Seasick Records’ anniversary party, click here.