At a Q and A after Sacramento’s Tower Theater weekend premiere of Sacramento-based Tower Records documentary “All Things Must Pass” last week:
I asked director Colin Hanks, a native Sacramentan, about his own Tower memories and experiences that stood out. So many of course. Deconstructing CD long boxes to put on his bedroom wall. Buying Tom Petty tickets at Tower Broadway in 1990.
I worked for Tower Records from 1992 – 1998. First for six months as a clerk at Tower Books Watt Ave during a down time in my life when I couldn’t do much else. Then back into Tech, eventually designing and developing Tower’s supply chain management systems for the company’s new brand of superstores, which combined Records, Books and Video.
Best times of my career; I only left because Tower wouldn’t pay techies more than their lower-tier VP’s, which was around 50k a year back then. Except for Russ Solomon and Senior VP’s, no one was ever paid much working at Tower. It was a labor of love and loyalty, going both ways. In my case, those only went so far. I immediately made six figures elsewhere.
My favorite memories are of road trips opening new Tower stores. Corporate employees who were also specialists in their fields travelled as the “A Team” to set up new stores. Trips during my spell at Tower were to New York City, Nashville, Washington DC and Chicago, among others. One of the Tower mantras was work hard and play harder. Great times in great cities.
Like Colin, I also shopped at Tower from when I first had spending money (in my case the 70’s), until its closure in 2006.
Nothing has come close to replacing the communal shopping experience of buying music, books and video during the latter half of the 20th Century.
Colin Hanks (right), Q and A after "All Things Must Pass" showing - Tower Theater, Sacramento - November 24, 2015