Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Kevin Donan: Hollywood's Legendary Record Store Owner

Kevin Donan is one of my favorite people in Hollywood. Nestled back in the Artisan Patio on iconic Hollywood Boulevard, As The Record Turns provides some rare, authentic energy to Los Angeles' most popular neighborhood. On arrival, you can find two rooms full of exclusive records, vinyls & memorabilia. I had to sit down with Kevin to get his unique perspective on Hollywood & the history of As The Record Turns.


Kevin Donan with James Brown

How did As The Record Turns start?

Most people dream of opening a record store and hanging out to make money. Passion for the love of music is what got me involved. In the midwest in Flint, Michigan at the early age of only 16 years old, I self taught myself as a drummer and with my 14 and 15 year old brothers and a couple of long time 16 year old neighborhood friends, we formed a band, The HyperSolMystics. We opened for quite a few famous radio groups that same year, The Dells, The Ohio Players, Parliament Funkadelic just to name a few. In my early 20's, I came to Los Angeles and got into the entertainment world...like most determined individuals.

I was involved in managing artists and signing a artist to Motown's Stevie Wonder. I turned 23. From there, I self taught myself recording engineering in a small studio on Hollywood Blvd. Later I was invited by members of Earth, Wind and Fire, Van Dyke Parks and Harry Nilsson (The Popeye Movie demo), Kool and the Gang, The Sylvers and many others I worked in studio settings.


I worked in Capitol Records PRESSING PLANT and learned mastering and pressing vinyl and all that goes with this. I later got married in the late 80's and saw with my wife Monet, the need to have a happy hobby. We opened As The Record Turns in Hollywood in 1987.       


How many music industry legends have you met?

It has been a blessing to just work and communicate in a entertainment industry environment since my teenage life. Having met and worked with The Sinatra Family, Bob Hope, Redd Foxx, The Jackson Family, Berry Gordy, the owner of Motown and many artists on their roster, Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Leonard Cohen, Bobby Womack, I also sold sold Lenny Kravitz his first electric guitar when he was just 14 years old. I have as a consultant worked directly with the Rap and Hip-Hop artists Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, Naughty By Nature, Queen Latifah, director John Landis, Joan Rivers, Frank Zappa, I drummed for Buddy Miles, Paula Abdul, Randy Jackson, Cedric The Entertainer, I share a double platinum hit record with Jay-Z, Adam Sandler, The Waynans, B.B. King, Herbie Hancock, Jeff Goldblum and tons of other jazz, R & B artists, actors, directors and plenty of just good people, like you!

Common & J Dilla with Kevin Donan at As The Record Turns
What's this new project you're working on?

Black Film Tracks is my latest project that is dear to me. In the late 80's, I managed in Hollywood near Paramount Film Studios, a warehouse that contained close to a millon vinyl record albums, 33 1/3, 45's & 78's and at that same time, I created my personal store, As The Record Turns, a rare and collectable vinyl only records store on Hollywood Blvd. During that time, we saw a tremendous amount of purchases toward
R & B, Jazz, Funk, Blues, Soul and Black Soundtracks.

Originally when urban records are pressed, they are released in less limited amounts compared to other genres, Rock & Roll, Classical, Country and Easy listening.

Foreign record stores, dealers and collectors from around the world stopped by and bought the more important urban related records to resell back to their country. I saw our history and culture leaving the US and in some cases never to be seen again.

So I took the last 4 years to do final research, but also spent quality time to video interview over 70 different people who worked in these movies as producers, directors, actors, musicians, artists and other prominent individuals. They had great stories of the deep struggles to make these movies, the music and their lifes in general. Narrator for our film historical documentary is Emmy Award winner Keith David.

Black Film Tracks is the largest collection in the world. It's a combination of the art from the film and the music score. I decided to create the most complete 480 page, full album size scale, inter-active book on all the soundtracks, Civil Rights speeches and Comedy recordings all into one informative and collectable book.You can see our progess at work at our site: BlackFilmTracks.com





Favorite piece of merchandise in your store? 

My favorite piece of merchandise is all of the records. I enjoyed "buying" for the public. Most of all other stores rely on distributors or record labels to keep them supplied with reissues and CD's over the years with front line, current or radio chart friendly records. I never have and we only sell originals.

If there is a comedy record of Rodney Dangerfield or Richard Pryor, or a rare Sun Ra or Moondog or Miles Davis jazz record or a Johnny Cash, Elvis, or Iron Maiden or a rare soul Gil Scott Heron or an original 1992 Dr. Dre The Chronic album, I will find it and buy it for the store for the daily walk-ins we have from all of Europe to Asia to the neighborhood public.




What's the rarest piece you have?
 


The rarest album....well we have over 2 thousand signed albums from The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Miles Davis, Pink Floyd, Led Zepplin, Kiss, Tupac, Dr. Dre, many movie and television celebrities and the list goes on.

What's your favorite spot to eat in Hollywood?
 


My favorite eat spots are Mussos and Franks, Carneys, Dan Tanas, East Indian Grill, The Griddle, Yamashiros and a burger at the pool side in the Roosevelt Hotel, all these in Hollywood.

Stay tuned with As The Record Turns!

1 comment:

  1. Very proud of you your talents with wonderful Monet support and dedication.

    ReplyDelete