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A decade of new, used and vintage vinyl

Rock N’ Roll Land on Military Avenue celebrates its 10-year anniversary

By John McCracken

Todd Magnuson, co-owner of Rock N’ Roll Land (504 S Military Ave), has seen a variety of unique and rare vinyl records (such as the 1976 German pressing of Pink Floyd’s “The Dark Side of the Moon” pictured above) come through the store in the past 10 years. John McCracken photo

The past 10 years have passed Todd Magnuson by in the blink of an eye. Magnuson, co-owner of Rock N’ Roll Land (504 S Military Ave), celebrates the record store’s 10-year anniversary on Oct. 11.

“We’ve come a long way. The store’s grown and changed and rearranged,” Magnuson said.

Magnuson used a portion of his own personal collection, collections he bought from friends around the area, as well as a giant, 40,000-record deep stockpile to start the venture. He said when the store first opened, he had far-less crates for newly arrived used vinyl and new releases. The center rows inside of Rock N’ Roll Land used to be empty, but are now filled with different wax options.

“We kind of took advantage of every inch of space we’ve had here at this point,” Magnuson said.

As a former bar owner, band booker and local promoter, Magnuson has been involved with the music industry in some form or another his whole life. The transition into record store owner was a natural one, but as a collector himself, he said one of the hardest parts is selling a record that catches his eye.

“As much as I would want those records in my collection, we also have to sell,” Magnuson said. “You gotta pay the bills. I can’t keep everything.”

Throughout the years, Magnuson has seen a variety of rare releases come through his door. Because of his connection to customers, Magnuson still knows where some of the rare records are. A few years back, he sold a pristine, first-pressing of alternative-rock pioneers The Velvet Underground’s debut album “The Velvet Underground & Nico.” For collectors and non-collectors alike, the record has recognizable and iconic cover art depicting a print of Andy Warhol’s banana, and first-pressing go for upwards of $500, depending on the condition.

Another notable record to walk through his door was a variation of The Beatles’ controversial “Yesterday and Today” cover art, which depicts the four British heartthrobs in white garments, covered in fake blood and dismembered baby dolls. The record was recalled due to the explicit cover and was replaced by a new, tamer cover art which shows the members sitting on top of luggage trunks. The new art was pasted over the former bloody image, becoming known as “trunk covers.” Magnuson has seen a handful of trunk covers come through the Military Avenue shop. Their price can range from anywhere from $500 to $3,000 depending on condition and
format (stereo or mono).

For those hoping to score a hidden gem, Magnuson has a slew of sales throughout the week of Oct. 11. The store will have half-priced used records, 10% off new releases and a limited run of 10 -year anniversary merchandise.

In the next ten years, Magnuson hopes to eventually move into a bigger location to fuel the store’s continued growth. But given the
turmoil caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, he said he’s pretty content for the time being.

“I hope we can keep moving forward,” Magnuson said.

Looking back on the past decade, Magnuson said a lot has changed but the heart of the business has remained the same.

“I still love it, you know,” Magnuson said. “I still love doing what I do and music is awesome to me. It hasn’t lost its luster. I still learn new things and see new things and see records I’ve never seen before.”

John McCracken is the Editor of Green Bay City Pages. You can reach him via email at [email protected] or on Twitter @jmcjmc451.

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