Revisiting Rockin’ Ron and Meteor Music
By Billy Pilgrim
Story and Photo By Billy Pilgrim
The coolest record store in California is not in Berkeley, San Francisco or Los Angeles. It’s in Anderson, California. Really! It’s Meteor Music on East Center Street.
When Enjoy Magazine last visited Rockin’ Ron Sullivan’s used record store, the doors to his new business had just opened and vinyl record sales were at rock bottom. Today, there is a great resurgence of interest in vinyl, and Meteor Music is rockin’ hard. Ron and his son, Mark Sullivan, have doubled the inventory and the size of the store. We caught up with Ron at his recently expanded store recently, and I had a few questions for him.
Enjoy: Ron, how many records do you have in stock at any given time?
Ron: Between the store and storage, I have approximately 250,000.
Enjoy: Whoa! That’s a quarter of a million records! How did you get started?
Ron: My dad turned me on to music when I was growing up in Alhambra in Southern California - Big Band music. It was all music pre-Elvis. Then Elvis came along and opened things up. He made rhythm and blues and country music accessible to everyone. I was hooked.
Enjoy: What was the first record you ever purchased?
Ron: “In the Mood” by Glenn Miller. Then I bought “Riot in Cellblock #9” by The Robins, who became
Enjoy: Do you have any of your first records?
Ron: I have every one! I have 25,000 45s in my personal collection.
Enjoy: Who’s buying vinyl?
Ron: Eighty percent of our customers are between the ages of 18 and 30, and they’re buying rock ‘n’ roll from the ‘50s through the ‘80s. Iron Maiden is hot right now. So is Pink Floyd, Grateful Dead, the Rolling Stones, McCartney, the White Stripes. Anything you see in here with its own section sells well.
Enjoy: In this age of convenient digital downloads, why vinyl?
Ron: Number one is the sound. It’s just so much better than digital or CD. Number two is collectibility. And number three is the artwork on album covers. That’s big. You can’t put a picture on an iTunes download.
Enjoy: If you were stranded on a desert and were limited to five albums, what would they be?
Ron: I’d have records from Jimmy Reed, Muddy Waters, Elvis when he was on Sun Records, Benny Goodman’s Carnegie Hall Jazz Concert and the first album from The Palladins.
Rockin’ Ron has been married to his wife Pat for 50 years. They live in Old Shasta. Find Rockin’ Ron at Meteor Music, 2927 East Center Street in Anderson.