At the end of a first floor passage in a nondescript Blairgowrie building lies one of Joburg`s best kept secrets. Vinyl Junkie is a throwback to the classic record stores of the Sixties and Seventies-colourful records sleeves and retro rock posters cover the walls sitting alongside platinum & gold award records, framing crates bursting with new and second hand LPs, seven inch singles and CDs.
Owner, Benjy Mudie, is a 40 year veteran of the South African music industry having spent 21 years as Marketing and A&R Director with multi-national WEA Records and Tusk Music. As head of artist development he signed and developed some of the giants of the SA music business including Evoid, Mango Groove, MarcAlex, Lesley Rae Dowling, The Asylum Kids, Little Sister and countless others.
As owner of leading independent label Fresh Music he was responsible for the success of Nianell and Blk Sonshine as well as the Retro Reissue Series and later as A&R consultant for Universal Music he was the force behind the commercial success of Elvis Blue and The Arrows.
A walking encyclopaedia of contemporary music, Benjy started his career in music working in record stores in Hillbrow during the heady Seventies when vinyl ruled supreme. Although he is no Luddite and embraces music on all formats, his preferred listening has always been on vinyl .
“There`s something about playing vinyl records that fascinates me. It`s a complete visceral and tangible experience-from taking the record out of the sleeve, placing it on the turntable, cleaning it and then dropping the needle on the disc and waiting for the magic to burst forth from the speakers….the occasional `crackle` or `pop `There is also the thrill of reading the sleeve liner notes or singing along with the lyrics-it`s not the same with CD and completely non-existent with downloads”.
At one time Benjy had accumulated over 16,000 LPs which he carted around with him on his various house moves. Even when CD became the dominant format he continued to play his beloved records until the thought of boxing them up for yet another move filled him with dread. “I decided to whittle them down to the 100 records that had been the soundtrack to my life and informed my musical choice, and sell the rest”. Which he did. However some months later fate intervened in the form of 3 crates of mint `70s psych, blues and progressive rock records dumped on his doorstep, and his life- long love affair with these round black plastic discs filled with magic continued.
After exiting Universal Music in 2013 Benjy decided to return to his roots and founded his store Vinyl Junkie in Blairgowrie. “I wanted a place where real music lovers could come to, not only to buy records, but to talk about music, browse through the many music magazines and books on the shelves and discover new and exciting music for the first time. That`s my favourite pastime”
And his many customers will attest to that! Although he is there most days (when he`s not out scouting for new records) the official opening times are Wednesdays and Fridays from 2pm to 6pm and Saturdays from 9am to 1pm.
However take a chance and pop in on any other day, if he`s there he`ll open for you.
All other times by appointment: 011 072 2848