I cannot remember the exact date or the details of my first visit to Twisted Village. It would have been sometime in the fall of 2000 – shortly after I moved to Somerville, Massachusetts from Portland, Maine. I was unemployed at the time and wandered the streets (and squares) of Somerville and Cambridge a great deal in those days. Record stores were regular stops in my travels and Twisted Village offered a rare kind of record store experience, one not found in any of the other stores I’d frequented until then. It reminded me of the type of store I used to find in New York City in the late 1980’s and early 90’s - small hidden-away stores, with limited, but very specific inventory.
It was like stumbling upon a secret kind of place.
My first visits to Twisted Village were somewhat intimidating for me - I always felt a bit musically out of my league when I was there. Eventually I grew more comfortable and my musical tastes expanded widely – thanks in no small part to my repeat visits and the store’s amazing inventory.
Of course, I knew of Wayne Rogers (the store’s owner) before then. In the fall of 1987 one of my roommates at NYU had shown me a Crystalized Movements LP – I had never heard of them at the time. He was from Connecticut and either knew Wayne, or the cover artist, or he was the artist – my memory is sketchy on his exact connection to the band. He held out the LP for me to see, handling it with reverence, telling me how great it was. He made me a copy of it on a cassette tape.
Upon returning to Maine in the 1990’s I again encountered Wayne, and the Twisted Village label, on Magic Hour LPs and CDs. I even ordered a copy of the limited edition version of “No Excess Is Absurd” (TW-1031) from Forced Exposure back then.
Finding the store when I moved to Massachusetts had brought me full circle.
For the last year or so of the store’s existence, I stopped by just about every Thursday afternoon on my way home from work to shop and chat with Wayne. Shopping each week at Twisted Village felt much the same to me as when I used to go shopping after school with my mother. With money I made from my paper route, I would buy two LPs each week from DeOrsey’s Record & Audio in North Windham, Maine. Now, as then, I never knew what I was going to buy, but was always excited at the prospect of what I might find.
In Wayne’s bins I could always find releases on Analog Africa, Honest Jon’s, Jazzman, Light In The Attic, Mississippi, Numero, Pressure Sounds, Soul Jazz, Sound Way, Sublime Frequencies, Thrill Jockey, and many other great labels. The new and used LPs were mixed together in some sections, so you frequently had to go through the entire bin to make sure you didn’t miss anything.
Wayne would often order and set aside just about any title I asked for, but the real fun was in finding what he had in stock or would recommend. It was the truest of record buying experiences.
My last visit to Twisted Village I remember very well.
On the morning of Thursday July 22nd I boarded the subway with the Boston Phoenix tucked under my arm, I took a seat, opened the paper, and found the following headline on page 6: “Twisted Village closing"
Later that afternoon I made my way down the stairs and into Twisted Village for the last time. When I arrived Wayne was on his way out the door. I said a quick thank you and goodbye, wished him well, and then made my way over to the vinyl bins for one last look. I decided to dig deep for titles that I had repeatedly told myself I would buy the next time I was in the store and avoided newer titles that I might easily find elsewhere.
My final purchase included the following LPs
- The Ex and Tom Cora - Scrabbling at the Lock (Mississippi)
- Serge Gainsbourge - L'Homme a Tete de Chou (4 Men with Beards)
- King Kong - Kingdom of Kong (Drag City)
- Tara Jane O'Neil - Peregrine (QuarterStick)
- Richard and Linda Thompson - Shoot Out The Lights (4 Men with Beards)
- Paulette Walker & Friends - So In Love (Rock-A-Shacka / Drum and Bass)
I took some photos around the shop and was on my way.