Renaissance Man

Keeping the tradition of the local music store alive in Mill Valley.

GARY SCHEUENSTUHL GREW up in Tam and Homestead valleys, coached Mill Valley Little League for two decades and worked for more than 25 years at Village Music, the legendary now-defunct record store in downtown Mill Valley. You’re old-school Marin. Oh, yeah (laughs), with a heavy emphasis on “old.” I’ll be 60 this year. You’ve been in music all your life? I’ve played drums for more than 40 years and I’m in the Marinfidels and the Mill Valley Music All-Stars. Something I’m really proud of is Made in Marin, a CD featuring 22 artists with Mill Valley connections. It benefits the Richard de Lone Special Housing Project (rdshp.org). It’s a good cause and an awesome CD. You’ve done a lot of different things. Yes, when I worked at Village Music, I also worked in a science lab in the city. What kind of science? Biochemical anthropology — using proteins to study the family tree of humans and our relationship to all other species. Now that’s different. I like to think of myself as a bit of a Renaissance man — doing things for the love of doing them. Doing things that give meaning to your life as you get older. Good way to live. Yes, but you don’t get rich doing it. When did you open your shop? A month-and-a-half after Village Music closed in September 2007. How many records are in here? The old store was really big. This one is nooks and crannies, a room there, a room here, a room upstairs. I’d say it’s approaching 100,000. Wow. It may be less — I’m really bad with numbers — but it’s definitely a lot. What’s selling, CDs or vinyl? Mostly vinyl. New vinyl sales in the last year have gone up 49 percent. What kind of music? Classic rock is the biggest seller, then blues, then jazz, then soul and it drops off from there. Pop, big band and classical don’t sell like they used to. 78s? Those don’t sell too well. Just because something’s rare doesn’t mean it’s collectible. Somebody has to want it, too. What’s your favorite kind of music? That’s tough. At Village Music John (Goddard) exposed me to all kinds of music that I wouldn’t have normally listened to. I got into the blues, certain kinds of jazz and soul. But I grew up with in the middle of the classic rock period, The Doors, Cream. Of course, it wasn’t classic rock at the time.

Categories: On the Job, People+Places