Nearly every weekday on my way to work, I walk past the vacant space that used to be Tower Records' international store on Lafayette Street. Just this morning I was marveling (for the hundredth or so time) that the record-retail business was once so big that Tower could have opened a separate store in the middle of Manhattan just for international releases (in addition to the four-story main music store next door and the video outlet across the street), and also how amazingly quickly it all fell apart in 2006.
It's a story ripe for telling, and of all people, Tom Hanks' actor son Colin is the one who wants to tell it. And, true to his subject, he's taking the DIY route by seeking funding on Kickstarter for his film "All Things Must Pass: The Rise and Fall of Tower Records." The project has been in the works for several years, but got a fresh burst of media attention (and funding) when Tom tweeted about it yesterday. "This will make a great docu, and I'm a fan of the film maker! Do U miss LP's? I do," he wrote.
In the video on the Kickstarter page, Colin tells the story of Russ Solomon and Tower, which began in Sacramento in 1960 and not only grew into a billion-dollar business and changed the face of music retail, but, as Hanks puts it on his Kickstarter page, became " 'the place' to escape for a few hours; a sanctuary, a haven. Tower Records was a place to meet your friends, your co-workers or a place to meet new friends who shared a common love of music, literature and all things cultural."
It was also a great equalizer: I can remember seeing A&M Records co-founder Jerry Moss in the Tower on Sunset about 20 years ago, waiting in line to pay for the towering stack of CDs in his arms, and I remember how it raised my already-high estimation of the legendary record man. He could have gotten those albums for free; he could have sent an assistant out to buy them. But that wasn't the point.
Similarly, Colin Hanks presumably could have dipped into some family fund to finish this film, which certainly isn't going to bring in billions at the box office. But that's not the point either. At press time, he was nearly halfway to his $50,000 goal, with 43 days to go. There are some nice incentives for pledging money toward the project, but personally, I just want to see the film ...