A photo of the new Amoeba Music location in Hollywood.
Pamela Chelin

Entertainment

18 Music Fans Reflect On Amoeba Music And Its Legacy

The comforting vibes at Amoeba Music’s reopening felt like a step towards pre-pandemic times.

It may have been April 1, but the fanfare surrounding Amoeba Music on opening day at its new location in the heart of Hollywood last week was no joke. All day long, hundreds of music fans lined up down the street and around the block, waiting up to six hours to shop inside the beloved independent record store which was forced to close nearly a year ago.

Co-owner Jim Henderson was rendered momentarily speechless when he surveyed the opening day lineup. “It’s very humbling, and it’s great. People are awesome, and hopefully, there’s a big payback when they come inside,” he told NYLON. Describing the last year in retail as “mostly tragic,” Henderson added, “To see this great outpouring and the turnout and the energy that’s surrounding it, it’s strange feeling optimistic, but we do.”

Like many other hallowed music institutions around the country, when the pandemic shuttered Amoeba Music’s longstanding store on Sunset Blvd in March 2020, Angelenos took to social media to wax nostalgic about the cherished, iconic location. But the store’s new surroundings couldn't be more fitting; it now sits right next to the Hollywood Walk of Fame, one block away from the historic Fonda Theatre, around the corner from the landmark Capitol Records Building, and kitty-corner from the famed Hollywood Pantages Theatre (home to musicals including “Rock of Ages,” and “Hamilton”), which welcomed its new neighbor on its electronic marquee.

One of the largest independent California music retailers, Amoeba Music’s Los Angeles location opened its doors in 2001. A music and film lovers’ paradise, the West Coast music mecca is revered for its vast collection of new and used vinyl, CDs, and rare collectibles, DVDs, Blu-Rays, posters, and books. Strolling through the Hollywood store, flipping through records and leafing through books, feels comforting after being stuck at home for a year, and like an optimistic step toward returning to some semblance of our pre-pandemic lives.

We may still be in the streaming era, but Amoeba Music's enduring popularity shows our unwavering desire for physical media to hold in our sanitized hands. Below, NYLON caught up with first-time attendees, and seasoned Amoeba Music goers on its opening day and weekend as they explored the new location, shared their purchases, and reflected on the store’s legacy.

Salem Edith (left), lives in Chicago, Illinois: “I’m visiting L.A. from Chicago and I am really excited to go through it. I’d been to the old one which was an iconic location so it’s really cool that the timing worked out that I got here for the opening weekend. All my friends in LA were texting me and asking me if I wanted to go to Amoeba. They were telling me that it was opening the week that I was getting here.” Delilah Dolimiere (right), lives in Perry, Florida: “I think it looks really cool. I’ve never been to Amoeba and I heard there’s a lot of cool stuff.”Pamela Chelin
Cayla Bonilla, lives in L.A.: “I loved the old Amoeba and I thought it would be really cool to get to see this one and to experience it as well. It was sad to see the other one go because I got so used to that one but this is actually cool, too. It looks a lot nicer, they’ve decorated it more, the setup looks really good, and it doesn’t look cluttered like the last one did.”Pamela Chelin
Crystal Pepito (left), lives in L.A.: “I’ve been going to the older one for so many years and when they closed I was sad, so I wanted to come and check this out because I’m so curious.” Emmett Williams (right), lives in L.A.: “I’m here to look up some tapes and maybe get some beat instrumentals, get more into that and learn about it some more. I’ve been here before and I’m excited for the opening of this location. It’s almost like a New York city vibe. I’m from New York and miss the city so having this little vibe is dope.”Pamela Chelin
Akailah Fallon, lives in L.A.: “It’s really nice inside once you get in. There’s a lot to look at. It’s really cool to come on opening day and to be a part of history that way. I’m glad to be here.”Pamela Chelin
Jack Everett (left), lives in L.A.: “The other location was always my favorite place to go. It was upsetting that it wasn’t open during quarantine because I started getting into records a lot more so as soon as I found it was opening, I had to come right away.” Lexi Skye (right), lives in L.A.: “I came for the records, to get something cool and to see some cool rock and roll merch. It’s my first time at Amoeba so I’m excited.”Pamela Chelin
Makaio Mims, lives in the Bay Area:“I mostly want to look at the vinyls and use it for decoration around my room. I like being in Hollywood. I like this area. It’s different, it’s bright, and there’s a lot of people.”Pamela Chelin
Marshall Epstein, lives in L.A.: “I had to be here on the opening day. It’s history making. There’s nothing more iconic than being on Hollywood Boulevard right across from the Pantages Theatre. I’m going to try not to overspend like I usually do.”Pamela Chelin
Marissa Marcinelli (left), lives in L.A.: “I moved here from New York three or fours years ago and every time a friend came to visit me, I’d bring them to the Amoeba on Sunset to walk around and check it out. This location is even better. It’s nicer and more open.” Kimberly Dziedziula (right), lives in L.A.: “I love Amoeba because they have everything you want, so many posters, so many vinyls...I could spend hours here. It’s one of the only stores that you can spend a lot of time in and not get bored.”Pamela Chelin
Isaac Alejandroe (left), lives in L.A.: “It’s my first time at a record store and I’m hoping to draw some inspiration and maybe add that into some of my art.” Josaiah Acuña (right), lives in L.A.: “I came on opening day for the poster, to look around the new location and have fun, and to hopefully sell a few records. I expected to be in line for two plus hours so I figured I’d bring my guitar to entertain myself.”Pamela Chelin
Daniel Kohn, lives in LA: “I’ve never seen a Beastie Boys License to Ill first edition first pressing in this condition for this low of a price which reminds me why, a) Amoeba has been my home away from home since I first began traveling to LA in 2002 before I moved here in 2008, b) Amoeba continues to show why it’s the best record store on the planet. You can literally find whatever you want if you look hard enough.”
Christopher Chatman, lives in San Bernardino, California: “I didn’t think I was going to be in town but I wanted to be here for this day because I’ve missed them. Even if I have other ways to get records, the supplies they have are sometimes very hard to get. Plus they have records that sometimes are underpriced, cool collectibles, one-of-a-kind things that you’re not going to find anyplace else. Because this is, after all, Hollywood where the records were basically created and made.”
Eduardo Carbajal, lives in South Gate, California: “It’s amazing to be back in a record store. I do most of my shopping online so it’s the first time I’ve been in a record store since February of last year, and I’ve found some goodies that I couldn’t even find online. This location has a nice vibe and feels much more modern and I think it has a bigger selection. It’s a great and unique atmosphere that only a record store could give. It’s better than online or in forums.”Pamela Chelin
Xander Taylor, lives in LA: “I just love me some Amoeba. I’ve been coming here since I was five years old. My parents brought me in all the time. My mom actually gave me twenty bucks to get her an opening day t-shirt because we all wear Amoeba all the time so we’ve got to get the new one and I’m excited for the poster, too. I’ve been so deprived for the last year so I was like, ‘Screw it, let’s wait in this line.’”Pamela Chelin