Local record store keeps vinyl alive

Local record store keeps vinyl alive

Eleonor Segura

Ronald Ramirez is the owner of Going Underground Records at 1822 G St. in downtown Bakersfield.

Nate Perez, Reporter

In this day and age when people are more likely to download music rather than buy it, Ronald Ramirez makes his living selling music, predominantly vinyl.

If you thought records were no longer relevant, think again.

Going Underground Records, located downtown at 1822 G St., has been in business for ten years.

In addition to being a record store, Going Underground also sells shirts, patches, turntables, comic books and owner, Ramirez releases records on his multiple record labels.

“The Going Underground label is on release 24, and that’s punk rock records only,” Ramirez said. “Epigraph is a new label I am doing with a guy named Kris Tiner and that’s going to be all jazz. The first release will be in January.”

A diverse selection of records is evident upon walking in. You can find punk, hip-hop, metal, jazz, folk, and so forth all on vinyl. “There’s dudes that want boogie and funk records,” he said. “There’s dudes that come in weekly to buy jazz and there’s dudes that come in every week to pick up the new punk records.”

Along the walls of Going Underground there are limited edition records for a much more expensive price than the regular shelf items and that is because they are most likely out of print or they are much harder to find.

New and used CDs can also be found in the store. “I sell the used stuff real cheap, $5 or $6. You have to be a good deal or else why bother?” said Ramirez.

Ramirez first opened Going Underground when he was 21.

Ramirez said, “The first spot that I had, I bought out Andy Noise which was a music store here on 17th Street, but realistically that place sucked. It was hidden and it wasn’t cool.” About six years ago Ramirez moved his store to G Street for more space and a better location.

Record collecting has been a hobby of Ramirez since he was a child. He had a stash of Prince and Kiss records that he would listen to on his kid record player, but it wasn’t until 12 or 13 that he began getting serious about his collection.

“Buying punk records was hard around here because the store was stupid.” That store was Andy Noise, which Ramirez bought out. Ramirez continued, “He didn’t realize punk rock was still on vinyl. It was just CDs, CDs and CDs. You’d have to go out of town and mail order stuff. So I learned quick. Go out of town and mail order because there is nothing around Bakersfield.”

If you have records you no longer want, Going Underground buys and trades records as long as they’re in listening condition. “I want almost anything,” he said.

Ramirez also books bands to play around Bakersfield. Bands like Japanther have played inside the record store, but he also books bands at Munoz Gym, a boxing gym during the day and occasionally a punk rock venue at night. Some bands that Ramirez booked were The Locust, Gravy Train, No Bunny and Mammoth Grinder.