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This Guy is One of the Last Old School Jukebox Repairmen

I might not be writing this had it not been for a jukebox. Lemme explain.

My first experience to a jukebox courtesy of the machine by the front window in Smiley’s, a cafe in my small town hometown. I clearly remember dropping a dime in the slot to hear this song through its tinny full-range speakers.

The track is a prog classic today, but paying good money to hear it in a public place in a prairie town was definitely considered not normal. A snotty kid younger than me wandered up to the jukebox and sneered “Who picked this crap?” I wasn’t brave enough to admit it had been me. “No clue,” I said, “What a weird, huh?”

A few years later, I got a job at Frosty’s, a soft ice cream/burger place/arcade/pool hall down the street. It too had a jukebox and every Friday, a guy named Rob practiced his solid-and-stripes while listening to this one song over and over again. One day, I counting him jamming seven quarters in the machine, meaning the song played 21 times in a row.

At around the same time, my uncle, who worked as an engineer for the Manitoba Telephone System, got a job servicing jukeboxes. Once a week, he made his rounds of machines, adding in new records, replacing worn ones and stripping out records which had had their day. One Sunday afternoon, he gave me a box of old 45s from those jukeboxes. That was the start of my record collection and my obsession with learning about records (not to mention cataloguing, filing and storing them.)

One day when I finish my basement, I hope to have an old-school jukebox where I can store my collection of 7-inch singles. And if the thing ever goes on the fritz, I hope I can find a guy like Perry Rosen, on the last of the jukebox repairmen. (Via Boing Boing)

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 37445 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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