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Hurricane Records: interview with Rich Hopkins


Step into Hurricane Records, a treasure trove housed in a quaint 1940s building in Tucson...

Rich, who is the owner of the store? I'm curious to know about your journey into vinyl collecting and what prompted you to open your own store.

I own Hurricane Records. I buy and present all the LPs, CDs, merchandise, etc., in a manner that is easy to navigate for the customer. We are not a big store, but rather a small old house from the 1940s, so it's small compared to houses built in more recent times.

Rich Hopkins, image credits: Hurricane Records FB page

Besides myself, I have two other men who work at the store: a very famous indie MUSIC writer, FRED MILLS. Also, Ted Riviera, a local Tucson musician. We all have lots of history under our belts! I am a musician and have been playing in bands like The Sidewinders, Sand Rubies, and Luminarios since 1985, so I have made a lot of records and toured the world. I have my own unique perspective, as we all do.

The inspiration to open a store like this came from loving record stores, and it really satisfies my urge to discover interesting records and make records available to people from all age groups and walks of life.

As a boy, I loved listening to the AM radio in the 1960s, so there were always so many great bands being played on the radio. I remember a few older kids in the 7th or 8th grade walking around with LPs in their hands, and I was awestruck by it. So, I asked my mom to buy me my first records when I was in 6th grade. The first few were by the Beach Boys, Deep Purple (Book of Taliesyn). I remember two albums. My parents also bought me a small portable record player by General Electric. It had one volume knob! I also received Christmas presents around the same time from friends: Fleetwood Mac's Kiln House and Pink Floyd's Relics. So, those were all big moments in my young journey into discovering music. I was hooked from then on, so I became a seeker of buying records when I could. It has never stopped. In the store.

image credits: Hurricane Records FB page

Approximately, how many records do you have in your collection right now, and how are they categorized? What formats dominate your shelves?

I own about 1000 LPs in my own personal collection and about 6000 at the store. We are known as mostly a classic rock record store, so we have lots of rock from the 50s, 60s, etc. Also blues, reggae, soul, funk, soundtracks, classical, country, African, world, Latino, budget records, 45s, reissues, some collectibles, metal, punk, dance, jazz, etc.

Is there something particularly rare or unique that can only be found at your store? What sets your store apart from others?

I think we have the best all-around selection of LPs here in Tucson.

I spend a lot of time curating and really buying albums for people of all walks of life. I have a good selection of LPs from both Tucson and Arizona bands, past and present. I own San Jacinto Records, so I have produced many bands and released their albums since 1988, beginning with my band's THE SIDEWINDERS' CUACHA! and then Tempe's own THE GIN BLOSSOMS' DUSTED, both in 1988 and 1989, respectively. So, I love the history of Tucson music. Most recently, during COVID times, I released a 3 LP set that included a 45, a 90-page book, and a link to a movie about Tucson music: THE WHOLE ENCHILADA: THE HISTORY OF DESERT ROCK 1978-94. It was a big undertaking, and the funds were donated to Tucson's CASA MARIA SOUP KITCHEN. This is only available at our store, and it was distributed nationally.

image credits: Hurricane Records FB page