I was a few minutes away from leaving work on the night of March 11 when five (count ‘em!) cops and an RIAA "investigator" came swooping in with a search warrant. They were there to protect society from the scourge of live bootlegs. Bear in mind this is a small store. The overkill factor of five cops in such a small space, including the one with the gun "guarding" the door (in case I made a break for it?) both pissed me off and amused me.
It turns out the RIAA guy had flown in specially from Dallas for this. The funny thing was, out of all of them, he was the only one who was really rude and confrontational. Came across as a real cop wannabe, a regular CD nazi. He kept trying to get me to confess to something while we waited for my bosses to get there. At one point, he tried to make me go around the store and pick out what I thought were legitimate imports. I turned to the plainclothes detective and said that I didn’t really have to do anything this guy told me to do. The cop looked kind of embarrassed and said, "No, you don’t."
It turns out they hit several stores in the area all at the same time, so no one could warn anyone else. I knew that because a customer called and said he’d tried to go to us, CD Warehouse, and another store in the area and all were closed. If they hit several stores at once with comparable manpower (cops per square foot, I think there’s a formula), that means an amazing proportion of the city’s police force was busy rounding up bootleg CDs that night.
A sidenote to this is that our store was contacted that week by Lucinda Williams’s representative to see if we’d send her a collection of her early stuff that’s been circulating. Fans kept showing it to her at shows and she wanted one, too.
[from Rock & Rap Confidential/1999]
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