A guy with blue hair and Army-issue pants is telling me he doesn't read newspapers; hanging out near Lou's Records is where he hears the news. He keeps telling me his name is Bunny Foo Foo, 'and you can write that down.' And while I doubt the name thing, I'm liable to believe everything he says about hearing news at the Encinitas record store.
He's here, pacing around the parking lot an average of three or four days a week with his post-high-school, pre-responsibility crowd. And there's a lot going on.
These aging teen misfits are part of the independent record store army. There are older variations, but the record store is their common base--the shipwreck to their school of fish, the picnic crumbs to their ant colony. From Juanita's Taco Shop on the south end to the Pannikin coffee shop on the north end, Lou's Records is the center of a buzzing outpost of North County rock hipsters, set on a mile-long stretch of Highway 101.
Just two days ago, Bunny Foo Foo tells me, former Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford was buying a DVD at the Lou's video outlet. And the double-Foo also says he gets insider political tips from a man named Sal who works for the city and buys his vinyl here at least once a week. Then there are the surf tips the crew gets from patrons during the morning hours. Bunny Foo Foo says he surfed a great break off a tip the other day, but he just colored his hair so he can't hit the water for a while.
There may be record-store hangouts in cities all over the U.S., but only at Lou's can you hear tide tables, art advice, Mexican food recipes and music recommendations in a five-minute span. And run into a famous gay metal-head to boot. --Caley Cook
Lou's Records is located at 434 N. Coast Hwy 101 in Encinitas. 760-753-1382. www.lousrecords.com.