About Me

Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
See my complete profile
Bios & Press Releases

Bios: $250-$300
Press Releases: $50

Check out samples here

For more info, or to set something up, email me

Artist Advice e-book

Muscle For Your Hustle What Every DIY Musician Needs to Know (2011)

A collection of 22 of my best artist advice articles

Pick it up for just $1

Photo Ops

w/ Beautiful Bodies ('15)

w/ Michael Imperioli ('14)

w/ Millionaires ('12)

w/ Adam Duritz, iLLspoKinN & Notar ('10)

w/ Kevin Pereira on the old set of
Attack of the Show ('09)

Magazine Articles

Rocko The Intern

July 2010 - January 2013
Shedding a Tear for the 99 Cent Bin
Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I went back to Hofstra with a buddy of mine a few weeks ago to catch a football game and drive around the area looking for our old haunts. Something that quickly became clear is that things change as all of the stores we used to buy CDs at were gone. This is not a short list, either. Some we knew had died painful deaths, like Sam Goody, The Wall, Tower and The Wiz (yeah, I’m that old, I used to shop at The Wiz), but others we were downright shocked by. Two of my personal favorite places to find random used albums were Mr. Cheap’s, which we couldn’t for the life of us find on this trip, and Empire, which I had been selling CDs back to for years, including a boatload just two homecomings ago. As we passed by the strip mall that Empire used to stand so proudly in all we saw in its stead was a hollowed out shell of a store with a “For Lease” sign in one of the windows. It was a sad moment for a multitude of reasons.

It’s always hard to lose a favorite store. I had a number of fantastic finds that I purchased at Empire for anywhere from 99 cents to seven dollars and I still have fond memories of going in there once a week to search through the “just in” bins, which were completely disorganized, but gave one the chance to snatch something up before it hit the regular, alphabetized, racks. Mr. Cheap’s, although significantly smaller, had a fantastic 99 cent bin which I’d occasionally pull something interesting out of, like Richie Rich’s first album, the ironically titled Seasoned Veteran. Sadly, with the death of the record store has come the death of the 99 cent bin and this is a tragedy for us all.

I can’t imagine having the only album shopping options being Wal-Mart, FYE and online. The used CD store and the 99 cent bin are time honored traditions that we have let go by the wayside in favor or 99 cent songs on iTunes. People are paying as much for one song as I used to pay for entire albums. I’d much rather take my dollar and find something interesting that nobody else knows about than get a freaking download. Apparently I’m in the minority, though.

The fun of shopping at stores like Empire and Mr. Cheap’s was that I’d go in thinking of an artist I had seen once, late at night, on MTV or BET, and see if I could find them. It’s how I scored Bluezeum’s Portrait of a Groove when I couldn’t find it in any traditional CD stores. Mr. Cheap’s also had tapes, yes the beautiful audio cassette, and I managed to find Busta Rhymes’ The Coming for all of $2.99. One of my best stories from these stores, however, doesn’t even involve an album, it involves a poster and my freshman year roommate at Hofstra.

My roommate had this idea that Luther Vandross (rest in peace) was gay. At the time Vandross had just come out with an album titled Your Secret Love, which only added more fuel to the fire. Mr. Cheap’s used to have a large trash can with rolled up used posters, each one costing a dollar. One day I was in there with another one of my roommates (we had a suite, so we had four people living together) and we saw a promotional poster for Your Secret Love. I instantly had a horrible idea and my buddy loved it. Since my roommate thought Luther was gay my other roommate and I decided to get the poster and put it up on the ceiling over his bed. This was no easy task as I had to reach pretty high to make it happen and my buddy had to be a lookout down the hallway. We were the first room around the corner and as soon as he saw him coming I bolted into the next room. We heard him flop onto his bed and then heard… nothing. Not a peep out of him for what felt like 20 minutes. He finally came in and with a fake lisp said “thanks guys.” The really weird thing was he didn’t take the poster down for quite a while. I wonder if his current girlfriend knows that story? Oh well, she does now.

That, of course, is just one story from my 99 cent bin files. As I go through my album collection I see a number of albums that were purchased either because I really wanted them, or because I thought they’d be funny, at my used CD stores. Because of Empire and Mr. Cheap’s I own a lot of CDs I love that may have never made their way into my collection. I also own a whole lot of awful 99 cent albums that were really fun to pick up and laugh about. It’s a shame the current generation of music buyers won’t know the fun and excitement of finding something great, or just finding something random, in a 99 cent bin.


posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:46 AM  
Post a Comment
<< Home

Email List

Popular Columns

The Struggles Foreign Artists Face in the US, & How to Overcome Them

Ten Secrets for Making a Show a Success Despite a Low Turnout

What Happens to an Artist When Their Record Label Folds

Latest Podcast

The Drunk Train #9
feat. Lucy Camp
& Toussaint Morrison
Stand-Up Comedy

My set from Soce's
First-Timer's Show (April '14)
B-Lister Nation
B-Listers are a select group of artists that were featured in my Artist Of The Week series that ran every Monday from April of '06 to April of '11. All of these artists have two things in common; extreme talent, and a flight path far too under the radar for my liking. They took on the title of B-Listers as they embraced being featured by me, Adam B. Check out the AOTW Archives for all the interviews.

Friends of Adam’s World
60 Second Review
Adam John | Kid Kryptic
Always Home and Uncool
Backpack Cat
Claudia Alick
Definitely Amazing
Gangstarr Girl
Fly Like Dove
Halo Doesn’t Suck
I Are Conscious
Jesse Abraham
Joey K’s Place
Jus Rhyme
Ken Morico
Life of a Rockstar
MC Larny Rocks
Nappy Diatribe
Nobody Beats The Liz
Paul Gargano
Pay Us No Mind
Popular Opinions
Ramblings of the BK GrrlGenius
Sleep Dirt
Speech Is My Hammer
Stamford Talk
The 54 Reality Show
The BillaBlog
The Race to Nowhere
xo Publicity

Member Of


Wikio - Top Blogs - Music

Alltop, confirmation that I kick ass

    Older Posts                 Newer Posts