Mojo Vinyl Pays Tribute to Eat More Records
Customers patronizing Roswell’s Mojo Vinyl this holiday shopping season will be greeted by a giant green Oogie Boogie (from The Nightmare Before Christmas) staked out in front of the shop, adorned in Christmas ornaments, having just taken a big chomp out of an LP. Across the boogeyman’s prominent torso, it reads in large black letters: EAT MORE RECORDS. In addition to being an attention-grabbing beacon for Mojo Vinyl, which carries a mix of new and used records, it’s also a tip of the hat to the sadly shuttered metro Atlanta record store named Eat More Records and its late owner Craig Freireich. (The inflatable Oogie sports a smaller, more personal acknowledgement under the larger one, where it reads, “Thanks Craig [RIP].”) Although Mojo owner Rand Cabus never met Freireich face to face before the latter’s death in 2014, unfortunate circumstances brought their paths together in the early years of Rand’s shop.
Having opened in 2011, Cabus was several months, maybe a year-ish, into Mojo Vinyl’s tiny original location on Webb St., just off bustling Canton St. in the heart of historic Roswell, when a guy came in one day giving him a sob story about being recently divorced and needing to make some money by selling off his awesome record collection. “He [knew] all this stuff about records – he was very well informed,” Cabus recalls. “And he starts [selling] me records for the next two months. Awesome stuff. Box sets, crazy cool shit, all this great stuff…I think it’s manna from heaven.”
But then Cabus received a call from a detective in Gwinnett County informing him that he might be buying stolen records. “They described the guy, and it was [him]… Of course, my whole world just collapsed,” Rand says. “I was like, ‘Oh, fuck…’” The investigator asked Cabus for help and to notify him whenever the suspect returned, adding that while the records couldn’t be definitively tied to the original owner since there was no writing or personalized markings on them, other items may show up with identifying characteristics that could be traced.
Sure enough, shortly afterward the dirtbag came back into the store, this time selling a batch of 50 or so posters of big names like Rod Stewart, Elton John and Bob Dylan, signed by the artists “To Craig…” Rand got the posters from him and immediately called the investigator.
“[The detective] had told me Craig’s name when he first called me, but I didn’t know anything more,” Cabus recounts. The thief had been, in fact, one of Eat More’s best customers for many years, until he developed a drug habit; Freireich had let the guy live in his house rent-free after a bad divorce (which is how he had access to all that primo stuff), and unbeknownst to Rand at the time, other stores like Criminal Records and Wax ‘N Facts had already banned this weaselly individual. “Craig had a buddy of his come by and collect [the posters], and got to take them back. I don’t know what ever happened to [the thief]. I never saw him again… But about two weeks later, Craig calls me at the store, and he’s in [a nursing home]. They’d just amputated his leg, because he was diabetic and [had an infection]. And he goes, ‘You know, Rand, I’ve called around and I’ve asked people about your store, and they say you’re a good guy and it’s a cool store. And I really appreciate what you did about my posters, because those are real personal to me. I understand about the records, but there’s nothing we can do about that. So I hope you can sell them, and I hope it helps your store. I wish you luck with all of it.’ It was really one of those moments where you’re just like, ‘Wow…’ He really helped me out in a big way. He didn’t press charges and ask for ‘em back – he said, ‘You have them, and I hope you make a lot of money with them. Thank you for giving me my posters.’ And then he said, ‘I’m not doing well here. When I have my estate sale, I’ll put you on the list.’
“A year and a half later, I get this call from this guy, he’s like, ‘I’m representing Craig Freireich’s estate sale. And you’re number five on the list. I know the top 20 people on this list, but I don’t know you.’ Craig put me number five on his list to be at his estate sale. Again, that’s pretty amazing, angel stuff that I was not even remotely expecting.
“And I always loved the name Eat More Records. I thought that was the coolest record store name I’d ever heard,” continues Cabus, whose Mojo Vinyl store has moved several times since 2011, most recently to a house at 36 Woodstock St., still just off Canton St. in the heart of Roswell but a wee bit further north. “And when I saw Oogie Boogie… it’s a cool stupid thing they sell at Home Depot, and one day I just had this idea: what if he was a record monster and went around going, ‘EAT MORE RECORDS! EAT MORE RECORDS!’ So it’s my little ‘insider line’ tribute to Craig and his store. Because I heard Craig was a giant man. He was my Oogie Boogie. So I found a way to sort of wink to heaven and say, ‘Thanks, Craig!’”