Dave Grohl, Hanks and the record store that connects them

Tower Records

"I got a job at Tower Records because that is the only place I could get a job with my haircut," laughs Dave Grohl in the new documentary All Things Must Pass.

The film charts the history of one of the most loved record store chains.

At the height of its success in 1999, it was making $1bn (£692m) a year. By 2006, the company was filing for bankruptcy.

The chain, like many others, wasn't prepared for the digital age.

Tower Records didn't adapt to the advent of downloading and in the end they paid the price.

But that is just the end of what is a fascinating story about a place that began in 1960 from virtually nothing to a much-loved and successful business.

It's a story that Colin Hanks, yep son of Tom Hanks, decided he wanted to tell, even though he had no directorial experience and no funding for it.

Russ Soloman
Image caption Tower Records founder, Russ Soloman

"I just loved the way that Tower (Records) operated," Colin Hanks explains.

"The idea that a job doesn't have to be something that you hate.

"My favourite line from the film is 'when you really love what you do, the fact that they pay you is just a bonus.'"

But it took eight years and the help of a kickstarter campaign to get this documentary made.

Lots of the people who worked there are interviewed in the film. Many climbed the ladder from working at the till to becoming top level management.

Before Dave Grohl became one of the best known musicians in the world, his first job was as a shop assistant at Tower Records in Seattle.

"We had been passing stories through third parties because he found out about the doc," Hanks explains about getting Dave Grohl involved.

"When we finally sat down it was such a treat.

"He is one of the most well known musicians on the planet and he worked there. As the film maker of the Tower Records documentary, that is a good get."

Dave Grohl in the film

And there were plenty of Grohl anecdotes that didn't make the film and behaviour that shouldn't be encouraged.

"He told a great story about vandalising a mural outside of the Tower Records shop in Seattle.

"Someone took a polaroid of it and slid it under the door so the manager of the store - who was Dave's former boss - would know who did it."

He is not the only famous face you see speaking fondly of the record store. Bruce Springsteen and Chris Cornell also make appearances as does a very young Sir Elton John.

You see him flicking through the racks of vinyl with a handwritten list of every record he wants, while his limo driver stands behind him with a box to put the records in.

Elton John shopping at Tower Records in the 1970's.

"It was such an exciting moment finding that footage.

"We asked the guy how he came to own it and said he found it in a dumpster," Hanks says.

Sir Elton John would turn up most Saturday mornings to stock up his music collection and it is one of these trips that you see in this footage.

What is surprising is other shoppers politely acknowledge his presence but certainly don't ask for a photo.

"I think that was one of the things that Tower Records really prided itself on - that everyone who walked in was a music fan but they weren't fan crazy," Hanks muses.

"Especially in the bigger name shops. If you saw a celebrity there you would sort of leave them alone."

All Things Must Pass: The Rise and Fall of Tower Records is out on DVD and digital now

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