All About Rockin Rudy’s
Owner: Bruce Micklus
I grew up in the hotbed of music in the early 60’s, Palo Alto, Cali. Played trombone in various jazz bands in the Bay Area. Was weaned on rock ‘n’ roll by the King. Was able to see Elvis twice and the Beatles once. In the mid-60’s, I travelled with William Penn and His Pals, one of the most popular bands in the Bay Area. Best friends with the organ player who went on to fame as the original keyboard player for Santana and then Journey, Gregg Rolie.
Those were the days, my friends, I thought they’d never end. But they did in ’67-three years in the Marine Corps and then school in Eugene, Oregon. Hippies everywhere and a great music scene; House of Records and the Crystal Ship, two if the best music stores of all time-great places to learn from.
The Beginnings of Rockin Rudy’s
In 1974, I opened the Great American Record and Plant Co. in downtown Bend, Oregon. It was extremely successful in the golden period of rock ‘n’ roll, but alas, in 1980-81 the big crash hit. Interest rates climbed to 21.5 percent. If you owed money, you were gone. Bye bye, Bruce.
In 1982, I moved to Missoula, Montana, and opened Rockin Rudy’s with my personal collection, still lovin’ the music. Used records and record rental were the mantra. Too bad the record companies were/still are so greedy. They ruined it for music fans everywhere. In 1986, I was sued in federal court by the 11 major record companies. New mantra.
42 Years of Rockin Rudy’s
Rudy’s has grown into one of the largest independent retailers in the country. Described as a “hipster department store,” Rockin’ Rudy’s encompasses 25,000 square feet of product: cards, gift, jewelry, toys, incense, candles, clothing, posters, art, bags, candy, and, of course, music. Rudy’s is in a standalone building that used to be a large bakery. Built in the early 1920s, the building sits in a residential area about six blocks in the other direction from a very vibrant downtown Missoula.
Rudy’s is very active in the local art and music scenes, which are very strong. At the time of this writing, we are selling tickets to 47 different shows that will take place in the next few months. Missoula rocks; so does Rudy’s. At the present time, Rudy’s employs 48 folks. In addition to the main store with more than half-million records to choose from. We sell and recondition turntables, cartridges, speakers, and electronics. Vinyl rules; so does Rudy’s.
After 42 years, the fight continues. Music is the best drug ever. I’m an addict; give me another hit.