Today’s teens and 20-somethings have
little if any memory of the days
when music was the product of vinyl
phonograph records, their sounds
produced by placing a needle into
minute grooves cut into the record’s
This latter-day technology, replaced
by tape and ultimately CD players in
the ‘70s and ‘80s, now seems almost
as quaint and remote as the Victrola
must have seemed to those of us who
bought vinyl LPs and 45s in the
earlier decades of the last century.
Yet like most old technologies,
vinyl records still have their loyal
devotees who refuse to give them up.
There remain a great many collectors
and buffs who passionately insist
that the sound quality of vinyl
records is without peer; that it has
a richness that the cold, sterile
digital recording heard on CDs just
Such vinyl-heads will find a happy
haven at Rockzone Records (“...where
Vinyl Lives!”) a handsome
used-record-emporium located at 1721
E. Warner Road, at the southwest
corner of Warner and McClintock.
Rows and rows of cases hold stack
upon stack of records ranging from
classics to curios, any one of which
may give the boomer-era music fan a
blast from the past. Presiding over
them all is proprietor Steven
Wilkinson, a local musician and
Wilkinson, however, is not himself a
fanatical member of the vinyl cult.
“I wouldn’t call myself an
aficionado, or an audiophile,” he
admits. “I like both vinyl and CD.”
He recognizes the qualitative
difference between the two formats,
“I like CDs for the convenience, but
CD is sort of a flat, bombastic
sound. Vinyl has always had a warmer
tone to it...A lot of it is a matter
of opinion, but a lot of it is a
matter of your ear.
“I’m a musician, so I can hear
sharps and flats, and I can hear the
difference between vinyl and CD. I
don’t know what it is, but for some
reason in this tide of MP3s and
whatnot, vinyl has been extremely
hot in the last few years.”
Still, Wilkinson notes, Rockzone
Records is so friendly to digital
media that it offers disc-repair
services for CDs, DVDs and video
games, while you wait.
Wilkinson worked at the store that
became Rockzone before purchasing it
himself, when it was a location of
now-defunct Rockaway Records.
Rockzone purchased Rockaway’s entire
inventory in January of last year.
“The store has always had a rock
basis,” says Wilkinson, who names
Kiss, the Who, Black Sabbath, Queen,
Thin Lizzy, ELO and Alice Cooper,
among others, as favorites. But a
stroll around the store reveals
everything from jazz to movie
soundtracks to stand-up comedy.
The store also serves as musical
hotspot in its own right.
“Sometimes we have bands in to play
an acoustic set,” says Wilkinson.
Most recently, Swedish “sleaze rock”
quartet Vains of Jenna performed
in-store earlier this month.
Wilkinson remains an active musician
himself, performing in cover band
The Cradle Robbers, which plays
venues like O’Kelly’s in Mesa,
Cactus Jack’s in Ahwatukee and the
Blooze in Phoenix.
Wilkinson explains the group’s name
“It’s a bunch of old guys, and if
young girls want to see us and drool
over us, that’s OK. I’m the youngest
guy in the band, and I’m 40.”
Rockzone Records buys, sells and
trades. For more information visit
rockzonerecords.com or call