The hoodlums at Hoodlums
When you are a little joint like Hoodlums, you really have to make sure your employees are excellent. We’ve been fortunate enough to have some great ones over the years, and we are going to make sure that the future hoodlums are equally great. Below you will find info on our current and former hoods.
Diane and Amanda always dressed like the White Stripes. I’m kidding… it’s Halloween.
The current hoodlums at Hoodlums:
Steve Wiley. Steve is one of the owners of Hoodlums Music. Steve has been in & out of music stores since his early days in the Great White North. No, not Canada, dammit, North Dakota. He is a graduate of the University of North Dakota in marketing and advertising. He is the only one at the store crazy enough to have a family at this point…a great wife and five kids to be exact. He spent the ten years prior to opening Hoodlums managing Arizona record/video stores from Tucson to Flagstaff. Yeah, that means he is the oldest one at the store (in a sea of pups with eighties birthdates), so ask him about “old” guys like Tom Petty, the Beatles, Aerosmith, and Van Halen.
Types of music Steve digs the most: rock, jazz, blues, jam bands, funk, classic rock, hard-bop, blues-rock, and hip hop that has a positive groove.
Steve also specializes in: Anything in the store….DVDs, vinyl, accessories, special orders, website, ad rates, history…you name it. If he can’t answer it, he can find someone who will.
Kristian Luce. Kristian is the other owner of Hoodlums. He has been running the streets of Tempe ever since they brought him in from small town Pennsylvania (did you notice the Steelers color scheme on our store signs?). He also has spent his life in and out of record stores. When he isn’t hanging out in Tempe, he likes to spend his time in Bisbee. He isn’t quite as old as Steve, but he aint no spring chick either, so ask him about “ancient” artists like Tom Waits, Apples in Stereo, Jane’s Addiction and The Clash.
Types of music that Kristian deems worthy: rock, jazz, blues, world, indie rock, jam bands, old country, hip hop, alt. country, bluegrass…he knows a bit about it all.
Kristian also specializes in: Anything in the store… vinyl, special orders, media relations, consignment, imports, in-store performances…you name it. Find him and you find an answer.
Joe. Joe is a member of the original Hoodlums crew, he was our single longest employee (nine years), and he is our store manager. He is nothing less than an integral part of everything this store has ever accomplished. Except for his excellent customer service, Joe is as close to a typical “record store guy” as typical can get. He lives and breathes entertainment.
Joe is a walking source of cultural information, a king-size wise ass, and a true hoodlum. He can be found in the store four to five days a week.
Joe specializes in: The fringe, whatever fringe you want. Classical. Jazz. Non-obvious Rock. World. Joe can help you with absolutely anything you need at Hoodlums.
Andy. Andy is our young roots rock guy. He was a customer that hung around the store bullshitting (and buying) so much that we finally hired him. He is in his second year at Hoodlums, and he lives and breathes music like the rest of us (not movies quite so much… but the kid is a music sponge).
Andy is super helpful, and he can be found nights and weekend. Careful… Andy will recommend.
Andy specializes in: Rock, Alt. Country, Punk, Pop, Punk-pop. He’s learning rapidly about jazz, blues, vintage rock, and just about everything.
Becky. Becky is the rookie. Another customer at the ASU store, she joined us last summer (almost two years after the interview), and she has rapidly learned and become a big part of what we are doing. Becky books the bands, and helps with promotion, in addition to widening our spectrum of music knowledge (and stuff we play in store).
Becky hangs out a few weeknights and on weekends. She knows the local scene quite well, and she is the one to talk to if you want to play on the Hoodstage.
Becky specializes in: Indie Rock, Rock, Folk, Soul… OK, I’m not entirely sure yet. I know that she will, like her comrade Andy, listen to anything with an open mind, including jazz, blues, and other vintage things I make her listen to.
Mr. Mandel. OK, his name is really Steve, but for some reason… over the years… I’ve just consistently called him Mr. Mandel (rest assured, even though I call him “Mr”, he’s just a pup compared to me). Anyway, Steve has been in record stores as long as Kristian and I (in fact, he served at Wherehouse and the Z-Corp with both of us), but he has only officially worked at Hoodlums at the new store (he has a real job during the day… with a suit).
Like the rest of our staff, Mr. Mandel is a super nice guy with an immense amount of music, movie, and pop culture knowledge. He hangs out Tuesday and Thursday nights.
Steve specializes in: A cornucopia of different shit. He knows rock, new age, jazz, classical, comedy… oh dammit, Mandel knows everything.
Hoodlums’ Hall of Fame.
Like we said, we’ve had a ton of good employees. If you look at the photo albums, or browse the website, you’ll see lots of them. Every single one of them contributed, and we thank them all.
But let’s talk Hall of Fame. The big timers.
Below are the key characters that allowed us to thrive in our first ten years. Most of them may look slightly different today… maybe. We miss ‘em all, and would take each and every one of them back in a second (though it might be too tough on the payroll to do it all at once).
Each and every one of them shares our passion about music and movies and being a hoodlum. Each of them has our enduring love and appreciation.
Amanda. Amanda is one of the original hoodlums, and our very first store manager. We got her to stay as long as we could, but then she went off to do better things. Better than hanging out at an indie record store all day you say? How can that be? Well, she went off to teach underprivileged kids in one of the tougher areas of L.A… that’s why we say ‘better’.
Amanda, along with the other questionable characters below, will always be a hoodlum in our hearts, so we created the Hoodlums Hall of fame in her honor.
Vinny. Like Amanda and Joe, Vin (his real name is Chris) was one of the original crew and a former store manager. He is a crazy rascal like Kristian and I – passionate about music and movies and down on corporate joints. How “crazy like we are”? He started with the original crew… he left to get an MBA… then he came back. He then left Hoodlums for good in the spring of 2005 to open his own store out east, where he grew up. That’s how crazy.
If you want to find Mr. Vin – just go to Rainbow Recordsin Delaware. Tell ‘em we sent ya.
Heath. Heath was a loyal hoodlum for three years, but he has been a hoodlum his whole life (that’s why we hired him). He worked hard, sold a lot of stuff, and filled the hallowed halls of Hoodlums with his special form of Philly BS (the old site spelled out ‘BS’, but we’se all growed up now). Like the rest of us, the music was in his blood, so he learned how to be an engineer, and he moved to NYC to get in the thick of making it.
Hmm… I wonder who the other hoodlums will be calling on when they visit New York?
Marla (MZA). I still shake my head when I see the grumpy cartoon. She insisted on it. Not because she was really mean (she is actually very nice), but because she loves to be different (which is tough in a sea of rebellious record store geeks). Anyway, Marla was our final manager, and our resident activist.
She moved to Portland to take on the man up there (we’re so proud of her). We’re keeping tabs on her, and wishin’ she was still around to challenge us musically and politically.
Domenic. Dom was with us until the end of the ASU, but he has now ran off to Seattle (he’ll no doubt be visiting our friends at Easy Street Records). It’s a bummer, because we were hoping he was going to stay. That’s the trouble with good employees at record stores – eventually they have to go out and get real jobs.
Dom was a customer service king – and simply one of nicest guys around. In a store full of emotional goofs, his calming influence will be missed.
Justin. Like MZA, the Justin cartoon always kills me. That because he looked like a puppy when he first got here (and because the ‘mustache era’ for Justin represents one of many, many original looks). Justin hung around the ‘Hood for a long time, and his knowledge of music grew in direct proportion to his crazy behavior. He is a fearless believer in his music… and every other wild endeavor he takes on (he’s almost as much of a real hoodlum as the owners were at that age). It’ll be interesting to see what he is going to be when he grows up (for that matter, it will be interesting to see what I will be when I grow up).
Maria. Maria is one of a special few Hall of Famers that has worked for us, left, and then came back. Unlike most of her fellow HOFH, we get to see her quite a bit (most of them live elsewhere, and Justin is just too damn busy to come by) because she lives with our current manager, Joe (they claim to have met away from work… and I bought it hook, line, and sinker).
She works in the fitness industry, kicks butt in the field of Cappybarra (I’m kidding, it’s Capoeira), and somehow keeps Joe in line.
Hall of Famers for which I have yet to draw a cartoon:
Lloyd. Lloyd was one of the three original Hoodlums’ owners. He was an integral part of our formative years, and he remains one of our closest friends and biggest supporters. No one could network, market, listen to cheese, or remember barcodes for hundreds of random titles like Lloyd, so we hated to see him go. However, when you are born a record label guy, and the record labels call, you must go. So a couple of years after we opened, Lloyd went to LaLa Land, where he is now he is a big shot for Universal’s indie (is that an oxymoron?) branch, Fontana.
Martin. Martin was our very first “non-owner” employee… back when Lloyd was still around. When I say that Marty could beat you in Trivial Pursuit, I mean it. He was like that kid at the beginning of HBO’s Dream On (like Trivial Pursuit didn’t date me enough) who was sat in front of the TV and absorbed everything… except he didn’t sleep much, so he watched like fifteen hours a day. As a result, he could answer customer questions that just blew us all away.
Unfortunately, we caught him near the end of his college career (year twelve was it, Marty?), so he had to move on shortly afterwards. He moved to Washington DC to infiltrate the government (so it doesn’t really matter who gets elected… we are in trouble).