From Riffs to Resilience: Navigating Adolescence in the Heavy Metal Underground

I was 14 years old and I probably weighed 100 pounds. I was hyperactive and I don’t think smoking a pack of cigarettes a day helped. We had just moved from Kitchener to Etobicoke for the second time, and I learned that Metallica was play was extremely excited. They were playing with Wasp and Armored Saint but I was mainly interested in Metallica because it was the release of their Ride The Lightning album.

I went down to Yonge Street by myself because I hadn’t made any friends yet. At this point I would go weekly to the different head shops, starting at Yonge and Dundas, and would always end up across the street from Mapleleaf Gardens at the Record Peddler.

It was also around this time I was starting to get into punk rock and hard-core crossover type bands. I loved going into the head shops in the on Young Street, but something that they always lacked was super cool, crossover T-shirts, which I could find at the Record Peddler along with the best and new music that I could ever hear.

The gentleman there was name Brian Taylor and would always introduce me to new bands like Sacrifice, MDC, The Accused, and the list goes on and on. Usually at the Head Shops I would buy band flags for my room showcasing bands like: Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest Ozzy Osbourne, Rush, and Motörhead are just a few examples.

You could find lots of studs, leather bracelets, wicked swag like that. And of course, we can’t forget the pipes and bongs that many of those head shops in Toronto offered in very large supply. However, a lot of the best stuff that I found would be at the Record Peddler. Slowly, but surely, my taste in music was changing to a very different extreme and unfortunately one that would force me to turn my back on some of the bands that I loved growing up. That would change. Then in 1997 I opened a shop in Orangeville, Ontario. That shop pretty much looked like my basement at my mom and dad‘s house with the tattoo parlour at the back. It was the combination of these different head shops that I went to concerts that I would go to and the record peddler that would make up the front of the shop in the beginning.

And here we are 26 years later!

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