Bob Berberich got into rock ’n’ roll early.
Berberich, 70, had a sister who was five years older than he was, and she introduced him to the sounds of Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Fats Domino and Elvis.
And while rock ’n’ roll was famous for annoying parents, Berberich’s mother would hold sock hops in the living room of their Washington, D.C., rowhouse.
It worked out well enough.
Berberich became a professional drummer, playing in a band with future Bruce Springsteen guitarist Nils Lofgren and touring with a number of acts.
Now he owns the East Patrick Street record store Vinyl Acres and serves as something of a mentor to the Frederick music community.
“Bob, he was selling me records when I was 13,” said Chris Wolfe, the owner of Rock & Roll Graveyard, down the street from Berberich’s shop.
In his subterranean shop, Berberich is surrounded by vinyl.
Most people who come in are looking for something specific, usually classic rock staples such as Pink Floyd, the Beatles, Queen or the Rolling Stones, he said.
But many others just want a chance to browse through the boxes and see what they can find.
Along with an extensive rock collection, he stocks classical, folk, jazz and other genres to give people a chance to find a hidden gem.
It’s what makes stores like his different from shopping on the internet, Berberich said.
“You’re looking for something that strikes you.”
Berberich and Wolfe’s East Patrick Street shops, along with The Record Exchange on North Market Street, form a great collection — a power trio, if you will — of sound, a place for shoppers to find some memories from the past or maybe stumble upon a new groove.
“You go into a record store to absorb the atmosphere and see what you find,” Record Exchange owner Sam Lock said.
Located on North Market Street since 2011, Lock’s store also sells DVDs, cassettes and other products.
But the anchor of the store is its vinyl collection.
“Certain records, they sound so much better with all the crackles and pops,” Lock said.
Like Berberich, the store gets a lot of people looking for Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin or the Rolling Stones, Lock said.
But customers also come in searching for bands such as the Smiths, Joy Division and the Cure, along with jazz artists including John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis and Charles Mingus.
Wolfe sees it as his mission to help customers expand their musical horizons.
He started out as a teenager listening to Led Zeppelin, ZZ Top and Bob Dylan.
But then he started digging around, listening to different bands and more obscure tracks, until some of his favorite bands became groups including Spirit and Iron Butterfly.
His store stocks all formats, from vinyl records to CDs, and genres from acid rock to hip-hop.
But Wolfe is an analog guy at heart. He prefers vinyl or 8-track tapes, and said he scolds his friends when they bring CDs into the shop to play.
Downtown’s small-town vibe lets stores like his and the others survive, along with vintage clothing and antiques, Wolfe said.
Part of the joy of music is sharing it with other people, introducing them to new sounds and finding new ones yourself, Wolfe said.
Some of his favorite albums have come from things he’s stumbled upon.
He tries not to get caught up in things like the design of the album cover or other aesthetic factors.
“You just look past everything, put it on the turntable, and see what happens,” Wolfe said.