Positively 4th Street: Raunch Records

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by Aaron Anderson

If you were to walk down 400 South in Salt Lake City 17 years ago, starting from 300 West and continuing on to 4th West, what would you see? Well, to your right, along the side of the viaduct ramp, you'd see graffiti reading, "This ain't the summer of love, this is the summer Jim died," with a stick figure dinosaur painted beside it. To your left there were vacant stores with barred windows, broken bottles and the smell of urine and shit stinking from the entryways. Further down, to your right, there were transients huddled around a bonfire beneath the viaduct, or hiding from the summer sun in the shade of Pioneer Park, depending on the season. Finally, to your left, there was the Positively Fourth Street building, and Raunch Records was inside.

Brad Collins owned Raunch Records. He had stacks of punk, metal, and hardcore LPs and 7"s for sale. There were t-shirts, magazines and skateboards. There were flyers advertising upcoming shows at The Speedway Café or The Word, flyers that decorated the bedroom walls of every kid involved in the music scene. Rarely did you leave the store without free posters and stickers. On the way out you could pick up the new SLUG and several other free publications if you wanted them. With a 20-dollar bill you could leave there with enough music and reading material to keep you happy until next payday. If you were into music outside of the mainstream, you couldn't ask for a better store.

Despite the fact that Raunch specialized in underground music and it was located right in the middle of the roughest part of town, it thrived at that location for years. It was not only a well-known store locally, it was known throughout the country as one of the best stores of its kind. Pushead did the artwork for some of the store's ads and posters. Daphne, Collins' business partner, moved to Los Angeles and opened up a Raunch store there for a while. All the best bands of the time made it a point to come and play Salt Lake. The scene here was cooking, and Raunch Records was one of the primary reasons it was so hot.

Collins also hosted a radio show on KRCL every Saturday night called Behind the Zion Curtain, where he played the music he carried in his store for several hours. Back then the hardcore scene was truly underground and Billy Idol was the closest thing to punk that you would hear on commercial radio. The kids, like me, would record the show on cassette tapes and listen to it several times. After a set of music, Collins would tell you the artist and name of each song, KRCL-style, and the next time you went into his store you knew exactly what you were after. Tristan Tabish and Bernice Halladay moved into the same timeslot shortly after Collins left, continuing to play similar music.

Raunch Records moved out of Positively 4th Street in 1992, relocating to Main Street between 800 and 900 South. The store then moved to 1121 East Wilmington in Sugarhouse. Eventually, it moved to its final location on 3300 South, closing for good in 1998.

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