DUBLIN -- In the shop filled with tie-dyed tees, concert posters and rows of record albums and CDs, there’s a bottle of “Gator’s Wrath” original hot sauce, a reminder of Jeff Cremer’s former business.
Cremer, a self-taught chef who for years ran a successful sandwich shop, sold the restaurant after he was forced by a new landlord to move down the street.
“The rent quadrupled and the economy tanked,” he recalled. “In between them, we couldn’t save the business.”
So Cremer, 54, turned his lifelong passion for music into a new career. He got into the record business, you might say, opening Jeff’s Musicology on Monroe Street in May 2010.
“Music’s the only other thing I know. I learned how to cook for the restaurant. I have 300 cookbooks at home, so I guess my next venture will be selling cookbooks.”
The selection of “gently used” and new music ranges from George Jones to Bon Jovi, from Teddy Pendergrass to Ted Nugent, from Method Man to Mozart. Many are from Cremer’s personal collection, and he figures he still has 500 records and 1,000 CDs at home.
”It’s kind of hard to let go of them,” he said.
Cremer lists albums by Frank Zappa and The Beatles as among the shop’s best.
“They’re all worth more than I could sell them for.”
Not all the records make the cut. Some covers of unplayable records are framed and used to decorate the shop. Cremer has covers featuring the faces, in makeup, of all four members of the band KISS,
“Album covers are really artwork,” he says.
Other unplayables wound up on his “vinyl” store awning, an eye-catcher covered with old records.
But not all the records are old. Vinyl is actually making a comeback, with many popular artists choosing to cut records. According to Billboard magazine, vinyl sales reached 2.8 million in 2010, a 14 percent jump from 2009.
Fellow music aficionados also will find the store a good place for conversation. Cremer is a wealth of knowledge about rock ’n’ roll in particular, and he loves to talk shop, sharing interesting nuggets along with a few opinions.
For instance, probably few people in these parts know The Monkees once was the opening act for psychedelic rocker Jimi Hendrix, but Cremer says the arrangement lasted only eight days as Hendrix’s people grew tired of teenage girls crowding the stage and screaming for Monkees’ lead singer Davey Jones.
And in a long-running debate in rock circles, Cremer falls into the David Gilmour camp, strongly believing the guitarist, and not bassist Roger Waters, was the real genius behind the band Pink Floyd. Cremer, a Florida native, recalls paying $12.50 for a ticket the first time he saw the band in concert.
He checked into seeing the latest lineup of Pink Floyd play at Philips Arena in Atlanta. Tickets were $189 for the wheelchair section.
Cremer, who has multiple sclerosis, uses a walker to move around the shop’s tight quarters. In his down time, you might see him scooting around the neighborhood in a motorized wheelchair, walking his and his wife’s dog, a rather large black lab-mix.
The couple saved the dog, then a tiny pup, after Cremer’s brother-in-law spotted her, dumped in the back of a pickup truck at a car lot they had visited to see a NASCAR race car on display.
“Her name is Lucky, because she’s lucky we found her,” Cremer said. “She would have died in the back of that pickup truck before somebody got there Monday.”
Cremer’s wife, Beth, who runs a cake bakery, Cake Art, across the street from the record store, was on the local Humane Society board and planned to take the dog there. Her husband couldn’t let her go.
“We had given her a bath, and she was looking up at me with her big brown eyes, wagging her tail.”
The couple and their daughter moved to Dublin from the St. Petersburg, Fla., area 28 years ago.
“Dublin was the perfect place when I moved here, a perfect place to raise a family,” Cremer said.
He worked for his uncle at the local Golden Corral restaurant, then got a job hanging wallpaper.
“I did that until the MS kicked in and I couldn’t stand on a ladder.”
While he worked hanging wallpaper, the Cremers had bought The Peppercorn restaurant, so he began working there full-time. As he mastered various forms of cuisines, he began featuring them at the sandwich shop. He recalls that some dishes, such as the vichyssoise he featured one day, required some getting used to.
“I could look around the restaurant and a husband would say, ‘Honey, the soup’s cold,’ ’’ Cremer whispered. “The wife would say, ‘It’s supposed to be.’ ’’
Cremer attended the University of Florida for four quarters and he’s a devoted fan. There’s a reason he named his line of hot sauce “Gator’s Wrath.” A corner of the restaurant was decked out with Gator memorabilia, which made for plenty of good-natured ribbing with patrons in Bulldog country.
A few Florida items, including a Sports Illustrated with former Gator quarterback Tim Tebow on the cover, made the move to the music shop. Cremer also displays several $1 bills he won in friendly wagering with Georgia fans -- at least the ones not taken in the two break-ins at the restaurant.
“The first time they missed the dollar bills on the walls. The second time, they got the dollar bills.”
The shop is open noon to 7 p.m. Wednesdays-Fridays and noon-4 p.m. Saturdays.
“It’s a nice set-up,” said Gordon Burgamy of Milledgeville, who also sells albums and CDs. Burgamy left with several vintage vinyls, including a “Fabulous Thunderbirds” album.
“I saw him on Craigslist and thought I’d come check him out,” Burgamy said.
Records typically cost $3.99 and CDs $7.99. The shop does not take checks or credit cards. “Cash is king,” a sign on the wall reads, making clear that plastic won’t get you vinyl here.
To contact writer Rodney Manley, call 744-4623.