Signal Path Podcast: Burger Records

Thomas Banks | 14.04.2020

Hear the stories behind the music with the Signal Path podcast. Tapping a global network of musicians, producers, engineers and other sonic innovators, Shure brings you exclusive interviews with the people shaping the world of audio.

Episode 34 – Burger Records

For the latest episode of Signal Path, Thomas Banks spoke with Lee Rickard from Burger Records, a magical record store and label in Fullerton, California. In the podcast,  Rickard discusses why the label is committed to the humble cassette tape, how his labor of love has evolved into multiple music festivals and what kind of burger is the best cure for a hangover.

Thomas Banks: So, Orange County is a pretty magical place in the American mythos. 

Lee Rickard: Yeah, we have Disneyland. I mean, it's got all these things going on. There's fireworks almost every night. 

You guys are now part of that Orange County mythos. I mean, the whole of Burger Records, which is this amazing spot. 

We're in the dungeon Burger Records HQ. But it's just a cornucopia of media. Yeah. And trash and stuff we can throw away for whatever reason. But cool trash. It's a little clutter and trash. It's great clutter. 

It speaks of this culture you guys have. You've created down here and nurtured. For 10 years now, you have been doing the label that came out of our band.

We had a band called Thee Makeout Party! that we started at the turn of the century. And we did that for about nine years until the wheels fell off. And that happened right when the store was opening. And before, you know, we self-released our second seven-inch and started investing into our friends’ bands, putting out tapes like Ty Segall's early band, the Traditional Fools Burger catalog number 007. And our friend Apache and Devon Williams and Harlem.

And some of our friends were making great records that maybe other people were putting out the vinyl, but no one was making a tape. And since we discovered the tape connection, we were just like, “Is it OK if we make a tape?” And The Go is one of the first ones that we got to do. And that was just next level. Oh, my God. We're a part of our favorite bands history now.

So let's talk about the tape, because that's what you guys are known for, right? 

We’ve put out cassettes for 10 years now. Over 10 years, I guess. But who's counting? There's a lot of stuff around the cassette nowadays. Tapes are part of pop culture. It's infiltrated it. I mean, there are billboards with cassette imagery and, you know, you walk into Kmart or whatever and you see shirts with tapes on it and there are cell phone covers with tapes on ‘em.

And movies like Guardians of the Galaxy.

We almost had a tie-in for that. One of the big dogs that used to be at Warner Bros. He wanted to work with us. He wanted 20 percent of the company, blah, blah. We didn't sign on, you know. But that was one of the things he was going to get us. He was going to hook us up with that. And then that thing came out. Oh well, it's all good, buddy. You just never know. It's hard. We'd like to mismanage ourselves for better and for worse, because we can only blame ourselves. We don't need other scapegoats. But the cassette is all about this. We grew up on tapes.

My first tape was a Buddy Holly tape I found on the ground. Just a beat-up white cassette tape with smeared blue ink. And I played that in my Fisher-Price cassette player and that kind of pretty much brainwashed me into it. It just was rock ‘n’ roll primitive simplicity, just where the magic is like having a few good old boys singing around one microphone. You know, that's where the magic is.

Listen to the full interview with Lee Rickard and subscribe to Signal Path with the podcast provider of your choice below. 

Thomas Banks

Thomas is a product specialist for wired microphones at Shure. A graduate of Loyola University Chicago with a BA in Philosophy, he started with Shure in 2005. In his free time, Thomas can be found audio and video recording, photographing, morel hunting, and social media posting.