Open for four months, Grayskull Vinyl started out at the Santa Clarita Swap Meet at The Saugus Speedway, selling one bin of records that the father of the store’s owner, Victor M. Torres Jr., came across.
“Sure enough, we sold all the records, and we started getting more and more and more, and suddenly we had a nice collection of vinyl records,” Torres said. “So, I started thinking, ‘Wow, this might be a good opportunity to do something about it. To create something.’”
Torres has been involved with the music scene since he was 10 years old, tagging along to punk shows in the late 1980s and early ‘90s that his cousin would attend.
“We were going to the backyard shows in East L.A., and he [Torres’ cousin] would pick me up so we could spin me in a circle for the pit, and I would just watch and just listen to all the new music that was being created,” Torres said. “It was an amazing experience going through all that, watching it all be right in front of you and just appreciating the music that was being created… I just am grateful for the experience I had in the scene.”
Now, Torres collects and sells records of all musical genres through his storefront location off of Soledad Canyon Road in Canyon Country. Grayskull Vinyl still sells at the Swap Meet every Sunday as well.
The store is thoroughly organized by genre, from goth to heavy metal to country. Popular artists such as Elvis Presley and The Grateful Dead also have their own sections throughout the store to allow for an easy search, but for those who like to dig through endless records to find some hidden gems can check out the “Miscellaneous” sections.
“I’m a big fan of all music genres, all types of music I love and I enjoy. Even going back to Beethoven,” Torres said. “If I have a favorite musician – if I really have to break it down, it would have to be Slash from Guns N’ Roses. Big fan of his work, his image, the top hat, even all of his projects after Guns N’ Roses, he’s an amazing musician. I haven’t met him personally, but he did sign one of my CDs.”
Grayskull Vinyl sells more than just vinyl records. The store also offers an abundance of CDs, cassette tapes, 8-tracks and music memorabilia like posters, figurines and T-shirts. Torres also makes melted record bowls out of old scratched records that he doesn’t want to go to waste. On one wall of the store, there hangs multiple guitars gifted to Torres by his younger brother from days touring in the 2003 heavy metal band Merciless Death.
The store is primarily run by Torres, but he receives help from family members in the area, like his father, who is in charge of the Latin music section and who cleans, plays and prices a large portion of the store’s vinyl records.
“To me, family is key,” Torres said.
The main goal of Grayskull Vinyl is to find loving homes for all of the vinyl records in the shop.
“All of the records I have here, I treat them like children a little bit… I clean them, I put them in the sleeves and I present them here. It’s like going to find a pet at the shelter – same thing with my records, I want them to go to a good home,” Torres said. “It’s amazing music, it’s meant to be played, it’s meant to make someone either cry or dance, and I want them to go to a good home. So, that’s why I put 100% into all my records that I have here. It’s my pleasure to spread the love of music on vinyl.”
You can visit Grayskull Vinyl at their Canyon Country location, 19983 Soledad Canyon Rd., Canyon Country, CA 91351. You can also find them every Sunday at the Santa Clarita Swap Meet located at The Saugus Speedway. Learn about new products coming to the store on their Instagram or through their website.
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