What’s the story?
1979 – 1989
“Why don’t we open a record shop?” thought Mike and Gareth (Gaz) and so ‘Rockers’ first came to open its doors in Hurst Street, Birmingham in the summer of 1979 selling punk, post-punk & later New Romantic on vinyl. It was more of a place to hang out for music lovers and local bands than a business.
Hurst Street at that time, before its makeover in the 1990’s, was an eclectic mix of both old established and new independent shops e.g. Khan & Belle and the Hosteria Wine Bar. Here we started a record label and put out our first release by The Scarecrows and records followed by The Surf Drums, Godflesh, Lilac Time (Stephen Duffy) Zodiac Motel, Dave Kusworth, Belfast Cowboys and a huge acid house club classic with ‘Jesus Loves The Acid’ by The Ecstasy Club (Carl-boy)
1989 – 1996
Time to move on to Needless Alley, a street of a thousand trades with a watch repairer, a needlewoman, a stamp collector and a chip shop as neighbours. With these esoteric new premises, Rockers morphed into Swordfish and business picked up as CD sales soared. Here we released two great Roky Erickson (formerly 13th Floor Elevators leader) collections of previously unreleased material on vinyl & CD and began our association with San Francisco cult band Ya Ho Wha 13.
1996 – 2013
More redevelopment of the city brought another move to new premises in Temple Street, Birmingham and with the Brit Pop boom; times were good with record and CD sales reaching an all-time high. We reinvigorated the record label and put out releases from underground & avant-garde Japanese artists Acid Mothers Temple and Keiji Haino and reissued CD’s, vinyl and a documentary DVD by Ya Ho Wha 13 and a live album from the legendary psych band CA Quintet
And then times changed, as the record industry was revolutionised by downloads and internet sales combined with a global recession, independent record shops closed down in droves. We stuck it out and kept going with customers who like to browse for vinyl and CD’s. 17 years later when the lease was up, the landlord sold the building to developers and Swordfish were again on the move. Here we go again embarking on the next phase in another new shop in Dalton Street, which is strangely reminiscent of those early days in Rockers & Needless Alley.
Swordfish moves to new premises at 66 Dalton Street, Birmingham City Centre and back to our roots thanks to all our loyal customers for staying with us. We will continue to stock new and used vinyl and CD’s with classic collectibles and bargains and pay cash for records and CD’s.
Swordfish in-store appearances have included The Lilac Time, Henry Rollins, Billy Bragg, The Kooks, Razorlight, Mark Ronson & Duran Duran, Duke Spirit, The Wonder Stuff, Lenny Kravitz & King Adora.
Swordfish customers have included many interesting people over the years and some of those well-known customers in the music world have been John Peel, Dave Grohl & The Foo Fighters, Robert Plant, John Taylor, The Horrors, Jamie T, Stuart Maconie, Franz Ferdinand, Mud Honey, Neil Diamond, John Cale, Primal Scream & Jamie Cullum.