For eight years, George Pizer sold vintage records and clothes at Pigeon Ground Records & Clothing. The Camperdown store was a two-pronged operation; Pizer oversaw clothing, Tim Barber took care of the records. By the time escalating rents pushed Pizer out to Katoomba in 2013, his interest in vinyl had been decided.
While he loves the Blue Mountains area, there was absolutely no work, especially for an art-school postgrad. Coming to the big smoke to hang the occasional gallery show was financially rewarding, but Pizer found the four-hour round-trip commute, “soul destroying”. Things were looking grim until a Gumtree ad ignited his imagination.
“I saw an old truck for sale that a guy had used to take flowers to the Flemington Markets,” Pizer says. “The penny just dropped – I thought it would make a fantastic mobile record shop.”
There was some work to do first – it required parts from two trucks to ensure it was road worthy. Next was the paint job by Earlwood’s Zackly Write Signs. “He did such great signwriting, I felt I had to make the inside as good as the outside. Before that, it was just going to be milk crates in the back of a truck.” Now, the interior is certifiably awesome, with wood panelling, a DJ booth and a solar panel on the roof that helps power a listening station and a small sound system. Pizer has poured all of his spare income into the project. “For the first time in my life, inspiration hit and took over in a way I’d only ever read about, where people feel something and it drives them rather than them having to push it along.”
Rolling Records debuted at the Lady Luck rockabilly festival in Katoomba in January, “And just smashed it,” Pizer says. “It was really the best response I could have ever possibly dreamed for.” Sales have been consistently strong at subsequent festivals, but with pleasant variations. “At the ukelele festival I moved a lot of Hawaiian music. Then at the folk festival people wanted Australian folk records that had been overlooked at the rockabilly fest. Doing different festivals you get people with different tastes, rather than being in a stationary shop with the same punters coming in and certain sections sitting untouched.”
Check the Rolling Records Facebook page for regular updates on where George Pizer and his truck will be parked next.