Crate Diggers Spotlight Series: Thom Jones of Crossroads Music

Crate Diggers PDX is just around the corner, and as we lead up to the event, we’ve been introducing you to some of the vendors here on the blog.

Thom Jones

Thom Jones is the owner of the weird and wonderful Portland based record store, Crossroads Music. Crossroads is located in the eclectic, hippy and hipster-infested Hawthorne neighborhood in southeast Portland. It’s located next-door to Artichoke Music, a 40-year-old nonprofit music community center, on a mission to create a connected community of music lovers.

Crossroads had a booth last year at our first ever Crate Diggers event, so I was sure to ask Thom what lured him back again this year:

“The money. I mean, as local record shows go, it was one of the better ones. A very diverse cross-section of dealers, a lot of excited nerd shoppers, beer, and near-by shopping for bored partners.”

Crossroads Music Outside

At Discogs, whenever we discuss our favorite record stores in Portland, Crossroads Music is always mentioned. Part of what makes Crossroads unique is that their inventory consists of about 35 music dealers selling music on a consignment. Thom summarizes Crossroad’s inventory consignment method as follows:

“Approximately 30 nerds who have been forced by parents, roommates and/or girlfriends to ‘make room’ for ‘better relationships,’ rent table space where they sell records to help fund their own unhealthy and unreasonable record collecting habits. Their own records, of course, are often snuck in through their garages.”

Crossroads Music

Thom has been in the music industry for most of his life: DJing for over thirty years, playing in bands, working and managing record stores, and currently he owns and manages Crossroads Music. However, Thom didn’t start his career in music. I was surprised to find out that he worked as a mechanical engineer in the early 80’s, helping develop the High Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicle, AKA The Hummer.

“I found it disturbing to work for someone called a Weapon System Manager (WSM), so I went in the opposite direction of the money and took up buying, selling, spinning and eating records. I prefer a weapon system-free job that involves discovering new old music all day. However, I continue to detest conversations about The Beatles. P.S., Paul isn’t dead. He never existed.”

Crossroads Music Wall

When Thom is not selling records, DJing, or complaining about Beatles collectors, he occasionally finds a spare moment to involve himself in making music.

“I released one of the most ignored CD’s in history under the name Else Teicher. I also appear on some releases by The Pointy Toes Ensemble, named after my preferred footwear. I am currently working on putting out a record by the alligator-headed artist Gar Gar, because I will put out anything that features an alligator-headed lead singer.”

Thom is also a local DJ, often headlining at Portland’s fantastically strange, horror themed Lovecraft Bar, as well as putting out a weekly show on Portland’s

“I have been a club, event and radio DJ for a stupid amount of time. I primarily
play records, but will stoop to playing songs off my iPhone to field certain
requests. And, by “stoop,” I mean that I have to stoop down in the booth to find
the auxiliary input for the mixer. I can also fill up a room with fog like a
real champion.

“My show is called Hipsters Suck and is on live from 11-midnight on Mondays (followed by my wife’s show Vampirella In Iridescent Teal. In many ways, the 2 shows are companion pieces). All vinyl, because I am just not smart enough to figure out all that Serato malarkey that the kids seem so fond of, which is slowly but surely DESTROYING THIS GREAT NATION! I also DJ around town under the name DDDJJJ666 (with my wife, Magnolia Bouvier). Also all vinyl, because vinyl may skip, BUT IT NEVER CRASHES. Unless I get extremely legally high.”

Crossroads Music

Thom seems to have connections with just about everyone involved in the music scene in Portland, so I wasn’t surprised when I ran into him at Cascade Record Pressing recently. Like everyone at Discogs, he’s excited to see Oregon’s first and only pressing plant open up just outside of Portland.

“It is a beautiful facility, run by the right kind of weirdos. Plus, they didn’t immediately kick me out when I suggested a release with actual fish scales pressed into the vinyl. I think it is going to benefit the PNW and beyond greatly by loosening the chokehold that Record Store Day has put on many of our nation’s record pressing plants. It is piloted by passionate, total dorks with unhealthy and unreasonable record collecting habits. And there are some PBR 24’s in their fridge.”

Thom will be at the White Owl Social Club on Saturday, August 29 for Crate Diggers PDX, with a selection of prog, noise, goth, metal and more. If you can’t make it to Crate Diggers, check out Thom’s Discogs store.

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