Open Tables lets aspiring DJ’s spin their stuff in downtown Phoenix

[Source: State Press Magazine]

Revolver Records video by Andy Jeffreys and Becca Bever.

Step inside and be comforted by the smell of incense and sawdust. Don’t be intimidated by the seemingly endless crates of vinyl, books and CDs. Have a gander or make a day of it, because somewhere in the stacks of music, there is something for you. Look past the posters and haphazardly strung-up lights, and give in to Revolver Records.

In a world where artists are rushed to churn out new albums and songs are bought one at a time on iTunes, the downtown Phoenix record store is giving aspiring DJs a welcoming environment to hone their craft.

Every other Thursday, two Technics 1200 turntables and a sign-up list sit on the counter by the front door. A spin on the classic open mic night, Open Tables lets amateurs and professionals alike spin 20-minute sets of whatever their hearts desire.

Revolver Records supplies you with the turntables, a mixer, headphones and an audience. All you have to bring is your collection of vinyl.

Cameron Rosewicz, an employee at Revolver who first came up with the idea, says he enjoys Open Tables because he hears a variety of music and gets to meet new people.

“The best [part of Open Tables] is that everyone is really supportive,” Rosewicz says.

Revolver Records has been open since September 2007, but Open Tables began the first Thursday of July.

“It started out slow but has been building up,” Rosewicz says. “Regulars have started popping up as well as new people too.”

Kyle Nipp, a 37-year-old from Indianapolis, spun at Open Tables for the third time Aug. 26. Sporting an Iron Maiden T-shirt, he spins a mixture of Innerzone Orchestra and My Bloody Valentine.

“I’ve always fantasized about being a DJ,” says Nipp, a metalhead at heart. “[Here] I can be with people who share the love of vinyl.”

T.J. Jordan opened Revolver Records in 2007 with his business partner, Steve Zimmerman.

“We have really good DJs that come in and show the youngsters how to mix, drop the needle at the right part and stuff like that. It seems basic but [is important],” Jordan says.

What’s Jordan’s advice for people hesitant to take a crack at DJing? “Just do it.”

“Bring your records,” he says.

“Don’t be afraid of what kind of music it is or if you think it might suck. Be open to other people because that’s how you learn — by watching other people, what they do right or what they do wrong.”

Despite being a small business, Revolver Records has been doing well on Roosevelt Row, maintaining a consistent customer base and bringing in new music lovers.

In early September, the store celebrated its third anniversary with store-wide sales and perks for customers with reward cards. Live music by Hot Birds and the Chili Sauce kicked off the festivities.

Revolver’s motto is “keeping music spinning,” and it is easy to see T.J. Jordan loves his job. He almost called the anniversary weekend “Holy Shit We’ve Been in Business for Three Years.”

“We love records. We love music. I want to be the last record store standing. Whatever I do, the first thing in my mind is to keep us in business as long as possible,” Jordan says.

Revolver Records used to be on Seventh Avenue, but moved to its new location to be closer to the First Fridays art walk. Jordan says they wanted to start off small and build from the ground up. Today they offer low prices and friendly service without the stereotypical music-snob attitude.

“Our goal is to have as much product for the customer as possible and take ourselves out of it. For instance, if [the employee] likes punk music, but [the customer] wants to buy a Barry Manilow CD, they can go right ahead and do so,” Jordan says.

He is a fan of the world-music albums his store sells. “Funky rock from the 70s from Brazil is awesome,” he says. “DJs love that kind of stuff.”

Revolver Records makes a point to not purchase a lot of new music and does their best to keep their loyal following of customers. With open tables, live music and a broad spectrum of merchandise, they are bringing new people to what some might call an outdated industry.

“The art of record making is lost in this digital world,” says Jordan, a music lover who digs his heels into the ground and refuses to let Amazon and iTunes tell him to modernize.

Contact the reporter at

If you go:

Open Tables at Revolver Records.
918 N. Second St., Phoenix. (map)
Every other Thursday night. (The next Open Tables is tomorrow Sept. 23rd.)

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