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Oklahoma Business

Office Space: Monkey Feet Records and Their Inventive Use of an Office Building

Not too far from the outstanding Guestroom Records—a record store that, for all intents and purposes, completely looks and totally acts like a record store—sits Monkey Feet Records, 3801 N. Classen Blvd., on the ground floor of one of the nondescript office buildings that line the street, completely disguised as space for rent.

Noticeable only from the small signage near the sidewalk—I’ve sometimes seen it with a balloon flopping in the wind—and open only on the weekends, once you navigate the parking lot and find the entryway through the lilliputian lobby, there it is: Monkey Feet, a series of small offices decorated with multicolored Rolling Stones memorabilia, autographed guitars hanging on the wall, and, of course, what I came for, the armloads of various records for sale...

Gently shaking, in the first room I was met with various imports—mostly Japanese—a true cavalcade of foreign pressings, many of which I never expected. If I had the cash, I’d be rolling around in otherworldly platters, possibly nude. This room of Monkey Feet was definitely one for the hopes and dreams portion of my aspirations board; maybe someday, I thought to myself.

Instead, I walked across the slim hall and into the starting set of rock records. As I was about to start digging—at “a”, of course—Ed Commander, the owner with a cool name, came through and told me that as this was my first time there, I get ten percent off, which seemed like a great deal.

I was down for not only that money-saving surprise, but his easy-going demeanor as well. Despite a room that was beginning to surge with customers, he did a great job spreading the word about each room to me, with a grand tour where I ended up in a room that was filled with somewhat used but still beautiful stereo equipment.

I was in heaven as the Eagles—“Those Shoes”, if you were wondering—slightly blared as they were testing out a few rows of large speakers for one guy that, obviously, knew how to rock and roll.

Understanding the format of the place a bit better, I had to get back to scouring for items off my list; after about twenty seconds of flipping, I found two Beatles bootlegs: the collection of alternate takes and different versions, 20 X 4, as well as an old Russian disc with the title of Rare Beatles which, upon listening, were actually great-sounding BBC cuts.

But what really got my heart beating like a big brass drum was Ringo Starr’s early solo effort, the misunderstood country album called Beaucoups of Blues. I had been searching for this one for quite a while, with the copies I’ve seen—many in far worse condition, mind you—priced upwards of fifty bucks. But here, at Monkey Feet, it was only ten bucks.

I selfishly clutched it, as well as the other two titles, close to my chest, lest some other hi-def loser walks in off the street and has the same aural wants and needs that I do. I quickly walked into the office next door that doubled as a cash register and paid the man my good money; we talked for a few minutes and I promised him I’d come back soon.

On the way out, I noticed a stuffed monkey sitting in an office chair, saying hello and goodbye to the visitors that find the store. While the office look is definitely unique—possibly a first—you can’t help but feel comfortable doing big business is a setting like this; maybe next time I’ll even grab one or two of those imports.


Follow Louis on Twitter at @LouisFowler and Instagram at @louisfowler78

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