Thank You For Zia Records,
As Zia Records Owner Brian Faber Passes, Many Of The Thousands His Store Touched Are Sharing The Loss Because He Created Unique Spaces For Music Aficionados, Fledgling Artists And Casual Fans
Image courtesy of Zia Records.
By Ryan Scott
Modern Times Magazine
Sept. 14, 2016 — If you’re a music lover who has lived in Arizona (or Nevada) for any period of time, you have no doubt made yourself familiar with local record store chain Zia Records. Even if you didn’t realize it, a man named Brian Faber was very much responsible for whatever joy Zia sprung forth, whether it was creating a space where you could still dig through record bins, watch a beloved artist perform in-store, or get some quick cash by trading in old records.
Sadly, Faber, vice president and owner of Zia Records, passed away Sept. 4. He was 45.
As record stores and even record sections in chain stores have become increasingly scarce in recent years, places like Zia Records have become correspondingly important to people like myself who still feel the need to purchase ‘hard-copy’ music. For about as long as I have been buying music, I have been going to Zia Records. I never met Brian Faber. In fact, I scarcely knew that he existed, if I’m being honest. But upon hearing of his death, I realized few people had touched my life as much as he.
That is something special.
But I wasn’t alone. I am merely among the thousands of anonymous others he indirectly affected. From simple record collectors to creatives of all stripes, what Faber was able to accomplish reached many.
Yet, so many of us never even had the chance to meet him.
Ethan Baxley, formerly of The Brothers Cosmos, is one of these people as his band was featured on one of the store’s compilation CDs You Heard Us Back When and did an in-store performance on Record Store Day in 2014.
“It was awesome because the most stand-out moment was Matt doing a [to a tee] Jaco Pastorius solo, since his record was the featured album for that Record Store Day. We had this small crowd of about 10 people who were really into it and it ended up being very special,” Baxley said.
Sadly, bassist Matthew Vierra took his own life in 2014, and Baxley, his friend and bandmate, says that the in-store performance is one of his most cherished memories with Vierra. Everyone in the band was able to use Zia Records as a place to cement their bond, which makes it hold a special place for Baxley.
“Zia was a constant weekly (sometimes multiple) trip for the brothers. It was certainly a huge part of all of us coming together. Being in Zia, showing each other records, creating memories. Trading shit in when you're broke. I remember we all texted each other when we picked up Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories,” Baxley said.
In recent years, it has become increasingly more difficult for music fans and artists like Baxley or myself to find places to not only buy music but to have bonding experiences like the ones that he had with his bandmates and friends. Brian Faber, even though we never met him personally, helped to facilitate those special experiences in a way that has defied economic trends.
According to Nielsen’s Year End Music Report, physical music sales in record stores dropped by five percent in 2015 and overall sales of CDs fell by 10.8 percent. There is a glimmer of hope for record stores as the sales of vinyl records continues to rise and showed a 29.8% increase in 2015.
While so many other record store chains are suffering and independent record stores all over the country are closing their doors, Zia is thriving. It just opened a new store in Mesa and has been going strong ever since their first store opened in 1980. Faber was an instrumental figure in this institution that has positively affected so many of us.
“Zia Records has done some great things for local music,” said Chelsey Louise, lead singer of Fairy Bones. “Their support of our music has been super encouraging, they were there right out of the gate for us — placing our first recorded song on their compilation CD. Being in a band is incredibly tough on your psyche — am I doing the right thing? Does anybody care? The company's eagerness to support local artists and their love of music is apparent. You can't find that sort of genuine love much anymore. They made us feel hopeful and appreciated. Brian will be missed, he created a beautiful company and their influence has been felt.”
In the time since that very first recorded song appeared on a volume of You Heard Us Back When, Fairy Bones has went on to become one of the most beloved and acclaimed bands in Phoenix, and the support of Zia Records helped the members find their footing. There are countless other artists in Phoenix who have had similar experiences.
I am no artist. I never really have been. I am just a guy who has always loved and still loves music and adores the process of collecting it. I have been to tons of shops and never have I had a sense of community, selection and vibe like that provided by Zia Records. There are more CDs in my collection from Zia Records than I can possibly count, things that bring me endless joy on a day to day basis. I never met Brian Faber, and now I never will. But if I could meet him, I would simply like to say, thank you.
You will be missed, Brian.