It’s difficult to express the impact Dave Sink had on people who make up Omaha’s independent music scene.
To countless musicians and music fans, Dave, who passed away Jan. 19 from complications of emphysema at the age of 63, was more than just the guy who ran the Antiquarium Records Store in the Old Market during the ‘90s. He was a cultural icon whose personal vision of art, music and literature helped point the way for a lot of kids looking for guidance during the most difficult, formative times of their lives.
Just how influential was Dave? If you drew a line that connected every significant indie musician that has come out of Omaha over the past 20 years, it would inevitably lead right back to Dave and his record store. But as the following remembrances testify, Dave was more than a wise man with great wit and an impeccable taste in music (and knowledge of baseball). He also was a good friend.
- Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com and The Reader columnist
For The Arbiter of Taste
Standing in the cold on Friday, waiting for the bus, my face stiff with frozen tears, I looked down and realized that I was wearing Dave's coat, the coat he had given me many years back. I was on my way to the Antiquarium Record Shop, another gift from Dave to all, sad, cold, staring at my coat and thinking of my dear friend. Over the last few days I've noticed countless Sinkisms that have permeated my lexicon. Whenever someone at the store asks "Do you work here?" I always respond "Nobody works here. We avoid work here." Classic Dave Sink. Aside from giving me winter clothing, a record store, and a collection of quips, the man also cultivated my love of baseball. Yes, there is a lot of Dave Sink in me. My own father used to refer to him as my "second dad," and I know that Dave's love for me was strong enough to deserve such a title. My story is one of many, Dave's impact was huge. He forged many relationships from behind the counter at the Antiquarium. With an attitude somewhere between a snobby twelve year old and a wise old sage, Dave managed to keep people coming back until a strong bond of friendship was formed. It's been wonderful to hear so many stories this weekend from friends and family. Thank you to all. The self proclaimed Arbiter of Taste of the Antiquarium Record Shop has passed into the great night. Thank you, my friend, you are sorely missed.
- Brian Byrd, Antiquarium Records
Pied Piper Patron of the Arts
I discovered Tom Rudloff's Antiquarium and the little 6 x10 foot record store at its heart, when I was a junior in high school. My best friend, Chris Deden, and I were hitting all the record stores in town, obsessively fleshing out our record collections, searching for records by artists name-checked in Elvis Costello interviews, that kind of thing. Someone had said there was a tiny shop inside a giant bookstore in the Old Market we should check out. Stepping inside the Antiquarium at sixteen was like finding a second home; a misfit commune of outsiders, artists, soapbox prophets and all the beautiful variations of strugglers you could imagine. Deep inside the bookstore in a room off to the side was a wiry, tall, CSNY-loving, chain-smoking hippie playing Jimi Hendrix and waiting for someone (anyone) to stop in and say hello. This would have been 1987, long before Dave came around to punk and indie rock and before the record shop had many records at all, or customers. Dave was just another fascinating character in a building lousy with traveled souls whose back stories would read like a magical realist Winesburg, Ohio if anyone had bothered to write those stories down. Meeting him then and becoming his friend would change the direction of my life.
Chris and I spent as much time as possible at the Antiquarium during those last two years of high school and the cast of characters began to grow around Dave and the shop and included all manner of future sacred monsters of Omaha rock. There were movers and shakers, doers and observers, all arguing with Dave about the Minutemen versus Firehose, Cohen versus Dylan, and other meaningless debates to pass the time in a place that felt like a home away from home. He was getting his schtick down, becoming more pugnacious. When Chris and I made him a mix tape of catchy songs by bands he supposedly hated to make him see the err of his ways, we dubbed him “the ultimate arbiter of taste.” This was a tongue-in-cheek way of saying he needed to open up his mind about music a little. He took the title and and wore it proudly and straight-faced! Sorry, everyone. Our fault.
I’d say the most important thing Dave ever did for me was to make me realize how important my friendship with Chris was, discussing it as he did in literary terms, as one of the greatest friendships he’d ever witnessed. I had never given it that kind of thought because it was so natural, but the way Dave valued it guaranteed that I’d never take it for granted. I’m grateful for his perspective. He could be an inspired confidant and a good friend, with a sensitivity often lacking when he stepped up to the cash register to belittle your record selections. I know he did the same for others over the years.
When Chris and I returned from college earlier than expected, Dave invited Chris to partner in the shop and that’s when it really exploded into the full-on institution it would be for years thereafter. During that time, I started playing my songs in front of people and Dave championed what I was doing and pushed me to record the songs and document all that kid furious storytelling I was messing around with. I honestly don’t know that I’d have thought to do it otherwise. He was doing the same for Mousetrap at the time and later he’d do the same for Conor and others, encouraging all the talented people that walked through the door to make records. Then in his double-edged way he’d eviscerate the records when they came out! In those days I was writing songs every day, and I remember he’d quote Andy Warhol via Lou Reed and say, “how many songs did you write today?” and whatever number I confessed, he’d laugh and say, “you could have written more.” He was right.
I was lucky to see Dave a couple of days before he died. Chris and I went to visit him at the Hospice House where he was staying. He was a little tired from the morphine but essentially the same old Dave; witty, highly intelligent, making jokes at our expense and receiving jokes at his expense with the demurring “ah shucks” smile that always took me by surprise.
The funny thing about Dave is that I don’t think he was especially passionate about music, despite all his famous opinions about it. Not passionate the way the kids coming into the shop were passionate about it anyway. He told me he pretty much stopped listening to music once he left the Antiquarium and went back to following baseball and reading books instead. He was a former reporter who loved people and their stories and their complicated lives. Since he was essentially a sedentary, solitary person, with little family, I think he enjoyed living vicariously through the lives of the people who visited the record shop. Creating that persona granted him access. That's what he was really interested in, people and their fascinating, screwy lives. His habit of ruthlessly sharing his opinions about music was a device I think he cultivated to draw people out of their shells and force them to stand up for something, to get them to talk, and share. That’s how he made family. I’m not saying it’s the best approach to get to know people. It scared a lot of people away, in fact, and rightly so, but I think that was the motivation behind it and so I’ve forgiven him for the way he sometimes went too far because I know he ultimately just wanted to love and be loved like everyone else.
I know there isn’t room here to tell the whole story. This isn’t “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance,” after all, it’s just a snapshot of a complex life through one friend’s foggy lens. Dave was extraordinary and there will never be another quite like him. Before we left the Hospice House, Dave told us how lucky he felt to have lived when he did and to have known us and the others that came into his life through the Antiquarium. That’s how I feel about him too. He was a Pied Piper. He took your kids and led them away by telling them they could have everything they wanted out of life if they just lived it without caring what anyone thought of them. It may be bad advice in the real world but pretty punk rock for an old hippie.
- Simon Joyner
Listening to Music, Smoking and Talking About Baseball
I would basically say that I would not be the person I am without Dave, and I would say that that is true for many, many people. In fact, Omaha would not be the city it is without David Sink and his support of local music. When Dave first took over the record store in the basement of the Antiquarium, the Omaha music scene was a very loose knit collection of bands in various stages of garageness. Dave loved these bands, talked to them, mentored them, and believed in them when no one else would. The reason mousetrap got back together the first time back in 1991 was to play a show in the record store. Without Dave's support, we never would have been able to release the first two singles; let alone have gotten noticed by Grass records and been able to tour the way we did. I still have the address book from 1992 that he gave me to book our first big tour. He told me that in every band, someone has to book the tour, and that that would be me. I wasn't very good at it, but I was glad he believed that I could be. I still have that book in my desk. I dunno why, maybe because it's part of such an important piece of my life, and Dave helped give me that.
What I remember most was hours spent back behind the counter at the Antiquarium, listening to music, smoking and talking about baseball, while Dave snarkly replied to or politely ignored customers. There are a million stories about Dave's recommendations to young record buyers and a lot of those stories are floating around the interwebs this weekend. Just look at his facebook page! Memories by tons of kids about how their ears were opened to fantastic music by him!
Anyway, this is kind of jumbled up; I'm a bit emotional about this. What impresses me most about Dave is that in the 15 years that he ran that store, he made the world just a little bit better than it was before. Just a little bit closer to what I think we'd all like it to be. And that is a great accomplishment. There are a lot of people who owe Dave Sink. I am going to miss my old friend very much.
- Craig Crawford, Mousetrap
Where We Wanted To Go
I don’t remember the first time I went to the Antiquarium or met Dave Sink. It all just kind of happened. I suppose I would have been twelve or so, just tagging along with my brothers and the older kids from the neighborhood. Whenever that was I know I could not have known then that that place would become the epicenter of discovery for my musical life (and life in general) and probably the single most sacred place of my adolescence. Dave was a rare bird. He had a way of making you feel good even as he insulted you. He was especially kind to misfits and oddballs. Hence him nearly always being surrounded in the shop by a small enclave of disaffected youth. Boys mostly, but girls too, who would sit hour after hour listening to him pontificate about punk rock, baseball, local politics, French literature, chess, philosophy, modern art or whatever was the topic of the day. The thing about Dave that gave him such a loyal following was not just the way he talked to us but also the way he listened. At a time in life when most all adults are to be seen as the enemy it was strange to meet one who was on your side. He treated us as peers, like our ideas and ambitions were worth something. He wasn’t always pleasant or polite, but he wasn’t a fake. And it is that quality that cuts through the angst and straight to the teenage heart.
He made me feel like my dreams and plans mattered, encouraging me to pursue them even as he talked trash on my latest recording or most recent show. It is true you had to be a bit of a masochist to be friends with Dave, but despite his sarcasm and argumentative nature he had a soft heart and generous spirit. He gave me a lot of good advice over the years, as well as my first real stereo and turntable. He said he couldn’t stand watching me waste my money on the inferior formats of CDs and cassettes. Okay, truth be told, it may have cost me a backrub but I didn’t mind. You see, even his fondness for teenage company and the arrested development side of his personality were never off putting to me. He was never creepy. He was sweet. I spent countless hours with him down in that basement sitting behind the counter (I never worked there but I was allowed to run the register) just smoking and talking. Smoking, talking and listening to music. Always listening to music. He would play old folk records or jazz records or cassette tapes of the John Peel show that his friend had recorded off the radio in Europe and sent him. He played cult classics and the newest local bands. Sometimes he would pull out some used LP that had just come in that he was certain I would either love or hate. He would place it on the turntable, with a gleeful smile on his face, just waiting in anticipation for my reaction. He would explain how this band related to that band or who stole what sound from whom. It was quite an education and opened my mind up to the idea that the music I liked and made came from somewhere. He made me realize that everything was connected. And it still is. Music will always be a mystery to me but Dave gave me plenty of clues I have been able to follow since. He got me a little closer to the source.
I saw Dave a lot less frequently in the last several years of his life. I travel too much and once the Antiquarium closed it became harder to track him down when I was in town. I really regret not making the time but I guess that’s a typical thing to say at this point. But sitting here now, all these years later, I can’t imagine an Omaha without Dave Sink. I can’t imagine what my life and my friends’ lives would look like if not for him and that shop. I know it would be nothing like it is today. I treasure my memories of him and that magical place. There is a part of me who will always wish to be more punk rock than I am because of Dave. I remember the day my brother Justin turned sixteen and we finally pried the keys out of my mother’s anxious hands. We ran outside, jumped in the car and he started it up. As we pulled away from the house I felt that wild sense of freedom that only comes at a moment like that. It is the invincibility of youth and the absurd feeling that truly anything is possible. We hadn’t discussed it but I knew where we were headed. We were going downtown to that crazy bookstore with records in the basement. We now had all the choices in the world and that was our pick. That is where we wanted to go.
- Conor Oberst
The DIY, Punk Rock Aesthetic
You don't have to have known Dave to have been influenced by him. His impact can be felt throughout our city. Whether directly or indirectly, Dave played a role in shaping so many aspects of our current music scene. Whether it was starting One-Hour Records to release Simon Joyner's first cassette or giving you an earful about the records you were buying, Dave was neither subtle nor short of opinion.
Yet it was those ideas, those debates, those long conversations with Dave that shaped our subculture's way of thinking not only about music, but about life in general. Dave instilled the DIY, punk rock aesthetic into a generation of Omaha kids that would grow up buying records, forming bands, starting businesses, touring in vans, and promoting shows.
As much of a critic as Dave could be, he and The Antiquarium were an institution of inspiration. They gave us the confidence to express ourselves, to think differently, and to question things. I shudder to think of what this city would look like if there had been no Dave and no Antiquarium. It's safe to say there would be one less record label and one less music venue calling Omaha home.
Here's to our favorite record store clerk. Thanks Dave.
- Robb Nansel, Saddle Creek Records
Promoting Local Punk Rock
I first met Dave Sink in 1992 when he offered to put out a 7” of my band Frontier Trust on his newly formed One Hour Records. To work out the details I went down to the Antiquarium Record Shop where I met this guy with long hair who immediately greeted me with a hearty, “Gary Dean!” as walked down the stairs into the record shop which seemed like a hidden punk rock clubhouse under the bookstore. Dave verified that not only did he want a Frontier Trust record on his label, but astonishingly he would pay for it! I was invited to sit down and hang out while we talk out the details. This would be the first of many times I hung out with Dave at the record shop. I came to know and appreciate him as a kindred punk rock and baseball fan. Although we rooted for different teams (me the White Sox and Dave the Yankees, Cubs, and Royals – which I never fully understood although he often made well-thought-out arguments for each team) we both loved the history of the game and to talk endlessly about teams and our favorite players. Dave also grew to know my taste in music and often had a record behind the counter for me that he just knew I’d love. I’ll never forget the day he said, “Gary, you have got to hear to Wayne “The Train” Hancock, he sounds just like Hank Williams! I promptly bought all of his records on Dave’s advice and wasn’t disappointed.
Dave had an undying love of promoting local punk rock and a firm belief that our bands were just as good and often better and more unique than anything else going on at the time. He was the first person I had ever met who showed a genuine respect for punk rock musicians. He gave us a “starving artist” discount at the record store, sold our records on consignment, and promoted the heck out of our scene to anyone who came into the store or opened one of the many lengthy hand written letters he sent with local records to record labels, reviewers, and deejays – including the famous John Peel of the BBC who became a huge fan of Omaha bands in the ‘90s. The enduring legacy of Dave Sink is his embodiment of the punk rock esthetic of thumbing your nose at the establishment while creating a truly original music scene. I am glad I knew him.
- Gary Dean Davis, Speed! Nebraska
Impossible to Overstate
It may be impossible to overstate the impact that Dave had on the Lincoln and Omaha community. Dave was a huge champion of local bands, and in the perfect position to spread the word from the counter of his record shop. On many occasions, I saw him guide buying decisions with a comment like: "You should really buy the new Mercy Rule CD instead." He advocated for local musicians as much as anyone. Thank you, Dave.
- Bernie McGinn, Caulfield Records, Sideshow).
The Legacy of Dave Sink
It’s hard for someone who wasn’t there in the early 90’s to understand what Dave Sink & The Antiquarium record shop meant to Omaha’s musical landscape. In my mind, Dave was the “Godfather” of punk rock in Omaha, and the Antiquarium was ground zero of underground culture in the city. If your band put up a flyer for a show in the Antiquarium record shop, anyone who should know about your show would know about it.
From the moment I made my first purchase at Dave’s record shop (Husker Du- “Land Speed Record” on cassette) I knew Dave was someone who got it. He understood the soul of punk rock. Its anger, its beauty, all of its uncertainties & complications. We became fast friends, and I spent many evenings at the shop with Dave, as he eagerly debuted one new 12 inch LP after another, excited to share his newest musical discoveries with me. Endless debate always ensued.
We talked about not just music, but politics, philosophy, love- our conversations would endlessly ramble in a million directions over the course of a few hours. Dave was easily one of the most interesting people I’ve ever met. He wasn’t just a “music guy,” he was a chain-smoking Renaissance man in a flannel shirt.
Dave always knew how much talent there was lurking the bored streets of Omaha, and it always irked the hell out of him that the rest of the world couldn’t see that. This was when the “grunge” movement had recently blown up, and we were always talking about how much more talent we had in Omaha than they had in Seattle. But this was pre-internet, and we were in the middle of nowhere. If technology had just been 10 years ahead of it’s time instead of Omaha being 10 years ahead, history would look differently. But that’s not really important. What is important is the cultural legacy that he left behind. And as long as kids play music in Omaha, Nebraska, Dave Sink will never die.
– Patrick Buchanan, Mousetrap
Omaha Sun Set
1996: teenage years and cigarettes, Sorry Ma Forgot to Take Out the Trash, no, no, man that wasn’t their best, punk rocks dead, talk politics, Student Democrats, Tom Cavanaugh for Congress, that was a while back, wasn’t it? My best friend’s uncle and you believed in him, believed in what could be our best. When that fails us, nothing’s promised, have to fight for that, take sides, no independents, no disenfranchised enchantment. 97, 98, 99: peace time, or a lesson for: Your Flag Decal Won’t Get You Into Heaven Anymore, but I know what will, those Umbilical Chords, changed my lif , the Room Temperature. If I see you there, behind the counter, give me shit for this Boss record. I can’t relay lessons learned, or the tears on this keyboard, imagine you and a type writer, a penciled-in box score, newspaper man, real listener. Let’s get out of this basement, catch one last, Omaha Sun Set.
- Matt Whipkey, The Movies, Anonymous American
He Was A Friend
When I was asked to write something about Dave Sink, I knew whatever words I put on paper would not be able to convey what Dave meant to most people. Words will be written about what he meant to the Omaha music scene, about how many bands would not exist without him or his uncanny ability to suggest some new good music as you frequented the Antiquarium. People will write how Dave was like a teacher to them and how his words of wisdom helped form the young minds of anyone looking for life’s answers. He deserves all this recognition, all of it and more. But to me, more importantly he was a friend. This is about what our friendship meant to me.
I knew Dave for the better part of two decades. During the early years of our friendship I worked at Drastic Plastic in the Old Market and we often had lunch together usually discussing politics, religion, books, music... basically trading philosophies on life. I never followed baseball such as he did. That drove him crazy. One of my favorite things was to drive Dave crazy… We often had hearty debates, neither one of us giving an inch. He was very opinionated and never afraid to let you know what he thought, no matter how unpopular his opinion was. I loved that about Dave.
Another thing I loved about Dave was Respect… Dave and I had a mutual respect for each other. I had a respect for his wide musical taste, but I know he was never a big fan of the music that I made. He often called it noise, and I have to admit, I liked torturing him with it, but he respected it, and he believed in it. Enough to put out a 7” single for my old band on his record label, and enough to send copies of our music to his pen-pals around the world. He turned many people onto my music. I always appreciated him for that.
Some years ago, I moved away. Whenever I visited Omaha, I always stopped in for a few hours to visit with Dave, catching up on our debates, picking up some used records. When the Antiquarium closed and Dave retired I shed a tear. I was sad that other people would not have the same experiences I had… Getting to know a good friend over time.
Dave’s gone now, and the world is a worse place without him in it… now he would heartily disagree with me on this point, and we would debate it until exhaustion, but I know I would win in the end because it’s true. The world is a worse place without Dave Sink. Just ask the many people who knew him.
Dave Sink was one of my favorite Omaha people.
- Tim Moss, Ritual Device
Nice, despite my questionable music tastes
Dave was always nice to me despite my questionable music tastes and he would always attempt to broaden my world of musical appreciation. He was loved by many and left a large fingerprint on our community and he will be missed dearly. Furthermore, he was the Only one who allowed our crappy band to sell our tape at his store. He may have even recommended it to a few... I'll always be grateful to him. Be well brother.
- Jake Bellows, Neva Dinova
Overwhelming Since of Camaraderie
In 2004, I got up the courage to ask the old guy behind the counter at the Antiquarium if he would mind if I smoked in his shop. Dave Sink replied, “On the contrary, I would feel an overwhelming sense of camaraderie if you did.” I still remember exactly how he said it. “On the contrary . . .” Everything Dave said sounded like it had been drafted on a Steno pad first. He was one of the only people I knew who usually spoke in correct grammar, and he seemed to construct his sentences with attention to rhythm. He was most eloquent when he was being an asshole. His digs at coworkers and customers were impressive and lyric. Our mutual friend Brian Byrd remembered that Dave would tear into people for misuse of terms like “awesome,” which Sink felt was usually applied to situations that did not really inspire awe. I wasn’t surprised to find out that he had written -- at The Sun, a weekly paper that went under in the early 80s. Or in his words, "I don't think I ever worked for The Sun, but I was receiving checks from them off and on from 1974 to 1983."
I bonded with Dave over smokes and indie rock, but when he found out I was studying journalism in college, words became our primary mutual interest. He gave me my first paid writing gig, a record guide that he wanted to have on hand for customers. Rereading the pamphlet now, it seems pretty exuberant. I couldn’t help but try my hand at saying cool-sounding mean things, just like Dave. (There’s some awful dig about Drastic Plastic being the record store for people who are more interested in t-shirts than records. Yikes.) Nevertheless, when I turned it in to Sink, he told me it was pretty good and gave me $20. It felt like an accomplishment -- my first freelance work. Stories about Dave encouraging or inspiring young people to go for it are not rare. He got people to start bands, put out records, throw shows, and in my case, keep writing. I’ll always appreciate that he took the time to help me believe in myself. I’ll always be in awe - actually in awe - of the fact that he was able to do the same for so many.
- Patrick Kinney, Antiquarium customer
Guardian of Myrth
I originally met him in the early eighties buying comic books from boxes in the basement of the Antiquarium.
He was intimidating to me then, but came to know him gradually over the years, and eventually to see him as an equal.
We didn't always agree on every opinion that may have been expressed in his company- but always he commanded a rare kind of respect.
He is certainly more influential in Omaha that we could know, just because there were so many people in my generation looking up to him that we looked up to. And yet he continuously was able to find an audience with each new generation that came along, either who found him at the record store, or musical events, or other activities he engaged us in such as bowling, and lastly through Facebook.
He stood against, all the while cutting ego's down to size where needed, and building people up who needed him. He seemed to always have a special place in his heart for the self-loathers among us, and often knew just what to say. On one such occasion when I was very depressed, he said to me, "Adam, you are Irish, and are meant to be a guardian of myrth!" I tear up now to remember that moment, and all of the other people around him who also needed to hear such nice words, and whom I'm sure he did the same for.
He was a counterculturalist, an equalizer, an opinionated jerk, and a guardian of myrth. I think that all of us who knew him back in the day, will all now agree, that this is the end of an era.
- Adam J Fogarty, local filmmaker
One of the Major Players
Dave Sink was one of the "major players" in Omaha, when it came to indie rock, punk, and alternative rock. By the time I met him. Dave had become something of an icon in the local music scene. All that aside, I found Dave to be a very interesting, eccentric, and amiable man behind the counter of the record shop at The Antiquarium. I am the furthest from the average core customer that would frequent The Antiquarium, I don't own one punk album. I've practically never gone to see any live, local music in this city in my entire life. But, I was always welcome to visit with Dave in the record shop downstairs, or with Tom on the main floor. I fondly recall the first time I ever stepped foot inside the Antiquarium. It was 1988, and they were having a Sidewalk Sale. Boxes upon boxes of albums OUTSIDE!! I was like a kid in a candy store. After thumbing through all of the albums, I wandered inside this big, old building...and I'm sure Tom was sitting in his easy char (Lazy Boy) He might have been asleep. Somehow, I found the record shop...back then, it was on the main floor, in the back. I was greeted (?) by a very thin man with extremely long hair. I bought a few albums that day. I don't believe there were more than two words spoken during my first visit. But, I liked what I saw, and I knew I'd come back. During the next couple of years, I began to go to The Antiquarium at least once a week. Still, very little dialogue between Dave and myself. One evening, I purchased an Osmonds Greatest Hits album. After bringing the Osmonds album to Dave at the counter, he looked at the album, then looked at me, and said, straight-faced: "Do you want me to put this in plain, brown paper bag for you, so no one can see it?". Funniest thing I had ever heard in a record store. After that, I started visiting Dave and Tom more and more often. I had discovered that Dave loved baseball, and I had some connections with the Kansas City Royals, so I was able to give Dave some KC Royals memorabilia from time to time. Looking back, The Antiqurium was (and still is) an "escape" for me. Dave invited me to join him for a seat behind the counter many times in the later years, and we would just sit around, and talk about records. Those were good times. Dave Sink's legacy lives on at The Antiquarium Record Shop, now just a block away from its original home. Brian and Joseph are the owners of it now. They are good people. And, to this day, I still come to The Antiquarium to "escape". ..Here's to Dave Sink....you will be sorely missed. Thank you.
-- Gus Rodino, local radio producer and customer
Tall Guy With Tall Tales
The Antiquarium was a destination for me as soon as I got my driver’s license. I would save every dollar I could and drive down from Sioux City to spend it all on vinyl. This habit only intensified after I moved to Omaha. The tall guy with the tall tales and oversized opinions was always holding court. With more frequent conversations, I got to know him better and before long he invited me to sit behind the counter. Man, to this young punk rock kid, that was quite the honor. Later on, I got a call from him offering me a partnership in the record shop. It felt like being knighted.
Dave Sink was and always will be the face of The Antiquarium Record Shop. Now to me, Chris Deden was responsible for building it into a Midwestern record Mecca, but it couldn’t have happened without Dave’s irrepressible personality. He was Mick to Chris’ Keith. Dave made the shop into a place people would go to even when they had no money to spend, just to hang out and talk. Having a hub like that is so essential to a culture, to a community, to a “scene”.
That is where Dave Sink truly left his mark on this city, the local music scene. He was Omaha’s PR man, our ambassador. He put out the first releases by mousetrap, Simon Joyner, and Frontier Trust. He provided guidance and advice to other fledgling Omaha labels. He wrote letters recommending bands for burgeoning national labels. His correspondence with renowned British DJ, John Peel, resulted in numerous local bands receiving airplay on Peel’s program, including my own. The record rack displaying local music was always front & center at the Antiquarium, where he was persistently playing and pushing area artists that he liked. Whenever a customer would scoff at the idea of buying a local release rather than another higher profile one, he was fond of saying, “every band is local somewhere”.
When you’re a teenager, especially one that feels like an outsider already, sometimes you just want someone that will listen to you. Whether it’s your music, your stories, complaints, fantasies, or opinions, somebody that will give you their time and attention is an increasingly rare commodity. Dave Sink was that extraordinary person to many, many people. Thanks Dave; you were the only one who treated us right.
- Brad Smith, former partner in Antiquarium Records