Credit: Illustration by Emily Flake

Chris Cunningham has some fond memories of Tower Records culture—most of which are drawn from his stint overseeing the Pop/Rock A–M section and its customers. “There was this dude DJ Klingon, as far as I know that was the name that his mom gave him. He was a black dude—his head was sooo greasy. He would sit at the listening station for hours and hours,” Cunningham says. After Klingon departed for other realms, Cunningham and his fellow employees would have to wipe down the headphones.

The 21-year-old’s jet-black mohawk bobbles back and forth as he pecks through the remains of the Emo/Hardcore section. His lip ring glistens a little under the fluorescent lights. “The classical guy, he worked here for like 17 years, and he could remember—if you asked him how long—down to the day and hour,” Cunningham says. “He used to always say ‘chillin’ like a villain’ even when it didn’t really make sense.”

Cunningham admits to making more than a few friends during his time at Tower and says he’ll sincerely mourn the store’s closing if only because it will extinguish this society. “There’s a whole culture—a record-store scene—going extinct,” the punker laments. “It’s a freaking bummer, man.”