Born to a single, loving, hippie mother and possessing a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Rutgers, Brandi Merolla didn’t recognize the brightly lit storefront at 4th & Broadway. She was on her way home in the fall of 1983 when she came upon this neon temple.
As she walked up to open the door, she saw a sign that said “HELP WANTED”. Brandi asked for an application and when the clerk at the Info Desk saw her resume and her art background she told Brandi “Why don’t you apply for the Art Department?” Brandi had no idea that this new, huge record store employed artists and soon her life would change in a way she couldn’t imagine.
On this week’s episode, Brandi Merolla takes us through her time at Tower during the infancy of Store 125 in The Village and all the opportunities and events she was a part of during this fascinating time in Tower’s history.
Brandi created backdrop displays for the in stores of Iggy Pop, Fela, Kate Bush, The Cure, Souxsie & the Banshees, Lou Reed, Paul Young, Violent Femmes, Timbuk 3, Samantha Fox, and Max Roach.
4th & Broadway’s front window was prime NYC real estate and Brandi tells us about a time she got a thumbs up from an artist whose work she recreated in the window and then later collaborating with The Beastie Boys for their window display before their debut “Licensed To Ill” came out. Hint: They didn’t get everything they wanted.
Hers is a story of opportunity, loss and ultimately redemption. When Brandi left Tower, it wasn’t on her terms. But despondent over losing this $4.25 an hour job she would have gladly continued to work, someone whispered in her ear that this was the best thing that could have ever happened to her.
Soon Brandi was taking all of the skills she learned at Tower and making foam core displays for 90% of the record labels based in NYC. She also parlayed this into a position with FAO Schwartz and a 20 year affiliation with The Howard Stern show where she has probably been exposed to more foam core displays of Gary Dellabate’s teeth than anyone in the tri-state area.
Join us for this fascinating story on “2500 DelMonte Street: The Oral History of Tower Records”.
Also, we open this week's episode with a tribute to Patti Drosins, wife of Russ Solomon who passed away at the end of November 2022.