Southern Brooklyn

The Venerable Zig Zag Records Has Closed Down!

Photo by Arthur Borko

We can’t believe it, but it turns out neighborhood staple and music mecca Zig Zag Records has zigged and zagged for the last time!

Forgotten New York author Kevin Walsh informed us via Facebook that he heard rumors Zig Zag Records (2301 Avenue U) shuttered for good. After a bit of searching around, we stumbled onto Zig Zag’s Facebook profile, where they announced on December 15 that after 35 years, the business was kaput.

Zig Zag had a remarkable run, and far outlived many other independent music stores in New York City. We believe it was the last vinyl merchant in all of Southern Brooklyn.

The store focused on classic rock, but in the 1980s became a major outpost for heavy metal fanatics. It established ties with legendary Bensonhurst venue L’amour, “The Rock Capital of Brooklyn”, who set up in-store appearances for many of their acts, including Motorhead, Twisted Sister, Metallica (before anyone knew who they were), Girlschool, The Rods, Venom, Zebra, Nuclear Assault, Raven, King Diamond, Mercyful Fate and Iron Maiden.

Rest in peace, Zig Zag Records. You will be missed.

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  1. Noooooooooooo! I got my first metal t-shirts at that place. The dude who ran it was a classic character. Another piece of Old Brooklyn gone.

  2. oh snap! It was true! 🙁 However i stopped by Zig Zag a few times and found out that most of there CD’s that they were selling were not Authentic…. They were Copies. so in other words he was Bootlegging the CD’s (which is a crime)

    However all the other stuff he had were great! then again Who buys CD’s now a days? LOL you can get cd’s from Itunes LOL for half the price!

    On a side note, That Barber shop is Great!

  3. Also not to mention his Store front is Hideous, a Quick fix to something more Modern and it would have been a winner for a bit.

    Also get rid of those posters of Britney LOL

  4. Yeah, but the MP3s on Itunes (and etc.) are also of a lesser desirable quality, usually 128-193kbs quality, which is fine if you’re just listening to it on an iPod or Zune, but not for professional usages.

  5. What a shame. I bought my first Type O Negative and Danzig shirts here, and wore them until they were so full of holes, I couldn’t even relegate them to being pajama shirts. I forget the guy’s name, but he was awesome. He’d give me sampler CDs on my way out every time I was there. I wish I would have known about this before yesterday’s article.

  6. sad sad day. went in there a few months ago and Mr Zig Zag, who looked exactly the same as I remember from over 20 years ago said he does more of his business online and its mostly collectibles…so hopefully he can continue.

    Ive always wondered how that store made it so long…I thought maybe he owned the building and didn’t have to pay rent lol because lord knows business couldn’t have been that good lol

  7. The only reason that place was still open was because he lived in the back. Nostalgia aside, that shit was an eyesore

  8. I second that, got a few shirts from there too! got me a Mayhem shirt and Typo.

    Speaking of type you heard what happened with pete?

  9. ppl can find 320kbs mp3’s out there…. lol

    But thats cool, i never really thought about that… any idea what type of people would use CD’s?

  10. The Britney posters seemed out of place.

    When I used to go there they sold records. Many of them impossible to find anywhere else. He had a lot of sources.

  11. except now a days, the internet is putting places like that out of business… most DJ’s make there own Vinyl with the Vinyl makers and the Mp3’s you can located online….

    Damn you Internet!

  12. Some people want the original vinyl from 40-50 years ago. But you can find even the rarest on Internet sites. And the prices are sometimes surprisingly cheap, compared to what collectors paid years ago.

  13. How sad! I drove by there not too long ago and saw the place closed, but really didn’t think anything of it. My friend joked about it being out of business too.
    I remember going in there and searching for imports and such. It was such a cool place and the dude who worked there was quiet but cool. I wish I had been around for the in store appearances…. RIP Zig Zag.

  14. No please. Something that will add to the area. There’s enough Russian hangouts South of Avenue U already.

  15. Can remember being there the day Reagan was shot, and that’s where I heard about that. Was buying a new Clash album. I am old!

  16. I photographed Lenny Kaye’s visit there in ’77 or ’78 (can’t remember which year) for Arnie (Greenteeth) the original owner.

    Arnie let me take any album I wanted for doing the shoot. I scored the English version of Elvis Costello’s This Year’s Model.

  17. I still use CDs at my job for when we need to rip the audio (music, effects and etc.) for use in videos. A lot of my DJ friends still stick to CDs (and vinyl) for spinning, while barely using the MP3 (mainly as a backup). Of course even the CDs are inferior to the glass masters the companies use for the batch-mastering process.

  18. oh come on, why so serious?

    hell yeah bartashoff! i wanna hear some loud techno pumping on that corner at 3am real soon.

  19. I am very sorry to hear the news I was the founder and orginal owner of Zig Zag stores up until 1986 ,The first instore promtion I did was with Lenny Kay of the Patti Smith group ,Metal became a big a part of Zig Zag ,how ever we sold all kinds of product from ,classic rock,new wave , blues etc.Over the years we had many great coustmers that I run into around the city thru the years that made Zig Zag the great store it was,I know put out the magazine Elmore which is done in the same sprit as Zig Zag

  20. No no, i am aware of what Vinyl is used for, i too have DJ friends 🙂 i am aware of the whole Pioneer CDDJ and such…. I was saying i don’t anyone who would spend money on that when you can make it yourself. 🙂

    I should have bought some of his Vinyl /facepalm he had awesome collections!

  21. Well, it is no surprise to me…the guy who worked there with the beard, known to us metalheads as the “i dont know guy”, did nothing to help sales…a convo I had with him years back….

    “Hey man, did you guys get the new Iron Maiden yet?”
    “I don’t know”
    “Hey how about the live release of Anthrax” (as I stare at it on the wall next to the guy)
    “I don’t know”
    “Hey man, what time is it?”
    “I don’t know”
    “bro, you are wearing a watch”

  22. I took your advice and went to the barber next to Zig Zag. You were absolutely correct in your praise. He gave me the best haircut I’ve had in some time. I wear my hair longer than is the current style and he trimmed it beautifully. Thanks for the advice.

  23. Zig Zag will always hold a special place in the memory banks of many of the Brooklyn Metal Heads, especially those who are old enough to remember the meet and greets and album signings that they used to regularly hold. If I remember correctly you not only could get L’Amour tickets there but also other shows when Metal was ruling the arenas. Back in its original heyday I grabbed a decent batch of LP’s but don’t recall using them much for the CD purchases as years went by. It was really a unique place and the best way to enjoy it was to just go and see what called out to you. They had a lot of cool stuff laying around and it served the need for a very long time. We wish Stan the Man all the best in life going forward and thank him for keeping the place running after Phil decided to sell the Brooklyn location to him. It shall be missed without question as there were too few like it left

  24. Janelle, the closest place to this is now Rock Fantasy, which is up in Middletown, NY. I wrote a story about them for Metal Edge magazine a couple of years ago which is now in my website’s blog. It’s worth the trip to say the least. Keep it Metal.

  25. The heavy set, balding guy who worked there, every time I went in, always had a bad attitude. I hated giving them business because of him. I think another guy owned it and once ran a Zig Zag on Staten Island. Other than the unnecessary bad vibe, they had some cool, rare cds / albums that you couldn’t find elsewhere, before the internet came along.

  26. Lots of amazing Metal crammed into that tiny store. I met King Diamond there at a record signing in the 80s which was truly amazing.

  27. Fuck Bro, i got 900sf no rent for about 6 -8 mos if interested. Owe Stan, Phil, big time and that shagged fuck that started it. I think i beaned him ih the skull when he brought Lemmy over, ,Hey 30 years later, its all forgotten. i helped paint the clown while buying  sabbatha and manowar. Then the bootleg slayer and Danzig. owe ya big U Boys rock?

  28. Sad this place went down to the tubes thanks to greedy pigs who think everything should be free. You guys killed the music, thank yourselves.

    I firts started checking out the store in 1983, i was 9. I would walk 20 blocks up Ave U with my allowance to blow on any Iron Maiden, Ozzy and all metal really. They had a highly respected collection, tho at times some of the help (the always-annoyed wrestler who treated younger kids like morons) wasnt at all interested in talking to you or offering ANY opinions or ideas about what you were buying..but you took it with a grain of salt. You couldn’t get this shit anywhere else. You dealt with it. they brought highly sought after bands in for instores you got to meet 20 blocks from your house. it was also a mecca and slight getaway from my environment..a mueseum if you will. Id only spend 13-15 bucks in there at a time but id study every record in the place twice.

    Later on around 1990, things started to change a bit and by 1994 most of the clientele changed and the music wasnt as good anymore. They cashed in on grunge while they could and it was slowly downhill from there. hence the odd ball and dated posters you can tell they didnt care about changing. When they made money they changed it every week with exciting new albums and new bands you only heard or read about. the internet killed absolutely everything.

    I wasn’t around but can only imagine how cool it must’ve been to be there the first couple of years the store was open. I guess in the back of my mind i really ASSUMED this place would not close down. i figured they have been there so long how expensive could the rent be? It was a Brooklyn landmark which sadly is another place gone from the area.

    Globalization is killing us in every way, this is just a small encapsulated incident..but once Zig Zag was gone, it truly is a wasteland out there now.

  29. I used to shop there back when classic rock was simply called rock because it was new music. I remember when Zig Zag opened. They had all sorts of rare albums that I was unable to find anywhere else. And that included contemporary artists who had limited distribution. It used to be that I’d have to special order things at other record stores before Zig Zag came along. The last time I was there was on a trip to NYC shortly after CDs dominated the market and records were virtually gone everywhere else. Zig Zag also became a CD place, with records down at the bottom at knee level. It seemed as if they had their old stock left over but nothing interesting. It sounds as if they returned to their roots after that. Had I known, I would have made a point of dropping by when I went to NYC.

  30. I remember Phil who worked there or did he own the place in the later years..? He reminded me of Jay Leno. Seemed like a nice guy. The there was Stan who was there all the time..a man with NO personality..and if i get the name currently..years back some guy named Gary? He was this tall dude kind of a simpleton, that would spit all over when he would talk to you to tell you how great all of his records were.They served their purpose throughout the years. Later in the years I started buying at Tower records for their cheeper prices. Of course Tower is now belly up as well and there are so many on line places to buy music these days.


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