By Mike Augustyniak

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — This should come as a complete shock to precisely no one, but Rolling Stone magazine has declared First Avenue one of the ten finest music venues in America, and also called Electric Fetus one of the nation’s best record stores.

The Minneapolis club became a national attraction with the advent of Prince and the Revolution, and after being prominently featured in the 1984 film “Purple Rain.”

The club, which opened in 1970 as “The Depot” after spending decades as the bus depot for Greyhound, also prominently featured other famed Minnesota music acts, such as Husker Du and The Replacements.

“With great sightlines, attentive crowds, and bands that are consistently thrilled to be performing on the Mainroom stage, there’s no better venue for hundreds of miles to catch bands at the top of their game,” Rolling Stone’s Jonathan Bernstein wrote. “And even if you’re not able to catch a show, it’s worth stopping by the club to check out the venue’s hundreds of famous painted silver stars with the names of artists who have made a mark on the club’s history.”

Additionally, Rolling Stone named Minneapolis’s Electric Fetus as one of the top 10 record stores.

This isn’t the first time the Electric Fetus has landed on a national best-of list, but that doesn’t mean manager Bob Fuchs takes it for granted.

“Every year there are changes.  The old saying ‘the more things change the more they stay the same,’ that is so true in this industry, like many,” Fuchs said. “If you’re not keeping up and paying attention, someone will eat you up and leave you by the wayside.”

Not too long ago, even he questioned whether the business would survive a change in buying habits. But with help from a spark of nostalgia and a community that rallied, the Fetus was reborn and has returned stronger than ever.

“The scene is amazing. The amount of local music we sell is incredible,” Fuchs said. “Many years ago, someone said it’s the church where people go to worship music, and that probably rings true to this day.”

I’ve shopped in some of the other stores on this list like Amoeba Records in LA, and Newbury Comics in Boston, Waterloo in Austin, Texas – and they’re all great.  But everyone I talked to at the Electric Fetus says there’s something special about this place.

“I’m glad they’re still here,” said Steve, of North St. Paul.

The new generations of fans are finding the Fetus, too.

“See the atmosphere, I don’t know, it just plays a part into it – all the experience of actually buying things,” said Jake Norling, of Burnsville.

Bob credits First Avenue with helping to create the music scene from which everyone benefits.

“They bring in interesting acts across a broad spectrum, so, we’ve all been there thousands of times – maybe hundreds of times – it’s always a great experience,” Fuchs said.

Mike Augustyniak