Music Memorabilia at Thrifty's Second Hand Stuff
Thrifty's proves that oldies really are goodies
It wasn’t really the day the music died, but when the Daddy’s Junky Music empire collapsed three years ago, musicians from Portsmouth to Nashua were supremely bummed.
While not quite a reincarnation, those who loved the independent chain can still feel the vibes at Thrifty’s Second Hand Stuff, “a rock ’n roll museum in a bargain warehouse” situated, not coincidentally,
at the former Daddy’s storage facility.
Thrifty’s is a mélange of household tchotchkes, used instruments, a vast collection of vintage vinyl and a kickin’ live soundstage where local bands play on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. The audience sits on vintage seats, including awesome bucket and butterfly chairs from the last millennium, which they can buy if they so choose.
And at the center of it all is the real Daddy’s legacy — a collection of mind-blowing music memorabilia belonging to the independent music chain’s former owner, Fred Bramante.
Look on the back wall above the $9.99 used acoustic guitar (“Bridge Included”) and close to the $19.99 Lucida (“Looks great! Plays Bad”) and you’ll notice a row of framed and signed guitars — a black-and-white Silvertone signed by Kurt Cobain, two six-string acoustics (one signed by the Eagles, the other by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young), an electric autographed by Eric Clapton and a blue-and-white axe signed by Stevie Ray Vaughan.
Behind the counter, don’t be surprised to see a few familiar faces from Daddy’s glory days. Former Daddy’s co-owner, Chris Gleason, is now the manager of Thrifty’s. His personal favorite among the rock and roll collection are the Bob Dylan mementos displayed on the back wall under an arch of mounted 45 records.
“There are handwritten set lists from Dylan concerts, an autographed harmonica and other amazing Dylan artifacts,” he says.
The back of Thrifty’s is also the exhibit space for a real REO Speedwagon — a gorgeous wood-and-red-metal vehicle and, of course, the Elvis collection — the centerpiece of which is a robin’s-egg-blue, 1975 Cadillac Eldorado or “The Elvis Cadillac,” as it’s called at Thrifty’s. The Caddy was said to be part of a one-day Caddy buying spree on the part of The King. He was said to have given one of the 14 cars he bought that day as part of an apology to some female members of his ensemble insulted by some off-color jokes passing through Presley’s famous snarling lips during a concert. A slightly creepy Elvis dummy, dressed in a leather jacket, perpetually peers out the Caddy window from the driver’s seat.
Lest anyone still not get the connection, a giant banner (used to commemorate Daddy’s 25th anniversary in 1997) is draped near the soundstage. It’s signed by the musicians and music lovers who frequented the stores.
But Gleason says, while there are definitely customers who come in from the Daddy’s days, Thrifty’s draws a new crowd of second-hand shop enthusiasts, vinyl collectors, rock and roll history lovers, and artists and musicians. There aren’t too many places where you can get a 10-buck guitar.
“One customer came in and bought dozens of the old guitars,” says Gleason. “He fixes them up then gives them to the young people in his church for their music programs. Now he’s teaching 40 kids how to play.”