Kaye’s music scene in Reseda plays its ‘swan song’ before closing in October – Daily News

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“If you don’t have the work ethic and the passion, you just aren’t going to survive in a brick and mortar store today. “ – George Kaye, owner of Kaye’s Music Scene in Reseda, closing next month after 51 years.

It’s about time, says George Kaye. At 71, he’s not getting any younger and he promised his wife, Barbara, when she retired after educating 28 years at Canoga Park High, that he wouldn’t be far behind.

A photograph of a 1973 George Kaye {photograph} inside Kaye’s music scene in Reseda, hung in the store on September 23, 2021. (Photo by Jay Silverman)
George Kaye inside Kaye’s music scene in Reseda on September 23, 2021 (Photo by Dean Musgrove, Los Angeles Daily News / SCNG)

That was eight years ago, and he or she isn’t interested in being ready. There are places to go, people to see. Let’s go, George.

The work ethic and seriousness should be there, but the revenue margins are slimmer, the web is constant to steal business from brick and mortar stores, and the three or four employees it had to offer it. a break are long gone. It’s just him now.

“I’m one of the last remaining independent music stores,” he says. “There were 20 like mine when we opened, all brick and mortar. All gone. “

It was 1970 when Sidney Kaye and his 20-year-old son George walked straight into a Reseda shoe retailer that was going bankrupt after 20 years. They weren’t trying to buy shoes, they had tried to rent space. It was costing $ 570 per month and was not taken off a highway.

“I think we found our store,” Sidney told his son, the long-term ukulele king of Los Angeles. They signed a 20-year lease and the former shoe retailer became Kaye’s Music Scene.

“We didn’t know anything about running a music store,” says George. “My father was the drummer and musical director of Danny Kaye, who had retired from show business a few years earlier. People thought we were related to Danny, but we weren’t.

For readers under the age of 50, do yourself a favor and watch the 1947 film, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”, then watch “White Christmas” while on vacation. Danny Kaye was an actor, comedian, singer, dancer, and musician all united into a formidable, skilled artist.

What the Kayes didn’t find out about working in a music store, others did, and with Sid’s connections, they quickly had some of LA’s high music academics teaching. in their store.

Sid died in 1976 and George’s mother Gloria worked in the store until she was 88. She died this week at the age of 99. The Kayes had been the position model for a family business.

“We’ve grown into a full-fledged music store, selling guitars, drums, keyboards and brass, but what put me on the map for the past 15 years is ukuleles,” says George. “Most music stores have maybe 20 ukuleles, I have 200.”

  • Client Wendie Fischer visits George Kaye inside Kaye’s music scene in Reseda on September 23, 2021. (Photo by Dean Musgrove, Los Angeles Daily News / SCNG)

  • Ukuleles hang inside Kaye’s music scene in Reseda on September 23, 2021. (Photo by Dean Musgrove, Los Angeles Daily News / SCNG)

  • George Kaye inside Kaye’s music scene in Reseda on September 23, 2021 (Photo by Dean Musgrove, Los Angeles Daily News / SCNG)

  • Kaye’s musical scene in Reseda on September 23, 2021 (Photo by Dean Musgrove, Los Angeles Daily News / SCNG)

The reason he became the king of the ukulele is because he heeded the recommendation of his teenage son John in 2005 when he arrived here after a gig with Hawaii-born musician Jack Hody Johnson, who made the ukulele. relive.

“He woke me up and said, ‘Dad, if you’re smart you’re going to sell ukuleles.’ I said, ‘John, Tiny Tim is playing the ukulele. Nobody else.’ My boy, was I wrong.

It wasn’t Tiny Tim’s ukulele. It was Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s ukulele as he sang “Over the Rainbow”. It was the ukuleles of Jake Shimabukuro and Jack Johnson as they took the instrument to a whole new level of jazz and rock.

The players’ ukulele golf equipment started tapping, and soon enough George moved the ten ukuleles he had on display to the back of the store entrance next to the guitars. Then he ordered 100 more.

“Last week I asked Nikki Sixx from Mötley Crüe to come and buy a ukulele bass. It is no longer just a Hawaiian instrument.

Her regular prospects take the arduous shop closure, whatever their perception. It’s time. A promise is a promise, especially a promise made to your spouse, and he was not getting any younger.

“She tells me that when she retired after 38 years as a teacher, no one made a big deal out of it like they made me retire and close the store,” George says.

“From the first day I started working here with my dad at the age of 20, until my last day at 71, I enjoyed each of them and I want to thank everyone who supported us.

Especially ukulele players.

The last day that Kaye’s music scene could be open is Saturday, October 16. It is located at 19369 Victory Blvd. at Réséda.

Dennis McCarthy’s column airs Sunday. He will be attached to [email protected]


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