.On the Record: Watts Music’s Darin Chace

Record Store Day is April 20, so I thought, why not sit down with Darin Chace, owner of Watts Music in Novato? Appropriately enough for vinyl enthusiasts like me, the store is celebrating 45 years in business.

What do you do?

I operate the longest-running record store in the North Bay—Watts Music.

music in the park san jose
music in the park san jose

Where do you live?

I’m very fortunate to live in downtown Novato and walk to work each day. It’s the best way to experience a town and get a pulse on what’s going on.

How long have you lived in Marin?

Since 1971. My parents and I moved here from the East Coast when I was three.

Where can we find you when you’re not at work?

In my younger (and more reckless days), you’d find me at a club or venue checking out bands. I still love to go to shows, but now I enjoy running or hiking all our beautiful open spaces here in Marin.

If you had to convince someone how awesome Marin is, where would you take them?

Geez, how much space can you give me? The short answer is any of what I call “The 40-Minute Club” (most days, the coast, San Francisco and Napa are only 40 minutes away).

What’s one thing Marin is missing?

Restaurants open past 11pm. It’d be nice to grab a bite on the way back from the city at midnight.

What’s one bit of advice you’d share with your fellow Marinites? We need to be more empathetic to each other in the real world, even as we get more overwhelmed by social media.

If you could invite anyone to a special dinner, who would they be?

Prince. For three reasons: to hear any stories he’d care to share, to have him play some serious guitar, and lastly, since he remains the definition of cool.

What’s some advice you wish you knew 20 years ago?

To work a little smarter and be able to pay off my house earlier, have some peace of mind and travel more.

What’s something that in 20 years from now will seem cringeworthy?

Some of the music today that we love may not age so well. I’ve seen thousands of bands that went from “It” to “Oh yeah, I forgot about them.”

Big question. What’s one thing you’d do to change the world?

We should stop and think about the other person’s perspective. Try to understand what’s important to them before we either close our minds or just retaliate with our own view.

Keep up with Chace at @WattsMusicNovato on Instagram and at wattsmusicnovato.com

Nish Nadaraja was on the founding team at Yelp, serves on the San Anselmo Arts Commission and loves his analog music collection.


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