Inside Ann Arbor's Monster Record & CD Show

Rod Branham started the Ann Arbor show 25 years ago (Photo: Meredith Bruckner)

ANN ARBOR – Rod Branham has been running Ann Arbor's Monster Record & CD Show for 25 years.

A lover of records from a young age, he's been collecting and selling used records for 38 years.

"When I was a little kid, about 9 or 10, I spent every penny of my allowance buying records. It’s a lifelong deal," Branham said.

He started the show in 1993 at The Legion, which was torn down to accommodate for the University of Michigan football stadium's expansion.

(Photo: Meredith Bruckner)

After stints at the Elks Lodge and Best Western, the show found its home at Weber's Inn -- and it's been there ever since (roughly 22 years ago).

"We have 60 8-foot tables and about 45 vendors because a lot of them take multiple tables," Branham explained. "Today we’re represented by four different states, the farthest guy comes from Tennessee."

The show takes place in January, April, July and October every year and the customers are as diverse as the record collections.

(Photo: Meredith Bruckner)

"All different types of people come through here," Branham said. "There are people who come here looking for cheap records, and there are people who come through who aren’t afraid to spend a grand."

When asked how he gets vendors, Branham, with a smirk, said, "The vendors come to me. Good or bad, I’m pretty well known."

"This is the biggest show in Michigan and it’s a tough one to get into – I think it’s every vendor’s favorite," said vendor Mitchell Kozuchowski.

​​​​​​​(Photo: Meredith Bruckner)

He spent 15 years at MTV as a staff producer, and had an impressive collection. There's a reason, however, he brings his best stuff to the Ann Arbor show.

"Today I brought my higher-end product. I brought a lot of underground record, sub pop, a lot of unopened 180 gram stuff, Bowie, Pink Floyd, and a whole box of death metal. You kind of tailor your product to the market and this (Ann Arbor) is considered the best. I usually try to bring stuff to Ann Arbor that none of the other dealers have."

Kozuchowski also explained that the sellers mostly know each other and it's a small community. Indeed a community -- during our visit, Branham got on the microphone and asked that everyone observe a minute of silence for a vendor who recently passed away. The entire room fell silent, the flipping of records and shifting of plastic could no longer be heard. 

For seller Ken Price, the learning curve at record shows is what he enjoys most. "It’s just fun talking to people about different kinds of music and people are always telling me about different kinds of music I knew nothing about, and sometimes I can tell them things about music that they didn’t know about that might be of interest to them," he said.

​​​​​​​(Photo: Meredith Bruckner)

Price took over the show from Branham for four years, while Branham started a venture in the bar business. After four years, Branham decided it was time to come back and took over the show again in 2011.

As for customers, father and son Greg and Henry Parker, are relatively new to record collecting, but enjoy the time spent together speaking with vendors and testing their musical knowledge.

"It’s fun to look around and see what’s out there," explained the elder Parker. "I’m trying to complete the mono LPs of the Beatles, not the originals though -- I couldn't afford those! I heard about the show on Facebook. I followed them, I get the updates and I try to come by (each time there's a show). You never know what you’re going to find, it’s like searching for treasure. Each bin you look through, you never know, it could be something really awesome."

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​(Photo: Meredith Bruckner)

Ten-year-old Henry showed us his loot for the day. "I like horror movies a lot so I bought the soundtrack to 'Christine' and 'The Wall' and 'The Twilight Zone.' I love music," he said.

2018 show dates:

  • April 8
  • July 8
  • Oct. 2

Hours: 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

General admission is $3 per person.

Early admission starts at 8 a.m. and is $15 per person.

To learn more about Ann Arbor's Monster Record & CD show, check out its Facebook page.





About the Author:

Meredith has worked for WDIV since August 2017 and was voted one of Washtenaw County's best journalists in 2019 by eCurrent's readers. She covers the community of Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in International Broadcast Journalism from City University London, UK.