"Let me be honest, no one comes to see this place. I designed it that way. I knew there'd be attention on the front end, but this is over. And I'm fine with that."
Bucks Burnett is being honest with me, as he most likely has the length of our three-hour conversation (more in next week's issue) in his Eight Track Museum, where we sat on a recent Wednesday night. It seemed like only minutes earlier, he was telling me how he'd just renewed the lease on his Commerce Street space for another year, and about a new Eight Track Museum he's negotiating to open in another state, hopefully by June.
"I think a second one opening is even more ludicrous than the first one opening," he says. "The story you're supposed to be reporting is: 'Eight Track Museum closes due to complete lack of interest, from both curator and audience.'"
But that's not the story. He'll hopefully be able to announce the second location in a few weeks, after he and his partner put pen to paper, but he did let me guess three states. "Even if you were right, I'd tell you you're wrong."
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Burnett's like a more animated version of Jeff Bridges as the Dude, so it's easy to get lost in his stories and tangents and artifacts. The Eight Track Museum, which has been open just over a year, started as a punchline. Burnett needed an ending for the eight-track documentary he started making in 1992, Spinal Tape, and since he didn't want just another rock star talking about eight-tracks, he actually opened an eight-track museum. Burnett is a completist, after all.
That's evident in the collection he's amassed, one that started when he just had to collect all the Beatles eight-tracks he could possibly track down. And not just eight-tracks, but vinyl, cassette and beyond. He knows certain labels put out certain colors of eight-track, and it was known back in the '60s and '70s that you didn't step on other labels' colors, sort of like gangs. He's detail-oriented, and laments that current CDs have bar codes bigger than the label name on the back. Where's the pride?
He has one wall with roughly 30 different formats, from laser discs to two-tracks, and now owns Bob Dylan's harmonica from a 1978 concert, which was thrown into the crowd and caught by Burnett's friend. But he won't put it in the museum. It would have to be in a special case.
But then, Burnett is a special case. Stay tuned ...