Inner Sleeve. It’s so Simple it Hurts My Heart

Editors note: WordPress somehow changed Dino’s post a bit, I do believe this is the way he meant it to be. 🙂

On the doorWhen I was 14 I was not confident enough to walk into Inner Sleeve. When I finally went, my life was changed forever. My friend Bill, now Will, was more confident as a child…maybe he had some cool death wish thing from a Darryl Hannah movie, but anyway Will had gone in and bought “We’re the Meatmen and You Suck” by the Meatmen. We listened to that over and over again, 14 years old…punk rock coming to our heads and souls in ways we would never understand.

That music was at Inner Sleeve. I knew it was there. I did not know anything about that music, but I was 14, and anything that sounded like that was perfect for me. I remember getting dropped off downtown by my mom and walking over to Inner Sleeve. It was next door to Shephard and Schaller at the time. I think I stood there for like 10 days, looking in the window. Seeing the wall of vinyl. Mike with his ponytail, and a bunch of older guys who seemed so cool it was beyond my understanding on why I would ever be allowed in to a place like that. I thought someone would laugh at me if I tried to walk in. So I waited. I lingered across the street at JC Penny’s. It was before Eastbay bought that block, and long before the City of Wausau made it a park.

So the older guys left. The store looked empty. It was my turn…swim or drop to the bottom. I had to go in. Shake off the “Dungeons and Dragons,” the Atari 2600, and Sean P.’s IBM computer and flight simulator. I needed to know what it was, I felt compelled by something greater than me. Greater than sports, greater than girls, greater than grades and teachers and parents…just greater. I heard it in punk rock, and I knew Mike Capista had punk rock. And punk rock sounded like I wanted life to sound.

The rest is history. I have no idea what I bought, if I bought anything. I am leaning towards “We the Meatmen and You STILL Suck” for some reason. Its all a blur really. I remember the smell of incense, the records on the walls, the crappy couch, and Mikes hair. I remember that I was allowed to take album cover art free if I wanted it.

Over the years Mike has become a friend. Mike has been a mentor. For example, Mike introduced me to Sonic Youth, and Sonic Youth changed my life.

Mike introduced me to blues music. And blues music changed my life.

I have never felt cool around Mike, and I have never once felt uneasy. When the arson happened a lot of people asked me to call Mike and talk to him, and I said I cannot. I have never felt like someone who can call Mike. Not that Mike ever gave me that impression, in fact Mike has often talked about life with me. But when I am around Mike, I am 15, and Mike is the icon in my eyes.

There are generations of men and woman who love music.

Mike taught me what this picture actually means.

I learned what this look sounded like, from Mike. I learned how to be a good guy, how to see music in a non judgemental way from Mike. I think I fail in that a lot of the time, but Mike is the example.

I know 200 people who can trace their birth in music directly to Mike and his shop Inner Sleeve.

And some little idiot took the time to burn it down.

Here’s the thing…Mike is a legitimately good guy. I have never ever ever ever heard Mike say anything bad about anyone. Even when we get the Italian blood flowing, Mike never falls into negativity.

We’re a small town Wausau. I celebrate Mike. He has had a record store open in this town for as long as I have been alive. A simple independant business. In the age of iTunes, and Napster, Mike stands there selling cds at a fair price. I think we should not only hand Mike a bag of money filled with hundred dollar bills, but I think the city should name a street after him. We should have a parade in his honor. We are not insurance companies, and Dudleys…we’re Capistas…and Scott Street Pubs. We’re long surviving businessses who define us culturally. Not just commercially.

Thank you Mike for helping me learn to be a man, to define the things that are important. I want nothing but the best for Mike.

The guys at Marcs Guitar Shop and Z104 are putting on a large benefit for Mike on October 8th, 100% of the proceeds going to Mike. I would hope you take some time and call Marcs guitar shop, and find out how you can donate money for Mike. I think there is an account set up at Tower Credit Union. So its all official.

Mike, thank you.

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5 responses to “Inner Sleeve. It’s so Simple it Hurts My Heart

  1. I think we all had the same experience the first time we walked into the Sleeve, mine at the age of 20-something.
    And for me it still involved real vinyl, and finding out there was such a thing as “imports”.
    Dating myself, I know, but just to let you know how many of us felt the same.

  2. Where else would I have purchased my Dead Kennedy’s records….on vinyl?

    Today I was informed that the UWMC will have a benefit on Oct 14th. I’ll post the details when available.

    The way our community has pulled together to help Mike makes me proud to be a Wausonian.

  3. Inner Sleeve and Mike has made me who I am today. I am so proud to say I have known Mike for years and actually worked for him for awhile….needless to say the best job I’ve ever had. To read such heartfelt words from so many others has made me believe in the absolute truth and beauty of life.
    If it’s up to us, Inner Sleeve does live on.

  4. What the hell happened? I moved to Wausau in the mid 1980’s when working for an airline….I moved from Chicago and the culture shock was almost unbearable. But there was Mike, and Inner Sleeve at its original spot, I forget what street it was on. I helped Mike move to the Scott Street locale, pulling nails out of 2 by 4’s and other trivial acts of encouragement. My God, get it back Mike! You are one of a very few men out there in life.

  5. Not to worry too much, Anson. There was a fire at Inner Sleeve and much of Mike’s inventory was destroyed, and unfortunately he did not have insurance. But the community pulled together and helped Mike out a bit, and Inner Sleeve is open once again in it’s Scott Street location. Come up and see it sometime.

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