Burger Records Celebrates 10 Years of Music and Subculture

Original BURGERtime cover photo by John Gilhooley and design by Kelly Lewis. Anniversary cover photo and design by Federico Medina

Burger Records masterminds Sean Bohrman and Lee Rickard have the same long hair they had when they opened the Fullerton shop in 2009. They also have the same can-do attitude they did when they decided to operate a buy-sell-and-trade spot for primarily cassette tapes and vinyl records during a recession. Even the person installing the store’s internet predicted failure.

But Burger defied the odds.

Thee Burger guys: Sean Bohrman and Lee Rickard. Photo by Federico Medina

There was precedent, though. In 2007, after having dinner with then-up-and-coming band Audacity, Rickard and Bohrman started the Burger Records label and decided to only release music on cassettes. They chose the name, they say, because, besides music, eating is one of their favorite hobbies. “We’re both burger-lovers, but the Beatles had Apple and our band, Thee Makeout Party, had burgers,” Rickard says. “It was kind of in the back of our mind, and it just so happens to [start with] a B, which is a magic letter of the alphabet.”

This Uni perform at the anniversary party. Photo by Nikki Nelsen

Two years later, they opened a store with Brian Flores, formerly of Third Eye Records, that would be dedicated to not only their label’s bands, but others, too. And they decided they would only sell cassettes and vinyl—no CDs. “It’s not that we don’t like CDs, but we didn’t collect them,” Rickard explains.

Queenie joined the Burger family six years ago when Bohrman and his girlfriend rescued her as a kitten. A compilation record named after her helped Bohrman recoup the money he spent on an operation for Queenie, who was injured when she was left on the freeway. Photo by Federico Medina

Of course, times change, and in the years since, the store has developed a massive CD collection. “We make a lot more CDs [for the label] now than we did in the beginning,” Rickard says, “but we love all formats of music.”

In celebration of its 10th anniversary, the store offered a “decade-sized” sale on new and used records, plus, on Oct. 3, live performaces from This Uni and Blivet and a food truck providing burgers. (Photos from the event appear here.

Dee Dee King was originally thought to be a girl, but when Bohrman discovered the kitten he fell in love with was actually a boy, he added King to Dee Dee’s name. Photo by Federico Medina

Back when the store opened, Bohrman slept in an upstairs loft in the back, and Rickard crashed on a sofa in the sales area—or, really, wherever. Though they no longer sleep where they work, Bohrman and Rickard hope to gain even more stability in the next 10 years, they say. 

Photo by Federico Medina

“We have been changing our thinking in the last few years because we’ve been selfless for over a decade, but we want a better quality of life,” Rickard says. “We’re almost 40 years old and still doing the same things we were doing when we were teenagers, but at the same time, we have more aches, pains and desires.”

It all started with cassettes. Photo by Michael Quintero
Photo by Federico Medina
Photo by Nikki Nelsen
Photo by Nikki Nelsen
Photo by Nikki Nelsen
Photo by Federico Medina
Photo by Federico Medina
Photo by Federico Medina
Photo by Federico Medina
Photo by Federico Medina
Photo by Federico Medina
Photo by Federico Medina
Photo by Federico Medina
Original BURGERtime cover photo by John Gilhooley and design by Kelly Lewis. Anniversary cover photo and design by Federico Medina

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