Meet The Team
JAMES (JIM) SMALL
James (although we all know and love him as Jim!) is the proud new owner of QR+ and has been passionate about music, in one way or another, his whole life. Whether it be playing tunes, building HiFi systems or collecting records, Jim is never far away from a stereo OR a guitar!
Jim’s earliest memories are as a young school kid at home in Ringwood, watching a black & white TV set, witnessing the growing insanity of Beatlemania. The first record he remembers buying was The Grassroots ‘Midnight Confessions’ (“...my siblings might try to correct me on that one and say it was something instead by The Monkees - but it most definitely WASN’T… OK?!!”).
Jim’s life changed irrevocably one wintery evening in 1969 when he heard “Whole Lotta Love” played on radio station 3XY; “the distorted guitar riff, all of the weird sounds that go on & on until that snare drum comes pounding in like a seismic wave… “ Despite a love of playing guitar inspired by moments such as this, Jim stopped playing in garage bands in his late teens and went on to university instead.
There he fell in love with the Earth Sciences, and musically with what would later become known as ‘Prog Rock’ - King Crimson, Yes, Genesis, Todd Rundgren & Utopia, Trower, Zappa, Focus, 'Floyd, ELO, ELP, EL-XYZ and anything/everything ever breathed upon by Steely Dan.
At the same time he was badly bitten by the hifi bug and started building his own speakers and amps, “mainly because I couldn’t afford anything that was any good, until one day one of my amps almost blew up my son!”... Hence he ended up in a career using geophones and software rather than microphones and solder - and has never really looked back since!
For the past 20 years Jim has lived & worked mainly outside of Australia... SE Asia, Iran, the Middle East, Norway and the UK. Although a permanent fixture by his side (aside from his wife Jocelyn of course!) has always been his failthful guitar case (holding a Les Paul Custom 'Black Beauty' – “yeah, the one with 3 gold humbuckers a’la Jimmy Page, Robert Fripp and Pete Frampton”), vintage Luxman valve amps, a belt-drive turntable and a crate full of his favourite records...
That is until one day in October of 2017 when he noticed the ‘Business For Sale’ sign on the website of his favourite record store in Malvern – and as he puts it “my eyes & heart lit up like the output valves of an old Marshall head amp”…
The rest, as they say, is history with Jim heading back to Australia full time by the end of 2018 to share his love, passion and knowledge to anyone AND everyone in the QR+ community!
Out with the old, In with the old!: The day Jim (left) & long time owner Melville Mays (right) "sealed the deal" and the transfer of ownership was complete.
The whole QR+ team are happy to report that Mel & his family are enjoying a well deserved break and living "retirement life" to it's fullest!
You will spot Kelly in the QR+ store most days running all operations, back of house, e-commerce & marketing (and LOVING every minute of it!)
Kelly is a Self Proclaimed “McCartney Obsessive” who has recently travelled the world following her idol on his recent tour (think 7 gigs in one year!). However she has also been known to spend many a night on Frenchman Street in New Orleans, or holed up in iconic NYC music haunts such as Blue Note and Cafe Wha!
You’ll recognise her sporting Wings, Prince, Bowie, George Harrison & Zeppelin tattoos, and if you ask her about them she will happily talk to you about their back catalogue for hours!
Her extensive collection ranges from Early Chicago/Detroit Blues, 60’s Psychedelia, Sinatra, Artie Shaw and Big Band, New Orleans Jazz, Coltrane & Chet Baker, 70’s/ 80’s Rock, Funk, Soul and Post Punk (The Cure & Talking Heads can be heard on high rotation)... oh, and anything born in the early/mid 90s- good or bad!.
More recently you’ll catch her with her husband Matt (also part of the QR+ team) at a Queens of the Stone Age gig, heading over to New Orleans (her favourite place in the world) or holed up in her Woodend home studio/office listening to Tom Waits for days on end (these up-coming re-issues are draining the bank!).
If you want to chat about the the history of Blue Note (The 75 year anniversary celebrations are coming!), Bowie’s Berlin years (would ‘Lust For Life’ really have been that good without him!?), whether Paul really is dead (thankfully NO), or if The Skyhooks are actually one of Australia’s most under-rated bands (absolutely), Kelly is your lady!
You wont get two steps into the QR+ store without Matt bailing you up - “How’s your day tracking? What’s your story? What are you listening to these days?”….
A musical schizophrenic, he’ll be more interested in talking to you about your favourite new tunes rather than re-hashing the same classics over and over.
On the other side of the coin, it will be Matt putting music in your hands that you didn’t even know would be your next obsession! Especially if you lean towards Hip Hop, Beats, Electronic and Local releases.
If you want to know his bread and butter, classics like Cream, Hendrix, The Beatles and Pink Floyd need to be listed with the same weight as Massive Attack, Queens Of The Stone Age, Janes Addiction & The Brian Jonestown Massacre.
His collection these days is focused less on specific bands/artists and more on the eclectic works of producers or record labels. Matt’s staples are rooted in the Stax, Studio One and Motown family tree tracing all the way through to their niche offspring labels such as Stonesthrow, Soul Jazz Records and Ninja Tune to name some faves.
Matt’s wife (and QR+ team member, Kelly) has allowed him a Madlib/Stonesthrow purchase a week, which he patiently squirrels away into his allotted Hip-Hop pigeonhole at home (how gangsta is that!). Strangely that rule doesn’t seem to apply to her Paul McCartney purchases… but Matt has learned not to ask questions....
Completing the “dream team” at QR+ is a veteran employee (well, if you count working years, not age!) Nick McGregor.
Having worked with previous owner Mel Mays since 2015, Nick has cultivated a reputation amongst the customers as a 23 year old with the musical tastes (and knowledge) of a 60 year old!
Being a musician and avid collector himself, it’s no coincidence that he happens to be working in a record store (in-fact, some could say he was always destined to!). The contents of Nick’s collection contain a broad range of titles ranging from Mozart to Miles Davis to Metallica (and everything in between!).
A self proclaimed “music geek” Nick truly is a treasure trove of information when it comes to your classic rock heroes such as Queen, Led Zeppelin, Guns N' Roses, Black Sabbath or the Beatles. If you’re just getting into vinyl and looking for a few classic titles to start your collection, he’s your man!!
Complementary to Kelly’s obsession with Sir Paul, Nick is your resident George Harrison fan, meaning that the sweet sounds of the Beatles (and their solo releases) can often heard floating down Glenferrie Rd.... and we wouldn't have it any other way!