September 25th, 2013 by Amelia
I wound up in Las Vegas on a whim. My friend had to go to a convention and had a hotel room paid for so I bought a ticket last minute. While she was at her convention, I was driving around Las Vegas going to every thrift and record store I could. I found Cash for Chaos, which was the most legit punk record store, or record store period that I went to in Las Vegas. Moon Dog Records has a lot of solid metal but Cash for Chaos was for the punks. I got a sick UK SUBS “Stranglehold” large-sized button and exchanged pleasantries with the cashier who talked to me about street punk and days gone by. I made sure I got his boss, Mel Howard’s Email so I could interview him for Create to Destroy to find out more about this Las Vegas punk stronghold:
How long has Cash For Chaos been around?
14 years of relentless work.
How did you afford to open a punk clothing and record store?
My wife and I both knew what we wanted to open this store and started saving every extra dollar! We moved into a cheaper apartment, created a budget and stuck to it. We had pure motivation for the music and to create a bigger scene in Las Vegas.
Was it always going to be clothing and records?
No, it was going to be a punk rock skate shop. After a year we realized there was no competing with the corporate mall skate shops, as we watched all the other smaller skate shops crumble, so we decided to stay strictly punk rock. Skating has always been punk rock with bands like JFA and AGENT ORANGE for example. Since then, it’s started to change, which is fine, but we didn’t want to! We have always stuck to our original roots of punk rock but we are not totally narrow-minded. We are musically diverse and we carry rockabilly, grind, hardcore, psychobilly metal, and all kinds of energy-based music.
What were you doing before the store?
Since there are two of us, I worked as a lion handler for Siegfried and Roy and Ixchel and my wife worked at UMC Hospital.
What record stores did you go to in Las Vegas before you opened your own?
Ben-way, which is now located in California. Before we opened the store, we had to travel back to California to go visit and buy LPs!
You have an amazing array of current punk at your store from obscure bands from New Jersey like ANTI-ARMADA to bigger bands like GOVERNMENT WARNING. Where do you get your music from to sell in the store?
When you devote yourself to something you like such as finding good music, it just comes to you. Since Vegas gets tons of visitors, we have been able to make lots of connections!
Are there other stores to get what you sell in Las Vegas?
Why yes, of course! You can get an AC/DC shirt at Target. But seriously, for the most part, no because many of our items are custom made and we are very specific about the products we choose.
Has the scene changed over the years? What was it like when we first opened the store?
The scene has completely changed since the store opened. We used to go to see bands in the middle of the desert, now there are venues and bar shows every night of the week. What was it like when we first opened? Well, it was very Matrix-based, like everyone wanted to be Neo with a black trench. The punk scene was very small but very loyal. Places like the Cooler and the Double Down were all we knew and all we needed. Vegas has grown but we found the ones who shop at the store are not your typical Hot Topic impostor punks…
Vegas is like family we’ve have seen kids who shop at the store grow and now bring there kids to see the real deal and buy a back patch to put on their little ones vest. Business is scheduled hours, hard work, responsibility and dedication and a little bit of insanity but it’s how we keep moving on!
How can we best order from you and stay updated on your store?
Our website is cash4chaos.com.
Our store: 4110 South Maryland Parkway, Suite #27 & #28, Las Vegas, Nevada 89119, (702)699-5617
Any last words?
Thank you very much for this. Come by and see me next Punk Rock Bowling—I would love to shoot the shit!