Photo: Carlos Osorio for the Toronto Star.
Toronto record store owner Neil Cunningham is in a unique and somewhat surreal position – as of last week, he can not only sell the records he loves but also ask you if you’d be interested in purchasing a platinum album with his face on it.
It turns out, unbeknownst to pretty much everyone, Cunningham was the (somewhat creepy looking) guy pictured on the cover of Rush’s 1985 concept album Power Windows along with its back cover photo. How’d he land the gig? Well, through a combination of knowing the right people and presumedly not being a big eater.
Cunningham’s buddy Marcus Pearson was working for in-demand photographer Dimo Safari who shot for the likes of Van Halen, Pink Floyd, and Madonna. When Safari let slip he needed a “skinny, blonde punk” for the new Rush cover, Pearson knew just the guy.
As a bonus, then 21-year-old Cunningham was also featured in Rush’s video for “The Big Money” and scored a backstage pass to their 1986 Maple Leaf Gardens show.
Fast forward to today, and Cunningham is the owner of Pandemonium, a book and record store located in the Junction. When he found out about the album’s upcoming reissue, he ordered a shipment and has since erected a tongue-in-cheek display of the records behind the store’s front counter.
Cunningham says he’s aware that the market for this particular record isn’t a particularly large one, but says he couldn’t resist: “How many record store owners get to sell records of themselves? I’m just having fun with it.”
[h/t Toronto Star]