by Greg Allard
Gainesville music mainstay Charlie Scales died unexpectedly Tuesday of an apparent heart attack at the age of 59. Charlie began working at Hyde and Zeke Records in 1981 and became the store’s owner in 1990. The store turned a lot of people onto vinyl during and after the years when the CD was king.
Before coming to Gainesville, Charlie graduated from Fork Union Military Academy in Virginia. He later attended Santa Fe College. He leaves his wife Jan, his daughter Rebecca, and his son Josh.
A great guitar player, Charlie played with local bands Root Doctors, dbleWiDE, and the Gator Gonzo Band. According to Bill Perry, who worked with Charlie at Hyde and Zeke, the store will be permanently closed as of Tuesday.
Bill Perry: Gainesville lost a true friend today when family man, record store owner and musician Charlie Scales passed away. He gave so much to his community– either playing music or selling it– he had something for everyone. A story about this band or that band, how he had great times touring. He supported so much local music. He was open to all the young college students that came into Hyde and Zeke and would turn them onto new music all the time. I personally lost a true brother that helped me through so many hard times. I love him and his family dearly.
Chuck “The Colonel” Martin: Charlie Scales had every lick. You want rock, blues, country, funk? Chaz could bring it. Guitar poured out of him like water, extemporaneously; he never had to breathe. And he was at his best on stage, not just in superb guitar craft, but in showmanship too. Here’s a guy whose done thousands of shows, yet is delighted to ham it with the ultimate ham sandwich, yours truly, The Colonel. I can see Chaz with that big grin on his face, just thrilled to be on stage doing what he loved more than anything. I wish we had one more show.
James McKay: I met Chaz at Hyde & Zeke as a customer. Since I was a music head, and so was he, I’m sure we struck up a conversation. We both have the gift of gab, and are passionate about things, so we recognized each other as kindred spirits. When one of his employees, Mike Hager, who was in version two of the Root Doctors, asked him to play with us some time later (1989), we were all astonished that he said yes! At our first shambolic “rehearsal” in the front room of the danjerhaus, he started to get this grin. We didn’t know what we were doing, but we had these ideas, and he dug it. So for 20 some odd years I’ve had the privilege of his company, and his goodwill, and his amazing playing. So many times I’ve felt like the luckiest guy in the world. Bryan, Ben, Richard, and I have lost a lot, but we will continue. The only thing we know in the Root Doctors is that you don’t stop! I offer my deepest condolences to Jan, Rebecca, and Josh. There’s so many things I could say. He was a wonderful friend, but he was also a hero of Gainesville culture. We all have a lot of memories to cherish… Goodbye friend!