STEVE’S MUSIC STORE OWNER PASSES AWAY
The Canadian music scene lost one of its most influential figures over the weekend with the death of Steve Kirman, founder of Steve's Music Store. Kirman is the Steve of Steve's Music, a music store chain that opened in Montreal in 1965, expanded to include Toronto and Ottawa, and today is considered indispensable for music equipment in each city.
For decades, his stores have been a popular gathering place for a city musician and his shop in Montreal on St-Antoine and Clark now takes up almost the entire block.
At all three stores, the phones were ringing off the hook, with musicians from all over the world wanting to pass along their condolences. "He's seen many of these clients go on to major fame, he's seen many of these clients go on to different parts of the world and still have extremely fond memories of Steve," said Sheldon Sazant, the shop's general manager and an employee for 34 years.
Ironically, for a man who loved the music business, Kirman didn't play an instrument, although he could tune a guitar. The joke was his favourite instrument was his cash register.
His approach changed the way instrument retail was done. Musicians would come into the store, pick anything up off the wall and sit down and play. Musicians loved the store because rather than keep the instruments behind the counter, Steve put them out in the shop and encouraged customers to try them out. In doing so, Kirman changed the way music stores sell instruments across Canada. "Basically it became a “home” you'd go on weekends," said Peter Janis, a friend for 40 years. "For any musician this was the place to go."
Known for his business savvy, he also opened up shops in Ottawa and Toronto. There are no plans to change the way things are done now he's gone, but there will always be something missing. "It's a really big loss," said Kevin Jardine, a local Montreal music producer and artist. "I don't think there's a musician around who hasn't bought something at Steve's. He was always at the forefront of helping out younger bands."
Steve’s Music Stores will continue on with a legacy that was started by Steve Kirman