Famous Rock Shop at Newcastle is one of the coolest places in town

The Famous Rock Shop at Newcastle is… well... famous.

Perhaps that’s why Kiss legend Ace Frehley popped in on Wednesday  to buy a couple of T-shirts.

And what T-shirts did he buy, you ask? Johnny Cash and Led Zeppelin. Now that’s a true music aficionado.

Ace came into the store the day after he supported Alice Cooper at a gig at Newcastle Entertainment Centre.

The Famous Rock Shop is run by Mario and Rosalie Borrelli.

Mario said he’s had quite a few celebs in the store over the years, including Tony Hawk, Peter Garrett, Chuck D from Public Enemy, John Butler and Chopper Reid.

Rosalie and Mario Borrelli with another Kiss legend - Gene Simmons.

Rosalie and Mario Borrelli with another Kiss legend - Gene Simmons.

Alice Cooper didn’t come in this week, but he did about a decade ago on a previous trip to Newcastle.

“He waited for half an hour for my kids to finish school, so they could get a photo with him,” Mario said, with an obvious tone of admiration and respect for the man dubbed the Godfather of Shock Rock.

The Famous Rock Shop has been going for almost 30 years in Hunter Street.

“This building we’re in was the first McDonald’s in Newcastle,” he said.

“We bought it in 1990 after the earthquake. We were up the road before from ‘87.”

The shop has struggled at times, with the decline of street retailing in Newcastle and the onslaught of shopping malls.

But now the rock shop is experiencing a renaissance, as Newcastle is renewed. 

The shop is about 100 metres from Newcastle University’s New Space building.

It’s basically three shops in one, taking in upstairs and next door.

“We sell all the skate brands, the biggest selection of Converse, we’re the biggest Doc Martens retailer in NSW, we sell all the band T-shirts and young people’s brands. Upstairs it’s girl’s fashion. It’s a cool shop.

“Next to that we have a shop of vinyl records and a body-piercing room.”

Mario said independent stores and street retailing in Newcastle were strengthening.

“Newcastle is going to get stronger. More people will live in town, walk along the foreshore and walk up the main street for a night out.

“I believe that’s the future. It’s gonna be good. I want it to be all restaurants and eateries, like in Melbourne.”

Alice in Westfield

Leanne Elizabeth Hudson ran into Alice Cooper at Westfield Kotara this week.

“Before the concert I met my rock idol and his beautiful wife, while they were shopping at Westfield Kotara,” she said.

“What a wonderful friendly couple. I have loved him and his wife for decades as performers, but after this chance meeting, they are just lovely down-to-earth people. Much respect. Oh, and the concert was amazing.”

Floor Collapse

The Alice Cooper gig on Tuesday revived memories of Newcastle’s rock and roll past for Janine Evans, of Raymond Terrace.

Alice Cooper and Leanne Elizabeth Hudson at Westfield Kotara.

Alice Cooper and Leanne Elizabeth Hudson at Westfield Kotara.

Janine posted on the Lost Newcastle Facebook page, asking whether anyone recalled the floor in front of the stage collapsing at Civic Theatre at a gig in the 1970s.

She initially thought it was an AC/DC concert, but others suggested it could have been Status Quo or Sherbet.

Janine told Topics the floor “caved in a bit” at the ‘70s gig, as fans were headbanging.

“We were right up to the stage back then. You didn’t have a barrier,” she said.

“You had the feeling that you were falling and panicking, trying to get out of something, but not realising what was going on.”

She said the gig was stopped while security moved people back from the stage. But the show went on.

Anyone else remember this? Let us know at topics@theherald.com.au. 

Status Quo in Newcastle in the '70s. Picture by Janine Evans.

Status Quo in Newcastle in the '70s. Picture by Janine Evans.