"Its owner is Russ Ketter, who grew up here on the South Side and left for the West Coast in 1969 to pursue a songwriting career. "Instead of going to Woodstock, I went to Berkeley that weekend."
He has no regrets about that.
He got a job at a record store called Leopold's and then moved across town two years later to open Rather Ripped, inspired by a stoned friend's description of his condition at a particular moment. The store was well timed with the punk scene that was about to explode in the mid-'70s.
"Everybody came through that store, the Clash, the Sex Pistols, the glam rock scene. As soon as The Police came to the U.S., they did an autograph party at our store" -- partly because drummer Stewart Copeland went to UC Berkeley."
The story seems amazing and worthy of a book: Patty Smith's first West Coast Performance- in the store came after Ketter wrote a letter begging her to play-- signed in his own blood
The store came to an end in 1980 after a terrible fire but the story hardly ended there.