Originally opened at 24th and N streets back in 1982, Drastic Plastic was one of the first retailers to push major boundaries within the Omaha social sphere. The punk-rock shop sold skateboards, Dr. Martens, and punk records when mainstream culture consisted of top 40 hits and leg warmers.
Now located in The Old Market District on 12th and Howard streets, Drastic Plastic has been making waves for over three decades under the direction of owner Mike Howard and, more recently, store manager Neil Azevedo.
Azevedo was originally just a regular customer before joining Drastic in 2007. A record store that promoted alternative culture was somewhat of a godsend for Midwest high-school students like Azevedo who were seeking something else.
“Whenever I started coming to the store, I did it because at that time, punk rock and post-punk music was underground music. As a teenager, it was a way for me to understand who I was and push the bounds of what I could be,” Azevedo says.
Since becoming store manager, Azevedo has helped keep Drastic Plastic current, shifting some of the store’s focus to subsidiary ventures like Drastic Plastic Collectibles. The line specializes in toy manufacturing—more specifically rock- and horror-based bobble heads.
Starting with the classics (e.g., characters from Night of the Living Dead, Fulci’s Zombie, and the one and only Iggy Pop), Drastic Plastic Collectibles is in full swing. Soon to grace shelves are Debbie Harry, Jimi Hendrix, and Marc Bolan of T. Rex.
Although dabbling in toy manufacturing, Drastic is still all about the music. Christine Fink is the coordinator for Drastic Plastic Records, a vinyl reissue label in the Impact Merchandising offices on 24th and St. Mary’s. With her hands in everything from marketing and production to graphic design and filling orders, Fink strives to keep some of the more obscure and overlooked bands and artists alive.
“A lot of these albums are so important to so many people, and a lot of them sort of just fell by the wayside, or they haven’t been reissued in a long time,” Fink says. “Because this music and this culture transformed so many people, we felt it was important to not only reissue these albums but do it in such a way that they are collector’s items.”
Focusing heavily on packaging and presentation, Fink hopes that these reissued records can also serve as art pieces for those who collect them.
“We try to make things as high of quality as possible. We are willing to spend a little bit of money in order to make things as perfect as they can be,” Azevedo says. “Our goal is not even to make money. Our goal for the store itself is just to break even, pay our rent, and buy as much vinyl as we possibly can.”