Before Spotify, before iTunes, and even before Napster, Blue Note Records was a South Florida music mecca. Quietly operating on a corner across the street from the 163rd Street Mall in North Miami Beach, the shop was home to an ad hoc army of music lovers who were integral members of the local scene and tastemakers.
Lindell Trocard was more than just an expert at the store. He was an encyclopedia of good music, regardless of genre, and was always happy to make suggestions and steer casual buyers in the right direction, turning them into lifelong customers. Now, news of his death has send Miami's music scene into mourning.
“Lindell was a very kind soul whose personality lit up the room when he entered it,” Tom Bowker, former drummer and manager of Blowfly, says. “He was a music scene champion, with a 17-year tenure at Bob Perry's store, a good run at Columbia Records doing promo, and several concert promotions.” Bowker also famously helped Trocard fix his car after he drove it into a canal for a much-publicized benefit concert.
Talking New York hip-hop, punk, and metal, Trocard walked between the rooms at the store with a limber grace that gave his skinny frame a solid presence. He piled up records into people’s arms, anything from the Residents, Captain Beefheart, the Germs, and beyond. And he spread news about upcoming concerts — who was hot, who was not — local bands of today and yesteryear. His knowledge went on and on and on.
Trocard was equally adored and cherished outside the store. Friends lovingly nicknamed him the Chocolate Stringbean. Bowker teased him about his skills on the road and placed Trocard on his own list of the five worst Miami drivers, a tough group to crack. Trocard even had his own catchphrase, "nothing but guts," born from a legendary live mixtape DJ party session that is happily remembered by a few. If cell phones and YouTube had been around, Trocard would’ve been a viral menace.
Sometimes he would fall asleep at boring concerts or in a booth at Steve’s Pizza in North Miami, but it was OK. He had a smile that could warm anybody’s heart and a sense of humor matched by lightning-fast wit. Trocard was a G.
As an ambassador of music, he was diplomatic. From passing out flyers outside Churchill’s Pub to addressing and quieting an unruly Slammie crowd, Trocard commanded respect and admiration for his dedication to South Florida’s music scene.
“This is my 52nd year in the record business, with 25 plus years as a record promoter and 25 in retail,” says Blue Note Records’ Bob Perry. “I hired Lindell in ten minutes in 1984, after my first meeting, to expand the store into punk and alternative. He had such passion and knowledge of how all of it was related: punk, funk, soul, jazz, hip-hop, hardcore to metal. His contribution to our 25-year retail survival is immense. May his memory be eternal.”
No one is immune to life’s kicks, and for Trocard, after his mother passed away, life seemed to spiral. Over the years, he became distant and shut in. He fell apart and away from the scene and from his friends. He fell on hard times, and though many who knew him now wish they had helped, they probably wouldn’t have been able to. Trocard passed away September 29, 2016, of a seizure.
"His body was unclaimed, and he had largely lost touch with his friends, which is why we found out nearly nine months later," Bowker explains.
The news of his death has spread like a digital wildfire across social media to the surprise and sadness of his friends. Everybody who came up loving music in South Florida chimed in with the same song: Lindell Trocard was a great dude, “nothing but guts,” and the Miami scene will never have another person like him. Wherever your faith makes you believe he’s ended up, he’s there, telling people what’s good and what hot artists are coming to town.
Rest in peace, brother.
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