Interview with Dylan Johnson and Wesley Hendon, Owners of For The Record

We were lucky enough to grab a few minutes with For the Record owners Dylan Johnson and Wesley Hendon as we hit Florence Alabama.

Dylan Johnson and Wesley Hendon aren’t native to Florence but after making it their home, they both felt a need to open a live music venue to provide local and touring musicians a place to play and local residents a place to relax and catch some live music. 

Florence, Alabama is a city steeped in music history. It is the birthplace of W.C. Handy and is adjacent to the storied Fame Studios and Muscle Shoals Sound Studio. More recently Jason Isbell has held his own festival, Shoals Fest, in McFarland Park bringing a fresh wave of visitors to the city each year. We were introduced to Florence via that festival and have been so taken with the city and the people there that we now visit regularly.    

Whilst the city has a couple of venues for live musicians in The Lava Room and Swampers, Dylan and Wesley felt it needed something different and that is exactly what they have created. Dylan had noted that his band, Yes Trespassing, needed to travel outside of Florence to play their early shows and the pair felt that the city would benefit from a live music space where both local and out-of-town bands could play. It was also important to them that the space was available to the community on a regular basis and, with that in mind, the venue is open Monday through Saturday whether there is a show or not. There are regular open-mic nights and, on the occasions when there is no live music to enjoy, people can come in to have a beer and play some pool or Mario Kart.

Since opening its doors on January 26 of this year, For The Record has already made itself a part of the community and is already becoming a key venue for local musicians as well as touring acts to ply their trade.  

We are really grateful that Dylan and Wesley took the time to sit down with us to talk about both the enjoyable side and some of the challenges of being new owners of an independent venue.   

To read more about our cross-country fundraising trip for the National Independent Venue Foundation and Musicians On Call, click here. All donations go directly to your chosen organization. To donate to NIVF, click here. To donate to Musicians On Call, click here

You can see our interview with Dylan and Wesley here, and when you’re finished watching, don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel to catch future content:

We also had the pleasure to catch Yes Trespassing perform at For The Record. You can find the review and photos from the show here.


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About Phil Walton 84 Articles
Phil grew up in the UK and loved listening to and playing music from a young age. He moved from the UK to Chicago in 2011, falling in love with the city and its music scene. He enjoys nothing better than spending time with musicians, whether it be watching them perform, talking to them for the website or reading their autobiographies.