A LONG TIME AGO, IN A HEAVY METAL GALAXY FAR FAR AWAY...
In December 1978 the store opened with very little fanfare after the original owner got sick of stores not stocking the new records he was interested in. As the first store in the country to focus on the emerging English, American, Canadian and European Hard Rock and Metal bands we were pretty much considered destined to fail within a year by the cooler than cool 'music experts' about town.
As the 1980's rolled on the store solidified itself as THE HOME OF HEAVY METAL featuring a vast selection of traditional Classic Rock and Hard Rock as well as championing the exploding new genres including the NWOBHM, the American GLAM invasion and of course the THRASH movement spearheaded by Metallica. UTOPIA became THE PLACE for Metal fans to meet and interact with many of Australia's better known Metal bands forming after members had met each other in the shop.
As the popularity of all forms of Metal, Punk and Alternative music exploded in the late 1980's early 1990's we moved firstly to Clarence Street then to our first of three MASSIVE stores on George St where we hosted in store signings with classic rockers like Deep Purple, Carlos Santana and Status Quo to the likes of Pantera, Slayer, Suicidal Tendencies, Danzig, Sepultura and countless others which would often see crowds of up to 1000 people turn out to meet their heroes. During this time it was not uncommon to see members of Anthrax, Iron Maiden, Fear Factory, Skid Row and Alice In Chains wearing UTOPIA shirts onstage all over the world in front of thousands of people or on album covers bought by millions.
In 2000 we moved to our biggest location ever which was like a cross between a ROCK N ROLL MUSEUM and a HEAVY METAL SUPERSTORE with the walls adorned with all sorts of rare, one of a kind and autographed items. This was a rollercoaster decade for music, at the beginning sales were at their highest ever but by the end of the decade downloading and file sharing had impacted the industry to the point where many of the world's most famous stores and chains had shut their doors and gone out of business forever.
2009 saw new owners Garry and Sue take over at a time when many would have run in the other direction. This was just the injection of energy and tenacity the store needed to survive and survive we did, In 2010 we moved to our current location on the corner of Bathurst and Kent Street in the heart of the city and we have never looked back. During the next ten years we would host visits by artists as diverse as Of Mice And Men, Fall Out Boy and Escape The Fate to heavy hitters like Sabaton, Municipal Waste and GHOST.
In 2020 the store that was once the scourge of parents countrywide is now well and truly a family business that attracts multiple generations of the same families, it is not uncommon to see parents and grandparents flicking through the vinyl racks while the youngsters check out the mountains of merch or vice versa. We always knew HEAVY METAL would bring the world together, it just took us 40 years to get there...