the week after.

No rest for the weary.

Sandy and I sat down the day after the show to try and make sense of everything that had happened.  First, we discovered that despite having nearly 500 people at the show (plus all the bands and other people that got in free), after we covered all our expenses we only had $600 to give to the charity.  We had tipped the staff at Live Tonight after the show (a habit we continued for almost all the shows we did), and we had rented the amps from Long & McQuade.  We had taken out a few weeks of ads in The Aquarian and the Village Voice, and also done a postcard mailer to the mailing lists of all the bands.  We made posters that we plastered around the Village and Hoboken (something I had forgotten about until I wrote this entry).  We thought it was fair to pay ourselves back for the tolls, and the parking, and the driving around.

Before we knew it, there was only about $600 left.  

Then we started looking at the label’s finances, which were pretty bleak.  We had blown through all our savings and taken money out of a credit line that we had established for the company.  We had made the CDs and cassettes, paid for the shrink wrap, all the pizza and beer at the assembly party.  We bought the bulk mail permit, the jiffy mailers and labels, and the postage to send out more than 400 promo copies.  We also had tons of copies made, of bios and fact sheets that got inserted with the promo copies.  We had spent a fortune on zines, and, to Rich’s point, lots more getting into clubs and drinking beer while we saw various bands.

We discovered that we’d be well into our second pressing of Nothing Smells Quite Like Elizabeth before we started to turn a profit.

I put on my most optimistic face and called Dutch East and Twin City Imports the following week, and got them to increase the quantities of their initial order.  Dutch East took 75 CDs, and TCI took 35 CDs and 25 cassettes.  I then made a round of phone calls to other distributors and was able to unload a few more to Forefront Mailorder.  That was it, though.

Ray and I got together at his house in Belleville, where I went to pick up the remaining “Suck My Heart” 7″s.

“Anything you can do with these would be great,” he said.  Melting Hopefuls were working hard at finding a record deal, and felt like it was important to have a constant flow of music out there.  Ray was assembling another demo tape, and in the meantime, it would be helpful to have those 7″s going to radio stations and music press.

Ray had such a great head on his shoulders.  He always offered great advice, and he also always asked for advice and opinions.  He and I spoke on the phone virtually every day, him giving me updates on the band, and me giving him updates on the label.  The day I went to his house, he, Renee, and I sat in the living room talking about where we were headed, and listening to some of Ray’s favorite CDs.  Ray loved turning people on to new music as much as I did, and I could tell how much he enjoyed playing me bands I’d never heard before.

We were really developing a great friendship.  Although I never really got close with the other people in the band the way I did with Footstone, I felt like I was really building a strong relationship with Ray.

The same thing had happened with Steve Bailey of Ya-Ne-Zniyoo and doug from cuppa joe.  While I didn’t talk as frequently with doug (toll call), Steve and I talked all the time, and he often joined us for our living room chats.

At that point, we had decided that it was time to stop running around to clubs all the time, and spend more time socializing at home.  A case of beer cost $15 and we could, for $15, entertain three or four people for a whole night.  Conversely, a night out at Maxwell’s cost a fortune – $25 or so for pizza and beer at Mario’s, $10 to get into the back room to see the band, and then $5 a beer as long as we were there.  Since we always considered those trips to be Dromedary-related, we paid for them with the label’s money.  The label didn’t have very much money, and we knew it would be at least 30 days until we started getting paid by distributors – maybe more.

I also had a nice chat with David Blanche of Godspeed.  Things were progressing nicely between them and Atlantic Records, and they planned to go into the studio and record a demo for them.  What scared me a little was that Atlantic had arranged for Rachel Bolan, from the band Skid Row, to produce the demo.  To me, Godspeed was a frantic, manic, heavy rock band and Skid Row was a hair band.  I questioned whether pairing the two in the studio would dull some of Godspeed’s sharp edges.  When I mentioned this to David, though, he assured me that they’d spoken at length, and that Bolan knew what he was doing.

So it seemed as if we were going to release a 7″ culled from these demo sessions, and that we’d have a Skid Row guy producing one of our records.  

We headed into the Spring of 1993 with lots of promise.

~ by Al on January 27, 2009.

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