suck my what?

"Suck My Art"

"Suck My Art"

For “Suck My Heart” we felt like we had more experience than we had before, and that we could keep costs down dramatically.  We were right.


First of all, we didn’t need to actually manufacture anything.  The 7″s were already made, packaging was already done.  All we needed to do was produce tiny labels to affix over the logo of the Melting Hopefuls’ own in-house label (Population Records) – a Dromedary label on the front, and an address label on the back.  Then, we made up mailorder “catalogs” featuring Nothing Smells Quite Like Elizabeth, the cuppa joe, Ya-Ne-Zniyoo and Grooveyard demo tapes, and the black Dromedary T-shirts.  I printed the catalogs side-by-side on an 8 1/2 x 11″ piece of paper, and one day, when nobody was looking, locked myself in the copy room at work for ten minutes and made a few hundred copies.

Then, we inserted the catalogs into the record sleeves.

Because it was a 7″, mailing was cheaper, too.  We found 7.5″ brown envelopes at Staples – very cheap – made copies of the Melting Hopefuls’ bio, wrote a few letters, and were ready to go.  One night while I was working, Sandy stuffed all the 7″s into the envelopes, slapped on the address labels, stamped the return address on them with our super-cool Dromedary Records Rubber Stamp, and we were ready to go.

We hand-delivered the 7″s to the Bulk Mail station and let them fly.  The total cost to do all that was less than $1,000 – a fraction of what we had spent on the compilation.

This is “Suck My Heart,” by the way:

We were getting good at this, or so we thought.

To time things right, I decided to wait a little longer before calling radio stations about the record.  Elizabeth was still getting a little airplay at college radio nationally, and the reviews hadn’t started coming in yet.  I figured it made more sense to let the 7″ generate a little interest, and then I could call people about the Melting Hopefuls and the compilation.

There used to be a small club in Hoboken called Boo Boo’s Bar and Grill.  I don’t really remember where it was, but I do recall that Melting Hopefuls played there a lot.  Live Tonight was rapidly becoming more of a cover band bar, and Boo Boo’s was more than happy to book original music.

I mentioned in an earlier post that I felt like Renee had a Natalie Merchant sort of sound to her voice.  Well, that was a comparison that they had heard frequently – it popped up in a lot of their press, and I think Renee felt that was sort of a cop-out.  In a way, I agreed with her – it’s too easy for a journalist to make a comparative reference when describing a band, and its even easier to pick out the popular female alt-rock vocalist of the day and simply compare any other female vocalist to whomever that might be.  Since Renee didn’t sound like Juliana Hatfield, Kim Deal, Kristen Hersh or Tonya Donnelly, the only woman left to compare her to would have been Natalie Merchant.

Problem was that a lot of times, Renee really sounded like Natalie Merchant.

One day, Ray called.

“We had a problem last night,” he said.


“We were playing at Boo-Boo’s, and there was this guy  in the audience who was a real asshole,” he said. “During the first part of the show, he kept screaming ‘Siebel is God! Siebel is God!'” 

He was referring to the Hopefuls’ guitarist, Max Siebel.

Ray continued, “Except he wasn’t pronouncing his name right.  He was saying ‘SY-bell,’ and it’s pronounced ‘SEE-bel.'”

“Okay,” I said.

“Then, he started yelling ‘Hey!  It’s Natalie Merchant!'”

Uh-oh.  Even then I knew Renee hated that comparison.

“So Renee asked him to stop,” Ray continued.  “But he wouldn’t stop.  So Renee said ‘If you call me Natalie Merchant one more time, I’m going to kick your ass.”

Uh-oh.  “What happened?” I asked.

“He said it again,” Ray said.

“And?” I asked.

“And she hit him,” he said.

“She hit him?” I asked.  “What do you mean?”

 “She feels really bad about it today,” he said.

“How did she hit him?”

“She went right up to him, and hit him.  In the face.”

“What did he do?” I asked.

“He just kind of stood there, I guess.  I don’t know.”  He said.

I burst out laughing.  That was the funniest thing I could imagine, Renee beating some guy up in a bar for being a wiseass.  “That’s so cool!” I said.  “That’s so punk rock!”

“Do you think there will be a problem?” he asked.  “Like, do you think the guy will sue?  Or that Boo Boo’s won’t let us play there anymore?”

“Who cares if Boo Boo’s doesn’t let you play there anymore?” I said.  “So you play somewhere else.”

“I don’t know, we don’t like making waves like that,” he said.  

I thought it was great.  And I also didn’t know it was “SEE-bel.”

~ by Al on January 29, 2009.

One Response to “suck my what?”

  1. Boo Boo’s was right by the Clam Broth House, if not connected. Only two blocks from the train station. A nice alternative from walking all the way down to Maxwells. Plus more girls hung out there, hence it became a meat-market. Now its a dance club. Mark and I went to see the Melting Hopefuls at Boo Boo’s once. I remember wanting to play there. But we never did. They were great that night. That may have been the first time I talked to Ray or Renee. I remember seeing another band there, not sure if it was the same night or not, called Gluegun. They sucked.

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