big, bouncing tits.

I was beginning to receive – and send – a lot of letters.  Not just letters from bands, but all kinds of stuff, to and from all kinds of people. Radio people, record stores, record labels, and just regular people who liked writing to indie labels.  I was finding that putting a piece of paper in the mail would almost certainly guarantee you’d get a piece of paper back; putting a record in the mail would almost certainly guarantee you’d get a record back.  The indie rock community was very much about handmade things, handwritten letters, and trading, and I thought that was so cool.

Knowing that Melting Hopefuls were recording with him, and knowing that he had a world of knowledge (and distributed his records through Dutch East), I sent Kramer a copy of the new Melting Hopefuls 7″, along with a letter that asked some questions about the best way to get Dutch East to work harder on your records, and pay without sending back the consignment.  I also included a copy of the cuppa joe 7″.  He responded:

Hello Al-

Thanks for your letter & 7″s.  Cool.

Call (name omitted) at the above #.  She may wanna take a few 7″s from you, but they’re a hard sell, as I’m sure you know.  I’ll put in a good word at Dutch East, but it won’t help at all.

Tell Cuppa Joe to come record with me.  I can make their next single sound like big, bouncing tits.

Peace,

Kramer

So, basically nothing.  I called doug from cuppa joe and told him that Kramer wanted to record the band, thinking he’d be happy about that.  I said “He said he can make your next single sound like big, bouncing tits.”

“I’m not sure I want to sound like big, bouncing tits,” he replied.  

Fair enough.  I’m not sure I’d want to sound like that, either.  I’m actually not even sure what they sound like.

I was, as I had previously mentioned, also looking for a new job.  I had sent out resumes to various record labels, hoping for a job in radio promotions or something similar.  I felt like I certainly had more experience than I had when I first got out of college, and the economy had turned around a bit between June of 1991 and the summer of 1993, so I felt there was a better chance I might actually land something.

One day I got a call from Bob Ardrey of TVT Records, asking me if I’d be interested in coming in and interviewing for a spot in radio promo.  

I was thrilled.  Bob was a really nice guy who had been a big part of the New Jersey music scene with his band the Whirling Dervishes; they had sent me a few tapes and CDs of their music and I enjoyed them – they were one of the best-known Jersey alt-rock bands of that time, along with the Fundamentals, the Red House, Gefkens, Sweet Lizard Illtet, and the Whatnots.  The Whirling Dervishes were actually really good, though, unlike most of those others. I sorta knew Bob (although we had never met) through Blake, and I loved the idea of interviewing with someone I knew a little bit.  

I went to their offices, which I believe were around 4th and Broadway – the only area of the city in which I felt comfortable.  Going in, I actually took the PATH train and walked, because I sorta knew where I was going.  Usually, when we went into the city, Rich was with us – Rich knew the city like the back of his hand, and I would just walk alongside him, basically following him wherever he went.  So even though I was in the Village every week, I still didn’t really know where I was going.  This one area of the city, however, I could navigate by myself.

Going into the city this time felt different.  It felt like it was my commute this time – I was hoofing it from the PATH exit into the Village, looking around at all the places I’d be walking past on a daily basis if I was working at TVT.  I’d have lunch there sometimes, I thought as I walked past an Indian restaurant.  I’ll stop in that record store and look for new releases every Tuesday.  

When I got there, I waited in the lobby for a while, and then Bob came out to greet me.  It was the first (and only, I think) time we had ever met in person.  We sat and talked; a lot of the conversation was about Dromedary and the records we had released, as well as the stuff we had on deck.  We talked about the level of success (or lack thereof) that Dromedary had achieved on college radio, and what I would do differently if I had a larger budget, more time to devote exclusively to radio, that sort of thing.  

It was a really nice conversation.

Then, he brought me into the office of TVT’s owner.  I believe, if I’m not mistaken, that someone there warned me that the owner was “eccentric” as we were going in.

When we walked into the office, I immediately felt uncomfortable.  Bob introduced us, and then excused himself, leaving us alone in the office.  The owner was silent for a minute, just sorta looking at me.  Then, he took a phone call.

When he hung up the phone, he said “So what do you know about radio promotions?”

I said “I know it’s not easy.  I know you’ve got a lot of music to compete against when you’re trying to squeeze into a station’s top 40.”

I remember him telling me some things about Nine Inch Nails, and also about the television theme songs that gave the label its start.  I didn’t really care much about the television theme songs, and I cared even less about Nine Inch Nails.  The longer I sat there, the more I realized that I was no longer into the concept of dealing with someone’s strange personality traits, just so I could have a job.  I already had a job.  I already had a record label.

I thought of my meeting with Tom Prendergast of Bar/None, and how Bob had gone so far out of his way to make me feel comfortable.  He immediately began treating me as if I were a peer.  This was most definitely in the opposite direction.

I found myself wondering when Bob was coming back.  I liked Bob, and I would rather talk to him. I felt like this guy was asking questions in a way that would make me feel uncomfortable on purpose; I was not answering them well and didn’t particularly care.  I couldn’t imagine – still can’t – why someone would interview a candidate with the specific intention of seeing how well they do when they’re made to squirm; that was clearly what was happening here and I was resenting it.

I own a label, too. I thought.  You’re talking to me like I’m an idiot, and I own a label, too.  You’re a Munsters theme and one crappy Trent Reznor record away from being just like me.  If it wasn’t for Jed Clampett, you’d be working for the cellular company, too.

He escorted me back to the lobby area where I waited for Bob.  I sat there for a while and I eventually realized that he mustn’t have told Bob he was done with me.  Eventually Bob came walking around the corner, looking surprised that I was still there.  I handed him a folder that I had prepared; it contained some press on the compilation and Hopefuls records, as well as copies of the new seven-inches.  We exchanged pleasantries and I left.

I did not want the job, and I knew I wasn’t getting it anyway.  Bob would easily have been the coolest boss I’d had up to that point in my career, but all the rest would have been a drag.

“How did it go?” Sandy asked when I got home.

“I’m either going to make Dromedary my full-time job, or I’m never going to work in the record business,” I replied.

~ by Al on March 2, 2009.

4 Responses to “big, bouncing tits.”

  1. […] Big, Bouncing Tits.  Because lots of people search Google for, umm, big, bouncing […]

  2. You know, over the years I messed this one up in my head – I guess it was the alliteration, but I was sure he offered to make us sound like Big Bouncing Balls instead.

  3. Somehow that makes it better. And I’d forgotten that it came to you, and not Doug directly.

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