drink. that. boh.

There was a house on a lake in Denville, NJ.  It was sort of on an island; you had to drive over a bridge to get to it.   It was a quiet, peaceful sort of place, and that’s where we used to go to meet up with the guys from Footstone, some of whom lived there with (I think) some of the guys from American Standard.  I don’t remember exactly who lived there and who didn’t; it seemed like every time I went there, a dozen people were milling around.  The only really vivid memory I have of the place was going to a party there, drinking beer on the waterfront with Ralph, who would occasionally scream “Sabotage!” (the Beastie Boys’ song was popular at the time), his voice echoing across the lake.

That’s where Mark showed us the Happy Jerkoff Clown, the novelty toy that would become the cover art for the Wobbles from Side to Side seven-inch.  That’s also where they told us their idea to include with the 7″ an insert that contained a bright-orange “Paid” sticker (“for hassle-free shoplifting”).

It’s also where we first heard Mark called “Bishop.”  When I asked someone where the name came from, I got this story:

“One night we were all drunk, and Mark decided he was going to swim out across the lake to that little rock over there, in the middle of the lake,” whoever told me the story said.  “When he came out of the water on the other side, and stood up on that rock, he looked like a bishop.”

I have no idea if that story is true or not.  Didn’t make much sense to me.

Doesn’t matter, either; that was sixteen years ago and he’s still “Bishop.”  And, of course, “Bishop” somehow morphed into other names, riffing off the word “Bishop” into “Bishondi”, “Shondi,” “Shondeen,” “Shapu,” “Shapatoo,” “Shapatoopie,” and just about any other word that had a “B” or an “S” in it.  Once in a while I would hear a Footstone or AmStand guy say some gutteral word that I couldn’t understand, and I automatically assumed they were calling Mark.

Other words in the Footstone vocabulary morphed that way as well.  “Beer” somehow became “Boh.”  “Boh” eventually got slurred into “Booowwwwww.”  Sixteen years later, if you wander around Hoboken, you still might hear someone say “Drink that boh.”  Three years ago, in 2006, I was at Maxwell’s, and a guy I’d never seen before walked up to the bartender and say “I’ll take a boh,” and the bartender drew him a draft, handed it to him, and took his money, as if the word “boh” was part of the language in Hoboken.  I still call it boh – when I’ve drank enough of it, that is.

I went to high school with a guy named Rad.  We’ve been friends since I’m fourteen years old.  Rad went to college in Rhode Island, then drifted around the world a bit, settling in Hoboken and joining a band.  I was talking with him on the phone one night – it had been a long time since we had spoken – and as we were closing the conversation, he said “Why don’t you come into Hoboken some night, we’ll go out for a boh?”

He said it as if I should know what the word “boh” meant, and I did.  And there’s absolutely no reason why he should think I would know what it meant, and there’s absolutely no reason I should think he would know what it meant.

Footstone and their friends had their own language.  And everybody understood it.  Which, if you think about it, is fucked up.

But I digress.

At some point during all this, Ralph decided that Footstone wasn’t really a punk band, but they also weren’t an indie rock band.  “We’re not really indie,” he said.  “We’re kind of indie, but we’re not quite indie.  We’re inkie.

And thus they asked for the expression “Gimme Inkie Rock” to be scratched into the pressing plate of their 7″.  Which we were happy to oblige, because we were never saying “no” to Footstone again.  We were, by this point, forever along for the ride.

The guys came over and brought the printed sleeves with the Happy Jerkoff Clown, the Paid stickers and inserts, and several Sunday papers’ worth of coupons.  I had the “Gimme Inkie Rock” records and the plastic baggies.

For an afternoon, we drank beers and numbered the first 500 Footstone sleeves – inside the sleeves – and then assembled the records.  Occasionally, one of the guys would clip a coupon and drop it into the record along with the insert (“Anyone who buys our record should be entitled to fifty cents off a package of Pampers,” Dave said).  Someone hand wrote a lengthy chili recipe (I remember this because the recipe called for a pot of coffee to be dumped into the chili) and dropped it into a record.  Someone else wrote a note, thanking the person for buying their record.

It was just a silly afternoon of making stuff, dropping little personal touches into as many 7″s as we could, and laughing the whole time.

And when we were done, I had a big stack of Footstone seven-inches in my living room.  For some reason, I was more happy and proud to have these than any of the others we had done up until that point – maybe because I knew that, of all the bands, Footstone really wanted it to come out on Dromedary.  Or maybe it was because they didn’t cost me anything, I don’t know.

What I do know is that we sent out a ton of promo copies, and really did our homework when it came to the zines and radio stations.  We sent copies out to Terri in Wisconsin, and set up a phone call between the band and Terri so that they could get to know each other a little – I thought Terri would have an easier time explaining what the band was about if she actually spoke with them.

“Those guys are crazy,” she said to me on the phone the next day. 

Wobbles from Side to Side was a fifth release inside of just over a year, and certainly something that would help propel Dromedary a little further.  We were able to advertise it as being produced by Ray from Melting Hopefuls (who had also worked with Chocolate USA and Shirk Circus, at this point), featuring backing vocals by Bill from American Standard.  Those two names lent some additional credibility to what was turning out to be a fun record.

Ron from Surefire placed an order without even hearing it (although we had sent out “advance cassettes” of it to all our distributors, Ron never listened to it – he just ordered some).  We shipped some off to Rudy in Germany, and got a few more to Forefront and a bunch to Dutch East.  At this point we had also picked up a few smaller, regional distributors as well, and by the time all was said and done, we had shipped out nearly three hundred copies to various distributors around the world.  There were more copies of the Footstone 7″ out there than all our other releases put together, at that point.  In fact, between the initial promo copies and the opening order to distributors, we blew through the first 500 copies almost immediately.

One time we drove up to Hartford so that the band could play a WSAM party at the University of Hartford.  I don’t remember exactly when it was, but I do remember that it snowed like a bitch, and that I was driving with Rich in my Probe, and the band was in a van, following us.

The party was in the basement of a dorm, and before the band started playing Ralph mentioned to me that they had some “surprises” planned.

Turned out that the band had learned a medley of cover songs, thinking that the college students wouldn’t know Footstone’s music, so they should play some songs they knew.  The medley included “867-5309 (Jenny),” and “The Chain,” as well as one or two others that I can’t remember.

It rocked, and it was awesome.

That’s the kind of thing that Footstone did when they played live.  At one Maxwell’s show, inbetween songs Dave began playing the drum intro to Eddie Money’s “Shakin’.”  The crowd loved it, so after the next song he did it again – and this time the band joined in and Ralph sang the first verse and chorus, with Dave singing backing vocals.  Two or three times during the rest of their set, they did the same thing.

They did all this stuff tongue-in-cheek; sometimes they’d break out some old punk cover, sometimes they’d play a television commercial or part of a cartoon theme song. Always, they made people laugh, and their music was tight and heavy.  They were getting better with each performance, with the band crunchier and Ralph’s voice more powerful.

We planned for a “release” date of early January (the band had put a 2004 copyright on the 7″ even though it was ready in 2003 – we were in no hurry to get it out there), but had done all our legwork early.  The response would be tremendous.

~ by Al on March 13, 2009.

7 Responses to “drink. that. boh.”

  1. None of this is true, I’ve never been to Denmark

  2. I have no idea what this means.

  3. I’m pretty sure you can thank Bill Dolan for coining the term “BOH”… as well as a few thousand variations of the nickname “Bishop”.

    As for the rock…. it was in a stream outside of Blairstown, NJ.
    Dirk Herrmann, AKA Mad-G shared a house with Bill.
    We partied there one sunny afternoon.
    Oh, there may have been some suspect fungi involved as well.

  4. Ah.

    Thanks, Bill. I love you.

    Suspect fungi? Nice.

  5. […] Drink. That. Boh.  An explanation of the language of Footstone.  The kids seem to like the Footstone […]

  6. […] them to the band at their Wetlands show.  And for Wobbles From Side To Side we sat with the band, drinking and numbering, writing little notes and dropping fun inserts into the records. […]

  7. […] Drink.  That.  Boh.  The language of […]

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