the mommyheads.

“Hi, I’m Adam,” the voice said on the other end of the phone.  “I play in a band called The Mommyheads.”

Ron had sent us The Tape, and the best band on The Tape was The Mommyheads.  They were from San Francisco by way of New York, and they played perfect pop music.  They had released a cassette on Fang, a 7″ and CD on Simple Machines, and a demo on their own.  They toured.

Ron got word to Adam that I was interested in meeting him, and one weekend afternoon he called, completely out of the blue.  He was super-polite, and introduced himself as if I had never heard of him or his band.  We had a lengthy conversation about music in general, and about Dromedary – I don’t even think I mentioned that I was interested in putting their music out (although I’m sure Ron did that for me).  I was still stinging from the bitter breakup, and wanted a proper courtship before picking up someone new on the rebound.

And yet I put together a package of all our releases, and sent them out to San Francisco.  Within a few days I got a cassette in the mail (most of the songs I already had), and another phone call.

I wanted to put out their music so bad.  They were brilliant musicians and songwriters; the lyrics just seemed to flow with the songs, each lyric clever and intelligent, each song unbelievably complex but startlingly simple at the same time (if that makes sense).  But I didn’t want to push, and it was a few phone calls to and from San Francisco before he asked me if I’d be interested in doing a seven-inch.

And that was, for a brief instant, a little disappointing.

“I really don’t want to do seven-inches anymore,” I explained. “I’ve found that if I silk-screen the cover and insert art, I can do CDs just as inexpensively as seven-inches, and make a lot more money on sales.”

“I’m not sure we have enough music to do a CD, and I know we don’t feel like we’re ready to do a full-length.  What if we did an EP?”

I had planned on doing a CD EP with Melting Hopefuls.  The concept of a Mommyheads EP was such a better option that it wasn’t even worth a debate.  It almost felt as if everything actually did happen for a reason.

I immediately committed to doing an EP with the Mommyheads, and getting it out in time for the band to do a summer tour.

A summer tour!

From the point when the owner of March Records told me that a touring band would sell triple the number of CDs as a non-touring band, I longed to have someone go on tour.  Footstone wanted to, but could never seem to make it work.  cuppa joe didn’t even try – doug was a teacher, rick was a student, and steve was the only member of the band that seemed to relish the idea.  Plus they weren’t a great live band anyway, so I’m not sure it would have been the best idea.

Now here’s a band that wanted to put out a record just so they could tour.

Adam explained it to me.  “It’s easy to book a tour,” he said.  “Clubs want out-of-town bands to come play, especially in the smaller markets.  But only a few clubs will give you a guarantee.  We get some clubs that will guarantee us a few hundred dollars, but that doesn’t really pay for the cost of going out.  So we’ve got to have something to sell from the stage.”

“We’ve got our other CDs and seven-inches,” he continued, “but most of the people who would buy those already own them.  So we try and have new T-shirts and a new record to sell from the stage, and out of the van.  Plus, if we have a new record out, the local radio stations are more likely to play it, and help us promote the tour.”

Made all the sense in the world to me.  It was, like, the missing piece of the puzzle I was trying to put together – the one, big, missing piece from right in the middle of the puzzle that prevented you from being able to even see what the fuck the puzzle even was.

Suddenly we had an overload of planned releases, and were trying to leapfrog them all around each other.  Footstone.  cuppa joe.  Gapeseed.  Toast.  Mommyheads.  Travel Guide.

It was almost overwhelming.

~ by Al on April 15, 2009.

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