love sexy.

There was a bar on Hudson Street in Hoboken called Signore’s Lounge.  It was more of a locals bar, an older place that happened to have room for bands to play.  There was a small stage in the back with a low ceiling, and they installed some gear so that they could have bands play.

In hopes of competing with some of the other, second-tier clubs in the area, they hired a guy named John to do bookings for them.  John elected to scrap the infinitely cooler name of Signore’s Lounge in favor of the unbelievably dorky name Love Sexy, after the Prince record.  

A few of our bands would occasionally play at Love Sexy, almost as warmup gigs for other shows.  One night we were watching Footstone there, and someone introduced us to the booking guy.

“I hear you do your shows at Under ACME,” he said.

“I do,” I replied.  

“Do you like it there?”

“Sure.  It’s a hundred and fifty bucks, and I get 100% of the door.  What could be better than that?”

“What if I let you do your shows here, for free?” he asked.

“What do you mean, ‘for free’?”  I was pretty skeptical of any club in the area, because so many of them had reputations for forcing bands to sell tickets to their shows.  Essentially, each band would be required to buy a certain number of tickets to their own show, which they could then resell for $10 each.  If the band didn’t sell all their tickets, they essentially paid the club to play there.  I’m not sure if clubs still do this today, but it was a big problem in the early 90s.

“I mean, instead of paying Under ACME $150 to play there, you play here for free.  I work the door myself, we give you a sound man and a bartender.  You market the show, and then you keep 100% of the door, and we keep 100% of the bar.”

I thought about it for a second.  ACME was a cool club, and there were people who showed up there every weekend because there was a virtual guarantee that the bands would be cool.  On the other hand, most of the people who came to our shows came to see our bands, and maybe it didn’t matter where the venue was.

I told him I’d give it a try.

I don’t remember who the lineup was for our first Love Sexy show.  I’m reasonably confident that it included Footstone.  All I remember is that there was hardly anybody there.  During the night, John came up to me and asked where all the people were.

“I don’t know,” I told him.  “We’re usually good for a few hundred people.”  I was actually pretty pissed myself, because it was hard work putting a show together, and asking bands to play for free was something I tried to do as infrequently as possible.  If I was going to do it, I wanted to make it count.

“The club is going to kill me,” he said.  “They’re not going to sell enough beer.”

There were still more people at Love Sexy that night than there were on most nights.  I pointed that out to him.  

“I can’t give you 100% of the door tonight,” he said.  “I need to pay my sound guy, and I can’t pay him out of my own money.”

“Fuck that,” I said.  “A deal is a deal.  You never told me I was required to bring in a certain number of people.”

“I didn’t think I would have to,” he said.  We argued about it a little, and finally agreed to split the cost of the sound man.  I was pissed, but wrote it off as a bad experience, and decided that would be our last show at Love Sexy.

A couple of weeks later, John called me at home and apologized for what happened.  He said he had panicked, because the club was skittish about having bands play in the first place, and he had promised a boost in attendance.  He had thought we would have brought in more people, but he realized it might have been an off-night.  Then he asked if I’d do another show.

“No,” I said.

Then he asked again, and I had an idea.

“Are you participating in the Music Marathon with CMJ this year?” I asked.

“No,” he said.  “I wanted to, but it was too late to get involved by the time we started doing shows.”

“Let’s do a show informally, then,” I said.  “I’ll call it a Dromedary showcase, and let CMJ badgeholders in for free.  You promote the show as a CMJ event when you send in your listings, and I will do the same.  We’ll participate in the convention without CMJ‘s permission.”

He was quiet for a minute and said “I like the idea, but only if I can add a band to your bill.  I know this band that’s really good – they should be on your label anyway.  They always draw a good crowd, and I’ve promised them a night.”

“No.” 

“They don’t have to headline, they can go on first.”

“No.”

“You don’t even have to promote them.”

“No.  If it can’t be all Dromedary, I won’t do it.”

“Fine.  But you should still hear this band.”

“I have more bands than I know what to do with,” I told him.  “I don’t need any more bands.  I need a club.”

So we decided to do an unauthorized CMJ showcase at Love Sexy.

The first band we asked, obviously, was Footstone.  And they said yes instantly.

Then, we asked cuppa joe.  We decided that the CMJ convention would be the perfect opportunity to do a release party for nurture.

“We’re actually playing a release party for it down in Trenton,” doug told me.  That was news to me.  

“There’s no reason you can’t have two release parties,” I told him. 

“Who would we play with?” he asked.

“Footstone, for one.”  cuppa joe had gotten to be pretty friendly with Footstone.  Everybody was friendly with Footstone, but the guys in cuppa joe had played together with Footstone at some barbecue in South Jersey that summer, and they really enjoyed each other’s company.  And when I told him Footstone would play, he quickly agreed to come up North.

I called Mike from Gapeseed and asked if they had a CMJ showcase, and surprisingly, he said they didn’t.  That blew my mind.  Gapeseed were one of the best NYC bands I knew of, and they had no showcase?

Lastly, I called Mike from Toast.  He quickly agreed as well.  It was no skin off Mike’s nose – even though the rest of his band was living in New Hampshire, Mike was playing drums in Kittywinder and spending lots of time in New York anyway.

I was really excited to have Toast come play.  That was my first out-of-town band to play a Dromedary show, and I really wanted a lot of people there.  I spent a lot of time talking about the show, writing about it in my emails and “Dialogue” submissions to CMJ, and doing whatever I could to hype the show.

One night I was sitting at a bar somewhere, talking to Ralph about how cool it was that Toast was coming down from New Hampshire.  Again.

“Remember us?” he asked.  “We’re Footstone.”

I looked at him sheepishly.  I looked down.  I was wearing a Toast T-shirt.  I was kind of embarrassed – here was a band that did every favor I ever asked of them, listening to me prattle on and on about how cool a band was for coming down and playing one show.

Dumbass.

But I was still excited about the show.

~ by Al on May 12, 2009.

3 Responses to “love sexy.”

  1. Ralph still wears his Toast G-String on special occasions.

  2. Yep, they are two sizes too small, but I still manage to squeeze into them.

  3. I know what I’ll be dreaming of tonight.

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