1994 music marathon.

cuppa joe at the nurture release party, 1994

cuppa joe at the nurture release party, 1994

We promoted the hell out of the nurture release party, electing to position it as an indie label rejected by CMJ, pairing with a club rejected by CMJ, delivering real indie rock to the convention.

When we arrived at the club there were already people there, which I thought was odd, and I noticed some guys on the stage, looking as if they were clearing away some gear. I greeted John, and he looked at me and said “We’ve already been rolling for almost an hour.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“I mean we started without you. I told that band that I had told you about that they could come early and play a set. They just finished up.”

What?! I yelled.

“They said they’d play for free. They really wanted to play. They want to be on your label, they wanted to be a part of the whole CMJ thing. I didn’t have the heart to say no.”

I specifically told you no,” I yelled. “You totally fucking ignored my request. I paid to promote this show, I worked my ass off to get a crowd together. You tell that fucking band that I want two hundred dollars from them, right now.”

“What the fuck for?” he yelled back. “They played for free.”

“I advertised this show in the Village Voice, in the Aquarian, and I promoted it in CMJ and on the internet. I spent money bringing people here.”

“Where the fuck are they?” he yelled.

“I specifically told you no. We had a long conversation about it. They’re not on my label. That’s horseshit,” I shouted at him.

“What’s the big deal?” he asked.

“I’m going back to ACME next month, and that’s it. Never again.” I walked away.

I was enraged. He came back up to me. I whirled around and looked at him. “Did you advertise them?” I asked.

“Not really,” he said. “We sent out some postcards, that was it.”

“Did you advertise my bands?” I asked.

“No,” he replied. “That’s your job.”

I walked away again.

Gapeseed took the stage to a half-empty room, and sounded poorly. Ed’s guitars were all out of tune, and the club’s sound system made them sound even more tinny than they really were. Pete’s drums weren’t loud enough in the mix, and so I was hearing the bass and guitars through the PA, but the drums from up on the stage. It sounded muddy. I was bummed because the Footstone guys hadn’t heard Gapeseed, and I thought they’d really like them.

Here’s a shot I took of Gapeseed that night.

Gapeseed at the nurture release party, 1994

Gapeseed at the nurture release party, 1994

Footstone came next, mostly because they were local and I wanted Toast to play to a full room. Two-thirds of Toast were coming in from New Hampshire, and I wanted at least to have them play in front of people. Mike had already arrived at the show, in time to see the end of Gapeseed’s set, and he excitedly told me about the progress of their Mag Wheel seven-inch.

Then he told me that he was going on tour with Kittywinder, and since (according to him) the rest of the band refused to get off their asses and do any work, the Dromedary CD was going to have to wait until the Kittywinder tour was over. And then after the holidays. We were looking at spring/summer of 1995.

So I was even more pissed.



Footstone jumped up on stage and played another tight, ferocious set. They played a lot of the songs I recognized from the Lippy tape, and they played with more energy and speed than I’d ever heard from them. They welcomed Gapeseed and Toast, and congratulated cuppa joe on the release of their first CD. Ralph and Mark cracked jokes from the stage throughout their entire set, and I specifically remember thinking that Eric was developing into a rocking guitar player.

During Footstone’s set, cuppa joe arrived. Doug pulled me aside and told me that the band had brought a TV and VCR, and was planning to show videos of old Atari games during their set.

I thought that was kind of dumb, but I also thought I was probably over-cranky and shouldn’t be making judgements on what a band wants to do onstage anyway. They’re the band, I’m just the label.

Footstone perform at cuppa joe's release party

Footstone perform at cuppa joe’s release party





During Gapeseed’s set, Mike spent a little time chatting with Footstone, and they discussed having Footstone do a show at the Elvis Room in New Hampshire. I thought that was awesome, and it made me feel like Toast was working hard to try and become part of this small family of bands on our label. Mike and Pete from Gapeseed had already become friendly with Footstone, and so it seemed like things had picked up right where they left off after Melting Hopefuls went off on their own.

When Toast took the stage, I felt like there was tension within the band. They played song after song, notreally  acknowledging each other on the stage. It was like three guys were individually playing on the stage, almost oblivious to the other two guys. They alternated between Guy and Jon’s songs, didn’t speak much inbetween songs, and blew through their set pretty quickly.

I was pretty surprised by this. The crowd was good for Love Sexy – not full, but crowded enough. It was a good opportunity for the band. What’s worse was that they didn’t have anything to sell with them – they had forgotten to bring any records or merch. They had agreed to come down and play for free, but I figured they’d be able to make gas money by selling stuff off the stage.



When they finished their set, Mike drove the band’s van up to the front of the club and immediately started loading in. Their van was more like one of those short school buses or vans, painted forest green with bars welded onto the windows to prevent breakins.

I thanked the band for coming all the way down and playing, and Guy responded by saying “Well, we’re driving all the way back, so we really should go.”

I looked around quickly to make sure none of the other bands were around, then I reached into my pocket and pulled out $200 from the door, and handed it to Mike. “This is for playing tonight,” I said.

“I can’t take that,” he replied. “I’m not even in this band. This is Guy and Jon’s band.”

“So give the money to them, then.” Which he did.

I turned around and bumped into Mike from Gapeseed. “I thought the bands were playing for free,” he inquired.

“They are,” I said. “These guys came all the way down from New Hampshire, and they’re going right back tonight,” I said, “I felt like I should give them a little cash for their trouble.”

Mike smiled. I felt bad that he saw that, but there was no way I could pay him, too.  Then I’d have to pay the other bands.  We used the money from the shows to finance our records.

cuppa joe took the stage with their little television and their video games, and played. They sounded the best I’d ever heard them, although by that point I was frazzled and pissed and ready to go home – I’d definitely had enough, and when the band finished their set I thanked them for coming, shook their hands, and stormed out the door.

It was, overall, a good show as far as the bands were concerned. The crowd was halfway decent, considering it was a shitty club during the biggest music convention the city hosted, and every alt-rock band on earth was playing in the 30-mile radius of where we were. We made back all our investment, despite giving $200 to Toast, and had just enough cash so that we stopped at a diner on the way home for a pizza burger (I only remember this because that’s all I ever order at diners).

~ by Al on May 19, 2009.

5 Responses to “1994 music marathon.”

  1. I thought that night went off pretty well. You did a great job of mixing it up by bringing in Gapeseed & Toast. Cuppa Joe had a great set too. It was a DIY triumph in my book.

    Now my fond memories of LOVESEXY… i remember they sold Bud bottles…. so we used to pack Dave’s drum box with a case and drink all night for free. We would just walk back into the kitchen area… AKA backstage…. and grab a refill whenever we needed one. The dude John who booked the place seemed nice and helpful at first, but then seemed to kinda “bigtime” everyone. In hind sight, he was just trying to fill the place any way he could. He used to have late night dance parties after the rock bands played. The overlap of crowds was comical. There would be indie-kids in dickies and docs talking up latina hotties wrapped in prom dresses. Probably the safest bar in Hoboken too since it was practically next door to the Police station. Got pulled over at a sobriety checkpoint one night after playing there. My brother told the cop we were just at LOVESEXY and he just started laughing out loud in our faces. He let us go. Stupid cop.

  2. We’d been playing a lot at this point – the Atari thing was created for a show at Stockton State College, who had a projection screen. It was, of course, much more effective when the games were being projected on the 30′ screen, and on us, from what I remember.

    Was LoveSexy formerly a barber shop? I don’t know if that’s what I heard, or I just imagined it based on the layout of the place.

    Glad to hear we had something resembling a good set this time 😉 – I only wish we could have pulled in some of the Latina hotties.

  3. I’m trying to remember if this was the show where I pulled the soundman aside after an earlier set, by Grapeseed I think, and asked what was wrong with the PA. The guy said, and this part I remember verbatim, “Oh, I made it sound bad now, so the bands later will sound better.”

  4. I thought that’s happened to us, and Al found out about it from the guy – he didn’t realize we were all with the same label or something. That’s how I remembered it, anyway.

  5. I had totally forgotten about that story, guys, and you’re right – it was this show. Gapeseed were such a good band, and they sounded awful. Doug walked up to me at some point and told me what the sound guy told him, and I had to find the sound guy and let him know we were all one big family. He seemed to think he was doing cuppa joe a favor.

    I’d guess that probably added to my pissed-offedness for the evening.

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