the usenets.

We really started to develop a lot of relationships on the internet machine.

Frequenting alt.music.independent and alt.music.alternative yielded a lot of new friends.  I’d make promotional posts occasionally, but spent a lot more time just meeting people and sharing interests.  Eventually, people would ask me about Dromedary, and I could go into further detail that way.  A lot of the people I met had heard of Melting Hopefuls, which was pretty cool.

One day, someone asked about them in a usenet post – I don’t recall if they were asking about the band, or the record, or whatever, but it was very much a “what happened to them?” type of post.  I let the question sit there for a while without a response, and then I jumped in.  Essentially I said that the band was still together, the album was great, and unfortunately the new label hadn’t done a very good job promoting them – hopefully, they would do a better job with the next album.

The day after I made the post, I came home from work to a voice mail.  It was something like this:

“Hi.  Al, this is (the owner).  I read your post about the band, and I’m not happy.  I’m going to ask that you not mention us ever again.”

I laughed.

But I was pissed.

Ultimately that’s when I finally cut the angry cord, as it were.  The bruises would last much longer, but I wasn’t going to bother even mentioning them anymore.  I was moving on, finally.

The internet had a lot to do with my ability to do that.  I met so many new bands, so many guys who ran labels, so many producers and artists, that it became difficult to keep track of everyone.  I had a lengthy, handwritten list of email addresses for people, and I corresponded regularly with the owners of many labels that I had come to admire over the years.

I mentioned in an earlier post that I had witnessed the online breakup of one of my favorite bands – King Missile – in the earlier days of AOL. During that debacle, I somehow came up with a reason to reach out to their singer, John S. Hall. He was one of the people I admired most in the “business” – I found him to be an excellent poet and lyricist, with a hysterical delivery and an adventurous approach to music. His bands, and his solo projects, were some of my favorites. Plus, I had taken so much stuff from work, and goofed off on the company time…

During the breakup, I reached out to Hall for some reason, and struck up an email dialogue. He was quite friendly, and soon I found he would email me about his plans with his new band, and occasionally send me bits of poems he was working on. It was flattering and exciting and very cool.

Corresponding online with other record label owners was also a great way to share resources, ideas, thoughts, and plans. It was like having a sounding board that included some of the most knowledgeable people you could possibly want to know. I met Patrick from Carrot Top Records (home of the Coctails) this way, and Patrick and I corresponded pretty frequently. This was also how I met Tim from Harriet Records (of Wimp Factor 14 and Crayon fame), Bill from Pop Narcotic (who released titles from Versus, Helium, The Dambuilders, and many more, including one of the best indie pop compilations ever released), Dave from Mag Wheel (who released titles from Toast, Smackmelon, and a million more). I also corresponded regularly with Keith from Silver Girl and John from March, and many others as well.

The email list was also a great source of information and guidance. It included lots of people in college radio, as well as some fairly well-known musicians, producers, zine publishers and label owners. I most definitely did not belong on that list, but as long as they would have me, I was happy to be a member.

I learned a ton, and I’m totally thankful for it.

~ by Al on May 21, 2009.

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