flying suit.

The Flying Suit CD coverEventually, Flying Suit had to come out, and eventually, it did.

Adam and the band had already started their tour, kicking things off in Berkeley.  It was even better than I had expected, in that it wasn’t just an ordinary club tour – they had a lot of dates where they’d be opening up for Lisa Loeb and a bunch of dates opening for The Posies.

Lisa Loeb was coming off the success of her chart-topping alt-rock-folk thing “Stay (I Missed You),” and had signed a record deal and released her debut CD just a month before.  The Posies were still riding high on the success of their CD Frosting On The Beater, and were preparing to release the followup, Amazing Disgrace.

How Adam managed to book that tour, I’ll never know, but one of the things I learned pretty quickly was that The Mommyheads were far more popular than I had realized.  They had fans everywhere, and I began getting letters months before the CD was officially released.

The “Release Date” was October 15, however, the tour had began slightly before that.  Adam, desperate for music to sell at their shows, asked me if I could have the pressing plant FedEx the band’s CDs to a fan’s house in Utah.  I did that, and the band thus received the CDs before I did.

The day after the band’s Utah show, Adam called me.

“We got the CDs,” he said, “Thanks for sending them ahead.”

“I don’t have a copy yet,” I explained.  “How did they come out?”

“They sound fine, but they’re a little feminine.”

I had no idea what he was talking about.

When my copies of the CDs arrived about a week later, I still had no idea what he was talking about.  Occasionally, during the course of promoting the record, I was reminded of his “feminine” comment, and never figured out what he meant.  Years after Dromedary was long gone, it bugged me.

In 2008, while getting ready to start this blog, I figured out what he meant.  Nearly 13 years after the CD came out.

If you recall the story, we had initially intended to silkscreen the CD booklets and tray cards for Flying Suit.  It was going to be a 2-color job.

After we had the debacle silkscreening the cuppa joe booklets, we quickly decided that we would never do that again.  We broke the news to Adam, who had actually hired an artist to design the cover of the CD.  The design was supposed to be a simple, two-color silkscreen job, and the artist did a fantastic job of providing us the original art, along with color samples.

Once we decided not to do silkscreening, we handed the original artwork to Rich, who took it to his dayjob and created films for printing.  I shipped the films and the printed/color sample off to Way To Go! Music, our CD vendor.

Then, we had the debacle with them.  It was like a nightmare.

What was worse was that the new CD plant did not have the artwork we sent them.

Thankfully, Rich came to the rescue, and created a new set of films for me to send to the new pressing plant.  Problem solved.

When I started researching things to put this blog together, I came upon the website of the artist, Mike Wolstat.  Mike and I communicated once or twice via letter, and he seemed like a really nice guy.  Adam spoke very highly of him as well.  And his art was tremendous.

So tremendous, in fact, that when I discovered his website, I spent some time poking around, looking at his exceptional work.  I was pleased to see a “Mommyheads” link, and shocked at what I saw when I clicked on it:


The way it was supposed to look.

The way it was supposed to look.

Way to go indeed, dumbass.

When I saw it, it all sort of came together: Adam called the CDs “feminine” because of the way they looked.  They were pink.

When you look at it, it only makes all the sense in the world.

When he produced the second set of films, Rich totally reversed the colors.  He knew the PMS numbers of the blue and pink colors, but he reversed them.  He must have looked at the little airplane picture to the left, said “The sky should be blue, not pink,” and made his decision that way.

Obviously, it was completely wrong.

And here’s how nice the guys in The Mommyheads are.  They never told us.  Never said a word.  We worked with them pretty intensely between 1994 and 1996, talked to them quite often, and not one time did Adam ever mention that we printed their CD backwards.

Mike Wolstat must be pretty nice, too, because he never mentioned it to me, either.  

It’s a much, much nicer design with turquoise as the dominant color, by the way.

Not knowing that the artwork was completely wrong, I was thrilled when they arrived at the apartment.  Sandy and I had prepared all the press info, bios, one-sheets, and letters, and stuffed envelopes in anticipation of the arrival of the discs.  They came shrinkwrapped, which was awesome.  We popped them into their Jiffy envelopes, and brought them to the Post Office.

They were hating us at the Post Office in our sleepy little town, by the way.  They didn’t have anyone else bringing sacks full of heavy mail to sort and ship.  They also didn’t have any other neurotic maniacs sitting at the door in the morning, waiting for them to open so that I could get to the PO Box and see what new goodies had arrived that day.  

So we sent out our CDs.  And we waited.

Nothing could have prepared us for what was to come.

~ by Al on June 4, 2009.

4 Responses to “flying suit.”

  1. i like the reversed artwork…. happy accident for sure.

  2. You should print a “correction” and then make beaucoup bucks selling copies of the original on eBay. Better yet, make several different corrected versions and make sure you warehouse plenty of each.

    Sorry. I’m still bitter after that Fleer/Ripken mess.

  3. Could the printer have made the mistake? It makes sense that the darker color would be used for the linework, but (maybe because I’ve been looking at the album all these years), I prefer it the way it was printed. Those guys are nice, though, never truly bringing it up. They just gave you a hint.

  4. […] it came time to do the art this time, I wanted to reverse the colors, to correct the 15-year-old error that we made when we first put out the record.  It seemed like a pretty easy thing to do, so I […]

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