regrouping.

It took me a while to get over the shock of discovering we were expecting; we had scheduled the big party for early February and started talking to Blenderette about putting out a CD or a seven-inch or something, but we also had Lippy in the can, waiting to be released.  Sure, we waited forever for the band to deliver us the master tape, but once you deliver that tape, you want your CD out – no delays.  The band was more than patient; we’d become pretty close friends with them all, and I don’t think they wanted to start any trouble by riding us about the delay.  

At the same time, we were learning about pregnancy (and, in my case, coming to terms with it), dealing with Sandy’s “evening sickness,” and making plans for how we were going to navigate the complexities of having a child.

“Your whole life is about to change,” my boss said.  He had no kids.

“I’m sure it will,” I said.  “But our goal is to have the baby and integrate it right into our lifestyle.  We don’t want to change what we do, so if we jump right back into the swing of things right away, incorporate the baby into what we do.”

“Sure,” he said.  “Tell me that a year from now.  Your life is fucked.”

I refused to accept that, and thus dove back into Dromedary full-bore.  I started preparing for Lippy once again, and also looking for whatever the next thing would be for us to release.  I began coaxing Nick from Dots Will Echo a bit, but he was being pretty meticulous about what music he wanted to put on the CD.  He wanted to record more music, add a few songs, fix some things that he had already recorded.

I talked to Jeremy from Blenderette about doing something, but they were not ready either.  They were planning on going into the studio to record some tracks, but it was likely not going to happen for a few months.

Mike from Toast was still MIA, as was Julian from Chocolate USA.  The Gapeseed guys were working on a new CD for Silver Girl, and the Mommyheads were working on their new CD for the small label they were planning on working with.  Jenifer Convertible were not sold on the idea of doing anything with us.

I started hinting around to Ralph that we might be interested in doing something with American Standard, but they were just bigger than we were – they had signed a deal with Another Planet Records, which was a division of Profile Records.  They were getting ready to put out their first CD in years, and Ralph said it was amazing.

Why Be Stupid ad

So we just kept chugging away, advertising in our regular publications, which now included our mainstays Flipside, Magnet, Jersey Beat, Glut, Yellow Pills, Popwatch, Genetic Disorder, The Probe, and Tailspins, but also included one-off ads that we’d occasionally run.  We had stopped running ads in Maximumrocknroll at this point; the pure punk zines were no longer our speed, as we’d migrated more and more toward indie pop, power pop, and bubblegummy type of music.

That was, in a sense, our problem.  The Mommyheads and cuppa joe were sticky, sweet pop.  So were Blenderette, Dots Will Echo, and virtually every other band we were talking to.  All the bands we were talking to had some similarities.

Except Footstone.

Footstone stuck out like a sore thumb.  They were loud and brash, crunchy and chunky, with a chugging groove.  They were a power pop engine built on a punk chassis.  They were funny.  They got onstage and tried to entertain you and blow you away at the same time.  They were self-deprecating, yet at the same time worked their asses off to make sure that they were perfect whenever they played a set – they were happy to make fun of themselves, but never wanted you to have a reason to make fun. As a result, they somehow managed to maintain all their punk roots and the noisy “crunch parts” of their songs, but delivered everything with a polish you wouldn’t normally expect.

Sometimes when they performed, they’d dress in dark outfits covered in Christmas lights.  Or Groucho Marx-style rubber noses.  When I dragged them up to Hartford to play a show, they incorporated a medley of covers that included “867-5309 (Jenny),” and “The Chain.”  At Maxwell’s one night, they played Eddie Money’s “Shakin,'” over and over again.  One night when playing with Melting Hopefuls they spent the entire set making fun of the band and their music – doing it completely tongue in cheek, because they and the band were friends. One of the guys would extemporaneously start playing a cover song, and the rest of the band would join in for a few bars – the crowd would cheer, the song would derail, and the band would launch into one of their own songs while the crowd was still fired up about the cover. They had a way of generating energy that no band we ever worked with did. And the whole time, they made everyone in the audience, even the people they didn’t know, feel like a friend.

When we met them, they were struggling to figure out who they were, and now they were among the elder statesmen of the local music scene.  They followed around American Standard as fans, and by early 1995 they had their own bands following them.  And they had evolved to the point where they were writing amazing, powerful songs.

They were nothing like any other band we were talking or working with, and they were nothing like any other band I listened to.

And yet, one night in early 1995, Rich asked “If you had to name a ‘favorite band,’ – not just a Dromedary band, but any band – who would it be?”

My response: “Footstone.”

There was no question about it. It had taken a few years, but Footstone had grown to become my favorite band.

~ by Al on August 6, 2009.

3 Responses to “regrouping.”

  1. That flyer is funny – never saw that one, either. Thanks for tricking us and putting out the CD.

    A funny Footstone anecdote, not directly related to the band, though: I worked for this sports memorabilia company as a temp from about 1994-1995, when both Nurture and Lippy were released. The guys I worked with were definitely not into anything more alternative than Dookie-era Green Day (and that was a stretch), so they were polite enough to listen to Nurture, but it was definitely not even close to the type of music they normally enjoyed.

    One day I had four of these guys in my car, and we were driving to lunch. One guy saw Lippy in my car and asked about the band – I said they were on the same label as us. This guy asked if he could play the CD – I said yes, he popped it in and right from the first part of the first song, everyone was screaming and cheering “YEAHHHH!!!”

    One guy was like, “Yes! This is AWESOME!” and another guy said, “THEY’RE on the same record label as YOU?!” – I don’t think he meant to be insulting, but in a way, Lippy made our band seem more legit to them.

    On the drive back from lunch, one of the other guys asked me, “Why can’t you guys play that kind of music?!” – again, he wasn’t trying to be insulting (it did kind of sting) but it was a nice compliment to the Footstone guys and their sound. And I totally understood – I liked rocking out to that CD just as much as those dudes I worked with.

  2. What sports memorabilia company did you work for? I do a lot of work in that industry today.

    Lippy was a good balancer for us at the time; cuppa joe and Mommyheads were such twee pop that I needed something loud.

  3. Oh, that’s right – you’re into sports collectibles. The company was called Score Board, and they were in Cherry Hill. They were privately owned, started in the early 90’s and went out of business by the decade’s end. They were pretty big and busy at their height, and they acquired a couple other small game/sports company along the way. Mike Schmidt and others came into the building frequently to sign balls (not of the employees’).

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