bingham’s hole.

As expected, The Mommyheads released Bingham’s Hole and, as expected, it was fantastic, garnering outstanding reviews and vaulting the band further in their popularity.  I got a copy from their new label and was blown away on the first listen.

Adam was happy that I enjoyed the record so much, and we began talking about a followup almost as soon as Bingham’s Hole was released.  The band had a wonderful formula: tour, and sell stuff from the stage.  In order for the formula to work, however, they needed to have stuff to sell, and so they were constantly releasing seven-inches, changing up their T-shirts, and planning new CDs.  

The band’s Wikipedia page lists a number of releases during the time we knew them.  In addition to Flying Suit and Bingham’s Hole, the band released the “World Is Round” 7″ on Hairy Records (Sam from The Sarnos’ label, by the way) in late 1993, the “Time Bomb” 7″ on Sonic Swirl records in 1994 (a record that we distributed), a split 7″ with The Jennifers on You Say When Records, a compilation release with WFMU in New York in 1993, a track on a SpinArt Records compilation tape in 1994, another cassette compilation track with You Say When in 1996, three tracks on a Hairy Records compilation in 1996, another track on a Bottlecap Records compilation in 1996, and a track on Vaccination Records’ tribute to the Residents, also in 1996.

The Mommyheads were busy, particularly between 1993 and 1996.

At the same time, Adam wanted us to grow.

“Maybe your lawyer isn’t doing enough for you,” he told me one evening on the phone.  “Maybe you should think about using our lawyer instead.”

Our lawyer, Ed, was a nice guy who was recommended to me by Ron at Surefire.  He was based in Boston, and he seemed to know a lot of people in indie rock.

The Mommyheads’ lawyer, however, was Matthew Kaplan, a well-known indie rock lawyer who I knew from various message boards.  Matthew was a huge indie pop fan, and was also the lawyer for American Standard, and also for Monsterland, a band I knew from my days at Turn of the Century Records (they appeared on a TOTC compilation in 1990 or so).  Monsterland seemed to do pretty well, signing a major deal and getting a strong reception to their debut release before breaking up in a well-known onstage fistfight at Brownies in New York City.

I pledged to contact Matthew and talk with him about becoming Dromedary’s lawyer.

Meanwhile, we continued to work on making the Dots Will Echo CD a reality.  Nick, as I’ve mentioned, had a number of gimmicky ideas for the CD – he wanted a hidden track, and he wanted to silkscreen the band’s name in neon pink onto a flourescent yellow jewel box – then, he wanted to include no additional artwork, printing the liner notes directly onto the CD itself.

It was about this time that we had another conversation about the CD.

“I think I have the song order all figured out,” he told me.  “I actually want two hidden tracks – one at the beginning, and one at the end.”

I didn’t even know you could put a hidden track at the beginning of a CD.

“You can,” he said.  “You pop the CD in, and the first song that plays is Track Two.  You have to actually pause it, then hit the rewind button twice in order to get the first song to play.”

“So you’re going to make people actually work to hear your music?” I asked.  “Why?”

“It’s just sort of a goofy thing,” he said.  “Just another thing to keep people paying attention.”  

At the time, I felt that Dots Will Echo were a fantastic power pop band that didn’t need gimmicks to get people to listen to them.  The neon CD, the hidden tracks, they seemed kind of cheesy to me.  

But again, I wasn’t about to meddle with what a band wanted to do on their own CD.  I had promised myself never to do that again.

Nick’s idea for the hidden track at the end of the CD was just as bizarre.  Rather than actually hide it, he wanted to title the silence inbetween the “last” song and the “hidden” one.

See, usually the hidden track appears at the end of the last song.  The song ends, but the counter keeps counting for a minute or so of silence.  Then, the hidden track – actually just an extension of the last track – begins playing.

What Nick wanted to do was have the last track end, and then have the silence begin.  If the last track was, say, track 12, then the CD would switch over to track 13, which was the silence.  He wanted the silence to be 4 minutes and 33 seconds long, and he wanted to title it 4’33”, a tongue-in-cheek “cover” of the famous John Cage composition that consisted of four and a half minutes of silence.  Then, after the 4 minutes and 33 seconds of silence, the CD player would switch to track 14, and the “hidden” track – which was not really hidden – would commence.

 I knew the band, and I knew what great pop songs they could write.  So I didn’t bother worrying too much about the gimmicks on the CD.  I knew the band was going to deliver a great record.

I asked Nick when he thought he might be able to give me a cassette copy of the song order, and he told me he’d send one off as soon as he was 100% sure of what he wanted.

He was so passionate about the CD, I couldn’t wait to put it out.

~ by Al on August 26, 2009.

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