piss and vinegar.

American Standard released Piss And Vinegar, which I believe was just their second album.  

It was hard for me to listen to it.  It actually took a couple of days.  Doing anything seemed to take a couple of days; we were packing the remnants of our apartment and feeding, bathing, dressing, and changing diapers, trying to find time to shower and work.  Sandy’s car had a CD player in it but mine didn’t – I had a little CD Walkman but the batteries were dead and I never seemed to have time to pick up new ones.

My company did a deal with Ray-O-Vac, who were marketing a new line of rechargeable AA batteries called Renewal (or something like that).  The batteries came with a plug-in charger, and we marketed them along with this plastic battery shell that we made – the shell was meant for you to throw in your glove compartment; when your cellphone battery died, you could throw some AA batteries into this shell and it would power your phone.

Dumbest product ever (your cellphone came with a plug that would power it from the cigarette lighter in your car, but you couldn’t use this shell with it because it also charged the phone’s battery, which would damage the shell if you plugged it in), and it hardly sold at all.  The retail price was $9.99, and nobody wanted to carry it because the actual batteries were ten or twenty dollars more.  So they sat in our inventory.

The Ray-O-Vac guys keyed in on us and we started cross-marketing these shells with the AA batteries, and one time when they came to visit, the sales rep gave me about a hundred of these AA batteries, along with a charger.  

So I finally charged a few of these batteries and popped them into my CD player so I could listen to the American Standard CD.

It was great.

The guys in American Standard were super nice, and I had gotten to know them well enough that I was comfortable hanging out with them.  I’d heard all about them, heard the stories about them touring with Dag Nasty, their singer even donated backing vocals to one of our records, but I’d never actually heard their newer music.  All I’d heard was their earlier EP.  I was surprised when I popped in the CD – I expected hardcore, or some sort of hardcore influence, but instead got a straightforward rock CD.  The songs were fantastic – Scott and J made a powerful rhythm section, and Bill’s vocals were strong as well – but it was Matt’s guitar work that really made the CD for me.  He was just a fantastic player, all over the place, playing big, fat chords and monster riffs that split my head wide open.

Those first few weeks, when we were trying to navigate through parenthood and pack up our apartment at the same time, Piss And Vinegar really helped me get through.  I’d wake up in the morning and get ready for work, hop into the car and crank the CD player to ear-splitting volumes, blasting American Standard as loudly as possible.  Then I’d bring the Walkman into the office, plug them into a pair of PC speakers I was “borrowing,” and play it through the day.  Then I’d play it in the car on the way home.

I got to wondering if there was any way in hell that the band would ever do something with Dromedary, and decided it would be silly to even ask.  The CD was out on a division of Profile Records and seemed to have a pretty high profile; on top of that, Bill owned his own label and had a relatively steady stream of releases planned.  He also had good retail distribution.  I was actually worried that he was going to wind up putting out Footstone’s next record, so I wasn’t about to try and gather the nerve to ask him to do something with Dromedary.

But man, that CD was good.

~ by Al on September 14, 2009.

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