above all, still exist.

One of the things that was very cool was receiving letters from all over the world, from people who were interested in hearing more of our music.  In a lot of countries, our records were impossible to find.  While press coverage didn’t mean all that much in the US, in other countries, zines were the only methods that people had to find out about new music.  So they’d read zines from cover to cover and write a shitload of letters – reviews actually meant something in other countries, because those reviews were what got people in other countries interested.

I received a letter once from someone in Japan, asking for more information about “power pops.”  I sent along a letter and catalog, and got the following response back:

Hello!  First of all, I’d like to say thank you so much for sending me the letter and catalog.  I’ve just received it this morning.  I’ve not read the catalog well but I wanted to say think you right away.  So I will write to you again after through reading.

Well, I am so glad to know that the album of cuppa joe & Footstone have come out.  I’d love to get them in Japan if possible.  Did you export some to Japan?  If so, could you tell me the name of the import company?  But I want T-shirts also.  So I think I will order you after all.  I’m afraid it’s going to give you much trouble to arrange stuffs to send them over to Japan.  I will appreciate so much.

And about my band.  Yes I was in a band but things didn’t work well and we broke up.  Actually, we started it just for fun with friends.  But I’m so into music and playing the drums and bass guitar.  So I’m going to keep practicing anyway.  I do hope I will be able to send you a tape of my band in the future.

Thank you so much again.  Take care of yourself/selves.  And please keep in touch.

Sincerely,

Chiyo

A quick Google search reveals a Chiyo Hosokawa who is very involved with a variety of animated television programs.  Is this the same Chiyo?  No idea.

The letters I received were so polite.  I received one from Rey Francois in St. Etienne, France, that was handwritten so neatly that it took a minute for me to realize that it wasn’t a computer printout.  And what a friendly letter:

I’m just a modest fan of pop and power-pop music, the real ones I mean, so it was normal I write you.  I wanted you to know how enthousiastic and interested I am after reading the fantastic chronicle on your two artists in the last Yellow Pills issue.  I perfectly know that my English is not excellent, but the essential is to take a pen and to send you a letter for thanking you about your efforts for the Pop-artists production.  So please, forget my English faults.

I didn’t know your label before receiving a copy of the Jordan Oakes’ fanzine and finding his little happiness of article.  I like these advices very carefully and I must admit these laudatory words impressed me greatly.  So exciting that this review encourages me to correspond with you.  I’d really like to know your universe better and the music of these two artists of course (ed – cuppa joe and The Mommyheads, BTW).  But I must explain the reason of such a letter.

Like you see, I live in France and it’s very difficult to listen that I like and ti find the albums I want to programm in my radio show.  I’m a D.J. on a real independent radio of rock n’ roll called “Radio Dio” (89.5 FM).  With my two friends, we try to visit the fascinating world of pop music.  It’s the modest ambition to perpetuate this particular spirit, existing only in that great vein.  Our aim is to programm an Idea, and to help the numerous artists who exist in this unbelievable galaxy.  Through “Pop dreams”, our emissions want to share our heartfelts and our discoverings.  We wish to Promote their songs with rich melodies and great vocals.  Like you seem to favour.  It’s an ethics for you and for us, a duty to offer to our listeners the real songwriting, always completely and shamely forgotten.

It’s a passion and a pleasure, nothing compared to the huge happiness you give to us along the years and our life with your jewels.  Beautiful America!  We send a lot of correspondances to the songwriters, to the bands and the labels because our country is very poor about Pop culture.  The distribution works very bad and we are not about to discover some Dromeday treasures in our record stores.  It’s terribly sad!!!

Our record sellers don’t make huge efforts for being interested in other groups created by the hype, promoted by a certain press or imposed by the Commercial products.  And the import service side with this fashion.  Our mutual passion is so ignored that “The Shoes,” “Adam Schmitt” or “Material Issue” are like U.F.O. here!!!  “Who are the dB’s?” can be the question when I look at our pop disc – tray – Phil Collins, George Michael or Michael Jackson don’t make pop.  What a debasement!  Even our specialized press occult this part of rock, judging it from the past…..

Fortunately we know “The Bob”, “Bucketful of Brains,” “Audities” and of course “Yellow Pills” existence.  So important for our wish of contacts.  They represent a so good mine of addresses.  Thanks to them, like you see, we research this kind of relation who speeds up.  Beyond the simple, but already, fantastic listening of the discs.  We know the human contact exists and it’s so rare example about music.  These letter exchanges are deeply great, some sensations near the heart.  Beautiful and necessary for us.

Our way can seem strange or particular but it’s always a pleasure to note with the excellent return of post, this sort of second family.  We are always surprised by the high quality of listening, the free or the disponibility of our correspondants.  And I hope we are ready to create this connection with us.  What a reward these beautiful visits of Paul Kelly, Gregg Swann, or Eric Garland (“Bee Stung Lips”)!  What a snap these phone conversations with Paul Collins, Parthenon Huxley, Tommy Keene or The Mop Tops!  What a joy these solid relations with Bill Rethoff, Bruce Brodeen (“Not Lame Recordings”) or Doug Robertson!

So every Friday, between 8:00 and 9:30 PM, we remember the great influences like “Dwight Twilley,” “The Raspberries,” “Badfinger,” “The Records”, or “The Plimsouls” for example; the recent outs like “Ths Sighs,” “Erik Voecks,” “Brian Leach”, “Devin Hill” and above all the future of the pop like “Parthenon Huxley,” “The Idea,” “Frank Bango,” or “The Caufields” …. but it’s just few examples and I can’t mention all the references because the releases are enormous and from a splendid quality.

The melodies and the voices of the Pop should be more appreciated by the immediate side of the melodies and the catchy nature of the voices.  Always perfect and excellent!  This blackout is raging and we want to help you.  It’d be great to know your music better and we’d really like to discover “Flying Suite” an exciting XTC influence and the almost folky “Nurture”.  We’d like to promote them a lot, like the bands we like.

We trust on you and we’re going to formulate you a request.  We hope you’ll not see any inconvenients to send us few copies of these two c.d., in the aim of promoting these creations.  For our show and towards our listeners, we want to be very complete.  We hope you’ll manage the success very soon and we’ll find some Dromeday Records easily very quickly.  We’re ready to help you for that with talking about your production to some newspapers or to some stores.  Of course, we’ll send you an I.M.O. if you indicate us the amount of this sending.

You must be very surprised to receive such a strange letter from France and from simple guys crazy about Pop music.  But with my two radio comperes Gerard and Philippe, we like to write to the Pop world to encourage the least effort.  We are some real passionate, not beatific collectors and every day, we realize that an existence like yours is a precious kindness who must be preserved and encouraged.  Go on please!  You are not alone.  Don’t disappear for the international popsters!  What an area, the New Jersey state!  The most important is to receive some news from you and I hope the material to put in our laser player.  We don’t have any information and I’d like to know if you have edited a catalog.  Can you send us a copy?  I hope soon to have a signal from Boonton.  But above all, still exist.  Thanks a lot!

Don’t forget the French guys!

There are enough quotables in that letter to keep my Facebook status updates going for weeks.  Don’t disappear for the international popsters!

I’ve got a couple more that I’ll post in the next entry.

~ by Al on October 1, 2009.

4 Responses to “above all, still exist.”

  1. Now I wanna hear The Records & The Plimsouls.

  2. Holy crap, the French guy must have had a few English/French dictionaries next to him while he wrote that – or early access to Babelfish.

    Ah, Chiyo. I forgot that she wrote to you first. Eventually she wrote directly to me, and Doug had me write back to her, in the hopes that we’d start some kind of cross-continental romance, I’m sure.

    She was very sweet, and we exchanged a few letters. Then there was a big earthquake in Japan sometime that year, and I wrote her saying I hoped she and her family were okay. A week or so later she called me from Japan (my phone number was on our official cuppa joe stationery) and told me, “Steve, this is Chiyo from Japan. You write to me and ask if I am okay. I want to let you know – don’t worry! I am okay!”

    I was glad to hear it, but then I struggled to keep the conversation going. I was caught off-guard with the call, and I was in shock that she’d called in the first place, so I’m sure I stumbled and struggled to find things to ask and say. I know I asked about her band, though, and she said they were still trying to get things together.

    And then Doug and Rick – primarily Rick, I think, wrote a song called “Chiyo” – I don’t remember all the lyrics but I think it described our possible/imaginary romance. I never found the recording of it – maybe Doug will remember a line or two.

  3. That’s a great story.

    I remembered someone telling me they got a letter from her, but I couldn’t remember whether it was you guys or Footstone. Thanks for sharing it.

  4. I think she was in touch with another Dromedary band too, and she mentioned that to me. I think she was afraid we’d be jealous.

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