stagnation.

With two great CDs on deck, I had to put the Baker’s Dozen series on hold, at least until I could figure out how to pay for everything.

With The Mommyheads in the studio recording their Geffen debut, there was not likely to be a Mommyheads tour to generate more sales of Flying Suit in 1996.  We were into our third pressing of the CD, which was fantastic for us, but we were also going to have to wait until the next record came out before we started to see more sales momentum.

Everything else had pretty much stalled – even Lippy. Distributors were no longer placing orders, and I was finding that the sales figures were remaining relatively stagnant when I was making my weekly calls to each distributor.

We were, by this time, a new Dromedary – anchored by Footstone, but with Blenderette, Jenifer Convertible, Gapeseed, and Moviola all in various stages of “yes” (as far as putting out something on the label was concerned).  We also had a growing number of bands who wanted to work with us, or who were going to contribute a track to the seven-inch series.  We felt like we were just bursting with incredible talent, and it was just a matter of getting out some of these records.

The bands, however, were taking their time.

Jenifer Convertible, we knew, were not likely to have a CD ready until the summer.  Footstone were also moving slowly – Water Music was a great studio, and the studio and its engineer, Rob Grenoble, were very much in demand.  As such, Footstone was paying the cheap rate, which gave them access to the studio when nobody else was using it.  So recording came in fits and starts.

Moviola wasn’t sure when they’d be able to record.  Their music was so brilliant that I didn’t care, nor did I care whether we’d be doing a seven-inch or a CD with them.  I just wanted to do something.  At the time, though, Ron from Ratfish was working on starting a new label – Ratfish was a seven-inch label exclusively, and rather than “graduate” to CDs, he wanted to start a new label.  Considering that he envisioned a Moviola full-length to be his first release, I figured I’d be doing a seven-inch.

Gapeseed was talking about recording with Bob Weston.  Weston was an excellent engineer, and, much like with Jenifer Convertible and Footstone, I was in no hurry to rush the band.  Like Moviola, the band was loyal to their other label, Silver Girl, and because I was friendly with that label, I didn’t even think of pressuring the band to change their mind.  I’d take a seven-inch.

Plus, I had no idea how I was going to pay for this stuff anyway.

Blenderette wanted to do a seven-inch, and I wanted to do a CD.  Ultimately, we wound up agreeing to do both – starting with a seven-inch in the spring, and following that with a full-length.

That’s where we stood after New Year’s of 1996.  We had five bands, and not a concrete release date among them.

That’s what made things difficult.  I was trying to land a distribution deal with a larger label, but I had no release schedule.  I was trying to continue to keep Dromedary’s profile as elevated as I could, but I had nothing to talk about – no new records, no tours, nothing.

So, much like I’m doing right now, I just sat on the internet and wrote about nothing.  I wrote record reviews for various email lists, signing each of them with “Al/dromedary” (“Dromedary Al” had, by this point, become my second name – bands would thank “Dromedary Al” from the stage at our shows, local scene people referred to me as “Dromedary Al” when they saw me).  I added my name to as many email lists as I could find, subscribing to some serious garbage in the process.  I continued to run ads in the indie pop zines, mostly promoting Lippy and Flying Suit.  When one of our bands – usually Footstone or Gapeseed – had a show somewhere, I would promote the show in emails.  When one of our old bands, or a friend’s band, put out a record, I’d write about it.

I took back all our inventory from Dutch East, as I had decided I would, and we wrote off the remaining Elizabeth inventory.  Sandy and I had a little mock ceremony as we packed up hundreds of CDs into boxes and stashed them on shelves in the basement, behind the furnace, under the stairs, way out of reach.

Given that sales had slowed, I figured we needed to start doing shows again, to generate some income for the label.  We’d done a show in November with Footstone, and it was not very well-attended.  I was starting to think that we were wearing out our luck with Footstone shows, since they had played every single show we put on.

The problem, however, was finding a club.

~ by Al on October 14, 2009.

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