we waited.

And we waited.

Jenifer Convertible was mixing.  And mixing and mixing and mixing, and Jim wouldn’t let me hear any of it til it was done.  So I listened to rough mixes over and over again, but I couldn’t put together advance tapes or do any marketing whatsoever, because I didn’t have any final mixes.  I wanted to send out the roughs, but Jim wouldn’t let me.  And all the while, I was petrified of the record.

Jim told me once that Wharton Tiers wouldn’t record it for them until they could assure him that it was actually coming out somewhere.  Evidently he wasn’t interested in recording demo tapes for bands.  If I recall, Jim also had to assure him where it was coming out, and had to do some degree of a sales job for us, because if the producer wasn’t happy with the label that was releasing it, then the producer wasn’t producing it.  That made me shudder a bit, because it suddenly felt like there was some sort of obligation for the record to take off.  And what if it didn’t?

I was absolutely clueless, I had no idea what I was doing and yet I still continued to pretend I did.  And when this Jenifer Convertible record came out, I believed, my lack of knowledge was going to be exposed.  It was going to become clear that I was just some guy, some guy who was lucky and got some decent press and a little radio play – by accident – but some guy who had no idea how to actually sell records.  I envisioned myself sitting in my basement, surrounded by stacks of unsold CDs, with angry band members staring at me.

Footstone was recording as well.  They’d begun going into the studio, but they were doing it at all sorts of freaky times – middle of the night, Sunday afternoon, Tuesday morning, whatever.  They were getting bargain basement pricing in exchange for being flexible enough to come in at the drop of a hat, when no other bands were scheduled.

Like Jenifer, Footstone continued to sound the “Everything’s great” alarm, but wouldn’t let me actually hear anything.  The only thing that I knew was that they wanted me to play piano on a track, but I didn’t even know which one.

I felt like Footstone was a CD away from a bigger record deal, and it was up to me to get that CD into enough hands that they achieved that.  I didn’t want to lose them, but at the same time I knew how good they were, how tight they were, and how big they deserved to be.

So I felt like, between Jenifer and Footstone, I had this weird responsibility to hit two home runs, when all I’d done up until then was hit a few lucky squibs that managed to squeak through the infield.

Our other bands were moving at an absolute snail’s pace.  The Mommyheads were recording with Don Was, but things were taking forever, and Adam had made himself scarce.  Once in a while I’d call him and leave him a message, and occasionally – usually in the middle of the night – he’d call me back and leave me a return message, just getting me up to speed.  All discussion about another pressing of Flying Suit (which would have required a second agreement between us) had ceased, as had all discussion about selling the CD to Geffen.  I got the feeling that the band had some label-related stresses happening, and they didn’t want to push.

So I waited.

Blenderette had planned to go into the studio, and I couldn’t wait to hear the next batch of power pop that Jeremy was going to lay on me.  But every time we talked, he couldn’t even tell me when they were going to start.  So I couldn’t plan anything with them, either.

Moviola were recording, but the songs they were recording were slated to go on the full-length that Ron from Surefire would be releasing on his new label.  I would never, ever encroach on Ron, so I had left it with the band that they could hand over to me whatever they didn’t release with Ron – whether it be a 7″ worth of tracks or more.  We suggested perhaps taking all their past 7″s and putting together one full-length.  We talked about doing one 7″, plus a song for the Baker’s Dozen.  We talked about lots of things, but because we had no idea how much time the band was going to have to record, or how much they’d be able to get done, we couldn’t plan what sort of release we were going to have.

In the spring of 1995, Moviola came to Under ACME.  It wasn’t a Dromedary show, but somehow we were involved with helping them to get the date.  I don’t remember any of the specifics, but I’m lucky enough to have dug up an old message board post that indicated that they played with Gem, the Yips, and Hurl.  I don’t recall specifically how we helped with the show, but Ralph and Mark came with me.  And while Moviola was onstage, Mark came over and nudged my shoulder, and pointed to someone at the front of the stage, taking pictures.

“That’s Gerard Cosloy over there,” he said.

I looked.  “Yep,” I responded.

“What’s he doing seeing a Dromedary band?” he asked.

“He doesn’t know he’s seeing a Dromedary band,” I smiled.

“Why doesn’t he come to our shows and take pictures of us?” he asked, with a smirk on his face.

Moviola were that kind of band – they had lots of friends, and they were just fantastic.  But we didn’t know what we’d be doing with them.

So we waited.

Gapeseed eventually told us that they were moving forward with a full-length CD with Silver Girl, a followup to their Lo Cell CD.  They were going to record it in Chicago with Bob Weston, which wasn’t going to happen for a while – so we weren’t going to have anything to release by Gapeseed until 1997 or so.

That truly disappointed me because I loved the band so much.  Probably not since Ditch Croaker had I liked a band so much that was playing hard to get.  But I also knew that they already had a label, the owners of that label were my friends, and I had pledged not to screw anybody in my operation of Dromedary.

So I was, once again, short one band.

And to top it off, I had nothing to put out.

So I decided it was time to start working on Baker’s Dozen again.

I asked Footstone if there was any way – any possible way – that they could actually record and complete one song for the 7″ series.  I wanted them to be the first band, Side A of the first record.  And as they always did with anything I ever asked of them, they agreed.

I just needed a band to be on the flipside.

With Baker’s Dozen, the idea was simple.  I was going to have a punk band on one side, a pop band on the other.  I would release 13 seven-inches that way.  Then, I was going to have each band do a cover version of the song on the opposite side of their seven-inch, and put out two compliation CDs at the end of the project – one of all the songs from the seven-inches, and one of all the covers.

With Footstone, things were a little tricky, because Footstone could be the pop band or the punk band.  It all depended on which band I wanted to put on the flipside.

~ by Al on November 3, 2009.

4 Responses to “we waited.”

  1. I don’t doubt your memory, but I honestly don’t remember saying any of that stuff about having “sell” Dromedary to Wharton. If I actually told you that, I must have been out of my mind.

    Lenny was always the one dealing directly with WT. He did all the courting that led to his producing us. I never got involved in any of that at all. Then, as now, I was only interested in playing guitar. So I would never have been in a position to receive “no demos” rules from Mr. Tiers. Your recollection comes as a complete surprise to me.

    Years have also erased any memory of whether, or why, I withheld mixes from you. Obviously I did, but it seems now like a shitty way to treat your label owner. Sorry if that caused you pain.

  2. It didn’t cause me pain at all – I was absolutely dying to hear it, but you were keeping me in suspense. I thought it was funny, and endearing, and was frankly scared to death of how good the record was going to be. History shows I was right – it was a great record, even better than I thought it would be.

    As for the WT stuff, I got the impression that someone with a name like that wanted the record to actually come out somewhere. Perhaps my impression of the “sell” of Dromedary was overblown, because of my own lack of self-confidence at this point. Maybe it wasn’t as big a deal as I thought it was, but I distinctly remember feeling that, at some point, we “passed.” It was, at the time, flattering.

  3. Also, the “no demos” thing was more my interpretation of why there was a “sell” in the first place. Nobody ever actually told me that – it was just my interpretation of things, which could have been entirely incorrect.

  4. One more thing – it wasn’t the mixes you were withholding, it was the roughs. When the mixes were done, you brought them to my house promptly, as per the entry I’m going to make this coming Tuesday. 🙂

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