“When are you going to get it out?”

That was the question I was hearing, both from Footstone and from Jenifer Convertible.

Jenifer Convertible was a little less impatient about it, since they still had mastering to do and (I think) they were still tinkering with final mixes.  They were hoping for a schedule, but weren’t holding me feet to the fire.

Footstone were an entirely different story.  They took forever to record Lippy and then I sat on it for months before I finally released it in early 1995.  More than a year had transpired since then – they’d recorded a few tracks with Rob Weiss, and then spent forever recording at Water, and they had waited long enough to get a record out.  They wanted Schmeckle City Rubdown out, ASAP.

I wanted the band to tour.  I wanted both bands to tour, actually, and I was trying to think of a way that maybe I could help them to tour together.  I didn’t want a huge, Mommyheads-like, six-week tour with shows every night.  I was thinking maybe two, three weeks, with time inbetween so that they could come home, and some shows close enough that they wouldn’t even have to take off work.  I was thinking New Hampshire to Virginia, west to Chicago, as I’ve stated before.

I wanted to advertise more, maybe do some ads in more mainstream publications, with tour dates listed.  I was hoping that we could do “soft” releases for each CD in October, with a late fall tour, just in time for the holidays.

I think Footstone was more interested in getting it out quickly.  Like, now quickly.  But I really wanted to do the job properly, and part of me thought that if I could wait until after my product line was complete, maybe I could just quit my shitty dayjob and work Dromedary full-time.  Maybe I could just do it for a month.  If I was able to bring Fred a big order, maybe I could work something out where he’d lay me off so I could collect unemployment for a few weeks while I worked Dromedary.

I was really reaching.

But I had two records that were likely to come out at the same time, and they were both very, very good.  They were deserving of hard work.

One thing that went – finally – in my favor, was that my CD replicator agreed to give me 30-day terms on one of the two CDs.  Essentially, I had called them and explained that I had managed to save enough money to make one CD, but that I actually had two that needed to come out.  Somehow, I managed to convince them that they’d be better off pressing both so that I could sell both – otherwise, it might be months before I could afford to press the second one.

So I was going to go into debt – something Sandy wasn’t thrilled about – but I figured I’d have the CDs to sell.  If the bands toured, it would be just a matter of time before I could pay back the debt from CDs that they could sell off the stage.  And if I wasn’t working, I could go on the road with them for some of the shows (some, not all – I was, after all, somebody’s dad) – and if I was at the shows, I could sell the CDs more aggressively.

For some reason, the Footstone guys didn’t like selling stuff off the stage at their shows.  They’d sort of halfheartedly mention that they had CDs and seven-inches for sale, along with T-shirts and stickers.  Then you’d go to the merch table, and nobody would be there.  Or they’d give you a CD for free.  It was almost as if they were embarrassed to ask you for money, especially since you just paid to come see them live.

But if I went with them, I would have no problem asking for money.  Half the money was, after all, mine.

My big product launch was scheduled for September of 1996.  I was going to have everything wrapped up and being printed by the end of August.  I figured I’d finish up the dayjob stuff, then take a vacation.  When I got back from vacation, I’d do the trade show and launch the product line.  And when that was all over, I’d start working on the CDs.

So I dove headlong into the final details of finishing up our product line as we hurtled through August.  I worked insane hours, sometimes staying at the office until 9 or 10 at night, making the long ride home and sneaking into bed just before midnight.  My insides were burning, and I had developed a nasty, chronic backache that had me constantly yanking my head to my left side in hopes of cracking my neck to get some relief (something I still do today).  I had that miserable headache that you get in the back of your head, just underneath the base of your skull, from driving too much – Tylenol would make it go away, but it would come back as soon as I’d get back in the car.

My baby boy didn’t see me for an entire month.  I’d sit next to his crib and just stare at him, knowing that it was almost over – but knowing it wasn’t anywhere close to being over.  And then I’d sit down at the computer and respond to all Dromedary’s letters and email.

Sandy faithfully kept track of our household expenses – as she has done for our entire marriage – and eventually let me know that we were completely broke.  We had no money in savings.  We were spending over our weekly budget because it cost me so much to work so far away. I was eating out every day, a practice I was going to have to stop.  I was buying too many records, another practice I was going to have to stop.  We had no idea how much money a baby cost; between clothes he was outgrowing seemingly every day, twelve-dollar cans of formula that he went through like water (literally), diapers that he went through even faster than the formula, and toys, having a baby was more expensive than having a record label.

I had a horrible job that was keeping me in the office until all hours, causing me ungodly stress, and affecting my health.  We had a lifestyle that was somehow too expensive, and we were beginning to have financial issues as a result.  I had a baby boy – and a wife, for that matter – that I almost never got to see.  And I had a record label that had become an unbelievable stress in and of itself, with two new releases on the horizon.

And with all that, we packed our bags and went on what we hoped would be a relaxing week of vacation, before the real mayhem was supposed to start.

~ by Al on November 16, 2009.

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