all kindsa stuff.

Once again it’s been a long fuckin’ time since I’ve written, and for that I apologize.

One of the things I initially intended to do with this blog was to keep it separate from the “newsy” side of Dromedary; the stuff I write and put on dromedary-records.com, or on the Facebook page, where I do most of my communicating.  The blog was going to retain the wacky, personal stuff that sparked this whole renaissance.

Problem is that it was really easy to write about people from the past when they were in the past – they’re in the present now.  So I’ve been struggling to figure out how to tell some of these stories when I’m now in touch with these guys every day.  It’s like making a movie and the “making of the movie” at the same time, plus writing your memoirs about making the “making of the movie,” and then releasing them all at the same time.

So, anyway.  Lots has happened since August.

First of all, this fantastic image you see to the left of this writing is the cover art for the Mommyheads’ Finest Specimens CD.  It’s been an unreal trip, reconnecting with Adam and the group.  They haven’t lost a bit of their friendliness, nor have they lost a bit of their desire to be a part of Dromedary and to help us revive things.

They played a show last month at the Rock Shop in Brooklyn, a great little venue that’s booked by Skippy, formerly of March Records.  Skippy and I knew each other back in the day and I may have even mentioned him a few times in this blog – The Mommyheads were one of the first bands to play at the Rock Shop, and it was their first gig back in the States since 2008.

What was strange was that I hadn’t seen the guys in the band since 1996.  I’d been emailing with them consistently for months at this point, but they hadn’t actually seen me.  Conversely, I’d seen dozens of pictures of them; I know full well what they look like.  But it was weird that I’m putting out their record and they don’t know what I look like.

I went to the show with Sandy, and Brian from Stuyvesant.  Brian had a friend there, and we were pleased to find Rich from IODA and Greg Vegas at the show as well, plus a few other folks that I’ve met along the way.  And once I got over the awkward re-introduction to the band (including Jason, their new bass player), it was unbelievably pleasant.

The Rock Shop is a cool venue, with a performance space and bar on the ground floor, and another bar upstairs, with a cool area to sit and talk on the roof.  The sound system was strong, and the Mommyheads sounded fantastic, performing a varied set list from Flying Suit onward, including three brand new songs that they’re working on.  They’re recording new music.  This makes me happy, and I’m hoping to be the guy that gets to release it, when its ready.  I love this band.

On the way back from the show we got trapped in Holland Tunnel traffic (as usual) and were able to talk at length with Brian about the plans with Stuyvesant.  I’ve got some rough mixes with scratch vocals from their forthcoming CD, and suffice to say it’s going to be an amazing record.  Suffice to also say that it’s coming out later than I expected.  I expected it to be out by Thanksgiving, and now we’re looking at January or so.

Such is the deal with indie labels, I guess, one of the things I had forgotten about – but in rereading about the release of Footstone’s Lippy CD, and how long that one took, maybe I didn’t forget it so much as block it out of my mind.  Any number of things can cause a recording to get delayed – guitar player has to work on a day they were scheduled to record, engineer gets the sniffles, singer gets a flat, bassist has an off-night, whatever.  In the case of Stuyvesant, we just sit back and wait – the songs are great, and it’ll be well worth it.

A few weeks after the Mommyheads show, Stuyvesant played at Maxwell’s.  The occasion was Brian’s birthday, and he had a couple of bands play that night – WJ & the Sweet Sacrifice are made up of friends of the band, and people who have guested on the two Stuyvesant CDs.  They play super loud, garage-oriented rock and roll, dancing like mad and trading instruments between songs.  It was real rock and roll, and I’m looking forward to hearing the new album that I understand they’re putting out on Mike Moebius’ label.

Second was Varsity Drag, a band featuring Ben Deily, who was a founding member of The Lemonheads.  As much as I grew up on The Lemonheads, the guys in Stuyvesant did even more so – The Lemonheads are the one band I can fall back on whenever someone asks me Stuyvesant’s biggest influence.  In fact, the band covered one of Deily’s songs, “Ever,” for the next record. Varsity Drag play loud (maybe too loud, first time I’ve ever needed earplugs at a show), punk-tinged pop, similar to the Lemonheads only with a cellist that recalls the Dambuilders.  Deily’s a really literate guy, and his wife plays bass, leading to an excellent chemistry onstage that just made them a lot of fun to watch.  He’s got a big smile and a genuine love for what he’s doing, and it was a great band to see.

After Stuyvesant played their set, they asked Ben to jump onstage with them and perform “Ever.”  It must be tough to have a solid band like Varsity Drag and yet still have people throwing the Lemonheads in your face, much less to jump onstage with a band and play a song from the ’80s, but he seemed more than happy to oblige.  And wow, it sounded fantastic.

By the end of Stuyvesant’s set, Maxwell’s was fairly full, with lots of people down in front, dancing.  We had our video camera with us, and we were recording various parts of the set, but by the end we realized that if we were going to catch “Ever,” we were going to have to do it from the bleacher area along the wall at stage left.  Sandy stood on the seating and videotaped the Deily/Stuyvesant duet, but unfortunately we were also standing right in front of the PA speakers.  So while our little handheld camera usually captures great sound, this time it was all clipped and muddy.  The result is still a fairly rocking moment, which you can see here.

Stuyvesant – “Ever” from Dromedary Records on Vimeo.

It really is great stuff, and probably pretty cool to share the stage with one of your biggest influences.

The guys from Unite Webzine took some shots at the show, and I printed one out and gave it to Ralph in a frame a week or so later. It’s cool to have memories of that stuff.

Speaking of memories, we talked a little more about their upcoming mini-tour, and I’m psyched to report that I will be going on tour with the band. I’m 41 years old; how many opportunities am I going to get to do the punk thing and tour with a band? I would imagine this might be the only time. And if someone asked me to play third base for the Yankees I’d do it, and for that same reason, I’ll be driving around the country at the beginning of November, working the band’s merch table and lugging their gear, eating Angus Deluxe value meals and drinking buckets of PBR. Rock and roll. Plus, I’ve never been to Nashville.

More later, lots to talk about.

~ by Al on September 12, 2010.

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