wow!

So today is December 5.  I was just sitting here, thinking it was about time to make an update to the blog, when I sort of realized how much we’d done in the past year.

At this time last year we had already begun working with the amazing Perry Serpa of Good Cop PR.  Perry was helping us build the profile of this very blog, and helping lay the groundwork for the re-launch of Dromedary.  Working with our old lawyer Matthew Kaplan, we had completed our digital distribution contract with IODA (thanks to our friend Rich Masio), and were working with Jim Santo of Allegra Media on the design of the brand-new Dromedary Records website.

In January, we re-launched with fanfare courtesy of Blurt Online, Sonic Scoop and more.  We released Footstone’s awesome 7″ Wobbles From Side to Side (plus the additional track “Airbag,” recorded in the same sessions but previously unreleased), giving it away on our website for free.

With help from Liz Lawson at Deus Ex Machina publicity we released the Footstone Lippy CD digitally and physically (via mailorder only) on February 2, generating some great press and revived interest in the band.  We also released the benefit compilation Make The Load Lighter: Indie Rock For Haitia record that featured music from old friends and new, and helped generate some publicity (if not a whole lot of money) for earthquake-related charity.

While we marvelled at how quickly we could get out a record, we also learned how rushing out a record in this new music business paradigm is a poor idea; it’s the planning that enables the promotion to work properly, and you really need the promotion to generate interest and sales.  Live and learn.  Hopefully there won’t be any more devastating earthquakes so we don’t have to prematurely release any benefit records.

In February, we helped host our first show since returning, at the legendary Maxwell’s in Hoboken.  Featuring the Dark Brothers; Friends, Romans, Countrymen, and a long-awaited reunion of the mighty Footstone, the club was filled to capacity and, despite my hobbling around on a broken leg, was a fantastic night.

As the year went on, we reissued the CD that probably best defines the Dromedary of old – Cuppa Joe’s indie pop masterpiece Nurture. Featuring previously unreleased tracks and a new mix of “Sitting Limit,” the release of Nurture – and our subsequent release of Friends, Romans, Countrymen’s final CD I Am Spartacus were accompanied by disappointing press coverage and sales alike, reinforcing the old platitude “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”

Still, we remained true to our goal of getting the music that we love out there again, and of helping to restore that amazing, antiquated six-string musical instrument, the electric guitar, back to the indie rock lexicon.  Sales be damned.

And in May, we had the extreme pleasure of reissuing the Mommyheads’ classic CD Flying Suit, digitally and on CD.  And along with it, we watched the band evolve from being an ex-band, mildly interested in reissuing their old fan favorite, to being a reunited band, touring Sweden (where they’re immensely popular) to support the reissue as well as a promotional, “greatest hits” compilation, to being a working band, writing and recording new material and planning an extensive tour.  Yesterday, December 4, the band released a brand new, poppy-sounding single in Sweden, and will be releasing a brand-new full-length in the spring.

In August, we had the immense pleasure of releasing Jihad Me At Hello by Stuyvesant – sort of an “intro to the band” EP that we released digitally for free, experimenting with the new, digital paradigm and watching as more and more people got turned on to this great band.  And despite the enthusiasm we also shook our heads as we researched the sales figures of other indie records that we loved – released by other indie labels during the year.  325 copies sold.  250 copies sold.  90 copies sold.  And while some of those figures actually encouraged us (“See?  We’re actually not doing so bad!”), it was awfully discouraging for someone who believes so strongly in the importance of indie rock in the musical landscape.

And, of course, we released the Mommyheads’ Finest Specimens in October, complete with a monstrous amount of promotion from our new friends at Team Clermont and the Honest Arts Alliance, and our second show of the year – again at Maxwell’s, and this time featuring not just the Mommyheads, but a reunited Shirk Circus, a reunited Jenifer Convertible (who, as I’ve stated, were utterly amazing), and the incredible Stuyvesant.

It’s been a great year.  Not once, not for a minute, did I regret re-launching Dromedary, as we got some great music – some moving music – back out there for people to hear.  We did something important.  We reconnected with a lot of old friends – including Jim Testa, Lazlo at Blow Up Radio, Jay Lustig, Fred Mills, Ray Ketchem, Steve Bailey, Skippy McFadden, Brad Searles, Guy Capecelatro III, Keith Hanlon, Ron Schneiderman, Paula Carino, Jeremy Scott, Stuart McHugh and Rich Masio.

We made a lot of new friends – including Liz Lawson, Bill Benson, Bill McNally, Jamie Webster, Michael DiTullio, Tommy Reilly, Jamie Gilmour, Mike Cecchini, Mitch Friedman, Lizy Reierson, Erol Cichowski, Stu Wexler, Fraser Sanaghan, Iain Thomson, Seoridh Fraser, Tim Hinely, Glenn Morrow, Ken Beck, Kyle Reidy, and dozens more I’m sure I’m forgetting.

And there were a lot of friends and fans, new and old, that really helped keep us motivated during the year – people like Amy Bell, Brookes McKenzie, Tom Hespos, Tucker Curtis, Ryan Christoff, Brian Scantland, Tom Daley, Bill Peregoy, Andy Peters, Rad Del Prete, Dave Abney, Burt Von Bolton, Joann Kline, Ben Rothfeld, Dirk Hermann, and David Cycleback.

We met great bands from all over the world this year that helped us or our bands, including WJ and the Sweet Sacrifice, Varsity Drag, The 65’s, Penguins Kill Polar Bears, Since Our First Guitar, and all the bands we actually worked with.

So, all in all, it was a great fuckin’ year that I’m really proud of.  Which, of course, wouldn’t have been possible without Sandy and my awesome kids, our close friends, and the four people I probably owe the most thanks that I’m not related to: Steve Spatucci, Jim Santo, Brian Musikoff, and Ralph Malanga.

So.  What’s up for 2011?

Lots of stuff.

First, we have announced new releases from Shirk Circus and Jenifer Convertible.  Hopefully, both will be coming out in 2011.

For Mommyheads fans, we’ve got a bunch of stuff: our first video release (a concert DVD from their 2010 Swedish tour), a possible reissue of the band’s great Bingham’s Hole CD, and some sort of tour.  We’ll also be offering a deluxe vinyl version of Flying Suit – which was never released on vinyl – via Kickstarter.  That’ll actually be our next project.

2011 will also feature our first release of brand new material: a new full-length recording from the great and powerful Stuyvesant.  I’ve heard three final mixes already, and I can promise you a monster record.

We’re also working on some sort of subscription-based, single-or-EP sort of “club” thingy, with lots of treats for members.  Like I said – we’re realizing that a lot of people prefer not to buy music anymore, and so we’re trying to come up with unique stuff to make it fun for people to buy.  So we’re still fleshing out the idea, but we’ve already got some great bands lined up, ready to participate.

Lastly, we’re working on some new signings – stuff we obviously can’t tell you about yet, because it’s still sort of up in the air.  But once we bring it down to earth, we’ll be happy to tell you all about it.

I find that I do well when I approach each coming new year with a theme.  Sometimes it involves focusing on physical health, sometimes it involves working on work/life balance, sometimes it involves personal or career growth, whatever.  Usually if I approach each year with a theme, I’m able to assess at the end of the year, kind of get a feel for how I did.

2011 has a theme, too.  I thought of it last night, as I watched 80-something-year-old Tony Bennett entertain a room full of people at the Wellmont Theater in Montclair, NJ (Tony Bennett is a favorite of mine, sorry).  It goes something like this:

“We’ve only tasted the wine; we’re gonna drain that cup dry!”

~ by Al on December 5, 2010.

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