Song #36: Footstone – “Belly”

September 28, 2020
Song #36: Footstone – “Belly”

I swore that when I first heard “Belly,” it was about me. I’ve always been sort of self-conscious, with weird, up-and-down self-esteem, and when I first heard the lyrics, I just knew they were about me:

Me and your friends today-
We just took a simple survey
We don’t like you anymore
We just despise you

When I nonchalantly asked Ralph what the song was about, he said “Oh, it’s about my fat belly. I don’t like it anymore.”

That, of course, was bullshit. I’m pretty sure the song was called “Belly” because the opening had similarities to the opening to the song “Feed The Tree,” by Tanya Donnelly’s band Belly. That song was popular at the time that Footstone wrote this one. And the lyrics were clearly about someone, though I never found out who. I put the song out anyway, in 1993, on the Wobbles From Side To Side 7″.

The 7″ was named Wobbles From Side To Side after the marketing copy on the box that contained a novelty toy the band had, called “The Happy Jerkoff Clown.” It was, essentially, a wind-up clown. Wind it up, and its pants drop to reveal a giant, erect penis, which the clown frantically rubs while it lurches to and fro. One of the selling features written on the side of the box was “Wobbles From Side To Side!” The back cover of the 7″ was a close-up of the clown, the penis was so front-and-center in the art that the printer must have completely missed it, because they had a very clear “no X-rated artwork” policy.

Here’s a thing I was thinking about.

Ralph was the singer in Footstone. Eric Greenberg played guitar, Mark Abney played bass. Dave Noel played drums. This Footstone 7″ came out in 1993. Sixteen years later those four guys reunited and played a show on my lawn. Twenty-seven years later, three of those guys were instrumental in pulling me out of my funk during Covid, through our weekly Zoom calls.

Ralph, of course, is the singer in Stuyvesant, and also in Cathedral Ceilings, another band we’re going to announce very soon (sshhh).

The FRONT cover of Footstone’s Wobbles From Side to Side 7″

The record was recorded, mixed and mastered by Ray Ketchem. At the time, Ray was the drummer in Melting Hopefuls, a band with which we’d released a number of different songs in the early 1990s. Ray went on to become a well-known recording engineer, and he was the guy who completed the recording of the Shirk Circus album This Band Will Destroy Your Life, which we released in 2011. An accomplished artist, Ray also did the artwork for the record.

That Footstone record became one of the first records picked up by Surefire Distributors in Boston. The owner of Surefire, Ron Schneiderman, subsequently introduced me to the Mommyheads, and also to Toast. I put out Mommyheads records in 1994, 2010, 2011, and 2012.

Toast’s guitar player was Guy Capecelatro III. I put out one of his records in 2012.

Ron also introduced me to the band Moviola. A Moviola track appeared on our Make the Load Lighter compilation in 2010. Moviola released their music on Anyway Records, a label I followed for decades and eventually became friends with their owner, Bela Koe-Krompecher. Bela suggested to his friend Azalia Snail that I might be interested in releasing her record, which became the You, Me and This Fucking Guy record we put out earlier this year.

Ron also ran a record label called Ratfish Records. Ratfish was a 7″ only label, and when it came time for me to put my own mail-order catalog together, it only make sense that I carry some of Ron’s records. One of those records was from a band called Ringfinger.

The singer of Ringfinger was Tracy Wilson, who was also a music buyer at Flipside Records in Pompton Plains, NJ. As the buyer, one of the records she ordered was Wobbles From Side To Side, the 7″ by Footstone. I know this because it’s the first time I ever encountered a Dromedary title out in the wild, while I was record shopping.

(I’ll keep quiet the fact that that very record is still in the 7″ racks at Flipside, 27 years later. Instead let’s pretend it sold like hotcakes.)

Flipside Records, indifferent to the concept of “carrying costs”

Years later, Every Show Joe introduced me to the music of Positive No. Positive No was led by Tracy Wilson – the singer of Ringfinger, buyer at Flipside. In 2019, we put out Positive No’s single “Teenage Waistline.”

Another one of the records I carried in that mail-order catalog was from a band called Edsel. One of the guys in Edsel was Sohrab Habibion, who went on to play in The Obits, and later in the band Savak. We put out a Savak 7″ earlier this year.

One of the guys who plays with Savak sometimes is Greg Vegas. Greg runs a record label and manages bands, but also played in a band called Monsterland. Monsterland contributed a track to a compilation called My Companion back in 1990 or so. That compilation came out on a small label in Connecticut. When I was in college, I was an intern for that label, and I did radio promotions for My Companion.

Years later, I convinced Monsterland to reunite and play a benefit show for the radio station where I volunteer.

That’s a lot of long-time friendships that stem from one small record that’s been sitting in one small store for 25 years. It is a small fucking world. Keep your friends.

Today’s song is “Belly” by Footstone, and I’m dedicating it to donald trump.

~ by Al on September 28, 2020.

One Response to “Song #36: Footstone – “Belly””

  1. “Today’s song is “Belly” by Footstone, and I’m dedicating it to donald trump.”
    I’ve never liked that POS

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