History Part 2
Big Neck History Part 2
So, we had our first single, Blowtops Voodoo Alley. Still my favorite Blowtops single next to the Menacing Sinstress that they put out on Estrus Records. Chloe and Clyde is still my favorite song to this day.
I remember grabbing Andy Bieter, Aaron Adduci, and Jimmy Hollywood at Sanctury one day with a pad of paper and asking them what do I do with this? Our direction was pretty simple lets get the word out on Buffalo music, so we quickly came up with a list of zines that we wanted to send the record to. On the flip side we had to sell some records, so what do we do about that? We did a bit of research from local record stores and came up with a list of distributors to send the record to.
No you have to remember this was the late 90s and the internet was just starting to become prolific. Thus everything we did was snail mail. You could send a record to a distributor and then wait 2 months for a reaction and that reaction was usually a hand written note.
So we had a list of zines for reviews, we had a list of distributors to hopefully sell to, now what? We also put together a list of labels that we liked to send to, maybe they knew something to help us out.
A little word of advice to new labels, doing things on the cheap is good so when shipping I used to raid garbage cans behind stores for card board, bike shops ruled with their giant pieces of cardboard I could cut out and tape. There was a while there when I would snag the Priority mail boxes from the post office and turn them inside out, but they caught onto me pretty quick and put the hammer on that.
Finally, I had to start getting some money back because the Furies were finishing up their recordings and they had a lot. So I grabbed my box of records and hit the road in Buffalo to start knocking on all the record store doors. Issue with this was the road was very short. There were only 2 record stores in Buffalo at the time, Home of the Hits and New World Records. They ended up taking 5 of each, not a lot to start but I was taking any money I could at the moment.
I did sell the record out of my bar Sanctuary but I did not want to take away any money the band could make so it was rare that I broke them out.
Months later we finally got a reply to our mailings. Get Hip from Pittsburgh liked the record and ordered my heart for Barbara because of her handwritten note back in 1998.
That started the landslide, a distro from Chicago picked us up and low and behold another record label called Flying Bomb Records sent the Blowtops a note about how much they liked the record and wanted to discuss putting out another one. Great news, we all celebrated with much and I mean much beer and alcohol.
The next day I had my Best Friend, Mike Gigantes, wedding and of course I showed up a bit late, a bit rough, and really hung over. Hair of the dog is what I needed. To this day his wife Shawnee still claims that I ruined every photo of their wedding.
As all of this was going on, we were prepping to put out a new single by The Baseball Furies, but they were taking longer than we thought to finish up their recordings. As usual we were out having a few beers and Odie was discussing their first single that they released on his own, Go Bopper records. He only pressed 200 copies of the record and they ended up giving most of them away. Yes scum stats if you have the original cover with the Go Bopper label you have the rarest Baseball Furies record ever done. Everybody thought it would be a great idea to re release the record while we were waiting for the new recordings because Odie still had the metal parts, labels, and never sent it out for reviews. He also never sold it outside of the city of Buffalo NY.
What a great idea and a very cost effective one. So we came up with a new cover and sent the record in to get pressed.
The reviews were starting to roll in for Voodoo Alley and the Furies, Greatest rock n roll record ever. They were all good reviews and Big Neck Records started to get a name. A small, hardly known name, but one none the less.
One conversation the Furies and I had was that the girl on the new cover of the record would sell the record better than the music.
So at this time many of the band members were working at my bar Sanctuary and cutting their teeth on the restaurant nightlife of Buffalo NY. We had Aaron Aducci Djing, Sean Garrow bar backing and tending, Odie tending bar, and Andy Bieter helping with anything and everything electronic in our establishment. In fact if any of you know A-ron Orslowski you may have heard about the naked bouncer at Sanctuary. When A-ron was drunk you could get him to do about anything and many times in the dead of winter he would be standing at the door of Sanctuary IDing everyone who came in with a bright orange ski hat on his head and nothing else. There were also stories of ladies of the night hanging out at the bar with naked A-ron, but those are stories for another time.
With two records under our belt garnering good reviews it was time for the third. Sounds of Mayhem was a crazy raw punk rock experience that when I first heard it, I thought my ears were bleeding. You have to understand that at this time the Baseball Furies had a great schtick going. They would actually dress as the Baseball Furies from the movie, The Warriors go onstage and belt out a balls to the wall set.
So, we got it together, pressed the record. As always something goes wrong. United Records called me up and explained that there was this high end noise messing up the whole record. So we had them take it and they had to send me a reference laquer with the songs minus the high noise. What was it you ask? It was the high hat symbol that had banging the whole way through.
Out it came, again great reviews, if you have never seen the Baseball Furies play you have missed out. Odie is one hell of a song writer, A-ron may be the best lead guitarist I have ever seen (when he is not too drunk), Jimmy Hollywood is all over the stage kicking, jumping and raising hell, and Dapper back in the day would just beat the crap out of his kit. It was a tour de force if I have ever seen one.
Tour de force, but also sometimes as all live shows, things do not always work out. I have stories galore about the boys, one fateful night in Sanctuary when A-ron did get a bit drunk, kept yelling that it didn't matter if even wasn't in tune just that the levels were the same. Jimmy by the end of the set did not like this and launched his bass at A-ron's head. By a shear stroke of luck, A-ron dropped his pick and bent over to retrieve it just as the bass passed over his head and smashed into the wall behind him. Jimmy had enough and beat it to the bar to drink.
Sounds of Mayhem was part of a whole record that the furies recorded.
At this time Jimmy Hollywood was still playing in the Blowtops and we had to travel to Detroit and Jim Diamond to record the Blowtops first LP, Deep Thrust. Jimmy brought along a copy of Sounds of Mayhem and Andy and Patti from Flying Bomb loved it. They instantly wanted to put out the rest of the songs on a 10" - American Psycho 10" to you.
Great story about the recording, Mick Collins was hanging out with Jim Diamond when we walked in to the studio, back then the Gories and Dirtbombs were like gospel.
The Blowtops were setting up their equipment so I decided to go on a beer run. Hit the corner store, grabbed a couple cases, some chips and rolled back to the studio. As soon as I walked in Jim ran up to me asked me where the hell I was, I told him and he glared at me, "don't ever leave this studio alone again."
One day of recording, one morning of mixing. Deep Thrust was born.
We got back to Buffalo and truthfully we were at a great loss for what to do next on Big Neck. Jimmy had a great band that he liked a lot and saw live a couple times. They were a bit of a departure from the normal sound that Big Neck puts out. They were a surf, straight up garage rock, Mummies type band called the Primate 5.
So, Jimmy and I wrote them a letter explaining that we were a small label and looking to put out a single by them. Again remember this was snail mail. About a month later we had a cassette, yes cassette, arrive in the mail with four cool songs. And they were really good, but the only problem was that they were all instrumentals. Great garage rock instrumentals, but instrumentals all the less. So, we wrote them again and explained that the songs were great but could we have a couple with words.
Another month goes by and we get another cassette and was this one great. APE APE APE blasted out of our speakers right away and then on the flip side, they did a great cover of MAKE YOU MINE which destroyed. Make You Mine actually was played by Little Steven on his radio show along with another Big Neck song on our compilation.
Off to the pressing plant and as always there is an issue. Apparently, we did not annotate the song length correctly and is was cut short. Yes kids APE APE APE has another 30 seconds on it, there is a break and then the song starts back up, but the pressing plant did not recognize that. Due to money being short (I was in court for my bar Sanctuary quite often, the city of Buffalo hated it and me) we had to leave the pressing as it was and sell it. Song was still great, just not complete. I mean how can four guys who dress in Monkey suits not write great music. They later came out with a killer full length. Still love Primate 5 to this day.
We will end the second part here folks because at this stage I had to uproot Big Neck and move to Washington DC!
______________________Next installment we will go through record 5 -10 and why!________________