With the release of “Must’ve Been Live” in early 2002, I called in every favor I could to make this record a success. This new venture had to breathe a life of it’s own. It was a new beginning for all of us and laying that foundation was key. Everyone from the fans to the clerks in the record stores had to be a part of this movement and get involved.
We hired Ken Phillips Publicity Group, who I had known from RCA, to work press. Ken had done publicity for the band LIT while I was consulting, and had done an amazing job. He was also doing press for Joan Jett and Brian Setzer at the time. I had my pal Mike A., who worked at RCA, get us radio reports such as B.D.S. (Broadcast Data Systems used to track spins) as well as sales reports, like soundscan (a system that tracks sales of music). We used this data to see exactly what markets had past radio and sales success. And from this information, we knew where we should focus our efforts. In other words, we wanted to find out what stations had previously played their songs and if they’d spin them again now. If we couldn’t get a song played, maybe we could drop by the studio and do an interview.
Eddie or even Dancing Eagle would often call radio stations from the van or email the program director at these stations. The “Eddie Spaghetti” personal touch made all the difference. After all I wasn’t in the band, and felt most people wanted to hear from Eddie or Ron or anyone else in the Supersuckers. It wasn’t uncommon for the band to even send post cards to radio stations, retailers, or even fans thanking them for the support.
We used a radio promotions company called Planetary to help us get radio play in the college market. The folks at Planetary were very supportive with the Supersuckers efforts and release.
Through the sales reports, I could tell where the band sold records and at what type of record stores; independent, chains, or mass retailers… Certainly the Supersuckers were going to sell more at an independent store than a major chain. But what independent stores and where? And who was the fan at that store? I would spend hours a day calling record stores. Usually I’d send them advance copies to play or posters to display or even create contests in order to push the record. I’d even offer up the Supersuckers to come by and perform in their store. I can’t emphasize enough how important all of this was for us in the beginning. I knew that most of the venues where the band performed were 21 and up, so we were missing out on a lot of the kids. So playing at record stores helped the band reach a younger audience. As an added bonus we would give away tickets to shows to anyone that purchased the band’s records. “Buy a Supersuckers CD and get a free ticket to the show”. The stores loved it because it got people into the store and helped us get the music out of the stores. Most importantly I just felt like we were doing something to promote the band, the music, the record store, and connecting those dots with the fans and the band.
Eddie wrote the one sheet (sales sheet), the liner notes inside the CD, the notes we’d include with our radio mailings, lots of the promotional material, etc. Once again, putting the personality of the band out front and utilizing Eddie’s incredible writing talents.
We would also try and get testimonials from other artists that we could use to promote the band. Eddie got one from Steve Earle and Ron got one from Robin Zander of Cheap Trick. I wanted to sticker the release with these quotes. And use them to get more testimonials from artists. I figured if a DJ saw that Steve Earle liked the Supersuckers they had to give it listen. Same with press. If Willie Nelson liked them then it must be good and worthy of a review. The ultimate seal of approval is often from a respected peer.
The Supersuckers understand that great rock and great country are, at least on a spiritual level, exactly the same thing. Rock on, boys. -Steve Earle
Supersuckers…I love the Supersuckers, our whole band loves you guys! -Robin Zander from Cheap Trick
They played my birthday party. They rock! Eddie Vedder from Pearl Jam
We collected as many as we could. And it helped immensely. I remember feeling nervous asking Eddie Vedder for one when the band performed at his 40th Birthday Party, but I had to ask. We’d also make up clever stickers to put on the CD such as 5 out of 4 stars and my all time favorite “Nominated 5 Times”. Now I’m not sure what the Supersuckers were nominated for, but it was entertainment. It was an attention getter. And an eye catcher in the bin and most importantly a great conversation piece. I’ve been asked over a hundred times what the band was nominated for over the years.
And before the release of Must’ve Been Live the Fan Club aka The PIT was established. I was surprised the band had gone as long as it did without a fan club, so the timing was perfect. Below is an email from Eddie that was sent to the email list back in 2001. I’m not sure how many people were on the list at the time but I’d bet only 500 around this time. And I believe we had about 50 people join the fan club before the release of Must’ve Been High. The stars were lining up…
October 31, 2001 12:20:55 PM MST
Eddie Spaghetti here and it’s time to launch our new re-vamped, re-modeled and fully re-energized “interweb” sight, www.supersuckers.com ! Here you will find all the latest, greatest info ( we promise to keep up now ) as well as info about our upcoming live country record “Must’ve Been Live”. It’s the second release from our new label Mid-Fi, due in stores February and you can log on and pre-order it right now, thus ensuring your copy won’t be sold out! Tracks include Non-Addictive Marijuana, Dead In The Water, Roadworn And Weary and Hungover Together featuring Amy Nelson. It also has tons of surprise guests and odd-ball covers. It’s a ramblin’, gamblin’, good-time-drinkin’, roadhouse rumblin’, party-time country hoo-haw recorded in Dallas, Austin, and San Diego. It’s 18 tracks and almost 70 minutes worth of pure bootleg dynamite, so don’t miss your chance to grab one ( or two, if ya want ) and we’ll send it right to you.
We’ve also decided to tear a page from the books of rock stars past and start our very own fan club! For a mere 15 bones you can join the Official Supersuckers Fan Club (we’re working on a better name for it – any ideas?) and in return you will recieve two clever and witty newsletters a year, an annual single available only to members ( it’s a Christmas single this year!) and whatever other crazy things we decide to toss your way.
The money you send will go to cover the cost of making and shipping the singles and the newsletters and the extra cash will go to lining our pockets and feeding our babies.
Next, I’ll write a bit more about the beginning of the Fan Club, Website and the On-Line Store… It’s no secret that the Supersuckers have a great site but it didn’t start that way. Stay Tuned. Donations are appreciated and remember anybody who donates or buys anything from my eBay store will be entered to win a guitar which includes a free lesson from Rontrose. It’ll be a lot of fun and most likely take place in Los Angeles sometime in September