“Must’ve Been Live” is also the first release on our own record label-Mid-Fi Recordings. We’re doing it all by ourselves now people- and we are hoping that being a fully independant, self-sufficient, music making machine will enable us to increase our output and our contact with the people who matter the most- our fans! Those awesome people who have embraced rock-n-roll as their personal savior and put their ears to the ground and found the Supersuckers! So order the record, buy a T-shirt and come to the shows. We WILL see you this year. Thanks for the support you evil bastards!
-Eddie Spaghetti January 2002
When I first met the Supersuckers, their site wasn’t anything like it is now. In 2001, if you visited the site, you were lucky to see a show listed and if it was listed chances are it had already happened. The site back then had music playing in the background that sounded like an AC/DC song played from a Casio. To say their site needed some updating was an understatement. Some fans might remember those days too. We started to develop more of an online presence in 2001 and 2002. The creation of the email list, the site, the online store, the personal posting by band members, new merchandise, information, etc…
While at Rhino and John Tesh, I recognized the importance of a web presence early. It wasn’t uncommon for Tesh to drop books on my desk as recommended weekend reading about the future of the internet and marketing. Everyone knew the internet was here to stay and it would prove to be the single most important way of connecting with the fans.
It was my belief that if someone was going to work for the Supersuckers then they had to be a fan. And the new site started to get designed by a fan. I felt like the fans wanted to see this band win and we needed to embrace and be grateful for the help offered. I wanted the Supersuckers site to be a one-stop shop. A place where a writer could visit the site and find everything they needed from the band bio to photo’s. Where a promoter could find a logo and an MP3. A place where a fan could get “helpful resources” if they wanted to make a flyer. Or where a record store could download a sales sheet. And of course where a fan could hear the latest from the greatest… And I believe we were way ahead of it in 2001 when we started the web store with MusicToday.
The relationship with MusicToday developed from my connection with RCA. The Supersuckers were one of the first bands to be part of the MusicToday online store and of course our account rep was a fan. Music Today is based in Charlottesville, VA, and during this time they did the store for the Dave Matthews Band. If it was good enough for Dave it was good enough for us. Personally, I thought it was a fantastic service and still do. We were able to track sales, track markets where merch was sold, sell a variety of merchandise from pint glasses to skate boards. And even offer digital downloads. In fact, they even did ticketing for shows. It was like a dream come true for me. Eddie would often write the descriptions for the products so the fans would get his thoughts on certain releases or shirt designs, etc. Again, it was that personal touch.
I really tried to make the connection with the fans and the band. I would entertain ideas from fans from merchandise items, to venues to play and artwork.
We even did a contest for some 7 Inch art (below was the contest that was sent to the list in Aug 2002). This was one of the better contests for sure, and what the Supersuckers didn’t use for the 7 inch maybe they’d consider for a shirt design. Either way, it got the fans involved and it was a lot of fun for everyone.
All right, plenty of shit has been going on in “camp ‘sucker” lately and rest assured you will hear about all of it very soon. But right now, and i mean right now, we need your help. Thunder Bolton, Dancing Eagle, Rontrose Heathman (that’s right…, Rontrose! ) and I wanna release three singles before the end of the year of some songs that we have laying around here and we want to offer you the chance to do the artwork for them.
So we’re gonna have a contest to see who kicks ass in the art world!
Here’s the deal: you send us totally usable, ready to print artwork for a 7″, 45rpm single and we give the winner 10 free copies of the single, a lifetime membership in the Official Supersuckers Fan Club, and the prestige of having done art for The Greatest Rock-N-Roll Band In The World to put on your resume. Sound good? We sure as fuck hope so, ’cause we’re dying to hook up with some good artists. Who knows where this will lead?
-“Givin’ It Away” b/w “Going Back To Tucson”
-“Beat To Shit” b/w “Cowboy Song”
-“Thinkin’ Out Loud” b/w “Girl I Know”
Don’t forget a place for the Mid-Fi logo.
Some of these titles may be totally familiar to you already, but rest assured, these are all versions that you haven’t heard before and they totally kick ass.
So get crackin’! We need these things by the 8th of August – that’s only a week away!!!
free the west memphis three!
MusicToday would allow us to feature new merchandise, contests, or a certain show in our emails to the list. Eddie would send an update to the fans and we could feature a new merchandise item without having to be to “sales heavy”. Eddie would load up iPods and we’d sell them in the store. We offered up the Sub Pop releases, the Koch releases including the WM3 benefit album and obviously the Mid-Fi Recordings titles. Everything from baseballs to baseball jersey’s which featured a band members name on the back.
There was one thing we did with the online store that really stood out more than anything else, and that was selling other bands merchandise in our store. I’m pretty sure most bands today don’t even consider this a possibility but we did it. We would sell merchandise from bands that the Supersuckers liked such as the Hangmen, Zeke or Jessie Dayton. At one point, we offered a live album from the late great Jerry Reed. We were all huge fans of Jerry Reed and we wanted to sell his live CD in our store too. So we got in touch with his distributor and purchased a box at wholesale and sold them in our store at the retail price. Rontrose wrote the description below for that release…
-Rich Robinson, The Black Crowes
“O.k. some of us are a tad more enlightened than others. No biggie. I first heard Jerry Reed from the soundtrack to that very movie. I have been in awe ever since. This record, while not his best, is a fine example of his genius. It is also his first live album, and considering he has been writing and performing for over 40 years you can bet that he has it down. His sense of humor and impossible chops are a unbeatable combination. It makes for some killer driving music. Standout tracks include a killer version of ‘Amos Moses’ and ‘Guitar Man’. Do yourself a favor and pick this sucker up. Rock on.”
If fans liked the Supersuckers I figured they would probably take a chance on some music released by bands the Supersuckers liked. We turned so many people onto so many great bands and artists and made a little money. It was a good call.
“Must’ve Been Live” was the foundation for this new beginning with the Supersuckers. I don’t think anyone can underestimate the importance of that release for the Supersuckers at that time. Most importantly, Must’ve Been Live would set the bar for their future releases and their next studio album…