Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for September, 2010

Announcement: The 1st Annual Rockonomics Tales From the PIT Open House will be held November 13th in Hollywood CA.  Please email me if you’re interested in attending. Donations are appreciated but anyone can enter.  Space is limited.  Guests will include Jordan Shapiro, Rontrose, Mike A, and myself to name a few.  All names will be entered into a lottery and 15 names will be pulled before Oct. 15th Don’t be late.

Also I’m going to attempt a podcast and I’d like anyone with questions to submit them by 9/24.  Questions can be directed to Rontrose and Myself.

So back to the nomics of the rock…  I’ve written a lot about the fans involvement and the Supersuckers transparency, willingness to take chances and embrace the fans.

In 2002 we did an art contest to design a cover for 3 different 7 inches.  Below are the details from the contest.  The fans got involved and the band got some great art.  We probably had 50 submissions.  I remember we were all surprised with how amazing some of them were too.  And some submissions were from people who weren’t fans but wanted a shot at getting their art used.  So this contest accomplished more than just great art from fans but it got people talking about the band to people who had no idea who the Supersuckers were.  Once again we were blazing that trail.

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?

   Anyway, here are the song titles and how they’ll be coupled;

-“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!!!

   Good luck,
   
eddie spaghetti, 
rock guy.
free the west memphis three!
www.wm3.org

August 2, 2002

The Supersuckers had great art and I admired the band for maintaining that image over the years.  The cracked logo alone is one of the most recognizable logo’s in entertainment.  Even If someone doesn’t know the band chances are they know the logo.  Asking people for artwork submissions might be considered a gamble but ultimately the band would have final approval so it was a chance worth taking.

"Givin' It Away" b/w "Going Back To Tucson"

We did things that other bands and labels wouldn’t consider. First of all what record label would even consider making 7 inches?  And could you imagine getting an email from Clive Davis or Christina Aguilera asking for art submissions for her next release.  After seeing her last cover maybe they should’ve considered our methods.

With the Supersuckers I felt we all had this sense of creativeness and freedom.  We had all the channels lined up to get whatever we had to the people.  From the web store to the record stores – we were covered.  And with this sense of freedom, having the bases covered, knowing the sales and the fans was perhaps the perfect catalyst for Eddie’s solo releases.   Eddie was already doing solo shows so an album made sense.

I’m sure the idea of a solo release had always been kicking around for Eddie.  What talented songwriter doesn’t want to make records.  It was recorded in three days in Seattle at Studio Litho and once again David Fisher was the man who captured the magic that became the Sauce.  The song choices are brilliant and the overall vibe of that release captured the songs and the spirit of that time.

Looking back at that release, I’m partial to the version of Sleepy Vampire on the Sauce more than the one found on MFBT.   And I particularly like Eddie’s guitar parts in that song too.  Best of all Possible Worlds and Peace in the Valley are just brilliant choices as well.  I believe this is the first time that Metal Marty Chandler records with Eddie too.  From what I understand the only song on the Sauce that featured a Supersucker, was Bottom Dollar, which Rontrose played on.  Like Bubble Gum and Beer, Sleepy Vampire also shows a direction that Eddie’s writing is starting to take.  Sleepy Vampire is a fantastic song and Killer Weed is an anthem that should be used in California’s Proposition 19 or at the very least on the show Weeds.

I never imagined Dan “Thunder” Bolton doing a solo release or doing much outside of the Supersuckers but I did imagine Rontrose.  I always felt that his exceptional guitar playing and artistic growth would result in more collaborations with other artists and perhaps a side project.  I remember him talking about forming a side band but I don’t remember the specifics.  I never looked at side bands or solo projects as anything that would interfere with the prize that was the Supersuckers.  In fact, my attitude was probably just the opposite.  Encouraging and supporting the guys to explore and be creative was a good thing.  A chance to play is a chance to play and push your creativeness.

The Sauce was soon followed up with Old. No. 2.  This release had a couple of my personal favorites but sold less than the Sauce and took one more day to make.  David Fisher captured the sound once again brilliantly.  Mike Musburger played drums like he did on the Sauce, like a Swiss watch!  It included a DVD and more of Eddie’s compositions as well.  It could be argued that some of these songs were some of his best.  Some People Say is beyond a doubt one of my favorite

Original Drawing done by Tim Gabor for B Side of LP

songs.  Lyrically and musically that song to me is amazing and a giant leap for Eddie.  I was lucky enough to watch them work on the song it in my back yard in Heber City, UT.   I Don’t Wanna Know was another instant classic with it’s catchy timing and chorus. The drums sound amazing, even the backing vocals are just perfect.  Here We Go is a bit personal and probably reflects Eddie’s feeling about moving from San Diego back to Seattle. I can only assume this but I can tell you that I helped him unpack some of those boxes once he got back to Seattle.  He had this storage center on the outskirts of Seattle that I had the pleasure of helping him clean out.

During the making of Old. No. 2 Jordan Shapiro was becoming more involved with the Supersuckers performing mostly pedal steel during the country shows.  But the relationship that Eddie and Jordan had would go way beyond the Supersuckers.  Jordan would eventually become a fixture at most of the Eddie Spaghetti shows and a lot of the Supersuckers shows.  His contributions on Old No. 2 are immense. See the video of I Don’t Wanna Know courtesy of Jeremy Hunt.

And here’s an actual ad w/ outtakes included.  Courtesy of Tim Healy

What Jordan presented to Eddie can’t be overlooked.  I felt that Jordan really helped push Eddie and was capable of painting Eddie’s vision.  This isn’t meant to take anything away from the the duo of Dan “Thunder” Bolton and Eddie Spaghetti, the ferocious sonic textures that Rontrose added or the Supersuckers, I’m merely pointing out how fortunate Eddie was to surround himself with talented payers who could add to his craft.

On October 13th 2005, Jordan sent an email out to the Supersuckers list…

Here’s a big international Hola to all you music fans with above average taste, and the Supersuckers collection to prove it!  We here in Mid-Fi land, thought that you out there in Supersuckerville could use a little shakin’ up. So, what we’re doing is replacing your normal Spaghetti dinner with a bunch of, you guessed it………………..ol’ number 2. And who better to spread a thick thick layer on you, than……………….Ta-Da!!!!!

Mr.Jordan Shapiro.                  Thank you.

You may be asking yourself something like: Who exactly is this mystery man? Or even more likely: Why did we give Eddie all those pharmaceuticals that seem to be causing his lapse in judgment?  The good news is: I suspect that the ever talented and hard working rock machine we know as the Supersuckers just might be starting some production on a new record. (I still call ’em records too, Eddie). This makes Rock Folks very tired, and sometimes even a bit edgy, (as most of you know, I imagine), so I’m gonna do my best to give Mr. Spaghetti a rest, and tell you a little bit about a certain record that is hittin’ the pavement NEXT WEEK on Oct. 18th!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Ladies and Germs, I am speaking of none other than Eddie Spaghetti’s  second solo record: “Old No. 2”!!( Pre order @ supersuckers.com or Amazon.com )  Now the thing about that is……….well, me, and Mr. Murderburger, and the ever ass kickin’ Drew “Lobster Claws” Church. And I would be remiss in not mentioning David Fisher, who recorded and helped produce this record, and the rest of the fellas who were around in one way or another for this recording Wilbur B., Kaz, and Brian “almost Dad” Ballsonfire etc, etc. And last but not least, our constant source of Mid-Fi love from above: Mr. Chris Neal. Take a bow, Chris. Goodgood, now back to the music……………

Being from the Supersuckers camp, you already know that we have no problem calling a Turd a Turd. I don’t care if you’re Christina Aguilara, if a musical turd is born, we’re callin’ it out! From Me to You: There ain’t a turd on this record!  You want some country, you got it!  You want a nice, melodic slow one (Sean the B#%$@rd I heard you just say “No!”) to soften the rough edges of the daily grind?  We’ve got it.   It’s called “Old No. 2”.    And You, YES YOU can have your very own copy of it ………….. for a very reasonable price (You have to read that part with an ‘old Jewish guy’ accent).  We all know bands whose talent for talking about their talent exceeds their actual talent. Rest assured, that is not the case here!!

For me this story begins a couple o’ few years back, when the ‘Suckers were coming to Los Angeles to play 2 shows with the 2nd greatest rock band in this sentence, The Hangmen. I had called Rontrose to offer my services as a pedal steel player for the country show, but he said another friend of theirs had called first, so maybe next time. Luckily, (for me and Old No. 2), Brian Small from the Hangmen called me up to ask me to help them out on the country night. I showed up early for sound check,(there’s a first time for everything), saw that Eddie & Co. had no sit-down guitar hero with them, offered up my services again, faked my way through sound check, and the rest is history.  I remember Eddies words to me were: “I don’t know what you’re doin’ over there, but keep doin’ it……you’re hired!!”  And Nashville cringed.

The country tracks on the Live in Anahiem DVD (Available @ supersuckers.com as well as Amazon.com) as well as the full country show bonus CD included, are from the 2nd time I was ever onstage with the guys at the Casbah in San Diego, home of none other than Dan “Thunder” Bolton.  Here’s to country music Supersuckers style!        (Clink of glasses…….Burp!).  As I said before, this is a “No Turds” recording, and we want to show the Turdgobblers of the world that they don’t have to settle for crap anymore……..oddly enough by buying “Old.no. 2″.  I had the time of my life trying to come up with guitar parts for the record. (As you can see in the DVD included with “Old No.2”) I thought Eddie just wanted me to come up and play a little pedal steel and dobro on his record.  When JDawg (Much love Mrs.S) and Q dropped me off at the studio, I walked in and looked around to see what was going on. I didn’t see any one but Dave, Eddie and Murderburger. “Where’s the guitar player?” was my first question. “Looks like it’s all you, buddy” was the general response.  Hell, I hadn’t even brought a guitar with me.  We borrowed some guitars from Kurt Bloch and a Blackface Fender Twin Ampifier from uh, some guy, and got to work. The running joke was something about the ‘chord charts’ Eddie had made and sent to me weeks in advance, so I would be familiar with the songs when I got there to put ’em on wax! Still waiting.  And a hearty “Good Lord”…… Rontrose style.

In case anyone is wondering, I played the whole record (pedal steel and regular guitar) through that Fender Twin. Most of It was played on Kurts 61′ Les Paul Jr.  If I hadn’t have played it myself, I’d have thought it was a Telecaster.  And I played that Danelectro on “I don’t wanna know”.  All the dobro was played on a piece of Sh#t Korean made Regal dobro with a huge hole in the back of it from where I dropped it testing the straplocks I made while drinking cough syrup from the pharmacy.  All of the Pedal steel was played on a Black Emmons D-10 Pedal steel guitar, straight into the Twin with a little reverb.  All in all, I’m not the kind of guy that tells anyone to buy a record I’ve played on, but I’m tellin’ you now, GET THIS RECORD and come see us next week.  We’ll be in SLC on Saturday Oct. 15th for an in store and a show, then back to Seattle for the same on Tuesday the 18th.   I’m sure my Moms and Pops and more will be at the Tractor tavern. Let’s call it “Family Nite” Or better yet: RECORD RELEASE PARTY!!!!!!!!!  Then We’re off to Tacoma, home of Mr. Rontrose! And down into Oregon, home of….. Oregon state prison, where I’m sure we have some fans. Don’t forget, you can kill 2 birds with one stone by coming to see us with Danko Jones and Turbonegro on the 20th at the Roseland Theatre in Portland. There are a couple of other shows in Bend,OR on the 21st, and in Eugene on the 22nd.  This record should hold you until the next Suckers record is done and released, and you might just find that as you listen, Eddie Spaghetti and Crew might just open up a genre of music you didn’t even know you liked!! From Bob Dylan to AC*DC, from Tom Waits to Willie Nelson, this record has it all, done Spaghetti-style.  That’s what we Like here in Supersuckers Country.

From us to you: with every pre order of “Old No.2”, you will receive an entry to win the Mid-Fi Guy’s Ipod. I dunno what all he’s got in there, but you might just get to find out first hand if you play your cards right!  Buy the album, and try it out:

Listen, drink, enjoy, drink, listen some more, drink, yell at your idiot neighbor, turn it up, keep drinking.  Repeat till you see metal bars in front of you, You’ve now had a successful Supersuckers listening party.  Cheers, and a Happy Yom Kippur to all the Landesmenn out there,

Jordan “Long Winded Guitar Hero” Shapiro

That’s it for now…   Looking forward to hearing from you and seeing some of you in Hollywood in November.  Thanks everyone for reading along.  The generous contributions are greatly appreciated and certainly are a

Courtesy Michelle Getchell 11/6/2007

great incentive to keep moving along… More to come.

Read Full Post »

These guys are on tour now…  It’s an entertaining show so don’t miss it.

I’ll see you in Salt Lake City…

09/20/10 Bourbon Street Baltimore, MD Pre-Sale Here
09/21/10 Brooklyn Bowl Brooklyn, NY Pre-Sale Here
09/23/10 Frankie’s Inner City Toledo, OH Pre-Sale Here
09/24/10 Howard’s Club H Bowling Green, OH Pre-Sale Here
09/25/10 Beat Kitchen Chicago, IL Pre-Sale Here
09/27/10 400 Bar Minneapolis, MN Pre-Sale Here
09/28/10 Nutty’s North Sioux Falls, SD Pre-Sale Here
09/30/10 Cervante’s Ballroom Denver, CO Pre-Sale Here
10/01/10 Hodis Half Note Fort Collins, CO Pre-Sale Here
10/02/10 Triple Nickel Tavern Colorado Springs, CO Pre-Sale Here
10/04/10 Belly Up Tavern Aspen, CO Pre-Sale Here
10/05/10 Urban Lounge Salt Lake City, UT Pre-Sale Here
10/06/10 Tonic Bar Reno, NV Pre-Sale Here
10/08/10 Red Fox Tavern Eureka, CA Pre-Sale Here
10/09/10 The New Parish Oakland, CA Pre-Sale Here
10/10/10 Fishlip’s Bakersfield, CA Pre-Sale Here

Read Full Post »

I’ve had people email me and ask about the Supersuckers and challenges that we faced at radio.  So here’s an exclusive Rockonomics Q & A with Michael Newman of Grill Marketing.  Newman was in the trenches with us while we did everything we could do get some radio play…

Most people don’t hear the Supersuckers on the radio but there were some moments for sure when it happened; WKZQ in Myrtle Beach, WRFF in Philadelphia, KIWR in Omaha to name a few…  Some bright moments  but not always easy.   Newman was one of those guys that we hired to help service the Supersuckers at radio.  Specifically he worked “Get it Together”.  I think it’s fair to say that Newman was always impressed with our contests, willingness to drop by a radio station, call a station, mail a CD, shirt, or an LP to a station.  If it meant that Eddie had to send a postcard or if Dan “Thunder” Bolton had to bake an apple pie chances are we would do it.  Because we had to do everything we could do to reach one more ear.  I can remember one time in Chicago when the band got back from the venue at 3:00 AM and then left at 5:00 AM to make the ManCow Show.  It was this Supersuckers dedication and perseverance that I loved to witness.  There was that magic that happened that words can’t really explain that I got to witness and I love sharing it…

Q: Am I right in assuming that the Supersuckers contests from the Les Paul Guitar giveaway’s to mailing shirts was impressive or is that really what a band has to do now to get some overall attention?

Contests always help. A Les Paul always helps. By the way, I never got mine… 🙂 People love free stuff. I mean, who doesn’t? It’s a bit trickier these days with what you hand over to a radio station thanks to a few boobs in this business but I know they certainly appreciate it. Even if it’s a couple of CDs for giveaways, it’s just a nice way of showing that you appreciate you showcasing the band on their radio show.

Q: Most independent bands don’t have deep pockets.  Is there a cost effective radio campaign that you can suggest to those on limited budgets for example a track on the FMQB CD?

Well, I consider my campaign pretty cost effective. Radio promotion is an expensive business. A full on modern rock campaign can start at $10,000 easily. I make my campaign cost effective for a couple reasons. One, as you mentioned, independent bands are working with limited budgets. I have no problem working within a band’s budget. I want them to have a shot at radio. they shouldn’t be excluded because they don’t have an RCA Records paying for their campaign. Two, I look at my campaign as a way of “dipping your toe in the water” to see if there’s anything there. If there’s genuine interest, then you may think about looking to do a full on campaign and hiring a larger company. If there’s no interest, then you haven’t bet the farm as they say and you can use your money to buy new instruments (kidding.) While tossing a track on a sampler certainly will help the overall visibility of a radio campaign, it’s nothing unless you have someone on the phones / email backing up that visibility.

Q:  What exactly is your specialty and how much can Specialty radio programs impact an artist’s career?

My specialty is, well, specialty! I’m the guy that gets to all the folks doing new music shows on terrestrial, internet and satellite radio. It’s these shows where people go to discover new music on the station they listen to without having the new Linkin Park crammed down their throats 50 times a week.

The second part of your question is a bit difficult to answer because there’s sure to be a difference of opinion with how people define “impact.” It would be egotistical (and ignorant) of me to say that had it not been for my specialty campaign for, let say, The Killers, they’d be still be playing lounge shows in Las Vegas. It just doesn’t work that way. I look at what I do as a grass-roots approach to marketing. The people I promote records to are the tastemakers. They’re lovers of music. They do their shows for the love of music. Most get paid peanuts for doing their show; some not at all. In my opinion these are the people that have the real impact on an artist’s career. If they like something not only will they be playing it on their show but I can guarantee you they’re talking about the artist to anyone who will listen. Especially in this day and age with the internet, word of mouth rules all.

I think like anything, careers are developed over time. It’s rare that I work with a new artist on their first album that goes on to be huge instantly. It’s usually after releasing a couple of EPs / albums that radio starts to pay attention. Does that mean they’ll like album two better than album one? No, but at least there’ll be familiarity and a better chance they’ll pick up the next release. I remember working at Virgin Records in the mid 90’s. We had an amazing roster (Gomez, Placebo, Daft Punk, The Verve) but none of these artists were instant successes. It was over a number of albums that we were able to build their profile at radio.

With my company, The Grill, I’ve been fortunate to work with a number of artists on their first albums that went on to bigger and better things. From Gnarls Barkley to Paramore, and more recently Neon Trees and The Temper Trap. Having said that, my specialty campaign alone doesn’t “make” the developing artist. I’m just one cog in the machine. A well put together team with radio, publicity, online marketing, etc can make a big difference. Oh yea… Great songs can help too.

Q: I remember I specifically wanted you to help work the Supersuckers to radio because you were a fan.  When did you become a fan and is there a specific story you’d like to share?

I am absolutely a fan. I think it was my first year of college in 1992. I was at UMASS Amherst and Sub Pop was in full stride. They had opened an east coast office in Boston that Joyce Linehan ran (Joyce now co-owns Ashmont Records with Joe Pernice) and soon they were signing bands like crazy. Sebadoh, Scud Mountain Boys from Western Mass and from the Boston area Green Magnet School, Six Finger Satellite, Combustible Edison. It was extremely exciting to be involved in the scene during that time so I started picking up almost anything the Sub Pop put out. I remember kicking around Northampton, MA one summer and I picked up a SPIN magazine just because it had a Sub Pop sampler in there. Sandwiched in there with Love Battery and Rein Sanction was the ‘Suckers “Mighty Joe Young” off The Smoke Of Hell. Even though they were something of an anomaly to the “Sub Pop” sound, I loved it. Anyway, that’s really all I needed to hear. I played that track for four weeks for anyone that came over to my place. A few months later I saw them with the Reverend Horton Heat and I’ve been a fan ever since…

BTW please send my best to Rontrose. I really like that dude…

the grill marketing & consulting

15106 crowne brook circle

franklin, tn 37067

newman@grillmarketing.com

Read Full Post »

Oh, check this out. We recently auctioned off a couple of iPods loaded 
up with Supersuckers songs on Ebay and it was such a success that we 
want to give one away!  Here’s the deal – everyone who makes a purchase 
from our web store during the month of May will have their name entered 
into a drawing to win a brand new 20 GB iPod all loaded up with 
’suckers gold! Also, any orders over $50 will receive a 10% discount. 
How’s that for good business? They don’t call me Crazy Eddie for 
nothing! We’re blowing it out! Everything must go! Good luck to you, 
shoppers.

Eddie Spaghetti, on the road between here and there, Cinco De Mayo, 
2004.

The fan club, email list, auctions, merchandise, touring, press, radio, ebay, all of these tools paled in comparison to getting to know the fans, and transforming what we did into an interactive experience for the fans.  With the Supersuckers every show was the Super Bowl and every day was fan appreciation day…

We put Eddie’s writing skills to work.  He wrote all of the descriptions for the items in the store, most of the descriptions for the eBay auctions, and the descriptions for the one sheets too. One sheets are basically sales sheets and these can make a lot of difference for your release so pay attention… Here’s the one sheet for the the Sauce; Eddie first solo effort.  Check it out.

http://www.supersuckers.com/media/evil/Eddie%20Spaghetti%20onesheet.pdf

Included in the one sheets were marketing highlights, strong touring markets, potential radio markets, testimonials from artists such as Willie Nelson or Eddie Vedder, and production and band credits. The one sheet’s are still on their site in the resources section.

Overall I thought we had great initial sales and was glad fans could see the sales numbers.  Bolton referred to it as “Team Man Stats” and he liked the idea of fans rooting for their Team: Supersuckers.  I often wondered why bands didn’t make their  sales numbers available.  I believed that showing our sales was just another way of having our fans involved with the business.  But most bands don’t share their sales with fans.  Silly isn’t it? Even McDonald’s tells you how many of their crappy burgers they sell.

Going back to 2001 when I met the band they had a u-haul trailer.  They owned their van but they rented a trailer.  I took it upon myself to figure out how they could buy one and save rental money.  A penny saved is a penny earned.  The solution was easy; sell ad space on the trailer to cover the costs.  Who wouldn’t want their logo on the side of a trailer that toured all over North America?  But we had to be careful with who might purchase the ad space.  We didn’t want to make the trailer too inviting and set ourselves up to have it broken into, so guitar or music gear companies were out.

How we got the funding is an interesting story.  The first step was having Eddie send an email out to the list asking if anyone was interested in buying ad space. This got us a few instant responses from fans that owned their own business, or worked for a business that had an ad budget.  And most importantly it got the word out.  Next we listed a side of the trailer on eBay.  I think the reserve was set at $500.  We used eBay all the time, selling everything from signed parking tickets to concert tickets.  It was the best advertising tool we had-bar none.  Some fans couldn’t wait to see what we might auction off next.  And I still sell stuff today so get to clicking…

Here’s a copy of the email that went out to the fans regarding the trailer…

Okay, we got this trailer we drag around with us everywhere we go and we like to offer people the opportunity to do a little advertising on the sides of it.  It’s a nice little piece of what we call “mutual exploitation”.  As you may or may not know, we travel a lot.  A LOT.  So we’re like a rolling billboard, exposing people all over the country (and Canada too) to the

advertisements on this thing.  We have no shame either – we’ve advertised everything from dog treats to skateboards to leather jackets – anything goes!  And we thought it’d be fun to auction off one of these ads, SO, if you have a business of ANY sort and you’d like people of all walks of life from all over North America to find about about it, here’s your chance to get

some very cost effective advertising out there – traveling around with The Supersuckers!  I know, we’re crazy. But that’s the way we like it, baby!

Eddie Spaghetti July 22nd 2005

A company called Hot Leathers was one of the companies that purchased ad space and sponsored the trailer.  I thought it was a good fit, great deal, and it eventually turned into a friendship that I maintain to this day.  So here we are rolling down the highway with a huge “Hot Leathers” ad on the side of the trailer.   Seemed like every time we pulled over at a gas station someone wanted to buy a leather jacket.  We also had the voice mail number on the trailer so anyone could call and inquire about buying ad space.

Last week, I reached out to Andy of Hot Leathers and I asked him if he’d like to share a story;

Your Ad Here!

I met Chris Neal in Aug 2004 when the Supersuckers played at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.  We had spoken on the phone before the band got to town and I knew we wanted to sponsor them in some way.  Having been a fan for years, I knew their fans and our customer base crossed over.  Well being the marketing genius he is Chris suggested maybe we put our Hot Leathers logo on the side of their trailer.  Now we had never advertised outside of the motorcycle industry so for us it was a gamble.  Less then 2 weeks later our Hot leathers logo was riding down the highway with The Greatest Rock N Roll Band In The World!

It has now been 6 years since we started this & Hot Leathers has made tons of new friends through the Supersuckers.  Doing this also lead to us sponsoring 2 other bands. Two Cow Garage from Columbus OH and I Can Lick Any SOB In The House from Portland OR.  I cant thank Chris enough for opening this door for Hot Leathers.  He is truly a class act and someone I consider a friend for life.

Andy George Hot Leathers Sept 2010

It’s important to note that we would have other companies logo’s on our shirts too.  A company would put their logo on one side and we’d have the cracked logo on the other.  This helped keep the costs of shirts down too when another company was willing to cover some of the costs.  We did this with CD’s too.  We’d sell ad space on the cover “Your Logo Here”.  We called this mutual exploitation.  Obviously a win win situation for everyone.  I never looked at it as “selling out”. We needed the help and it was welcomed.  I enjoyed being creative and drumming up ideas to save a few bucks,  and I was glad the band was willing to try different things.  Even their Fan Club was a bit different than most bands.

Fans would pay a small and reasonable fee for an annual  membership.  We gave the fans an option to buy 1, 2, or 3 year memberships or a lifetime membership.  Members would receive limited edition CD’s and DVD’s in the mai,l and could request guest list spots to shows.  A Lifetime aka “Goldtop” Member could request a ticket for themselves and a guest.  We also sent out signed Holiday Cards.

pretending to care

The Supersuckers and Mid-Fi

wish you a pretty good Christmas

and an okay New Year.

The cover of the fan club CD’s or DVD’s would always feature a letter from a fan.  The back would have a description from either Eddie or Ron about the contents.   I put a lot of effort into the fan club.  We would obviously put fan club members on the guest list for shows and 95% of the time we were able to accommodate them, even when they had the opening slot for Pearl Jam, Social Distortion and the Reverend Horton Heat.  Or when they opened for Jerry Lee Lewis and even for their 20th Anniversary show or the Hootenany.  Or when Eddie Spaghetti & Jordan Shapiro went to South America.  Anything Anytime for the PIT Members…

Fan Club Members or PIT members would usually be the first ones to hear any new songs and a couple times entire shows on DVD were sent to the members.  I always wanted to make those fan club members feel special because they were.  And I could count on them to promote a show or an album.  I knew if I gave away a pair of tickets to a fan club member, chances were they would bring someone new to the show and help spread the word.  Being on the bands guest list was special and worth bragging about.

At one point the Supersuckers had about1000 members.  Incredible, when considering the number of each record sold to the ratio of fan club members.  In other words, the ratio of people who purchased the releases and the number of people that were in the fan club was telling.  It’s safe to say 5% to 10% of the fans who purchased a CD were also in the fan club.  I’m certain there’s not many bands with that same ratio.  But we were hands on.  Some bands don’t run their fan club and most bands probably couldn’t name a member.  It all goes back to knowing your customer

Today it’s common for bands to have third parties send out emails on their behalf and encouraging people to be part of a street team or buy merchandise.   Over the recent years, the disconnect between the band and fan seems to have grown. While I understand the need to hire marketing companies, I’ll always feel bands must make certain whoever they hire has the same goals, is familiar with the music, and  has a passion for the job.  While I worked for RCA, I’ll always remember leaving those clubs and having some kid outside of the club hand me a flyer for a band he most likely knew nothing about.   Your bands street team should be your fans.  It’s that easy. Some fans are going to talk about the band more than others and some fans are going to be more dedicated than others but at the end of the day the person you want talking about your band is a passionate fan and not some college intern getting credit for passing out flyers for a band he’s never heard.  Until next time.

BTW the winner is Steve Hart.  So get in touch w/ me.

Chris Neal

christophercarterneal@gmail.com

Read Full Post »

Thanks for tuning in…

Read Full Post »

Once again, I’m making the case for “you’re only as good as the company you keep”.  As mentioned we were lucky to have the help of the fans.  My pal Andrew, is no exception.  He got involved knee deep with our efforts.  This guy was in the trenches, at the boarders, on the phone, at the merch booth, and in the van.  He was still working for the band long after I left (Oh we’ll get to that).  You could say he was my right hand man.  There’s no way I could’ve had the success without him.  We met in Boston outside a show when he helped me carry in a Marshall Amp and later that same night he was helping me sell merch and collect email address’.  He worked for the band for about 7 years.  I hope he’ll share some more stories but let’s get this first Q & A out to the people.  I can honestly say it was guys like Andrew, Diesel, Kaz, Brain Baltazar, Mike A, Sully, Wilbur, Paul Bodis, Rick Clark, Bartley, Charlie, Andy Gems, Cory, Jim Bullotta, Little Steven, Kevin from Lit, Jeremy Hunt, Adam Grimm from Satellite Amps, Frank and Paul from the Netherlands (BTW check out the Paceshifters), Hal, Andy George, Rhett Sander, Brent Hamilton, Mr. Moo, and the list goes on that made this run such a great experience.  And I hope all of them will contribute to the story of the Supersuckers.  Some already have.

Enjoying a Beer in Germany!

Q: How did you get turned onto the Supersuckers

I’ve been a big Pearl Jam fan for a long time and that’s how I first came across the Supersuckers.  Eddie Vedder did a few songs with the Supersuckers for a West Memphis Three Benefit, I think it was “Devil Doll” and “Poor Girl” by X.  Anyway, after hearing those songs, thanks to the wonders of the internet I delved into the Supersuckers and put together a little mix CD of a bunch of their songs that I regularly rotated through my CD player at the time.

Q: How did you meet the Supersuckers

I was in my first semester of college at the time and was doing a project where you had to go out and interview someone in the music business and then write a paper on it.  I saw that the band was coming to town (Boston was my town at the time) so I emailed Chris through their website and he was more than happy to accommodate me.  I had wanted to interview the band and I did end up interviewing Rontrose but little did I know I should have been interviewing Chris.  He was the guy behind the scenes and since I’m no Eddie Van Halen on guitar so I should have seen that I was better suited to learn from the guy who was making things happen.  Luckily for me, I guess Chris saw something in that green 19 year old kid, because he sent me home with some art proofs for some of the 7-inch singles the band was putting out at the time to send over to England.  Little did I know this would be the start of a long and invaluable relationship for me.

Andrew & Paul trying to find those Cracked Stickers

Q: What was it about the Supersuckers that made you want to work for them

At first it was the fact that they gave me the chance to work for them.  I was young and was happy to have any chance to get my foot in the door.  I felt it was an opportunity my peers at the time didn’t have.  Once I got in a little deeper, I truly began to see that this band had some really great songs and I just couldn’t comprehend why they weren’t bigger.  Sure, there were some songs that obviously weren’t going to get radio play like “Pretty Fucked Up” but it sure is a catchy song, my mom even remembers it to this day.  There were still songs that I thought should get some attention and I saw an opportunity to be apart of possibly breaking the band, ride their coattails if you will.  On top of this, Chris was willing to let me in and see what was going on behind the scenes.  I was, still am, eager to learn and I wanted to soak it all up.  He was slowly handing me more and more responsibilities and bouncing ideas off of me and letting me give my input on ways I thought we could raise the profile of the band.

Q: Any funny particular story you’d like to share

There are some really funny stories that I’d love to share but probably shouldn’t but there are some cool ones that I can share.  For one, meeting Lemmy for the first time was pretty awesome.  He is exactly as you’d expect him to be.  That guy isn’t an act, he is the real deal.  Another would have to be at the 20th Anniversary show which really could have been called a “Who’s Who Of The Seattle Music Scene.”  The bill was Zeke, Green River, and the Supersuckers.  It was the first time I’d ever gotten to see Zeke which was cool enough in and of itself but to see a band like Green River that hadn’t played a public show in something like 20 years was unreal considering where the members of that band have gone in their careers since.  I was tour managing for the Supersuckers at the time and was put on beer duty during the show since there were about 50 people in the tiny backstage at the Showbox and the beer was disappearing fast.  So basically while they were on stage I sat in front of the beer telling people they couldn’t have any.  I knew who some of them were but not who all of them were.  After the show was just unreal though.  Ron introduced me to Mark Arm of Mudhoney and Stone Gossard of Pearl Jam and was nice enough to talk me up so I’ll never forget Stone Gossard saying to me, “So, I hear you’re pretty awesome.”

Even the Cops in Serbia dig the Supersuckers!

What are you doing now

Luckily, I’ve managed to get some pretty great people in this business to believe in me so somehow things keep seeming to work themselves out every time I’m about to throw in the towel.  I tend split my time between tour managing, the occasional PR project with Black & White PR (we’ve been lucky enough to have some amazing clients in the past – The Hellacopters, The Wildhearts, Backyard Babies, the list goes on), and doing some marketing/promotion for a local club.  Anyone need a tour manager??

Andrew Demarest

ademarest02@earthlink.net

Read Full Post »