I wrote essays and sidebars in all three of the following deluxe illustrated histories! The Rush book will be available in a week or two, while the other two books carry October/November 2013 publication dates. Of note: Martin Popoff wrote the primary narrative for the Rush and Metallica titles…meaning, those are his books…name on the spine and all that. I mention this because Martin is probably my favorite working music writer, so there’s that cherry on top.
“In this book, the first complete illustrated treatment of the band, acclaimed heavy metal journalist Martin Popoff leads a roster of respected heavy metal writers to take on Metallica’s entire history, analyzing each of the group’s ten studio albums (including 2011’s LuLu collaboration with Lou Reed) and providing a complete discography.”
While this is nothing less than intensely-flattering, this credit is courtesy of someone else, as I’d like to think that I’ll never be a true expert so long as the energetic curiosity accompanies the writing endeavors.
The description text avoids mentioning the writer element at work with this and every other book in existence, but this Amazon listing does have my name on the “marquee” so that means it comes back for round 2 in the form of a bio-blurb bringing up the bottom of the page. All of this would be splendid if I wasn’t the type to totally fixate on grammatical errors/typos in this context.
Andrew Earles (Memphis, TN) has written for Vice, Spin, Magnet, The Onion A/V Club, Paste, and Decibel. The author of Husker Du: The Story of the Noise-Pop Pioneers Who Invented Modern Rock (Voyageur Press), lives in Memphis, Tennessee.”
…would be a lot cooler if it read like this:
“Andrew Earles (Memphis, TN) has written for Vice, Spin, Magnet, The Onion A/V Club, Paste, and Decibel. The author of Husker Du: The Story of the Noise-Pop Pioneers Who Invented Modern Rock (Voyageur Press), Mr. Earles lives in Memphis, Tennessee.”
“The authoritative text is complemented by album reviews written by well-known music journalists from around the globe, commentary from fellow musicians, a discography, and hundreds of photographs and pieces of memorabilia, including picture sleeves, gig posters, rare vinyl, handbills, ticket stubs, and much more.”
….writing laps around my ass. Originally appeared @ Still Single…..
April 25, 2013
There is something very “it was written…” about this band. Maybe it’s that its members are the fingers to the hidden hand controlling all y’alls taste in music. Or maybe it’s the tenacity – fully exhibited no matter where you happen to check in: song, album, career. The gist of ‘em is in each of the parts, like a Homeric epic. Then again, how is Endless Boogie not like Ancient Greek song culture? They’re old, tough, epic, intimidating, hard to penetrate yet built so that misunderstanding them is impossible. They test endurance, and that is not to say only for the listener. Most of all, and fully realized in Long Island, Endless Boogie’s endowment makes itself manifest through sheer pronouncement, much like the hero Achilles, early in the Iliad, declared his own fate.
I hear ya…. “Hey there! Ho there! Whoa there! Some dude who calls himself ‘Top Dollar’ just casually recommended that I not trust William Tecumseh Sherman in the song after a song called ‘Taking Out the Trash’; itself explicitly stating (in an arbitrary rallying call), My intentions are unclear!” –
You take these things as alerts to not take this band too seriously. Your ready-whipped complacence is acquiesced in a Village Voice interview with the band. In turn, you pledge allegiance to a band like say, Purling Hiss – who take the piss as vaguely as possible, because an understanding of the benefit to maintaining creative plausible deniability is somehow built into the sociobiological make-up of an uncertain cross section of contemporary rock music, which also mismanages any real libidinous urgency. Naming a song, “Lolita” does not summon the desired effect; it draws attention to its inadequacies. Whereas the first song off Long Island, “The Savageist,” although not only refuses to recompense cultural signifiers, but also not a recognized word, does eventually make you feel like a naughty little girl around its 11th minute.
In spite of its flushing effect, I’d be willing to bet – in fact I am certain – that much of what is captured on Long Island cuts premature of spontaneous laughter from within the band. The music is impromptu, but much like Zappa Plays Zappa, it aims to simulate an onus of musicianship. When perfect recreation is met, it is recognized, and it’s hilarious. If you have held the records in your hands that these fellows have, nurturing them from patent obscurity to market absurdity, you’d find that the only honest end to making music is fraternity. The lack of tact here is mine, meant only to illustrate the impossibility of writing music, when you have inadvertently built the siphon for so much of it. (http://noquarter.net) (Elizabeth Murphy)
The following was submitted elsewhere, but did not run due to some
editorial changes…seemed appropriate now that we’re all post-RSD 2013…
Vinyl & eBay…A Fascinating Relationship of Our
I glanced at a F.A.Q. page for the first time within the last two years. Arrogance is the motive behind my resistance to this omnipresent form of online assistance, as I felt that any “frequently asked question” must be the noise of nimrods, a tiny sound-bite from the mass-mantra. While I am smarter than most people, it did come as a surprise that some sites featured F.A.Q. pages that were actually helpful, or rather, I could tell that they’d be really beneficial to dimmer bulbs, if you get my drift. It only made sense to parlay this influence of enlightenment into Vinyl & eBay…A Fascinating Relationship of Our Times Vol. 3: Not Just Frequently But Incessantly Asked Questions. Enjoy!
“While all of the other people in the store are trying to listen to my randomly-assembled, half-shouted bullshit about each record that I pick up, the owner of the place always interrupts by saying ‘that one goes for a lot more than that on the ‘net’…what is this guy’s fucking problem? What does that have to do with my friend who rode the elevator with Man Man at SXSW last year?”
The proprietor of the store is a classic example of the “Doin’ You A Favor” record-peddler. His one party-line is of maddening simplicity, and it can be triggered by an act of nonchalant discontent or little more than the handling of a particular piece of inventory. Like anyone who can squeeze a goddamned foam ball with his/her left hand, I would hope that you’d never react or reply as if an altruistic saint had chosen to throw a financial bone at your feet. Furthermore, this behavior is based NOT on the historical performance of the record in an online setting (meaning, any avenue that offers a look at completed sales/auctions), but on stagnate set sale prices that the store-keep came across while perusing Amazon or other vast frontlines of delusional pricing practices.
As for your buddy and his SXSW experience; I’d really love to hear that one, and will be in touch. I’ll even let you tell me in a rad public environment, so you can get the added benefit of an audience of complete strangers.
“So, what is the deal with records pressed in the 1990’s? Why are they worth so much money?”
Well, because they are so much better than the bullshit that you and your friends make today. Just kidding. Sort of. The idea presented in the question is partial myth, and is fueled by the major-label/indie-label dichotomy of that specific era. When I first became hypnotized by uncontrolled intake of music, vinyl was the cheapest way to go. The first album I ever mail-ordered with my own money, back in the 11th grade, was Polvo’s classic debut, Cor-Crane Secret. Because I had allotted $10 for the order, I got the brand new record for $7 and a Merge Records t-shirt for $3, and I got them within two weeks of having sent off my well-concealed cash. When I wanted to replace my factory-cassette of Dinosuar Jr.’s You’re Living All Over Me with a proper vinyl copy (it being my favorite album of all time…to this day), I sent SST a fiver and two ones folded up in a piece of notebook paper. Anyone want to wager a quick guess as to how long it took to get the record? I will soon reveal the answer.
The point is this: Indie labels released vinyl versions of a title at prices that beat the shit out of the $12+ you’d pay for the album on CD. But when major labels started snapping up great bands, the vinyl versions of their albums were either released through an agreement with the band’s former indie label home, through a fake indie, or by the major itself. An example of the first situation is Amphetamine Reptile handling the vinyl concerns of the bands Helmet and the Melvins, while each band navigated a relationship with a major label. The second situation is exemplified by Steel Pole Bath Tub’s Scars From Falling Down being released by “Genius Records”, a sub-label created and owned by Slash Records. But when a major got into the vinyl game with a band, it almost always had some serious drawbacks. Titles were automatically limited because the majors remained in the dark about the early-90’s/mid-90’s consumption of vinyl, therefore saw it as a vanity write-off. And for some reason, the majors had a habit of issuing poor-quality vinyl, or import-only vinyl, or both. One common denominator across the entire spectrum of major-label issued vinyl in the 90’s is that it usually in limited editions, and this had nothing to do with the traditional promotional push that comes along with publically announcing a record’s limited edition status, and everything to do with the major label’s regard for what they saw as a dead format. The notion that an established band, like for instance, Stereolab or The Jesus Lizard might have a more grassroots following that bought vinyl, due to early albums on independent labels, was either totally lost or simply dismissed by the major labels. Still, many great albums were released on CD only, even by indie labels. The first Built to Spill album, Ultimate Alternative Wavers and Silkworm’s In the West are two albums that desperately need a deluxe vinyl makeover, but that’s a crusade for another time and writer.
The limited and shitty nature of major label vinyl in the 90’s was not limited to credible, name-droppable indie rock. Godawful alt-rock, mainstream and post-Y2K-cool artists all have vinyl representation from the 90’s that is now worth a considerable amount of money: Filter, Soundgarden, Smashing Pumpkins, Neil Young, Tom Petty, the Boss, Nine Inch Nails, Pearl Jam, Candlebox, Paul McCartney, Alice In Chains…you name it, if it was pressed by a major label on vinyl in the 90’s, that edition (otherwise known as “the first edition”) will still command the stuff that makes the world go round, regardless of how many reissues exist in more recent times.
Concerning more mainstream realms, by 1990 or 1991, CD’s had completely overtaken vinyl in the retail arena and pushed the elder format into collector and underground/indie niches. When I first began to seriously buy music in my mid-to-late teens, vinyl was almost exclusive to indie labels and it was a way to save money on a desired album. Through mail order and up until the mid-to-late 90’s, Merge Records sold their new vinyl for $7. SST the same. CD’s were always priced at least $10. But major labels executed a drastic drop in vinyl production, and reserved the format for alternative, pop-punk, grunge or metal artists. As such, an original copy of Monster Magnet’s Dopes to Infinity, Tad’s Inhaler, Stereolab’s Transient Random-Noise Bursts With Announcements, Slayer’s Divine Intervention, or Mercury Rev’s Boces was sure to be pressed on thin, shitty vinyl and packaged in the least expensive manner possible. 2LP sets were RARELY afforded gatefold treatment. Much major label was imported from the UK, as that area of the world wasn’t as quick to abandon the format, but this didn’t increase the quality at all.
The point is this: Because the pressing amounts were lowered to unknown but paltry #’s, original major label vinyl from the 1990’s is eBAIT all the way. Of course, it helps if the band or album in question has at least a small fan following, due to this being the era of the last great major label feeding frenzy. Post a bunch of LP’s by The Miss Alans, Big Chief, Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine, Candy Skins, Green Apple Quick Step, Dig, Nudeswirl, Ned’s Atomic Dustbin, Poi Dog Pondering, Shirk Circus or Silverfish and you’ll be walking those records into a store within two weeks.
“I walked into a record store the other day, and a middle-aged customer was trying to sell a stack of records, but he was very upset over the offer made by the store’s owner. He exited in a huff after refusing to sell his badly-beaten copies of Three Dog Night’s Greatest Hits and Billy Thorpe’s Children of the Sun. It was then that the store proprietor turned to me and said, ‘That’s what happens when you’re at the bottom of the record-hustling food chain, you know what I mean?’ I replied, ‘Yeah, totally’ but he immediately shot back with ‘No you don’t, shit-for-brains, because you’ve been waffling between Ponytail and Youth Lagoon records for half-an-hour. Get out of my sight and don’t come back until you can recite the principals of the Record-Hustling Food Chain!’ Can you help me?”
Really? The store’s proprietor said that? Very odd story you have there. I was certain that the “Record-Hustling Food Chain” was something I coined and assembled, in private, about a month ago for the express purpose of using it in this series of writings. That’s unsettling news, to say the least, but since you’re here, I give you…
The Record-Hustling Food Chain:
MIDDLE: Discogs, Gemm, etc
Message Board Sales
Flea-Market, Record-Swap & Consignment Bin
Sales to One’s Contemporaries
BOTTOM: Yard or Stoop Sales
Walking records into a brick-and-mortar establishment
“I really don’t like to spend time in the type of record store known as ‘a digger’ because there’s never any cool people hanging around, or cool looking people hanging around. It’s always just me and some old man behind the counter, and no one to hear the jokes and rad stories I like to blurt out at top volume. Is there any way for me to flip records without leaving the house?
I will touch on a certain big-box store that has quite an odd way of pricing its used vinyl, but only if it means you’ll never leave the house again. Ever sniped new listings on eBay? It’s a skill that might prove useful in this situation. Lucky for you (and for those of us who have to come up with content for a F.A.Q. spoof), they leave the “out-of-stock” items up for weeks after they have left the building. Realizing that you missed out on some STUPID deals can be character building. What store is it? Here’s a hint: Think 4th tier, disorganized and already closed in more than half of their original locations. What do you call an event organized around the sampling of different wines? “Wine ______” It rhymes with the missing word. Here are some recent deals that someone else is bragging about…
(All used vinyl. Store price is followed by approximated high-end eBay worth)
Liz Phair “Whip Smart” LP for $1.99 ($35.00)
Lush “Split” LP for $2.99 ($50.00)
R.E.M. “Automatic For The People” LP for $2.99 ($90.00 – $100.00)
Morrissey “Maladjusted” LP for $2.99 ($75.00)
Interpol “Our Love To Admire” LP for $2.99 ($45 – $60)
We Are Scientists “With Love and Squalor” LP for $2.99 ($85.00 – $100.00)
AC/DC “Ballbreaker” LP for $2.99 ($75 – $125)
Bruce Springsteen “Rising” LP for $3.99 ($225 – $275)
Faith No More “King For A Day” LP for $3.99 ($50 – $75)
Blood Ceremony s/t LP for $4.99 ($40 – $75)
Velvet Revolver “Contraband” LP for $4.99 ($50)
Paramore “Riot” for $4.99 ($50 – $100)
Grinderman “Grinderman 2” for $4.99 ($30 – $50)
R.E.M. “Out of Time” for $4.99 ($50 – $75)
“So what’s the deal with white-label promos?”
White Label Promos, also known as ‘WLP’ or ‘WHT LBL PROMO’ in many title lines, are exactly that: The limited, often higher-quality vinyl pressings sent to radio stations, magazine editors and whoever else got promos in the late-60’s until the mid-80’s, when most promos ceased to actually have white labels. Many folks starting out in the record-flipping hustle operate behind the misconception that all promos are worth more than their proper, store-sold counterparts. That is, until they post a WLP version of the Shoes’ Tongue Twisted LP eight times and can’t sell the thing for $2. The promo equation is a very simple one: A white-label promo of, a record that went on to sell innumerable copies is going to be a white-label promo that brings the good stuff, ESPECIALLY if the band is already established, and obscurity brings the pain.
“The limping man-mound that runs a “digger” store in my town always mentions how much a record is ‘in the book’ because the prices on the old-ass stickers were valid back when alphabetical organization was used in the store. Plus, he doesn’t seem to have or know how to use a computer. Sometimes, he says ‘check back on this one…I need to research it’ and doesn’t let me buy it! I forgot what my question was…”
Learn to love “the book”…it is your best friend. Even the most recent Goldmine guides are grossly inaccurate when assessing the REAL VALUE of many records, namely those released since 1990. And by “REAL VALUE” I mean one thing: What eBay dictates as worth. These types are terminally paranoid about customers ripping them off, and nowadays, “ripping them off” means flipping that business for a serious profit margin on “the eBays” or “inter-web” or whatever term is used for that wasteland that populates his nightmares.