How I started a Record Label in my parents basement

i'm not one to reflect on the past, mostly because i have a horrible memory... but i guess people see what i'm doing with the lathes and printing and stuff and ask me how it got to this point... and i usually throw out some short story so it doesn't take up too much time and we can all move on to whatever the next thing we have to do is... but driving home tonight, got me thinking... not about the progress over the past 5 years, but of what made me want to start this in the first place. now, i'm not a blogger or a writer and my grammar isn't necessarily the best, but i thought i'd leave this here so there is at least something for me to look back on one day when my memory is completely shot and remember how much this music has made an impact on my life... maybe it will inspire someone else to do whatever's in their heart... or just give someone something to read to take their mind off things while sitting in front of a computer at a job they hate.




As long as I can remember there have been 2 constants in my life: Music and Pro Wrestling. Even after all these years I've never been able to get rid of my old CD collection (or box of Hasbro Toys)... I didn't start collecting records until some time in college. i can't exactly remember the first one I bought, but i do remember starting to see them pop up at some bands merch booths and snagging a "Dance in My Blood" remix 12" at a Men Women & Children show. It was just a blank white jacket w/ center hole cutout and I popped one of the free animal mask stickers they were giving away on it...

There wasn't anything flashy or special that made me gravitate towards vinyl, I just remember there was a point where I stopped buying CDs. Having an iPod made it easier to bring a lot more music with me anywhere... but something about buying it from the band at a show made for a cool trinket or memory I could bring home and listen to. It made the music feel special because I could hold it and needed to make an effort to listen to it... Like actually set aside time to really listen, it wasn't something I could just pull out of my pocket and press play or shuffle.



After graduating I moved back home to find a job and try to figure life out. I found myself going through my parents old records that were laying around the basement. On weekends I would riffle through the used bins at Jack's Music Shoppe in Red Bank. Sure the records were all beat to fuck, but they were so cheap I could buy music I normally wouldn't listen to and still had a few bucks left over for booze... I went through so many bottles of wine that summer sitting alone in my room listening to a Count Basie record I bought for like $2... Reading that back it sounds like it might have been dark, depressing time... but I loved it. It was great to be able to do nothing but get a little buzz and enjoy the music.



Shortly after I landed a job at a music distribution company and took the liberty of helping myself to the promo records they had in the back storage room which over the next few years increased my personal collection greatly. I remember there being boxes of Manchester Orchestra "I'm like a Virgin..."  Annuals "Such Fun" and MEW "No More Stories." That shit hole of a room felt like a fluorescent lit heaven with some real gems if you spent the time to unearth whatever you were looking for.   I started buying more records online instead of just at shows, seeking out my long time favorites... Further Seems Forever... Every Time I Die... As Tall As Lions... honestly, I could name drop all day but that's not the point of this. Eventually I noticed there would be a record I loved but couldn't find or had never been pressed. It made me start wondering what was the actual process of making vinyl in the first place?... I mean everyone knows how the fuck a CD burner works, but how does someone make vinyl? Well, as luck my have it, spending 4 hours a day - EVERYDAY - commuting on a bus to work gave me plenty of time to start doing research on the process, different manufacturers, costs, turnaround times, etc... Now I'm sure I've said it before, but if it weren't for Penfold's "Our First Taste of Escape" I probably would have never started this label. I had gone to see them so many times during High School, in basements, churches, vfw's... The memories I have that - that band basically played the soundtrack to, gave them a permanent place in my heart. And in my head I think this all was originally going to be a one and done kinda thing to put out that record. But how? The band had long broken up, all the sweet GeoCities and Angelfire sites that were around in 2002 had vanished from the internet. I didn't know any of them personally, and I had never put out a record before.. I mean, I wasn't a "record label" I was just some dude living at home with his parents. I had no idea what I was doing and no one to tell me where to start... Figuring it out on my own was difficult and it took a some time to connect all the dots... But I believe things happen for a reason and if it weren't for those delays I might have missed the inspiration from the one 7" single that set off the spark in my head to start doing different things with the packaging... but if i can be real, I haven't typed this much in a long time and it's getting late... so maybe i'll pick up on that next time...

Read Part 2 -> 

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