How to Build a Band
Tom Dumont, No Doubt
"We grew a huge mailing list and used it to get the word out for every big show we did, which was usually every two or three months. We'd spend hours at Kinko's, making postcards or flyers and then even longer addressing and stamping them all. We had a very dedicated local following in Southern California which we made great efforts to nurture. [In 1995] We put out The Beacon Street Collection secretly, behind the back of Interscope [the band's label]. At the time, we were trying to write and record Tragic Kingdom, and the label wasn't excited enough to get us moving toward the goal of releasing our music. We had a great local following and just wanted to get something out to them. We recorded it and had it manufactured all by ourselves, and we'd sell it at shows and local record stores. The funny thing was, when we eventually showed it to our A&R guy, he just smiled and said, "Oh, so that's what you've been up to." They weren't upset about it at all, and after Tragic Kingdom, they ended up buying it from us and re-releasing it for us."
Dan Perkins, Lo-Fi Champion
Photo by Jack Gould
"I used to always make demos, and I would make the J-cards at Kinko's, so I just drew up a trophy on one and wrote my name and thought, 'What am I going to call this?' And then I thought, 'Lo-Fi Champion' because I made it on a four-track in my bathroom, so it's going to sound like shit. So I'm going to brag about the fact that it's going to sound like shit."
Jeremy Popoff, Lit
Photo by Jeanne Rice
"We used to go out and cruise. We had rehearsal during the night, and we'd go out during the day, and one guy would take one territory, and another would take another territory, and we'd go to Kinko's and make 5,000 to 10,000 flyers, and we'd put them everywhere and plaster every freeway onramp and exit from San Diego to the Valley. A couple of times, we got busted. We'd use wallpaper paste to put the posters up. They said the name real big and the show date at the bottom. There are some that are still up there; they just never came down. We'd hit all the major freeways. Someone would take South Orange County, someone would take Hollywood, someone would take the 57. It would take us all night, but we'd do it. The next day, we'd get phone calls. 'Dude, I saw a poster with your name on it on the 405.' You'd meet people, and they'd ask, 'What's your band name?' and you'd say, 'Lit,' and you'd see some kind of recognition. They had heard or seen the name before. It's like a subliminal awareness."
Sergeant Dave Hill, Orange Police Department
"Most cities and the state have a low prohibiting the posting of signs on any publicly owned property. It's a misdemeanor and the penalty is a fine. We take it very seriously."
Paul McAdams, Paul and Lara
"We mainly used computers to record our last album ourselves. We got a computer, a few microphones, compression. We pretty much used two amps to do the entire album. We started recording it up in Silver Lake when we were living there, just the two of us. When I would be doing a guitar track or vocal track, Lara would be manning the keyboard and vice versa. It was great. We've recorded in nice studios before, and the benefit of doing it this way was we were so relaxed, and we were able to take our time. Once we had the equipment there wasn't any pressure. I think the album sounds good and we can make as many albums as we want with this system. I understand how a lot of people are against recording albums digitally—and I love recording with a two-inch tape—but I love making albums, too, and this is how we were able to afford to make an album."
Monique Powell, Save Ferris
Photo by Jeanne Rice
Alison M. Rosen: Okay, correct me if I'm wrong but as a woman there is no way for us to pee on the side of the road and not get all wet and gross, right?
Monique Powell: I've done it. I've learned how.
But I mean you're still a little bit wet or can you totally pee and get up and be fine?
Well you know you drip dry but then you're all right. It's all in positioning. If you can lean your back up against a wall, like, on the freeway if you have to pull over the best thing to do is turn off the lights, keep the hazards on, close the door of the car, no don't close the door, keep the door open, passenger side and go to the back side of the car and lean your back, like a sitting position, keep your legs as far in front of you as possible.
Leaning against the door?
Against the car. My theory is that if guys can do it, girls can do it, no matter what it is.
Can we write our name in the snow?
I can write my name.
You have a long name.
Well, I just write "Mo" because I don't really have that big of a bladder.
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