AUX2: Lords / Coliseum split 7"
Released June 2004, Out Of Print
The Lords / Coliseum split 7" was the first true Auxiliary release. My great friend and then-roommate Craig Sopata agreed to be my partner in the label, and he became the financier of the first couple of releases. Craig had a "real world" job and I had a "punk rock" job at Initial Records at the time, so among us we figured we had all the bases covered. Evan was the third party who also contributed ideas and his screen printing ability.
The split 7" was planned to coincide with a "Maximum Louisville" tour in the summer of 2004. The tour would kick off with a free show in Louisville featuring Breather Resist, Kodan Armada, Coliseum and Lords, continue for two weeks with Breather, Kodan and Coliseum through the Midwest, then two additional weeks on the East Coast with Coliseum and Lords.
We'd essentially scrapped the idea for the record as the date for the show and tour grew closer and neither band had recorded their songs. I can't recall what inspired us to put it back into action, but on the last weekend of May 2004 Coliseum and Lords both recorded their songs at Lords member Chris Owens' guerilla studio. I can't quite do justice to Owens' studio at the time, which he dubbed "Headbanging Kill Your Mama Music." It was a two room attic in the back of a building that housed band practice spaces and wholesale restaurant dinnerware. It was a site to behold... Filled with White Castle and Taco Bell trash, random studio gear, duct taped headphones, etc. It was ridiculous but fun.
Coliseum recorded the songs "No Salvation" and "Born To Hang," which Chris sang, while Lords recorded "Talking Whip," "Impeach Pit," which I sang and gave the worst 90210 pun song title of all time, and a cover of Marilyn Manson's "The Beautiful People." We tacked on Coliseum's Fear cover, "I Don't Care About You," from our previous LP sessions and we were done. A CD-R was overnighted to United Record Pressing in Nashville, and a few weeks later the vinyl was in our hands.
When starting the label, we had a few basic ideas that we wanted to follow. This was in the beginning of the downfall of many indie labels that had been going strong since the nineties, as well as the impending end of Mordam, a distributor since the eighties that was the last massive bastion of true punk/indie ethics in its approach. There are still distributors large and small out there now, but Mordam was the home base for countless labels, providing strength in numbers and a safe haven for everyone involved. CD sales in general were taking a sharp decline for everyone and when Mordam announced that it was being sold to Lumberjack Distribution, it sent many indie labels into a tailspin. Initial Records was already on its way out, but there were many casualties in the years to follow. Even most of the small-to-mid size indie labels that survive to this day have had to cut back or operate in a very different way.
But, I digress... I was seeing things while working at Initial that were dragging the label down. The costs of operating an office, paying employees, advertising, etc. The costs of giving bands adequate budgets to record at good studios was increasing, but sales were abysmal. Mordam was taking pre-orders and making suggestions of amounts of CDs or LPs to manufacture, then the actual sales would be much lower, leaving considerable amounts of dead stock and more expenses that couldn't recoup. We were trying to scale back, but it wasn't working. Of course, I had a different vision of music and of records that I wanted to put out, and my tastes in records I want to release are generally of the variety that might sell one thousand copies, instead of ten or twenty thousand.
So, Auxiliary would keep things on the cheap, put out records in amounts we knew we could sell on tour and through mailorder. We'd record them ourselves when possible, we'd design them ourselves, we'd create the packaging by hand when possible. While we hadn't made this decision yet, this idea eventually extended into putting out only Louisville bands, people in town who understood the scenario and weren't expecting a massive publicity and promotional push. When our bands that needed more than that, we looked to other more established labels.
The Lords / Coliseum split 7" packaging idea was Evan's, we found a stack of extra paper in the back of the Initial / Monkey Drive office, figured we could print two-up on a sheet, cut them diagonally and have a totally unique cover for practically no money. We photocopied and folded inserts then glued them to the inside. We put the Initial Records logo on the covers so that Mordam would distribute it to stores. I believe we did all the printing the night before the tour kickoff show, Evan, Craig, and I hanging out all night at Monkey Drive screen printing shop printing and cutting covers. At the show we were still folding covers and gluing inserts as people filed in.
I still like the design, it's simple but effective and somewhat interesting. The damn octopus tentacles coming out of the top of the car have been seen in about a million different places, once again coming out of the animal clip art book I often used at the time. I even reused the image myself a time or two for some reason. I'm often torn between the idea of trying to find completely unique source images for collages or just going with something that looks cool used in a unique way.
It was a really fun release from start to finish. As time goes on and we all get busier and busier, great flashes of inspiration and late nights putting a project like this together become less frequent. There's still plenty of excitement when getting a professionally made release back from plant, but nothing compares to this type of project.
Oh yeah... The cover was subtitled "Maximum Louisville Split Series Volume I." Obviously we didn't continue with this idea, none of the other records panned out and the "Maximum Louisville" tag wore out after a bit as well.
The Beautiful People
Born To Hang
I Don't Care About You
100 on clear vinyl with blue print
100 on blue vinyl with red print
300 on red vinyl with red print
(I really loved how they Karp-ified this song.)