Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The story of... AUX7 - COLISEUM and DOOMRIDERS Not Of This World 12"

AUX7: Coliseum and Doomriders 
Not Of This World: A Salute To Danzig split 12"
Released December 2005

Am I Demon (Danzig cover)
American Machine
Ride On Death Riders
Hell Roaring
Possession (Danzig cover)

966 copies total
100 red & white swirl vinyl with foil stamped cover
566 white vinyl
300 black vinyl (second pressing at later date)


The idea for the Coliseum / Doomriders split came up during Coliseum's first tour in Summer 2004 while hanging out with Nate Newton from Converge at his house in Salem, MA. Nate was putting music on my iPod and there had been rumblings around about his new band Doomriders, a thrashy skaterock hardcore band, who had just recorded a demo. Nate played me the tracks from the demo and I was hooked, they were awesome punk/hardcore songs with skating and "fuck the man" inspired lyrics. This was exciting to me and many others because it was the first time Nate had been the full-time frontman of a band since Jesuit. Nate suggested we do a split, I agreed, and we were off.

I believe I first met Nate and the rest of Converge sometime in the late 90s or early 2000, when I was in the National Acrobat and we opened for them at the Creepy Crawl in St. Louis. Nate was the first to come up and introduce himself and as years went on and paths crossed we remained in contact and we all became friends. Those guys were incredibly gracious to the Acrobat, inviting us to play a weekend of shows with them and Cave-In, including a mind blowing packed show at CBGBs that the Hope Conspiracy also played, some of whom also came to be some of my greatest friends I've met through music. I suppose an Acrobat related post should grace this blog sooner or later...

So, anyway, the Coliseum / Doomriders split took over a year to come to fruition, as these things tend to do. Doomriders recorded their two songs during the sessions for their Black Thunder LP at Kurt Ballou's Godcity and Coliseum recorded our three songs sometime over the summer of 2005 at Chris Owens' current Headbanging Kill Your Mama Music studio.

Doomriders' Danzig cover, "Possession," was incredibly true to the original, complete with backwards guitar fading in at the beginning and Nate's great Danzig-esque crooning. I have to say I was pretty blown away by this... I expected a more Doomriders slant on the song, but they really hit this one on the nose and it was awesome. Their original song, "Hell Roaring," was a great barn-burner showing their mastery of combining d-beat and classic rock. I think they were still playing the song live as late as 2007, although I never saw them play the Danzig cover...

None of this would be complete without mentioning that Danzig himself invited Doomriders to open for him a couple of years later. First for one show and later for an entire tour... Incredible! Supposedly he heard this record and then invited Doomriders to play the shows soon after.

Coliseum covered "Am I Demon," which has always been my favorite Danzig song. I wholly believe that the first Danzig album is among the best hard rock / classic metal albums of all time, it's always irked me that this record hasn't really received its due in the annals of rock history. Our cover is not particularly true to the original, but wasn't too far removed. We dirtied the song up, played it at a lower register, cut out a verse, and made it a bit more Coliseum overall. Our then-drummer, Matt Jaha, is a virtuoso guitarist and he handled the solo in a much better fashion than I could've... We pretty much had Matt shred on his own, while throwing in bits of John Christ's original solo themes. We recorded two originals for the split, "American Machine" and "Ride On Death Riders." At the time "Ride On Death Riders" seemed to be a favorite for many people, its title a nod to Doomriders. "American Machine" took some Black Flag influence and maybe a bit of From Ashes Rise, our friends and tour mates who had recently disbanded. I've always really loved the opening riff to "American Machine."

Coliseum still plays "Am I Demon" as an encore occasionally. Last year, while on tour with Converge, Nate joined us on stage a few times to sing it with us, which was really fun. Mike "Gunface" from the Red Chord also joined us onstage once to play second guitar and knock out the solo, a true shredder and extremely nice fella.

It might also be worth noting that these were the first songs Coliseum recorded as a trio and these are the only songs from any of our split releases that don't appear anywhere else. Our great friend Greg Drudy released the CD version on Level-Plane, Coliseum's home base at the time, and I released the vinyl, obviously, on Auxiliary.

When preparing for this release, the Auxiliary funds were pretty much non-existent. My label partner Craig was no longer involved and we were looking for interesting ways to do the packaging on the cheap. I signed up with Revelation Records to distribute Auxiliary and they also agreed to help with some up-front manufacturing costs.

I still wanted to make sure that the costs were as low as possible, while doing packaging that looked cool and was interesting. So, Evan and I came up with the covers you see above, which were screen printed on one side of a large black sheet, then cut to yield two covers and folded for each individual LP. Honestly, in hindsight, I would've done this differently. I think these were too far on the cheap side, barely covering any of vinyl, leaving it open to getting scratched or warped easily. While I never actually heard from anyone that their 12" was damaged, it would've just been pure luck if they'd all come out unscathed. That said, it does look fairly cool and I've never seen any other packaging exactly like it.

Oh yeah, our good friend and often Auxiliary collaborator, David Brooks, had 100 of the covers foil stamped with "Not Of This World" at a local technical school. This was an idea we'd use to better effect later on the Coliseum / Young Widows split CD.

The design was fairly simple, using an altered photo of Danzig from his first LP spread, a witchy woman on the back, and some band logos and built typography that I still dig. Of it all, I probably like the "Not Of This World" logo the best of anything that was done exclusively for this layout. The inserts had a pretty cool collage with Doomriders' hooded skull character and Coliseum's pig head character arm in arm, with a Misfits skull poking out under a robe.

All in all, a fun release and a really good record. I think the CD version on Level-Plane could still be found fairly easily with a little searching online. I've often thought of releasing just the two Danzig covers on a limited 7", but since we just put out the Goddamage 2x7" and are preparing for another reissue with the Young Widows SCD LP... I don't want to end up just being a reissue label, putting out our old records on various limited formats... Then again, it's always fun to do and have these unique records. What do you think?

Coliseum "American Machine" (Rough instrumental 8-track demo)


Anonymous said...

Fuck it, do it. Release what you want to release. I find your blog very insightful on how to design and distribute kick ass records. Very rich knowledge, sir. Keep it up.

- Jesse

AUX said...

Thanks Jesse, I think sooner or later I might have to do that 7" with only the Danzig covers... Glad you dig the blog and you can always post here if there's any other info you want to know. Take care. - R

ville anger said...

danzig 7" would be awesome! keep up great label, amazing designs, kick ass band and other good stuff!!!