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Racer Records Captain's Log - May 31, 1996

Lots of people have asked about the day-to-day workings of an indie label, so I thought I'd start giving a little running commentary of just exactly what it is I do around here.

Captain's Logs are written sporadically and tend to get skipped if I'm insanely busy or am doing a lot of computer consulting (and hence very little Racer work).

I'll try to post this as consistently as possible until I forget to do it, I run out of time, or I find out people think it's incredibly pretentious and boring.

Comments and questions are heartily encouraged.


This week I worked on getting the artwork for the Cactus Motel CD finalized, and spent maybe a little more time than usual talking with musicians about demos they'd sent or wanted to send. I also had to replace my telephone headset.

Cast of Characters

Dick Tallman of Washington, a promoter and big Big Umbrella fan, and a friend of mine
Russ Osiecki of Big Umbrella, their lead singer and guitar player, and my main contact in the band
Scott was an intern at Racer for a while; he's currently booking Club Cocodrie in San Francisco (along with about a million other things he does)
Gino Robair, multi-talented guy who does percussion with Splatter Trio and the Potato Eaters, and runs Rastascan Records
Bayside and Caroline
these are the two distributors Racer works with

Captain's Log, Saturday, May 25, 1996

Other Phone Calls:

* Spoke with Dick, the Big Umbrella fan and promoter up in Washington, about getting him some more copies of all three of Big Umbrella's CDs.

Other Things I Accomplished:

* weekly radio fax

Captain's Log, Sunday, May 26, 1996

Other Phone Calls:

* I spoke with a guy in a local band that I saw playing at the Cocodrie on Friday night and liked pretty well. We traded info about their band and Racer and just generally got to know each other a little better. They had already been in touch with the people at Yellow Pills and Not Lame, which was a good sign.

Other Things I Accomplished:

* logging demos

Captain's Log, Monday, May 27, 1996

I did very little obvious work today; since it's a holiday, I couldn't make any radio phone calls ( - boy, it's nice to have a day off from those!). I did do some general stuff: cleaning up the office some, just general office stuff. Mostly, though, I actually took it kind of easy today.

Captain's Log, Tuesday, May 28, 1996

Radio Phone Calls:

Made 64 radio calls

Other Phone Calls:

* Spoke with a guy in a band who had seen my Dialogs in CMJ and called to talk about the possibility of releasing something through Racer. His band got airplay on 180 radio stations doing all the work - including all the phone calls to radio - by themselves. We had a good chat. He's sending me a tape.

* Talked to one of my consulting clients about wrapping up a project.

* Got a message from a guy who'd like to submit a demo.

* Left a message for the buyer at Wherehouse who's a Big Umbrella fan; I asked, if we can't get things straightened out with Caroline, what other distributors he likes to work with.

* Talked to the desktop publishing bureau that's outputting the Cactus Motel booklet film. They said the files don't have any trapping information, and wanted to know if I'd pay for them to run automatic trapping software on the files.

* Swapped voice mail with an independent film maker who wants to use some of Amy's music in a film he's making.

Other Things I Accomplished:

* I went to the bank and stopped by my CD duplicator's office to drop off a check in payment for the Big Umbrella repressing

Captain's Log, Wednesday, May 29, 1996

Well, my telephone headset has finally died completely. It had been misbehaving for the last few weeks, but now I just can't use it reliably at all. I had to use the regular handset all day. The headset makes things MUCH nicer; I can use my hands to do other work while I'm on the phone, and my neck doesn't get sore. I'll have to find a new one.

Radio Phone Calls:

Made 92 radio calls

Other Phone Calls:

* Got an order for both Amy X Neuburg CDs

* Got a message from a guy who had sent me a demo (it arrived in today's mail - if you're submitting a demo, it's probably best to wait until it's had plenty of time to get through the mail system before calling about it)

* Left a message for Bayside asking about payment, and also asking the guy who pays my invoices if he'd like to get together when I'm out in Sacramento in a couple of weeks

* called an electronics store to ask if they carried replacement headsets

Other Things I Accomplished:

* went to a couple of electronics stores to look for a replacement telephone headset; decided on one at Radio Shack but they didn't have any in stock, so I'll have to go back tomorrow

Captain's Log, Thursday, May 30, 1996

Radio Phone Calls:

Made 82 radio calls

Other Phone Calls:

* I talked with two of Caroline's sales reps to find out how things are going in my bid to keep (and enhance) distribution with Caroline. They both sounded like they'd like to see Racer continue to have distribution through Caroline; one of them said he had talked to the Sales Manager and really plugged Racer and encouraged her to try to keep Racer on board.

After talking with the two of them, I felt a little better about the situation with Caroline; I'm hoping that they're still working on trying to keep Racer on Caroline's roster, and I decided to do my best to be patient about the situation. I'd really like to keep the Caroline relationship if I possibly can, and while I'm really impatient to get things worked out, I recognize that it would take at least as long to try to get a new distributor to take me on, so patience really is important. I sent a fax off to the Sales Manager to let her know that I appreciated her efforts to keep Racer at Caroline, in the midst of everything else she's dealing with right now, and telling her that I was going to try not to add to her stress level but to be patient instead.

* I called Gino at Rastascan to ask if he had a company he liked to use to get photos for press packages (we need a bunch of Big Umbrella photos), and then I called the photo place he suggested to get pricing and details.

* Lynn of Radio & Records called to confirm some info about Big Umbrella and to let me know that they'd be mentioning the release in their Hot Fax that they send to their subscribers, letting stations know that we're going for adds the week of June 10.

* My long-distance company called to ask if I'd sent them a check for my last bill yet; I said I'd make sure it went out tomorrow.

* My printer called asking about payment, too; I called them back to let them know the check was on the way.

* Talked briefly with Russ of Big Umbrella; he asked me to send a couple of packages to a club in LA and we talked a little about their shows coming up this weekend in Tacoma.

* I got a message from someone who had sent me a demo, asking about the status.

* I called my buyer at Bayside and left a message asking if he'd like to get together when I'm in Sacramento in a couple of weeks.

Other Things I Accomplished:

* sending out the promo copies Russ and Radio & Records had requested

* revising the Cactus Motel artwork and putting together a Syquest for the desktop publishing place

Captain's Log, Friday, May 31, 1996

I ran a couple of errands today; the first was to bring the updated graphics files for the Cactus Motel CD over to the desktop publishing bureau. I had planned to go to the bank on the way back, but I forgot. As it turned out, it was a good thing; when I went to get the mail later, I found a check from my favorite mail order guy, Bruce from Not Lame - he was paying me for a bunch of Abbey Road To Ruin CDs he'd sold. I went to the bank after 5 pm, when I'd finished making all my calls, and managed to deposit the check.

Radio Phone Calls:

Made 78 radio calls

Other Phone Calls:

* The desktop publishing bureau called wondering about the files for the Cactus Motel job.

* Lynn of Radio & Records called to confirm some info about the Big Umbrella release - I confirmed that we're going for adds at commercial alternative radio stations the week of June 10 for both "Flowerhead" and "Bottomfeeder", since both songs are getting airplay at different alternative stations.

* I left a message for Scott (my former intern who had booked Big Umbrella into last week's Cocodrie show) to check in and see how the show had gone for him and how things were going with him.

Other Things I Accomplished:

* paying bills

* weekly radio fax

* CMJ Dialog

The Captain's Log is an inside look at the day-to-day operations of an indie label. Contents may have settled during shipping. Questions, comments, ideas, and thoughts are encouraged (whether or not they're related to the log).



Racer Records

This page was last updated on March 3, 2004 by Kristi Wachter.