Let’s put it into perspective people:
Forty goddamned years.
Well, 41 and a half, really, if you statistics nerds are going by your Discogs bible.
But just as a juiced homerun record is forever scarred by an asterisk, our ruby anniversary was postponed by a pesky little pandemic.
Ronald Reagan was just sworn in (his first term!).
We were still communicating through landlines and, get this, letters.
The TV had seven channels, save the fuzzy UHF channels that showed those baffling Japanese cartoons.
And when the price of gas briefly breached one dollar there was mayhem on the streets.
Yes kids, we’ve been around that long!
But, no. Four decades?
Could it have been that long ago, 1981, when we first saw that Posh Boy EP on the racks of Zed Records?
We bought a copy each, still wary that this was all some sort of elaborate prank.
Then Kimm and I stood on the sidewalk and tore at the shrinkwrap, slid black vinyl from sleeve.
I held the record up to the sky, proof to the cruel gods that we did exist:
We had made a record.
When Kimm first proposed this project, I was skeptical.
“Do ya know what that would take?” I’d say, my phone on speaker as I worked on my dreadful chip shot from the fringe.
“Licensing and remastering, artwork. And to get vinyl pressed nowadays?”
Undaunted, Kimm set forth and did just all those things.
Teaming up once again with our pals at Hostage Records, we went about the messy business of stuffing a lifetime into a box.
We hoped to do 40 songs (duh), but even our brief sonic sketches would not fit ten per side.
After briefly considering a bloated Sandista-d triple vinyl monstrosity, we settled on 27 charming tracks that nicely showcase them all, the gems and turds alike.
As we listened to the songs leveled and remastered, finally corralled together in one place, we smiled.
The early demos, the hardcore zingers, those big haired guitar anthems–they’re all here folks!
As the songs scroll past I am taken back to those days in the Cerritos garage.
The hours on the highway come back to me; the taste of gas station hot dogs, the smell of another backed up backstage toilet.
Each moment precious now, burnished a golden glow by the passage of time.
We decide to do the whole booklet thing too, of course.
Pulled boxes from the attic, photo albums from the garage.
We gathered around the scanner, ready to render our past to digital code.
But the chore took hours longer than necessary, as we would hold up a photo and say, ….remember this?
And then we would be back there: at a dive bar in Knoxville, say, or stuck in a ditch outside Calgary, the night wet and our faces young.
And then we would be wiping our eyes on our sleeves, our eyes moistened by laughter and regret.
We briefly consider asking some friends, or maybe other musicians or journalists, to contribute a few words.
But I could only envision pages of chaste language, politely recalling our glory days.
I feared a booklet reading like an obituary, the words underrated and unappreciated popping up again and again.
(Code words for unmotivated and second rate.)
Hell, I’ll just write the story myself.
And so the 6 page booklet doubled to 12, swelled again to twenty pages, before we stopped ourselves at 28!
After the excruciating production wait, the day finally came: the records were ready.
Kimm and I opened the first box and took out that first record.
We could have been those kids, again, standing in front of Zeds, not quite believing just yet.
We passed it back and forth, remarking at its weight, the richness of the cover artwork.
The smell of recently pressed vinyl, vivid as the electric scent of an oncoming summer storm.
And after tearing at the shrinkwrap, I take out the twinned albums and lay them side by side.
The booklet is thick, bulging with victories and heartbreaks, friends aged or gone.
But I pause before sliding the records from their sleeves, to hold them above my head, squint at the daylight beaming through the center hole.
Not quite ready to sign off on the project, not quite ready to hold that many years in my hands..