Musings

Baby Steps to Esthero

I wasn't a part of the music industry in the 90s. I hear stories though. Whoa. Money flowing like chocolate in a fondu fountain at a Bat Mitzvah in Jersey. I have a friend that was in a band on a major label in the mid 90s. The label sent them to England and put them up in a huge house (he referred to it as a castle) complete with personal chef and all the other amenities, if you know what I'm saying. I think it cost two hundred thousand dollars. They got dropped and the record was never released.

I'm making baby baby steps into the music industry now. That's not an intentional Amy Grant reference. I mean steps that are baby steps to baby steps. Really fucking small steps. It's like tunneling out of Alcatraz with one of those cheap, Taco Bell plastic sporks that's already broken twice. It's like the world's slowest strip tease. "Just sit here, don't look away. She took some quaaludes from a time capsule we dug up in the parking lot from 1973. You might have to stay until Tuesday but it's TOTALLY worth it." It's like watching a political candidate implode.

I suppose I'm on the outside of the industry looking in like a kid who secretly stumbles into one of those booths with girls behind glass that they had in the 80s. He's not sure if he should be excited or revolted. Kids could get away with anything back then. I tour and kick up dirt. I try to draw attention to myself. I build my online presence like a good indie rock solider who rocks quietly.

The first tour of any length was me and James out for 6 weeks. I didn't know yet that the easiest way to save money is to go by yourself. I needed something to sell but I didn't have money to invest and I didn't have any fans to speak of. So when I was home in Pennsylvania my dad and I bought 50 shirts at Goodwill, he made a stencil, and I spray painted my name on them. None of them matched. Some already had things printed on one side. The sizes were totally fucked. It was glorious. People actually bought them. All of them. It was like playing catch in the back yard with my dad but instead he and I were in the basement dressed like Walter White and Jesse Pinkman wearing masks trying not to inhale paint fumes. Huffing is bad kids. Very very bad. We made a second batch six months later. Ten bucks each. I think they cost less than three dollars to make. Good times.

I put out Leaving To Returning last year and was preparing to embark on a tour for a year. The spray paint wasn't gonna cut it. Alice Marie designed a really cool shirt from a picture she took of a car. Sometimes people would ask me what the deal was with the car. Still we moved a hundred of them and ordered another batch. Twenty dollars a piece this time. They cost way more to produce than my spray painted shirts but the mediums were ALL medium and the smalls were ALL small. No more sizing grab bag. Upside, people could purchase with confidence and my brand was represented better. Downside, girls were way less likely to need to try on the shirts at the merch table. We crowd funded the shit out of those. 

"What's the deal with the car?"
"Look it's not that esoteric, THE RECORD IS CALLED LEAVING TO RETURNING."
"Esoteric, wasn't she a singer in the 80s?"

New album. New tour. New shirt. I put my face on this one holding a dog to diminish frustrating inquiries. I'm pretty sure the only question my face begs is "are you single?" The record is called Broken Window. I was thinking about calling it, This Was Not Made In an English Castle For $200,000 but that felt just a little too on the nose. 

The shirt doesn't exist yet. It's a dream just like all the New Years babies in April. We spent the house and the kids and the picket fence on the record. It seems like such a long way from the spray paint and the stencil. But this ain't 90s kids and there aren't guys lining up with cigars and sunglasses telling me they can sell the tunes if I put more compression on the guitars. This is strictly do it alone. DIY. 

We're looking for partners to help us get these made. Fifty partners actually. No, there isn't any possibility of disease transmission, which obviously diminishes the excitement of the partnership. Different kind of partners. We need to pre sell fifty tee shirts, for real, in order to begin manufacturing. This isn't a clever attempt to advertise or get a leg up. There's no castle and no Swiss bank with a big RS on it. I can't go back to the spray paint, even though it was fun trying not to huff fumes with my dad.

Here's the offer. The new tee shirt, the new cd, the new sticker, plus download of the cd, and free shipping in the USA for $20. I think that's a hell of a deal. Like I said the tee shirt is my countenance. It's very easily defaceable if that's your thing. Maybe we dated and you're reading this. Don't be shy.

I appreciate those of you who are along for the ride. I'm glad the songs mean something to a few folks. I'm grateful to continue to do what I love. If you want to get involved and be a patron of the arts, as they say, the merch bundle is here http://www.musicbyrue.com/shop/broken-window-bundle.