Tuesday, October 12, 2010

TVD Label Spotlight: Yep Roc Records | A chat with Peter Case

Day #2 of our Yep Roc Records Spotlight Week kicks off with one of our favorites—Peter Case, he of both The Nerves and The Plimsouls. Peter's new LP, Wig! is out now on—right, Yep Roc.

In the summer of 1976 a UPS truck pulled up in front of a tenement on the 400 block of Folsom street in SF, and the driver loaded boxes containing 5000 Nerves 45's into our basement. They made a small mountain down there, and at the time there were maybe... 25 people in the world who would even possibly be interested in the music on the record.

'How the fuck are we gonna get rid of things?' was the question of the day. There was no indie records scene, commercial radio wasn't interested at all, the advent of college radio was still several years off, punk rock had just been named in the UK, but hadn't spread beyond a handful of fans stateside... The Nerves 'EP' containing 'Hanging On The Telephone' and three other 'hits' was an albatross, a white elephant, a figment of the imagination. A pile in a basement.

They say the copies are worth 100 dollars a piece now... if you can find one. I have one left. It was sitting on a shelf for a long time, in the living room of my pad.

I'd tried playing The Nerves music for my kids, putting on a CD version someone in Europe had put out, a bootleg. My kids were in 4th and 6th grade at the time, and they could give. Everybody smiled, yawned, started talking about something else, and I took it off.

A few years ago: I'd fired up the record player again, driving out 40 miles to the end of the San Fernando Valley, the only place I could find that still carried the cartridges it needed to work. That night my girlfriend Denise put on the Nerves EP 45, and everyone was up and dancing, totally into it. It was like they'd never heard it before.

Music press kits

QuantcastRecords are fun. I remembered that day. People get together and listen to them and enjoy it. Listening to a new record used to actually be an activity, people would get together and listen when the new Beatles, Dylan, or Stones came out. Or the new Clash, Costello, and Jam. It meant something different that what CDs mean now. And by CDs, I mean, digital downloads, even more of a devaluation, and a decline in sound. They don't even exist.

Now, digging music like that seems about as outmoded as listening to old 'The Shadow' serial dramas on the radio.

It's almost like music doesn't even exist unless it makes it to analogue at some point in its life. I don't know why this is, but I know it's true. The fall in the stature of music is directly attributable to it's digitalization.

Does it sound like I'm a Luddite? A technophobe? Well I'm not... but I'm trying to see things for what they are, through the 'Fog Of The Present.'

I call it the 'Pac Man Prophecy:' remember the first video games, Pac Man and Ms. Pac Man, the hungry heads that came out and gobbled up the world, eating everything in sight? Well everything that is contained by computers and the internet is eventually gobbled up and digested, basically destroyed as we know it, by digitalization. The destruction of the music business is just another step along the way in a road that includes the end of TV, the end of major newspapers and their reporting, and the advent of virulent stateless world terrorist groups. Oh well, don't want to get too negative on 'ya. But I'm digging vinyl as the antidote to the poison de jour, and BTW, its not because it's 'retro.' Vinyl and analogue technology is still the state of the heart, high water mark of recorded sound. And that's why its still on the scene, and coming back around, turntables being sold at Target, etc...

Anyhow, I'm coming to somewhere near DC, that is, Easton, Maryland, The Avalon Theater on October 29 at 8 pm. I know that's about a 90 minute drive for you in the city. We tried to get a booking at Jammin' Java but something hung it up, so... its Easton, or Ashland, Virginia the night before, Oct 28. Ashland is a bit North of Richmond, not so bad a drive, either. And its a great place to hear music.
—Peter Case, 10/10

Peter Case - Look Out! (Mp3)
Approved for download!

Peter Case's Official Website | Myspace

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