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Notes From the Underground

Handle With Care:
Contracts with indie labels can be as risky as the majors

WITH WORDS OF WARNING to fellow travelers, San Jose-based pop-punk band Soda--which recently parted ways with guitarist Steve Caballero--reports being unhappy with its deal on Binge Records, an indie setup run by former No Use For a Name bassist Steve Papoutsis. Under dispute are publishing and merchandising rights, which the band thought were 100 percent self-owned as they went into the deal.

Soda frontperson Meegan Goad now feels all bands, no matter how friendly they are with the label, should read the fine print and/or hire a lawyer. "It was our fault," she says. "We were naive and trusted our friends, and they lied to us. You have to ask yourself: Who are your friends? You have to be real careful. You could lose your shirt."

The departure of Caballero, a popular skate pro, opens the door for contract renegotiations. The big wake-up call here is that it isn't just major labels that can take advantage of a new band's naiveté. Indies can be just as deceptive. Ultimately, it's the band's responsibility to mind its business matters and think carefully before they sign on the dotted line.
Todd S. Inoue

Odds & Ends

Apparently, the Mishap Records compilation, Better Dead Than Red, reviewed last week, also will be on vinyl and CD, but I've only seen the tape in local stores. ... On a smellier front, the Stench reunion a few weeks ago wasn't a one-time gig. According to lead rude-boy Guerin, the original band is back to its foul play. "We were just having so much fun in practice we decided to get back together," he says. Of course, by the time this comes out, they'll probably hate each other again ... Hey, where the hell has Schlep been? Chappy is apparently doing his own thing, whatever that is, and the band is sticking it out as a trio for awhile with grampa Bio Bob on lead rock-star vocals (check Blockbuster for their latest hit, "Land-Luge Mama"). ... So Palookaville goes down, too. Pretty soon we'll be forced to go to Palo Alto for nightlife. I don't know how the conversion of Palookaville into a nonprofit is going to impact the underground music scene. Probably not much, but if it's cheap enough to rent, we might get some good shows going on there. ... The Muggs have a real cool new 7-inch out on SF's Poverty Records. Both songs are super catchy, with nice guitar work and harmonies (and it's always a relief to hear female lead vocals in this town). Both songs-- "Sour Grapes" and "In League"--have a grungy, lilting feel, breaking into bouts of faster, more chaotic rock & roll. This one's worth getting (3 bux from Poverty Records, 916 Cole St., SF, CA 94117, 415/655-0441).


Riff Raff plays at (gulp!) the Catalyst on Thursday with Hayride to Hell (21 plus, 9pm, $1). On Sunday, there's a skate park benefit at the downtown Vet's Hall with Ten Foot Pole, L.A.B., Static, Diversion and Lonely Kings (all ages, 8pm $7). Ignite, Mock, Sick and Wrong and .Staple. play at the Vet's Hall on Wednesday (Sept. 18, all ages, $6, 8pm)
Michael Mechanic

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From the September 12-18, 1996 issue of Metro Santa Cruz

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