A solo album by Cracker co-founder and guitarist Johnny Hickman
Hello, allow me to introduce myself to those who don't know me. I'm Johnny Hickman, guitarist, co-founder and co-songwriter of the band Cracker. I've been writing a batch of solo songs and am ready to take my scratchy little demos into the recording studio to begin making a new album.
Going in to record in the winter feels just about right for the music I'm making right now. This new, as yet untitled album will consist (mostly) of darkly retrospective and deeply personal songs. Cracker has recently scaled back to touring full-time in the summer yet only sporadically the rest of the year, giving me more time in the fall and winter for side projects and solo work. The extra time to be creative is great, but since music is solely what I do for a living, balancing the costs of making music with the realities of day-to-day living can be tricky, hence my Kickstarter campaign.
I released a first solo album about 6 years ago called Palmhenge. It was recorded, packaged and released by me (with the help of some talented friends) without a record label (= with grocery money). I'm proud to say that it was well received by fans, even getting great write ups in magazines like Blender and given "Voice's Choice" in The Village Voice. Like Palmhenge, this record will also be released independently, and that's where you come in.
The funds you help me raise will help me pay for:
1) Studio time at Backbone Studios here in Northern Colorado where I live.
2) Talented local musicians who often play on each other's projects for free and who I feel deserve some compensation for their hard work.
3) My fellow musician and good friend Jason Larson who will engineer, co produce and play on the album.
4) Album artwork.
5) Some very indie level promotion and distribution of the album.
The amount I am trying to raise will probably not cover manufacturing or mastering costs, but I would rather see the project fund and pay for the manufacturing out of pocket if need be. (Although if the project over-funds and can help with those things, great.)
Here's a quick description of how Kickstarter works:The artist (filmmaker, writer, musician etc) arrives at a figure that he or she determines will cover the cost of their project.The objective of course is to reach the funding goal or beyond. If this project does NOT fund in this allotted two week period, all bets are off and the project is "dead in the water" (apologies for my obsessively geekish Big Lebowski references).
Listed to the side are my proposed "Levels Of Coolness" rewards that YOU determine by the amount you wish to contribute. I want to thank you for any support you can give, and, don't forget, the other important thing you can do is share the link to this project on your Facebook, Twitter, email, etc. Thanks again! Johnny Hickman
HEY! I read about you in the FEATURED KICKSTARTER BLOG 1/25/12, where can I BUY the album when it's done? What's new?
We don't have a hard and fast release date yet, but we're thinking late Spring. We will post news on johnnyhickman.com, and it will be for sale online (iTunes, Amazon etc.) as well as CD copies on http://www.campstoverecords.com/store/ . Want to be contacted when the album's ready? We are working on revising our email list ; for now just email firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll put you on our VERY sparse (1-10 emails per YEAR) email blast. And last but in no way least, SUPPORTERS... expect an update in about a week. Fun stuff happening! It's also exciting that Kickstarter featured my project in their blog this week...a fun surprise. This week I am in the studio and next weekend I'm doing my annual Tres Amigos shows in Colorado with Roger Clyne and Hickman-Dalton Gang. Thanks to Kickstarter and my supporters this is shaping up to be a great Spring.
Here are the estimates we put together since the Kickstarter campaign funded: Kickstarter total $26,230. After Amazon/Kickstarter fees, approx. $24,131.60. After setting aside costs of fulfilling rewards (cds, mailers, tubes, print design, prints, postage=-2089.23), =$22042.37, also setting aside costs of 1k+backers who built any potential travel costs into their pledge, -$1500., = $20,542.37 (ish) free and clear for making/manufacturing an album. (Also, Kickstarter income *is* taxable, but album expenses *should* somewhat offset that.)
How much will the project cost? There is no exact answer for this. Creativity doesn't follow a timeline, for starters. But supposing I record around 10 songs, times 3 - 4 eight-hour days per song in the studio putting down drums, bass, guitars, vocals, other instruments and then mixing, times $40-$50 per hour for the excellent studio nearby, that's... $9600 to $16,000 just for studio time. (And trust me, this is a bargain. Go to a big city studio and record an album with a full band, it can cost five to ten TIMES more than an indie solo album does.) Add to all this the uncertainty of things not turning out as planned. I've never done an album, solo or with Cracker, where we didn't have to scrap at least one song half way through and start over in a different direction. Then there's mastering. Manufacturing. Graphic design. Then I see if money is left over for extras like making vinyl, or videos, or doing promotion, or booking a couple of tours. Luckily these extras may actually be possible since your generous contributions went over 2 times the original goal. Thank you!
All 10 slots at this level have been filled (and now the campaign has ended).
As part of the Kickstarter drive, 10 generous fans gave 1K or more each. As a reward for contributing at that level, those fans had the option to schedule a private/solo show some time in the future. (Not all opted to have a private show, some were just backing at this amount. This is not the "going rate" for solo shows necessarily, just part of the Kickstarter deal.) These folks also made separate arrangements to help cover travel and hotel costs, etc. associated with the private shows. Thank you so much for your generous backing!
Hey all, this is JH's (better?) half writing this FAQ. I just sent out surveys for backer rewards, gathering up things like reward preferences and addresses. And though I'm a technical writer by profession, apparently I still made a few copy-paste errors where I should have changed the wording from tier to tier. Grr. Nobody has squawked yet, but, in case you were confused by my errors....
As promised, if you backed at the $25 or higher level, and choose to get a physical CD *OR* download using download codes, those WILL get sent out not *at* release time, but a FEW DAYS BEFORE.
In some of the reward tiers, one of your options is physical CD vs. download. Then there's a parenthetical comment about "via Bandcamp or similar..." (Obviously that comment about Bandcamp only makes sense if you choose digital, not physical CD. More copy-paste error.)
If you have other reward questions, send a question to J using the Kickstarter messaging and he'll try to sort things out. Sorry for any confusion, and thanks!
pledged of $12,500 goal
seconds to go
Nov 5, 2011 - Nov 19, 2011 (14 days)
Pledge $10 or more
A digital download of the album when it comes out.Estimated delivery: Apr 2012
Pledge $25 or more
An advance copy of the album…your choice of CD or digital download (we will try to provide a couple of quality/file size options). Maybe 3-7 days before album release.Estimated delivery: Apr 2012
Pledge $75 or more
A signed CD and/or a digital download, and a signed copy of a silk screened, limited run art print.Estimated delivery: Apr 2012
Pledge $100 or more
All listed at $75 level, plus a burned CD of alternate takes and mixes of the songs / my rough acoustic demos AND a bonus song or two.Estimated delivery: Apr 2012
Pledge $500 or more
Everything listed at $100 level plus a thank-you in the liner notes.Estimated delivery: Apr 2012
Pledge $1,000 or more
10 backers All gone!
All listed at the $500 level…AND I will temporarily move into your attic or basement and write the next batch of songs there, (quietly while you are at work) handing you demo CDs with the rent check for each of the 2 or 3 months I am there. KIDDING! We'll see….if this does not fund, my wife will probably kick me out regardless. Q) What do you call a guitarist without a girlfriend? A) Homeless. OK, OK, now in seriousness. For between $1000 and $5000 you would get the $100-level swag, PLUS a liner notes thank-you, and a private solo show at your home or local club. The amount required to make this happen would depend on how far away you live, travel costs/season, whether your desired date conflicts with Cracker shows, and whether you want an actual solo show or for me to bring a backing band. If you're serious about this, write me a private Facebook message first so I can check the schedule.Estimated delivery: Apr 2012