>>> Update: we've met our original goal and we're super-close to reaching our stretch goal to get this album pressed on Vinyl (see "Vinyl Dreams" below)! With less than a day to go, can you help us make it? <<<
“Hot Damn scandal performs music that seems to be carved out of the broken heart of the American dream… you feel like you have heard these songs all your life. These are your favorite boots, your lucky hat, your Saturday night shirt, Your old dog that disappeared after the rain” – Scott Casey
So here's the scoop. Hot Damn Scandal has been traveling across the country playing music for 5 years. In that time, 20 or more musicians have played in the band (and this is a conservative estimate). Stinky Pete Irving, the only constant member in that time, has written somewhere between 75 and 100 songs, from outlaw ballads to dirty jazz, gypsy blues, circus freakouts, ragtime sea shanties, string band funk, lonesome heart breakers, and the occasional tender love song.
Since the early days of sleeping under bridges and in vans, drinking too much, and finding a way into every dingy bar in the country the band has gone through quite a lot. Having earned enough street-cred, park-bench cred, and whiskey-brawl cred to fill a lifetime of songs, Hot Damn Scandal re-formed in Bellingham, a lovely town in northwestern Washington, with a new group of mujicians and a desire to take these songs to the next level. Or the next several levels. In fact, why stop there? We're going to go all the way to the moon! Seriously though. We like to make good music, and play it for people.
The band now consists of "Stinky" Pete Irving on resonator guitar, Andy "Mother" Ingram on upright bass, Harper "Dr. Washbones" Stone on washboard, Nakos "Unkle Knuckles" Marker on slide guitar, and most recently Chandra Johnson on fiddle. Everybody sings. Even the audience. Especially the audience.
A few months after re-forming in the northwest, we played at Folklife (the nation's largest free music festival) and the Subdued Stringband Jamboree (Cascadia's best-kept musical secret). Since then we've played at everything from street corners and farmers markets to weddings and circus races, from benefit shows for our neighbors-in-need to booze-athons for our best of pals.
It's safe to say we've devoted our lives to making music - most of the band members are pursuing music degrees in college, and between us we've spent about 50 years studying our respective instruments (which says something for a band in their 20's!) and chasing that elusive muse that inspires the birth of songs. And, beloved audience, we do it all for you!
The first recordings of Hot Damn Scandal were made on a chicken farm in Elgin, Texas, just a couple-few miles outside of Austin. Good songs, but lo-fi as you can imagine. In 2012, while busking on the street at 2am, musician and recording student Louis Ramsay offered to record the newly-re-formed band and the result was the EP 3 Thumbs and a Pocket Full o' Nuthin'. It sounded good, but the band members were still pretty broke, so it has been burned at home, unmastered, and replicated on off-brand CDr's - one at a time, with homemade stickers and covers. This means that at half of the shows we play we sell out of the few copies of the album we had the time to burn and label, often before the first set is even over. After that all we have are apologies to the audience and promises to make more next time.
This time, we decided to go professional. A full-length album, recorded with state-of-the-art equipment, professionally mixed and mastered, and pressed on real CDs (and hopefully vinyl too)! The songs deserve it. You deserve it. Your (future?) children deserve it.
We've been saving for months, funding the project entirely out of our own pockets thus far. We've been helped along the way by some great friends and Audio Engineers, and have been getting great results. This album may well be the single greatest achievement of any of the band members, barring that one unassisted triple-play that Harper made in little-league. Really though. You're going to put it in your cd player, and it's not going to come out for a long time. And not because our homemade sticker jammed your cd player (sorry Misty! We're done with the home-made sticker-topped cds).
Here's the catch. We've been putting all our money into the recording, and when it's done, we won't have any money left to press it. So we need your help, to finish the mixing and mastering, and get the thing made into proper records that you can dance to until your feet fall off, and listen to until your hairs turn gray and your children ask you why you still listen to that old-timey post-apocalyptic jug band called Hot Damn Scandal.
If you don't want this to be one of those legendary records whose only copy sits in a vault at the recording studio for 40 years before being 'Rediscovered' and released to critical acclaim, hailed as groundbreaking by your children's children, while they wonder why you never heard it, THIS IS YOUR CHANCE to avert that terrible fate and make sure that you have a good 40 years of listening and stomping along to it.
The Goal: $2500
If we meet our goal of $2500, then the new album will get finished, mastered, and pressed professionally, and packaged in eco-friendly high-quality cardboard sleeves, with original art!!
Stretch Goal: $3,500
If we exceed our goal and manage to raise $3500, then we will get last year's six-song EP "Three Thumbs and a Pocket Full O' Nuthin'" mastered, pressed, & packaged professionally. It will include new, original art, and sound even better than it does now. And at that point, we'll feel good enough about its quality that we'll start sending it off to stores and radio stations and such.
Stretch Goal: $5,000
If we exceed our goal and manage to raise $5000, then we will press the new album on Vinyl, in all its analog audio glory (see below)! And, Harper will paint an original cover in the style of Heironomous Bosch, to adorn its sleeve, and we'll create an illustrated lyric sheet to insert within. This will then "unlock" the vinyl option in all the rewards. This is our big dream!
The whole point of this project is to make music you can listen to. There are lots of ways to do that, but as an independent and self-managed band money is our biggest limiting factor. Currently the cheapest methods of music distribution involve CDs and digital downloads, and we have set our initial goal accordingly. We here in the Hot Damn Think Tank, however, have high hopes and crazy brains. If all our dreams came true, not only would logic and the seemingly immutable laws of physics lay in shambles about the universe, but we would also have our very own vinyl record.
Is there any more huggable form of recorded music than a vinyl record?
Is there a better venue for awesome cover art than 144 square inches of recycled cardboard housing some seriously groovy grooves?
Is there anything that makes you feel more "hip" and "with it" than taking your favorite plastic platter off the shelf and tossing it on the turntables?
No, there most certainly is not. There have been studies done. This is scientific fact my friends!
With this in mind you may notice that many of the rewards we are offering for the most generous of backers make mention of this rare and mysterious "vinyl record". If fate is cruel and our stretch goal of $5,000 is not met WE WILL FIND SUPER COOL ALTERNATE REWARDS FOR THE DONORS WHO DESIRED VINYL! We are very appreciative of all of our fans and supporters. This whole silly business of making patterned vibrations on your inner ear hairs would be no fun at all if you weren't out there enjoying yourselves.
You judge a book by its cover, a Zoot by his suit, and an album by its sleeve, right? We want this album to look great, in addition to sounding great. We want it to look good enough that you could hang it on your wall, or ask it out to prom. And we just so happen to have a secret weapon in the field of cover art and design…
You see, Harper, in addition to playing washboard and all sorts of kitchenophonic percussion, is a bonafide, genuine Artiste! Really. He studied oil painting for 6 years, got a degree in it, and spent 3 months living in Florence, Italy learning Renaissance painting techniques (like this). He does graphic design professionally. While traveling through Europe, he had the pleasure of spending several hours standing in front of The Garden of Earthly Delights (also known as the best painting ever), painted 500 years ago by Heironomous Bosch (a crazy genius who belonged to a church cult which took psychedelic mushrooms).
It's our dream to have Harper paint an original and truly Hot-Damn-Scandalous album cover in the style of Heironomous Bosch, and have this painting printed on the front and back of our new LP.
Additionally, we would like to create a handwritten, beautifully illustrated lyric sheet to insert into each LP. How cool would that be?
IF WE REACH OUR STRETCH GOAL OF $5000 then Harper will take a month away from most of his other obligations to work on this painting, and make it really really nice. Really, this will be a dream (or delirious, joyfully scandalous nightmare?) come true.
IF WE DO NOT REACH OUR STRETCH GOAL OF $5000 then Harper will still use his artistic and graphic design powers to make an original and good-looking cover for the CD, but it won't be as epic as the Scandalous, Bosch-style, fully-detailed oil painting (because, in all fairness, cd-booklet-size just won't be big enough to do it justice).
Together we can make this happen. We believe in you! With your help, this can be an epically scandalous, hair-raisingly good-sounding album with flabergastically good-looking cover art.
A huge thanks to Clatter & Din and North Shore Studio for being such good places to record, and to audio engineers Sam Chue, Elise Kates, Vince Werner, Eric Johnson, and Kevin Bressler for making us sound so good!
Big big thanks to Strangely Doesburg for helping us put this campaign together, shooting video, juggling ukeleles, and stealing Sgt. Pepper's outfit. Big thanks to James Baukman & Revolutionary Productions for the video fottage from the Stringband Jamboree. Big thanks to Robert Sarazin Blake for putting us on the best stages in Cascadia.
Thanks to those of you who have given us photos, tips, and dancing hips, and to all those who shook the rafters of the beer garden at our kickoff party at Boundary Bay!
And especial thanks to YOU for backing us, sharing this project with your friends, and helping our dreams come true!!!
Risks and challenges
"What are the risks?" you ask "What obstacles must we circumnavigate in order to wind up on that golden shore of musical satisfaction?" hmmm... good question... Well, there's always the chance of a zombie apocalypse. Or a terrorist strike on Bellingham. Or, still, there's the chance that one of us might overdose on augmented 7th chords. Or, as happened to Tom Waits, someone might steal the briefcase full of masters and hold it ransom. Still, too, Andy's bass might develop an appetite for human flesh, and swallow us all into its deep, boomy f-holes (f-holes have been postulated to exist in the center of red quasars; there is no hard evidence of their existence but still we cut symbolic inscriptions into our instruments to protect ourselves and our beloved fans).
Nevertheless, we will prevail! Even should the world go up in smoke, we will complete the album and release it to the screaming hordes of looters and zombified dancers.
Seriously, though, by the time the project is funded, we should have all the recording finished (except for possible guest spots by those who donated $2,000), and mostly or fully mixed. We're estimating that the mastering and pressing time will get us the album pressed in time to release it at the Stringband Jamboree in August. If there are production delays in the mastering, printing, and pressing stages, however, then it will be released sometime later, hopefully still in August. Whatever happens, we will make this album, and you will listen to it.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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