|Good Music For Good People||
History of Not Lame
"Why not?!" It
began that simply. After working in the music industry for many years
and leaving Los Angeles to move to Colorado, I, Bruce Brodeen, was
going up a chairlift on an early-season 'powder day' pondering my
future--in gorgeous Aspen, Colorado (little known fact: my neighbor was
Hunter S. Thompson but that's another story, literary-fans). My wife
and I had just moved there after selling our house for a large loss in
the recession of those times. Arrived with newfound debt, no jobs and
our precious first-born (dog, Tobi). We just showed up--- as Southern
California has a way of turning ones' life inside out. So it was a time
to re-access and re-prioritize what was truly important in life. An
early mid-life crisis in my early 30's my family called it. I decided
that day in November 1994 to start up a record label devoted to 'power
pop' and to do something for myself that I had always wanted to do. By
the time I arrived to the top of the lift, the name was decided and
'the plan' conceived. So, I took a few low-interest credits cards and
some very modest savings (and the confused blessing of my wife, Ruth,
thankfully!) and off I went.
The semi-legendary "Buzzkill U.K." practices the rawk in 'rock' at the Not Lame offices.
Bruce guarding his autographed Red Sox picture!
was the first band to submit their material to me? The Rooks. "This is
easy." Well, actually 'no'. I DID know better than that, of course,
being a somewhat hardened industry veteran but let's just say God
shined a bit of grace into my life finding a way for me to hear Michael
Mazzarella's unique genius right out of the gates. This sort of thing
just does not happen on its own.
early 1995 and shortly after putting a web site up in those
bygone'colonial' days of the Internet, it became clear that there was a
huge spate of talent inside this genre of 'power pop' and that these
independent bands and a few labels that were releasing CDs had no
distribution whatsoever. "Not Lame should sell this great stuff," I
thought. Thus, a mail order company was birthed, as an afterthought and
logical response to getting the music heard.
Spring 1995--The First Not Lame releases and catalog arrive:
Pezband 7" EP, The Rooks/Twenty Cent Crush "Double Dose Of Pop" and
SymPOPhony #1 compilation seed their way into the public eye's garden
of musical tastes. Double-sided, one page, printed at local printer in
Aspen who asked me "Just exactly ARE you doing here, anyway?" Response:
A shrug of the shoulder as I slip him my credit card over the counter.
WAS I doing, anyway? Oh well, just give me my order, please; I need to
figure out how to print mailing labels, okay? Check out the picture
of that first catalog. Yuck. Guess it was rather prescient of me to
call for a "revolution", but the first saying of Not Lame still cracks
and shudders me in its utter tastelessness. ("Not For The Melodically
Stillborn") Many more catalogs followed - looking infinitely
better and more, uh, 'professional'. They are now considered collectors
items on Ebay, especially if in mint condition and not marked up. Go
Cool Early Not Lame Moment, Late 1995:
A front-page article was written by Dawn Eden in Billboard about this
cool, developing power-pop scene. Not Lame's logo appears on the top
front page, RIGHT NEXT to a picture of The Beatles (promoting the
"Anthology" series). Come on, that IS cool, isn't it?!
marched on. The Internet exploded, catalogs printed regularly (at
least, early on!), a ton of GREAT bands and artists came onto 'the
scene', the great pop fanzine Yellow Pills disappeared and a thing
called Poptopia morphed into International Pop Overthrow and suddenly
fans of this music from all over the world were getting to know each
other. Not Lame's dear friend, Jim Horan came into my life and made the
growth of Not Lame easier to bear with his artistic and layout talents.
September 1995, Not Lame moved from Aspen, CO to Denver, CO and was
operating out of a dungeon-like laundry room. After three more years of
growth, Not Lame was moved to its present home (real office space) in
Fort Collins, CO in the Fall of 1998. In September 1999, Not Lame hired
its first employee with others to following the coming years.
By 2007, over 100 CDs had been released on its label, including a few
box sets(from Jellyfish and The Posies), and over 15,000 different CD
releases mostly by indie bands and labels from all over the world have
been stocked, sold and written about at Not Lame. And, yes, like many
in the music business in the 00's lots of money was lost keeping the
flame and passion for this music alive and trying to save jobs for its
employees. Life does change. Not Lame was on a mission for over
16 years and in 2010, it gets ready to come to a close. Music fans
changed their interests and buying music has became less than a casual
thought for so many and, of course, the battle for free made selling
music a struggle for everyone in the business of music. As the trite,
but appropriate saying goes: "It's all good". Bruce does
consulting work with marketing with small and medium sized businesses
and is enjoying new challenges and other non-music online ventures.
2010 does bring two new kick-butt music ventures for music fans
from the Not Lame world. One, Rock And Roll Tribe went into beta
testing in July 2010 - www.rockandrolltribe.com.
RRT is an 100% free online social community and network for kick-ass
grownups. Curious? Well, check it out and start living a
more rocking life! The second, a site dedicated to power pop
fans, launches in September, 2010. This site promises a whole
different experience inside the passion of the music Not Lame was so
dedicated for so long....stay tuned.