When I Own A Record Label

I should probably clarify the title of this post, since I could very easily own a record label today if I wanted to, releasing 1,000 copies of a CD written and recorded by any of the many worthy bands hereabouts in Capitaland, and making nary a penny for my benevolence. It’s easy to have your own record label, believe me. But this is a hypothetical post, as in “What would what I do if I won the lottery big tomorrow, and had millions of dollars to deploy in a money-making musical venture?” And here are my top three ideas, should that ever become the case:

1. I would track down Colin Moulding from XTC to encourage him to record his first solo album. Moulding wrote and sang many of XTC’s most prominent hit singles, including “Making Plans for Nigel,” “Life Begins at the Hop,” “Generals and Majors (notice a young Richard Branson in the video), “Ball and Chain,” and “King for a Day,” among others. But as the less-prolific, bass-playing foil to singer-guitarist Andy Partridge, Moulding always seemed to get short shrift in the grand scheme of things, and I would love to see him deliver the masterful solo disc that I know he has in him, even if he’s turned his back on music since XTC’s demise. (If the only XTC song you know is the awful, didactic, shrill and overly obvious “Dear God” by Partridge, then you should probably stop reading now, because that’s the one XTC song that I absolutely detest). Check out this appearance on the Letterman show: Moulding is the singer/bassist featured on this song, and I totally have a macho man-crush on him for his pop smarts and performing charisma, both of which were typically left hidden under the proverbial barrel, because Partridge suffered from some combination of anxiety disorder and stage fright, and he called the shots on such matters. Such a waste. Colin Moulding shoulda been a superstar. I’d love to remedy this situation, when I win the lottery. If that happens, I’m calling Colin Moulding first.

2. I would work to get the original Van Halen instrumental trio (Eddie Van Halen, Alex Van Halen and Michael Anthony) back together to record an album without vocals. These guys were talented and tight, but the media always focused on whichever assclown they’ve had singing for them at any given moment, and once David Lee Roth became a cliche, this was never, ever a good thing. The Anthony-Alex rhythm section is spectacularly low-key but mighty (their pulsing signature bomp-bomp-bomp-BOMP is as much a Van Halen trademark as Eddie’s guitar and synth solos are), and I’d love to hear what the Edster would do without having to play second fiddle to some loser in leotards. This was once the greatest hard rock instrumental trio in America, and no one noticed, because Sammy Hagar and David Lee Roth and Gary Cherone distracted us. Let’s fix that. Pronto.

3. I’d get the classic line-up of Long Island’s fabulous Good Rats (Peppi Marchello, Mickey Marchello, John “The Cat” Gatto, Lenny Kotke and Joey Franco) back in the studio together to record some new material for the first time in 30+ years. These guys play together periodically under the “Original Good Rats Reunion” moniker, while singer-songwriter Peppi keeps the band name moving along in real time with assorted family members and friends filling the supporting roles in clubland concerts, but it’s just not as tight and brilliant as what these guys did during their late ’70s peak. I think they’ve still got another masterpiece in ’em, and I’d be willing to put my money where my mouth was, if I had any money at my disposal.

Those are my big three record label owner/lottery winner musical fantasies. What are yours?

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