Friday, March 07, 2008

The DIY Aesthetic - A Cautionary Tale

In December 2006, The Chop completed their first bit of recorded material, and decided to have it printed up under the name "Gold Stars". At the time we were, quite naturally, very excited. Over one year later and amidst the numerous emails that continue to flood our inboxes praising our unbelievable production value therein, we are able to look back on those days with at least some measure of wisdom and maturity. We've made some questionable decisions over these past two years, many of which have resulted in us spending lots of money on things we don't need (or that don't work) or us doing lots of work on stuff that no one cares about (or doesn't "work"). But today, amigitos, read the saga that is...(ominous music)


Now...before I go any further...I don't want to come off as bitter. Money was meant to be spent after all, and time was meant to be wasted, all in the name of fun. It just continually cracks me up the way The Chop tends to process its ideas. Please note: I am most certainly one of the biggest culprits of this, so I'm really just laughing at myself to take some of the immediate pain and tedium away from.....


Let me tell a bit about the saga of making these CD packages. We decided that it would be cool if each copy of the disc could be personalized, by us. This is not a completely original idea (as I've seen other bands execute it) so I have to wonder how their processes differed from ours, and if they went through the same range of emotions (from self-congratulatory happiness, to self-satisfied efficiency, to self-immolating hatred of this concept). The Chop may never know.

In any case--The Chop opted to purchase an inordinate amount of these printed discs (1000), and the printer forgot to turn off the machine in time, and therefore printed an extra 180 copies, which they gladly gave over to us. This means we set ourselves up to "decorate" (by sticker and sharpie marker) 1180 of these discs, front and back.

Like most grandiose schemes it was fun in the beginning. We all got together on a Friday night and worked for a few hours, drinking, laughing, and commending ourselves on our ingenuity. It really seemed like we made a whole bunch of them. Like, at the time, in my drunken state, having worked for around 3 hours with the entire Chop crew and others, I would have ventured to guess that we would have completed around 100, or maybe 150 of these things.

In fact--we made just over 50. 50 of 1188.

This was the first indication. The first indication of the true treacherousness of what we would come to know as...


We got together a few more times like this, each subsequent meeting becoming less and less jolly...all for the purpose of manufacturing this CD package in droves. As our interest deteriorated, I came up with an idea. We distributed all necessary equipment to each Chopsman's apartment, and we made a little bet: Ten CDs a week were to be turned in by each man. The motivation? Not having the discs meant a 5 dollar (cash) contribution to a fund: a shot fund, for the purpose of buying shots of booze once the ordeal was over. Ingenious, yes? Using alcohol payment as punishment, yes? Despite an initial snag when Tommy "Lone Wolf" opted not to participate because "betting" for "alcohol" is "childish" and also "dumb" -- the plan worked smashingly and the CDs began to be churned out.

Everything was going great--we were nearing our goal, we were nearing our shots (the fund grew to 50 dollars)...then we hit a brick wall. We lost our rhythm, America. Our rhythm! The shot fund (which we all agreed could only be used once all Gold Stars discs were completed) reached an almost unfathomable 80 dollars. With only 200 or so left to go...a compromise was reached. I was paid a nominal fee to finish the damn things, once and for all.

A small sampling of some of the ones I made today:

It was long. It was hard. I laughed. I cried. I hurled. But now, is done!


Bring on the shots!

don't i know you from the cinematographer's party?,

1 comment:

The Vox Jaguars said...

diy=rock and roll