(The French Import)
With the "Eleven Eleven Bossa Nova Beatniks" CD in hand, one of the first places I approached was a record store just off MacDougal Street in Greenwich Village, NYC. This store was seen on Seinfeld and the likes of Conan O'Brien have been seen shopping there. It is known for being the place to find hard to find recordings. I figured people should be able to find the Beatniks.
When you walk in the store you are greeted to an impressive display of haircuts, tattoos, and body piercings. Hard core punk rock music is usually playing. I walk in, mr. mild mannered musician from Long Island, and ask Bob if he would carry my CD. He grabs one and rips it open and heads straight for the disc player. Hearing the thrash music being taken off and knowing that the lead off cut from 11 11 is a cute little melodic number nimbly played with the sensitive touch of Roy Lechich's guitar, I suggested he skip to the more room appropriate rockin' version of 'Jack Jack' coming in on track two.
Bob was having none of that and on comes "Behave Yourself". Immediately Bob says, "Hey, this sounds like Buddy Holly. You know who would like this. The French. I'll send it to my friend, SkyDog, in Paris.
Bob went to a music conference in Paris held every December. He personally played the disc for SkyDog. SkyDog didn't think much of it. Bob said he was nuts. They argued and then decided to play it for a room of about 17 people. Every one of them loved the album. SkyDog still did not want to talk distribution.
When the Heart To Beat album was finished Bob sent that one to SkyDog. This time he liked what he heard. With the help of Nat Weiss, Geoffrey Menin, and Michael Kushner, we worked out a licensing deal with SkyDog for the rights to manufacture and distribute the Heart To Beat album in Europe and Japan.
It was great because the deal paid for the Roland VS-880 and the studio costs for the Bongo Crossing album.
After the deal is done I get a phone call from SkyDog who feels that the 45 minute running time of Heart To Beat was too short and he was asking my permission to use a tape from off the board at CBGB that Bleecker Bob had sent him for the additional tracks. I knew that tape would not live up to the quality of the studio tracks. I told him I would get him something better. He said, "Fine, but I need it by next Wednesday (it was Thursday) when I have the studio booked to remaster the disc. I thought I had a DAT recording of a radio show we had done that I could send him. On digging up that recording I remembered that George was sick as a dog that day and the performance was not anything we wanted pressed. I called Fed Ex and asked when I would have to send something to assure that it would be in Paris by Wednesday noon. They said Monday. Here it is Thursday. George is away for the weekend. I called Tim Stapleton. Although, I had never recorded with Tim before, he had been playing with the band for about a half a year and his talent was undeniable. So Tim came over on Friday and we set up and played straight through three songs without stop with Tim on the Kungah/Bongo and I on the Martin Shenandoah acoustic guitar. Then, on Saturday I overdubbed a bass line and some crowd noises from a CBGB's show we did. When it was totally done I rolled tape (figuratively speaking) and recorded a solo version of "Bound To Be Mine". I had promised SkyDog a DAT tape and I did not have a DAT recorder and now it is 5 AM on Sunday morning. I thought I would have to find a studio on a Sunday that could take me that night to mix this down to DAT. Ouch. Instead I found my friend Steve Prisco of Bluebeats fame who was nice enough to lend me his DAT recorder. Sunday Night I mixed the three songs on the fly straight to DAT tape and was able to get the package off on Monday. I get an e-mail from SkyDog that the extra tracks were perfect and he was sure I would like the French version of the CD. I did. His mastering job offered a punch that the original mastering did not have. Oh and he also added the "Behave Yourself" track from the "Eleven Eleven" CD. If you go to the "links" page on this website and see about buying our CD's in Spanish, German, French, and in English from Lebanon, it is this import of "Heart To Beat" that they are selling.