Monday, March 21, 2011

MRP FINANCES (2002)

FROM THE ARCHIVES, March 21 - This originally appeared on vermiform.com, 1/21/02. I've long since lost the spreadsheet this piece refers to, and it wasn't that funny to begin with.

This has been a slow week, so I've gone ahead and posted the Men's Recovery Project tour finance totals. Some poor use of credit cards is reflected here, as well as the majestic power of merchandise in the life of an unloved band. This spreadsheet probably wouldn't be nearly so funny if this band hadn't lost so much money. Then again, I wouldn't have posted it if the band had made anything. Only the shame gets shared.

Disclosure: three tours are not reflected in the net total. These are;

1) An early excursion through the south, fall 1995. Neil and I rented some monstrous luxury sedan, and the fact that I can't remember the make or model shows the degree to which I neglected bookkeeping in those days. The rest of the band rode with Richmond, VA's Hose Got Cable. We made it as far as Chapel Hill, NC where the band played to ten people and was accosted by a drunk man. After the show, Neil called home and learned that his cat, N_____, had gotten out of the house and had gone missing. After a quick conference, he and I rode the five hours back to Richmond. I spent the next day and a half sulking. N_____ was eventually found safe and sound under Neil's porch, so we loaded the equipment back into the rental car and drove 17 hours to meet up with the guys in Gulf Breeze, FL. We played three more shows, ate well, then drove back to Virginia. I have no idea what any of this cost. A few months later the drunk man from Chapel Hill called and asked to "weasel pipe" on a few MRP shows. It took me a long while to realize that he was referring to his band, Pipe, and not using some cryptic Carolina indie slang. Just this last year I've had the rare joy of discovering the Pipe CD in the $1 bin at Rhino Records in Claremont, and I make a point of tracking its precise whereabouts in that bin whenever I go record browsing.

2) MRP's 1999 European tour. This tour never actually happened, but costs were incurred. In specific, I logged a good deal of man-hours towards securing a weekend of gigs in Morocco. I wrote Maximumrocknroll for leads. They gave me the email address for Luk Haas, their old international columnist. I reached Haas somewhere in between his journeys to Uganda and Kazakhstan. He gave me the address of a fellow in south France, who passed me along to Majdi in Casablanca. Majdi posted me several letters on beautiful cream colored paper with stamps of the dour king Hasan, writing that he was a "big fan" of Morbid Angel and "many other fucking DEATH/BLACK METAL bands!" Majdi seemed to think that my scheme was a terrible idea and that the band would lose lots of money. MRP continued to insist. I contacted the embassy in NYC and got the visa info, sent Madji $10 for notarization in Casablanca city hall and Madji promptly never wrote me back. A few weeks later we realized we no longer had the cash for plane fare and scotched the whole thing. Four months later King Hasan died.

3) MRP's disastrous 2000 tour, which transcended all rules of finance. My account for the last two years had me losing $1,800 on this trip, of which we played less than a third of our scheduled shows. But my records are shaky. It may have been more. Either way, it would have been in very poor taste to try to document any of it.