I don’t remember how much time we spent on the album, but it seemed to take a long time. And when it was done, it seemed even longer to come out. We had to go through every possible option label wise. As mentioned, the first offer was from FCR, which Mark and I desperately wanted to be on. We tried every which way to make that deal happen, but they offered nothing and wanted the world (hence Acumen’s “Territory = Universe” album title). We always had Tinman waiting in the wings, and a label called Decibel also came calling. We had a decent profile. At some point, Mark and I, while dealing with Zalman from FCR (who got us wasted beyond belief with free drinks) in DC, ended up going onstage with Jared, Bryan Black, and co for a Hellbent set. I think Tom walked on and was like “what the fuck is this” and left. We felt like we arrived, like we were a part of something. We traveled, we left a trail of destruction in our wake, and we didn’t even have a fucking record out. But man what a crew we had!

We were incredibly impatient. We had seen Virus 23 re-record songs over and over again, never really doing anything new or releasing a proper album. I think that motivated me quite a bit, and probably made me sloppy at times. We’d record for weeks and then play shows for a bit and then come back. We’d travel around the East Coast, checking out Chemlab (our all time fave band of the genre), Acumen, 16 Volt, and especially Skrew, who Mark and I loved obsessively, mostly because they seemed to be playing here every week. Grossman is still a friend to this day. He would give us tremendous advice, as would the other bands. It was a pretty cool group of people (outside of NYC).

Things like getting promoted all over the country, mastering, artwork, etc, were much more difficult to get done then. The internet was new. A lot of networking happened in AOL chatrooms (called "industrial, baby"), believe it or not. True Fact: my first contact with Irene was in said chatrooms and we later met for the first time when the aggression played in Philly (she of course missed the gig) and the internets is also how I met Brandt! Some of my earliest E-mail exchanges were with guys from FCR bands, all of whom told me not to sign!

A lot of the professional networking was made a lot easier thanks to a friendship I struck up with Vikki Karan, who had been managing Virus 23 during the height of their success (it’s no mystery to me that their success started to wane as soon as she left). I would see this girl at every gig. Everyone knew Vikki and she knew all the right people. She was very tight with Jared (and is to this day). I stalked her for months, seeing how she was making things happen and learning that this chick was a true player in the scene. This stalking culminated at a 4th of July Chemlab/V23 gig at CBGB’s where I finally approached her and begged her to manage us. She eventually declined, despite my best efforts (I even bought her Sizzling Rice Soup), but set so many wheels in motion that the aggression would have been a very different band and I would be a much different person as Vikki has in the last 13 years become a vital part of not only the MOGpac, but of the DeSanto family as well, and remains so to this day (I’m actually writing this just before meeting her for dinner in Los Angeles). Through Vikki, I was introduced to the various fanzines and booking agents the aggression needed to get ahead. She also introduced me to her friend, Robin Glowski, a graphic artist who worked at TVT Records and was responsible for a lot of the latter day Wax Trax releases. She agreed to come onboard and do the artwork for the first album. Photoshop wasn’t something you could just put on your computer then, and computers couldn’t hold nearly as much as they do now. You had to print film for your artwork etc, but Robin did an amazing job establishing the aggression visual identity. Her work on PURE LIQUID EGO remains a favourite.

We played a lot of gigs, including an absolute classic, the Kidd’s first gig at the Capital Ballroom, in DC, which was the first time we felt we were getting some respect as a band and a live act (we certainly weren’t going to get it at home). We would do a lot of gigs with Clay People and other local acts. There were a lot of them then and muti band bills were the norm at places like The Bank, Pyramid, and The Batcave, and we found ourselves popping up on various bills. The Bank gigs were always particularly memorable. We could bring in a small but enthusiastic crowd. Every time we played, we tried to make it an event, and we usually succeeded. We then reached a point where we were playing memorable gigs at CB's, which was a big milestone for all of us. We ended up playing there a few times, always to a great crowd.

A lot of what comes next is blurry, but I think that was because it was just a lot of fun. As most of our history was, it was a carefree time where the band was all that mattered. I think we were all together nonstop until I moved into the now legendary MOGbiosphere (As deemed by Ehren Kruger) on Gold Street in Lower Manhattan (aka Ground Zero). We had just moved in there when we signed our deal with Tinman. It was a great moment. We had a record deal. I made it so we all had to sign the deal. This was a band and every fucker, even the Kidd was going to enjoy the moment of putting their name on the paper. Now things were proper. I remember jumping on NJ Transit late at night with Robin to pick up the discs just as they’d been pressed. Tinman had distro then, through Caroline, so you could actually buy the CD in the store. Some people did, I think. Tinman was supportive of the band and gave us the go ahead to start working on a remix album, which we began working even before WHITELINE hit the streets. The four of us started writing some new songs.

Momentum was at our side. The aggression machine was really starting to move. We were known around town, and a bit beyond, we knew the right people, played with the right bands, and now were ready to go to the next step. And then Mark decides to move…to Los Angeles.

No comments: