Monday, August 2, 2010


The last thing anyone needs is another blog. I hate blogs. Boring, pretentious, pitching products, etc. A total waste of time... So here's my new blog! I thought I'd just post some emails I've been writing to a friend, Alun Jones, who's re-releasing an album I made in the late-90's, called THE LIVES OF CHARLES DOUGLAS on his UK label, Broken Horse. Maureen Tucker from VU played drums and produced it.

Alun and I had been emailing about how the first time it got released in 1999 by No.6 Records (an amazing label that was part of Elektra, run by my friends Terry Tolkin & Bobby McCain), no one really cared about it. I was 23 years old back then and had no clue what the hell I was doing with my life. No clue whatsoever! Now I'm 34, and I still have no clue, even though I did manage to get some novels published, as well as get married and have a daughter, which is further than I ever thought I'd get (I figured I'd just go crazy or die--never thought I'd make it to 30). But back in '99, I had no idea I'd end up writing books or anything else. I just figured if my music didn't go anywhere, I'd crawl back into a hole somewhere and give up on everything.

So this is part of the email I sent Alun the other day when we were talking about the upcoming re-release of the record:

"Oh yeah, it's definitely the first time the album will get a real release in the UK (real cover art, press & radio promotion, etc). haha, it only took eleven years! I guess i do think THE LIVES was ahead of its time somewhat, in that the prevailing music scene when I recorded it in '97 was so awful (the boy bands, etc) and several years later the NYC scene was all about The Strokes and Moldy Peaches, and a return to raw rock n roll music (and then the whole White Stripes thing happened too, etc, and guitars were back in vogue. too late for me, tho--haha).

i remember that in 1997, people were really excited about the "rave" scene in the US (Prodigy, Moby and all that stuff was going on over here--lots of emphasis on electronic music and dance stuff, even on an indie level. Guitars were really out of fashion.) I love the idea of the album as a sort of "lost classic." I was of course just really obsessed with the Velvets, so to me that kind of music was timeless. I did always think that if the record had been made a few years later (Strokes/White Stripes era) things might have gone better. But it just slipped through the cracks, like most records, good or bad. And my music is definitely not for everyone (like, anyone who hates Lou Reed or the Ramones or Beat Happening is going to hate this too, I guess).

I remember being very depressed at the time THE LIVES came out that "earlybird school," "summertime," and "good luck" (probably my 3 fave songs on there) would pretty much go unheard--other than by the few indie obsessives/stoners/losers who bought the album when it came out. i still don't understand why Caroline Records (the distributor/manufacturer) never pressed more copies beyond the initial pressing that sold out. I guess they just didn't think it was worth it (and they were shifting away from pressing/releasing records to just primarily being a distributor again. I'm not even sure Caroline Records exists anymore--they used to put out great Versus and Unrest albums, but I think those days are long gone?)

The most maddening thing was that the reviews were almost uniformly great, but in the pre-internet/iTunes days, no one could ever find or hear the songs, etc. And of course Moe Tucker's playing on it is fantastic--so it's nice that it gets a real release because of that, too. I always felt like I let her down when the record fell apart. Both No.6 Records and the company the label hired to promote it shut down within a few months of its release.

Anyway, let's hope the record does better this time around and a few more people get to hear it! Best, Charles"

CURRENTLY LISTENING TO: Best Coast "Crazy for You" LP