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Brewery Records — Bringing it all back home


									 Brewery Records — Bringing it all back home                                                                                                                                                    51

                                                                                                                                                                                                May 12, 2006
    Doing it yourself has been a road trav-                                                                                                         “The next release will be
eled by plenty of independent musicians
for the past 30-odd years, so the fact that                                                                                                              by a California band
Southern California country rocker Walter                                                                                                           called The Tickets... It’s a
Clevenger is currently traversing this path                                                                                                           brilliant album that one
is not out of the ordinary. What is some-
what unique, though, is Clevenger’s level                                                                                                            critic accurately likened

                                                                                                                                                                                                GOLDMINE #673
of commitment to the DIY aesthetic: He                                                                                                                      to Squeeze’s Glenn
not only releases his band’s music on his
Brewery Records label, he also records and
                                                                                                                                                              Tilbrook fronting
produces the material as well as producing                                                                                                                           Rockpile.”
other artists (he’s worked with Dave Alvin,                                                                                                              — Brewery Records’
Jeffrey Foskett and countless others) and
running a recording studio. Clevenger
                                                                                                                                                     owner Walter Clevenger
helmed the fab Nick Lowe tribute disc

Lowe Profile and released it on Brewery and                                                                                                       some more recording with me. If things
is planning on future releases on the label.                                                                                                      work out, Brewery Records may end up
Oh, and he does all this out of his home!                                                                                                         being the home of the next Ian Gomm
    Clevenger self-released his first effort,                                                                                                     album.” A new album by Clevenger and
the cassette-only PoPgOeStHeMuSiC in                                                                                                              The Dairy Kings is also expected in 2006.
1995. “I decided to make tapes to give out                                                                                                            Having been on both sides of the
to friends and family,” said Clevenger.                                                                                                           fence, Clevenger is enjoying taking the
“Thinking I’d have the tapes sitting in my                                                                                                        DIY route. “The advantage of having
closet forever, I only had 250 copies made.                                                                                                       your own label is that you learn about all
Well, a few copies got into the right hands,                                                                                                      aspects of the music business. If you
some positive reviews were written, and all                                                                                                       want a successful release you have to
the tapes were gone in a couple of months.”                                                                                                       know about everything: artwork design,
The tapes showcase the nascent beginnings                                                                                                         mastering, CD manufacturing, market-
of Clevenger’s soon-to-be signature sound:                                                                                                        ing, distribution (both traditional and
“two parts Buddy Holly, a couple dashes of                                                                                                        digital), licensing, advertising and pro-
Everly Brothers, a hint of Beatles, a gener-                                                                                                      motion. It’s a lot more work, but I find it
ous scoop of Nick Lowe, a large spoonful of           The next year saw the release of the        (Clevenger and The Dairy Kings cover            much more rewarding.”
John Fogerty, and a liberal amount of Steve       wonderful Full Tilt & Swing, Brewery’s          Brinsley Schwarz’s “There’s A Cloud In              Curious how Brewery Records got its
Earle,” as one critic wrote.                      first full-length release. It’s Clevenger’s     My Heart”). “Don Dixon’s version of             name? Clevenger explained: “Henry Clift
                                                  most fully realized effort to date and one      ‘True Love Travels On A Gravel Road’ is         and I were big home-brewers a few years
                                                  that sees him seamlessly weaving a toe-         my hands-down favorite on the tribute,”         ago. We had a 15-gallon system we’d use
                                                  tapping tapestry of his country, rock and       said Clevenger. “His vocal is just mar-         to brew batch after batch. When we had
                                                  pop influences. From the Georgia                velous on that song. Having the first new       enough beer kegged, we’d call up all our
                                                  Satellites–inspired swagger of “Love            Foster & Lloyd studio recording in 15           friends, play music and drink. The name
                                                  Don’t Mean Anything” through the gen-           years on there is also a personal thrill.       was perfect at the time. Nowadays, con-
                                                  tle folk-rock strains of “Fast As I Can” to     Dave Alvin and Ian Gomm’s contribu-             suming rather than brewing is what we
                                                  the      honky-tonkin’        “Supermarket      tions are both wonderful, too.” Clevenger       do, so the name still works fine.”
    The tape got Clevenger a deal with            Checkout Queen,” the 12-song disc is            and The Dairy Kings (bassist Henry Clift,                               — John M. Borack
Permanent Press Records, which released           top-notch and found its way onto many           guitarist Steve Bancroft, keyboardist
his stellar albums The Man With The X-Ray         critics’ year-end best-of lists in 2003.        Wyman Reese, and drummer Mike
Eyes (1997) and Love Songs To Myself                  Most sane men would have then con-          Fernandez) also served as a house band
(1999). Clevenger picked up the story:            centrated on recording their next album,        of sorts for many of the artists who
“Permanent Press eventually went belly-           but Clevenger instead decided to up the         recorded tracks at the Brewery Records
up, and I had a newly recorded album (Full        ante and ramp up Brewery Records’ activi-       studio for Lowe Profile.
Tilt & Swing) that needed a new home. I           ty. “I do quite a bit of producing and             On the heels of the release of Lowe
was talking with several labels and finally       recording in my studio and figured that I       Profile, Clevenger already has plans in
decided to take the plunge and release it on      could use the connections I’ve made as a        motion for Brewery’s next releases. “The
my own. Being signed with Permanent               great way of getting these artists’ music out   next release will be by a California band
Press for a few years made my decision to         to a wider audience,” Clevenger explained.      called The Tickets. Their album was origi-
self-release a bit easier. I was ahead of the     “Most of the artists I produce or record just   nally a cassette-only release back in 1990. I
game thanks to all the promotion that had         take their finished album, press a thousand     was able to obtain the individual tracks
been done by the label; my name was               copies and sell ’em at shows. It’s a shame      from the original two-inch tapes and re-
known by our distributor, key music critics       that the only way a lot of this really great    mix it from the ground up. It’s a brilliant
and several retail outlets and radio stations.”   music is available is on bands’ Web sites       album that one critic accurately likened to
    Brewery Records’ initial release was          and/or at their shows. Being on Brewery         Squeeze’s Glenn Tilbrook fronting                Brewery Records
                                                                                                                                                   1314 Conway Ave.
2002’s Around The Corner, an eight-song           Records, they’ll have the advantage of a        Rockpile. It’s criminal that it was basically
                                                                                                                                                   Costa Mesa, CA 92626
EP from Clevenger and his band The Dairy          nationwide distributor, a digital distributor   never heard, so I’m extremely excited about      Phone: 714-878-4499
Kings that served as a teaser for Full Tilt &     and a nationwide press campaign.”               giving it the proper release it deserves.”       Web:
Swing. Billed as “a collection of songs from          Clevenger’s next big project for               Also on tap is a solo release by Bryan        E-mail: comments@brewery
                                                                                                                                                   Do you release vinyl? No
upcoming releases” by Clevenger, it               Brewery turned out to be one that is also       Shaddix (who appears on the Nick Lowe            Mail order: Yes
includes three Full Tilt tunes, three num-        close to his heart: a two-disc tribute to       tribute and is also the former lead singer       Catalog: Online catalog only
bers from Clevenger’s as-yet unreleased           one of his musical heroes, Nick Lowe.           of The Tickets) and, Clevenger said, “Ian        Main styles of music: Alt-country/country,
                                                                                                                                                   pop/power pop, rock, folk
country album and covers of The Jags              Lowe Profile was released in late 2005 and      Gomm was thrilled with the work I did            Top artists: Walter Clevenger & The Dairy
(“Back Of My Hand”) and Bobby Fuller              features a slew of country, pop and rock        for his version of ‘Cruel To Be Kind’ on         Kings Lowe Profile: A Tribute To Nick Lowe
(“Only When I Dream”).                            acts mining Lowe’s rich back catalog            Lowe Profile and was excited about doing         Last updated by label: 2006

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