[Originally published June 26, 2014.]
In the late 1980s, our band recorded an album for a now-defunct record label. We only sold one copy. This wasn’t a marketing stunt. The option existed for more people to buy the album, they just didn’t. The rest of the initial pressing (the only pressing) and the master tapes were lost in a fire. We want the album back from whoever bought it because we’re planning a reunion show and we’ve forgotten a lot of the songs. Plus, we’d like to play it for our children, who don’t believe that it’s possible that we were once in a band.
Part of the reason we only sold one album was that by the time the album was actually pressed, our label had gone belly up. We had to sell the album ourselves on tour, which didn’t go so well. We played only one show, which was cut short when our auxiliary drummer got in a fistfight with our trombonist. Our frontman tried to intervene and was brained with a clave. That was the only show we ever played. Later on, we were told by our merch guy that someone bought one of the albums before the melee erupted. We don’t know who this person is. Whoever you are, we want our album back.
We wouldn’t be making this request if the unsold albums and the master tapes weren’t in a storage facility that was burned down in order to destroy evidence of an unlicensed ferret farm housed there. The arsonist moved the ferrets beforehand, but not the albums or the master tapes. So our only hope is the one album we sold. We’ll give it back; we just need to copy it first.
Most of us in the band moved on from music a long time ago, but a reunion is in the works—hopefully not just because it’s fun to say, “We’re getting the band back together! Literally!” Since that ill-fated show, our trombonist and auxiliary drummer have made up, and our front man has recovered most of the motor-skills he lost as a result of the clave attack. There has even been some renewed interest in the band following a chapter about us in a book-length investigation of the ferret farm arson.
We realize that whoever bought the album might have sold it in turn, or let someone borrow it who never returned it, or only bought it in the first place to do cocaine off it. It also might be difficult to identify. Originally, the label didn’t print enough covers for the album, and even those covers didn’t have the band’s name on them (that was a very post-punk thing to do at the time). So only some of the albums had the original art, which is just a picture of a baboon. Then, while we were hand-making the art for the remainder of the copies, we changed our name. At least twice. So it might say we are called Gargantua, David Levine and the Cossacks, or The Pet Rocks. There may have been other names, but we don’t remember.
Actually, the best way to identify the album is probably just listening to it. On the first track the singer chants nonsense over a waltz-type rhythm. We’re pretty sure there’s a trombone solo in it. The second and third tracks are more up-tempo numbers, and one of them has lovelorn lyrics about a girl named Jesse or Jamie or something—definitely a unisex name that starts with a ‘J.’ The fourth song is an instrumental freak out that is basically unlistenable (again, post-punk). We’ve got nothing on track five. Tracks six through nine comprise a movement concerning an unjust proxy war somewhere in Latin America. Or Asia. We don’t remember which war it was, but it was one that we were against. Needless to say, there’s lots of clave in those tracks. That’s all we got. There may be more songs, but it was a long time ago.
We understand that the album may have been thrown out, lost, or destroyed. The entire discography of Gargantua/David Levine and the Cossacks/The Pet Rocks might be gone forever. Hopefully this isn’t true, because it would force us to write new songs. We really don’t want to do that. It was hard enough the first time.