Monday, August 9, 2010

Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet – Schlagers! (1987) (7”)

Thanks very much to Alexander for the opportunity to participate in this blog. It had me searching through just about my whole record collection, realizing that there’s a learning curve of sorts to guessing what kinds of records will have the good center labels. First and most important lesson: major labels don’t vary all that much, and are often not that interesting to begin with. At any rate, I’m going to begin my two-week stint with something slightly elaborate, and hope I don’t get booted for it.

Made sense to me to start here, because this is the first record I thought of when asked to contribute. Like most folks, I first heard Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet through The Kids in the Hall. Although it’s probably been a few years since I put one of the records on, I still consider myself a fan. There’s something so lovable about these guys.

In fact, they represent one of my biggest show-going regrets. On July 15, 1993, I decided not to attempt to get the night off of work when I was 17 and they were playing the Cattle Club in Sacramento. A year or two later, I was at the Club for another show, and happened to ask the owner/booker, Jerry Perry, if he remembered the Shadowy show, and if so, how it had gone. He said it was the best show they’d had all that year. Plus, the band had played their live-only tune “16 Encores”, which was an ever-changing collage of dozens (not just 16) of famous riffs from tons of other bands’ songs, including stuff like "All the Young Dudes", "Dueling Banjos", "Rock and Roll (part 2)", and the theme from Green Acres. Never had another chance to see them.

OK, so the reason I immediately thought of the Schlagers! single for this blog is that it’s not just a center label. It’s also a spinner thingy for a board game. The above images show you the center label of the 7”’s two sides, but these images will show a little of how it works:

By the way, their followup 7”, Explosion of Taste, was sold for a limited time as the lid of an actual Jiffy Pop stovetop popcorn package, (with record underneath the cover artwork). The B-side of that one is actually the sound of someone making stovetop popcorn.

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