Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A sad day in Power Pop.

Not Lame is closing its doors.

It didn't come as a shock, with the less frequent updates on the site and the steady stream of "blowout" sales as well as the general malaise in the CD-selling business, but it's a sad day nonetheless.

Bruce Brodeen has probably done more for power pop than anyone over the last 10-15 years, and Not Lame will be missed. Here's a video from him explaining his decision (Note that NL's last day will actually be November 24, not the October 31 mentioned in the video)

As always, Bruce has more irons in the fire, and if you want to stay in touch with him regarding his new projects, head over to this page and give him your email address.


sacflies said...

Sad day indeed. Not Lame will be missed. But I think we all saw this coming for several years now.

Anonymous said...


What is this, some kind of sick joke? Not Lame, the world’s greatest power pop store and record label is calling it quits after fifteen years. Bruce Brodeen conceived Not Lame while working in Denver .

For years Brodeen had been trading tapes of great bands that couldn’t get label deals. Brodeen, scion of a long line of Lutheran preachers, studied theology in college, but ended up in LA doing band and concert management and promotion. “The last four years in LA I was becoming psychotic. I couldn’t deal with the crime, density of people, the vicious display of scarier characteristics of human behavior. My wife and I literally sold everything we had and moved to Aspen on a lark.”

Not Lame comprises three labels: Not Lame Recordings, Not Lame Archives (reissues,) and Not Lame Limited. “My passions are completely unharnessed. I have no idea how many bands are on the label,” Brodeen says. Anywhere from fifteen to seventeen, the most significant of which are Jellyfish and The Posies. Not Lame has produced handsome boxed sets for both bands, featuring previously unavailable material. The double-paged photo spread in the center of the Jellyfish booklet, which must be seen to be believed, took six days to shoot and cost fifteen hundred dollars. Not Lame sold 7000 copies of the Jellyfish box, an astonishing number for such an upscale item. Their Posies boxed set sold out.

Bruce’s most significant discoveries were The Shazam, a powerfully melodic Nashville trio, and Myacle Brah, Andy (Love Nut) Bopp’s one-man show. It is pointless to describe these bands as hook-laden. By definition, all Not Lame bands are hook-laden. Not Lame bet the farm on The Shazam, investing a heretofore unheard-of twenty-five grand in their 2007 recording,Tomorrow the World. Not Lame recording artists were seldom heard on radio. There were exceptions. Scot Sax had a hit on the American Pie soundtrack, the swooningly gorgeous “I Am the Summertime.” Brodeen moved to Fort Collins in 2001, and the store jumped from location to location, finally ending up in his own house to save money.

“Yes,” Bruce said, “it is a mission. There is a principle at work here. It is that this style of music will not be marginalized or ignored without some struggle to be heard. We feel that what Not Lame is doing has important artistic merit and relevance, for music fans, as well as for the music industry at large.”

Now I learn that the Shazam’s last record, the brilliant Meteor, will not be commercially available. After the initial 3000 pressing, despite the overwhelmingly positive press, not enough consumers expressed interest. There are many inexplicable failures to launch throughout the history of pop music. Barry & the Remains, for example. One of the greatest Brit invasion post-Beatles acts ever, that in fact opened for the Beatles on their first American tour. Add Shazam to the list. I trust that Hans Rotenberry and crew will reboot and carry on.

--Mike Baron