The Third Annual Tibetan Freedom Concert was held just after you started work in 1997, did you help out at
I was actually busy with my band, Betty's Trash and had to decline, but otherwise I would have worked at the
concert. Everyone I know had a time!
That same year, Hello Nasty (and the associated singles) were released. That must have been a busy time for
I will try to answer that statement with another statement :) During the years I worked with GR it was always
busy because they were always coming up with great ideas to promote new bands as well as the classics. When
Bis and ATR hit the scene there was no resting time. They really wanted to have these international bands make
it happen in the States and I think on some levels they succeeded.
Did you meet any of the artists?
Yeah I met the Beasties a few times as well as Bis (Manda used to do a kick ass zine that she gave me). I met
Atari Teenage Riot (RIP Carl Crack) and my best friend interviewed Alec for a zine we used to do called
"Trashcan Bangin' Culture" which was based on industrial/electronic/rock music. I got to meet the ladies of
Luscious Jackson and would always see Kate or Gabby at other shows
around the city. I also met Ben Lee, Buffalo Daughter and a few others.
Did you get freebies and pre-releases? What were some of the perks of the job?
Totally! When I first started they hooked me up with press kits, albums, stickers, photos, clothes and other
goodies that filled my mailbox. Promo CDs were always being sent out - they were very kind.
Run us through a usual day at work
Well since I was in NYC and the HQ was LA, usually there would be phone meetings and e-mails. When I first
started, I remember getting handwritten letters which was a treat knowing someone took the time for me.
Were there staff meetings?
Sometimes there were NYC meetings with interns & street teamers, but I would see GR staff at big events like
CMJ or when the Beasties were touring.
Were staff encouraged to make suggestions on the running of the office? or to make suggestions as to who
should be signed?
Not on my end, but I tried to suggest new ways to promote artists at stores and venues.
Who would you have liked to be seen signed to the label if it was still running now?
Oh snap, that is a tough one, but I could see Northern State or Tenacious D being apart of the GR family. It
would have been great to have more eclectic hip hop involved.
What are your Top 5 Grand Royal Artists?
- In no particular order:
- Luscious Jackson
- Ladies Who Lunch
- Butter 08
What are your Top 5 Grand Royal Releases?
- Once again, no order:
- Butter 08 - Butter 08
- Bis - The New Transistor Heroes
- Kostars - Klassics With A K
- Luscious Jackson - In Search Of Manny
- Ladies Who Lunch - Kims We Love
Why did you leave Grand Royal?
When the Beasties decided to let some other people/company take over their label that is when things went
sour, at least for myself. The people I had loved working with over the years were replaced or quit on their
own. I lost communication with everyone and the people that were contacting me seemed miserable and not very
keen with their jobs. I was going to record stores with less product to hand out and the bands that were being
signed couldn't touch the talent and creativity that the older artists and bands that once dominated the
scene. I always asked for feedback from record shop owners and hearing that these bands weren't that good make
me feel really uncomfortable with my job and eventually I was so annoyed with the way things were being
handled that I sent an e-mail to everyone there including some people at "Nasty Little Man", which is the
publicity office of the Beasties and other GR bands. I had no response and that really pissed me off
especially since I was such a part of getting bands heard at shows, radio, and instore performances.
the end I knew it was the best decision because I was stressin' and not getting anything done - on top of
everything else I was graduating from college and moving out of the city and wasn't going to be on top of my
stores and the info. I do miss people like Tick and Stephanie that really made me
feel a part of something so far away. I miss the Beasties and the gals from Luscious Jackson. I miss Bis,
Atari Teenage Riot and Butter08, damnit! Anyone who saw the CMJ GR showcase is special!
After moving on from GR, what are you doing now?
I'm a graphic designer freelancing in the big apple. I took a pause from the music industry. I have worked for
corporate & indie labels and it's just amazing how scary and sad this industry can be. It's a lil crazy how
each world operates! People forget that it's a creative and powerful expression that should be respected and
not thrown around. [steps off soapbox]
What are your thoughts on why GR fell apart in the end?
Because of money and power. I really think the original family/DIY vibe was overtaken by people that didn't
really know the philosophy of what GR was really about. As soon as I heard about new employees I knew it was
over. It broke my heart.
Given a choice, is there any other labels you would like to work for?
Well, I have had a label since 1995 called Princezz Ov Power and if I could I would love to do work for any of
the following whether it's design, promotional or A&R: Saddle Creek, Fatal, Five Foot Two Records, Chainsaw,
Ace Fu, Absolutely Kosher, KRS, Villa Villakula, SubPop, there are tons of labels that I love!
Lyor Cohen went from intern at Def Jam to CEO. Do you have any desire to be in that sort of position?
Perhaps, but not at an ultra corporate level.
Do you keep in contact with anyone from the old Grand Royal days?
Once in a while I see the Beasties at a show or around the city. As for GR workers I talk to Tick once in a
while and will meet some people I used to talk to who have moved on as well.
Thanks to Alison for taking the time to talk to us. Check out her cool website