3/1/23: Every single record has finally been assembled and neatly put into numbered boxes. Each one took an average of 7 minutes to assemble between hand-numbering each copy, applying booger glue to the Download Cards and CD Sleeves, applying said Download Cards and CD Sleeves, inserting CDs into the CD Sleeves, visually inspecting each record for defects, sliding each record into its appropriate jacket sleeve, inserting the lyric & artwork booklets, dropping the product into a polysleeve, applying the TMR sticker, Hype sticker, barcode sticker, and a sticky note on the front telling me which version it is so I don't have to pull everything out to know which copy I'm dealing with. Multiply that by 500 records and it's about 3,500 minutes spent monkeying with these things (or about 58.33 hours of my life that I'm never getting back). Regardless, I can finally see the floor of my studio again and I'm inspired to make all the noises again. Another bit of good news is that you may now pick up the album from the following locations: Vertigo Records in Grand Rapids, Jack's Record Stache in Flint, and RPM Records in Traverse City. Many many Thanks to the record shops that support local artists like myself. Now that I'm over the hurdle of getting everything packaged and cleaned up, I can now focus more on distributing and selling the album. Please feel free to help me out by spreading the word about The FiresideWake, clueing me in to other record shops that would be kind enough to stock my album, or putting me in front of people to perform for. My hiatus from performing live has been long enough and I'm quite ready to get back out there and play these songs live again.
1/26/23: 300/500 Records stuffed. On to the final 200 Black 180g variant...
12/7/23: Still stuffing records. Still stuffing records. Still stuffing records. Still stuffing records.
10/19/22: Final Gig at White's Bar tonight and last gig of the year. I really must admit: I am burned out. The last few years have required much of my mental and physical energy. I need a Recharge; a Reset; a Reboot. In the mean time, I'm going to continue working towards getting all these albums packaged and warehoused. Seeing nothing but boxes cluttering my creative space is taking its toll. I hope to crank these out over the next few months and get back to using that space for it's intended purpose of making music as opposed to being a factory assembly line. Hopefully, I can get it done before the year ends, but we'll see.
9/16/22: An unexpected bout of Laryngitius has rendered me unable to honor some live performance commitments I made. This bums me out beyond belief, as I have never had to cancel on a gig before. It's quite possible I over-extended myself with trying to shoe-horn in so many things in one month. I suppose this gives me an opportunity to keep plugging away at stuffing records and reclaiming my studio space.
8/12/22: Through a series of deliveries, shipments, and pickups, 99% of Vinyl orders have made their way to their proper homes. The few stragglers are people who are nearly impossible to get a hold of, and I don't want to just ship to the address on file cause they may have moved. I genuinely appreciate everyone's patience as I worked through packaging & dropping off orders whether it be to the Post Office or your residence directly. Finally wrapping up this phase of the project has been a huge weight off my shoulders. The next mountain to scale are the 216,000 boxes of records, jackets, inserts, polysleeves, CDs, and the myriad of sticker rolls that are applied to the final product. My studio looks like UPS exploded and there is very little room to navigate, let alone have band practice in there. Once I slog through that, I can start making noise with people again.
7/1/22: Vinyl sets are officially "released." All the pre-orders have painstakingly been assembled and are ready to be flung towards your household via Merchandise Catapult. I've begun shipping orders, so keep your eyes peeled for the daily USPS Fairy. Local folks are benefiting from picking theirs up directly, or having me drop it off on my way to raid their refrigerators. I'm also finagling some stock into local record shops as time allows. Records in Tapes in Saginaw, Electric Kitsch in Bay City, and Radio Wasteland in Midland are all confirmed supporters of the cause. So far, from the people who have received their copies, I have only received extremely positive feedback in terms of both the quality and presentation of the album. The neurotic details aren't going unnoticed and that warms my heart. It makes me quite happy to see this thing finally exist and make it into the hands of people who appreciate it.
6/15/22: I have definitely painted myself into a little corner. With the way that I have chosen to present / assemble the records, each one takes quite a bit of time, and I'm doing all the inserting, affixing, stuffing, and packing myself. Every single record will be hand-assembled by yours truly. The end result is really quite unique and hits the mark of "premium" (also read: "extra") that I've been shooting for this entire time. I'll be spending the majority of my free time over the next month getting these all put together. I'll be focusing on out-of-state orders first (anything that requires shipping), and then moving to the local orders. If you want to skip the line and pick yours up, you can contact me directly and swing by the studio while I'm assembling and I'll put yours together on the spot. Otherwise, arrangements can be made for me to bring your copy with me when I play a gig. Or, I will likely swing by your residence in the next month or so to personally deliver your copy (and whatever merchandise remains yet from your order). To reiterate: this is just me doing EVERYTHING and there are only so many hours in the day between full-time job, sleep, gigs, and feeding myself. Once all of the existing orders have been processed, I will get the other variants up on the webstore as soon as I am able. Your patience and support is always immensely appreciated.
6/9/22: Records are done! I drove down to Third Man Pressing this morning to ensure everything was correct and that no crazy in-transit shipping accidents happened. With my luck, had I shipped them, the truck would have careened off the road into a Fireworks Factory and exploded with my order inside. We ended up having to get a little creative with my order so as to not trash the 200 copies that were pressed at 130 gram, and speed up the pressing process by supplementing the remainder of the 500 with Black Vinyl. Lining up my center labels to the split in the PVC biscuit is kind of a pain in the ass for the Third Man team. With everything all said and done, I now apparently have 3 variants for the album:
• 100 extremely limited 3xLP 180 gram Split-Color (Half Blue/Black, Half Red/Black, Half Green/Black) pressings (that are largely already spoken for by my Crowdfunding supporters)
• 200 3xLP 180 gram Standard Black Audiophile pressings
• 200 3xLP 130 gram Split-Color (Half Blue/Black, Half Red/Black, Half Green/Black) pressings
The silver lining in all of this is that the Crowdfunding supporters are truly getting something limited and special. The original plan was to only press 100 of these in the first place. Having a solid black option is a cool way to appease the audiophiles while still being at the heavier weight. The 130 gram option will be a bit more affordable and thus will have an easier time finding their way into independent record stores. A couple supplementary items are on order (stickers, booger glue, and poly sleeves). As soon as those come in, I can begin the assembly and delivery process.
4/18/22: Good News / Bad News: The Good News is that I have 200 pressings in hand. The Bad News is that they were pressed incorrectly at 130 gram. They look great, but the plan was 180 gram. So, I'll be working with the pressing plant to get this resolved and ensure that everyone who pre-ordered the 3xLP 180 gram split-color set gets exactly what they ordered. Unfortunately, with how the manufacturing process works and production schedules, the order won't be fixed/completed until June. Fresh stampers have to be sent from NiPro Optics in California, and then Third Man has to squeeze it in.
4/13/22: I have just received confirmation that Third Man Pressing has infact completed pressing The Fireside Wake! For those keeping track of timeline, my order was submitted 11 months ago, and I'm technically pushing 5 months past my original deliver date (for that I am extremely apologetic). They sent me some pictures of the discs on press and they look absolutely gorgeous - pretty much exactly as my mind's eye saw them turning out. That's saying a lot considering how precise I needed my label designs and pressings to be, and how imperfect the mechanics of pressing a split color record can be. I'll be taking work off and driving down to the plant on Monday to personally pick them up and ensure nothing goes haywire in some sort of freak freight shipping accident. I will be spending the rest of the day assembling the vinyl sets to include: 3 Split-Color Discs, 2 Compact Discs, Artwork & Lyric Booklet, and Download Card all housed in a Triple-Gatefold Jacket & 3mil Poly Sleeve. I will begin shipping and/or delivering orders as soon as I can. Arrangements may be made in advance for you to pick up your copy at one of my shows by contacting me directly (must contact me AT LEAST the day BEFORE the gig). I feel like I've rounded Third, and I'm sprinting towards Home Plate. I cannot WAIT to get these in your hands.
2/14/22: Test Pressings Version 2.0 have been approved and will re-enter the manufacturing phase. As soon as Third Man Pressing gets the parts back from the Electroplating facility, they'll be going into the queue.
2/9/22: Test Pressings Version 2.0 have arrived today!
12/1/21: Newly remastered Lacquer Cuts sound good and have been approved. I have confirmation that the Lacquer is en route to the Electroplating facility that makes the Stampers. Unfortunately, they treat this like a "new job" so I'm in the back of their queue. It will likely be a month (or possibly even 2-3 due to the Holidays) before they make their way back to Third Man. Once there, a new round of Test Presses will be produced. They'll ship them to me for review and once I approve them, they'll be tossing my project on the presses ASAP. The finish line is in sight, albeit a bit distant yet.
10/15/21: This is one of the most massive bummer updates I will ever make: There is an issue with the Test Presses, which means there is an issue with the Stampers, which means it will all have to be scrapped, and redone from scratch. This kills me. Not only will this add thousands of dollars to my bottom line, but it also means I have no idea when the LPs can start shipping. This could be a 2-6 month delay and I'm at the whim of engineers, manufacturing houses, and supply chains. Suffice it to say, I'm not likely to hit my "by Christmas" deadline that I had promised. If I didn't care so much about quality, this wouldn't be an issue. But I'm determined to provide the highest possible quality product that I can. The quality of the Test Presses were deemed "acceptable" by some, but not me. "Acceptable" in this instance means Sub-par and I'm not about to deliver a sub-par product to all of you who took a chance on me. Your patience is greatly appreciated while all this gets sorted out.
10/1/21: Don't mind me: I'm just over here FREAKING OUT! Test Presses just arrived from Third Man Pressing for The Fireside Wake 3xLP set. I've been waiting a long time to hear this coming through a turntable. Weekend Plans have officially been reassigned.
9/27/21: An entire palleted shipment of Vinyl Jackets, Inserts, and CDs are now in my possession! They. Look. AWESOME!!! Super weird and fulfilling to finally be able to hold this stuff in my hands. It seemed like such a distant reality from the time I started that I felt like these days might never come. The only unfinished inventory items left now are the Fine Art Prints and the actual vinyl discs from Third Man Pressing. The Test Presses are on the way, so as soon as those are approved, they'll be put in the queue for production. I over-ordered on all items so that I would have extra to sell at shows (and for stragglers who see all the cool stuff and yell "hey! I want one!" at me.) I have finished separating out the pre-sold stuff from general inventory so I can now start shipping product (all but vinyl orders for now). The hoodies are a bit thicker than the standard band hoodie which is PERFECT for the oncoming Fall and typical brutal Michigan Winter season. I'm very happy with how everything turned out so far. I reckon you will NOT be disappointed when your order arrives.
8/26/21: Puzzles have arrived and look fantastic (both sides)! The quality is great too - vibrant, slightly textured, durable pieces. They will be difficult to assemble, but I imagine they will look stunning when completed. Coffee has also arrived all the way from Pittsburgh, PA via a special delivery directly from the owner of Black Forge Coffee. It was the final batch of the S.O.S. Blend. I've also got about 75% of the screen-printed products done, courtesy of Outline Design & Graphics. As soon as I get the rest of the aprons and hoodies done, I can start fulfilling some orders. Koozies? Check! I'll soon be aiming my Merch Catapult at your shipping address.
6/4/21: Album layout is almost complete for the Vinyl and CD Jackets. I just have a few more tweaks to make for the CD layout since the formatting and dimensions are a little goofier than the vinyl. The production house that is handling the jackets and CD replication are estimating a 6 week turnaround time once everything is submitted and approved. I'm hoping to be able to submit that in the next week or so. Life has kept me incredibly busy with work, gigs, friends & family, etc, but I'm still carving out time every week to keep the ball rolling on this project so I can fulfill orders as soon as I can. Speaking of which, once the artwork side of things is done, I will be moving on to all the "soft goods" like T-shirts, Aprons, Hoodies, Puzzles, etc. It's highly likely I will ship all orders, excepting the vinyl copies, ASAP. I'll do a separate shipment for the vinyl when those are finally ready. By the time the CDs come in, the puzzles and coffee will probably be arriving, and I can work on screen printing all the shirts, aprons, etc. In the spirit of DIY, I'm doing all my own labor and personally screen printing all items myself. One of my friends' contribution to the campaign is that he's going to teach me how to screen print and let me use his facility to get everything made. I am very grateful for that as it's going to save me a ton of money that I can allocate towards helping offset the unexpected vinyl production expense increase. So, this summer, I need to balance work life, order fulfillment, and finding a few days to myself to try to relax a little. As always, I appreciate everyone's support and patience while I crank all this stuff out. Remember, I'm a one-man-Army over here so things move a little slower than other folks' projects might.
5/16/21: The 35th Annual Review Awards took place this evening and I managed to rack up a whopping SEVEN awards for my musical endeavors! That puts me in the All Time Top 3 for number of awards won in a single year. A few of the stand-outs include Best Website and Best Alternative Band. That's the first time in the 35 year history of the Review Awards that the Best Alternative Band was awarded to a one-man-band! What an honor! The following awards are now littered across my apartment: Best Band Website, Best Alternative Band, Best Live Streaming Performance, Most Innovative Artist, Best Instrumentalist, Best Rock Video (Pay Check), Best Rock Male Vocalist.
5/11/21: The vinyl order is submitted and my dream of using Third Man Pressing is actually happening! However, I must disclose a tiny roadblock that I encountered during my back-and-forth with vendors over the last month. Apparently, there was a fire at one of the main facilities that produce lacquer for vinyl production. As a result of the fire and Covid-19 supply chain disruptions, many companies have had to pivot and so will I. Long story short, I will no longer be able to use Welcome to 1979 to get the lacquers cut. Instead, that will be handled by Third Man Pressing so it will still be of the utmost quality. I will also be required to now press a total of 500 vinyl copies as opposed to the original 100 that I wanted. Pressing 100 copies was more of a function of reasonable expectations (and to be honest, budgeting) vs trying to create exclusivity. That said, the biggest chunk of the Crowdfunding Budget is now seeing a 400% increase. I will not be coming back to my supporters for more money. If you'd like to buy an extra bag of coffee or spread the word to help boost sales, you are more than welcome to but I plan to drain my life savings and simply press on. I budgeted conservatively enough to be able to withstand an unexpected monetary obstacle such as this. And since I'm way over budget now, adding some extra features to the vinyl release will be no more than a drop in the bucket. This will be a surprise and a Thank You for all those who ordered the vinyl. Turnaround window for vinyl production according to Third Man Pressing is about 6 months right now from the time all audio and artwork is submitted (which is pretty much what I expected and prepared for). Everything is submitted and in the TMP Queue. It looks like I'll be able to make good on my promise to deliver all merchandise before Christmas. So, if you wanted to get some Christmas shopping done WAY early, The Fireside Wake puzzles, coffee, and aprons all make great gifts! ;)
4/15/21: The dust is settling on the Crowdfunding and I thought I'd share some nerdy statistics. We were able to raise not only the goal of $15,000, but we've inched up to $17,203! That is absolutely incredible! 78 Copies of the Vinyl have been pre-ordered. About 2 dozen people and their friends and family are going to go insane putting the puzzle together. I get to cook 1 Spaghetti Dinner for my dear friend and his family. Another fan purchased a Porch Serenade along with a Private Concert so I gotta figure out how to put that experience over the top too. Aprons far outsold T-shirts which is a crazy surprise. As soon as the vinyl and CDs are ordered, I'll be working on those so they can still be used during the 2021 BBQ season. One of my best friends down in North Carolina took advantage of the YouTube Cover reward, so you have her to thank when she picks the song she wants me to learn since you'll all get to enjoy it. No idea what it is, but I really hope it's not something awful. Luckily, she has amazing taste in music, so I think we're safe and I'll have a lot of fun with it.
3/31/21: THANK YOU!!! The Fireside Wake 2021 Crowdfunding Campaign is officially FULLY FUNDED! We reached the final goal of $15,000 and then some! I am seriously in awe and incredibly proud & appreciative of everyone's support. Since I had some friends tell me they needed a little more time to contribute, I'm leaving the web store open until I'm ready to order all the specialty items. Getting the vinyl into production is the top priority as it's the main point of this project in the first place, and from a manufacturing standpoint it has the longest turn-around time. As long as the items are still posted, I'm honoring all Crowdfunding bonus awards like the free Koozie, and the free T-Shirt (with purchase of the Vinyl set).
3/23/21: We're a little over 2/3 of the way through the month and a little shy of 2/3 of the way to the final goal. That's not enough to make me anxiety-ridden, but it IS enough for me to encourage everyone to keep sharing and getting your orders in. I spoke with the nice folks over at Black Forge Coffee and they've agreed to let me toss in a bag of beans FREE (a $25 value) with the purchase of the Two-Sided Puzzle. I personally can't wait to do the puzzle, and I really want others to have the same joy but I know the price tag is a little steep. Hopefully this add-on helps sweeten the deal a bit. The Review Magazine did a nice write up on the campaign. Radio Wasteland's Jim Gleason had me on for Episode 8 of The Record Show. The finish line is fast approaching, so don't wait till April cause it'll be too late!
3/2/21: Milestone #1: Achieved! Wow! Thank you so much! In less than 24 hours of the launch, I have received enough funding to already begin the vinyl process! I'll be sending my album down to Welcome to 1979 in Nashville, TN where they will begin the process of creating the Master Lacquer. Files are loaded into a computer, then a fancy German machine with a diamond stylus cuts the audio into the grooves of an aluminum disc covered in lacquer (hence the term). Once all 5 sides are cut, they ship me the reference lacquer so I may listen for any audio issues (or lack thereof). Assuming there are no issues with the cut, I approve the record, they cut the Master, and it will be shipped up to Third Man Pressing in Detroit, MI where it can begin the Electroplating process and eventually create a Stamper (big metal negatives of the record) that uses a bunch of heat and pressure to smash a puck of PVC into a Vinyl disc. The flashing (all the extra gook that spits out the sides) is then cut off giving you a nice clean edge. Normally, they would get put into jackets at this point, but mine will all just go onto a bulk spindle as I am getting the jackets pressed elsewhere, and will be stuffing the Records into the Sleeves myself. All 100 of them.
3/1/21: Crowdfunding Campaign & Pre-Sale Officially Launched!
2/27/21: For my Birthday, I have decided to open up orders to email subscribers, and anyone who has ever said "save me a copy!" (and honestly, anyone who stumbles on the site and realizes ordering is live). If that's you, you have officially been manually texted, emailed, or messaged directly to let you know you have a head start on everyone else before the big announce on Monday. My stomach is in knots with excitement and anxiety. This thing feels 10x more real now. March is going to be crazy!
2/20/21: Home stretch before everything goes live March 1st. Finishing up product mock-up images and descriptions, sorting out a way to utilize variable shipping to keep things as fair as possible, and adding a FAQ section to the Crowdfunding Page. For those that enjoy digging deeper and learning more about this project and what it means to me, there will be plenty of info there. If you have a question I have not answered, or something isn't clear, just get a hold of me using the contact form.
1/21/21: Online Store with Album Presale and Crowdfunding Rewards will go live March 1st through March 31st, 2021. During this window, you'll be able to pre-order the album on Vinyl and/or CD, in addition to T-Shirts, Puzzles, and other packages. Once all funds are collected, merchandise orders will be placed and put into production. I am hoping that all orders can be fulfilled within 6 months of completion of the Crowdfunding Campaign. I'm really at the mercy of the manufacturing plants and availability of materials. Rest assured, I will be aiming to fulfill orders ASAP, but I appreciate your patience and understanding during these strange times.
12/12/20: Album & Crowdfunding Update: At the current time, Covid-19 is still running amok though a vaccine is on the horizon. This continues to cast a shadow of uncertainty on the music industry, and life in general. The dismal brutal winter of Michigan is setting in as the days become shorter, darker, and colder. Crowdfunding preparation will resume at the start of the new year with a loose launch date of mid-to-late February, 2021. An ambitious set of goals and rewards is already in the works. This will be the most I have ever asked of the universe. I will absolutely not be able to accomplish this bucket list item without your support. The goal is to release the album on Glass Mastered CDs, and a limited edition run of 100 3xLP vinyl copies of the album. They will be of the utmost quality and contend with any major label release. Be sure to check back here for more information as things unfold.
11/20/20: Premiere of Under the Golden Ceiling Green Room featuring The Fireside Wake. This contains Andy's original performance from Episode 3 in addition to 2 extra performances utilizing electric guitars and backing tracks.
11/13/20: Premiere of Episode 3 of Under the Golden Ceiling featuring The Fireside Wake. One stationary camera and the Reed Recording Co. Mobile Rig captures Andy performing each instrument's part one at a time. Once edited together, it appears as if though Andy has been cloned 3 times to make this performance happen.
8/27/20: Taping of segment at Fireside Wake Studios for The Temple Theatre's Under the Golden Ceiling web series.
6/15/20: Premiere of the 34th Annual Review Magazine Awards. The Fireside Wake takes home Best Album Release Party for the event at Fischer Hall, Best Multi-Instrumentalist, and Most Innovative Artist.
5/30/20: Taping of the 34th Annual Review Magazine Awards. Social distancing was observed. No one involved became infected during the filming of the performances.
3/31/20: Covid-19 has officially derailed the course of humanity. As such, all crowdfunding endeavors for the manufacturing of physical copies of the album have been put on hold.
1/24/20: The Fireside Wake will be featured on Z93 The Rock Station's program Michigan Made. They showcase talent from all around Michigan and play songs that don't drop any f-bombs. Tune your outdated terrestrial radio dial to 93.3 FM on Sunday 1/26/20 at 8:00pm to hear one of the safe-for-work (SFW) Fireside Wake (FSW) songs.
1/23/20: Website facelift.
12/21/19: Album Release Party at Fischer Hall in Frankenmuth, MI. Private Event featured a listening party of the entire album, complementary Taco Bar & Desserts, complementary cocktails, complementary beer provided by Wildly Handsome Brewing Co. featuring a custom crafted Fireside Wake Smokey Porter, Album Art Gallery of the 5 oil paintings commissioned through Hargash Artist Studio, living-room-style listening station with couches & 4 separate headphone feeds for album audio AND soundboard audio, and 2 Live Performances of material from the album: an acoustic set featuring live looping, and an electric set featuring backing tracks from the album and an excessive amount of guitars & equipment.
12/20/19: Digital Album Release Date. Available here or on all major streaming platforms.
10/14/19: Album Release Party announced for December 21, 2019 in Frankenmuth, MI at Fischer Hall.
9/29/19: Digital / Streaming Release Date: Friday 12/20/19.
12/31/18: Album is mastered.
6/1/18: Artwork commissioned.
3/17/18: Launch Official Website.
11/16/17: Finish mixing and sequencing.
6/22/17: Finish Tracking.
3/1/13: Begin Tracking.