If you have the experience of working in a couple of bike shops, clerking a book store, running a clothing store, and dancing and singing for tips as a pizza delivery boy, you could possible be able to own a record company of your own. Of course you must be Michael Andelman.
Andelman, now the sole owner and administrator of Fish of Death Records and Management (FOD), discusses his role as a rising independent label.
"By owning and running an independent record and management company, I do everything from answering the phone to producing a record to going to the Mtv awards. It's really working with artists before anybody knows who they are, to the point where everybody knkows who they are. Anyboyd can do what I do, as long as they have patience, heart felt commitment, passion--passion for music, and a lot of creit card. When I started with FOD, I had 40 credit cards that I was using [laughs]. But you have to realize, like I said, anybody can do this, but took me three years before I could start paying my credit card bills." Andelman explains.
FOD was first created by three friends, Matt Wallace, David konjoyan, and Andelman. Wallace and Konjoyan later left but Andel man stayed with the label.
"It was alot of fun to be working with people that were in charge of the bills and the artist, so I stuck with it because first of all, I liked the bands that I was working with and I didn't want to desert them. And second, I knew that at some pont something was going to go good . . . or well [laughs] with the record company."
Whether the point of something going good has come yet or not, the label is going well. With about twenty demos coming in each week, FOD has it's work cut out.
"There's a boy that wokrs with me, Shawn, that calls college radios and also calls magazines and stuff like that. My girlfriend works with me too. She draws pretty pictures . . . answers the phones, and she's really good at picking out good music. Some people also just listen to lots and lots of tapes."
He may have a lot of tapes rolling in from different bands but it was just one band at the beginning, Tiny Buddy and it was fronted by Michael Ward, who is now lead guitarist for the Wallflowers. Andelman is credited in Tiny Buddy's album "Ginormous" as 'directeur sportif'.
"When I was working with them [Tiny Buddy] I would drive them around in a van and take them to their gigs and shows. I would sell their records at their shows and try to get them to play at radio stations and local areas."
Now that FOD has made a name for themselves what does it take for a band to sign on to this label? "I have to like them, that's it. Granted taht there's a lot of music that I would like to work with, like the Offsprings, but they cost a little bit too much money. I'd have to pay them a few million dollars and the last time I checked I can't find that much change in my couch, so I have to like them and they ahve to be serious abou their musical careers."
So what's one reason for a band to sign on to FOD or any label? "Guidance. We [the label] are their parents--oh, we're they're nice parents. We're the positive, constructive, criticism parents, that's what we are."
Artist who have signed with FOD have received great guidance from their "parent" and moved on to larger labels, but each artist will carry a little bit of fish with them.
Fish of Death Records and Management
P.O. Box 93206
Los Angeles, CA 90093