The video above captures an endearing albeit sometimes rambling Bruce Brodeen, owner of Not Lame Records, confirming the closure of the leading power-pop label and his move on to other music ventures (more on that below).
We knew Not Lame's closure was coming for months, but it's still tough to swallow for hardcore fans of the power-pop genre. Brodeen is among its leading ambassadors, and Not Lame's demise is confirmation that power pop simply was and probably will remain a niche.
I'll remember Bruce and Not Lame for:
- His "Lost in the Haze" series of power pop "mix tapes" (only on CD) that he'd toss in with some orders. Every "Haze" disc would contain a few forgotten gems (like The Pop's "Down on the Boulevard"), and few stunning discoveries and a half-dozen solid tracks that collectively made for repeat listens. These handmade discs came from the heart, and were unique rewards for regular customers.
- His breathless reviews for any and all power pop bands with over-the-top superlatives. He often was right, but more than a few times put too much lipstick on a pig. I remember dog-earing nearly every page of my very first Not Lame catalog, thinking how is it possible that every band is the next Beatles?
- His "grab bag" sales, in which he'd sell a half-dozen unnamed CDs for a fixed fair price (neither rock-bottom nor expensive). You'd get the Not Lame package in the mail, open it up and say, "Who are these bands?" Then you'd play them and say, "Wow, why haven't I heard of these guys before?" Truly serendipitous discoveries of music.
- My Not Lame T-shirt, which is guaranteed to get compliments whenever I wear it.
- His @notlameguy Twitter feed. Bruce's posting was sporadic and almost non-existent over the past year, but his "random vinyl pull" posts (when you blindly pick and album from your collection and play it) were great fun. Bruce's tastes are centered in power pop but his love of classic hard rock and boogie, and recommendations for eclectic music journalism made for some great reading.
But enough of the past.
Brodeen is a co-conspirator in a new social network called Rock and Roll Tribe, "a global army of veteran rockers" debating all things rock. A social network for rock geeks, in other words (sample post: "Artists You Were Wrong About"). My kinda place, and I encourage any rock fan to join and share in the fun.
Brodeen is also working to launch another venture in January called Pop Geek Heaven, described as "The Ultimate Power Pop Community and Resource." Can't wait to see what the future brings.