My Dearest Friend:
Funny story. I’m sitting here on the 4th of July, celebrating like most Americans do – at the dining room table with my friend Tom hand-stamping and replicating CDs containing 20-year-old studio outtakes by obscure western Massachusetts bands – when we hear an ungodly groan coming from the vicinity of the dining room buffet. Thinking Charlie Ashmont was just doing his usual I-am-a-drama-queen-and-nobody’s-paying-attention-to-me-right-now-so-I-will-make-gutteral-noises-while-lying-on-my-back-and-showing-off-my-winkie, I look over, and Charlie is in fact sleeping like the little pit bull angel that he is. The noise is not coming from him. Instead, it’s coming from “Old Faithful,” the gigantic, ugly CD replicator we’ve had since the late nineties, back when the Scud Mountain “Boys”(someone recently suggested “Scud Mountain Pensioners,” which I think is catchy) were much closer to that than they are now. It’s dead. D-E-A-D. Dead. It has replicated its last homemade bonus disc.
I’m sure you know where I am going here. Those Scuds discs so many of you ordered? They’re not going to be on time, as promised by the July 9 street date. It BEING the 4th of July, and tomorrow being the day after the 4th of July and Saturday and Sunday being what they are, my best guess is that these suckers will not ship until July 13 or 14, since I now have to 1) buy a new machine, and they don’t carry them at Target 2) send the discs off to be replicated by a company that does this thing (which of course means that won’t be made with as much “love” (or blood) as they would be if they were made here at Ashmonticello or 3) find a monastery full of monks that sound like Joe, Steve, Bruce and Tom to record hundreds of reasonable facsimiles. The third option is naturally the most appealing to me, but I would imagine American monks ALSO celebrate the 4th of July, and they’re all down at the Clam Box or Tony’s (depending on their monastic order) at Wollaston Beach having some fried clams and frolicking in the waves, before heading over to the Esplanade to see the Boston Pops.
About 100 lucky people will get theirs in time. That’s how many we made before the machine turned on us, leaving me to wonder: “Am I a good enough American? Is this karmic payback that this machine should melt down on Independence Day? Is it because I voted with the other party that one time? Does it not matter that my party’s candidate was a troglodyte?” I’ll tell you, I haven’t had a drink in 15 years, and I’m thinking I might like one this evening.
I’m wicked sorry. If you would like to cancel your order for a refund, please let me know and I will make that happen. I don’t want to ship the Scuds disc separate from the bonus disc, because that will frankly just cost us too much money, and fried clams are EXPENSIVE on the Irish Riviera. I will do my best to get these shipped as quickly as I can, and will perform some pretty heavy-duty penance for our failure of commerce. I’ll mentor some kids or something. They won’t like it much, but I’ll do it.
The good news is if you haven’t ordered this yet, I am going to extend the deadline for the time being. Details here.
We’ve announced a few Scuds dates in the fall. Just Northeast for now, I’m afraid. Yes, I know this will make some of you unhappy. The Northeast is nice in September though, so come on up for a visit.
In the meantime, Joe and Norman Blake a.k.a The New Mendicants, are headed off across the pond, to do shows in Norway, Ireland and the UK this week and next.
So let’s stop saying Joe NEVER tours and start saying he RARELY tours. FAR more accurate.
I made a 4th of July Spotify playlist to share with my friends, but then Joe pointed out I don’t really have any friends – only followers. So, here it is. spoti.fi/LSXAcf . Maybe someone will enjoy it.
Thanks again for your continued support. The Ashmont family appreciates it, despite all bad customer service evidence to the contrary. I have to say, as I’ve been processing these orders, sticking my hand in your pocket and taking some money out, I’ve been struck by the fact that I am seeing the same names over and over again every time we release something via mail order. Many of you have been with us from the very beginning. I feel like you’re family. Of course, I don’t really see my family much either, and that’s probably a good thing.
P.S. Wicked sorry.