Friday, August 25, 2006

Were the Hampton Grease Band Strenturgent?

I might have told you all about his before, but since people seemed to enjoy the post about the pompatus of love, I thought we'd revisit another legendary made-up word, "strenturgent," which was invented by the Hampton Grease Band. But let's let them tell the story:

"When Music to Eat was released in 1971, it received very little support from the label. Columbia felt they had already put out the money for promotion to Walden, but he didn't seem interested in putting any of the money he'd made on the band into promoting the record. Both Columbia and the band felt cheated.

Complicating things further, the sales people at Columbia didn't know what to make of the record. They frequently marketed it to stores as a comedy album, where it was filed alongside Don Rickles and Bill Cosby.

In a desperate attempt to try to straighten things out, our manager, Frank Hughes, began to hold frequent meetings with the band. Before the meetings, the band would make up a catch word, like 'strenturgent.' We'd use the word throughout the meeting, to see if we could get Frank to start using it. We'd continually complain of Columbia's 'strenturgent' treatment of the group and by the end of the meeting Frank would be saying, 'I don't think Columbia is treating the group strenturgently.'"

I really enjoy that one, mostly because it's such a rare thing for a band to treat their label badly rather than the other way around. (Also, I imagine Frank Hughes looking like Paul Shaffer in Spinal Tap). I wonder if Kevin Shields ever accused his label of being strenturgent.

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