What Is Up With The New Giant Drag Album?

Posted on May 4, 2011 |

Life’s been rough for Giant Drag’s frontwoman Annie Hardy.

Health issues and the music industry haven’t been too kind to her in recent

We did get this pretty sweet EP release “Swang Song” Back in February 2010
but since then, not a word as to when their sophomore album (their debut
“Hearts And Unicorns” came out in 2006) would see the light of day.

Until yesterday that is when Annie posted a “lemme-break-it-down-for-ya’ll/here’s
how the music business really works turned heartfelt homies “News” post on their
website’s frontpage.

If you’ve been a long time fan like me, it sucks to hear what kind of shit her
and Micah Calabrese (2nd half of GD) have gone through to try and release the
damn thing. On the other hand, it’s good to hear that the new album is
mixed/mastered and good to go.

If you wanna keep up on all the going ons with the band, do check out Annie’s
new Tumblr blog
“Annie Hardy Vs. Technology: A Battle to The DEATH” which she
frequently updates.

You can also follow their Twitter feeds @AnnieHardy, @micahcalabrese and @giantdrag.

Their next show scheduled is an appearance @ the Indie West Fest in Ventura, CA
June 4th.

Here’s Miss Hardy in her own words:

What’s the hold up? I’ll tell you in a late night rant about “the biz”
sponsored by insomnia & stress

I know it’s been almost a year since that last post. Here’s what happened:

I had two hard drives crash and one phone die (hence the lack of updates,
I lost everything) we recorded, mixed and mastered our 2nd full length album
(finally!) so that’s done & rad…if only that’s all that needed to happen.

That was the fun part, we are now in the business phase (i.e. deciding
how the record should come out, there are a lot more avenues now that
the record labels are dying a slow death and everything is merging with
everything while uninformed artists sign 360 deals that take money from
merch and publishing which, in my opinion, shouldn’t be touched by anyone
except the artist who is on the road selling that merch and at home writing
those songs) basically everything is changing every day because the old
ways and jobs are no longer that relevant, thanks to the internet and
people who don’t buy records because they can buy or steal them off a
website a bunch of people have been dropped (like us, we got signed at the
beginning of the end and dropped just in time to not put out a super shitty
record) from major labels, the people who signed them to that label got
fired and heads of record labels are now on American Idol.

It’s a new era, if you’re not Lady Gaga, an Eminem, U2 or a No Doubt then
you’re probably on an indie label, unsigned or in the same boat as us, or
at least a similar boat (probably one with food in it because you have a job
and “life skills” like Micah) lucky for us we have really awesome fans and
friends who have made it possible to make a record, thee record and not apply
for a job at the local strip club… yet.

Star Gardens is just around the corner both physically and metaphorically, and
you continue to send what you can into the Giant Drag Relief Fund paypal button
thing thats located on this website, thank you guys so much- you have no idea
how much you have helped not just me but this whole recording process, I really
wouldn’t have survived the last few years without your help. Our choices are the

distro deal where we have a company pay to manufacture the physical record, put
it out, pay for a PR company to work the record cycle but no money for living
expenses or to pay for touring which makes it difficult to get anywhere that’s
not in California van rental & motels for the US, Flights w/extra luggage fee’s
for my guitar and Micah’s ($50 minimum overweight fee each way synth/drum hardware case) van rental, driver and/or tour manager & gear (amp’s & drum set) rental for overseas add expensive gas prices, to both those and we are already in the red and haven’t even packed yet! Or we sign to an indie label who will pay for what the distribution company will, plus some of the touring as they see fit but we may or may not get living expenses and they will take at least some percentage
of our masters, the songs I write in my bedroom, bring to Micah to finish and then record for a release.

For example our former record label, although somewhat indie with the best of
intentions, was still a subsidiary of Universal Music Group/Interscope Records- they
own the master recordings of everything we have recorded up until being dropped,
so everything except the Swan Song EP & we are legally bound to a contract saying
we are not allowed to re-record those songs so if someone wants to license a song
our A&R person and her boss no longer work there so they contact some guy & ask
to use our song for a certain amount of money-a fee for the owner of the masters
(them) and a fee for the publisher aka writer of the song(us).

But all this illegal downloading has had an effect on the entire entertainment
business and the trickle down effect causes the artist to still get screwed in
some hole at some point. Do you enjoy downloading movie’s that are still in
theatre’s? Well now those movie’s that wanted to license one of our songs only
have the budget to offer us half the amount they would have 5 years ago
(deduct half that money that goes to the owner of our master’s and give 15% to
our manager and 5% to our lawyer then split that in half and we can both afford
a trip to Disneyland, maybe with a park-hopper pass to California Disney if
we’re lucky) and these opportunities are rare but they’re still awesome & I
welcome them with very open arms.

“Selling out” doesn’t exist anymore because there’s not much to sell and even
less people willing to buy. Notice how some magazines no longer exist? Even
Rolling Stone shrunk to the size of every other magazine? Yeah, thats the
trickle. While I’m on the topic, people think when you’re in a magazine you
get paid for that but unless you’re a big celebrity telling People Mag
about some shit and letting them shoot pictures of your new baby, you get
nothing. In fact, you pay a PR person to get your CD in the hands of those
people in hopes they will review it so really you paid to make that happen
with money and/or your own blood, sweat and tears.

This career, any creative entertainment business career is hard fuckin work
and amazing too, it’s a one in a million shot that we got. To be clear I’m
not talking shit on any major label, I am grateful that we got to be on
Interscope for as long as we did, I love our old A&R person & the label
she created, it was great but now we have to find somewhere else to go.
And the process is slow, in this day and age of instant internet gratification
we are lucky to have such patient fans that still care and won’t leave me
alone about the new record, I love it.

Once we choose how to release our album we have to do artwork, someone else
will do the layout then we use that artwork to inspire new merch (we have a
t-shirt design coming very soon) then Micah has to re-do this website to
match. Once it’s all done there’s a 3 month set-up period where the PR people
send the record out for reviews & we play shows to say “hi, we are back
(although we never left)! and we are about to put out a new record”
Meanwhile I personally will have no income unless I constantly sell shit
on eBay or something similar.

Shows make a little money, merch makes money if we have some… it’s a struggle
and sometimes I want to give up but I have too many health problems to be
a stripper, I’d fall off the pole and hurt myself but just like when I got
dropped and didn’t want to play music anymore because of certain words said
by a certain producer who The Strokes made a record with and then canned and
produced themselves (yeah!) and all the weird shit happening at that time,
I had fans and friends who were there to keep me from giving up on myself
and my dreams.

Joe Cardamone, my best friend (and business partner who I share a studio with
now and a record label- notice the Roar Scratch logo on the Swan Song EP-
that has no money but we have supportive friends like Mickey Madden who
believes in us enough to fill in the gaps cuz donations alone weren’t
enough to make the record I wanted that wasn’t major label-y enough at
the time) who has been there since day one is always there for me, Micah,
my musical life partner & longtime closest friend who has quit & returned
to the band twice but always came to every show with every different line
up & always been a true friend. My amazing intern turned friend Audrey
Marshall who kept me from being homeless by putting up the donation button,
Amy Chance, amazing make-up artist/long time best friend and her whole dang
family! Her husband Shaun Lopez who produced our “cracking up” cover and the
Deftones album w/“Pink Cellphone” that made some people hate me
(sorry, I was only joking), her son Dakota who is 16 & is now a member of
Giant Drag when he’s legally allowed to be & isn’t busy being a teenager,
not to mention her amazing parents- and mine and Micah’s family…

That’s a whole lotta loving family that I couldn’t imagine not having in my
life, there are other amazing friends & fans (I’ll save it for the thank
you section of the album) that cancel out the negative things about this
business & help keep me on the right track. If it weren’t for these people
I don’t know where I’d be.

I hope this album is worth the wait. It’s different but it’s exactly what I
wanted from the start & took a lot of obstacles to get past (seriously A LOT
of obstacles, hurdles, land mines, epic battles,etc) but I get by with a lot
of help from my friends.

I don’t get high with a little help from my friends though. So ends my Beatles
outro & the longest News post EVER. BTW we are playing a festival in Ventura
June 4th & then going to Thailand to play a show later that month.I’m going to
go eat a poverty sandwich and love every bite.

XOXO Annie

A few music videos to remind you how made of awesome they be:

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