X-Static About Louisville Music

John Timmons, Nat Grauman To Form New Record Company

By Paul Moffett

John Timmons, owner of ear X-tacy record stores and Nat Grauman, artist manager, have joined forces to create the X-Static Recording Company, a "Louisville music label."

Their first release is Union Tree's A Town in Everyone (reviewed in the August issue of LMN), with several other completed projects set to be released or re-released on the new label.

Timmons' previous ventures into record making have been fairly casual, a part of his desire to help local bands.

"Cherub Scourge's last CD was like that," he explained. "I gave them the money to make the CD and asked them to pay me back when they sell enough records. It's all done on a handshake."

Timmons released several CDs under the name of ear X-tacy Records but decided that he needed to have a name that was not identified with his record stores. Additionally, he decided to move from such "handshake" record deals with local bands to a more formal record company in part because of the need for a Louisville-based, Louisville-focused record label.

"It's kind of unusual to find a place where a need exists in the market and nobody's filling it," Grauman interjected.

Grauman, who has been managing danny flanigan for many years and also manages Cooler, brings promotional expertise to the new company.

"I'll be doing the usual record company PR," he said, "but mostly I'll focus on touring bands, because that's how you sell records. I'm seriously into mailing lists – we send lots of cards for flanigan's shows. We will also utilize the World Wide Web."

The company has already found a Chicago distributor for their products.

"They're excited about it and will take everything we have," Timmons said. "Even though we're all over the map with respect to styles."

Noting that most new independent labels focus on one style of music, Timmons laughed and said X-tactic Records would focus on "Louisville bands."

"We've already released CDs that are hardcore/punk, folky and blues."

The new label will re-release danny flanigan and the rain chorus as a CD, with three new songs added, Grauman said. The project was originally a cassette release. As the prior releases under the ear X-tacy label come up for reprint, they will be transferred to the X-Static label.

Timmons also touted the marketing power of his two stores.

"We're a 'Sound Scan' store, so record labels and Billboard magazine have access to our sales. When we released the Mudcat Blues Band's CD, I Wanna Play in Your Big Back Yard, it was the top seller for the week. We got calls from several major labels, inquiring about the Mudcats."

"We also have a twelve-slot listening station dedicated entirely to local product, which we rotate on a weekly basis," Timmons went on. "Now I'm getting calls from bands outside the area, wanting to know how they can get into that listening station."

Pointing out that the Mudcat CD is getting airplay on WTFX, Timmons credited WFPK's recent switch to triple-A as evidence for local radio support for local music.

"FPK was playing cuts from Slim Chance's Walk, Don't Run [a Dan Trisko project Timmons played guitar on] even before we released the CD."

Grauman and Timmons both noted that they were already overwhelmed with inquiries from bands.

"The money's all gone already, tied up in the projects we've got out, so we have to wait until they sell well to do more," Timmons laughed.

"Tell them to write to us at the Bardstown Road store," Grauman commented, "only don't put the address in [the article]. A motivated band can find the address."