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Author Topic: Why are Wondermints records so hard to find?  (Read 2329 times)
bonnevillemariner
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« on: February 20, 2017, 06:04:09 PM »

I just listened to the Darian interview linked to in another thread and realized that I'm quite unfamiliar with Wondermints recordings outside of Brian's albums.  Then I remembered why: unless you purchase the CDs off Amazon at outrageous costs, you're not going to be familiar with them. No iTunes, no Spotify-- nothing. Just nearly out-of-stock $50 CDs.

Forgive me if this is a dumb question.  Why does it seem like Darian and the guys are deliberately trying not to be discovered? I don't get it.  Aside from random (and mostly crappy) YouTube rips, where can I hear/download/purchase Wondermints tracks?
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wantsomecorn
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« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2017, 09:22:56 PM »

I asked Darian about this a year or so ago after a show. He didn't go into specifics but mentioned something about licensing issues and rights.

As for now, pretty much the only way to get them money from their recordings is to listen to their one song on Spotify over and over again. (It is a good one, though!)
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« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2017, 01:01:56 AM »

I can only ever seem to find one Wondermints cd. The one of a cartoon drawing with everybody in the rocket ship.
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« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2017, 03:01:31 AM »

I have in my possession (and this is where I blush deeply) a burned copy of Mind If We Make Love To You. And excellent it is too.
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« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2017, 05:30:11 AM »

Bali is wonderful. Particularly the songs 'Cellophane' (more McCartney-sounding than McCartney) and 'Wanderlust'.

The track 'Waves 5' contains a hidden surprise... the theme song from Marine BoyCool Guy
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bonnevillemariner
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« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2017, 06:54:04 AM »

I asked Darian about this a year or so ago after a show. He didn't go into specifics but mentioned something about licensing issues and rights.

This makes no sense to me whatsoever.  Again, I'm no music industry guru, but I'm not sure how a band can write, record and produce their own songs (save for the covers) and be forced into obscurity like this. I'd love to purchase those albums (especially the one with the cartoon spaceship and the one with The Party cover), but I'm not breaking the bank on them.
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« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2017, 06:59:09 AM »

If some other label (or labels) own the Wondermints stuff, the actual copyrights to the actual recordings, then it's easy to imagine how the stuff could be unavailable. The owner is not licensing it out to other labels to release physically or digitally, and/or nobody is willing to license the material, and/or the owner is not directly trying to distribute the stuff online or elsewhere.
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« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2017, 07:14:47 AM »

Agreed with HeyJude: music history is littered with stories of artists without control over their recordings. And Wondermints were never a rising-star band with powerful representation. That same interview/podcast being referenced in the original post makes talks about how the contracts came about, and when you listen to it, it doesn't seem the sort of thing from which anyone expected much of anything. (Album one: four-track demos. Album two: cover demos. Japanese label.) Nobody was thinking 20 years down the line, is my guess.

And that's my last point. It probably isn't a major concern to the band because there isn't much money in this stuff. These are 20-year-old recordings, for the most part. The newest recordings are from Mind if We Make Love to You, which was released in 2002. If this band ever had much industry chatter, it was probably around the early days, Austin Powers, etc. They aren't a young, hungry band trying to make it. In some ways, they aren't a band at all. For them, considering their current, paying gigs, getting decades-old music back out there without much hope of significant financial reward (and especially when getting the rights to do so might be more expensive than the financial reward) probably just isn't that high on their lists of things to do.

The music is on YouTube, by the way. It's widely available, if not in physical format.
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bonnevillemariner
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« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2017, 07:33:00 AM »

The music is on YouTube, by the way. It's widely available, if not in physical format.

Define "widely." Only some tracks are on YouTube. They're very sloppily cataloged, scattered amongst a dozen users, and most are low quality rips. I actually prefer digital format to physical (I don't even own a CD player-- come to think of it, I'm not sure I even own a PC with an optical drive).

But hey, if the band itself doesn't care about its own stuff, I guess shouldn't either.
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the captain
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« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2017, 07:34:54 AM »

wide·ly
ˈwīdlē/
adverb
adverb: widely

    1.
    over a wide area or at a wide interval.
    "he smiled widely and held out a hand"
        to a large degree in nature or character (used to describe considerable variation or difference).
        "lending policies vary widely between different banks"
    2.
    over a large area or range; extensively.
    "Deborah has traveled widely"
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the captain
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« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2017, 07:37:36 AM »

But re the physical formats: somebody has to pay for it. Presumably the rights-owners don't think there is sufficient demand to create more physical product. And considering how few people purchase physical product, that's probably true. Sucks for those out there who didn't buy it when it was current, but sometimes that's just life. I only just discovered they released the other demos (that didn't make the debut album) in '09 or something, and was more than slightly disappointed to find out it costs hundreds of dollars on Amazon. Oh well. Luckily I bought all of the others in the late 90s and early 00s.
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bonnevillemariner
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« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2017, 07:59:05 AM »

wide·ly
ˈwīdlē/
adverb
adverb: widely

    1.
    over a wide area or at a wide interval.
    "he smiled widely and held out a hand"
        to a large degree in nature or character (used to describe considerable variation or difference).
        "lending policies vary widely between different banks"
    2.
    over a large area or range; extensively.
    "Deborah has traveled widely"

I appreciate the snark. To me, when it comes to music, the term "widely available" means accessible for purchase/download from a number of sources.  Low bitrate YouTube rips and $60 CDs from Amazon, IMO, doesn't seem to fit the definition.
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the captain
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« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2017, 08:03:47 AM »

I appreciated it, too, though I'm not sure snark is exactly the word. (I could post the definition if you'd like!) Just a joke that, if I must say so myself, I found quite funny. Sorry you didn't.

I think being online for free is widely available, though. Maybe not widely available in the formats or at a quality you prefer, but certainly widely available.

Bottom line in my opinion to all of this is the simple economics of it all.
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bonnevillemariner
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« Reply #13 on: February 21, 2017, 08:08:38 AM »

I appreciated it, too, though I'm not sure snark is exactly the word. (I could post the definition if you'd like!) Just a joke that, if I must say so myself, I found quite funny. Sorry you didn't.

I think being online for free is widely available, though. Maybe not widely available in the formats or at a quality you prefer, but certainly widely available.

Bottom line in my opinion to all of this is the simple economics of it all.

Dang these First World problems!
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guitarfool2002
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« Reply #14 on: February 21, 2017, 08:18:36 AM »

Depending on what kind of contracts or agreements were signed regarding distribution, future releases or repackaging, and the control of the masters overall, there can be and sadly often are cases where an artist simply does not have a say on what happens to their releases. I've known bands personally who were on major labels that went belly-up leaving their masters and their releases basically in limbo. To try getting control of them would involve a maze of legal and financial crap that many bands and artists simply don't want to go through, and sometimes the only way they can is if they sign to another big label or have a good lawyer to navigate that process.

The music business is bullshit. Unfortunately - and this isn't specifically for the Wondermints situation with their previous albums - It can end up costing more for an artist to actually have a say in what had been released than any re-releases could recoup. These labels and the various contracts can hang control of the masters over an artist like an albatross around their neck or like a carrot dangling in front of them. Sometimes it's easiest and cheaper to let the previous albums sit on the shelf than to fight to get them back and onto another label or distribution chain.

In the case of The Wondermints, both Bali and Mind If We Make Love To You are ***phenomenal*** albums that should be heard.

I bought Bali new at a Tower Records, and at that same time there was a review in one of the record mags that essentially said this: "In a perfect world, this album (Bali) would be number one on the charts". And I agree completely, then and now.
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« Reply #15 on: February 21, 2017, 08:28:42 AM »

This is a more general train of thought than anything specifically to do with the Wondermints, but it appears that many of the sort of "off shoot" Beach Boys/Brian-related artists have limited success getting their stuff distributed in the US and Europe but often have much wider distribution in Japan. I know Foskett did a lot of stuff for Japan labels. I think the Wondermints got good distribution there. I recall seeing Gary Griffin recently did an album that was apparently available exclusively in Japan for some reason, to the point where it can't even be purchased digitally in the US.

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« Reply #16 on: February 21, 2017, 08:39:19 AM »

This is a more general train of thought than anything specifically to do with the Wondermints, but it appears that many of the sort of "off shoot" Beach Boys/Brian-related artists have limited success getting their stuff distributed in the US and Europe but often have much wider distribution in Japan. I know Foskett did a lot of stuff for Japan labels. I think the Wondermints got good distribution there. I recall seeing Gary Griffin recently did an album that was apparently available exclusively in Japan for some reason, to the point where it can't even be purchased digitally in the US.



Semi-related, but it always made me laugh in a good way how The Ventures - and this goes back several decades - were regarded as rock and roll royalty in Japan. I don't know if that's still the case as of 2017, but The Ventures were one of the most popular American acts in Japan. At this point considering the quirks of the Japanese music business and the influence of J-Pop and the anime world, they could have fallen off a bit. I'll have to check up on that.
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the captain
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« Reply #17 on: February 21, 2017, 08:53:43 AM »

It seems like metal--especially the 80s style pop metal--has also always had an extra foothold in Japan. Maybe just certain subgenres have had more appeal there for some reason.

As Tom Waits sang, I'm big in Japan.
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« Reply #18 on: February 21, 2017, 09:13:12 AM »

It seems like metal--especially the 80s style pop metal--has also always had an extra foothold in Japan. Maybe just certain subgenres have had more appeal there for some reason.

As Tom Waits sang, I'm big in Japan.

I have noticed that too in analyzing and learning/dissecting some of the anime music in the past few years. Not just the music but the production - Definitely shades of that commercialized metal influence especially in the guitar tones and techniques.

I have been wondering about why or how this is the case, or why that is such an influence. Not wanting to generalize all Japanese pop/rock musicians or styles, but going back to when I had classes with Japanese musicians and composers, there seemed to be a bigger influence from classical music and more "straight 8ths" than swing 8ths, which would speak directly to that classical influence. And a lot of metal, especially on guitar, has a more prominent classical influence both in technique and composition/melody than other styles.

There was also - and again not sure if this is still the case - a HUGE rockabilly subculture in Japan years ago, complete with the greaser look and  girls in poodle skirts, with appropriate soundtrack and all the trappings.

Interestingly I do not hear much if any at all California influence in the anime soundtracks or what I have heard of J-Pop. Melodic influences and some harmonic touches of one Brian Wilson? Shades of it - But for the popularity that rockabilly and Ventures and all of that experienced in Japan not that long ago, the current music doesn't seem to give a nod to those styles at all. The pop metal influence seems to be the order of the day.
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« Reply #19 on: February 21, 2017, 07:30:08 PM »

I am a big fan of Wondermints.  I have all 5 of their officially released ads as well as a bunch of bootlegs.  Good stuff.  For what it is worth I have an extra cd od their album Bali (signed by Probyn and Nicky) if anything has anything cool to trade for it.  PM me!
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« Reply #20 on: February 22, 2017, 09:51:17 AM »

I used to live on the island of Bali ... where I was living when I first got my hands on the Wondermint's Bali CD ... the day I got the CD i was amazed at how authentically Balinese the cover was until later that day I went into my local supermarket to find the exact same artwork on the packaging of a local cigar box.
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bonnevillemariner
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« Reply #21 on: February 23, 2017, 07:18:20 AM »

I am a big fan of Wondermints.  I have all 5 of their officially released ads as well as a bunch of bootlegs.  Good stuff.  For what it is worth I have an extra cd od their album Bali (signed by Probyn and Nicky) if anything has anything cool to trade for it.  PM me!


I've got nothing to trade for it, but that would be cool! Honestly, though, I'm all digital. If I had the CD, I'd just rip it and put it on my phone.
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« Reply #22 on: February 23, 2017, 12:53:24 PM »

I used to live on the island of Bali ... where I was living when I first got my hands on the Wondermint's Bali CD ... the day I got the CD i was amazed at how authentically Balinese the cover was until later that day I went into my local supermarket to find the exact same artwork on the packaging of a local cigar box.

Here's a coincidence - I'm actually preparing to live on Bali, and as I'm downsizing my possessions, I found several well-packaged Wondermints demo tapes from the mid '90s in great condition.  If someone is interested in making me an offer, PM me.
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« Reply #23 on: February 23, 2017, 10:02:34 PM »

I used to live on the island of Bali ... where I was living when I first got my hands on the Wondermint's Bali CD ... the day I got the CD i was amazed at how authentically Balinese the cover was until later that day I went into my local supermarket to find the exact same artwork on the packaging of a local cigar box.

Here's a coincidence - I'm actually preparing to live on Bali, and as I'm downsizing my possessions, I found several well-packaged Wondermints demo tapes from the mid '90s in great condition.  If someone is interested in making me an offer, PM me.

Bali? Sweet! Let us know where we can come drink some rum and hear you play!
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« Reply #24 on: February 23, 2017, 10:18:55 PM »

Have the Wondermints done any music of their own since becoming Brian Wilson's band?
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