I'm not sure exactly where exactly to start but I guess it's best to get the hard part out of the way. To put it simply, what was mentioned recently on Ted Leo's website (and reported in by a number of other outlets online) is true. Lookout Records will be closing its doors over the next few months. Most people that are reading this know that the label stopped releasing material towards the end of 2005. It was then that Lookout ended its long relationships with Green Day, Operation Ivy and a few other artists. That development meant significantly scaling down the business, which included letting the staff go and moving from the label's Berkeley headquarters and warehouse into a small office. It was a challenging time for everyone involved - bands, staff, and business partners. For myself and the other two owners at the time, Cathy and Molly, we resolved to put our limited resources into rectifying some of the issues and problems that had been Lookout's undoing, return to a modest operation, with the hopes of first, getting things back on track, and hopefully doing more in the future.
To many, that would have been the perfect time to wind things up with Lookout Records, but we decided not to. Sure, sales were down across the board and Lookout no longer had many of its long-standing top sellers in its catalog. There were artists that were committed to sticking with the label and shared our hope of fixing the problems and being able to find our way through a difficult period and create new successes. This was the inspiration we needed and over the next few years, with hard work we were able to simplify label operations to a large extent. With the help of folks like Ali, Andy, and later, Spenser pitching in, we focused on playing catch-up and on top of new developments.
It wasn't easy to keep catalog items in print and that became especially challenging when our primary compact disc manufacturer and our distribution partner Lumberjack-Mordam went out of business unexpectedly. Having our physical distributor and a manufacturer go belly up disrupted our sales, meant a significant loss of income, and caused inventory and accounting problems. The next year when our mail order partner, Little Type, went out of business, Lookout was also dealt another significant blow. We did our best to resolve the issued caused by these developments but both ultimately amounted to a lot more work and severely impacted income.
By this time, it was primarily Cathy and myself overseeing Lookout's business. This was done in whatever spare time we could find, as both of us had other jobs. Molly had minimized her involvement with the label, remaining a valued and trusted adviser. The label's sole employee was Spenser, who came in to our small office space in Oakland to handle day to day stuff a couple times a week.
Last summer, we began tentatively discussing what it might mean to let Lookout end. It was a strange and scary to talk about at first and hard for either of us to imagine what it would be like. Lookout Records had been part of my life for over 20 years and Cathy is a label veteran with over 15 years of experience at Lookout. We considered all options but kept coming back to realization that the best use of our energies would be to shut the doors once and for all - for the legacy of the label, for the bands, and for benefit of the relationships and friendships with artists, partners, and stakeholders. After some soul searching, hat's what we decided to do.
Right now, we are in the process of going through years and years of archives and figuring out what to do with things that have no obvious home. Inventory, masters, artwork - that's all going back to the artists. We've talked to some bands but not all of them. If you were in a band and haven't heard from Cathy or myself, definitely get in touch. Our efforts to close out Lookout's remaining business reflect the same intentions we've had for the past few years - to do the best we can by the bands. It's our hope that this could be an opportunity for the artists themselves to revisit their Lookout releases, with interesting and cool results. It's time to let Lookout Records really and truly become history.
Thank you. Thanks for listening to the music, going to shows, coming in our store, forming bands, sending us demos, buying records from our mail order, signing to our label, wearing a t-shirt, playing our records on your radio show, putting us up on your living room floor, writing fan mail, interviewing us for your zine, putting on a show, for inspiring us, for being inspired by Lookout, for your hard work, for just being there, and for ALL of the memories (there are so many). Thank you. Here's to you, and to whatever comes next...
P.S. We'll continue to update this site from time to time, with stories, information or anything cool that we come across that seems worth sharing. You're welcome to come back and visit.
On Saturday April 2nd at Thee Parkside in San Francisco, American Steel will be playing their classic Lookout record, Rogue's March in its entirety! The show will be rounded out by Oakland's Yi, L.A.'s Cat Party, and the Bay Area's Hanalei. This show is going to be incredible and will totally sell out, so GET TIX HERE and check out the first song AmSteel will play!
Joel Reader (ex-bassist for The Mr. T Experience is playing in a new band out of Boston called The Fatal Flaw. The band is in the process of recording and releasing their debut full-length, and need just a few more pledges on their Kickstarter Page before they reach the tipping point and are able to fund production on what is looking to be a really great record! Take a listen to the title track, Narrow Hours below!
Ted Leo is coming out to the West Coast this month! He's also rescheduled the rest of the solo tour dates which nicely coincide with the spring thaw. Here's hoping he breaks out a solo rendition of one of our favorites from Shake the Sheets. Otherwise, get your requests ready!
For those not already familiar, WILD FLAG is the super group comprised of former Lookout Records artist Mary Timony, ex-Sleater Kinney members Carrie Brownstein and Janet Weiss, and former Minders drummer Rebecca Cole. The four women only announced the formation of the band 2 months ago, yet this past week had their first tour of the West Coast! The highly anticipated shows featured brand new songs written in the past 8 weeks as well as a hand full of covers from the likes of the Rolling Stones, Patti Smith, Velvet Underground and others. Below is a clip of their set from San Francisco's Bottom Of The Hill Show on 11/18, followed by the confirmed East Coast Shows set for March of 2011!
Confirmed Wild Flag East Coast Tour Dates:
3/9/11 - Philadelphia, PA - Johnny Brenda's
3/10/11 - Washington, D.C. - The Black Cat
3/11/11 - Chapel Hill, NC - Local 506
3/12/11 - Atlanta, GA - The Earl
Ted Leo and the Pharmacists are playing a few shows around the snowy North East in early December, including a show at NYC's Terminal 5 with The New Pornographers! Check out the all dates below!
12/2 - Northampton, MA - Pearl Street
12/3 - Pawtucket, RI - The Met Cafe
12/4 - Lemoyne, PA - Champion Ship
12/6 - New York, NY - Terminal 5 - w/New Pornographers
12/7 - Baltimore, MD - GSpot
12/8 - Richmond, VA - Strange Matter
Since the release of "Stuck On Nothing", the debut full-length from FREE ENERGY, the band has been on the road non-stop supporting the release. The rest of 2010 is no different and sees the band traveling throughout the Midwest and East Coast, including 4 shows supporting Weezer on their "Memories" tour. Check out all the dates below!
11/19 – Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall
11/20 – Indianapolis, IN @ Radio Radio
11/21 – Cleveland, OH @ Grog Shop
11/22 – Albany, NY @ Valentines
11/23 – Boston, MA @ Paradise w/ Foxy Shazam
11/24 – New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom w/ Foxy Shazam
11/26 – Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg w/ Foxy Shazam
11/27 – Philadelphia, PA @ Theater of Living Arts w/ Foxy Shazam
11/30 – Lancaster, PA @ The Chameleon Club
12/01 – Washington, DC @ Rock and Roll Hotel
12/05 – Columbia, MO @ The Blue Note
12/06 – Kansas City, MO @ Midland by AMC w/ Jimmy Eat World & Sleigh Bells
12/07 – Lincoln, NE @ Bourbon Theater
12/08 – Des Moines, IA @ Vaudeville Mews
12/09 – Iowa City, IA @ Blue Moose Tap
12/14 – Boston, MA @ Orpheum Theatre w/ Weezer
12/15 – Boston, MA @ Orpheum Theatre w/ Weezer
12/17 – New York, NY @ Roseland Ballroom w/ Weezer
12/18 – New York, NY @ Roseland Ballroom w/ Weezer
Currently in the works is a new book covering the history of Lookout! Records and EVERY band and release ever featured on the label!
The book is being written as you read this by author Kevin Prested, who is has been hard at work interviewing every possible person and musician available that has been involved with Lookout! Records over the years. To keep up to date on the project please be sure to "like" the facebook page for the book, which will feature updates and snippets of the project as time allows. The book looks to be published in 2012.
Here is a scan of Lookout Records' printed catalog from 1997 (but be warned, the file is pretty large), though it was mostly done in 1996.
This catalog was kind of a big project for the time. After deciding that our extensive catalog of releases and band and label merchandise would no longer fit on the back of a poster, we opted for a newsprint fanzine-style format and ended up with a 44-page behemoth.
The cover features a whole scene with Lookout mascots Willie Beaver, Cheesy Badger and General Grizzly joining Heidi and Pailey and includes a depiction of the Lookout Records offices, Recordshop (on University Ave in Berkeley) and staff circa 96-97 - Larry on the roof; Cathy, Patrick, Xandy, Chris I, Molly, Chris A and Utrillo on the third floor; a humorous - and fictional - depiction of the therapists on the second floor of the building; and on the ground level is Rop (behind the falling tree), Erika and Tim.
Download the 1997 Lookout Records Catalog
To answer your question, YES! Lookout is still putting out records!
While we are currently just reissuing records from our extensive back catalog, you can absolutely go to your local record store or local online retailer and ask for Lookout releases!
Recently, we have been working to reissue vinyl from 3 essential Lookout bands! Earlier this year, we reissued all three Ted Leo & The Pharmacists LPs on vinyl with DIGITAL DOWNLOAD COUPONS.
Currently, we have three Donnas LPs in production (American Teenage Rock'N'Roll Machine, Get Skintight, and Turn 21), and coming up toward the end of the year will be reissues of American Steel's two classic Lookout records!
While you're at the record store, feel free to also request LPs from MTX, Common Rider, as well as classic comps Can Of Pork and A Slice of Lemon. If 7-Inches are more your bag, we've got lots from the likes of Fifteen, Go Sailor, The Frumpies, Surrogate Brains and Tourettes! We'll be announcing other reissues in the coming months as we put them into production, so become our fan on FACEBOOK and/or TWITTER to stay up to date!
On Wednesday July 28, 2010 San Francisco's notorious, Class-of-77 female-led punk rock band THE AVENGERS will embark on their first East Coast tour in over three years. The band were handpicked by Big Takeover Magazine editor and publisher, Jack Rabid to headline his magazine’s Thirtieth Anniversary Festival at the Bell House in Brooklyn, NY. Three of these dates mark the band's first return to Canada since their 1979 break up a...nd are the band’s first-ever shows in Ontario and Quebec. The band – featuring the iconic Penelope Houston on vocals and Greg Ingraham on guitar – have toured the world since their 2002 reformation and are showing no signs of slowing down. The line-up – augmented by long-serving members, Joel Reader (Mr. T Experience/Pansy Division) on bass and Luis Illades (Pansy Division) on drums – remains a complete and total inspirational powerhouse on stage - just as they were three decades ago.
Wednesday July 28, 2010 - Providence, RI @ AS220
115 Empire St., Providence, RI 02903-3217
(401) 831-9327; http://www.as220.org
$8.00 advance & day of show; all ages’ 8.00pm doors
w/The Grass Widow & Blood Huff
Thursday July 29, 2010 - Cambridge, MA @ TT the Bears
10 Brookline St., Cambridge, MA 02139-4152
(617) 492-0082; http://www.ttthebears.com
$10.00 advance; 12.00 day of show; 18+ to enter; 8.30pm doors
w/the Grass Widow, Doomstar!, The Pleasure Kills
Friday July 30, 2010 - Brooklyn, NY @ Bell House
[headlining the Big Takeover 30th Anniversary Festival]
149 7th St., Brooklyn, NY 11215
(718) 643-6510; http://www.thebellhouseny.com
FESTIVAL PRICING: $25/day of show & 40 2-day pass; 18+; 6.00pm doors
w/Channel 3, Visqueen, Springhouse, Libertines US, Flower & EDP
Saturday July 31, 2010 - New Haven, CT @ Café Nine
250 State St., New Haven, CT, 06511
(203) 789-8281; http://www.cafenine.com
$10.00 advance; 12.00 day of show; 21+ to enter; 9.00pm doors
w/Lost Generation & The Pleasure Kills
Sunday August 1, 2010 - Montreal, QUE @ Katacombes
1635 Boulevard Saint Laurent Montréal, QC H2X 2S9, Canada
(514) 861-6151; http://www.myspace.com/katacombes
$15.00 CAN advance & day of show; 18+ to enter; 8.00pm doors
w/Walnut Kids & Accident
Monday August 2, 2010 - Toronto, ONT @ Horseshoe Tavern
370 Queen St. West, Toronto, ONT, M5V 2A2; Canada
(416) 598-4753; www.legendaryhorseshoetavern.com
$14.50 CAN advance / 16.00 CAN day of show; 19+ to enter; 8.30pm doors
Tuesday August 3, 2010 - Hamilton, ONT @ This Ain’t Hollywood
345 James St N, Hamilton, ON L8L 1H3, Canada
(905) 529-9500; http://www.thisainthollywood.ca
$15.00 CAN advance / 20.00 CAN day of show; 9:00pm doors
Wednesday August 4, 2010 - Rochester, NY @ The Bug Jar
219 Monroe Ave Rochester, NY, 14607
$10 advance; 12 day of show; 8.00pm doors
w/Emmersons & The Pleasure Kills
Thursday August 5, 2010 - Long Branch, NJ @ Brighton Bar
121 Brighton Avenue, Long Branch, NJ 07740
(732) 229-9676; www.myspace.com/thebrightonbar
$10 advance; 13 day of show; 9.00pm doors
w/The Graveyard School, The Sex Zombies, TV Tramps & The Pleasure Kills
As most folks know, once a specific scene hits the 20 year mark, there seems to be a resurgence of interest by kids who had just missed the first wave. The 20 year mark also is accompanied by reflections from the people involved who have gained perspective and insight in the years following said scene.
So seems to be the case with the Riot Grrrl movement in 2010. In the June/July issue of Bust Magazine, Marisa Meltzer, wrote a great introductory piece about the movement, which featured interviews from Bratmobile's Allison Wolfe and Molly Neuman as well as Bikini Kill's Tobi Vail. Earlier this year, Meltzer also published Girl Power: The Nineties Revolution in Music, which in addition to the Riot Grrl Movement follows the broader empowerment of women in music, from the Indigo Girls to Brittany Spears.
Later this year, Sara Marcus will be publishing Girls to the Front: The True Story of the Riot Grrrl Revolution. The former politics editor of Heeb Magazine and regular contributor to Time Out New York, Slate.com, and Utne Reader, Marcus grew up in the DC scene and tells the story of how enthusiastic and informed young women across the country shattered the Slacker stereotype of Generation X.
In cities across the country, there are younger bands that have incorporated the Riot Grrrl influence deep into their core. Locally in the Bay Area, bands like Sourpatch, Fleabag, The Super Cutes, and Bam Bam are carrying the torch high.
Girls Get Busy!
Check out this great interview with Jesse Michaels by Jon Reiss at Jewcy Dot Com. Jesse and Jon discuss everything from Jesse's childhood to his days in Operation Ivy and Common Rider to the more recent adventures in his current band, Classics of Love.
TAKE A LOOK!
Pitchfork Media wrote a great piece on the post-Hockey Night project, Free Energy's new video called "Bang Pop".
CHECK OUT THE VIDEO AND ARTICLE HERE!
The Oranges Band's front-man, Roman Kuebler, is currently on the road as his solo persona, Romania! You best not dare to miss it! Here's all the confirmed dates so far, with more to be added!
5/20 – Las Vegas, NV @ Beauty Bar
5/23 – San Diego, CA @ Radio Room
5/27 – Portland, OR @ Berbati’s Pan
5/28 – Seattle, WA @ Mars Bar
6/1 - Lawrence, KS @ Eighth Street Taproom
6/2 - Minneapolis, MN @ Sauce Spirits and Sports Bar
6/6 - Chicago, IL @ Darkroom
6/10 - Brooklyn, NY @ Knitting Factory Brooklyn (Buy Tickets Here!)
6/12 - Baltimore, MD @ Wind Up Space
In late 1988, after returning from their only US tour, Operation Ivy started working on recordings for a debut album with Radley Hirsch, the sound engineer that installed and operated Gilman Street's sound system. Basic tracks were recorded at Gilman Street and overdubs were done at a home studio. The recordings were ultimately unfinished and the band ultimately recorded the released version of "Energy" with Kevin Army at San Francisco's Sound & Vision Studios. Here are some photos and a tracksheet taken from these recording sessions.
For a full account of the first attempt to record "Energy," check out Journey To The End: Tim Armstrong, Matt Freeman and Lars Frederiksen talk to Larry Livermore about Operation Ivy, Rancid and that whole East Bay thing.
These photos were given to us (and probably taken) by Radley.
Another full-page ad from Flipside, announcing Lookout Records' first three compact disc releases (Operation Ivy, Green Day and Neurosis) plus the first record the label put out by Mr. T Experience - the "Love American Style" 7" EP.
The Lineup for the 10th Annual Siren Music Fest was announced today, and in addition to countless other alumni of the free, all-ages, Coney Island music festival, Ted Leo has been scheduled to play! Ted hasn't played the festival since 2003, which was brilliantly documented on film in the Rock Doc "Dirty Old Town".
Ted and The Pharmacists have a long way to go until July though. They are currently touring Europe through the end of May, and then will play around the Northeast in June.
For all Ted Leo dates, check out our tour page!
Following two fantastic releases through Simple Social Graces Discos, Barcelona Spain's Delorean are set to release their brand new album, Subiza on True Panther Sounds
In support of their new LP, the band will be playing a few festival shows in Spain, as well as in select cities in North America. Check Below for dates!
05-07 Monzón, Spain - Festival Tremendo Pop
05-14 Gerona, Spain - Festival Insomnic
05-15 Irun, Spain - Ikultur
05-22 Palencia, Spain - Palencia Sonora
05-27 Barcelona, Spain - Primavera Sound
06-04 New York, NY - Pianos
06-05 Brooklyn, NY - Glasslands Gallery
06-06 Seattle, WA - Chop Suey
06-07 Vancouver, British Columbia - Biltmore Cabaret
06-08 Portland, OR - Mississippi Studios
06-10 San Francisco, CA - Popscene
06-11 Los Angeles, CA - Echo
06-12 Mexico City, Mexico - Pasaguero
06-18 Barcelona, Spain - Festival Sonar Barcelona
06-19 La Coruña, Spain - Festival Sonar La Coruña
06-26 Poio, Spain - Festival Poio Pop
07-03 Cortegana, Spain - Festival Jamón Pop
07-10 New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom
07-12 Allston, MA - Great Scott
07-13 Montreal, Quebec - Le Belmont
07-14 Toronto, Ontario - Wrongbar
07-15 Cleveland, OH - Grog Shop
07-17 Chicago, IL - Pitchfork Music Festival
07-24 Alburquerque, Spain - Festival Contempopranea
08-12 Burgos, Spain - Festival Sonorama
Here is the 38-page printed Lookout Records catalog from 2001. Featuring cover artwork by Patrick Hynes plus art and lots of writing from various folks associated with the label through the years including descriptions for out of print Lookout releases. Get the whole thing as a PDF if you dare...
Download the Lookout Records 2001 Catalog
Ted Leo and The Pharmacists have just announced a few tour dates in June which will take them around the Northeast United States and the Southeast of Canada. After seeing him here in the Bay Area last week, it is safe to say that these shows are not to be missed!
Fri, 6/18 – Milford CT – Daniel Street Club
Sat, 6/19 – Portland ME – SPACE
Sun, 6/20 – Burlington VT – Higher Ground
Mon, 6/21 – Quebec City QC – Le Cercle
Tue, 6/22 – Montreal QC – Il Motore
Thu, 6/24 – Ottawa ON – Zaphod Beeblebrox
Sat, 6/26 – Toronto ON – Lee’s Palace
Sun, 6/27 – Buffalo NY – Mohawk Place
The band will also be playing in Louisville KY on Sunday, July 11th as a part of the Forecastle Festival, where other acts include Flaming Lips, Spoon, Minus The Bear, Against Me! and many more!
Click HERE For More Info On The Forecastle Festival
and Click HERE For a Complete List of Tour Dates!
(photo grabbed from Lori Paulson's Flickr Page)
This last weekend saw the reunion of GO SAILOR, who hadn't played together in 13 years! Rose, Paul and Amy came together for the West Coast leg of the Slumberland Records' 20th Anniversary shows in SF and LA. Here are a couple videos from the San Francisco show, but if anyone out there has any pictures or videos from either show, send them our way and we'll post them up!
Download Lookout Freakout 1999 Pamphlet
The Mr. T Experience interviewed by Larry Livermore for Cometbus Fanzine, from 1986. Click the image to make it big enough to read.
Larry Livermore formed The Lookouts in 1985 in the hills of Mendocino County, enlisting the talents of drummer, Tré Cool (who went on to famously become one-third of Green Day) and bassist, Kain Kong. The band played all over Northern California and were part of the explosion of bands around the brand new Gilman Street Project in Berkeley before breaking up in 1990. Their debut album, "One Planet, One People" was the first Lookout Records release. Brazilian Lookouts fan Gabriel has put together an incredibly comprehensive Lookouts fan website. TheLookouts.org features a band biography, discography and gigography plus interviews, fliers, music and videos.
Check out The Lookouts Fansite