Dashboard Hula Girl Records

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Dashboard Hulagirl Records is a Seattle-based independent American record label founded in 1989 by Trev Dellinger and Chris Swenson. The label released several LPs, EPs, and singles before folding in 1992. The label's most influential release was an all-local Seattle covers compilation tribute to punk rock group The Damned, Another Damned Seattle Compilation.


7" Releases (1989-1990)[edit]

Co-founders Trev Dellinger and Chris Swenson met in 1989 while working at a metal fabrication shop in South Park, Seattle, Washington. The two discovered common interests in the local Seattle independent music community, self-deprecating humor, and expendable incomes. The idea of starting a record label was jokingly discussed for several months, with "Business End First", "Shop Boner", and "Fertility Weasel" considered as operating titles.

With the dissolution of Dellinger's band "Toad Hell", the duo decided to release a 7" EP by Swenson's band Big Satan, Inc. (BSI) as the label's first offering. The name Dashboard Hula Girl Records was agreed on after the decision to release that EP was made, when Dellinger produced an 8" plastic Mickey Mouse doll that had been mutilated, painted, and wore a makeshift hula skirt. The BSI EP, titled Force Fed, was pressed three times and sold nearly 1,500 copies, primarily in Germany, Spain, and the West Coast of the United States. The cover of the EP, featuring a "NEW SHIT FROM SEATTLE" sticker, was featured in Doug Pray's 1996 film Hype!

In 1990, power pop punk band Flop's "Drugs/Action" 7" single was the labels second release. The relationship between the label and band began after Swenson, childhood friends with Flop bassist Paul Schurr and a longtime fan of Flop songwriter/singer Rusty Willoughby (Pure Joy, The Dwindles), heard final cassette mixes of the songs on Schurr's bedroom boombox. Both songs, plus several others, were recorded by Chris Hanzsek at Reciprocal Recording in Seattle. Swenson asked to release them all, but reduced the release to 7" vinyl because of budget issues. The band and label agreed to include only two songs on the 7" citing a mutual desire to keep as much quality of the recording as possible, since squeezing more than one song per side would compress the vinyl groove depth and width thus producing lower quality audio. Side A is "Drugs", an original Flop composition, Side B is a cover version of "Action" by Sweet. The sleeve art of the 7" contains two photos of cadavers in mid-autopsy, taken from one of Schurr's pre-med manuals.

Another Damned Seattle Compilation (1991)[edit]

Upon hearing Flop's cover of Sweet's "Action" in 1989, Swenson and Schurr discussed releasing a Flop/Big Satan, Inc. split 7" single of The Sweet cover songs. Dellinger suggested including other bands on the release and Swenson approached guitarist Kurt Bloch for possible Fastbacks and Young Fresh Fellows contributions. Resistance to the source material was met from several members of three out of the four bands, and the idea was shelved. In the following months Swenson learned of Mudhoney's recent recording at Egg Studios of "Stab Your Back" by The Damned, and quickly reinvisioned the release as a full album Damned covers featuring only Seattle area bands.

Over the next several months, 18 Seattle bands signed on to the project with song choices. In the winter of 1990-1991, 15 of the bands recorded their tracks with Jack Endino or Chris Hanzsek at Reciprocal Recording, with each band allotted 3–4 hours of recording time over several weekends. Young Fresh Fellows and Mudhoney recorded their tracks at Egg Studios, The Purdins recorded theirs at Electric Eel Studios. Three bands originally scheduled to record but not appearing on the compilation were Cat Butt, Tad, and Nirvana: Cat Butt unable to record because of the band's dissolution; Tad declining because of tour conflicts; Nirvana unable to commit due to their signing with DGC Records and Gold Mountain Entertainment in the midst of recording schedule negotiations.

An early concept of sequencing the album to tell a story in the style of Pink Floyd's The Wall or "Animals" albums was abandoned in favor of creating a compelling, cohesive 72 continuous minutes of music. Using burgeoning digital editing technology that allowed for experimentation with the cross-fading and timed spaces before and after each song, Swenson paid detailed attention to how best to make each track compliment the others during the album's sequencing and mastering.

The title for the album was given by Kurt Bloch and erroneously attributed to Scott McCaughey on the album's liner notes. The album's cover artwork mimics the pie-in-the-face cover of The Damned's debut album "Damned Damned Damned", and features Kurt Bloch (Fastbacks, Young Fresh Fellows), Dan Peters (Mudhoney), Paul Schurr (Flop), Matt Wright (Gas Huffer), and Blaine Cook (The Accüsed). The cover photo and many of the interior collage and band pictures were taken by Kirk Jones. Dellinger and Swenson are credited on the album as "Boner #2" and "Boner #1", respectively.

The CD version contained 19 songs, and the vinyl version was released with 17 songs. Limited edition gatefold colored vinyl (500 US, 500 Germany, 500 Asia, 500 Europe) was issued with a bonus 7" featuring songs by Gruntruck and Motorhoney, neither of which appear on the regular vinyl release. Dashboard Hula Girl pressed all the CDs, and entered into a contract with Musical Tragedies Records in Germany, who pressed the vinyl and distributed both versions outside the US.

Flop & The Fall of the Mopsqueezer (1992)[edit]

In 1991, Flop began recording songs with producer Kurt Bloch with plans to release a full length album on the label. During the recording sessions, Bloch shared a demo tape containing several of the songs with Frontier Records owner Lisa Fancher, who offered the band a recording contract. The album, named after a poker game coined by friend and artist of two Flop albums Ed Fotheringham, was released in 1992 on Frontier Records with the vinyl pressed and distributed by Dashboard Hula Girl Records.

During this period, Dellinger pursued the signing of Seattle rock/fusion band IMIJ. The band declined, later signing with Capitol Records.

Label dissolution[edit]

With the success of Another Damned Seattle Compilation, the label recorded The Posies, Flop, Young Fresh Fellows, and the Fastbacks playing cover versions of songs by '60s pop group The Zombies in 1992, with expectations of releasing a double 7". During the Zombies recording sessions, Swenson moved on from his job at the metal fabrication company and was now managing Flop, while Dellinger left the metal fabrication company and journeyed overseas for a months-long Thailand/Asia trip. The label was quickly dissolved, and plans to release of the Zombies double 7" ended. Scott McCaughey and Conrad Uno of PopLlama Records purchased the recordings, recorded several other bands including Zumpano and The Model Rockets, and released them as a CD titled "World of the Zombies".