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20 QUESTIONS WITH RICH EVANS OF FLORIDA'S DYING


Floridaís Dying has made a name for itself the last few years by building a very respectable distro section of punk rock and outsider stuff and by hosting some of the best shows/parties in Florida since I moved here in 2007, in a location that most bands on a budget would simply pass up. And this is aside from being one of modern rock's finest indie labels as well. I saw Slippery Slopes play their first show in Tampa with Jeanie and the Tits and Blast and the Detergents. I met Rich at that show, who was carrying around a crate of records and there I got the Jeanie & the Tits 7Ē and Electric Bunnies 'Eskimo' 7Ē.

After that, I was introduced to a part of Florida that I did not know existed Ė and turned onto a lot of great music from outside of Florida that I never heard. I really feel Rich has worked hard in a state that catches a lot of shit for their artistic output and he has shown me that there is some good stuff happening down here.

Anyways, I wanted to get to know the ďrealĒ Rich Evans Ė and thought the world deserved to know too, so we chatted on the night before Valentineís Day as he cried and revealed himself in a way that I felt may have crossed some lines. But for one night, I felt that pain, too.

This interview took place February 13th, 2010 via Gmail chat. Rich was in Orlando and I was in Dunedin. One important thing to note about this interview: Rich was really into the use of emoticons, so after every response I got from him, it was accompanied with a winking smiley face. ;) Iím not sure if he was hitting on me, or if it was one of those ďIím-completely-lying-about-what-I-just-saidĒ winks. Either way, below is a transcription of said chat, with all of Richís LOLZ and roflcopters removed.

TB: So when and why did Floridaís Dying get started?
RICH EVANS: I donít remember exactly when. I just realized the other day that Iíve been saying I started it six years ago for probably at least a year. So we'll say it started seven years ago. The reason was the local record store would never carry the records I wanted even when I asked them, so I decided I would start a local distro so people could get some of these records. I quickly realized the reason the local store wasnít carrying them was because no one wanted them. This left me with no choice but to start selling them on the internet. And now here we are.

TB: What is your credo or mission statement?
RE: My mission statement? Well, the name Floridaís Dying was kind of a joke on the fact that people would automatically hold being from Florida as a strike against you right from the get-go. The name was playing off of peopleís preconceived notions of what Florida was. That being said, my main goal was to show people that they are wrong. Florida has a lot to offer musically and I think because weíve been dogged on so long it lacks a lot of the pretense. I wanted to put Florida on the map.

TB: I was going to say, youíve really put Florida on the map in the last few years, promoting records and shows with great bands all over the state like Jacuzzi Boys, Electric Bunnies, Melted Sunglasses, Teepee, Shit Eagle, Jeanie & the Tits, Ghost Hospital, Slippery Slopes, etc. Do you feel that there is a "Florida" sound? What do you like about doing what you do here as opposed to somewhere else?
RE: Well, I think it's kind of broken up. Miami has a lot more culturally than say Orlando, so I feel that the art scene has a strong effect on that scene. The Orlando scene on the other hand I feel has more of a party vibe to it. I think as a whole though the sun has a big effect on the state. As far as what I like about doing what I do here, I mean itís a bit of a double-edged sword. I kind of like that Iím the only one doing it because I get to bring things across the way I want to, but sometimes I get burned out on the fact that I have to do everything. I mean, if I donít book the shows I book down here then they probably wouldnít come, but if someone else was doing it I would probably be annoyed that they were doing it wrong. I also really like how excited kids down here are for this stuff because they've been deprived of it for so long.

TB:Who is runs the day to day operations there? You alone Ė or do you have other help/interns/stoner friends?
RE: Itís pretty much just me. The store was supposed to be a joint venture with me and the wife, but that didnít exactly work out so now itís just me - one burnt out dude.





TB: You also release stuff from all over the US and Europe. Do you prefer doing one to the other? Do you tend to favor Florida bands and artists?
RE: For sure. I prefer to release Florida bands and more and more Florida bands are coming about that Iím excited about. I also have a soft spot for bands from Alabama, and anything my boy Benji does. Really though, as long as they are my friends, I love putting their records out. All the bands Iíve put out are people I consider brothers. No matter how much I liked a band, if I didnít like them as people I'd have no interest in putting out their records.

TB: By now, youíve really gotten the hang of the whole process of putting out records. What has been your experience with pressing plants, artwork, packaging, distros and all the hoops you have to jump through to make it happen? Any gripes or complaints? Who sucks? Who would you recommend?
RE: Imprint rules. Walt is awesome. He was in No Fraud which gains him extra points, but beyond that they are great to work with. As far as pressing plants, they all suck in my experience but you really have no choice but to make the best of it and try and connect with the people who work there. If you can develop relationships with the people who work there it makes your life a lot easier. I know people have plenty of gripes about URP and rightfully so, but they have always made things right with me in the end so I really have no complaints. The most important advice I could give anyone who wants to put out records is unless you are dealing with a distributor like Revolver (or me), get the money upfront. Also, never go into this looking at it as a money-making venture, because 99% of the time its not. Look at it is a hobby and make sure you are in love with anything you put out. Actually the most important advice I have is donít make your release decisions based upon what people are saying on Termbo. They are a fickle bunch. Chances are if you pick something because everyone is in love with it on the message board, by the time it comes out everyone already hates it.

TB: Iíve noticed a really consistent level of quality with Florida's Dying releases. I canít think of a record I have heard on your roster that hasnít been really catchy or interesting or different in some way. What are some of the criteria you look for when putting out records?
RE: Honestly, itís just a matter of ďDo I like the music and do I like the people?Ē Wish I had a smarter answer but I donít. Iíve been pretty lucky. There has been many a drunken night when Iíve seen my friendsí bands and have said, ďMan, letís put out a record!Ē before things were even recorded, and I havenít had to eat those words yet. I think alcohol is the main motivator. The way I judge the recordings is ďHow does this sound when Iím stoned?Ē If it passes the stoned test, we're doing good.

TB: Have there been any regrets or something you could take back if you could, or just wished you would have done differently as far as putting out records?
RE: Not really. I mean there were a few early records that bear the Floridaís Dying name which I had nothing to do with, and that I probably would not have put out myself, but I still donít regret those decisions. I honestly didnít think I would still be doing this at this point in my life. I donít think my ex-wife thought I would be either. I think thatís why Iím now single.

TB: You opened Vinyl Richieís Wiggly World of Records a little over a year ago in Orlando. What has changed on the business side of things as a result of this, besides more space in your living room? Do you get a lot of people that wander into the store, realize that there are no Beatles and Rolling Stones LPs and high-tail it out of there?
RE: Oh, man. Where to even start...in some respects I love having my store. Itís like a clubhouse for me and my friends. I have a place to put my stupid ideas into practice. Right now, Iím working on the Two Man Keg Stand B-Ball Slam. I can have bands play in my parking lot, a lot more kids have been turned onto the stuff I sell. But it has also been a reminder that I hate about 85% of the general population. People come in and once they come in they feel like they have to stay and look around for a few minutes and I know all thatís going through their heads is: 1) "This place reeks like pot!" and 2) "What the fuck are any of these records?!" But they feel obligated to stick around for at least five minutes and we both sit there in awkward silence. Thatís why Iíve gone members only. I gave membership cards to all my customers for Christmas.





TB: Why do you wear your pants like that?
RE: For easy access, baby.

TB: What ever happened to all those Derek Lyn Plastic records?
RE: You would have to ask Derek about those. I know he has a new record coming out on Certified P.R. Derek is truly a character. He released a few singles under the Floridaís Dying moniker. They received luke-warm reviews on Terminal Boredom and in true Derek fashion he went on the offensive, attacking anyone who gave him reviews that were less than praising and made quite a few friends in the process. Man, am I diplomatic. If only I were so diplomatic in my home town.

TB: The artwork and packaging for the Electric Bunnies LP was insane. I mean, gatefold sleeve with a board game and pieces to cut out. How did they talk you into it? Where did you get these printed up at? What was the experience like?
RE: Victor can spot a sucker from a mile away. Iím going to have bands asking me about ridiculous packaging for the rest of my days thanks to that shifty-eyed Cuban. He first approached me about the gatefold and I said no way. Then he told me his idea and I couldnít say no. It was too good. You should hear what he has in mind for the next record. Itís his personal goal to break me. We got them printed at Imprint. They loved the idea so they cut me a deal but it was still expensive. I donít regret it in the least. That is a truly incredible record and one of my most proud achievements. Iím just happy I got to be part of it.

TB: Will there be a re-press?
RE: When do the questions about my dick and sexual prowess start? Well, we are getting close to sold out, but Iím not sure that a repress will have the same packaging.

TB: What have been your best selling releases thus far? Worst selling? Any total shockers?
RE: They have all sold relatively well but the real shocker was Yussuf Jerusalem. I mean, I knew it was a great record but he had not put anything out and his first release was an LP. It sold out super quick got put up on all the blogs and the repress sold even faster. In fact, itís going on its third press. This time however itís a European pressing on Born Bad. We will be releasing his second album later this year. I might try for $10 this time.

TB: Letís talk about unsolicited demo tapes, etc. Do you ever get really fucked up shit in the mail from bands and wish you changed your address?
RE: I get unsolicited stuff and a lot of it is pretty mediocre but nothing too mind-blowingly awful. I also get some really good stuff but at this point I canít take on any more projects. Iíve already signed on for more than I should have so Iím trying to clear my plate before taking on anymore.

TB: You also play in Slippery Slopes. How did you guys start playing together? How do you juggle playing in a band and running a label/distro/record store?
RE: Erik has been one of my closest friends for quite some time. I had put out Fashion Fashion & The Image Boys records, we were roommates and he was in my wedding. Erik is obsessed with Supercharger, The Drags and The Mummies. After FFIB he wanted to start a new band more in that vein and he wanted a less proficient drummer. Fortunately I donít really know how to play the drums so I fit the mold. I honestly still have not figured out how to juggle all of these things. I fake it. I love that band though. I think we are actually starting to get good, believe it or not.





TB: If you could start a supergroup with any artist that has released a record on Floridaís Dying, who would it be and what would they play?
RE: My super group would be Mobile Neil (guitar), BD Biz (bass), Brian Costello (guitar), Erik Grincewicz (vox), Pete-za (tambourine), me on drums, Victor (lights) and you would introduce us. You would be DJ Magic Mike. The band would be called Skunk Ape and the Everglade Pythons. Oh man, and Little Patrick would be on third guitar. That kid is the future of Orlando. Him and Sam Metro are the coolest kids in Orlando. We used to just call him ďPunk Rock.Ē I want to put out a Sexcapades 7". Thatís him and Samís band. ďShe Likes to Get HighĒ is a hit!

TB: Youíve built a pretty good reputation with your distro section. Itís very extensive and I often wonder how you acquire some of the stuff you get. How do you keep up with the perpetual onslaught of records being put out today, as well as deciding which classic reissues to carry? Iíve even seen some old Mississippi blues in your distro.
RE: Itís called not having a life. There is so much coming out that itís impossible to keep up with, plus with this horrible economy itís hard to even tell what will sell anymore. Things have changed in these last few years. I try and pick what I like mostly and then what I think will pay my bills secondly. There are some records I think are bullshit that I carry, but I need to live. Most of what I carry I like though. Lately Iíve been a bit burned out and feeling a bit nostalgic so Iíve been going back to the stuff I grew up on. Last year sucked really bad despite opening my store and putting out two releases Iíve wanted to put out for years, so Iíve been hitting the punk really hard as of late. Shit still brings a smile to my face. I see some punk in the future of Floridaís Dying: Diaper and the Shitbags baby!

TB: What have you got lined up for 2010 as far as releases? Can we expect Worldís Gone Wiggly II This Year?
RE: No festival this year. Spits/Nobunny show on June 6th will be the closest we get to it. Releases for 2010 will be Slippery Slopes 7", Party Platter LP (both of these will be out by April), Dead Luke LP, Thomas Function 7", Diaper and the Shitbags 7", Ghost Hospital 12"/LP, Yussuf Jerusalem second LP, Hibachi Stranglers LP, Melted Sunglasses 12"/LP. No idea if all of these will be released this year because some of them havenít even been recorded but this is what is in the works. Oh yeah, and a Slippery Slopes LP.

TB: And finally, who would you rather do Ė a dead guy, or your own mother?
RE: Whoís the dead guy?
TB: GG Allin.
RE: Oh man. You just made it tough. There is a chance my mom might Google this so I choose GG. It would be hard to look my mom in the eye after publically proclaiming Iíd have sex with her.
TB: And it would be shown on a 24-hour loop on ESPN.
RE: Oh yeah, Iím hung like a babyís arm and Iím killer in the sack. E-mail me, ladies. Iím currently planning the "Everyone Gets Rich" tour and Iím looking for beds to crash in. If you play your cards right it could be yours. Just sayingÖ

END INTERVIEW






FULL BLOWN FLORIDA'S DYING DISCOGRAPHY RIGHT HERE

Florida's Dying on the web here and here.

Vinyl Richie's Wiggly World of Records on the web here.

Pics provided by Rich, if anyone would like a credit please contact the editor.

Interview by Mike Overly, February 2010.

To read other TB interviews, go here.

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