For the first time in Norton’s history, we are asking for your help. It has been entirely against our policy and nature to ask anyone for anything, in the entire history of our magazine and label. It hurts us to even suggest that any of you who have supported the label and our artists by purchasing Norton records over the years, to support us over and above with a donation. But it has indeed come to this. We have added a donate button to our website. Here’s the story. Every penny of what you donate will go into remanufacturing record jackets and sleeves for the vinyl that we salvage. No donation money will go into our day to day expenses so long as we can go forward on a minimal budget. If we get to the point where we cannot meet our monthly budget, we will ask again. But now, all donations go into getting the Norton label records back out to the public. We will write more about the procedure in days and weeks to come. Several people have benefits in the works, and we are grateful to you all. Send us any benefit links and we will post and propagate on the Norton site. If any of you are computer, website, internet geniuses, share your smart thoughts with us.
So, Norton Records and our print subsidiary Kicks Books has been savaged by Hurricane Sandy. Our stock and archive has been housed for the past seven years in Red Hook Brooklyn, at the historic Van Brunt Warehouses, pre-Civil War brick warehouses that were built to warehouse DRY GOODS -- tea, coffee, spices, and sugar. In fact the Domino Sugar Co. warehouse was right next to our place until recently, when their silo was torn down. There was no doubt in our minds that the Red Hook warehouse was secure-- it had withstood 150+ years of nature’s fury, after all. The insane and demonic combination of the hurricane, the high tide, the full moon and full-on interplanetary wrath resulted in a vortex that tore directly in through the waterways separating Brooklyn from Staten Island and straight into the island of Manhattan.
Most of you know the history of the label. Billy Miller and myself (this is Miriam Linna here) started the label in 1986 as an audio offshoot of our Kicks Magazine which we had been publishing since 1979. The label is focused on music that has been forgotten by the main veins that feed the public. It’s been a struggle from the start but in celebrating the label’s 25th anniversary exactly one year ago, we truly felt that we have reached a point where we could at least continue with releasing records and exposing people to the greatest rock n roll on the planet. Here we are today, soaked to our skin with so much destruction.
Nearly all of the Norton Records stock – our label’s LPs, CDs, 45s, picture sleeves, CD booklets, record labels and more, as well as the stock on other labels we distribute including Relic, Crypt and Stompin’ merchandise plus mail order-only stock he entire Kicks Books and Kicks Magazine stock was destroyed. We have small existing quantities of things at our home office, but very little. Thankfully, two full printings of the latest Kicks Books, GETTING IN THE WIND by Harlan Ellison and LORD OF GARBAGE by Kim Fowley, are high and dry at the printer. Also, our new releases are scheduled in as soon as trucks are rolling- several new El Paso volumes, T. Valentine and Daddy Long Legs, the Horror Of Party Beach guys The Dynamic Delaires ZOMBIE STOMP, and Kim Fowley KING OF THE CREEPS LP/CD. Release date is Nov. 20 for all things new.
Our entire Norton archive went underwater, including all of our correspondence, photos, documents, reviews, master tapes, ephemera, posters, including at least ¾’s of my vintage paperback collection (several thousand books) and virtually all of the old magazines and fanzines which went back to the 1940’s, again, numbering into the several thousands, interview tapes, 25 years of correspondences with Norton artists, original photographs, original rock n’ roll and movie posters, Norton business records, family items, furniture, musical equipment, my Del-Aires-owned 1962 Slingerland drum kit (Ironically we have just released the Del-Aires LP, after years in the process--!-- I’m goint to drag the kit out of the swampy rubble today, having set it to drain last week. If it’s bent and banged, so be it. Maybe it’ll be a new even more “warped sound” for the A-Bones and Figures of Light), recording equipment, our 1948 Lady Robin Hood pinball machine, Billy’s baseball collection….all waterlogged, and mos of it, if you will excuse the expressiton, dead in the water.
The shock and horror of the loss on every level is difficult to deal with, but we are clinging to the hope of surviving as a label by saving the records. We will them proceed with re-manufacturing 7” sleeves and LP jackets one title at a time.
We are hoping to still ship new releases by November 20th, and hope you guys and gals will get aboard with these releases, as we try very hard to get on track.
We have a mind boggling 2013 release schedule for Norton Records and Kicks Books and it’s our hope that we can still DO IT. Billy’s Ultimate Kim Fowley Singles Discography 1959-1970 which was scheduled to appear on our website to coincide with Kim’s new book and album has been postponed indefinitely. We thank our friends at Interfuel who have worked diligently to launch our new website, which is on hold right now until we can assess what we need to remove from availability.
We ask a few questions- can you people deal with 45’s without sleeves? In other words, will you buy our 45s if they just have white sleeves right now?--it will take a long time and a lot of long green to get new sleeves made for all of them. Please let us know if any of you geniuses have ideas on how we can carry on, or move forward. We think if we get even a few volunteers with scanners and laptops and maybe drying space who can help dry documents and scan them. Maybe one person would be willing to take a few artist files, separate and hang them to dry and then scan them...how does that sound? That’s one thing that is a race against the clock. But vital is getting the vinyl washed and dried and re-sleeved.
We could not have even gotten this far without the help of so many amazing volunteers – friends, family, neighbors and complete strangers. Fellow record companies like Sundazed, Daptone, Telstar (US) and even Sony Legacy have sent their able people over to provide their muscle and hustle. Norton Records is still in desperate need of volunteers to clean vinyl. Some much needed good news - the wonderful folks at the Spin-Clean Record Washer Company have donated a dozen record washing machines and gallons of cleaning fluid to help our cause. We can’t thank them enough as this will speed up our recovery process. If you would like to volunteer with our salvaging effort and clean records at our Prospect Height, Brooklyn office any day or time between 11AM-11PM, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org with VOLUNTEER in the subject line or call 718-789-4438 (office) or 917-671-7185 (Billy’s cell phone) and we will give you directions and updated information. No text or facebook replies for volunteering please.
Major thanks also to Daile Kaplan from Swann Galleries for getting us into a new dry space and to out great neighbors and friends.
And remember...YOU CAN’T DROWN THE LOUD SOUND!
The Norton Staff