From the desk of Sean Neil, teacher at juvenile hall and founding member of Aa:
"Regarding the inserts... I think that we were inspired by the Three Mile Pilot burlap wrapped version of Chief Assassin to the Sinister when we came up with the idea for multiple inserts, hand made by various artists. We enlisted the help of many of our friends in making 500 unique inserts for the record. A total of 1,000 records were printed, so I feel a bit sad for anyone who got a version after the limited edition version sold out. Our record label had some of their friends contribute as well. I'm gonna only talk about a few of the inserts.
Aron Wahl makes all the major artwork for the band, including album covers and show fliers. You can easily spot his work amongst the inserts. He hand drew, hand dunked in ink, or hand burned all the inserts he contributed. Nadav Havusha made 'My Body is a Temple Where Nobody goes to Pray' pulling the title from an old song we used to play called 'Fate Day'. Dav was always the masterful lyricist. I can remember a band argument we got into over his use of the word faggot in a song. I didn't want him to use that word. Mr. Quintron later had a song called 'French Quarter Faggot, and he defends his use of the word on the back of the album cover. I wish I hadn't been so uptight over Dav's use of the word. All his lyrics were spot on.
Our friend Becca Cohen made the sexy dirty lady insert. She played in a band called Split Me Wide Open, that played the first ever show at our house at 502 Warren. Both her and her band mate Giorgio sang and shook a box of cereal on the albums closing track. Our roommate at the time, Peggy Wang and I, played a one off show after that first show at 502 with Split Me Wide Open. We were called Office Supply, and we basically attacked one another while screaming into microphones and rolling on the ground. That band was the primary influence of her current band The Pains of Being Pure at Heart.
Marisa Jahn (co-founder of the Pond art gallery with Steve Shada) made the America's Next Top Model insert. I loved how she subverted the use of an advertisement for her insert. It reminded me of when we sang the line 'Everybody’s fighting for your attention' on the track ‘Fake War’. Both Marisa and Steve appear in the 'Good Ship' video I shot in Mexico and released with gAame. Sadly, they meet their horrible demise during the video.
John Atkinson made the ‘Ocular Aa Brain’ and then joined the band. We met at a Black Dice show and at the time, he was playing in a band called fuckface2k. When he joined Aa, he initially played his old high school saxophone. John played the saxophone at some of our early shows, but he quickly moved onto to electronics and breakables.
Our friend from Philadelphia, Brendan Greaves, made the see through insert. It's worth a closer inspection as he removed all the A's from the text. He played in a band called Wrists and Pistols, an offshoot of Lucky Dragons, and we all played multiple shows together both in NYC and Philadelphia.
John Dwyer made ‘Garfield Thinking of Boobs’. He informed me that he was really stoned when he came up with the concept. He wanted us to abuse the image in the copy machine, but I thought it looked great pure and clean. I do think we hand drew the Aa on them in green crayon though.
I taped together pages from old biology texts for my insert involving various animal life. We took this idea of multiple inserts to the next level when we had our friends create a music video for each song off of gAame. The band has always been a bit of a collaboration of sorts. Whenever we could we would involve our friends in our shows. We used to start off with a procession through wherever we were playing, and would have our friends march and play along with us. At an early show at Above the Right Bank, we cut off Bonfire Madigan before her set was over. This was an accident and simply bad timing.
Our first show was with Semiautomatic and The Lack, and many more after that. Like magic, all our band fights over names ended and we finally settled on a name that Aron was able to add to the flier. For our early shows, we tried to run all the electronics through one power switch so that we could turn the sound of all at once with the flick of a switch. I think I always fucked up the cables though so we were never able to dramatically drop all the sounds out at sets end.
I was so thrilled to play an early show with the Coachwhips and Guitar Wolf at the Happy Birthday Hideout (now Rubulad). That show led to the record deal with Narnack, who released the vinyl. I think I randomly dropped by the Narnack offices with a demo tape and they soon offered us the chance to play. Coachwhips were insane that night.
Linda Rosenbury played a viola like instrument for the final song. That drone is hers. We had many of our friends play on this final song. We would bring them into our basement studio at 502 Warren (my bedroom) to make whatever noises they could come up with. And then we recorded them chanting over the beat.
I remember when we recorded a song for Kyle Lapidus' daughter called 'Lil' Rama,' we set off fireworks in the basement of 502 to record the sound. I lost my hearing for a few days after that mistake. The song turned out great though, and was released by Luke Fishbeck of Lucky Dragons as a cdr that was reverse shoplifted into stores.
One of my favorite shows we played during this time period was with Japanther at a place called The Chicken Hut. The floors were completely covered with 6 inches of shit. Some guy was moshing while naked during our set, and at one point he crashed into my equipment causing it to drop into the muck. None of my stuff broke. We did have to throw away our clothes though because we couldn’t get the stench off them. Picture the smell, while listening to the music."
Full disclosure: I used to live at 502 Warren Street, played on this record, and attended most of the gigs discussed above.
Ladies and gentlemen, for your listening pleasure, Aa.
Big A LiTTLe a (Narnack)