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The Beatdown

Lost in cyberspace

"We sent an e-mail back saying, 'All right, you tell us how much you can afford, and we'll tell you if we can get the album done,'" says Pearson. "That was about six weeks ago, and we have not heard anything from them since."

But the Czars aren't just waiting around for Bella Union to step up. Last week, bandmembers sold original pieces of art in hopes of generating some loot -- sort of like a bake sale without the carbohydrates. And here's where things are getting really innovative: The group will also give fans a chance to appear on its new record -- in name, at least. For a $10 donation, you'll be thanked in the liner notes; $20 will buy kudos and a copy of the album; $50 will garner a thank-you, a signed copy of the album and a T-shirt. And for die-hard fans with plenty of dead presidents, $500 will buy not only gratitude but put your name on the Czars' guest list for life, while $1,000 will earn you your own private Czars show.

Pearson says the act hopes to generate $10,000 toward recording costs with these efforts. And one gracious booster from the Great White North -- Vancouver, Canada, to you and me, eh! -- has already committed to giving the band a $3,000 interest-free loan. Now, that's what I call fanatical.

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