Hapi's first release was See What I See, a full-length from his brother Dave Beegle. Since then, the Beegle brothers have released three more of Dave's CDs and sold about 15,000 copies total. Not bad for an indie upstart that began by fighting its way onto the shelves of local retailers and has since obtained national distribution through Denver-based USA One Stop and other outlets. The appeal of Hapi Skratch -- which has released more than sixty CDs for a roster of primarily local artists, including Crypto Star, A Band Called Horse, Dear Marsha and Blinddog Smokin' -- may lie in the fact that the label aims to provide help at all levels: Beegle and his staff are producers, studio coordinators and engineers who press CDs once they're recorded, and promote and distribute them once they're released.
And though the label is his bread and butter, Beegle ain't getting rich on the affair. Selling local product is an often difficult and slow process -- the average pressing is only 1,000 copies -- so there's little guarantee on investment. Beegle is currently working to add an e-commerce outlet to the company's Web site (www.hapiskratch.com) as one more venue for independent distributions and as a way to boost sales. Still, Beegle sounds almost like a wealthy philanthropist when discussing the label's most immediate plans. "We want to start getting involved in a lot more charity shows," he says. "We're doing one on April 20 at Herman's Hideaway [with Clockwork, MindGoFlip and Crypto Star], which is meant to generate money to educate kids about guns. It's the Columbine anniversary, but I don't want it to be about that. I want it to be about the problem of angry kids who want to shoot each other."
On a lighter note, Saturday's Hapi Skratch Anniversary party will feature Crypto Star, 12 Cents for Marvin, Blinddog Smokin' and Dave Beegle. Hapi anniversary, Mr. Beegle.
The newsletter from Boulder boy Jello Biafra's Alternative Tentacles label contained a happy little nugget of local news: AT is planning to release the forthcoming full-length effort from Slim Cessna's Auto Club, a still-untitled work in progress that the band and producer Bob Ferbrache hope to finish up by mid-April. The tentacle blurb describes the Club -- which is still operating in a somewhat limited capacity after Slim took off for Rhode Island -- as "hillbilly country hee-haw greats...They even yodel. Lots of you will probably hate it. I think we love it."
Club guitarist John Rumley says the band is thrilled with the deal, although no papers have been officially inked. Biafra, he says, has been a longtime fan of the band ever since catching them in San Francisco three years ago. "Bob [Ferbrache] is good friends with him," Rumley says, "and every time he's in town, he'll come see us play if we have a gig. He's seen us four or five times." (Presumably, Biafra had better luck getting into Auto Club shows than he did a couple of years ago, when a bouncer at a sold-out LaDonnas show at the 15th Street Tavern, observing a fire code restriction, wouldn't allow the Dead Kennedy into the bar until Ross LaDonna recognized and rescued him.) Rumley says Biafra is also a big fan of Auto Club member Jay Munly's solo work. Perhaps a recording contract is also in the works for the lanky hillbilly revisionist? Guess we'll have to wait until the next newsletter.
And now for a bit of shameless self-promotion: Located just a few pages away from this one is the ballot for Westword's Music Showcase, a to-the-death faceoff between more than fifty of the area's most beloved performers. (Actually, its not really to the death. Aside from a few guitar-string-induced blisters every once in a while, there's little blood involved. I've just been watching a lot of wrestling lately.) Won't you be a good scenester and participate by voting for your favorite artist in each category? Or skip some, we don't care, we just want to know who you do like. Ballots can be filled in the old-fashioned way -- with ink, then mailed in -- or you can swing by www.westword.com/mas2000 on your way to your favorite bastion of digital debauchery.