The story of why it took over 30 years to get this album out is a bit of an interesting one and if you’ve got a few minutes we encourage you to read it below.
When Datchord Records was founded in 1984 they wanted to release some compilation tapes and build their way up to being a large label representing Philadelphia the way SST and Dischord had for their regions. After the success of their first cassette release they realized that they needed to move on to releasing vinyl if they wanted anyone to take them seriously. The only problem was money. They had a friend who was happy to help out with the finances, so they asked their friends in FLAG OF DEMOCRACY and THE DEAD MILKMEN to record songs for a split 7 inch. The Dead Milkmen had just secured a record contract for Big Lizard in My Back Yard but were able to keep a clause in the contract allowing them to record the song If The Kids Could Git Together during the same sessions. FOD was about to go into the studio to record Shatter Your Day but they were able to schedule a session to record the three songs for their side: Valedictorian, Defective Service, Quit Your Culture.
So here is how things ended up falling apart. The kid who wanted to help fund the record used their parent’s credit card with the pressing plant without permission. They figured their folks would be at work when the record showed up and they would sell them before the bill came and pay them back. When the records and invoice did show up it just happened to be a day off for his mother. When he got home from school he was busted and severely punished. His folks told him they sent the records back to the pressing plant for a refund. So that was the untimely demise of the FOD / THE DEAD MILKMEN split 7” of 1985.
Fast forward 30 years and that kid is back in Philadelphia helping his parents pack up the house to move into an old age home, and what does he find in the corner of the basement but a pile of heavy boxes. He opens one up only to find the entire pressing of 1,000 FOD / DEAD MILKMEN split EPs! Think about it, doesn’t it sound silly that a pressing plant would accept returns?! Upon further searching he finds some parts for the artwork for the cover, label logos and the finished front cover art. He contacted The Datchord guys and the band members and sent them all a picture of what he found. And that is the story of the unreleased FLAG OF DEMOCRACY / THE DEAD MILKMEN split 7”.
————here is new information————
Okay so this “anonymous kid” is Nathan Nincompoop who was somewhat of a notorious guy in Philadelphia in the early 80’s. He was telling everyone that he had some huge inheritance, but what he really happened is that he had his parents credit card and he sold his grandfather’s coin collection. He went on that tour with FOD where they played with The Butthole Surfers on a few dates in FL and caused all kinds of problems. He got the kids in FL to pull coconuts off the trees and bring them into the venue and throw them at The Butthole Surfers!!! It was an infamous show turned semi riot. It almost got FOD kicked off the other shows.
So after Nathan Nincompoop found the records he was able to track down Jim from FOD through some mutual friends (Nathan isn’t online at all) and sent him pictures of the records. Jim got in touch with him but he wasn’t really willing to part with them (but had no idea how to sell them). I got involved and spent the next few weeks trying to talk him into either giving the records to the bands or selling them to me. He sent me some pictures from his nephew’s cell phone and finally agreed to meet with me. It seems he has a cousin who is an entertainment lawyer who told him that vinyl is very valuable now so he wanted an astronomical amount of money and the rights to the music to stay with him along with all the publishing. Crazy business stuff that makes no sense to punk bands. He missed three meetings with me in a row, but finally got back to me and we worked out a fair deal for everyone. I paid him what a new pressing of records would cost now a days. Then arranging actually picking up the records was crazy. In the end I had to rent a U-Haul truck and help him move all the furniture out of his parent’s home to a storage facility and to an auction house in South Jersey. It took all day. I could go on all day about how weird this guy is, but the end of the story is that I have the records in my possession along with parts of the original artwork that I scanned and ordered covers from.
Flag Of Democracy has two other NEW split 7″s coming out on November 27th! One with Ex Friends (RIP) from Philadelphia and another with Merda from Brazil. And are playing with Wonk Unit (uk) on November 7th in Philadelphia
The Dead Milkmen just announced a Halloween show at The Trocadero in Philadelphia