Jerry Allen of Porkopolis, Real Americans, Ashley Adams, Hobilly Adams and other plumes passed away unexpectedly last year. I think of Jerry around this time of year because of the hand stamped christmas card he sent me one year during GAJOOB’s heyday.
Jerry offered an article for GAJOOB about his tape label, Porkopolis, which released his own music and many compilations featuring artists in his area as well as cassette culture artists he loved, like Love, Calvin.
On the Beginnings of Porkopolis
by Ashley Allen
PORKOPOLIS was created as a means of distribution for the band, Peppermint Subway. Throughout the course of things, I find that it’s an excellent opportunity to sample and compile other artists who otherwise would get little, if any, recognition for their work.
“Sub Jungle,” Peppermint Subway’s first release, was not the first cassette that I released. In 1984 I got a Tascam 4-track and shortly thereafter, formed Lost Bohemia Cooperative. Our first cassette was a C60 of music, noise and spoken word, bombarded with radio sounds from my 1930’s Sears Silvertone shortwave radio. We had a somewhat moderate success with the release of Radio World in 1984, as the world was just tasting the independent cassette thing. Moles Records has about eight copies stored somewhere in their back room in Cincinnati. After Radio World, I was involved in two more Lost Bohemia cassettes which were not made available to the public until this year. All three cassettes have many similar elements, yet all are distinctly different. We did get earplay in Canada, and on Kindred Sanction in Cincinnati on WAIF.
Distribution was a lot of hit and miss in the beginning. I used the contacts/network that I already had, and basically accumulated more. My main rules about mailing and contacts are pretty basic: if you don’t write back, or if you rip me off or trash what I’m doing, then I don’t consider you a good contact– pretty fucking basic, huh?
Here I was distributing this cassette when I got encouragement from two people: Missing Link Distribution and Carl Howard of audiofile Tapes. So I expanded the idea behind the label thing. When I did the first Lost Bohemia tape, I found no great market; so in 1987 I wrote to a small cassette label and inquired about distribution and advice, based on their experience, etc. By the time I got a reply, I already had four tapes ready to distribute!
Now PORKOPOLIS has about 20 cassettes. I work with other small labels and exchange and distribute. I have distribution in Poland, France, England and Canada– besides the USA. I am especially excited with some of the Polish stuff I’ve acquired for distribution through RED Cassettes in Wroclaw, and from the band, Zima. RED distributes my stuff, and I distribute some of his, and we basically work together.
I feel that I have a better chance of selling more tapes if I keep the cost down, considering the cost of everything else these days. With the small amount of money that does come in, I buy more cassettes and postage. Hell, it’s a lot cheaper than drugs! But I’m sure the government will try to crack down on it because a)it’s not corporate, b)it’s too free of an expression, and c)”Where’s all those hundereds of thousands of dollars you’re hiding from all those silly cassettes you’re pushing?!”
Incidentally, a good source for blanks is Greencorp in Florida. They have an 800 number, and for $4 you can get samples and deduct the $4 from your next order. I get a decent deal on labels from CTL Magnetics in Kalamazoo.
It’s been a good year and a half, as far as learning this new hobby. Some day I hope to break even.
Porkopolis Holiday CardProduct on sale