2011 marks the 15th Anniversary of Asian Man Records, an independent record label based in Northern California, that is the epitome of DIY. Asian Man Records has released albums by Less Than Jake, Five Iron Frenzy and Alkaline Trio to name a few and genres that you will find on their roster range from ska punk to psychobilly and just about everything in between.
Mike Park, (Skankin’ Pickle, The Chinkees, The B. Lee Band) founder of Asian Man Records, took some time out of his extremely busy schedule to talk to us about the upcoming Anniversary Festival.
Asian Man Records was officially founded in 1996. The 15th Anniversary Festival is a celebration of everything that you have accomplished in those 15 years. In regards to the label, what are you most proud of?
Oh my…let me think? I guess it’s the friendships that I’ve been able to make. The music business is full of a bunch of assholes and I’m pleasantly surprised by the amount of good people I’ve been able to surround myself with.
There are a lot of bands who haven’t played together in years getting together again specifically for this special occasion. Were you solely responsible for getting these bands to reunite or were there bands that contacted you and said, “we have to play at this”?
I wish bands were contacting me saying we’ll get back together for this. Nah…I had to reach out to everyone.
The reunion of SLAPSTICK, who hasn’t played together since ’97, for the festival, is one of the biggest headlines of the event. From what I heard, they only agreed to play after much begging and pleading on your part. Is that true? How did it really happen?
HA!! Yeah, I didn’t beg per se, but I definitely asked nicely and ok…yeah…I did beg.
Are there any bands that you really wanted to play at the shows but things didn’t quite work out?
LINK 80 would have been a good one considering they are from the bay area, but couldn’t get every member to agree. And Tuesday. Considering all the members will be here for the SLAPSTICK show. That’s a bit disheartening.
What are you looking forward to the most about the festival?
Seeing everyone. Bands, old friends, etc. It’s gonna be like a high school reunion.
Planning something of this magnitude is no doubt stressful and time-consuming. What has been the most difficult thing about organizing the festival?
Gosh. Where do I start? Tickets were a big hassle. The fact that the venues are so small. Just not being able to get everyone who wanted to go a ticket, but I just didn’t want to deal with big venue politics. I wanted to do shows at venues that I actually go to. Hope that makes sense.
Fifteen years from now, do you think that the Asian Man Records 30th Anniversary Festival will be easier to organize having gone through it once already?
Oh god. SLAPSTICK members will be hitting the age of 50. I think the biggest obstacle of the 30th anniversary is how many people are still alive and kicking. We’re getting old. I’ll be 56 in 15 years.
In closing, do you have a particular favorite moment or memory involving anything Asian Man?
The beginning was always special. Making cut and paste ads and then going to Kinkos to photo copy them. I always thought that was fun.
Very special thanks to Mike Park and Asian Man Records. Check them out at www.asianmanrecords.com.