My most vivid memory of the early days of Morphius Records came at around 2AM on December 30th, 1993 after a Nirvana show at the old San Diego Sports Arena. I was driving my old friend Nancy, two ladies whose names escape me, and Krist Novoselic…of Nirvana. Who knows why, but Krist—who stands about 6’5—was sitting in the middle back seat.
Barreling down the highway to a party somewhere near the old Casbah club, I found myself caught between conflicting directions. One of the women in back yells “this exit!”, to which the other responds “No, keep going!”, so I braked hard, coming to a screeching halt between the ramp and the road.
Novoselic’s towering arms lurched forward, and he ripped the rearview mirror clean off. In hindsight, maybe I should have asked him to sign it.
Flashback 24 hours: I had just sold our first 10 CDs—the Is This a Dream or Just Random Sounds of Awakening comp—to a record store in Redondo Beach for $80. I then made my way to Jabberjaw in LA on Pico, to see one of my favorite bands (Jawbreaker) and try to get owner Gary Dent to sell the CDs at the counter.
After the show, while trying to escape from a very tight parallel park job a lone driver pulled up, looking for directions to Highway 110. While offering to lead him, he jumped out of his car with pen and paper in hand and I quickly realized that in his other hand was a gun. Before I could even think, he had it pressed against my chest. He left quickly with my $80, leaving one buck behind.
Fast forward: After that Nirvana show the following night in San Diego, Nancy and I had headed to the Casbah Club. Some local bands were playing, and Novoselic had told us after the show he was going to do some songs onstage with one of the bands.
As I stepped into the club, I found a crisp, shiny $100 bill on the floor, leaving me $21 ahead of the game. And so it goes in the music industry.
Stabb, who I played with in the early days with my friend Charlie Jamison (of Landspeedrecord!), Hunter Bennett (of Dot Dash), and vocalist John Stabb (of DC legends Government Issue) has a bonus track on our most recent compilation Morphius XX: Celebrating 20 Years of Breaking Records.
Stabb’s first official release—the song “Land of Me”, recorded at Inner Ear in DC by Don Zientara (at a session that Nirvana drummer and longtime Government Issue fan Dave Grohl showed up for)—appeared on Is This a Dream or Just Random Sounds of Awakening (1993), as well 18 other tracks by notable bands, including one featuring Mr. Grohl himself.
Full circle? I suppose so.