the history of sly records (to the best of my memory)

the year: 1996. the city: salem. the day: the first day of high school. i come home and realize how much i hate school and how much i enjoy the world of independent music. i decide then and there to start my own label and call my good friend matt fargo (then in his lusty 36 glory) to see if he is interested in helping. he asks if the label is pro porn music. i say, "it could be". sly records is born.

i decided that every good label starts off with a compilation, so matt and i started collecting songs from our friends (and ourselves) and in the end there were 16 songs from 16 different bands. still, we didn’t have a name for it. one night matt and i were at a shari’s with our friend cheyanne and a friend of hers whose name i cannot recall. anyhoo, let’s just say she was not digging the eric b brand of humor, and while she’s in the lavatory, i lean over to matt and say, "i think cheyanne’s friend hates me". as one of us (i can’t remember who) decided that was a great name for a compilation we entitled it sly records 001 i think cheyanne’s friend hates me: a sly records compilation.

first off, remember that we were only 17 and it was 1996 so doing cds was completely out of reach, so all of the first 7 "releases" we did were on cassettes. also, we didn’t even have a 4-track but instead used "the magic box". the magic box was not intended to be a recording device. it looked like a walkman but with guitar plug-ins on the side. the intended usage of this device was like that of guitar karaoke: you plug in, put in your favorite dokken tape, and shred along. matt somehow devised a way to record and play back up to 4 different tracks (i can’t quite remember how but i wrote a paper on it in high school so if i ever find it i’ll post it up here). on this machine, with one microphone, is where we recorded all of our earliest including matt’s ingenious and juvenile first album, sly records 002 the magic box. this was our highest distributed album clocking in at i believe around 8 copies.

keep in mind that all of these are 4-track quality (or worse) and dubbed many times over. so, we would make them to just give out to friends and say, "yeah girl, i got a record label that’s got like, 7 albums out".

a slew of releases followed, including the punk rock band i was drumming for at the time, the cia. this group disbanded after the lead singer disappeared for six months after the behead the prophet show in salem. however, the legacy lived on with sly records 003 the cia. i then joined up with a group called sylphid who had, at one time, calling themselves solid red sunglasses, recorded several albums of songs just making them up as they went. matt saw this as brilliant and we released their third album, sly records 004 solid red sunglasses "simple". we hailed them as the ween of our label but failed to ever actually make any copies, as the full color sleeve was a little above our "budget".

sly records 005 sylphid was the 5 song demo/ep that we recorded at a studio. this experience was fun but over priced and over reverbed. this is what later inspired sly records to form a studio of our own, to combat the evil world of reverb. during this time i was writing billions of songs, under my first pseudonym "blaow", on the guitar and bass respectively (i’ve always been a fan of the two-man band) and decided to make an album. i had actually made an album before on the magic box, an hour of bass and drums (not the electronic genre) instrumentals, named after girls, entitled blaow "what the cut the bull". the only copy was stolen out of my car. anyways, i once again borrowed the magic box and recorded a 90 minute opus which became sly records 006 blaow "thank you sir, may i have another?" i ruined this one by turning down the vocals really low, due to embarrassment, so as that you can’t understand a word i say. it was probably for the best.

and this brings us to all the other things that are on this site. it’s hard to believe that sly records has been around for five years already. it’s a dirty job to present good affordable independent music but hey, someone’s got to do it. and you can find them at, or you could just stay here. it’s your choice. really.

-eric b. 03/18/01