The Handshake recording that marked both the highpoint and the beginning of a rapid decline of the first Clam band had never been released digitally. The demise of Handshake Records prior to the industry’s shift to cds precluded the album ever being issued on a format other than vinyl or cassette tape. It “dropped” as they say, about a year too early for disc.
About a year ago, as “My True Story” and “O.L.P.B.” were being finished; Gary began thinking about making that record available as well. The problem was that he didn’t know who owned it.
He asked the original Clam attorney if he had a copy of the Handshake contract. Those records were thrown out about a dozen years ago. None of the band had a copy. Hilly was gone. Gary tried contacting Glen Kolotkin who (through his office) got back to him that he had no claim to it, but maybe Hilly would know. Next Gary tried to contact Ron Alexenberg, but Ron is hard to get through to. Gary was worried what his answer might be anyway since he’d always assumed that Handshake’s catalog along with everything else at CBS had been sold to Sony. It seemed logical that Sony owned the rights.
But in talking further with their former attorney; he got some new information. It seemed that there was probably a clause in the deal that stated that if nothing was done for a set amount of time, usually a dozen years or so, ownership reverted to the original artists. This was fairly standard in those days. Also the Clams couldn’t be sued unless there was some financial loss or damage to whoever else claimed the rights. That could only happen if some recordings were sold. And Gary didn’t expect to sell enough to make it worthwhile to notice.
So he jumped in.
As he began work, he was tempted to “fix” a few things he heard. Going back over the recordings (tapes, cassettes, actual vinyl records, singles, demos recorded at CBs that are virtually identical to the final record, etc.) he heard some things he wanted to change slightly. This work coincided with Dave’s return to recording. Dave jumped in and added several pieces of new music to the project. Gary also enlisted Mario, primarily to punch up Gelb’s sax parts.
It should have been fairly easy; the record had already been finished once twenty-nine years ago. But it dragged on. “A Wasted Life” was finished and released several months before; and it had been started after “The Pet Clams.” Finally Gary turned to his record plant for help in mastering the material. Afterwards he was not totally happy with the results: (primarily on “Revisions of Johanna”) which he may re-mix and post here.
I posted the Globes' review on the update page last year... Here's the text of Billboards' March 1981 review...
The Pet Clams
March 28, 1981
Coming from CBGB's in New York, the Pet Clams, formerly the Big Fat Pet Clams From Outer Space look like they may be a gimmicky comedy act. But they are not. Fronted by lead singer Rich Gelbstein whose timbre recalls Graham Parker, the four-man band plays a solid American type of pub rock. The production here is very clean, giving the vocals their due, while the rest of the band supplies supple support. It's an impressive debut. Best cuts: "Riding In My Car," "Gonna Get Fooled Again," "Revision Of Johanna."
Short and sweet (like me)