The Story behind Liam and Me and Lives We Might Have Lived
Though the band members have been playing music together for many years, Liam and Me formally assembled in 2004 with its current lineup, sonic direction, and home base in Philadelphia. After releasing a few self produced EPs and the LP There’s A Difference in 2006, we were discovered by The Company Management and began showcasing for major labels with some degree of fanfare. It was a very exciting time.
But with the skyrocketing popularity of Mp3s, iPods, digital distribution, and file-sharing, the music industry was in a very strange place. Labels were merging and folding left and right, and everyone was concerned about the future. We passed on a great deal to pursue some potentially better offers, all of which fizzled during contract revisions. Liam and Me finally signed with Thrive Records, inking our names at the kitchen table. A smaller deal, but a promising and passionate label. The band headed to Los Angeles in 2007 to record with some of our favorite musicians ever. Ambitions were high and time was short, but we made an album we were all proud of.
After tracking was completed, we flew directly from the studio to start our first national tour, leaving the producers to finish the record. We played some epic shows and had some great adventures, but the real trouble was just beginning. Thrive was having financial issues, and could not afford to pay our producers, mixers, or even our advance. We continued to tour and waited, but the record was on hold.
It soon became clear that Thrive’s situation was not improving, and we could not wait forever. A clause in our contract allowed to exit the deal with the rights to our record if Thrive could not fulfill their financial obligations. When they bounced our advance check in 2008, we served them notice and started looking for other labels. There were several interested parties.
But while Thrive could not afford to pay our producers, they found the money to pay their lawyers. When we tried to leave, they fought. Our only options were to quit, wait, or fight back. We fought back.
The process dragged on for over a year, and with our record and band tied up in litigation, there wasn’t much else we could do. We spent a small fortune, and lost a lot of momentum. Finally Thrive offered a settlement. They would let us go if we bought our record back from them. The price was steep. After all we’d been through it was a pretty shitty deal, but we were confident another label would pick up our record. We emptied our savings, and raised the money from family and friends. It was 2009, and we were finally free.
World-renowned mixer Mark Endert did an amazing job on a few single mixes, and we started showcasing and playing again. But things were different. Our sound was not as exciting as it was when we signed, and many of our industry contacts had moved on or left the business. All the majors passed, but we still had an offer from Drexel University’s Mad Dragon records. It was not ideal, but we were happy to have an enthusiastic group behind us. As we were about to sign, they informed us they could not move forward either.
After our quick and promising rise and long protracted fall, morale was at an all time low. We were sick of struggling, sick of each other, sick of the record. We all drank a ton. Some smart and enthusiastic supporters tried to help us get back on our feet, but the disappointment and inertia was too hard to overcome. We owed tens of thousands of dollars to our family and friends. We put the record aside, and started to move on with our lives.
Jon left to go work for our former booking agency and move in with a lovely lady. Dan went to Memphis to get a Ph.D in philosophy, and is now a professor. Matt began working in advertising as a copywriter and composer, and moved to New York. He is now a Creative Director, composer, and occasional entrepreneur. McKenzie followed shortly after to work at Sony Music, and later attend nursing school. We all found some success and happiness in other pursuits. But we all miss the music, the experiences, and our friends and fans. And regardless of how things play out for all of us, we’ll always wonder what might have happened if we said yes instead of no, and did a few things differently. The lives we might have lived.