I mean, I probably would have made a few more bucks than I currently have stashed. And when I was at parties, and people asked what I did for a living, they might not have laughed quite so hard when I wasn't looking.
Ah well. As Crow T. Robot said when he saw a swamp bird on MST3K's version of Revenge of the Creature -- "Egrets. I've had a few."
But then -- a couple of weeks ago, CD Baby alerted me to the fact that a total stranger had purchased a physical copy of the Floor Models album I compiled last year. So I waited a few days, so as not to give the guy the impression that I was stalking him, and then e-mailed him to ask how he had heard about the CD.
And I received this quite astonishing reply, which its sender has graciously given me permission to reprint.
Short answer: I read about the Floor Models on your blog, listened on CD Baby, and bought.
Long, potentially heartwarming answer (and I say that as a warning, not as a selling point):
The story begins in the mid-70s, when I was about 8 or 9 years old, and dad decided I was responsible enough to operate his stereo system (old Gerrard 30-pound turntable and Harmon Kardon tube amp which, circa midway-side-B, had heated up to egg-frying temperatures). He had about a dozen albums, bought in the early 60s, the usual light fare: Herb Alpert, Trini Lopez, Mantovanni. Every so often a kind-hearted neighbor would loan us an album, or I would get one for my birthday, or cut a single off of the back of a cereal box. I loved (and still love) them all, and wore them out listening.
Fast forward a couple of years, and my brother had introduced me to a few more-recent bands: AC/DC, Kiss, Black Sabbath. I liked them, too, but one day while listening to a left-of-the-dial radio station, I heard a song that sounded completely different: alive and ragged and beautiful. It made me want to stand up and do something. I could barely remember anything about it except that I wanted to hear more, and that the chorus said something about "death" and "glory". It became my quest to figure out who that was; my brother had no idea.
Then, one day, we went to the library and I wandered into a previously-ignored part of the building, a walled-in-glass area that turned out to contain a selection of albums. They had records at the library! I picked out a few, based solely on whether I had heard of the artist, and/or whether it had an interesting cover. I struck out with that first batch: some generic 70s Poco-esque junk and Christian-era Dylan. On my next visit, I asked the librarian if she could recommend some albums. She briefly discussed my interests, helped me pick out a few, and then directed me to the magazine rack: Stereo Review, she said, might give me some ideas.
I remember sitting there for two hours that seemed like five minutes. People actually wrote about rock music? Intelligently? I read literally dozens (hundreds?) of yours and Noel Coppage's brief reviews, and found a few artists you liked in the library. One the next trip to Tower Records, I picked up London Calling, to the astonishment of my bland-metal-monogamizing friends. How dare I opt for punk over Aerosmith? That album was not what I expected: I thought it would all be "Death or Glory", and "Clampdown" but there was a lot of "Lost In The Supermarket" and "Spanish Bombs". And the bleeping hilarious "Koka Kola", which won me over for good.
Later record store excursions got me some Tonio K (for which purchase I received a rare you-don't-completely-suck compliment from the greasy/awesome Record Store Guy), some good Dylan (Infidels, I think), later on some Smithereens, and the list could go on (and on). I loved just about everything you liked. As I listened more, and scrounged some back issues from a larger district library, I grew to understand, deeply in my soul, that when it comes to music, the Unwritten Laws of Simels are indeed true:
1) Energy always trumps style.
2) Short is almost always better than long.
3) Guitar + bass + drum + singer = win; anything extra is at least as likely to detract as to improve any given rock song.
So this is far too long already, but let me sum it up thusly: I submit that you, Steve Simels, have contributed more to my general happiness than anyone outside of my family members and a few teachers/mentors. My enjoyment of music has made the good times better: one of my happiest memories is coming home after making a successful attempt to "get down" with the long-coveted C*******a, and finding a box of Columbia House records sitting on my bed (thanks, mom!) and listening all night while mentally revisiting that lovely evening. Even more importantly, music has sustained me through terrible times (divorce, deployment, family health problems). And it has provided a foundation for a great relationship with my three high-school/college-age girls, all of whom live with me full time. And I, very honestly, owe much of that to you.
So, yes, when I found out Steve Simels played in an actual band that played actual music, and had released an actual CD, I bought that sucker. And (bonus!) I really like it.
So, thank you, Mr. Simels.
Your humble student/servant,
I'd be lying if I told you I didn't choke up a little bit by the end there. Other than that, all I can say is if I had known, back in the day, that I was going to actually impact somebody's life in any way, I would have tried to write a little better.
In any case, Erik -- I thank you. Truly, madly, deeply.