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Piece, Tacoma WA

Piece, and its sister label Feasible, were founded c.1966 by Tacoma, Washington high school junior and recording enthusiast Doug Hewitt. Judging by his logos (Feasible's featured the label name interrupting a large question mark) and fake band names, Hewitt approached the enterprise with a great sense of humor. According to Hewitt,

We charged little old ladies and men to record their songs so we could finance our own releases. It worked well for me and gave me spending money through high school. Producing crappy records was way more fun than working as a bag boy or some other lame high school kid job.

I believe the labels lasted from 1966 through 1968. I probably released about 21 song-poem singles in all. We used Wiley Sound Studio in Tacoma and Audio Recording Studios in Seattle. Our small-run pressing was done by the Byrd Brothers in Nashville. Publishing was done by Cedarlane (BMI) and Ethelbert (ASCAP) in Nashville. We advertised in Songwriters Review. I remember they published a photo of one of my fake groups, Lenny Joint & The Roaches.

Unfortunately, we have not been able to amass much of a discography for Piece, and even less of one for Feasible. In fact the one record we're aware of on the latter imprint is not even a song-poem record per se:

Hasil Adkins, who probably found out about us through the Songwriters Review, sent me some money and we pressed some records from his own homemade tapes. It was all done through the mail, and I never did get to meet him. I was probably 16 when I received his tapes in the mail. I still remember how strange I thought his music was. Not bad -- just very strange. I would imagine the record of his on Feasible had a press run of only 150 to 200 copies. I never pressed more than that for song-poem material.

Ethelbert and Cedarlane were ubiquitous publishing firms in the song-poem underground. Hewitt continues,

Joe Dyson ran Ethelbert Music and Cedarlane Music from 818 Kendall Drive in Nashville. Joe would publish anything we would send him. Using Joe was beneficial because we could tell our song-poem clients that we had Nashville connections. The song-poem clients would sign standard contracts with Dyson's companies. We wouldn't have anything to do with the publishing for fear of being blacklisted by BMI or ASCAP for charging a fee. Sometime in the '80s Joe's wife advised us that he had suffered a nervous breakdown and that the companies, which by then had moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico, were being shut down.

Being in Tacoma in the mid-'60s, Hewitt lived within the dominion of one of the greatest rock bands of all time.

The Sonics were gods to us. I saw them perform live probably three times. When I was in the 9th grade my friends and I just loved Gerry Roslie, particularly the way he screamed. Tacoma was a tough, blue collar town, and The Sonics' music was a perfect extension of the atmosphere there in the mid-'60s. "Strychnine," "Shot Down" and "Boss Hoss" are prime examples of Sixth Avenue teenage cruising angst.

We recorded the Grotesque Mommies single "One Night Stand" at Wiley/Griffith, where The Sonics did their best work, such as "Psycho" and "The Witch." "You Gotta Give Baby Give," the flipside of "One Night Stand," was a song-poem from some lady in New Jersey, who basically paid for the complete session. "One Night Stand" was written by one of the members of The Daze Of The Week, still gets airplay and has a cult following.

For other stories on teenage song-poem experiences, see Swell Music, Inc. and I Was A Teenage Song-Poet.

-- Singles --

103: The Daze Of The Week -- One Night Stand / You Gotta Give Baby Give (1966; A-side is same recording as Grotesque Mommies version; A-side is not a song-poem record)
106: Roy Biggs -- Empty Dreams / Wanna Stay That Way (both wr. Les Longman) (Doug Hewitt Productions, Ltd.)
1002: The Grotesque Mommies -- One Night Stand / You Gotta Give, Baby (A-side is same recording as Daze Of The Week version; not a song-poem record)
1011: Soundtrip -- Someday / Skies Above (both wr. Les Longman)

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Discography ©2004 Phil Milstein