So far, PropertyOfZack has brought you two Inside segments on your favorite label, Run For Cover Records. Both pieces have focused on commentary from the label in both an oral history and an introduction to its employees and their personalities. Our third piece, Band Tales, is a little different.
What makes Run For Cover so great (first and foremost) are the bands that have been making great music on the label for so many years now, so we have a Perspective on the story of how Fireworks, Tigers Jaw, This Is Hell, Citizen, and others first got caught up in the great web that Run For Cover is still spinning for music culture.
Be sure to check out RFC’s oral history here, the personality videos here, and Band Tales below!
Part One: An Oral History
Part Two: Personality
It’s a universally accepted fact among Run For Cover bands — current and alumni alike — that everyone’s got a Jeff Casazza story to tell.
Some are sentimental. Every June, Casazza flies out to Michigan to hang out at a lake house with the band Fireworks, in memory of their first tour. According to Kyle O’Neil, that tour sucked. “It was like a week long and three or four shows fell through,” he reminisces. “But we really got to know Jeff.”
The tour may have faltered, but Fireworks and Casazza still have tons of reason to celebrate the release of We Are Everywhere seven years later. Both the band and the label founder were still learning the ropes when Casazza got in touch with the band — short on prospects, and with only two demo-quality songs online. “We were very young, and we hadn’t grown into our sound yet. And he was just a kid like us. Now we’ve grown as people,” O’Neil laughs. “But deep down we’re still the same fuck ups we were then.”
That EP was one of the first releases where Run For Cover splurged on the recording — something like $4,000. When the band met at their then-drummer’s house for practice, they called a rushed meeting about Casazza’s investment. “It was the first thing he had to invest in, and it forced Jeff to take the label seriously,” O’Neil says. “And it forced us to take being a band seriously.”
Fireworks wound up going over budget in the studio, and O’Neil remembers that each member of the band had to cover $100 out of their own pockets. “Except Dave,” he’s quick to add. “Jeff had to cover for Dave, and Dave still hasn’t paid him back to this day. We still joke about it.”
Some defy reality. The details still elude Tigers Jaw’s Ben Walsh, but when the band was on tour in the United Kingdom, Casazza missed a flight to Ireland due to plane ticket woes, and “somehow spent the day living it up with the daughter of some prominent Duke.” A second yarn Walsh spins about Casazza: “Jeff may or may not have sat on an entire pizza. I can’t confirm or deny this story.”
Those Casazza pseudo-urban legends from someone Walsh considers “one of my favorite people to hang out with” — despite his insistence on watching Dew Tour and Rammstein music videos — are a long shot from 2008, when the running joke was that “Jeff didn’t like us because our initial interactions were brief,” Walsh says. “But he was really just preoccupied with sorting things out with Title Fight.”
When the band signed to RFC, Walsh says they were “more friends than clients.” While Tiger’s Jaw was recording Two Worlds, he saw friends’ bands — signed to other record labels – asked to slash songs from albums. Those other labels were “trying to dictate how their vocals ‘should sound,’ or making them work with a specific producer.” Not so for Tigers Jaw.
The trust forged between Run For Cover and Tigers Jaw quashed all constraints on the band, freeing them to write any kind of music they wanted to write. “I don’t even think Jeff made us send him demos before we actually started recording,” Walsh says. “It was incredibly liberating to create the music we wanted to create without any sort of pressure or requirements.”