V-Roys’ ‘Just Add Ice’ Will Be Released on Vinyl for the First Time in April

In Music Stories, Program Notes by Coury Turczynleave a COMMENT

Shocking as it may seem today, there was a brief period in time when releasing music on vinyl was not considered hip at all. In fact, during much of the ’90s, LPs were about as cool as CDs are now. So it was no big surprise that most Knoxville bands of that decade did not even consider putting out vinyl records. But more than 20 years after its initial release, the V-Roys’ Just Add Ice—one of the defining albums of Knoxville’s late-1990s music scene—is set for a limited-edition vinyl release on Record Store Day. The band’s former bassist, Paxton Sellers, talks about the record, how the reissue came about, and where you can get it.

Did the V-Roys ever have any vinyl releases previously?
When our albums came out (1996-99), it was the pinnacle of the CD craze, so we never considered putting out anything on vinyl. The only thing that I am aware of on vinyl previously was an E.P. that we did with Steve Earle called Johnny Too Bad. It was released in the U.S. and U.K., and the U.K. label did a small run of 10- and 12-inch singles that are pretty hard to find now, at least in the U.S.

Was vinyl even an option back then?
In the ’90s, new vinyl was only seen in a couple of places: indie bands (specifically 7-inch singles) and dance club records. One of our label owners, Jack Emerson, had more vision than us at the time. As we were recording Just Add Ice, he suggested that we put out a couple 7-inch singles and wait on doing a full album release. We wanted to get our full album out on CD. Having a CD actually, in a weird way, meant something then versus now. This was before CD burning, so it seemed special.

In hindsight, Jack had the vision and I wish we had made those 7-inch singles like he suggested. I would love to have one in my collection.

Were the V-Roys recordings digital or analog?
All the original recordings were done to 2-inch analog tape and all recorded with analog equipment, but it was dumped down to a DAT after mastering. Fortunately, before the loudness wars began with mastering, we still had plenty of dynamic range in our masters. I attribute this to the great job our mastering engineer, Hank Williams, did back in ’96.

Who owns the rights to them?
We as a band own the rights to the masters. We were able to acquire them all from our label several years ago. Our drummer, Jeff Bills, has kept them archived since that time.

What did you (technically) have to do in order to put the songs into a vinyl state?
I could go real technical, but I will spare you the grand detail. First and foremost, I had to do the research on how it is done for anyone. I spent several months just learning all I could about how records work and how they are made, from just a layman’s perspective.

I then consulted with Logan Rogers of Lightning Rod Records, which is the label we are releasing this vinyl version through. Logan directed me to Welcome to 1979, which is a vinyl cutting/plating facility in Nashville. I began a dialogue with them about my masters and I also called up Hank Williams, who still does mastering at MasterMix in Nashville. Hank and I talked quite a bit about it, and he felt that the master we had would still make a good vinyl master.

So I took a chance and had some lacquers made from Welcome to 1979. Based off those lacquers, I would determine if I wanted to proceed with the project. I was overwhelmingly pleased with how they sounded, so I decided to go ahead with the full project.

Where were they pressed? 
After finally deciding to go ahead with pressing the vinyl, I did research into pressing plants. I kept seeing the plant Gotta Groove Records popping up out of Cleveland, Ohio. After some research and quoting I decided to use them. They have been excellent to work with and I would suggest them to anyone looking to press records.

Chad Pelton

V-Roys’ ‘Just Add Ice’ LP

How did you go about reproducing the CD art into LP-size art?
First off, nothing is worse for a vinyl reissue than scanning in the CD art and blowing it up to LP size. A lot of cheap reissues have done this and look terrible. I did not want that same experience.

Fortunately for me, I know some good people that helped me out. First off, our drummer, Jeff Bills, has kept everything. So he had all the original files from when the CD was made. Original logos, raw picture files, and Photoshop files, etc. I then gave that to my friend Chad Pelton. He redesigned the artwork from the ground up while keeping the original integrity of the CD art. Honestly, the artwork sleeve is my favorite part. We have artwork on a classic tip on jacket with a matte finish over heavy cardboard stock. It looks amazing and I owe all that to Chad’s hard work.

How many have been pressed, where are they available, and what’s the MSRP? 
I decided to do a limited edition run of this record. Two reasons: I love limited records personally, and I also was not sure if the demand would be there. So I didn’t want too many out there.  What I have is a limited press of 500 on a blue translucent vinyl. Matte-finish tip on jacket, with each album numbered 1-500.

The release date I have set for April 22, which is Record Store Day. It will be available in the following ways: I will have a vinyl preorder that will go live on Wednesday, April 5. The link will be available on our V-Roys Facebook page. We will do the preorder through Bandcamp. It will also be distributed some through Lightning Rod Records and made available through select indie stores and, last but not least, it will be available for those who do not want to buy online at my shop, Magnolia Records, on April 22. I will sell it to you personally.

The price will be $21.00 for the 21 years it has been in this world. It is now old enough to buy itself a cold beer, hello.

You now co-own a record store that sells both CD and vinyl—do you think there’s anything to the idea that the LP version is a more “intimate” experience?
I am a little biased, but I love the vinyl experience. I like the ritual of it. Taking it off the shelf, looking at the art, putting the record on the player and then reading the sleeve while listening. Passing the sleeve around to friends.

You have to stay engaged with a record. You can’t just turn it on and leave it playing all day. Music can be forgettable if you don’t give it attention. Vinyl gives you the time to sit back, listen, and be engaged with it.

Chad Pelton

The V-Roys

Editor Coury Turczyn guided Knoxville's alt weekly, Metro Pulse, through two eras, first as managing editor (and later executive editor) from 1992 to 2000, then as editor-in-chief from 2007 to 2014. He's also worked as a Web editor at CNET, the erstwhile G4 cable network, and HGTV.

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