Sam Explains Avi’s Life to Him

Was flipping through pictures, looking for a piece that I don’t see all the time and settled on this one. It’s a cartoon I drew for my friend Avi. It’s about what a judgmental butthole I used to be. The text below it is from the same time as the cartoon.

"Sam Explains Avi's Life to Him." 5/28/13. Colored pencil and pen collage. 3.5x5".
“Sam Explains Avi’s Life to Him.” May 28th, 2013. Colored pencil and pen, collage. 3½x5”.

My first reaction to the Silver Sprocket Bicycle Club was something along the lines of “Fuck this hippy dippy, peace punk, Plan-It-X, fake community bullshit. This is one kid running a record label and trying to make it seem like more than that as a marketing tactic aimed at dorks who want to believe that their ill-attended costume parties and stupid fucking dance parties are somehow important.”

That might say a little something more about me than it does about anything relating to Silver Sprocket or Avi.

When I met Avi (2009) at the Basement House in Tampa, he was a nice enough sort, but I also found out that he was making these custom jackets (that he was selling for – I don’t know – eighty dollars? One hundred dollars?) I scoffed when I found out – if not out loud, then in my head. (Expensive clothing = not punk). I also remember hearing about his “business model” and about “presentations” he’d given to bands before putting out their records. This only confirmed my suspicions: not punk, not cool.

In spite of all this, I liked him. He was a geek and he had it all wrong, but I liked him. In the nicest way I could manage, I tried to tell him why the way he ran his label was wrong and the way I ran my label was right. My memory isn’t too clear, but I’m sure I sounded like a tremendous asshole.

Silver Sprocket may not be a bicycle club, but – as I’ve come to realize – it is more than a record label. Or – at the very least – it’s more than your typical DIY record label. Avi does things. He does things that other people are afraid to do. He has ideas and he follows through on them. He believes in fun. He’s not jaded and cynical. From what I can tell, he doesn’t worry about how other people are going to react to the things he does. I have a sneaking suspicion that Silver Sprocket is more profitable than your typical DIY label, but I no longer think that there’s anything wrong with that. The more well-adjusted I’ve become, the more I realize that my contempt was nothing but jealousy. He had something that I didn’t: self-esteem. And, from that, the courage to be innovative, different, and (most of all) really, really punk.



And here’s an incredibly appropriate song (by a band with releases on both Silver Sprocket and Traffic Street)!

3 thoughts on “Sam Explains Avi’s Life to Him”

  1. Thanks for the art! I had to re-frame them when the glass broke in transit but am honored to have these on the wall. The write ups bugged me a bit at first but then I realized ‘aw crap, I must have really come off this way’ and thats kind of my own fault… Not that its a big deal but I never sold any jackets for more than what they cost to make, which I think was in the $35 range, only to a handful of friends that wanted them, which my friends and I were all damn stoked on since vegan jackets in this style (that don’t suck) are impossible to find, and side-jobs have been funding this the entire time. I mean the ENTIRE time, a wide range of jobs, I’d be pretty well off by now if it weren’t for this label, but its an addiction I guess and I don’t know what else I could be doing despite a few failed attempts. Its funny, over the past couple years I’ve gotten to pay closer attention to the labels and people I’ve been inspired by and super looked up to over the years, and discovered that NOBODY has their shit together and everyone seems more successful to outsiders, the further away the more successful and together they seem. Even “juggernauts” like Fat and No Idea aren’t all that more together than our own bedroom operations. But shit, thanks for all the kind words, and for outside perspective, its so easy to get stuck in my own head with all of this and I’ve always had tremendous respect for you and everything that Traffic Street was able to pull off and hope that it continues on it’s phoenix trajectory from the ashes =)

    1. You came across like a wonderful, respectful human being. Any negative judgments were 100% solely due to my own negativity and were in no way reflective of (or responsive to) anything that you were putting out there. Keep doing exactly what you’ve been doing for as long as I’ve known you.
      Sorry to hear about the glass. : / I’ve come to accept that shipping glass requires an investment in packing materials and postage greater than the value of the frame itself. Live and learn! Thanks for being cool about it.
      But yeah – the negative stuff in this is only intended to communicate what a tool I was. The stuff about you (like at the end) that kinda sounds sarcastic is *not*. You are a role model.

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