Billboard Heatseeker – HUM Hits #1
…and more things happened to my sheer amazement in the mid-1990’s than I ever thought possible; this time, it was an album that I engineered and produced with a band I adored called “HUM”. They made it to #1 on Billboard’s Heatseeker chart on August 12 of 1995. I can’t remember a day I woke up without feeling like the luckiest person alive.
Everything was still so new to me, and living a life as a successful (in my mind) record producer was one that I, as I have mentioned elsewhere, was totally and completely unprepared for. I was terrified of everyone and everything, and had absolutely no idea how to network, interact, or accept the compliments and kind words that came my way, much less any of the (thankfully little at the time) negative press that might rear it’s head every now and then. I was a fish out of water, and ran screaming from interviews as well as from other bands who approached me.
It didn’t exactly help that I had Wayne Coyne constantly whispering in my ear about how I would be nothing without him or the Flaming Lips, that he knows who I really am and what I really did on both “Transmissions from the Satellite Heart” and “You’d Prefer an Astronaut” as well. Wayne repeatedly told me that he was responsible for giving me a chance, that if it weren’t for him I would never had the opportunity to record the Hum record, and that I had better not get any ideas of leaving the Flaming Lips to go produce other records.
Wayne told me how it takes way more passion and courage to be in a band because if the band fails, then you’ve got nothing to fall back on. He also said that if I had a bad record or two, that I could just move on to the next band, with little to lose. That’s also when we told me how the Flaming Lips work like the mafia. He said that either I was on the bus or off of it. He said that I was of course free to choose whatever path I wanted, but if I chose the path of being off the bus or out of the Flaming Lips family, that he would do absolutely everything in his power to ruin me and my career in music. He said that he also wouldn’t tire of it, that he would haunt me as long as I tried to make music, and that any chance he had of saying something negative about me or even worse; denying that I ever offered anything to the Flaming Lips, he would, for as long as he had a voice in the music industry.
Further complicating my world at the time, is that I thought that each and every record would make or break my career. I was thrilled to be making the music I was, but I also put absolutely everything I had into every bit of music I engineered or produced because I always felt that it would surely be my last. I thought that a single bad review would end my fledgling career, that my parents would be right after all and I was throwing my life away by believing in this “pipe dream” of making music for a living. I felt that I was always on the verge or having my parents and school counselors being “right,” and that soon enough, my music career would be over, and I would have to get a job doing graphic arts as my dad did most of his life.
But for now, I would revel in the fact that HUM’s “You’d Prefer an Astronaut” was #1 on the Billboard Heatseeker Chart.