Jersey Beat Music Fanzine

By James Damion

Since moving to Atlanta, Georgia, longtime friend and former Hoboken resident Ted Dougherty, aka Teddy Spaghetty, coupled his love for dirty rock ‘n’ roll and vinyl records to start his own unique record label Spaghetty Town Records. (That's a photo of Tony that I took back in our Hoboken days.) Specializing in short print, vinyl only exclusives, his label has shined a headlight on some of the world’s best rock ‘n’ roll acts you most likely haven’t heard of. Through my own curiosity and wanting to be supportive of a friend’s mutual interest, I’ve been lucky enough to fill my shelves and ears with a wide array of acts such as Criminal Kids, Pale Lips, Motosierra, Faz Waltz and The Sweet Things to name just a few. Here’s what Ted had to say.

Q: In listening to any release on the label, hard rock seems to be the focus of each and every band and artist. What was the blueprint or template for Spaghetty Town Records?

Ted: We definitely started out as a scumbag rock or dirty rock label. It wasn’t exactly planned that way. It was just what I listen to. I once told someone, “I release what I like”. So, when you see all of the releases, you get a good idea of what I listen to at home.

Q: Was putting the label together in the works while you still lived in Hoboken?

Ted;: Sort of. When I lived in Hoboken and NYC I was working at a major label. I always said “indie labels are so lucky, if they want to do something they just do it. They don’t have to email a guy, that forwards it to another guy and then passes it on to another who crunches the numbers just to say "no.” That’s not exactly the case, but I found a lot of people at majors weren’t about music at all. They liked the lifestyle, they liked the money, but not always the music. Sometimes you had to work releases that you thought were crap, but you did it because it was your job. So, the idea of releasing records and working with bands I liked was in the back of my mind back then. I guess the answer is yes. (laughs)

Q: Had your experience working with a major label give you any insight that might have helped you start your own? Or perhaps schooled you on exactly what you didn’t want to?

Ted: Absolutely! I think I made a lot less errors in the beginning, I had some idea of how things worked. I'm was able to do some press and some radio early on. That was a huge help when trying to get the label on the map.

Q: You were a long time New Jersey resident. What was behind the move to Atlanta?

Ted: I lived in NJ for about 30 years! I miss it all the time. Anyone who knew me then knew I had zero plans to ever leave. But I started a long-distance relationship with my now wife who lived in Atlanta. When things got serious I thought she would move to Hoboken. But she owned her house (I rented), she liked her job (I was a full-time substitute teacher). So, the choice was clear. I was moving to Atlanta. It’s funny here, every person I meet from the northeast that moves here I let them know it takes about 1 to 2 years to adjust to southern life. They never understand. A year or two later they tell me “I totally get what you were saying now”

Q: Why vinyl and why the limited pressings?

Ted: I just like vinyl, always have. Something about the physical record, looking at the photos, the notes, everything. I even like the pops and cracks of playing records. The vinyl resurgence has made vinyl cool again, so that’s nice for artists. When we talk about doing CDs not many people are interested. Cars and laptops don’t come with CD players as much anymore. So, downloads, streams and wax are what we plan to keep doing. Limited pressings for two reasons. 1.) I can only afford small runs of records. 2.) people are more interested when it’s a limited edition pressing. I noticed it on the early Revelation Records stuff and the early Misfits releases. Small runs of color grab people’s attention.

Q: What’s your process of signing a band?

Ted: It’s always a little different. I wish it involved more personal meet ups or phone calls, but it’s always a hundred or so emails. Lately, a band reaches out to me, sends me their demos or completed LP. If it’s something I’m into, I’ll let them know. From there, we’ll figure out an agreement and timeline. Overall, I’ve been very fortunate. Not much drama, as every artist has been great to work with. Ideally, I’ll keep this trend going.

Q: With acts coming from Central America, Europe, Canada and all over the U.S.A. being featured on Spaghetty Town, do you ever get the chance to see these acts perform live and sit down to share a few rounds with them?

Ted: Funny you mention that. I literally just saw Faz Waltz (Italy) last week in Los Angeles and at Punk Rock Bowling. They were great! Real nice guys and fun to hang with. They were a band I never thought I would see live in the US. I’ve seen and hung with all the American bands I work with. Oh wait, I’ve never see HeWhoCannotBeNamed. I’ve seen the Dwarves, I know Bobby Ramone pretty well. So nearly every band. I’ve never met or seen Motosierra or Merda live. I just need to get down to South America. It’s just an expensive flight. I saw Pale Lips in Italy years ago, way before I knew I’d be releasing their record. I have an LP from this English band called Los Pepes coming out soon. I’ve met members of the band, but haven’t seen them live yet. Like I said earlier, everyone has been great to work with, good people all around. I’ve been very fortunate.

Q: Let’s talk about the bands a bit. The label has definitely revived my love for rock music in general. Can you give a little background to acts such as Motosierra, Faz Waltz, Criminal Kids and Pale Lips?

Ted: When you put them side by side they don’t make sense at first, but then they totally do. Just a bunch of bands I like. When I was in Peru a friend turned me onto Motosierra. I saw they had no releases in the US and thought “I have to change this!”. I was already a fan of Faz Waltz, a friend in Italy told me “if you like Giuda, you’ll love Faz Waltz”, he wasn’t wrong. You can only imagine how delighted I was when they reached out to me about doing a release. I saw Criminal Kids here in Atlanta, I was drunk but remember thinking “these guys remind me of Kill Cheerleader, I love Kill Cheerleader!” I saw the singer the next day, I had been drinking, we had a nice chat. A month later he sent me their demo, and it ruled. I caught Pale Lips at Festival Beat in Italy. Years later, a label in Canada reached out to me about sharing the release, where I would get the US. I was listening to the Pale Lips demos and my wife walked by and asked “who is this? I like it!” It was actually nice to have a second set of ears. I usually have her listen to all of my releases now.

Q: You're originally from Australia, the home of many hard rock animals including AC/DC and the Hard-Ons. Have your origins had any influence on what draws to that style of music and are there any artists from the area you hope or plan to work with in the near future?

Ted: I heard AC/DC is recording their new album with Brian Johnson. So, that would be cool. Growing up I did seek out Aussie bands. Ray Ahn (Hard-Ons) once pointed out the plethora of bad ass Aussie rock bands. He rattled them off, Cosmic Psychos, The Saints, Hard-Ons, Radio Birdman, Easy Beats, Lime Spiders, Midnight Oil, the list goes on and on. It’s really impressive when you see it. So Aussie rock had some influence on me for sure. I’m absolutely open to working with Aussie bands, and then pray they can tour the US , a lot. It’s hard to break into the US scene without playing here a lot, unfortunately.

Q: Is there something in particular that draws you to wanting to have a band on your label?

Ted: I guess it’s just how I feel at the moment really. Do I like it? Do I think other people will like it? Do they play shows, and if so, are they a good live band? Do I think people will buy this? That’s probably what I ask myself each time.

Q: Is there a specific band who’s received more recognition, praise or press due to having put out vinyl on your label?

Ted: I hope all of them. (laughs) Each release has been a success in different ways. And now people know the label, so it’s getting a little easier (not that easy). The Sweet Things were played on Q1043 in NYC and just got an 8/10 in Vive Le Rock. Faz Waltz was in MOJO. (I was thrilled!) Faz Waltz and Ravagers also got invited by Mark Stern to play Punk Rock Bowling. Every time there are things that happen that I never thought would happen. I’ll always tell myself “this is why you do what you do”.

Q: Are there any specific releases on the label that you’re particularly fond of?

Ted; They all get played, a lot. I’ve listened to all of these records so many times. But I can tell you, I played the shit out of the Criminal Kids record. It’s a great driving record for a twenty-minute drive. If I’m going to the store or a friend’s house, I can play that and listen to the entire record. I’d hop in my old car and the CD was already in the CD player, so it just ran.

Q: If you were asked to spin one Spaghetty Town release tonight, which one would it be and why?

Ted: Side 1 , Track 1 from the Down South Spaghetty Accident comp. RMBLR's “Next Time”. When Chase sent it to me I could get it out of my head. I talked to a friend who used to work in the music biz for a long time. I said, “if radio didn’t suck so band, this could be a big hit”.

Q: Do you feel the resurgence of vinyl is sustainable?

Ted: Good question, I don’t know. I’ve been buying vinyl for thirty years; I’ve seen its ups and downs. Honestly, vinyl is expensive, people buy it because they love it. It’s cheaper to download it to your iPhone. As long as people continue to become music fans, I think there will be a place for vinyl.

Q: I believe I have just about every record the label has released thus far and am waiting for Los Peeps and Killer Hearts to become available before snatching up the Sweet Things full length. What can you tell us about these?

Ted: Los Pepes and Killer Hearts, two bad ass records. Los Pepes were a band that sent me their demo and I was like “this is cool”, my wife agreed it was good. We talked a bit, they’re nice guys and I’ll have it out, hopefully in July. Killer Hearts was a band that reached out to me, I suggested that they play the Down South Showdown here in Atlanta. That they would fit in great. Six months later they were here and on the stage. Killer Hearts should be out in late June or early July. Sweet Things is online now streaming; the vinyl is in production. Unfortunately, there always seems to be delays. We have a great fan base though, always super patient.

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