Thursday, 4 June 2009

Promises... Kept!

I started ordering from Bridge Nine records back in 2000 or so. When Bane stayed at my house on their first euro tour in 2000, Bedard told me about some band called American Nightmare. Said it was the best hardcore record of the year. So I ordered one direct. Bridge Nine was a young and fresh label with some interesting records coming out. I quickly realised this and, from that point on, started ordering everything that B9 released. This went on until 2004, when two incidents put me off the label. First up was the Terror pre-order. I can't remember the time-frame exactly, but I remember placing an order and waiting MONTHS before the record turned up. It seemed to me that this was a sketchy practice. The second incident was when I ordered the Champion LP. I ordered two copies, and received one. Nevermind, I thought. Mistakes happen. I'll just get in touch with the label and sort it out. And this is where it went wrong. I think I sent three or four emails over a few weeks to ask the label to fix their mistake, but I got no response to any of them. Not a word. So I decided that they couldn't be trusted, and I decided that I would never order from Bridge Nine again. And to this day, I haven't.

I guess that this decision has cost me over the years. I mean, I have still bought some (not all) Bridge Nine releases, but I have bought them from distros, which of course means that I never get the most limited versions. But the way I saw it, better to get some regular version rather than risk getting ripped off and not receiving anything.

So anyway, imagine my surprise when, last week, I got an email from Chris Wrenn (owner of Bridge Nine) completely out of the blue asking what the problem was that I experienced five years ago with his label. Turns out he had been reading my blog, and had read THIS POST which makes some pretty strong accusations about his label. Thankfully, he wasn't aggressive or abusive. Just genuinely curious as to what exactly had happened, and wondering if he could put it right. We exchanged a couple of emails. I explained what had happened. He agreed that the B9 mailorder department wasn't exactly efficient five years ago, but also wanted to assure me that things have improved and mailorder is now efficient, and that also customer service has made significant leaps forward. He was also pretty insistent on making up for the mistake in 2004. So at his request, I sent him my want list. And today, a package turned up. I had no idea what was going to be inside. I opened it & found this note:

Then, when I moved the note, I found one of my most wanted records laying underneath:

Yup, it's the most limited pressing of the Champion "Promises Kept" LP. There were 150 of these on white with this special record release cover:

It also has this 'special' lyric sheet explaining how this version of the LP came to be:

I've bid on this a few times on eBay over the years since it came out, so I know how much this is worth. Which makes this seem like an extremely generous way of making up for what was probably a $15 mistake.

As I told Chris, I now feel slightly bad about what I wrote. I guess I need to learn to give people second chances. Basing my opinion of a mailorder service on one experience 5 years ago is probably a bit unfair. The fact that the guy who owns the label got in touch personally to try to rectify a small mistake that happened long ago probably says it all. He could have easily done nothing, since the opinion of one insignificant moron in the UK probably doesn't make the slightest difference to anything. But he went out of his way to apologise and restore my faith in his label... which I have to admit, he has done. It's things like this that set B9 apart from labels like, say, Victory :o)

Believe me, Chris, I am extremely grateful for this. THANKS!


Mike said...

Wow, dude, that is friggin' huge. I've always thought of Chris Wrenn as a quality guy, and this proves my assumption was correct. I've had nothing but great service with the B9 mailorder crew, so I'm glad that the slate has been wiped clean for you.

breadman said...

seriously mate Chris is one of the most stand up guys you could ever meet.
I first met him when I was running No Holds Barred and saw an advert in a zine with the old anime sxe shirt on it. I immeditaly ordered one and 5 of ever record he had....think that was amybe 98 or so??
We've been mates ever since.
great dude.

xroldx said...

You got me wishing something went wrong with one of my Bridge 9 orders ;-)

Met Chris when he came along on the first American Nightmare tour and he seemed an okay guy.

The fact that he released Reaching Forward and No Turning Back kind of proves that as well.

From all the labels out there I think Bridge 9 deserves the growth and recognition the received over the years the most.

Junk Food said...

Congrats dude.

Jeff J Jawk said...

Great score...
Great record!