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Technically, Banter Records started in 1989 when they planned to release The Greatest Album of All Time, the title of Chuck Norris’ collection of ballads, showtunes and Christmas carols. However, the label collapsed before things had begun when Norris landed a role in the greatest film of all time, Delta Force 2: The Colombian Connection. Later that year, the owners of Banter Records decided to base the fate of the label on one agreement. On July 17th, 1989, Matt Halverson, Tyler Stover, and Caleb Morairty, stood atop their duplex in Bakersfield, CA, just past midnight, prepared to jump.
“If we want to continue this label, if we want to make something amazing, we have to prove to ourselves that we’re in this for life – together!” said Caleb, raising his fist to the sky.
The sincerity in his eyes was evident to Tyler, but he looked down to the grass below and remembered that he forgot to water the lawn that morning, and the hard ground would make for a hard fall. “I don’t know about this, Caleb. I mean, it’s only about seven feet, but what if we get hurt?”
” – Yeah, I don’t know about this either,” chimed in Matt. “I mean, what’s this gonna prove? It’s not even far down and it has nothing to do – .”
” – We have to prove it to ourselves that we can make things happen,” said Caleb. “I mean we can’t finish Chuck’s record, I know that’s in the past, but that was going to be amazing! We have to recognize that we may never make something, or almost make something, as good ever again.”
Matt raised an eyebrow and said, “Well, I was never really into that thing, I just though Chuck was kinda cool, but I’m sure we can make something better.”“Maybe we can make an EP out of the tracks we have,” followed Tyler. “I bet Chuck would like that.”“And besides, jumping makes no sense. It’s literally seven feet down. I mean if we actually walked to the apex,” said Matt, pointing to the crest of the roof, “it’s probably about ten feet from there. I guess that would make more sense,” he said, still confused by the purpose of jumping.“Yeah, I don’t know why we’re really up here. I guess I was just being dramatic.”
“Good,” said Tyler. “I really didn’t want to jump,” he said.Caleb smiled and looked to the sky, realizing that it was still possible to make something great, something that the world would love, and what he hoped would one day change the world. “Yeah, let’s make Chuck Norris’ EP. We don’t just owe it to Chuck, and not just the world, but we owe it to ourselves.”Matt raised another eyebrow, glanced over to Tyler, whom was eagely nodding in agreement, and replied, “Okay. I’m in.”“Yessss!” they shouted in unison as they conducted a three-way high-five.
“But let’s wait a decade or so,” said Matt. And, without any questions, they all agreed.In 2004, with the spiritual support of Chuck Norris, the label re-launched. After over a decade of soul-searching, dead-end jobs, and jaundice, their musical tastes had abandoned showtunes and Christmas carols.
Unfortunately, they never released Chuck Norris’ EP. However, their first release, Clock Work Army’s A Catalyst for Change EP, was met with much critical praise and was hailed as, “The effing best EP ever!” by Andy Dick. Emily Neveu’s voice is haunting and captivating, one the will garner much more praise from her new album, which will be released under the name Calico Horse in early 2008. Pall Jenkins of Black Heart Procession produced the album and it’s gonna be a scorcher! Banter Records also released The Antiques’ debut full-length Nicknames and Natives later in 2005.
On October 2nd, 2007, Banter will release Boddicker’s Big Lionhearted and the Gallant Man, which was produced by Brian Deck, mastermind behind Modest Mouse’s and Iron & Wine’s best records. In 2008, the label will release The Antiques’ second album, Cicadas, which was produced by Scott Solter (Mountain Goats, Okkervil River, John Vanderslice). It sounds like the music made by the lovechild of Jeff Tweedy (Wilco) and James Mercer (The Shins). Joey Barro of The Antiques has been recording a solo album with Tim Bluhm of The Mother Hips and Jackie Greene. Plans to release that record are being…..um…..planned. Last, but certainly not least, is the solo work of producer Brian Deck (Califone, Red Red Meat). He is an expert in the art of audio judo and he will sonically kick your ass.For more (accurate) information, please visit www.banterrecords.com.Banter Records Loves You.