The Secret Files

The Secret Files - front

Ben Kassanoff and I wrote and recorded this sketch comedy “radio album” way back in the 1980’s, and released it on vinyl in 1987. It was a labor of love, and very time-intensive back before computers could edit audio. We were inspired by the great sketch comedy we grew up on, particularly the late, great Firesign Theatre (Nick Danger, naturally), and the golden age of radio dramas. So we decided to make our own. This was back when doing this was really, really hard.

We started the script after our Freshman year. An uncle would later call it “Sophomoric,” but I suppose he really meant “Freshmanic.”

Over the next year, our friends and family played all of the support parts and aided with the sound effects, nearly all of which were original to the record. I wrote and played all of the music, and painstakingly assembled and mixed the whole thing (razor blades and reel-to-reel tape were involved) over the course of more than another full year, stealing countless hours at the University of Texas Electronic Music Studio by leaving my girlfriend (future spouse) in the room while I returned the key downstairs, then swapping places with her and working until dawn.

Ben and I printed up the finished album our Senior year of college, using a record printing company in Dallas. We rented tables at record conventions (yes, those were a thing), sold it at independent record stores (also a thing) and put cheap classified ads in the back of Goldmine Magazine (which is, as of 2015, still a thing).

We sold most of what we printed, thanks again to our family and friends, making the World’s Smallest Profit in the process (a process I was later to repeat with every other creative endeavor).

I’ve still got a box of it on Retro and Super Cool Vinyl, should you desire a copy. Eventually I’ll remaster The Secret Files with 30th Anniversary improvements, just like George Lucas, creating a huge demand for the unadulterated original. Meanwhile, you can stream our original Freshmanic endeavor for free:

The Secret Files - backtap to zoom