ASI Records – Wes Hayne
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ASI Records – Wes Hayne
After the end of the local band Mystic Evolution, Wes decided to see if there any openings at Heilicher Brothers record distributors in St. Louis Park. Wes talked to Ira Heilicher who informed him there were openings in the warehouse and in promotion. Wes thought promotion sounded like the better of the two options and soon had a job at 7600 Wayzata Boulevard.
The first record Wes was involved with was The Carpenter’s “Close to You” on the A & M label which became a national number one hit. Wes was off to a good start and it kept on going. The second record he worked on was “Make It With You” by Bread on the Elektra label, which also went to number one in the nation. Next up, was “Only You Know and I Know” by Englishman Dave Mason on the Blue Thumb label.
After three years working in the promotion department, Wes decided it was time to make a change and gave his notice, much to the dislike of Ira and Amos Heilicher. Within a few days Wes was offered a job with MCA Records. Wes worked closely with Olivia Newton John when she toured North and South Dakota.
In 1974 Wes was contacted by Dan Holmes at Audio Tek Recording who wanted to start up a new record company. Dan offered him a job as a partner in ASI Records. Wes accepted the offer. Dan became President and Wes became the Executive Vice President. Wes and Dan spent six months traveling across the country signing deals with record distributors. The company was owned by forty individual shareholders.
The first album to come out on ASI was by Purple Haze, a local R & B band. A song on the album called “I Do Love My Lady” got airplay on R & B radio stations.
In 1975 ASI released the first album by local rock band Cain called “A Pound of Flesh.” The album created immediate controversy due to its highly grotesque cover jacket art by photographer Gene Tetsloff which appeared to show an open metal can with flesh coming out of it. In reality the “flesh” was actually cow intestines filmed through a red camera filter. A record store in St. Louis, Missouri refused to display the album until they were covered in brown paper wrapping. A promotion campaign by ASI included mailing out empty metal cans with photos of the band members and also recipe cards that offered up “flesh strogonaff” among other food items. College students were hired to glue the paper labels to the metal cans. The album received airplay on some college radio stations as well as a number of “underground” radio stations. In 1977 Cain released their second album for ASI called “Stinger.” The album jacket for “Stinger” featured more traditional artwork on the jacket, a photo of a lightning strike. A third album for ASI to be called “Disco” was partially recorded but never completed and released.
In 1979 ASI released an album by a Madison, Wisconsin pop band called Babyface. The album was self titled and was in the soft rock style. A single off the album “Never in my Life” received airplay in the twin cities and other markets. Four songs on the album were played in the twin cities radio market. A follow up single “Make Way Miami” received airplay in Florida.
The Babyface album was the eighteenth album to be released on the ASI label and was the last album for the label. Problems with record distribution were one of a number of problems the label had to deal with.
After ASI Records came to an end, Wes Hayne was ready to move on to other ventures and leave the music business behind, having played a variety of roles from musician to record promoter to record company executive.
Interview PART ONE – Time = 22:37
Interview Part TWO – Time = 19:36
Interview Part THREE – Time = 18:06