The story of the Hillsdale Record Company really starts back in 1975 when I was the ripe age of 10 years old. I went garage saling with my mom and picked up my first two albums: Beatles 65 and the Beach Boys' Little Deuce Coupe. I just about wore those platters out and kept going to garage sales to get more records. I had dreams of working for Capitol Records when I grew up. Well, with age comes wisdom and I realized that working for a major label would be strictly for squares (especially if the likes of the Beach Boys, Gene Vincent and Mr. Gasser and the Weirdos were no longer making records). But my love for the entire record making process never faded.

Fast forward to 1992 when a fantastic band called the Trashwomen came on the San Francisco scene like gangbusters. With the encouragement from my good friend Maz Kattuah, I decided to actually get off the dime and do something about my fantasy of being a record executive. We coralled the Trashwomen in the garage of our rented house at 30 Westline Drive in Daly City and committed four songs to tape (on a Yamaha 4-track cassette deck). Those four songs became the first Hillsdale Record Company release when 1000 copies of HR-01 were pressed at United Record Pressing in Nashville, Tennessee.

I picked the Hillsdale moniker in hommage to my high school and a neighborhood in my home town of San Mateo, California. Though I hated high school like you can't imagine, I thought the name Hillsdale evoked a certain generic Americana quality as well as giving the label a regional affiliation.

After the Trashwomen came Jackie & the Cedrics, Johnny Legend, the Boss Martians, Fortune & Maltese, the King Normals...well, just take a look at the discography page to get the low-down on the complete list of releases and terrific bands I've had the pleasure to work with over the past eight years.

Some acknowledements are in order — the people that have provided guidance, encouragement and influence that has helped steer Hillsdale Records into a label with great integrity. For without the aid of such people like Jeff Miller, Andy Brown, Rob Santos, Deke Dickerson, Freddy Fortune and my lovely wife Lynn Peril, Hillsdale might just be another lame label. But with their contributions I believe we have made a contribution for the ages. Thanks everyone!

—Johnny Bartlett