Though fans of The Badlees have probably been making their own "Best Of" mixes of the band's music for their cassette decks, CD players and iPods for nearly 20 years, the band itself had never offered such a collection.
"See Me As A Picture: The Best, So Far 1990-2012" is now available at Gallery of Sound stores. It will also be available on May 4 at a CD-release party at The Woodlands in Plains Twp. And as its title suggests, it includes material spanning two decades, plus two new tracks, "Promises" and "Love Took My Soul."
Though 2012 is not a significant anniversary year for The Badlees, such as its 20th or 25th year as a band, guitarist, vocalist and songwriter Bret Alexander says the time was right to release such a collection.
"We probably should have done it at 20. I think we're probably just slow," he said with a laugh. "We've been talking about it for a couple of years."
Alexander said one of the reasons for releasing the album is the fact that some of the band's early albums are either out of print or in limited supply, making it hard for new fans to find the music.
"At a lot of gigs, we're playing to a new audience," he says. "We wanted to have something that would give people a real good nickel tour of everything."
Since its debut, the critically acclaimed roots-rock band had released seven albums and several EPs. Still, Alexander said coming up with "The Best, So Far" wasn't that hard.
"As it is with making a new record, everybody agrees on about 85 to 90 percent of it, and then you have to duke it out for the last several tracks," he said. "That's usually how it goes with a record, and this collection was no exception."
In addition to the new "Best Of" collection, there's plenty of other movement in The Badlees camp. A new full-length studio album will be released in late 2012 or early 2013. Also in 2013, a feature film, titled "Trust Me" — which is loosely based on the band's career — will be released. And a full rock documentary on the band is also in the works. Alexander says the group is flattered by such interest, but was not the impetus behind either film.
"That all came from the outside," he says. "The director of the documentary has piles of incriminating footage of 22 years of us being us, and he just wanted to do it. He's a fan of the band. We didn't commission anybody to make a movie loosely based on us, and we didn't commission anybody to do an all-encompassing documentary.
"Things just seem to be happening."