"Mark and Tom made the call to MCA," says former Finch drummer Alex Pappas. Five years ago, former blink bandmates Mark Hoppus and Tom DeLonge signed Finch to their Scout Management company. The duo helped engineer the band's deal with MCA/Geffen. The first Finch record, 2002's What It Is to Burn, sold half a million copies, according to Pappas. Finch toured with New Found Glory, Brand New, and Coheed and Cambria.

Pappas left Finch in 2003 because of "artistic differences," but he was fortunate enough to get publishing/songwriting credits on Burn. It paid off for all the Finch boys.

"The other guys bought cars. I bought a Pro Tools [recording] rig," says Pappas. "People get screwed on publishing deals. They may sign away the rights for, like, $150,000 and end up losing out big time later on when you could have gotten more."

Pappas, who tours with a four-man band called Redgun Radar, found a home for his mobile recording setup at DML Studios, the 20-year-old Escondido studio that has recorded blink, Unwritten Law, and New Found Glory.

"Most major studios are all sucking wind," says Pappas. "I had a buddy who was the lead engineer at Royaltone in Burbank. They did No Doubt, Van Halen, Guns n' Roses. But they couldn't keep the doors open.... You can get all the recording equipment you need to make a great record from Guitar Center if you have to."

Pappas offers another pointer for fledgling bands: "You don't need to sign a deal with a manager. If he produces for you, you keep him. If he doesn't, he's out. Never sign a management contract. Managers are not there to help the band anyways. If the manager really cares about the band, they'll work without a safety net; i.e., a contract."

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