Tuesday, October 30, 2012

John the Conqueror Album Release 11/3 @Legendary Dobbs

When a country boy walks into a big city bar and sits down for a drink-
When a choir boy throws his robe to the floor of an hourly motel-
When a Mississippi bluesman first hears rock and roll-

John the Conqueror is

Here's what People are Saying:
Time To Go, John the Conqueror
This raw, bluesy old-school soul track is just one of many gems on Philadelphia trio self-titled debut album.

''It’s all smokestacks, greasy ball bearings, mudslides, and corn liquor swilled from mason jars; raggedly scorching guitar riffs, a thunderous rhythm section, and howled vocals.''

"Power trio John the Conqueror has made a splash in Philly scene over the past year, dishing out a moving blend of blues, soul and rock n’ roll... The swaggery trio might be Philly’s answer to Gary Clark Jr."

"The trio from Mississippi, now based in Philly, have the smoothness of classic '50s soul mixed with a southern twang. Named after an African-American mythological folk legend, of whom the likes of Dr. John, Muddy Waters, and Willie Dixon have sung, the band possesses a magical power that empowers emotion."

​"They will bring you from the church to the juke joint in four quick minutes."

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Mile Marker Zero returns to Haunt Philly on 10/27 with their "Nightmare on South St."

Mile Marker Zero returns to The Legendary Dobbs on the Peter Steele Memorial Show on Saturday October 27th, playing at Midnight!!!

MMZ will be performing their insane horror/halloween medley "Nightmare on South St." which they played at last year's Peter Steele Memorial and totally woke up the dead with their perfromance. Just Imagine Dream Theater doing a medley of every horror related subject(movies,songs,soundtracks) and accompany it with a multimedia on the TV Screens. Here is a snippet from a show in Conn.

Mile Marker Zero - Nightmare on Main st from Machine-Light on Vimeo.

Formed in 2003, New Haven, Connecticut quintet Mile Marker Zero have taken a slightly off-kilter, multi-tiered approach towards rock music that bordered on duality. Their songs are epic and ambitious, filled with unconventional arrangements and challenging rhythms yet they also flow with powerful melodies and memorable choruses. Even their name is a dichotomy.

Such sonic chemistry usually doesn’t come without training. Every member of Mile Marker Zero has a solid background in music theory and classical performance, which he vigorously applies to songs such as “A Thousand Nights,” which combines the atmospherics of Pink Floyd with the dramatic tension of A Perfect Circle, and “The Reaping Tide” a faster, more turbulent track that sounds like a hybrid of Metallica and Dream Theater. Alley, Tim Rykoski (bass) and Mark Focarile (keyboards) have honed their chops together for years before they met guitarist John Tuohy, where they were all attending Western Connecticut University’s school of music. Interestingly their fields of study didn’t directly correlate to their roles in Mile Marker Zero. Tuohy earned his degree in jazz guitar and Alley actually majored in percussion.
As more listeners heard the band’s songs, word rapidly spread. Music fans who had grown weary of predictable arrangements and watered down melodies were attracted to Mile Marker Zero’s sense of adventure. Combining well-crafted songs with technical proficiency, and raw energy with sonic intensity, the band creates gritty hard rock that bristles with progressive rock influences

“We’ve always wanted to write music that was a real experience for the listener,” says Alley. “We grew up listening to early progressive rock so we liked epic songwriting, but we were also into mid-90s rock which was much more direct. So we really wanted to be kind of grandiose and over the top, but we wanted to be strongly melodic and didn‘t want to be over people‘s heads.”

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Band 101: Networking & Promoting

Part of this blog is to have open discussions on topics to help bands get a step further in their career. We highly recommend comments and questions that you may have. All comments that are not relevant to the topic will be deleted.  
So, for the first installment, I would like to talk about the way Bands Should Network & Promote to gain new fans.

Photo: Kid Felix - Liberty Musicfest @ Dobbs 8/18/12

As an Artist/Band you should know who your core fans and what markets are growing for you. The main stumbling block is how do I you get more fans, better shows and any publicity. Industry professionals have been saying that it’s an “Open Playing Field for the DIY Artists” as this is true but the underground artist still needs to work harder, smarter and be more creative then in the past. So where do we start…..

Networking:Networking is key to every artist/band. It's a method of meeting like-minded people in any given industry. Person to person networking is the best way of gaining useful contacts that you can call upon for assistance in the future. It puts a name with the face. So where should an artist/band network. Be apart of your scene, make it a point to go out to clubs and talk to other bands, people in the crowd and the staff at the venue. The more visible you are the more people will recognize and remember who you are. Attend non-music events like galleries, conventions, gaming events, parties, festivals, etc. The key is not to plaster someone with a flyer or bring up your music. You are building a relationship and it will eventually be part of the conversation. Attend music conferences, even if your not showcases. These are hotbeds to meet bands, industry folks, music companies and even new fans. I have seen bands go to a music conference, not showcase, and come back home with a mini-tour just by meeting other bands. It sounds real simple; it is, you just have to do the hard work. If you are a serious musician I recommend joining your local chapter of The Recording Academy.  I can personally say that the Recording Academy was a major part of being successful in this business. Their networking and special events that they organize gained my access to meet some of my peers along with people like myself who were looking to further their career. The key is to meet as many people as possible and build a working connection. You never know who we help or offer you a great opportunity. It's worth remembering the 'domino effect' of networking: once people have seen you music and like your style, they will tell others and so on. You'll be amazed about how far simple word of mouth referrals can go to increase your awareness.
Recently, 2 mid-level touring artists met each other for the first time at a music conference. They talked and found out that they had several things in common. They both thought that their fans would dig each others music. In Short, the two artists got together onstage that night to do a song together and video tape the performance. Their plan was to get both of their friends interested in each other. It work perfectly and both artists saw a substantial increase in fans after they released the video on Youtube.
Networking can lead to collaborating with other artists. You never know who might be interested in your music unless you engage in meeting new people.
Artists should have goals in having 5 new contacts a week.

Today there are endless ways to promote your band, both online and offline. Most bands put heavy emphasis on their online presence through social networking, blogs, video updates, free downloads etc. So what do we still need to do to get noticed? I wish I had a Golden Key to solve everyone’s needs but I will present a few items that continue to work. The days of a band showing up a venue and it being packed has been gone for numerous years now.  So it’s left up to the bands and venues to get people interested in mew music.

Networking is a strong option (see above).

Cross Promoting is not really used that much this day and age. An artist/band should have band business meetings on a regular basis to discuss everything. At A meeting each member should bring a list of the top 5 things he likes other music, more towards their lifestyle eg. 1. Tattoos, 2. Harleys, 3.Video Games, 4. Comics and 5. Craft Beers.  You will have 15-20+ plus ideas on the table to devise a cross promoting campaign for your next show. People like music so once you get your like’s together try and setup a way to promote each other. Also, make sure your music can complement the company you are trying to partner up with.
Posters/handbills/EventsI am a strong believer of really cool creative posters to promote shows. One issue with this I have seen lately is that bands send posters a week before the show which to me is a waste of time. Posters should be up in the club, in a store or posted at lease 4 weeks before the show.  A key to every promotion is constant exposure of your show. Bands should contact the other bands on the bill to develop one poster and one Facebook event for the show. This cross promotes you with the other artists on bill and vice versa. Each band on the bill should talk up the other bands. The Punk scene continues this tactic and it still works to this day.
Handbills are still effective if put in the right environment. Again, with posters, creativity always catches people’s eye. Bands hand out thousands at major shows, on the street, on cars, etc. What’s the effectiveness? It’s hard to judge at times. I would have something on the handbill like percentage of merch, a free same CD or Download with the flyer; I have seen free drink on some.... It sucks it’s a numbers game but it is necessary to keep your name out and hope someone eventually says I really need to check these guys out.
For years, I saw “WNOC” stickers all over Philly. It was to a point I had to go see them, everywhere I went there was a WNOC sticker; the toll both, stop signs, trains, buses, hot dog carts and more.

Fan Interaction:
Getting people to come a gig is hard; the more important challenge is to keep them coming back. Most bands don't really do anything special to give their existing fans any real reasons to come back and see them over and over again. It's hard to become successful when most of the new fans you will get also won't come to see your band play more than once or twice. You need to keep your fans engaged and make them feel they are party of your music family. Some key stuff that sounds basic but rarely done, keep all your social media sites up to date and send out updates about the band on a 7-14 days, Always add video content, streaming music and special live downloads on a scheduled pace. Find out what your friends are into from movies, games, tv, news and interact with them as much as possible. Fans like to be apart of something, ask them for input on show ideas, run contests and find other avenues to interact with them.
Collecting E-mail Addresses:
Emails are a must for every band trying to promote and keep in touch with their fans. So many bands I seen don’t worry about this which is a huge mistake. What if Facebook crashed tomorrow? It could happen; look at MP3.com, Myspace and others. So how are you going to connect with your fans? Collecting names, email addresses, city, state, and zip code allows you to specify who receives the emails according to gig locations. Knowing where your fans live you can send regional emails to your fans and you are avoiding 'spamming' your other fans of which the email is of no relevance. Newsletters are great for fans but should be limited to monthly newsletters that have important band news.

Being in a band today is great but also a great task to be successful. The whole band has to be involved with networking and promoting. A band has to be the music creators, booking agent, designer, promoter, counselor, PR, etc. The days of managers, PR and booking agents at this level are all but gone. The economics is not profitable these days so finding people who are willing to do this for you effectively is a huge asset.

If you want to join in with successful ideas, questions or comments regarding this topic feel free and we will be apart of the conversation.

Jim Thorpe
The Legendary Dobbs/DVT Entertainment

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Speedwestern Revivalists Waylon Speed Return to Dobbs on 2/2

On Friday Oct. 12th, Waylon Speed, from Vermont, will be performing for the 4th time at The Legendary Dobbs playing their Speed Western/Alt. Country sounds. Waylond Speed has been building their fanbase quickly in the Philadelphia area. We are not surprised at all.
“Less is more.” That’s the mantra that Rev. Chitwood Hammaker, brothers Noah and Justin Crowther, and Kelly Ravin deployed as they converged from a honky-tonk in Burlington, Vermont, to create Waylon Speed. Ever since Waylon Speed formed in April 2009, the four-piece brotherhood of family and past friends has toured nationally and collected fans like empties at a pig roast in support of their albums: the debut, Georgia Overdrive; their two-disc sophomore set, Horseshoes and Hand Grenades; and their latest effort, The Boots EP. The press has called Waylon Speed “gas on the fire of the current music scene” and “heavy, fiery country rock, for those who like their punk rock with some twang in it – but also appreciate high quality, intelligent songwriting.” Ask Waylon Speed what it seeks from its stained-blue-collar, straight-up-from-the-underground rock, and the answer is simple: make people happy. The evidence is at their aim-to-please shows, where audience connection is a priority. Waylon Speed has shared bills with: Jane’s Addiction, Clutch, Little Feat, Reba McEntire, Elvis Costello, Primus, and Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. Waylon Speed’s influences are Motorhead, Fugazi, The Mother Hips, The Drive-By Truckers, and Frank Zappa. Waylon Speed’s influences are not mainstream music. ‘Course, if the guys had to be someone else in another band, they would choose either Kris Kristofferson (Kelly), Willie Nelson (Noah), Johnny Cash (Justin), or Waylon Jennings (The Reverend). Welcome to Waylon Speed. --- --- --- Waylon Speed is: •Rev. Chitwood Hammaker – guitars, vocals, van mechanic, gear modification specialist •Justin Crowther – drums, vocals, tattooer, comic relief •Kelly Ravin – guitars, vocals, lap steel, gig-booker, can drive the longest without taking a piss •Noah Crowther – bass, vocals, band face, comfort consultant They all prefer hair and beards.