Grrrr…a midweek rant

Dear person that represents a band I’m trying to help/interview…

I called you last week to see if I could get the latest cd of your band

for airplay and requested a telephone interview with said band

to assist in promoting them.  You asked me to email details to you

along with the best time to do the interview.  I did so.  A week went by

and I heard nothing so I followed up.  That was three days ago.  I still

have heard nothing.  Why does this scenario happen far  more often than

it should.   I am fairly confident that the band has no idea this is going on.

If they did, things might be different.  The point is this…certain people

seem to think they are more important then the band they are supposed

to be helping.  Publicity is your job.  Servicing radio stations is your job.

Otherwise the fans won’t know if the band are on foot or horseback. 

Also, I have gone out of my way to ask artists to send me their music

and if they send it, we’ll play it.  Seems like a win/win for everybody, right?

Not always.  If you don’t send me your music, I can’t play it.  Why does this

have be so difficult?  I realize that I’m a small fish in a big pond in your eyes.

I know you are doing more with less but I digress.  Aren’t we all? 

The bands, record labels and publicists alluded to in this story have been

withheld to protect the guilty.   End rant.


Another trip around the sun

Hello everybody!  It’s been awhile since I’ve done one of these so I’m

overdue.  This past Friday, March 7th was my birthday.  I have to say

that getting older doesn’t bother me all that much.  Not that we have any

choice in the matter!  What I am amazed at is how many kind messages

I received via Facebook, as well as phone calls, texts, private messages

and the like.  I was also able to hang with a lot of great people throughout

the day…a lot of people I don’t see very often because of distance.  Special

thanks go out to Darlene for dinner and to Nancy for inviting me over to her condo

for some preshow libations.  Preshow?  Yes, we were headed to the Historic

Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa to the sold out Hairball concert.  Special guests

that night was Crashmatic, whose guitar/vocalist Dan is someone that I have become

friends with due to the fact that his is also a tech for my friends The Oddfathers.

I really enjoyed their set.  A nice set of driving power pop.  When Dan spotted me

in the crowd he said “Is that Mark?  Hey everybody, it’s time to call an audible.  It’s

Marks’ birthday today and we wrote this song for him on the way down here”.

Naturally I was tripping out on that and it was a very cool thing for him to do.

Thank you Dan.  I will never forget it and I appreciate it very, very much.  All night

long was hugs from the girls and handshakes from the guys with birthday wishes

galore.  Hairball come out a short time later and did their thing, which they do

extremely well.  They have multiple vocalists that appear with the main band

throughout their set paying tribute to a number of popular 70’s and 80’s bands.

Van Halen, Motley Crue, Poison, Alice Cooper, Ozzy Osbourne, Queen, Kiss,

etc, etc, etc.  People always say to me “I don’t get why a tribute band can sell out

the Surf”.  Well, I always tell people “you should see a Hairball show once and then

you’d understand”.  They do what they do extremely well and it’s a fun show.

2100 people had a great time on Friday night and I can certainly vouch for that.

In other news, there is more talk about getting a music project or two off the ground.

I think it’s getting closer to fruition.  I’m excited.  Stay tuned.  Also, there are a whole

bunch of national bands that are coming through over the coming months that  I’m

looking forward to seeing.  I used to go to tons of shows when I was younger until

I hit my late 30’s and then I guess I kind of got burned out on it.  It’s nice to regain

that sense of adventure.  Here is something I just remembered but I have a couple

of other people I need to thank…my friends Rita and Dave for their words of

encouragement.  Thank you for that.  It meant the world to me.   In a nutshell,

I really needed a day like Friday.   It was a true blessing and I felt the love.

One LAST thing…I suck with trying to edit this blog and figuring out the margins

and all of that.  I’m probably the king of run on sentences as well.  I’m sure those

of you reading this (when you’re finished laughing) can give me some pointers

on how to do this page right and even jazz it up a little.  Thanks for reading.

Debuting my lobby hat

So…I apologize for being tardy.  Time for blog number 3.

I had an interesting week.  On Tuesday my friend Lori and

I drove to Des Moines to the state capital to lobby for Iowa Voters

for Companion Animals.  I was the driver, lending moral support for

Lori.  This is a cause that she is extremely passionate about.

We were briefed at a local bar and then drove a short distance

to the statehouse.  Although I’ve been involved in politics for the

past decade or so, this was something new.  I learned a lot.

We both learned a lot.  It was fun and exciting and this was a

way to make a difference on a grassroots level.  We both live in

different districts so we made an attempt to speak with both of

our local Senators and House representatives.  Although

we weren’t able to speak with the house folks, we were successful

and connecting with our senators…both of whom took time out of our

schedules to speak with us.  They were cordial and took the time to listen.

One is Republican and the other is a Democrat.  One even took the time to

go back into the chamber to get us a copy of the bill.  I was impressed.  It was

a gratifying experience.  We had a good day and the weather was nice for mid

February too (about 50 degrees).  A few short days later we would

encounter a blizzard…a situation that I will blog about soon.

Until then, thanks for reading.

The Oddfathers and the Saint Valentines Day Massacre!

Last night I took a solo trip to Minneapolis to take in The Oddfathers EP release show.

The party was held at HiFi Hair and Records.  I had never been there before.  Cool place.

Lots of vinyl but some cassettes and cds too.  Also, a hair salon next door.  The first thing that struck me last night is that, whomever I encountered, they were all extremely NICE.

I know it was Valentines Day but there was a “nice” vibe to the entire proceeding that I simply reveled in.  I loved it.  I hung out with some the guys that work for K-Twin radio while waiting for the event to start.  About that time my friend Bryan and Joanna showed up.  We went a couple of doors down to where the band was playing and some of the guys were already there.

We were soon greeted my Mr. Brynn Arens, and the other members (Casey Gooby, Krys Baratto and Tom Cook eventually made their way in.  The other cool thing about the evening is that legendary record producer Jack Douglas was in the house.  Jack was virtually the last person to talk to John Lennon and worked with many of the greats like Aerosmith, Cheap Trick, The Knack,The New York Dolls, Michael Monroe and now, The Oddfathers.  I also got to meet Tommy Sommers.  He is a part of a podcast called “3 Sides of the Coin” with my friend Mitch Lafon along with Michael Brandvold.  If you are a KISS fan, it’s a not miss.

So 9 pm rolls around and the boys have debuted videos for the songs “Hey You” and “Shake You Up” and it’s time to hit the stage.  First off, it’s incredibly difficult not to take your eyes off of Brynn.

He is entertaining.  He’s having fun. He’s making faces.  He’s spitting. He’s sweating.He’s kissing members of his band.  The other members are having a ball as well.

I am proud to have gotten to know them all after I helped them get a show at the Historic Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa in June of 2013 supporting Nazareth. The Oddfathers are the salt of the earth.

9 songs later and it was over.  It flew by.  But it was SO much fun.  For the uninitiated, The Oddfathers manage to straddle the line between power pop and punk.  They are electric.  They know the art of songwriting.  They have great songs.  It’s rock n roll, not rocket science.

After the show (more of a showcase for an intimate group of friends) Brynn introduced me to Jack Douglas. Tom graciously took a picture of the two of us.

I told Jack that I loved the Michael Monroe album he did a few years back (I’m guessing not a lot of people say that to him).  The album is called”Sensory Overdrive” and if you are a fan of rock n roll AT ALL…you should own this album.He told me how great Steve Conte is (he played guitar with The New York Dolls and on the aforementioned MM album)  and I also told him how much I loved the first Cheap Trick album.

Despite the fact that many others were either trying to talk to Jack or were waiting, he was cool about it all.  I did manage to clear up one misconception about the first Cheap Trick album that I had read somewhere.  I had read that the band wanted John Lennon to produce the first album but that since Lennon was on a hiatus he would never agree to do it.   Some years later, Lennon was to have said to one of the band members that he would have done it.

I asked Jack about it and he said that wasn’t true.  He said he found Cheap Trick in Wisconsin and brought them to CBS himself.  So…there you go.  With that, I bid Jack and The Oddfathers a goodnight.  A once in a lifetime opportunity for sure.  It truly was an extraordinary adventure.