Front and Center

Victoria Austen Moon

It starts with a dream. You wake up late one Saturday morning and stagger from your bed to the couch with just enough energy to grab the remote and start flipping through TV channels. You stop on MTV, drawn in for a moment by the tail-end of a Red Hot Chili Peppers video. Then four guys in dog costumes start jumping around to an overplayed hip-hop beat singing "you and me we ain't nothin' but mammals/so let' s do it like they do it on the Discovery Channel."

Dear God, you think, how can these guys be in the Top Countdown? They suck! I could do better than that! And then it hits you — you could do better than that. You could be on the Top Countdown. You could be the one interviewed by Kurt Loder, talking about the lean years before fame and fortune hit: "Yeah, Kurt, I was taking the bus down to Twice Told Coffeehouse in Louisville once a week to play open mics for an audience of five people…I didn't even have a car then, let alone a Mercedes…"

So you dig up those old songs, the ones you wrote when that girl what's-her-name left you back in 1995 with nothing but memories and her fleabag of a dog, Mooch. You call two or three of your closest buddies that you know have instruments. "C'mon guys," you say, "let's start a band." You and the guys get together in your garage and play with the volume turned up to 11 until your girlfriend comes out and gives you the evil eye. You give her the evil eye right back and keep playing, because even if she can't hear it you can hear it: the beginnings of a whole new genre in the midst of the caterwauling. Power Muzak. Folk-jazz-punk with a little AC/DC thrown in for good measure. Ambient noise if Burt Bacharach was playing it while on a hallucinogenic trip. Yeah, man — this is good stuff.

A couple months of garage-playing and your bass player comes in and tells you he's got the band a gig at the bar his Dad owns. You go and play, and the crowd seems to dig your stuff. Your bass player' s Dad gives you a regular weekly gig. You even start getting a few fans, who pester you every week about recording a CD. After a couple months of pestering, you and the band scrape together a thousand bucks or so and head into the studio to record your first CD. You're on your way now — a CD, a regular gig, fans…

Now what?

You've got some vague idea that you should have some sort of band photo to give the press along with the new CD, and you're definitely going to need some way to explain your sound, since it' s so far evolved from mainstream rock-n-roll. Should you get an agent? T-shirts? Invest in a touring van? How do you get more gigs? How do you get the radio to play your stuff? What if some pirating hacker geeks download all your songs for free on Napster? How do you get the radio to play your stuff? How do you get the radio to play your stuff? The questions start buzzing in your head, and no answers seem readily available. If only someone would get some sort of seminar together to tell you all the stuff about the business side of the music, so you can get back to being an artist again…

Well, have I got some news for you.

On Saturday June 3, the Louisville Music Industry Alliance (LMIA) is hosting a trade show / seminar at Mom's Music in Jeffersonville that will be a one-stop info-rama for artists looking to take their music to the next level. The whole design of the day is to showcase what is available for songwriters and musicians in the Kentuckiana area, and will be the place to get all your music-biz questions answered. It will give you a chance to meet and greet the movers and shakers of Louisville music as well as a chance to hear from nationally known industry insiders on pushing the envelope out of the local and regional markets into the national scene.

Featured speakers and panelists for the day include:

Dick Gabriel, Special Assistant to the (National) President of the American Federation of Musicians (West Coast), will be talking about protecting your recording rights on the Internet

LeRoy McMath, CEO of the Norcross Georgia-based Power Records, on marketing your music.

Dan Colucci, manager of C-14, recently signed to Madonna's Maverick label, on getting a record deal.

Jimmy Johnson, former Fame Studios rhythm guitarist (his guitar is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame) and producer in Muscle Shoals. Johnson played on hits like "Land of a Thousand Dances," " Mustang Sally" and "Do Right, Woman."

John LaBarbera, internationally known arranger, speaking on music publishing.

Susan Weber of Weber Screen Printing talking about merchandising. (Weber may be joined by Mary Matthews, who got the deal for the Dixie Chicks.)

John Timmons, owner of ear X-tacy and the ear X-tacy record label, and Leslie Stewart, deejay on WFPK and owner of her own media relations company, will team up to discuss publicity and promotion.

Dan Reed, program director of WFPK, covering the hot topic of getting radio airplay, plus other radio folks.

Also featured during the day will be a panel discussion on the state of Louisville music and what can be done to improve it, and exhibitors from music-oriented services throughout the area.

Besides talking about the music, some bands might get a chance to see industry executives put their money where their mouths are. OriginalFest, a weekend of original music acts from around the area, will be held at Headliners Music Hall. Sixteen bands will play for more than 50 record label representatives, giving them a chance for some great exposure and listeners a chance to hear some great music. Bands featured in this year's lineup include Heidi Howe, Butch Rice, Dan Cannon, Crazy Brass Smackers, Mr. Chig, Boba Flex, Aqua Jones, Slo Annie, Sabarosa Red, Jakeleg, Vinyl, Five Minutes Ago, Third Turn, roomforemotion, Screaming Through December and Contortion.

OriginalFest has been in existence since 1995, and will be hosted by Michael Martin of Martin Productions, as it has been since its inception. The cost of OriginalFest is an extremely reasonable $5 with 5 canned goods, with all proceeds going to Dare To Care.

The Greater Louisville Music Expo is free, but you need an invitation — check at either of Mom's Music store locations, ear X-tacy, or WFPK studios for complimentary invites, or log onto www.louisvillemusicnews.com for a printable invitation.