Jason Koerner

Louisville Rock Lowdown
By Jason Koerner

"The `5-0-New' Scene"

We have spent some time lately talking about all the bands that have broken up, so this column is dedicated to JUST A FEW of the bands that are new and trying to break into the Louisville Music scene. Some are made up of veterans, some rookies. We may be on an upswing here...

We'll start with a band by the name of Spock 13. Anyone remember the local band The Rat Bastards? If you do, then you will understand the genre of the band. Before listening to this CD, free your mind of any preconceptions of what you think it will sound like. Then realize this could possibly be one the most "fun-to-listen-to" collection of songs ever assembled, or you could totally hate it. Different? Yes. High quality? No, unfortunately not. However, it is very original and I give Scott props for doing a one-man album, Medicine, Music, Magic. The disc is on sale at Ear X-Tacy for $6 and you can also find Spock 13 at www.myspace.com/rxspock13. "Woot!"

Big news here: former Flaw members Chris Volz, Ivan Arnold and Ben Patrick have reunited to form a new group called Vent. They have joined forces with former Silent Q guitarists Aaron Welenken and Jason Chandler. Their first show is Thursday, February 10 at Uncle Pleasant's and they will be on hand March 4 at Phoenix Hill Tavern.

More veterans to the stage are forming the new band Inner Blue. This lineup consists of former Factor IX members Drew Davis (vocals), Joey Goldsmith (bass) and Dave Crabtree (guitar). It also brings Rachel Kleinhenz back to the drums (ex-Krosmember, Lust 4 Hate) and introduces Gene Crabtree on guitar. The group premieres at Eddy's Original Rock Showcase at on March 4 at PHT.

Frank Green (formerly of Outspoken) also has a new band together that will be appearing at this show, so do not miss it!

Terry Harper and David "E" Frazier round out the list of players in reformed groups that are on an upswing back into the mix again. Their group, Of Sound Mind, is said to be recording material and possibly going through some lineup changes. Keep your ears open for their new stuff to hit...

Church Bomb has a good buzz right now, as well as a new web site in the works located at www.churchbomb.cjb.net or on My Space at http://www.myspace.com/churchbomb. They have a few shows coming up this month, so be sure to see them live. Members range from ex-Kallus to Nemesis and the band kicks some hardcore ass.

Artificial Zero is back together with new members that include the Suicide Girl, Invidia, amongst others. The group boasts some airplay and other achievements and can be seen live at The Bulldog Café on February 20 or at Phoenix Hall on the 24th.

Descention is a new metal band that places ex-Downside vocalist, Daniel Finley back on the microphone. The group can be found at www.descention.cjb.net. They have some songs available for download on the site to check out. Heavy stuff, go see if you dig it...

Ex-Elysium members (Rob and J) and Paul Hart (DemoKing) are looking for a singer and second guitarist to complete their new project. Any interested parties should email Paul at paul@demokingproductions.com or Rob at kyrgaines@juno.com.

I know there are a million new bands I am leaving out and I apologize in advance to those groups.

In other unrelated but funny news, Jimmy Stallings (ex-Aqua Jones, Sara Tonen, etc.) was on the WB television show "Elimidate." He put on an amusing performance for both the girl and the viewing audience. Justin Hall put it on the web for our viewing pleasure, but only for a limited time, so check out "Mr. Slick" at http://www.avriastudios.com/video/JimmyonWB.wmv.

To all the groups just getting started for the first time, here is some friendly advice:

For starters, practice hard. Do not stop until you have your material down. This is especially important when it comes to playing shows. A lot of bands make the mistake of playing shows before they are really ready to do so and it leaves a lasting impression on those who see you that first time. It is better to be patient and wait until you really solid, then knock the socks off those who witness your debut.

The same goes for demos. So many bands come out with a demo and then immediately spend every waking moment after that making apologies to people before they listen to it about how bad the recording quality is, or how they only had an hour to record it and that is why it sucks. Why bother? A demo is something for you to give to people to illustrate how you sound at your best. The fact that it is called a "demo" is not an excuse for the recording to sound terrible. People are generally not that forgiving, especially music industry personnel.

Also, keep local shows to a minimum and try to get out of town when possible. Trade shows with other bands on the Internet. This is something we all need to do more of. Try not to come across as desperate when a show opening comes up that you want to be added on to. Email the promoter directly and link them to your music for review. Being down for anything, anytime, anywhere is admirable, but not the best path to take to obtain quality shows. When you do play shows, promote, promote, promote... not just on the Web, but everywhere you can think of. Then put on a hell of a show and make your band stand out somehow. Makeup alone doesn't cut it.

Spend some money on merchandise to sell, but do it in small enough quantities that you will be able to recoup quickly. Think about what your band stands for and create a message/merchandise relationship. You can really push the name of your band with some inexpensive, yet professionally created stickers on sites such as www.stickerguy.com. A real dot.com is never a bad idea either, as it is a sign of seriousness. (Remember that people hate pop-ups).

Last but not least, invest what you can in gear that will improve your sound. Make sure everyone is on the same page in your band on this level, so the bass isn't hidden under the full-stack guitar amps, etc. You need good songs, good stage presence and good gear so all that other stuff matters.

These are just a few quick thoughts of mine to help up-and-coming bands. They are not directed at anyone in a particular; they are a collection of common mistakes that we all make (or have made in the past). Hopefully there are young musicians reading this right now who can get some use out of the past five paragraphs. Best of luck to all the fresh talent coming in to the Louisville Music scene!

This will be one of the last Lowdowns you see from me; I am "retiring" from my duties as a monthly columnist at Louisville Music News after several years writing this particular section of the paper. Instead, I will be doing things in more of a freelance style, contributing pieces from time to time. I could never walk away from this publication completely; it is such a great service to bands around the Louisville area and Paul Moffett is incredible as an editor and supporter of this scene. So next month, be sure to read my final thoughts/news, explanations for wrapping up Louisville Rock Lowdown and my future plans in the last LRL as we know it. Eddy Metal will keep it going each month and I will be back now and again to stay in the mix, too.

Rock on Louisville!