Music, What makes you happy?

Archive for January, 2012

Who says celebrities can’t cook, clearly some can.

If you haven’t seen the new series on the Food Network “Rachel vs. Guy Celebrity Cook-off” you should take a peek.
The Celebrities that have been in this competition are:
Joey Fatone formerly of N’Sync
Cheech Marin From Cheech and Chong Fame.
Alyssa Campanella Miss USA
Coolo LA Rapper
Aaron Carter Singer
Summer Sanders Olympian
Lou Diamond Phillips Actor
Taylor Dayn Singer
Even though Aaron got bumped out the first week this show has been interesting.
I tend to agree with some of the celebs that Taylor may be a ringer.
Check it out.

Manager Richard “Rickey” Lee Watson…..Management that cares.

I would like to introduce a manager today. He manages for the Billy K Band as well as a number of other artists. He too is an artist in his own right and he gave us some of his time to talk about being a manager.

What made you interested in doing this kind of work?
I have been interested in music and always been fascinated by talented performers and started back in grammar school, when my music teacher discovered my voice and music interest which grew into my first debut in Eastman School of Music in a choir where I performed on my first recording as a young boy titled “Children’s Plea for Peace”, and soundtrack for the Movie “Oliver”. After a few years at the age of 13 I got my first drum set and started my own group and played locally. Then after a 14 year run I as a rock vocalist and felt it was not enough. I started reading many books and attend many seminars for marketing and constantly stayed tuned into what was going on behind the scenes, this seem to interest me more, then babysitting musicians who were comfortable doing things on a local level. So I loaded up my bags and said I’m going to head to Nashville in hopes of being discovered, and when I arrived I knew no one, but found my way to Gilly’s Porch on Music Row, where I looked through the book and found a song to sing proudly and a talent scout came across me, he approached me and introduced me to a producer that turned out to be my guiding light in the music industry. As his right hand man I was his apprentice for many artist, for 12 years on Music Row, working on press kits, getting them to the studio on time, and matching songs with each different style, making sure the photos were done on time over seeing the artist and what was needed to get them performing, and traveling the states as a talent scout. I did not have a total interest in being an artist but always loved the behind the scene movement, so after 30 years of networking and making connections and the untimely death of my mentor and master trainer in 2000, I decided if I was going to help anyone else in this business I needed to wear out my own boots and shake enough hands to acquire a team that I could depend on that will do what they promised. So I had to record 48 records myself knowing that I had the team of true professionals that meant what they said , and said what they meant. The songs were liked and loved by many of the Nashville Recording Artist and the time was spent learning the business from all angles. As an A&R, artist, and a promotion director, by the time 30 years had passed it was time to allow the deserving artist a chance to play on the same field with the true professionals I had worked with and knew on a personal level. So I recorded my last CD “Time for Change” and started my own label with my partner based on my experience, which was the last piece of the puzzle. So now I’m older yet as I let the years sneak up quickly and decided to build my Label by producing and managing my own Artists from A TO Z, so that we can both be blessed with my goal in mind to run my own company, and Artist Management company feeling fortunate enough to see it from all sides of the coin making my experience valuable to upcoming deserving artists.

What are some of the pitfalls, and what the rewards are?
Many have asked the same questions about Pitfalls and Rewards although there are several pitfalls and many Rewards. I’ll point out a few to keep it brief.
One of the Pitfalls we sometimes don’t see coming is who and whom you are associated with, meaning if someone you are doing business with has been labeled a shark and practiced unfair dealing with others before you, and you do business with them unfortunately you wear the same suit, as a young artist I would say it’s not always the person you’re dealing with creditability, it’s the people’s people they are dealing with that can hurt you or enhance your chances as an Artist, so do your home work and check under all the rocks to make sure your on the right path.
Another Pitfall is Don’t get excited to play all your songs for anyone and anyone at songwriters nights, or conventions, or in public unless you are protected by your copyrights and you are affiliated with songwriters associations like ASCAP, BMI ,SESAC, SOCAN , see when you post many songs all over the net unprotected a songwriting professional will not steal the song but write around the song and steal the hook the most valuable part of your song. So be very careful about where you perform you own personal creations as many eyes await and ear are alert and you will lose all of what you have worked so hard to create.
Third but not at all the last Pitfall you will be faced with is if you don’t have the guidance or representation. Know that this is a Business and should be treated as any other business, this is your business and career just like being a Doctor school is important and staying educated in your field. Many Artists I have found want a manager, but don’t want to be managed. Letting your manager do what he has trained to do and working together by keeping communication open at all times is so important. If you think you can go do it alone then you don’t want to be managed so don’t bother signing an agreement you know you will not follow.
I say Know your Craft and then many doors of opportunity will open one lock after another, don’t be afraid to ask questions or seek attorney advice when this is most difficult business in the world and all contracts have hidden lines you may not notice without professional opinions.

The rewards come in many ways not only monetary value or dollar value from a successful production, but playing a part in someone else ‘s dream has its own reward knowing that the time taken to educate yourself being the messenger and laying on the finish line from exhaustion from a job well done with integrity. The point is to breathing life into a deserving talent to be shared with the world, touching one heart at a time. Changing someone’s bad day into a good day with some words story lines and melodies wow just being there at the right time is a reward that is priceless.

What are the hardest things to deal with?
I would say one of the hardest things to deal with would be keeping the upcoming artist on task, on time, and not babysitting unprofessional musicians, holding a job and playing at night till you make it so to speak.
Trying to make a living only by playing music feeding the family and staying focused without being taken off sides resisting the urge to give up. Growing into the career not being a victim of what you chose for your life. And then making your personal life work if you have a happy family at home then you can stay focused on your career. So keeping the 5 areas of balance in your life is the hardest.


If all is in place and balanced your career will flourish.

What do you do in your spare time?
What I do is not what a typical guy would do, mostly work 24/7 and find many to advance my career as a Manager, Recording Artist & Record label owner, by seeking out great songs for upcoming acts.
Network and attend music conventions staying active in all fields and tuned into the ever-changing markets in music, stay revitalized at all the new marketing opportunities and scouting out showcases of potential artist for consideration while constantly honing my craft.
Building a SUPER STAR takes time and strategy.
Knowing what moves to make first like a game of chess against the biggest in the world challenging and rewarding. Then spending time with my family and my son as young man growing up his talent is something I take with pride and devotion.
Thanking many for my blessings.

If you could do anything else, what would you like to try?
There is not anything else I would consider doing except build a musical empire and facility to school. Complete with a production and control room, recording studio, and video production company all under one roof to educate and groom our next generation of talent for years to come before I take my final dirt nap.
Knowing I was a meaningful specific in someone’s life and played a part in helping another dream realized.

As a recording artist I am known as “The Man behind the Shades.”
American Artist Showcase
Rickey Lee Watson
Nashville Music Pros

Thanks to Rickey for his time.

What happens when Polka music meet Metal……The Polkanauts.

Ok I know what your saying to yourself, What? When I think metal names like Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath and others come to mind and you wouldn’t think of polka bands who play metal but let me introduce you to the Polkanauts.
I have friends who are in the polka scene and love these guys. They may look kinda like Devo on some level but the music they play is lively and fun.
Here is our little interview with links so you can check them out.

How did you get started, little history bio basically?

One of us (Paco) is from WI. He grew up with Polka – he had the drunken idea to put his two favorite styles together – Metal & Polka. Came up with the original logo, name, everything, several years prior to getting this started. He recruited the rest of us over the course of a year or so & we jumped into this strange hybrid. The NASA/ astronaut, flight suit thing was just too good (or stupid depending on your point of view) to pass up. We’ve only ever played one show without the Orange Flight suits and we’re 75 or 80 shows in now .

What or who inspired you?
Hard to say – we love Metal in most all forms; But Polka is just as visceral in a totally different way. There is a Documentary out there call “It’s Happiness” all about Polka in the mid-west – that is a great explanation. As for specific performers –The cornerstone of Polka will always be Frankie Yankovic. And of Metal- Black Sabbath.

What instruments do you play and who manufactured them?
We would be a pretty standard Rock/Punk/Metal trio, but add in the Accordion and it’s a whole other world & a 4 piece! Fender J. Bass / Jackson reverse headstock-{because it’s just so damn metal?} “Dinky”. Custom Drums, all Vic Firth Sticks (yep, that’s a sponsorship plug!) / Roland Accordion. Orange/VOX Amplification.
What do you listen too? Everything! – We are all full-on music geeks! Lots of Metal in all varieties imaginable, especially; Black/Death/Doom/Grind/Thrash/Sleaze, but also a lot of Brit Pop, Indie and Classical mixed in. Between the 4 of us you’ll find love for damn near everything from Sweet to Sunn(((O And from Gregorian Chant to Jay Z.

What makes you happy? Beer, $240 worth of Pudding (look it up!), Dancing.
Sad? Empty beer mugs. People who take themselves & us too seriously.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
We all periodically play in other projects and see a hell of a lot of live music!
If you could do anything you wanted what would it be? We want to go play a tour of the Oktoberfest Tents in Germany!

Anything else you think people don’t already know about you that you want to share?

Polka Rules all it surveys!! – But it’s also prone to being blind drunk and thus misses out on some things. We love people that dance- good – bad- or otherwise. If you come to a ‘Nauts show, dance your ass off- your very likely to get a reward of some type!!

Have you got another album in the works and/or music videos?
We will be recording later this spring and we have a video planned for later this year – we plan to search for volunteer/extras to fill the location and dress in matching orange flight suits just like us! Watch for it!

Do you manage yourselves or who manages you?
We’ve had a few offers, but so far we are a lot more comfortable doing it ourselves. But we’re not opposed to interesting offers!!

Thanks to the Polkanauts and his is some links for you.
Best Polka Bands

What’s your favorite Musical or Movie About Music?

We grabbed a few titles old and new from musical and movie about music.
Which one is your favorite?

Music News and Elvis Trivia….

Red Hot Chili Peppers show in Denver on March 4th has been moved to Sept 27th.
Lenny Kravitz to play at the Temple Buell Theater, Denver Feb. 10th.
The Black Keys will also be in Colorado on Apr. 30th.
Nickleback will be in Colorado June 10th.

New Albums coming out!
“Chimes of Freedom: Songs of Bob Dylan”, Jan 24th.
“Emotional Traffic”, Tim McGraw, Jan 24th.
“Kisses on the Bottom”, Paul McCartney, Feb 7th.
“Resolution”, Lamb of God, Jan 24th.
“Making Mirrors”, Gotye, Jan 31st.
“Ringo 2012”, Jan 31st.
“Amaryllis”, Shinedown, March 27th.

Upcoming Interviews, The Polkanauts and manager/singer Rickey Lee Watson.

Elvis Trivia to celebrate his birthday this month.
1946 He gets a guitar for his birthday instead of the bicycle he wanted.
1956 He recorded his first tracks for RCA. “Heartbreak Hotel” released as first single made number one.
1957 He recorded “Don’t Be Cruel.” Also recorded that year, (Let Me Be Your)Teddy Bear.
1973 Aloha from Hawaii performance.
1978 Inducted into Playboy magazine’s Musical Hall of Fame.

Warner, Jay (2004-08-09). On This Day in Music History: Over 2,000 Popular Music Facts Covering Every Day of the Year (Book) (p. 33). Hal Leonard Publ Co. Kindle Edition.

Gate57….talking with songwriters and producers.

This group of talented gentlemen hail from Italy.
They can help you with your music. Providing mixing, musicians, and so much more. Here is what they told me.

How did you get started, little history bio basically?
Well we started playing together as a band when we were teenager in our own town in Italy. We shared our common passion: music. We played in festivals, contests and toured in Italy for years. It was the 80’s and we basically played cover songs from our favorite rock bands. Chicago, Toto, America, Eagles and some italian pop music too. We retired when had our own families, but music still was in our hearts.
We reunited some years ago and decided to write our own music, basically in studio. So no more tour for us, now. We prefer to share our music over the internet. What a great tool the internet is !

And we are also musicians for hire. We have a website. Independent artists and songwriters can hire us to arrange and play their own songs, we can do it sharing audio files via the internet. It’s so funny and stimulant. We can also provide vocals thanks to many talented singers who collaborate with us. We also make video-clips. We are a Team !

What or who inspired you?
Our parents. We are so devoted to our families, we have strong values and love ethic work. Musically, our hero is producer David Foster. He is the best doing his job in our humble opinion and he’s always having success, all over the years.
He discovered so many talents (Celine Dion, Michael Bublè, Josh Groban, Charice to name a few) and wrote so many beautiful love songs and power ballads.
We love ballads !

What instruments do you play and who manufactured them?
We play guitars, bass and keyboards and collaborate with several musicians when needing different instruments. We use digital audio workstation for our recordings, of course. We also do mixing and mastering on our own productions. We use different brands for our instruments, Fender, Yamaha, Korg….whatever that brings a good sound.

What do you listen too?
We listen every kind of music due to our job for hire. We need to keep ourselves up-to-date and ready to face and play any kind of music, and we do it.
But we like to work with real melodies. Melody is everything to us…maybe because we are Italian ?!?

What makes you happy? or sad?
We are happy about what we’re doing, really. We’re following our dream, make music for people. And they like it.
We’re living a difficult time, economic crisis, natural disasters, wars…this is terrible but we tend to see the light at the end of the tunnel, so we never give up.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
We spend our spare time with our families, we all have children and we are very devoted to them. We enjoy our fatherhood so much. It’s a little bit stressing some times but it’s great.

If you could do anything you wanted what would it be?

We wish to make our company big, and contribute to develop talents in the independent music scene. Major labels are everywhere and there isn’t so much space for indie artists. They are so good making their own music, we’d like to help them to make good products to be under the spotlight.
To do this better we need a lot of energy, passion, talent, luck and….yes, money !

Anything else you think people don’t already know about you that you want to share?
Songwriters like us seem to love our music, maybe they don’t know we can help them making a “dress” for their songs. They write themselves in a room, we would like they think about us as a band and a recording studio for their needs, at their side, and with low rates!

You find this talented group of men at these sites as well. ReverbNation, MySpace and Facebook.

Good luck and thanks for your time talking to us.

I am Ozzy….Review.

Like I said before I found this book hard to put down. Ozzy starts from his early life and tell us the story through till a little after The Osbourne’s TV show. It a roller coaster ride of laughter and sadness in what seems to be a very honest and down to earth telling of his “Crazy Train” of life. You really get his feelings about everything that has made him the person who makes us laugh. It is worth reading even if your not big into Ozzy’s music. The insights into the music industry, traveling and other aspects of being a musician make this a very interesting look at how it all works and sometimes doesn’t work. Excellent Read, good luck on the new album Ozzy and Black Sabbath.

Music News…..Billy K ….BB BlackDog and more.

Well Billy K Band is now out of the studio and they say they have some good stuff.
Billy K Band is out on the road again in Jan at Riley’s Place in OK on the 21st.
BB Black Dog will be coming to the US. They are scheduled in Denver, Mar 24 at Anomaly Con and in Jefferson, Texas on Mar 31 for The Nightmare Machines, Steampunk Festival.
Papa Juke and M.D. Friedman will be playing in Loveland tonight, Longmont tomorrow and Aurora and Arvada, Co the rest of this month. Check ReverbNations for places and times.
Broken Tongues will be at the Gothic Theatre in Englewood on Feb. 10th and Oak Tavern, Denver Co. on Feb. 24th.
Phil Lesh & Friends at the 1st Bank Center, Co. on Feb. 16th.
Radiohead is already Sold Out for March at the 1st Bank Center.

Steampunk Group from the UK……BB BlackDog, talks.

This group has listed itself as Alternative/Psychedelic/Stoner/SteamPunk as well as Progressive/Rock, what you can say about them is they have a style that is fun and innovative. Dale Rowles was kind enough to give me a little information about the group.

How did you get started, little history bio basically?

Well, not an easy question really, BB BlackDog formed completely by Accident, as with most things that happen to us, I was selling musical instruments for a living, and met a Guitar
builder (Stefan Becker) at a party in Germany, he had been given some studio time by a friend for his Birthday, and said it would be funny to try and make some songs, with just 2
bass and drums, so we found a session drummer, wrote 6 songs in 3 days and recorded them in 2, I thought nothing more of it, until a phone call from Germany, saying they had been
put on the net, people loved them, and we’d better find a Full time Drummer and record more, so Enter “Axel Boldt” (Chief Engineear Axel Boldt) 6’9″ giant of a German Drummer.
We went back to the studio, recorded 2 Albums worth of Material, and booked our first Tour, back in June 2007.
Stefan Left due to other commitments in 2010, replaced By John Ferguson (Baron von Gimphausen). Plus Myself Dale Rowles on the higher bass and vocals.

What or who inspired you?
At the moment the Steampunk Community, We never actually set out to be anything, just write and play songs we like, but were adopted by the steampunk community, mostly after John joined, due to our stage outfits, but since then, we’ve embraced it fully, as it just suits us perfectly. Must be said that without Jack Bruce, Geezer Butler, Geddy Lee, and Chris Squire I wouldn’t have been a bass player.

What instruments do you play and who manufactured them?
We’ve 2 full sets of Kit, but got everything down to a little over 2 flight cases each.
John Plays a Custom Built 5 String Beckergittarrenbau Bass, or a 5 string Stingray Bass we’ve fiddled with a bit.
Axel Plays a Custom Yamaha Drum Kit in Sparkly pink, or a Kit he built himself from Ikea Plant pots !
I play a Rickenbacker 4001, Bass from 1974, without a neck pickup and extended to 24 frets with a crybaby wha and boss blues driver, or a custom built Beckergittarrenbau 4 string bass with built in overdrive and a crybaby wha, Honer Marine Band Harmonica and an AKG D5 Mike.
We also get a bose L1 and 4 B1’s plus a mixer and mikes etc in the 2 box’s, so self contained in 2 flight cases including drums.

What do you listen too?
Quite varied, Axel like’s funk, Prince, grand master Flash and the like, as well as metal and rock, John is a big Pink Floyd and Jazz fan, but he’s very knowledgeable across the board, As for my influences, I grew up in the 70’s so progressed from T Rex and Bowie into Black Sabbath, and Deep purple, the psychedelic Rock scene, then Punk, but I’m quite varied in my listening now, I suppose it all comes through.

What makes you happy? sad?
My Girlfriend would say its whether Derby county win or not, but I think apart from the clichés its when I’m playing that I’m happiest, there’s a lot things I see in this world I’m sad about, but I try and only think about the ones I can do something about, the rest I probably moan about in songs.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
What’s that ?

If you could do anything you wanted what would it be?
Pretty much doing it. like to be playing and writing more, but its a reality booking, promo, web sites, labels and the like take more of my time, we’ve a lot of help from some great friends and fans now, but it’s still a full time job organising everything.

Anything else you think people don’t already know about you that you want to share?
We’re 2 bass players, and a drummer, 2 English and a German, with a love of the Steampunk style and philosophy, just trying to make some original honest music, what you get on the recordings is what you get live, we don’t overdub, use click tracks, or Auto tune, just mike everything up and play, of course there’s delay and reverb etc on the recordings, as well as being mixed and mastered but nothing we can’t do live simply and quickly.
3 Simple Men playing simple and hopefully entertaining/humorous music. (we do have dancers, of Burlesque and belly dance in nature, with us at many of our shows, but nothing to graphic, just suggestive, we are Steampunks after all ! )

Have you got another album in the works and/or music videos?
We’ve already recorded the Next Album, artwork on the way, this one is with a 24 page comic book featuring the Band, hopefully out in March.
Actually made a few Music Video’s, latest of which is at, always have a lot of fun, most of them directed and edited at least by Mika Reshoft, our friend from Germany
We’ve also made a full feature film “Steal the show” out on DVD with a couple of live concerts as bonus.

Could you tell me a little about your manager and label.
Well, we manage ourselves.
We’ve our own label “Whitedog records” and our own webshop “
While I’m doing the cheeky plugs, and for Gigs and info
Thanks a Lot, its appreciated, Cheers Dale Rowles.

You can also find them at MySpace and YouTube.
And Thank you Dale.

M.D. Friedman and Papa Juke, solo or as part of group he’s very cool.

Solo “Mad Dog” does a range of poetry/blues/and other music. As part of Papa Juke they do Blues/Juke/Jam.
So I asked him a few questions and got some information about Papa Juke to share with all of you.

How did you get started, little history bio basically?

I was 16 years old when I first heard Jack Bruce of the Cream playing “Train Time.” This was what inspired me to take up the harmonica, and I have never put it down. It is part of who I am and how I see the world.

What or who inspired you?
My early influences include John Mayall , Son Boy Williamson, Sonny Terry, Big Walter Horton, Big Mama Thorton, James Cotton, Mark Wenner , Norton Buffalo and Taj Mahal. More recently Sugar Blue, Jason Ricci , Carlos del Junco, Harper and Howard Levy never cease to amaze me.

What instruments do you play and who manufactured them?
My favorite harmonicas right now are the Marine Band Crossovers from Hohner. Generally, I prefer sealed wood comb diatonic harmonicas with good durability. The Crossover has all this and a great tuning as well. I play on Shaker harmonica mics and like the Mad Dog model for most situations. My amp is a Fender Princeton Recording Amp.

What do you listen too?
I listen to all types of music but always come back to Sugar Blue and Son Boy Williamson for inspiration. Trampled Under Foot and Treasa Levasseur are big on my current play list.

What makes you happy? sad?
Playing music, writing songs and poetry, making art and love is what makes me ecstatic. If I start to feel sad, I just play a little blues until everything is alright again.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
I like hiking in the mountains, being in nature, listening to music, sleeping in and doing nothing.

If you could do anything you wanted what would it be?
Live forever.

Anything else you think people don’t already know about you that you want to share?
I don’t hide much from anyone interested. My personal website,, is the best place to go to find out more about me.

Have you got another album in the works and/or music videos?
The new Papa Juke CD, Out of the Blues, is starting to get significant international airplay and national acclaim. That has taken up most of my creative energy until quite recently. I am currently working on a digital poem (like a music video for poetry) called “Never Ask a Poet Directions.” I am also learning to play Theremin for live sound sculpting with my performance poetry.

How hard has it been managing your own label and yourself?

Managing our own label is time and energy consuming and sometimes tedious, but definitely worth the expense and effort. Managing myself has always been difficult. (You know how those musicians are!)
ReverbNation, BlogSpot, Facebook, MySpace, WordPress.

Papa Juke
They have a wonderful website Papa Juke. They are also on ReverbNation, YouTube, MySpace. Scene Magazine article.

Thanks for the interview and good luck.