February 15-16, 2013 • Harrisburg, PA
|L to R - Joey Welz, Dr. Louis DeLise, and Jimmy Clark from AE|
When Artist Enhancement (AE) first landed at MMC 2013 on the morning of Friday, February 15th, there wasn't much activity at all. The lobby was mostly barren of vendors, there were maybe 50 wandering music professionals and there was a mostly silent vibe to the whole conference center. This isn't a terribly strange thing to see on the first day of a conference, most people don't arrive until Friday night, but I suppose I had a higher expectation from 2012 MMC. Last year the place was bustling right from 11am on the first day. In all fairness this particular day has been very cold...very windy...and very much grey.
Most of Day 1 was spent trying to mingle with people rather than sit through the informational panels, which can sometimes get pretty redundant for many year veterans of these events. We did check check out one panel regarding copyright law. It's never unwise to hear how the process works a few extra times over, as it's semi-complicated unless you're a music lawyer.
The highlight of the afternoon was seeing one of my current mentors, Dr. Louis DeLise, who was there doing one-on-one sit downs with bands and artists. We got to hang out and chat for a bit, but best of all, he introduced me to Joey Welz, of Bill Haley & The Comets fame (pictured above). It's always cool to hear stories from the older generations of Rock 'n Roll. He was talking about how they used to stick pencils into the amplifiers to get early forms of distortion... very cool!
Friday night was also relatively uneventful, except for a trip over to Liquid 891, one of the music venues that my band, Amber Blues, used to frequent when in Harrisburg. It was nice to catch up with the owners Jeff and Tim and to hear some of the artists that were performing as part of the conference.
|L to R - Troy Walls, Jimmy Clark (AE), and Kelly Carvin|
By Saturday morning, it was clear that the conference had finally kicked off properly.
The conference hall was a gathering of Halloween-Party-like proportions.... to the left, emo-types wearing their skinny jeans and hoodies, and shock-rockers sporting their wildly colored hairstyles... to the right, metal heads fully equipped with wallet chains and leather jackets, followed by sunglass-wearing, hat-tilted sideways hip hoppers....you name it, it was there.
The rooms were all buzzing with lively conversations... everyone selling something. This kid wants you to take his CD or allow him the chance to explain how his band will change the history of music... that guy wants you to try his newest online-music-marketing software or social media platform... another guy is trying to book time at his local recording studio... and so it goes...
• Artists The Artists that AE had the pleasure to interact with include:
Kelly Carvin with Troy Walls
Jimmy Clark and Kelly Carvin go back a few years, having shared a similar gig circuit in the NJ/NY/PA region as well as many mutual friends (of the musician and non-musician status).
Kelly recently relocated to Nashville, TN, so interactions lately have been few and far between, which made it even more awesome that they got the chance to jam together at the Midtown Scholar on Saturday. The lineup was Kelly on Vocals/Guitar, Troy on Vocals/Guitar, and Jimmy on Shakers, Didgeridoo, and Cajon. Adding Jimmy into the mix was an on-the-spot decision.
Kelly performed selections from her old catalog including "Kills Me" and "Heartstrings" as well as a few new Nashville-inspired ones. Of all the songs played, the one that stuck out the most was a new one "Would You Say It Too", which is a duet between Kelly and Troy. Of all of her songs, it's one of her strongest to date. It's easy to see how Kelly and her songwriting style have evolved, and all in great ways.
The venue was amazing and definitely worth mentioning. The Midtown Scholar has an extensive history, with uses ranging from one of the earliest (first) movie Theaters in Harrisburg, to being a multilevel Department Store, to a library. Today the building is a Cafe / Bookstore and it's absolutely beautiful and very easy to re-imagine once you've seen it. It looks like it came straight out of a movie. Lastly, their Tea menu is rather extensive, and the pastry selection is stellar.
These guys (and gal) were quite the interesting group from Cleveland Ohio. As their name suggests, they play some raunchy rock.
Watching the band at Coakley's Pub was a lot of fun. They would lock into these drone-riffs and rhythm sections that when combined with each performers own brand of twitch-jerk-sway movements, instantly entrances you. They were very aggressive but also expressive. As their name suggests, every song they performed during their set were thrashy rockers....no ballads...no sentimental moments....just rock.
A unique aspect of this band, is that they have a female bassist who also sings lead from time to time. At one point in the show, she took the mic for a lead singing moment, while the bands frontman, picked up the bass and from there they switched positions. This can sometimes make a band sound a little less tight if the players are switching just for the novelty aspect, but the Ragers raged on just as strong and the energy never dropped.
AE got to hang with the band later that night at the hotel after party, and it was then, as we watched them down Cinnamon Whiskey and beers, that their choice in a band name was Certified... and an awesome time was had by all (till about 3:30am).
The Curse of Sorrow
AE met these guys in the lobby of the hotel. The bands' frontman, Nick, was very personable and did a great job of talking up the act. He was sporting a bandanna, ripped jeans, a Misfits inspired jacket, tattoos wherever there was skin and the slightest hint of leftover black eyeliner (no doubt from a show the night before).
A few hours later at their set at The Drinking Bone, we experienced The Curse Of Sorrow and were totally blown away by their showmanship and group vibe.
Their look matched their music, all of which was classic punk-metal flavor with heavy Misfits, Pantera and Metallica influences. Each member of the band had a great distinctive look--
even the two guitarists who looked like twins...both sporting closely shaved heads and long Kerry King-style goatees. They reminded me of the reverse versions of ZZ Top. Both guys could play...that's for sure.
These guys really captured the essence of all the best old-school bands within their genre.
It was fun to experience a group that managed to tap into that classic energy.
• More from MMC 2013
|LOU! From ReverbNATION! We ♥ this guy!|
|ReverbNation Lobby Party Saturday Night, hanging with Betty Jo, |
Steve from The Curse of Sorrow; Dream Killer from North Carolina; and The Ragers... 2207
|Jesse Smith and the Holy Ghost, from West Virginia|
|Scott Mulvahill, from TN|
|The Death Billies hooked up JC with a new patch for his jacket|
|Partying with The Ragers|
• Jimmy's Final Thoughts...
As a student of my own craft, which is Artist Development, I try to be constantly aware of the little things that can be adjusted to make a larger and more lasting impact. When at these types of events as a spectator, rather then as a performer, it's interesting to see the various people and to hear of their successes and failures, and to gain perspective of where I fall into the mix. I feel that I'm equally able to teach and to learn at events like this. I can see through certain layers of BS, and I am very familiar with a lot of the material they cover in the panels and seminars, but there's always new technology or services that emerge to be informed about. For me it's all about the networking above all else.
For the better part of a decade I was almost exclusively "selling" my band Amber Blues, and now that I'm "selling" Artist Enhancement more often, I'm finding that I have just as much work to do as I typically assign to my clients. I suppose it's pretty normal to neglect one's own development when you spend most of your time doing it for others.
That said, the specific thing I have been focusing on since Millennium Conference is the answer to the question "So what qualifies you as an expert?..." This is something that I have been asked a few times in the last few months, and each time I've managed to explain what I do in a nutshell that gets the point across quickly and clearly.
"Well let's hear it!!!...."
"Ok... I'll focus on only 1 of the services I provide for now, which is my Feedback & Critique Service. To answer the question "What makes you an expert?".., I say "I offer an educated outside opinion, which is supported by 15 years of ongoing education and experience. I have portfolios of my work spanning numerous fields, and I posses not only the ability to see the whole picture, as well as the small pieces, but also the Organizational & Focus Skills to put it all together. "
So I kinda just winged that now... didn't really edit it, but that's okay...in a few months I've revisit the question as well as my answers again, and see where it's at.
* A special thanks to Nora Carreras for sheltering AE at her lovely home while at the conference! ♥
'Til Next Time.... Thanks for reading;
Jimmy Clark & Katy Ann