SMC Spotlight No.1 | Mike Rogers ‘Ghostroads: A Japanese Rock & Roll Ghost Story’ Exclusive!

By Candice Anne Marshall

When we talk about Halloween, we are encompassing all it entails: witches, black cats, vampires, monsters, and…. ghosts. This leads into today’s epic launch which I personally have been beyond excited to finally be able to share. Here’s why…

In October of 2015, I promoted a video for fashion art rock band Palaye Royale for their song ‘White’ off their upcoming ‘Boom Boom Room Side A’ album. The video content included an intro from InterFM897 Japans ‘WhatTheFunday’ radio show for the band. The show was hosted in part by Mr. Mike Rogers and after tagging it in our SMC post, Mike and I connected. What a ride it’s been too! In the two years that I have known Mike, we have conversed, collaborated, shared mutual likes of the Artists we support, laughed, and networked like crazy. This has led to some of the most prominent stories on the SMC Spotlight platform with notables such as Mr. John Ferriter, The Tearaways, Stephen David Brooks, Chris Craker (Karma Sound Studios), and The Fontaines. This is just scratching the surface too.

There is so much that goes into the background of someone as interesting as Mike Rogers and this goes beyond his vast connections: it is the fact that he speaks candidly, honestly, and humorously in his own blog ‘Marketing Japan’ (see here). This is something this world really needs: honest and factual journalism and the fact that Mike is willing to write a truthful account of his experience with ‘Sex PistolsJohn Lydon aka: ‘Johnny Rotten’ in ‘I Interviewed Johnny Rotten – The True Story’ was, in my opinion, deserving of a massive applause. It isn’t often these days that many are willing to write responsible journalism, and Mike is. That bodes well in my books! Enough that I have formally invited Mike to be supported on the SMC Spotlight website and he has agreed. If you look to the right of this feature (desktop) or below it (mobile or tablet), you will see that his blog has been added to our roster with ‘The Chronicles’, ‘Little Black Book Club’, and ‘SMC Artist of the Year’. Take a moment to read it, there’s a lot to learn from someone who has the background he has…

Which leads me into Mike’s background: he’s been a Musician (The Rotters), General Manager of a major Japanese broadcasting station (TV Tokyo owned InterFM), produced smash hit programs and several of Japan’s highest rated and most famous radio programs, and most recently, Wrote and produced full-length motion picture “Ghostroads – A Japanese Rock and Roll Ghost Story“. This bringing me to the purpose of launching his first ever SMC Spotlight fittingly, today, Halloween day. This is a film, is a truly entertaining thrill ride from start to finish and has earned some serious awards and nods at prestigious Film Festivals worldwide including the Raindance Film Festival. The story line is both humorous and steeped in truths: ‘what would you do for fame?’ being the tagline. It is reflective of an individual who has not only seen the best and the worst of the entertainment industry, he has lived them.

The vibrancy and quality of this film, featuring brilliant music by some of Japans most famous bands (The Neatbeats, The Privates, The 50 Kaitenz) show Mikes serious credibility in his role of Director and Producer. I recommend anyone who is looking for something to take them away from their day to day grind or the negativity of what’s going on in the world today and turn their attention to this film. It is quickly becoming an iconic rock and roll (and dare I say, Halloween) music cult classic which I can easily put up there with the likes of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. I know what you are thinking: ‘Did she just say that?’ Yes, yes I did because undoubtedly, in my mind, it’s something you will want to watch every year!

Editor’s Note: Mike, I am personally congratulating you on your accomplishment with this film. I realize and can appreciate how much strategy, planning, and hard work goes into these kinds of projects from start to finish. So, I will say to you this: I am very picky with the kinds of art I will lend my praise to – it must be exceptional. With ‘Ghostroads’, you have created a masterpiece and I look forward to supporting you on your future projects going forward. This film, honestly, gets a five out of five Starlight Music Chronicles star rating. Congrats!

Mike Rogers on the red carpet in London
Photo Courtesy: Mike Rogers

SMC Spotlight Exclusive Interview | Mike Rogers ‘Ghostroads: A Japanese Rock and Roll Ghost Story’

SMC – Hello Mike! This Spotlight has been a very long time coming my friend! Let’s begin with a little bit of a back story on who you are and how you evolved into your career today. Can you tell us what new readers to our site will want to know about Mike Rogers?

Mike – OK. You can ask me anything. Like about the time I was the driver (and booze runner) for Burt Reynolds on the set of the film Boogie Nights in 1997. Or how about the time when Justin Beiber, in a foaming-at-the-mouth rage, tried to stab me in the shoulder with a butter knife at Mick Jagger’s pool party because a drunk and topless Selena Gomez was riding on my shoulders and screaming at him and singing “I’m so over you!”… I have lots of those!

Ghostroads Film Festival award accomplishments
Photo Courtesy: Mike Rogers
Official Ghostroads Movie Poster with awards
Photo Courtesy: Mike Rogers

Ghostroads

SMC – I am going to get right into this interview with your film ‘Ghostroads: A Japanese Rock and Roll Ghost Story’, which has been getting some major traction on the film festival circuit. Which awards, or accomplishments have you won or been acknowledge for to date?

Mike – Well, the biggest thing so far is getting selected at Raindance Film Festival in London. Raindance is one of the most famous and respected film festivals in the world, so even though we didn’t win any big high-falutin’ awards, just being selected at Raindance is incredible. Many film makers try all their lives and never get into a festival like Raindance. I have to thank my “Cinema Sensei,” Stephen David Brooks, (see Stephen David Brooks interview here) who actually, has become one of my very best friends, for all the coaching and advice. Without him, we’d have never gotten into that festival. That’s not bullshit, it’s true. And a big thanks to John Ferriter for introducing me to Stephen. John Ferriter is tops too (and plays lead tambourine for the rock band, The Tearaways), as your readers already know! (see John Ferriter interview here)

We’ve been in several other festivals as “also-ran” but, actually, we’ve only won one award so far. It was for “2nd Place” in the “Best Foreign Feature Category.” I think the official award title for second-place is “The Film That Sucks Less Than the Others” award…. Or something like that.

SMC – I have personally seen this film and can NOT say enough good about it. There are no films like it on the market today which not only have appealed to foreign culture in Japan and the UK, but has also been getting attention in North America as well. (which is where we are based) What is the greatest compliment you have received on this film so far?

Mike – Hmmm? That’s a hard one. I figured out that, naturally, when someone is making their first movie, no one expects much… So, I’ve gotten remarks like, “Wow! That was better than I expected.” Or, “I’ve seen other films that friends made and they were all bad. This was really good!” Or, from my wife’s mom and dad, scratching their heads after watching the film and asking, “What was that all about?”

I guess the best compliment was from the top program director of Raindance who wrote, “Congratulations on a truly great film.” That blew my mind… I can’t imagine a higher compliment than that. I cried the night when I read that comment from her.

SMC – The synopsis of this film is basically selling your soul to the Devil (Ghost) for instant fame. We see this all the time in our industry. Is this a personal experience you have had or seen happen?

Mike – Yes. You guys are going to think I am nuts, so you can skip over this next part if you wish, but I have seen this personally. Now, I am not a religious person and I follow no organized religion, but I personally know people who made deals (by prayer to somebody) for fame… (As Bobby Dylan says, “It may be heaven, or it may be hell, but you gotta serve somebody.”)

I also saw and heard bad things that happened to them and their families…. I don’t know why these bad things happened to them. Was it because of the deal? Was it bad karma? I don’t know….

But, entertain me for a second here. What is “fame”?

If you make a deal with a Manager, Agent, label, or Publisher or, yes, even the Devil for “fame” then you’d have to damn well know and write down what exactly “fame” means. You know that guy in town whose always drunk and getting into fights down by the billiard hall? Yeah. Everyone knows who he is.

He’s famous, isn’t he?

There are conceited jerks I’ve met who played infield for a famous professional baseball team here in Japan… They were “famous.” But what is famous? You don’t know their names. I don’t know their names. The average person walking on the street wouldn’t recognize them if they saw them. But they are “famous.”

There are many levels of fame. I think that “famous,” I mean, really “famous,” means that anywhere in the world where you walked, many people would recognize you; that’s famous.

So, being in some rock band, having a hit on the charts, being a radio DJ, etc. etc. That’s not really famous…. Michael Jackson? David Bowie? Adolf Hitler? Winston Churchill? Donald Trump? Yeah… People would recognize them. They are famous.

Is this a good thing?

That’s about all I can say on this subject… I could write a book about things I’ve seen involving this person – these people – who I know made a deal for fame….

But the devil doesn’t exist, right?

As for me, I believe in these things much like the great American writer, Samuel Clemens who was also known as Mark Twain; once said, “I do not believe in ghosts, but I sure am afraid of them.”

The old saying goes, “You’d better be careful of what you wish for.”

Scene from the film ‘Ghostroads: A Japaneze Rock & Roll Ghost Story
Photo Courtesy: Mike Rogers

SMC – From start to finish, what was the length of time spent getting this film made?

Mike – I almost died in a hospital in Sept 2014. It was there where I decided to make a film before I died and wrote the first idea on a napkin. The film was completed in May 2017. So almost 2 1/2 years from conception to finish.

SMC – Tell us about the selection of brilliant talent you have in this film – I can see that you carefully chose some pretty stellar talent from Japan!

Mike – I chose the bands, the Neatbeats, the Privates, the 50 Kaitenz, because those three are my favorite Japanese bands of all-time. Foreigners don’t usually know good Japanese bands because the only Japanese acts that people know outside of Japan are released on major labels. Take Baby Metal (please!) these big money labels create these acts and sell them… It’s OK, I get it. When I was a kid, I liked the Monkees too… But, I am astounded at how I sometimes talk to foreigners (who are over 12 years old) who like stuff like Baby Metal.

The Neatbeats, the Privates, the 50 Kaitenz, are the real thing. They are DIY indies acts. They have all been offered deals with majors, but they do things the indies way… Why? Because everyone knows, major labels have a way of screwing up good indies acts. It is common knowledge, isn’t it?

Also, I chose those bands because they are easy to explain to a foreign audience in just a few words. The Neatbeats are the ‘Japanese Beatles,’ the Privates are the ‘Japanese Buzzcocks,’ the 50 Kaitenz are the ‘Japanese Ramones.” Simple is always best, especially when making a sales presentation… And, in life, nearly everything is a “sales presentation.”

The other actors and actresses in the movie I found because I have always been impressed by European films and off-beat movies that have strong and unforgettable characters – unlike American films which always have people who look like fashion models in them with perfect teeth. In a nutshell, in my movies, I want many to look like the circus act on the cover of the classic album by the Doors, “Strange Days.” I want people who look like freaks – because we are all freaks somewhere deep down inside – and I want strange people because, as the song goes, “People are strange.” We are all strange.

In fact, if you really stop to think about it, the more you get to know people, the stranger they become.

Besides the strangers, I also have one of Japan’s top sex symbol girls in the film, Mina Shirakawa, and Miwa Rock who is one of Japan’s most famous burlesque dancers.

So, there’s something for everybody.

Scene from the film ‘Ghostroads: A Japaneze Rock & Roll Ghost Story
Photo Courtesy: Mike Rogers

SMC – You also have a cameo in this film as the narrator. Is this your first role in a movie?

Mike – Oh no. I had been in many famous Japanese TV dramas in the eighties; with lots of Japan’s most famous stars! In Ghostroads, I only narrate in the trailer. That’s my voice in the trailer saying, “A struggling Japanese rocker finds a haunted amp with a ghost who promises fame.” (see at end of this interview). I am in the actual movie several times though. You know the scene where the girl throws a beer can out the window of the car? I’m driving.

In fact, that girl is/was one of Japan’s most famous actresses. She has been a big star since the 1980s. She was a sex symbol and starred in literally hundreds of movies and TV shows and commercials galore. Everyone in Japan knows who she is. But she only appears for a split second, so only a few people have spotted her so far… It’s like, well, imagine getting Lindsay Wagner out of retirement and cameo in your film? Or getting Lillian Gish to appear in Whales of August?…. That’s what it is like having this former super-star in the film.

Also, when the story teller is showing the high school yearbook and mentioning about how some jerk acts like your friend, but he steals your girlfriend and you hate that guy forever? That’s my high school senior year photo he is looking at.

SMC – Can you tell me the behind-the-scenes story while making this film?

Mike – I tried to run this film as a business with a profit motive. I am reminded of an anecdote about a very famous businessman and industrialist named John D. Rockefeller. One time, newspaper reporters were interviewing Rockefeller and they attacked him as not being especially knowledgeable about trains or the steel industry. Rockefeller responded by saying, “Perhaps I am not an expert on these subjects, but I am smart enough to hire people around me who are experts.” I never forget that.

As one of the most important jobs of any Producer (be they the manager or founder of a business, or whatever) is to get people around you who are better than you are. It is also wise for any business owner or producer to hire people who are smarter than they are. The smartest management hire smart people so that these smart people tell them what to do. Of course! What’s the point of hiring people who are smarter or more talented than we are if we are going to tell them what to do?

So, when I started out this film, and a big reason it came out so well is that, my #1 priority was not protection of my position, but the success of the project. So, I went out and got a director who was better than me; he had a much better eye for design and composition. He was a true artist. I also hired a cameraman who is really top class and stubborn as hell; he’s stubborn because he’s great at what he does. Of course, my partner, Ken Nishikawa, is a genius at editing and musical styling. Ken is one of the top in his field in Japan and the best editor I’ve ever met. So, with every job, I tried to get people better than me to do specific tasks. I think that is the core reason the film looks the way it does and has enjoyed the success it has; I could have never done this without that great team.

So, we had an Italian director; an American cameraman; a Japanese editor and actors and actresses; Darrell Harris from Nebraska (as a ghost) and me. It was often chaos at the shoots.

Oh, by the way, a guy named Yuji Wada, was our lighting “sensei.” Yuji is a famous Hollywood lighting director. You all know the Bill Murray film, “Lost in Translation”? Yuji does all the lighting for Sophie Coppola’s films. Yuji was my friend and next-door neighbor for ten years… I asked him to help and one day he came and showed us how to do the lighting. I like to think I am a fast learner and I am good at copying people, so when Yuji showed us how to light scenes, we merely mimicked what he showed us. That’s why the film has the lighting it does. Of course, if Yuji could have done it for us himself, we’d be talking about winning an Academy Award, but, beggars can’t be choosers.

Because I am a radio show host and producer, I also am a professional talker; so, I went out to Phillips Electronics (technology company) and convinced them to just give me a thousand dollars (USD) of high tech lighting equipment for absolutely free in trade for putting their name in the credits. When I went there to ask for these high-tech lights I was surprised they eagerly said, “Yes!” so quickly. I actually said to them, “Wait! What? OK? Don’t I have to grovel or something?”

The point is that if you are making a record or a movie, you need to be flamboyant and you need to overcome insecurities and your own fears. Asking for something doesn’t cost anything and there is no risk; all they can do is say, ‘No!’ But you have to have a professional presentation prepared and you must have confidence.

I was prepared for the meeting with Phillips. I had a great trailer, printed synopsis and staff and actors and actresses lists. I had mentally prepared and I knew in my heart that them giving me those lights was a good deal for them too! I know now that they were very happy with the film. I was happy to save a few thousand dollars on lighting.

SMC – You are the Producer/Writer/Director for this film. Do you feel that you had greater creative control of this film by wearing all three hats?

Mike – Yes. I always had the veto over everything… I do realize that I did fail in one thing though; during shooting, we often had a problem with important staff being constantly late. Other issues occurred with arguments over absurd things with the staff. Much later, when the editor and I finished the film and I had informed the editor that we had been accepted at Raindance, the world-famous festival, and I had sold the right for sales and distribution of the film – along with a healthy advance – to a very famous Japanese major film company, my partner, Ken, was almost speechless.

He said to me, “None of us ever thought, in our wildest dreams, that we’d come this far with this movie. In fact, the director and the cameraman were convinced we didn’t even have enough footage for a proper feature film! For a trailer? Maybe. But not a film. Only, you, Mike. You were the only one who believed from the start to the finish that this could happen.”

When he told me this, I wasn’t especially happy because I realized that I had failed in an important part of the project; I had failed to properly explain to the staff what we were going to do. I had failed to get them to realize the vision and the dream. I then understood why the director was always late; why the cameraman would complain about ridiculous things; they didn’t believe that this would become a proper film; they didn’t believe it would be entered in festivals and win awards (hell, they didn’t even believe it would be completed). They never believed for a second that the film would be sold to a Japanese major film studio. So, this was my failure; I didn’t get them to understand the dream and the vision.

We did this well, with people who had no belief or confidence? Imagine how much better it could have been if they believed and became better than themselves? I will always regret this shortcoming of mine.

But, even in the bible Jesus talks about this: I guess it doesn’t matter what others believe. It only matters what I believe. I believed we could do this and be successful.

Though, that the film has done this well and is so successful is nothing short of a miracle. Next film, will astound people even more. I really believe that too.

Scene from the film ‘Ghostroads: A Japaneze Rock & Roll Ghost Story
Photo Courtesy: Mike Rogers

SMC – While doing my research, I came across a video of you wearing a sandwich board shaking a rattle for the Raindance viewing of your film. Great Stuff! What kind of reaction did you get from that?

Mike – When I was in London at the theater, some friends told me that they had been to some film screenings and, in a theater that seats 200 people, there would only be three to eight people in paid attendance!

I couldn’t believe it!

I was shocked. I thought about my wife. What would she say if I had spent three years of my life making a movie, spent another $2000 going 6000 miles to the other side of the earth only to have it viewed by four people (including me?)

So, with that, I decided what my mission was: I had decided to sell out our screenings or, if I couldn’t, to at least give it the good old samurai try (try or die trying!)

I decided that since we couldn’t hang posters at the theater, I’d take my biggest poster and make a sandwich sign. Then I’d stand in front of the theater wearing the sign every day.

I went to an art shop and bought the supplies for making the sandwich sign. I then went home and constructed it with more loving care than mom making Christmas dinner. The next morning, I went back to the theater with my sandwich sign and put it on and I stood there; in the heat and the sun… I would stand in front of the theater with my sign for four and a half or five hours every day.

I wondered why other filmmakers are so self-conscious and embarrassed that they refuse to promote their own films in this way? Nobody really cares what we do. Nobody watches us as much as we like to think they do.

I was a curiosity to the other people at the film festival. Many ridiculed me, some laughed; others just gawked. A few said that I was an inspiration and wondered why other filmmakers didn’t promote their films this way… One time two young filmmakers walked past me, laughed and pointed at me, and one said, “That’s what we should be doing. I wonder how much that costs?”

A few days later, I was informed that the World Premiere of my movie, “Ghostroads – a Japanese Rock n Roll Ghost Story” was sold out; one of the few films that were sold out!

People had laughed at me as Sandwich Man! But there also is an old saying, “He who laughs last, laughs best.” I laughed so hard I almost cried when I heard we had sold out the first night and the second night was nearly sold out. I felt redeemed.

I wrote all about it here (I think it’s a pretty funny story with an important lessons for filmmakers and musicians alike)

SMC – What was your experience like working with The Neatbeats for this film?

Mike – Before shooting started, I was very good friends with the Neatbeats and, especially their leader, Mr. Pan. But, as I mentioned above, there were all sorts of problems during shooting. The worst problem was important staff being constantly late. Being late like this is out of the question in Japan, so Mr. Pan would get angry with me about it.

You see, in Japan, for any mistake or screw-up, management will never blame the staff. I was the producer; I was captain of the ship, so if we hit an iceberg, it was my fault. This is the Japanese way. In the Japanese way of doing things, no matter what happens, the boss takes responsibility.

The top boss is always the person responsible for what goes on. The captain could never say to the crew and passengers, “That idiot navigator didn’t see the iceberg. So, we hit it.”

That would never happen in Japan.

I often had frank discussions with the critical person who was often late and told him the ways of the locals and so, he came to understand the cultural differences between his country and Japan. This is only an example of many issues that occurred with regularity.

But, in many cases, the damage was done. The leader of the Neatbeats, Mr. Pan would call me on the phone and start berating me in local-dialect Japanese (which was difficult to understand – but I knew he was mad). I know the way of the people of this country, so I know that it would be best to handle it the Japanese way: I had to take responsibility. I was, indeed, my fault. I could not blame the guilty party. Why? Because I hired him. It is my fault.

I would allow Mr. Pan to yell at me on the phone for 30 or 40 minutes straight and I would merely reply, “Yes. I know” or “Yes. I think so.” I would do this and not talk back until Mr. Pan grew weary of shouting at me and he’d finally calm down. I’d eventually tell him I would try to rectify the situation and then I would smooth things over.

That was my biggest job as producer: keeping the team together, keeping the peace and trying to keep the boat from capsizing.

I thank a famous producer in Japan named Motoyoshi Tai who showed me that the best way to handle pissed off people is to let them yell at you (agreeing with them) until they tire out and then promising that you’d do your best to remedy the situation.

I think many Americans would do themselves well to learn this way; getting into a hellacious fight and then people quitting mid-project is never a good result for anyone. A smart Producer knows how to handle it.

SMC –  What is one thing you wish you could do differently for this film if you had the opportunity?

Mike – As I mentioned above, I would have taken more time to explain to people what was going on and to get them to understand the vision. I think about it now, and I have made very famous programs and TV shows here in Japan, some of them with millions of viewers (10 million in 6 months on an internet TV show).  But I guess the staff didn’t know that or they didn’t understand or didn’t believe in what we were trying to accomplish.

Next time I will make sure everyone understands and is on board 120%. If they aren’t or they don’t “get it,” I will patiently keep trying to get them to understand. If they don’t, I will replace them.

SMC – What kind of competition is there in the film industry in Japan?

Mike – In Japan, in films, like music, the majors have total control. The difference is that, in Tokyo, there are 3000+ bars and clubs and so-called “Live Houses” where musicians can come and play and hone their craft every night of the week. Some can even break and become famous. There is no such a situation for independent filmmakers like that in Japan. I want to change that.

SMC – What do you find is the most difficult thing to do when promoting your own project?

Mike – In the case of Ghostroads, I had sold it off to a Japanese company before it was even completed, so I don’t really have any stories (besides frustration) at watching how other people handle things… I reckon the biggest problems was, is and will always be budget.

SMC – Can you tell us if there are any upcoming film festivals that this film will be a part of?

Mike – The next big festival is very soon in Europe, but I can’t announce it yet. It’s a big deal but everything seems so cloak and dagger. I’m hoping the win the Golden Tupperware Award (like Stephen David Brooks has) or, maybe I can get some 50% discount tickets on fries at Burger-O-Rama. We’ll see.

Fact: The Golden Tupperware Award is an extremely rare award, and few have ever seen one, even fewer own it.

Trivia: What’s really cool about the coveted Golden Tupperware Award for best film, actor or director is that, even though the base of the award is solid 24 carat gold, the top lid is still, to this day, made of pink plastic as engineers have yet to figure out how to make a solid gold lid malleable enough to snap into an out of an airtight fit. Once they do, the Golden Tupperware Award will truly become a proud member of the Tupperware family.

SMC – Ken Nishikawa is also the co-Director, Editor, Sound Designer, and Translator for this film. What was it like working with him?

Mike – Ken Nishikawa is the nicest guy anyone could ever hope to meet. I’m damned dead serious about that too. He never has a bad word about anyone and I have never heard anyone say anything unpleasant about Ken. No Kidding. I want to be like Ken when I grow up. Ken is a sort of legendary person too as he comes from a famous family. Really. His mom is very famous as she is one of the last true remaining geishas in Japan and Ken is almost done with a documentary about her. It is a wild story: Matsuchiyo – Life of a Geisha.

SMC – Once Ghostroads has circled the film festival circuit, will you be working on another film project?

Mike – I have already started working on another project now. Ghostroads is finishing its festival course. We got very lucky and had our World Premiere at Raindance. Entering smaller festivals (that aren’t famous) is meaningless for sales and promotion. I have a few more festivals coming up (that I signed up for months ago) but I will not be signing up for any new festivals. I will now focus on getting distribution and sales and letting some company handle the rest of the life of this film.

SMC – Who would you like to work with in the future in terms of film?

Mike – Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, Charles Chaplin, Orson Welles and Cecil B. DeMille. But, alas, none of those guys ever answer my emails, so I wrote to Stephen David Brooks instead. Now he and I going to try to make a movie together. I say “try,” and I think Stephen will agree with me, because whenever anyone can actually complete a movie, it is a miracle.

SMC – What advice would you give to someone new wanting to begin a film project?

Mike – Run it like you would any business. If your idea is good, then you should be able to find financing and investment partners. Blowing your parents money on a crap vanity project is no good for you or your parents.

The best advice I ever received from anyone was when Stephen David Brooks told me to read the bible of script writing: “Save the Cat” by Blake Snyder (here) and I recommend, “The Hero with a Thousand Faces”, The Collected Works of Joseph Campbell (here).

Mike Rogers (far left) interviews John Lydon (The Sex Pistols) recently.
Photo Courtesy: Mike Rogers

Career/History

SMC – You have (had) a show on WhatTheFunday at InterFM897 Radio in Japan which I believe is where we met via Palaye Royale – I believe it was after we did a Spotlight on the band for their single ‘White’ (see original post here). Can you tell us how long you have been with the station?

Mike – I can proudly say that I am the only DJ in Tokyo, that has been fired from every radio station in Tokyo at least once. You name it, they’ve canned me. But since FM radio in Tokyo is so lame, I wear that as a stinky badge of honor. I have been fired from InterFM three times now, but they keep hiring me back because I make the best shows. I have been with them since 1996.

I have a new show, The Mike Rogers Show, that starts on Nov. 5, 2017. It’s going to be like a BBC morning show on acid.

SMC – I love seeing the posts on your blog ‘Marketing Japan’ and would love to link it up to this feature as well as our site! You have some of the greatest stories, tips, and shared memories on there with some pretty fantastic people. Can you tell us some back stories that haven’t been shared on that platform?

Mike – I once had to fly to Canada and back on the same day, just so I could sleep with the editor of SMC just to get this interview. Hey! I need the promotion.

SMC – You recently did an interview with John Lydon while you were at Raindance Film Festival. WOW. This is the reason I asked you the previous question. I have to say I truly admire honesty. Way too many will write a fluff or ‘Pollyanna’ story about some of the behaviors of the ‘professionals’ in this music industry. I am happy to see you are not – you write it as you see it – for the facts. What kind of a response did you get from people after you posted that?

Mike – Oh? Mr. Rotten? That’s probably best if the readers go directly and read the entire details by themselves. The article is here: “I Interviewed Johnny Rotten – the True Story.

The festival people and the Theater Manager and staff were furious at John Lydon and his posse. But, I am not mad at the guy and he is still my hero. I totally understand his desire for respect and status. We all have it… So, just because he was drunk and rude to me (well, all of us) it would be childish of me to now say, “I don’t like Johnny Rotten because he was a right ass to me when we met.” Nothing he could do now erases what he did in the past. I just figure that he delivered what was expected of him that night in London. Nothing more. Nothing less.

SMC – I know that you have met a lot of music industry peers over the years. Tell us of a pleasant story that you have a great memory of?

Mike – I think the most formidable and imposing person I have ever met was Siouxsie Sioux. My radio show was so popular in the nineties that we presented her band and concerts, The Creatures, in Japan (the station didn’t present that the concert, my program did!) The Creatures had awesome shows. I think one of the best songs of the nineties was the Creatures’ “Second Floor”.

Siouxsie and her then husband Budgie came to the studio at InterFM. She was a dominating, imposing figure. We were all totally intimidated by her. She was a giant twenty-foot tall rock goddess made of marble, ice and ivory.

Into the studio she strode with Budgie right behind and as she sat on her chair, she looked me straight in the eye, lit a cigarette (she knows there’s no smoking in a radio studio), and said to me, “It’s alright if I smoke, isn’t it?”

We all froze. I didn’t know what to say. Wide-eyed, I gulped and stuttered, “Er, uh, the rules do not apply to the queen.”

After that, we then had a great time and a fantastic interview. She was the most awesome, fearsome musician I have ever met. Later on, we all got to hangout backstage with Siouxsie! How many people can say that?

SMC – Are there any charities or organizations that you support or are passionate about?

Mike – I have always supported Children With Incurable Diseases Charity in Japan. It is called, “Nanbyo.net.” “Nanbyo” means “incurable disease.” (Nanbyonet)

SMC – What do you think is lacking in the music industry today?

Mike – Musicians who have business sense as well as musical talent. People hate the business side of things, but a negative attitude towards an integral part of the business and success is self-defeating and short sighted. The most famous musicians knew this. Michael Jackson and David Bowie were astute businessmen.

SMC – Can you tell us your top indie bands that you like to support?

Mike – There are the rock bands from Japan that I like best (Some of these videos I made with Ken Nishikawa):

The Neatbeats

The Privates

The 50 Kaitenz

The Routes

Taffy

Su Ko D Koi

Moja

The Pats Pats

The Stephanies

The Stompin’ Riff Raffs

These are my favorite bands in Japan.

Oh, and my favorite new foreign band of the year are from Australia. A young band that plays their own instruments and rocks out? I’m in love!

Amyl & The Sniffers

SMC – You have delved in music yourself! I remember reading on your blog that an original record of yours sold for a hefty price too! Tell us about your history in music….

Mike – When I was young, I was in a “One-Hit Wonder” Punk Rock Band. The band’s name was “The Rotters.” We played with the Dead Kennedys, Fear, Black Flag, the Germs, Angry Samoans and a bunch of other 1978~79 Los Angeles Punk Band’s whose names I can’t remember. I’ve written about it here: I Was a Teenage Punk Rocker – Why Dedication Beats Fanaticism Anyday! Even for Punk Rock or Success in Any Field!

After that band broke up, I floundered in a few other bands, but never really did anything that was as exciting as the Rotters… I thought. The band I was in after the Rotters? The Wuffy Dogs? I am told that the single we made is now the “Holy Grail” of late 1970s L.A. Punk singles and sells for nearly $1800. Why? I’m guessing it’s because that band had two former Rotters, the guy who would later become the drummer for M.I.A., and the original guitarist for Berlin (who got kicked out of Berlin because he wanted screaming guitars and Berlin wanted to make pop tunes like, “Take My Breath Away.”)

SMC – What was the turning point in going from a music career to film and where you are today with radio?

Mike – After my band broke up, I wanted to stay in Los Angeles. As a suburban boy, I found L.A. exciting as hell. So, one day, I asked Rodney Bingenheimer (Rodney on the Roq – KROQ Los Angeles) if I could be his assistant. I told him I didn’t need to be paid. He said “OK” and so I was an unpaid Gofer for the World-Famous KROQ’s Rodney on the Roq for about 16 months between mid-1980 – 1981. I would clean up and organize albums that were scattered about in some rooms and also carry records for Rodney to and from his car. The best part of the job was answering the door at KROQ for Rodney and greeting guests who came to be on his show. Through that I got to meet Clem Burke of Blondie, the Ramones, and a bunch of other super famous punk stars whose names escape me at the moment. I used to get stoned with Dee Dee Ramone! I wrote about that here: “Belinda Carlisle Naked, The Ramones, Rodney Bingenheimer and Me – Another True Story

The first time I got to meet Phil Spector was Christmas of 1980 and when he arrived at the door, he didn’t look like a Punk (he looked like my dad!) so I was rude to him (like an idiot!) I didn’t find out until much later who he was!… Doh!

I used to go with Rodney to that all-night diner he lives at (Canter’s Deli) too after almost every show. There I met lots of people who were famous or to become extremely famous later…

I never told people in Japan about that because they wouldn’t believe me. But, one day, Rodney came to Japan and I got to be his tour guide and take care of him for 5 days in Tokyo, so I could pay back, a little bit, all he did for me. (I wrote about that here)

So, had I not been Rodney’s assistant, I probably would have never become a radio DJ.

SMC – I like to ask this question because it means different things to different people: What does ‘Success’ mean to you?

Mike – Being able to live and eat and have a happy family doing what you like. Diana Ross once said, “Show business is not success, it is survival.” So, if you can survive and be happy doing what you want, then that is success.

SMC – Which social media platform are you most active on and why?

Mike – I do Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and I blog. As far as Social Media is concerned, I think one must focus. Social Media is like going to parties. If you are doing too much and too many Social Media (going to too many parties at once), you can’t spend time at any party getting to know people well. I think it’s better to go to a few parties and be able to spend time and talk with friends than having to rush around to a dozen parties, just say, “Hi!” and then leave.

SMC – What are the top attributes you look for when aligning yourself with industry peers for future projects or even simply to network? We all have certain ‘deal-breakers’ when it comes to a certain type of person…

Mike – I like honest people. There are so many dishonest people, it astounds me. And these people are quite easy to pick out as they contradict themselves constantly (though it seems they don’t realize it). I have a bad memory for names and tasks I have to do so I always take notes and I always try to tell the truth. Why? Because, once again, as Mark Twain says, “If you tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything.”

It’s too much trouble lying and then having to remember what you told to who. So, it’s just better to tell the truth.

People who lie habitually, about shit that doesn’t matter, fail to realize it when they contradict themselves. They are their own worst enemy.

May I recommend two very important books?

The Road Less Traveled” and the sequel, “People of the Lie” by F. Scott Peck. Both discuss telling the truth all the time and the second discusses how some people will go to extreme lengths, even kill, in order to protect the lie. The last few chapters of “People of the Lie” are frightening.

SMC – Okay, final question: What in project you would love to get involved in or work on in future?

Mike – Now I am franchising one of the world’s most famous film festivals and bringing it into Japan. I cannot mention the name of the film festival because I have signed a confidentiality agreement. We are now setting up a consortium of some of Japan’s most famous corporations to support this project. It’s going to be huge news all over the world. We will be able to announce it later this year. Think Big!

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Social Media & Media Links for Mike Rogers (click to view)

Mike Rogers Twitter

WhatTheFunday Facebook

Robot55 Facebook

Ghostroads Trailer

Instagram

Confessions of a Sandwich Man

Sochi International Film Festival and Awards

Matsuchiyo – Life of a Geisha

I Interviewed Johnny Rotten – the True Story

The Creatures’ “Second Floor”

“Belinda Carlisle Naked, The Ramones, Rodney Bingenheimer and Me – Another True Story”

Nanbyonet

The Neatbeats

The Privates

The 50 Kaitenz

The Routes

Taffy

Su Ko D Koi

Moja

The Pats Pats

The Stephanies

The Stompin’ Riff Raffs

Amyl & The Sniffers

I Was a Teenage Punk Rocker – Why Dedication Beats Fanaticism Anyday! Even for Punk Rock or Success in Any Field!

Save the Cat by Blake Snyder

The Hero with a Thousand Faces (The Collected Works of Joseph Campbell)

The Road Less Traveled by F. Scott Peck

People of the Lie by F. Scott Peck

 

SMC Spotlight No. 5 | Palaye Royale ‘SMC Exclusive’ Headline Tour Review & Vlog

Indeed, 2017 has been a whirlwind Musicians life for Canadian-born, Los Angeles-based, Fashion Art Rock Band, Palaye Royale. We have been following and documenting the bands career since early 2014 and in that time, we saw them achieve what might seem the impossible for an indie band (see our timeline/history of the bands’ accomplishments below). By late 2016, the band had toured over 225 shows in almost every state, drove close to 100,000 miles, and hugged over 150,000 fans. It goes without saying that this kind of traction doesn’t go unnoticed in the music industry among their peers. Earlier this year the band toured with Andy Black (Black Veil Brides) and is currently touring with Rock Band Sleeping With Sirens on their ‘Gossip’ album tour (which launches September 22nd, 2017), and they plan on hopping the pond to England for their first ever Headline date at London’s Camden Assembly in November (see poster below – tickets can be purchased here). No doubt, this news has their European fanbase scurrying to find a method of transportation to get to them. We don’t even have to ‘suppose’ this is what will happen, we are certain it’s what will be.

Breaking records and making waves is nothing new to Palaye Royale. Well actually, making records is what they’re into these days and with so many accomplishments under their belt since January of this year, I am not surprised. This band is why Starlight Music Chronicles has incepted the very concept of a Spotlight Number Series: they are a trailblazing band who are constantly evolving, creating, touring, and making waves. We have chosen this for many reasons, the main one being: Palaye Royale (comprised of Frontman Remington Leith, Guitarist & Organist Sebastian Danzig, and Drummer Emerson Barrett) have become a permanent fixture in the SMC Family.

The bands loyal fan following, known as Soldiers of the Royal Council, have organized mass street teams globally and the band themselves spend considerable time engaging and responding to this fanbase via social media and their exclusive online fan group. It was this kind of interaction which landed them as first place winners in MTV’s Musical March Madness in 2014 as fans continuously leant their support throughout the competition. They were the first ever Indie band to win this award beating out well-known Artists such as: Coldplay, Fallout Boy, Linkin Park, and Tokio Hotel.

Palaye Royale marched right into 2017 without blinking an eye and have covered thousands of miles more and spearheading their own western Canada headline tour which landed them at northern British Columbia’s Grizfest Music Festival (where many high caliber bands such as Hedley, Theory of a Deadman, Down With Webster, and The Road Hammers have played), then on to their Edmonton and Calgary, Alberta shows before heading home to prep for their current tour. All shows were sold out once again with the support of their Canadian street teams getting the word out on social media, physical posters strewn about the cities, and support from Starlight Music Chronicles (SMC).

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CONDITIONS OF USE: Photos remain ©Starlight Music Chronicles 2017 Strictly no re-use, cropping, editing or publishing without prior written consent.
Palaye Royale at their VIP Acoustic show backstage
CONDITIONS OF USE: Photos remain ©Starlight Music Chronicles 2017 Strictly no re-use, cropping, editing or publishing without prior written consent.

Palaye Royale North American Headline Tour 2017

In late July 2017, SMC was contacted by the bands’ management team for the purpose of coordinating local press in the Edmonton area for the event. We also acted as exclusive ‘behind-the-scenes’ media support for the VIP acoustic performance and meet and greet. This included support teams from The Edmonton Muse and Ron Palmer Photography who expressed interest in media coverage for the show.

Palaye Royale at their VIP Acoustic show backstage
CONDITIONS OF USE: Photos remain ©Starlight Music Chronicles 2017 Strictly no re-use, cropping, editing or publishing without prior written consent.

The band landed in Edmonton on August 8th, 2017 at the Mercury Room. Opening act Desperado Pilots gave a stellar performance before handing the stage over to the band. Indeed, many fans who came to see Desperado Pilots were also made ‘Soldiers of the Royal Council’ that evening after Palaye Royale’s outstanding performance.

VIP Acoustic Performance

The VIP acoustic set prior to the show was the jewel in this already beautiful crown. A select audience of approximately 20+ watched the band perform three acoustic sets off their newest album: Boom Boom Room Side A. Fans sang along to ‘Ma Cherie’ on pointe causing Remington Leith to pause, smile, and comment: ‘They know the words.’ There was also an insightful question and answer period woven between sets followed by a photo op with the fans prior to the show. (see below).

Palaye Royale at their VIP Acoustic show backstage
CONDITIONS OF USE: Photos remain ©Starlight Music Chronicles 2017 Strictly no re-use, cropping, editing or publishing without prior written consent.

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Palaye Royale at their live performance at the Mercury Room in Edmonton.
CONDITIONS OF USE: Photos remain ©Ron Palmer Photography 2017 Strictly no re-use, cropping, editing or publishing without prior written consent.

Live Performance

Now here’s where we saw the magic: after prepping backstage, like the majestic kings they are, the band skillfully dominated the stage for an hour-long thrill ride that left fans begging for more. It was the classic ‘Rock and Roll-CBGB-style’, performance too: bras were being tossed onto the stage, fans clambered over one another just to touch them, and the room was beset with copious writhing, fist-pumping, dancing, and singing.

Drummer, Emerson Barret at the bands live performance at the Mercury Room in Edmonton. CONDITIONS OF USE: Photos remain ©Ron Palmer Photography 2017 Strictly no re-use, cropping, editing or publishing without prior written consent.
Guitarist, Sebastian Danzig at the bands live performance at the Mercury Room in Edmonton.
CONDITIONS OF USE: Photos remain ©Ron Palmer Photography 2017 Strictly no re-use, cropping, editing or publishing without prior written consent.

The band brought it full boar with heart pounding beats by Emerson Barret (that boy can play!), exquisite guitar riffs by Sebastian Danzig (love those Gretsch guitars too, by the way!) and a theatrical and engaging performance by frontman, Remington Leith. He even did his signature ‘hanging upside-down from the rafters’ move after wrapping up the show with ‘Get Higher’ a song that has previously been placed for a television commercial spot with Samsung Galaxy. (see more on the Samsung Galaxy commercial details below in the bands’ history timeline)

Remington Leith
CONDITIONS OF USE: Photos remain ©Ron Palmer Photography 2017 Strictly no re-use, cropping, editing or publishing without prior written consent.
Sebastian Danzig
CONDITIONS OF USE: Photos remain ©Ron Palmer Photography 2017 Strictly no re-use, cropping, editing or publishing without prior written consent.
Emerson Barrett
CONDITIONS OF USE: Photos remain ©Ron Palmer Photography 2017 Strictly no re-use, cropping, editing or publishing without prior written consent.

Following the performance, the band met in a private room with fans for photo ops. While the SMC team waited for the line to dwindle (an hour and a half later), we listened to the feedback from fans and media. Ron Palmer Photography commented that the band was energetic and sounded fantastic. Tania Ribeiro with The Edmonton Muse commented ‘I am so glad I came to this! What a great show!’ Comments from eager fans were ‘I drove all the way from Calgary to see them!’ (even though the band was heading to Calgary next!), and ‘This is the best birthday present I could ever get!’ The Edmonton Palaye Royale Street Team members also made an appearance and were avidly singing and dancing along with the crowd. One member said it was her first time seeing the band live (this was their third appearance in Edmonton), and she has since become an instant fan, actively following our posts about Palaye Royale on social media.

Remington Leith
CONDITIONS OF USE: Photos remain ©Starlight Music Chronicles 2017 Strictly no re-use, cropping, editing or publishing without prior written consent.
Palaye Royale
CONDITIONS OF USE: Photos remain ©Ron Palmer Photography 2017 Strictly no re-use, cropping, editing or publishing without prior written consent.
Emerson Barrett
CONDITIONS OF USE: Photos remain ©Starlight Music Chronicles 2017 Strictly no re-use, cropping, editing or publishing without prior written consent.
Remington Leith & Fan
CONDITIONS OF USE: Photos remain ©Ron Palmer Photography 2017 Strictly no re-use, cropping, editing or publishing without prior written consent.
Palaye Royale’s Sebastian Danzig shreds on his Gretsch Guitar
CONDITIONS OF USE: Photos remain ©Ron Palmer Photography 2017 Strictly no re-use, cropping, editing or publishing without prior written consent.
Sebastian Danzig
CONDITIONS OF USE: Photos remain ©Ron Palmer Photography 2017 Strictly no re-use, cropping, editing or publishing without prior written consent.
Remington Leith
CONDITIONS OF USE: Photos remain ©Ron Palmer Photography 2017 Strictly no re-use, cropping, editing or publishing without prior written consent.
Palaye Royale
CONDITIONS OF USE: Photos remain ©Starlight Music Chronicles 2017 Strictly no re-use, cropping, editing or publishing without prior written consent.
Remington Leith & Fan
CONDITIONS OF USE: Photos remain ©Ron Palmer Photography 2017 Strictly no re-use, cropping, editing or publishing without prior written consent.
Sebastian Danzig CONDITIONS OF USE: Photos remain ©Ron Palmer Photography 2017 Strictly no re-use, cropping, editing or publishing without prior written consent.

Here’s my summation of this event:

For four years now, Palaye Royale has impressed me with every accomplishment that they have made. Witnessing (in person) their unique sound (see my Boom Boom Room Side A review below), image, and live performance is something magical comparative to Charlie Bucket finding that last golden ticket in the Willy Wonka chocolate bar: it’s a one in a million chance you will ever find something this special in this lifetime ever again. If you are anywhere near the last remaining concert dates for their current tour, we recommend that you go. This includes all our avid followers in London too! It won’t be long before this band headlines every one of their tours at sold out venues globally.

Check out the bands’ socials below and follow their journey so you can stay tapped in on upcoming tour dates, video releases, and new music coming soon!

The band packs up and heads out to their next gig! CONDITIONS OF USE: Photos remain ©Starlight Music Chronicles 2017 Strictly no re-use, cropping, editing or publishing without prior written consent.

Boom Boom Room Side A | Album Review

Our review of ‘Boom Boom Room: Side A’, a 15-track album which includes their song ‘White’ and has been featured on our Starlight Music Chronicles Facebook page over 2 years ago, in an ode to the band and their journey thus far. It also includes ‘Get Higher’ as a bonus track which has become the band’s iconic signature from their early recording days.

Late December, 2015, the band was signed to Sumerian Records (see link) and since, the label has supported the successful launch of their album along with videos for ‘Don’t Feel Quite Right’, ‘Mr. Doctor Man’ and ‘Live Like We Want To’. The album, created with Producer James Iha (Smashing Pumpkins) was recorded in a vintage studio in Los Angeles, California, and is absolute genius. Prior to this, the band had been performing the new music featured in the album long before it’s recordings to gauge fans reactions.

The success of Boom Boom Room: Side A isn’t just in the hundreds of live performances this band has made getting the sound out to their fans, the countless meetings and interactions with their fans, or even the exquisite Neoclassical Architecture Art on the album cover and insert by Emerson Barrett…. it’s the sound that this band creates when they are together: it’s pure classic Rock and Roll magic!

The album kicks off with ‘Don’t Feel Quite Right’, ‘How Do You Do’, and ‘My Youth Generation’- sounds that give serious kick. Just like the vintage motorcycle Remington Leith rides, this is an all-out-on-the-highway-speeding-at-full-boar sound that is generated. There is no mistaking this is something that only the magic of these three brothers can create as a team who have come to know one another’s strengths and they are put to the test in the creation of these three numbers. However, the insanely incredible guitar riffs Sebastian Danzig pulls off at the start of ‘Mr. Doctor Man’ and throughout the song is second to none: it’s a MUST HEAR at loud decibels! In conjunction with strong lyrics and vocals by Remington Leith supported by powerful drum playing by Emerson Barrett, this song is probably one of my favorite off this album. Check it into your iPod playlist right away.

Going further into the album, ‘Sick Boy Soldier’ and ‘Live Like We Want To’ are some seriously killer tracks that continue the epic Palaye Royale sounds we have come to know and appreciate: Full of energy and cleverly written lyrics. ‘Ma Chérie’ is a deeply emotional song about love and loss featuring fellow industry peer Kellin Quinn (Sleeping With Sirens) combined with Leith’s powerful accomplished vocals delivering a cleverly executed number that is upbeat and extremely catchy.

The pièce de ré·sis·tance on this album comes in the form of ‘Too Many People’. The lyrics are suited to our current period in time where we have all suffered epic loss both in the Music Industry and our own personal lives making them truly relatable. There’s no mistaking that 2016 had been a year of endings (in numerology, the year added up equals to 9 which literally is the number representing endings and new beginnings) and ‘Too Many People’ is the antidote to the grieving many of us are going through: it goes to the heart and heals the soul.

The balance of the album with ‘Where Is The Boom?’, ‘Clockwork’, ‘Warhol’, and ‘Rag Doll’ are consistent in their output and strong lyrics but the ‘All My Friends’ finale is true ode to who Palaye Royale are as a band in their sonic and physical make-up: classical sounding, deeply emotional, dramatic, completely original, all-out chaos, and heart pounding energy. This song is another fave on our playlist and will bode well among new fans and classic rock and roll lovers when the band makes their mark in Edmonton at the Starlite Room February 26th, 2017.

To sum Boom Boom Room Side A up: this is a band of brothers whose ability and ingenuity in creating music that is both original and unheard of (in this era of ‘complacent’ rock and roll) results in a magical and biographical journey for the ears. I am confident that this is a band who has been through as much as they have, are rising to the top of their game, and will truly stand the test of time.

If you are new to this band and have never heard their sound before, we recommend you spend a weekend immersed in the comfort of your living room and watch episodes of live concert footage and behind-the-scenes on their YouTube Channel (see here) as well as the Sumerian Records YouTube channel where their recent music videos are posted (see here).

CONDITIONS OF USE: Photos remain ©Starlight Music Chronicles 2017 Strictly no re-use, cropping, editing or publishing without prior written consent.

Palaye Royale Historical Timeline

I have personally written several articles on different Website platforms for Palaye Royale and have followed their journey quite closely since February of 2014 when they messaged me via Twitter to ‘check out’ their video for ‘Get Higher’. I didn’t realize at the time (and after 48 consecutive hours of research later) that I had been reeled into what I call the ‘Palaye Royale Vortex’. Anyone who has heard them knows this as: ‘We NEED to know more! HEAR more! SEE more!’ And so it went, with every accomplishment, SMC has been documenting the way.

The band broke ground early 2015 when they hopped aboard the High School Nation Spring Tour from April and well into the end of May by performing in front of tens of thousands of people. At the same time, their single ‘Get Higher’ was (and still is) released and getting into high radio rotation across the USA and Canada which also secured the video a spot on MUCH Canada rotation. *Notable: Prior to the High School Nation Tour, Palaye Royale did live pre-production, an ‘old school’ style of music creation much like the Rolling Stones. In fact, World famous DJ Rodney Bingenheimer (previously at KROQ 106.7 FM Radio based out of Los Angeles, CA) has been so smitten with the band’s music, he has sought them out, connecting immediately, and taken it upon himself to spin their unreleased song ‘White’ causing their Twitter fan base to go into a frenzy wanting to get their hands on a copy.

CONDITIONS OF USE: Photos remain ©Starlight Music Chronicles 2017 Strictly no re-use, cropping, editing or publishing without prior written consent.

It goes without saying that true fans of Palaye Royale would know this band has been insanely busy since launching their album ‘Boom Boom Room’ on June 24th of 2016. Shortly following the album release,the band began touring Vans Warped Tour 2016 and continued back to back touring up until present day. This is a band that has legitimately worked very hard for their art and with the recording of ‘Boom Boom Room: Side B’ now imminent, we are certain that their hard work and dedication is going to pay off. In fact, on November 15th, 2016, they headed into new territory touring with Andy Black (Andy Biersack: founder and lead vocalist for the American rock band Black Veil Brides) beginning February 2017 in Canadian cities such as Edmonton, Calgary, and Saskatoon.

Merch includes custom art by Emerson Barret
CONDITIONS OF USE: Photos remain ©Starlight Music Chronicles 2017 Strictly no re-use, cropping, editing or publishing without prior written consent.

This is a truly innovative band whose creativity never stops and the world is waking up and taking serious note of their accomplishments and with credentials to the Sid and Nancy: Sad Vacation film by Danny Garcia (a Documentary on Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen – see here) under their belts (Death Is A Party, Invite All Your Friends is the song featured in the film), a Jewelry line launched by Remington Leith on ‘Never Take It Off’ (https://www.facebook.com/NeverTakeItOff/) , a live performance at LA Fashion Week with Emerson Barrett’s art being shown next to Banksy (See here) and the sale of one of a kind custom Neoclassical Architecture designed Vans Shoes also by Emerson Barrett, it seems there is no limit. In addition, the band has performed hundreds of exclusive and intimate acoustic shows prior to their stage performances at ALOFT hotels and many other exclusive locations in their tour travels.

In 2017, the band launched their own newspaper ‘The Royal Times’, continued to tour western Canada, and even made an appearance on the 2017 Alternative Press Televised Awards Show. Fans continue to accumulate as the band continues to venture into new territory, winning over the hearts of new music seekers young and old everywhere they leave their mark.

Tour life has been challenging and this band has endured a lot: bus catching fire, tire blow-outs, transmissions cratering, brakes shot on a 20-year-old passenger bus known affectionately as ‘The Pirate Ship’, cooking in Wal Mart parking lots, roasting in the hot summer heat changing in cramped quarters (their trailer) and bunked up with half a dozen of their band mates all for the labor of love known as the ‘Rock and Roll Battlefield’ simply to bring their art to their adoring masses. When we look at the numbers of fans that have resulted from these sacrifices to perform live, (known as Soldiers of the Royal Council) the numbers have gone insane. They have a whopping 195,000+ twitter following, 115,000+ on Facebook, and 47,000+ on Instagram and its progressively growing every day.

Why? Because they. Never. Stop.

Palaye Royale at their VIP Acoustic show backstage
CONDITIONS OF USE: Photos remain ©Starlight Music Chronicles 2017 Strictly no re-use, cropping, editing or publishing without prior written consent.

-Earlier Accomplishment History-

Palaye Royale has accomplished an MTV Music Award (after winning first place in MTV Musical March Madness in early April of 2014 beating out bands like Coldplay, Fall Out Boys, Linking Park, and Tokio Hotel, clearly demonstrating their artistry is also of the same high caliber. Even more interesting is that they are the FIRST EVER Independent band in the history of MTV to ever accomplish this feat and were consequently invited to appear on the red carpet at the MTV Movie awards in the same month. They have also performed on the Ernie Ball Stage at Vans Warped Tour as well as The Hard Rock Rising in Las Vegas. All of the above are fan voted accomplishments, all within a few months span.

The band was also featured in a Global Samsung Galaxy Note commercial alongside their single ‘Get Higher’. The Samsung campaign started in Londons’ ‘Picadilly Circus’ on the Teletrons for its visual content. Subsequently, due to the overwhelming response from viewers at the International Consumer Electronics Show CES in Las Vegas, Nevada the campaign continued for a further 18 months. Clearly, this isn’t any ordinary band and the strategic plans that they have charted out for the future of their success is absolutely remarkable.

Palaye Royale were also winners of Bongo Boy TV’s (BBTV) Indie Music Video Contest this last Spring being selected out of 1.2 million independent artists via Reverbnation.  Their music video ‘Get Higher’ featured on The Bongo Boy Rock n’ Roll TV Show aired in two episodes: premiering in April 2015 with National rotation coast to coast and in New York City on April 4th 2015. BBTV distribute their TV show series on 3 TV channels with cable companies like NBCUniversal Comcast, Cablevision, Time Warner, FiOS, AT&T U-Verse, Suddenlink, Charter Cable and RCN Network Television.

(l-r) Remington Leith and Sebastian Danzig at their VIP Acoustic show backstage
CONDITIONS OF USE: Photos remain ©Starlight Music Chronicles 2017 Strictly no re-use, cropping, editing or publishing without prior written consent.

On July 1st, 2015, Palaye Royale performed at the World-famous Hollywood Rock and Roll Hotel: Sunset Marquis right off of the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles, California before a private audience of 300 prominent Industry Dignitaries and the Canadian Consulate for the Canada Day SOCAN Friends and Family event.  Once again, the band made music history in a venue which has been a platform for actors, comedians, writers, artists, filmmakers, fashion designers, supermodels, restaurateurs, billionaire entrepreneurs, for the past 50 years.

Sebastian Danzig at the bands’ VIP Acoustic show backstage CONDITIONS OF USE: Photos remain ©Starlight Music Chronicles 2017 Strictly no re-use, cropping, editing or publishing without prior written consent.

On July 15th, 2015, Palaye Royale performed on the CBGB Stage originating from the famous club in New York at the Bowery which was shipped to the YouTube Space LA where the live recording of their new song ‘Live Like We Want To’ took place. (Cool side note: the club is now the home to John Varvatos’ flagship store since 2007 following the clubs closure in 2006) So what does this mean? It’s a pretty huge deal: The CBGB Stage originated as a biker club in 1973 featuring Country, Bluegrass and Blues Musicians (thus the acronym CBGB) and towards the early 1980’s became a famed venue known for hosting punk rock Musicians Blondie, The Ramones, Television, Patti Smith Group, and Talking Heads. By being asked by YouTube Space LA to perform on the original stage specifically brought to Los Angeles and having Palaye Royale create yet another major historical music maneuver does not surprise me one bit given their accomplished history.

Palaye Royale performing at their VIP Acoustic show backstage
CONDITIONS OF USE: Photos remain ©Starlight Music Chronicles 2017 Strictly no re-use, cropping, editing or publishing without prior written consent.

In addition to all of the focus on the bands accomplishments as a whole, Drummer Emerson Barrett (under the alias: Dr. Strangebomb) has been featuring his unique and exquisite art in Galleries and Art shows throughout Los Angeles. The attention to the tiniest details in his creations has fans and collectors across the Globe fascinated by his ‘Revolutionary Art’ concepts and principles.

Palaye Royale are at present working on new music and collaborations which will only create more of a stir globally and it is exciting to see what will come next as they head towards new accomplishments and unique historical music feats. It can only be anticipated given their successes. Let’s face it folks, there will never be another band in the history of music who will have paved a path so unique such as Palaye Royale and with all their hard work, dedication, and accomplishments under their belt, I am confident saying this IS the Band of the Century and the Century has only just begun!

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The *EXCLUSIVE* behind the scenes video glimpses of Palaye Royale at their Headline Tour show in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada on August 8th, 2017 including their VIP acoustic show are available on our Vimeo channel which can be accessed through this feature.

This is an official Starlight Music Chronicles Press Exclusive behind the scenes. More on the band can be found at:

Palaye Royale Social Media Links:

Website

Facebook

Instagram

Twitter

YouTube

iTunes

Spotify

*The video content in this feature is exclusive property of Starlight Music Chronicles and may not be cropped, edited, or ‘borrowed’ on any other platform without express permission from editor@starlightmusicchronicles.com

 

 

John Ferriter | Exclusive Interview: The Tearaways ‘Esquire’ & The Alternative | Series No.1

by Candice Anne Marshall

Earlier this month, my friend Mr. Mike Rogers (WhatTheFunday InterFM897 Radio) introduced me to his friend and peer, Los Angeles-based Mr. John Ferriter. As I always do when meeting an industry peer, I began doing my research and quickly discovered that John is a man of many talents. He is the mastermind behind highly successful television shows like ‘The Biggest Loser’, ‘On Air With Ryan Seacrest’, and ‘Project Runway’ to name a few. His career span includes working as a Talent Agent with The William Morris Agency, Octagon, and later, his own venture, The Alternative.

Ferriter has worked with the entertainment industries most notable individuals like Piers Morgan (also a close friend of his), Garth Brooks, Ryan Seacrest, Jimmy Kimmel, Carson Daly (to name a few), and some of his earlier clients include supermodel Claudia Schiffer and Jerry Garcia. In addition to managing his impressive client roster with The Alternative, John’s current projects include landing deals for world famous DJ Rodney Bingenheimer known as The Mayor of the Sunset Strip in L.A. (more on that later) and his own successful Music career with The Tearaways (more on that later too).

After initial introductions (thanks Mike!), John and I arranged for an in-depth interview covering his career span, music, and personal life. ‘Nothing is off limits’ was his response to my inquiry on sensitive subject matter. In fact, he even divulged on the future of Rodney Bingenheimers’ career (under his wing at The Alternative), his thoughts on his career change from The William Morris Agency to The Alternative, and the extreme passion for his art (a night owl like me – often creatives don’t sleep much). This is one of the most candid and entertaining interviews I have had to date where we cover many insightful, relevant, and interesting topics.

This is the first installment in our SMC SPOTLIGHT Numbered Series where we will continue to track and follow John’s career. So, if you feel left like you’re left wanting more at the end of this feature, know that this is just the first chapter in our journey with the entertainment industry legend known as Mr. John Ferriter. Enjoy!

Note: Following the interview below, I’ve included my review of the new Tearaways album ‘Esquire’ track by track complete with summary.

John Ferriter
Photo by: Colin Mathew

SMC SPOTLIGHT Exclusive Interview | John Ferriter June 20, 2017

SMC – Hello John! Welcome to the Starlight Music Chronicles (SMC) SPOTLIGHT! Let’s get right into it – you have quite an extensive career so we will break it down into sections here. Before we do that, can you tell us how you came to know Mike Rogers?

John – I actually met Mike Rogers in the early 80’s when he was the lead singer for a Punk Rock band called The Rotters. He was in the band with Phester Swollen and he was singing a song called “Sit On My Face Stevie Nix”. It was a classic and I played it on my radio show on KCSB many, many times.

Television Producer/Talent Representative

SMC – I was watching a YouTube video on your website ‘The Alternative’ where you are interviewed by Hollywood Immersive. In it, you spoke about working with The William Morris Agency. Can you tell us which accomplishments you feel were your greatest while working there?

John – In my 19 years at William Morris, there were many highs and many lows. The best part of the job was that I never experienced the same day twice.  Conversely most days felt like a broken play, so you learned to think on your feet and improvise. But the greatest accomplishments were when you made the seemingly impossible become possible and when you saw the moments where clients were able to realize their dreams.

SMC – You are behind many well-known television shows such as ‘The Biggest Loser’, ‘Project Runway’, and ‘On Air with Ryan Seacrest’ to name a few. Can you tell us what your process is in terms of ‘packaging’ these shows?

John – When packaging shows, I always tried to bring together proprietary elements that couldn’t be replicated anywhere else. That’s why I’ve always been so partial to talent.  There is only one Ryan Seacrest. There is only one Garth Brooks, one Dick Clark, one Piers Morgan, one Dr. Drew, One Carrie Keagan, so when you have an opportunity to build shows around really talented people with great concepts and you target the marketplace accordingly you can meet with a greater degree of success.

SMC – Can you tell us of a time when you felt there was a client that was unprepared, or not ready for the kind of work you expected of them?

John – Many clients are unprepared in general and unprepared for success. As an Artist, your life can change in an instant, so I tell them to act like they’ve already had success.  But too many are unprepared. See it and Realize it and it can happen if they are willing to work for it.

SMC – While with The William Morris Agency, can you tell us which project made you feel exceptionally proud?

John – At William Morris I was proud of all my projects. That being said, all of the work I did with Garth Brooks, Piers Morgan, Dick Clark, Ryan Seacrest, Nancy O’Dell, The Spice Girls, Hanson were quite fulfilling. I sold “Blue Collar Comedy”, “Biggest Loser”, “Keeping Up with the Kardashians”, “The Man Show”, “Project Runway”, “Biggest Loser” and about 300 other projects while at WMA. I was very proud of the Tsunami Benefit we put together in seven days that generated millions for the victim. I packaged the first Radio Music Awards and it’s now been cloned 50 times. I feel good about that.

SMC – Your transition into your own Agency ‘The Alternative’ followed working with The William Morris Agency and Octagon, can you tell us how that came about and why?

John – I was unceremoniously locked out of WME after the WMA and Endeavor merger because I was the only board member who voted against the merger. It was a bad deal and I voted to support the rank and file. The new boss used it against me. I don’t think I ever would have left the agency but I was given no choice. I signed a five-year deal with Octagon, a division of the Public Company Interpublic Group, and built a successful entertainment division. I sold and produced the Arsenio Hall Show, Garth Brooks last network series, was nominated for an Emmy for producing the Teen Bullying series “It Gets Better”, won an award from Planned Parenthood for Best Documentary for “I’m Positive” and launched a couple of docu-series. I realized that representing people and working at a Public Company are in direct conflict and I opened to launch my own Management Production shingle, THE ALTERNATIVE, when my five-year deal with Octagon expired.  No regrets at all.

SMC – Can you tell us which of your clients with The Alternative you have enjoyed working with the most and why?

John – Wow, at the Alternative I love them all! Seriously, Piers Morgan, Glenn Weiss, Nancy O’Dell, Mike Wolfe, Clem Burke, Rodney Bingenheimer, Carrie Keagan, Brian Copeland, Mark Walberg, The Beach Boys, JoJo Wright, Ari Afsar, The Tearaways, Millie Courtney, Paige Davis, Mark McGrath, The Calling, The Fulcos…. How much time do you have? It’s a privilege to work with such talent people.

SMC – You gave advice in your interview with Hollywood Immersive about how individuals should appear in their first meetings with your agency in terms of professionalism. Can you share some more insight on that with our readers?

John – Well just blow me away in the first 120 seconds. I don’t look for clients. I look for partners who are or who want to be stars. Shy doesn’t play, so make an instant impression. Also, don’t bring your problems into the room.

SMC – I saw in the ‘About’ section of your website, it states: ‘WE ARE PLEASED TO INTRODUCE AND WORK WITH THE MOST NOTABLE ENTERTAINERS IN THE INDUSTRY. WE DO THIS WITH EXPERIENCE, INSIGHT AND PASSION.’ Can you tell us what determines who is a ‘notable’ in the industry? What are your standards?

John – Great people, great projects, great attitudes. That’s where we start. I also like category leaders. But I look for people who will listen and who want it all. My standards are really about the character of the person, not that the person is a character.

SMC – You have just taken the famous Mayor of the Sunset Strip ‘Rodney Bingenheimer’ under your wing, can you tell us how that came about? When will you be able to reveal what projects/deals you have coming up for him? (can you tell we are excited about this?)

John – I have listened to Rodney on the Roq since 1978. I met him over the years, have loved what he has done for so many, many people. Clem Burke (Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Drummer for Blondie, and the man who has played with us the last year) introduced me to a different side of Rodney. I learned Rodney was a deeply sensitive caring person who loves music and musicians. I heard Kroq was dropping his show (new management decision) so I called Rodney and offered to manage him for free and told him I would get him on the air within a month.  We just closed a great deal for Rodney to continue his show, Sunday nights in primetime on Sirius Radio on Little Steven’s Underground Garage Channel 21. One of my proudest deals ever because Rodney deserves to be National and I want everyone to experience what has made me happy for 39 years.

SMC – I have worked with some smaller newspapers and have a passion for Journalism in all its forms. One of your clients is Piers Morgan and I have to say, I admire that you have taken individuals not only from the entertainment industry, but also those who are behind the broadcasting of major world events. Can you tell us how this relationship began?

John – My relationship with Piers began over a bottle of inexpensive French Bordeaux at a party at Lady Caroline Michel’s flat in London and he’s become one of my closest and most trusted friends. I also shared the most expensive French Bordeaux with him the night we signed the big CNN contract. I’d take a bullet for him. We’re that close, and he’s that good.

SMC – You also have worked with Garth Brooks. Can you tell us what your best or most memorable experience was in working with him?

John – I love Garth Brooks. Greatest country artist of all time and up in the top three with Paul McCartney and John Lennon in my opinion. My greatest experience with Garth was in Vegas when I was producing his One Man Show Thanksgiving CBS Special with him. I suggested he put his Cowboy Hat back on for one of the numbers and he refused. Right before the show, he looked at me and said “ok, I will do it. If it doesn’t work, it’s your fault. If it does, I’m taking all the credit.”  It did, and after the crowd went crazy he looked my way and winked at me. He’s simply the best.

SMC – Can you tell us of a time where you were in complete awe of an industry peer/client?

John – Every day I am in awe of people in the business. Too many stories to tell, but I am in awe of any person who can balance a successful family, marriage and career. I’m envious.

SMC – At the end of the day we are all human. Can you tell us of an experience with a client or industry peer that made you see them in a different light aside from their celebrity status?

John – I’ve seen so many human sides. Clients who go through divorces who have to walk onto a set and smile like there’s no tomorrow while I know their heart is breaking. Many come to mind.

SMC – Have you ever had a real friendship develop with any of your clients?

John – I’ve had many friendships with clients. Piers Morgan, Glenn Weiss, Nancy O’Dell, James Ray, many, many, many. I’ve also had close friendships break up when clients look at me as their servant. Live by the sword, die by the sword.

SMC – In terms of your clients, what do you feel are the key factors in being successful in the entertainment industry?

John – Success in the industry – if you are a woman, know where you want to go and look fabulous when you get there! (Thank you, Leeza Gibbons, for that!). In general – success comes via hard work and preparation. Also, you need to trust your team. Without trust there will be failure.

The Tearaways
Photo – Collin Mathew Photography Liverpool

The Tearaways

SMC – Let’s begin with your connection to Rodney. Rodney is a legend and a true pioneer in the music industry in terms of discovering the ‘who’s who’ (such as Bowie, Blondie, etc.) I am aware that you have your own music career, The Tearaways as well. Can you tell us how supportive Rodney has been of your music?

John – Rodney Bingenheimer has always been a supporter. He started playing “Girls Who Love Cars” off of the Earle Mankey Sessions: Vol. IV CD and then he jumped on a number of other songs. He has gotten behind “Name That Tune”, “John Wayne”, “Bash”, “That’s Rock!”, “Do You Remember Rock and Roll Radio”, “I Love My Life”, “We Don’t Talk We Text” many, many tunes. Our new Christmas song “Helluva Christmas” will be on his new Christmas CD. What can I say, the man’s a tastemaker!

SMC – Your new album ‘Esquire’ is a ton of fun! There are a lot of vintage rock influences woven throughout the lyrics and even in the instrumentation. Can you tell us what it was like to collaborate with some of the industry’s most notable such as Clem Burke?

John – Esquire” is a label of love. John Finseth (founder of the Tearaways in 1981 at 17) and I wrote about thirty songs along with Greg Brallier and we just tried to create a record that we would want to listen to over and over. Clem came in after I met him with the Empty Hearts and played about thirty shows with us last summer and fall and this winter. He came up and started recording and we watched it grow into something special. We also did some work with Jeffrey Foskett from the Beach Boys on Name That Tune (the theme to the new game show). We’ve been friends for years, and fans of Jeffrey’s and that was a thrill.

SMC – Which is your personal favorite song off this album and why?

John – My favorite song is one of five – “BASH” is just an old-fashioned romp and puts me in a good mood whenever I hear it. Hey we mention, Bash, IPO, The Rave-Ups, The 3 O’clock, Chesterfield Kings…. I mean, come on! “That’s Rock!” Is an autobiography of our early Santa Barbara days, “Much Too Old To Feel This Young” was inspired by Garth Brooks and his song “Much too Young to feel this damn old”, “I’m Just Trying to be nice” is the quintessential breakup song (it’s not you…. it’s really you!”) and “If I Had It” (just great vocals by Fin and Greg). I do the first ever Tearaway rap/Meatloaf rip off bit as well).

SMC – The album art is dynamic! David Russo is the brilliance behind the artwork on it and he has quite an impressive roster of accomplishments also. Can you tell us how he came up with the theme for it?

John – I met David through a mutual friend. Loved him and his work. We conversed for a couple of years and I just called and asked if we could use the vibe and characters from “What A Great Life” (WAGL) which he created. He said yes. The cover and design were all David.  I love it!!!!

SMC – When you are songwriting, where do you go to for inspiration?

John – As a songwriter I just look for inspiration. I have my favorites, but it starts with an idea and a melody for me. But it’s important to me that everyone be able to hum our songs. Mike Rogers told me that Japanese audience hum the Tearaways’ songs. That makes me feel really good.

SMC – The albums’ credits include this phrase: ‘A lot of sacrifice went into making this record so we hope you enjoy it and appreciate the spirit within which it is presented to the world’. We often hear how much has been put into the work by the Artists we support. Can you tell us what YOUR meaning behind that phrase is?

John – We loved making the record. We love the songs. We collaborated, we fought, we compromised but at the end of each song we high fived, hugged each other and shook hands. Being in a band is like being married to five of your ex-wives at the same time. But it’s as great high as I’ve ever experienced when it works. So, we are saying… “We love this, we hope you do to, and if you don’t love it we aren’t going to quit anytime soon!

SMC – I especially had deep appreciation for this phrase (also on the album credits): ‘When you’ve topped 40 in age, you can never be in the top 40 on the Pop Charts, but you can always be Top 40 in Life.’ With that being said, what would you say is an accomplishment that you are all proud of (aside from the album, of course)?

John- I am proud that a bunch of guys in their fifties can still rock, and sing and play with passion and that we all have our hair and none of us are grossly out of shape. I’m 57, but I feel 27! And playing with Clem makes me feel invincible. Fin is 53 but has the stamina of a 16-year-old in the studio. It’s a thrill to do this, while still having a very time intensive day job.

SMC – What has been the media response to your music in terms of Radio and Entertainment websites and blogs?

John – Knock on wood, the response to our music has been very strong. I just hope more people hear it. But we are gaining fans daily and that’s an amazing feeling.

SMC – What has the support been like among your peers? Family?

John – Our families have been wonderful and wonderfully supportive for the most part.  Unfortunately, my wife left me during the recording of this record. We will write about that on the next record! But hey, sometimes Bad things have to happen for the right things to happen.So, love is out there somewhere!!

SMC – Are there any tour plans for the remainder of 2017? Any festivals you will be attending during the summer months?

John – Yes. We are playing in Ireland and England in August and September. Also, a lot of California dates in September and October and November. We have two new Christmas songs that are done and we will push them hard this fall and winter. We played the Malibu Guitar Festival for the second year in a row. It was great. We would love to play more festivals!!

SMC – Where do you find your fanbase is the most concentrated in terms of countries and age groups?

John – Our fan base is early twenties to Sixties. More women than men. California, the UK, some Scandinavian countries and Australia. Slowly but surely, by the time we’re 80, look out!!

SMC – Can you tell us a bit about your songwriting process?

John – I write constantly. If I come up with an idea I write it down. I then usually write late at night or early in the morning. If I start a song I finish it. Then I bring it to the guys. But I also love to co-write with others and help them elevate their ideas and concepts. Lyrics are easy for me. Melodies are easy. I need help with arrangements.

SMC – What instrument do you create your music on?

John – I write almost exclusively on Guitar. I recently wrote two songs that started on my trusty old Hofner Club bass (A Little Bit of Love and King of “F” Mountain).

SMC – You have all played impressive venues in the USA and England, can you tell us which is your favorite and why?

John – My favorite venue is the Cavern in Liverpool. Because it’s the Cavern and the Beatles played there. The staff at the Cavern is World class. In Dublin, I love “Whelan’s”. In Santa Barbara, I love “Soho”. I’ve always loved “Molly Malone’s” and “The Troubadour in Los Angeles. I’ve always wanted to play “The Roxy”. But I will play anywhere with a stage and a great PA.

SMC – What is the reception like when you play live? Which were your most memorable live performances?

John – We played to 40,000 people in Liverpool one year. We opened with a Ramones song and they went nuts. It was magic.  People really seem to like the band know. We also played a show in Long Beach at the Petroleum Club to about 20 people and I loved it. Old people got up and danced. It was cool.

SMC – Can you tell us what your experience was like working with Earle Mankey?

John – I’ve worked with Earle Mankey going back to 1988. He is a collaborator, a great producer, engineer and I am thankful to call him a friend. He’s talented and compassionate. So, I feel good when I work with him. Earle been berry, berry good to The Tearaways!

SMC – Tom Hanks and Piers Morgan are huge fans of your art – can you tell us what their responses are to the new album?

John – Tom Hanks booked the Tearaways a number of times before I rejoined the band. Piers has been an ardent supporter coming to shows and tweeting in support of us. Piers does the voice of “James Bond” in our song “James Bond”. That’s cool!

SMC – I read in your band bio that ‘Recent TV appearances include NBC, CBS, FOX, ABC, Tribune and The Arsenio Hall Show’…wow! Which experience was most memorable?

John – Any TV is memorable. Love it all. They can see us, they can hear us too! I’m in!

SMC – Will there be more creating in the next few years for The Tearaways?

John – We released “Esquire” May 29th, we have the next record in the can. We have two new Christmas songs and we will perform on the Hollywood Christmas Parade. Lots of Tearaway action coming to you!

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Personal Life

SMC – Aside from being a successful Television Producer, Artist and Talent Representative, what other characteristics or hobbies do you have?

John – I love animals. I love dogs. I help with dog rescues. I like all animals, but I love dogs. They are loyal, smart, they trust us, they are loyal. My goal in life is to be the person my dog thinks I am.

SMC – Who has been the most supportive of your career(s) other than family?

John – I have some friends and associates who have really supported us. It takes an infrastructure of love and support to make a band work. We’ve been blessed.

SMC – Can you recall an interview that was most memorable to you and why?

John – I loved my Hollywood Immersive” interviews and my talk/interview at UCSB a couple of years ago.

SMC – Can you list at least 5 talents/hobbies aside from your music career we don’t know about?

John – I play Tennis. I read avidly. I listen to music avidly. I love TV. It’s not the boob tube, it’s the Groove Tube to me. I love Tea. I really love Tea. I also love the News. I’m a news junkie.

SMC – Can you tell us what a normal day in your life would be like? Many of our readers idolize a celebrities’ life, but they don’t often know what goes on behind the scenes and how tough the industry can be….

John – I don’t have a normal day. I get up and all hell breaks loose. Every day since August 21st, 1991. I like it!

SMC – What kinds of pressures are there for you personally in keeping to a schedule in terms of your career(s)?

John – Many pressures. The industry kills relationships. If you are with someone who isn’t in the industry they don’t understand why you are a slave to your clients. If they are in the industry, they are jealous of your clients. Next, I will be a monk. Also, the hours put a strain on fitness. I work hard now to stay in shape. I want to live longer.

SMC – What kinds of charities or organizations do you personally support and why?

John – I support many dog rescues, but It’s a Dog’s Life in particular. I support a lot of AIDS Charities, Autism Charities, the SPCA and the like. Animals need our help. So, I go there first.

SMC – Can you tell us of a time where you were involved in a project and it just didn’t ‘feel right’? How did you handle it?

John – This happens every day unfortunately. Recently someone was disrespectful to my partner Jamie. He screamed “Do you know who I am?” I said “Yes, the guy that I just dropped.” I have no tolerance for Temporary people who make permanent decisions.

SMC – What does the term ‘truly successful’ mean to you?

John – Knowing that you’ve done things to change people’s lives forever in positive things. I call it Psychic Income!

SMC – Final question – if there was one thing in your life you could go back and ‘do over’ again, what would it be and why/why not?

John – I would have gotten up on stage at the Goleta Community Center and I would have sung “Sit On my Face Stevie Nix” with Mike Rogers.

SMC – Thank you John!

John – Thank you!!!

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Album Review

Bash – Right out of the barn gates (complete with lampshade on the head and party animals in tow), ‘Bash’ is a thrill-ride throwback to sunny beach days with the convertible top rolled down. The single word to describe this song has already been occupied by its title – a true reflection of this super catchy piece infused with guitar riffs and smashing drums that deliver like a punchy, warm, attack.

If I Had It – Now this tune is smooth as silk: the intro grabs my attention immediately and leads into instrumentation that takes me back to the music I coveted as a young girl listening to dynamic classic Rock songs on the turntable. It’s fun from start to finish. You can audibly hear these guys having a blast in the recording process of this song and listening to it allows you to be a part of it, almost as if you are there. Listen LOUD.

Hello Isla Vita – This is the song you hear in those movies where the little country girl arrives in the big city: it’s awe-inspiring. The magnificence is heard in the thunderous drums and gentle vocals throughout marking this ballad as the song you want to listen to when you are looking for adventure on a Friday night. Keep it in your weekend playlist for sure.

I Quit My Job – The lyrics here are laced with honesty throughout and is a true ode to the beach boy days where songs were executed with that gentle feel-good vibe. I give credit to the vocals in this one which are mellow but powerful in their impact. I recommend this one for cruising one a warm sunny day.

That’s Rock – We pick up the pace again with this track that is strategically placed halfway through the album. After the ‘Hello Isla Vita’ and ‘I Quit My Job’ mellow vibe, ‘That’s Rock’ picks up the pace with a groovy beat topped with impressive vocals. This song brings the party right back into the album.

My Bad – Ohhhhhh where do I begin with this slick number? The lyrics are strong right off the get-go. The instrumentation flows very well throughout and supports the steady authoritative vocals heard throughout. I envision a ride down sunset strip on a motorcycle when I hear this number.

Much Too Old To Feel This Young – If you want to get to the heartbeat of this album, this song is the one. The gentle tones in the vocals on this one illuminates the heart and soul. The song is perfectly placed in terms of the track order in this album as it gives the listener a true taste of how this band demonstrates a 360 degree turn in their style and instrumental composition.

Good Luck Lovin – What a fun one. The party continues with the catchy lyrics in this tune which, I feel, is an ode to The Beatles Cavern Club era days. The vocals are on point and the instrumentation is super catchy.  I think this one would be fantastic to hear live!

Find Another Fool – is a slower ballad that has a very slight ‘Bon Jovi’ style in the vocals and mood. I am talking the ‘Living on a Prayer’ variety here. Backup vocals on this are a perfect fit throughout and make this a unique composition. I quite like this one a lot.

I’m Just Trying To Be Nice – Hello Sir Paul McCartney! This is a gorgeous number and probably, my favorite off this album. I mean it, this album definitely touches on the scope of all eras of classic Rock and ‘I’m Just Trying To Be Nice’ is captivating in its overall composition. They lyrics, vocals, instrumentation – all of it is completely on point. Classic British Rock and Pop influences play a primary role here.

Name That Tune – Back we go to California! This is a short ballad that fares well among the 1960’s groovy pool party crowd. Can you see it? Once you have heard the song, you’ll know what I mean. Definitely a must for a playlist suitable to this nature.

Any Better Than This – The final song on this album is like the bow on a present: a complete picture of the who, what, when, where, and why of The Tearaways: they have been there, done that and there’s no regrets. This is a very heart-warming number.

Summary

Here’s my description of this album in its entirety: These boys are no strangers to this industry and it’s apparent in their cultivated sound. Listening to ‘Esquire’ is the kind of experience where you walk away feeling closer to these incredibly talented Musicians. They have exposed their hearts and souls vividly and authentically to their fans, comparable to them inviting you into their homes, having a couple of beers and shooting the breeze. It’s a warm, familiar, and fun feeling that leaves you satisfied long after the visit. Who doesn’t walk away from something like that feeling fantastic. That’s The Tearaways sound. Well done gentlemen!

People, have you bought the album yet? Get on it! 

Check out their live performance on Brian Copeland below:

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John Ferriter Social Media Links (click to view)

The Alternative Website

Twitter

The Tearaways Social Media (click to view)

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Spotify

YouTube

iTunes

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The Tearaways Album Art by David Russo Photo Supplied by John Ferriter
The Tearaways Album Art by David Russo Photo Supplied by John Ferriter

The Tearaways Album Credits

THE TEARAWAYS –  “DW Hofner, Martin Gibson, Ludwig Rickenbacker, Marshall Gretsch, Earle Hammond & Vox Fender, esq.”

BASH

IF I HAD IT

HELLO ISLA VISTA

I QUIT MY JOB

THAT’S ROCK!

MY BAD

MUCH TOO OLD TO FEEL THIS YOUNG

GOOD LUCK LOVIN’

FIND ANOTHER FOOL

I’M JUST TRYING TO BE NICE

NAME THAT TUNE

ANY BETTER THAN THIS

Produced by Earle Mankey/John Finseth/John Ferriter

all songs John Ferriter/John Finseth/Greg Brallier/Clem Burke c. 2016/2017

Feretic Music, ASCAP / Magma Music ASCAP / Clem Burke Music ASCAP

except “BASH” – John Ferriter/John Finseth/Greg Brallier/Clem Burke/David Hekhouse c. 2016

Feretic Music, ASCAP / Magma Music ASCAP / Clem Burke Music ASCAP

except “NAME THAT TUNE” – John Ferriter/John Finseth/Jeffrey Foskett/Ralph Rubenstein/Clem Burke c. 2014

Feretic Music, ASCAP / Magma Music, ASCAP/Fos Q Music, ASCAP/Clem Burke Music, ASCAP

“I’M JUST TRYING TO BE NICE” – John Ferriter/John Finseth/Greg Brallier/John Ordazzo c. 2016

Feretic Music, ASCAP / Magma Music, ASCAP

“Whatever Happened To Rock And Roll Radio” by Dee Dee Ramone, Johnny Ramone, Joey Ramone c. 1979

“MUCH TOO OLD TO FEEL THIS YOUNG” c. 2015

“FIND ANOTHER FOOL” c. 2015

“ANY BETTER THAN THIS” c. 2012

John Ferriter/John Finseth/Greg Brallier

Feretic Music, ASCAP / Magma Music, ASCAP

THE TEARAWAYS

John Finseth – Guitar, Bass, Keys, Percussion & Vocals

Greg Brallier – guitar & vocals

David Hekhouse – guitar & vocals

John Ferriter – bass, guitar & vocals

with Clem Burke – drums & percussion

Additional instruments – Joel Mankey – horns, woodwinds, cool noises

The Tearaways are endorsed by Hofner Guitars

The Tearaways use Vintage Vox Amps, Vintage Fender Amps, Marshall Amps,  Hi-Watt Amps, Ampeg Amps, Hofner Basses & Guitars, Gibson Guitars, Rickenbacker Guitars, Fender Guitars, Martin Guitars, Gretsch Guitars, Silvertone Guitars, DW Drums, Gretsch Drums, Vox, Korg & Hammond organs, Human hand-claps, just about anything else in the studio that you can shake or hit

CD design and original artwork for the Tearaways by David Russo (WAGL =. WHAT A GREAT LIFE)

CD photographs courtesy of Collin Mathew Photography Liverpool, Ian Hanson Photography Liverpool, Joanne A. Calitri Beat artist Santa Barbara California and Martyn Daniel Still Image – we thank you all for your amazing work and friendship

A lot of sacrifice went into making this record so we hope you enjoy it and appreciate the spirit within which it is presented to the world.  Special thanks go out to our families and friends for their loyalty, love and support. All of our former bandmates for tolerating us and inspiring us to play and to all others who have inspired us in some way.

And a very special thanks to Earle & Jeri Mankey, John Ordazzo, Piers Morgan, Jamie Gruttemeyer, Rodney Bingenheimer from Rodney on the Roq, KROQ, KTYD, Alan Goldman, Patricia Kramer, Lin Aubochon, Billy Butler BBC Merseyside,  Mike Rogers WhatTheFunDay, Radio365 Network, Jeffrey Foskett, Mike Love, Bruce Johnston, Ron Dante, Bo Donaldson, Kenny Aronoff, Robin DiMaggio, Jimmy Paxson, David Raymond,  Eddie Munoz, Joel Mankey, Jesse Benenati, Perry Benenati, Daniel Orias, Stephen David Brooks, Jim Yukich, Cindy Kona, Ralph Rubenstein, Noah Rubenstein, Matthew & Gunnar Nelson, Mark McGrath, Charles and Mary Rook, Thomas Repicci, Merwyn Belin, Robert Matheu, Bob Hannam, Chantal Reeder, Marc Platt, Lianne Curtis, Millie Courtney, Robert Courtney, Bill Heckle, Jon Keats & theteam at the Cavern Liverpool The Greatest Club in the World, Blondie, the Empty Hearts , the International Swingers & Split Squad for loaning Clem to us, The Beatles, Chandler, Carly, Marc Chardon Rogers, Nick Wass, Cathy Harrison & Rob Olson from Hofner, Jim Lombard, Charles &  Mary Rook, Bootleg Blondie, Paddy, John, Bob Horrocks, Tony Barbados and Liverpool elite, Candy Kayne, Elizabeth M. Adger, our friends from Imperial Guitars, Norman’s Rare Guitars & Guitar Center, The Beatles, The Ramones, The Rolling Stones, The Beach Boys, Tom Petty, The Spoilers, The Rotters, The Jetsons, Trik, The Stingrays, 5 Cool What, The Pranks, Reverie, Aston Martin, Toyota, Mercedes, Honda, Ford, Chevrolet, Mr. & Mrs. Dog, Christine Brallier, Jack Brallier, Loretta Finseth, Dakota Finseth, Jade Finseth, Mack Finseth, Dave Humes, Tony Cook, Steve Heller, Mike & Jessica Lambert, the little Twerp, Cam Dafoe, Lisa Hekhouse, Cari Hekhouse, Shane Hekhouse, Kyle Hekhouse & the Ferriters,

Dedicated to E.L. Woody & Alan Massengale & every kid who has a dream to play an instrument or sing in public

In loving memory – of our family members who remain with us only in spirit & Timothy Bryson

“When you’ve topped 40 in age, you can never be in the top 40 on the Pop Charts, but you can always be Top 40 in Life.”

The Tearaways are represented by John Ferriter & Jamie Gruttemeyer at The Alternative

The Fontaines | SPOTLIGHT Series No.4 | ‘Two Bodies’ Exclusive Interview

In February 2017, Los Angeles-based Iconic Band ‘The Fontaines’ dropped their single ‘Evaporate’ on iTunes and are once again waking up the Music Industry demonstrating their incredible talent and consistently accelerating career toward the next level of fabulous. In fact, this is a band whose notoriety has been duly noted by the ‘who’s who’ in the industry such as Famous Radio Hosts Rodney Bingenheimer (KROQ – Rodney on the Roq in Los Angeles) and Mike Rogers (WhatTheFunday Inter FM Radio in Japan). The Fontaines had their (unreleased yet – we are waiting!) upcoming new single ‘Mercury’ spun on Bingenheimers’ last show ever on June 5th alongside the likes of Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Bangles, The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Moon Kids (another SMC fave), Elvis Costello, Van Halen, and Blondie. Bingenheimer is the legend responsible for discovering and spinning many of these bands (including Bowie!) in the early stages of their careers so THAT’S our indication of just how cool these cats are. See why we call them Iconic?

Today, the band has released their newest single ‘Two Bodies’ to iTunes following the succession of their single ‘Vacant’ (April 2017, reviewed on The Chronicles here) just in time for summer. The song is yet another result of this bands’ ability to create something we all want to hear 365 days of the year and can be summed up in one word: Extraordinary. Let’s break that down to the effervescent sexy, seductive, and lilting vocals of Charlotte Fontaine who carries off lyrics that are equally as suggestive and powerful ‘Two bodies in motion…’. This wickedly talented frontwoman of the band has a style that has engraved The Fontaines’ sound into music history and into the hands of iconic radio and media platforms worldwide. In fact, the bands’ website goes by the address THATFONTAINESSOUND.com, a truly unique sound created with the epic guitar riffs of Hank Fontaine and Daniel Zuker (Bassist) complete with a beat that makes you move your feet by Drummer Chrystian Kaplan.

We are always awaiting the release of new music, and it looks like the wait will be not much longer – their upcoming single ‘Mercury’ will launch by the end of summer 2017. Following the successful launch of last Junes ‘ii’ EP and with the hint of a new full-length album on the horizon, we can’t wait! Even if your first listen of this iconic band is today, prepare yourself for something one of a kind and completely addictive also known as: The Fontaines.

We took a moment to chat with Charlotte Fontaine in an exclusive interview below:

SMC SPOTLIGHT! Exclusive Interview | The Fontaines ‘Two Bodies’ June 6th, 2017

SMC – Here we are again with another Numbered Series on our SMC SPOTLIGHT platform. This is number four for The Fontaines! Can you tell us what your connection to SMC and your experience to date with our media platform?

Charlotte – I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again-Candice’s support of our music has been incredible and so encouraging. It’s because of people like Candice that I continue making music.

SMC – We were so thrilled to see you on the roster for the great Rodney Bingenheimer’s last show on KROQ (Los Angeles). So many legends have been on his show – can you tell us how you met with Rodney and what your thoughts are on ‘The Mayor of the Sunset Strip’?

Charlotte – Rodney’s a legend! I can’t believe he played us twice on his final KROQ show. What an absolute honor.

SMC – If you could give a shout-out to Rodney here, what would you like to say?

Charlotte – Thank you for playing us and for the sugar free cookies.

SMC – When can we expect to see your single ‘Mercury’ (as played on Rodney Bingeheimers last show on KROQ) hit iTunes? I am already wanting it on my playlist! (laughs)

Charlotte – Mercury’s gonna be released by the end of the summer!

SMC – Now let’s get into some discussion on your single ‘Two Bodies’ released today: I see that there seems to be a trend with the releases and I recall the last time we spoke, that another album was imminent…will ‘Vacant’, ‘Evaporate’, and now ‘Two Bodies’ be on the album?

Charlotte – We actually will be putting out two EP’s that were recorded a while ago that do not include any of these new singles.

SMC – One thing I have learned about The Fontaines is that you are never predictable. Can you tell us what kind of feedback you have received from industry peers in terms of your individuality as a band?

Charlotte – Thank you! I think that unpredictability is a sign of growing, which is all I ever want to be doing as a musician and as a person.

SMC – That was so nice to see you had included Rodney in your ‘Two Bodies’ video! Speaking of the video (and all your videos for that matter), can you tell us what the inspiration is behind this video?

Charlotte – The biggest inspiration for our “Two Bodies” video was a lack of budget! We shot it in a warehouse that’s being converted to our friend Zach’s new recording studio (Big Bad Sound LA), and on Hank’s iPhone. I love how dramatic the video turned out.

SMC – I have also noticed a trend on your YouTube channel: the ‘Trashy Version’ of your upcoming releases. I had a chuckle when I saw that. Can you tell us what the trend is there in giving these videos that title?

Charlotte – We decided to shoot some acoustic type performances one day but our camera guy bailed last minute. So, I took out my iPhone and started shooting us selfie-style. Thus began the “trashy” series.

SMC – I have mentioned before that I feel your music and brand speaks for itself. Some of the greatest Musicians really don’t have to sell themselves short or be aggressive and pushy with their Music. What are your thoughts on that?

Charlotte – Living in LA gives you the opportunity to perform any night of the week, for entirely different groups of people. Plus, you can go to Canter’s deli and meet Rodney Bingenheimer.

SMC – What are your thoughts on the kind of music that comes from the east coast – is there a bit of a different vibe that westerners create in their music as opposed to what is produced in the east?

Charlotte – I honestly haven’t experienced their music scene half as much as the one here on the west coast, so I can’t quite say.

SMC – Since we last spoke, ‘Evaporate’ was the topic for discussion. You have also released ‘Vacant’, a brilliant song! Can you tell me what was the inspiration behind this song? Was it a personal experience?

Charlotte – “Vacant” is about creepy guys at the bar who you can tell a million times “I’m not interested” or “I have a boyfriend” or “I’m married to my cat” and they’ll still keep pursuing you.

SMC – The video for ‘Vacant’ was pretty on point. (laughs) On a serious note: whose idea was it for the theme?

Charlotte – The girl featured in the video, our friend Fiona, actually directed it and came up with the entire concept. I think her work is brilliant and so unique.

SMC – When it comes to the creation of your music, do you find that you all have that ‘ah-ha’ moment when you begin to produce and record it?

Charlotte – With every song there’s either an “a-ha” moment or a “this is awful! we gotta drop this!” moment. Funny thing is when two different people experience different ones with the same song…

SMC – We are looking at doing a Social Media takeover for SMC in the near future. You are SMC Royalty in our opinion and want to have you hosted on our Social Media for a full day. Tell us of the kind of creative things you would like to do if we are able to facilitate this?

Charlotte – Royalty! I can’t wait to tell our mom we’re royalty. We’d love to take over the social media for starlight for a day!

SMC – Can you tell us what other cool gigs you have coming up for the summer months?

Charlotte – We’re playing a festival in August called “Musikfest” in Bethlehem, PA, and we’re booking some east coast shows around that!

SMC – You also released another video to your YouTube channel last week ‘F Buddy Holly (Voice Memo)’ which is soooo pleasing to the ears. Can you tell us if this song will also be included on the new album?

Charlotte – ‘F Buddy Holly’ was just a voice memo we recorded onto my phone one random day last year with our friend Scott from the band Street Joy, so we just put it up on YouTube for fun.

SMC – Can you tell me a little bit about the title of the song and what it means ‘F Buddy Holly’?

Charlotte – “F Buddy Holly” was just us censoring ourselves. It’s just a pun. I recall listening to a lot of Buddy Holly that day. But that’s me every day…

SMC –Ha ha! I thought as much. I really like that you have registered your social media and website as ‘That Fontaine’s Sound’, yet another unique little nuance we have come to know and love. What do you think are some of the most important things a band can do for themselves in terms of brand awareness and marketing their sound?

Charlotte – Biggest advice I have is to come up with a band name and spell it in the most unusual way possible… the amount of trouble we and friends of ours have gone through with other people under the same name…

SMC – Can you tell us who your go-to is in terms of Media platforms and collaborations in getting your new music out?

Charlotte – Right now I’m on a YouTube kick. I’m posting vlogs of our everyday life on their once a week as well as releasing new songs or “trashy versions” of songs on there.

SMC – Where do you think the music world is headed in terms of Radio? Many are saying that Spotify playlists are the way of the future. You have been listed on our Playlists ‘SMC SPOTLIGHT ARTISTS’ and ‘SMC EDITORS FAVORITES’. I also see that you have close to 18,000 monthly listeners! What do you think the benefits are for being placed in Spotify playlists?

Charlotte – Spotify has been incredible for us. At one point when “Evaporate” first came out we had 37,000 monthly listeners… Their playlists are just a convenient way for people to hear new music, all of my friends go there for new tunes.

SMC – How long have you been on Spotify?

Charlotte- Probably about a year?

SMC – We are really beginning to push our Spotify playlists for the Artists that we support and are quite happy with the response we have gotten from industry peers. We are even thinking of compiling a Christmas playlist as well in the month of November. What do you feel the public wants in terms of a great playlist?

Charlotte – The public probably wants what I want from a playlist-high energy, then maybe some slow jams, and a build back up to some fun hits at the end!

SMC – Finish this sentence: If I were not a part of The Fontaines, I would be ______________.

Charlotte – If I weren’t part of The Fontaines I would…still be going to Fontaines shows (winks).

________________________________________

Band Members

Charlotte Fontaine (Vocalist)

Hank Fontaine (Backup Vocalist, Guitarist)

Daniel Zuker (Bassist)

Chrystian Kaplan (Drummer)

Biography

The Fontaines are a brother-sister duo based in Los Angeles, California.  Charlotte Fontaine (vocals) and Hank Fontaine (guitar) began writing new-wave influenced rock songs after growing up all over the world as kids.  The siblings are backed by Chrystian Kaplan (drums) and Daniel Zuker (bass) live and in the studio.

In 2016 The Fontaines performed at music festivals including Savannah Stopover, Canadian Music Week, Broke LA, and Make Music Pasadena.  In June, the band released their new EP, “ii,” which has gotten airplay on KROQ in Los Angeles.  The band is currently finishing up their debut full-length album, set for release in 2017.

The Fontaines Social Media Links (click to view)

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Spotify

iTunes

YouTube

Bandcamp

THE MOON KIDS | SPOTLIGHT Series No.1

If you are itching for summer to hurry up, you might want to upload Dunfermline, Scotland band The Moon Kids two brand new singles ‘Forever Blue’ and ‘Something Spectacular’ right now. The band has launched the singles today, March 31st, and the tunes are the brilliant, effervescent, feel-good magic that only ‘The Moon Kids’ know how to create and are perfect for getting you in the mood for sunny days, flip flops, and music festival season! We had the opportunity to speak with the band prior to their single releases to get a more in-depth discussion on the new music, their upcoming projects for 2017, and the intense media support they have been receiving on some of the worlds most notorious radio platforms in Japan and Los Angeles. Here is what they had to say:

Interview | March 6th, 2017

By Candice Anne Marshall

*The band is comprised of: David Barr (vocals), Connor Whyte (guitar), and Rory Buchanan(drums)

SMC – The Moon Kids! This is our first official numbered series feature for you on our Spotlight. (previously the band was published in our first issue of Starlight Music Chronicles Magazine in October 2015). Can you catch us up to speed with some of the key things that have been happening for the band since then?

TMK – Gigs, single releases, recording, recording and more recording! And maybe a little soul searching!

SMC- I am going to get right into the topic of your new singles today. Before I mention the song titles, can you tell me what was the reason behind launching two singles on the same day? We have seen this with Ed Sheeran’s return in January but it’s not often that Artists these days launch two singles on the same day – this is exciting!

TMK – There wasn’t really a specific reason to putting out two tracks at the same time other than we have so much unheard material. We are constantly in the studio working on new music and always have been ever since we started. Because we have had a couple of line up changes we haven’t really been able to be as active as we would have liked… But during these periods I make a point of staying busy in the studio so that we keep moving forward. So, we’ve built up quite a large catalogue of material which I think our fans deserve to hear.

SMC – Who did you produce the album with?

TMK – We still work with Michael Brennan Jnr (snow patrol, Super Furry Animals, Primal Scream) but recently we have also spent time in the studio with Tony Doogan (Teenage Fanclub, Mogwai, Young Knives) Rafe McKenna but also a young Edinburgh based producer Mark Morrow who we recorded the next single ‘Forever Blue’ with.

SMC – So let’s get into the songs: ’Something Spectacular’ I have had the chance to sample on your SoundCloud and I am already playing it on repeat! What is the time frame from the last single to this one coming up in terms of new music?

TMK – Our last single ‘Ice Cream’ was released late in 2015 so there has been a full year gap since the last single. So definitely time for people to hear what we’ve been up to behind the scenes.

SMC – ‘Something Spectacular’ – can you tell us what brought on the inspiration for this song? Has it been something you have had waiting in your back pocket for a while or was it written very recently?

TMK – This was actually one of the very first songs I ever wrote when I was still a young teenager. It has changed and developed a lot since I first penned the track but the sentiment of the song remains the same. The other guys in the band had heard the old demo I recorded years ago and everyone just really wanted to work on it. It’s a ‘feel good’ track and the chorus is super catchy. It’s got strange groove to it… This is because years ago I used to have a little Zoom 8 -Track at home which had a built-in drum machine. So, I wrote the chord progression around a looped beat rather than writing on an acoustic first. It worked really well.

SMC – You second single ‘Forever Blue’ still encompasses that great Moon Kids sound but is a different…is this a precursor/sampling to an upcoming album?

TMK – Well… This is an odd one… This song we used play live and it was super fast. Almost quite rocky sounding. I spent some time in LA last year and really loved the chilled-out vibe… Especially Venice Beach. It’s a completely different environment to what I’m used to back home in Scotland. I felt really relaxed there. A busker gave me a shot of his guitar one night and I just started playing an acoustic version of the track. Really slow and chilled. Was just how I was feeling at the time. I just liked it and set up a few hours in the studio when I got home to record a stripped back version. And what you hear on record is how it turned out. It’s full band but it’s a lot more organic and raw compared to some of our previous releases. But personally, I love that about it.

SMC – You have been getting some great traction for your music with the media in the UK. Are there any particular platforms you would like to give a shout out to?

TMK – Yeah, I’ve been really blown away with just how many amazing reviews we’ve had and totally blown away with the amount of Spotify streams etc. We’re still very much a DIY band. We don’t have a manger or anything… So, the fact that so many people are finding and connecting to the music is really amazing. Big shout out to everyone who has listened, written about or played us really… There has been so many platforms and radio show supporting us that I’d hate to name any and forget to name others.

SMC- In terms of radio play, I know you boys have appeared on Rodney on the ROQ KROQ FM radio in Los Angeles and WhatTheFunday Inter FM Radio in Japan. Are there any other radio stations in other countries who have picked up your music?

TMK – Yeah, Rodney has been a huge support to us and that’s a great honour for us. The guy has a good hear for talent which his track record proves so it’s really great that he digs our music. It means a lot. Similarly, with WhatTheFunday… It’s really special knowing that a track you wrote in your bedroom on a rainy afternoon in Scotland is getting heard all the way out in Japan. We can’t thank these people enough.

At home Amazing Radio, BBC 6, BBC Scotland have all regularly played our music as well as a lot of other stations in Germany, New Zealand, Canada… It’s really amazing. For us being a Scottish band it is an achievement on its own just to get played in England. So, I feel really blessed to have the support we have had.

SMC – When can we expect the videos for the new singles to release?

TMK – 31rst of March… The video for Forever Blue is released. Big shout out Kansas Bowling who shot the video. She’s a super cool film-maker destined for big things I’m sure. It was great to work with her.

SMC – How do you think that Musicians in the UK differ from Musicians in North America in terms of production, branding, promotion, of their music?

TMK – I’m not sure to be honest. The UK is tiny compared to North America and we’ve been based here the whole time so it’s hard to make a comparison. I think its equally as challenging wherever you are. Especially for guitar bands in recent years. But I think that’s all going to change soon.

SMC – Which social media platforms are you most active on?

TMK – We are equally active on… Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Youtube

SMC- Which social media platforms are the best at promoting yourselves as Artists?

TMK – I’m going to be brutally honest here… They are all equal in getting yourself out there… But Facebook charges bands to post. In order to be effective with posts you have to pay to sponsor it otherwise it gets diluted in the feed. So as much as I love Facebook as a promotional tool I do feel this is slightly exploiting bands. Especially considering bands make so little money these days from streaming etc. I think it has to change.

SMC – I really appreciated the treasures you all sent over last spring (CD’s, T-shirts, Buttons). I have to publicly thank you again for that. I think that lends a real personal touch to the connection between the Artist and Media. Most Artists will send all of their content and expect that an immediate connection has to happen and a write-up but I feel that the best way to get the most out of a well written piece is to know the band/Artist. What are your thoughts on that?

TMK – Yeah… I do believe in developing relationships with the people who support you. It’s really important. I want us to be one of those bands that people feel a connection with. So, we have to show our gratitude.

SMC –  What do you feel makes the magic in a band? What is it that makes a band stick together through thick and thin?

TMK – Well… A spot of luck goes a long way. I’m not sure either though… To me its about grit and determination… Bands are notoriously difficult it’s why inevitably we all split up eventually. People hear the music and think must be a great laugh being in a band… And it is, but its like anything the trials and tribulations are there. The music industry is tough and for a band trying to breakthrough it can be very gruelling. There is no way around it. One minute you’re the next big thing the next minute you can’t get arrested. It’s only really the bands at the very top who earn any money. So, you have to be prepared to ride the wave and be persistent. If being in a band is what you are passionate about then I think you should always remember just how lucky you are to be doing what you dreamed about as a kid.

SMC – I have never asked this until today but referencing the previous question, do you think that the long-term success of a band is different when they are family or friends?

TMK – Yeah, I think there might be some truth to this. Family obviously will stick together through thick and thin as will good friends. There is a closer bond I suppose. I think it’s down to the band though. If the individuals in the band are motivated, enthusiastic, passionate and determined then anything is possible.

SMC – I really have always loved the logo for The Moon Kids. Who came up with the concept?

TMK – That was myself way back when we first started. We were playing our debut show in Dunfermline and needed a logo for the kit. I think the skin got printed on the day of the gig so it wasn’t really thought about too much. It was more of a spur of the moment kind of a thing. But it’s like a tattoo. You’re stuck with it. So, I’m glad you like it.

SMC – I know that a lot of your music sounds light but the lyrics are often very deep. How do you achieve that balance when it comes to the songwriting process?

TMK – That’s really great that you have picked up on that because no-one else has. And to me this is one of the things that sets us apart. No one ever mentions our lyrics. I’ve always wanted that contrast. I love early Beatles and early pop music. The hooks, melodies and chord progressions are timeless so I always wanted our music to have this quality. To be catchy and good on the ear. But I think lyrics are so important so I didn’t want them to ever be throwaway. “Oh baby baby” and all that kind of thing. In fact, our first song ‘Rollercoaster People” is a good example I sang “Sha la la” normally a happy feel good chant over the top of quite an emotive chord progression. I love the contrast. Taking things out of perspective. Getting away with saying some quite dark stuff over the top of some nice major chords can really deceive the listener in a good way though. I love playing with that concept.

SMC – What kinds of challenges have the band face and how were they overcome?

TMK – Most bands face the same challenges, we’ve been kept on our toes I’m not going to lie about that. It hasn’t been an easy ride but then again, I didn’t expect it would be. Having very little money, working day jobs, band members leaving the day before a big gig etc. all make life a little difficult. You just have to persevere and that’s what we have always done. I’m a big believer in turning a negative into a positive. If you’re thrown into a situation that is out of your hands accept it and figure out how to flip it to your advantage.

SMC – Which would be the one country you love to all travel to in terms of live performance and getting your name out?

TMK – Definitely North America…

SMC – Okay, final question: Can you tell us what your thoughts are on the music that is being produced today and who you were most sad to see leave (pass away) the industry in 2016 and why?

TMK – Some amazing music is being made today in all different genres as always, a lot of what is played in the mainstream charts is throwaway garbage but that’ll always be the case. Scratch the surface though and there are some amazing groups and artists writing unbelievable music. Big shout out to Dutch Uncles who are my favourite band just now.

I’m sad to see anyone pass away and 2016 was just relentless. Bowie and Prince though both of their deaths really shook the musical world. Real icons so you don’t associate them with any form of weakness. It was really sad. For a song-writer when you come up against it… The right answer is always “what would Bowie have done?” He is one of a kind and brought so much joy to so many people through his art and passion for life. Really, he is a great example of what a pop-star should be.

SMC – Thank you boys!

_________________

The Moon Kinds Social Media Links (Click to View)

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Spotify

iTunes

YouTube

Something Spectaular

 

The Fontaines | SPOTLIGHT Series No.3

The Fontaines | Exclusive Spotlight Interview

February 16th, 2017

By Candice Anne Marshall

There are some Artists that have fallen into our SMC Spotlight ‘Numbered Series’ category for their exceptional talent and Los Angeles based band The Fontaines have certainly earned this prestige. Since my first interview with the band (The Fontaines Series No.1) in 2015, they have remained consistent with the timing of their releases and the quality tracks that remain unique and iconic. When we reviewed The Fontaines stellar new four song EP ‘ii’, it became apparent that this was a band that needed to be followed in a Numbered Series on our Spotlight (See The Fontaines Series No. 2).

On February 8th, 2017, the band released their newest single ‘Evaporate’. A disco-style song oozing with the delicate punch-drunk love vocals of leading lady Charlotte Fontaine. I’m certain that this is a song being spun by notable Radio stations such as the famous Rodney Bingenheimer’s ‘Rodney On The Roq’ KROQ FM radio for its Studio 54 quality: epic and unforgettable! The beat is exquisite with vintage sounding instrumentation reflective of the days even I would go to the roller rink. The lyrics and vocals are sexy, fun and, I predict, the song will be a global 2017 Summer hit. If you are wanting to discover a new sound, tap into ‘Evaporate’ and let the soulful funky groove take over – just make sure you’re near a dance floor because after hearing the first few chords, I guarantee you won’t be sitting!

We have added The Fontaines’ new single ‘Evaporate’ to our SMC Spotlight Artists Spotify playlist and we look forward to hearing more as the band edges towards their next EP release! Catch the video for the single below and be sure to sample the bands complete music library on their SoundCloud as well.

I was lucky enough to catch up with Charlotte Fontaine for an exclusive interview recently. Here’s what she had to say:

SMC – We are THRILLED to have you on our Spotlight once again! This time we are going to be chatting about your new song ‘Evaporate’ that was recently launched. WOW! You guys keep getting better and better! Can you tell us about the kind of traction you’ve received from media responses to the new song?

CF – We’ve been getting such great feedback for “Evaporate”. Just yesterday we were named one of Tidal’s “Rising Artists To Watch” and they shared the track.

SMC – I fell in love with the two of you since the first day I heard your sound. It’s very unique! This new stuff has a nice, almost disco beat to it. Who wrote ‘Evaporate’?

CF – Thank you! We wrote “Evaporate” in a tiny treehouse in Mount Washington.

SMC – When can we expect a video release for the song? We’d love to feature it on the front page of our website!

CF – We won’t be releasing a video for this single actually. We’ve decided to let the song speak for itself.

SMC – Is ‘Evaporate’ a good taste of what’s to come for The Fontaines?

CF – We’re going to be putting out a few more singles in the same vain, and then our debut album.

SMC – I seriously love the videos you post on The Fontaines Facebook Page timeline…. it’s nice to see video of you and I think it connects you to your fan-base quite well. I know I have asked this previously but sometimes it varies – which platform do you think receives the most response to your posts?

CF – Conversational videos are the best form of social media in my opinion, I love it when I can see my favorite musician talking about what they’re up to. Twitter is my personal favorite at the moment though.

SMC – I saw that you have been added to some awesome Spotify playlists! Congrats! We are happy to say that you are on our SMC Spotlight Artists Playlist now too! What are your thoughts on Spotify and the kind of traction you receive on that platform?

CF – Thank you for adding us to the SMC Spotlight Artists Playlist! I use Spotify every day myself so it’s been fun to see that other people are seeking us out on there.

SMC – Is there another Album release coming in the near future?

CF – Soon, very, very soon!

SMC – I had a listen to your new song ‘Pitted’ which was sent in as an entry to the NPR Music ‘Tiny Desk Contest’ – it was fantastic! Can you tell us more about this? (the song and the contest)

CF – I’m glad you enjoyed “Pitted”.  It’s an unreleased number off of our debut album. It’s the first song I’ve ever had to stop recording midway through because of crying so hard.

SMC – Can you tell us who you would like to give a ‘shout out’ to in terms of Media support for The Fontaines?

CF – How can I not give a shout out to the one and only Candice Marshall for always supporting us!

SMC – I know you have been regularly spun on Rodney Bingenheimer’s Rodney on the Roq – KROQ show in Los Angeles – what other radio stations have shown a keen interest in your music?

CF – Getting played regularly on Rodney On The Roq on KROQ has been amazing. I’m excited to see where else it ends up.

SMC – Are there any festivals you will be playing this year?

CF – We might as well be getting on the plane to go to SXSW now!

SMC- I had a look at your website – it’s well laid out! Who manages all your music platforms and is responsible for the creation of visual content behind them?

CF – Hank and I design everything “Fontaines” related anyone sees. To me, the visuals go hand-in-hand with the music, so how could we not do it ourselves.

SMC – In terms of genres, what and who are your favorite go-to’s?

CF – I’ve been listening to “I Love You Always Forever” by Donna Summer on repeat for days.

SMC What do you think is most vital to grow your bands brand within the industry with Media and Fans?

CF – Making music you…yourself… would listen to.

SMC – Where do you draw your inspiration from when writing a song?

CF – Interpersonal relationships. Does anything else actually matter?

SMC – How do you execute a concept with a written song in terms of instrumentation? For each Artist, I get a different answer. I am curious what the process is like for you….

CF – Songwriting for us is like building a house of cards. Hank and I create the bass with chords and a melody and lyrics, then our bandmates (Daniel Zuker, bass, and Chrystian Kaplan, drums) come in and add their parts.

SMC – I think one of the things I love most about The Fontaines is that you promote your music in a very unique way. I feel the music and your image is enough to be considered one of those bands that really doesn’t have to push the promo to be truly great – you just are! Your brand stands on its own as something everyone wants to hear/know/see. It’s extraordinary. What are your thoughts on my views?

CF – What a great compliment! Music is the one place in my life where I truly never hold back from being myself, so it means a lot to hear you call it “extraordinary”.

SMC – I like to also mention that your songs: one to the next to the next is entirely different in its composition and sound. Is that deliberate? I love the range in sound you create!

CF – We’re just having fun putting out the music we feel fits our life at this moment in time.

SMC – It’s been some time since we last spoke. I saw that you have played a lot of live shows and will be playing at SXSW Festival next month! How did you land that? It’s awesome!

CF – I’m really looking forward to playing SXSW for the first time. I’m stoked to see Austin.

SMC – What are the top five songs in your most recent playlist? Inquiring minds want to know!

CF – “Get Physical” by Pep, “Calling You” by Jeff Buckley, “Wipe Out” by The Surfaris, “Comme Moi” by Edith Piaf, and “Stronger Than Me” by Amy Winehouse.

SMC – What do you think makes The Fontaines an ‘iconic’ band? I feel you are and I have my views, but I would like to know what your thoughts on yourselves are….

CF – I’m happy that we get to make whatever kind of music we want to.

SMC – We look forward to hearing more and have added your new single ‘Evaporate’ to our SMC Spotlight Artists Spotify playlist. Can you give us some parting words or a teaser of what’s to come from The Fontaines in the next 3-6 months?

CF – Stay tuned for our debut album. In the meantime, you can check out our single “Evaporate” on Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube.

SMC – Thank you Hank and Charlotte! As always, we love having you on the SMC Spotlight!

CF – Thanks for having us on the SMC Spotlight!

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Band Members

Charlotte Fontaine (Vocalist)

Hank Fontaine (Backup Vocalist, Guitarist)

Daniel Zuker (Bassist)

Chrystian Kaplan (Drummer)

Biography

The Fontaines are a brother-sister duo based in Los Angeles, California.  Charlotte Fontaine (vocals) and Hank Fontaine (guitar) began writing new-wave influenced rock songs after growing up all over the world as kids.  The siblings are backed by Chrystian Kaplan (drums) and Daniel Zuker (bass) live and in the studio.

In 2016 The Fontaines performed at music festivals including Savannah Stopover, Canadian Music Week, Broke LA, and Make Music Pasadena.  In June, the band released their new EP, “ii,” which has gotten airplay on KROQ in Los Angeles.  The band is currently finishing up their debut full-length album, set for release in 2017.

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The Fontaines Social Media Links (click to view):

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Spotify

YouTube

Bandcamp