funny thing happened on) The Road To Rock Stardom
By Tammy Moore
I was supposed to be famous by now. Actually, I wasn’t
supposed to be famous, but I was supposed to be managing famous
bands by now and reveling in music success. That was the plan
ten years ago when I began managing my first band. Within
three years, we actually got all the way to the point where
no less than three major labels were knocking on our door.
But the bass player screwed the guitar player’s girlfriend,
and the lead singer was worried that he’d be labeled
a grunge movement copycat (even though he was tapped into
consciousness and playing grunge here long before anyone had
ever heard of Nirvana). So he used that incident as an excuse
to jump ship and disband the band. That was a lot of hard
work down the freakin’ drain. I cried a lot that year.
True story. Bittersweet story.
Then I went on to manage other bands. From eclectic rock and
alternarock to punk and hardcore metal acts, the bands I worked
with were good. That wasn’t the problem…there
was always some weird dynamic simmering beneath the surface
within the bands, and we would do all this work…and
KAPLOW!!!! Some bullshit would happen, and then it was all
over. Oh, I’m sorry. It must be holiday depression creeping
up on me.
%$#@ that. That was then. This is now, and I LOVE MY LIFE.
I’m the mother of the coolest child that I’m quite
sure has graced this planet in a long time. He sports Ramones
and Metallica T-shirts at the ripe old age of three, and we
already rock out together while the stereo blasts our favorite
tunes. He always gets to be the guitar player, and I always
have to be the rowdy drummer or the singer. He can’t
make the ‘s’ sound yet, so he tells me that when
he grows up, he’s going to be a “wawk tar.”
That’s “rock star” for those of you who
need translation for baby language. And it suits me fine.
The spirit of rock music chose me when I was a wee little
lass and I could hear Led Zeppelin and Golden Earring blasting
from my teenage uncle’s bedroom. It has never let me
go, and my pursuit of it has taken me everywhere I’ve
gone in life. It would be only fitting for me to be the mother
of a wawk tar.
I have parents and a brother that I’m crazy about who
double as my best friends. I have great friends…some
who never cease to entertain me with the drama that is their
lives, and some who are amazing creatures that teach me how
to cope with life through the example they set in their day
to day living. The same artist who bailed on those recording
deals years ago, but who I’ve never stopped believing
in because he is one of those rare birds with the ability
to reinvent himself and his music again and again, called
me up a few weeks ago and asked me to come check out his new
band at Flamingo Cantina. I went and was blown away when they
finally took the stage to serve up a musical force reminiscent
of early U2 and Simply Red. By that I mean, the early work
that was so raw with electric energy that, in listening to
it, one just sensed that they were destined for greatness.
I would tell you this band’s name, but true to form,
they don’t have one yet. That was more of a practice
gig, and it is of no matter anyway as everyone will know their
name soon enough. And they’ve asked me to book a few
gigs for them. That’s how these things always start.
The point is that I’m happy again. For all the disappointment
I felt at not having “arrived” to the place I
thought I should be by now, there are new opportunities all
around me. These days I get to interview rock stars sometimes.
I get to interview people that have succeeded behind the scenes
in music a lot and in doing so, continue to educate myself
on this business of music. And I’m an official staff
writer for Rank and Revue – The Red River Review Magazine.
Sure it’s a small little rag that appeals primarily
to the sub-culture, and there is barely more than a handful
of industry pros in this town that are even aware of our existence
at this point (though most of the ones that do know of us
really dig what we do here). But being part of this rocks,
and with 2003 coming to a close, I’ve decided to use
my last column to shed some light on my experience thus far
with Rank and Revue.
I remember vividly the day my life took this unexpected turn
when Wendy WWAD walked up to me at a club and asked when I
was going to come and write for the mag. She happened to be
in the company of one Brenna Parthemore, publisher and owner
of the original thought that eventually unfolded and became
Rank and Revue. As fate or divine intervention might have
it, it just so happened that I had an original thought of
my own that had been floating around in my head when WWAD
approached me—writing a column profiling people that
work behind the scenes in the music industry.
Having gone through the ranks myself, I knew there was so
much mystery concerning the rock biz, and I knew that most
musicians out there really needed some sort of educational
tool. Many artists get caught up in the seductive allure of
the rock star life and sign contracts and agreements without
totally understanding what they’re getting into. Also,
I had read once that most of the people that work behind the
scenes in music were once aspiring artists themselves and,
for whatever reason, had decided to take a different path
and work behind other artists. I, myself, was never actually
in a band, but as a kid growing up, I wreaked havoc in front
of my bedroom mirror. My hairbrush was my microphone, and
while I sang along with Kansas, Alice Cooper and Judas Priest,
I was performing to throngs of people. I’m sure I just
told you too much there, but I’m giddy with thoughts
of Rudolph right now and just don’t care. Besides, it
helped mold me into a great playmate for my son to take along
on his journeys into fantasy land.
So, back to Rank and Revue. I pitched my idea to Brenna and
Wendy that night, and they liked it and offered me a full
page on the spot. A few days later, I showed up for my first
writer’s meeting and remember feeling a sense of awe
at the sight of my wonderfully funky new rock and roll comrades.
I suppose I could call it an organization, but it isn’t.
It’s a real motley crew of mostly educated, opinionated,
free-thinking radicals who believe in what we do here, and
it is that faith and the hard work of everyone on the staff
that enables this not-for-profit (yet) mag to be published
every two weeks.
me if I gush, but I’m impressed with my peeps here at
Rank and Revue, and my gift to them this Xmas is to let them
all know it. Oh, they’ll roll their eyes and say things
like, “You’re such a queer.” But again,
it’s Christmas, I’m giddy, and I just don’t
care. Besides, sometimes it’s all right to know that
someone “sees” you.
It’s hard not to be impressed with people devoting so
much of their time to the creation and production of this
little print jewel. Like Chad Holt, who I know busts his ass
to bring advertising dollars in to keep us afloat financially,
and who, as far as I know, single-handedly distributes each
and every issue we put out. He somehow keeps his sense of
humor in the midst of it all and writes his hysterically funny
column for every issue. Like Larry Stern, who keeps a camera
on him at all times and creates the visual landscape that
our readers have come to love. He’s one of those guys
who can store and file tons of information in his head. So
when editors are out of town or editors quit, we all gravitate
to him, and he makes sure things get handled. He doesn’t
always like it but he does it. And what about Brian Clarkson,
Jonathan McPhail, and Beau Been? I owe them thanks for being
willing to drive to whatever music biz location I’ve
needed them to go to and shoot pictures of my subjects, not
to mention the great shots they deliver from Elysium and all
the shows we cover, on the street and off. Then I have to
mention how cool it is to be in the company of some of our
great male writers. I love to pick up a copy of each new issue
and see what Bryan Smith, Trevor Wallace, Kevin Stack, James
Marquadt, Christopher Head or Slander Bob have to say. They
paint vivid pictures with their words. They make me laugh.
They do their jobs to entice me to listen or not to any given
artist. And they are nice guys to boot…at least they
appear to be. No ego problems here. Oh, and don’t feel
left out, Shutter-Bugg. You are just as impressive. Unfortunately,
my relationship with you has taken place strictly over the
telephone, and I find out recently that may be because you
aren’t supposed to be in the same room with another
staffer. But that’s another story, right?
We have layout people who we create migrane headaches for
every other week without fail, and yet Steve Landry, Gretchen
Von Eberstein, Erica Nix, Nicky Tavares, and my personal fave,
Matt Richardson, continue to devote their time and talents
to creating this magazine that tops itself imaginatively almost
every issue. I’m very sure you aren’t told enough
how much you are appreciated.
Finally, there are the women of Rank and Revue. Is there anything
sexier in the world than strong-willed, powerful, gorgeous
females that rock in their lives, their jobs, the pursuit
of their dreams, as hard as any man you would put them up
against? We have a full crew of them on our staff, and they
are each a sight to behold in their own way. I am continually
impressed by the abilities and dedication of our alpha-females,
Brenna Parthemore and Wendy WWAD. They have found a niche
in the creation of Rank and Revue and are driving that dream,
full throttle of course, straight into the sun. And they do
it with the help of one Scarlot Harlot. That would be Ms.
Beth Sams to you, our oh-so-punky web mistress, organizer
of our calender, and in-house cheerleader. There is Joelle
Bart, creator of the centerfolds that always bring a new edginess
to each issue. And where would we be without the beloved Corri
Mava and metal-maven, San Francisco-transplant Beky Hayes
whose colorful written stylings never cease to entertain?
And finally, there are the quiet ones…Misty Sweet and
Jennifer Pollack, quiet, sure, but ALWAYS reliable. And you
know what they say about the quiet ones anyway. These bitches
are all badasses and they inspire me!
Yes, I like it here. Detours happen on the road to rock stardom,
and I am loving this one. I’ll be kicking off the new
year by interviewing David Dickenson, A & R rep for Hamstein
Publishing. If you have questions or comments concerning the
music business, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org,
and I will interview some pro that can provide you with answers.
Ho Ho Ho! to all the crew at Rank and Revue, and the same
to all of you. Keep reaching for the dream.