When you think of major-label record execs, you probably picture a fat white dude in an expensive suit, telling kids to “have a cigar, you’re gonna go far” before rocking James Taylor in their Audi on the drive home to the burbs. No wonder the industry is in disarray. One of the few major labels that has saved face and retained clout within its genre is Blue Note, the jazz label founded in 1939, responsible for launching hard bop to prominence, and still busy discovering and developing great jazz talent.
Accordingly, Blue Note president Don Was is not your average fat cat. Before taking charge of the label last year, Was spent years as a musician and producer, working with the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan through the ’90s—and earning a Producer of the Year Grammy in ’95—as well as Iggy Pop, Elton John, the B-52s, Willie Nelson, Joe Cocker, Ziggy Marley, Van Morrison, Aaron Neville, Bonnie Raitt, and the list goes on and on. Beyond that, he’s worked as musical director for a host of Hollywood films, including Days of Thunder, Thelma and Louise, Toy Story and more. If anyone has a clear view of the way forward in the music industry, it’s Was.
On Monday (April 1), Was will deliver the annual Carr Distinguished Interdisciplinary Lecture at Skidmore College’s Gannett Auditorium. The program is titled “From Walking Dinosaurs to Rolling Stones: A Conversation with Don Was,” and promises to mix lessons from Was’ experience with projections of the future, as well as career advice for anyone who’s interested in making a go if it in music. The lecture begins at 8 PM and admission is free and open to the public.
Punk Rock Cook Out
On Saturday (March 30), Albany cow-punks the Slaughterhouse Chorus will return home to Valentine’s (17 New Scotland Ave., Albany) from a whirlwind 11-city tour of the Northeast and Midwest. With them, they bring word of Built4BBQ, a new local record collective including co-founders Henry’s Rifle and a host of associated acts. The first of three scheduled sampler albums, titled The Appetizer, is available for free download at built4bbq.com and features 18 tracks by the likes of Charmboy, the Pistolwhips, the End Men, Bridge Under Fire, Maggot Brain and Linear North. Committed to DIY ethics, the collective plans to produce and package their own releases, with full lengths from the Pistolwhips and Henry’s Rifle due out this year. Also keep on the lookout for samplers The Entree in July and Dessert this winter.
On the Brink
Saturday will be a homecoming of sorts for Maria Brink, lead singer of L.A. metal band In This Moment, when they make a national tour stop at the Upstate Concert Hall. While Brink currently lives in Albany with her mother and son, In This Moment have been touring internationally with the likes of Halestorm, Shinedown and Papa Roach and on big multi-band tours such as ShipRocked, Mayhem Tour, Hell Hath No Fury Tour, Ozzfest, Warped Tour and Hottest Chicks in Metal Tour.
That last one is no coincidence. Brink has received feature treatment in magazines like Inked and is being heralded by some as the new face of metal, equal parts vixen and babydoll. And she has the bio to back it up. Growing up in an Albany trailer park with a single mother who suffered from drug addiction, Brink ended up supporting herself any way she could when she gave birth to a son at age 15. Having started a metal band called pulse at 18, she decided she’d have better prospects of breaking into the business if she settled in Los Angeles.
After a couple years of playing coffee shops and tending bar, she met the musicians with whom she’d eventually form In This Moment in 2005. Things took off when Ozzy Osbourne bassist Rob Nicholson offered to manage the band and hooked the group up with Lacuna Coil label Century Media. Four records later, In This Moment are headlining their own tours and topping the U.S. hard rock charts with their latest Blood, while Brink is gradually becoming an icon of her genre.
In This Moment will be joined by Love and Death, All Hail the Yeti and Owl when they play Upstate Concert Hall (1208 Route 146, Clifton Park) at 7:30 PM on Saturday (March 30). Tickets are $17. Call 371-0012 for more info.