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ROUGH MIX

Ten Year Vamp

Photo: Joe Putrock

ASK AND YE SHALL RECEIVE The fan-funded album isn’t a new concept—technically, anyone who’s ever saved up gig money to buy studio time is “fan-funded.” But in recent years, with the big record labels less of an option, more and more bands have taken to asking their supporters for some scratch to help see their creative visions through. And it’s a hoot to see a local band take such a project from concept to fruition.

Last year, former Metroland freelancer Bill Ketzer wrote a profile about Albany rock band Ten Year Vamp (“A Piece of the Action,” Listen Here, Jan. 31, 2008). The article detailed the band’s then-nascent Album Project: “Interested parties purchase ‘shares’ in the album’s creation through the band’s Web site,” wrote Ketzer. “Investors choose from various levels of support, and when the album is released on 10YV’s label, they’ll receive dividend checks based on their investment percentage.”

Investors—or “owners” as the band (rightfully) refers to them—would also be privy to special perks like free concert tickets and CDs, private parties, and so forth, based on their investment level. At the time, the band had raised about $5,000.

Along the way, they gave owners a running log of the record’s progress via a dedicated page on their Web site. According to guitarist and co-founder Mark Rose, owners “voted on songs that would make it onto the album, voted on the album cover, [and have] been involved all along the way. One of the songs on the album is one we wouldn’t even have recorded. It turned out to be one of our favorite songs.”

Over the last year and a half, the perennial Metroland Readers’ Poll winners amassed more than $13,000 in individual fan contributions, ranging from $25 up to $2,000; combined with their own fundraising efforts, they’ve secured more than $30,000 toward the recording, release, and promotion of a new album. Despite falling short of their fundraising goal—meaning Rose and singer Debbie Gabrione had to pay out-of-pocket for some of the production—they “expect everything to be paid back by the end of September.” This September. Like, next month.

And now the band are ready to unveil the fruits of their labor. Don’t Act Like You Know Me is the first full-length Ten Year Vamp release. It sounds like money—that is to say, it’s well-written and -performed, slickly produced and extremely marketable. Part of the budget went to hiring Long Island producer Mike Watts, whose primarily metal and hard-rock background helped give the band’s pop some real punch. The album was recorded over two months at Watt’s Vudu Studio, with the band sleeping on the studio floor between consecutive recording dates.

In addition to an infusion of cash, the band got a creative shot in the arm thanks to a few new members. Guitarist Andrew Foster, who joined in October, wrote much of the album’s music, with Gabrione adding lyrics and melodies. “His songs were so perfect for what we wanted,” says Rose. And none other than Ketzer was recruited to add keyboards and backing vocals to the band’s expanding sound. Rose is pleased with the direction: “With this CD and this band, it’s really what we wanted the band to be from the beginning.”

Find out if everyone got their investment’s worth when Ten Year Vamp celebrate the release of Don’t Act Like You Know Me on Friday, Aug. 21, at Vapor Nightclub in Saratoga Springs. And on Sept. 19, the band will be featured on the EQX-posure stage at Albany’s Larkfest, where the bald-headed Ketzer will be in good company: Famously bald pop guy Moby headlines the event’s main stage.

—John Brodeur

Let us know about local-music news and happenings for inclusion in Rough Mix: E-mail tips and information to tigerpop1@ yahoo.com or metroland@metroland.net.



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