It’s 2018 and we must acknowledge that race barriers sadly exist for too many Americans. Today in 1961 #Motown released its first million-seller. #ShopAround by #TheMiracles. Talk about breaking cultural barriers. Amazing achievement. I almost didn’t post this cause I didn’t want the importance to sound contrived—me being a white guy posting during #BlackHistoryMonth. But I happen to love #SmokeyRobinson. And I’ve had the pleasure of working with him. This anniversary deserves acknowledgment.
LocoDistro has got a lot planned for #SXSW this year—and we’re #thrilled to be doing it with @Live4everMedia who never cease to amaze in terms of “who to watch” each year. Stay tuned because some very special announcements will be made!
#SXSW2018 #Live4ever #LocoDistro #PirateStudios #JAFilms #SnapchatToSomeone
In honor of the Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl win earlier this week (and the Grammys last week) we’re gonna kick off the weekend with a Philly-born Grammy-winning legend—DJ Jazzy Jeff. Born in Philly, winner of HipHop’s first Grammy (for 1989’s ‘Parents Just Don’t Understand’) and legit creator of Turntablism’s game-changing Transform scratch—DJ Jazzy Jeff is still so good that Hollywood went to him to perform all the scratching in the feature film ‘Straight Outta Compton.’
This set is almost three years old—but so damn good. Hosted by collaborator and MC, Dayne Jordan, here is DJ Jazzy Jeff performing a tribute to the late-great J. Dilla from Johnny Brenda’s on N. Frankford Avenue in Philadelphia, PA.
Happy Friday. And you’re welcome!
Does it matter that the “safe choice” for Music TV’s single biggest performance doesn’t have a good album?
This Sunday Justin Timberlake takes the Super Bowl Halftime stage to support an album that Pitchfork describes as “shallow” and “a huge misstep for Justin” …but does it matter?
Let’s start with why Justin? Let’s be honest—he’s not musically exciting, he’s already done it, and nobody misses him yet. So wasn’t there anyone else the fans would be more excited to see?
Millennial pop fans prefer Charlie Puth – but JT is okay
R&B pop fans prefer Cardi B – but JT is okay
Older pop fans prefer Madonna – but JT is okay
Rock fans apparently don’t exist
Country fans prefer Chris Stapleton – but JT is okay if he brings Chris Stapleton
So when you look at it that way—JT is the clear and obvious choice for today’s TV Executive. The question of “is he musically relevant right now?” wasn’t even asked. Booking rule number one for TV Execs should always be—how is the music?
As long as we’re attempting to safely appeal to the perfect middle of a divided country, JT is what we get. But I can’t help but believe that going for the “second best booking” because it safely checks the boxes isn’t just a cop-out. How well is “lowest common denominator” working in other areas?
Now, throwing a bone to JT… his catalog and charisma may pull him through just fine. But I do hope he doesn’t bring Jimmy Fallon on stage. If he brings out Janet Jackson however— I’ll forgo another trip to the seven-layer dip and watch what happens. All that said, a “safe” performer with a questionable new album should not be enough to book TV’s biggest music gig.
Yes, everyone will be a ratings expert by Monday morning. But answering the headline’s question of “does it matter” two day’s before the event isn’t a sure thing. He’s a star for a reason, even if that reason happened a few years back. Social media will rant regardless of quality, so perhaps the actual Halftime ratings will be the only true definition of Halftime success or failure.
If Halftime experiences a ratings drop-off of Grammy proportions then yes, it matters. Take a knee to that.
LocoDistro will be at SXSW in collaboration with The British Consulate/Great Britain Campaign—as well as Pirate Studios, Live4ever, and JA Films. We’ll also be presenting some exciting artist opportunities in areas of distribution, publishing, music content management, and content creation.
Managers, Artists, Distributors, Acquisitions, Technology, Rights-holders—Reach out to schedule a meeting with us.
Gabriel Gornell and LocoDistro are excited to be collaborating with Microsoft this fall—consulting and providing music entertainment for their Travel Summit in legendary music city—Austin, Texas.
Equally thrilled to be working with Austin’s own funk-jazz futurists Golden Dawn Arkestra. Keep Austin Weird!
Provide on-going executive-level council to the London-based music studio brand (currently with 14 studio locations across the UK and almost 20,000 bands who are recurring monthly customers) in areas of business strategy, brand strategy + expansion planning with regard to their North American roll-out beginning in 2017.
Strategic initiatives included:
– Target Analysis + Segmentation (both Consumer + B to B)
– Buying Criteria Analysis (both Consumer + B to B)
– Competitive Analysis + White space Mapping
—Oversight of Studio Set Up + Equipment Bidding
– Messaging Strategy
—Special Event & Sponsorship Initiatives like SXSW
…Rock ‘n’ Roll’s Most Iconic Groupie
Pamela Des Barres is most often remembered for having sex with Mick Jagger. And Jimmy Page. And Keith Moon. And Waylon Jennings. And a bunch of other rock gods in between. Des Barres carved out her place in rock ‘n’ roll history as one of LA’s most prolific groupies during the decadent era when the members of Led Zeppelin rode motorcycles down hotel hallways and musicians got crazy rich off of record sales. But she also made music herself as a member of The GTOs (Girls Together Outrageously), a band made up of a bunch of groupies, as organized by Frank Zappa (Des Barres used to babysit his kids). In pictures from the era, Des Barres is an ethereal, glowing redhead in silk vintage wear—exactly the kind of woman you’d want to spend time with if you were a virile young rock star in town for the week.
But what Des Barres is often less remembered for is her most significant title: best-selling author. Her first book, I’m With the Band: Confessions of a Groupie, recounted her adventures through the rock and roll renaissance and shot to the top of the New York Times bestseller list upon its release in 1987. (The book celebrates its 30-year anniversary with a special edition released later this year.) Des Barres’ following books, Let’s Spend the Night Together, Take Another Little Piece of My Heart, and Rock Bottom recounted the highs and ultra-lows of the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle, and also became bestsellers. Des Barres has been honing her skills as a writer her entire life, since the days she spent scribbling in her diary, growing up in the San Fernando Valley. A college English major, she’s taught writing workshops for women in her living room for the past 16 years, not to mention taking her classes on tour to cities around the States and beyond. She considers writing and teaching her most important life’s work.
Des Barres’ newest book, Let It Bleed: How to Write a Rockin’ Memoir, is a masterclass for those who want to get their own life’s story on the page. Published last week, the book encourages would-be memoirists of both sexes to fearlessly confess their darkest secrets and deepest flaws, offering prompts on how to do so, while weaving in writing from her own students and her own plucky observations (“Jesus and I have had quite a stormy relationship”).
We called up the 68-year-old author (who just moved back to the Valley and pronounces “memoir” like “mem-wah”) to talk about her biggest book, her most thrilling adventures, and why the feminists who once gave her shit were wrong.
Noisey: When you were writing I’m with the Band, did you have a clear sense of the significance of your story?
Pamela Des Barres: Well, I certainly had a clear sense of the life I lived being incredibly important and interesting to people. I was in the thick of the renaissance, and moving through it and creating part of it with The GTOs. The people I knew and the places I’ve gone, people still can’t believe it. I’ll tell someone a story about Keith Moon putting a box of Tide into the Century Plaza fountain and no one even believes me. It’s like an episode of I Love Lucy. I’ve just been through so many incredible tales, and I wanted to share that. I tried to be singer. I tried to be an actor, and it all fell apart all the time, and I thought, “Well, I’ll fall back on my writing.”
Where did the idea for the book come from?
I was being interviewed by Stephen Davis for [his Led Zeppelin biography] Hammer of the Gods, which was the first best-selling rock book. He said, “You should write your own” after he interviewed me. This is coming from someone who knows what they’re talking about and at the time I was in the middle of one of my creative writing classes at this place in LA called Every Woman’s Village, that doesn’t exist anymore. The teacher there was pretty hip, and at the end of the first class she said, “You’ve got to tell this story.”
Did you have any idea how big the book would become?
No. No! I had no idea it would still be in print and would be in print the whole thirty years. That’s unheard of for a memoir from an unknown person. I was one of the very first unknown nobodies to write a memoir. It took me a long time to sell it. I had many, many rejections. William Morrow, who finally did it, had rejected it already. Then Hammer of the Gods came out and they realized that a genre was being created of rock ‘n’ roll memoir. They called me and said they wanted to publish it. That was really a surprise. Random House actually wrote to me and said, “Sorry, we can’t take this. This will never be a book. Maybe an article in Rolling Stone.” I saved that, and when I got on the New York Times bestseller list I sent [the editor] a copy of the bestseller list. I just had to. Of course I never heard back from him.
How did people embrace you, or not, when the book came out? You were sharing very personal stories about having sex with famous people.
It was very mixed. I was an unknown and a lot of people said, “How dare this person write about her sex life with these degenerates?” I went through a lot of surprisingly uptight interviews, especially with women, on the talk shows I did. They were live talk shows where the audience could give you shit, and I got a lot of shit. At first I was really stunned and couldn’t quite figure out how to handle it, and then I just got into the idea of it and said, “Sorry you didn’t get to sleep with Mick Jagger. That’s probably what you really wanted to do, and I’m sorry you couldn’t do that. It was an awesome experience.”
My very first TV experience was the Today Show. Really scary. Bryant Gumbel introduced me as “queen of the groupies.” Of course I had never considered myself that. In fact, the word “groupie’ had become a really tawdry word associated with slutty behavior. The fact that I was admitting to being that—it was a very mixed bag, and ever since I’ve been trying to redeem that word and remind people it’s all about love.
Do you think you’ll be remembered as a feminist?
I think I’ll be remembered as a sexual pioneer in a way, someone who wasn’t afraid to have sex, go after what she wanted including men, and write about it. We’re still a very uptight country sexually. People are really weirded out by it. I don’t get it. It’s how we all got here. I’ve always thought feminism as a woman doing what she wanted to do, and that’s what I’ve done. I was not perceived as a feminist when I’m With the Band came out, and in fact I was perceived as submissive to men, and that’s just because they got it wrong. A groupie was still thought of as a submissive slut. I never saw myself that way.
What does “groupie” mean to you?
To me and to everyone else it should just mean sharing love. That’s all it’s about, and love of music first of all, but of course it’s become a much broader term now. You can be a groupie for anything. It started out with “group.” You were after the group; you wanted to be with the group. You wanted to share ideas and yourself and interact with the group.
When did you first hear the expression?
I was with Zeppelin in front of the Hyatt House getting into a limousine and someone said, “She’s a groupie.” It was thought, “Hmm. I’ve got a term. That’s interesting.” It wasn’t said in a mean way, but it quickly became a pejorative because people couldn’t understand it. They couldn’t get backstage and were thinking, “How are they getting backstage? They must be just sucking dick or something. I would never do that.”
Of course it wasn’t always that by any means. The GTOs were a group of groupies, and we would take care of these bands. The Jeff Beck group would come to town and we would take them shopping. I took Zeppelin to Nudie’s Rodeo Tailor and the only vintage store. We would dress ’em up and take care of them—sew buttons on shirts and sit and watch soccer with them. It was not all about sex, and in fact none of us had any relations with The Jeff Beck Group. We just hung out. I’ve been friends with Robert Plant for all these years, and we’ve never been intimate, unfortunately. I was with Jimmy and that was a respected thing, but we were friends!
How do you think these guys felt about the groupie phenomenon?
Robert has said many things about groupies in a positive way, and any rock god worth his fucking salt knows how important groupies are. They usually will admit that. And they’re not going away. Groupies are always going to be here. They cannot connect with huge bands like we used to. We used to just walk into the Whiskey a Go-Go and sit on Mick Jagger’s lap. You can’t do that now. We also did a lot of promotion. We talked these bands up and tried to help them.
I hear from my fans every day. It’s usually women, and mainly young women, wanting to share their stories and also saying “How do I meet so and so?” I really don’t have an answer for that now. The time frame I lived through has become myth. You would walk into the club and there’d be David Bowie, Iggy Pop, a couple of Ramones, and a Sex Pistol or two. It just doesn’t happen now. There were no rules then. Now there are.
Kate Hudson said that she based her performance in Almost Famous on you, right?
Yeah, she told me that. I went to the premiere and she said she used me as inspiration and had photos of me on her dressing room walls. It was an honor, but I wasn’t really compensated in any way. [Laughs.]
Do you have a favorite adventure from that time?
It’s impossible to have a favorite. My most important time with these men, friends and lovers alike, was being onstage with them. As close as you could be to being in the band was to stand on the side of the stage. Keith Moon, when they were doing Tommy, he made me stand on the stage next to the drum kit. It’s amazing I can still hear. He wanted me right there. In Zeppelin’s case, Jimmy had me sitting up on the amplifiers, so I could see. Everybody could see me up there, and I could see these girls [in the audience] with so much envy.
You’ve gotta remember how young I was. I was 19, 20 years old. Jimmy was 24. We were young people. Your ego wasn’t even formed yet, and it was just a heady experience. There were no girl rock bands yet, so it was as close as you could get to being in the band. Being onstage with The Stones, with The Kinks, with The Doors, with The Byrds, with the Mothers, with Zeppelin, The Who. It was incredible.
What was it like feeling that thrust of energy from the crowd?
You get that feeling from the crowd that the band gets. Not quite, because they’re making the music, but you are right there and are feeling the sweat from them on you. It’s really an indescribably spiritual experience really, getting the energy of 20,000 people coming at you.
Are rock stars today as sexy as they were then?
They’re not as dangerous. The element of danger is pretty much gone. The last danger in the world of rock ‘n’ roll was Kurt Cobain and that era of grunge. Before that of course it was the Pistols. Of course in rap there’s still danger, or there was, but that’s fading too. Eminem was dangerous. I love him. But that danger element is missing, and I don’t know if that can ever be recaptured unless some brand new fucking thing comes along.
Who’s the sexiest rock star of the moment?
I love Jack White. He’s carrying it on, and I think he still hasn’t had his grandest moment yet. I’m waiting on his next solo album. I loved his last one, but I think he’s got something brewing there. He appreciates the history so much and encapsulates all of it but makes it his own. He’s awesome. The White Stripes killed it. I love Rhett Miller. He’s the lead singer for the Old 97s, and he also has solo records that I love, and I think he’s incredibly sexy and beautiful. His lyrics are, mmmm. I’m a lyric-whore because of Dylan. The words are equally as important as the music. I think Ryan Adams is important and kind of cute and cuddly sexy. There’s a teddy bear sexiness about him. There’s a British band with a really cute, Freddy Mercury type singer called The Struts. They’re good, and the lead singer Luke is really sexy.
It sounds like you still go out.
Yes! I was out last night at a premier. I go out all the time. I don’t act my age, ever. I hope nobody expects me to
We’ll also be taking meetings on behalf of client JA Films (#RollingStones, #Adele, #EdSheeran).
Meet with us at the @Live4everMedia Lounge at the Omni. Email GabrielGornell@LocoDistro.com if you wanna meet up to talk music branding, distribution, and 360º packaging.
Written by Gabriel Gornell Gabriel Gornell is a branding, production, and distribution executive who has worked with countless artists that range from The Rolling Stones to Oscar the Grouch.
If your band’s attractive lead singer gets 300 likes for every pouty pic on Instagram—but you struggle to get 50 people to come to your gigs—you’ve got great reach but terrible impact. Same holds true for established acts just a few years out of their prime who have a respectable Facebook following—but struggle to get decent festival bookings.
Of course there are many factors involved in branding your music project (like the actual music for instance) but this post focuses on the importance of consistency.
Across the go-to social platforms, messaging from both established acts and emerging acts compete against millions of posts from hundreds of thousands of artists. Snoop Dogg alone puts up 5-10 Instagrams per day.
Further complicating, even if you do break through the clutter, ‘likes’ and ‘follows’ aren’t the only measure of your branding success. Don’t get us wrong—the reach you can get from Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook is awesome. But reach is not the same thing as impact. So how can your posts possibly stand out? Have any impact? And how can you convert ‘likes’ to ‘listens’ on a distribution platform like SoundCloud? This article explains why consistency helps.
The Van Halen logo will be our obvious example. This mark has changed very little since 1978, and regardless of who’s singing—it represents the Van Halen brand. Almost 40 years later, the Van Halen brand is so strong—they’ve survived 3 singers, internal feuds, Wolfgang on bass, and lots more. Obviously they back up their brand-promise with a guitar god, Diamond Dave, classic records, and a great mythology that all work together. But for the most part—long before social media mattered— they’ve been consistent with regard to their identity materials. They’ve actually been more consistent than The Rolling Stones who create a new tongue treatment for every tour and every album. In a sense, Van Halen has become the Coca-Cola of Rock n’ Roll branding. And here is why Van Halen-like consistency will help your music project.
Reason #1 The most obvious benefit of consistency is increased awareness because the more your audience is exposed to your brand—the better their chances of remembering it. And simply put, if you keep changing it there is less chance your audience will remember it. ‘Effective frequency’ is the marketing lingo for this. Understanding all the competition and clutter out there—even the old advertising ‘Rule of 7’ probably isn’t enough anymore.
The Rule of 7 states that a customer needs to “hear” a marketing message at least 7 times before they’ll buy that product or service.
Today most marketing experts put effective frequency numbers much higher than just 7 times. But wherever you think it is for your particular audience (7 times, 20x, 100x) one thing everyone generally agrees on is that messages are more effective when repeated. So don’t waste your brand impressions by being inconsistent!
The benefit of effective frequency and consistency working together is true across all entertainment mediums. Have you ever seen a televised award show where the show logo is different in the on-air promos, the step-and-repeat, and the animated show open? One show with three logos happens more than you’d expect (not mentioning any producer names). Not surprising, the network then wonders why their unaided awareness numbers are slipping. Partially they’re slipping because televised award shows have become boring as shit. But it’s also because their brand team doesn’t keep a watchful eye—and their effective frequency is watered down by inconsistent branding.
Reason #2 Consistency conveys your identity and attitude. A focused effort to establish and maintain consistent branding across all your touchpoints (social, website, SoundCloud page, EPKs, etc.) will deliver a specific set of impressions. Do you follow through? Will you deliver a decent bar tab? Will you get the ratings? Will you sell the tickets?
Reason #3 Consistency helps you manage perceptions. By thinking deliberately about your brand message and what you’re trying to accomplish—you control how people perceive your music project. This goes beyond your fans—it also helps manage what promoters, venues, labels, and sponsors think of you.
Reason #4 Consistency connotes professionalism and stability. Let’s be honest—labels, promoters, distribution partners, and sponsors hate instability. In 2017, even Guns N’ Roses show up on time—and all of their current materials reference their ‘Not In This Lifetime’ tour with impressive consistency. So act like a stable organization!
Reason #5 Consistency eliminates issues surrounding brand confusion. For many emerging music acts (especially emerging DJs… no digs intended), their branding is actually more of a hindrance than a help. A consistent brand should instill confidence rather than prompt confusion. Which EDM artist was that again?
Reason #6 Consistency protects your investment. Without established brand standards—many labels, managers, and producers will spend thousands of dollars building a brand—only to have it degraded by inconsistent and sloppy application. Build equity in your brand by being consistent and build upon previous successes.
In a nutshell, be Van Halen. Be consistent.