Broadening His Horizons With Solo Release
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Broadening His Horizons With Solo Release
I never thought I`d be CEO of Virgin Independent, nor would I want to. I had material to release. No major or indie label wanted to hear about it, so I did it myself. And let`s face it: guitar music is a tough sell, so most majors won`t cut you any slack.
I love it at home, but you can`t play here. You can`t play in L.A. every night. We`re lucky to play once a week here. It`s just the nature of being a musician. People won`t pay to see you every single week. You have to travel and change your audience to be able to play every night.
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Well, there really isn`t that big a demand for that kind of music that I write and play over the radio. So what I`ve been able to do by doing my own records and doing my own website is basically ignore the record company thing where the whole machinery has to be in place for airplay, promotions and tours. Now I can make the music I want to make, and so far so good.
I find it hard to believe that some people have trouble getting press. It`s not really that difficult to do. I think the hardest part is letting go of the fear of a bad review. I`ve spoken to colleagues who don`t send their CD out because they`re afraid it`ll get trashed. Yeah, it might. But you have to take that chance.
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I believe that back in the 80`s it was a very novel thing to be an instrumental rock guitarist. I mean we`ve had rock instrumental songs since rock began, but the technical advances made by many of us were very charming and, for a while, in vogue. These are the very same qualities that almost killed the genre.
A studio CD is hard work, because you spend months and do all this painstaking work in the studio and nit pick everything and make it right and mix it. I think that`s a bigger labor, but I think a live CD is a scary thing because you`re getting up there and playing live. There is nothing to hide behind. There`s no overdubs, and you have to live with what you did or don`t put it out.
Back when I got my hands on my first multi-track recorder, I was fascinated with overdubbing, piling things on top of things, and recording anyone that came in my grip. I recorded hundreds of hours of stuff. Then I released the record `Flexible,` my first solo record.
We send about half our orders overseas (48 different countries at last check), so numerically more CDs are still purchased in the United States, but that`s really because the country is so big. I feel the demand for instrumental guitar is stronger overseas, and if the economies in the Far East and Eastern Europe were stronger, I believe we`d sell even more there.
We have our own recording facility at our rehearsal studio and have been doing all recent recording there. We also rent time if necessary at a more elaborate studio. Ralph (Perucci) has his own studio in Manhattan.
I have an easier time over in Europe than I do here. I live in the Boston area, and Boston being a college town really wants alternative music. So I have a difficult time getting shows and drawing a huge crowd around here. I find it kind of weird. Thankfully that is not the only thing that I have to go on.
Favored Nations is my new independent record company. It`s something I knew I was going to do. I knew I was destined to do a record company eventually. It`s a great concept and I found a great partner, Ray Sheer. We had similar concepts on how we would like to construct a label. I`ve been in the business for a long time, and I understand the infrastructure of how a label works and how they promote and market. So we put together this concept, sort of a musicians label.
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