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Archive for May, 2011

Here’s a Q & A with the last publicist who worked the last Supersuckers album, Get It Together.   It’s hard to believe what we all accomplished in such a short period of time in an industry that’s continues to struggle.

These Q & A’s provide lots of useful information for both fans and bands.  It’s great that folks from Redd Volkaert, Baron Wolman to Chris Davies and even Rontrose have given their time and provided some incredible stories and insight.

Here’s a little bit about Roberta and below is the Q & A.  Thanks for reading along…

  Roberta Moore has been a media relations specialist since 1996. While in New York City, she worked as a record label publicist for Jetset (1996), V2 (1996-2000) and Mute (2000-2005). During those years, Moore spearheaded media campaigns for Moby, Goldfrapp, Erasure, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Mercury Rev, Grandaddy, M83, Liars, Richard Hawley, Richie Hawtin (AKA Plastikman), Mando Diao, Mogwai, among others.


 

Q: When you launched a media campaign for the Supersuckers was there a particular story that stood out that would open doors and get media attention?  And how important is the angle of a “story”?

A:  As a publicist, I always promote the most interesting angles of a band to the media.  When you brought me in to do press for the live dates and to launch the Get it Together album (2008), The Supersuckers had already established their reputation as one of the best live bands in the world.  They toured every market and brought their music to their fans and to the media all over North America.  I didn’t have to introduce the Supersuckers to anyone.  EVERYONE already knows their music.  So for Get It Together, it was a matter of conveying the relevance of the band to media and getting writers to listen to the music. At that point, it had been about 5 years since the last studio album, Motherfuckers Be Trippin’ (2003) and Get It Together was highly anticipated.  It also marked the 20th anniversary of the band and that was another angle writers jumped on.

Q: The media also likes the fact that the Supersuckers are DIY and want to support the underdog.  Not every band has a legion of fans like Supersuckers and the PIT fanclub.

A:  We are living in a celebrity-driven media culture and having famous friends and fans such as Willie Nelson, Steve Earle and Eddie Vedder doesn’t hurt the Supersucker image.

Q: What your favorite Supersuckers story?

A:  It was really sweet for Eddie to share his personal stories like when his wife was pregnant and the birth of their child.

Q:  Most bands don’t have deep pockets.  Is there a cost effective publicity campaign that you can suggest to those on limited budgets?

A:  Bands need to tour and sell merchandise to make money.  After booking a show at a club, ask the promoter for their local media list and email writers a press release (who, what, when, where, weblinks to mp3s, myspace, and link to download a high res photo). Make sure you add your contact info (email and phone number) so if a writer or editor has a question, they can quickly contact you.  Promoters know who the local bloggers are, what college radio station is supportive, and what print media can help with promotion.  You don’t have to do a big mailing of CDs but it is helpful to get the information out to media about the show 3-4 weeks in advance.

Q: I always felt that that Eddie’s immense writing talent was one of the keys to their success.  In other words having their story told by someone living the story.  That personal touch of Eddie Spaghetti reaching out, was it really that important?  Should bands really be tweeting and updating their Facebook status or is the element of mystery still valuable?  

A:  When you listen to Supersuckers songs or see them live, you instantly relate to the songs and experiences.  Supersuckers’ music is the soundtrack to many people’s lives. Supersuckers make music that is direct, energetic and emotional.  Their passion is universal.

It was only a couple of years ago that Get it Together came out but so much has changed in that time.  Fans are getting more info from looking at their smart phones.  That is where Facebook and Twitter are making such an impact.  Supersuckers have always done a stellar job connecting with fans – from a stream of giveaways and updates to meeting fans at gigs.

Eddie and the band are so funny and witty.  When Supersuckers share their personal antidotes with their fans, they earn fan loyalty and may make some new fans.  Facebook, Twitter, Myspace are extensions of the Supersuckers marketing machine to stay in touch with fans and spread news about new music, tour dates, merch, etc.

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Band showcases always seemed a bit odd to me when I was an A&R consultant ie talent scout.

It’s hard getting a vibe on a band when you and few other record company guys are the only ones in the room.  Showcases usually happened in these old musty rehearsal spots in Hollywood or a club would open early and that anxious band praying for their big break would perform.

It’s awkward.  Watching a band play for a handful of people who “got the call” or “heard the buzz” but it was a big part of the job; making sure you got the call and kept your ears to the ground.  I always thought the best part of these showcases was networking and seeing who else got the invite.  I’d see some real heavy music industry veterans along with the occasional celebrity.  Including Ringo Starr, which left me speechless for days.   And I even bummed a cigarette from Leonardo Decaprio at the Dragonfly in Hollywood.  Now that guy is a star, whatever “it” is he’s got.

Showcases usually happened around the lunch hour so it provided me with the perfect escape from Rhino where I was drowning in the “oldies” and needed to get out of the office and hear something new.  And I took great pleasure in knowing that I could sneak out of my day job, and see a band for RCA during lunch.  It provided a certain thrill and most importantly I felt validated.  I was getting paid to sell the older hits like the Roy Rogers Box Set (You’ll see my name inside the liner notes of that collection) and find the new “hits”.   If it was an industry showcase or a club show in St. Louis,  I had it down to a science where I could work both jobs no problem.   Sometimes I would leave Rhino at the end of the day and fly to Portland that same evening to see someone like Elliot Smith and be back at my desk at Rhino the next day by 9:00 AM.  I often wondered what my co-workers did at night but I was certain none of them did what I did, otherwise I’d see them out our or maybe even in Portland.

Personally there’s no substitute for seeing a band in their own backyard, playing for their fans, on their own terms.  That’s how you got to see their gears in motion.  Wanna taste good Italian food, go to Italy.

I know it’s been a long time since I posted and I’ll keep moving along.  I’ve got a lot to cover still.

Also, look for a new shirt design to celebrate my second  year of Rockonomics: Tales from the Pit

A video Interview with Jordan Shapiro.

More of the Rontrose video interview from last year.

More informative Q & A’s with music industry folks along with people involved w/ the Supersuckers.  In  fact, I’ve got a Q & A I’ll be posting in the next week.

AND obviously more stories, commentary, and contests galore.  I think I might even giveaway an iPad one day soon.

So let’s get the first contest started… Email me here christophercarterneal@gmail.com some questions and I’ll pick out my favorite to answer by the end of this month. My favorite question gets this XL Leather Jacket from my friends at Hot Leathers…

Chris Neal

Leather Jacket Grey Arm Stripes XL

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