I don't even know where to begin. There's a lot to say about my final two days at CMJ, so I will do my best to wrap it all up here for you.
The thing about New York is that it seems once you're up and moving - you don't stop. The city just engulfs you and time becomes irrelevant.
So the day began with picking up my badge for CMJ. As I still control a buzznet phone for a little while longer, I snapped a picture of it here. After having the wonderful Jennifer working with me this week - I think I'm starting to realize I need a full time publicist. Hahaha ... ok, even I can poke fun at myself for talking like that ... but seriously - the the focus and dedication they have is insane. I could never remember everything and be so astute and organized - I'm massively impressed. I should also point out that the official "CMJ Guidebook" had an ad for The Matches on the back ... and below their name was a quote from my review of their last album. Pretty good promotion for the website at one of the biggest music things in the country ...
After grabbing a bite to eat we headed to the building where my panel was to be held, hung out in the green room (free food and drinks), and met the rest of my fellow panelists. We then headed down to the auditorium - which was filled with a pretty good turn out. After checking out other panels during the week - I think ours was one of the more attended ones. I think the panel itself went fine. Our main problem consisted of running out of time. This could have been fixed if certain people didn't give hour long introductions - but what can you do? I think I got my points across well. My main points were that punk was not dead (and this is where I whored out A Wilhelm Scream, No Trigger, The Gallows, and other bands) and that pop-punk is not as horrible a genre as others make it out to be. I talked a little about a culture bred to expect instant gratification ... and then sat back and watched the other panelists tell stories. Here are my notes (that I took before hand) on the panel ... figured it might be interesting to someone (it's written in note form, just stream of conscious sorta thing, so don't go correcting my grammar).
As for the rest of my panelists - I guess I'll leave some comments here:
Garry Velletri (Moderator): Extremely nice, well spoken, impressive resume. He told me he recently signed up for a member on this website - so that's pretty cool. He maybe could have been a little more assertive in watching the clock - but with the characters on the panel ... you gotta just let them talk sometimes.
Mike Gitter (Roadrunner Records, Senior Director of A&R): Made quite a few good points, leaned more toward the the metal/hardcore side of things. Hates pop music it seems. We talked (privately) about him signing Glassjaw ... we were the "young" ones of the group. I was by far (maybe by some 10 years) the youngest on this panel (on any panel? I dunno.)
Sylvain Sylvain (The New York Dolls): The guy is a fucking legend. Come on, any fan of The Smiths and Morrissey can't be in love with the Dolls. It was just an honor to meet and talk with this man. Hopefully I can get some pictures up soon (Jen and Paul took a bunch). I think he had the best comment of the entire panel (I'm paraphrasing): "Time will tell you who is in it for the music or for the money. In 20 years the people still recording, still writing, and still making music are there for the right reasons." I thought it was great. I saw him nodding along to a few of my points, which made me smile inside (fanboy, I know).
Richard Lloyd (Television): His band ruled, they sort of started this whole punk thing you know. And he had the stories to go along with the history. Ohhh ... and boy did he tell his stories. I think it's a safe bet to say the band did a lot of drinking and drugs in their past. His shameless plugging of his new album cracked me up ...
After the panel I hung around and met quite a few people who came to check us all out. Dave Miller (ex-Senses Fail) hooked me up with the new Jet Lag Gemini album (he's managing them now), it had been a long time since I last saw him. Zac Clark was there as well (he's the only one who's username I remember, sorry everyone else) as well as a few other forum regulars. A bunch of label people were also there (great to see Andrew from Capitol, as well as everyone from the Syndicate). To everyone I forgot - I'm sorry, it was really great meeting all of you and I just wish I had more time to answer questions and see everyone.
Paul Tao and I then braved the city and went to check out Cut Off Your Hands' showcase. Not bad, lots of energy, something I'll check out again for sure. Paul hung around to talk with the band and I went out for lunch with some new friends. Then I grabbed a cab back to the hotel to try and get a few things done on the website.
Met back up with Jen and we cruised over to watch Jesse Lacey & Vinnie's acoustic set. I ran into Mr Jake Wallace (old time staff member) and we talked about how it had been almost 4 years since we last saw each other. Crazy. We caught House and Parish who sounded pretty good actually, I really enjoyed their sound, before the men of the hour took the stage. Jesse is pretty fucking good live, Vinnie was spot on with the background vocals, and every time I see these guys I remember why they are one of my all time favorite bands. Their set was perfect, the songs sounded great, and the crowd was very into it. We got some pictures/videos that I'll make sure to post once I get them.
After the show I hung out with Jake and Mr. Gates (Brand New's manager). We're all old friends now ... so we spent the night taking shots at each other and having a great time. Jesse came over to hang out for a while and it was really good to see him again. I don't think we've seen each other in person in almost 3 years. For those curious - he doesn't hate me at all, he's extremely personable, and extremely nice. I learned a lot about the band while we all sat around and talked -- like how much he wants to be involved in everything going on with the band. Their manager kept making comments about how we are the "Page 6" of the music world and that he had to watch his mouth around me. Ari (hope I spelled that right) who manages Avril Lavigne and Sum41 and such came over for a little bit. Always weird to see how many industry people actually read this website each day. Great guy ... this reminds me of something that I felt throughout the week: it's weird to meet people you've only exchanged emails with in person. To put that face to text is a very weird feeling.
We went and checked out Q-Tip, who put on arguably the best showcase I saw all week.
From here we all decided to head over to Angels and Kings (yes, Pete Wentz's bar). I could try and type everyone I ran into/met at the bar that night ... but I would fail miserably. I collected more business cards in one night than I think I ever have before - I need to email everyone and thank them and see how we can work together. I spent most of the night with Rob Hitt (iSurrender/ex-Midtown) and Gabe Saporta (ex-Midtown/Cobra Starship). Some highlights include: Harassing Valencia, watching Gabe try and DJ, Rob playing new Cobra tracks to annoy Gabe, everyone wearing different colored American Apparel hoodies, finally meeting a lot of the FBR guys, and finding out that The Consequence have a fucking massive single up their sleeves. The bar itself is small, but pretty damn cool actually, I was impressed, I had a lot of fun. Just trying to remember everything that happened is bringing back memories. It was a great night and meeting old friends and new alike made it one of my favorites nights in recent memory.
So ... for those going to CMJ or SxSW or any of these sort of things in the future ... I recommend you bring Vitamin C pills and hand sanitizer. You'll shake a million hands and be out until 6 in the morning almost every night ... this will help keep you healthy. Trust me.
I don't remember waking up the next morning - but I remember being starving. So I headed out to grab a bite to eat. Then I met up with some friends to go watch Scott (ex-AOL Music, current Buzznet) on his panel. The panel was all about music websites - it was great. Scott killed it. The dude from Yahoo Music was an old fart completely disconnected from reality. He made an ass out of himself. The guy who runs Drowned in Sound sounded almost exactly how I expected - like a pretentious british dick. He had some good points, but I can't get over him declaring that music "experts/reviewers" matter more than regular people. Great panel, probably the best I saw all week.
Trying to juggle everything I needed to do with everyone I wanted to meet was impossible. So much to do in so little time. Note: it was about here that the backlight in my sidekick decided to die. Ever try typing/dialing when you can't see? Yeah, it's impossible. So now I need a new phone and I can't decide if I want to go with the SKLX or get a blackberry or something. I'm gonna see if I can't work out some kind of sponsorship dealio with one of the companies to get AP hooked up.
I checked out the Crush Management/Purevolume showcase. I'd give the list of people I met - but it's far to long. Everyone was extremely nice. A highlight was finally meeting JR from Less Than Jake (manages the Higher). The fact that he could flat out tell me "I respect you even though you trashed that band" means a whole lot to me. We had a talk about opinions/music and all that. Plus, he hooked me up with a CD of the new band he's working with "There For Tomorrow" which I happen to really like - so that was a plus.
Doug (manages Fall Out Boy) played a bunch of Decaydance covers. They were a little jazzy, a little blusy, and he held his own vocally. I liked it more than I thought I would. Really nice guy too.
Born in the Flood sounded pretty good, but I was too busy dicking around with Rob Hitt and a bunch of other people with this giant screen you could text messages to. Nothing like sending the Midtown guys messages about their former bands. The girl from Charlotte Sometimes reminded me of Eisley, and I expect my ex-girlfriend would love them. She was cute too. Rediscover I never really liked, so I zoned them out. And The Pack are four hip-hop dudes that think far too highly of themselves (keep your shirt on please). They seemed nice enough though. Cobra Starship always puts on a fun show.
It was great meeting Heath, Danielle, Alex, all the purevolume people, all the Crush people, and everyone else throughout the night.
Whew ... that's the basic run-down of my time at CMJ. I could not thank everyone (Jen, Karen, Anthony, Tyler, Craig, Scott) from Buzznet enough -- you all really made my trip amazing. Same goes for The Syndicate, Purevolume, Crush Management, and all the staff at CMJ. I know I'm forgetting people here - and I'll edit this post as I remember more. I am sorry I didn't get to see everyone I wanted to - my days were jam-packed from the moment I woke up to the moment I fell asleep (usually at like 5 or 6 am). I had a great time ... but I know I can only take NYC in small doses. I now have so much to do on the website and trust me when I say big, big things are in store for this here 'lil page. I was amazed how many people came up to thank me for AP -- I can't thank you all enough. Without those viewing, we would be nothing.
Well, I'm awake. Paul Tao and I hijacked a buzznet phone last night ... thing was actually pretty fun to play around with. There's some pictures up here from the Syndicate party. The random blurry drunk girl was just sitting there passed out ... figured she needed her picture taken.
Matt from TSL was there last night, was good to see him again - been a long time. Same with Adam from Fueled by Ramen. I'd never actually met him before ... it's strange to put faces to emails. Kelly from AOL also randomly showed up and knew Paul and I. Extremely nice.
Anyway, I'm done with my shower and got my badge ... I'm gonna shave and then read over these panel questions one more time to try and make sure I have at least something to say. I'm starting to realize how much older everyone else is than me (not only here, but especially on the panel). NYC is fun ... but massive. Lots going on today/tonight - hopefully I'll have time to update with more later. I plan to keep posting pics with this phone while I have it and checking in when I can. Something with Angels and Kings tonight I think ... so hit me up if you're in the city.
In New York - in my hotel room - this city is fucking non-stop. Going out to dinner with some friends tonight then heading over to the Syndicate party. Hopefully back with enough time to go over my notes for my panel tomorrow - and catch some sleep. My sleep schedule is already all fucked up ... this isn't going to help it much. O well ... pretty nice hotel, had a slice of pizza when I got here with Jen, Karen, and Anthony -- good times (I wanted to make the Office Sabarro's joke the entire time). I figure it's going to be a long night ... so I'm gonna watch a little TV before dinner and plan tomorrow.
I'll be in NYC for CMJ October 15th-October 18th. Email me if you want my cell number to meet up or hang out or something. I expect to be busy but wanna make sure I get to see everyone I can. I'll be active on the website as much as I can (Thrice comes out that week - gotta make sure I'm around for that). Anyway ... you know what to do.