Category: Unfinished Mail

November 1st, 2016
 
 We Got What We Came For But Lost What We Had
As of this writing, it has been nearly a year since the November 13 attack on the Le Bataclan in Paris that took 89 lives. For me personally, my reaction was similar to September 11. I was in shock. It was an intentional attack on a music venue during a concert. It chilled me to the core and started a fire on what needs to be done to stop it.
 
For others that fire started on June 10 when the Pulse Nightclub was attacked in Orlando. Forty-Nine people died in that attack. It was after that attack that major music venues in my area started putting up metal detectors. It has now been many months since that happened.
 
Now the questions dog me about whether we did the right thing. I can remember getting grief from many friends when I suggested that metal detectors should be at venues. I actually suggested more. Now my wish has come true. In a way I do have buyer’s remorse. It was easier to imagine a world before November 13 or June 10 just as it was easier to live in a world before September 11.
 
I’d hoped for this November issue to have a major expose about venue security nationwide. After many attempts I found I couldn’t get people on record about it. Luckily a friend at the Denver Post did do a comprehensive piece. Instead of an expose, I give you an aggregate of the last year of attacks worldwide. Did we do enough? Did we do too much? I will continue to go to live music venues. Will you?
 
                                                                      Sincerely,
                                                                      Alex Teitz
 
Aggregate:

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September 30th, 2016

Unfinished Mail

Womanthology
In August I met with a college professor who is trying to put together a Women in Music college course. The questions raised during it included can guest speakers be brought in? Should it be combined with Women’s Studies? Should it look at the business, history, sociology, and psychology of being a woman in music? After we finished I asked myself other questions including: What other colleges teach women in music courses? What do that include? Is it a benefit to have a women in music course vs having a regular business, history, etc….?
In June I attended Denver Comic Con. At that convention there were a number of panels that focused on women. They included: Women In Geek Industry Panel, Girls Are Heroes of Their Own Stories, Damsels Not In Distress, Empowering Women Through Fandom, and more. These panels focused on women in comics, writing and popular culture. Again the question becomes, are these panels needed?
Earlier this year I asked if FEMMUSIC is needed anymore. Women in music are more prevalent and successful then they were 17 years ago. Women are now in all facets of the industry and in positions of power. Problems still do remain. I see and hear of discrimination on a daily & weekly basis. The question of “As a woman in the music industry, have you been discriminated against?’ is still asked and answered. Women are still not being paid as much as men for the same work…remember ERA? Things are better than they were but still have a ways to go. For this reason FEMMUSIC & Women in Music courses should still remain.
Since meeting with the college professor I’ve asked about other courses. I’ve found some sporadic in other places. Do you know of any? What do they teach? Where are they? Please send me your questions & ideas. Thank you.

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August 31st, 2016

Unfinished Mail

Dream Big
It’s mid August and my mind is partially in September & October. Last week I attended an arts conference. I’m constantly striving to learn more and try to find new sources, contacts, opportunities for the people I work with i.e. you. I try to see if there are creative things being done elsewhere that can be adapted to musicians. I also look at grants and other funding. I’ve considered branching out and making FEMMUSIC a news and funding aggregate but I don’t have the time. Keeping up with events locally can sometimes be hard enough.
At the end of July I was contacted by friends of friends about some Bay area artists visiting Denver. I tried to hook them up locally with other artists so they can gig swap and come up with other ideas to visit this part of the country again.
Last week with the arts conference I heard of a major arts grant. My role is to provide information. If you can use it to your benefit, great! If not, at least you know. This major arts grant involved grants of $10-15, 000. This is not pocket change. It requires community involvement. The competition to it may be visual artists and non-profits. Writing a grant proposal to get that money will be tough. I believe any musician I know could qualify if they are creative enough.
Being an artist is not easy. It requires dedication, concentration, perseverance and long hours with little reward. I think any artist is capable of growing into new areas. I’ve seen it many times. As an artist, as a person we are capable of being more than we are. Getting there requires a lot of hard work. I want to see the people I know and work with become better. The first step is to dream big. The next step is to actively work on getting there. 

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July 29th, 2016

Unfinished Mail

  Happy Birthday
Happy Birthday to Us! Happy Birthday to Us! This issue marks 17 years for FEMMUSIC. It is both frightening & humbling to say we’ve been around that long. FEMMUSIC is old enough to drive but not old enough to vote. I think we’re all afraid when FEMMUSIC is old enough to drink.
FEMMUSIC & I have changed over the years. When we began I only thought it would be taking an hour or two a week and would be mainly local. I’d toyed with idea of freelancing but liked having control of the project. In mid-2000 we became an international magazine when we interviewed Bif Naked for the first time. These days it is easier to be international than ever before. I look at artists from the Europe, Asia, and Australia on a daily basis. I thrill to artists from the Middle East. I consider it my job and duty to find artists people may not have heard of.
FEMMUSIC is not an island in of itself. I’m working with a small amount of people now to make sure what you see & read is accurate. FEMMUSIC is not alone in our coverage of women in music. I can name numerous publications and blogs who do the same thing. There is a variety of coverage out there. Some publications focus on a specific instrument, genre or sexual identity. FEMMUSIC has always been about one thing, music – all genres. We can dive into stories about politics, equality and more but at the end of the day the music is paramount.
What is the role of FEMMUSIC? Going back to those in the same niche referenced in last paragraph. When we started many of our competitors made presenting shows and conferences part of their mission statement. I think they made more money, took bigger risks and learning event planning. I considered it many times starting out. I feel FEMMUSIC’s role is twofold. One we are A & R. We are looking for those artists who will be big 10 years from now. Two we are interested in education. That is the development in artist development. I believe in the axiom of “A Rising Tide Lifts All Ships.” I oppose favoritism and think every artist has the potential to be something more. Surprisingly the older I get, the more I believe this.
What’s next? A year ago FEMMUSIC was going to shows and covering artists. In a year we’ve brought in a bunch of photographers to change the look and coverage on FEMMUSIC. In the coming year I’m toying with the idea of a sponsored podcast. I would also like to find more writers to expand our coverage of stories internationally, but with a local voice. If you have ideas, suggestions, donations, we are interested.
Thank you to all our readers, friends and family for allowing us to do this. We look forward to another year with you.
Sincerely,
Alex Teitz
Editor-In-Chief
FEMMUSIC

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July 1st, 2016

Unfinished Mail

June 12, 2016 – The New World
Venue Security
Those who know me best can say that 2016 has been the year of my soapbox, venue security. Last November after the Bataclan attack in Paris I grew enraged at the lack of response from American venues to an obvious shortcoming. Since then I’ve been working in fits and starts to do my own feature piece in response. It continues to remain unwritten.
On Saturday June 11 I was at a low key show to see a singer songwriter I adore for both her comedy and songwriting and a soul band I’d never seen. When I woke up the next morning it was to a new world. You did too. The attack on the Pulse nightclub in Orlando should send shockwaves through the entertainment industry. It was preceded by the murder of Christina Grimmie. It should make venue owners small & large rethink how they protect their staff and patrons.
There are no clean clear answers on how to do this. I’m sorry there aren’t. Should every venue have a metal detector and armed security? Should venue staff be trained to deal with situations no normal person should ever think of? Should every artist now bring their own security to a venue? Will venue prices go up to match new concerns? Is gun control the answer? Are mental health screenings needed? I don’t know.
It is the responsibility of the press to start a conversation. We are supposed to make people think of what is out there. The press are not policy makers, artists, venue owners…but we bear a responsibility to seek out the truth to make a conversation. Since it is an election year in the US many press think this conversation should be ignored for other ones involving curses & bad hair.
You as a reader bear a responsibility to. Ask your artist. Ask your venue. Ask your political representative. What are they going to do to insure the events of June 11 are the exception not the rule? What are they going to do to protect your safety? We should never live in fear to an isolated event. We are living in fear because these events aren’t isolated anymore. We all bear a responsibility to ask questions and find answers.

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June 1st, 2016

Unfinished Mail

shooting gallery

It’s mid-May as I write this and a very rough week. I’ve had medical issues that have come up which have slowed me down. I don’t like slowing down. It is summer and the calendar is in full tilt. Festivals are coming quick and bigger shows keep appearing. In addition, good friends have been putting out new albums which makes me proud. Like all births, the family gathers around to “ooh” and “ah.” Money is the best gift in this case to buy the product and fuel the engine for the next birth.
My rant this month is something that FEMMUSIC also does. The shooting gallery. I’ve been at some amazing shows already this year where the audience misses the show by trying to film it, document every second with photos, etc… I work with professionals who value the show as much as the photos. They shoot with the flash off and get only what they need. They don’t need every second of every show and neither do I. I view live performance as something unique and not repeatable. The performance in Denver may be entirely different from Salt Lake City. The audience gives the artist energy and receives it back. If you’re shooting too much you may not “feel” the energy of the show. Take a minute and breathe it in. It is a concert experience.
On another tangent I’m finding the business of music is taking up as much time as running FEMMUSIC itself. I’m a consultant, counselor, friend and news source to the local scene. I feel it is part of my mission to shepherd the next generation. We all lift each other up. The time I spend doing that has become more and more. I enjoy it but it has increased my workload. That’s all from the editor’s desk. Go out and see a show!

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May 1st, 2016

Unfinished Mail

It’s May and if you haven’t started buying tix for festivals already you may be too late. Most people think summer starts in June. If you’re in the music industry it starts earlier. As we gear up for another busy festival year, here are our annual reminders of Do’s & Don’t’s so we can all enjoy the music.
                                                                                           Sincerely,
                                                                                           Alex Teitz
                                                                                           Editor-In-Chief
                                                                                           FEMMUSIC
Concert Etiquette
Concert Etiquette
                When going to a concert we are all seeking the same thing: to have fun. The band is there for that. The audience is there for that. The problem is some people’s idea of fun, is not always the same as everyone else’s. Your behavior can, at a minimum, be considered rude, and, at a maximum, be illegal and enough to get you tossed from the venue. Here are the DO’s and DON’T’s of concerts:
 1.       DON’T sing every word to every song that the band is playing. They already know the words, and the people around paid to hear the band sing, not you.
2.       DO sing to the band when they ask everyone to sing along.
3.       DON’T scream out band members names at any opportunity. They know their own names and don’t need you to remind them.
4.       DO scream & clap appreciation for solos, and songs with the rest of the audience.
5.       DON’T talk through the band’s set. If you want to talk, go outside the venue or someplace where you don’t interfere with the rest of the audience. This is true of the opening act, or anyone who is performing. People paid to hear these people NOT you.
6.       DON’T scream “Freebird” or any of the other usual song requests. The band has a set list. Some may ask for audience participation, but drunkenly screaming out something they NEVER play does not win you points.
7.       DON’T get drunk. You may see yourself as the master of the universe when drunk but most likely, everyone around you doesn’t. If you get too drunk you WILL get tossed from a venue. If you don’t, and act like an ass, you will be remembered, ridiculed and punished.
8.       DON’T get stoned. See number 7.
9.       DON’T stand up for a song, or set when everyone around you is sitting down. You will block someone’s view and that ruins their fun.
10.   DON’T text, talk or photograph the entire concert or set. In the smartphone era a generation has been raised to believe that you can’t actually brag that you were at a show without demonstrating you are AT a show. Professional photographers have the first 3 songs to capture the best of the band. They have better cameras and a better view than you. Take a few shots but remember the joy of a concert is BEING there. It is called a concert experience because everyone is present. If you can’t look up from your phone, you are not.
11.   DON’T quote me the set. You may have seen the band 20 times and memorized their facebook, and twitter. You may be the ultimate fan and know them by name, age and social security number. If you want your band to get more popular it is because they attract NEW fans beyond just you. You want the person next to you to experience what you did as NEW. If you blab about every song, every second, they may walk out and that is a lost fan & sale for your band.
DO have fun. Remember that everyone around you wants to as well.

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April 1st, 2016

Unfinished Mail

the Usual Suspects
I’m optimistic. If I wasn’t I don’t think I’d still be in the business. Optimism is a strange creature. It gives you hope. It is an understatement to say I see a lot of shows in a year. I will go out of my way to see artists large and small. Sometimes I’m there to scout out someone new. Sometimes I’m there to see someone who is beginning to break. Sometimes I’m there to see a superstar. The shows I most enjoy are not the stadium shows that are choreographed to the second. I enjoy the small rock shows with touring acts still trying to make a name for themselves. The problem is to make a name for yourself often you have to take someone else off their pedestal.
In every local market their are the “usual suspects.” The reference comes from Casablanca. These are the local acts who have such a large following that they are invited to every local festival and play bigger venues on a regular basis – and have been doing so for anywhere from 5 years to 20. They are established and have families and make a living without touring. Every promoter knows their name and has partied with them “back in the day.” The “usual suspects” change over time but the m.o. remains the same.
As someone who likes to foster in a new generation I’m not a fan of the “usual suspects.” How can a new band begin to break into that audience when the bookings are eaten up by these bands? It is not enough to open for the “usual suspects.” There has to be an opportunity given by the promoters and other forces to allow that slot to be fought for more. This is hard. It means that you can’t always give your friends a prime slot and you have to be willing to take risks on music you may not be a fan of…even if everyone else is. I invite local promoters, booking agents, etc…to expand your horizons.
A rising tide lifts all boats is an axiom I’ve become a fan of. If you lift one tier of musicians into a new level you leave it open for another bunch of musicians to move in. That doesn’t mean that the musicians get to slack off. It means when everyone “ups” their game there can be movement and new faces get a chance they didn’t before. One benefit to being out all the time is I get to see a music scene evolve. One of the best ways to have the scene evolve is when the “usual suspects” slow down and take a few summers off. They leave the door open to new faces and risk.

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March 1st, 2016

Unfinished Mail – March 2016

gloria Steinem

Gloria Steinem

Last month we looked at women tour managers. Some of the answers to the questions caught my attention and made me think. A common question I ask is “As a woman in the music industry, have you been discriminated against?” The answers have always surprised me and have changed from generation to generation. Some of the defensive reactions from women tour managers make me ask “Why do I ask the question?” and “Is the question still relevant?”
FEMMUSIC is a narrow niche magazine. It is not unique. There are many other magazines that cover women in music. There are also many magazines that cover music that do a once yearly “women’s issue.” I’ve tried to make FEMMUSIC unique. I try to target my interviews and content to hit a broad base of musicians because I feel that is what musicians want to read. I’ve also become more of a content re-distributor than I was in the past. Finally I take a hard feminist view on sites and films I will feature. I feel that this appeals to my readers.
Feminism is almost a taboo word in modern culture. It is associated with NOW and other organizations that sought to break the glass ceiling. Gloria Steinem is now 2 generations removed from modern day. She is the boomer generation. Modern feminists include Sheryl Sandberg, Sophie Amoruso and Anita Sarkeesian. These women are not just fighting for equality but the roles of women in modern society. It was only recently that Ash Carter, US Defense Chief, allowed women to be eligible for combat roles in all branches of the US military. This is a recent and profound victory since much of the world has had women in combat for decades, if not centuries.
As readers of FEMMUSIC, are you still interested in having the question asked? Is the question relevant to you? Do you want more of the focus to be just music? I think the narrative changes because of the women’s perspective in all facets of music. I’m curious about that. Are you? What changes would you like to see?
I still view discrimination as an ongoing problem. I see it at every show I’m at. The arts have it in numerous ways. If the ERA passed tomorrow women would still be paid less in music because the arts work differently. Do you agree? Why or why not? Please let me hear your voice.

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February 1st, 2016

Unfinished Mail – February 2016

A Plethora of Riches

            It is mid January and I think I’m a pile of stress. Normally January and February are calm months. This year things are in overdrive. Already we’re hearing of many new releases and tours and festivals. In addition this month we decided to bring you something big. A profile piece on women tour managers.
 
            FEMMUSIC is not an investigative magazine. When we first started we were an interview magazine. In recent years it feels like we’ve become a content aggregate. I also feel like we preview many events with more artists than I can keep tabs on. Suffering a plethora of riches is something I can always live with.
 
            In January we came across some wonderfully controversial artists. Some people do not like change. I personally find artists who break boundaries to be appealing. One of these artists featured in this month’s issue – Steph Sweet. Her song “Rape” is something that will make people uncomfortable but must be done. Pay attention to MRK. We couldn’t show her video because of nudity but that does not mean it did not earn our respect.
 
            Next month will be our SXSW preview. It is an issue that takes months to do. We hope to bring you artists you’ve never heard of….

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January 1st, 2016
Happy New Year!
When did your New Year begin? Mine started earlier than ever this year. On December 3rd my calendar had gone from February 2016 to April 2016 and I was already working on themes for all of FEMMUSIC for 2016. I was also tracking down leads on artists I’d never heard of…
 
Now that it is January 2016 I’ll be working on February & March issues ASAP. March is always one of our busiest issues and because February is so short the deadlines are very tough.
It is 2016. What are your goals? What are your resolutions? Now is the time to put your house in order and work on recording that way you’ll have something for the Spring & Summer touring. It is also time to think of your budgeting and look back a little on 2015 for tax purposes. All the fun stuff. 
 
…It is now right before Christmas and I’m finishing up the issue. I saw some amazing shows this month including Silversun Pickups, Nicki Bluhm and Tacocat. As happens every month when I get close to finishing an issue it feels like I’ve already lived the month I’m posting. I’m jumping from December to February without the 31 days in-between. 2016 looks to be one of our busiest ever and I can’t wait. Thank you to all our loyal followers, readers and friends. You make what I do special. I hope your holidays are grand and your new year filled with happy surprises. 

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December 1st, 2015
je suis paris

Unfinished Mail

 
I’m writing this on November 23, 10 days since the Paris attacks. Paris changed everything. As a music journalist and fan the attack on the Bataclan Concert Hall sparked fears and questions about how safe are music venues. When we think of deaths at music venues they include overdoses, riots, stage collapses and weather. This was the first time, in my memory, where a music venue was strategically targeted for a terrorist attack.
 
Most music venues are run by small owners working through promoters. They may have a high margin on liquor but can pay for it when the houses are small. They can’t afford security, let alone armed security. The door people are there to deal with drunks, thieves and fights. They don’t stand a chance against armed gunmen. My sincere hope is that Paris is the exemption and not the new normal. None of us may be prepared for that world in music.
 
In happier news it is the Best of 2015 issue. The best of year is a chance to celebrate those artists who did make a mark on us this year. Many of them have lived in my player for many months after a show. I consider myself to be ADD when it comes to music. I’m always looking for the next show and the next artist. For anyone to have longevity in my life, they have to be special. You will see the runners up in all the categories and, hopefully, why the winner stood out. I hope you will enjoy them all as much as I do. Have a good holiday and we look forward to seeing you in 2016. 

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November 1st, 2015

Unfinished Mail – November 2015

The Music In My Head

The Music In My Head & Redefining Music

            Morning. This month I’m taking on 2 subjects. The first hit me mid-month and refused. The second hit me moments ago and I thought was a good idea.
            I’m a writer. I’m not a musician but I’m plagued by my muse just the same. In the past couple of years my muse has picked up the guitar. I now dream in soundtracks and sometimes wake with original music that I can’t write down. I know, hard problem to have. Yes that was sarcasm. I’m a writer which means words matter. Images matter. Often I’m so busy I don’t dream or don’t remember my dreams. This has changed in the past couple of years where my dreams speak clearly & directly. I’ve dreamt about jam bands, and songwriters. I’ve had full narratives appear. The item that has changed is the music. It is like bringing the talkies out when people still watched silent films. It is revolutionary.
 
            What the hell is Indie? When did dream pop become shoegaze? As a music writer I constantly find myself redefining what genre music is. I read my contemporaries and see new terms all the time.  New terms for music come from many places. They may come from the marketer who wants the music to standout. It may come from the generation who has heard similar music from their parents but wants to make it their own. Sometimes it is a rebranding of something that exists already. Music is constantly evolving into something new and different because of the culture, technology and the trends. The music you like may be named something else by your kids. It is no less good in the definition.
 
             Welcome to the November issue. In early October I started getting press releases on Holiday albums. Often I avoid them because they are seasonal and the songs may not stick past New Year’s. This year I decided to spotlight the few that came across my desk to warm you up for the holidays. Next month is our Best Of The Year issue. We can’t wait either.  

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October 1st, 2015
How much was that show worth?
 
               It’s Thursday in mid September. I’ve had less than 10 hours sleep over the past two days and there is an illusion of time on my calendar this weekend. I’ve had 4 shows in 6 days and the idea of a coma is not unheard of.
 
                I’m also still thinking of one show. This past weekend I caught an amazing headliner. They had their car broken into on tour, and were suffering horrible guitar problems during the set. What could have been a 45 minute set going through 10 songs became a 4 song set. It was still one of the most enjoyable this year. The band brought their game all night and was a blast to see.
 
                Seeing an act like that is the epitome of what all artists should remember. You can have the worst day of your life before the set. When you get on that stage you are the one everyone is looking at. It is your responsibility to be the act everyone wants to talk about. If you come to stage like it is another day, another gig, another job…you disappoint your band and your audience. I’ve been known to attend shows that have a minuscule audience. If the artist on stage plays their show to same level whether it is a stadium show or a coffeehouse gig, it counts. Don’t think that just because you have a handful of people in the audience that you can skip being a show.
 
                I used to work with a photographer who had a wonderful insight on how to think of a gig. It was “How much was that show worth?” If I pay $10 for a show and see 3 great acts who deliver their shows then that may be worth $20 not $10. If I see the same three acts and only one plays like they mean it then that show may only be worth $5. How much would I pay to see that act again? I’ve seen arena shows that bored me to tears. I’ve seen small venue shows that stick with me for years. How much of a show do you deliver to your audience ALL the time? How much would you pay?

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September 1st, 2015
 How I Spent My Summer Vacation
            Do you remember having to write those essays in school? I do. The summer has been a blur. Even as it becomes to come to an end, I feel like I’m still moving really fast. I’m hoping by Thanksgiving to have time to slow down…we’ll see.
 
            In July I had 2 big festivals: The Denver Post Underground Music Showcase and Vans Warped Tour. At UMS I saw 30 bands. At WT I saw 10. I also had a lot of smaller shows and even some I was too exhausted to make. I caught Lake Street Drive for the first time and a small band called Freakabout who had amazing energy and a killer drum kit.
 
            In June I saw Halestorm, Nneka, Little Hurricane, Jack & Eliza, Royal Thunder and a number of friends at the Westword Music Showcase. I also attended a show of Women in EDM which allowed me to see Church Fire.
 
            In May I saw Wolf Alice, War on Women, Meg Myers, Jessie J and Speedy Ortiz. I also saw Edison and saw Megan Burtt play with the Colorado Symphony. I also added a bunch of smaller shows at the last minute.
 
            For September I’m eyeing Diet Cig, On an On, Mynabirds, Beth Hart, Tei Shi, and The Hinds. As I write this I’m behind on my planned Back To School issue focusing on mentoring & development. You may see many of those interviews appear in September, just not on the first day.
 
            I’m already beginning to work on my end of year…Best Of issue and hope to see many entries for that in the coming months.  

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August 1st, 2015

Words From the Editor’s Desk

editor's desk

 
It has now been 16 years since I started FEMMUSIC. At the time my biggest questions were “How can I make this work?” and “Will it survive?” It was summer of 1999 and there were more Dot coms out there with lots of advertising money. It was the wild wild west of the internet. Six months later it was the Dot Com Bust and the landscape became barren. Those of us who were independent and self financed found ourselves in a world of our own. That is when FEMMUSIC went from trying to be a local magazine to an international one.
 
Now I’m a different person from back then. I hear different things in the music than I did before. Songs are still a 3 minute love affair. As a writer and artist I’ve always found music activated the visual part of my mind. I could “see” the images and descriptions in music. I also approach the artist differently. At one time hearing THE SONG I would fall in love with the artist. Now I fall in love with the song: the structure, the mechanisms.
 
I’m now asking questions I used to never ask. The biggest is “Can I change the world?” I’ve heard from many artists over time how I’ve made an impact. I’m gratified but I’d like to do more. I’m a newshound. I’m an idealist and a romantic. I believe in larger pictures. I’ve never thought that “soft” news i.e. entertainment changes the landscape. I think artists DO change the world but journalists don’t get the same opportunity. I’m now working on a project that hopefully can DO more.   It is moving slowly and I don’t want to have it fail before it starts. I hope it can have a larger impact than I have before. I hope…I dream… 16 years ago I didn’t think FEMMUSIC was possible. 
____________________________________________________________________________________
 
It’s nearly August and I’m more than running behind. I have fears the new issue will be up on deadline. It’s been a big month of shows. I’ve also been looking for groups to be involved in to push the arts locally. I’ve applied to one and hope to hear word. I hope it will be a chance to do something with impact now and in the future.
 
                                                                           Sincerely,
                                                                           Alex Teitz
                                                                           Editor-In-Chief
                                                                           FEMMUSIC

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July 1st, 2015

Words from the Editor’s Desk

community

            It’s late June and I just realized I won’t make my self-imposed deadline for the July issue. July has been one of those issues this year that was wildly ambitious. I’m tired and sore and missed a show last night because of savage weather. I woke up this morning to good news. The local free weekly paper released the winners of its local music showcase. I knew 5 winners and had seen them multiple times. It was gratifying.
            As a music writer I’m constantly searching for new music. It is a drug that fuels my fix. At the same time I know many musicians both personally & professionally. I will go out of my way to see some acts multiple times if I like them enough. It is also my duty to see artists evolve over time. There is something wonderful to see an artist you can remember from their first few shows, now taking awards and gaining attention. It becomes your victory too.
            As I’ve grown older the idea of music community is no longer just lip service. When I was younger I wanted to get my chunk of out it and claim a certain local fame. Now that I’m older and wiser I view the community as a place where there is competition but there is also mentoring and fostering. The community serves one another to make everyone improve. I liken it to the old proverb, “A rising tide lifts all ships.” As a member of the local community I work to share resources to those who can make use of them. I don’t need to horde information. It loses value that way. It is better to give it away and let everyone make use of it.
            As you read this the July issue is up. It marks FEMMUSIC’s 15 years & 11 months. Next month is our 16th Anniversary. When FEMMUSIC began I did not expect to last 6 months let alone 16 years. We have not always been up to date and sometimes my instincts on artists have been deeply flawed. Still I wouldn’t change anything after all this time. Well maybe I would. Next month FEMMUSIC will have a new look that I hope you will all enjoy.  

Sincerely,

Alex Teitz
Editor-In-Chief

FEMMUSIC

Posted in Unfinished Mail Tagged with:

June 1st, 2015
coffee
            In the time I’ve done FEMMUSIC I’ve found that I talk to musicians easily off the record. At least once or twice a year I find that I make the invitation. When it is accepted it becomes an animated discussion of where the musician is in their career, what’s next as well as a history of what bits of knowledge I’ve accumulated over time. I find it enjoyable because I usually hear things I don’t have access to. Problems with booking, club owners…differences in recording, etc… I have a worldview most of the time, so narrowing it down to a small level allows me to avoid myopia.
 
            Surprisingly I’m not a coffee drinker. I only have it when I’m on my 3rd or 4th night out and am having trouble remembering WHY I’m out. I get my caffeine from chocolate. I have a tendency to dehydrate myself at shows. This is one of many reasons I don’t get sleep. I’ve been sober for over two years now so going to coffee is a safe way to talk to someone. We both are alert and interested.
 
            Recently a musician couple invited me to coffee. We haven’t set a date but I’m looking forward to it. People in our industry, and most industries, like to do things face to face. You can learn things, even in rejection, in person more than via e-mail. I’m a believer in conversation. E-mail, phone only accomplish so much.
 
            It is June and summer is now in full swing. If you’re not gigging now, work fast. The weather is good and getting outdoor crowds is the best way to add to the mailing list, sell merch and prep for winter. 

Posted in Unfinished Mail

May 1st, 2015
It’s May which is officially the start of summer festival season. Last year we gave you our list of concert etiquette. This year we are repeating the list for those who missed it. Have fun at all your shows but play nice.

Sincerely,

Alex Teitz
Editor-In-Chief

FEMMUSIC

Concert Etiquette
Years ago a local newspaper columnist I knew would do a story annually on bad behavior at concerts. It was a popular column and the feedback from readers with their own horror stories would make you laugh & cringe. Last night I was at a sold out show at witnessed this bad behavior in action once again. In honor, and homage to my friend Mark Brown, I give you the modern take on live music concert etiquette.
When going to a concert we are all seeking the same thing: to have fun. The band is there for that. The audience is there for that. The problem is some people’s idea of fun, is not always the same as everyone else’s. Your behavior can, at a minimum, be considered rude, and, at a maximum, be illegal and enough to get you tossed from the venue. Here are the DO’s and DON’T’s of concerts:

 1.       DON’T sing every word to every song that the band is playing. They already know the words, and the people around paid to hear the band sing, not you.
2.       DO sing to the band when they ask everyone to sing along.
3.       DON’T scream out band members names at any opportunity. They know their own names and don’t need you to remind them.
4.       DO scream & clap appreciation for solos, and songs with the rest of the audience.
5.       DON’T talk through the band’s set. If you want to talk, go outside the venue or someplace where you don’t interfere with the rest of the audience. This is true of the opening act, or anyone who is performing. People paid to hear these people NOT you.
6.       DON’T scream “Freebird” or any of the other usual song requests. The band has a set list. Some may ask for audience participation, but drunkenly screaming out something they NEVER play does not win you points.
7.       DON’T get drunk. You may see yourself as the master of the universe when drunk but most likely, everyone around you doesn’t. If you get too drunk you WILL get tossed from a venue. If you don’t, and act like an ass, you will be remembered, ridiculed and punished.
8.       DON’T get stoned. See number 7.
9.       DON’T stand up for a song, or set when everyone around you is sitting down. You will block someone’s view and that ruins their fun.
10.   DON’T text, talk or photograph the entire concert or set. In the smartphone era a generation has been raised to believe that you can’t actually brag that you were at a show without demonstrating you are AT a show. Professional photographers have the first 3 songs to capture the best of the band. They have better cameras and a better view than you. Take a few shots but remember the joy of a concert is BEING there. It is called a concert experience because everyone is present. If you can’t look up from your phone, you are not.
11.   DON’T quote me the set. You may have seen the band 20 times and memorized their facebook, and twitter. You may be the ultimate fan and know them by name, age and social security number. If you want your band to get more popular it is because they attract NEW fans beyond just you. You want the person next to you to experience what you did as NEW. If you blab about every song, every second, they may walk out and that is a lost fan & sale for your band.
DO have fun. Remember that everyone around you wants to as well. Often times I go to shows to see how a band does live. I may have never seen them. I meet the excited fans who know every detail of the artist’s life. I learn some things from them, but the experience I get is to see them perform.

Posted in Unfinished Mail

April 1st, 2015

Unfinished mail

           We begin this month with great news. Doe Paoro, our artist of the month from January, was signed to Epitaph Records in March. For info visit www.doepaoro.com and we look forward to her new album.

            March was one of my busiest months. It felt more like a summer month, than early Spring. Now that it is done, the year is in full force. This month we’re focusing on two big events: The Warped Tour & Record Store Day.
           The Vans Warped Tour began 21 years ago as a punk rock sports fest. It quickly grew in popularity because of the bookings it received, the number of shows it does, and the affordable ticket prices. In the past year I’ve seen a number of bands that have played Warped Tour including American Pinup, Courage My Love and Echosmith. As of this writing, there are 11 acts with women in them playing Vans Warped Tour 2015. We expect more announcements. We are profiling those announced in the same way we did SXSW last month. We hope you will enjoy and see Vans Warped Tour during the 3 months it is on the road.
            Record Store Day is an un-official holiday. It is like Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day where the independent record stores made it to boost sales of vinyl. On Record Store Day there will be over 400 releases of special printings just for the holiday. We’ve previewed Record Store Day before. This year we’re talking more about some of the releases because we also have a new record player and miss vinyl.
            As I write this, we are less than a week away from Spring. It is warm and sunny and feels like summer. Grab your earplugs and beer money because concert season is here. 

Sincerely,

                                                        Alex Teitz, Editor-In-Chief

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