Category: 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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March 1st, 2015

Words from the Editor’s Desk

 coffee
If you can’t already tell, March is a big issue. In honor of SXSW we went out of our way to make one of the biggest issues. As I write this in mid February I’m still daunted by just how much is in here. The goal is to showcase near 50 artists with profiles, interviews and Soundcloud playlists. On April 1 I’ll know if I accomplished it. I hope you enjoy and look for our next special issue later in the summer.
The Model & The Weird Girl
I was having coffee with a good friend whom I hadn’t seen for years. It was one of the most enjoyable 6 hours I had. She is a performing musician who has learned many, many things.  She was telling me about one of her mentors when she brought up the model and the weird girl. I consider it an interesting take on music so I’m relating it to you.
In the music industry, there are 2 types of woman musicians: the model and the weird girl.
The model you know. They are the ones who are strikingly attractive. They do get all the magazine covers and TV, etc… They may be skilled professional musicians, but not always. Some truly do get by on their looks alone.
The weird girl is not that attractive. She survives and thrives in the industry by being a professional musician. She can put on a stage show but all her energy is focused on the music. The weird girl may have a shtick or something that makes them stand out. I often consider the weird girl’s path as a musician to be much harder but the rewards are worth more.
Welcome to March and the beginning of the busy time of the year. 

Sincerely,

                                                        Alex Teitz, Editor-In-Chief

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February 1st, 2015

Words from the Editor’s Desk

Je Suis Charlie

Je Suis Charlie. FEMMUSIC supports the right of free press and believes the killings of January 7, 2015 were wrong. At one point during the month I considered doing a playlists of French and Muslim artists on our Soundcloud Channel to emphasize this. In reflection, I’m glad I didn’t. We believe Charlie Hebdo has the right to publish their work, but we do not agree with what they publish. When I saw some of their cartoons I was shocked. I do see a reason to be angry with them. I see no reason for killing anyone for publishing something offensive.
This month I decided it is time to go over some of the simple definitions in music. I’ll begin with the evolution of bands.
Baby Band – I only heard this term last year and I think it is still the most apt. A baby band is relatively new, either to music in general, or to the music scene. They are working on getting gigs and developing material. Their set is a mix of a few originals, and sometimes, a lot of covers. Veteran musicians can be part of a baby band since the group is still developing its sound and voice.
Local artist – You’ve been playing the scene for a few months to a couple of years. You have steady gigs and a small but loyal following. You have at least one recording out.
The Usual Suspect – A usual suspect is a local artist who has become a big fish in a small pond. You play at the big local festivals and have multiple recordings. You probably also have multiple awards from local groups. Everyone knows you locally which means you are almost overexposed. You can always fill a room and generate a stable income locally.
Regional Artist – You are touring a certain regional (New England, Midwest, etc…). You do this regularly and are trying to find new venues and new audiences. You generate your road money with merch. You have multiple recordings but may not have a full length. You also have been picked up for some bigger tours.
Touring Artist – Similar to a Regional Artist.  Primarily a singer-songwriter or small group. You live on the road. Some years you’ve been on the road 200 days or more. You do a combination of venues and house shows and sell hard. You have had bigger dates with well known artist and have a large number of friends nationwide.
National Artist – You are signed either to a major or a big indie. You have recordings prior to signing but generate airplay from your signed material. You have a recording out at least every two years. You go out for 30-60 dates at a time but have breaks in-between. You are heavily promoted and do have some ability to get friends to tour with you. You have all the major headaches of being signed.
Celebrity – You got signed and went platinum instantly. You’re life is a fishbowl. You are heavily promoted and your tours sell out instantly. You generally have a recording out every 18 months and work with high priced producers and session musicians. The media talks as much about your dating life as it does your clothes, hair color, etc… You party with names as big as yourself and get invited to all the events.  
At one time I used to push to get interviews with National Artists & Celebrities. These days I look for Baby Bands, Regional & Touring Artists. They have the most stories and experiences that every musician can relate to.

Sincerely,

                                                        Alex Teitz, Editor-In-Chief

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January 1st, 2015

Words from the Editor’s Desk

editor's desk

It’s December 12 and two weeks from Christmas and three weeks from 2015. I have 8 shows remaining in 2014 including 2 tonight. Last night while returning from seeing a Canadian band I was listening to artists from the UK and NYC. Both are them are featured in this issue.
2014 was the test run on FEMMUSIC coming back and it went better than I expected. 2015 we are charging ahead and already have ideas for issues for the New year. We also will be covering more artists than ever. I already have tix in hand for shows going to April. By March we will be eyeing the summer and by June will be eyeing the Fall.
Our goals are to cover more, hear more and find more artists and bring them to you. We already have a pile of January advance albums at our feet. What are your goals for 2015. Release an album? Play more gigs? Increase fan base? Write more songs? Where are you in planning to do this? Do you have an outline? Budget? Now is the time do it. December & January are the sleeping months in the industry. Typically everyone records when it is cold & dark outside. It is also the best time to plan.
It is 3 weeks until 2015 and I’m wrapping up work early on the January issue so I can have some time to relax. I also know January & February will have earlier deadlines for our issues. I want to review more music in the coming year without giving up live shows. These are my goals.
By the time you read this it will be 2015. 
Signing
 
Okay I have an amendment. A few days agoI found out a local artist I’ve been following for this year was signed to a label deal. I sent out congratulatory e-mails and spoke with some friends. All of them were cautiously optimistic hoping that the contract was good.
By that note I decided I would add my 2 cents here. A label contract is still a big thing. Before the internet age it would make or break an artist. Now the stakes are different but if you sign a bad contract you still can be in trouble.
I’ve heard countless bad stories of bad contracts. There is the 3 album deal. You are required to do 3 albums with the label and they pay for marketing, distribution, etc…as a loan that your royalties pay off. The label has control. You do the first album and unless it goes gold or platinum you may not get money to make a second album. If you can’t make a 2nd album, you can’t make a third and you are trapped.
Commonly today you see the partnership. You and the label share costs. You pay the road expenses but the label does distribution and radio. The label is aiming to recoup less money so your volume sales can be smaller.
When you sign to a label you want to be a full functioning organization. If you can control your sales, publishing, videos, touring…the label has less to offer you and you can negotiate from a place of strength. If you don’t have that big an organization the label has more leverage. As always, with any label contract it is common sense to have management & an attorney review it before signing.

Sincerely,

                                                        Alex Teitz, Editor-In-Chief

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December 1st, 2014

Words from the Editor’s Desk

cake!

November has been a busy month. November is my birthday and I always treat myself to the Starz Denver Film Festival. For two weeks I’m immersed in film. This year I also had a few concerts during it. The birthday itself was unspectacular. The festival was a chance to catch up with good friends I only see once a year.
This month we’re doing our first BEST OF issue in many years. As you read you’ll notice many of these artists we saw live. Live music is a driving force of FEMMUSIC. What you can hear on a recording can pale to a good live show. As of November we’d seen 120 shows not including festivals and are eyeing even more in December. Our calendar is already filling with shows for 2015. I expect by January we may have shows in May already listed.
I’m personally looking forward to January. There is a slim chance the weather will be so bad and the number of shows will decrease that we can imagine sleeping and beginning to get caught up on album reviews. I can dream.

Sincerely,

                                                        Alex Teitz, Editor-In-Chief

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November 1st, 2014

Words from the Editor’s Desk

It’s been a much harder month than I was expecting. October typically begins the Fall slowdown where there are less touring shows and more local. Not this month. In the past few weeks I’ve seen 2 Australian bands, a French Jazz artist, a couple of heavy rock acts. In addition I’ve been cleaning out my archives: Boxes of material 15 years old.  Besides making me feel old the archives remind me where I’ve been. In uncovering some of those archives I’ve e-mailed friends to talk about them. We all have memories of back then.
 
The music industry is a constantly moving target. I was catching good jazz last night and was reminded at one time jazz was seen like early rock and roll: the devil’s music. It was wild and carefree. Music is not trendy. The music industry is. Every decade they try to hit a new generation with another boy band, pop female artist, rap star, etc… These are prepackaged artists delivered with slick videos and overexposure. The artists that are the most fun to follow are not prepackaged. They are skilled musicians who crisscross the country in neverending tours to build support. The ten year tour is not a myth.
 
The artists I like to see the most are still around. They still play even after a decade. Their life has gone through ups and downs and their music has evolved into something purer. Do you imagine your music in a decade? Who will you be then? How will the music reflect it? Will it be edgier, darker or will it be stronger and bolder. Fans often don’t get when your music changes. They sometimes don’t understand it reflects you as a person. Everyone wants to hear the old hits. The new music is you NOW. It is a time capsule to your thoughts, emotions, and anxieties at the time.
 
Next month is December. We’re going to follow the trend this year and make it our BEST OF issue. We’re drafting our categories and will include descriptions, links and soundcloud’s so you can be as excited about these artists as we were. 2015 is coming soon.

Sincerely,

                                                        Alex Teitz, Editor-In-Chief

Posted in Unfinished Mail

October 1st, 2014

Words from the Editor’s Desk

It’s the last day of September and Fall is slowly creeping into the concert calendar. I was thinking what topics to write about this month. I was speaking with a friend recently about pain and creativity, the most competitive markets in the nation, and the insanity of the music business. After pondering all of these I still really wasn’t ready to talk about them. Last night I was at a concert to see the opening band. It was a sold out show. I’d see the headliner before and wasn’t impressed. Many times I go to a show for the opener, or am surprised by the openers to small shows.
When I began FEMMUSIC one question I added to the lineup was “As a woman in the music industry, have you been discriminated against?” The question has different answers depending on the genre of music and the generation of the artist. Artists from my generation and before can remember Civil Rights & Equal Rights as more than concepts. Artists from newer generations have benefitting from the pains of the past. They don’t see it as much, or in the same way, as it was even twenty years ago. One of the biggest forms of discrimination of a woman artist is to think that you aren’t headliner material.
There are many myths in the music industry. Some have truths to them. A band is a better show than a solo artist. An opener should never be as good as the headliner. Women are not headliners. The charts in the past few weeks have shown, again, how wrong this is. Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, and Lorde are running huge stadium shows to sell out crowds. Smaller club shows are filled with women headliners. Looking at my own October calendar about half the shows I’m going to are for the headliner. The other half…believes that somehow is a year, a month that artist will have evolved to bring in more people.
Don’t get me wrong. Not every artist is headliner material. They may be in the learning curve. The problem is many artists are headliners but always put as openers. If you can consistently draw the people you are a headliner, and the promoters and club owners from before my generation will want to put you in the back.

Sincerely,

                                                        Alex Teitz, Editor-In-Chief

Posted in Unfinished Mail

September 1st, 2014

Words from the Editor’s Desk

Freelancers
I often find it funny talking with musicians. There is this great myth that music journalists, or any journalist, is a full time dedicated writer who lives off their writing. This is a wonderful lie that elevates writers to a special class. It is not true. The vast majority of writers I meet are freelancers. They have full time jobs doing something else and supplement their income with writing. Sometimes the only perk they get is access.
Freelancers resemble musicians in many ways. They go where the shows are. They work hard and are underappreciated. I love reading Rolling Stone, Spin and other magazines where they do pay their full time press but they are the exception to the rule. I’ve met journalists who have jobs as teachers, publicists, frontline salespeople to live day to day. Their love is the music and they believe in their art as much as the musicians. Some want to write their own books. Most want to be doing this full time every day.
Freelancers have been around for a long time. I read about the freelancer war correspondents. Before the 2008 recession, before the 2000 dotcom recession, freelancers were living hand to mouth. In the new age of media it is easier than ever to cover anything. Getting paid for it is nearly impossible.

Sincerely,

                                                        Alex Teitz, Editor-In-Chief

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July 1st, 2014

Words from the Editor’s Desk

If Winter is the slowest period for artists and reviews alike, summer is the busiest. As I look at my own calendar for the month the one thing missing is sleep. I’ve said before live music is a drug. Right now I’m running the summer high. This month I expect to be out at least 20 days catching shows. Some of the artists I will have seen before but many will be my first time.
In June I found myself scrambling to get this issue together. I’d been sick and had to take an emergency trip back East. Both slowed my planning for this issue. Luckily I think it’s pulled together well. Originally I’d planned this editorial to be on the difference between a music critic and a music reviewer. That will have to wait but I personally consider myself to be the latter.
I have a friend who shops for music by going into a store looking for old vinyl of her 2 favorite acts. She owns most of their material but wants a few rare cuts. I look for music by seeing what is “fronted” first. What just came out that the labels, the store are pushing? What is new local? Does an artist have a new album? NEW. It is what keeps us fresh. I’ve seen many artists who live on the same old song that was great 5, 10, 20 years ago. What makes music fresh is something new that hasn’t been done before. I look for “baby” bands now. They are experimenting with the old and the new. They are finding their sound. That sound may be a mix of what has come before, a tribute or it may be a whole new creature that growls and roars. The untamed and new is what pushes music forward. What is pushing your music forward? What changes have you gone through that change your music? Be new. Be different.

Sincerely,

                                                        Alex Teitz, Editor-In-Chief

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June 1st, 2014

Words from the Editor’s Desk

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.

Sincerely,

                                                        Alex Teitz, Editor-In-Chief

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May 1st, 2014

Words from the Editor’s Desk

The Almost Famous Generation
               When Cameron Crowe’s Almost Famous came out in September of 2000 I’d already been writing about music for over a year. Almost Famous still hit a strong part of my heart and the heart of music. It presented the dream of all fledging music journalists of being able to tour with your favorite band and learn all their secrets. Crowe was able to do this in a different era. This week I started reading Lisa Robinson’s There Goes Gravity: A Life in Rock and Roll. Robinson has been in the business for fifty years and in the first few pages presents similar stories.
                I’m Gen X. We are the Cold War babies who grew up in fear of The Soviet Union and the bombs flying. We were influenced by the music of the 1980’s and the legacies of the wars that came before us. I can remember LIVE AID and “We are the World” as if it was yesterday. When I started writing about music I encountered a vastly different world than Crowe and Robinson. My work requires talking with publicists on a daily basis to get music, to get interviews, to get access. We are all in a pecking order and the same publicists that I talk to will also be talking to NPR,Rolling Stone and numerous others.
                The biggest thing that remains the same through the generations is the music. We all live for it. It is in our blood. We are part gamblers and pop culture forecasters. Every artist I do something with I’m rolling the dice that they are the next big thing in their city, their region…the world. I trust my ears and trust my instincts. I also trust my heart and blood that the thing I hear in music, you will too.
                In the 15 years I’ve been doing FEMMUSIC I’ve accumulated many experiences. I’ve partied with bands. I’ve been backstage. I’ve had the access. Some artists I’ve followed for the entire 15 years and seen them grow and mature. Some have disappeared and others have taken different roles in the business. I’ve also had to learn. I’ve had to learn music history. I’ve had to learn music technology (although I don’t always like it). I’ve also had to learn how to talk to people. Writers are shy by nature so this was a hard feat.
                I often wonder in thirty years will anything I’ve written stand the test of time. Will I be able to write my memoirs of a crazy life in music with same gusto that Robinson does? Will my accomplishments mean as much as those who came before? Will the generation of 2045 look back fondly on what we did and wonder what it was like to have it so easy?

Sincerely,

                                                        Alex Teitz, Editor-In-Chief

  tit

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April 1st, 2014

Words from the Editor’s Desk

I’ve always known I have an addictive personality. The craving is always there. In recent years I’ve rid myself of painful addictions and realize the good stuff remains. I’m a music addict. It flows through my veins and I’m always looking for the next best thing.
                I consider it almost a joke when someone asks “Who Do You Like?” I’ve been in the business for 15 years, and was following music for years before that. What I like is usually the best I’ve heard in the past two weeks. Beyond that the list gets too long and I can’t remember them all. In addition, much like musicians, my own tastes change over time. What I may not have even understood a decade ago, I now thrive to.
                Music writers are not authorities. We are expected to have an understanding of music styles and history. We are also expected to be up on the latest jargon and fads. I often laugh when someone asks about music trivia. I’m horrible at it. I can’t clog my mind with facts that I can Google. It is already filled with bits and pieces of history. I also find I continue to learn more and more with every show.
                Music is a living art. Every generation nuances it into a new direction. I may not always agree with every direction, but I’m expected to recognize it. That only feeds my addiction. If you are reading this, you are also an addict. You are consumed by the muse, the music, the story of every new artist. I will admit that there is no cure.

Sincerely,

                                                        Alex Teitz, Editor-In-Chief

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March 1st, 2014

Words from the Editor’s Desk

March is the BIG month in the entertainment industry. March is when the recording that happened during the Fall/Winter is revealed. It is also SXSW.
                In the 15 years I’ve done FEMMUSIC, I’ve never gone. In many ways I don’t need to. The artists going to and from Austin use it as an excuse to tour elsewhere. Mini tours spring up quickly and instantly. Entire catalogs of artists who disappeared last year around November are suddenly on the move. If you listen close enough, the buzz reaches to both coasts.
                What is the importance of SXSW? It is a music, film, entertainment maelstrom in Austin. The majors are sending their top artists to play one or two big shows and mingle. The minors are sending their entire catalogs to play days on end while their managers, publicists, agents are working the crowds. The goal? Touring.
                In the internet age where an artist’s song is worth 99 cents, 10 cents, .0003 cents the best place an artist can make money is on the road. Between March and November thousands of artists are on the road playing coffee shops, dive bars, festivals and clubs. They are playing to get exposure, to get gas money, write-ups and sell merch that only sells on the road. People have said for many years that the industry is dying. Go to the merch table at the end of the night at a big show and you will how the tour bus is being paid for.
                SXSW is where tour managers, festival organizers, etc…go to watch live music. The big artists don’t need exposure – but their label wants them at Riot Fest or Warped Tour. Did you ever think about why schmucky singer-songwriter #5 is opening for Arcade Fire. Most likely because he played SXSW and made friends.
                Good Musicians are nomads. For 9 months (or more) every year they wander the globe. During those 9 months they pay for the remaining 3 months, and hopefully a new recording, and a vacation.

Sincerely,

                                                        Alex Teitz, Editor-In-Chief

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February 1st, 2014

Words from the Editor’s Desk

What is your story? What is it about you that makes you special that the world should hear your music? I’ve been pondering stories recently: my own and other’s.  A life story is a beginning, middle and end. Your story has a beginning, a middle and a climax. A climax being that part of your story on why you are more important today, vs yesterday. It is the drama of your story where everyone is holding their breath in anticipation of what is next.
There is this belief that making music in enough by itself. It is not. Why do you make music? Why is the music you make now more different from the music you made before? What has changed in your story? I’ve always been a writer so story matters. Your story does not need to be heartbreaking, devastating to be compelling. Your story tells as much about your music as your songs.
What is your story?

Sincerely,

                                                        Alex Teitz, Editor-In-Chief

Posted in Unfinished Mail

January 1st, 2014

Words from the Editor’s Desk

What is your story? What is it about you that makes you special that the world should hear your music? I’ve been pondering stories recently: my own and other’s.  A life story is a beginning, middle and end. Your story has a beginning, a middle and a climax. A climax being that part of your story on why you are more important today, vs yesterday. It is the drama of your story where everyone is holding their breath in anticipation of what is next.
There is this belief that making music in enough by itself. It is not. Why do you make music? Why is the music you make now more different from the music you made before? What has changed in your story? I’ve always been a writer so story matters. Your story does not need to be heartbreaking, devastating to be compelling. Your story tells as much about your music as your songs.
What is your story?

Sincerely,

                                                        Alex Teitz, Editor-In-Chief

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January 1st, 2012

Words from the Editor’s Desk

Thank You Kat Parsons

If you’re reading this now, we only have one person to blame. Her name is Kat Parsons. A few months ago I received a CD, one sheet and cover letter from Parsons relating to me how much she remembered a review I gave her ages ago. I wrote her to acknowledge receipt of the CD, and she asked what I’ve been up to.

“What I’ve been up to” is not an easy question. At one time FEMMUSIC dominated my every thought. I worked every waking second on it, and didn’t sleep much. A few years ago I slowed down. I stress “slowed down” not stopped. The music is my bones and blood. I still search out for that unique sound that no one has heard before.

These days FEMMUSIC takes second or third priority. When I was in full force I didn’t have a social life. I lived the music life. My friends were divided in two groups: music and non-music. Non-music friends didn’t see me. I was too busy to date and never saw movies. It was an amazing time but it took a toll on me.

What I do now is manifold. I’m slowly working on my first novel that has nothing to do with the music business. I see a lot of movies and am an active member of the Denver Film Society. I do occasional publicity work which I still find very relaxing. I see my friends a lot. I like to stay busy.

The subject of this issue is a challenge to me. I’ve always said that I would like to live long enough to understand jazz and classical music. Both are based on standard forms and interpretation. Many people see jazz as being highbrow and elevated above other forms of music. When I hear it, it infuses my system and buzzes my mind. This issue may take some time to get together. Thank you to my loyal readers and friends. I would not do this without you. Thank you Kat Parsons.

Sincerely,

                                                        Alex Teitz, Editor-In-Chief

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January 1st, 2011

Words from the Editor’s Desk

 Welcome to my mid-life crisis

            Welcome to my mid-life crisis. In November my personal odometer turned over to forty. I didn’t expect it to be a revelation, but it has slowly become one. I’ve certainly felt old for a while. I don’t move as fast, or party as hard as I used to. What doesn’t hurt will hurt soon. I’ve become cranky, fussy and a jerk. I’ve become an old curmudgeon. I’ve felt more like the wine turning to vinegar than aging well.
When you get old, you reminisce more about the old days. Everything had a brighter color, and optimism thrived. Not anymore. My world is much darker than it used to be and it is reflected inside. I complain much too much.
Where am I going with all this? When I began FEMMUSIC, someone once asked me how I could judge music when it is so subjective. We all have our own tastes. Why is mine more important? At the time I answered in arrogance about how valuable ratings are. These days I would answer differently.
Why should you care about any review you read? You shouldn’t. Not every writer will match you in all thoughts or ideas. You have to have individual thoughts to be human at all. I read many reviews, editorials, etc…all the time. I fight with them as much as you fight with me. I take it personally as you do. Why?
Any writer only has as much strength, or powers, as you give them. If you get defensive or angry reading something then you’ve given that writer strength over you. Congratulations!  Here’s the bit of wisdom I’ve learned. It doesn’t matter.
Writers write because it is in their blood. The same is true of songwriters, filmmakers, and every artist. I write infrequently, but I write. My mind has always overrun with ideas. There aren’t as many as quickly or often but they still come to nest in my head. It is, still, fertile ground.
The music is in my soul. It swims there. It may not be your music, but you’re welcome to join me.

                                                        Alex Teitz, Editor-In-Chief

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April 1st, 2010

Words from the Editor’s Desk

It’s finally Spring

            It’s finally Spring. It was a long, cold winter and we missed the sun. Now it’s the start of the “real” New Year. Every year the industry changes after SXSW and the next crop of artists starts touring and releasing their albums. It is an exciting and rich time to find people you’ve never heard of. After the recent Live Nation/Ticketmaster merger, it’s also an excuse to hit the smaller venues and avoid the fees to see something worth it. Spring is here. Smell the flowers and find a new artist to bring home.

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October 1st, 2009

  Words from the Editor’s Desk

            FEMMUSIC hits ten years in a couple of weeks and I was recently reminded of why I still do this. It is a question that lingers with me. In ten years I’ve become older, and colder. I’m more cynical than I was ten years ago.
This past week I was at Tori Amos’ Denver show. Amos is an artist who pre-dates FEMMUSIC. She is one of that handful of artists who fit that bill. The majority of them I’ve never spoken to. Those few I’ve found are generally what I imagined or wanted them to be. They are as tired and cynical as I am. They would like to live the quiet life but something in their genetics keeps them on the road and in the studio. It is the same broken gene that keeps me hunched over a keyboard attempting to put into words that an artist is going to change the world, or that another one really needs to stay at their day job.
Writing and changing the world are two impossible things. Many times I look at my own writing and wonder if 100 monkeys locked in a room with computers might have said it better. Entertainment critics have the impossible task of convincing you to see or hear something by our words alone. Language is not suited to describing divinity. I’ve seen and heard divinity in small clubs on off nights when it was me and the crickets.
The reason I keep hunched over a computer losing my posture, and losing my hearing more and more every year is want to hear more divinity. I want to see the next artist who will revolutionize the world. If I’m lucky I might even have a few minutes to tell you to see them. Often times I don’t.
I’ve slowed down in the past few years. I don’t get out as much as I want. I don’t get to hear a CD I want to. If I thought I could do a column called SEE THIS, BUY THIS I would. It would only be a list of artists I think are divine and worth your time and money. It would be a list, not reviews. The reason I could never do it is you want to know WHY as much as I do.
Before I continue I have to give you a smidgen of that list. Three artists I would lock myself in a room with and listen to their divinity, and die happy. First, Elin Palmer in Denver. Second, SheKeepsBees out of NY. I can’t tell you how many times that CD has lived in my player and not a word has hit FEMMUSIC. Third is the indescribable urban jazz of Astronauts of Antiquity. These artists have changed my world. They need to change yours.
In a few hours I’ll leave my cramped apartment to see a movie, and, hopefully, go to another day of a music fest and see a few singer-songwriters I keep missing. If I’m lucky one will be divinity and will change my world for those few precious minutes of a song. It is the only WHY I have.

                                                            Sincerely,
Alex Teitz

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February 1st, 2003

  Words from the Editor’s Desk


This has been the hardest week in rock. With the catastrophe in Rhode Island people have fear when coming into venues for the first time for years. Ironically to top it off this is Grammy week. At one time the Grammys were a high honor but in the 21st Century they are a merely a label parade of superstars who no longer write or sing their own material. Thank god for publishing royalties. Show me a Grammy Nominee for the top category who hasn’t sold multi-platinum and isn’t dressed by Versace, and wasn’t born before I was, and I might be interested in what they have to say.
During the past month the ideas for this column were in abundance from: “What Happened to the Women with Guitars” to “The Care and Feeding of Fans” to “It’s The Music BUSINESS, Right?” Choosing was very tough.
If you are over thirty you remember The Berlin Wall and artist development. Both have become history to the new generation of fans and A&R people. There was a time when getting a record deal meant they would teach you how to be a rock star AND pay you big money. If you didn’t blip until your third album, that’s okay. They have you for another six. These days you better be star material yesterday for a label to look at you. Remember that labels are myopic so they will have to look long and carefully before you’re worth it.
What is a rock star these days? If you look at the superstars they are well groomed and can’t remember reality. They can follow directions for choreography for shows, follow producers’ directions when recording, and appear connected to every cause under the sun if it will sell a few more albums. They recite soundbytes in their sleep and tour when they choose. I continue to hear rumors of Cher’s Final Tour, redux, and KISS may be back on the road.
To the artist starting out there has to be a beginning place. There is. It is called THE SHOW. THE SHOW is where you work. If you work hard enough, strong enough and smart enough you might actually make the money you’re worth doing it. In the meantime you make every show the best thing it can be and blow away the competition, make friends, and fans.
THE SHOW is not for the weak or the timid. You play your heart out, sing your soul out and plug your merch. You find the players who will work at your level and maybe dream of bigger ones. You will be blinded by lights, choke on smoke, deal with drunks and venue owners who view you as merch. Sadly the press is even worse as my own horns and pitchfork attest to.
THE SHOW is your 45 minutes of fame. For that brief time people follow you. You are elevated on a stage beyond the normal people. You can perform as good or bad as you want and no one will pull the plug. If you perform badly it’s your own damn fault. If your band won’t play up to par, fire them. If the sound system sucks, you play harder. If you are heckled, PROVE that you are a star by doing your job better. If you don’t, there are a million other artists who are willing to do so. THE SHOW is not a place for whiners.
In the time since FEMMUSIC began I’ve seen over 600 shows, and over a thousand artists. I listen to many, many more. I’ve seen every genre and continue waking up every day hoping for the next star.
Are you that star? PROVE it to me and everyone else.

Sincerely,
Alex Teitz
Editor-In-Chief

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