Columbia Fields…Have announced they are going on “indefinite hiatus” and will be performing their farewell show on December 30 at The Main Pub in Manchester. I, among many, am sad to see them go. Their album, “Bridging the Gap” has been on heavy rotation this year for me. You should grab a copy while you can!
McLovins…Have announced that guitarist extraordinaire, Jeff Howard, is leaving the band after they perform two final shows this year with Howard citing a need to focus more on school work and other interests. The band will continue on, adding two new guitarists, Justin Berger and Atticus Kelley, to the line-up. Word to the wise…Catch either the show December 23 at the Main Pub in Manchester or December 30 at Pearl Street in Northampton (or both). Jeff Howard is an amazing guitarist and will leave behind large shoes to fill! Good luck to him!
I wish you all the very merriest of Christmases with your loved ones!
Support LOCAL! And, as always…
Occupy a VENUE!!
“Spot”light on…Maria Manes of Mindz-I Entertainment
Maria Manes is the vivacious woman behind Mindz-I Entertainment. Mindz-I manages and books multiple local and national acts from a multitude of genres ranging from rock to hip hop. I had the pleasure of meeting Maria when we both were special judges for the Bandwith Karaoke finals at Black Bear Saloon in Milford. She’s energetic, intelligent, and very, very busy but took a few minutes to chat with me about what’s going on at Mindz-I.
lsg: You are CEO of Mindz-I Entertainment. How’d you get your start?
MM: A good friend of mine was in a band and new that I did marketing and advertising and knew that, as an original band, he needed marketing and advertising to get his band to the next level. So, he asked me to come in and help market the band and I did. It went pretty well. Another friend of mine happened to find out that’s what I was doing and asked me to come and check out his band and it just steamrolled from there – one led from one to the other and then Mindz-I launched in November of 2010.
lsg: Tell us about Mindz-I. What are your services? What are you about?
MM: We are a management/booking company and we do promotions so there are actually three divisions to the company. We manage original artists from the local level to the national level. We book for local bars – cover bands and we do smaller shows and the smaller locations. We also do headlining artists so we’ll also bring in a headlining artist and do a show at Toad’s (New Haven) or something of the sort where we’ll bring in a national headliner and pair it up with one of our artists or local CT artists to kind of keep Connecticut on the map. The goal is really to turn CT into a place – everybody thinks you need to go to Boston or New York – and the goal of Mindz-I is to get everybody to go to CT for a great show. There are tons of artists here and we want to make CT a stop on people’s tours which they don’t do. So that’s the promotions and the larger end of the bookings part of it.
lsg: So, let’s talk about some of your clients. Tells us about a couple of them
MM: Well, we represent original artists and we represent cover bands so one of the cover bands we represent in a big way are Total Hacks. We love them and they are just a great band and they do a lot of charity work. We have a long laundry list of those bands. We’ll do Total Hacks or Worst Case Scenario which is Todd Grossberg’s band. Todd was originally in the Limit. We’ll do Roar and the Inside Out Band. As for original artists, we represent dUECE bUG, Fuzzy Bunny and the Dirty Cupcakes, She Eats Planets, Ocecmic, and The Bittersweet Vines. We have a good grouping of artists. We represent everything from hip hop to rock so it’s pretty cool.
lsg: When you are looking at new acts to represent, what do you look for?
lsg: Is it really that simple?
MM: Actually, believe it or not, I look for talent but I also look for attitude. There are two things in life you control and that’s attitude and effort. You can have the best skill set out there but if your personality sucks and if your attitude sucks, I’m not going to work with you. So, you can learn skills but you can’t learn attitude and you can’t learn drive and determination and desire. Those are the things that I really look for when I’m looking at a new artist. I want to see that passion in them and that desire to succeed no matter what their skill set is. Skills can be taught. You can take vocal lessons and guitar lessons. I mean listen, there are by far some artists who are just naturally talented and gifted. When you come across them, you are just thrilled to death when you see them. Like dUECE is naturally gifted; Fuzzy Bunny, those guys are naturally gifted; Sara from She Eats Planets is naturally gifted. These are people who are naturally gifted and enhance that by honing their craft and continuing to study. If I see a young artist and the skill sent isn’t there but the attitude is right, that’s somebody you can work with and take to the next level. A bad attitude is just not worth it. If they have ego, that’s the big thing. If there is too much ego playing a factor there, I can’t do anything with that because they will always think that they are better than everybody else and that’s a problem because once you get to that point, you need to stop. There is always somebody else out there better than you.
lsg: What is the most important thing a new artist can do for themselves?
MM: Promote themselves. There is nobody who can reach an artists’ fans better than the artist. And when I say promote yourselves, I don’t just mean by getting on Facebook. I mean by getting out into the scene. Going to shows even if they’re not your own shows. Becoming a scene in the scene so that people begin to see you and know you when they see you. That is the best advice that I can give an artist starting out. If you want people to recognize who you are, you have to be out there to be recognizable. I think that’s the biggest mistake that a lot of artists make. They think that Facebook is enough. It’s not enough. If you want to make noise in the scene, you need to be in the scene. And really, that’s the key. A lot of artists hide behind Facebook. Listen, Facebook is a great tool, it’s a great way to advertise. It’s free but it’s one tool. Like there is nothing that can beat a face to face interaction. You shake somebody’s hand and you look them in the face and you’re having a conversation with them, they’re going to remember that. And I think that it’s a big thing for these artists. They don’t realize how important it is to get out into the venues that they like to play in. The owners see them and they’re supporting and it makes it a lot easier for them to get booked. You know, the more you’re out there, the more people see you and being recognizable is key to the music business.
lsg: What’s the best way to get Maria Manes attention as an artist?
MM: The best way to get my attention as an artist? I’ll tell you what, really at this point, I’m really not taking on more artists for management. I am really going to focus on the artists that I have and getting them to the next level. At this point, in order to grab my attention, you’ve really got to be something that I just could not possibly pass up. In other words, you have to have the whole package. You’ve got to have the skill set and you’ve got to have the personality and you’ve got to have the drive. I’ve got to see a live – live show. I want to see a show where people aren’t sitting in their seats. I want to see fans singing your lyrics back to you. That would be what you would need to do at this point to grab my attention because I really do feel like I represent the best of the best in the individual genres that we have. I mean, we have dUECE bUG and the Full Blast Movement and that’s hip hop. And there is nobody in the scene right now who is “liver” than he is and doing as much as he’s doing. And we have She Eats Planets who are a traditional rock band. And again, you have three girls and a guy and it’s an amazing thing to watch them when they get into the flow and they start to get moving and their music is incredible. And we have Ocecmic, who is a real hard core metal band that has just changde their sound and kind of reinvented themselves and are in the studio recording now and they have done Slave to the Metal a bunch of times. We have Fuzzy Bunny and the Dirty Cupcakes and they’re new…you know, this band is new and the noise behind them is incredible. We printed out t-shirts and we’ve already sold a crap load. So you really have to grab my attention in a genre that I don’t represent that I think would be a good addition to our roster. I’m looking for talent that enhances my roster.
lsg: What’s the biggest faux pas for a new artist? What would turn you off even to the point of not listening?
MM: There is a very fine line between confidence and conceit. I can tell you that I have had conversations with artists and, again I’m going to go back into that ego thing, because ego is a big thing for me. I am all about confidence. You need to be confident as an artist. You’re getting up on that stage, you’re playing original music. You need to be confident and believe in what you do. However, I don’t want to deal with conceit. And that is a very fine line and I think that that is the biggest mistake that these artists make. They get a little taste of “rock stardom” and their ego kicks in. Once that happens, they start to feel entitled and that they should be getting things. You are entitled to nothing. You are entitled to what you work for. I think that that is the biggest mistake that artists make. They think they need to portray themselves in a way that they are better than everybody else. If you want to turn my head and make me walk out the door, that’s gonna do it.
lsg: What does Maria Manes listen to aside from her bands and aspiring artists? What do you listen to just because you love it?
MM: What do I listen to just because I love it? Well…that depends on my mood! It really does because I listen to pretty much everything. I listen to country, classical, classic rock, and metal…so it really depends on my mood. If I’m really pissed off and I’m having a really bad day, I’ll generally go for the “angry music”. I’ll be blasting Rage (Against the Machine) or something like that. I’ll just blast something hard core. Or if I’m relaxing, I’ll listen to classic rock or something very trippy, I guess is the best way to say it because I find it the most relaxing. And if I’m cooking in my kitchen and doing a big dinner like I will be Saturday, then its show tunes.
(lsg and MM both erupt into laughter…)
MM: Like “Hello Dolly” and you know that kind of stuff, that’s what gets me through the day!
lsg (continuing to laugh): OK, so wait a minute. I’m trying to get the visual. You’re in your kitchen and listening to show tunes and…are you singing too?
MM: Oh, of course!! Dancing around singing with my spoon microphone.
lsg: That’s awesome! So, wait. What’s your favorite? What are you belting out, man?
MM: Definitely “Yankee Doodle Dandy”.
(lsg and MM erupt into more laughter)
MM: My all time favorite musical is “Yankee Doodle Dandy”.
lsg: That’s fabulous. I love it.
lsg: Ok so I always end with a “What the Fuck” question so my question to you is: Who is the sexiest man alive?
MM: The sexiest man alive. And it can be anyone? I don’t think I go traditional…there’s a difference between sexy and yummy, Lisa. You know this!
lsg: Ha Ha! OK, then who is yummy?
MM: Ok is this the whole package of sexy or is this just sexy. Because you don’t have to be the whole package to be sexy.
lsg: Well, it’s if you could choose just one man that’s just WOOOOWWWW!
MM: This is torturous. Well, it would definitely have to be somebody musical. I am going to go with…I am and it’s gonna scare people but I’m going to go with…Eddie Vedder.
lsg: Oooh, girl…
MM: Yeah. There’s just something about him. He’s definitely not the most attractive guy out there but when he starts singing…I’m done. I listen to “Black” and I’m just like um yeah!
MM: Now, if you wanted the whole like package like “Oh my God!” – although, I don’t think he’s musical – Matthew McConaughey. Although I hear he smells very badly!
lsg: Yeah, but he plays bongos in the nude so you gotta give him that.
MM: He does play bongos in the nude! See? You gotta give him that.
(giggle giggle giggle)
All I can say is…Matthew McConaug-HEEEYYYY…
For more information about Mindz-I Entertainment and the artists represented, check out their web site: http://www.mindzi-ent.com/
What’s HOT this week…
Friday December 23
*John Fries and the Heat, Burke’s Tavern, Niantic – 8:00 pm
*Eight to the Bar, June’s Out Back, Killingworth– 8:30 pm
*DriveTime, The Yardhouse Tavern, Enfield– 9:00 pm
*Nasty Disaster and others, Ryan’s Driftwood Cafe, Clinton – 9:00 pm
*Bandwith Karaoke, Coach’s, Hartford – 9:30 pm
*McLovins, Main Pub, Manchester – 9:30 pm
*Driven, Murphy and Scarlettis, Farmington – 10:00 pm
Saturday December 24
Happy Christmas to all…And to all a good night! Felicidades, Gente!
Tuesday December 27
*Waking Elliot, All Asia Bar, Cambridge, MA – 5:30 pm
Thursday December 29
*Mindz-I Ent presents dUECE bUG and Full Blast Movement – Featuring dance, graffit artists, DJ Mo Niklz, Amity Teen Center, New Haven – 6:00 pm
*Dave Hogan, Two Boots, Bridgeport – Happy Hour
*Interstellar Elevators, Two Boots, Bridgeport – 8:00 pm
*Daphne Lee Martin, Perks and Corks, Westerly, RI – 8:00 pm
Hey! You! We’re not done yet! Check out my fb page – http://www.facebook.com/lsgoriginal – and follow my antics on Twitter at @lsgoriginal. Web page forthcoming!
Lisa Sanchez Gonzalez aka lsg
Lover of music and the visual arts, Lisa Sanchez Gonzalez is the insanity behind lsg original photography. lsg specializes in artist and performer photography. She’s had the honor of photographing national bands such as Weezer, Snoop Dogg, A Simple Plan, Paramore, Whitesnake, Wye Oak, and The Antlers along with countless local bands and performers.
Hailing from Hartford, CT, Lisa is a life- long music connoisseur. Growing up, her mother exposed her to everything from The Stones to Simon and Garfunkel to Earth, Wind, and Fire to Loretta Lynn…and everything in between. No genre was left unexplored in her vinyl collection. She saw her first concert at 14…Rod Stewart at the (then called) Hartford Civic Center. Thirty years later, it’s still her favorite pastime.
Lisa has two kids (grown!) and a day job. Her loves of music and photography have melded into a second career. And her love of CT keeps her promoting and pushing for local artists and performers. Lisa spends the greater part of her free time seeing and shooting live bands, performers, and artists and art work…and purchasing vinyl!