Everything appears to be going smoothly so far for the inaugural edition of the Orange County Music Awards, slated to go down March 30 at the Galaxy Concert Theatre. Show co-producer Martin Brown, who also publishes the local freebie mag Live, says he has received more than 100 submissions from area bands looking to get nominated in one of a slew of categories (which are—pay attention now—Best Male Solo Performer, Best Female Solo Performer, Best Pop/Rock Band, Best Blues/Roots Band, Best Country Band, Best Reggae/World Band, Best Punk/Emo/Surf Band, Best Metal/Rapcore/Industrial Band, Best Hip-Hop/Rap Band, Best CD [All Genres], Best Song [All Genres], Best Live Performer [All Genres], and Best Out-of-County Act [All Genres]). Two other categories, Best Jazz and Best International Band, have been added, though Brown hopes he'll get more than the three jazz submissions he has collected so far before the Feb. 28 deadline. The Best International Band category—not to be confused with Best Reggae/World Band—is a bit puzzling, but Brown argues that the entries he has received from such non-OC locales as Sweden, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England is an indicator that "we didn't want to be completely exclusionary" (though how impressive an OC Music Award looks on the rsum of a band doomed to gig Stockholm or Dunkirk for the rest of their lives remains a mystery). As for entries in the rest of the categories, Brown says he's happy with the quality. "Ask who the 10 best bands are in Orange County, and you'll get 10 different answers," he says. "But there seems to be a consensus forming of who the best ones are. We've had very few entries in the punk category, though, which I thought was surprising, this being OC and all." Perhaps award shows just aren't punk rock enough. Also shaping up nicely is the award show itself. Brown and co-producer Allison Badger (who also produces KOCE-TV's local music program Sound Affects) have lined up an eclectic bill that will include performances ranging from the pop rock strains of Wonderlove and Scarlet Crush to the Peruvian world beats of Alturas to the folky accents of Kerry Getz to the blues banterings of the Mike Eldred Trio (there's even an opera singer, Carrie Theodossin, who'll belt out an aria or some such deal). Award presenters announced at this point include Linda Jemison, Social Distortion bassist John Maurer and Reel Big Fish manager Vince Pileggi (MC duties for the evening, meanwhile, will be conducted by Badger and Wing Lam, a.k.a. "The Wahoo's Fish Taco Guy"). Prefacing the awards will be a 10-band showdown on March 6, also at the Galaxy, out of which five nominees for the Best Live Band category will be picked. And there's still time to get your music into Brown's hands: mail an entry packet (which should include a CD, a bio and a photo, plus a $25 entry fee) by Feb. 28 to the OC Music Awards, 12534 Valley View St., Ste. 114, Garden Grove, CA 92845. (Rich Kane)
We're certain there were people who gained a smidgen of useful, career-advancing information at the Feb. 9 DIY Convention. Despite the name—and our assumptions—DIY wasn't an event for anti-corporate, smash-the-system gutter punks looking for ways to get their band heard; most punks we know couldn't have even paid the valet at the Wyndham Bel Age Hotel in West Hollywood, where the event was held. Billed as "a daylong event on creating, promoting, protecting and distributing independent film, music and books," it turned out to be an excuse for LA's C-grade scenesters to putter around a posh hotel lobby in knit hats and leather jackets (on a near-80-degree day, no less) between talks designed to frighten everyone out of doing anything creative. For instance, at a panel dealing with business and legal issues, we learned that you can't just start a band—you must first decide whether you're going to be a group, a corporation or a partnership. And you'd better get some paperwork together before you play a single note, lest the drummer you boot after your first show decides to sue you. And if your mama says she loves you, get that in writing, too. Whatever happened to playing for the fun of it? The levels of paranoia on some panels were thick enough to drive an aspiring songwriter/musician into a Beatles tribute band. One such forum generated a lot of unexplained legal jargon, as if every rock & roller ought to spend his down time thinking about LLCs ("limited liability company," we later learned). When the advice wasn't absurdly complex, it was merely absurd. Registrants ponied upward of $80 a pop to hear such corporate-lunchroom aphorisms as "persistence is the key," "you have to have goals" and "courage is fear holding on a minute longer." At the "Get a Job! Employment in Entertainment" panel, we learned that—get this—computers can be useful tools! DIY's uselessness was best personified by the guy who wandered the hotel's halls, passing out not demo CDs (something we figured to see more of) but little slips of paper advertising a phone-sex line. The afternoon hit its almost measureless bottom when the moderator of the "Marketing & Publicity" forum introduced panelist Fabrice Morvan—better known as one-half of the infamous lip-sync act Milli Vanilli—thusly, and without a hint of irony: "Fabrice, we're all familiar with your earlier artistic works." Um, would those be the artistic works that were not his!? Ultimately the price of admission bought us this piece of wisdom: doing it yourself means more or less what it says—rely on your own instincts as an artist and avoid confabs like this one. (RK)
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