Not Unlistenable

Photo by Jack GouldThis is it! Those final few hours of nervousness! The gallons of sweat gushing from the neck and brow! That queasy, about-to-pee-your-pants sensation! The feeling of overwhelming dread as the inaugural Orange County Music Awards draws near!

Forget the nominees—that's just what OC Music Awards founder Martin Brown is going through.

There are plenty of annoying little must-do things for Brown before this Saturday's first award shindig for OC music comes off. Like making sure everyone's name in the program—and on the foot-high, acrylic, see-through trophies—is spelled right. Like making sure everyone knows what time they're playing (performers Saturday include Wonderlove, Jay Buchanan, Scarlet Crush, Slugg-O, Kerry Getz, Alturas, Nice, Tijuana Dogs, Savage City and opera singer Carrie Theodossin).

A ton of work, to be sure. But Brown says, come Sunday morning, when he can finally breathe again, it'll all have been worth it.

“The response we've received this first year has been extremely positive,” Brown says, enough that he guarantees a second OC Music Awards show next year. “Oh, yeah, absolutely. Only one band asked for their entry fee back—a death-metal band that we lumped in with rock. They didn't like that, so they didn't want to participate. But we didn't have a death-metal category—we only got three of those kinds of bands, and the other two were unlistenable.”

Like anything that happens the first time, Brown discovered a few kinks that can be worked out in coming years, most notably in the nominating process. Getting the music of bands into the hands of judges started out like a game of hot potato via the U.S. Postal Service, with one judge listening to the nominees, picking out the best, then forwarding those entries to the next judge. Eventually Brown opted to burn tracks onto compilation CDs to make the process smoother for the judges, asking bands which tracks they thought best represented their music.

“There were logistical problems like that,” says Brown. “We made some mistakes, and we'll make some at the show, I'm sure. But the judges were all incredible. They had to plow through a lot of unlistenable stuff. Next year, we'll just start planning everything six months in advance instead of three.”

The 2002 Orange County Music Awards at the Galaxy Concert Theatre, 3503 S. Harbor Blvd., Santa Ana, (714) 957-0600. Sat., 7:30 p.m. $15. All ages.

See “No Death Metal Here” for a list of nominees.

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