Thursday, March 31, 2005

The 'Recording Light' is ON!!!

I just passed by Studio B in the hallway. John Evans is recording his next CD, and obviously, he's attracting a lot of attention. He and Steve Christensen 'turned on the light':

Yamisse Guidry, Carolina Bedetta, and DWMusic Girls Gone Wild (sort of)

As I write this, my dear friend, and talented client, Carolina Bedetta should be arriving back in her home town in Argentina. Yes, we finished all the vocals for her CD, and yes, they are great! Carolina: I did the piano part that you and Bocha liked in 'W. to the J.' (I have to be sneaky about the title of the song because it should be a surprise!). I also did the guitar solo in 'Waiting For You'. Both turned out excellent. So, I'm a bit sad that my friend is so far away, but I am happy that she is home, and very happy that I will be working on her material for days to come. FYI: I'm going to be sending Carolina mp3's of the mixes for approval every day, along with phone calls to discuss the work. It will be my first trans-continental mixing session.

This morning, Ralz Mathias, Yamisse Guidry, and I met to review Ralz's incredible work on Yamisse's lyrics and melodies. At one point, Ralz had to get me to shut up. I was overly enthusiastic, and the coffee started talking! Anyway, Yamisse is going to sit with the lyrics and melodies over the weekend and report back on Monday.

It looks more and more like Ralz is going to join the production team for this effort. I love Ralz's work, and he is becoming a really good friend. I'll report back as to how his status as co-producer works out.

Here's Yamisse and Ralz:


There's this funny thing going on in the DWMusic Office. I have already reported about hiring Devon Mikeska to be Logan's second in command for the Artist Development division. When Logan popped the question about hiring her, I didn't realize at the time just HOW close she and Devon had become. To wit: Devon and Logan left the Houston Music Roundtable at the Volcano last Tuesday, and on Wednesday they both show up with matching nose piercings!!! Just so you know a) they both look super cute, and b) no, I DON'T have to get my nose pierced to keep up! HA!

I got a chance to see these two in Austin at SxSW and I must say that they have a great time together. How good? (You might ask?). Well a picture is worth a thousand words, as they say. Here's Devon and Logan AND intern Jaime tearing it up with Hollister Fracus at their gig last week: (Jaime, I thought you were going to be the sobering influence on these two,...):

It was Devon's birthday, and Jim asked her up on stage (not that she remembered any of it later):

The ParTay was joined by Hank from the Backtones. Here's Hank trying to keep up with the girls:

Devon and Jerry (bassist for Fracus):

Now you can see that Hollister Fracus whipped the DWMusic women into a frenzy of irresponsible behavior. But the REAL capper (for me at least) was that my wonderful wife, Christi, joined the crew late that night, and got her party on too! Here she is with Fracus manager, Aerik (coolest name in rock 'n roll), and Jim and Logan. Note that Logan looks like she might have met her match, party-picture-wise with Christi in the picture. (That's the little woman!)

Where was I? Well I was safe from the mahem in SugarHill's Studio B finishing vocals with Carolina.

So, Devon, what did you think of the show?:

Saturday, March 26, 2005

John Evan's Joins the Elite on

Ok, that's it. Now I'm TOTALLY embarrassed at our DWMusic client's success on
(press title for link)

For 24 hours on Saturday, the 26th of March, 2005 (PST) "House of Cards" will be featured on's Power Pop front page.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Glenna Bell joins our Garage Band Allstar Line Up!!

Glenna Bell, our DWMusic newest Artist Development client, has joined the ranks of Sarah Sharp and the Southern Backtones, AND John Evans by having her song, "Hoping I Could Be Wrong" be track of the day on Wednesday March 30th!!!

Constant readers of this journal will be familiar with the almost embarrasing praise we get from our peer reviewers on Garage Band. One thing we have learned for sure is that other musicians LOVE our artists' work.

We couldn't agree more! :)

Glenna at a DWMusic showcase at SxSW '05

Monday, March 21, 2005


It's Monday, 3/21/05. Two Thousand and Five. Already. WOW.

I just got home from SXSW '05 and I have so much to talk about, but first things first. Today marks the last 6 days of vocals with Carolina Bedetta before her visa expires and she returns to Argentina. I am sad already because Caro and I have turned into really great friends. Her dad, Bocha, is here to help with the final arrangements. Now you need to understand that Bocha is cool. I mean, REAL cool. He hung out with us all day, and stepped up to rap a part on our song 'Treachery'. I got to sing too, but it was so very cool to see Bocha do it!!! I think he was pumped:

About SxSW:

We left last Tuesday afternoon after packing the cars full of PA gear, instruments and promotional material. On our way out of town, we listened to the local Pacifica Radio affiliate do their SxSW pre-show, live from SugarHill Studios. Steve Christensen did an awesome job mixing about 6 bands on the fly!!!! WOW! We were stoked!

When we arrived in Austin, we got situated and I went and had dinner with Bruce Hughes. Bruce plays bass for Bob Schneider, The Resentments, and his own projects. He produced Matt the Electrician last year here at SHRS:

Logan and I were amused to see a certain Texas Film Star totally sh*tfaced at Antone's while we grooved to Bob's set.

Next we went to the Lucky Lounge for Carlos Sosa & John Pointer's uber-funk band: Boombox:

The place was as packed as the Coconut Grove and just as hot. We ran into Sarah Sharp there working it hard:

Logan works it hard every time we go out!

We closed out the night there so we would have some juice left for the next day:

On Wednesday, it was overcast, cool, and breezy. OF COURSE, we were playing outdoors at Opal Divine's for the first Dan Workman event. We had the full DWMusic crew: Logan, myself, Jamie, Josh, and Devon working the patio crowd there to watch Glenna, Avalon, Sarah Sharp and the Southern Backtones. We all froze. I bet I drank two pots of coffee. The Backtones played a showcase at Cheapo's then immediately drove over to Opal's.. Oh yeah, besides the brisk weather, Mother Eagan's, across the street was KICKIN' IT LOUD. Our artists were super-pro and delivered solid sets.

That night, I thought I would get some rest, because the next day was our big DWM showcase night at the Agave on 6th Street.

Instead of going out, Hank and Mike from the Backtones hung out with Avalon, Josh, and myself back at the motel. We wrote one song together and got parts of about two more:

The next day, Mikey from Sound Breaking Ground, (and Hellstar, etc,...) helped out IMMENSELY with setting up the PA. Josh and MIkey spent most of the day at the Agave getting it going while we all prepared for the show.

This show featured the Drop Trio, Next Best Thing, The Southern Backtones, Hollister Fracus, and Sound Breaking Ground.

First up was the Drop Trio, which was billed as 'The Drop-tet" because moi, your humble scribe, got to sit in with them!!!!!!!

Ian, Mike and Patrick were super patient and generous in letting me fulfill one of my older fantasies. I have loved the Drop Trio since the first time that I saw them at Brazil in Houston. I was SO excited, that I practiced the heads of their songs all afternoon. WHOO HOO!!!! Naturally, they were awesome, so all I had to do was hold on for the ride. They made me look great!

After us, Next Best Thing tore a hole in the stage about ten miles deep! Next up was the Southern Backtones who had the girls swooning:

My dear friend, Andrew Amelang showed up with his crew (who are all musicians and artists). Andrew and I were in our first rock band together when we were 13 years old (a long time ago!). We still play together today!

Andrew's cousin, DeDe, and her & my friend, David Knight, showed up. I ran into those two over and over during the festival but with whom I never fully hooked up:

Right before Hollister Fracus took the stage (and packed the Agave for the first time that night), Logan came up to me and said that I should go see Robert Plant. I was stunned. She was offering to hold it down so I could leave my own showcase and see Plant?? I thought about the guys in Hollister & SBG,.... well, I thought about it for about two seconds, and said f*ck yeah--I'll go to see Plant.

John Griffin and I walked about a mile to the Austin Music Hall. And there he was. This was a show I won't forget as long as I live. Plant (like Hollister Fracus was,) fkn' BROUGHT IT!! His new material sounded timeless, and he played lots of Zepplin songs, but he re-arranged them all. It was sublime!

I got back just after Sound Breaking Ground had closed it out. The crew and crowd looked shell-shocked & happy.

Josh tells me that Channing, Michael & Mike rocked it super hard. Logan text-messaged me during Plant TWICE to tell me how hard Jim & the Fracus boys were tearing it up!! I had more comments about Hollister Fracus that night.

We didn't get in until 5am, but Devon, Josh, Jamie, (and Jason McKee), and John Griffin had breakfast and crashed.

Friday found us all pretty cooked. We did our show in the tent at Mother Eagan's. Danny Kadar from New Orleans brought his producer/engineer self over. The biggest celeb guest was accountant to the starts (The Stones, for instance), Aaron Schecter and his wife Elaine:

The Googe also showed up. They were playing a showcase that night at Trophy's on S. Congress:

Glenna kicked it off:

Sarah Sharp played the best acoustic set I have ever heard her do (this is very impressive!). She did two new songs, and I got a bit misty-eyed:

You can tell that the weather was now cool and sunny!

After Sarah, was the Backtones. The guys let me sit in with them on my Casio SK-1. For those who don't know, it is a toy sampler from the 1980's. I had SO MUCH FUN!!! I hope I wasn't too anoying:

That night, I had to crash, but Saturday was the day I was looking forward to. I got to see Aimee Mann at Stubb's on 7th street. Along with Aimee was the amazing John Butler Trio. Those guys rocked HARD!!!

The sound was not optimal for Aimee, but just seeing her perform & being so close to her was magic!!!
Winter Wallace, my artist and friend, drove from Houston to see Aimee & it was really special seeing it with her.

After the show I caught up with Logan and John Griffin and we took in a great Cure-like band called The Black Tie Dynasty (is that right, Logan?) They are from Ft. Worth, and they reminded me of the Psychadelic Furs, Gang of Four, Ultravox, and Gary Neuman. That was a blast.

After that, I was done. I went back to the motel and wrote for a while, then packed some stuff. I can't wait for next year!!! I want to sit in on SK-1 with a bunch of other bands.


Monday, March 14, 2005

Caro Sings and Yamisse Guidry Visits

Carolina and I finished our first four days on schedule and we are very pleased. One song was in a really low key, called "Anti Hero" (my bad on the key,.... it would have really helped to be a half step up,..), but Carolina pulled it off like a pro.

I'm listening to the rough mixes this morning and I am really happy. Carolina, Kevin, and I all wrote the lyrics this time, and I had a real epiphany while writing: once I started thinking lyrically, I just haven't stopped. I'm writing a new song right now about the space race in the 60's. More will be revealed.

While we were working, Yamisse Guidry and her sister/manager Brianna came by to hang out and meet Carolina. Ralz Mathias is working away writing lyrics for Yamisse at the moment. Our tracks are from the Bama Boys, so they are the schiz-nitty.

Yamisse, Carolina, and Brianna:

Logan, Devon, Josh and I are heading up to SxSW tomorrow. I am so proud of our line up. Our shows are going to be the total schiz-nitty, too. Hope to see you there,...

Friday, March 11, 2005

Dan Workman Music Has New Faces!!!!!

I have been shamed repeatedly by Logan for not keeping current here about the Artist Development Division of the company.

First, and MOST IMPORTANT (are you reading this, Logie?) is the addition of our newest employee: Devon Mikeska.

Devon is an incredible addition to our tribe in that she is smart, articulate, fast on her feet with clients, and just a darn nice person. She has already proved herself to be a 'hard charger' (just like Logan). She is a real mover-and-shaker in the entertainment biz: she already has her own company producing video! Step Back!

Welcome Devon,... you're the schiz-nitty.

On other fronts: DWMusic has two new Artist Development clients: We have signed the John Evans Band, and Glenna Bell. Both of these artists were must-haves for me. John already is touring and doing radio promotion, and Glenna is a Texas-Treasure who simply moves through life leaving a trail of newly converted fans where ever she goes. True. Along with Sarah Sharp (international tour after SxSW), and The Southern Backtones (quickly becoming critic's darlings), we are blessed with the coolest roster I could hope for.

We have deals pending with Hollister Fracus and Joyce Pierce, but Logan threatens to quit if we take on any more. I guess Devon's going to be full time any day now.

Just so you'll know, our Artist Development division is still very young, and as a result we are limiting our clientelle to those who are already at a fairly high level of functionality in their careers (ie. regional if not national distribution, already have radio &/or booking agents, and are already touring regionally). We have been SUPER FLATTERED with tons of inquiries about becoming one of our clients. We hope to develop our business and influence so that we can 'grow' artists from an earlier point in their career. So don't feel left out if you aren't on the list,... hopefully we're paving the way to help you get on the band wagon as well! (Remember, we need to feed Devon, and Logan needs her car fixed!)


Carolina Vocals:Day One & Eileen Faxas Goes Pro

Carolina and I had a STUNNING day one cutting the song, "Don't Belong" It is a Kevin Ryan composition with lyrics by CB and I. It is a 'young adult coming of age' song about how you've got to fake it while you make it. Caro's vocals were incredible and I saw singing skills that our previous project only hinted at. I cannot wait to get back in the studio this afternoon.

NEWS FLASH: Eileen Faxas has gone pro! She's leaving the high profile world of television to pursue an even higher profile as the Cubano songstress that I have come to love as a singer/songwriter, and adore as my friend. (I knew her when....!)

Click on the title link to check out her site. Like right now!

Back to the studio......

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Carolina Bedetta & Industry Commentary

Most importantly, the music business is thriving at SHRS & DWMusic, Saints-be-praised! But all is not good with the state of the major record labels, and those who make their living in production support (read: the big recording studios). The world's largest and luxurious recording facility, The Hit Factory in New York, closed it's doors last month! I'm going to include a really great editorial from Ritch at The Music Business Registry (click on the Title of this post for a link). Ritch has it right, and although we all are aware of the challenges to the music business establishment, seldom do we get to read about the details of the bloodletting and what is behind it.

On news more close to home, Carolina Bedetta and I have been writing last minute lyrics for the past week and have hit paydirt. I have never been so prolific with any other writing partner -- especially one for whom English is not thier native language!!!! (Caro is Argentinian, but singing in English-- very cool accent, btw). I have really been down the rabbit hole while I've worked, and Carolina has got to be sick of me, but we've had SO much fun. I'm hooked, I'm going to become a lyracist! We start cutting vocals day after tomorrow. Today, we make sure our key signatures are right, and practice the parts.

OK. Here's the excerpt from Ritch's article: (re-printed here WITHOUT Permission)


In these times of major label mergers, downsizing, the slashing of label rosters, and thousands of record company jobs being lost over the last three years--not to mention the enormous sea change and seismic shifts that technology has wrought--comes one of the most disturbing reports we have come across. It further reveals just how profoundly out-of-touch certain companies TRULY are when addressing the problems within their own record divisions. The Financial Times reported 'Warner Music, paid its top five executives more than $21m in salary and bonuses following last year's $2.6bn acquisition of the US music group by a private equity consortium.' The article continues that of the top management, Edgar Bronfman Jr, the Chairman who led last year's buy-out, received a $1M salary and $5.25M bonus. Lyor Cohen, head of the US recorded music business, received $1M and $5.24M in salary and bonus, respectively. Paul Rene Albertini, head of Warner's international operations, was paid! $1.25M in salary and a $3.15M bonus. Departing Warner/Chappell CEO, Les Bider, received a $2.44M total payment. These payouts include further guaranteed bonuses or change of control payments. According to documents filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, last year's total executive remuneration was more than three times higher than Warner Music's $7M operating income for the 10 months to September 30th.

The management payments reflect Warner's success in cutting costs following last year's sale of the Music Group by Time Warner. The company expects to deliver $250M of annualized savings by May this year, achieved mainly through 1,600 job losses. What is so truly disturbing here is that it speaks volumes about the value system of an owner of a company that would pay its top-five Record Executives more than three times the amount of operating income for a ten-month period while dismissing 1,600 employees.

What the article failed to mention was that in addition to the employee layoffs, Warner Music Group also dropped 93 of the 193 artists signed to Warner Labels in the US, approximately 47% of the artist roster during this same period. If the financial health of a company is truly so dire that it calls for these kind of dramatic and severe cuts for the financial well being of the company, how does one justify the kind of staggering bonus payouts to the top five executives in the company? Don't get us wrong, we have no problem with executive compensation when it's tied to actually rewarding performance, but in this case, one is truly hard pressed to grasp or to understand what is actually being rewarded. The claim that the Warner Music Group will save $250M of annualized savings mainly through the decimation of 1,600 jobs is not something that we think should be financially rewarded.