Chris Grenda performs at Local Jams 2004 at the Stone Pony
(Asbury Park, NJ)
Local Jams continues to outdo itself. This yearâ€™s Local Jams 2004 event â€" held at the Stone Pony Aug. 22 â€" had more bands, a bigger sponsor and larger crowds. Itâ€™s remarkable to think that an event which
began as the G-Fest at the Brick VFW in 2001 has grown as it has.
The event has set forth a spirit of cooperation among the bands involved. It has also become a way for fans of one great band to sample
Each year, organizer Chris Grenda (a/k/a singer/songwriter/guitar player Mr.G) has put together solid line ups. As a result, audience members have been afforded the chance to listen to great music
while they wait for a friendâ€™s band or the featured act.
Line-ups in past years have included the now defunct Slowdrown and scene mainstays Brown and Madjul. The tradition of big-named acts continued this year with a roster which included Grendaâ€™s own Mr.
G (www.mrgsmusic.com), Skyline Rodeo (www.skylinerodeo.com), Sprout (www.thesprout.com), Friends of Bill Wilson, Beggars Canyon (www.beggarscanyonband.com), Strength in Numbers (www.strengthinnumbersband.com),
Pray for Death and Burn the Tyrant.
The success of Local Jams, Grenda said, has drawn the interest of other club owners and, in this writer's opinion, will continue to build into an anticipated event at the Jersey Shore.
Chorus and Verse recently asked Grenda a few questions about Local Jams 2004.
How did Local Jams fare this year in comparison to past years?
The show this year was more successful than any other year; not only in terms of money coming in the door but for the hype, the actual performances and, most importantly, the maturity of the bands on
the bill. I was very impressed with the professionalism of everyone. Plus, the show is now sponsored by Budweiser True Music. I always knew it is a good show and it will get its well-deserved recognition.
Why do you think it is drawing support?
I know in my heart that it's drawing support. A beer company [like Budweiser] does not put its name on something it doesnâ€™t have faith in. That is only part of it though. Other club owners at various
venues have approached me about having the show at their clubs. Somehow some interest is out there. Plus, I have bands calling me each year that want to play the show. I have to give much credit to The
Pony for all they have done for us over the years. They really did treat us with the highest respect and made us feel very comfortable all day long.
Do you have plans for any future events?
I want to take Local Jams to another level next year. I want to rotate venues and get Budweiser to promote the shit out of it. My dream is to have Local Jams on tour someday; every summer, multiple cities,
giving local bands everywhere great exposure and a chance to be heard.
Burn the Tyrant performs at Local Jams 2004
What type of support did you get from the performing bands, fans and other scene members?
Wow! The support of the bands is just overwhelming. Itâ€™s so hard to put into words how much all the bands mean to me. This is real-live dream stuff here that they help me with. I got nothing but positive
support from all the bands. I have been friends with Friends of Bill Wilson for a while now and [the bandâ€™s lead singer] Damien has become a friend. I truly look up to the guy. He is a wonderful talent.
And the guys from Beggars Canyon and Sprout were always ready to do anything for the event on the drop of a dime. Kirk Singer from Beggars Canyon hooked us up with a nice gig in Seaside with them this year,
too. It just shows how much of a handshake the scene is. I only wish that all bands could get along like the bands that I deal with. They are all class act guys.
Again, the treatment from the venue was perfect. Itâ€™s impossible to put into words the amount of love I felt. Oh yeah, and the sound guy was great, very professional. We all got compliments on the sound.
The fans are what it's all about. They come out and support the acts. We brought 300 people to the Pony this year. That is a wonderful thing for all of us to get that support. Without people coming out,
we donâ€™t have a show. Now we just have to get the promotional side rolling to let everyone know when it goes down.
What else do you think is needed to keep the scene going?
I knew the big question was coming.
My views on the scene: I think the scene is much better than when I came along 10 years ago. Obviously, there are some good relationships being formed between clubs and bands, other than the usual original
rock clubs. I think our scene has developed some new venues. Even though they are not new, in terms of existence, [they are] just new to letting original acts play. Itâ€™s a good thing.
The entertainment companies like Max Cruise and Concerts East are letting original acts play more shows with nationals now. Thatâ€™s always been a huge thing in my eyes. No national shows equals less exposure.
The only thing I still frown upon is the lack of collaboration between cover bands and original bands. There are some great venues out there that could help to launch some great original acts. I see it
this way: the cover bands are already going to bring the people to the venue. Put some original bands in front of some people to help them get exposure. I think if some of the more popular clubs could manage
to work in that collaboration, we could have a music scene as tough as L.A. and Seattle. They do it there, I have seen it.