Not Afraid Of Working For It

In days gone by, the music business largely consisted of two means of promotion: live performances and records. As time went on, new media appeared from time to time - music and celebrity magazine, movies, television - where those who had reached the top of their game could reach a wider audience. Now, the current generation of musicians have countless opportunities to promote their music, and yet it has become more difficult and stand out and be heard among all of the noise and dissonance.

Take New Jersey's Copperpot. The quartet has delved into almost every area of modern music promotion to get their melodic, pop-laded rock sound out to the world. Almost 90,000 fans have viewed their MySpace profile, which may have also helped the band land a distribution deal for their self-titled album with Japan's Bullion Records. They've had their music placed in films, such as Kevin Smith's "Big Helium Dog, " as well as network television and MTV shows such as "Pimp My Ride" and "Date My Mom." They were the first unsigned band to play ESPN's "Cold Pizza" and their track "Go Girls" was used by NBC at the 2004 Summer Olympic as the theme for the gold-medal-winning women's soccer team. They've received airplay on both terrestrial and XM satellite radio, with their songs being spun everywhere from local college radio to major stations such as 92.3 KROCK and New York's Z100.

And they play live. A lot. Copperpot can log over 200 shows a year ranging from small local venues to major festivals such as the Bamboozle Fest. Mostly performing up and down the East Coast - they are planning to finally reach Florida this year - they are well-known as home-base venues such as CBGBs in New York City and Maxwell's in Hoboken, NJ.

Now promoting their debut self-titled album, the members of the band, Jarrett Randazzo (vocals/guitar), Anthony Natale (guitar/vocals), Jarrett "Worth" Beeler (bass/vocals) and Scott Ingwersen (drums), have all of the pieces in place to take things another step forward. Chorus and Verse interviewed Natale as the band was preparing for an industry showcase show at Don Hills in New York City and spoke with him about the band's history and where he expected the road to take them in the months ahead.

Let's start off with the big upcoming show at Don Hills in New York City on May 18th. What does this show mean to the band and why should fans make an extra effort to be there that Thursday evening?

This show could potentially mean a lot for this band, but we are all familiar with how difficult the record industry is. We're used to having labels and such at a show, and nothing coming of it. We've sort of programmed ourselves to just go out there and do what we do. You can only hope for the best.

Now let's go back into the band's history. How long have you all been together and how do each of the band members know each other? Do you recall the first time the band performed together in front of a crowd?

As this incarnation of Copperpot, we've been together for a little over two years. Scott and I have known each other the better part of ten years, and he and Jarrett have known each other for six years. Worth stepped into the fold about a year and a half ago. The first time this group performed together was at The Chance in Poughkeepsie, New York.

You've recently been performing up and down the East Coast, with shows as far north as New Hampshire and south Virginia just this month alone. How does the band usually travel and what do you usually do to pass the time while on the road for several hours before and after a gig?

We travel on a retired school bus. A short bus to be exact. Worth had some friends help with removing the original seats and installing more comfortable seating for the long trips. Reading books, listening to music, and singing are at the top of the list of things we do when on the road. As far as before a show, we all kind of do whatever we need to do to get in the zone, stretch, meditate, warm up, etc. Afterwards, we're usually too tired to do much. Sleep comes to mind.

Speaking of your touring schedule, the band has managed to log 150-200 shows a year, which is a heavy touring schedule, especially on a national level. How does the band handle your DIY bookings and why do you think you've been so successful, especially as an unsigned band, at getting so many regular bookings?

Bookings were done previously by Worth, Jarrett, and our manager, Jon. Now that we are under Jon and Wilspro Management, they will probably handle things from now on. We are the type of band that wants to bring back the rock show. We're all about audience participation and over-the-top antics. Most importantly, we're about competent musicianship. We are successful in being asked back to play again because we prove time and time again that we command the stage and capture an audience.

You mentioned in a recent blog entry that you've recorded a recent show in Virginia Beach, VA for a tour DVD to be released in the spring. What can you tell us about what the DVD's going to be like and when and where do you think fans will be able to get their hands on it?

There's not too much going on with the DVD right now. It is currently on hold.

In that same blog entry, the band took a swipe at promoters who underestimate the band by talking about how many kids you're able to get out to a show on a weeknight. What's the toughest part about getting booked at venues and getting promoters to give you a shot at their space? In general, do you find it easier or more difficult to make opportunities to play live in the New Jersey/New York area than in other parts of the country?

When you first play a new venue, you usually have to succumb to whatever is asked of you. This means either playing on a billing with bands that don't sound anything like you or getting a very early time slot. The good part about this, at least for us, is that the first time is usually the last time we have to do those things. Our stage presence and musical ability, more often then not, wins people over. New Jersey/New York is our home base. We've built up quite a reputation in these parts, so it has become relatively easy for us to get shows. The only drawback to that is that we are currently not what has become mainstream in our area. We sound different and have a different look. Our goal is to get out there where nobody knows us and where, hopefully, people get what we're doing.

Another cool piece of news about the band is that you've signed a distribution deal in Japan on Bullion Records. How did you make that connection, and do you already have a fan base in that country? Is there any chance that you'll be touring the Pacific Rim anytime soon?

Bullion Records actually contacted us. I'm not too sure of the particulars, but one guess would have to be MySpace. We've been working hard, and our street team has been working hard in using MySpace to build our fan base all over the world. The deal with Bullion and us going to Japan is all predicated on sales. We've got to hit a number to be able to go.

Some of the music from your self-titled CD has been used by MTV in its programming. How did that connection come about and what did it feel like to hear your music on television? It is a different feeling to hear your music being used in the context of a television program as opposed to the first time your heard one of your songs on the radio?

MTV came through our manager, Jon. He pushed the music and made it happen. Honestly, it is a real trip to be watching TV and hear your band's song in a show. Radio is a different thing all together. But we've yet to be in regular rotation, so I'll have to get back to you on that.

You've been regulars at CBGBs, packing that famous venue on several occasions. Do you have any thoughts on the recent saga that club's gone through and do you expect to play that stage again before it closes down?

Yes, it certainly has been a saga. It would be devastating if such a historic and atmospheric place had to close. It's a special place for us. We've played many a show to a sold-out audience. I think all of us would agree that we've never sounded better anywhere else. We will play there again, I guarantee it.

What's next for the band after the Don Hills show? What are some of your plans for the summer and do you anticipate any recording time or new album releases in the near future?

I guess we'll see what the reaction of the industry is after the Don Hill's show. But, like I said earlier, we can't think too much about it. If nothing comes, we'll still do what we've been doing. This summer we plan on going all the way to Florida. It will be our first trip done there. After that we will have conquered just about the whole east coast. It's an exciting idea when you really sit back and think about it. We've tackled most of the country already and now we have to think about invading Europe. As for recording, we are working closely with our management team to decide what the right avenue is right now. Let's just say we have plenty of material. Music that is mature and realized.

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Matt Mrowicki

Matt Mrowicki founded Chorus and Verse in 2001. He is a rock star designer and technologist, Internet professional, content creator, and entrepreneur specializing in web development, IT consulting, branding, social media and online marketing.