January coming to a close, one local publication starts to reflect back on
2008's local music scene.
City Weekly brings back its annual music awards issue in a couple weeks, with a new look and name no less. The City Weekly Music Awards. Abandoning the old style we've been used to for years, this revamped competition/award showcase includes ten concerts over the course of a nine days, featuring 30 of the best bands in Utah for you to vote on. All wrapped up with an issue dedicated to all the best things our scene has to offer and a final concert featuring the top choices. I got a chance to chat with the paper's awesomely busy Music Editor, Jamie Gadette, about all things CWMA. As well as her career, thoughts on the scene, and a few other topics I could squeeze in. ---
Gavin: Hey Jamie! First off, tell us a little bit about yourself.
Jamie: Hey Gavin! What do you want to know? Born and raised in
Gavin: What first got you interested in music?
Jamie: My dad! When he wasn’t teaching, he played in several bands around
Gavin: What were some of your favorite albums before you hit college?
Jamie: My tastes were all over the place. I went to kind of a hippie high school, so I dabbled in jam bands (my first concert was a Phish show in 7th grade. Ha! First secondhand high too. Best vegan burrito in a parking lot, ever). When that got old I moved into 60's/70's rock and metal bands which I guess informs my current attraction to heavy rock/psych/stoner bands. But I also loved Bikini Kill, Breeders, L7, Pixies and the Beastie Boys… I loved cheesy hip-hop—Biggie, Tupac, etc. I went through a punk and pop-punk phase.
Gavin: What influenced you to get into writing?
Jamie: I’m an only child and grew up entertaining myself by reading and making up stories. I thought about becoming a visual artist but realized I could probably make a better career out of writing. I think I made the right decision but who knows.
Gavin: You got your Bachelors in English at the U. Why did you choose to come to
Jamie: I transferred from a couple of schools—one private; one community—before heading back to
Gavin: How did you get involved with RED Magazine?
Jamie: A friend of mine was serving as RED’s assistant editor when I moved back from
Gavin: What was it like being an editor for it, and how do you view your time spent there until it stopped? Any favorite stories?
Jamie: I was assistant editor and I loved every minute of it. We had tremendous creative control over the paper because quite frankly the Chronicle more or less viewed us as the Fuck-ups/bastard step-children who just messed around while they did “serious” reporting. So we ran with it. We were a tight crew with a slightly warped sense of humor. We put out a beautiful product thanks largely to Dave Howell, our top designer. We worked late hours and laughed. A lot. Some of my favorite memories include our Bar Crawl and pretty much every story involving Good-Looking Ken—a doll who went on fabulous adventures. One of our crew members, Craig Froehlich, died last year. We held a wake of sorts and read through all of his columns. The funniest one involved him calling up Big Ed’s to see if the joint did in fact claim to have the “World-Famous Pastrami Burger” in a piece about John Kerry. The part-time employee who answered Craig’s call refused to go outside to see if the sign carried that tag-line. We ended up swapping the Big Ed’s mention with an equally absurd/brilliant analogy. You can read more of Craig’s work here.
Gavin: How did City Weekly catch your interest, and how did you get on board with them?
Jamie: Right place, right time. I applied for a position as someone was leaving. I graduated from the U on a Friday in 2004 and started at CW the following Monday. Talk about green. I started out as a staff writer and they don’t teach you how to talk to the mayor in English theory class.
Gavin: What was your first year working there like?
Jamie: Exhilarating, terrifying and rewarding. Not much has changed, except my skin. It’s pretty damn thick.
Gavin: How did it feel taking over as the Music Editor? And were there any major changes you made to that section after taking over?
Jamie: I had HUGE shoes to fill—I mean, you try following Bill Frost’s lead! I didn’t make any major changes at first but with our new redesign I’ve started to branch out with new ways of covering both local and national artists/trends, etc. It’s definitely a work in progress and I appreciate feedback.
Gavin: Big thing to talk about, the SLAMMys are no more, and it's become the CWMA's. First off, give us a brief history to the SLAMMys, and how long had it been going on for?
Jamie: The SLAMMys—Salt Lake Area Music and More—was always designed to highlight the best
Gavin: Why the change, and why now instead of last year?
Jamie: We are trying to move more toward a festival-type event similar to SXSW and CMJ. It’s going to take time and involve tremendous growing pains, I’m sure. But we like the idea of making the showcases themselves a highlight instead of simply a means to an end. The Top 30 bands are already winners, selected by a diverse group of respected figures who live and breathe
Gavin: What was the process you took in picking the bands and artists in the Top 30?
Jamie: We modeled our process after
Gavin: Will you be doing any staff picks or lists for a future issue like last year, or has that format changed as well?
Jamie: Absolutely! The City Weekly Music Awards issue—on streets and online Feb. 12—will be an all-staff-pick issue featuring artists/labels/stores/trends that we believe are just as noteworthy as the Top 30 performers. We have an incredibly eclectic group of contributors right now and their picks should reflect diverse tastes. The challenge is figuring out how to squeeze all that good stuff into one paper! Hopefully we can convince more than a few readers to jump online for everything that doesn’t make the cut.
Gavin: A little state-wide, what are your thoughts on our local music scene, both good and bad?
Jamie: Amazing, amazing, amazing. I can think of at least ten groups off the top of my head who can hold their own with any band out-of-state or even signed to a label.
Gavin: Is there anything you believe could be done to make it bigger or better?
Jamie: Bands just need to tour more and we as a community need to eliminate the defeatist attitude that echoes popular out-of-state sentiment—that Utah is weird and small and not-Brooklyn or not-Portland, etc.
Gavin: What do you think about local labels, and do you believe they help or hinder musicians?
Jamie: They are tremendously selfless, passionate and a boon to musicians. And don’t forget the record stores. They are also tireless champions of the local music community!
Gavin: KRCL, X96 and U92 have their own shows going on where local artists are getting radio airplay. Do you believe they're helping the scene, or do you believe it's making it feel more excluded?
Jamie: I think those stations are doing a great job. Every bit helps.
Gavin: Do you wish there were more shows or even complete stations who did this, or do think things are fine the way they are at the moment?
Jamie: A complete station would be ideal! In fact, I could see YOU launching an all-local Internet station…
Gavin: Moi'? What are your thoughts on other local publications like SLUG, In Utah and Salt Lake Magazine, and how they contribute to the music scene?
Jamie: Again, every little bit helps. Local bands can use all the coverage they can get.
Gavin: Going national, what are your thoughts on the mainstream music getting airplay today?
Jamie: What constitutes mainstream anymore? I think the industry is in-flux. We are fast approaching a situation where artists and listeners have complete control over what is transmitted and consumed. It’s an interesting time we live in, no doubt.
Gavin: What can we expect from you and City Weekly the rest of the year?
Jamie: We launched the print redesign last week and will soon be launching a new and improved Website—CityWeekly.net. You can expect us to continually evolve, adapt and work closely with the community to be the best publication we can possibly be.
|monk's*||huka bar & grill*
Purr Bats 12
Form of Rocket 12
|urban lounge*||velour (Provo, all ages)
|The Future of the Ghost 10
Tolchock Trio 11
Red Bennies 12
Kid Theodore 9
Neon Trees 10
|club vegas*||star bar* (park city)
|God's Revolver 10:30
Cave of Roses 12:30
|Paul Jacobsen 10:30
The Devil Whale 11:30