|Deli House Catering Hall 1220 Stellar Lane Newmarket|
"I want you to think about this before answering but don't you think rock & roll is dead?"
before adding, while turning to me who had also just announced entering the 2012 Collingwood Elvis Festival, "Not Elvis I don't mean" he'd said ironically, "But think about it, what rock stars exist anymore that aren't old?"
My initial reaction was to say that of course this was absurd, that there were lots of talented bands and players out there still like.. like... well besides, the old music is now becoming "in" with the younger generation it seems. Even my own daughter thinks The Beatles were the best band that ever lived. Who can argue that one? But then who can argue Johnny's point? And further, if he's right, what can be done to make sure, as they say, rock & roll never dies?
|Tom Pearson's Elvis shot|
I have the unique experience of having once "worked" with boy bands 'inventor" and Author of the book " Bands, Brands, and Billions", Lou Perlman. Of course that was as an Associate Producer on a musical to be, "Red Riding Hood", and Lou was a Co-Executive Producer. Prior I'd worked on Supercross the Movie, which Perlman also had a stake in and front end Executive Produced memory serves. Anyway, it was to star one of the former boy band members. It'll come to me. It wasn't Justin Timberlake, although he didn't do too badly either, and was going to be directed by Randl Kleiser, the same Director as "Grease", top grossing movie musical of all time.
It was surreal when execs from L.A. flew down at xmas to take us out for an expensive lunch and got Lou himself on the phone. At any rate, this was all before Perlman was busted and sent to jail for tax evasion or something and projects like this fell through.
So I lost out working on a dream project, saddled as a single dad with two kids & no lucrative project we thought we'd be working on for the next few years, whilst Perlman got sent to likely a cushy retirement-like residence with a golf course knowing his pull / money. Jury's out on who got the better deal! Ha! Joey Fatone! That's it! Ha! Someone else has since successfully produced a Red Riding Hood movie of course. Doh!
I did manage to learn some lessons about "branding" from him though, such as at the core the talent has to be there.The Backstreet Boys could sing and dance, there was no question, but as a group dynamic that is an area that can be underestimated in a music world in which only some cream gets to rises to the top.
"Groups have to have the 'it' factor - whether manufactured or real - just like any good movie where the characters are all well defined. Same goes with a music group." Tom Pearson
A few years back; I "discovered" a band that I thought was just unbelievable called Sean Stephens and the Chaos System. At the time I'd walked into a pool-hall / bar, with no expectation that the band playing would be anything more than a good coverband at best. What a great surprise, as the original, powerful tunes with such a unique sound intrigued and moved me. Still does when I listen to their CD's of the now disbanded band with former leader Sean now owning his own computer company. I had booked and promoted them for several years and they performed in a documentary I produced called " A Thin Pink Line". Turned out I'd interviewed the band's Producer, who's son also played bass for the band, for a tv show I'd hosted called Out & About and he'd worked with the legendary Music Producer Bob Ezzerin. No wonder they were good.
Recently I came upon a band playing at an open stage held at of all places a costume house - Myers on Main in Newmarket, Ontario, Canada. Same street they recently shot the remake of Carrie. Well same street. Anyway ther was a band there that gave me that same feeling, only more so. Called Daniel Mendez Band, they are all younger and less saddled with families and kids it seems (than SSCS was making them hard to book), and in the short time I spent around them, all seemed dedicated to the band and their music, and basically just loved to play which ultimately comes out in the performances.
|Daniel Mendez Band|
When I initially asked the name of the band no one answered, but all looked to the obvious leader and songs' composer/vocalist/guitarist, Mendez.
"These guys have "it". You watch how confident this kid is and you can tell the band loves playing with him. These are all elements that matter in the end for bands to really make it - a healthy respect for their leader and great music". Tom Pearson
Even as individuals they work - and from a marketing perspective - most highly successful bands have well defined individual characters. Look at The Beatles for example, and if you want to look at extremes of manufacturing an image, The Monkeys. As a kid I'd watch guys in the different bands and wonder how they got into it, and what they were like offstage. That kind of "mystique" I think is what attracted our generation. It was that connection.
But this music group seems to gel naturally and doesn't need a phony, manufactured image to define them. The quiet, back-ground hugging, yet likely multi-talented lead guitarist appeals to some I'm sure, as does the almost nerdy but meticulous playing keyboardist, and girls will fawn over the long ,wild, flowing-haired drummer who always looks like he's having fun as he rocks on in haphazard looking, but spectacularly timed fashion. The tight group's bassist does more than hold his own with background vocals too, and is maybe the 'coolest" looking of the bunch. Clean cut leader Daniel Mendez, dressed almost as if ready to attend an outdoor, Latino, church event, can sure rock though. Not only vocally, but on guitar as well, not to mention he's the composer of all these tunes.
Daniel Mendez Band have the right stuff, catchy enough to reach mainstream, complicated enough to appease the die-hards and fun enough to really enjoy.
If you'd like to hear more or book them let us know and we'll see what we can do..but..no promises as a recording contract surely is inevitable, and along with that, new rock & roll stars that Canadians and the world will love!
By the way Johnny I'll be in to book another rock & roll show tonight for your DHC Hall! So who says rock & roll is dead Johnny? Ha...we shall see!! Thank-you, thank-you very much!