Part of Jun 2009 by

Mile High Bands Get Signed

Denvers music scene finds Seattle panting to keep up. It used to be a joke to ask your server, “Do you have Major Label Interest?” Then came a day something wondrous happened. The Mile High citys in show business as Denvers signing bands- across genres- to major labels faster than you can read this.

I have been hanging around the Denver music scene for a while now. For years there was an inside joke with those of us muddied up in the rock n roll trenches called “Major Label Interest.” When a band who is new to the scene, or old to the scene, and doesnt have a freakin clue, and goes struttin like theyre sittin on a giddy peacock at the Frosty Hut, well then they must have “Major Label Interest.” This joke used to be so perfect that you could literally walk up to one of these towers of fragile ego dressed in scarves and fringe and ask their snarled lips, “Do you have Major Label Interest?” Their weak processors would spin and smoke and then they would say… “Yes, I do!” Even though the only major label they would ever see would be the one on the back of their Frosty Hut apron. But then something happened. Something wondrous and magical. When the movie is made about the Denver music scene the story will kick in right after the grizzled old promoter growls, “Now ya got it kid!” That wondrous and magical thing? It is simply that Denver stopped being a flyover city. No more, no less. Suddenly theres so much major label interest around here people internationally are talking about Mile High City bands getting signed at a pace that makes Seattle pine for the olden days. But unlike Seattle and other “scene cities” Denver bands are getting signed across multiple genres and styles.

The Fray

I bet theres some of you who have guessed Im now going to talk about The Fray. Nope, just kidding I am. With 143.5 million plays on Myspace I really dont have a choice. The Fray are probably (Im too lazy to check actual record sales) the largest act to ever come out of Colorado including John Denver. And if not they will be. There are many people who give The Fray sole and absolute credit for launching the Denver music scene in 2005 with their album “How to Save a Life” which sold 11 billion copies and became the theme song to “Greys Anatomy.” I consider The Fray genius in their marketing and their whiner rock tunes as guilty pleasures. But giving them sole credit for the Denver scene is like saying Michael Phelps invented the Olympics. Though they did kick open doors they never came back through. As soon as they signed with Epic it was, “See ya!” The exact opposite of what the Flobots did.

The Flobots attitude marks the epitome of how to do things right. When they made it huge and got signed to Universal they immediately started to help elevate other Denver bands. Their song “Handlebars” blew up instantly on release last year. Right now “Handlebars” has 13.6 million plays on the Flobots Myspace and 15.8 million views on YouTube. I dont even like hip hop and I like the Flobots. As a quick side note the Flobots bass player Jesse Walker wrote for my main squeeze Colorado Music Buzz Magazine up until the rigors of touring made it impossible.

Tickle Me Pink is a “several years of labor for an overnight success” kind of angry indie rock band. The lead singer was an intern at the legendary Blasting Room Studios for 4 years before Tickle Me Pink was signed to Wind Up Records. Unfortunately their bass player Johnny Schou died of a heroin overdose at the age of 22 the night before their July 1st 2008 CD release which launched their international careers. Anyone who knew Johnny liked Johnny. He was a good dude.

169.7 FREAKIN million plays on myspace. Exactly 17 months ago 3OH!3 was at The Toad Tavern in Littleton, Colorado doing Jager shots at the bar with all the scene scrubs like myself. Then they got signed to Photo Finish Records and they became worldwide techno dance gods. Now they dont drink Jager they drink Dom Perignon on their yachts.

There are at least a hundred other examples over the last three years of talent scouts for labels just scouring the front range of Colorado for the next big deal. So whos next? Heres my spin of the opinion wheel on some of the next biggies. First an easy one. Meese. They are already signed to Atlantic and their whiny yet boppy rock song “Tell Me Its Over” is one of those insanely catchy songs that you will hate me for turning you onto. It will not leave your brain.

Skyfox is a shoe-in. They will be a household pop punk name in the space of a year. Skyfox has already been picked up by Crappy Records and are opening for nationals coming through town on a very consistent basis. They are great musicians with a strong business sense. They write songs so hooky they should be fined for not having a fishing license badumpum! Im here all week and dont forget to tip your waitress.

I have to get at least some metal plugs in here. Drive In Massacre out of Monument and Son Of Man from Pueblo both have extremely good chances of landing records deals with in the next year. Denver has a huge and united metal scene as well. One of the strangest things is that Denver is an international hot spot for Death metal. (Death metal sounds like Cookie Monster stuck in a blender.) German metal labels are constantly on the prowl for the next great growler out of Colorado.

Last but certainly not least is Synthetic Elements. Synthetic Elements have been cranking style of Punk and Ska in the Colorado scene for 8 years. They have been on several major tours, have self released several popular albums, and are integral to the Denver scene. These guys also have the support of the entire scene because they help out other bands every day without question. Very good dudes.

Okay…okay…just one more. Go to Astra Moveos myspace and listen to the song “Dollface”. If that song doesnt get you moving then please scan over to my other article, “Ear Cleaning and You: A Happy Ear is a Clean Ear.”

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