NJ Independent Artist Panel Saturday April 17th and HUB City Music Festival April 14th – 24th

“How Indie Artists Can Flourish in the Digital Age’ designed to help navigate today’s music industry and scene”

If you’re an independent or unsigned music artist tired of giving your songs away in order for people to hear it on streaming services, such as Soundcloud, and watching it on YouTube, come to an indie music panel at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 16, at the Court Tavern, 124 Church St., New Brunswick.

The panel is part of the two week-long Hub City Music Festival presented in partnership by the New Brunswick Cultural Center and Iguana Music. The festival is directed annually by Michael Steinbruck to benefit the New Brunswick-based Elijah’s Promise food empowerment program.

Four music industry experts will gather to share their knowledge and experience with local artists. “How Indie Artists Can Flourish in the Digital Age” will feature:

Keith Roth, host-producer for Sirius XM Satellite Radio and 95.9 the Rat, co-founding producer of Main Man Records, member of the acclaimed band Frankenstein 3000, sought-after session player and sideman, and star of the recently released “Let Me Down Hard” feature film

Maria Ferrero, owner of Adrenaline PR, whose clients include the Alternative Press Music Awards and the Grammy-winning metal band Lamb of God, and co-founder of Breaking Bands, a management firm with Soilwork and Wizards of Winter on its roster

Joe Steinhardt, founder of New Brunswick-based Don Giovanni Records, whose acts include the successful independent New Brunswick band Screaming Females

Mike Mehalick, co-founding editor-in-chief of the seminal New York-New Jersey indie music site Speak into My Good Eye.

The panel has been organized and will be moderated by Bob Makin, a veteran New Jersey entertainment writer whose Makin Waves and Makin Plans columns appear weekly throughout Gannett NJ and USA Today Network. Panelists will share how independent artists can make a better living with their music through touring, publishing, trustworthy management, and effective marketing and distribution, all while maintaining their independence and artistic control. To that end, Makin has produced an Indie Music Resource Guide filled with venues, events, promoters, publicists, publications, radio stations, distributors, and more.

“In addition to navigating independent record sales in the face of music and video streams, illegal downloads, and the impact of both on royalties, we will discuss the tried-and-true career trajectories of incessant touring and trustworthy management with good leverage,” Makin said. “Our panelists’ first-hand knowledge will help indie acts overcome frustrating obstacles at a time when the local music scene and music industry offer plenty of opportunities if you know where to find them.”

The panel will be followed by a concert featuring five of the internationally recognized New Brunswick and Asbury Park music scenes’ best independent bands:

Cold Weather Company, a harmonic alternative-folk trio that is readying its second self-released full-length album between tours

The Vaughns, a female-fronted rock band with two well-received EPs

The Roadside Graves, a Don Giovanni recording act that has developed a strong regional following

Battery Electric, acclaimed Asbury-based garage rock that has recorded two albums for that city’s Little Dickman Records

Professor Caveman, an eclectic Hub City outfit that combines funkadelic Latin grooves with punk-tinged surf rock.

During the past three years, the Hub City Music Festival has raised nearly $15,000 for Elijah’s Promise, which empowers the hungry and homeless with a soup kitchen, where they can get fed; a culinary school, where they can learn, and a catering/restaurant business, where they can work. The fourth annual fest will run from April 14 to 17 and April 21st to 24th throughout New Brunswick and at Pino’s in Highland Park. For more info click here!
About the panelists:

Keith Roth is a host of Sirius XM’s “Ozzy’s Boneyard” and “Hair Nation” satellite radio programs and producer of rock icon David Johansen’s “Mansion of Fun.” Roth also is co-creator and host of “Electric Ballroom,” a rock specialty show that has aired on 95.9 the Rat since 1998 with guests, such as The Clash’s Joe Strummer, Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones, Queen’s Brian May, The Who’s John Entwistle, and Alice Cooper. When not on radio, Roth works with Red Bank-based Main Man Records, whose 50 records include releases by Daniel Ash of Bauhaus and Love & Rockets fame, and Frankenstein 3000, Roth’s own band. Roth also recorded and/or toured with Johansen and Sylvain Sylvain of the New York Dolls, as well as members of The Ramones, Skid Row, The Runaways, The Damned, Bon Jovi and Skid Row. Most recently, he has starred in the acclaimed new film, “Let Me Down Hard,” about a musician who returns home to New Jersey to stage a professional and personal comeback.

Maria Ferrero is the original publicist for Metallica, Anthrax, Testament, Overkill, and many other acts on Megaforce Records, a label with which she was associated from its launch in 1983. Following the sale of Megaforce, Ferrero launched Adrenaline PR in 2003. Her own boutique marketing, public relations and branding firm brings to fruition 32 years of Ferrero’s experience also working with the Alternative Press Music Awards, Five Finger Death Punch, GWAR, Hatebreed, Warren Haynes, Lamb of God, Ministry, MTV2 Headbanger’s Ball Tour, Peter Murphy of Bauhaus, Nuclear Blast Music, Rock Star Energy Drink Mayhem Festival, Sevendust, Suicidal Tendencies, Hank Williams III and many more. Recently, Ferrero reteamed with Megaforce Records founders Jon and Marsha Zazula and Megaforce recording artist Chuck Billy of Testament to form Breaking Bands, a management company that represents the Oakland-based alternative-pop outfit Forrest Day, Victory Records act Shattered Sun, the Swedish metal band Soilwork, Night Flight Orchestra, a classic rock band also from Sweden, and the New Jersey holiday prog-rock ensemble The Wizards of Winter.

Joe Steinhardt is the founder of New Brunswick-based Don Giovanni Records, home to the city’s latest national act, Screaming Females, whose guitarist, Marissa Paternoster, recently was voted by Spin magazine as the 77th greatest guitarist of all time. Like Screaming Females, many of the acts Steinhardt has signed since the label’s 2003 formation have come up through the internationally recognized New Brunswick basement music scene. He showcases his artists annually in New Brunswick, New York City and frequently at the South by Southwest Music Festival in Austin, Texas. Don Giovanni often focuses on female-fronted acts and LGBT artists in order to give them a stronger voice. The roster also includes Waxahatchee, Priests, Laura Stevenson, Downtown Boys, The Roadside Graves, and Lifetime frontman Ari Katz’s project Mitylion. Steinhardt also holds a doctorate in communication from Cornell University and will be teaching the subject at Michigan State University in the fall. 

Mike Mehalick is co-founding and editor-in-chief of the NY/NJ-based indie music site “Speak into My Good Eye.” Born out of a mutual passion for music and writing, Mehalick and fellow co-founder, Chris Rotolo, continued to grow the vision of the online hub to include booking live showcases, running a 24-hour songwriting challenge for charity and other creative enterprises that have offered new avenues of exposure for local, emerging artists. Since forming, “Speak into My Good Eye” has enjoyed various successes, including several Asbury Music Awards, becoming a part of the Hype Machine network, and hosting/booking an official CMJ 2015 showcase in Brooklyn. Mehalick also regularly contributes to “The Line of Best Fit,” “Diffuser” and “Groundsounds” with past credits including “BuzzFeed,” “The Huffington Post,” “Elmore Magazine” and “Spinner.” He’s covered a litany of music festivals, including Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, SXSW, Firefly and more. Mehalick also works as a freelance project manager for several bands, achieving significant exposure and response from new fans and industry professionals for each.

About the moderator:

Bob Makin has been a New Jersey music writer for 36 years with the Asbury Park Press, East Coast Rocker, The Aquarian Weekly, Backstreets, Details, Courier News, Jambands.com, Relix, Home News Tribune, MyCentralJersey.com, Gannett NJ and USA Today Network. His interviews have included Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi, Ozzy Osborne, Bradley Nowell of Sublime, Garth Brooks, Sheryl Crow, Glenn Danzig, Taking Back Sunday, Phish, the Allman Brothers Band, members of the Grateful Dead, and hundreds of local acts featured in his Makin Waves column for 18 years. His writing has won nine New Jersey Press Association Awards and has co-won four Best of Gannett Awards. Makin was co-founding volunteer director of Jersey Jams Fund, which raised $100,000 for music education from 2001 to 2005.

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