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An Interview with poster artist Scotty Roller // Rock City Posters

March 5, 2015
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We are poster nerds. This started back in the 80’s when we plastered our rooms in Sisters of Mercy, Metallica, Ramones, Jane’s Addiction posters and the front of CD cases when they came in the large cardboard boxes. Seeing the first 1960’s San Francisco poster art really drew us in to the art and magic of not only the posters to market an event, but the commemorative posters as well. Watching the commemorative poster scene explode even more, where sometimes a band would make posters for just a pinnacle show, now they are making them for every show. We took it upon ourselves to create posters for the “big” shows we brought to Reno back in the day, which basically were Bassnectar, The Glitch Mob and The Bounce, but also did posters for lowRIDERz and the infamous show of NastyNasty, Katey Red and BLVD.

Imagine how stoked we were, when driving through Midtown, we saw a new store called Rock City Posters. Opened by Scotty Roller, of Scotty Roller Designs, the shop sits right between the Chocolate Walrus and Sierra Nevada Chocolate. Go visit! The store is really awesome, with a huge variety of posters from around the world, new and vintage, plus t-shirts and other swag. Plus you can have posters sent out to be framed there, as well as they may purchase a print you have around the house.

If you are into posters, sit down and enjoy this interview with Scotty Roller. It’s kind of long, BUT WELL WORTH IT.

FB: State your name and where you are from.

SR: Scotty Roller. I’m from Anaheim, California.

FB: How did you end up in Reno? When do you move here?

SR: My wife and I moved here in 1996. We were going to move somewhere out of Anaheim but weren’t sure where. She had an interview for a teaching position here, she sent me a postcard of downtown during Hot August Nights with the neon on the casinos, the hot rods and the whole bit. I started packing sight unseen. Before she went on that interview I didn’t even know Reno existed. In fact, no one I told where I was moving knew where it was either. My whole day-to-day life was in Orange County and, on occasion, in L.A. for a show or something. No one in Southern California ever leaves the immediate area.  Since then, I’ve been all across the entire U.S. multiple times, Europe repeatedly and can’t wait to see the rest of the world. Moving here kick-started my travel itch of wanting to experience other countries and places I would’ve never been able to see.
I still have a strong love for Anaheim and visit quite a bit during the year, but I also like living in Reno too. There’s a lot of great things being here has afforded me and not to mention the small things like not sitting in traffic or struggling for parking. I love Reno for what it is.

saddle tramps roller
Saddle Tramps • by Scotty Roller

FB: How did you get into the poster art world and making posters?

SR: The first posters I made were actually ink drawn punk rock keg party fliers for some friends in high school. Every Friday there was a raging party that these guys wanted a flier done for and being in Orange County, our local bands were Social Distortion, The Vandals, T.S.O.L., Doggystyle, Cadillac Tramps, China White, Insted, Agent Orange and on and on so they were always on these fliers for these parties. I’d get paid once in a while $20 or some skateboard parts or something really minimal but it wasn’t about the money at all then. It was way more fun drawing these fliers in class as opposed to doing what I should have been doing.

I made all the posters for my band, The Saddle Tramps years later, and would do posters for other bands as well but I really got my chops doing 2-3 posters a week for the Tramps in early 2000’s when we were touring constantly. Later when the economy tanked and all the graphic artists in town were tripping over each other to get the big corporate clients and jobs, I realized I had an address book full of band’s numbers that I’d met over the years and so I started reaching out to them saying, “Hey let’s make a poster for your show”. I started one at a time, and then the hustle was back on just like it was in the 80’s and early 90’s for me. Finding out how to reach these band’s managers and decision makers, getting permission to do them, and then the hard part…..getting paid. Once I did enough of them the bands started commissioning me and it sort of took off.

After all that, you’ve got to get involved in the poster community as an artist. This is by participating in Flatstocks, API events, and hopefully the other artists accept what you’re contributing and bringing to the table. If you’re not bringing anything to the party so to speak, they won’t run you out of town but they won’t make it easy for you. I’ve seen some artists try and get into this, and they just flop and fail miserably. As a poster artist, you not only have to have your art game on, you’ve got to be able to print (even if you’re having someone else print your stuff, you still have to know how to do it, and have done enough of it), and the biggest thing is you have to be a good enough hustler to get on the phone with the managers of these bands and get approved and hired to do this work. You can’t just make a gig poster because you feel like it, especially if it’s being sold. The minute a poster is exchanged for money it becomes a piece of merchandise, and if you don’t have the approval or the permission to have done that poster, you just made bootlegged merch and that damages bands, venues and all involved. There’s rules to this shit. Rules and ethics that have to be followed and played by.

FB: Any educational background in art?

SR: I took an art class in high school my senior year. More because of a girl that I was trying to get with than anything. I went out with her once and couldn’t stand her so the whole thing backfired. I tried to take two different art classes at Fullerton Junior College and dropped out of both. I hated them. I did manage to meet my wife there though so it wasn’t all that bad. Haha!!!

If given the opportunity again, I’d have pulled my head out of my ass and gone to Art Institute or Cal Arts and done it properly. I always wanted to work at Disney Animation Studios, and then Pixar came along and thought that would be the ultimate. I know plenty of people who could have been the connection I needed to get in there but they all said without a proper degree and training from those schools, they won’t even take your call or portfolio. And it’s true. I submitted my portfolio and resume repeatedly. Go to school kids! DON’T do it the way I did.

rock city roller
Rock City Posters • 1286 S Virginia St

FB: How did the Rock City Posters concept happen? It’s an awesome store.

SR: Two defining moments. Two years ago in Hamburg at a Flatstock another poster artist friend of mine (who does great work) was bummed out and said, “How are you selling so much already and you’re not even set up? I haven’t sold anything.” The answer in my mind was pretty cut and dry especially since I have been the guy that doesn’t sell anything before. Art is subjective. You’re not doing anything right or wrong, it’s just a matter of people’s taste. But then the first “A-Ha” moment came to me where I thought, what If I wasn’t selling anything but the other 39 artists are. If I was getting a piece of the action from all of these artists I would be making something and not nothing. I need an outlet to sell my posters, and posters from other artists.

The second moment that really made my mind up was an invitational poster show in Dresden called Colored Gigs that my friend Lars Krause puts on. It’s in a venue called Scheune and it is all black inside, unfinished concrete floors, a stage at one end that bands were playing on, a DJ at the opposite end playing records between bands and all while this is going on, we had hung our posters from the ceiling like drapes and people were walking the aisles looking and buying posters while music played. It was incredible. I knew I had to bottle that feeling and experience and bring it home. We had nothing like that anywhere.

Since I’ve opened Lars and countless poster artists and studios have rallied behind me and championed my efforts. It does wonders for all of us. It brings their art to a place that has never seen their work, they make some money, I make money and on top of it all, it’s all done in a proper environment. I know it’s been done right even in it’s infancy because tourists and visitors come in and take their photos next to the door, the stage, the sofas. It’s crazy. They buy the posters, the t-shirts and post their stuff online and most importantly they leave with a smile on their face and happy and a lot of times it was their first introduction to gig posters at all. It makes me feel good that my passion for it can cross all demographic lines and make people happy.

Poster from Cargo's St Paul and The Broken Bones show • By Scotty Roller
Poster from Cargo’s St Paul and The Broken Bones show

FB: What do you look for in posters to sell? School us on the art of poster making and the business behind collecting them.

SR: There’s a huge science to it and we could be here for days talking about it, but in a nutshell here’s the theory behind the posters we buy: 1) Is it real? We buy directly from the artists as often as possible to ensure that. When we consign a collection from someone we are looking to make sure it’s the real deal. If there is a poster in question or in doubt about where it came from, or who made it we decline it. We do what we can to shut down and stop poster counterfeiting. Same thing with the vintage stuff. We’re looking at how it was printed, what it is, which there are several resources we use to authenticate that stuff. 2) In Reno, people buy posters based on the band almost 95% of the time. Seldom are they buying the poster based on the artist or subject matter. So that’s a huge deciding factor. I need posters that I can sell within 3 months. If I think I can move them in that time frame they’re a good investment for me. If I think for a second it’s questionable about moving in that time frame, I’ll pass on it.

As a poster collector……buy the ones you like. Plain and simple. It’s art. Art is supposed to make you happy and feel good when you look at it. If a poster does that for you, then get it. I personally don’t collect posters any more but when I am buying one for my personal collection it is of a show that I was at, or it’s a historically rare and important poster that’s almost impossible to get your hands on.

Poster for Umphrey's McGee by Scotty Roller
Poster for Umphrey’s McGee by Scotty Roller

FB: What are some of the “Holy Grails” of posters? Rare ones people are seeking out.

SR: The most sought after and highly valuable posters are without question the 60’s Bill Graham posters. Mint condition first printings are what people want and some can fetch as much as a new car. The 1966 Beatles poster from their show at Candlestick Park in San Francisco has brought as much as $57,000. We have a signed and numbered mint second printing of that poster. There were 48 made and we have number 14.  We also have a flier from Nirvana’s show in April of 1991 at The OK Hotel in Seattle where they played “Smells Like Teen Spirit” for the first time. We got that from a friend who was at that show and took the flier from the venue. We’ve got an autographed Ramones flier from 1980 from a show in San Francisco with The Plastics, I’ve got a portrait snapshot of Sammy Davis Jr. with a handbill from the show where the photo was taken backstage in 1964 at The Riviera in Las Vegas. We’ve got scores of vintage Rolling Stones posters, The Clash, Iron Maiden, Cream, 90’s era Fillmore posters from bands like Red Hot Chili Peppers, we’ve got older first wave screen printed posters from artists like Marco Almera, Tara McPherson, Frank Kozik, Jermaine Rogers, etc.

I own a snapshot of poster artist Rick Griffin drawing the Jimi Hendrix poster with the flying eyeball. I got the photo from the photographer who took it in 1967. It’s an original unpublished snapshot. I’m trying to get the first printing of that poster that he was drawing so that I can frame them and hang them side by side. Unfortunately, finding that poster is like getting your hands on an artifact from the Titanic, and when it does come up it sells for around $15,000. It’s all about the chase and the hunt to get one. We have a few rare posters like that. One is going to auction at Christie’s in London in March. That is a Thirteenth Floor Elevators poster from 1966.

On the press • Earls of Leicester • By Scotty Roller
Hot off the press

FB: Who are your favorite poster artists?

SR: My favorite posters are from Hatch Show Prints in Nashville and Globe Poster Company. Globe did all the soul revue posters in the 50’s and 60’s for The Apollo Theater and the like. They used neon inks, halftone photos and they were true wild vibrant graphics that sold excitement. They were the polar opposite of understated posters like you see today. They were advertising pieces that subsequently were an unintentional art style. I love Hatch Show Prints because they have a distinct style, the type blocks were all hand cut, and their posters are hand done but simple, recognizable and they never changed.

FB: What do you see as the biggest failure people have in designing posters?

SR: The biggest failure I see is that people get so wrapped up in the design that they forget what it is. A gig poster is a piece of advertising that should look so cool that it makes you want to go to that show, and when you get there should make you want to buy that poster. A gig poster is a catchy hook to a song. If you remember that poster it worked. If you can’t remember it, it missed the mark.

buzzcocks roller
Buzzcocks • Detroit • By Scotty Roller

FB: What advice can you give aspiring visual artists in the concert poster world?

SR: My advice is this, and it can be transposed for any career. Even if you’re a mechanic or a bus driver: Don’t do it for the money or to get into the shows for free. Do it because it’s your one true passion in life. If it’s truly the one thing you feel that you were put here to do, then go for it. Draw every day. Even if you’re using a computer to make them, you have to know how to draw by hand. If you don’t, you’re not gonna last very long or go very far. Learn how to hand letter. Become a tracing pro. You’re gonna need it. Learn how to use a brush to ink. Once you’ve got this down, get your computer stuff together. The last thing, don’t use pre-distressed fonts. Distress them yourself.

The last big thing is, find your style. Even if you like to design in different styles, make it so people know you did it. And when other know-so-much designers start criticizing, discounting your work or passing you off as a hack make sure they see your middle finger and hear you clearly when you tell them to piss off. Just like Andy Warhol said, “Art is what you can get away with” and Shepard Fairey said it even better, “People like to talk shit but it’s usually to justify their own apathy.”

FB: Any particular fanboy moment where you say “I can’t believe I am making a poster for this artist?”

SR: I’ve been very fortunate in my life through playing in bands and making posters that a lot of people who I looked up to over the years have become friends, acquaintances and clients. I never get star-struck over doing posters for a band. I’ve done posters for some big artists who I have really admired and they have been super cool. They’re just like you and I. I have done a poster for one artist who I looked up to and he was so schizophrenic I squashed the deal. Another artist I did a poster for gave me more grief than I could ever express and it only made me respect him more because he was that way when no one was looking. It wasn’t a put-on. Every one else has been insanely nice and easy to work with for the most part.  I’d imagine if I got a chance to do a poster for Chuck Berry and he wasn’t a complete dick I’d probably be a little giddy.

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Meet Cisco Flores • GM of Knitting Factory Reno

February 26, 2015
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If you’ve been to the Knit over the last couple years, you’d probably recognize Cisco Flores. He’s the one making sure the bars are rocking, the managers and artists are settled and happy, the lines are moving outside, etc. The task of being the General Manager of one of Reno’s best live music venues means Cisco never rests. He’s there early and leaves late. We’ve been able to get to know Cisco over the years and have loved working with him, so we thought we’d shine a little light on one of the people who makes things happen in Reno/Tahoe.

 

FB: State your name and where you are from?

CF: Cisco Flores – I’m from Solana Beach California

FB: How did you get into the music business? Any standout shows or experiences in your past that made you want to go into music?

CF:  I got into the music business doing security at the Del Mar Fairgrounds for their summer concerts.

My best experience at a show was at the Knitting Factory Hollywood when The Blind Boys Alabama were playing . Out of nowhere I get a call from Prince’s driver/ security guard that he was pulling up and was bringing in Prince through the loading dock. At first I was “okay someone is playing a joke on me.” But sure enough I went out to meet Prince and his security guard.

I walked them down to the green room and got him a drink.  Before I knew it, Prince was onstage playing and singing along with the Blind Boys of Alabama. Everyone got a special performance by Prince that night.

cisco and dog

 

FB: What advice can you give to someone who is interested in working in a music venue? Where/how can they start?

CF: If you are really interested in working in a music venue, apply for an entry level job so you can learn by experience. You can also intern for a semester. Last year, I had a sophomore from high school intern for a semester. I can tell you he had a great time and had a good learning experience.  You can also start going to school to be an LD (lighting director) or FOH (front of house…aka soundguy).

FB: Anything you have learned about the Reno music scene?

CF: I have learned that people in Reno really like their EDM and country  music.

FB: How was your transition to Reno? Do you like it here? What do you like about it?

CF: My transition to Reno was good. It was a different pace than LA .  Yes, I do like living in Reno. I have met a lot of good people in this town that I worked with. I like the outdoors and riding my bike to Virginia City and up to the lake.

FB: What’s your day like?

CF: My day is pretty busy with meetings, answering phones and questions about upcoming shows. Along with working with new artists and promoters in town.

 

Cisco with Gary Pike, ex GM of Reno Knit, now in Boise.
Cisco with Gary, ex GM of Reno Knit, now in Boise.

 

FB: Tell us about something insane/gross/terrible that happened to you on the job?

CF: Nothing comes to mind.

FB: What advice can you give to local bands and performers?

CF: Keep doing what you are doing and you will be noticed by your fans. Hard work does pay off in the long run.

FB: Anything else you’d like to add?

CF: Yes I’m very happy to be working for such a great company that supports up-and-coming local and national artists

 

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“Fresh air, a breath of it G Jones is.”

February 13, 2015
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Yoda would say “fresh air, a breath of it G Jones is.” With the onslaught and saturization of big room EDM “culture” these days, it’s great to experience a fresh, original and ego-free sound emerge from the West Coast. Liberated from the constraints of a specific bass genre and nerdy enough to appease the haters out there, G Jones has built a solid career based on music. Solid. Fucking. Music. No gimmicks, hype, bought likes or followers, this Jedi’s beats are fresh, his bass lines are enveloping, his kicks knocks and the best part is his music stays psychedelic while giving the feel like of watching a live experiment onstage.

G Jones Promo Photo

 

His homebase of Santa Cruz is symbolic of his sound. It’s a city full of juxtaposition: where the land meets the water, fog and sunshine, hot and cold, wealthy and poor, rednecks and tree-huggers. No surprise that Bassncectar also emerged from this location, an artist also known for his balance of heavy and beautiful (his last album called Noise Vs Beauty). Also no surprise he has been dropping G Jones tracks for years, tapped him to remix his “Don’t Hate the 808” and selected him to open his last NYE360º show in Nashville with Tipper.

But we’ll just let the music speak for itself…listen to this mixtape.

Reno and Tahoe are getting two special nights of G Jones February 18th and 19th, respectively. We wouldn’t be surprised if G Jones outgrows these venues by the time 2016 rolls around. He is one artist that we can say 100% deserves it.

Opening both nights are two extremely talented up and comers: Oakland’s SAYER and Truckee’s CharlestheFirst. PRSN will make a rare area appearance, closing out Reno’s show and playing the free Crystal Bay afterparty in the Red Room with DJ Professor Stone from Fresno.

THE RECIPE (RENO)
EVENT: G Jones, Sayer, CharlestheFirst, PRSN
LOCATION: 1Up
AGES: 21+
TIMES: Doors and music begin at 9pm
FACEBOOK INVITE: http://on.fb.me/1CXHj5p
TICKETS: $10adv/$15door available at www.futurestrange.com, The Melting Pot World Emporium or 1Up during business hours.

 

THE RECIPE (TAHOE)
EVENT: G Jones, Sayer, CharlestheFirst
LOCATION: Crown Room, Crystal Bay Club Casino
AGES: 21+
TIMES: Doors and music begin at 9pm
FACEBOOK INVITE: http://on.fb.me/1vmeWWE
TICKETS: $10adv/$15door available at www.crystalbayclubcasino.com or the cashier cage
AFTERPARTY: Free afterparty featuring PRSN and Professor Stone in the Red Room

 

Gjones_11x17-18_WEB

Gjones_11x17-19_WEB

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Music from the Motorhome

February 11, 2015
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MOTORHOME PARKING

Future Strange unleashed it’s most recent mixtape by local dj and tastemaker Motorhome Music and it’s a scorcher. We’ve watched the Reno native come up from his very first show and this mixtape is a great benchmark on his climb up from his humble beginnings as a local breakbeat dj.

With the simple (and we have to say slightly overused these days) tag of FUTURE, the mix of hip hop, trap and giant 808 beats craves a listen in a lowrider with a row of bazooka tubes.  For me, a good mix has interesting beats with recognizable and non-recognizable samples, and at least one acappela that you think would never work, but the producer or dj surprises you. That Bass!

Motorhome is playing the next upcoming BOOM! with Mayhem, Game Genie, Gurbton and Kalvin & Clein at the Knitting Factory. The Boom has become one of the most successfully consistent series of EDM shows in Reno history.  Stay updated on upcoming BOOMS and listen to more music with Future Strange at www.futurestange.com

The Boom Future Strange Mayhem Knitting Factory 2015

Show is all ages with a 21+ mezzanine level and is $10 in advance, $15 at door. Doors open at 7pm.  Tickets available at http://bit.ly/MAYHEMBOOM2015 or the Cal Neva Cage 24 hours/day.

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Mardi Squaw

February 9, 2015
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Mardi Gras is coming to Tahoe again, or shall we say, Mardi Squaw. The third annual “Mardi Gras in the Mountains” at Squaw Valley has quickly become a favorite event of Tahoe and Reno partiers. Multiple rooms, silent disco and some of the most fun djs and live bands converge in a sweaty, sexy and juicy party in the Olympic House. Full-on French Quarter vibes complete with hurricanes, beads, costumes, circus performers and tons more.

 


And the MUSIC!!!! Local bass music producers Love and Light, SF’s electro-bootyclap band Planet Booty, J.Boogie, and Mancub are providing the auditory libations this year. Additionally some of the finest turntable technicians on the west coast round out the line-up featuring Matt Haze, DubColing, Mr Rooney, Miss Cooper and Her Pet Craigslist Hook-Up, Coop da Loop, Chango, Gurbtron, MOM Djs, Lambchop and Eric Messier.

J.Boogie is going to bring the house down at Mardi Squaw
J.Boogie is going to bring the house down at Mardi Squaw

Returning again is Silent Frisco, the bay area-based silent disco “soundsystem.” With their tagline of “Scene, not heard,” the Silent Disco experience is unlike any other out there. The music is transmitted to users wearing wireless headsets and creates a deep connection with the music, as you are fully immersed in the music. Silent disco definitely needs to be experienced to be fully appreciated.
John Miles, creator of Mardi Squaw, sat down with us to fill us in, as it’s our first time at the event this year.

FB: How did the idea of Mardi Squaw come about?

JM: My company SunsetSF‘s inception took place on Mardi Gras day in 1998. We since have been celebrating Mardi Gras annually. Not only as a tip of the hat to my 2nd favorite town, but it’s been our anniversary for almost 2 decades. My friend JP approached with the idea of bringing the party to Tahoe and I jumped at the idea. In all the years promoting shows in the bay I never did much in Tahoe. Lake Tahoe has always been a sanctuary where I would get away from my job. I also did not want to encroach on other promoters that were already established in the area. Once a local reached out to me I felt it was a sign.

FB: What’s been your most memorable moment from past Mardi Squaws?

JM: Our first party was awesome. We were packed with a great mix of people. Most in costume, and everyone was raging. We had a small staff and relied on a local crew along with friends that came up to enjoy. At the end of the party our SF and Tahoe buddies were all way too wasted to help. We loaded out with a few semi sober hands. It ended up being about four of us to load out the whole party. When we got back to our cabin we found all our “help” were raging in our cabin. All the booze was gone. The last 2 years we hired a paid real production staff. But hey, that’s Mardi Squaw.

Mardi Squaw 2014 is jam packed
Mardi Squaw 2014 was jam packed

 

FB: What is your connection to Mardi Gras? From NOLA? Jazzfest?

JM: Sunset started on Mardi Gras day and has hosted hundreds of acts from New Orleans. We have enjoyed a strong connection with the Grammy award-winning Rebirth Brass Band since we brought them out for the first time in San Francisco history and still each year we party with Rebirth. Sunset has done countless shows in New Orleans during Jazzfest and we are proud to call NOLA our sister city.

FB: Explain the layout of the event? What’s happening where? Where is Silent Disco? Drink specials? etc?

JM: Three stages of fun! In the main room Love and Light and others will hit on Soulstice Sound’s Meyer sound rig. Silent Frisco will be jamming two channels of DJs throughout the night. Our third stage will boast Planet Booty and Mancub from the Space Cowboys. “Funky butt juice” aka: Hurricanes will flow all night!

 2 turntables and a headphone - Silent Frisco at Mardi Squaw

FB: Anything you want people to know about event?

JM: I love the sundeck set! 12p-4p be sure to check that out!

FB: Where are you from? How did you get involved in event production/promotion?

JM: My name is John Miles, one of your hosts, and I am from San Francisco. I throw large parties in SF such as Ghost Ship Halloween, Sea of Dreams, and many events year round.

FB: Who is your current favorite musical act? Who would you say you’ve seen the most?

JM: Rebirth Brass Band. Hands down

THE RECIPE:
EVENT: Mardi Squaw
PERFORMERS: Love and Light, Planet Booty, J.Boogie, Mancub, Miss Cooper and Her Pet Craigslist Hook-Up, DubColinG, Coop da Loop, Chango, Mr Rooney, MOM Djs, Gurbtron, etc
LOCATION: Squaw Valley Olympic House 1960 Squaw Valley Road
DATE: February 14th, 2015
TIME: 9pm
AGE RESTRICTIONS: 21+ (ID Required)
UP-TO-DATE INFO: http://on.fb.me/1KK25oh
TICKETS: $20 advance at New Moon Natural Foods (Tahoe City and Truckee), CoffeeBar (Truckee) and Melting Pot World Emporium (Reno) or at http://freshbakin.com/events/mardi-squaw/

 

mardi squaw 8.5x11

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Now You Need To Know….Reno Tahoe Tonight Celebrates Six Years

January 29, 2015
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If you haven’t ever picked up a Reno Tahoe Tonight, you need to get out more. Every month for the last six years Oliver X and company have covered so many different people, places and things in the Reno/Tahoe cultural landscape it’s almost amazing there is still things fill the vibrant zine. That is the beauty of this area though, so much change and growth happening in Reno/Tahoe that the content spring will never run dry. We’ve seen RTT start from their first episode and blossom into the impressive spread it is today. One of the things that we love about RTT is it features art as well as covers it. From the covers to the spreads in the pages, it’s always on point. This is just one reason they’ve had the continued success and lasted all these years.  On February 6th they are celebrating their sixth anniversary in the Terrace Lounge at the Peppermill and we thought, “there are probably a lot of people who don’t the man behind RTT or know it’s history, let’s reach out to Oliver and interview HIM for a change.”

 

FB: We met originally when you worked for Reno Passport, what you could almost call the predecessor to RTT.  Was their a reason you decided to branch off to do RTT?

OX: I remember meeting you at Se7en Teahouse on Arlington one early evening when I was just starting with Reno Passport. Steve White introduced us. Loved your energy and wit.

My experiences with Reno Passport were awesome in so many ways. I truly appreciate Reno Passport Editor-Publisher Steve White, who quite literally took me into his condo and into his life, while offering me a place in his publication as a feature writer. His generosity was unmatched, and through that publication, I got a look at Reno’s counter culture close up.

From Steve’s condo, all the social media, sales, content development and day-to-day workings of the publication happened. It was an electric and very creative time in my life. The energy being created by that original collaborative team was something I will always remember. I am extremely grateful to both Baldo Bobadilla and Steve White for recognizing that I had a “writerly” voice that could contribute to the success of their business.

I started working with them in March of ’08, but by November of that year, the zine’s culture had changed. I had conflict with one of their key employees and things went downhill from there. I tried to move up from being a content producer, to Art Director, Copy Editor or even Associate Editor, but there was no room to accommodate those ambitions and I was rebuffed.

Oliver X
Oliver X

The death bell for my involvement in Reno Passport finally sounded when this employee kicked me off the Reno Passport Report (a weekly Wednesday program on KRZQ that focused on local entertainment) which I helped pitch and co-produce. I made the difficult decision to move out of the “HQ” as we called it, and gave my letter of resignation in early December of that year. Steve and Baldo had been great people up to that point, and it was an unfortunate situation for all involved.

Since I had no non-compete agreement or radius clause in place with Reno Passport, I decided to pursue my own publication. 60 days after leaving, I launched Reno Tahoe Tonight as a 16-page, free independent monthly publication. We will soon celebrate our 6th year anniversary on February 6th at The Peppermill, and we couldn’t be happier with the way this community has embraced us.

FB: Besides your appearance on Reno Public Access’s top viewed show, Hotshot After Dusk, what would you say is the top achievement in your life? 

OX: Being my parent’s son. Being loved and raised so completely by two of the finest people this earth has ever seen. Nothing compares to the memories I have with them and I miss them both terribly. I live each day as a reminder of their teaching, parenting, love and standards of excellence. Any fortune, or success I have in this life, is a direct result of my parents.

FB: Your background is covered in Hotshot’s in-depth interview, so I won’t cover that again, but is there something in your background that truly inspired you to start your own monthly arts magazine? Or did this become an idea due to a series of events? 

OX: I was working on the structural remediation and upgrade of a large project with Schwager Davis Engineering here in Reno in 2006-7. I took an opportunity they offered me to work on a project they had on the Big Island of Hawai’i. While I was there, I reflected on the fact that Reno had very little journalistic coverage of the arts and entertainment sectors. I started ideating on a monthly publication that could encompass the richness that I saw emerging here–well before the recession hit.

When I returned from Hawai’i, I started writing movie reviews for Flixster for $25 an hour, which was a cushy gig and sharpened my snarky chops. Then I met Steve White at a tiny coffee house on Fourth Street that was near the row house I rented on Fifth and Nevada Street. Steve White often showed up there to work on Reno Passport and, long story short, all of those parties coalesced to drive me to start and grow RTT as a monthly publication.

Art by Lopan
Art by Lopan

FB: What have you seen as the greatest challenge in RTT?

OX: The recession was the chief hurdle. That gutted this economy quite thoroughly. The next challenge is simply being relevant. I saw several pretty good publications go down during the recession. They all had intelligent editors and content managers, yet they did not survive. The print industry is a tough game and it takes an immersion commitment to succeed.

FB: Any particular features you’ve been most proud of?

OX: We are so proud of our creative team and photographic contributors. RTT looks and feels like no other print publication. We take risks each and every issue. That has earned us a very loyal, cult-like following.

FB: How do you deal with deadlines? Are you losing your mind every month or have you gotten it down pretty well at this point?

OX: Good question. We have a target date we shoot for final upload to our printer that is pretty consistent. But before we can make that final deadline, all the file and ad deadlines have to be met. Getting those elements in on time makes everything else happen.

After now doing so many issues, we do have it down.  Every month is different. We launch our new health and wellness zine in March (called Elated People). We’re gearing up for that deadline now.

 oliver loungin

FB: Obviously your work consumes you, what are your hobbies?

OX: I never have enough time to read, but that is a consuming passion of mine. I like short fiction, biographies, poetry and good investigative non-fiction. I enjoy reading print publications like Purple Magazine, VICE, Juxtapoz and Hi Fructose. I have been a music industry label consultant, promoter and band manager. I have a weekly television segment on Mornings on Fox 11 and produce a weekly talk radio show on 107.3FM KNEWS in Reno.

I have never been much of a hobbyist. I suppose cooking might be the closest thing I have to a hobby.

FB: Any recommendations or advice for people who want to start their own business?

OX: Make what you are passionate about your living.

FB: Is there anything you’d like to see happen with RTT that just isn’t possible, or something that you thought was an amazing idea that just didn’t work? Why do you think so?

OX: I would like our reach to be commensurate with our influence. Wider distribution is key. It takes about a decade to become an essential regional player in print. Even more time if you have national aspirations. For now, I simply want to get better at sales and promotion of the brand. “Impossible” has already been overcome by our very existence. Nobody stays in business thinking about what didn’t work. That refection happens after failure, and that is not an option for us.

FB: What’s your ideal vacation?

OX: Being on the Big Island in Kona and sleeping in for a week!

FB: Where would you like to see the RTT brand in the next few years?

OX: I see us really becoming a top-of-mind first option for information, art and ideas in northern Nevada and northern California. So many people are just now discovering us. There’s a rich pool or readers out there waiting to be won. And we will do that in the coming years, using a variety of media tools and outlets.

THE RECIPE:

EVENT: RENO TAHOE TONIGHT 6th ANNIVERSARY PARTY
LOCATION: TERRACE LOUNGE AT THE PEPPERMILL RESORT AND CASINO
TIME: 7:00pm – 11:00pm
COST: NO COVER
AGES RESTRICTIONS: 21+ only
LIVE MUSIC BY SOUL SCRATCH FROM LOS ANGELES

RTT 6th ann flyer

BLOG For Immediate Release LIVE SHOWS LOCAL MUSIC MUSIC BLOG RECENT Reno Tahoe Uncategorized

The Matinee Opens at Seven – (Jan 17th)

January 12, 2015
Post Image

With a plethora of options this weekend in Reno/Tahoe area, one show we are excited for (and will absolutely be at) is Moondog Matinee’s album release show at Cargo Saturday, January 17th with Rigorous Proof and Bryan Jones. I found their new record, “Carry Me, Rosie,” uploaded to their Soundcloud account and it’s been on non-stop rotation.  Soul, raw power, energy, blues…Moondog Matinee’s current line-up of Drea Ballard (guitar, vocals), Peter Barnato (vocals, keyboard, guitar), Adam Carpenter (bass, vocals), Ben Ingle (drums) and Steve Widmer (guitar, vocals) exudes a confidence I’ve never heard before in this band.

It’s amazing how far these guys have come since I first heard them a few years ago, and how tight they are together. Previously I was even lost as to who they wanted to be sonically. After listening to this album over and over again I feel they’ve found their sound, but have laid a foundation that we can literally expect anything from them. We caught up with vocalist Peter Bernato to answer some questions for us.

FB: How long has Moondog been together? What’s the history?
PB: Almost 8 years, we started as a college band jamming for fun and throughout the years have been interchanging personnel and honing our sound. It was always quite schizophrenic, but the moment we pulled Drea Ballard on board, our band had a cohesive, unique sound that we are all very proud of.

FB: You all have been out on the road quite a bit. How have your tours been going? Any standout shows or cities you really like playing?
PM: Great! We do well on the road. Nothing like a bunch of friendly drunkards, living in a school bus, that like to play live music in front of strangers. We work very hard, and believe that live music is the only way to have the current music listening climate respect what you are doing. The digital age has brought a lot of negative aspects to the music industry, but we believe it has created a healthy climate for live performance. We are so used to getting things immediately on the ‘interwebs’ that a heartfelt live performance is something that is in realtime. Something that is vulnerable and honest. That’s why live gigs are everything to Moondog, because we love everything that we are shoving down the audience’s throats, and we hope they enjoy what we are forcibly feeding them. Seattle and Bend are markets that understand what we are doing. Every time we play in those cities, we are greeted with fans that treat us with the respect that we crave as musicians.

moondog matinee LIVE

FB: Who would say are the band’s biggest influences?
PB: That’s a question that each member would answer differently, but I know our favorite decade is early to mid seventies rock and roll. I am a devout Rolling Stones, Tom Waits, David Bowie, Bob Seger, Gram Parsons, The Band, Warren Zevon, Iggy Pop, Neil Young, Steely Dan, Velvet Underground, Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Grateful Dead fan….. You get the point

FB: What era of the Grateful Dead is your favorite?
PB: I’ll have to speak for myself, but Workingman’s dead and Wake of the Flood are my favorites…..

FB: Tell us about something completely disturbing you experienced on tour.
PB: We were playing in Eugene in front of a raging audience of two that consisted of our bartender and an old drunk, and Drea peed his pants during the first song. It was his first tour with us and he misunderstood his bladder. The most magical part of the night was his determination to finish the next 45 painful minutes with urine in his Levis.

FB: Tell us about your Rigorous Proof and Bryan Jones and why you selected them to be part of you album release show
PB: Bryan Jones is a musician that I have looked up to since the day I met him. He is a musician down to his marrow. Everything he does revolves around music. That’s a trait that I most admire and pretend to have, but very few people possess. Rigorous Proof has an understanding of music that is similar to ours. Not necessarily in the ways we sound similar, but in the era in which we dream to reside. They are a mixture of Preservation Green, Kinks, early Who and Supertramp. We chose them to play with us because we respect what they are doing. Plus Johnny and the boys are the nicest, most humbling group of cats we know.

FB: My friend told me she used to go to the mall in high school and stare at you while you worked at The Gap. How do you respond to that?
PB: I wish she would of talked to me, I felt as though I was invisible in those years of my life. Hahaha

THE RECIPE: SHOW: Moondog Matinee, Rigorous Proof and Bryan Jones
LOCATION: Cargo in Whitney Peak Hotel
DATE: January 17th. 2015
TIME: Doors open at 7pm, music begins at 8pm.
AGES RESTRICTIONS: All ages welcome
TICKETS: Tickets are $10 and are available at the Whitney Peak front desk or HERE