Otherwise Finds Another Way
In the midst of music's MySpace era, hard-rock outfit Otherwise relied on old-fashioned elbow grease to outfox its competition. The local five-piece went into Xtreme Radio's fan voting contestfor an opening spot at the recent Deftones-headlined Holiday Havoc concert at the Thomas & Mackas an apparent underdog, considering that some of the other five finalists boasted a significant advantage in MySpace friends statistics.
"Going into it, we felt a little pessimistic, because it was all online voting, and two or three of the other bands had roughly three times the amount of friends we have on MySpace," singer Adrian Patrick explains.
So Otherwise went old-school. "We took to the streets with a guerrilla-style approachmade up fliers and signs and posters and passed them out everywhere. We passed out, like, 10,000 of these things, saying Please vote for Otherwise' at every major rock show in town in the week prior to the voting, while a lot of the bands were just relying on MySpace."
Drummer Alan Doucette classifies the band's efforts like this: "Aggressive might be an understatement. We wanted this really bad and were extremely motivated, fliering cars up and down Maryland Parkway like we were promoting for a show. And none of the promotions we did had our MySpace page on them, which I think worked to our advantage. Instead of visiting our MySpace page, everyone was going to Xtreme Radio to vote for us."
Otherwise learned it had bested fellow finalists Aspire, The Cab, Destruction of a Rose and Kid Deposit Triumph the Monday before the show, and then began hearing something elseaccusations of cheating. Though official statistics weren't released, Otherwise manager Mark Hornsby believes the winning margin might have been as large as 12,000 votes. "People were saying we paid people off, or wrote some kind of computer robot [voting] program," Hornsby says. "Nobody could believe this band won."
Initially upset by the allegations, Patrick now looks at them as a compliment. "It's awesome. We beat these bands by so much that they just naturally assumed we must have been cheating."
On November 11, Otherwise enjoyed the fruits of its labor, sharing its first arena bill with Deftones, Lostprophets, Unwritten Law and Papa Roach, the band to which it is most often compared. Doucette says after what the band went through to win, stepping onto the big stage was easy. "The contest was the most stressful part, and when that was over it was a relief. After that we just relaxed and played the show."
With Holiday Havoc behind them, Otherwise sounds ready to take the next step: landing a label deal. The bandwhose lineup also includes guitarist Ted Carrasco and, on opposite ends of its age spectrum, guitarist Ryan Patrick (an 18-year-old UNLV freshman) and bassist D.W. King (a 30-year-old father of two)self-released its debut album in September, declining several independent offers in hopes of landing with a major.
"We've had a really good year, a lot of momentum. We won $10,000 in a regional battle of the bands. We finished our album. We've been opening up for national acts left and rightCrossfade, Buckcherry, Escape the Fate," Adrian Patrick says. "The scene is getting a lot of heat right now, so hopefully that pays off for us at some point. We've had industry people tell us we have what it takes to make it. So right now, I guess we're just waiting to get seen by the right person at the right time."
"That's the price of doing business," says former High End Mystery Emporium co-owner (and Bargain DJ Collective mainstay) Christian Rodgers. "We got out pretty easy, from what others have told me." The record store and cultural oasis closed November 7 after a small fire occurred on the roof of its 60-year-old building at 1310 Casino Center Boulevard. The store closed for three weeks while electricians and contractors repaired the damage.
But, according to Rodgers, after the repairs were completed and the store was ready to open, the building's California-based owner delivered Rodgers and his crew a bill for repairing the damagesseven days before the rent was due.
"While we were closed, the owner reassured us that everything would be fixed," Rodgers says. "Instead, we were given a $50 late fee for every day we were closed and given the bill for the repairs." Rather than pay for repairs they weren't responsible for, Rodgers and partners Chris Ecklund and Benjamin Coy closed the fledgling store.
Now, with tens of thousands of vinyl discs and other items lying around his garage, Rodgers says he and his partners are looking into reopening in the next couple of months.
"A lot of people are approaching us to put High End somewhere," Rodgers says. "We don't really know what we're going to do, but we'd like to stay in the arts district."
The closing is another item on the list of troubles that have befallen the Emporium since it opened in August. According to Rodgers, harassment from First Friday boss Cindy Funkhouser, tickets for giving away beer at an art exhibition and the occasional complaint from neighbors (about live shows) began to mount, even though Rodgers says the Emporium followed legal guidelines, including obtaining permits for live shows and distributing alcohol.
"Funkhouser pissed and moaned about us a lot ... [but] we were throwing permitted functions," Rodgers says.
"They didn't want to follow the parameters for our First Friday vendors," Funkhouser says. "They wanted to have bands and ... serve alcohol ... no more than 20 feet from our vendors."
Funkhouser says that the sanctioned vendors and bands are there to defray the $450,000 annual cost of the monthly event; the Emporium's alcohol sales could pose a threat to First Friday's bottom line.
"When liquor or food vendors set up in the street [that compete with the approved vendors of First Friday], it is detrimental to the nonprofit event," Funkhouser says. "Any place that doesn't want to follow the rules, we will have an issue with."
Regardless of such hurdles, the store was doing well financially, breaking even or better. "We were doing good enough," Rodgers says.
While he is pissed about everything that's happenedincluding a nonrecoverable $10,000 spent to repair the dilapidated buildingRodgers says that the benefits and good times outweigh the costs and troubles.
"I had a phenomenal time with the store," Rodgers says. "There was a lot of interesting stuff going down here."
Sending England a Valentine
Hopefully, England's quota for bands with heavy eyeliner and overstyled hair has not been met, because local rock outfit Valentine is about to join Bleed the Dream on its 2007 tour of the United Kingdom.
The tour announcement follows Valentine's winning of Skinnie Magazine's battle of the bands in Los Angeles, which earned the group a place in the lineup of the Warped Tour when it stopped in Ventura, California.
The tour schedule is gruelingnightly dates at clubs all over the U.K. for two weeks, with no nights off. "It will only get us tighter as a band," said lead singer Emily Ellis. "It's like practice a million times over."
Bleed the Dream originally tabbed Arizona's Greeley Estates for this tour, which also features Canadian rockers Neurosonic. But Greeley Estates opted out, and Bleed the Dream contacted Valentine drummer Aaron Cohan, who used to play occasionally with the band. "We had to take that opportunity," Ellis said. "It's not every day that you get offered to do it. We're able step into an awesome tour."
Valentine just finished writing a batch of new songs and is in preproduction for its first full-length album. "We told ourselves we were going to write 20 brand new songs and then cut down to 10 or 12 that we like for the album," Ellis said. "Now we're just going back through them, rewriting and rerecording in our home studio." Ellis said the band plans for a January album release. "Now we have more pressure to do it," she said.