Wednesday, January 5, 2011


EDGY ROCK JAZZ BASS PLAYER SUGGESTS INTERNET PRESENCE BUT STILL PLAY THE CLUBS In these times of the explosion of the Internet there is plenty of room for anyone to make it in the music business, play the clubs, cut a record, and even have some fun. But what makes musicians want to do it? According to Phillip Friedland, bass player for the edgy rock jazz band MARK CHRISTOPHER BAND, "I can't get the music out of my soul," says Friedland, who also works a full time 9 - 5 job. "I need an outlet. It's like eating, drinking, exercising, sleeping and breathing. I need to express my self creatively," he adds.

Mark Christopher Band is a group with fine equal mixture of blues, rock and jazz. They are a guitar driven machine, or as Phillip says, "A different kind of blues with a kick!: To put a label on it, it's a modern type of blues with high energy, not normal blues, more like high end blues. The band is guitars, bass, drums and keyboard, along with lead and background vocals. They've been playing out together for some time now.

As far as losing that creative flair because of the vast technological advances, Friedland seems to think that it's become even more important to keep the creative juices flowing than ever before because of the Net. "I see it as an avenue to get our music out there in its creative form. I know that 10 years ago, that wasn't possible."

Musicians like Phillip Friedland were feeling stifled and at the mercy of the record companies, distribution houses or managers in those days. Many bands were stuck, especially if there is talent and the label decided not to to distribute the music, "then you're basically shelved," said Friedland. Musicians and bands like Friedland are quickly finding out that online his band has more control over what the public hears or sees. That's why a lot more musicians are using online means for the worldwide audience to have a listen to the music in a more public arena.

"Our band has many fans we've picked up across the country and abroad. These people are listening to our music, people that probably would not have had a chance to hear us 10 years ago," marveled Phillip, whose band plays many gigs a month, but has a small online following according to ReverbNation, an online listening site becoming more popular for serious musicians and groups.

Online you get the songs out sort of in a quick fix and everyone you want to hear it, hears it. The live club is not dead yet, it's still a great scene, but more independent promoters are cashing in on these clubs and just 'renting' them'. "You'd be surprised how many of these clubs are for rent now," said the bass player. "It's sort of a racket with the clubs, they are up for rent to the band promoters, then those promoters find bands to sell tickets to their own shows, and then the band play."

According to this writer's research, promoters ask each band for around $500 a pop. If they are doing it, than you can rest assured these shady companies are making something for themselves. As Friendland explains, "...Clubs have become increasingly difficult to play in comfortably because there's more money involved and that money overshadows the creativity and of playing in a live band. Owners of clubs have high operating costs, we all know that, so if you as a band can't deraw in a crowd, then the club loses money."

Now clubs more than not are hiring these independent promoters. What's really sad, according to music band sources is that if you are in a crappy band and have the cash to pay the promoters, it doesn't matter to the club or the promoters if your music stinks or you are a bunch of 'posers' or Bozos, because if you can bring in say 50 people, it's doesn't matter what you sound like.

On the other hand, if you have a sound like MARK CHISTOPHER BAND, who Phillip Friedland plays bass for, YOU WILL DRAW A CROWD! "Everyone that hears our band is usually blown away. Even fellow musicians," says the bassist. "We are skilled musicians, that's why! We go out and play, we are very aware of the dynamics," he adds pridefully.

Phil has seen the young bands play a few songs and then he notices they get louder and louder until... "my ears go deaf!" He suggest doing what his band does for every show live or otherwise. "We start out low key, then little by little we'll begin to peak and valley, then a cresendo, and finally winding down our music, so as not to be so in your face." He asks us this, if at all: "If you know how to lower down, than the loud becomes more meaningful!"

After careful consideration and listening to the musical group Phillip plays bass in, MARK CHRISTOPHER BAND, this writer feels that the band can excel online by having more and more listeners hear them on a more worldwide basis. Anyone can see and hear that this band is skilled in their musicianship. It's a 4 piece band, which adds balance, not too little, not too much, just right. Phil said, "We are better than any backyard band they've ever seen," jokes the bass player.

"But seriously, we have played so many shows and parties and jams where I've seen so many other brands, and all they seem to do is brag," that did not surprise this writer when Phil told me his band goes on, but doesn't talk! "We get up there and all of a sudden everything on the club floor stops and all the bands and musicians come up and listen to us. They seem to me to be speechless. It's almost comical, because our band can predict it, it happens at almost every show. They brag, we don't brag, and you don't have to brag if your good," he says honestly.

If they were to give any advice to those starting out it would be this: Just keep going, keep practicing together, keep playing and refine your skills," explains the bass musician. "Remember that you have to spend a little money to make a whole lotta' money with the band. I see too many bands spending money foolishly on drugs and beer, but I say to spend it on your band, be constuctive! Do the online thing like getting a website or Internet Publicist, that's the way to go. But you'll have to invest a small amount of money to achieve that.

For the future and in closing, you have to start to appear in different clubs, start to branch out with the music. Be heard by as many people, managers, agents, actors, other famous musicians l ike John Mayer. Mark is great, but Mark isn't known yet, but he will be, you can count on that.

And don't forget the hours of recording in the studio, tours, getting the online thing happening and of course the live shows at the clubs. But Phillip sees himself and his band mates making it good and winning a grammy one day, maybe garnering the respect of musicians and the music industry and the people who have already taken their spot in the music biz world.

If you had to classify Mark Christopher Band, think of a 21st Century band a' la Jeff Beck, but the band does have a core message for their fans and future fans:

May the blues rock with you! That means the music that you listen to has a feel, not mechanical. It has to have heart and soul, not getting up on the stage and playing a 3 chord menagerie with the finger on the 'reverb' button. You want to keep it real! Good Music, especially blues and jazz, is filled with notes and licks for the soul!

What Bands Play Fusion Rock Music Mark Christopher Band Tells All!
TOP ONLINE PROGRESSIVE ROCK GROUP Mark Christopher Band Online Group Pays Their Dues, What is MARK CHRISTOPHER BAND. According to Mark, "We're Fusion progressive Rock. My band mates are ALL quality musicans," he says. "Because I can tell from my own experience playing with other musicians. I think we are able to feed off each other's energies and creativity, It makes it easier to do arrangements and write," says Christopher of his Jazz progressive rock blues group. "Because we pick up the slack, and they are what I would call a band that I can work with, which is hard to find in this town. Let's face it," says Mark. "We gel, it's like a spiritual fusion rock connection."

From this writer's view, I believe there are so many bands out there that fake it. Bands that just pretend, go through the motions. This is not the case of MARK CHRISTOPHER BAND. According to Mark Christopher, "We really play, we listen to each other, but lots of other bands just jam, they don't listen, and most of them are in their own little world, and as a band, we want to be worldwide, not in our own little world!"

Paying their dues online is a progressive rock band making a big online splash, the group Mark Christopher Band talks paying the piper and where they find the energy and power to play and keep the fusion music going. I started with the name of the band. Why name a band by your own first and middle name like Dave Matthews band? There are more reasons than ego or originality, right? Mark Christopher himself told us that "We named it Mark Christopher Band because I wrote most of the songs and at the time I guess we would call it a 'snap decision'." He explains easily, "I guess we didn't really think about it. I was a solo act at the time, I didn't know what else to call the group," Christopher added, scratching his head. "It's hard to think up a name for the the band, so I just went with MARK CHRISTOPHER BAND and it had nothing to do with my ego, there's not a real reason other than we all agreed it just fit," he said honestly.

When asked the biggest influence in Mark's life decision to spark him to pursue his dream of music, I was not surprised to find out the soft-spoken musician's influence in music was his father. "My dad was a professional jazz pianist, and I grew up listening to him do his thing," says Mark. "He showed me the first chord on guitar. He wanted me to enjoy music as much as he did growing up, and he grew up around it!"

What puts Mark Christopher Band in the best mood to play their fusion progression jazz music? The answer was simple: "To know I've been doing this for so long that it's a part of me, and I need to do it, but it's the creative juices the band brings out, it's a feeling of elation and a natural high for us when we play our music!"

As for seeing the future of Mark Christopher Band making an impact in some way online with their unique brand of fusion rock jazz and blues, it can be done as easy as Justin Bieber or even Lady Gaga, especially with a blogger and the viral video worldwide open for a worldwide buzz on an up and coming online top fusion blues band using YOUTUBE to do it. Mark Christopher said, I can see it. I can see it in media venues online, like Justin Bieber did, but we are not Justin Bieber, we are Mark Christopher band..."

Exposure to various viral video sites seems to be the key, and Mark Christopher Band wholly approves of using the Internet medium to make an even bigger impact one day, perhaps even bigger than someone like Bieber who may even be a flash in the pan, who would guess? Besides going viral, which most of the articles on Mark Christopher band have ended up, the word gets out to other countries that wouldn't normally have access to their music, now they do!

What about all the other Rock Fusion bands out there? All the other Edgy blues bands? Are they like Mark Christopher Band, what sets these guys apart. According to Mark Christopher, "It depends on a lot of things, but pa"It's like we feel what they want to hear, and play according to what they want, and then after a while you get a flowing energy, and they love us, and we love them, it meshes!"

What makes a good band, how do you know? "Play attention to guitarist! I always do that to learn what they are donig, see what they do, How they approach it," he reveals. "Honestly, most groups like my band, who do same music, I would rate them about a "7" on a scale from 1 - 10." That's pretty nice of Mark Christopher, did someone pay him off, NOT! Why? He answers and continues: "Everyone musician or band is different and has different styles and certain styles appeal to me," he says. "Some bands do not appeal to me. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying other bands like our group are better or worse than the others! I am just going on my own likes and dislikes of Jazz o rock or blues."

After hearing a few tracks from their blog, I wondered what set them apart from the others? What can Mark Christopher Band say to make their audience really care about them and be followers? Mark answered, "The band and the guys I play with are all from the same city of Los Angeles, CA. We all grew up; listining to same music, influences are similar and we have the magic that it takes to make a really great band," says Mark. "Playing with this group is amazing for me and it spreads to the audience, who in turn, love to hear us and see our energy."

This writer is not a huge jazz music fusion rock fan, but Mark Christopher Band caught my ear, and they are different because they are all playing on the same vibe, I see the group working as I work on another blog while listening to their blog on another browser, they are fantastic.

Mark Christopher further explains, "Our audiences really care about us as a band because we feed off of them, and they, in turn, feed off of us, so it's like a love affair without sexual contact," he explains easily.

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