Good things happen when we’re not looking…. I found this out when trying to re-invent rock music in the ’80s & ’90s to encourage reading.
In San Diego, the first part of the problem was gaining approval from a recognized authority on both rock music and young adult novels: Michael Moorcock. But the main challenge was more about convincing my bandmates that my literary vision was true than gaining Mr. Moorcock’s approval for future collaboration and to use the band-name Stormbringer–which he unexpectedly granted in 1988. To convince and better lead my San Diego bandmates, I:
(1) underwent elective eye-surgery, which improved my vision from legal blindness to functional blindness (loss of sight around age 13 really made me appreciate reading!)
(2) learned how to copyright my 16 songs with the Library of Congress
(3) produced and mixed our demo-tape.
I achieved all this by age 18, with only two college-credits in classical guitar. But the approval I sought from my bandmates and audience–by approval, I mean heightened interest in both reading and promoting it as important–still didn’t coalesce. So I decided that band didn’t deserve to use the name Stormbringer (which some guys in Europe were starting to use too), and I disbanded it.
In Sacramento, I produced an even stronger portfolio which involved much legal and visual design work. This was 1992, when I choreographed a pro-photo-shoot at the Sacramento Bee. My band at that time was called Bards of Fantasia, a heavy rock duo. This was years before The White Stripes convinced the masses rock duos were viable, so we got buried in criticism. A second good thing I didn’t expect was when a “black-music” radio station played one of our “white-rock” ballads to calm down the near-riotous crowds who expected Rodney King’s purported assailants might be acquitted. I didn’t expect the literary-spiritual dimension of my song, “Lord of Mastermirror,” to have such a calming, public influence, cerebral-music usually being private. (And I was only 23!)
Oddly, a later concert to fund the re-opening of the downtown library was a financial letdown, being the final nail in our band’s bankrupt coffin. And from 1995 through 1997 I was a full-time college student, working both a 20-hour phone job and another 20-hours-per-week designing an audio-production-system for a disabled neighbor. One would think something good would have come of those two grueling years, but my third epiphany didn’t occur until I got the hell out of California!
In Pennsylvania I got another two years of general ed. that actually transferred to a 4-year University (vs. the runaround I got from SDSU). I made the Dean’s List five times in a row, and graduated Cum Laude from LVC with a BA in English.
Relocating to Utah to pursue a MA in multimedia/instructional design, and make an animated submission at Sundance, I received an unexpected acceptance from the owner of DreamToneFx, for whom I co-designed two fx boxes: the Samurai Amp Sim and the Mic Master Eq. I hoped the small design royalties from those would cover my tuition and board at a graduate school before turning 40. (I turned 38 in April 2007.)
That not coming to be, I released a 1-person production of the Bards of Fantasia story, 39 animated minutes, all music and voices by me, complete with a teacher’s manual and seven teaching “maps.” High schools would not pay attention to an unknown though. So I also launched HGR Records. HGR (Heavy Guitar Rock) RECORDS has offered free promotion to heavy, unsigned bands since 2009. Based in Utah, focus has mostly been west of the Rockies. Promotions have included free mastering of tracks, with 1,000’s of free cd’s given locally, as well as a monthly “Utah Band of the Month” radio-podcast feature hosted by me, aka DJ Scott. I play guitar and bass on most of the tracks on a 2016 HGRR compilation CD, which I bundled as a crowdfund perk to storyboard the Bards of Fantasia script and novel.
No-go on Indiegogo though. I tried to raise a mere $1,000 to fund my storyboard artists, but I ended-up having to pay them — and color most of the panels too – myself, and that took a whole year. The script storyboards I double-purposed as my novel pics though, so the wait was worth the quality, imho. The rough-draft of the film with all voice-actors (for producers’ eyes only) was finished spring 2017, as well as the 1st ed. Paperback and Kindle books which were published on Amazon.
Current marketing efforts for the “Bards of Fantasia” novel include submitting queries to an average of 6 blog-reviewers per week (75 so far), as I refine both my blurb & pitch for book publishers & film producers. I’m also looking for a small art team to illustrate the 2nd Bards book.
Possible future articles:
“Syntax & Geography in Robert E. Howard”
“Psychology in Modern Drama”
“Pure Mathematics in Michael Moorcock”
“Making Multimedia Novellas”