By Diana Hereld of Pathways in Music and photo by James Gutierrez.
Day two of the 6th annual San Diego Music Day convention began with two panels entitled “Lawyers, Guns and Money,” the first for the novice, the second directed toward the more advanced. A rudimentary understanding of legal issues in the music business is something many aspiring musicians all too often overlook. The panel made up of legal professionals covered the basics of copyrighting for musicians/songwriters, trademarks, record deals and publishing.
The second panel, “Every Artist Insured, Finding Affordable Healthcare under Covered California,” targeted health insurance for the industry. Presented by The Actors Fund and Musicares, this talk presented options and information relevant to freelancers and the self-employed regarding how to get affordable health insurance with the help of tax credits and government subsidies.
Panels: Producers Roundtable, Website Demolition Derby, Bands & Brands
This was followed by select PR mentoring sessions by Kelly MacGaunn (Kellemack PR), Fiona Bloom (The Bloom Effect) and Andie Cox (The Grammy Museum), and continued with “Producers Roundtable,” a “Website Demolition Derby” by Bandzoogle, and “Bands and Brands”- a panel outlining what is involved in aligning an artist with a brand. Monica Vergel de Dios (Spin Media) encouraged aspiring music professional to get involved in cross-marketing, and “make a compelling case to the value you bring. When it comes to cross-promoting on another’s website, monitor traffic, and make a case study.”
Artist Session: The Cure’s Lol Tolhurst.
The first artist session of the day was given by composer / musician / writer Lol Tolhurst, perhaps best known as a founding member of The Cure - a band many credit with the formation of Alternative music, and is one of the most influential, successful and critically acclaimed bands of their generation. After captivating a packed room with stories of lighthearted band antics, Tolhurst shared experiences from The Cure (formally known as Malice and later The Easy Cure) that were applicable to seemingly everyone present, from the veteran to the postmillennial.
One question brought up in the Q &A was “What caused The Cure to unravel?” One source of the process, Tolhurst pointed out, was completely natural. Touring musicians seem to forge a closeness stronger than marriage, and this can prove incredibly difficult. A band is a very unnatural situation for young people to be a part of. As he stated, “A band is more than the sum of its parts. It’s like a gang…a band’s success has absolutely nothing to do with the quality of music…The thing that makes what you do transcendent is the chemistry between the people playing, and you need to protect it at all costs.”
Keynote: Mike Herrera of MxPx.
Following a solid acoustic set this afternoon Mike Herrera (MxPx, Tumbledown) delivered a compelling talk on failure, success, and all the “up a creek without a paddle” tour tales in between. His charismatic presentation encompassed topics from being able to transform the negative to the positive, to using technology such as podcasts, Twitter or old tools “new to you” to express personal ideas not well-enough conveyed in the forty-minute live slot, to how to roll with the punches of anything your career, or life in general, deals you.
His recently released album from MxPx (Plans Within Plans) speaks heavily of being able to decisively and deliberately focus on the smaller picture just as much as the larger. It’s in the journey, not the destination. In reference to Charles Bukowski, Herrera quotes “What matters most is how well you walk through the fire.”