New York City's CMJ Music Marathon is one of rock's major annual showcases, and now CMJ (short for College Music Journal, the monthly music-industry bible) is teaming with the Rock Hall for the CMJ/Rock Hall Music Fest. The festival kicks off June 8 with two concerts by the Pixies, followed over the next three days by presentations, panels, and sets by around 100 popular and rising rock bands at seven venues.
"I started talking to the folks at CMJ in early 2002," says Steve Dobo, the Rock Hall's senior manager of promotions and one of the fest's organizers. "It's something that they'd been looking to do for a few years, and they never had the right partner. And here we are."
Other headlining acts include Spoon, Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks, and Digable Planets, with more major bands to be announced. Cleveland-based Alternative Press magazine will host a showcase Saturday, June 11, at the Grog Shop. Mushroomhead will headline a June 11 show at Scene Pavilion. The Rock Hall will also hold events all four days, including concerts, a guitar players' competition, and discussions with hip-hop titan Grandmaster Flash and Sire Records chairman Seymour Stein.
Navigating from the Flats to the East Side can be a trying experience, even for an experienced Clevelander, but the organizers plan on making the commute as painless as possible, teaming with the Cleveland RTA to provide a fleet of 50 buses running between hotels and venues.
"It's an event that allows people to see different parts of Cleveland," says Todd Mesek, Rock Hall spokesman, who projects that the festival could draw between 10,000 and 20,000 visitors to the city. "The Rock Hall worked very hard to get this festival here. We wanted to show off parts of the town, and part of what we want to do is to leverage some excitement into this city."
For a complete schedule, visit www.cmj.com/rockfest.
-- Six months after 13 Faces drummer Jeff Curenton and bassist Bryan Trembley left the band, the idling metalcore standouts have replaced their new rhythm section with their old one. "The band is back together again," says guitarist John Comprix. "Jeff left to do Seven Witches. They were going to do a bunch of touring, but it didn't happen. Bryan had to get some things straight, and he did. When you see a band, the original lineup is the band you like -- look at Megadeth. The original vibe is back." The shuffle pushes back the group's second album, which Comprix says could arrive this summer.
-- Two Arabica Coffeehouses would like to host daily live entertainment. Interested acts can contact store managers at Sheffield Village (5322 Abbe Road, Lorain, 440-934-0900) and Parma Heights (6285 Pearl Road, 440-886-6648).
-- Two of Cleveland's top music industry professionals will speak at the Rock Hall's From Songwriters to Soundmen: The People Behind the Hits series. Cleveland International Records president Steve Popovich and Agora founder Henry "Hank" LoConti will appear Wednesday, April 20, at 7 p.m. Tickets are $5.
-- Cleveland electro-rock favorite State of Being has landed an Australian distribution deal for its catalog, partnering with goth-industrial distributor Iconic Gothic. Later this month, the band will release Haywire Remixes 1:2, an EP culled from the band's latest LP.
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