Remember when The Blues Brothers took the stage at Bobs Country Bunker where only chicken wire separated them from a roomful of violent rednecks? Thats the kind of nightmare scenario that inspired local musicians Jesse Ogle and Ashley Edwards to open iAM short for Independent Artist Management.
Ive been touring for 15 years and booking venues from Boulder to Seattle, and people in other bands always ask me Where should we play? in all these towns, said Ogle, who also plays bass in the local band Hello Dollface. I realized I should be doing this professionally, giving that kind of advice and support, but I only want to work with people who have the same philosophy.
iAM puts the right band in the right setting throughout the Southwest and also provides music education close to home. iAM currently manages two-time Memphis Blues Festival semifinalist Shawn Farley; Tucsons Copper & Congress, which will play a double bill with Hello Dollface on Thursday at The Summit; Durangos Robby Overfield; Gravity Research of Eugene, Ore.; Disco Organica from Berkeley, Calif.; and Chris Benevides, a saxophonist from the band Giant Steps. Copper & Congress will give a hands-on workshop tonight at the iAM studios on Camino del Rio.
Katie Haverly, frontwoman for Copper & Congress, responded to an online request from Ogle for Tucson, Ariz., artists because she said he was offering exactly what her band needed.
Jesse was looking for other artists to add to the roster, and little did we know, we used to be in the same music circles in Flagstaff 13 years ago but havent seen each other since, Haverly said.
I hate booking shows, it is awful, and I dont think any musician would say they like booking shows. Its nice to pass that off to someone else. Jesses great because hes been doing it for a while. Its good to have someone speaking on your behalf instead of yourself.
Haverly related her own booking nightmare from her pre-Copper & Congress days: A friend got her low-key duo a gig at a rowdy sports bar at a ski resort in Maine.
We had two afternoon sets in this huge bar, and there I am trying to play my pretty songs for a bunch of drunk skiers. It was the worst fit ever, Haverly said.
The local studio is available for rehearsal and recording to local and regional professional bands. Ogle was formerly an instructor with the Stillwater Foundation. Up-and-coming musicians are welcome to hone their talents at iAM, but Ogle and Edwards wont take just anyone for representation.
Bands or individual acts must have recorded and released at least one CD, form an LLC or other incorporation, have adequate transportation and have performed at least 50 shows. Ogle said hes received applications from Europe and throughout the U.S.
Most people wont touch an artist unless theyve broken some major headway, and we feel the same way, but theres more to it than that, too, Ogle said.
Were looking for the musician whos talented and has a purpose, has his or her own voice. Theyve gotta be good, too, and if its the right fit we think we can do a lot to help each other.