By Mark Montie
The local band Jerrytown has gotten a lot of attention in the last few months. Last year it made a mark with its contemporary version of “I”m Trying to be Like Jesus” on the soundtrack of “The RM.”
The band received good reviews for its recently-released CD “Way Out Waiting” from as far away as Denmark.
Along with all their successes, the members of Jerrytown have come to find that there is a lot more to the music business than making good music.
It takes time. It takes lots of money. And it takes a little help from someone farther up the ladder of success.
For the time being, the band members are keeping their options open.
“Everybody has to keep their day jobs at the local level,” said Dustin Christensen, the leader of Jerrytown.
“Until the band gets signed, the lineup isn”t in stone,” said John Buckner, of Lehi, the band”s drummer.
Buckner sells real estate to support his family, but if the band hits the big time, he said, he”ll let the real estate go.
To make sure it sounded professional, the band put up close to $40,000 to produce “Way Out Waiting.”
“You do it in hopes that you can make it to the next level,” Christensen said.
For Christensen, it at least opened the door. While producing the CD in LA he was introduced to Bob Ezrin, who has worked with Pink Floyd. Ezrin agreed to help Christensen develop his songwriting.
Buckner said Christensen”s music is one of the biggest strengths of the band.
“He doesn”t scream. He”s not disturbed. It”s just great rock n roll music,” Buckner said.
Shane Jackman, who has performed across the country for over 10 years, said having great music is just the beginning. Networking is key in the music business, and often being at the right place at the right time.
When Jackman was just starting out, he caught the attention of a music producer named Chris Harding.
Later, when Harding became the president of Bonneville World Wide, he signed Jackman to the label.
Jackman said it”s an encouraging step that Christensen has a tutor in LA.
“A lot of great bands end up in the bars because they don”t have anyone from the outside looking in to give them advice,” Jackman said.
Ryan Shupe, whose band The Rubber Band has made a fair amount of money, said the music business is never sure.
“If you”re in the music business for the money, you”re in the wrong business,” Shupe said.
He said it was hard getting started for his band.
“With my first CD I only had $100, so I put everything on my credit cards,” he said.
To get noticed by labels you have to play in the big music cities, Shupe said.
Jackman added that building a local fan base is essential to show producers that you can bring a crowd out.
Musicians who get this far often think they”re to the big time, but they still have a long way to go, Jackman said.
“Everybody thinks they”re ready before they are,” he said.
Everyone has to pay the dues to get to know the business. This means learning how to market, building a stage presence, etc, and that takes time Jackman said.
Shupe said in the long run success takes a lot of hard work.
“I”ve learned that there”s no easy answer,” Shupe said. “There”s no ”the gig” that makes or breaks you.”
For now, Christensen said he”s hoping to build a fan base in Utah.
In the mean time, he”s working on his songwriting skills, and Buckner is managing to divide his time between his music and his real estate clients.