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Wayne Kramer And Chuck D At San Diego Music Thing

September 10, 2012 1:13 p.m.


Marjy Taylor, Development Director San Diego Music Foundation

Wayne Kramer, guitarist, singler, film and TV composer and original member of pioneering Detroit punk band MC5

Related Story: Wayne Kramer And Chuck D At San Diego Music Thing


This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: This is KPBS Midday Edition I am Maureen Cavanaugh. Even if you are brimming with talent and dedication making a living making music is not easy. It's not enough to know how to play you also need to know how to make it pay. Disseminate that kind of knowledge is the goal of the San Diego music thing. A host of music industry professionals will be gathering in North Park this weekend to hold conversations and workshops with local musicians. And as you might imagine there will also be lots and lots of music. I'd like to welcome first Mike asked Marjy Taylor she's told the director of the San Diego music foundation and Marjy welcome to the show I thanks for having us. Now Marjy this is the fifth year I understand the San Diego music thing. How would you describe this event for somebody who's never gone?

MARJY TAYLOR: It's a lot of different things all in one event. During the day the activities are kind of centered around the hotel. We have a bunch of music industry professionals that come down and talk to people. We have mentoring sessions. We have a tradeshow that goes on. People just kind of hang out and mingle and then at night we have the music fest. We've got about 150 bands, 14 stages, so there's a lot going on most of it is in North Park, but we also have the Casbah, the whistle stop and Tin Street.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: So you know has this event has gone on for five years now, right, I would imagine that it has kind of grown in some way in what ways has it grown?

MARJY TALOR: It started out as just kind of a periodical thing where we would bring people down and do panels during the day about the museum in Carlsbad, the Museum of making music. And then it sort of grew into a one-day inventory moved to North Park where obviously there's a lot of musicians and art people that live around there. So we moved to North Park and started doing a one-day event 10 min. sort of just grew preparing to a two-day thing.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: When you say industry professionals are coming down what are they going to talk to the musicians about?

MARJY TAYLOR: Pretty much anything you ever want to know if you are in a band how to promote the band through social media, how to get a sponsor. We have people from Taylor that are going to be talking about that. Taylor guitars. How to get a publishing deal or a licensing deal, how to book your band at a venue. How to pretty much anything you could think of that you ever want to know if you were in a band.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Let me bring in a second guess now. Joining is one of the featured musicians at this event legendary guitarist Wayne Kramer at the MC five and Wayne, welcome to the show.

WAYNE KRAMER: Happy to be here.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: How did you get involved with the San Diego music thing?

WAYNE KRAMER: I've been coming to San Diego to play for about 150 years and I have a great many friends in San Diego and I came down last year as a special guest of the zeros. Just to sit in and perform and this year they were gracious enough to consider me on the organizational side and actually be able to participate in seminars and workshops. And to bring my own and down and perform this year.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: What are you going to be talking about?

WAYNE KRAMER: I've been playing music professionally for an unbelievably long time. And so I think I'd like to open it up to, I'm having more of a conversation than a speech. So I would let the audience dictate the subject matter except that I would probably want to advocate for artists reaching out beyond their professional commitments and ambitions and to the possibility of being of service to their fellow man. In ways beyond career.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: I want to talk to you about that. That was what actually one of my questions but actually, let's have people hear a little bit of the MC fives. This is the motor city burning.

[Music playing]

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: That's Wayne Kramer and the MC fives with motor city burning. And when, you know as you were mentioning, your career was heavily influenced by you know, social issues and politics. You yourself became a political figure for musicians when you were jailed on a drug charge. Music doesn't seem to be that political anymore. Is that a good thing or bad thing?

WAYNE KRAMER: I think it's probably I mean, listen there are plenty of political artists out there that are willing to take a stand and be counted and get involved, but I think there is a general kind of a soft nihilism that exists in the world you know of meaninglessness. And I think music and art in general have kind of been, you drop-down in the realm of things that are important to people. At least, some people. He now, there is so much to choose from. There's games and the Internet into twitter and Facebook. And TV and movies and you know, but that is just the way things go. Things just evolve and so I think it just requires redoubling our efforts to be gauged in the world and to try to make a difference where we can.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: How do you think musicians is it fair to say musicians are generally pretty unprepared for the business end of the music business?

WAYNE KRAMER: Sorry to say.


WAYNE KRAMER: Maybe that's changing a little bit things like the San Diego music thing really make a difference where musicians can come together and we can talk about these things and we can have conversations about publishing splits and how licensing works and what your rights are and how to protect yourself. How to actually navigate the business side of a career. You know as a self-employed artist. You know we didn't have those kinds of things in the MC fives Era.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Right now exactly you have really expanded your musical world, you are scoring for movies and documentaries. Is that the kind of growth that young musician should be considering what they are looking at their careers?

WAYNE KRAMER: Well what I often do is point them to the Bureau of Labor and statistics website on the Internet. And on that website it's the US there is a list of every job that is a job in America and you will find copyists, you will find composers, you'll find professional musicians. You will not find rockstar.


WAYNE KRAMER: It is not actually a job but the other jobs are and it will tell you, exactly the kind of sphere the fork situations that are available to you. You know if someone chooses to going to scoring, you know that is a particular field and it has its own educational requirements, his some training if your forte is performing live that has another set of qualifications you know it is a fairly broad field or you know, the career field.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: And when people stop by your panel on Saturday afternoon what should they bring with them?

WAYNE KRAMER: An open mind and a pleasing personality.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: That sounds, I will cover a lot of ground. Thank you very much, Wayne Kramer I appreciated.

MARJY TAYLOR: Well thanks for the opportunity. If I may I just want to remind everyone that I will be playing with my band on Friday night September 14 tab bar peak at 930 prompt. Promptly. And I would invite everyone to come out and we will kick out the jams.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Fair enough, thanks so much. Thanks for the opportunity to talk by by March you've attracted some other noteworthy guest the San Diego music thing tell us will be there

MARJY TAYLOR: We are really excited to have Chuck D from Public enemy speaking of political artists I think he will be really interesting to listen to is God of love other artistry that Linda Laurelwood a social media for the smashing pumpkins amongst other people we have quite a few attorneys who can talk to about SUS saying what your rights are. We have some great music journalists including Ben Westhoff who is the music editor at LA weekly. Somebody from Friday. A bunch of different publications. We try to cover a really broad spectrum of who we invite. We have people from slacker that are going to tell you how to get your music on Pandora or slacker or Spotify or those kinds of things. We've got a bunch of publicists who can talk to about how to promote your band the right way. You know that actually attracts attention of the positive kind.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: just really sounds like a really important workshop for people who want to make music as a living. But there's also the fun element involved and that is you're going to have a lot of bands as you mentioned playing. Tell us some of the bands that will be playing there besides Wayne Kramer's band at bar pink.

MARJY TAYLOR: Yes we also have Chuck D and his DJ going to do a little set at the office on Saturday some other bands we are excited about our J-jams which is kind of a new indie rock supergroup. We have Alejandra Escovedo, who is kind of legendary in the music business, we have Ben Taylor, who is James Taylor's son, we have kind of a funky cool up and coming band that is a punk bluegrass band called old man Markley. Basically we have pretty much something to appeal to anybody and we've got 14 different stages.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Now you've gotten some track record because the San Diego music thing has gone on for five years. What kind of feedback have you gotten from attendees in years past?

MARJY TAYLOR: I think people really like the panels predicting that there is valuable information that comes out of that stuff also valuable connections because really and courage people to network and talk to each other. Everybody that is here to speak is accessible for you to talk to at the hotel. I think that is really important. A lot of the bands will come by the hotel and hang out also. I think that's kind of the first thing when you go to a big industry events like SXSW there's pretty much no chance you're going to actually get to talk to anybody. So we also try to do a few things that are just San Diego centric. We have a lot of activities, bins and happy hours out by the pool. And that kind of stuff just to kind of keep the local flavor I think. If you've never been to the Lafayette Hotel it's kind of a funky old landmark and they used to do like big band concerts. It was kind of a celebrity stopover for people traveling from LA to Mexico.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: As it is called the historic Lafayette hotel.

MARJY TAYLOR: That's kind of a funky place we try to keep a lot of the flavor and I think people really like that.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: As I think I mentioned in the beginning you are the development director for the San Diego music foundation. The San Diego music foundation is putting on this event. Can you remind us what it does? It's basically an organization that promotes music in schools, right?

MARJY TAYLOR: Right, we provide instruments to schools, guitars primarily. We also, in the last couple of years have started facilitated training for teachers or interested in teaching the guitar but don't have any specific training related to that. So that has kind of been a new thing that we started doing that people really have responded well to. But it is primarily the instruments.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: And if this event also a fundraiser for that cause?

MARJY TAYLOR: Inasmuch as this event makes funds, yes it is.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: maybe just takes us young musicians one step further along in their careers after they've gotten their guitars.

MARJY TAYLOR: We try to keep the continuity we provide guitars all the way from elementary school through high school so we want really to give people opportunities at the various stages to further their interest in music. It is such an important thing.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Let me tell everybody that the San Diego music Thing takes place Friday and Saturday, September 14 and 15th at the Lafayette Hotel in North Park. For more information go to I've been speaking with Marjy Taylor development director at the San Diego music foundation Marjy, thank you.


MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: We are going out with the title track from Jim suicide pact they will be playing Friday night at soda bar.