B.D. McGee’s Presents The 6th Annual N.A.M.M after JAM

N.A.M.M. (National Association of Music Merchants) is the largest music industry event in the world and takes place every January in Anaheim California. Six years ago (2014) we located a little dive bar that was just a short distance from the Anaheim Convention Center and put together our first N.A.M.M after Jam featuring local blues guitarist K.K. Martin. K.K. was backed by Rockin Roll drummer, Mike Hanson and the sunset strips legendary bass player Willie Basse, who we lost this year to his long battle with cancer.  Since then, we have continued to grow this event each year. As we go into our 6th Annual, we have picked up sponsorships from a number of companies and now include not only local artists, but musicians from around the country. 

This year at the newly remodeled Bobby V’s, we will be featuring showcases with artists from Teton Guitars, Culebra Guitars and of course local favorites who perform throughout Orange County, California. 

We invite you to come join us January 24th – 26th, 2019 for 3 nights of great LIVE Music! 

Robert Jon & The Wreck Rocks ‘em in the Rain

Review: Robert Jon & The Wreck Rocks ‘em in the Rain

Some took shelter under an umbrella, while others embraced the warm summer evening rain, singing and dancing to headliner Robert Jon & The Wreck, a blues-rock quintet from Southern California. Their abundant energy never waned over the course of their blistering non-stop two-hour set.

We have promoter Gary Hicks and his company B.D. McGees to thank for this inaugural Kona concert. He hopes to offer five or six shows per year. Hicks hails from Southern California and is a fairly new resident to the Big Island. On the mainland, he was a successful band manager, and concert booker, and ran Laguna Sound Studio. For this concert, he flew in his favorite sound engineer and organized a flawless show that included Na Hoku Hanohano award winner Hilo guitarist, “Lightning Larry” Dupio.

“Lightning Larry” Dupio

Right out the gate, Dupio and his trio showed the crowd no mercy with scorching solos and blues favorites like Chicago bluesman J.B. Lenoir’s “Talk to Your Daughter.” Dupio’s gritty guitar tone worked well especially on “I Put A Spell on You.” About halfway through his sixty-minute set, Dupio played “That’s What I Do,” a track off his current album Lightning Strikes Hilo, and a tune he learned from New Orleans’ most successful rock band, The Radiators. Although it seemed liked it was staged, the skies opened up on cue and the crowd got soaked during the final number, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.”

This was Robert Jon & The Wreck’s first Hawaiian performance, and while many here may have never heard their music before the Courtyard Marriott concert, the Southern Blues-inspired rock songs they played (think Allman Brothers meets Royal Southern Brotherhood) quickly got the crowd out of their seats and dancing in front of the stage.

RJTW’s Robert Jon

RJTW features Robert Jon Burrison (vocals/guitar), Henry James (lead guitar), Andrew Espantman (drums), Steve Maggiora (vocals/keys), and Warren Murrel (bass). The quintet began their musical journey in 2011, and within two years the band had not only embarked on a national tour, but also released their debut EP, Rhythm of the Road. This May they released their third full-length studio recording. Its lead track, “Old Friend,” is full of infectious hooks and clever lines like “You’re just my ex-girl/I’m onto the next girl.”

Before the show, I had a chance to speak with the band about how they got started. “We all have eclectic backgrounds,” explained frontman Burrison. “I came from a four-part gospel background.” As a youth he played guitar and drums at home and listened to his dad’s old gospel records. “What makes the band unique is that no one listened to the same music growing up. We all add different flavors to the ‘meal,’ and the meal is the song.”

Lead guitarist Henry James

About an hour into their set, the rain ended, and stagehands removed the tents that protected them from getting shocked. Less restricted, Burrison and lead guitarist Henry James moved freely around the stage while trading solos. James is a phenomenal player, and his slide guitar is right up there with the great Derek Trucks. Before the night ended we heard solos from Maggiora, Murrel, and Espantman, who was celebrating his birthday.

RJTW takes a short break before they tour The Netherlands and Germany this fall with contemporary blues master Walter Trout. From there they head to France and Spain.

Robert Jon & The Wreck’s Setlist
Breaking Down the Road | Blame It on the Whiskey | Witchcraft | Good Lovin’| High Time | I Got My Eyes On You | When I Die | Cold Night | I Know It’s Wrong | Glory Bound | Tightrope | Drum solo, Keyboard solo, Guitar solo | Old Friend

Rollin’ | Happy Birthday

Larry Dupio’s Setlist
Talk To Your Daughter | Higher Ground | I Put A Spell On You | Three Days | That’s What I Do | Mr. Feel Good | The Thrill Is Gone | While My Guitar Gently Weeps

Bonus Material
Listen to an interview with Larry Dupio

Listen to an interview Robert John & The Wreck

Be sure to check out Robert Jon & The Wreck’ website for the latest tour and music info:

All photos by Steve Roby

Fighting the good fight! The difference of support…

Working in the struggling industry of music, I’ve experienced firsthand the hurdles that local musicians have to deal with. Whether it’s the low paying gigs, the expense of recording their original music or personal life experiences, it’s not an easy way of living. With the support of family, friends, fans and industry peers, our local musicians get up and fight the good fight each day. As we work together to support and grow our music community, we look for opportunities to make a difference.

Gary Hicks, Author

” Music can change the world
because it can change people.”
~ Bono, U2

New Fuzion concert venue is going big

Los Angeles Times article from 2015.
By Kathleen Luppi

The microphones hadn’t been set and the curtains onstage weren’t brushed to the side, but Gary Hicks could practically hear the music.

“This is a promoter’s dream,” Hicks said on a recent tour of what will soon be The Compound at Fuzion in Huntington Beach. “I’m so excited to put on a good show.”

The Compound is set to open Friday, transforming a section of the Fuzion event center into a modern concert venue with room for 400 people.

Hicks, a Laguna Beach resident who promotes music artists, has been busy lately.

Every Wednesday for the past two months, he has provided a local music segment for “The Groove Express” on Laguna Beach radio station KX/93.5 FM. About three weeks ago, Hicks was hunting for a venue that could hold a record-label showcase, and he reached out to one of his contacts, Keeli Scott Lisack, owner of Fuzion. During the conversation, Lisack said the event center had dabbled in live entertainment but hadn’t established continuity in hosting shows or concerts.

The two embarked on a musical project for Fuzion, which offers banquet rooms, a restaurant, multiple bar areas, arcades and mini bowling lanes. Hicks will oversee all entertainment acts at the new Compound and will be responsible for finding and attracting musicians to perform in the 5,000-square-foot room.

“We’re trying to let people know we’re serious about live entertainment and that we have interests for all age groups,” Lisack said, noting the center’s live jazz concerts. “We want the bands and the clientele to have a positive experience.”

Hicks said the position appealed to him because he is passionate about spreading awareness of local bands. He books musicians at Laguna’s The Cliff restaurant and runs BDMcGees.com, a guide to live music in Orange County that allows artists to submit their names in the directory and list their concerts.

The website, Hicks said, was built two years ago when he was frustrated by not being able to quickly locate live music in the coastal community. Online pages he stumbled on were either outdated or limited in their information.

Hicks’ site doesn’t charge musicians to post information. He said advertisements help fund the page, which is about 2,000 clicks shy of 100,000 views.

Hicks said he wants The Compound at Fuzion to be “the musicians’ venue where they are well taken care of and they say to themselves, ‘We may not have gotten instantly rich, but we were well-provided for.'”

Hicks pointed toward the parking lot, where musicians may park 10 feet from the stage and have easy access to quickly unpack and pack their instruments.

Some venues, he said, don’t serve food, but at Fuzion’s restaurant, bands will be able to eat and have a drink.

He plans to launch a rock ‘n’ roll summer school where students can learn about stage presence and practice on instruments, taught by instructors with backgrounds in the music industry.

The center routinely will feature a reggae band Thursdays, younger local artists Fridays and more-established bands on Saturdays.

The venue’s grand opening Friday will spotlight Undecided Future, a group of five Orange County School of the Arts students whose songs range from funk to ska. The band won the People’s Choice Award at the 2014 OC Music Awards, an annual event that honors local artists in multiple categories.

Also performing will be 16-year-old Sabrina Lentini, a Tustin resident who last year made it to the Top 48 on Season 13 of “American Idol” out of more than 75,000 contestants.

“We want the best of the best,” Hicks said.

On Saturday, Pato Banton, a reggae singer from Birmingham, England, will perform, as well as Pilot Touhill, a singer whose influences are rock, pop and reggae.

Hicks said he also wants to place local musicians with touring bands so up-and-coming artists can share the bill with better-known acts.

Hicks said he will forbid pay-to-play schemes in which young artists wanting to improve their profile and get more and better gigs pay a promoter to play a show.

Hicks said musicians who will play at The Compound will earn a percentage of proceeds from tickets sales. He said he hopes that down the line he can attract sponsors, because the money would help cover costs and eventually lead to a bigger percentage for bands.

“I haven’t met a musician who is a businessman,” Hicks said. “When they come here, I want them to be artists and rock stars onstage. I’m not hiring Girl Scouts to go door to door to sell tickets.”

As he strolled through the unfinished room, Hicks was optimistic.

“It’s going to be a great venue,” he said with a smile. “I want the bands to love this place more than I love it.”

If You Go

Who: Undecided Future, Sabrina Lentini

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Where: The Compound at Fuzion, 7227 Edinger Ave., Huntington Beach

Cost: $10

Information: (714) 377-7671 or fuzionhb.com