The Challenge… Unite the Scenes and Share the Family!

.It’s time for me to channel my inner Hilljack and rant for a few moments! There is a movement happening on the internet right now to unite the music scenes throughout the tri-state area. I think that the AK Valley and surrounding areas have done a great job creating an amazing scene, no make that family of bands that work together for a common goal. I am so happy that the scene has allowed me to interact with them as a blogger and podcaster for over 20 years! You are not in this alone. There are many resources out there willing to help, and many of them are free to help promote the scene. What I’m trying to get at it, is USE them!

Social Media

Social media can be both a detriment and a godsend when it comes to bands. You should be posting about your band and their upcoming shows, news, cds and so on, BUT, do not rely solely on Social Media. It can help, but it isn’t the only answer. When posting on social media, I suggest tagging the other bands playing the show with you and using hashtags so that people can search the show easily. You need to have a website or some sort of online presense, you need to be posting flyers (PS Venues I’m talking to you here, too!), you need to be sharing shows and resources with other bands and people in the scenes. Together we can take our scenes to higher places.

Our Part in This

When I started AK Music Scene and the Pennsylvania Rock Show back in 2004 my goal was to help build the scene, I have some growing to do still too, BUT the scene has grown and it has began to prosper, and it will get noticed! But why not work together and speed up the process? Why not start linking some local scenes and trade some shows, you’ll make John Lane happy by doing that. John is a staunch support of the AK Valley and Pittsburgh Scenes while he’s out hitting the road in the Akron scene! Lady Jay can help us pull in the West Virginia scene, too.

Would you like to have your music played on the Pennsylvania Rock Show. We’re always looking for guests, just drop us an e-mail. Do you have an upcoming CD Release, epic event, shows, want a cd, show, or song review,  have a tip or trick to share with our scene, want to do a guest article, or just some information that you’d like to get out to the masses? We have AK Music Scene at your disposal to disperse information about our scene. If you have something you want to discuss about the local music scene, that’s where our new website/podcast, Podcast your Scene, comes in. We are also using Podcast your Scene as a home for podcasts that feature local music.

AK Music Scene and the Pennsylvania Rock Show had over 1 million hits last year alone. I’m offering that to you, for free!


As far as my call for interaction goes, we’ve been doing a lot of that around here lately. John Lane, of The Hellfire Club, has started to kick his podcast, The American Hilljack Files into gear. We’ve helped him get it setup and into some directories. Bill has even guest hosted it with him. His podcast is a very to the point look at the OH and PA music scenes.

We have also been involved in the evolution of another podcast called, The Weekly RockBlog. It is hosted by Brian Shaffer of The Free Peanuts Band.  The Weekly RockBlog is devoted to new up and coming music from across the state and beyond. It will review new music of all genres, talk about current musical trends, offer insight into local scenes across the country and provide some tips and tricks on promotion.

First Angel Media

In the Pennsylvania Rock Show’s last episode we interviewed Jana Lee Macheca of First Angel Media. First Angel Media was founded to help promote the Pittsburgh music scene. It has evolved to photography, promotion of shows, written articles, and CD as well as show reviews. Working behind the scenes to help bands find venues as well as helping to promote a supportive and positive environment for all musicians. There is also an element for national and international bands, reviews and articles have reached across the USA and into other countries. Contact First Angel Media if you can use these services, fees stay low – it’s about the music. Jana is a staff writer at The Heavy Metal ICU and Adrenaline 101 Radio. In the coming weeks you will see her start to provide music articles here on AK Music Scene under her writing name, Lady Jaye, as well.

Let us know in the comments, how we can help you! Or let us know how you feel about this article, or even some of your own ideas to help the unification hit the ground running!

– Bill

State Of Local Entertainment 2015 – AKMusicScene.com

Total Music & EntertainmentWhat is the state of local entertainment going into 2016? For those of you that may not know Tony Marinacci of Total Entertainment & Entertainment passed away on September 2, 2015. He was an important figure in the history of the Pennsylvania Rock Show. Tony was instrumental in teaching me how to run a sound board on his own for the live performances that took place in the early years of the show. Tony made suggestions on things such as what bands to play, what equipment to buy, & so much more. But more, much more than that, Tony was Bill’s friend. One of the very last thing’s that Tony asked me to do was to keep his website online for a few years after he passed away. I agreed without hesitation.

Now, I bet you’re wondering what this preface has to do with this post. Every year Tony would release a post on the news section of his website about the State of Local Entertainment. I want to pick of the reigns and continue it for him; however, I don’t feel that I am qualified to do it on my own. So I came up with a plan. I have asked a few people the same questions about the local scene. This article will allow you to read their thoughts. I have asked Brian Drusky (Drusky Entertainment), Chip DiMonick (Chip DiMonick Band, Londona, & Helping Hands Rock Reviews), John Klazon (Western Pennsylvania Local Music Scene), and Vinni Belfiore (Musicans Hotsheet), Michael Stover (MTS Management Group), and Doug Carnahan (After the Fall) to help me tackle this in this article. You can also listen to John Lane’s (the Hellfire Club) answers to the questions in this month’s the Pennsylvania Rock Show.

The State of Entertainment PARS342 by The Pennsylvania Rock Show on Mixcloud

Continue to Brian Drusky’s Responses

Jeff Defalco – Local Spotlight – AKMusicScene.com

AKMS: You’ve been a main stay on the local music scene for quite some time. What would you say has been the biggest change in our music scene during that span?

Jeff: I really don’t think a lot has changed over time other than.. maybe a lot of the older clubs that were around are no longer around. New ones seem to be popping up all the time. Music is music! It just keeps rolling on!

AKMS: What venue that you’ve played is your favorite, and why?

Jeff: I dont really have a favorite. When the place is rockin’ and full of energy ..that would be my favorite at that time! We have played Heinz Field for the Steelers games quite a bit! Those are really cool.. And we got to play at the Penguins Winter Classic a few years ago…

AKMS: What about your music career are you most proud of, and why?

Photo Courtesy of Reina Peli - www.reinapeli.com/

Photo Courtesy of Reina Peli – www.reinapeli.com

Jeff: probably that ive been able to do this non stop for over 30 years…..and its so awesome of a feeling to be able to play with your own kid!…. He is a drumming beast!.

AKMS: You currently play in Glitz, Rockness Monsters, and Thieves. Can you give a brief description of what someone new to these bands might expect to see at one of their shows?

Jeff: GLITZ is 100% hair metal. We pride ourselves on sticking to that for the last 13 plus years. The sound and light show is super cool, too. We try to make it seem like 1985 all over again… that’s what GLITZ is about.

ROCKNESS MONSTERS is more or less heavier alternative. More on the 105.9 the X side of things. We do a lot of our own twist on a lot of songs. We call it MONSTERIZE (ha) We cover a lot of ground and eras!

THIEVES is an acoustic band. Mostly classic tunes. We do mix it up pretty good with the song selection. We are big on the 3 part harmony thing.

AKMS: Hendrix, Eddie, or some other guitar god?

Jeff: Guitar god?… My favorites are George Lynch, Randy Rhoads & David Gilmour. And acoustically would be Michael Hedges and Steven Stills.

AKMS: You teach guitar in the valley, what advice would you give a kid starting out on guitar with dreams of being on stage?

Jeff:  Advice? Well, to be on stage in a working band takes years to acomplish to be successful at it. Its like a marriage, if its meant to be.. It will,  But more importantly would be that since I’ve been a teacher for many many years now, my advice would be to practice a lot!!!!!  And try to get better every day! And make it fun! Because if you don’t, you probably won’t be doing it for long… And the best advice I’d give would be never be in competition with other players to see who is best!  Just be your best! Thats your biggest competition!

AKMS: What embarrassing songs might we find on your phone or MP3 player?

Jeff: My ipod has so many songs that are on there because my students want me to teach them how to play certain songs. Justin Beiber! (haa) Lady Gaga… Katie Perry…(ugh)

AKMS: Sticking with embarrassing things, have you ever had an embarrassing moment on stage?

Jeff: The most embarrassing!…got it! When Brandon (my son) played his first GLITZ gig, first song of the night, my mind was racing. To make sure everything went off without hitch … Well, not paying attention to my own self, I grabbed the wrong guitar, which was in a different tuning than the one I was supposed to be using! We started rockin’ out and had to stop about 15 seconds into the show! All because of me!.. haaa…ya… A little embarrassing, I’d say… I wanted to hide!

Please list websites or contact info for all 3 bands:

Please list upcoming shows for all 3 bands:

  • GLITZ at Blue Haven this Saturday, March 7, 2015
  • THIEVES at Falcon’s in Ford City on March 20, 2015
  • ROCKNESS at Blue Haven on march 28, 2015

Western PA Local Music Scene – Local Spotlight – AKMusicScene.com

Interview with John Klazon from Western Pennsylvania Local Music Scene

John Klazon of Western Pennsylvania Local Music Scene

John Klazon of Western Pennsylvania Local Music Scene

1. How did you originally get involved in the local music scene?
A: I’ve always liked bars and bar bands. I married someone that absolutely did not. 15 years of wedded bliss lead to a divorce and my freedom. I re-discovered my love of both once I regained my freedom in 2008 and never looked back.
2. What was the best concert you have ever been to that involved big name bands?
A: 1986. Tarrant County Convention Center Ft. Worth, Texas. Ozzy and Metallica. Ultimate Sin and Master Of Puppets. I was fortunate enough to not only get great tickets but see Cliff Burton play.
3. What was the best local concert you have been to?
A: Tie. The Mayan Apocalypse Show at the Leechburg Moose in 2012 with Skell and Gigaroo 2014.
4. What past local band that is no longer together would you like to see get back together?
A: Dragline
5. How did Western Pennsylvania Local Music Scene come about?
A: After a few years going to shows, meeting the bands and seeing how Facebook was being used I thought I may be able to do my part spreading the word. I actually kicked around the idea for over a year. One night as I was on my way to a show, I stopped in a bar for a cold one on a karaoke night and the place was packed. After my beer, I went to the show and saw a really great local band playing to a half-full house. That did it. I then created the group over the course of one sleepless night and began inviting people to join. I re-posted what I was receiving in my news feed regarding shows, bands, etc. I then set out to discover just what was here in Western PA. In two years the group has grown to 3,800 members. Participation is the key. Bands need to get their shows, music, videos and Facebook pages in the group. Everyone should try to post pictures and videos of the bands they go to see as well. Shows the band they are reaching people with their music. Everything posted in the group is Public, so fans should feel free to re-post anything posted to their Timelines or ‘networks’, if you will. Spread the word.
6. What do you see as the singularly most important thing about our local scene?
A: Participation. Hands down. Without participation, it would be a shadow of what it is now.
7. You are a local band t-shirt connoisseur. Which band gets the honor of being your first? Which shirt is your absolute favorite? Which band’s t-shirt is your most recent purchase?
A: My first band T-shirt (not event, mind you) was Big House Pete. On the back was a Paul Petersen greeting to all terrorists. Some of you may remember that shirt. I still have it. My most recent purchase was a Dave Iglar shirt that I bought at the Town Tavern in W. Leechburg. My favorite shirt? You’re not putting me on the spot that easy.
8. What was the first local cd that you ever obtained? What is the most recent cd that you have purchased? Are there any cds in particular that you recommend for fans of the scene?
A: First local music CD was Hybrid. For whatever reason my ex-wife decided to open the cell door and let me out for a night. I wandered into Vandergrift and they were playing at the Gazebo in Kennedy Park. I can’t remember who was handing them out. Took it home and listened. Liked what I heard. Can’t seem to locate it, though. My last purchase was Silk9’s “Exit The Pain” EP. My last acquisition was Slant 6’s “No Regrets” (Thank you, Matt Ferrante). Wow, recommendations? Really, it depends on what you are looking for. That’s what I like about the “Scene” here in Western PA is that whatever your tastes, you’re bound to find something you like in original local music.
9. What is your favorite venue to attend a show at?
A: Hands down, Iselin Ballfield for an outdoor venue. I’ve attended 6 years of the Rock For Life shows at the Ballfield without missing a single show. Each year it gets better. I bought a camper specifically for the Ballfield. I even had a very minor part in building the new stage. Indoor, if I am looking for that dive bar atmosphere and some great local music in a more “intimate” atmosphere, the Sidebar in Kittanning. In Pittsburgh, I like the Altar Bar for a larger indoor venue. Like music, there are so many great venues in this area. Hard to give the nod to any particular indoor venue.

Beardly Customs – Local Spotlight – AKMusicScene.com

Interview of Rick Link from Beardly Customs

Rick Link of Beardly Customs

Rick Link of Beardly Customs

1. How did originally get involved in the local music scene? I answered an ad in the Rock N Roll Reported back in 2000 for a band looking for a bassist. That band was Chronic Groove, which eventually evolved into Camp Element.

2. What was the best concert you have ever been to that involved big name bands? Primus when they toured for the Green Naugahyde album. It was just them, no openers.

3. What was the best local concert you have been to? Halloween 2013 at Mr Smalls. The Ruckus Brothers played Michael Jackson’s Thriller in full. Amazing show.

4. What past local band that is no longer together would you like to see get back together? Brave the Fire. Some of the best dudes ever to exist and they were such an awesome band. Vulture is a close second.

5. What do you see as the singularly most important thing about our local scene? I would say the networking. With facebook, twitter, etc it makes hooking up with bands and venues so much easier than back in the day.

6. What was the first local cd that you ever obtained? What is the most recent cd that you have purchased? Are there any cds in particular that you recommend for fans of the scene? Oh man….. I have no idea what my first one was. I would recommend anything from Old Lords, Solarburn, Victims of Contagion, Vulture, etc.

7. What is your favorite venue to attend or play a show at? At the moment, Altar Bar. Great venue, great stage, great PA system.

8. What is Beardly Customs? Beardly Customs is my custom bass, guitar, and now butcher block company. I build one of a kind, handmade instruments based on my client’s wants.

9. How did Beardly Customs get started? I always modified my instruments because i wanted specifics. So i decided to try and build exactly what i wanted. It was a success and i have been doing it for 4 years now.

10. What is your process for creating a new guitar or bass? I need specifics from a client. Once we nail down the details, i proceed to order all the supplies and parts. Once those arrive i get to the building process.

11. How does one go about ordering from you? You can contact me at beardlycustoms@gmail.com, message me on facebook, or message me on instagram.

12. Is there anything specific that you’d like to tell us about your band Camp Element? We are putting the finishing touches on our first full length cd. Our CD release show will be December 27 at Altar Bar.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/beardlycustoms
E-mail: beardlycustoms@gmail.com
Website: www.facebook.com/beardlycustoms
Phone: 724.263.5081
instagram: @beardlycustoms