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Finding a stage and making money


By Nathan Tafoya
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, October 7, 2004
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Bands who've played concert venues at the UA will never have the same groupie love as those who've performed at CBGB's or the Apollo.

But musicians have got to start somewhere. And groupie love is groupie love. Why complain?

The UA actually offers some nice spots for musical performances both indoors and out. Bands can even get paid if they let the University Activities Board sponsor their concert.

"It's easier to go through us," said Moochie Bennen, UAB local/regional concert director, about the benefits of using UAB rather than a band booking itself. "It's more profitable, both figuratively and literally, because we can promote you as well as pay you for it."

Bands playing the outside stage on the UA Mall during the Thursday noon to 1 p.m. slot get $200. Bands playing at the Park Student Union from 6 to 7 p.m. Mondays get $150 and musicians performing in the Cellar Restaurant from 6 to 7 p.m. Wednesdays get $100.

Bennen said the payments come from the student activity fee and that local and UA bands have a high chance of getting sponsored.

There isn't a whole lot of time and effort involved. To start, all musicians need is a tape recorder and a tape that they can get for about $20 at Wal-Mart.

"They just come and say, 'Hey, I'm in a band. I want to play,'" said Bennen. "And then ideally speaking, I listen to the demo ... we go through the music. We listen to it. If we like it, we put them outside.

"It's really hard to discriminate against bands because not as many as we'd like are coming to us," continued Bennen about acts on campus. "We have to look for them as well. And we're trying to find a lot of diverse acts."

Venues on campus include both student unions, Bear Down Field and even McKale Center.

UAB sponsored CatFest this year with The PharCyde in the Grand Ballroom, the ballroom's first use as a concert venue. UAB national concerts director Kristen Maryn said the acoustics were actually good.

According to Bennen, the main stage on the Mall is where local bands will get the most exposure.

"It's a great time because so many people are walking to classes or going to lunch or either hanging out or whatever," said Bennen.

UAB has booked non-local shows with bands with either big heads or a sense of humor.

The Living Legends requested a red lighter and thumbtack in addition to a Serena Williams photo ("with Ass in Pic If Possible"), and Phantom Planet asked for one human skull with the name of a city on it.

Maryn said local bands aren't like that because they just want to play.

This year's Battle of the Bands will showcase eight bands that have at least one UA student among its members. Dates are Nov. 8, 10 and 15 from 5 to

7 p.m. Battle of the Bands demos are due by Oct. 20, but Maryn said UAB was being a little flexible. There is a $10 fee if a band is chosen to be among the initial eight bands vying for the finals.

If students want to view schedules of concerts and upcoming events, or if they want to book a concert, they can log on to union.arizona.edu/concerts.



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