FanBeltMilwaukee
Stripwax

Dear Sire Records…

By - Apr 13th, 2010 11:12 pm
Sign-up for the Urban Milwaukee daily email

By Jeff Moody

Dear Sire Records…

Congratulations on the release of Foxy Shazam’s new self-titled elpee. I’ve followed this band for a while now. I freelanced on a weekly basis with Cincinatti CityBeat for a number of years, and took an interest in the local scene there. I’d lurk around the Cincy music blogs and bulletin boards, and noticed one band’s name always came up with rabid enthusiasm: Foxy Shazam. The rockcrits at CityBeat championed them early on, and after hearing their second elpee “Introducing…” I became a fan as well.

You’ve done a great job with them so far. I’ll admit I was concerned when I read that John Feldmann was producing. I’ve always thought his band Goldfinger never really were as big as they could’ve been, especially after personally witnessing them melt some Santa Monica dive one autumn night in 1995. But as a producer, he’s only worked with bands whose success is some sort of unsolved mystery to me: The Used, Good Charlotte, Story Of The Year, Panic At The Disco!, and several other glossy acts that mall-punx seem to enjoy listening to while plunking down twenty dollar bills for tee-shirts at Hot Topic. Foxy Shazam is far more talented and musically complex than any of them, and Feldmann seems to have realized that and he brought out their very best on this new record. I liked “Introducing…” because of its piano-based manic energy, unpredictability, but most of all, because of Foxy’s frontman Eric Sean Nally. I can’t think of a singer currently working who cliff-dives into songs with the kind of fearlessness and pure joyful abandon that Nally does. The world was wowed last year by the vocal gymnastics of American Idol’s Adam Lambert, but Nally is more much than Lambert; Nally isn’t a mere vocal gymnast, he’s a vocal daredevil. He’s also a tireless frontman, an instigator, a collaborator, and a songwriter. His band sounds as if they were raised in a music store from mere infants and were not allowed to eat or drink until they learned how to play every instrument in the place. Feldmann did a masterful job of making the most of Foxy’s diverse musicianship, and ended up with a record that sounds like the score of some crazy off-Broadway musical. He cleaned up their sound, gave the recording sonic boosts where appropriate, and left in enough goof to keep it real. It’s terrific.

Nally has been saying for years that it’s Foxy’s goal to be “THE BIGGEST BAND IN THE WORLD”. It’s a ridiculous goal of course, but it’s your job to do everything reasonably within yer power to help them make that happen. Getting “Unstoppable” play during the last Superbowl was great, but as you already know, there’s a certain amount of mass brainwashing that has to happen before you can elevate a rock band to superstar status. You’ve got to get their music to as many ears as possible as often as possible, and let’s face it, as big as the Superbowl is, everybody watching was drunk that day and/or were in food comas… they don’t remember hearing “Unstoppable”. Hell, by now they’ve forgotten who even played the game. It’s a great pop anthem, and it’s totally sing-able chorus is ready-made for sporting events. Have you spoken to the Cincinnati Bengals about this yet? “Unstoppable” should be played at ear-splitting volume several times a game at Paul Brown Stadium. It won’t make Ocho Cinco any less annoying, it won’t make the Bengals a better team, but it’ll give the fans a great fight song to rally around. And don’t stop there… you’ve probably noticed that Foxy’s iconography features a basketball. Have you guys made a call to the NBA about making “Unstoppable” the NBA theme song yet? Well… what are you waiting for? DO IT.

Sire Records has a rich tradition of launching the careers of many ground-breaking artists: The Ramones, The Talking Heads, Madonna, The Climax Blues Band (ha ha, just kidding…they were crap) to name a few. Here you have a new opportunity with a new band in the new millennium to do it all over again. Work these guys hard. Get them on the radio. Do hookers carrying large bags of cash and cocaine still have sway with program directors? Get on it. Don’t do what so many other majors do: work the band hard for 6 months and then abandon them for the next shiny object that comes along. Foxy Shazam is a great band, and they gave you a great record. Make sure people hear it. Don’t fuck this up.

Categories: Review, Stripwax

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *