The Origin of MusicMarauders
Words By J-man
"What should I name this fucking thing?" I asked myself in the midst of a joint in my Upstate, NY apartment. "It's got to be something with just 'Music'in the title. Nothing more specific than that, as we'll be covering a wide variety of genres." One more drag on the joint yielded the memory of driving down Woodward Ave. in Detroit, listening to Tribe Called Quest's Midnight Marauders. "MusicMarauders! That's it... It completely encompasses what we do in the sense the we are 'maraudering' or 'pillaging' for music," I thought as I stared out of the window at about three and a half feet of fresh Upstate snow.
First things first, the domain had to be registered. "Do I have ten dollars in my account?" I thought to myself from a position of just scraping by. Pulling out my shiny, rarely used debit card, I put it to the test and was able to secure MusicMarauders.com. "What's next?" I thought with little to no direction of where to go with the idea. All I could think to do was to start off with some perspective from folks who have been immersed in the scene for some time. I began with an interview with Soulive's Eric Krasno and continued on with artist like Tim Palmieri, Zach Deputy, DJ Logic, Vince Herman, Larry Keel, etc. While progressing in interviewing ability, my techniques were also improved through a couple of generous purchases from my overwhelmingly supportive parents, who sent me a handheld audio recording device. I began to feel like a true journalist.
We began submitting press/media credential requests to bands and venues with an overwhelmingly positive response. Shortly to follow, our first logo was designed, we selected a layout for our web page and started a Facebook group. Folks began to reach out to MusicMarauders which was no longer just me. It had within about a month's time become a national publication, with folks coming out of the woodwork from San Francisco to Florida to New York to the mid-west, wanting to contribute to what we were doing.
Once again, I found myself out of my element, trying to figure out how to proceed directionally and how to lay a base for our contributors. At first, it was tough to chase several of the "hippie" contributors down for content or hold them to deadlines, but one learning experience led to another and along side my good friend, Greg Molitor, we slowly began to come up with loose guidelines and expectations. Little by little our content, volume of coverage, editing and overall writing/communication ability improved and for the first time began to look like it had some potential.
Across the country we were being welcomed into venues and musical circles with open arms. At times it was a bit overwhelming. At one point pretty early on, I found myself on a couch backstage at a show at The River St. Jazz Cafe' in Wilkes Barre, PA between DJ Logic and Bernie Worrell. The increasing exponential effort that I put into MusicMarauders quickly translated into mind-blowing musical experiences for both myself and my girlfriend at the time, Birchann, who was also very passionate about music. Shows turned to festivals as we found ourselves knee deep in the live music scene. People began to say "Oh, yeah, I've heard of MusicMarauders," as we met folks from all over.
The summer of 2010 was one of the busiest/craziest of my life, living paycheck to paycheck, traveling around from festival to festival, covering the scene, networking, interviewing my idols and discovering the true potential of MusicMarauders. A chance miracle to Colorado from my best friend, Murray, forever changed my perspective of the scene and launched me into an all out focus on basing MusicMarauders out of Colorado. For a time though, the idea that began with Zach Zeidner in Ann Arbor, MI as a blog, would return to it's home state. During that time, MusicMarauders celebrated its one year anniversary with a show at The Maylen Farm, in a venue that we called The Barn. It was a wonderful night of bluegrass with The Henhouse Prowlers, friends, family and supporters.
The time in Michigan was short-lived as I met a girl by the name of Carly and moved across country to explore the possibility of a relationship with her and to tap into the Colorado music scene. We began to see music on a near nightly basis, often having to choose between multiple bands/shows. In Upstate, NY, I would see a show every two or three weeks, in Michigan I would see a show every week or two. In Colorado, there was too much music, which meant I was in the right place and needed help with coverage.
Carly fell into MusicMarauders deep. She had very limited reference of the scene through one Railroad Earth show and a brush with Phish lot. She quickly found herself discovering new/different music on a nightly basis. She fell in love with what the scene had to offer in regards to beautiful people, incredible experiences, unique music and open-mindedness. I used to get so excited watching the looks on her face and hearing her try to describe what she was feeling. She quickly became the passionate help I needed in regards to video, photography, editing, decision-making and support. I have never in my life felt so much unconditional support from one person. Without Carly, MusicMarauders wouldn't be what it is today.
Colorado opened the door for full time coverage. We began getting invited into the studio with bands and started receiving e-mails for coverage. One of the key discoveries (via Tim Carbone) in that first year was a little festival near Bond, CO on the Colorado River called, YarmonyGrass. This magical gathering of musicians and music fans has captured our hearts and has forever changed our perception of music festivals.
Over time, networking lead to new projects and partnerships, filling up the plate quickly. We began receiving questions about possible management, etc. and brushed it off as we continued to cover a plethora of incredible events. A couple of highlights of that first year in Colorado began with the opening of a relationship with Bernie Worrell, through a few wild turn of events. The story unfolded like a dream and spawned a relationship that is still in its infancy. Secondly, we came upon saxophonist, Pete Wall, who was in limbo between Whitewater Ramble, Particle, his own project Textiles and a few more options. Following a few chance meetings, we began our relationship and I consider Pete to be a good friend.
On New Years Eve 2010, my life was forever changed. I took one step into the main room of Quixote's and I melted. It was a Grateful Dead museum/mecca. It was as I had dreamt it would be... Heaven on earth for me. I knew that night that Quixote's was where I wanted to start spreading our Colorado roots! Towards the end of January another big moment in MusicMarauders history occurred with the meeting of The Motet. This wild group of talent welcomed us with open with open arms and we became friends with a lot of the members. Thankfully The Motet is one of the most consistent bands on the scene. It saves me the awkwardness of having to explain my critical reviews to a group of friends.
Some of the highlights of our first year in Colorado came with The String Cheese's "Winter Carnival," Disc Golfing with Zach Deputy and crew, Fareed Haque taking the time to do a Moog guitar demo with us, seeing moe. on the side of a mountain that was not accessible by vehicle in Breckenridge, interviewing a couple of my musical idols including Bernie Worrell and Tim Reynolds, Desert Rocks Music Festival/Arches, The Motet at Mishawa, Motet doing the music of The Talking Heads, Sonic Bloom, YarmonyGrass 2011, YMSB/RRE/ISD at Red Rocks, Burning Man, Going into the studio with The Contribution and meeting our regular contributor, Nicholas Stock.
The most recent developments of this dream came via the launch of MusicMarauders Management & Publicity, the launch of our podcast, MusicMarauders Live and some exciting developements that are currently in the works!
Our partnerships include:
Bernie Worrell, Family Funktion & The Sitar Jams, Game 7 (Kang, Magner, Wall, Gould, Pujalet), Highland Tap & Burger, LOHI Festival, Naryan Padmanabha, Particle, Pete Wall, Quixote's True Blue, Textiles
Currently, we operate MusicMarauders, we do press/media/promotions for Quixote's True Blue, we manage/handle publicity/provide booking for a handful of artists and we reside in the mecca for our scene, our home, Denver, CO! It has been a pleasure and an honor to be welcomed onto the scene with open arms. We have met some incredible people and have been apart of some truly amazing happenings. This has been a dream come true and a fantastic ever-expanding life experience for us.
Lend us your support, join us in this adventure!
MusicMarauders Management & Publicity