Sunday, May 11, 2008

Vending Machine Mention in Outside Magazine, June 2008

Our friend Jonathan Kiersky at the Hi-Tone Cafe put "Desert Sun Played" on his summer mix. Check out the side bar below from Outside Magazine's June 2008 issue.

The perfect party mix...doesn't exist. But some people know better than others. And few can be trusted more than the folks at the Hi-Tone Cafe, in barbacue capital Memphis, Tennessee. The pizza joint hosts about 1,000 bands for 300 shows a year--both local and national touring acts. "If a tremendous band is playing rooms our size," says owner Jonathan Kiersky (who suggests the rootsy starter mix here), "they will be playing the Hi-Tone."

1. "Honey, I'm Too Old for You" Jack-O and the Tennessee Tearjerkers
2. "Push and Pull," Viva L'American Death Ray Music
3. "T New," Antenna Shoes
4. "Desert Sun Played," Vending Machine [Buy on iTunes]
5. "Is There a Ghost," Band of Horses
6. "So Much Trouble," Matt Pond PA
7. "Ugly Things," Unknown Hinson
8. "The Cry of Melora," Black CObra
9. "Last Day of Winter," Pelican
10. "Veni Vidi Vici," Black Lips

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Article: Rockin' Rockey, Redbirds mascot, gets his own theme song

From the Commercial Appeal:
Rockin' Rockey, Redbirds mascot, gets his own theme song

By Jim Masilak
Wednesday, May 7, 2008

In a bid to get more fans shuffling down to AutoZone Park, the Redbirds are launching a new interactive marketing strategy based on their most identifiable, ahem, personality: Rockey the Rockin' Redbird.

The nonprofit ballclub commissioned a song from a local artist, shot a music video and choreographed a dance all based around their popular beaked mascot.

The St. Louis Cardinals' Triple-A affiliate hopes that the result, "The Rockey Shuffle," will capture the imagination of the team's youngest fans and help lead families back to the ballpark after six straight years of declining attendance.

"We're always looking for a way to improve the fan experience," said Jason Potter, the Redbirds' director of marketing. "Looking at who is behind the decision to (go to the ballpark), I think it's the kids. If you can win the hearts and minds of the little ones, you're halfway there."

In considering the team's main selling points and the most logical subjects to base a campaign around, Potter decided Rockey was the obvious choice. Unlike the Triple-A club's players, who rarely stay in town for more than a year or two, Rockey is established as the face of the franchise.

"Rockey's our No. 1 marketing asset," Potter said. "We want to emphasize the individual experience at AutoZone Park. What's something we can get the kids engaged in on an individual level? We decided to put Rockey on a more interactive level."

Toward that end, Potter recruited Robby Grant, frontman for 1990s rockers Big Ass Truck, to create a new theme song for Rockey. Performing as Vending Machine, his pseudonymous solo project, Grant composed three songs and solicited input from his 8-year-old son, Five, and 3-year-old daughter, Sadie, before recording the version of "The Rockey Shuffle" now being heard at AutoZone Park.

"We've been to Redbird games and my son definitely knows about Rockey," Grant said. "That's kind of the impetus for me doing it -- my kids, and getting to share the whole process with them.

"They told me what was good."

Grant recorded "The Rockey Shuffle" at Easley McCain Studios. The two-minute, 45-second track features Robert Barnett, Quinn Powers, Doug Easley, Sean Faust and about two dozen kids who can be heard in a dueling chant of "Rockey! Rockey!"

Potter said Grant's participation "lends it a certain amount of indie credibility. We're borrowing some of Robby's cool."

The song debuted recently to rave reviews at AutoZone Park, where about 150 kids took part in a postgame video shoot on a cold Sunday afternoon. The song encourages listeners, among other things, to "put your elbows out beside you and flap them like they're wings" and "take a step to the right and do a loud scream."

The Redbirds hope the song and dance prove popular enough with fans that they'll submit video of their own interpretations. The best ones could end up on the stadium scoreboard between innings.

Potter, who said there are also plans for T-shirts based on "The Rockey Shuffle," said fans have already been requesting encore performances at home games.

"We really want this to be an element that kids come to the park expecting to hear and that adults get in their heads and sing on the way home," said Potter, who talks about marketing Redbirds games to families as "nine-inning vacations."

The song has already hit the local airwaves, making the play list at WEVL-FM 89.9, the city's volunteer radio station.

The Redbirds are selling CD singles for $5 each at the Backstop Baseball Emporium adjacent to AutoZone Park, and fans can listen online at memphisredbirds.com or at vendingmachineband.com.

-- Jim Masilak: 529-2311
-- Pic by Nikki Boertman/The Commercial Appeal

Link to story:
http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2008/may/07/rockin-rockey/

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