Jul 17, 2011

She's got it!

Vicky Hamilton's career started as a record store clerk and music journalist in Fort Wayne, Indiana where she championed new bands, and wrote reviews for a local free press. Following her career, Vicky migrated to the West coast in 1982 and quickly became a management consultant to Motley Crue and Stryper. Vicky's ambitions lead her to form her own management company which jump started the careers of rock legends Guns and Roses, Poison, Faster Pussycat, and many more, while at the same time producing and promoting many live concerts, mostly on the Sunset Strip. Soon After, Vicky became an A&R representative for Geffen Records. Vicky has and probably always will, introduce legendary talent to the global mainstream. 

Vicky currently resides in Hollywood, CA not far from the world famous Capitol records building and where she runs her office from home and until last year worked as a booking agent for the legendary club Bar Sinister. Currently she represents and consults for several high profile clients, fine artists like painters Eric Montoya and Federico Archuleta co-managers recording artist The Art (with John Martinovic and Richard Bishop owner of 3AM. Richard also manages recording artists such as The Crystal Method & Henry Rollins.) Under her company name Aesthetic V, Vicky is producing the Music Business Rockumentary "Until the Music Ends" with Bill L. Watson, Paul Alexander Juutilainen and Juri Koll and co-writing and developing several screenplays among them, Gothic City and Metal Maven. She also has a musical play called Glitter Beach, that was co-written by Robbie Quine, and was overseen through a rewrite by legendary director Daniel Henning. Glitter Beach is soon headed for the stage under Henning as a director.

REVOLUTION caught up with Vicky to talk about her ongoing projects and get all grit about surviving in the music industry.

R. Music is notoriously known as a boys club when working in this business, how has a woman of your caliber survived and sustained yourself?
VH. My career in the music business (and also the film, theatre and art business) has been one wild ride. My attitude always is...pull down the safety bar but put your hands in the air! Feel the fear, but enjoy the ride if you can. Here it is in a nutshell... I only do projects that I love and am passionate about. I try to be as honest as possible and have integrity in my work, I never sell out for a buck. I keep my overhead very low. I never put all my eggs in one basket. I try and live up to the "Golden Rule," and try not to burn bridges. I pray and meditate every day and do yoga and swim when I can. I own a dog walking business, so when the creative projects are not paying, I can still feed myself and lastly... I am a very lucky and grateful girl. Many people have supported me and backed me over the years... if I didn't have friends like Howie Hubberman and Greg Markel who are willing to lend a helping hand when I most need it, I don't think I would be here today. I put value on all my relationships.

R. The music industry has evolved, changed, shifted and in some ways turned up-side down. What will become of records labels and the music industry in the future?
VH. The sad truth is that major label system just can't sustain itself any longer. The majors are now forced to concentrate on pop records and "American Idol" type artist, as they need to see instant returns on their investments. Today's major market is much like the 60's, reliant on a single hit, making the rest of the album nearly a throw away. Gone are the days of artist development. The development of the artist now falls on the artist themselves and their management.
 Most teenagers and young adults now expect to get their favorite tracks from their favorite artist for free by downloading them illegally on the Internet, or file sharing with friends. While from a promotional standpoint this is a good thing, from a profit standpoint, it's impossible for the business to survive. The argument usually is " I would buy it if the artist was truly getting the money," or "If I love the hit, i will think about buying the album." The reality is every time they steal a song from their favorite artist, they are taking food off that artist's table. We wouldn't dream of walking into an art gallery and stealing a painting off the wall and running out the door with it, and yet that is what the consumer is doing to the music artist every time they steal music from them.
 It is harder than ever to be a career artist. The record companies now want to sign bands to 360 deals, which allow the label to participate in a bands publishing, merchandise and live revenue, usually not doing much to promote the artist but calling it a "partnership venture," so the artist takes home less and less of the pie. At the same time, the record companies are under staffed, as there are not enough profit margins to hire enough employees to do the job right.
 It's really annoying to me, as I can see that there will be fewer new bands because they will not be able to support themselves solely on their creative talent. This system has already crushed records stores and major recording faculties and fewer new acts are taking to the road, as they can't afford to go. Great songwriters will start to take less of a chance with they're writing, as they are trying to write hits so they can pay their bills. if you don't believe me, look at the billboard chart...most of the top twenty artist's I guarantee didn't write the song they are singing.
 The good news is that the artists themselves now control the music business. Every artist can make records, put out and control their own career. the problem is that they also need to figure out how to market their records; otherwise not many people  will hear them. So hip Internet marketing people and branders will be the hotshot executives of the future. So my hope is that real music fans become the owners of cool indie labels and figure out a new way of doing business that will be fair to the music artist. The old system is broken, something new is dying to be birthed here and now...

R. What bands are you working with now?
VH. I am co-managing with Australian Manager John Martinovic and American Manager Richard Bishop an amazing rock band from Sydney called "The Art." I love this band so much! They put on such a great show, it's clear that they are the real deal! I met them when I was booking Bar Sinister and had an instant bond with the whole band, but the singer Azaria, is someone who will be always near and dear to my heart. Beyond his incredible talent as singer, songwriter and performer, his inner beauty matches his outer beauty. When the musical play I co-wrote with glam rock/surf master brilliant song smith Robbie Quine called "Glitter Beach" did it's first reading under director Daniel Henning in March 2011, Azaria flew around the world for me to play the leading role. So not only does he have top-notch talent as a music artist, he is on his way as an actor too...trust me, if you do not know The Art and Azaria already, you will soon...Check out this video for "Step Inside" directed by up coming creative Kyle Wilson... need I say more?



R. You are currently producing a Music Business Rockumenatry titled "Until the Music Ends," tell us about this project?
VH. I'm about half through the filming of Until the Music Ends. It's a documentary about how the music business has changed in the past 10 years, mostly because of the changing business model and the internet. the tag line is "Music is free, now what?" We have interviewed a lot of great artist; Slash, the Crystal Method, The Veronica's, Michael Monroe, Alan Parson, Dick Dale etc along with many music business executives like; Andy Gold, Jerry Heller, Barry Squire, Greg Markel (who wrote the title track),  Kim Fowley,Troy Blakely, Roggie Baer, Gary Calamar. I even interviewed Steve Wozniak who invented the first Apple Computers. The idea came to me when I was teaching at the Musician's Institute in Hollywood. It was clear to me the very kids who want careers in the music business were the ones who were stealing music off the internet... So who is going to pay their salaries? Ultimately, it's the artist... so if the artist can't survive, neither can the business. I'm hoping this documentary will become a wake up call. it's also my give back to the industry I love. for me it is about nurturing NEW artists and NEW executives, so I am hoping that the new artist will soon be extinct. I want my life in the music industry to mean something and if this documentary can be a little eye opening and get people to start talking about how we can make this a fair business for the artist, their reps and the corporate world, then I have done my job. The reality is the music industry must change, or it is going to die.

R. Away from the LA Madness, when at home what current artist are you listening too?
VH. It is so hard to pick one artist... I love so many old and new but I have to give props to Imogen Heap! This is her new song "Lifeline" and this video is just amazing. I think over the past couple of years I have listened to her records "Speak For Yourself" and "Ellipse" thousands of times. Something about her songwriting just tells my story and makes me feel calm and safe inside.



R.  You are currently writing your 1st autobiography scheduled to be out in late 2012. Will their be any gossip and dirt about what you witnessed behind the scenes?
VH. Of Course! After years of speculation about what really happened...the big reveal! I'm calling my book "Trimming Tits Off Tires, "I have met and worked with some of the most interesting people in the business; Motley Crue, Stryper, Poison, Guns and Roses, Salty Dog, Darling Cruel... even hung out with Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash... not to mention all the music executives I have encountered, the world deserves to hear my stories about being a female in the music business, hopefully a publisher will see it as worthy.


R. You have an impressive list of achievements; tell us which one has been the highest so far?
VH. I have two... making "Pressing On" with June Carter Cash and it winning a Grammy for Best Traditional Folk record in 2000. I had pitched the idea to all the major labels and no one wanted to do it. So I started my own record company (Small Hairy Dog) to put it out...Johnny Cash put his arm around me and told me he knew who did this and pointed to me...I cried tears of joy, nothing in my career has been as rewarding as that.
 And number two would be writing this musical Glitter Beach with Robbie Quine. We have been working on it for five years. A year and half ago director Daniel Henning got involved with us and oversaw us through a rewrite from page 1. It's about a glam rocker surfer dude who changes the world through his music in 1967. I'm really proud of the writing but more than that, I am so proud of the music Robbie wrote for it... I truly think it is his finest hour. I think even David Bowie would be proud! Robbie and I love David Bowie and this play in many ways is homage to Ziggy Stardust. I can really see it on the big stage in my head and it has been so exciting to watch it come to life, a few times during rehearsals seeing Azaria play Reef Bedrock (the lead character) moved me to tears...I'm so proud and appreciative of all the convergences with so many talented souls who have joined us on this journey.

Last but not Least...

R. You live in Smurf Village; your character of course is "Smurfette" she is one of a kind full of feminine grace and frivolous. Gargamel the evil wizard is up to his usual tricks and is planning to disrupt a Smurf rock event. What will you do to save the day?
VH. Well that is an easy one...What Gargamel doesn't know is that under all her feminine charm and grace Smurfette is the Blue Witch of the West...she looks at Gargamel deep in the eyes and captures his soul, turning him into a gold statue at the entrance gate of the venue giving the "heavy metal" sign ^nn^. At the end of the concert she carts the gold statue backstage and turns him back to his sinister self and he is humiliated even further and runs of screaming how he is going to destroy all the Smurfs as the little blue creatures, laugh out loud.


Vicky Hamilton
Artist Entertainment Management,
Documentary Filmmaker, Writer

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