In the history of my research on Gorilla Music, I've never seen anything like this. Read on and see what I mean...
In February 2014, suddenly all the Gorilla Reps had this banner as their background on Facebook.
WHAT WAS THE JEFF BLUE TOUR?
Gorilla Music and Gorilla Music Management started advertising a new event, The Jeff Blue Tour. It appeared to be yet another way for Gorilla Music to get new/inexperienced bands to sell tickets for their national pay-to-play events.
With this contest, instead of offering a cash prize or recording time, there was only one prize available...one band would win a chance to go to LA and record with producer Jeff Blue. This routine was similar to a few years past, where Gorilla Music offered one winning band a grand prize $25,000 record contract with their own RockX Records. Of course it made the odds substantially greater than just winning 20 hours of studio time since bands would be competing against every other band in the US for this one opportunity. Like Gorilla Music (then Gorilla Productions) used to offer back in 2011, only one band will benefit. Slots for these 70+ dates were offered in every major city all during Spring, 2014. In addition to that, in some lucky cities, Jeff Blue would actually be in attendance (perhaps to discover you?)! Bands who could sell the 50 tickets would be eligible for the on-line voting phase (Oh of course like most grand prize BOTBs there had to be the on-line beg-fest) of the contest.
Like all their other press releases, Gorilla Music trotted out their old tried and true bullshit that these shows are "opportunities to gain exposure and build your fan base" (unlike every other normal non-Gorilla show where apparently the is no exposure to people you are playing to). However, they added this once in a lifetime chance to go to LA and record with Hollywood mega producer, Jeff Blue. Of course to even qualify each band will need to turn in 50 tickets worth of money ("To qualify for a chance to work with Jeff, your band must sell 50 or more tickets for this event."). For a chance this huge, it wouldn't be inconceivable for bands to just pay for their own tickets. Gorilla proclaims "There is absolutely no entry fee"...but of course you'll need to sell 50 $10 tickets if you expect to get anything out of this. What a crock!
So WHO'S JEFF BLUE?
Jeff Blue has major credentials. There is no denying this from reading his bio. He's worked with Macy Gray, Linkin Park, Limp Bizkit, Hoobastank, etc. In the past, he's been associated with big labels. Jeff Blue also has his own companies, including the Rock Shop Group - aka RSMG (to discover new talent) and and Rock Shop Art (where he turned guitars into drippy art pieces for your home decor).
GORILLA MUSIC AND JEFF BLUE
Gorilla has hired Producer Blue for many other Gorilla Music events. In fact, he's been a main feature at several of the big pay-to-play Gorilla Music Festivals (Cleveland, Kansas City) scouting talent and hosting in-depth workshops on the music industry. Jeff Blue also produced the Grand Prize winner of the $25,000 Rock-X Gorilla Battle of the Bands, A Greater Tomorrow (who did record a single and later disbanded).
Jeff Blue was the keynote speaker at Gorilla Music's Cleveland Music Festival in 2011.
In 2012 Jeff Blue was available for consultations at the Cleveland Music Festival.
So Jeff Blue certainly has got the cred. Some of it might not be particularly recent, but still, he's obviously a busy music industry professional. And that lead me to the question: Why would a legend in the music industry like this, allow himself to be the grand prize in a well-known pay-to-play "tour" (and of course, when I say "tour" I mean just another series of Gorilla's Battles of the unfortunate Bands under a new name)? For me, it just doesn't add up. This is setting the bar way too low from the glowing description about Jeff Blue in the press release Gorilla posted to gather submissions for this event.
Helping to shape popular culture for the last 18 years is quite an impressive accomplishment! So how do you go from selling 130 million records, being the Senior Vice President A&R/ Staff Producer for Warner Bros, Interscope, Virgin/Capitol, Sony/BMG/Jive, Atlantic and RCA, discovering Linkin Park and Macy Gray, signing Limp Bizkit and Korn, writing hit singles, and producing plantinum major label albums to working with a controversial company like Gorilla Music? Wouldn't that hurt your reputation? Isn't a guy that famous too busy to mess with a pathetic pay-to-play battle of the bands?
THE SHOWS, THE TICKETS, THE BEGGING, THE BIG BREAK
The first of these battles have already started to take place. Some weekends Gorilla is hosting more than one. It's the same Gorilla model: Eight or nine unknown bands all selling tickets to their family and friends in order to win the big prize. All the bands are excited for the chance to win this life-changing big break to go to Hollywood and record a hit record with a famous producer. Even kid bands (right) are excited to sell tickets to work with Mr. Blue, as long as their homework is finished first.
And it was advertised that Jeff Blue himself would appear in certain selected cities! That alone would be worth just buying the tickets and giving them away!
TICKETS. TICKETS, TICKETS: THERE ARE ALWAYS TICKETS TO SELL!
Many bands were convinced that this one show could be their big break. This band admits that getting out to this show will be tough for their friends/fans but worth this opporunity of a lifetime.
I couldn't help but enjoy this post when the band is asked how much the tickets are and who else is playing! It will be "a kick-ass show with a bunch of kick-ass bands" and just as soon as the promoter tells us who those kick-ass bands are, we'll be sure to let you know! FYI: Real promoters can actually tell you who the other bands are when they book you. Here's the scoop on real promoters.
Some bands are taking this show so seriously, they think it be what they've been waiting for their entire lives! One battle of the bands might make their dreams a reality! This is one of the sad problems with these type of shows. The expectation is so unrealistic. No wonder bands will do just about anything to win.
AND THEN IT HAPPENED...
It appeared that everything was running as smoothly as a Gorilla Battle could. The shows were all set, the bands were excited that this might be the life-changing break they'd been dreaming of, they were pushing those tickets to make the quota of 50 in order to be eligble for this opportunity.
And then suddenly this post appeared on many of the Jeff Blue Tour event pages.
Could this post be for real? How could Gorilla get this so totally wrong? Over seventy shows have been scheduled! With the normal average eight bands that are featured for these events, we're talking about 560 bands who have possibly been signed up for this, thinking they are winning a chance to go to Hollywood and record with a well-known producer. It just didn't seem possible that Gorilla could book this "tour" without having the full cooperation of the guy they named it after. Soon after April 15th, things started to change drastically.
In an amazing turn of events, suddenly the "Jeff Blue Tour" was turned into the "Once In A Lifetime Tour." Although it seems like the "once in a lifetime" opportunity has been removed from the entire scenario, this is now what the bands will be selling at least 50 tickets for. Like that old bait and switch routine, bands signed up for one show and without warning another took its place. The shows are already scheduled, the bands are signed up, promoting and selling the tickets...what else can they do? In my opinion the prize has been seriously downgraded from a trip to Los Angeles to record with a multi-platinum producer, to a trip to Cleveland to write and record a song with the owner of Gorilla Music, Dan Cull. Even the $5000 cash doesn't compare to the $15,000 value that was originally offered. And of course the winning band gets a year with Gorilla Music Management which we've already discussed.
So what do the bands say about this switcharoo? For some unknown reason, It appears that they mostly blame this problem on Jeff Blue. It's my opinion that the company that offered them the show should be the ones to take the responsibility. But no matter what the excuse, so far these bands seem to be satisfied with selling tickets to win something...whatever it turns out to be.
Jeff Blue Tour at the DragonFly in LA
Jeff Blue Tour at the DragonFly in LA