A Chat with Fastlane Records Head Honcho Shawn C. Lane Part Deux

Part 1 of this interview can be found here.

RRR: I have always felt that the live show was integral to rock and roll, especially in this day of music videos and You Tube. Your thoughts?

flr-1.jpgSCL: Oh sure, if you can’t make the audience feel their part of a rock and roll spectacle you need to pack-it-up and go home. We approach each recording as if the band is playing live..you can’t fool the fans, they know when there’s no energy and then they get bored and move-on. I always wanted the fans to put a FLR release in their car stereo and get the feeling the band is in the backseat playing live as the kick-drum is thumping up against the drivers seat (laughs)..crowd participation is everything to us, I also want fans to be comfortable with the quality of our releases that they will buy blindly anything we put out because they know it pure quality from the heart. That’s our main mission/goal of our existence.

RRR: What kind of distribution does Fastlane have? Are you playing in the digital space as well and how?

SCL: We have distro all through North America and picking up more all the time. We also cover Europe/Japan, etc. It’s never enough and we’ll never settle on any certain territory as we are always eager to expand all over the country, etc. Small/medium/large we just want to make sure it’s available in storeas abroad and if it isn’t you can go to the counter and order it…it’s all about convienence for the consumer. As for digital we are on iTunes, Yahoo, etc, etc..you can also go to our interactive website (shameless plug) www.fastlanerecords.com and download one song or the whole album or you can be old-fashion and actually (gasp) by the CD in the hard copy version..jewel case and all (laughs)..why someone wouldn’t want the actual hard copy of the release and read through the booklet and listen to the disc at the same time is really beyond me as I waited as a eager kid for the newest Alice Cooper/KISS Record to come out so I could check out the posters/tattoos/decals, etc..I’ll never know, but hey it’s a new era and you have to roll with the changes and we give the audience a choice which I really think they appreciate having choices that suits them and their element.

RRR: I’ve noticed that Fastlane has done some pretty cool tribute projects. For those who may not have been aware, what have you done in the past and what do you have in store for the future?

SCL: As I mentioned the NY Dolls tribute ‘Jetboys Of Babylon’ came out in 2005 all done in HD and features a all-star line-up including David Johansen/The Alarm/Steve Jones/FLIPP and many more…liners written by Dolls biographer Nina Antonia. Also the Rick Springfield tribute ‘Working Class Dogs’ which features members of Rick’s band among others. Don’t be fooled by being a tribute to Rick Springfield, these rock and are done modern to appeal to his fans and their kids as well..also done in HD. We also have on the chopping block the Beatles tribute ‘Beatle-Esque’ and one to The SWEET called ‘Sweetness’ and last but not least the Cheap Trick tribute ‘Tricked Out’. Understand I hate/loathe tributes as their all done tasteless and lackluster and we have no intentions of churning out tribute after tribute. We wanted to take a handful of bands/people and pay homage to, but do it right and for the right reasons, etc. Partial proceeds of our tributes go to the American Cancer Society.

RRR: The Rock and Roll exists to constantly remind people that rock and roll is far from dead and FastLane certainly believes in the power of the amplified guitar! What do you see as rock and roll’s prospects? Do you see it shrinking into a specialized niche like blues while the pop tarts of the American Idol generation monopolizes mainstream media?

SCL: Yes, we think the amped-up guitar is the backbone of rock and roll at it’s best. It signifies rebellion as much as angst and aggression and when used properly with hooks/harmonies galore it’s meant for a escape of everyday life, we here at FLR don’t believe in preaching a message or driving a political message home. Music is a escape from everyday life..if you want a sermon/message then attend church. Were trying to bring a oasis and a wall of sound to relieve aggression/tension. American Idol is nothing but manufactured drivel catered to the masses of young people who actually think that’s all the choices they have for great music..sad, really. I think like any other trend AI will run it’s course and it will go down in the annals of music history of contrived/manufactured pop-stars that have material written for them..not a original/creative bone in their body. Anything that’s not real comes out in the wash.

RRR: What are your thoughts on DRM, podcasting, Internet radio and digital music downloads?

SCL: We embrace/welcome it. Podcasting is taking over radio it seems. When you have a good product it sells itself no matter what it’s played on. Again word-of-mouth will always carry beyond the call of duty. You have to keep up with the ever-changing world of technology or get lost in a cloud of dust. As I stated, we already have digital downloading available on our website as well as the other outlets..visibility is a viable approach as you have to make sure your product is in reach, I don’t care how great your release is, if no one hears it or does not know it even exist, it falls on deaf ears. It has really become a dog eat dog world in the audio realm. You always have to stay a step-ahead or you will be left in back of the line. In closing I think rock and roll fans are smart enough to scour the web and find what suits their musical taste and we here at FLR believe we offer-up enough variety in the rock/pop genre (and everything else in-between) there’s truly something for everyone to enjoy. Feel free to visit our awesome interactive website at www.fastlanerecords.com as well as our my space site at www.myspace.com/fastlanerecords.

irg1.jpgWe also have a side company in the IRG (Independent Recording Group) www.independentrecordinggroup.com that networks with other quality Indie labels (as we believe in strength in numbers) to help build a strong/viable force to bring high-quality releases to the masses of music fans that are ready for a change. There really is a choice in music, we just have to educate ourselves better and seek-it-out. We feel feel confident that FLR will make a lasting impression on your music buying as we offer variety and high-quality releases to impress the most fickle music fan.

I would like to thank Shawn for taking his time out for speaking to me and I highly recommend you check out the Fastlane Records site and have a listen to what they are doing. Its all pretty amazing and sounds great live!

Later.

Mark