Features Rock Biz

A Interview with Ivan Gospich of Management Company Mandatory Music Group

Here at the Rock and Roll Report we feel it important to not only highlight amazing bands and labels but also people involved in all aspects of the music biz. Whether it be management or promotional companies, club owners, web 2.0 pioneers or media people, we hope these features give musicians the benefit of some free advice by people in the rock biz trenches.

Today we speak to Ivan Gospich of management firm Mandatory Music Group about music management, artist development and when a band should start considering hiring management.

copy-of-mandatory-records-webRRR: How long has the Mandatory Music Group been in the business?

Mandatory Music Group officially launched in October 2008.

RRR: Where are you located?

San Jose, CA (USA)

RRR: What are some of the services you offer through the company?

Artist development, production/recording, marketing and management.

RRR: How are you different from other management companies out there?

We focus on nurturing the talents of the musicians we choose to represent, instead of trying to mold them into something we think the main stream will like and buy. When all is said and done, it truly is all about the music, not personalities.

RRR: Are there specific people you are looking for that can use your services? (Do you only accept certain people? Or if they can pay, you’ll take anyone on as a client?)

Our mission is to help great original rock artists who exhibit musicianship and meaningful messages in their music, get heard! We accept music submissions and only take on artists that we believe in.

Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Chickenfoot “Chickenfoot”

chickenfootIt is refreshing to see a classic hard rock act get the A-list treatment in terms of promotion. I seem to find signs of Chickenfoot everywhere – even on the (gasp) radio! For those of you who have recently been rescued from a desert island, Chickenfoot is rock’s latest supergroup comprised of one half Van Hagar (Sammy Hagar and Mike Anthony), guitar wizard Joe Satriani, and Red Hot Chili Pepper drummer Chad Smith.

The pros: The chemistry between these guys is fantastic and their individual talents gel well to produce a modern rock feel – the record sounds great. Sammy’s vocals are still incredible after all these years of tequila-drenched wailing and to say that Satriani is amazing with the guitar is a vast understatement. The packing is pretty cool, too, with the heat-activated digipak whose artwork shows up after warming up.

Rock and Roll Report TV

Rock and Roll Report TV: Van Halen – Babe Don’t Leave Me Alone

I used to be a huge Van Halen fan during their David Lee Roth period and I always loved this unreleased gem. This track is from the Gene Simmons demo the band did before they signed to Warners and it features a number of unreleased tracks including Babe Don’t Leave Me Alone which I always felt should have been released. I know it’s unusual to feature something like this on RRR TV but what the hell, it’s summer! Enjoy.

Artists and Bands

Rock and Roll Report Band of the Week: The Golden Gods

(Editor’s Note. Over the summer months we have decided to re-present to you some amazing bands that we have featured as Band of the Week in the past. For those of you who haven’t been regular readers of The Rock and Roll Report, we hope you enjoy them. For those of you who are regular readers, it is about time to revisit some of our favourites. The Golden Gods originally appeared in August 2008.)

Life is not always fair. You discover a band that seriously floats your boat only to discover that you are too late and they have disbanded and moved on. Such is the situation with the incredible Golden Gods.

Features Rock History

Cover Story Interview – Jesus Christ Superstar – with designs by Ernie Cefalu

ecjcsupercov05091Subject: Jesus Christ Superstar – a 1970 release on Decca/MCA records, with design & illustration by Ernie Cefalu

The musical by composer Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyricist Tim Rice, Jesus Christ Superstar was a re-interpretation of the “Gospels According to John” and dramatized the events of the last week in the life of Christ; the relationships between Jesus, his followers and the people and players in Roman Empire-occupied Jerusalem. While it may not have been the first record billed as a “rock opera” (this honor probably going to Tommy by The Who, followed shortly thereafter by The Kinks’ Arthur), Jesus Christ Superstar was most-certainly the first grand-scale musical production brought to the stage with a rock music score, and its success laid the groundwork for those to follow.

Released on Decca/MCA records October, 1970, the record was an international smash, first in the U.K. and then in the U.S., hitting #1 on the Billboard charts in 1971.

It featured a stellar cast of players including Deep Purple’s Ian Gillian (purveyor of the best falsetto scream in Rock for many years) as Christ, Murray Head as Judas, and Yvonne Elliman as Mary Magdalene. Its success provided the resources for the first stage production on Broadway (directed by Tom O’Horgan) October, 1971. The play received a total of 7 Tony, Drama Desk and Theater World nominations in 1972 and won the Theater World Award (Ben Vereen as Judas) and the Drama Desk Award for Most Promising Composer (Andrew Lloyd Webber).

Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Zel – True (Zel Productions)

zelWhile it doesn’t make up the preponderance of my music collection or my music listening time, I have always had a special place in my heart for Latin music. While I am not really sure exactly when I began listening to Mexican and Latin music, I believe the genesis of my affection for it began in my youth. My father’s brother lived in Arizona, right near the Mexican border and we would visit him at least twice a year for two weeks at a time. At some point during these visits, we would pile into my uncle’s RV and travel into Mexico to stay for a few days. Being from a small town in New York, the exotic sights, foods, smells and sounds were intoxicating to me, almost as much as the Mescal and Tequila were to my father and his brother, I reckon. While walking through the cities of these towns in Mexico, I remember many a guitarist on the street corner or hearing the sounds of guitars playing in a cantina with its’ door open wide so the expertly played guitars were able to be heard from the street. While many of these guitarists played with Mariachi bands and other combos, many more were just playing by themselves or maybe with another guitarist. I didn’t think too much of all the guitarists I saw playing at the time since I was only a kid, but today it makes me think of a quote Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones said when asked about his travels to Mexico. Richards said hanging out in Mexico blew his mind as there were more great guitarists per square foot in Mexico than there are any place else in the world. While that quote has more than a little bit of hyperbole in it, my limited experience in Mexico bears it out nonetheless. And, since then, while I don’t actively seek it out as much as I could, when I hear some guitar with a Latin flavor, I am all over it like a hobo on a biscuit.

Rock and Roll Report TV

Rock and Roll Report TV: The Sleepers – She is My Drinking Problem


Off the Wall – Michael Jackson Dead at 50

michael-jacksonThe question will be asked for the next few decades: “Where were you when you found out Michael Jackson died?”. Like the deaths of Elvis Presley, John Lennon and the 9/11 tragedy the death of Michael Jackson will become a major milestone people will use to mark the important times of their lives. As our society becomes more and more celebrity-obsessed the instances we will use the lives of celebrities to measure our own will continue to grow, as Jackson’s death reminds us.

Whether you are a fan of Jackson’s music or not, he was a pop culture icon and quite possibly the most well-known person on our planet. That point was hit home when I was working out in the gym yesterday only to be surprised by the headlines accompanying his death. At first, only reported his death – kind of weird as is mostly a gossip site – but soon CNN and Fox News and all of the other more respected news sites soon followed suit. What was unsettling was that most of the others there took his death in stride, not surprised at Jackson’s sudden passing. I am guessing not many actually believed it, being exposed to so many Jackson rumors over the years. Alas, it is true and one of the most talented individuals ever is gone.


Pigshit by Gary Pig Gold – SEVEN YEARS TOO LATE THE HERO: JOHN ENTWISTLE – 9 October 1944 – 27 June 2002

entwistle1966There is a Zen expression that advises the way to go through life successfully is to “move like a cow.”

Or, in this case, an ox.

Forever surrounded, at least on stage, by the testosterone-soaked circus which were Messrs. Townshend, Daltrey and especially Moon, it could often be too criminally easy to overlook The Man, The Myth, dare I say The Ox which was, and forever shall be, John Alec Entwistle. In more ways than one he WAS the George Harrison of The Who I suppose, yet Entwistle never ever took a musical back seat to his more prolific (or at least pushier) bandmates, employing his mighty four strings to not so much play songs as attack them, deftly bulldozing his basic bottom-heavy end up to an indisputable place of sheer sonic equality within the critical Who picking order.

In that process John became, it’s been said, the Jimi Hendrix of the bass guitar. Well, yes, all that I guess you could say, but SO much more as well. For one, the man’s abundant compositional skills remain nothing to be sneezed over. Sure, we all know and love “My Wife,” “Boris The Spider,” and my own personal favorite slice of backyard blue-balling, Ox-style: “Someone’s Coming.” These, along with the brace of less immediately recognizable Entwistle gems, always served to deflate with a wry, macabre smirk – just as Moon that Loon would OFF record – any and most every lofty pretension emanating from that Townshend corner of the band’s equation. Prime example? Without Uncle Ernie or Cousin Kevin, “Tommy” would play as just another “Jesus Christ: Pinball Star,” now wouldn’t he?

Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Review: Ace Noface “Toxic Charm”

acenofaceA lot of people are under the impression that piano-based music just can’t rock…Ace Noface proves just how false this assertion can be. His excellent new release, “Toxic Charm”, pounds its way into your head with its infectious melodies and lyrical urgency. No doubt this urgency stems from the fact that Ace Noface has tragically been diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease).