Up the Country!
Local band Sticky Pistil uses Internet to snag a slot on the prized
"Emerging Artists Stage" at Woodstock '99
By Sue Wong for the Taos News - July 22nd
A new route was recently forged to the definitive music event of the summer, Woodstock '99. But instead of hitting the pavement, a local band cruised the "information superhighway."
How they got there chance to play before thousands of screaming fans is a lesson in tenacity and creative ingenuity.
For the scoop, just ask the guys from Sticky Pistil, a homegrown 4 member band that reaches an original level of funk they call "the funkinmental sound." Sticky Pistil is fronted by Mark "Uzi-Q" Hershiser and features Scott "the Preacherman" Kesson on guitar, Shawn "Freakboy" Perry on bass and Mike "MC²" Carón on drums.
Friday (July 23rd) at [3:00pm] EST, Sticky Pistil are set to rock the Emerging Artists Stage at Woodstock '99, to be held at Griffiss Park in Rome, NY.
The careers of bands like Green Day and Nine Inch Nails were made on the Emerging Artists Stage back in Woodstock '94. But what sets Sticky Pistil apart is their revolutionary use of the internet world of digital music to get to that stage.
When AMP3.com, a website that Woodstock's own press release called "Internet's fastest growing independent artists site" announced a competition to choose 12 bands to perform at Woodstock '99, Hershiser, lead vocalist and lead websurfer of the band new he had to do everything possible to get Sticky Pistil selected.
At the time of the competition the band already had a huge internet fan base. "We get over 50,000 hits on our Web site a month," Hershiser said. Their Internet popularity grew from making their tracks available on Web sites like MP3.com and AMP3.com. The 2 sites use MP3 technology, which provides a site user the ability to download a song with compact-disc quality sound that takes up very little computer memory space. A Sticky Pistil homepage, featuring sound and Flash 3 technology-aided special effects, complemented the growing interest in the band. At www.stickypistil.com, fans can listen to all 20 tracks from their debut album, "Hi-Fi Superfly" (profiled in the may 6 edition of Tempo).
Having one's songs available on the Internet, however, does not guarantee a listening audience. The Internet, like any other tool, makes the job easier but does not, itself, get the job done. The job gets done only if the tool is used properly.
Sticky Pistil has shown that it's all about knowing how to generate and direct Internet traffic to one's site. They achieved this through tenacious posting on Internet bulliten boards, generating and sustaining conversations about the band on the Web, spreading their sound around and trying to get reviews of their music written up.
Hershiser even helped other Internet musicians build their Web sites, which resulted in links to these other sites. The "Net" like the real world, is a virtual community where a sprawling network can be established if the right kind of socializing is done. "All of a sudden we're number one because we've even got all the other artists listening to us. I did it by really helping people," Hershiser said.
The moral of the story still remains. Sticky Pistil's Net savvy was not, in itself, what clinched Woodstock '99 for them.
It was the old-fashion tenet's of hard work, persistence and creativity which garnered their victory.
Hershiser recalled entering the band in AMP3.com's Woodstock competition back in March. The competition required a videotaped performance to be submitted for judging. Time passed and Sticky Pistil was still not picked. Hershiser's thought, "I'm not getting picked because (the judges) are not watching close enough or something. There's got to be a reason, but I have to overcome it. So I started calling and making friends with people."
His tenacity uncovered the fact that the music-video style in the band's entry was considered "too slick," too polished - a revelation disclosed by one of the many industry contacts Hershiser made.
The band immediately hired a film crew to shoot what they did best - performing live - and the finished product was promptly sent to AMP3.com. Marisha Breslow, friend of the band and potentail manager, elaborated on this strength - "It doesn't matter if you like the music or not, you are totally entertained from the minute they hit the stage."
The second video did the trick. They claimed a spot among the AMP3.com's 12 bands selected for Woodstock '99.
Not bad for a band which was hardly organized along conventional lines. Sticky Pistil never used a professional studio for recording, nor did they have professional management. Their sound and programming equipment was largely bought by the income generated by Hershiser's "regular job" - running an herb company called Native Essence Herb Company with his wife, Marianne.
Sticky Pistil will join, albiet on a different stage, a diverse array of performers that will include Elvis Costello, Al Green, James Brown, Megadeth, Metallica, George Clinton and Parliment/Funkadelic, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Los Lobos, Alanis Morrisette, Jewel, Ice Cube, Rage Against the Machine, Sheryl Crow and Willie Nelson to name but a few.
Woodstock organizers anticipate more than 250,000 music fans in attendance.
How is the band preparing to make their mark on this generation-defining event? "we're rehearsing like mad every single moment. We're just trying to get the most topical, most outrageous music we have and just have as much fun as possible," Kesson said. Winding up playing at Woodstock just astounds me. When I was 12 years old and first started playing guitar, watching 'Woodstock' (the 1970 Michael Wadleigh film) and the idea that I'll one day be playing there is beyond my wildest dreams."
Sticky Pistil is part of the revolutionary vanguard of bands that are getting their music heard without the conventional requisites of a professional studio, a manager or ample funds. The Internet music technology has essentially delineated how a contemporary band, nestled in a small, high desert town, can transcend the distance barrier and make a name for itself.
Check the official Woodstock Web site at www.woodstock.com for performance updates and AMP3.com for updates on the Emerging Artists Stage. These sites have information on accessing Woodstock '99 pay-per-view, as well as the live Webcast. You can also help support the band's quest to win the AMP3.com "Million Dollar Star Search" by visiting www.stickypistil.com.
© copyright 1999 The Taos News