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Fall-ternative: Rock 101

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Just when it seems like every third person in Chapel Hill has a band or a tape, there's now going to be an eight-week class instructing artists on how to get their music out there to the peeps (in the spirit of DIY, of course), along with a class focusing on concert and event planning. Sponsored by those community-aware folks at the Carrboro ArtsCenter, International Record Release 1087 will lead you step-by-step through the CD release process, including cover art, duplication and manufacturing. The class will then shift into how to market your musical masterpiece, from creating promo materials and assembling a media and radio mailing list to tracking, distribution deals and more. Class planner Ron Royster has assembled a group of guest speakers that includes Eric Hole, a radio promotions person who's worked albums by Hole, Ben Folds Five and Superchunk; Effin' and Blindin's Simon Harper and Lauren Bromley on international licensing and distribution; and Glen Dicker (of Yep Roc Records and Redeye Distribution) on distribution and promotion. In addition, local entertainment attorney Bill Burton will discuss what to look for when signing a recording contract, and graphic artist/designer Julie Smith of Digital Central in Carrboro will address graphic arts questions.

ArtsCenter music director Royster has been involved in the local music scene for over 20 years, including a six-year stint as a WXYC DJ. (He was permanently suspended after making an on-air call to the local massage parlor and asking what you could get for $75, and they went ahead and told him over the phone--"Turns out you could get a lot back then," he says, laughing.) He tried his hand at band management with alt-country act Hege V (George Hamilton V) back in the 1980s. Two years ago, he took the plunge and started his own label, Freakadelic Records, releasing albums by local outfit Dub Assassin and Dusk, from Seattle. It was Royster's label experiences that inspired him to create the class.

"I got the idea of 'power in unity,'" he explains. "What that translates to is that it's more cost effective to get a group together and send eight CDs in a box [to a radio station or media contact] rather than have each individual send out their own CD." The class is also open to "anybody that has a CD that's recorded and ready to go," he says. "It's going to be a very educational class."

"Everything's changing now," Royster says of the recording business. "You used to have to hook up with one of the major label monsters, but now everyone has a shot. You just need to get your stuff out there ... and now you can do it at a very affordable price." The class will run on Mondays, 7-9 p.m., from Oct. 1 through Nov. 19.

Event and Show Planning, Promotion and Management 1011 is the other seminar being offered, and it's a pretty canny idea: The class culminates in a fundraiser for the ArtsCenter, a nonprofit that--in addition to booking performances by an eclectic assortment of local and touring artists--sponsors everything from community theater to children's programs. Besides booking the acts, the class will make all the promotional materials. "Posters, flyers, we'll walk 'em through everything, heck yeah!! That's part of the process," Royster says, waxing nostalgic about the experience of getting a group of friends and beerily plastering the town with posters. For anyone thinking about hosting a benefit or even a huge party for friends--with live music and entertainment--Royster says this class will cover all the bases. The class will run Mondays, Sept. 18 through Nov. 6, culminating in the actual benefit shindig. Call 929-2787, ext. 105 for details about any of the above events.

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