If you’re an aspiring musician, a night of rubbing elbows with famous artists may certainly help to put your foot in the door.
Now in it’s 13th year, the OC Music Awards is a showcase of sorts, promoting local talent and attempting to further the success of Orange County’s musicians. This year the event was held March 8 at the City National Grove in Anaheim, right next-door to Angels Stadium in the very heart of Orange County. The people in attendance were a varied crowd, from legendary big-name artists to no-name, hungry musicians and everything in between.
You had record executives, families of those nominated, random artists dying to be seen in public (getting shoo-ed off the red carpet), general fans of music who paid to get in, and of course, the many media outlets covering the event. Among the storm of media present, naturally, was the Cypress Chronicle – jockeying for red-carpet position against the bigger media giants (of which we shall not name) to bring you the scoop on the 2014 OC Music Awards.
Instead of doing a category-by-category rundown of who won what, lets just go over some highlights (and lowlights) from this year’s the event. Cychron was right there on the red-carpet, shooting the various performers, nominees and presenters as they arrived. Nobody had a better view than the Cypress Chronicle.
If you’re one of the aforementioned people set to walk the red carpet, here’s how the process goes: You show up, you wait in line. When it’s your turn to walk, you tell some guy with a clipboard (who has no idea who you are) your information. He then announces to the media who you are and what you’re there for, therein making you sound famous. None of the photographers want to admit they’ve never heard of you, so every one of them will start to fire away with their cameras. The media covers all their bases, and you appear to be important.
It’s a pretty good deal.
Occasionally, there’ll be a roustabout or two, hellbent on crashing the red-carpet; like a media stuntman of sorts. What happens after that can simply be described as hilarious. You have a guy not cleared by the OC Music Awards brass to be among the carpet-walkers, who snakes his way through the line and stands in front of the media without introduction. Again, the media, not wanting to pass on shooting the next Justin Bieber, hesitantly begins to take pictures until the clipboard guy gives the outlaw a gentle “Please move along, sir”.
In one case, the now embarrassed carpet-crasher sheepishly walked away with his hands in his pockets like a scolded child. A more confrontational duo just stood there until the clipboard guy literally blocked them from the media with his body until security arrived and physically removed them. You could sense an “I don’t get paid enough for this” attitude from clipboard guy thereafter.
There were, however, several notable artists who needed no introduction. The Offspring (who’s first rehearsals as a band occurred in a garage in Cypress), were there to accept the OC “Impact” award for their years of contribution to the local music scene, and their undeniable influence on musicians since their first single “Come Out And Play” hit the KROQ airwaves in 1993. The Offspring also took home the award for “Best Alternative”.
Tom Dumont and Adrian Young, members of legendary Orange County ska-punkers No Doubt, were there to present The Offspring with their award. The duo gave a humorous, yet touching speech about their relationship with The Offspring, recalling the early years of local shows and the light-hearted rivalries between the two bands.
Another person worth mentioning was the 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, Kid Ramos.
Kid Ramos, born in Fullerton, is a blues guitarist most known for his time with the James Harman Band, as well as his tenure with The Fabulous Thunderbirds. His gritty guitar playing and hulking figure is instantly recognizable to rock and roll enthusiasts worldwide.
After an emotional speech from his colleague James Intveld, Kid Ramos hit the stage, greeted with a standing ovation. He spoke about touring the world as a rock musician and raising a family, all the while working a nine-to-five job delivering water. An argument can easily be made that Ramos is possibly the hardest-working blues guitarists of our era.
In 2012, Ramos was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare bone cancer in which he would undergo many months of chemotherapy to combat. During his speech, a tearful Ramos announced that his treatment had been completed, and that he had fully recovered from the disease. After his inspiring words, Kid was all set to play some tunes for the crowd – during which one of the most interesting occurrences of the evening unfolded.
Stryker, the host of the event, got everyone pumped up for a Kid Ramos performance as the guitarist set up his gear. After being introduced, the crowd was treated to a near-deafening ring of feedback from Ramos’ amplifier. The next awkward minute was spent trying to figure out why the feedback was even happening. Kid fiddled with his amp for another minute while the crowd patiently waited for something to happen. After figuring out the problem, Ramos and his drummer kicked out some high-energy blues jams.
For about sixty seconds, that is.
Kid Ramos’ guitar suddenly stopped being audible. The drummer, most likely assuming the problem would be fixed in no time, just kept playing, drumming away at the same beat as Ramos frantically struggled to fix the amp. The problem, however, was not immediately identified.
The drummer continued.
Soon, a whole team of people were on stage desperately trying to get something, anything to come out of Ramos’ amp. Five minutes passed, and the drummer persevered. The confused crowd sat and waited for Kid Ramos to recover, wondering if after five minutes, the drummer should keep going.
In an attempt to break the awkwardness, two ladies hopped on stage and started dancing to the beat. Another lady soon followed, much to the crowd’s delight. And then, just as suddenly as it disappeared, the thundering sound of Kid Ramos’ guitar returned, greeted by a monstrous ovation from the crowd.
Everyone was simply ecstatic and somewhat dumbfounded at what had just happened, but it didn’t matter; Kid Ramos rocked that place, technical problems be damned.
Other notable performances were given by the likes of indie space-rockers Kiev, who’s dreamy soundscape included a lengthy tenor-sax solo, which trust me, was better than it sounds. Breach The Summit, a young band from OC, opened the show with an interesting blend of indie rock and pop, featuring a bit of tribal percussion which made for a very diverse but catchy sound.
Music events like this are important. It’s a win-win situation for the local music scene. Bands get exposure, even if just for being nominated. Record labels get to scout talent, as well as promote the bands they’re already “in the business” of. The event is largely paid for by sponsors, who’s logos are plastered everywhere. Fans of music are treated to amazing live action, as well as being in the presence of legends.
Everybody in that building cared deeply about music of all kinds. The same love was shown to the nominees of “Best Country Americana” as was shown for “Best Pop”. Music is a brotherhood, and the togetherness displayed was truly heart-warming.
Frank Zappa once said:
“Information is not knowledge.
Knowledge is not wisdom.
Wisdom is not truth.
Truth is not beauty.
Beauty is not love.
Love is not music.
Music is the best.”