Wound my way up to Hattiesburg, home of the University of Southern Mississippi and little known fact, home to the world’s first rock recording. Anyone know what it is? Had a nice lunch and chat with John Smith – longtime band manager and mainstay of the Hattiesburg music scene. Popped our heads in on his latest project, Friday Night Gigolos who were working on the finishing touches to their CD. Familiar vibe of the studio…”let’s isolate the kick and bass guitar…”
John riffed on what is fast becoming a familiar theme – organic growth of bands. Worked with 2LiveCrew, Afroman…
and many others. Clearly another guy who cares about the bands.
Stopped in on the rehearsal of the USM big band under the direction of Larry Panella, tenor saxphonist and I learned a grad of UNT in Denton (small world). They play in a refurbished firehouse. Nice space.
Spent a while talking with Larry about his experience as a teacher. Very interesting to learn that the real catalyst behind the jazz programs at many of these large southern colleges has been a desire to assemble a good marching band for the football team. All music scholarships come with some kind of commitment to the marching band. Larry is a lot like a college athletic coach in that he recruits too -attends competitions, hosts summer programs, networks with high school teachers. Goes as early as middle school… I can picture the documentary: “Jazz Dreams”
After an interview with studentprintz, the college paper, I had the pleasure of talking with Clinton Kirby, Music Director for WUSM, the student radio.
Made a bee line to T-Bone Records, the local choice fo indie music. Owner Harry Crumpler plied me with a bunch of local favorites. Had a nice conversation with Jackie Lee from theburger.net, a local entertainment paper that she started. Always love talking to other entrepreneurs.
Ended the night at the Thirsty Hippo – the consensus favorite music spot. Shared a drink with Tandy Byrd and Ross Walton. Tandy runs a great local online site – deadmandancing.com Total labor of love that has become the go-to site for info on local bands and entertainment.
On to Tennessee…