Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Culture: Longsands Hope to Chart New Life. A Music Revolution Is a Distinct Possibility Today. David Whetstone Explains How You Can Help It Happen

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Culture: Longsands Hope to Chart New Life. A Music Revolution Is a Distinct Possibility Today. David Whetstone Explains How You Can Help It Happen

Article excerpt

Byline: David Whetstone

BY the end of today, the world could have changed completely for the members of one North-East band - and the Northumberland town of Cramlington could have acquired a small constellation to add to its current lone star, comedian Ross Noble. The debut single of The Longsands is in the shops - or at least, band member Trevor Cox points out helpfully, in HMV.

It is called Cheshire Life, after the magazine of that name, and it is also the debut album of a pioneering website enterprise called Band Republic.

Band Republic was set up as part of a music industry revolution, according to the website www.bandrepublic.com

The site's manifesto, signed by one Chairman H, states: "For too long the record industry has ignored what we want from them. Gone are the days when the public will be hoodwinked into buying something just because it has a great marketing campaign.

"We want to see and hear great music, great bands and niche bands releasing records. Bands are finding it increasingly difficult for record labels to hear their music, and unless it's a really safe bet the record industry does not want to know.

"I got the idea for Band Republic after being told by a major label exec how very lucky I was to get to meet him.

"For me that sucked. I had something interesting to offer, was polite and courteous, had travelled for over two hours to get there and was told I was very lucky.

"So I looked into the industry further and found that all of the major labels seem to have staff that are scared and stressed. Why was this? What's happening?

"After discussing this with some of the employees it was clear that they were all scared about losing their jobs. One mistake and you are out, one bad signing and the whole department gets the sack. If the band doesn't sell well, they get dropped."

Chairman H - aka Simon Hanning - had the idea of signing up people to the Band Republic website and turning them into a democratic internet A&R department.

Anyone who signed up for pounds 3 would have a say in what band was signed, what single would be released and how it would be marketed.

"The overall goal and part of our manifesto is to release a single and initially chart in the top 40," states Hanning on the website. We are putting the power of the people into record releasing and becoming part of the music industry revolution!"

Up in the North-East the lads of The Longsands were blissfully unaware of all this.

They formed about a year ago after individually playing in various covers bands and sensing they were getting nowhere. They are Ian Barnes (rhythm guitar), David Stanger (lead guitar), Gary Ormston (bass), Sean Smith (drums) and Trevor, who is 25

and contributes vocals. Most of them were at Cramlington High School together and, even though some of them are supporting families and holding down jobs, they have ambitions in music. …

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