Jun 22, 2011

Bald Freak Music signs Hooper


Contact:  Ron Scalzo                                                 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Phone:     718.979.0453                                                                       June 22, 2011

NYC indie label owner and Q*Ball/Return To Earth frontman to release new electronic hip-hop project HOOPER next month to the sound of tumbleweeds.

New York, NY – Ron Scalzo doesn’t give a fuck anymore.  The chrome domed lead singer of prog-metal act Return To Earth (Metal Blade) and longtime electronic project Q*Ball (with Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal of Guns N’ Roses) has had it with the music industry, but is not yet ready to give up his love of creating & performing music.

“No one is paying attention.  Let’s face it – they’re all on Facebook and Twitter when they’re not stealing our music.  And hey, let’s face it - so am I.  TV and the movies and radio are all are hanging on, transforming, struggling to learn how to monetize themselves.  And those industries are the music industry’s best friends – when they need music, they’re going for the sure thing or the prepackaged reality show winner.  Welcome to 2011: The Music Industry.”

“Social networking has created what I like to call a Pile-On Society.  It’s all or nothing – you’re either in that very small percentage that make gazillions and get their own HBO special – Rihanna, Gaga, Katy Perry – or you’re trolling for hits on your Twitter page.  That’s where the rest of us are – all this digital noise and no one can focus anymore.  Too many menu options.”

“And I realized something – I don’t really wanna live on my Twitter page.  I prefer the real world, at least most of the time.  And to me, the real world means making music as a priority.  I’ve spent so much time trying to promote my acts that I’ve lost sight of the fun of making music, of creating, of hearing your influences come out in what you make and what you write and how you play.  There’s an integrity and a deeper meaning there that nothing on the Internet could ever offer.”

“And I realize that very few people, if anyone, will follow me into the shadows and that’s fine.  That’s the point.  I don’t give a fuck.  I don’t need to be a rock star.  I just wanna have fun.”

Scalzo’s new project Hooper is all about just that - having fun not giving a fuck.  Scalzo’s musical partner in Hooper, Mike Bandolik, follows the same maxim.  “It’s definitely more fun when you can not give a fuck together with other people – that’s what punk and hip-hop are all about, a music community united over an anti-authoritarian attitude.”  Bandolik & Scalzo's mutual love of cult cinema, electronic music, old school hip-hop, and smoking weed, made them the perfect foils in Hooper.

Scalzo and Bandolik are recent divorcees, another bond that brought the two together to start making music again after so many years (Bandolik was an integral part and a longtime member of Scalzo’s first electronic project, Secret Army, in the late 90s).  “Mike came back into my life just as the life I knew at that time was struggling to survive.  Making music with him during those hard times became a bit of a security blanket.  But I already had two projects that I’ve been very serious about and committed to for a long time, not to mention a full time job in the radio industry and a failing marriage I was trying to keep afloat.  So it was nothing more than a lark at first.  After School Special stuff.”

Scalzo credits music for keeping him sane and helping him heal in the months to follow.  “It’s hard to listen to popular music when you endure that loss.  So many songs remind you of the other person, and sharing music was a big thing for my wife and I, our mutual passion.  But when you write your own music, it’s pure, it’s fresh - it serves a greater purpose.  Even if it’s shit, it’s cathartic.  There’s a lot of anger and apathy in my lyrics – in Return To Earth, it fits the vibe of the musical content.  In Q*Ball, it’s become a more serious thing.  Both those projects, in different ways, have reflected the isolation & confusion I’ve felt, and became the best ways to exorcise my personal demons and internal struggles.”

Scalzo made a conscious effort to avoid the same vibe with Hooper.  “I wanted to spin it in a different direction – make it fun, make it funny, but still have that ‘go fuck yourself we don’t care’ edge that the other projects have.  So I told Mike, ‘fuck it, let’s go back to basics – let’s be over-the-top, filthy, funky, let’s smoke a joint, put the lights down, and go.  Use that as a template and see what happens.  And we’re happy with the results."

Bandolik provides the rhythmic foundation for most of the new Hooper songs, bringing them to Scalzo’s home studio in NYC, which also doubles as Scalzo’s headquarters for Bald Freak Music, label home of Bumblefoot & modern rock act The Head Set in addition to all of Scalzo’s musical projects.  “Mike brings some beats and an arrangement over and I go to town - writing lyrics, rapping, using my voice to add texture, adding keyboard melodies, messing with vocal FX.  We have a good system in place that plays to both our strengths as musical creators.  Our songs aren’t for everyone – they’re for people like us.  Stoners, dancers, hipsters, movie nerds, fans of old school hip-hop, 80s new wave and late 90s electronica.”

“If no one else is happy with this, fuck it.  We’ll just put it out there and let it roll around the web for awhile – no fancy marketing schemes or strategic promotions behind it.  Promoting this in a cookie cutter way is the last thing we want to do."  "Maybe,” says Scalzo, “not giving a fuck about doing things by the book for once in my life will be the thing that makes a difference this time around.  Or maybe not.  Having nothing to lose can be liberating.”

Hooper will release two singles, “I Get By,” an electro-funk pro-stoner anthem, and “Mr. Hooper,” a twisted tribute to the beloved television character of the same name this summer, with more new tunes to follow later in the year.

For more information or to review a promotional copy of the new Hooper singles, please contact:
Ron Scalzo  718.979.0453 or by e-mail  ron@baldfreak.com