December 11th, 2009
11:35 AM ET
Guitarist Little Steven Van Zandt hasn’t forgotten about the speech he gave at the SXSW music festival in March about the decline of rock ‘n’ roll knowledge and craft. And he’s putting his bandwidth where his mouth is.
The creative force of “Little Steven’s Underground Garage” and Wicked Cool Records has created a new Web site, Fuzztopia.com, “a music site built by musicians for musicians.”
The idea is to bring together musicians of all styles and countries to do social networking and development, he says.
“We’re going to have a part of the Web site that suggests that yes, you can sell your stuff if you want to, or you can choose development – and at that point you will enter songwriting seminars, producer seminars, engineer seminars, performer seminars, and go through a kind of a course,” he says. “And hopefully, that will … help professionals or people who want to be professionals.”
Details are still being worked out, he says, but one thing he’s focused on is selecting a handful of musicians to be personally mentored by experts. He talks about ideas like the old Motown charm school, which educated that label’s musicians how handle their careers.
“It is similar to that in that I’m asking people to think beyond writing a song their mother’s going to get a kick out of,” he says. “Let’s learn this craft a little bit and you’ll find it’s quite rewarding. … This whole instant gratification culture we’re building, we have to address it … and we have to address it in a real focused way.”
The concept also figures into the current debate on the future of the music business, he adds. It’s time to get beyond the “delivery system,” as the suits call it, and spend time on “what we’re delivering,” Van Zandt says.
The site, which is currently in beta, is scheduled to launch in the spring.
Van Zandt sounds a bit fatigued. He recently got off the road after spending much of the last two years touring with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. But now, he says, it’s time to get to work.
“People always say, ‘How do you work so hard touring like that?’ I say, ‘You don’t understand: the tour is my vacation,’ ” he laughs.
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