Trying to make it in the music industry? Well, you’re in the right place. The Santa Barbara community has long been the launching pad for some of the biz’s biggest musicians, including Katy Perry, Jack Johnson, members of the Foo Fighters, Dishwalla, Sugarcult, Lagwagon, The Ataris, The Mad Caddies, and many more. And this past Friday, August 21, aspiring rock stars got a chance to get the inside scoop from some real rock ‘n’ roll heavyweights.

Within the walls of Reds Wine Bar, Santa Barbara’s Rockshop Academy presented a seminar titled How They Made it in the Music Business: And What You Need to Know to aspiring musicians ages between the ages of 12 and 17 who sought to learn how to rock to the top. Part one of the panel in this town-hall style meeting included guest speakers, Rodney Bowing Cravens and George Pendergast of Dishwalla, and Marko DeSantis from Sugarcult. Their leg of the presentation included information pertaining to scoring a record deal, life on the road, and stories about being local musicians. DeSantis described the three crucial factors to achieving rock stardom: “talent, luck, and the X-factor,” adding, “perseverance in the face of rejection every step of the way – embrace the suckage.” While Pendergast suggested that it’s all about “getting as much experience to maximize your opportunities” and “doing your thing and doing it well: and finding your audience.” When asked what the best advice is for someone trying to get serious in a band, the panel encouraged attendees to “keep writing” and “have fun with it, meaning do it for the right reasons.” Perhaps most importantly, DeSantis straightforwardly emphasized that budding rock stars should simply “do it because you love playing music.”

The second part of the panel focused on the challenges presented by the music business, what opportunities may arise, recording and releasing albums on an independent label, and what revenue prospects are made available in our so-called “digital age.” The second panel of speakers included Danny Ornelas, Director of MySpace Music, music attorney Tim Boris, and Stephanie Saint-Gal de Pons of New Noise Santa Barbara. When asked about how to market their music, Ornelas explained the importance of utilizing your assets. “If you’re going to be a musician or artist, you need to get as big of a social footprint as possible,” he said. This can be done by promoting your music and “using an online platform to make a name for yourself,” added Ornelas. Meanwhile, Saint-Gal de Pons revealed that as a musician you “need to educate yourself.” She emphasized getting to know the players, and nailed home the point that “the music industry is very small.”

After both panels spoke, and took a few questions from the audience, the contributing band members and industry tycoons took the time to personally meet with aspiring youngsters and give one-on-one advice. Outside the newly renovated Red’s, people of all ages walked away from the event having learned a thing or two about the big bad music industry. And while the turnout was not as large as expected, it definitely allowed for a more intimate setting, which meant plenty of personal interaction between panel speakers and eager musicians.

For more about the Rockshop Academy, including camp schedules and upcoming events, call 962-1211 or visit


Please note this login is to submit events or press releases. Use this page here to login for your Independent subscription

Not a member? Sign up here.