An Interview with Greg Martin of Next Level Productions: The Man Behind the Rock the Sound Benefits

Features 20 Feb 2010

An Interview with Greg Martin of Next Level Productions: The Man Behind the Rock the Sound Benefits

Spend some time with Greg Martin and it won’t take long to realize what a truly upstanding person he is. In addition to being a devoted husband, father and a working man, Martin is one of the most dedicated local music fans in the city. His sharp organizational skills and hustle have served him well over time as he has become an experienced and efficient promoter with his company Next Level Productions.

Martin is the man behind the annual Rock the Sound benefits, the 2010 version of which  is being held April 3rd at Scatz in Middleton. Six bands will hit the stage for the rock event of the year and the proceeds will go toward the Madison Area Music Association. The event is presented by Next Level Productions and Bellatoria Pizza with lots of assistance from WJJO, Maximum Ink, Scatz, Guitar Center, Capital Brewery, Megatone Studios, Nuclearview Communication Studio, Raintite Construction and Design One Apparel. WJJO will be on hand and will do a live remote. (More info on the 2010 Rock the Sound is below and here.)

Local Sounds had some time to talk with Martin recently.

LSM:  What is Rock the Sound and how did it get started?

GM:  Rock the Sound is a reoccurring benefit concert that started in 2007. My daughter was a member of Capital Sound Drum and Bugle Corps and my wife Jodi and I had become the volunteer coordinators for the corps. Capital Sound was always looking for new and interesting ways to raise money and my wife suggested putting together a fundraising show. I booked shows for my bands in the past and been involved in fundraisers like this before so it was kind of a “no brainer.” It was intended to be just a couple of local Sauk bands playing at the Dorf Haus in Roxbury, but at the suggestion of my brother Dave to contact Muzzy Luctin it became something much bigger. Paul Schluter suggested Cudasigh and Sand for the bill, and the two Sauk Bands, Apparatus and Section 8 made up the rest of it.    The first Rock the Sound took place at the Dry Bean in Fitchburg on April 14, 2007. We packed 450 people into the Dry Bean and the show was a complete success. It was also at this time that Next Level Productions was born.   There were just too many people telling me I needed to keep doing stuff like this.

LSM:  What can people expect to happen at Rock the Sound?

GM:   A “balls to the wall” rock concert that will rival any national act that has ever stepped foot on the Scatz stage. We are bringing in extra lighting and video crews as well as tons of Rock the Sound, Next Level Productions, MAMAs, and band merch that includes the Rock the Sound compilation disk that features all the bands on the bill and many more. Kurt Barron from WJJO will be there to introduce bands and will be doing on-air interviews. We will be giving away tons of CDs and t-shirts. Guitar Center will be giving away an electric guitar as well. Beltline Buttons will be displaying samples of their merch and giving away Rock the Sound buttons. We will be giving away free samples of pizza courtesy of our presenting level sponsor Bellatoria Pizza. The line-up features headliner Faces for Radio with new drummer Phil Buerstatte from Last Crack. Muzzy Luctin, Cudasigh, Don Bakken, The Motherhive Syndicate, and Shawn Brown’s new band The Viscous Circle will also be performing. “I think if anybody misses this show they’re kinda  nuts.”

LSM:  Will this continue to be an annual event?

GM:   As long as the Madison Area Music Association is around and they are happy with this I don’t see why not.   I t was my intention all along to have it be an annual thing.

LSM:  Tell us a bit about Next Level Productions and what you do.

GM:    Next Level Productions produces, promotes and books shows for the local band, along with some management of a select few.  I have never claimed to be a miracle worker. I just do what I can, for no reason other than I enjoy doing it.  I don’t work with a lot of cover bands, mainly just because of personal choice.  I just have so much respect for the original bands out there who work there tails off just to be able to play on a show like Rock the Sound.  I just love the chance to be able to help how ever I can.  Whether it’s promoting a show or just printing some demo CDs for someone.  My goal with Next Level was never to get rich doing it, it was more to help the great original bands that this city has to offer.  There is so much under appreciated talent in this town it kind of makes me sad.

LSM:  How did you get involved with the Madison Area Music Association?

GM:  Capital Sound dissolved a few months after the first Rock The Sound and I was left wondering what to do about the show.  I would always have people ask me if there was going to be another one, and I knew I wanted to continue with it, but it had to be for just the right organization….and music oriented of course.   I think I posted something on mySpace or Facebook about what to do it for.   I got an email from Scottie Madsen from Gladstone to contact the Rick Tvedt form the MAMAS,  which I did.  It took a while to get anything real solid going, but Rick got a thumbs up came from the MAMAs’ board of directors  and everything has kind of snowballed from there.

LSM:  What are some of Next Level Productions’ future projects?

GM:  That’s an easy one.  Get ready for CD releases  from Muzzy Luctin, Sweet Oblivion and Audio*Otic.  These albums have been in the works for a long time and I’ll be pulling out all the stops on these babies.  The other thing I hope to ad next year – to the Next Level  repertoire – is video production.  It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, and being that you either have to know someone or pay out the nose for it.  It would really be nice to be able to help the bands I work with, to create some quality video.

LSM:  What’s your message to the city about local music?

GM:  Don’t only go to see the cover bands and your friend’s band.  There is a crapload of awesome original bands to see in this town. Take a chance and go see someone you’ve never heard of before.  There’s a real good chance you’ll love what you here and have a great time doing it.  When a special show like Rock the Sound comes about, that supports local music on so many different levels, make that special effort to get there and show your support.  We need everyone involved with music in this town to help grow our music scene and promote our youth into it also.  Come to Scatz on April 3rd and show that you care about the music scene the way everyone says they do.

LSM:  What keeps you going?

GM: I have to give credit to my wife, Jodi.  I could never do the things I do with out her.  No matter what the venture has been she has always been behind me 100% and I love her for that.


Saturday, April 3rd, 2010

Doors Open at 7:00pm

Scatz Sports Bar & Nightclub in Middleton

The Lineup

Muzzy Luctin / Faces for Radio / Cudasigh / Don Bakken / The Motherhive Syndicate / The Viscous Circle

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About the author

Rick Tvedt

Rick is publisher of Local Sounds Magazine, formerly Rick's Cafe, Wisconsin's Regional Music Newspaper. He is also the Executive Director for MAMA, Inc., a non-profit organization that produces the Madison Area Music Awards and raises funds to promote youth music programs.

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