Sunday, April 03, 2011

The beat goes on: Ten years later, Stan’s still bangin’

News Herald Photo by Robert Cooper
In the summer of 2001, a young man with a passion for urban music stopped by the office to promote his efforts. Stan Jones, 18, had recently graduated from Rutherford High School, and he was looking to break into the local music scene. I interviewed him for a story in the teen-focused “Generation NeXt” section.

Things didn’t work out according to his plan, but that’s not always a bad thing. Stan served in the U.S. Navy for six years, deployed overseas where he made loads of contacts with artists, promoters, musicians and venues. In Japan, he had his own radio show.

And when he left the service, he had a new plan.

“I wanted to come back to my hometown and connect my hometown to the rest of the world,” he said. “I could’ve gone anywhere else in the world, but I decided to come here and contribute to the development of the independent music scene — try to do it right.”

For a while he ran a small recording studio and worked with lots of independent local artists in a variety of musical genres. Then he got the idea to publish his own magazine focusing on urban music and independent performers. The third issue of “Bangin’ Bay” magazine hits shelves later this month in stores all over the Southeast.

“It’s taking off fast, but it’s still a hobby at this point,” he said in a conversation last week. “I think we just might be onto something. When you have a passion, you can work with people but don’t rely on them. You have to pursue your own passion.”

Now 28, Stan attends Gulf Coast Community College part time, and he travels a lot to attend musical events, conduct interviews and promote his magazine.

“It takes me to a lot of places and blends into the personal side,” he said. “You’ve got to balance it with a little fun in there. … I want to have a little fun in the bank too, definitely.”

He’s still working to promote local and regional artists, and to that end he organized the recent All-City Jam that featured several regional rap and R&B performers. A diverse roster of talent performed for hundreds that night, but it was a mixed success, he said.

“It was a packed house, a big turnout, but not the caliber of show I expected,” he said. “Each time, you want to get better, and you try to surround yourself with people who share your vision and support that. I set my standards really high.”

(This was my Undercurrents column for Sunday, April 3.)
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