LA Weekly pick – “Go” Friday night event of the week
By Heidi Dvorak
Are you in the throes of dating hell? Then take a load off, and sit in on comic Chris Valenti’s one-man show at Cinespace. Here’s a sample: “When I was in my 20s, dating was easy,” he says. “Women were excited to date me. They’d be like, ‘He plays guitar! And he’s a fitness instructor!’ Now, that I’m in my 30s, women have changed. Now they’re like, ‘He plays guitar? And he’s a fitness instructor?’?” Since life mirrors art, Valenti’s hilariously heart-wrenching zingers may not have happily-ever-after endings, but, chances are, you’ll find yourself nodding in agreement. He’s also a newfangled, multimedia kind of guy, performing his gig in front of a full-size movie screen showing his own insane film shorts or whatever goofball filmic embellishment he sets his heart on. To top it off, Fridays are the club’s Bohemian Shindig night, which means $4 Buds and $5 well drinks before 10 p.m. Adds Valenti, “The best cure for a broken heart is laughing at someone else’s.” Sounds like a good place to find a lonely heart crying in his/her $4 beer.
Insights for Independent Artists
– 800 CDs, The Movie
I would have never thought this movie would make me cry. I mean, it’s a DVD featuring Tim Sweeney, a man known for writing books, making audio books and giving lectures about how to be successful as an independent artist. I’ve always been interested by what Tim has to say, and the information is very valuable – inspiring maybe – but nothing to cry over.
Boy was I wrong. I cried real tears. And I’m not going to tell you why – you’ll have to watch the movie for that. But please leave a comment and let me know if you made it through without tearing up.
The documentary is primarily based around Chris Valenti (the movie’s producer) and his struggle to sell the remaining 800 CDs sitting in the corner of his living room. In addition to Chris’s story, there are also clips from Tim’s seminars and interviews with over a dozen artists whose success supports the ideas presented. In case you’ve never read Tim Sweeney’s Guide to Releasing Independent Records, or listened to his audio programs, this DVD gives pretty good coverage to Tim’s core teachings around developing an artist profile, engaging fans, networking with other artists, etc. The rare combination of a filmmaker who is also a struggling musician making a documentary with the assistance of the indie musician’s greatest advocate makes this a must-see film for any true indie artist. Any one of the tips presented could help take your music business to the next level, and as a package, they just could help you craft a winning strategy to get rid of all those CDs.
Here’s your homework:
1-Buy the DVD
4-Comment here (and probably lie about #3)
– Clif Johnston, Music in 2D
Rob Anthony ready to hit the road, set for a busy 2008.
The Appleton musician is about to hit the road to promote his song “Down the Road,” a tribute to truck drivers. He’ll be appearing at several truck driver expos in the next few months, including the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Ky., the largest event of its kind in the world.
In addition, Anthony will be at the Sundance Film Festival this month promoting his songs that are part of “800 CDs The Movie,” a documentary about the trials and tribulations that are part of the life of an independent musician.
– Eric Klister, Appleton Post-Cresent
Chris Valenti & The Emotional Wrecks – Santa Monica Bar & Grill – 11/5/07
Chris Valenti is an emotional wreck, and his music proves it. A dysfunctional relationship expert, this artist takes listeners on a journey of heartbreaking hilarity. Obsessed with relationship malfunctions, Valenti mines his crumbling love life for material. With his wacky wit, poignant observations and an obsessive-compulsive need to examine love’s challenges (in minutia) he speaks for everyone who has ever had a broken heart or experienced unrequited love. His lyrics are so insightfull, and his point of view is so hysterical that it’s easy to overlook the beauty of his music. But, Valenti has a real knack for melody and dynamics; and, as a result, his songs are elevated far beyond novelty status.
This trio has excellent players and they serve the songs well. Gary Patterson plays drums with finesse and flair, while Greg Panos’ bass keeps the beats boppin’. They allow Valenti to go off on rants, musical excursions, and insane explorations. His vocals vary from heart-rendering screams to heart-breaking pleas, which give his songs life. With impeccable stage presence, Valenti was a consumate performer. The intimate venue actually complemented his show and allowed him to connect strongly with his audience when they weren’t doubled over in laughter. His performance was so fervent that he made listeners cry and laugh simultaneously.
Chris Valenti will entertain you with his mad obsession regarding relationship gone wrong. Called a “passive-aggressive in a lite whine sauce,” Valentihas appeared on the Dr. Phil show where the pop psychologist dubbed him “a sick pup.” This is an artist with a lot going for him. And it’s guaranteed that if you attend his shows you’ll leave with a smile and and feeling of relief that your love life isn’t as bad as his.
– Bernard Baur, Music Connection
Rob Anthony shares experience in ‘800 CDs’
By Sarah Owen
A career catapulted by “American Idol” or similarly spawned reality shows isn’t in the cards for most musicians. Making it big as an independent artist takes tenacity, drive and a willingness to barrel through the most unglamorous of times.
If fans or fellow musicians ever cradled illusions of a fast-track indie music career, Chris Valenti’s latest film, featuring local singer/songwriter Rob Anthony, will open their eyes.
The documentary “800 CDs” gives writer/actor/musician Valenti an outlet to show people what it’s like after a record is made, when an artist is left wondering, “What am I going to do with all these CDs?”
In Los Angeles last week playing gigs and attending a music conference, Anthony described friend Valenti’s film as “a brilliant documentary on the struggling artist and all artists we know.”
Anthony is featured throughout the documentary and his original “Is There a Page” (from 2004’s “Where I Belong” CD) plays in full during credits. Valenti, of Los Angeles said, “Rob is the epitome of hard work, talent, putting it all together in the right way, he’s a big inspiration to me.”
The film follows Valenti and artists from across the country working to implement what they learned from music expert/consultant Tim Sweeney, whose conferences offers specific advice on how indie artists can succeed.
“The film was really made to help other musicians, but I tried to make it in a manner that it might be interesting to anyone,” Valenti said. “Even people who just like watching these reality shows, like ‘The Apprentice,’ these guys running around doing a task. It kind of has that element to it.”
Valenti is planning showings near each featured musician’s hometown. See the trailer and learn more at www.800Cdsthemovie.com.
– East Bay Express
The difference between Milpitas-based songwriter Phil Johnson and Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter Chris Valenti is simple. Johnson has been in a committed relationship for fourteen years. He even wrote a gag piece about how his really hot, supersmart girlfriend is trying to get him to marry her, though he won’t give a definitive answer until he gets a little more mileage out of the gag.In contrast, Valenti can’t keep a woman to save his life.
Johnson vehemently defends his friend and insists that we not blame Valenti for always playing the jilted lover. It’s not that he keeps a messy house, or scares women away with, say, his deodorant crystal or his collection of taxidermied kittens. Johnson says he’s actually slept on Valenti’s couch many times, and can vouch that the place was kosher. And it’s not as though Valenti is socially maladjusted. “He’s a pretty straightforward guy, ” Johnson assures, adding that Valenti is actually “probably more socially well adjusted than I am.” He’s just not looking at the right women. Granted, Johnson says, Valenti lives in Los Angeles, and there’s no shortage of bad women there. Either that, or Valenti just is one of those guys who can’t seem to evade his own misfortune.
The dude even has a song about waiting for a date at Starbucks, only at the wrong Starbucks on the right street. Nothing ever seems to work out. “I think if he had a good relationship it would blow his career anyway,” Johnson offers. “He’s very much taken a more positive approach to things, billing himself as a relationship expert who never quite got to the happy ending. His goal is to help all the other people who can’t get a relationship, and let them know they’re not alone.” Granted, Valenti can be a little neurotic. But that’s a point of contention. “I don’t know,” Johnson admits. “I’ve never dated him.”
Phil Johnson and Chris Valenti star in The Battle of the Romantically Dysfunctional Songwriters, a mock battle where the audience gets to vote who is more dysfunctional after each round. Then winner gets a condolence card addressed to his girlfriend (real or imaginary), and signed by everyone in the audience. Thus, Johnson says, the big winner is actually the biggest loser.
– Rachel Swan, East Bay Express
——————————————————————————————————Taking Time Off From TV to Enjoy Local Outings
– Gilroy Dispatch
Instead of tuning into Comedy Central, I headed to the Morgan Hill Playhouse to catch some standup last Thursday night. With a bad taste in my mouth from a poorly executed standup show in Las Vegas last month, my critic’s antennae were on high alert and I sat near the exit door in case I had to dodge the rotten tomatoes. Was this going to be the stagecoach stop for mediocre comics or the breakout night for rising stars?Dubbing themselves the Romantically Dysfunctional Songwriters, Chris Valenti and Phil “Screaming Psycho” Johnson played their dysfunction to a “T.” Tweeked is their humor with songs such as, “Hey Little Goth Girl,” “Whale Blubber,” “Don’t Pass Out,” and my favorite, “Passive-Aggressive.” If you missed last week, comedy night at the Playhouse is every fourth Thursday of the month. Show up early, the house sells out.
– Mary Anne McCarthy, Gilroy Dispatch
Music Connection Hot 100 artist – 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010
For a self-proclaimed emotional wreck, Chris Valenti is an accomplished artist. With that description forming his identity and a motto that states, ‘I have a heart on today!’ Valenti is also a funny guy. His songs are smart, quirky and just plain weird, but they draw the crowd into his bizarro world. His material explores life’s absurdities and relationships gone wrong. A modern day Don Quixote, he’s always-chasing impossible dreams. Whether he’s trying to hook up with a femme fatale or simply dealing with life’s frustrations, his focus on minutia and insightful observations are hilarious. This artist clearly knows how to entertain with great lyrics, catchy songs and a twisted point of view.
For a funnyman, Valenti is an awfully intense musician. In fact, there’s nothing comical about his musical skills. He plays hard and sings well. His vocals are dramatic, emphasizing each emotion, and there are many in each song. A singing storyteller, he brings you on a journey that feels like Disneyland’s Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. Valenti effortlessly dodges the ‘novelty’ marker by making his songs real and poignant. Like small vignettes set to music, they are as fascinating as they are compelling.
With veins popping out of his neck, Valenti performed like a man possessed or, more accurately, obsessed. His intensity was so powerful that the audience gladly yielded to his every whim. Indeed, by the end of his set they were as emotionally wrecked as he was.
Chris Valenti is a multi-talented artist who once dressed as a giant penis and performed his entire repertoire on Santa Monica Boulevard. He’s also an actor/producer who wrote and starred in a film called Sensitive Johnson, a little story about a premature ejaculator. As a musician Valenti is outstanding, but it’s his songwriting that shines the brightest. Clever and slightly crazed, his tunes are the perfect antidotes for these serious times.
–Bernard Baur / Music Connection
“Chris, o Chris, Where were you, say, in 1986? This record, “Emotional Wreck”, could’ve saved me a lot of time & money back then.I think this maybe ranks with Joni Mitchell’s “Blue” as one of the best breakup records I’ve ever heard, but Joni didn’t find her sense of humor until years later. I also notice the sequencing is vaguely reminiscent of the 5 (or was it 8?) Stages of Grief by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross.I’ll be adding it to New Releases next week — of course with 6 of the 12 songs not FCC-friendly your best shot for airplay is between 10pm & 5:59am.
I’d love to play “Don’t Need You Anymore.”I’d love to hear your ideas on how to market this. It’s the kind of record that could become an underground classic years after you’ve moved on to other things, & then you might not see any money from it. I’d think you should send it as-is to Sirius & XM, maybe direct to Howard Stern, & then cleaned up or not to WFMU in New Jersey, to my pal Max Schmid at WBAI — you know more about webcasters than I do, but they’re free of censorship, and considering the subject matter, I can think of non-music magazines where you could advertise it for mail order. Hmmm.”
— Matthew Finch, Music Director, KUNM-FM
“Emotional Wreck” has been in fact a true pleasant surprise and a very impressive debut, filled with so many good songs covering some different moods, from more acoustic and intimate ballads to some powerful rock numbers, but always expressed through a catchy sound. There is something on “Emotional Wreck” reminding me a young John Cougar and that’s particularly good because there are just a few artists doing that kind of music in these days unfortunately! I already started playing it in my radio show of American roots music and be sure that more will follow in the next weeks.
-Massimo Ferro, Music Director, Highway 61, Milan, Italy