Recently I had the privilege of interviewing
Firebrand Rock Radio's
Director of Operations "Metal Goddess"
Jen Vogel. I just want
to thank her for taking time out of her busy schedule to
sit down and talk with us.
Andy-I first became aware of Firebrand
Rock Radio thanks to your
Cancel Out Breast Cancer Auction weekend.
Can you tell us a little
about your business? Could you give us
the rundown on Firebrand
Rock Radio such as the who, what, when and why?
Jen-First, thank you for your contribution
to help us Cancel Out
Breast Cancer! It was such a
great weekend, and a cause close
to my heart for personal reasons.
Firebrand Rock Radio was
established in the UK in October 2010
by our "main man"
Rick Palin. After its "testing phase,"
permanent in January of 2011. Rick's goal
for FBRR is to
combat the injustices of the music
industry in relation to
the unsigned talent and new and upcoming
bands out there
in the world. We have now grown into a
station for dealing with our approach
to both our
clients and our listener base. We employ
members and we have a global reach of
currently 85 countries.
We have definitely grown far beyond original
We have an amazing crew of DJs and staff
and we just keep growing!
FBRR has recently went into producing shows for
the legendary Frontiers Records, and we are the
first station in Europe to
be given this task and we are relishing the challenge.
We also have Firebrand Media Services Group,
which is a support
tool for artists that draw on the industry
experience of our team, and present a no-nonsense
approach to management. We have the firm belief
that to get anywhere
in this industry you have to be fair with
the people you represent and that is Firebrand's motto.
In addition to the radio station and Media Services, we
also own and operate "Firebrand Magazine,"
a web-based magazine dedicated to bringing the
latest in new releases and articles
from the household names to the unsigned market.
The magazine covers Melodic/Aor/Blues/Metal and
is well written with informed
articles by some great writers. We just
launched our first magazine the beginning
of October, and we were
overwhelmed with the amazing response
we had to it. It's all very,
Andy-Can you tell us a bit about your background Jen?
How did you personally get started with the station?
Jen-I have always loved music, and almost
all types of music. I
started hosting shows in July of 2011,
as a co-host for a show.
I had a friend that needed a new logo
for his show, so since I am pretty decent with
Photoshop, I offered to make
the logo for him. I found the whole process
interesting, and mentioned how I had always
been interested in doing radio shows, playing music, etc.
He invited me to co-host with him, and then
by September of the same year, I
branched out on my own (while still
co-hosting the show with him) with
my "flagship" show, so to speak,
"Metal Flashback," where I play metal and hard rock
from the 80s and 90s.
In late September/October, we looked to move
on from the station we
were at due to some differences, and stumbled
upon Firebrand Rock Radio.
Rick snatched us up, and we started our shows here.
Shortly after that,I stopped co-hosting on the show,
and branched out on my own completely.
I have been with FBRR since then, and worked my
way up within the station. I started as a DJ, then became the
US DJ Manager, and I am now the Director of Operations - I run
the station--and I am also a Director of the company
as a whole. And I'm Rick's "right hand man," so to speak. I
love my job. I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world.
I work with some of the best people in this industry.
The opportunities I have had so far have been
some of the best in my life, from interviewing the likes of
Sebastian Bach (my favorite singer ever) to the most recent
with Jimi Jamison, I just cannot complain. I'm living a dream.
Andy-It's interesting that you should
mention Jimi Jamison as I just reviewed his new solo album
not that long ago. In fact we often review albums from
Frontiers Record. I have to admit that I have a
running joke about Frontiers Records in that you
know what your getting before you even hit the
play button-it's either melodic rock or AOR!
Few record labels stick as close to their guns as
Frontiers Records does right?
Jen-Jimi was a really, really great guy.
That is probably up there with one of
my favorites that I have interviewed.
Very genuine, nice, laid back guy.
Frontiers Records is a great label.
They have so much good music coming
out of there, it's crazy! All of the
greats in the industry - Sebastian
Bach, Journey, Survivor, Toto, Warrant,
Def Leppard - all there with
Frontiers. They have been one of the truest
to their label from the
beginning. It's so great to see that. That era was
some of the absolute
best music ever, in my opinion.
Andy-Our goal here at Heavy Metal Time Machine
is similar in many ways. We aim to shine as
much of a spotlight on
underground/unsigned bands as the
more established acts. I am constantly
amazed (or saddened depending on
how you look at it) at how many great bands
remain unsigned out there
especially when I hear far too many new signings
that sound exactly like a
labels old signings! Especially when those old bands
were not that hot to
Jen-While I am a sucker for the hair/glam metal, I
absolutely love indie music. You're right, there are
so many amazing bands out there working
their asses off and putting out some
kick ass music. I love finding bands
(or them finding me) like this. I have had
the privilege of interviewing
and playing some of the best indie bands that I
have heard on my shows. I
do one show titled "Music Mania!" where I showcase
a lot of indie bands,
and the music is just amazing. Getting these bands
out is what I enjoy
doing. They are some of the hardest working people, because
it is up to
them to write their songs, play their music, pay
for any studio time,
promote their bands via social media and posters, etc.
Most can't afford the luxury of hiring publicists or
someone to do the work for them; they
do this on their own, and to be successful at it,
that takes dedication.
That is how you can tell who is genuinely
sincere, I think.
Andy-You mentioned that you have have DJs not only
in the UK, but in places
like the US,Australia, etc.
How exactly does that work for
Jen-It works very well, in fact. We have it
set up to where we have
regional managers who oversee the DJs in those
areas. We are a well-oiled
machine! It is so great having DJs world-wide.
Not only is it fun to hear
the different accents from all over the world (haha!)
but the amount of
new music and bands that our DJs introduce us to
are phenomenal. Chances
are, someone here in the US could never hear amazing
bands from Australia,
or Ireland, etc. And, coupled with the fact that
we have currently 85
countries who tune in to Firebrand, we are able
to introduce so many new
bands to the world. It's an overwhelming experience
sometimes, but it's
Andy-We talked briefly about unsigned bands that are waiting
for that one big break. Care to toss out a few names
that you personal like? It's
always great to find out about new bands from
either here in the
States or out of country as it were.
Jen-Well, there are several amazing unsigned
Some that stick out to me from UK are
Hex (a new favorite recently
introduced to me), Hellbound Rebels, David J. Caron,
and Rob Mancini; I
mean there are just a great number of great bands
and musicians coming out
of the UK. From Australia there is Jac Daltan.
Here in the US, I have
several favorites: Broken Romeo, Memory
of A Melody, The Black 13, No One's Mercy,
and a few out of Canada -
Kingdom of Few, Cupla, and The Worshyp - that
I am quite fond of as well.
Andy-At the start of this interview I mentioned
how I became aware of
Firebrand Rock Radio thanks to your Cancel
Out Breast Cancer Weekend.
I'm hoping that proved to be very successful
for the station. I know
first-hand how awful cancer is as I lost my
grandmother to it. As sad a
memory as that is for me I am happy to say that
I know several incredible
women who are breast cancer survivors. If it
isn't too personal would you
mind sharing how it has personally affected you?
If it's too painful I
Jen-I have always been a very big supporter of
breast cancer research. I lost
a friend to it in 1998, and that was a
horrible experience. However, most
recent events are what sparked me to do the
weekend marathon. Early
September of this year, my Grandmother was diagnosed
with breast cancer.
Luckily, they caught it very early and it was easily removed.
Within a week, a very dear friend of mine told me
she had been diagnosed with Stage
3 breast cancer, and she is currently going through
chemotherapy. It is
heartbreaking to me, because she is a few years
younger than I, and a
single mom to two beautiful kids. Both my Grandmother and
my friend live
out of state, and I decided that, while I cannot be
there physically to
help them, I could do *something* to help them, and
then I got this idea
to use my resources and plan an event such as Cancel Out
It's also my hope to make this an annual event.
Andy-Yes, that would be wonderful if it could
become a yearly event.
Hopefully next year we (Heavy Metal Time Machine) will
be able to help out
in some way. As we look to wind up our time together
what would you say to
those people who might be reading this interview
and asking how they can
get involved in the fight to end breast cancer?
Jen-That would be great to collaborate for
the event next year!
For me, as I said before, the fight to help
find a cure, help women
get preventative care, help women who cannot
afford mammograms to get
them -- it is all important. The fight
against cancer in general
is important. Even if you donate $1 -- that's $1 more
us fight,prevent, and find a cure. Could you
imagine how significant it would be
if everyone in the U.S. alone donated $1 each? It's a very
important and worthy cause.
Andy- I completely agree with you Jen.
If everyone could just
donate $1 to help find a cure imagine how
wonderful that would be?
Now, as we look to wrap up our time together
I leave you with the final word. Anything you want
to say about the metal scene these days or what it's
like to a metalhead in the year 2012? I
give you the mic Jen and the stage is all yours!
Jen- Metal never dies. It never ages. It never gets old.
Now in the age of
social media, new amazing bands can be
heard worldwide. I'm honored to be
a part of that, bringing awesome music to the masses.
Also, I just want to
add -- go support your local bands. There is some
amazing talent out
there, and just like mainstream bands, these bands
depend on your support,
if not more than most. So get out there, and support your
local bands and
venues. You may just be surprised at the level
of talent that's out there!
Labels: 2012, interview, rock radio