Friday, November 02, 2012

Interview with Firebrand Rock Radio's "Metal Goddess" Jen Vogel

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," 
Firebrand became
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 
highly respected 
station for dealing with our approach 
to both our
clients and our listener base. We employ 
32 DJ’s/staff 
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,
very exciting.
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
begin with!
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 
Firebrand Rock
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 
bands/artists everywhere.
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 
Breast Cancer. 
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 
towards helping 
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! 

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