TVD at the CMJ Music Marathon 2013: Who stole Joey Ramone?

Wherein TVD’s LA family, Alexandra Starlight and Zachary James, return from CMJ with a scrapbook of madness and memories. —Ed.

“As musicians and fans travel home with as many brain cells blown as speaker cabinets, we say goodbye to another CMJ.


Having attended multiple years now I can say that CMJ has its finger on the pulse. Everywhere you look there’s healthy (or unhealthy, depending on who you ask) doses of 80s electroshock disco, dream pop, punk rock, and the occasional resuscitated legend. More shenanigans below…”

We happened to roll into town early and catch Hammered Satin all the way from glistening Hollywood, CA just before CMJ had officially begun. There were in NY shooting a video with Trip Loon for their new record Foxy Dude.

We caught them at the famed Bowery Electric on the corner of Joey Ramone place for a proper Rock N Roll show…

…Ya know, on Bowery between 2nd and 3rd street. Our good friend Matt Hogan (and killer guitarist for Jesse Malin, Willie Nile, the list goes on) explained “they had to put the sign way up there cause people kept climbing up and stealin’ it.”

After catching about 3-4 shows a night, we decided to stop by the Kimmel Center for panels and a Q&A with one of New York’s most trusted industry, and to my surprise award-winning, songwriters, Benny Blanco.

As most panels are a group effort guided by a chosen moderator, Benny’s was a breath of fresh air. He was alone running it more like an open Q&A rather than a traditional panel, addressing questions from aspiring songwriters and the world’s next generation of hip hop laptop producers. He seemed to truly love music and the craft of song, and for that I really enjoyed hearing him speak.

Photo: Rooftop rage with our pals from down under. Stolen from the one and only Nick Potts AKA Pottsy!!!

After ingesting plenty of useful industry jargon, we headed to The Delancey for the Aussie BBQ to meet up with some real Aussies, illustrator and artist Nick Potts and jewelry designer Lydia Karp.

I have to say that the Aussies know how to rock. Every band that night had guts and great songs—very refreshing for this day and age. Finishing the night and our trip to NY, we partied like it’s 1999 on Nick and Lydia’s rooftop with plenty of Budweiser and acoustic Madonna covers requested by their Scandinavian “neighbor.”

Until next time CMJ, over and out…


“Another week of leather-clad wandering, and NYC boozin’ and loozin’ at CMJ has come and gone.

Our ten-day trip to partake in the sights and sounds of New York left my head spinning, my liver lurching, and some new black holes in my black dancing shoes…but was well worth it! Check out some crap snaps and recaps.”

LeefieldsPhoto: Nicholas Lorden for CMJ

Lee Fields knows how to work a crowd. This was hands down my favorite showcase of CMJ. Appearing in a well-turned out gold sparkly blazer, Lee shimmied, sequined, and shook for his whole set.

He asked us to swing our hands from left to right. He told us this one was for the ladies. He curled over and sang so hard his hand started to shake “uncontrollably” on the microphone. This kind of earnest theatrics and old school showmanship seems lost in today’s musical clime, but was not lost on anyone that was there that night. Thanks for still rockin’ and rockin’ the sequins, Lee!


Here’s me and my favorite Aussie, Lydia of Eyas Delicates at the Aussie BBQ. There wasn’t actually any BBQ at the Aussie BBQ, which we were all greatly confused by (we thought there would be plenty of shrimp on the barbie to go around) but there were tons of great bands.


Here’s Zachary James of Zachary James on his career counseling, mentoring sessions panel focused on the Touring Industry. I happened to be there and CMJ urged me to sit in on the session, so surprised college students, musicians, and budding industry hopefuls got a two-fer!


Because beers in New York are crafted from the tears of unborn babies and diamond flecks expensive, we got very used to drinking the King of Beers, Budweiser. And also discovered they make wonderful arm bands.

Don’t try CMJ at home kids. Until next year!

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