One of the first folks from the Blues community to become a Tier1 Supporter was Frank Roszak. I met Frank at the Blues Music Awards, and shortly thereafter he agreed to support the vision that was Blues411.
To me it was instant credibility, being accepted and backed by someone of Frank’s stature made me feel confident in my mission, and allowed me to actually pay some bills! Funny how that works.
So it was very exciting to me to find out that Frank had been selected for a Keeping The Blues Alive Award at this year’s International Blues Challenge festivities.
I asked Frank if he would share some thoughts on receiving the coveted award, and what exactly it is he does. It’s pretty interesting, and helps us to understand some of the intricacies that go into ‘promoting’ releases and artists.
Enjoy, thank you and congrats Frank.
Blues411: First off congrats on the KBA this year…I must say your ‘speech’ at the KBA luncheon was outstanding. I know you are not a man of many words, but the ones you chose were well placed and you nailed it that day. What were you feeling as you were up there, with colleagues and friends sitting around full of brunch and coffee, heh heh?
Frank Roszak: YIKES! It was like Holy Moly, I had so many scripts in my head I was going crazy sitting there at my seat, the anticipation was insane, not knowing when I was going to be called upon and was I going to remember what to say, who to thank. Interesting to see for myself what was important at the moment and then the moment comes and its nothing like what you anticipated. When I got on stage, I thanked Art Tipaldi for having me sit there for 3 hrs and be next to last in receiving the KBA. I was so in my head. I don’t think Art got it, I was joking with him. Oh well.
B411: I know I was watching you , you looked like a kid at school waiting for the bell to ring. But it was great to see you and to be there for you. You were very humble,, and genuine in your comments to the room.
So what does it mean to you to be owner of a KBA?
FR: OUTSTANDING! Its my Grammy! It’s the recognition for my 35 plus years in the music business and most importantly it’s the Blues community that recognized me. Thank you!
B411: So you do Radio Promotion, what exactly is that?
FR: Well radio promotion is a component, one component of any promotion, not just what I do. In fact the majority of what I do today regarding any promotion, is so much more, it is not a straight line. Let’s use a CD release as an example is a combination of Radio and Press. In my opinion to achieve the maximum amount of exposure radio on its own and or press on its own is not going to reach the masses. So it definitely takes the combination of both for a successful promotion. This has been proven out over the years and they really go hand in hand like pasta and sauce.
B411: See that was missing from Louis Jordan’s ‘Beans & Cornbread’ but knowing you (and Marini & Patricola) very fitting!
Speaking of multiple fronts, I see that you have added Vinny Marini to the Frank Roszak family of business enterprises, in what capacity will he be functioning?
FR: Yes, Vinny Marini, from Music On The Couch, an outstanding Radio/Interview program. Vinny is going to be a tremendous asset to Frank Roszak Promotions. He is doing tour support. It makes sense. If I had a clone, and I do need a clone at this point, Vinny is the guy. He has the art of bonding with people down, I mean he really knows instinctively how to make someone feel right at home, like you are sitting on a couch with him. (Shameless plug)
Handling a successful tour promotion is a demanding responsibility, its micro-publicity and I needed someone like Vinny to just take over and run with it. This way my full attention is focusing on artists releases. Basically tour promotion is an extension of a release but with the focus on supporting an artist while they are on tour. The promotion team goes from city to city a month in advance of any appearance by the artist and secures radio interviews, in studio performances, reviews/interviews, show previews and television all in support of a particular show ie: festivals/clubs. I call it micro-publicity.
B411: Ok very cool, specific to the area the artist is playing in, localized action-driven publicity and support, got it.
So are your artists just from the US or do you work with international artists?
FR: I work with quite a few International artists and it seems to be ever expanding. I represent artists from Italy, Norway, Austria, Sweden, Canada and currently working with an artist from Switzerland. I also just received a couple more requests from artists overseas.
B411: Then do you also do worldwide promotion etc., ?
FR: Yes, A very big part of my promotions for artists is to include Europe, Scandinavia, UK, Australia, Canada and parts of Eastern Europe and of course the U.S of A for my International clients. There are a tremendous amount of opportunities to be explored in those territories
B411: Let me ask, who are some of your clients?
FR: I am currently working with Mick Kolassa on his project “Michissippi Mick, where 100% of the proceeds go directly to the HART Fund and Generation Blues. Nice to be a part of something that goes beyond what contributions I can make on a daily basis for artists.
I am also currently working promotions for Bassist/Singer Polly O ‘Keary (Awesome) John Lyons (Switzerland) Corey Lueck (Canada) Patti Parks and an outstanding Folk/Blues artist Mary Ann Casale.
B411: Let me ask ya this, with the internet and other social media and virtual world wide accessibility, why would an artist or label need you to do what you do – couldn’t they do it themselves?
FR: Regardless of what the internet and or social media has to offer it still comes down to relationships. Relationships are developed over time, a quick intro on FB is not what I call a relationship or for that matter “Friends” on Facebook! What?
I have spent the last 10 years getting to know the folks I work with at radio and press. Facebook I see as a shortcut in communicating, e mails for that matter also. Its OK but does not altogether cut the mustard, it does not develop the bond that is so essential to getting things done on a grander scale.
Where can people find you to take advantage of your service?
B411: Frank thanks so much for taking the time to give us the low down on what makes a KBA winning promoter, I hope folks will read and learn from this little chat.
Love, Peace & Chicken Grease
Photos: Leslie K. Joseph
Where Blues Thrives