Monday, March 26, 2018

Johnae Whitaker of Live and Loud Productions: Keeping Punk alive in Houston

You are constantly out in the scene checking out new bands. It’s obvious that you have a passion for music. When and what sparked this obsession?
I’m not really sure to be honest. I’ve always loved music. Growing up my Dad was the song leader at the church, my folks forced me to! My Mom had me in 4 dance classes a week, trying to burn my hyper energy!

Can you give us some insight of your process in organizing a show (talking with the bands/venues, promotion, etc)?
This entire thing was forced upon me, and I didn’t want to do it. I had no one to show me the ropes, or bad habits. Back home I was at a venue, so that part was simple. As far as bands, when it’s a touring band of course I listen and take the time to decide on a good pairing and send the local band links. Usually everyone is on board, unless work or they are in another band that’s playing. As far as promotion, I had to get creative. Sometimes I would invite my friends from Norml to have a table, or I would get a food truck to come out. Something that would grab the kid’s attention. Occasionally when I know I have a killer band coming I might send out invites to like band page before I actually promote. I also like to post videos of the bands. Honestly, I don’t even understand how it all came together and the shows I pull off. I’m usually just as amazed as the next person!

This is a continuation of the previous question. What you do is considered being in the music business. However, it could be called the “people” business due to the fact you have to deal with many different personalities. What’s your approach in that department?
I treat everyone the same. Granted, there have been a handful of occasions I had to get the fan girl out of me before I met them face to face. I’m honest and truthful with the bands. I’ll do whatever I can that’s in my reach to help. Such as find contacts wherever they are trying to go, or a spot to crash, and I’ve helped a handful find a venue for their show. I’m down for the cause, and nowadays most realize that. Occasionally some mistake my friendliness and helpfulness for something else and start flirting. But I’ve learned when that does happen to, again, just be honest and usually tell them ‘I just want to book your band’. However, other than the creepiness sometimes, I haven’t had too many personality conflicts.

How many shows a month do you usually book and what have been some of your favorites?
Back home being at a venue it was every weekend, usually 2 shows per weekend. But, I had to book all genres. Here in Houston, Live and Loud Productions is an independent so I can do as I choose. Originally, my plan was 2 shows a month. But things just fall in my lap so there have been times where it’s been 4-5 shows a month. My favorites?’re killing me. I get excited about all of them! Back home my favorites were probably a show I had with The Bulemics and Die Fast. And another show was Mobile Deathcamp with Beefcake the Mighty from GWAR, Todd Evans. Annnd I threw a bday bash for my dear friend Amanda and The Guillotines played...epic! Here in Houston, my bday bash with Revels, All Opposed, On the Cinder, and Goodnight Gallows was awesome! I was dumbfounded by the turnout! October Friday the 13th was amazing with All Gonna Die, Gen Why, Broke Off, Feels Like Murder, and TV Casualties, and a show in November with Sorted Scoundrels, Bottom of the Food Chain, Broke Off, and...well...Khobretti! I have a few I haven’t announced yet they will probably be on that list!

What are your favorite venues and why?
Rudyards is my favorite. It’s home away from home. Even though everyone complains about the stairs of death, everyone wants to play there. It’s a pretty chill environment. I actually like the creepiness of Super Happy Fun Land, it’s pretty creepy with all those doll eyes looking at you!

You previously booked many shows in Beaumont. What was the scene like out there?
There was a point in time when there actually was a pretty damn good scene over there. But once Jimmy Soul and Chuck Dorian moved from the area (yes I totally called y’all out...) it started to die down.

Final thoughts?
I love doing what I do. I never imagined I would get all this love! Or so many would know who I am! I’ve had to make a lot of sacrifices, but I can’t imagine not doing this. I’m in love with the Houston punk scene, and very proud and honored to be a part of it.

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