Transcript of "John LaCroix's selected press clippings"
11 Guitar Hero Custom Guitars
APR Author: Dap1
Synthesis homie John LaCroix designed a custom Guitar Hero
guitar controller, for Activision and Red Bull, that is being sold
for charity on eBay right now. Its a dope controller. It comes
with full LED lighting effects built in that light up when played. If
you haven’t heard, a ton of brands, artists and media
personalities have created custom guitars (for PS2) to raise
money for MusiCares.
Check out the eBay online store to find guitars designed by the
likes of Armor For Sleep, Mototek-Ducati, Buckcherry, My
Chemical Romance, Danny Masterson, New Era Cap, Dashboard
Confessional, Nickelback, designer Missy Broome, Paul Frank
Industries, Hot Hot Heat, Quiksilver, Jack Black and Kyle Gass
(Tenacious-D), the Rocket Summer, Jack’s Mannequin, the Spill
Canvas, John LaCroix, Suicide Girls, Kelly Slater, Sureshot,
Martin Bros. Bikes, Tony Hawk, Metalocalypse, Will
Rhoten-Decade Clothing, Mister Cartoon and The Films.
Sportvision, CBS using FreezeCam on NFL telecasts
By ERIC FISHER
Published November 12, 2007 : Page 04
Sportvision, a company best known for its sports TV innovations such as the yellow first-down line, has struck a multiyear deal
with CBS Sports to employ its technology for the network’s lead NFL game each week.
The agreement, which commenced with the widely watched matchup earlier
this month between New England and Indianapolis, includes Sportvision’s
new FreezeCam. That technology seamlessly merges high-resolution, wide-
angle still camera images with TV replays to show broader perspectives on
the formation and execution of specific plays.
FreezeCam is not entirely unlike Eye Vision, another high-profile visual
element CBS developed six years ago with Sportvision rival PVI, but
FreezeCam provides its images at a far lower cost and is not focused on
Since the advent of the first-down line in the late 1990s, CBS has been
aligned with PVI. With CBS’s AFC-led broadcasts showing significant ratings
Sportvision aims for “a digital record
strength among all NFL coverage, working with the network represented a of every single event in sports.”
major priority for Sportvision.
The CBS deal also arrives in a period of expansion and change for Sportvision. The company is beginning to develop
coaching-oriented products to expand its profile beyond consumer-facing TV products. Among the emerging initiatives is to use
Sportvision’s wealth of data generated through its digital technologies in Major League Baseball and NASCAR to create
“Generally speaking, we have a goal to have a digital record of every single event in sports, and with our multiyear relationships
with baseball and NASCAR, we’re getting there,” said Hank Adams, Sportvision chief executive.
The company’s GameDay MLB product, which includes its Pitch f/x technology in partnership with MLB Advanced Media, is up
for a Technology & Engineering Emmy Award, as is its Race View offering on NASCAR.com.
BY CARLY CARIOLI
On a rainy Saturday in late post-hardcore band whose line-up included producer
September, the Explosion are Brian McTernan. "It’s an anthem," he adds of "Here I Am." "If we do our job, I
spending 12 hours filming the most think it’s a song that’s going to be on the radio, it’s going to be in
important two minutes and 47 commercials."
seconds of their career. But the
video for "Here I Am," the first But it isn’t just the Explosion who’re at a crossroads. Virgin Records has
single from the band’s major-label seen its market share shrink over the past several years. Recent high-profile
debut, , may be even releases by Lenny Kravitz, Courtney Love, and Janet Jackson have stiffed,
more significant than that: whether and that plus two larger snafus — the expensive and unremunerative
it succeeds may determine free-agent signings of Mariah Carey and Robbie Williams — has threatened
whether there’s a future for Virgin the company’s financial stability. When the Explosion signed to Virgin, the
Records. On a set erected inside label’s parent company, EMI, had recently dropped 400 bands from its
I'M READY FOR MY CLOSE-UP, MR.
the Lansdowne Street club Axis, LACROIX: the Explosion have a lot to win roster. Now Virgin has decided to bank everything on its ability to break a
the band members lounge in front or lose with 'Here I Am,' but their label has single band. This past summer, the label axed its radio-promotions
of a white backdrop, bathed in a even more at stake. department and brought in Bill Carroll. While at Vagrant Records, Carroll
cocoon of light. Around 11 a.m., the had helped break Dashboard Confessional on radio; he then moved to
director, John LaCroix, a veteran of Elektra, where he broke Jet. When he arrived at Virgin, he perused the roster
the Boston hardcore band 10 Yard and decided the Explosion would be his next focus.
Fight, gives them a quick pep talk and rolls film. As the band pretend to play
their instruments, frontman Million Dollar Matt Hock karaokes the chorus: "Bill’s main thing is that he does one band: he did Dashboard, then he did Jet,
"Here I am, here I am, here I am/I’m back at the crossroads again/Let me and now he’s going to do the Explosion," says Explosion manager Rama
stand, let me stand, let me stand/On top of the mountain again." Mayo. "And then the radio department, which is the main focus of any major
label, suddenly was saying, ‘Hey, it’s all about the Explosion. This is what
Although "Here I Am" represents a new sound for the Explosion (their old we’re going to do.’ It literally changed everything for us overnight."
songs were fast, loud, and snotty; this one is mid-tempo, polished, and
catchy), the track’s message is not far from that of their 2000 debut, Indeed, the Explosion have become the label’s priority: Virgin has pushed
(Jade Tree). The song announces itself with the sense that other albums off its release schedule; assembled an internal "Team
something important has been misplaced — on , that something was Explosion" strike force comprising department heads and assistants at all
nothing less than punk’s heart and soul — while manifesting a determination branches of the company to oversee an unprecedented marketing campaign;
to retrieve it at all costs. and curtailed its efforts to promote its other rock albums to radio stations in
order to clear the way for "Here I Am." "There’s enough competition at radio
Like much of , "Here I Am" is also infused with the anxiety of a stations already," says Wolter. "We’re up against Green Day, Good
band who’re being groomed for stardom. For the moment, the Explosion are Charlotte, the Offspring. You go to a radio station and they’ve got a stack of
on top of the world, but they’re well aware how quickly they might come 30 CDs that they’re choosing from. We’ve removed one of the stacks."
crashing down. There’s a long history of vital Boston punk bands — DMZ in
the ‘70s, Gang Green in the ‘80s, Cave In just two years ago — who’ve No one will say publicly that Virgin needs the Explosion to have a hit in order
signed to major labels only to release watered-down discs that failed to for the label to survive, but privately several sources close to the label have
reach a wider audience. Guitarist Sam Cave is aware of the precedent. acknowledged that, in the words of one, "Virgin is counting on this record."
"Yeah, it’s scary. We taking a risk, but we’re pretty young and we’re David Munns, the chairman and CEO of EMI Recorded Music North
gonna survive. I definitely think there’s much scarier things in life." America, has been with EMI off and on since 1971; he had a hand in signing
the Sex Pistols, and in 2002, he returned as part of a new management team
David Wolter, Virgin’s senior director of A&R, doesn’t think they have that charged with turning the company around. Earlier this year, he closed his
much to worry about: "I think ‘Here I Am’ is a monstrous hit." Wolter earned pep talk at the annual Virgin Records retreat in New York by quoting the
the Explosion’s confidence because, while at Hollywood Records in the lyrics to "Here I Am." "He turned it into the Virgin fight song: ‘Here I am, I’m
1990s, he signed the hardcore group Into Another and the proto-emo band back at the crossroads again,’" says Mayo. "Like, ‘Virgin: We need to have a
Seaweed. And while at Giant Records, he signed Miltown, a Boston successful year, we need to break a band.’ "
BY CARLY CARIOLI
spent shooting the Explosion on the off. "My job is that sometimes I’m the band’s best friend and sometimes I’m
floor at Axis, technicians scurry to their worst enemy." But by the end of 2003, Cave says the members were
turn the room around so they can pulling their hair out. "It’s frustrating when it takes that long to do a record.
shoot the band performing — You can’t do a tour because you’re recording demos, and you can’t generate
plugged-in this time — on the much income." "We thought we were ready [to make an album] the first
club’s stage before a small couple months," says bassist Damian Genuardi, "but there was a point
audience of 25 or 30 fans and where we had growing pains. I think if everyone in the band made their own
friends. This is, in fact, the second solo records right now, they would all sound so different."
time the Explosion have shot a
video for "Here I Am." The first The finished product reflects the band’s growth as songwriters — Hock, who
attempt was lensed by the team of had never written a song before, penned "Here I Am" — as well as their
Frank Borin and Ryan Smith, FLASH BACK: the determination to divergent influences. The songs range from "Go Blank," which centers on a
retrieve punk's heart and soul at all costs.
better known as Smith N’ Borin; single torn-and-frayed chord, to the Fugazi-ish lunge and feint of "I Know" to
famous for their work for Good the Hüsker Dü–ish "We All Fall Down." There’s even a song called
Charlotte, they’ve had five of their "Mothers Cry" whose soaring harmonies could pass for punk. But as if
videos retired from MTV’s . But the first shoot was a to balance it out, they’ve also re-recorded "No Revolution," the rallying cry
disaster, and it was scrapped. It was filmed, in fact, in a scrapyard — "Total that opened ." was written and recorded in such a
‘80s metal style," says guitarist Dave Walsh. "We shot in daylight," recalls short time that it was like the beginning and end of a thought," says Cave. "I
Wolter. "There’s sun in their eyes, Matt’s squinting. I hated it." think a lot of great records are like that: we didn’t really know what we were
doing, but it came out pretty cool. This one is more a collection of songs, not
Trying to work with a mall-punk video team, though, was a rare mistake: necessarily coming from one direction. It’s just a snapshot of the band at a
over the past five years, the Explosion seem to have done everything right. In certain place and time."
1999, they signed to the influential indie label Jade Tree, where they stood out
as a classic, dyed-in-the-wool punk band on a roster of emo kids. They filters down to the front of the stage at
toured relentlessly, finding allies in up-and-coming bands like the Distillers Axis, the Explosion attempt to dispel their nervousness with self-depreciating
and the Burning Brides, as well as in commercial punk-pop bands like Good humor. "This is going to be embarrassing for everyone involved," says
Charlotte and AFI. was hailed as an instant classic, and Hock. "So let’s try to get through it." After several takes, though, the crew
when the Explosion signed to Virgin, they sank part of their advance money haven’t got what they’re looking for. "The shots are fine; it’s the energy level,"
into funding their artist-run label, Tarantulas. The label, and the band, LaCroix says. Wolter agrees, and he encourages the band to step it up.
became the locus of a nationwide network of friends and bands including the Action: fans slam and pogo, the Explosion whip their instruments back and
Distillers and the Bronx; Mayo, who brought his previous experience running forth. LaCroix, standing at the back of the room, takes a running start and
the influential indie label Big Wheel to the enterprise, says he wants leaps onto the heads of the audience, then runs to the back of the room and
Tarantulas to become a punk-rock version of 50 Cent’s G-Unit farm team. does it again. Rolling off to the side of the stage, he gestures at the band,
whooping with his arms in the air: more, more.
But will all of that work translate into major-label success? "I’ve always
believed there’s a way to take an indie-label band and bring them to a major," Another take. A young man named Smith, a roadie for the band AFI who
says Wolter. He does acknowledge that it’s a challenge to market a band plays the part of the skateboarder in the "Here I Am" video, leads such an
who arrive with a substantial career under their belts. "It’s something new for impassioned sing-along that he all but strangles Hock with the mike chord.
Virgin. We’ve all seen examples where an indie band goes to a major label Cut. Everyone takes five, except for Cave, who stays on stage with drummer
and then doesn’t sell as many records as they did on the indie. We can’t have Andrew Black and plays a note-perfect version of the Misfits’ "We Are 138."
that." The cameras aren’t rolling, but the audience goes nuts anyway, and Cave
seems as happy as he’s looked all day. Smith sits on the steps to the side of
The making of was not without tension. The Explosion began the stage. "Everyone was worried that there weren’t enough people at this
recording demos in the fall of 2002, and they spent a year bouncing between shoot," he tells a friend. "But this reminds me of when I was little: you’d go to
producers and cities, all the while sending the results to Wolter, who kept a show and there’d be 30 kids who really cared instead of 200 kids standing
sending the band back to the studio for revisions. He believes the work paid around like they didn’t give a shit. I haven’t talked to Matt about it, but I kinda
think that’s what the song’s about." Then LaCroix begins calling the band
back for one more take, one last chance to look, for posterity, like the
Buzz Giant Poster Boy
American Demographics, June 1, 2004 by Noah R. Brier
Byline: NOAH R. BRIER
A face nonchalantly wallpapers urban landscapes in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, London and Tokyo and most other
metropolitan areas. Evident or not to passers-by, the black-and-white visage glued to stop signs, light poles, scaffolding,
brick walls and fences around the world is the face of Andre the Giant. The Andre the Giant who fought Hulk Hogan in
wrestling bouts, who was ever so briefly WWF champion and who appeared in Rob Reiner's 1987 film, The Princess Bride.
How did this phenomenon come to be everywhere? Why has the 7'4" wrestling figure gained such posthumous fame - Andre
died in 1993 - that people literally risk arrest to post his image? As a student at Rhode Island School of Design in Providence,
Shepard Fairey thought it would be fun to print up a bunch of stickers with Andre's face, and, in the late 1980s, he started
pasting them up in the streets and alleys of Providence, Boston and eventually New York. The stickers read, "7'4," 520 lbs.
Andre the Giant has a Posse." At first, it was just a few friends that signed on as accomplices in the miniature billboard
campaign. Today, untold hosts of acolytes spread the odd Obey gospel to the ends of the earth.
Some 15 years later, Fairey sticks to his plan, and he's steered a virally crafted wellspring of global goodwill, brand recognition
and buzz into a portfolio of businesses in apparel, skateboards and media astride inner-city hip-hop culture and that of
kindred suburban skater youth society - tastemaker nirvana for marketers. Fairey's inadvertent talent at generating buzz among
tough-to-reach young consumers has also landed him consulting assignments from the likes of Coca-Cola, Nike and the
Gravity Games. Today, Fairey's original intent, to remind people to think about their surroundings and question what they see,
offers a textbook case in building brand identity based on creating a rapport with people that's not all about selling stuff, but
can be all about having people buy stuff as they enthusiastically coalesce and evangelize via a global underground
As if traditional media business models aren't challenged enough these days, stories like Fairey's - which turn brand marketing
inside out - further call into question the roughly $128.4 billion TNS Media Intelligence/CMR estimates was spent on
advertising in 2003.
These questions intensify as Yankelovich research released at the American Association of Advertising Agencies annual
conference in April says 65 percent of people feel they are "bombarded with too much marketing and advertising," and 54
percent of those surveyed avoid buying products that they feel are over-marketed.
Companies such as Nike and Quicksilver have taken their share of bruises as a result of such over-marketing in the world of
skateboarding where the name Obey Giant carries clout among 15- to 25-year-olds who buy tons of branded clothing and
skateboard items. In 2003, the skateboard accessories market had $5.7 billion in total volume of retail sales, according to
Board-Trac, an Orange County, Calif.-based market research company. Sponsoring pro riders, creating entertainment products
such as video documentaries and advertising in smaller magazines are among the nontraditional marketing channels players in
this arena use to maintain credibility, according to Marie Case, managing director at Board-Trac. Not mega-bucks ad
For an age group that spends $100 billion annually on discretionary purchases, 15- to 25-year-olds make it pretty rough on
media channels trying to reach them. People ages 13 to 24 spend more time online weekly (16.7 hours) than they watch TV
(13.6 hours) or talk on the phone (7.7 hours), according to a 2003 study by Harris Interactive and Teenage Research Unlimited.
The reason for this, they cite, is ability to control content and overall experience.
Still, Fairey and art director John LaCroix are going to see if they can strike more lightning in a bottle with a new magazine
concept, a hardcover quarterly called Swindle, whose first issue is due this summer. Swindle's media kit says this of its target
reader, "This is a generation who grew up with pop culture and media as their wet nurse, and it takes a certain skill set to reach
them with success." Ecko, Paul Frank and 55dsl, part of the clothing company Diesel, are among advertisers in the premiere
issue. Most magazines cost around $5, and they're read once or twice and then tossed. Priced at $12, Swindle will attempt to
cross over the line from ephemeral magazine to more permanent keeper status with its readers.
What can mainstream consumer goods and services organizations and other companies large and small learn from what Fairey
has accomplished? "Clearly there's a dramatic change in the marketplace in how you place a brand in a consumer's mind,"
notes Alan Siegel, chairman of the strategic branding firm, Siegel & Gale. "The days of buying national television ads are totally
disintegrating, because the media have diversified so much." Fairey and Obey Giant provide a lesson in brand building in an
increasingly media-neutral world, where young people are Instant Messaging, talking on the phone and watching television all
at the same time.