Category Archives: 0512

05.12 2012 Worcester Music Awards

“I’ll probably be in bed all day tomorrow, but this was one of the best nights of my life.” ~ Shane Lavoie, music fan. Photo by Jenn Russo

Our 6th Annual Worcester Music Awards were, without question, the biggest, best, and sexiest yet.  Staying true to our mission, shining a [spot]light on Worcester County’s amazing music scene and all the people who contribute to its diversity and success ~ from the bands, solo artists, and DJs to the fans, local venues and radio stations ~ continues to create an annual event that, although a competition, is really just a huge celebration of something all of us in Worcester County have in common:  a love of music and our local music scene.  This year there were a lot of new names in the nominations and on the winners’ list alongside some of the area’s most recognizable names ~ and we were thrilled to see a whole bunch of new faces in the crowd the night of the Awards.

Now, we couldn’t do the Awards without each and every one of you who nominated and then voted for your favorites in all the different categories and who helped spread the word about this year’s event.  The WMAs truly are a collaboration ~ and in addition to thanking all the fans and all the local musicians for giving us a reason to celebrate, there are some other important people we want to thank as well.  First, we were so lucky that Mr. Celim Lahoud was gracious enough to host the event at the magnificent Biblos Lounge at Union Station. Next, without our generous sponsors ~ Budweiser Beer, Immedia Sound, Celestial Effects, VERO Concepts, JLS Design, Music Go Round, City Music, Miraculous Creations, NEGB1, and Union Music ~ the Awards would not have been possible. We couldn’t have asked for a better host than the lovely Ms. Patrice Peris, and the evening’s live performers ~ DJ Flirt, Gamble & Burke, Cougar Bait, A Ton of Blues, and Herra Terra ~ provided a killer soundtrack for the night… and FlashHouse Studios was there to photograph all the festivities as only they can.

And last but not least, we send a huge shout-out to Mr. Paul Giorgio, our publisher and President of Pagio, Inc, and to Justin Perry, Chris Reddy, Katey Khaos, Mike Moore, Erik Carlson, Lara Dean, Josh Lyford, and Jenn Russo for pulling the entire show and this cover story together.

And now, since a picture is worth a thousand words, here are some of the best photos of the night ~ along with a list of the winners and some quotes from the bands and audience members.  Enjoy ~ and we’ll see you next year when Pulse Magazine presents the 2013 Worcester Music Awards!!!

2012 Worcester Music Awards Winners





























“Music is a moment and the time is ours.” ~ Ari Charbonneau, Singer from Ariband, nominated for Best Female Vocalist. Photo by Justin Mayotte

I was amazed by the caliber of talent that we have here! ~ Patrice Peris Hostess of the evening and Director of Bristol Recording and Voice Studios-Metro West. Photo by Justin Perry

“It is an awesome time to support local music, have some fun and party. We’re going to have a little after party at my place.” ~ Chest Rockwell of Cougar Bait, the evening’s third performer and nominee for Sexiest Musician and Band with the Best Groupies. Photo by Jenn Russo

“It was madness that you couldn’t expect and if you miss it then you’re an a**hole and you better go next year.” ~ Kaz Gamble of Gamble & Burke, the second performers of the night. Photo by Justin Mayotte

“I love you, Mom.” ~ Yamil Melendez, vocalist, Thurkills Vision, winner of Best Hardcore/Metal Act. Photo by Justin Mayotte



“I feel like I just watched the movie Titanic and I didn’t know the ending.” Niki Luparelli of Niki Luparelli and the Gold Diggers, winner of Best Jazz Act and nominee for Sexiest Musician. Photo by Jenn Russo

“Where the f**k did all of these people come from?” ~ Tara Danelius, music fan. Photo by Justin Mayotte

“We were up against some great competition and we still made it. To celebrate I’ll probably go have another Guinness.” ~ Mike “Spud” Kelly of A Ton of Blues, the fourth performers of the evening and winners of the Best Blues/R & B Act. Photo by Justin Mayotte


“I love it when people get excited for the music, I want to connect with as many people as possible.” ~ DJ Flirt, Winner Best DJ and the first performer of the evening. Photo by Justin Perry


05.12 Scott Lee’s Music-Centric Empire

By Steph Moore

Scott Lee has never been one to live a 9 to 5 life.  Instead, the MA native has focused on building an empire of music-business upstarts that includes everything from launching bands’ careers to creating exciting opportunities for fans to meet those bands. He’s all about making the music experience better for everyone.

After more than two decades in the music biz, Lee, co-founder of the three-day New England Metal and Hardcore Festival (NEHMF) that takes over The Palladium in Worcester each April (Pulse was lucky to attend all three days this year, which was the Festival’s 14th…Check out for our online coverage and photos!) and ~ for those of us into harder bands ~ signals the start of the summer music season, is casting his entrepreneurial net even wider with the launch of Sound Rink, a company dedicated to connecting fans with the bands they love.

Lee created Sound Rink along with partners Jason Mageau and Cody Delong as a way for fans to go beyond the music and get up-close and personal with the artists they love by offering special packages that include meet & greets, photo opps, autograph signing, and Q & A sessions ~ all the things that make music a much more fulfilling experience than just paying for a ticket to see your favorite band perform.  Packages are sold directly at

Lee shared that “Over the years, I have seen how much it means to fans to be able to meet their favorite bands. Rather than making fans stand outside of a backstage door for hours hoping for a chance meeting, we decided to come up with a way for fans to not only meet them, but to actually have time to chat and take pictures.”

Since its launch just few months ago, Sound Rink has already exceeded Lee’s expectations. “We knew something like this would get a warm reception, but we had no idea it would be this hot,” he said. “We have plans to expand and add other elements to provide the music fan with an experience they will remember forever.”

Sound Rink is just the newest arrival to Lee’s musical empire. Lee, who has been working for independent concert promoter MassConcerts since 1992, stormed onto the scene as the man behind the madness at NEMHF. Lee was inspired to create the Festival after attending a similar type of event and witnessing how it was run; he knew he could do it better and wasted no time setting the gears in motion. He got John Peters, his boss at MassConcerts, to partner up with him and together they began to build what would become the premier festival of its kind in America. The festival has become a launching pad for many bands’ careers, and bands clamor to play the fest every year, sometimes rearranging touring schedules to make it possible. NEMHF has done more than its share to improve Worcester’s immediate economy, too. April is unofficially known as “Metalfest Season” for the city’s bars, clubs, restaurants, and hotels, and brings a surge in revenue surrounding the event each year.

“Fans travel from all over the world for this fest in a town they can’t even pronounce correctly,” said Lee. “They are very loyal. After 13 years of doing this, we now see fathers coming with their sons…and both raging hard during the fest.”

It’s also likely that Lee’s name sounds familiar because he has run Crimson Management ( with partner Leah Urbano (a very familiar name here in Worcester and beyond!) since 2000. The company manages a roster of about a dozen bands, including The Acacia Strain, Mychildren Mybride, and Vanna, all of whom have a fiercely loyal fanbase here in Worcester County and nationwide. The dynamic duo also runs Anthem Agency, a booking agency dedicated to the metal and hardcore scene.

“Leah and I started out managing the Acacia Strain 10 years ago,” said Lee. “We were seeing so many great unsigned bands and we knew we could help them go farther. The business has grown so much over the years and we now represent a great bunch of bands. It’s exciting to take an unknown band and build them into stars.”

Lee has also ventured into clothing, creating Shook Clothing with partner Nick Holman in 2009. Shook Clothing’s mission is to be the brand that connects the hardcore and metal scenes with the streetwear culture, allowing the influence of those music scenes as well as the skateboarding, hip-hop, and tattoo cultures to shine through. Shook is sold at select retail outlets, concerts, and online

With all these companies and projects to his name, to what does Lee attribute his success across the board?  Honesty, a strong work ethic, and attention to the finest detail…and, of course, a love for music and the fans who support it.

05.12 Super Group Chickenfoot ~ All Fun, No Ego

By Jason Savio

Dispelling the notion that all Supergroups are ego-driven, fly-by-night collaborations is Chickenfoot: an all-star band consisting of former solo artist and Van Halen frontman Sammy Hagar, former VH bassist Michael Anthony, Red Hot Chili Peppers’ drummer Chad Smith, and guitar god Joe Satriani.

A legitimate band of successful, charismatic, talented musicians who enjoy playing together, Chickenfoot represent an anomaly in the Supergroup category.

Chickenfoot first began as a surprise jam at a Hagar show in Las Vegas. “It was just going to be an impromptu thing,” explains Michael Anthony ~ a Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Inductee ~ during our recent conversation. “We get up there for the encore and the fans are going nuts and we had such a great time together and that’s when we said, ‘Hey, let’s get in the studio and see if anything happens out of this.’”

What came out of those sessions was the group’s gold certified 2009 self-titled debut album that supplied a major shot of adrenaline to the music scene. Since then, there has been no looking back for the group, who have provided fans with a welcomed change of pace ~ a band that knows how to play hard while also having a good time.

“I think it’s just part of the lightheartedness of the band,” Anthony says, regarding the band name and recent album title “We really don’t take too much seriously except for the music. Everything else we just have fun with.”

The members of Chickenfoot are clearly enjoying themselves. Their playing is tight and yet seemingly effortless, the sign of a band comfortable with each other and playing for all the right reasons, “When we go out we don’t try to put any pressure on ourselves. There’s no big ego thing involved and it’s not money driven,” says Anthony. “The reason why we got together in the first place was just because we loved jamming together and wanted to make some music together.”

The Different Devil tour, which will feature Kenny Aronoff temporarily filling in on drums for Smith, will be making stops at a lot of theaters, including the Orpheum in Boston.

“We’re going to have the most jam packed show you’re going to see in these theaters,” Anthony says, “It’s going to be great.”

The band’s hallmark element of surprise will be on full display, too.

“It’s not one of these things where every night everything is all planned out,” Anthony adds, “We put a skeleton set list together. We like to keep it loose. Every night is different from the night before.”

And to further prove that this isn’t just another flash-in-the-pan supergroup, Chickenfoot is dedicated to each other and the group for the foreseeable future.

“There will definitely be another album,” Anthony says, “We’re one big happy family, and we just want to have a great time and try to make the best music that we can as a band, so we’ll definitely be around for awhile.”

Chickenfoots’ Different Devil Tour hits the road this spring in support of their tongue-in-cheek titled sophomore album, Chickenfoot III.

Catch them on May 16th at the Orpheum Theater in Boston and on May 19th at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, CT.

05.12 Up & Comers

Dizzy Dizasta

By Alex Kantarelis

Worcester has a hip-hop pioneer and his name is Dizzy Dizasta.  The local hip-hop artist, booking agent, and musical entrepreneur is about to release his new mix tape called The Official Dizasta Volume 1.  This release will feature a slew of artists who are at the top of their game, including Sean Price, Terminology, and Buddha Monk.

The Worcester native got his start winning rap battles at Clark University and quickly made a name for himself in the local scene.  From there, the transition into the studio was easy, and he began recording tracks with local legend Larry Cheeba.  Motivated by his own love for hip-hop, he began setting up shows in Worcester, bringing in a different hip-hop icon every week.  But to him, being just a Worcester artist wasn’t enough.  He hit the road, and landed shows as far away as Seattle, and Florida.

Hip-hop is truly a way of life for Dizasta, who spends his non-studio time doing promotions and booking a variety of shows all over New England.  Representing the label Str8Up Ent., he has always been driven to make his shows the biggest and the best possible.

Dizasta has ties with Wu Tang and is the first general of the Dirty Clanzmen, a Wu Tang tribute, and has been featured on many Wu Tang-endorsed mix tapes.  “[Wu Tang] influenced me to keep my music conscious, and to keep staying real,” he said.  He credits them for inspiring him to push the envelope further in his own song writing.  “I have my own style, I grew up listening to many different artists, but [Wu Tang] keep me wanting to seek more knowledge and wanting to seek more wisdom,” he said, adding that “I want to make music that makes people sit down and think.”

Dizasta’s positive mental attitude and unbelievable work ethic have carried him this far, so be sure to check out the new mix tape when it’s out, and drop by his release show June 2nd for a free copy.

Check him out on Facebook, or drop his name into Google to find more info.


Kung Fu Grip

By Jason Savio

It’s not easy being a cover band. It seems like they’re a dime a dozen and trying to separate yourself from the pack can be can be like trying to steal a banana from a gorilla. Said gorilla is bound to become displeased with your sudden surge of bravery and pound you back into obscure submission.

Luckily for Kung Fu Grip ~ a local cover band ~ this isn’t Planet Of The Apes. KFG is moving full steam ahead with creating their own niche, snagging a nomination for Best Up And Comers  by the 2012 Worcester Music Awards along the way. Of course, it always helps when your lead singer is nominated for Sexiest Musician, too.

Fronted by Renee Poirier on vocals, KFG immediately sets itself apart from most other cover acts by having a female lead singer. “After playing together for a year or so, and a band name change, we were in the search for a new lead singer, which lead to Renee taking the role with confidence,” says lead guitarist Nick Cosenza. Guitarist Sean O’Connell, bassist Don Barry, and drummer Dave Erickson round out the ensemble.

KFG, like all cover bands, face the similar task of putting their own spin on well-known classics, but Cosenza doesn’t allow it to intimidate and instead takes a cue from a trusted source: “My dad brought me up on Jimi Hendrix,” he explains, “and his version of ‘All Along the Watchtower’ just showed me that covering a song doesn’t mean you can’t be creative with it and make it your own.”

With a hot singer and talented group of musicians, KFG is rewriting what it means to be a cover band.

“We’re a younger, edgier, and talented band with lots of energy,” adds Poirier, “We draw the crowd in with our fresh sound and vibe.”

Catch the band on 5/12 at Tammany Hall and check them out on Facebook at

Sun Sister

By Jason Savio

Just in time for the long and hazy summer afternoons is Fitchburg’s comes Sun Sister. A melting pot of angst and mellow weariness, Sun Sister delivers a smooth and jagged sonic wave caught in a glass bottle.

The members of Sun Sister, including singer Stacy Baird, first met at school where they all studied astrology before deciding to start a band together. “We can’t name drop the school, if you want to call it that,” says Baird, “It was less dropping out and more running away. We foresaw a different path laid out ahead of us and a common vision had risen in us all.”

Less than a year old, Sun Sister has recorded some of their self-described “dreamy and gazy” sound on tape for their first EP, Rich American White Kidz.

“It’s a play on the stereotype,” explains Baird of the album title, “None of us comes from money. It seems like these days, it’s less ‘Age of Aquarius’ and more ‘The Age of Trustafarians.’ Certain freedoms and expression go along with each one of those words and together they certainly paint a picture.”

That picture fits neatly into the weary backdrop of the Shoe-Gaze formula the band resembles, but Baird doesn’t like to be marginalized, “I guess you might call us more Nu-Gaze/Dream-Pop or maybe just Dream-Gaze,” she says. “Any title makes us feel cornered. We pull influence from everywhere.”

When asked what kind of film their music would best fit, Baird responds “An erotic French film meets a slasher beach party.” Given the surf guitar vibe of tracks like “Blonde” that craftily glaze over a darker, cynical tone hidden underneath, this is a spot-on depiction, helping set Sun Sister up to be the sleeper hit of the summer.

Upcoming Shows:
May 18th ~ Fitchburg Artistree
May 4th ~ P.A.’s Lounge
June 15th ~ Ralph’s Diner

Photo by Ashley Labossiere, edited by Jen Cote

05.12 PulseBOOKS: I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution

By Stephanie Monahan

In 1981, a time when radio was the most common way of accessing music, a couple of executives came up with a radical idea. They wanted to bring radio to television. Not only that, but they would bring it twenty four hours a day, seven days a week by creating a cable station dedicated to something most people had never even heard of: the music video.

In I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution, Craig Marks and Rob Tannenbaum tell the complete story of MTV, from its beginnings as an underdog start-up designed to be the first cable station to cater to teenagers to its eventual rise as “the sun around which popular culture rotated.”

The thirty-year evolution is told in short quotations by those who lived it: MTV executives, video directors, choreographers, and the artists themselves. Duran Duran explains why they may have been the band that benefitted most from the invention of MTV, while 80s rock idol Billy Squier talks about the video that many think is responsible for destroying his career. The five original VJs discuss getting hired, thrust into the spotlight, and eventually fired in fulfillment of MTV’s mission to keep the network, and not any one individual, the star.

As MTV’s popularity grew, so did its ambition to become a “true television network.” It started in 1983 with the game show “Remote Control,” then continued with “House of Style,” “Yo! MTV Raps,” “Headbanger’s Ball,” and “120 Minutes,” with each show catering to the changing interests of its viewers. But in 1992, a new documentary series with no ties to music at all changed the station’s entire trajectory: “‘The Real World’ was the end of music as we know it on MTV.”

Organized in short chapters, the book is easy to digest, a fun trip into nostalgia by those old enough to remember a time when MTV did, in fact, play music videos, and a fascinating study of how MTV evolved with the times, not just reflecting, but many times creating, our popular culture.