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June 16, 2005
Frickin' A Lead Singer Leaves Writer, Label in Lurch; Blowing Off Music Writer Does Disservice to Band
by Brandon Woolum
Huntington News Network Writer
Listen to the Nissi Bergman Interview
Huntington (HNN) – The title of Frickin' A's debut album says it all – "Big Egos… No Ideas."
The 4–piece from Cincinnati signed with indie label Toucan Cove last year and soon after released their first CD. The first single off the disc was "Trend," and although the video got a few spins on VH1, it never really broke out.
As the holiday season of 2004 approached they recorded and released a song titled "Merry Merry Merry Frickin' Christmas," that sparked some interest on radio morning shows, but still it wasn't enough to bring them success.
Finally about 4 months ago they released the second single that is featured on their CD – a cover version of Rick Springfield's hit song "Jesse's Girl." The song was put in rotation in several markets of CHR/top 40 radio and as time went on it began getting tons of air play.
The song is now getting spun heavily on local station WKEE and is on the popular series "Now That's What I Call Music 18," which has sold over 1,000,000 copies. As previously advertised on HNN, lead singer Jason Phelps had an interview scheduled with Brandon Woolum slated to take place at 2 p.m. on Tuesday June 14, 2005. In the late update of Tuesday's edition of HNN it was said that Phelps was unavailable for the interview and it would be rescheduled for Wednesday June 15, 2005.
Once again that interview did not happen, and now the covering up will be no more. Now comes the true story of Phelps.
This session of Audio Feedback was scheduled more than a month ago via the public relations representative at their record label. I'm not going to mention the PR person's name, because the person worked very hard to make this happen and was furious at Phelps when she found out that it did not happen.
The trouble started when I called Phelps on his home phone number at 2 p.m. Tuesday when the interview was originally scheduled. I got no answer and left him a voicemail explaining who I was since this sometimes happens when artists see an unknown number on the caller ID.
I waited until 2:15 p.m. and still had not received a call from him. I made a second attempt and still did not get an answer. At this point I e–mailed the label representative to see what the problem was.
Within 5 minutes the label representative called me to let me know that Jason had decided to go to Nashville without letting them know that he would not be home as he was supposed to be for the interview.
She attempted to contact him via his cell phone, but he refused to answer. At about 3:30 p.m. we officially gave up on contacting Jason and were both not very happy with what had happened.
I was mad, but she was ever angrier than I was. I told her to keep trying to get a hold of him and to call my cell phone whenever she reached him. At 7 p.m. Tuesday evening she called me and said that she had finally got a hold of him and that he could do the interview at 11a.m. eastern time Wednesday, June 15.
I agreed that we would try it again, while Frickin' A's label rep. repeatedly apologized for Phelps unprofessional actions.
I called Jason at 11 a.m. Wednesday and got no answer on his cell phone. Again I left him a voicemail. About 3 minutes later he called me back and said that he was not in a good location for cell phone service. I ask how long until he'd be in a good area for service and he said one hour. I responded with can we just go ahead and try it and see if it cuts out and he refused.
He said we'll do it in an hour and hung up. I wasn't too happy with his rude actions, but I decided to hang around for an extra hour anyway.
Once the noon hour reached I again called the cell phone number and I got no answer. I was pretty sure after that phone call at noon that he was going to once again blow the session of Audio Feedback off completely. However, I stuck around and called him 20 minutes later and still got no answer.
At that point I called the label again and the representative was speechless at what he had done. She expressed her apologies and put the blame on herself, since it's her job to make the band look good. Regardless of her taking the blame I knew that she had no control over what had happened and that it was completely the fault of Jason Phelps.
She tried to contact him to see what his problem was, but again she could get no response from him. After this she decided to call the president of the label and let him know what had happened.
At about 7:30 p.m. Wednesday evening I received a phone call on my cell phone from the Frickin' A tour manager apologizing for the actions of Phelps and once again blaming it all on not having good cell service. Since when does Nashville, a fairly large city, not get good cell phone service?
I knew it was a useless excuse and I refused to reschedule the interview for Thursday, June 16. The tour manager really wanted to have Jason do the interview, but after two days of being blown off, and over 6 hours of wasted time all together I was sick of the band's ego.
Therefore I changed the original plan. I've been doing band interviews for 5 years, and sometimes small things like this are covered up. However, this time was too much and I felt you the fans of Frickin' A, the people who will control how far they go, had a right to know how the lead singer acted.
His ego is insanely big and it will be the end of this band in the future. It's sad that it has to be like that but it will happen. They won't be able to ride what little bit of success they have right now.
The success they have received is from a song that was not even written by them, so it makes it even worse to see them acting so cocky.
It was stated by a person at the label that the band has been getting interviewed by a lot of smaller market newspapers that have had people not educated on their music conducting the interviews. The band was informed that I specialized in music columns and would be a fun interview to do, but as you can see they didn't care.
Frickin' A will be performing live this Friday night at the Huntington Music Hall, located at 611 4th Ave. Tickets are $10 in advance. Doors will open at 8 p.m. with the first act going on at 9pm.
Although Phelps and Frickin' A acted in the manner that they did the past couple days I still would suggest checking out this show. The opening acts are amazing an worth the $10 alone.
Eighteen–year–old Nissi, whom we featured Monday, will be the first act to take the stage. She is from Tennessee and has been getting tons of attention in the music industry. Atlantic Records will be attending the show in Huntington to watch her performance.
The middle act will be Saving Jane. They are led by former Ironton resident Marti Dotson and their first single, "Girl Next Door," has been getting massive air time on WKEE–FM 100.5.
The show has got tons of advertising and it is expected that it will be one of the largest shows to ever be held at the Huntington Music Hall.
Listen to the Nissi Bergman Interview