Howdy, Music-Lovin’ Neighbor –

Well, 2011 was quite the ride. I want to wish you the warmest of wishes this holiday season. I hope the end of the year finds you and your’n well, warm, hale and hearty.

So let’s see… a lot of obligations impinged on music-making this year, but there were still a number of stellar milestones hit. Let’s see if we can recap the year. I’ll attempt to do it chronologically, after splitting into main band segments.



original rock with a social conscience

Lot of stuff on the Nova-K front. Did you know we have multiple albums available on iTunes, Amazon, and the like? Looking back from the end of the year, it’s surprising we could have accomplished as much as we did. But things are flowin’.

As 2010 drew to a close, Nova-K was preparing for the Midem conference in France. We were represented there by Jan Cooper of Pump Records. Jan had found us through the magic of the internet, seemingly sent as an angel from on high. Midem may very well be the largest annual conference on the planet for connecting music makers with music distributors with music publishers with music licensors with…

At any rate, Jan traveled to Midem, with test-pressing copies of Nova-K’s first CD ‘Take the Risk’ under his arm, representing us and a couple other acts. Jan presented us to a number of movers and shakers within the international music industry. For several weeks, we followed up on the introductions Jan secured for Nova-K.

Coincident with the Midem conference, or perhaps prompted by it, Nova-K entered into a publishing agreement with Nome Zone records. This brought representation with the performance rights organization BMI. BMI (along with similar PROs such as ASCAP and SESAC) are responsible for collecting funds for public performance of songs (on radio, in clubs, shopping malls, etc), and distributing them to the artists in proportion to number of public performances.

February had us busy with several projects – another redesign of the website ( ), writing and recording for the followup CD, and following up with contacts from the Midem effort. On this latter point, we were happy to be talking with companies with significant international reach — such as Bellaphon, Strengholt, and All Around Music.

In March, we released the 2nd album ‘Shout’. Again, available on iTunes, Amazon, Rhapsody, and all the other usual digital distributors. Amazon has actual CDs. Coincident with this was the release of our first video — Coma Vision. It’s up on YouTube at .

In April, our work through Midem really began to pay off, as we started negotiating with Mark S Berry of Attack Media Group and Deevel about representing our material for licensing in the TV and movie sync, and videogame markets. Mark has some 36 gold records, and has worked with acts such as Yes, David Bowie, Joan Jett, and Paul McCartney.

In June we finally finished our negotiations, and signed a promotion and marketing deal with Deevel. Woohoo! Deevel announced our new relationship thusly: .

In July, Deevel secured us a sync licensing deal with MTV networks. On another front, we placed our music with MusicDealers, which is another sync licensing house.

Also in July, we got picked up in the Spotify catalog. Interestingly, the regular performance rights, as administered by BMI, are inapplicable to internet streaming. Congress has seen fit to create an entirely separate infrastructure for artists getting paid for this new media. Accordingly, we signed with SoundExchange, which performs a function similar to BMI and the other PROs for streaming plays.

August found us condensing our catalog into a ‘best of’ CD, in preparation for Mark Berry of Deevel traveling to Berlin to represent us at PopKomm. PopKomm is another large international music marketing conference. Deevel also secured us a licensing deal with Wind Mobile for use in their wireless networks. We expanded our MTV deal to the rest of the Viacom family.

September was the actual PopKomm conference. Upon return, Deevel informed us that they had secured us a digital distribution deal with Interscope Records. Needless to say, we were quite pleased to be on the Interscope/Universal label. They are now distributing our ‘best of’ CD, as alluded to above, entitled simply ‘Nova-K’ — available on iTunes, eMusic, Napster, and all the other usual outlets.

October found us turning our attention to new material. Writing and recording…. We also released a video for ‘I’m an American’ – which seemed to resonate with people interested in the ‘Occupy *’ movement. It is sort of a character sketch of the worst of ‘the 1%’. You can watch it here: .

In December, we were featured on United We Stand radio — an internationally-networked radio show focused upon activist musicians. Also, Deevel brought us a deal with Eos music, to provide music for use by businesses, who rely on such to provide a suitable atmosphere for their clientele.

Our continued success is predicated on what you think of our efforts. Please feel free to stream us, download us, friend us, fan us, watch us, or what have you. The more activity we get, the more enthused we become to write and record new material.






The Lee Thomas Band

honkin’ original RockinBloozaBoogie!

We had rereleased ‘Forty Miles of Bad Road’ at the end of 2009. It started catching fire in the first half of 2010. By mid-April of 2010, it was in the top 50 on MySpace Music’s global indie blues album chart. As 2011 opened, it was still in the top 50 — in fact at one point reaching #2 Top Mover status on this chart. It continued in this area through May of 2011. Over a year straight of being in the Top 50 — very cool!

Our newest members — Bob Olivier (keys, clarinet, and vocals) and Doug Carmichael (saxes) integrated more fully in the band. We’re loving the ability to have keys and sax at the same time. And the clarinet really adds a kick to dixieland-tinged breakdowns.

We continued our several-year old pattern of having a reduced performance schedule. We continued to focus primarily upon benefits and festival-style events such as fundraisers for the Longmont Symphony Orchestra, Relay for Life, Berthoud Days, Mead Town Fest, and Fourth at Firestone.

In January, our fans voted us the the #1 slot in blues in the Austin region in Shure’s ‘Give it Voice Tour’ contest. Unfortunately, Joe (me) had misread the entrance criteria, and submitted a song that exceeded the allowable running length of 5:00. We were accordingly disqualified — after the contest closed with us in the #1 position. This oversight robbed us of our triumphant travel to Austin to take part in the inter-genre finals. I would have thought they would have screened at submission time, rather than in retrospect, but I guess not. Lesson learned. Still, our top placement was very gratifying.

After the talk of doing mostly festivals, we did close our year with a great gig at Oskar Blues Homemade Liquids and Solids. Saw lots of old friends, and made some new ones, too. A tip of the hat to Goat, who introduced me to a new device that reduces the noise emitted by singlecoil pickups.

Again, any linkage you can spare helps us out. Like, Listen, Look, Link, Love :)







The Usual Suspects

The Soundtrack To Your Lives [™]

The Usual Suspects continued to cause barizens to dance all up and down the front range in 2011. The dawn of the year found us in Saratoga, WY for performances on NYE — as will the close of 2011, and the opening of 2012 — at Duke’s Bar & Grill. We also performed at: Trailside, Scooterhinge, Dickens Opera House, Hideout, Shorty’s, Town of Mead, the Derby, Ziggies, Roadkill, some private events, and probably a couple I’ve inadvertently omitted.

We continue to try to crawl out from the hole dug when Facebook allowed some hackers from Albania to steal our Facebook page. Not only for the Usual Suspects, but also for Nova-K. While we created a substitute page for Nova-K (starting from scratch), we are still using the existing page for the Suspects. As we no longer have administrative rights to this page, it makes things somewhat difficult. We’ll probably need to create a new page at some point in the future. If and when we do, we hope you will re-like the new one. Speaking of which – we’d appreciate if you’d check whether you ‘Like’ the new Nova-K page, or of you’re still linked only to the stolen one.

We’ll continue to assist in getting you out and on the dance floor through 2012 – come out and see us sometime! Maybe this NYE in the rocking’, freewheeling town of Saratoga, WY!

Oh yeah – please hit some of our links. If you sign up for our maillist, we’ll keep you informed on our comings and goings:




Joe Bear – the man, the musician, the legend

supremely competent, appropriately irreverent, slightly boozy, and just a whole lot of fun!

Hmm… solo stuff. Yeah, I did a few solo shows this year. Let’s see… Derby, Kanemoto Park, JJ’s, plus a couple of gigs a month in Second Life under an assumed nom de guerre. There’s quite a lot of freedom in a solo show to go off on whatever tangent I care to. This can lead to wildly divergent and unpredictable fun. I’ll keep branching out with new material in this format over 2012.





Rocket Surgery Sound & Productions

festival scale turnkey technical production services

Well, what with the day gig ramping up, and all the above musical stuff, 2011 ended up seeing Rocket Surgery shortchanged on the effort side of the equation. However, we did get a handful of events in — both live multitrack recording, and sound reinforcement. And some DJ gigs too – most notably for the Down The Road Corvette Club’s annual car show. Plus, the rather lucrative nature of the day gig enabled some significant investments. Rocket Surgery can now field an EAW based, 12-box, 30KW+ system with 94 channel boards at both FOH and monitors, with 12 monitor mixes, out of our own inventory. We also did a few spot rentals here and there for musos needing to supplement their own gear. Give me a call if you need gear, a sound system, or complete production services!




Whew! Looking back on the year from this vantage point, it appears pretty daunting. But it was a good ride the entire way through. I hope to push even harder on things this coming year. And I hope to bring you along for the ride as well! Whether you are familiar with one or more of my projects, I hope you’ll look into one or two more. Those that are onboard for all, I especially want to thank. You all are the reason I do what I do. Have a happy and prosperous 2012!

One last thought with which to leave you: Jingle Bombs by Achmed the Dead Terrorist