Gary Spivack Talks "Epicenter" 2011
Mon, 19 Sep 2011 07:46:46
Epicenter has quickly become a California tradition. Since its first run in 2009, the festival has consistently given concertgoers a bill to remember. Epicenter 2011 is promising to be the biggest and best incarnation of the festival yet. Boasting Limp Bizkit's first SoCal show in a decade as well as very special appearances by Staind, Five Finger Death Punch, Papa Roach, and many more, Epicenter is the ultimate rock festival.
In order to get a glimpse into the inner workings of this hard rock juggernaut, ARTISTdirect.com editor and Dolor author Rick Florino spoke to festival organizer Gary Spivack in this exclusive interview...
How did you assemble the lineup for Epicenter?
We had to hone in and figure out what Epicenter is and who we are as a festival. In Southern California, there are so many choices when it comes to music and lifestyles. We put our toe in the water for the first few years. We dabbled in acts like Tool, Linkin Park, and Eminem as well as hip hop artists such as Atmosphere and Big Boi. We dabbled in a couple of worlds. We had to figure out what we are. We honed it in, and we decided we wanted to become Southern California's rock festival, period. There's no more dabbling. We figured let's be the rock festival. Let's not overthink it anymore. We literally changed our tagline to "Epicenter: Southern California's Rock Festival". That's what we're calling ourselves. It is the rock festival for SoCal. We decided to book bands that reflect that. We wanted to take our Rock on the Range model in Ohio, which has been so successful, and bring it to Southern California.
A lot of rock bands don't really got a shot in Los Angeles.
You pegged it. That's it. We wanted it to be all killer no filler. The lineup is acts like Staind and Five Finger Death Punch as well Papa Roach, Puddle of Mudd, and Everlast who have good KROQ heritage. Then we wanted a "Wow" factor and we found it. This will be Limp Bizkit's first SoCal show in a decade. It's their only American appearance this year, and they wanted to do that. Fred and the band wanted to make Epicenter that special.
Did you have a lot of these bands in mind from the beginning?
We had to put the boxing gloves on and decide what we are. We wanted to get the rock lane, and we went after this idea for a lineup and hit a home run with it. When you put all of these bands together, it becomes a big rock festival.
Five Finger Death Punch is on the cusp of blowing up.
Yes! They have a great new song, and Staind's got a hot new single. Everlast just dropped a song. There's some fresh stuff out there.
A lot of these bands toured together at the turn of the century. You've revived that whole scene with this festival.
We talked to KROQ about this, and their highest and hottest ratings—from Nirvana's Nevermind until today—were during the late nineties and early 2000's when this music was leading the world. They liked the idea of bringing that back.
All of the bands know it's a special show, and they're going to bring the rock, but they're going to bring the hits as well. It's going to be one big hit after another all day long.
Do you have any favorite memories from past Epicenter shows?
Yeah! Wolfmother during the first year…I've always had a special place in my heart for that band. Emimen was a rock star last year. He put on a rock 'n' roll performance. Last year, Papa Roach was so tremendous that they're the only band we asked back from 2010. They're the only returning band. DMX's special VIP performance when the stage collapsed was a real moment for us too. If there was a standout for me though, it was Eminem. It was one of three North American performances for him last year. You've got to dazzle. When you're putting on a show in Hollywood, Los Angles, SoCal, you've got to give the fans something different. Ticket prices start at 20 bucks, and we put together a big massive day of rock.
Is it important to change the venue yearly?
I think we're going to hone in on Irvine. It's an iconic rock stage. I've personally seen bands like Jane's Addiction and Rage Against the Machine there. It's a great SoCal rock venue.
Is 2012 already in the works?
We are in discussion. There are some exciting ideas. I think we've found something special and we're really going to takeoff. 2011 is a great launching point.
What makes each festival special?
You've got to have great bands, a great ticket price, and a great venue. Those are always key for us whether it's Epicenter, Rock on the Range, or Carolina Rebellion. Those are the three basic rules.
Epicenter Festival Site
Will you be attending Epicenter 2011?