Asbury Park has become home to New Jersey’s local music scene; the town has even adopted “Where Music Lives” as its slogan.
Through its multitude of venues, as well as recording studio space, NJ artists are being given more opportunities than ever before to enter the music industry close to home.
Asbury Park’s historical venue, “The Stone Pony,” is known for launching legendary careers, particularly those of New Jersey natives; names such as Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi ring a bell, i’m sure.
Currently, The Stone Pony is looking to find New Jersey’s next “big act” through its “Rock to the Top 2018” (RTT) competition.
According to The Stone Pony’s website, local bands can enter the competition by submitting their information to email@example.com.
The venue’s website explains, “Ten bands will be in each showcase, with the top three from each show moving on to the semifinal round.”
The details continued, “Three bands from each of the three semifinal rounds will then become finalists in the big showdown, the RTT Finals.”
According to the criteria on the venue’s site, if a band reaches the Rock to the Top Finals, its members will have the chance to win the first place prize of $2,500 in cash, a headlining show at The Stone Pony, and other career-moving promotional services.
Casey Breidenbach, 22, of Bayville, NJ, recently performed with his indie-rock band called, “Shoobies,” during the Rock to the Top 2017 Finals last year on Jan. 20.
Shoobies took away a substantial prize from the competition, placing as the runner-up act.
Breidenbach said that the competition was a very positive experience for his band.
“Rock to The Top has been a blessing for us,” He said.
“Playing the Stone Pony is a universal reassurance for our band; we feel at home every time we step on that stage,”
Asbury Park is also home to “The Saint,” a venue with an intimate capacity of about 100 people.
Artifacts line the walls of legendary venue. The walls of The Saint definitely have some stories to tell.
Each wall reveals that acts such as Jewel and Springsteen have performed there before they had their chance of becoming “the next big act” in their own ways.
Scott Stamper, 55, of Sayreville, NJ, owns the venue.
He recognizes its important platform for up and coming artists.
“It’s very crucial; it’s the spawning ground for new talent,” he said.
“There are also sound engineers available to help every band sound their best on stage.”
Stamper continued on.
“It’s a great vehicle to learn your craft here. We’re not just throwing people up on stage, without giving them any more pointers or advice. We want to see everybody succeed.”
Stamper’s attitude on providing artists with a place to play their music and have the chance to be heard is truly unique and humbling.
Breidenbach, who has also played The Saint with Shoobies, expressed his gratitude towards the encouraging environment he found in Asbury Park.
“The connections that we have made in Asbury Park, whether it be from recording or playing shows, it all has helped us grasp a better understanding of the intrinsic complexities of the music industry.”
Are you starting to tap your foot and itch to perform? Don’t worry, you’re covered.
Asbury Park’s recording space can be found by its name “Lakehouse Recording Studios.”
Lakehouse Music’s owner Jon Leidersdorff, 49, of Freehold, NJ, said that before setting up a recording session at Lakehouse, an artist should know what he or she wishes to achieve in the studio.
“We would set up some time to talk about what they’re trying to accomplish, because there are a lot of different ways to approach recording.”
Leidersdorff continued. “It’s important that they know what they want to accomplish, and then to explain to them what the possibilities are,.”
He then said that Lakehouse records a multitude of local artists, and that it was impossible for him to recollect a specific number of New Jersey residents that have recorded there.
“I have no idea; we do record a lot of local bands,” he said.
Breidenbach has experienced the benefit of having a recording studio nearby first-hand.
He said, “Having a high class recording studio so close to home is not only convenient, but it enables us to hone in on a sound that is indigenous to our area.”
Local artists agree with Breidenbach and find it valuable to have access to the high-end recording equipment available at Lakehouse, especially cause of the help and guidance that the professionals are able to offer.
All of Asbury Park’s resources have collectively given local musicians opportunities to flourish.
Furthermore, since there are more bands succeeding and more shows to attend, fans have also benefited from Asbury Park’s ever-growing music scene.
Stamper has witnessed an increase in attendance at The Saint’s shows. Some smaller acts may only bring out about 20 people, but other bands will bring out 100. “The reason why we’re here is that there are more winners than losers. The live music business is healthy,” he said.
With multiple venues available, Asbury Park gives people an ample opportunity to see live shows every night.
Asbury Park’s support of the arts also allows mainstream artists to have a place to play outside of our closest metropolitan areas, such as New York City and Philadelphia.
This is very convenient for New Jersey’s music fans, but Asbury’s music scene has a greater purpose than giving national artists a local stage.
Asbury Park has become a crucial component in local bands beginning their careers.
The next Springsteen could be performing at The Stone Pony’s Rock to the Top competition.
The next Jewel could be singing at The Saint tonight. Y
our future favorite band may have just recorded their first EP at Lakehouse Recording Studios.
Asbury is filled with opportunities for new acts.
For example, Breidenbach said that the town has played an imperative role in the success of Shoobies. He said, “The perennial artist-based culture of Asbury Park has helped our band in more ways than I can articulate! We are eternally grateful.”
IMAGES TAKEN from Shoobie Instagram