By Chyrisse Tabone, Rock At Night Tampa
CLICK THE ARROW ABOVE TO LISTEN TO THE AUDIO INTERVIEW
Recently Rock At Night covered an evening called Hot Lava in Tampa, which was organized by Jim Chambers of Jim Chambers Music Box. My personal new discoveries for the evening were Sick Hot and Johnny Mile and the Kilometers. I frequent the Carrollwood Playhouse and have often seen the sign for The Music Box not knowing what it was. Well, I finally had the opportunity to speak with Jim Chambers, who has a long history of working in the music entertainment industry but after twist and turns of fate, made his way back to Tampa, Florida (he went to high school here) to open up a music school which not only teaches lessons but assists students in forming bands. In three weeks, the studio will be showcasing its new music venue, SHINE BOX, which will serve not only the students but the local community.
You can listen to the 30-minute interview by clicking the arrow or downloading it via iTunes. Jim Chambers discusses the trials and tribulations of working in the music industry (including record labels) during the last 25 years, how he formed the music school in Tampa, what the studio offers the fledgling student (all ages are welcome), and the new music venue SHINE BOX, which is associated with the school.
Working with diverse artists such as Dave Matthews, TOOL, Matthew Sweet, Outkast, Fishbone, TLC, Usher, Art Garfunkel, Loudon Wainwright III , Maroon 5 among many others, Chambers is proud to have won several Grammy® Awards.
OR DOWNLOAD AND LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW ON iTUNES HERE
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE INTERVIEW
Jim Chambers Music Box is a learning facility based in Carrollwood, Tampa, Florida. We teach all instruments—bass, guitar, singing, and band formation. We’ve been here three years in this location. We teach young persons how to form bands, stay together, make records, and do photo shoots. So, our band formation classes are a bit more robust [than other schools out there]. Band formation is an important component of The Box.
What is the age range that you deal with?
Oh, gosh, the student body age ranges between 3 and 70. I have a 70-year old drum student. For the bands, we try to keep [the members] all the same age range and same ability levels. One of our bands is 16 and 17….another we have has ages 12, 13 and 14…
It’s interesting about the 70-year old. So you deal with adults as well? Maybe a person (like a retired person) may want to go back and pick up and instrument?
We have students all day long and often have students that are adults who come on their lunch break.
So the purpose of most of the students is to come here and form a band?
Well, sort of…we were voted “Band Incubator” by Creative Loafing last year so In Tampa, we started with A Long Way From Kansas, who did quite well. They won Battle of the Bands. Sunday’s Secret was an act—we made a record–and it’s on YouTube. Extra Celestial was an all-female band that did quite well. They were featured on the cover of Creative Loafing. Ink Blot—we made a record together—an EP. Sick Hot–a band I’m working with that gigs out. We are going to make a record with Shawn Kyle, who is a local producer in Tampa–in mid-August, which is a big deal for us. Also, I’m working with Favorite Habit, which is a great act….young…and has really come together as a band. Have a couple others which are unnamed, but really explosive students who are ready to just pop!
Do you get the band’s gigs and groom them?
When the bands are formed and they are in the guise of the band formation, you get me as a manager. I do all management responsibilities from social media, grooming, sure…repertoire, photo shoots. Immediately we are talking about original material…writing. Look! How you look on stage, how you perform, how you entertain—all these things are covered.
How did you get here to Tampa?
It’s a long story! He was born in New York and moved quite a bit. I went to high school in Tampa. Back then, I was a full-blown music junkie!
In the interview, Jim Chambers discussed how networking led him to working with record store chains, record merchandisers, and record labels in Atlanta back in the 1990s. He was involved with labels like Sky and Sony/BMG but also was involved yearly with the Vans Warped Tour. After working in everything from tour support to advertising, the music industry changed–and Jim’s career in music took yet another direction. All roads led back to Tampa where he eventually did a Kickstarter Campaign and raised $20K to create the facility.
During the interview, Chambers noted he still does consulting for professional bands. He can Skype or do consulting over the phone, so BANDS, keep this in mind if you need some advice from someone in the industry!