By Christine R. Walsh
Late one night, as he dozed in front of his television, Craig Garamond was jolted from his sleep. Grabbing a nearby pencil, he scribbled the words “Dirt Nap” on a scrap of paper.
“When I woke up in the morning,” Garamond said. “I knew that I had written that name down for a reason.”
Perhaps it was divine intervention that made him write those words. Perhaps he was just inspired by the script of the horror movie that he’d been watching. But those words became the name of one of Garamond’s greatest achievements ~ a company called Dirtnap Entertainment.
Dirtnap Entertainment represents a number of professional musical and performance acts. Most important to them is giving “representation” a good name, always keeping the artist in the forefront of their minds.
“We were founded in 1999 by myself and Candace Villani. We both continue to be a part of the day-to-day operations,” said Gaumond. “We help local talent with booking, promotions. Originally, it seemed pretty simple. But we expanded to event planning, event support, web design. We’re in our eighth year now and we’ve grown quite a bit.”
Gaumond and Villani, the masterminds behind the company, met at a Godsmack show when the now-famous group was still new to the scene.
“We struck up a friendship. [Villani] is a big music lover. We just started out going to shows and then we decided to start this business up. She’s very good at promotions and promotion management.”
According to Gaumond, Villlani was truly responsible for getting the ball rolling for Dirtnap. She organized an exceptional charity event at Funnybone’s Café in Webster, MA. All of the proceeds went to children infected with HIV and it was a great success.
In 2000, Dirtnap strayed from event planning into the world of music. Dirtnap Recordings was born and the home-based company has never looked back.
“We have a total of 7 performance acts we work with,” Gaumond said. “We handle 100% of their business. We’re keeping that number in check right now. It’s really important to us to provide quality services to our clients. I’m a former Marine. I know what quality is.”
With bands including Skulltobbogan, Bottlefight and Hatred in their stable, Dirtnap keeps a full and rockin’ schedule. Still, Gaumond and Villani both work to give each client their full attention. As part of that goal for their bands, Gaumond offers all potential clients free consultations.
“We might get contacted by a band and at this point in their career, they are unsure about the business end of the industry,” explained Gaumond. “I ask them what they’re looking to do. We’ll discuss everything the company has to offer and we’ll discuss rates. [Dirtnap Entertainment’s] rates are very fair. Being a musician myself, I know how hard it is to even get paid for a gig.”
If hired, Dirtnap takes a band under its wings and works promotional magic. They get the band’s name out there and bring the crowds in. But Gaumond is quick to say that the promotional work does not stop with Dirtnap. He feels that in order to make it in the treacherous music industry, a band must never rest in their promo efforts.
“In this day and age, it’s difficult to find somebody who stands out, somebody who has a unique quality about them,” he said. “But bands can’t just rely on the venue to get the word out about the show. It’s the artist who needs to promote too. They need to get emails out there, fliers, ads, they have to make phone calls. People don’t have the extra money to go out these days and musicians have a tougher fight. But you still have to keep trying.”
For more information on Dirtnap Entertainment, go to myspace.com/dirtnapentertainment
Author’s Note: Anthony Caputo was originally assigned this article and rightly so ~ He was an amazingly talented young journalist with a passion for music that knew no end. His laugh, his wit, his humility made him a man like no other. He was killed recently in Boston, Massachusetts. He was 25 and my dear friend. He will be missed, but his inspiration will never know any boundaries. ~ Christine R. Walsh
Poster design by: Andrea Mangini of Dirtnap Entertainment