Welcome to Listening Recommendations the first of what I hope will be a series of recommendations of musicians and musical groups I enjoy! Just like my other Author promotion blog, Reading Recommendations, I will be introducing blog readers to interesting and exciting Indie Musicians who are recording and performing right now, anywhere in the world!
Vern Shank and The Cherry Drops
What is your latest release and what type of music is it? Everything’s Groovy is our release. We are a retro powerpop band, 60’s, 70’s garage rock and bubblegum mixed with alternative rock.
Quick description of the songs: 14 songs on our debut release. We are influenced by The Beach Boys, The Beatles, The Archies, Partridge Family along with a little flare of Tom Petty, The B52’s, Cheap Trick, Queen, Raspberries & The Sweet.
The Cherry Drops exploded onto the musical scene like a warm cherry pie on a hot day in the summer of 2012. The band is comprised of Vern Shank, principal songwriter, lead vocalist and melody maker, along with Joshua Cobb, background vocals and producer. In addition, Evan Foster from Seattle, WA, lends some blazing guitar solos on a track, as well as bassist Jamie Markowski and TJ Rosenman who are featured on The Cherry Drops project.
Laverne Shank, a.k.a. Vern, grew up around Philadelphia, PA, with an early start in the music & film arts. While in school, Vern was in band, chorus and stage and he also played guitar. Vern was cast for a small part as an extra in the movie Witness, starring Harrison Ford that was being filmed in his old hometown. The experience made Vern catch the “bug” to go to “Hollywood”.
Upon graduation, he moved to L.A. and attended music school, playing in a band at age 19-22. During his tenure at the school, Vern took a few film classes for acting and tried his hand in writing a few scripts. He also DJ’d a bit on the local college radio station, which at the time aired on the campus and around the area outside of the school. It was a hip station for the students.
He returned back home a few years later and soon became manager of a few area music and video retail stores called The Wall, later renamed to FYE (For Your Entertainment). It was during this time that Vern met his future business partner of almost 25 years, Art Bourasseau.
Vern & Art quickly realized that the entertainment field was where they both belonged. They left the retail side of the music industry and both began working for a division of Sony Music as label reps. They then decided to join forces in business. Collaborating and bouncing ideas back and forth on two separate music business ventures, Art took the helm and started an independent music label called MuSick Recordings. They also collectively opened a professional DJ company called Pyramid Disc Jockeys.
After several years, in 2000, Vern’s business partner moved to Burbank in L.A. to “head up” the music label end of things where it made perfect sense to be in the music biz in the “City Of Angels”. Vern had originally planned on going back to L.A. also, but for personal reasons, moved to Florida instead to expand the DJ company and entertainment in Orlando and the coastlines of sunny Florida.
With Vern taking full control of the DJ company in Florida that same year, Pyramid Disc Jockeys soon became one of the larger entertainment companies in the Daytona Beach, Orlando & Jacksonville areas for weddings and parties.
Vern also resumed his on-air DJ skills as part of the radio station, The Blizzard 93.3 FM located in Flagler County. He DJ’d on the air 4 days a week in the early evening time slot. He also had his own pre-recorded radio program called The Beach & Island Show on that station which aired on Saturday “happy hour” time beginning at 5pm where he spun the island & the beach music of the surf, sand, sunshine & sea. The station unfortunately disbanded after 5 years.
With the demise of The Blizzard, Vern opened up a small music store called the Flagler Music Factory which gave lessons for guitar, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals. The store also sold musical instruments and accessories. As the economy began to tank because of the market crash and the housing market crunch, the recession caused the store to slowly loose ground. Unfortunately, he had to make a tough decision but eventually was forced to retire it.
In 2009, with Pyramid still in full force Vern returned to radio as well and was hired as the “live” DJ for a different radio station, Beach 92.7 FM in Florida for remote broadcasts requiring a jock to be present during radio sponsored events.
Through these years, Vern and Art remained in close contact. Inspired by Art’s successful independent music label in California, Vern expanded his own business in 2010 to include an indie label and artist management company under the name Pyramid Music Productions. The first musician signed to Pyramid’s label was Top 40 Dance artist, Mark E. Walker; formerly of MCSC, Stevie B. and C+C Music Factory fame. Mark’s debut EP titled Here We Go was released under the Pyramid Music Label in 2010.
In early 2011, Vern co-wrote several songs with Mark, including Into the Future featuring legendary rapper, Freedom Williams of C+C Music Factory. These songs were released in digital format under the label along with the video (Mark E. Walker; feat. Freedom Williams). Together, Vern and a fellow associate, Dave Grabner, helped negotiate a deal to sign Mark to Ritmo Records, a well-established dance label.
Shortly thereafter, Vern noticed a local singer/songwriter, David Lane. Vern began guiding David’s musical career and in 2011 became David’s management company. In order to expand David’s career, Vern joined forces and introduced him to Art of Musick Recordings. Vern continues to manage David’s career working closely with Art. David’s debut was released on the MuSick Recordings label in Burbank, CA. in 2012.
During the summer of 2012, Vern launched his own band project, The Cherry Drops, a retro power-pop band with a 60’s and 70’s feel and yet with a refreshingly new rock sound. He is lead singer, musician and principal songwriter of the band. The band’s debut was released June 21, 2013 (The first day of summer!)
Vern still finds time to run his DJ business along with the band label & artist management company but has recently re-visited his SCREENWRITING projects. In 2008 he had begun writing again and by 2012 he really began to get serious with his film, music, video and television screenplay projects. A few of his latest scripts include a sci-fi comedy, fantasy movie titled Transference and an action/drama with a working title called Bullet Time.
In January of 2013 Vern began to collaborate with the old Blizzard radio station head that he used to work for, to open up Flagler Beach, FL’s very own radio station The Surf (Surf 1700 AM / 97.3 FM) which hit the airwaves June 2013. He co-owns and runs the station directly on the Atlantic Ocean at The Flagler Pier bringing beach & island music with a happy sunshine pop oldies feel across the airwaves and online to the sunny beaches of Florida and beyond.
Vern maintains residence throughout the year in both Florida and in the Burbank, CA, area for his business ventures. This schedule enables him to work on all of his entertainment related projects.
Links for people to buy it:
CD available at our Website.
Downloads available on EVERY online music Download out there including iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, Googleplay, TargetMusic, Rhapsody, Best Buy, etc.
The Cherry Drops’ promo links:
Outta’ Sight Music Video
The Cherry Drops YouTube Channel
Surf 97.3 FM Radio Station
Pyramid Disc Jockeys
LaVerne Shank Films
We were also very honored and humbled to announce that we were chosen and named “The Coolest Song In The World” for our song Outta Sight by SiriusXM Radio Little Steven’s Underground Garage/ Stevie Van Zandt. Steven of course is Bruce Springsten’s E-Street Band band mate and proprietor of the Sirius XM affiliate. He was also in the hit TV Show The Sopranos. We will be on heavy full rotation from now on Sirius XM (CH. 21) as well as his syndicate terrestrial radio show that began on 8/10/14 and is on station’s across the country. Our interview aired on Friday 8/15. Other songs from our album Everything’s Groovy is also in rotation as well from here on.
What are you working on now?
Our 2nd album (yet untitled) and another music video for another song from our first album called Pop, Pop, (‘Til You Drop) that will partially be animated and part real life. The animation is being created by Sue Bielenberg of The Simpsons & King Of The Hill fame.
Please recommend the name of a musician or band whose work you’ve enjoyed lately.
Locksley, Drifting Sand & Al Jardine’s solo album.
Great idea Sue!
Thanks, Rach! Please let me know if you hear of any bands or musicians I should consider featuring. Or maybe write a feature yourself, come to think of it!
Ooh, that could be fun!