AXS Breaking Band



There is nothing better than learning from a master of their craft. I am a huge proponent of the “pay it forward” philosophy, especially when it comes to one’s profession. Benevolent by nature, it ensures that everybody benefits and everybody wins. And shocking as it may seem, that philosophy has actually made it to the music industry, showing up in Los Angeles at Youtube Studios to film AXS TV’s new music series, “Breaking Band”, premiering Sunday, January 24, 2016 at 6:30pm PT and 9:30pm ET on AXS TV.
The concept behind “Breaking Band” was a collaborative effort between the show’s host Donovan Leitch, former musician, actor and prodigy of rock royalty, Donovan Leitch is the namesake of his father, Rock n Roll Hall of Fame Singer/Songwriter Donovan. A luminary of the 60’s Psychedelic counter-culture whose prolific body of work produced numerous hits including, Mellow Yellow”, “Season of the Witch”, “Atlantis” and “Hurdy Gurdy Man”. Executive Producer Marc Scarpa is no lightweight in the industry either, having collaborated on the production of live broadcasts with GRAMMY Award winning artists such as Elton John, 50 Cent, Alicia Keyes, Moby, and Beastie Boys as well as organizations like the Telly Awards, Webby Awards, and Streamy Awards. Scarpa is a national board member and founding New York committee chair for the Producers Guild of America New Media Council and a voting member of The Recording Academy. This duo brought the show to the attention of “Shark Tank” investor and AXS TV owner, Mark Cuban who shared their vision for the show and greenlit the show himself.
I don’t know entirely what the selection criteria for choosing the artists was based on, but I do know that Youtube had a lot to do with it. Most, if not all of them have a HUGE Youtube presence, boasting between two and one hundred million views and tens of thousands of subscribers! Unreal! The mentor selection on the other hand, was based on the answers the artists gave during a pre-show interview when asked who their biggest influences have been and from those answers a “mentor” was chosen to be paired with each aspiring artist.
This season these artist/mentor teams will appear in this episode order:

1) Dave Navarro (Jane’s Addiction) +
Andie Case – @AndieCase –
A Seattle singer/songwriter with 100 million views on her YouTube channel.

2) Moby (solo artist) +
Runaground – @runagroundmusic –
Los Angeles based band who records, produces and shoots their own content on their YouTube channel which boasts 200 thousand subscribers and 26 million views.

3) Sebastian Bach (Skid Row) +
Santa Cruz – @SantaCruzBand –
From Finland, this band has been together since 2007and released their self-titled sophomore album in 2015.

4) Robin Zander (Cheap Trick) +
Set the Charge – @SetTheCharge –
Hailing from Westchester, New York, this hard rock band has 45 thousand subscribers and two million views on their YouTube channel.

5) Belinda Carlisle (Go-go’s) +
Sick of Sarah – @sickofsarah –
All-girl punk band from Minneapolis currently on tour supporting their 2015 album, “Anthem”.
6) Mark McGrath (Sugar Ray) +
Stick Figure – @StickFigureDub – http://youtube,co/roughwood23
From San Diego, this reggae bands new album “Set In Stone” reached No. 1 on ITunes reggae charts with over three million views on their YouTube channel.
On their scheduled day the artists are aware that they will be performing in front of a studio audience to film an episode for the series, but they don’t know that one of those names they gave has been slated as their mentor and is hiding in the control room watching their every move. At some point the mentor is brought out and introduced to the artist. Equipment is set up, sound is checked and songs are played for the audience and then the grand finale – the mentor performs a song with the artist and all of this is on live TV! What we won’t see at home in front of our televisions is that every show takes a full 8 hour day to film, giving them plenty of time to establish a rapport with their mentor and a chance to run with the big dogs and see if they are able to hold their own alongside an experienced, high caliber performer.
Unlike its contemporaries, “BREAKING BAND” is not a competition between the artists, yet they all are awarded the prize they need most – knowledge gained from being schooled by their mentors and exposure before a worldwide audience. What I find encouraging is that at least a portion of this new generation of musicians is choosing to strike out on their own and take their careers in their own hands There’s an old industry saying, “It’s easy to get a record contract, but damn hard to keep it!” Not so long ago, emerging artists would have gladly given up a body part for a record contract and spent years chasing after one. But this new generation bypasses all of that bull and is taking their career in their own hands by way of the latest technology has to offer!

Donovan Leitch