Stu Shulman of Cowboy Surfer & Seedless Records
[MusicDish] Who are the band members? What is their background?
[Stu Shulman] The band members for Cowboy Surfer are as follows:
songwriter & guitarist, Peter Farmasonis, Bass and David
Haddad on drums &
Stu is the originator & producer of the band writing all the songs and
recording & mixing the CD, Surf Saloon with drummer Dave Haddad.
Back in the 80's, Stu was associated with bands like Burning Sensations,
Bonedaddy's & Urban Artillery. Then in the '90's he started
Records & formed Cowboy Surfer to release the critically acclaimed CD,
Surf Saloon. Stu is also involved with helping other artists careers,
building websites, producing TV commercials and radio spots for
environmental issues in addition to promoting Cowboy Surfer.
Peter Farmasonis hails from Venice, CA and has played with numerous
artists in the vibrant scene there. His claim to fame is that he has
inspired some famous artists like Stevie Nicks and Madonna to
him. He is quite a character & loves to surf.
Dave Haddad, drummer for Cowboy Surfer, adds his masterful style to the
blend. Dave is a veteran of the California music scene and has played with
& helped so many artists, that if I were to try to list them all, Save
the Trees would come after me. Suffice it to say that Dave loves to
pound his skins and is an integral part of the driving beat of Cowboy
Surfer. Dave also lent his adept engineering skills to Surf Saloon and
his excellent mixing techniques are displayed throughout the CD.
[MusicDish] Your lyrics are socially and politically conscious. In what
way? What is your reason and what message do they send out?
[Stu] Cowboy Surfer's lyrics are socially and politically conscious. When
lyrics, it is usually because I feel a great passion for something and
sometimes I try to speak for those who cannot or whose voice cannot be
heard. The issues I'm dealing with on Surf Saloon include
homelessness (Homeless), racism (Nazi's In Chile), Aids (Overrated),
greed (Obstacle To Greed), suicide (Rogue's Dawn), police abuse (Trails
End) and two philosophical statements on life (Cowboy Surfer & Butterfly).
[MusicDish] How would you best describe your music?
[Stu] The music is about real people, for real people and by real people.
Socially & Politically conscious lyrics with an eclectic mix of musical
styles on the fringes of rock and roll. Guitar...Bass & Drums, straight
up no chasers, to the bone. Music as a vehicle for spiritual energy.
[MusicDish] Tell me about the band's debut CD release, Surf Saloon?
[Stu] The CD, Surf Saloon, is the culmination of the vision and the
had for many years. It took Dave and myself 18 months of burning the
midnight oil, struggling to stay focused while dealing with unforeseen
events like the death of my father (to whom the CD is dedicated to)
financial difficulties and a bizarre plethora of drama, (like spending 3
days in a Malibu jail with the rough mix of "Trails End" from that nights
recording session in my pocket which lambast the Malibu
Sheriff...fortunately they didn't listen to it). So, although many forces
were working against me, I was determined to complete the project and with
the help of people like Bernie Becker, who has worked with many famous
artists, mastered the CD for next to nothing. This CD was meant to be
completed and now it is my job to see that it is heard.
[MusicDish] Tell me about your label, Seedless Records?
[Stu] "When you hear Seedless...you think quality." That is the record company
motto. We want Cowboy Surfer music to be thought of as quality music and
the label, Seedless Records was started by myself initially for the sole
reason to release Cowboy Surfer Surf Saloon. I have done extensive
research in the music business & related topics and felt that my best
chance for recording, releasing and promoting this CD was to take it to
the streets myself and employ the tactics that I had learned from my years
in this field. And so far, the response has been fantastic and Seedless
Records is building a name for itself within the artist community and I
will be helping other artists to boost their careers as I have.
[MusicDish] What kind of promotions/marketing is being done for the CD?
[Stu] While not having the budget of a large label, I have been successful in
marketing the CD via local media outlets. The CD has been featured on
92.9 KJEE, THE rock station in Santa Barbara and is starting to catch on
at some smaller stations and strangely enough was added to PBS Melbourne
in Australia. The local newspapers have written extraordinarily nice
things about Cowboy Surfer including a feature story in the Coastal View
which offered some nice comparisons and compliments. Also locally, the CD
was sold in stores with 25% of the profits going to the Save The Bluffs
campaign. As a web designer, I built a nice looking site
Internet presence and have linked our site to as many places as I could
find. The response has been overwhelming with letters and orders coming
from all over the world. I spend literally 7 nights a week from midnight
to 5 or 6 am searching all over the world for promotional and marketing
opportunities & responding to fan mail. I respond to every single
[MusicDish] Has Cowboy Surfer collaborated with other artists/bands?
[Stu] Cowboy Surfer is currently collaborating with several talented local
artists including the soulful Jennifer Terran whose acclaimed CD
has done well on the West Coast. We plan on touring together and I am
building her a new website. I believe in networking with as many
musicians and bands as possible. I look at it as we are one big family and
by helping each other we are helping ourselves.
Read a review of "Surf Saloon" by Cowboy Surfer
[MusicDish] What press attention have you received?
[Stu] The press has been very kind to Cowboy Surfer. We have received
positive reviews from print media, news media, radio & Internet sites
from all over the world. My involvement in the Save the Bluffs of
Carpinteria campaign has raised media awareness about me and the band to
[MusicDish] What is your Internet strategy?
[Stu] My short term Internet strategy was to build a nice looking, easy to
navigate website that presented the image of the music to the world.
The site has all the features that I like to see such as lyrics, audio
clips, pictures, reviews, bios, online purchasing and a few surprises!
But having a website is not enough! Like I said earlier, I literally
spend 7 nights a week promoting & marketing myself and my site all over
the world. You can never run out of places to go in this ever expanding
format. I've submitted the site to all the major search engines, free
for all links pages and independent music sites such as UBL &
also use the URL's from my site to send to
journalists, radio DJs and music industry people as opposed to always
having to mail a CD. The Internet affords me instant recognition and an
instant connection to my fans.
[MusicDish] Are any tours or shows planned for the group?
[Stu] Yes. Nothing is confirmed at this time, but plans are in the works for
an extensive tour schedule for late spring/summer to support the CD,
get more radio airplay, exposure and expand our fanbase.
[MusicDish] You took part in a campaign to save the coastal bluffs in
Southern California. Tell me about it. What other activities are you
[Stu] Well, I got involved in a campaign to raise $4 million dollars in 4
months to save a 52 acre pristine parcel of coastal California Bluff in
my hometown of Carpinteria. Now this has been a dream for some people
for 30 years, but developers had run up against a buzzsaw of local
environmentalists who fought off lawsuit after lawsuit as the land was
passed on from one developer to another. Finally, an opportunity
presented itself to purchase the property. But if we did not come up
with the money by Dec. 31st, the deal was off. No one gave us a chance
to reach that goal in that short of time.
So I took it upon myself to
take charge of the media campaign as no one else had the savvy to do it.
I single-handedly started my media onslaught by building the now famous
bluffs website overnight with my friend Steve Powell of SevenSouth
Recordshop (you can link there from my website) which was responsible for
bringing in tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations.
Then I planned the Bluffs Benefit Concert at the Plaza Theatre in
Carpinteria and got my friends, Brad & DM, morning DJs on
92.9 KJEE to
publicize my cause constantly. That led to me coming on live in studio
which led to me convincing them to let me record a 30 second spot which
they ran constantly which led to a 30 minute talkshow appearance.
took the radio spot to all the other stations and was interviewed there as
well. I also was responsible for finding funding at the last minute for
a boat ride that we were taking the State Coastal Conservancy on. A
newspaper article was written about this and it led to us receiving a
$1 million dollar bridge loan and a $500,000 grant from the conservancy.
I got to go on the boat and 1/2 of them were surfers. I also organized
community service for the local high school to clean the litter on the
bluffs before the conservancy tour. But my greatest & most effective
accomplishment was the television commercial which I produced, narrated
& arranged to have played on Cox Cable which aired over 500 times during
our most critical last month. The amount of donations that came in
after the commercial ran was over $2 million dollars and we made our
deadline & celebrated by toasting champagne in a full moon on the bluffs
at midnight on New Year's Eve.
It has totally transformed my life in a
short period of time. I have received a commendation from the city
council and the mayors office and have been approached by numerous
organizations & citizens to help in their efforts. I plan on staying
active in other issues and am currently fighting Chevron who kept a
benzene leak a 100 feet from my house a secret for over 12 years. I
forced them to do extensive ground testing around the area before
digging it up and exposing us to the toxic fumes. So Seedless Records and
Cowboy Surfer are garnering a reputation for taking a stand and backing
our words with action.