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Jade Tree: Not Just Another Independent Label Profile
By Ronni Marcus
(more articles from this author)
2002-05-07
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What do Sting, Darren Walters, and Margaret Thatcher have in common? All three were teachers. It made sense how Darren Walters, co-owner of Jade Tree was so patient with me during our discussion about his label, for he taught children with learning and emotional disadvantages. Darren continues to be a teacher, of sorts; a mentor for bands that don't buy into big business ideals of treating band members as pure "products" and their music as just another "service." Tim Owen (Libra, coincidentally) provides balance as the other owner of Jade Tree. Physically, Jade Tree is located in Wilmington, Delaware but, emotionally, Jade Tree is located in numerous countries throughout the world.

Given the fact that the Jade Tree founders don't have an explanation for the basis of their name, Jade Tree... how about? J=Jets, A=Alkaline, D=Denali, E=Explosion, T=Trial, R=Riddance, E=End/New, and E=EMERGED!

What is the secret to Jade Tree's success, I questioned? Darren responded that "the secret is just that... a secret. In other words... things fell into place and people came into their lives just at the right times." Thankfully, Warren didn't attribute Jade Tree's strong presence in the market to his, nor his partner's superiority in the field but rather, attributed their success largely to the support and confidence others had in their ability. The Jade Tree duo acknowledged the huge role Karen Gembus of Mordam Records played in assuring longevity and Jade Tree's position as an Alternative Label leader. The partnership of Jade Tree and Mordam Records had a huge positive impact, for this enabled a worldwide market in 1992.

The Jade Tree founders are proactive and certainly see the power of the new media. Alternative bands with Jade Tree may be on video for the world to see firsthand, given growth of emerging forces such as MTV2, MTV Latin, digital TV, etc. Jade Tree helps close the gap by increasing universal connectivity for creative expression less censored, sometimes raw, sometimes propulsive, but always laced in self-truths. How can one not admire the fact that the Jade Tree creators don't buy into the "Big Business" ideals and marketing strategies of major labels?

The owners of Jade Tree recognize the MILEMARKER represented by having PROMISE RING sign on with Jade Tree in the mid-nineties. Another non-coincidence occurred when EUPHONE and JOAN OF ARC came aboard Tim and Warren's ark. Perhaps part of Jade Tree's secret stems from Warren and Tim's hands-on approach to choosing talent. Jade Tree creators utilize all their senses when selecting bands to represent their company. The secret lies in the lining of their stomachs perhaps, a gut feeling when Walters and Owen attend a prospective band's live performance. Darren and Tim seek a personal bond with members of the bands they sign. The criteria for Jade Tree to consummate a relationship with a band include more than what raw talent can provide... a raw and real persona is also required. The Jade Tree creators perhaps utilize their own personal experiences as musicians and individual owners of separate labels as a basis for working so intensely. Jade Tree's mission statement involves allowing musicians to follow their dreams on a full-time basis. Tim and Warren sincerely want their artists to hold only one job title... simply, that of MUSICIAN! (Surely, not too much to ask!)

In the 20th century, Tim handled all of Jade Tree's promotional and advertising needs and Darren handled the distribution and royalties. In the 21st century, some things had to change and allow for the vision. Jade Tree collaborates with other visionaries such as McGathy Promotions, Mordam Records, and Hyper-PR. Warren and Tim work hard, long hours to assure their bands have an enhanced quality of life and a long-term music career unlike many bands signed to a "Big Five." Some bands left a Major to seek refuge with Jade Tree. Who needs to uphold the standards based on greed and control? Watchers, readers, listeners will sway their loyalties to diversity or alternative outlets. KILL YOUR IDOLS... as the critical masses no longer buy the repetitiveness of current song lists held in the "Top 10 or 20" mindset.

Maybe YOU CAN'T FIGHT WHAT YOU CAN'T SEE... as GIRLS AGAINST BOYS upcoming release suggests, but hey... starting ZERO ZERO Jade Tree bands will STRIKE ANYWHERE. If your SICK OF IT ALL, join me in THE EXPLOSION created by saying GOOD RIDDANCE to the BS of the corporate world! Check out some of the releases out now... MIGHTY FLASHLIGHT, ALKALINE TRIO/HOT WATER MUSIC, CUB COUNTRY, MILEMARKER, TRIAL BY FIRE, and MY MORNING JACKET/OHIA.

JETS TO BRAZIL? A must see, but not required to hear the upcoming releases by bands such as PEDRO THE LION, DENALI, VARIOUS ARTISTS, GIRLS AGAINST BOYS AND ONELINEDRAWING.

CREATIVE EXPRESSION NEEDS CONNECTION! See www.jadetree.com for additional universal connectivity information.


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