Interview and all content provided by: ~ Mo
Having just celebrated their one year anniversary, the goal of Thursday Throwdowns is to create a fellowship of musicians in which people of all backgrounds gather together to share their love of music. Thursday Throwdowns provides the Southern California community with a creative outlet for musicians through the arts of jamming and improvisation, while also focusing on teaching, learning, and discussion, encouraging both personal and interpersonal growth.
Full Metal Rock caught up with founders Dominic Melanson and David Franklin at a recent Thursday Throwdown jam session in Fountain Valley, California.
FMR: Tell me how Thursday Throwdowns came about.
TDT: We were writing a song together, and came to a point where we wished we had other people to jam with. We started joking about inviting people on Craigslist to come to the garage and jam every so often. Then we realized that there probably really were other musicians out there who wanted people to play with too and we thought maybe starting a jam session group really is a good idea! Since the garage was so small, we decided to do it at a rehearsal studio. Our first session, nobody showed up. We started to have doubts, but decided to try it again. We had our first 2 attendees on the second session. On the third, we had 8. It grew pretty quickly. We had new people coming to each jam session, which showed us that there was a definite need for something like this in the community.
FMR: Who founded the organization? and when?
TDT: Dominic Melanson and David Franklin. Dom and Dave of Dom and Dave's Thursday Throwdowns. Our founding date is June 11, 2009, the night we had our first Throwdown.
FMR: Where does Thursday Throwdowns meet and how often?
TDT: We currently meet in Room 7 of Sound Matrix Rehearsal Studios in Fountain Valley, from 8PM to 11PM of every 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month.
FMR: Who typically participates in Thursday Throwdowns?
TDT: We welcome anyone and everyone. We have had a great variety of people covering everything from guitarists and drummers to accordions and clarinets. We tend to play mostly rock of all genres, blues, and jazz, but have also included some hip-hop, pop, and country. We always encourage members to suggest new songs to play or bring in their own original music or even just a riff to start a jam on. We feel it is important to include everyone and all types of music.
FMR: Tell me about a standout throwdown jam session?
TDT: Undoubtedly, our most memorable Throwdown was the time we had our biggest turnout even though we were in the smallest room we had ever been in! The energy that night was non-stop - some of our jams lasted around 20 minutes each and you could tell everyone was really feeling the music. One guy had a talk box and suddenly went into the chorus of 2pac’s “California Love.” It was so much fun to see so many different kinds of people playing together and being able to play such a variety of music that night because of that. It was also great to see that everyone else was having just as good of a time. When the night was over, everyone started clapping. It was an amazing feeling! That night pretty much epitomizes what the Thursday Throwdown jam sessions are all about -- sharing the musical juice!
FMR: What has been the most rewarding aspect of Thursday Throwdowns?
TDT: Knowing that people enjoy coming to the Throwdowns and knowing that it actually makes a difference in their lives is very rewarding. We see this in the number of people that return and in the feedback we receive from our members, both regulars and new people. By giving people a chance to display their talents, regardless of their skill levels, we have seen many people improve over time and gain confidence in their playing and their ability to play with others. We see these people growing as musicians and connecting with each other, and it is a truly remarkable thing to watch happen.
FMR: What does the immediate future hold for Thursday Throwdowns?
TDT: We just had our one year anniversary, and are starting the new TDT year by participating in the Fashion Rock Show, helping find bands that are local to each performance, as well as providing technical consultation. We are also planning to start playing for audiences, not just at the rehearsal studio. We will be having live jam sessions at some local places, but are also starting a gig group that will be more geared towards larger audiences and bigger venues. We do not have any dates set quite yet, but will be keeping everyone updated through our Myspace and Facebook pages.
We also want to get more involved in the community. We have participated in various events in Orange County, such as the MS Walk and AIDS Walk (for which we raised over $400), and also performed at the Families Forward Thanksgiving Food Drive. We want to continue to participate in events such as these, but also want to reach out to the community through music. The economy and the resulting budget cuts have really shut down many music programs in schools and in the overall community, and we feel we not only can make a difference, but we have a social responsibility to do so. The feedback we have received from our members, and from those who have heard of us have shown us that, yes, the arts are important to community members, that people do want the opportunity to learn an instrument and have a creative outlet. We want to help make this happen.
FMR: Where do you see Thursday Throwdowns 5 years from now?
TDT: The Thursday Throwdown jam sessions are just the tip of the iceberg in regards to our long-term goals. Right now, we provide musicians with a creative outlet, a chance to both show and hone their skills, and a way to connect with other musicians. We want to bring this to a larger community by purchasing or leasing a large building and forming a music center for all things music. The center would include rehearsal space for individuals and bands, rooms for teachers to provide music lessons, and space for bands to not only practice, but also showcase their talent. The center would also provide services such as music catering, music seminars, and networking resources.
FMR: Where can our readers find out more about Thursday Throwdowns?
Info line: 714-248-6268
You can also donate to our cause at PayPal using this link: PAYPAL
Full Metal Rock would like to thank Dom and Dave for talking with us. We wish much continued success to Thursday Throwdowns.
Share the musical juice!