Rock and Roll Frontline Interviews Bill Chavis Part 1
Doug Scheck of Rock and Roll Frontline conducted a 2 part interview with Bill Chavis founder and CEO of HighVolMusic. Many know Bill as the founder of Chavis Records. Chavis Records released Rehab the last ever Quiet Riot original release with the late great Kevin DuBrow. Here is Part 1…
Bill Chavis is a well respected man in the music business. I met Bill at RNS15 and he was a super nice guy. I contacted Bill a few months ago just to say hi. We ended up talking on the phone and had a great chat of things to come not only for HighVolMusic, but also Rock & Roll Frontline. He likes what we are doing here for the indie bands and how well we promote them. We threw some things back and forth at each other and came up with some great ways that we can help each other out.
After the debut of Frontline 7 with Justin Murr, I decided that we needed to do a F7 with Bill. Well that turned into a Frontline 7+ because I couldn’t keep it at 7 and then we decided to go with a 2 part F7. Here is part 1 and we will post part 2 on Sunday January 8, 2017.
Ladies & gentlemen…I give you Bill Chavis!
January 6, 2017
Bill Chavis-Part 1
1. Frontline 7: Thanks a million for doing this Bill. It seems like you have been around the block a time or 2. How and when did you end up in the music business?
Bill Chavis: Hey Doug! My pleasure, I appreciate you asking me to do this. I have yes. Back in the 90’s I had what I deem to be one of the very first webzines called Metalvault.com. It started out as website for my CD collection and doing trades. At that time, I had over 100,000 CDs in my collection.
I started doing reviews of CDs that I liked. That turned in to me reviewing CDs by most of the big indie labels. I reached out to several labels and in turn, they would send me product and I, in turn, would do a write up on each. I did a review on Creed before they blew up, Boy Hits Car and many, many more. I also did free banner advertisements and concert reviews. In the late 90’s, I started doing internet radio on my site and that grew exponentially. It was early on, before Live 365 and what is going on in internet radio today. I ripped a lot of my collection and streamed it and I had a good following. But then, in 2000, when RIAA started cracking down for licensing, I stopped streaming. I also stopped the webzine at the same time. I wanted something more and I had a lot of demos and unreleased stuff lying around from all the submissions to Metalvault. So, I decided to start a label. That was the beginning of Chavis Records.
2. F7: Chavis Records had some well-respected albums released. One in particular was Rehab from Quiet Riot. What are your thoughts on the honor of releasing the last album from the late great Kevin Dubrow?
BC: Well on a personal level I have to ‘fanboy’ it, WOOT WOOT! As a kid in the 80s when QR hit the radio and MTV, I lost my mind.
In ‘05/’06 when Frankie Banali reached out to me about doing Rehab I just couldn’t believe it. In fact, I didn’t believe it was Frankie at all. Chavis Records was making a little noise at the time and we were doing some cool things, Hydrogyn hit Billboard so to us that was a big deal. Then the Quiet Riot deal happened and I was blown away! It was a real honor for me to release the very last official Quiet Riot record that Kevin DuBrow sang on. It was monumental for me.
3. F7: Chavis Records seemed to have a very good run. What made you decide to fold the label?
BC: LOL!!! Where do I start!? Let me give you the abridged version…We had a good run I was very green when I started and by 2005 I hit my stride and was doing great things or at least it seemed so to me. People were noticing what we were capable of. We had many artists and, in fact, that was the beginning of the end. I bit off more than I could chew, blowing tons of money and not diligently doing my homework before taking on some projects. I spread myself too thin.
When you are on the inside you tell yourself “if I do this and this it will work, make more money” blah blah blah. But that is just B.S. NOT how it works at all. I learned the hard way. By 2010 I had blown a ton of money and lost even more. I was dealing with one artist that was nothing but headache after headache; very difficult to work with on a daily basis. I put a lot of money in to that project and it was an EPIC fail! Not too long after, I had another big-name artist on the table and all I had to do was sign the contract; but as I was sitting there, ready to sign the deal, a wave of reality hit me hard.
A distributor who I worked with at the time stopped paying me all together. Turns out they were being sued from the BIG 3 labels for improper business practices. Their assets were frozen by the courts so all the people like me got totally screwed. They owe me $13K still to this day! I will never see that money and they know it. Additionally, a European distributor went out of business and went bankrupt; more money owed that will never see the light of day.
I was dealing with lost revenue along with the headache mentioned previously as well as investing money into other interests that totally failed. It resulted in a few artists upset with me that did not get their “just due”. I essentially had a meltdown, closed up shop and walked away. I had to, I needed to save my home life.
4. F7: So now we have HighVolMusic! What made Mr. Chavis decide to take another ride in this crazy business?
BC: I am a huge music fan, a lifer. I am passionate about music and the itch always returns. I did some small distribution deals after CR but at that time it was apparent that CD sales were going to hell in a hand basket. So, I tweaked the deals and became HighVolMusic.
5. F7: There are a few other great labels out there, ie: Melodic Rock Records & Kivel Records to name a few. What is going to set HighVolMusic apart from the other labels out there?
BC: Yes, there are and you named a good one in Kivel! Many probably do not know that John Kivel and I go way back. Kivel Records was one of the first indie labels that sent Metalvault CDs to review. I also believe I did the very first interview ever with AdrianGale just before they released ‘Feel the Fire’. I went up to NY to interview the band while they were rehearsing for a festival in Europe.
I think what sets HVM apart from some of the others is that we are a little more diverse in who and what we sign. We’re have quite a mix in that we have rock, hard rock, metal and at one point some southern rock/outlaw country.
6. F7: With Chavis Records you had some distribution deals. With HighVolMusic, will you be doing all the distribution yourself or will there be others involved?
BC: HighVolMusic is distributed through MRi/Sony Red, Cargo, and Valleyarm. We will also sell to anyone who wants to carry our titles.
7. F7: It seems you have quite a few signings already. How many active artists/bands does HighVolMusic have at the moment?
BC: Currently, there are 7 with a possible 8th. We have Billy Morris Band, Every Mother’s Nightmare, Hydrogyn, Newmachine, Rabid Assassin, Snake Eyes Seven, and Strikeforce.
TO BE CONTINUED January 8, 2017…