Downtown Phoenix regulars know Jeremiah Gratza -- he's that dapper guy with white-rimmed glasses and usually a snazzy hat -- as Director of Operations of local promotion house Stateside Presents. But Gratza is looking to expand his resume by launching a brand new vinyl imprint.
Gratza is celebrating the birth of his new Arizona-based independent music label, President Gator Records, with a launch party on Saturday, October 13, at the Crescent Ballroom. The show will feature locals Gospel Claws, ROAR, Bogan Via, and an acoustic set from Charlie Brand of Miniature Tigers.
"The first two releases will be for my personal favorite local bands right now, Bogan Via (with a remix by Minature Tigers) , and [a split release of] Gospel Claws and ROAR on baby pink and blue vinyl," Gratza says via email. "To celebrate, we are throwing a party at Crescent Ballroom with all the bands."
The show starts at 8:30 p.m. and admission is $10. The ticket price includes one of the 7" record of your choosing (don't worry, you can buy the other on site). All proceeds from Gospel Claws and ROAR will benefit the children of their former bandmate, Mark Erickson, who committed suicide last month. Erickson played in both Gospel Claws and ROAR, as well as Colorstore and Sweetbleeders.
"Mark was a good friend...[and he] left behind two beautiful children and many bands with out a member." The proceeds hope to ease the burden on his family.
Up on the Sun caught up with Gratza to figure out why exactly he's starting a label.
Up on the Sun: Why start a vinyl label given the current climate of the music industry? Jeremiah Gratza: Because I am crazy? It is something that I have wanted to do for a while now, and the time was right. Everything just fell into place perfectly.
What does that medium offer that digital doesn't?
Besides a warmer sound tone, beautiful handmade artwork, and a cool limited edition color vinyl you can hold in your hand?
Do you eventually want to do full-length records with President Gator, or do you want to stick to singles?
We will see where it goes. I do not want to rule anything out, but for now yes. At least until jukeboxes come back in fashion.
Will people be able to purchase the records in all Valley record shops?
That is the goal. All Zia Records locations, Stinkweeds, Revolver, and the newly revamped Eastside Records.
What is your dream record to release?
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Bogan Via, Gospel Claws, ROAR, and Charlie Brand of Miniature Tigers are scheduled to perform Saturday, October 13, at Crescent Ballroom.