Buddyhead Redux 

L.A.'s most loved and feared music Web site is back, leading the never-ending quest for music that doesn't suck

Wednesday, Jul 15 2009

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The key, Rogers adds, is having a valuable relationship and direct connection with Buddyhead fans, which Keller has. Even if it often means disrupting the status quo, Keller works artfully in the business of making fans because he gets people to talk about music both on the site and among their peers, in real life.

“I don’t think we’re anywhere close to hitting critical mass with music blogs, but I think we’ll see more tastemakers than ever,” Rogers concludes. “We’re all going to have our trusted sources — we’re going to trust Buddyhead, Aquarium Drunkard, and five other people. Those are going to be our channels. I’m superoptimistic. I think now is a much better time for the music business than anytime in our lifetimes.”

Today visitors to the Web site can find the Buddyhead stamp of approval on recommended artists such as A.A. Bondy and Darker My Love, plus the new albums from Kasabian, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, and Dios — the first band to release music on the revamped Buddyhead record label using Topspin software. Dios is a straight-up, soulful homegrown rock group from South Bay comprising singer Joel Morales, keyboardist Edwin Kampwirth, drummer Patrick Butterworth, and bassist J.P. Caballero, all the newest additions to the Buddyhead family. “The Dios record is really fucking good,” Keller says of the band’s third full-length, We Are Dios, released on July 15, in addition to the band’s Cosmic Rays EP, which hit in June.

click to flip through (7) JENNIE WARREN - Buddyhead.com founder Travis Keller
  • Jennie Warren
  • Buddyhead.com founder Travis Keller

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Keller admits that a common mistake in the past was spreading himself too thin over mediocre projects and not concentrating on the really great releases. This time, with the Dios record, he is focusing solely on the digital release and a limited box set and does not want to screw it up, although he’s not opposed to getting sued.

“I wanted to call the album Dios. But the band thought we’d get sued [by Ronnie James Dio]. I’m like, ‘Yeah, we will!’ He already tried to sue them once. I think we’d win — DIO versus Dios. Even if they lost, fine, let’s change the name after we get on the news. Let him take us to court; it’ll be rad.” Keller grins and there it is, that flicker of a challenge in his eyes, that characteristic Buddyhead attitude.

“Buddyhead is still in these baby stages, but so far we’ve exceeded our expectations in terms of growth. I didn’t know if anyone would give a shit after we’d been dormant a few years,” Keller says of the site’s progress thus far. Buddyhead.com is averaging 15,000 page views per day, and although he is funding it out of pocket with the help of money earned from high-end DJ gigs with the likes of Peaches and Maynard James Keenan’s Puscifer, the overhead is low, and there are advertising deals that will kick in if the site reaches a profitable level of traffic.

With the Web site and record-label overhaul, it will be interesting to see how fast Buddyhead grows and how long it takes to rebuild its core audience. But, no matter what technology has been pumped into the site, much of Buddyhead’s success will depend on how much Keller writes. The same content that brought readers to the site during its peak in 2004 will likely bring them back again: unpredictable interviews and record reviews, plus Buddyhead’s merciless skewering of musicians in that notorious gossip column. Fueled by reader tips and insider information from close friends in the entertainment industry, the column consists of anything that makes its writers laugh.

In addition to Buddyhead gossip’s recent claim that “Moby is a panty sniffer,” one entry posted on June 29 takes aim — and fires — at musician John Mayer and gossip blogger Perez Hilton concerning their reported cat fight, and also calls Hilton out for biting Buddyhead’s snarky style:

“File this one simultaneously under “dorkus” and “malorkus”. “probably” gay soft-rock cracker shithead John Mayer is in a twitter-fight with that tubby Hispanic dude with gelled-up parrot hair and whiney bitch voice, Perez Hilton, that does some gossip site, that might remind you of this one (we did it first fat-ass) if it were run by. well by a tubby gay Hispanic dude with gelled-up parrot hair, and a freaky whiney bitch voice. Turns out that right after Perez got clocked in the face by some dude associated with The Black Eyed Peas for calling Will Smith I Am, a “faggot” and “fucking gay” (that also sounds familiar.), John Mayer, who isn’t just a member of the pink team, but also the president, decided he couldn’t not fumble over his BlackBerry to vomit out his first thought of the day that didn’t have to do with Man-ass or tribal tattoos ... The best part is the whole thing went down on TWITTER. DORKS!”

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