Joseph Clayton, left, and vocalist, Sean Sayers, right, in Forge Records Inc; Clayton’s homemade record studio in Cold Lake.
Joseph Clayton was working in the oilfield, had a journeyman’s ticket in carpentry, and years of experience to boot. But he gave it up to pursue his dream of making music. The Cold Lake resident was serious too.
He drafted a business plan with the hopes of attaining the “biggest market possible.” Then he started a band, Forge, built a recording studio in his home, Forge Records Inc., and began songwriting.
Three years later, his band is asking Cold Lake City Council for help to finish the band’s first single, which be mixed and mastered at Studio at the Palms in Las Vegas.
“Right now, we need to create our funding to get up to the States in the next month. We have to pay for our fees for our guest artist appearance, which is Jon Bon Jovi.” said Clayton.
That’s right – Jon Bon Jovi.
“We are in touch with his office right now. They’ve already responded and they’re interested. My producer is very confident. Mind you, he’s a 35 year Sony Records representative and now he’s started his own company with Al Green,” said Clayton.
That record company representative is Michael Trammell of Iconic Worldwide based in Los Angeles. Trammell used to work for Capital Records, and even signed MC Hammer to his first record contract. His company works as a back-office for bands like Avenged Sevenfold and Lil Kim, they manage artists to help them start in the business.
“The independent artists who are striving to make the big leagues don’t know the entertainment business from the inside-out, they know it from the outside-in,” said Trammell.
Clayton says he first made contact with these music magnets on a service called Soundbed, where artists post songs for mixing-mastering artists to bid on.
“There’s world renown guys on there. So I posted my song…and I was getting responses like crazy, from people I just couldn’t believe I was getting responses from,” said Clayton. “Huge, huge bands. Grand Funk Railroad, DMX, Eminem, lots of Grammy award winning artists mix-and-master engineers.”
Clayton then sent the top five most renowned audio engineers demos of his work. He says Bernie Grundman’s office (Grammy award-winning audio engineer) responded to him, and eventually passed Forge’s files on to some record people he knew. That’s how Trammell and Iconic Records got involved.
“Joseph has really impressed me and my department because they like his song material. He writes this really off-key stuff, and it’s really impressive,” said Trammell.
In exchange for the sponsorship funds from the City, Forge would promote Cold Lake worldwide with charity shows and media appearances. The band is not sure if the City can help anyway through legal delegation, but they’ll find out in a couple of weeks when it’s back on Council’s plate.
“Let’s just say it’s a unique proposal in my time on council,” said Mayor Craig Copeland. “It’s great that they are connected with some famous musicians. I think great for them – that’s great for Cold Lake artists.”
Session players who’ve played with acts like Ziggy Marley and Avenged Sevenfold have already played on the single, called Don’t Bother. It will be mixed at Studio at the Palms in Las Vegas by Bernie Grundman, and Trammell says it will be in a movie soundtrack next year for the film The Wild Heart. All that needs to be done is Clayton’s lead guitar track, and the vocals with Sayers, and potentially, Bon Jovi.
“The whole thing about achieving things that you really want is to keep pursuing them until you fully pursue them,” said Clayton. “You don’t give up halfway down the road. This happens with a lot of artists…It just really depends on how passionate you are if you’re going to succeed at it.”