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Sound Works? 

Tony Espinoza poured his dot-com millions into the fanciest music studio in town. With balls like that, who needs street cred?

Wednesday, Jun 9 2004

Page 5 of 5

In addition, according to the band members, Espinoza seemed genuinely invested in their music and eager to help them succeed.

"Tony will work with you with the project," Ashkinos says, "whereas the Plant is just about how many hours are you going to work, then pay by the hour. ... When we met Tony and we talked to him, he was instantly inspiring, because he's interested in the songs and the band, not just the recording. He wants to know what the songs are trying to translate. He came to our show when we played live. We got a lot more artistic vision out of him than we got out of the first guy we were working with."

"There's the luxury of, Tony's already made his money," Ashkinos continues. "So he can do it for the sake of the music and the art. Whereas most studios are barely keeping the bills together, and you feel that when you walk in the door."

Is it crazy to imagine a world where the Billboard charts are dominated by bands instead of products? Crazy to imagine that popular music could once again be dominated by albums instead of singles? Perhaps it is, but then again, it was once crazy to imagine the Internet. Espinoza brings to his current endeavor the same blind optimism he had for the Net, an attitude that, as he puts it, "all the stuff that we were building was going to change the world." For there to be a chance in hell of the art and commerce sides of the music biz overcoming their seemingly irreconcilable differences, a similar kind of optimism will have to grow and spread. Espinoza has planted one of the first seeds.

"This isn't really an institution, and this isn't a company," he says. "It's me. The stuff that it represents is what's in my heart. And I'm just trying my best to keep all those things honest and put all those things out there, because I believe that when you put your heart out there, and engage the world with it, that's when shit happens. ... I kind of drank the Kool-Aid pretty early on in terms of believing that dreams come true and people can make things happen. So I've never had any problem with taking those kinds of leaps of faith."

About The Author

Garrett Kamps


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