“We’re literally just a few guys with a background in business who have a real love for music,” says 38-year-old Citation president Bobby Hanson. “I’d say that first, we’re music fans. We love all kinds of music as well. We have eight artists on the label so far, everything from blues, rock ‘n’ roll and singer-songwriters. We’re open to any music that moves us.”
Citation is known among bands and musicians in the Inland Empire, as being the “most artist-friendly” label. “The way the industry is moving, we think this is the way to go,” Hanson says. “You’ve heard the horror stories of the ‘big, bad, evil’ record labels taking advantage of artists, whom are then apprehensive of dealing with these labels.”
The difference, according to Hanson, is that Citation typically shares a considerably larger portion of royalties with the artists. “It’s to the point where, actually, we partner with the artists,” he explains. “We do this to create a situation where it’s not so much the artist working solely for the label.”
Citation is teaming up with The Press Restaurant in Claremont to present a series of live shows to showcase some of the label’s artists. “Citation Saturdays,” which kicked off last week with a decibel-baring rock unit VesuviaSonic, continues this week with singer/songwriter Jeff Stewart and D’Santi on August 1.
Hanson said that he is happy to throw together a three-week mini series of lives shows at the Press. “We’d love to do more, so we’ll see how these shows go,” he says. “The Press is a good establishment, it’s very nice restaurant and great place to see a band because it has a great atmosphere.”
Like any good label head, Hanson is quick to cite one of the most successful artists currently on his roster, The Woolly Bandits (editor’s note: Our “Pick of the Week” back in November—so you know they’re awesome!). Featuring Tracy Skull on drums, Johnny Keys on keyboards, bassist Rikki Styxx and guitarist Rik Collins and his wife Christa on vocals, the band sports a hybrid of influences from rock ‘n’ roll, new wave, punk and psychedelia. The band plays what they like and refuses to pigeonhole themselves as anything but a good old fashioned rock band. “We have been compared to all kinds of bands such as X, the B-52s, The Cramps, The Dammed and even No Doubt,” says Rik Collins. “But no one can really peg out sound.”
Apparently, the band’s new digs here in the IE were a step up from the L.A. scene. You go, 909!
“We used to live in the Hollywood area, but we just got sick of all those pretentious creeps in that scene, so we moved out here to the Ontario area,” he says. “But don’t get me wrong, I was born in L.A. and I love L.A. and we still play shows there all the time; it’s just we needed to get away from that scene, and its perfect here because its far enough to be just away from L.A., yet its only an hour or two drive away.”
Collins admits that after he got a job at the Rhino Records and began meeting people from the local music scene, he came upon Citation Records and was surprised. “Bobby came out to one of our shows once to see another band, and he liked us and offered to sign us,” Collins recalls. “We thought what the heck is a label doing out here in Upland?”
Any uncertainty is long gone. The band and its label have an excellent relationship, according to Collins. “We like them a lot, they have an open mind and they provide us with a lot of backing and support,” he says. “Citation Records is definitely not just some guy working out of his bedroom.”
“Citation Saturdays” featuring Jeff Stewart and the Saddle Traps, Fri., July 25, at The Press Restaurant, 129 Harvard Ave., Claremont, (909) 625-4808, www.thepressrestaurant.com, www.citationrecords.com. 10PM. 21+, no cover.