If you were a suburban teen-ager, what would you do for fun -- hang out at the mall, or play video games or mailbox baseball? Chase Ebaugh, 17, a student at Norwin High School, decided to create a music scene where there wasn't one. "I enjoyed going to shows, but there was never anything in North Huntingdon," he says. Enlisting his friend Paige Hawghey, 16, he founded Drop Dead Productions, which staged its first show in February at DV8 Café, in Greensburg.
Mapping a regional strategy, the pair secured upcoming dates at venues in several counties, including 709 Railroad St. (Cambria), Keynote Café, Java Trails and Manor Legion Hall (Westmoreland), Blue Violet Café (Beaver), and Giorgio's in East Pittsburgh (Allegheny).
Chase learned what worked as he went, sometimes encountering setbacks. "Out in Manor we did a metal show with a $500 tour package, but I only had 40 people," he says. "So I figured that we'd do better there with pop-punk. You can't just have any band and expect people to come out. You really need the right bands."
According to him, publicizing shows still involves (surprise!) printing up fliers. "I pass them out at school and put them in the malls and Guitar Center. Everyone has MySpace, so I'm continuously adding people from the area and commenting the flier to all of them. It's also publicity on their page for others to see."
There are many young Gen-Y promoters in the Pittsburgh region, most several years ahead of Chase and Paige, and the pair have already enlisted Fayette County-based Concert Chaos for a collaboration in January. But first, Drop Dead moves forward with its most ambitious project yet -- introducing audiences to the Irish Center, in Squirrel Hill, which was known for hosting raves in the '90s.
On selected nights, Drop Dead is rebranding the 500-capacity room as Club Oasis (something like Club Gravity did with Ches-Arena). The duo offers a packed all-ages bill starting at 4 p.m., Sat., Nov. 15, including Ohio pop-punkers Ten Count Fall and local groups such as Dollface Divine, Fancy Me Dead, Your Life and Mine, Identity X, and rapper Sikes. "It's a nice room with a big stage," says Chase. "We'll get a vinyl banner to hang above the bands, and make it known as Club Oasis -- a much catchier name."
Sounds like tough work for a kid who hasn't yet received his cap and gown. But Chase has a game plan. "I'm going to college for business [while] still promoting shows. I don't plan on taking any breaks -- I want to keep it going and growing."
For information, visit www.myspace.com/ddxproductions.