I’m always surprised to find out what rockers do when they’re not on stage. I don’t know why, but when I see some guy screaming into a microphone one night, and the next day he’s climbing out of a FedEx truck, it always hits me as odd.

That’s probably because it’s not natural. You have to do it to survive, to pay shitty bills and keep one’s head above rising economic tidal waves while you chase your dreams. And the feeling I get when a musician tells me what “day job” they do usually stems from the fact that we see performers in a much different light than most. That is why there’s a stage to put them on. We separate them from the everyday commonality of the regular Joe. So that menial labor struggle doesn’t fit the snug little fantasy for most of us.

On the other hand, I can’t stand it when people come up to you and say, “You should do what makes you happy.” Really? Well, shit, I guess I hit the jackpot, because I just happen to like being harassed for TPS reports and constantly pleading to keep my red stapler. Very few of us have dream jobs that make us want to bounce out of bed in the morning and get to work. And even fewer have a job that combines their love of all things rock and roll as well as their favorite activities. But those jobs are out there. Just ask Kimmee Masi, owner of Confections Of A Rock$tar.

Kimmee is one of the few that have combined passions and talent and come up with a winning combination of taste and tunes. Confections Of A Rock$tar specializes in music oriented baked goods. No, she doesn’t make gingerbread bands, but she does make rock and roll cupcakes like nobody’s business.

Masi grew up with hands-on experience culled from her father’s bakery, Vincent’s Cookie Cupboard, learning the art of cake making and pastries at an early age. It was a dream of her and her father to one day open a place together. Sadly, before he could see the dream happen, he passed away. But Masi stayed on track, honing her skills with cakes, breads and pastries made from scratch. You could say that her father lives on, realizing that dream through his daughter’s steadfast advancement and creativity.

But the tie-in to music is that Kimmee has been drumming even longer than she has been baking. Like many of us, she’s come up through the local ranks, kicking around in several New Jersey bands, building chops and becoming a formidable skin basher. She currently spends her time running between cupcakes and club gigs with the band Our Last Sin.

Masi made the leap of faith in 2010, leaving her stuffy corporate insurance job to devote all her energy to opening the bakery and managing her band. Confections of A Rock$tar mix Kimmee’s baking skills with her musical abilities, and hip sense of décor.

The store is a rock and roll themed dream. Autographed photos of rock stars and other memorabilia adorn the hot pink walls while rock music plays in the background. It’s the experience that makes this appealing. Masi likes to use the calling card, “It’s not just perfect tasting cake, it’s the ‘Rockstar’ experience!”

Her cupcake list is as musically diverse as the music she spins, and features specialties such as a graham cracker, chocolate chip cupcake called “S’more Than A Feeling,” and a banana cake with peanut butter frosting number topped with honey dipped bacon called “Don’t Be Cruel.” My favorite is the “Smashing Pumpkin,” a pumpkin cupcake with matching pumpkin frosting. Sign me up! Kimmee’s attention to detail makes this one of the Shoreworld’s newest stopover locations when roaming down Cookman Avenue in Asbury Park.

If you’re looking for a bakery with a true sense of originality and a set of skills that put this cupcake queen in high demand, you owe it to yourself to give Confections Of A Rock$tar a thorough sound check. For more information, head over to coarock.com.

 

Asbury Park Hails A New Record Label

Asbury Park has long been considered the New Jersey Mecca of rock and roll. If it has to do with music, it’s probably there. Record companies are a rarity in a town with more bands than accountants. It’s not that it hasn’t been tried, it just hasn’t actually been too successful. AERIA Records called Asbury Park home back in 2004 and did an admirable job for a time. Other smaller grassroots outfits took up the cause, releasing a few projects before quietly fading into obscurity.

The grassroots label that has had the most considerable success to date is XOXO Records. They’ve been the home base for the ever popular Gaslight Anthem and River City Extension, as well as Let Me Run.

But there’s a new player in town, and they’ve got a decent roster that could launch them into the same type of attention arena in 2013 if they play their cards right. Little Dickman Records is home to bands such as The Wreaths, Inspecter 7, Wolfcock and The Battery Electric. Little Dickman hopes to bring national attention to local music by distributing limited edition vinyl releases in record stores in the Tri-State Area, and distributing digital downloads via its website and other leading outlets such as iTunes.

We all know who Inspecter 7 are. They’ve been around for 20 years, and they bring credibility to the label and the roster. Their new record, Escapes And Illusions, was produced by Predator Dub Assassins’ own Tim Boyce, and looks to be a highlight for the band. They also have been talking about the previously mentioned bad, Wolfcock. Great name, very eclectic band. Their website describes this “Secret Weapon” as, “Mining the static and regurgitated noise of punk ghosts long dead, this act is part-performance art and part-wolf.” But to me, the real news is the fact that Pete Steinkopf produced the new Battery Electric EP, Weaving Spiders, which will be out in March 2013. All good stuff.

Little Dickman Records is a label with ambitious aspirations. The company’s goals are to focus on independent rock music, and as they state on their press release, “To stand in opposition to the suffocating contracts and the Top-40 trash that define major record labels.” Good luck fellas, I’m behind you all the way.

Their future business plans also hope to include seeking talent outside of the state, and they’ve discussed looking into markets such as Chicago, Illinois, Detroit, Michigan, and Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Little Dickman Records is a community-based effort kick-started by artists and aficionados of independent music. Whenever anyone tries to get something like this moving, I champion those efforts as it’s sorely needed.

Be sure to check out the entire roster, and see what’s being released and who has the goods over at littledickman.com.

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