We had the good fortune of connecting with Justin Loretangeli and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Justin, why did you pursue a creative career?
I’ve always had more than a causal interest in music, even before I really realized it. As a kid, I thought it was normal to read through CD booklets and band/artist Wikipedia pages to get all of the information I could on the music I loved. And although I had that love for music, I quickly realized I wasn’t going to be able to sing, play or write it, so I had to find another way to get myself more deeply involved with the music industry.

Growing up, I largely listened to pop music on the radio. In my early teens, I got into radio country music, but I vividly remember my cousin, Jesse, introducing me to the video game, Guitar Hero, and undergoing a total shift in the music I listened to. We played the game for probably six hours straight, and I was introduced to music I had never heard before: Poison, Guns n’ Roses, Scorpions and the like. I was hooked on the 80s “hair metal” sound, and from that day forward, I dug deeper and deeper into the genre.

I remember going through the “List of Hair Metal Bands” page on Wikipedia in 2012, at just 16 years-old, and the name Alleycat Scratch caught my eye. I thought that was such a badass band name, and I had to hear them. The first song that came up after a YouTube search was called “Stilletto Strut.” The thumping bass and pounding drums hooked me immediately. I loved it. I quickly listened through their whole album, ‘Deadboys in Trash City,’ and knew I had to have it. A quick Google search showed me that a record label in Nashville called FnA Records had recently re-issued the album with a bonus DVD and t-shirt, and I was sold.

When the CD arrived, I did what I always had done; I started reading through the booklet. At the end of the booklet, there was an excerpt from FnA Records saying that if the person reading knew of any bands that they should sign, they should reach out to the label, and if the label signed the band, you would get credit in the CD booklet. That was all I needed to hear. I had listened to so many bands that I thought they should sign that I messaged the label on Facebook. They encouraged me to try to find the band, and I came back with a lot of information I found about the band, and told them if there was any band I was looking for, that I would help them track them down. They said they had been searching for a band called Street Toyz, and within an hour or so, I had tracked down one of the members and sent them to the label.

I guess they were impressed with how quickly I was able to track down the band, they continued messaging me about bands, and I continued tracking down members. One of the higher ups at the label, Steve, told me I was doing A&R work, and I had no idea what that meant. He told me that, essentially, A&R people track down and sign bands for record labels. And that sounded like a dream title to me, so I took it and ran with it.

As the years went on, I started to help the label with their YouTube and Facebook accounts. I was creating quick album teasers with programs I was learning on the fly and using my social media knowledge to help attract new people to the label.

More recently, I had been running a country music interview website, Pro Country (procountrymusic.com), and I decided a few years into that that I wanted to do the same for the 80s “hair metal” scene, so I started up a site called “80s and Life” (80sandlife.com), and asked Steve to set me up with Todd Poole, the lead singer of the early 90s band Roxy Blue who they had signed, for an interview about the 30 year anniversary of the debut album. As soon as I started interviewing Todd, I was hooked on the site. We talked for almost two hours, and he mentioned to me that it was one of his favorite interviews he’s done. To put that in perspective, Roxy Blue was signed to the same label as Guns n’ Roses, and he’s probably done hundreds of interviews in his career, so that’s certainly a cool feather in the cap! With that story, and another about Philly area rock band Heavens Edge, posted, I’m looking for my next band from that era to profile, and I’m excited to see who will be next!

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
It’s definitely not common for a 16 year-old to be listening to 80s hard rock music, let alone working with a record label that releases their music. Most of the bands I talk to broke up before I was born. I’ve had some really cool interactions with members of these bands, and of course, there were a few that were a bit skeptical at first. On the industry side, I think what sets me apart if the perspective I bring to the music. I have a different perspective on the music because I wasn’t initially part of the scene back in the day. So I can use that perspective both when listening to the music and deciding which bands I want to bring to the label and how I go about finding them.

I think the same is true for the journalistic side as well: I have a fresh set of eyes on this music. It isn’t as close to me because I didn’t live it back in the day. I don’t have any set biases about artists, bands or songs; every artist I pitch an interview to is a band I’ve found myself that I enjoy and has connected with me. And I take pride in the fact that while I may not be the best writer or use the biggest words, I pride myself in doing as much, if not more, research into bands as anyone to make my interviews stand out. I take the responsibility of sharing these bands’ stories incredibly seriously, and I owe it to them, as well as anyone reading the stories, to present them as best as I can.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’m fortunate to live pretty much centrally to a lot of major cities, and there’s so many great places to see live music! Some of my favorite venues are Penns Peak, Starland Ballroom, Jenks and Prospectors, but there are so many more venues around the area that I’m dying to visit. It’s a great time to be a fan of live music!

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Steve Lockett with FnA Records paved the way for me to get into the music industry. He was willing to team up with a 16 year-old kid who wanted nothing more than to be in the music industry to do just that. I’ve known and worked with Steve for 10 years now, and together, we’ve teamed up to release music by 38 bands that I’ve brought forward. Happy to still be working together a decade later!

Website: www.fnarecords.net

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/justinloretangeli/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/justin-loretangeli-b4a23713a/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/justin.loretangeli/

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/c/FnARecordsRocks

Other: – www.80sandlife.comwww.procountrymusic.com

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