The Washington Area Music Association (WAMA), which put on the Wammies last fall, is holding a meeting Tuesday at d.c. space in hope of attracting local musicians. There will be a workshop and round table, titled "The Big Score," with Mark Noone of the Slickee Boys, James Avery and Robert Reed of Trouble Funk, the city's most popular go-go band, and Seth Hurwitz, local promoter and manager. The meeting, according to WAMA's John Simson, is part of a membership drive and an ongoing networking process to give impetus and identity to the local scene. There will be a brief presentation on WAMA's goals, benefits and activities.
WAMA and Washington Area Lawyers for the Arts (WALA) will cosponsor a follow-up conference on Feb. 8 at the Old Post Office Pavilion. It will deal with such practical musician's business as copyright, contracts, representation and fiscal management in the '80s. Speakers will include music professionals, attorneys and representatives of BMI and ASCAP, the two leading performing rights organizations. For more information on services and membership, call WAMA at 371-0817 or WALA at 861-0055.
In another program of interest to local musicians, Jeff Lettes, former president of Blues Alley Presentations, will host a Jan. 18 seminar called "Launching Your Career as a Performing Artist." It will cover such areas as developing a following, choosing an administrative team and making contacts in Washington. The seminar, offered through First Class, will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 1522 Connecticut Ave. NW. For information or reservations, call 797-5102. Watson on the Tube
Jeff Watson, lead singer for Downtown, the group that won seven Wammies, will be featured on Sunday's "Star Search" (WTTG at 9 p.m.), singing Johnny Nash's old quasi-reggae hit, "I Can See Clearly Now." If you don't want to know how Watson did against reigning champ Joey Giano, skip the rest of this paragraph. Okay? Watson, who grew up in Alexandria and went to T.C. Williams High School, lost, but because the syndicated show is shown on a tape-delay basis, the Dec. 18 sing-off wasn't seen until now. Springsteen Gets Their Votes
The Los Angeles Times Calendar magazine recently polled 16 record industry leaders as to whom they would sign if all current contracts were suddenly declared null and void and they were given an unlimited budget to sign anyone they wanted to build a label around. The winner, by a wide margin, was Bruce Springsteen (six first place votes), followed by Prince (four votes), Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie (three votes each), U2, Bryan Adams, Talking Heads, Sting, Eurythmics, Stevie Wonder, Whitney Houston, Z.Z. Top, Dire Straits, Don Henley, Phil Collins, Wham!, Lone Justice, David Bowie, Julian Lennon, and, at No. 20, Madonna.
Among the notable absentees: Billy Joel, the Cars, Hall and Oates, Cyndi Lauper, John Cougar Mellencamp, Luther Vandross, Kenny Rogers, Diana Ross, Barbra Streisand, Tina Turner and Paul McCartney. Not surprisingly, all the voters' specific choices were kept confidential.
Springsteen, whose photo graced 1985's bestselling issue of Newsweek, is also the subject of his own telephone hot line. Die-hard fans can now call the Bruce Springsteen Party Line at (213) 205-7980 and hear up to 20 minutes of news, history and (mostly) rumors. And if they have anything to contribute, they can leave a message at (213) 205-7985. Getting through may be a problem, but fans who tried to order tickets for last fall's RFK Stadium concert probably understand why. The Merci Beat!
Jack Lang, France's minister of culture, complained recently that 90 percent of the pop music heard on French radio and television is in English and that French-speaking performers are in effect banned from their own stations. Lang, who has attacked "American cultural imperialism" in the past, did not suggest any quotas, though the French performing rights organization SECAM has asked that any new radio stations be required to play 60 percent European music, 50 percent of which should be French. Said Lang, "If we do not want our own artists and creators to vanish from this earth, we must act at once and provide them with at least some living space on television and radio." Crisis in Acoustic Pianos
Say goodbye to the parlor piano: According to Keyboard magazine, the acoustic upright and even baby and concert grand pianos may be on the way out, replaced by synthesizers and latter-day variations. Many music stores have moved them to the back of the shop, and three builders -- Currier, Aeolian, and Kohler & Campbell -- have gone out of business in the last three years, reflecting a 35 percent drop in sales over six years. (During the same period, sales of electric keyboards and pianos doubled, and sales of synthesizers quintupled.) Reasons for the changeover: prices, smaller homes, portability and the ability to hear yourself play through headphones. Even lounge pianists are spiffing up their acts with electric keyboards, synthesizer strings and drum machines.