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Local Legends Points the Spotlight on Budding Musicians

By David Goe

The Ninja unmasked. Local Legends host Dustin Coren

Maybe you’ve read this quote from Dave Grohl, the apostle of modern rock. Speaking about his disdain for reality show singing contests, referring to them as the destroying force of “the next generation of musicians,” Grohl speaks passionately about bringing live instruments back to mainstream music.

“Musicians should go to a yard sale and buy an old (expletive) drum set and get in their garage and just suck,” Grohl said. “And get their friends to come in and they’ll suck too. And then they’ll (expletive) start playing and they’ll have the best time they’ve ever had in their lives and then all of a sudden they’ll become Nirvana, because that’s exactly what happened with Nirvana.”

He’s right. There are no shortcuts to success in the music business. It takes hours and hours of just endless sucking before it starts to come together, before you develop your sound and learn how to work a stage and command an audience’s attention. You need motivation and support from your friends and community to keep pushing forward and keep playing.

Local radio personality Dustin Coren, aka the Ninja, is quite fond of Grohl’s assessment. It basically sums up what he is trying to do with The Local Legends Show every other Friday around 9 p.m. at Naggy McGee’s Irish Pub.

For Coren, the creator and host, Local Legends is the motivation for musicians to keep on keepin’ on.

Local Legends is a biweekly showcase for area musicians. It is sort of like open mic night with a twist. Each show features a local band or musician. They play a couple tunes throughout the night and the rest of the show is filled with additional musicians testing out new material or trying out new covers.

“Local Legends gives the budding musician in the valley, or the garage band that’s almost ready to start grabbing gigs, a place to come and play,” Coren said.

Coren provides the sound equipment so performers only have to worry about their specific gear.

On any given Friday at Naggy McGee’s you may find up-and-coming songwriter Will Whalen, as he says “an acoustic rock uno,” hanging around there. Or maybe Shea Bramer, someone so synonymous with the Grand Junction music scene it would be impossible not to mention his involvement. Members from Zolopht and the Destroyers, D&G Railroad, and new band Barrel Proof also are known to regularly play Local Legends.

“There’s no substitute for open venues like Local Legends,” Whalen says. “Back when I was just getting started, the most important thing for me to learn was how to get up on stage. I found open mics, live jams, busking, pretty much any opportunity to cut my teeth, to network with other musicians and just to jam.”

Whalen, who now plays live shows regularly around the area, credits Local Legends for helping him grow as a musician.

“No matter what level you’re at, to be a strong musician, you need a strong music community behind you,” Whalen said. “For that, you need a supportive venue where you can all meet and grow. Legends is invaluable for that.”

Thanks to Coren and all the folks who make Local Legends happen, this is a perfect venue for the next wave of area musicians to develop their skills in front of a guaranteed audience. As venues for local musicians are limited, credit has to be given to Naggys for opening its doors to Coren and the Grand Junction music scene.

The next Local Legends Show is Friday, June 7, at Naggy McGee’s. Who knows, maybe you’ll see the next Nirvana there. At the very least you’ll get a full dose of Grand Junction’s rocking talent.

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