10 Questions with ... Missi Callazzo
September 6, 2016
1. What made you want to get into the music business? Were there any early mentors?
Getting in the music business was really a mistake. I went to college at Seton Hall. When I was there for orientation, I was taken on a tour of the radio station. I thought I can do this; I like records. The person I met that day was Phil Hardy, he was a senior at Seton Hall and then went on to head the promotion department at Megaforce. Talking about mentors sounds like a Seinfeld episode. My mentor in the early days was Phil Hardy, we worked together at WSOU and he got me a job at Megaforce.
2. Can you give us a rundown of the record labels and positions you've held over the years?
Believe it or not, Megaforce is the only label I have worked at. I started as an intern in 1988 and bought the company with Robert in 2001. In the middle I have done radio promotion, publicity, accounting, etc. When you work for an indie, you get to or have to do it all. I also did some weekend DJ work at WHTG in Asbury Park for about five years. The show I created at WSOU, Monday Night Mayhem, was brought back for the radio station's 30th Anniversary. I got to do the show twice in August and it was great to feel 18 again playing metal on the radio.
3. How long have you worked at Megaforce at what makes this label unique?
I have been here since 1988, there are a number of unique aspects to the company. First, we are one of the last true indies. We are not owned by anyone, so we really get to do what we want. There is no corporate entity over us telling us what we can and can't do.
4. I was looking up the history of the label on Wikipedia and it said the label was founded in 1982 to publish the first works of Metallica. Who knew?
I was in high school in 1982, and I bought Kill 'em All. I remember staring at that cover and listening to the record in high school. I wondered who Megaforce was. They were in New Jersey and never thought that I could get a job there.
5. There are no titles at Megaforce, but if there was one, what would yours be? What are your major responsibilities at the label?
Ha, well, I am sure our employees have a title for me! To me, titles seem limiting. If my title was VP Marketing, I would be locked in that little box. With no title, I can do anything and everything. What do I do all day, well, it is a little bit of everything from finding artists, working on the distribution side of our business, royalties, sales, marketing. We all do a bit of everything. I think it makes us smarter and more well-rounded.
6. I know Tami Morrissey handles Radio promotion, but what are your big priority projects for the label now?
I will give you a mix of projects that are in the works for Megaforce and MRI. We are working Anthrax's Monster at the End to radio right now; Blue October's Home is really making an impact at Hot AC; The Chris Robinson Brotherhood has been amazing. So fun to be there at the birth of the project and watching it grow into the amazing force they have become.
7. Let's talk about the new Anthrax record. It's ironic it's out at the same time as the new Metallica. Being one of the "Big Four" thrash metal bands along with Metallica, Slayer and Megadeth, how is this new project being received so far at Rock radio?
I have had the fortune of working with Anthrax for the most part since 1989. They are a great live band and making the most relevant and exciting records of their career. They are so creative and we get to do the most unique products. The album is called For All Kings and we did preorders with decks of playing cards that included a download card. The art is just incredible and it really got the fans excited for the release. Rock radio is going well, but I really wish that programmers would sometimes listen to the song and gauge their airplay accordingly. Some think Anthrax is a band from the '80s or '90s and don't listen to the song to make their judgment. It happens to Iron Maiden and Motorhead, too, so at least we are in good company there. The songs on For All Kings will stand the test of time.
8. What else does the label have coming down the pipeline in the future?
Mushroomhead has a new release; Living Colour is releasing a mixtape on 9/9 and they have a new record coming next year; Superjoint have a record coming in November, and Third Eye Blind have an EP coming October 7th. I think that is breaking news as we have not announced yet.
9. Let's talk about the Rock format as a whole. What's your take on the state of Rock radio today?
I wish I was a better person to comment. I listen to radio on the iHeart app, but really NY does not have a terrestrial radio signal that I can easily listen to in my home or office, so I am somewhat out of the loop when it comes to listening all day every day. There is really a hole in the NYC market. NJ has a few great Rock stations, but none have a great signal where I am.
10. Finally, from a record label perspective, I know it's about selling records, but, despite the advent of streaming and satellite radio, how important is terrestrial radio to helping sell records for a label like Megaforce?
Radio is always important; terrestrial, satellite and services such as Pandora all help expose people to new music. I love it because the listeners get to decide. It always was the best part of being a DJ; I got to interact with listeners when they called to request songs and I could do my marketing surveys between breaks. I learned a lot about how radio impacts sales and customers buying decisions.