Open Source Band: The Silicon Valley Rocks “Original”

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Band Members:
Jonah Matranga: Vocals
Randi Zuckerberg: Vocals
Alison Murdock: Vocals
Tim Chang: Guitar
Andrew Stess: Bass
Larry Marcus: Drums

Tech Industry Affiliations: Facebook, SVRocks.com, Norwest Venture Partners, Walden Venture Capital and Amplified Music Services

SVR: Tell us about your band. How did you get started? How long have you been playing?

Randi Zuckerberg: We really embodied the Silicon Valley entrepreneurial spirit. Alison had a vision, secured an A-team, got everyone together in a garage to execute*, and we plan on delivering an awesome product on Dec 9th. (*by garage, we mean Larry’s awesome setup in Hillsborough)
Alison Murdock: The Open Source Band was formed in 2008 with the debut of Silicon Valley Rocks. Literally, it was a true Silicon Valley story — the band was formed via phone calls, Facebook, email, and quick conversations at conferences.
Tim Chang: we pride ourselves on never rehearsing more than 3 times per year! 🙂

SVR: Who are your major influences?

OSB: Blur, Radiohead, U2, The Police, Blondie, Led Zeppelin.
Jonah Matranga: Yea, the classics are just that for a reason. It’s fun to massacre them with geeky enthusiasm.
TC: I’m a reformed shredder, but still have a soft spot for anything by Van Halen, Steve Vai, Stevie Ray, Joe Satriani. These days I’m more about the groove and the hook…
RZ: Apple, Google, Cisco… wait, are we talking about music… or tech companies?

SVR: What’s your ultimate direction for your band? Are you seeking fame and fortune in the music business?

RZ: I think we’re really in this for the long haul. People can be critical because we’re in the red… but we’re not looking for a speedy exit. It’s a tough economy. Monetization isn’t a priority right now, we’re focused on the long term vision.
TC: We hope to flip to Google for a nice stock and cash deal someday. Also willing to accept options in Facebook and/or Twitter instead. Look for our upcoming social game!
Andrew Stess: All of the above and a free night away from home.
Larry Marcus: Up and to the right.

SVR: How does your music influence your work or vice versa?

RZ: I work in marketing at Facebook, where I lead partnerships around news, entertainment/pop culture, and non-profits. Before this, I was the lead singer of an Evanescence tribute band, “Evanescence Essence” (Evanescence had two hit songs… and we did BOTH of them). But band morale went downhill fast when Evanescence never came out with any new music… so I jumped at the opportunity to take my music in a new direction with the OSB.
TC: I’ve been a musician 3x longer than a VC, and it’s nice to be able to tie the creative process into the day job in working with startups in digital media, mobile and gaming.
AS: I am CEO of Amplified Music Services — we provide music identification and playlisting for ce devices and music applications — and director at LyricFind, the first and leading legal provider of search and display for lyrics.
JM: Rocking has been my job for my adult life.

SVR: Why do you think music education is important?

RZ: It’s such a shame that creative programs like music are the first to be cut when a school has to re-evaluate its budget. It’s so important to provide children with this creative and productive outlet.
AM: California will soon be facing a very drastic shortfall in educational budgets. In San Francisco alone, it could be $80 million. We were already fighting for arts education, and now, it’s a very dire situation.
JM: What she said. For real, music has pretty much saved my life. Several times, and I’m so sad that it’s not readily available to my daughter in public school. Seems completely insane that in a country like ours, in a city like this, with all this money everywhere, that we wouldn’t have arts programs everywhere. The positive impact on our children is irrefutable and obvious.
TC: Music has so much in common with science: the underlying mathematical structures, fractal symmetries of rhythm and phrasing, synthesis of disparate elements… it’s a shame that our society classifies music as a right-brained only, “artsy” discipline, often getting deprioritized for math, science and commerce-related studies. A key element of what has made me successful and happy in the fields of technology and engineering stem from the improviser’s mindset informed by my musical pursuits.

SVR: What was your own experience learning music as a kid? Who flipped that switch in your brain?

RZ: When I switched to a new high school, I didn’t know anybody, and someone recommended that joining the chamber choir would be a good way to meet people. I had never even listened to classical music before, let alone performed it, but I found myself truly loving classical music and opera. I still practice opera to this day and that classical music experience helped me tackle so many other musical genres.
AM: I played the piano, sang in the choir — all the normal stuff. When I attended the Ladies’ Rock Camp in Portland, OR and managed to form a band, write a song, and perform in 3.5 days — I realized that all that early training really paid off!
JM: I remember learning guitar and recorder and stuff with Mr. Richter. And playing Stones covers in the talent show in 6th grade. And listening to Zeppelin in the basement of some older neighborhood kids.
AS: I loved music when I was little kid and Abbey road was my first album. My guitar teacher when I was six was a great influence, the music teacher in elementary school, my junior high band director, and the HighSchool of the Arts in high school. My switch was flipped because of my want and need for music and the great people that taught me.
TC: Marty McFly, saving the world (and getting the girl) in Back to The Future with an electric guitar, baby!
LM: Susan Muscarella and the UC Jazz Ensembles at Berkeley was a real turning point in musical growth and understanding that music is a community. She’s running the Jazzschool in Berkeley and it’s an incredible place to study and play jazz.