Randy Chertkow and Jason Feehan are true polymaths – founders of the pop band Beatnik Turtle, authors of The Indie Band Survival Guide, and a computer engineer and attorney respectively, they continuously have their hands in a bevy of different projects. Their most recent project, the wide publication of The Indie Band Survival Guide – originally and still available as a CC-licensed PDF – is a tome of knowledge that any independent musician, well-known or budding, would do well to have. We caught up with Chertkow and Feehan recentlly to find out more about the Indie Band Survival Guide, their experience as CC-license advocates, and how they manage to juggle their various roles with seeming ease.
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Can you give our readers a bit of background on yourselves? You are both active musicians, have jobs outside of music making, and are now published authors. How did you get to where you are today?
Jason Feehan: We’re both indie musicians who are in an active Chicago band called Beatnik Turtle. We’ve been writing, recording, and playing live for over 11 years. But beyond that, professionally, I’m an attorney and Randy has a Master’s in Computer Science: Data communications.
Randy Chertkow: Our fields really influenced how we ran the band, and, later, what we wrote about in the book. There was an advantage that neither of us were in the same field. So I was able to help put the legal stuff into human-readable form, and Jason was able to tame my technical jargon and into friendly explanations. Regarding music, I’ve got a formal music education, starting in grade school. I am a reeds player (primarily sax, but I double on flute and clarinet, which is very common for sax players.) I had a lot of training in music and jazz theory, and improvisation. Jason didn’t learn formally at all, yet is an incredibly prolific songwriter and natural talent. He’s written over 1000 songs.