An Interview with Missi Callazzo of Megaforce Records

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Highlighting strong women within the industry is an important part of what we do here, and today will be no different. It’s important for young women who are considering any type of career within music to understand that there is a place for them, that their voices will be heard, opinions valued and that the music, vinyl and recording industries are not “boys clubs.” While we may still be falling short of true equality, that doesn’t mean we can’t keep trying and pushing forward until we do truly reach it.

Today we have an interview with Missi Callazzo on tap, which is truly very cool. Missi is a veteran of the industry, with over 30 years of experience under her belt. Missi has been the VP of Megaforce Records since the late 80’s. More so, she’s been a fantastic role model for women across the music industry. The hard work Missi has put in over the last 30 plus years in the music industry has been a true inspiration to us all. Missi has worked with some of the biggest acts in Hard Rock and Heavy Metal history, and has also played a direct role in some of the beautiful packages that Megaforce puts out to this day. She is a huge reason why Megaforce has become what it is today. If you would like to learn more about Megaforce Records, you can head over to their site here. In March of 2020, Missi was also interviewed by the wonderful organization, Women In Vinyl; if you would like to also check that interview out, you can head over to the Women In Vinyl site here. Until next time. Cheers.

Andrew:
Missi, thank you for taking the time to speak with us. It’s been a weird year, hasn’t it? What have you been doing to pass the time?

Missi:
Honestly, we have been busier than ever! Many artists are struggling with what to do and how to focus on music. Many have done livestreams, others have released multiple singles. With our staff working remote, it has been a challenge to keep everyone caught up on everything happening at the label.

Andrew:
Tell us a bit about your backstory. How did you get into music? What was the gateway so to speak?

Missi:
I was always a music fan and when I went to college, I saw there was a radio station on campus and thought, I like music and I like to talk so this might be fun. The station had just flipped to Metal and they did not have a lot of girls that were into that music, so I went to work there and over time, I became music director and station manager.

Andrew:
Currently, you’re the VP of Megaforce Records. Tell us how you got started there.

Missi:
The owners of Megaforce were fans of WSOU (my college station) and offered me an internship. I was interning, and in my senior year of college someone left. They had an opening, and I was offered the position. I have been here ever since.

Andrew:
Following up on my last question, how long have you been with Megaforce? What sets Megaforce apart from the rest?

Missi:
I have been with Megaforce since 1989. I think the difference between Megaforce and other indie labels is just our focus. We have never been just one genre, or just one thing. We have always tried to find artists at the top of their game, regardless of the genre.

Flashback: Megaforce Records Fifth Anniversary Show at The Ritz - August  10, 1988 - NYS Music

Andrew:
When did you know you wanted to get into the music business?

Missi:
It just sort of happened, I never really thought about it as a career choice, but clearly I never went back.

Andrew:
Does Megaforce have anything interesting coming out that you are allowed to talk about?
  

Missi:
We have a lot of artists working on records for 2021. Due to the pandemic, they have been unable to complete the records, so I don’t want to speak out of turn as some might be a little later than we initially were expecting.

Andrew:
As I am sure you are aware, women are drastically underrepresented within the music and record industry. What are your thoughts on that? How can we close the gap?

Missi:
I have never been a fan of the “most powerful women in the music business” issues that some publications run. I have always looked at that as basically saying, well, you have done pretty good for a girl. I luckily worked for a company that was owned by a husband and wife team. They never treated anyone differently due to their gender, and hard work took you to the top of their team. I just never really thought about it being a hindrance.

Andrew:
Let’s talk about the state of music in general a bit. In your opinion, what’s the state of the music industry these days? What are some things that need to change?

Missi:
There is some great music out there, but the path to discovery is a little different. There were a lot of steps taken to bring back the album and now with the growth of streaming and the way labels can pitch for placement, it has become a first week business on a whole new level. I would love to see the ability for artists to have more avenues for the music to be discovered.

Andrew:
In the world we live in today, we are more or less dominated by the never-ending barrage of social media. How has this affected music as an artform?
Is an artist’s ability to get their music out there hindered by all this, or helped?

Missi:
I think it does both. Artists can now have conversations directly with their fans, but haters have been given a voice.

20 Facts You Probably Didn't Know About Anthrax

Andrew:
Who are a few artists, past or present that mean a lot to you?

Missi:
Rush has always been my favorite. I have worked with Anthrax pretty much since 1989, so they are all like brothers to me.

Andrew:
What are a few albums that mean the most to you and why?

Missi:
Rush – Hemispheres – Such a timeless album.

King’s X – Gretchen Goes to Nebraska – Such a surprise the first time I heard it!

S.O.D. – Any of their albums – merge brutal humor with amazing.

Third Eye Blind – Self Titled – That album plays like a greatest hits record.

Andrew:
Aside from music, what else are you most passionate about and why?

Missi:
I love design. It has really made us strive to create more amazing vinyl packages.

How Rush made Hemispheres | Louder

Andrew:
Are you into vinyl? Tapes? CDs? Or, are you all digital now? Where do you like to shop for music?

Missi:
We have a huge vinyl collection and lots of CDs. I stream a lot while sitting at my desk. I have never been a fan of cassettes. Our office is right around the corner from Academy and Generation.

Andrew:
What are your thoughts on the Rock and Metal scenes today?

Missi:
It feels like so much has changed. A lot has changed. I think this is a great time for a resurgence of Rock and Metal. It is just going to take one album to really turn the tide.

Andrew:
Last question. In a world that’s been so confined by the constraints of big business and the alienation caused due to the internet age, how do artists find their footing these days? What advice would you have for younger artists?

Missi:
Artists just need to keep focused on doing what they do best and writing and recording, and not try to lose track of what they create for their art and their fans. Younger artists should really find an artist they admire, and find a way to emulate what they do and how they act. Almost treat them as a virtual mentor. That said, artists are the most giving people of their time, and many love to take more developing artists under their wing to help.

Megaforce Records (@megaforce) | Twitter

Dig this interview? Check out the full archives of Vinyl Writer Interviews, by Andrew Daly, here: www.vinylwritermusic.com/interviews

About Post Author

Andrew Daly

Andrew has always felt himself to be a "jack of all trades, master of none" type of person. With an immense passion for music, a disposition for writing, and an eagerness to teach and share both, Andrew decided to found Vinyl Writer in 2019 as a freelance column under the column Stories from the Stacks. Over time, the column grew into a website which now features contributors who further the cause of sharing both a love of music and the art of journalism with the world through articles and interviews. While Andrew enjoys running the website, his real passion lies in teaching and facilitating others to do what they do best, and giving them the opportunity to explore their passions in the process.
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