CENTRAL TRACK TIP JAR ARTICLE
 
Martin House and 13th Floor Music Are Bringing Together Fans of the Local Beer And Music Scenes.
— CENTRAL TRACK

If festivals like the twice-annual Untapped series have taught us anything, it’s that craft beer and music are just kind of made for each other. So, naturally, bands like Mothership and Jessie Frye have gotten brews named after them in recent years. Hell, the Toadies just released their third and fourth beer collabs with Fort Worth’s Martin House Brewing Company.

And, this weekend, those ranks will grow by a dozen when Martin House and local music promoter 13th Floor Music join forces for a new dry-hopped wheat called Tip Jar. Not just a “hoppy, smooth, and groovy summertime beer,” Tip Jar will also feature the names of a dozen DFW bands on its cans — Rise & Shine, Vincent Neil Emerson, Natural Anthem, Chucho, Matt Tedder, Kirk Thurmond & The Millennials, Atlantis Aquarius, The Hazardous Dukes, Shotgun Friday, The Paychecks, J. Charles & the Trainrobbers and Charley Crockett.

On top of introducing the DFW music scene to a new, easy-drinking light beer, 13th Floor Music’s Ken Welker says what he’s really hoping to accomplish is the opposite — introducing those in the die-hard craft beer scene to a dozen kickass local bands.

“Where I was introduced to a lot of the music scene was through working with Fishfry Bingo, which became Shotgun Friday,” Welker says. “They have a huge tie to the beer community. It’s really through that that I started looking through that lens — the beer community has almost a cult following. Die-hard beer people latch onto things. Just like I consume myself with music, they consume themselves with beer knowledge. Similarly, anything that pops up on their radar through that beer community, they’re often really, really receptive to. I love that about that whole scene. I saw that those beer people often didn’t have a favorite band — Shotgun Friday is the only one that plays at all of [the breweries]. So they are die-hard Shotgun Friday fans. I thought it would be a cool way to introduce them to the local music scene.”

For now, he’ll have to hope that throwing all of their names on one can will get that done. In the future, though, Welker says that if the beer proves popular enough around town, he’d love to see each of the mentioned bands getting shine via their own individual labels.

“If it comes out and does really well, eventually I’d love for the next evolution of it to be like when an X-Men movie comes out and you get a different Slurpee with each X-Man on it,” he says. “That would be cool to be cool to do a series thing. Due to cost — there’s an expense for every label that you submit for approval to the state, and all that stuff — we wanted to go an efficient way the first round.”

As for the beer itself, Welker worked with the folks at Martin House to make sure Tip Jar would be something musicians themselves wouldn’t mind drinking. Realizing that many a broke local musician relies on the free Lone Stars, PBRs and the like that most bars just give them on nights when they play, he decided to keep things as light as possible.

“A lot of these musicians are used to drinking shit beer all the time, so they don’t have a palate for some of the stronger-flavored beers,” Welker says. “I wanted something really palatable for musicians, because that’s how you end up with these guys drinking it onstage.”

Chances are, you’ll see plenty of these guys doing just that at the Fort Worth Flying Saucer this Saturday, August 13, when 11 of the 12 bands (minus Charley Crockett) will perform at Tip Jar’s official release party. A Dallas release party will see Crockett and 10 other Tip Jar bands performing at The Rustic on Sunday, September 4.

13TH FLOOR MUSIC: REPRESENTING NORTH TEXAS WITH HEART AND SOUL

DALLAS – Ken Welker, the fearless entrepreneur behind 13th Floor Music happened upon his dream by accident. A band and venue management company based out of North Texas, 13th Floor Music does the business of live music with heart and commitment.

An avid fan, Welker has always dreamed of contributing to live music. Having spent nine years as an account manager in the business sector, he felt disconnected from his passion, and was searching for a way to contribute to the scene. In 2012, after seeing local band Fish Fry Bingo (now known as Shotgun Friday), he realized there was a missing link between regional bands and the venues in which they played. When Red Dirt Nation sat down with him this week, he was quick to share about the inspiration that lead him to create 13th Floor.

Ken Welker

“I saw Fish Fry Bingo and I was just blown away,” said Welker. “I mean, these guys were putting on one of the most fun shows I’ve ever seen – so much energy – and I hadn’t seen anyone really killin’ it live like this. And the fact that there was only like 8-12 people in the audience, I realized there has to be a disconnect with the bands and the people. So that’s either lack of interest which I just didn’t believe, or it had to be a skill set issue, like sometimes musicians are shy and don’t know how to approach venues, or if it was just a lack of available time to pursue these things outside of gigs. So basically, I started out by just volunteering for these guys and really had no interest in making it a profitable endeavor.”

But it was a successful venture, and 13th Floor Music took off. Welker offers a unique business model that sets him apart from the norm. His company is relationship-based. He seeks out bands that he loves, and sounds that he’s passionate about, and he’s committed to serving each of his clients equally and with due fervor. He operates a transparent outfit with most of his bands being paid directly from the venues, which is a key element to his process. The artists trust him, and the venues know they aren’t being price-gouged to host a band for a night of entertainment.

In fact, the company represents venues almost more than live acts, and brokers the process between performance spaces and the bands. With business background and skill set, Welker is able to bring an efficiency and organization to the process of approaching non-traditional venues and helping them start a music series. Many of his bands do well in venues like bars, craft beer breweries and restaurants, along with traditional music venues. Wherever they play, he’s happy to contribute to sharing new sounds from up and coming North Texas-based bands, many of which have an existing fan base. Welker works hard to elevate the talent’s exposure, and hopefully, make everyone some money in the process.

13th Floor Music has an eye to the future, and an open mind set on collaboration and unity in the music scene. Welker shared an exciting example of a new business partnership with Martin House Brewing, one of North Texas’ foremost craft breweries. After a conversation with Cody Martin, one of the brewery founders, they realized it would be a good thing.

“A lot of my opportunity came because I was associated with a band that was in high demand by a scene that was a key component to the cultural Renaissance in our area,” Welker stated.

Simply put: local music and local beer pair well. The two feed off of each other, creating a circuitry of benefit. Why not celebrate that?

Slated for an August 2016 release, Martin House will create a dry-hopped wheat beer, and the can will feature each artist represented by 13th Floor Music; a toast to two elements that have helped grow the North Texas culture into a sought-after local scene.

13th Floor Music serves some of RDN’s favorite bands and venues, including, but not limited to: The Rustic, Truck Yard, Adair's Saloon, So & So's, High Fives, Armoury D.E., Flying Saucer, Pecan Lodge, Braindead Brewing, Henderson Tap House, JEM Beverage Company, The Lot, The Free Man, Martin House Brewery, Revolver Brewery, Tupps Brewery, Witherspoon Distillery, The Collective Brewing Project, Oak Highlands Brewery, Woodcreek Brewery and Yucatan.