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Independence Suits Vander Ark Well

Of the Oakland Press

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The Verve Pipe's Brian Vander Ark is happy to be breathing some "new life" into his old catalog.

The singer and songwriter has signed a national distribution deal for his three solo albums, which will boost his latest, self-titled effort, which came out in January, as well as 2003's "Resurrection" and 2006's "Angel, Put Your Face On."

"I really wasn't concerned with that kind of thing; I was thumbing my nose at the (music) industry," says the 42-year-old Grand Rapids resident, who also dabbles in acting and had a prominent role in 2001's "Rock Star." "But the fact is I've only taken it as far as I can take it with just doing my own marketing and keeping mailing lists and all that stuff.

"I was constantly beating the pavement and just had it. So when (Red Eye Records) came around, it was perfect. They're the biggest independent distributor and can actually get these into stores and out worldwide, too. It'll really help."

Vander Ark is also coming off a full summer of what he calls a "lawn chair tour" -- basically playing in private homes for people willing to hire him. He's doing more of those shows than ever and hopes to continue growing that aspect of his career.

"I'm trying to weed out the 'normal' gigs now 'cause this is so lucrative," explains Vander Ark, who financed his latest album with his 2007 house gigs. "I wasn't making nearly this kind of money playing the clubs; clubs just don't pay anymore.

"It's a great way to make a living. You go to these people's homes, they're nice to you, they invite you in, they cook for you...There's no surly sound man, no promoter who's gonna (cheat) you at the end of the night. I get paid. People listen and they buy all the CDs and they all sign up on the mailing list.

"I've doubled my fan base doing this. It's...phenomenal."

Brian Vander Ark, Jamie McCarthy and Crashing Cairo perform Friday (Sept. 26) at the Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave., Ferndale. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $12. Call (248) 544-3030 or visit www.themagicbag.com.

Web Site: www.themagicbag.com

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