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Josh Price left Bill Keith center reshoot spot with Dynamite Music owner Billy Ozzello for their reality show 'Dynamite Music'

Josh Price, left, and Bill Keith, center, reshoot a spot with Dynamite Music owner Billy Ozzello for their reality show, "Dynamite Music," about Ozzello, his friends and the trials and the joys and trials of being a mom-n-pop music store. | Michelle L. Quinn~for the Post-Tribune

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Updated: August 3, 2013 6:08AM



GRIFFITH — Having a camera and microphone in their airspace for eight hours or more has been a way different experience for the stars of new reality show “Dynamite Music,” even if they’re performers who, to quote Bon Jovi, “have seen a million faces and rocked them all.”

If it means, however, getting one of Northwest Indiana’s best-known and favorite music stores new traffic and gets people back into the mindset of supporting local mom-n-pop stores over the big boxes, the main players — Dynamite Music owner Billy Ozzello, former Dynamite owner Jerry Clemons Jr., Eddie Money keyboardist Chris Grove and the local soundman known as Gypsy will gladly tolerate the strangeness of it.

And their discomfort might just pay off, as the show is close to getting signed to a network, said Bill Keith, owner of Skytone Media and one of the show’s producers.

Doing a show about Dynamite has been a dream of Keith’s ever since he first encountered Clemons years ago. The two’s daughters, Chelsea Keith and Jessie Clemons, went through middle and high school together and often were in the same classes, so Keith, of St. John, had ample opportunity to run into the man known for his impeccable hats and crazy-colorful shirts.

“I saw this big daddy cool dude with the bling and the tats and thought ‘Who is this guy?’” Keith said. “Then I started hanging out at the shop and watching Jerry play, and I saw such an eclectic group with personalities so rich and who made time to jam, to find renewal and release in their music.”

Keith then partnered with former network producer Josh Price, of Griffith, and founded Skytone Media with the promise that their first project was going to be something having to do with Clemons and Dynamite. The problem was, Clemons was getting ready to close up shop.

“With my kids in college, I needed something more stable,” Clemons said. “and I hadn’t heard from Bill in awhile about the show, so I kind of just didn’t give it a second thought.”

But then Ozzello, who doubles as the bassist for Chicago rock band Survivor, ended up keeping the store “in the family” and buying it from Clemons in January. Keith approached Ozzello with his idea, and they started filming March 5.

Price and Keith spent many hours studying the four to find out their personalities, Price said, and then they started formulating premises for each episode. Keith calls it “staged spontaneity” since the shows aren’t scripted at all.

Once they all knew each other, the ideas started to flow. Still, trying to fit what’s going on daily into a specific idea has been “terrifying,” as far as Ozzello’s concerned.

“I played in front of 35,000 people in Sweden earlier this month, and I felt more comfortable doing that,” Ozzello said. “But I’m getting used to it.”

The first season’s overarching theme is Ozzello’s taking over the business, combing Craigslist and other sources for awesome equipment and, most important, getting traffic into the store.

If nothing else, the four want people to see that sure, maybe going to a big-box music store might give you more selection, but it’s almost impossible to beat the customer service of a mom-n-pop. Ozzello, for example, won’t let anyone out of the store with their new guitar without restringing it first.

And Grove avoids the big boxes as much as humanly possible.

“I once went into one looking for a particular keyboard, and the sales guy essentially said that he just worked and knew nothing about it,” Grove said. “With keyboards, I know it’s a little different, but still.

“What mom-n-pops care about are good music and good teachers, and you’re not going to get that out of a big box.

“And with arts in the school systems dying, enlightenment is dying, so places like Dynamite are crucial.”

Which is what Keith saw in the first place and hopes people take away from the show.

“I’m a community business guy, so if I breathe the air in the town, I should be buying locally,” Keith said. “True economic growth lies in the mom-n-pops, so there should be an underlying vested interest in seeing them succeed.”



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