Orange County's blip on the radar screen of the major-label, major-bucks music industry has gotten a bit bigger with the launching of Way Cool Music.
The Sunset Beach record company is a joint venture between MCA Records and Mike Jacobs, a Huntington Beach resident who, as an independent record promoter, has played a part in such success stories as the Offspring, Green Day and Rancid.
Way Cool Music becomes the second O.C.-based alternative rock label with major label funding. Time Bomb Recordings, based in Laguna Beach, is backed by the BMG conglomerate.
Besides running Way Cool Music, Jacobs will serve as a consultant to MCA and its stable of affiliated labels, advising them on the scouting, promotion and marketing of alternative rock acts.
Jacobs said he wasn't looking to become a label boss and was reluctant when MCA first proposed the joint venture. But the deal "made a lot of sense and was hard to refuse. I can find and develop my own bands."
Already out on Way Cool is "[Expletive] the Scene," a debut vinyl and cassette EP from the O.C.-based punk-pop band Mr. Mirainga (pronounced muh-rain-gay). Jacobs said that a Mr. Mirainga song, "Burn Rubber (All Over the World)," has been picked as the first single from MCA's upcoming "Ace Ventura: Nature Calls" film soundtrack album.
"A friend of mine played me a tape [by Mr. Mirainga]. I heard one song and decided this is the band I wanted to establish my label," Jacobs said. "My son, David, fell in love with it. He's 7, and he's the real boss of the record company."
A full-length Mr. Mirainga album is due in January; Way Cool's debut album by Becky Sharp, a band from Baton Rouge, La., comes out today. Jacobs said he was alerted to Becky Sharp by an alternative-rock radio contact.
While he has led off with an Orange County band, Jacobs plans to cast a national net. "I wouldn't say there's any particular O.C. scene [slant], except that I'm here and I'll have access, so if there's something good I'll hear about it."
Jacobs says he is "best of friends" with Orange County's other major-label-affiliated record boss, Jim Guerinot, the Offspring, Rancid and Social Distortion manager who heads Time Bomb Recordings. Time Bomb recently debuted with Social Distortion and the Vandals reissues; it is gearing up for its first new releases.
Jacobs started in the alternative music world in 1979 when he joined the late Rick Carroll, founding program director of KROQ, in a music consulting business.
Way Cool Music, which has five employees under Jacobs in its home office and six promotion and marketing staffers across the country, will be part of MCA's catch-up effort in alternative rock.
MCA is backing other alternative-rock labels, including 510, Gasoline Alley, Fort Apache and Radioactive.