The General Assembly’s State of the Union series

Building a bridge
By CHRIS CONTI  |  April 3, 2012

GA_UnclePete_main
NOTE: I ran the General Aseembly poster w/out a cutline.
Don't worry, we ain't talking politics here. This General Assembly is a one-man entity devoted to delivering killer live lineups that run the sonic gamut. General Assembly founder Denis (known to all as Denny) Rochefort is the man to thank for the quarterly State of the Union concert series at Fête in Olneyville (plus the weekly low-dough GA shows in Fete's lounge). And hot damn — Rochefort has assembled one helluva lineup for the second SOTU installment (on the 13th).

Denny grew up in Lincoln, then earned degrees from three institutions (in Photography, Sociology, and Mass Media Communications) before heading back home (like we all do) a few years ago. He started booking shows at the Whiskey Republic and created the General Assembly as an avenue to "bring together musicians and bands of all genres to promote sustainable local music and culture.

"The General Assembly idea was inspired partially from my experience years ago doing a photo documentary on the Flint, Michigan, music scene, where all across the state they would have these amazing local shows with bands of all genres playing together and supporting each other," Rochefort said when we caught up earlier this week.

"When I began booking local acts at Whiskey, I saw how difficult it was to get people to come out to local shows in Providence, not to mention how divided the music scene seemed," Rochefort recalled. "So 'General Assembly' was a concept I came up with to try and bridge everyone together."

Rochefort also was inspired by Whiskey Republic co-owner and Dropkick Murphys frontman Ken Casey. "Working for Ken was nothing short of great for me," he said. "He really launched me headfirst into this business."

Another positive attained from working with Casey and the Dropkicks was being introduced to artist Pete MacPhee's work (aka "Uncle Pete"), who he landed to produce limited edition prints (seen on this page) which will be available at the show for $10.

Rochefort is considered an associate talent buyer at Fête, with hopes of eventually working out a partnership as an in-house talent buyer, with Fête as his "home venue."

The State of the Union idea came to fruition while lining up some of his favorite bands for his 29th birthday. "Around the same time (Fête VP) Don King was coming up with concepts for quarterly events at Fête and named mine State of the Union. "

Rochefort's biggest booking coup thus far came with the recent (sold-out) Revival Tour, and has scored sponsorship from Anarchy Eyewear, Narragansett Beer, and The Onion. He also has an eye on spreading the General Assembly wealth around, with Herra Terra booked at Local 121 later this month, and continues to make contacts with Boston-based artists.

"Even with my Tuesday night General Assembly shows, I try to get Boston bands involved as much as I can in hopes that they'll help out Providence bands too," Rochefort noted.

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