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Label co-founder Jeff Castelaz out at Dangerbird Records

September 13, 2012|By Todd Martens
  • Jeff Castelaz in front of a memorial to his late son, Pablo.
Jeff Castelaz in front of a memorial to his late son, Pablo. (Ink Tank Publicity )

Dangerbird Records co-founder Jeff Castelaz is leaving the Silver Lake-based indie label he's overseen since 2004. Home to more than 15 active artists, including Bon Jovi's Richie Sambora and Grammy-nominated rock act the Silversun Pickups, Dangerbird's day-to-day will now be run by Jenni Sperandeo, who joined the company in 2010 and served as the label's head of promotion.

A press release states that Castelaz will focus on his management roster at Cast Management, which currently includes the Dropkick Murphys and record producers Tony Hoffer, Justin Meldal-Johnsen and Jacquire King.

Peter Walker, who co-founded the label and Dangerbird Publishing, is staying with the company and will assume control. General Manager Matt Solodky is also departing and will work at Cast Management. 

Long-term, those briefed on the leadership change but not authorized to speak on behalf of the company said Castelaz would likely be resurfacing in the coming weeks at a larger label. A new album from vintage soul-pop act Fitz & the Tantrums is tentatively scheduled for release in January, but the same sources indicated the band would likely be leaving the indie.

Castelaz did not respond to requests for comment. A spokeswoman for Dangerbird referred to the release, which notes that "Dangerbird will continue signing and developing new artists, while focusing on promoting the label’s vibrant catalog." The likely major label position for Castelaz was first reported by local music blog Buzzbands. 

Despite the success of the Silversun Pickups and Fitz & the Tantrums, as well as the ability to draw non-local talent such as singer-songwriter Ben Lee and Liam Gallagher's Beady Eye, Dangerbird hasn't been immune to music industry struggles. Just last year, the label cut five of its 13 full-time staffers. 

This year the label caught the local scene by surprise when it signed Sambora, a titan of '80s arena rock. Still, Dangerbird kept a foothold in the L.A. scene as well, working a new album for local favorites Sea Wolf and inking JJAMZ, composed of a pair of veteran scenesters in Elizabeth Berg (the Like) and Alex Greenwald (Phantom Planet). 

Sea Wolf's "Old World Romance" was released this week, and Sambora's "Aftermath of the Lowdown" is due on Tuesday.

In addition to Dangerbird, Castelaz oversees charitable organization the Pablove Foundation, named after Castelaz's late son Pablo. In 2009, Pablo succumbed to a rare form of childhood cancer, and the Pablove Foundation aims to help fund pediatric cancer research. 

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