Ground Zero Promotions Is Fostering Colorado's Metal Scene

Shawn Lyons
Shawn Lyons Kai Frawg
Last year, Shawn Lyons started helping out Denver metal bands Sin on Six and Bound by Years by pushing their content on their social media platforms. Other bands around the city caught wind of Lyons’s work, and by January 2021, he had enough of a following to launch Ground Zero Promotions, which provides social media and booking for local metal and rock bands.

Ground Zero’s roster now includes nearly forty acts from around the state, as well as a few bands in Wisconsin and Chicago. Along with promotion, services include merchandising, advertising, photography, videography, audio engineering and modeling; the company is gearing up for band management, as well.

While Lyons books bands at venues around Denver such as the Oriental Theater, Herman’s Hideaway, the Venue and the Roxy Theatre, he also books shows at venues in Colorado Springs and even a few in Arizona and Wyoming.

Lyons, who is a metal singer and drummer, says he sees bands on the Ground Zero roster as a family, and he’s helped create an environment in which bands support each other.

“We've created a platform for all the bands that are in the family to promote each other, to help each other," he says. "Basically, everybody grows together,.

Lyons says that while Denver’s metal scene is amazing, he felt for a long time that something was lacking.
Shawn Lyons is a metal singer and drummer.
Kai Frawg

“I think when metal started getting a lot of sub-genres is when the disconnect started coming in," Lyons says. “So instead of Ground Zero taking those sub-genres piece by piece, we just said it's all things rock/metal. I don't care if it's classic rock. I don't care if it's hard rock. I don't care if it's death metal, black metal, metalcore or hardcore, whatever. If it falls into those two categories – rock and metal — we promote it.”

Lyons also gets creative with billings and lineups, sometimes pairing a rock act with a band that’s really heavy.

“It just kind of gets everybody more involved in different styles,” Lyons explains. "Obviously with locals, not very many people don't know the bands as it is. The bands that have a following, and a substantial following at that, help the ones that don't, and get ears out there and put butts in seats, so to speak, to have them come and watch.”

Lyons feels that Colorado’s metal scene is one of the most underrated in the country. He thinks there’s some unbelievable talent around the state, including bands on the Ground Zero roster such as Deathride and Glass Helix from Colorado Springs, Infinite Conscious from Greeley and A Vintage Future from Fort Collins. The Ground Zero family also consists of female-fronted bands Blood of Lilith, Purge the Heretics and Sharone.

He doesn't see Ground Zero as competing with other local promotion and booking companies that deal with rock and metal acts, such as Bands 4 Bands Entertainment, Wolfpack Productions and Swinging Noose Productions. In fact, Lyons considers Bands 4 Bands head Elan Schwartz a mentor.

“I’m dead serious,” Lyons says. “This is not a competition in any way, shape or form. We tell our bands straight up when they join the family, ‘Yes, you are joining our family. Yes, you are going to be a Ground Zero-promoted band, but that doesn't mean that you only get promoted by us.’”

The logo for Ground Zero features a compass rose, which Lyons says symbolizes that the company goes in every direction.

“We go everywhere,” he explains. “Everything starts at ground zero, and we build it from zero, right? That's the whole idea.”

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Jon Solomon writes about music and nightlife for Westword, where he's been the Clubs Editor since 2006.
Contact: Jon Solomon