Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Switch to Wordpress

I switched the Blog over to Wordpress for those of you who follow my blog but don't follow Rockertycoon on Facebook or Twitter. It's now located at Rocker Tycoon on Wordpress. No Specific reason for the change, but it does look nice. Bear with me as I figure out Wordpress's nuances.

And Remember, I try to respond to all comments!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Through Sound and Time: 1999

My last year of high school was spent trying to figure out how best to spend my time. I still didn't have a car. I fancied myself a bit like Ferris Bueller in that sense. I even took the occasional "mental health" day off school to catch up on sleep and catch up on reading. I was starting to get into main stream comics by then. I was reading JLA: Year One and Deadeanders. Deadenders was actually one of the first DC Vertigo comics that I really read on a regular basis. It was about a post apocalypse future where the world was hit by a cataclysm that ended the weather and separated the world as they new it into 7 or so sections extending from the center section. It was sort of like Dante's inferno in that sense, which I didn't read until my mid twenties.

That year musically was riddled with Dropkick Murphys, Bouncing Souls, and Soul Coughing's El Oso album. I was delving back in time a bit as well. That year I purchased the Clash's London Calling, Combat Rock, and their Self Titled Albums. I bought my first bass that year as well. Punk-O-Rama Four came out that year, as well as Warped Tour. I went to my first live concert (folk fests that my father had dragged me out to not counting). The first band I saw live was the Living End. I jumped into my first mosh pit for Dropkick Murphys and my first circle pit was Pennywise, they played a cover of Minor Threat by Minor Threat. I learned a few things that day about concerts. It was also the last day I wore Khakis when I didn't have to work. My attire was all wrong for an all day concert, Hawaiian Shirt, Khakis (with no belt), and a pair of Soaps freestyle walking shoes. I had no where to put anything I bought and I lost my keys during Anti-flag. I spent most of the concert crowd surfing.

After that I started going to concerts like mad. with my friends John Carr and Ian Harker. I saw Goldfinger, Bloodhound Gang, Bouncing Souls, Blood for Blood, Nofx, H2O, Vision, the Dwarves, and a ton of other bands. I started to get pretty comfortable in the mosh pit. i had always thought that going into a pit meant fighting to keep from getting your ass kicked by all the muscle heads, but it turned out to be a place for of guys just like me looking to have a good time and dance and sing, maybe get out a little aggression. The major focus was comradeship, if someone fell you picked him up, protct the guy tying his shoes, and disregard the assholes til they needed to be removed. Most importantly though it was all about fun.

It's hard to explain to people who've never been in there. I was young and I was trying to figure out who I was in the world, there was a lot of mystery about what the future would bring and I was a little unsettled by the government at the time, I was trying to figure out what was right and what was fair. I knew I'd never hack it in a 9-5 but it seemed like that was the only way to make a living without being a deadbeat. Top this all off with the fact that I was straight-edge. I didn't know how to talk to girls let alone where to meet them. The one solace was that I had a place to go once the music started playing.

By mid year I had graduated highschool, and I had decided that I was gonna be a professional CCG player for a while before I went to college. That's right, I started playing Magic: the Gathering for money. I even got through a few rounds at states and things were looking pretty bright on that level. The next year was a swift slap in the face.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Live in JC: Kagero and The One & Nines at Iron Monkey

Another Article in the Jersey City Independent:


The Press and Ben Franklin at Public Assembly

September 16 2009: I took the Path to 14th and 6th ave then the L to Bedford Ave in Brooklyn to see my old friends The Press and Ben Franklin. Public Assembly is a pretty neat venue. That said it’s a Venue! It’s an honest to god place to play and see live music. That’s refreshing! The place itself is large enough for a reasonably large band with an unreasonable number of followers to play. The placement of the bar is Ideal if not perfect. I really can’t say how happy I am to be at a place with a raised stage, Even if it makes my job a little harder. Ultimately this isn’t about me anyhow, it’s about the bands the venues and the journey getting back and forth.

The first band sets up and sound checks, as the DJ (a seemingly adept fellow by his assault of the craft) sets the mood for the bar. A bit much? Nah, the live music hasn’t started yet and people are starting to come in. I say it’s working! Good job, Public Assembly! Set yourself up for success, then just ride the lightning til you're successful, I always say. Columbus didn’t half-ass it, and look how far his bravado got him. Way to bring it on a Wednesday night!

Ivan and the Terribles’
drummer is the band’s exclamation point. She punctuated each snap and beat with a gusto I haven’t seen since I saw the Vandals back in ’02. I head over to the bar as Eddie and Billy of Ben Franklin scuttle in with their gear. We have a laugh about finally getting me out to see the band live and spotting an A&R scout (the only guy in the crowd old enough to be my dad, dressed like it was lunch hour at Goldman and Sachs), or someone up way pasted their normal bed time. I had the house’s $6 combo special: PBR can and a shot of well whiskey. For the record, Fleischman’s Whiskey has an aroma of burnt linoleum that doesn’t betray itself once it hits the palette.

The Courtesy Tier began shortly after. A great compliment of guitar and drums. These two fellas have a great chemistry together. The lyrics are of a redeeming nature and they sound much larger than they are. You’d think without seeing them that you were watching a full band with a separate vocalist. That’s the power or multi-tasking for you! After their set the guys gave me a CD and some stickers. I’ll definitely be giving the CD a look soon.

The Press took stage. Mike Henry (vocals, guitar). David Schneider (guitar) and Alex Picca (bass), Chuck Davis (drums) are Brooklyn’s steady-rock quartet. One thing I love about these guys is their between song banter. I totally feel like that’s part of the experience. I like a little chatter, while I’m waiting for my next song. Not like a whole speech but just a few quick pieces of info or a joke here and there. These guys are like a good old man barber, in that respect. They asked the crowd to sign their mailing list, and promised them stickers and pins. “If you want the stickers and pins but don’t want us to email you use someone else’s and we'll spam that guy. This is our next song, this is what Mordor sounds like.” (It’s a good thing they prefaced with that disclaimer. As you all know, “One does not simply walk into Mordor.” Being that there are no trains in and I don’t own a car, I’d have never known, otherwise.) There’s nothing that a little humor and a LOTR reference won’t do for me. That’s just the band joking around between songs. The Press is a solid rock and roll band. Triumphant drums, 24-carat bass, No nonsense guitar, pungent vocals along with random asides about “Class 2 orcs” Do you really need me to spell it out? Go see these guys! They won’t disappoint.

Billy Grey, Eduardo Garza and Sarah Tomek, when their powers combine they form Ben Franklin (the band not the historical figure). Fresh from the studio these BK rockers just put out a really excellent CD called Optimist. It’s a must download and it’s free at www.wearebenfranklin.com. I’ve been rocking this album for the last week so I know all the words, or at least the important ones. The Press and I gathered beneath the stage for their set. They played most if not all of the songs from their LP. I was singing and dancing along, the whole time. Sara's drum's and Eddie's bass lay the ground work for Billy's guitar to tank over and They all come through with fly by air support on vocals. It's not just good rock music, it's fun rock music too. They have a ton of concept without going over your head. That extremely hard to pull off.

After the show Billy, Eddie, Sara and I sat and had a couple of drinks with The Press at the bar. The conversation ranged from the power of the Internet, and it’s role in the music industry to talking about the differences of where we grew up in comparison to New York City. Billy offered me a ride back to the Path. I said my goodbyes and made my way home. I was feeling way cooler than I probably was right then, so I went home and knocked myself down a peg by falling asleep to Genesis’ We Can’t Dance album.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Album Review: Optimist - Ben Franklin

It was a cold Thursday in the beginning of September, when Billy Gray walked up behind me with a greeting and copy of his band's new album "Optimist". They had just released it a week back at a show I wasn't able to make. Eager to get my hands on it, I sent him my home address to check it out. He in turned hand delivered it to me. I didn't have time to even put it into my computer before I had to run out of the house. That night I got back home at 4am. There was the LP just sitting innocently where I left it. Exhausted from the night's event I figured I'd toss it in while I slept. That was the plan anyway. I didn't get a wink of sleep before I was rocking out!

The Album starts with a ground and pound full force drum beat that wades into Guitar and then vocals. It's a hell of a way to start an album and it certainly got my mojo rising. I was only fifteen seconds in. So now that I was awake, albeit drunk, I started writing down my first impressions and things that stuck out. Track 2 is called Drink to Forget. It's a phrase, as a tender of bar, that I'm all too familiar with. I'm expecting something somber and inflective, hell maybe even down right sad. It's starts out like that, with Billy poking jabs at 9-5ers and Lemonade cleanses, then something fucking awesome happens. Its all a rouse for a much tougher song. Guitar is everywhere. Billy Gray and Eduardo Garcia Garza bounce about on vocals and Sara Tomek reigns down sulfur and brimstone from the drums.

Track 6 is Catalyst. Again this song jumps right into the fray, this time with a pseudo-political fist. The chorus is pure rage, I'm talking basement show mosh-pit danger style rage. "I'm an easy target and I'm in love with your crosshair!" then back into instrumental mayhem! Dang, that's hot! Speaking of things above room temperature. Track 9 is Had it Comin'. This is totally my speed! I can't tell if it's just laying the ground rules for a one night stand or something a bit more broad, but it's genius, because the whole thing comes crashing down in the second chorus, when the roles are reversed. It's damn near Shakespearian. The CD's Final track, Fren Banklin, is too much! It's like that internet song about Washington, full of popular (and not so popular) myth about their four eyed name sake. It's certainly a great laugh. The best part about this CD? It's Free! You can Dl it for nothing at www.wearebenfranklin.com. There's really no excuse to not own it. One of the best things I've heard this year, and it cost me nothing! I highly recommend, this is a rock album in every sense of the word!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Through Time and Sound pt 4: 1998

1998. I was 18, starting my senior year of high school. I had a job at the comic shoppe still. Now I was developing a pretty strong taste for punk rock music. My friends were turning me onto bands like Operation Ivy, Suicide Machines and Nerf Herder. That year my friend Joe Posten and I were working in the Deptford Mall together on Friday nights. Joe turned me onto Joe Jackson. Even though the album itself Look Sharp! came out in 1979, it was certainly my soundtrack to 1998.

I was hanging out in pool halls, and comic shops. Joe Jackson was like life advice for a guy trying to find his place in the word, especially one as cynical as myself. I know it's hard to believe, but teen angst even gripped hold of the Rocker Tycoon. Joe covered all the topics: What to wear, trouble with women, topics of the day, and he still had time to crack a few jokes along the way.

This year I also picked up Rancid's Life Won't Wait. This record changed my life. It was ground and pound rock and roll. I had been searching for a band I could think of as a timeless favourite. Cross that existential search off my list. This was the kind of Music that you could fall down a flight of stairs to. From start to finish this is still one of my favourite albums. Every single song was great. Top five tracks were Leicester Square, Bloodclot, Wrongful Suspicion, Coppers and Black Lung. If I thought about that for more than a few seconds I'm sure it would change to five totally different songs. I also realize that this album was the black sheep of the Rancid Discography when it came out, but there was something there that was so much more than a street punk album. It was political without being preachy, hard without being caustic, and fast without being blazing. This is an album going 70 in a 65, and that’s why it prolly fell under the radar.

So that this time I was just really getting into comics hardcore. My friends at the shop were showing my books like Preacher and Sandman. But I was also reading a book called the Art of Deception. It was a book on argument. More specifically, it was a book about how to use logic to defeat an opponent. I bought this book solely for one reason: To annoy the piss out of anyone who would dare contradict me. And it worked well. I was almost shunned by all my friends within weeks. Take my advice DONT READ THIS BOOK. Also do not mistake this book for THE ART OF DECEPTION by Kevin Mitnick, Which is a lovely Social Engineering book I read in 2001. I'll go into that later on!

Monday, August 31, 2009

The Natch and Victor Bravo at the Iron Monkey

Crazy writers hat. Check. Pens. Check. Laptop. Check. Shirt, Tie, Check Check Hangover DOUBLE CHECK. So I took a trip out today to write up Friday night’s show at IMAC. It was far too beautiful tosit in my apartment and write on a Sunday morning. The Wifi is free over at Marco and Pepe on Grand Street. Why not induldge myself in a classic writer’s atmosphere for once?

As I was saying, Friday Night I took a trip out to IM Automata Chino in Jersey City. To see a few bands I hadn’t heard of: The Natch and Victor Bravo. I arrived at 9pm sharp expecting music to be in full swing at the venue. Turns out there was some type of legal issue and the music was being held in the Iron Monkey proper on the second floor. I took the stairs to the second level and saw they were setting up. So I decided to hit the roof deck for a few Aventinus pints. I spoke with the owner over a few glasses and he assured me that venue would be up and running in two weeks and while they were getting things in order it would give them time to rearrange the set-up of the bar (I’ve always contested with him over the placement of the bar and the stage). So I guess you have to take the good with the bad, lemonade from lemons so to speak.

As I walked down to the makeshift venue I ran into Trish Naudon(formerly of America’s Sweetheart) Overjoyed I asked if I had misread the bill and they were playing. She confirmed the latter over the former and told me that they were now The Natch. The band’s old singer/guitarist left and they became the Natch. So I geared up for a reunion with some old friends! The moral here? Support your local band... when that band becomes another band... support that band as well! Slightly more congealed now the Natch is everything I dug about AS. Chris Thomas (guitar) and Paris Mancini (bass) trade off vocals and Trish (drums) fills in with a little backing! Sick Guitar, catchy lyrics and poppy drum, it’s just fun rock and roll. Like a good old fashioned (the drink), simple and straight-forward, but with a little flair to make things interesting!

Trish warned me to be ready for Victor Bravo. They’ve been touring together for a few shows. I obliged her that I’d stick around. I snagged another beverage from the roof and locked in for Victor Bravo. First impressions are so important. I go as far to say that in the music industry they are 90% of the battle. Already having the backing of my friends in Natch I suppose I could say VB had a good standing with me before they played. After their first song though I was hooked! Collin Daniels (guitar/vox)and Daniel Collins (drums) were destined to rock together! I’m not even alluding to their epithet concordance. Like the White Stripes meets Black Flag (Black Stripes …no that wouldn’t do….. Certainly not White Flag….there’s nothing White Flag about these guys). It’s pure kick to the groin writhing in agony rock! Holy Cow! Just …wow! Like the first three bites of a bowl of Frosted Flakes with extra sugar! PURE FROSTING! They were finished almost before I felt like they started! I can’t wait to see these cats again. Mark my words! These gentlemen, and I use the term loosely, are in for very big things. You must check them out!

Jersey City’s Aquatic Funk rock band Rainbow Fresh rounded out the set. They're a sort of bass driven lounge funk. I can see why they ended the set. Perfect way to calm me down after the last set. Rich Chip Kenny and Adam have put together a very tight ship. A well-oiled machine of good times. This is music you can sit back and drink a margarita to. Chip’s bass and Adam’s guitar are a harmonic convergence. Kenny and Adam on Drums punctuate the vibe well. Afterwards I took my leave and headed back downtown quite impressed with my night, which according to this 48 hour hangover, had only just begun.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Through Sound and Time pt 3: 1997

As I began to develop a taste for music, I picked up a job at the local comic shoppe. Legends Deptford in the Deptford mall soon became my second home. My manager at the time was Marc Leone. I idolized this cat! He was in with the ladies, he knew a fuck ton about music and he was a pretty supportive guy to a young, Zac Clark. I remember when I really started forming a decent music library he said that it was cool to watch me sort of decide that I was going punk. Now that didn't mean that I was all about spiking up my hair or accessorizing via Hot Topic or anything like that. I just started listening to faster music picked up some Chuck Taylors and that was about it. But that was a few years later.

1997 I was 17. I didn't have a car yet as I barely had a job. I had just given up my job at the Old Country Buffet and Legends was the place to be. I have picked up Smash Mouth's Fush You Mang on Tape! Yep on tape! And I was rocking to the ska beat! Reel Big Fish's Turn the Radio Off was one of my favourite new songs and I did a lot of my clothign shopping at Shifty's. I wore corduroys instead of jeans, and I played a lot of Magic: The Gathering. This was also the year I decided it was time to lay down the Boy Scout dream. I went into full on geek mode!

Things changed for me musically when I purchased Harvey Danger's Where have all the Merrymakers Gone?. This was the first I bought an album and was totally blown away by the songs I didn't buy the record for. Songs like Jack the Lion. Or Terminal Annex. My personal fav being Wrecking Ball. This the kind of music I was not listening to. There was really nothing just like it. I mean they had their hand roots deeply in punk but then there was the complexity of the lyrics and the music (instrumentally speaking).

I had just started reading Kingdom Come by Mark Waid. Like I said previously I wasn't classically tutored as far as reading went. If Salvatore was my Salinger, then Waid was my Orwell. And I was sure of one thing, if Big Brother had superpowers things would be a lot worse.

But the book that really blew my mind that year was Kraven's Last Hunt. Spider-man. I know it sounds silly, but this book single-handedly threw me for a loop. I'd hate to ruin it for you but the villain pulls a Cobain. I was not expecting that. He'd beaten Spider-man assumed his role as Spider-man and after everything was over he didn't have anything left to do. So he put a shotgun in his mouth and ended it. I had never seen anything remotely close to that in a comic. Talk about a spirtual awakening. Why are we here? What does it all mean? What do I want from my life? So many questions for a kid in 11th grade.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Through Sound and Time pt 2: 1995

Skipping forward a bit. 3 years to be exact. Christmas I received a few albums. But the top two by far were 1. Presidents of the United States of America Eponym album (I rocked that Album so much it stopped working. A few years ago and I had to buy it on Itunes. My teenage years certainly had a soundtrack!) and 2. The Empire Records Soundtrack. I remember thinking I sure wish I could work some place like that. Where all these characters hung out and waxed intellectual about music and stuff like that, and then caught shoplifters and stuff like that (I'd later get my wish.) This was about the same thing I started playing Magic: the Gathering and Dungeons & Dragons. The Rocker Tycoon wasn't just a music geek, I had my hand in many pots, stirring things up.

Empire Records had a ton of great music:

1. Til I Hear It from You - Gin Blossoms
2. Liar - The Cranberries
3. Girl Like You - Edwyn Collins
4. Free - The Martinis
5. Crazy Life - Toad the Wet Sprocket
6. Bright as Yellow - The Innocence Mission
7. Circle of Friends - Better Than Ezra
8. I Don't Want to Live Today - Ape Hangers
9. Whole Lotta Trouble - Cracker
10. Ready, Steady, Go - Meices
11. What You Are - Drill
12. Nice Overalls - Lustre
13. Here It Comes Again - Please, Please
14. Ballad of El Goodo - Evan Dando
15. Sugarhigh - Coyote Shivers

Not all of it I'd claim to be a huge fan of now. But I can listen to that album still front to back today and remember what it was like to be fifteen and it makes me smile. Songs like Ready, Steady, Go a Billy Idol cover by the Meices and I Don't Wanna Live Today by the Ape Hangers were the beginnings or my punk rock influence.

So what was I reading then? I had picked up Homeland by RA Salvatore. The Legend of Drizzt. Say what you will about the classics, but to me this will always be the book that made reading a pastime for me. I was whisked away to Faerun's Underdark into the City of the drow. The main character was an outcast in a city of a treacherous malicious race of evil elves. This was a standard fantasy novel. Swordplay Magic Political intrigue. This was the first time I really got to understand allegory and how it could be used to open a mind to the world around it. I start paying more attention to the ways of people.

I'd say this book and it's two sequels are responsible for my acute judge of character and for a fair amount of my attention to detail. Salvatore's battle sequences proved to me that you could imagine a scene far better than any movie could convey it. I hold that truth today whenever I write. I still have an overactive imagination to this day, and anytime I'm alone in the dark I like to imagine I'm stalking the halls of Menzoberranzan, sword in hand, out to defy the Spider Queen herself....... Whoa! Sorry, there I go again.

McMickle Bros. EP Release party a Lucky 7 Tavern

Some people are blessed with powers far beyond that of mortal men. Take me for instance. I have the uncanny ability to be able to cook, bartend, video, photograph, and write a blog all at the same time. No joke! I really did that Saturday August 22nd at Lucky 7 Tavern in Jersey City. I think Teddy Roosevelt said, “Some men are born great and some men have greatness thrust upon them.” Like I said though, I think he said that. What I mean to say is I know Robin Williams said it when he played him in that museum movie with Ben Stiller. Anyhow I’d say greatness was thrust upon me that very night. The funny thing is I can tell you the exact time and place of my baptism by fire. At about 7:00 The Porchistas entered the bar and kicked off the McMickle Brothers EP Release party. I know it’s not the most glamorous way to realize that you’re a super hero. No lives were saved, no enemies defeated and certainly no radiation was involved. I don’t wear a cape and cowl, opting for a porkpie hat and a vest instead. There are better origin stories. But I’ll say this: My genesis had the coolest soundtrack, by far!

The Porchistas are Deivis “Deivito” Garcia, Alan “Sucia” Smith and Adam “Devil-Hands” Falzer. This merry band of troubadours calls Montclair home. They specialize in a funk fusion of folk and spanish rock. Their original work is fun and easy to dance to. They have a way of making cover songs totally their own. Porchistas’ vocal stylings coupled with their instrumental finesse really makes these cats stand apart from the crowd in the local Scene. I doubt you’ve seen anything quite like this before.

After The Porchistas warmed up the crowd the kitchen took a hit that was like throwing a pack of rabid wolverines into a shark tank. For the next 40 mins my life was chaos. Hamburgers, Pizzas, Chicken Sandwiches, and Hot Wings flew from the kitchen as I rushed between bar and grill. My only saving grace was Kiwi the Child. Vera’s soothing voice and Alex’s guitar stopped me from going positively postal. Sadly during the rush I hadn’t the time to get over and take some pics and vids, but as luck would have it they played last Wednesday at the Groove on Grove. And I still have some exclusive and previously unreleased pics and video. Kiwi the Child is a reggae rock duo. Like The Wailers meets Batman and Robin. Scratch that! More like Dave Hillyard meets the Wonder Twins! The set itself sounded great. I only wish I was able to get a visual as the bar was packed with people enjoying the music.

After I sweated out my time in the kitchen Tip Canary sprung into action! Robbie and Wes are another dou of local rockers. They specialize in storytelling and spoken word with guitar backing. Songs like Doobie Blues pt 1 and Apple City are some of my favourites. Material ranging from getting hassled by John Law or dealing with a girl’s lame excuse to not give you her phone number are just part of the daily grind for these fellas. It’s familiar ground for me as well, in fact we’ve all been there before. Robbie leads the rants with a cynical but optimistic tone, and Wes backs him up with a greek chorus type inquistion. This normally goes off to a tangent from time to time, but it’s all in the sake of comedy and rock. Few can combine these element so well! “Normally you can find Wes and I on a Friday or Saturday night grabbing a slice of Pizza or a Sharma around 3-4am on the Lower East Side.” Robbie tells the crowd, in case anyone’s phone mysteriously stops working and they don’t have a pen and paper, but maybe they still wanna get in touch for something potentially meaningful down the road.

I had just finished working as Kagero took the crowd by storm. Kaz, JW, Rob Simpson, Mr Wynn, and Kate are a Brooklyn Japanese Gypsy Rock Band. Now that’s a music genre! This group is heading the way in the JGR wave that will soon take over the world the way the Beatles headed the British Invasion of the 60’s. Each member has their own unique style. Kaz plays the part of the lead man so well you’d think he took lessons from Chuck Norris’ School of Charisma and Raw Awesomeness. JW makes the violin dance sing and cry like some kind of steampunk puppetmaster. Rob’s bass is solid rock and roll, like his collection of 80’s metal t-shirts. Mr Wynn plays the Chindon drum like a man on fire. Whats a chindon drum? You’ll just have to see for yourself. Newcomer or at least I should say this is the first time I’ve seen her with the band Kate fills out the band on orchardian. Just when I thought this band had achieved perfection they go and add a piece to the puzzle that goes with their sound like Peanut Butter and bananas (If you haven’t tried it, take my advice it’s unconventionally amazing, like this band)! The bar became a dance hall! JW’s solo for Grappa featured Deivis “Deivito” Garcia hanging on JW’s back and crying while he played. It’s impossible to deny this band’s star power. You see them once and you know the words to the songs you can’t help but sing along and dance with the crowd!

So we were here enjoying all this rock for one reason. The McMickle Brothers geared up and began rocking our faces off. Matt and Sam are actual brothers. Matt “the Red Knight” does most of the singing and plays the guitar, Sam lends his voice every so often and beats it out on the drums. They are the White Stripes of the local scene. They keep it simple and head straight for the highway with songs like Finish Me and Dancing for the Smokers have become anthems that their fans know well enough to scream out all the words to. I took a quik break to clean up the kitchen while they began. At the climax of their sixth song I sprung into the door from the front and joined the already excited crowd with some dancing. Deivito and the Porchistas members of Kagero Tip Canary and Kiwi the Child all joined in. We couldn’t help it, there was a steady wave of hooting, hollering and stomping. They played two encores! The crowd couldn’t get enough. James Dower who runs the Live Music Events at Lucky 7 Tavern nearly had a mob on his hands! They couldn’t be sated by just one more song!

After the Live music was over DJ Leonard Smalls (Lucky 7 Tavern’s resident Jockey of Discs) took over. The party continued on through the night and this was about the time I had my first drink. I checked the clock. It was only 11:30 pm. I ordered up a few shots of Jameson, a Vodka Redbull to re-charge myself. I thought if there’s a time and a place to start drinking, spatially and temporally, I wouldn’t have it any other way. As the swelling is going done from the hangover that ensued shortly after I woke up this morning, I promise myself to only use my powers for good.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Through Sound and Time part 1: 1992

So I’ve been reading a lot lately, old comics old books I’ve read. I think its pretty cool going back and doing this, because I can remember where I was when I had first read them. Not only where I was but who I was, and what I was listening to as well as how I viewed the world at that time. Every time I think my writing is getting a little raw or mundane or I'm just churning out information on a schedule I stop and I take in information see how other people are doing it, and normally that sets me straight. If not a couple shots of Jameson normally does the trick as well.

I thought I’d take you on a quick time travel journey dating back to when I purchased my first album moving forward to today. I’ll be adding one entry each week. Just something that should be a nice quick read.

Let’s start this off in early May 1992. Rap was the popular sound I was ending 5th grade and my pop bought me my first CD player. I was listening to Y100 a lot on Philly radio. My dad also told me I could pick out one CD. Here was a moment that could have easily determined the rest of my life. In one hand there was Kris Kross - Totally Krossed Out, in the other was Genesis - We Can’t Dance. I knew every kid at school was rocking Kris Kross. But I really dug that I Can’t Dance Video on MTV. At the end of the day I sided with Genesis. I actually ruined this CD from playing too much. My favourite song on the album was Driving the Last Spike. At this same time I was dealing with the most horrific plight any child has during the summer. The dreaded summer reading program. I was heavy into Greek mythology at the time but they wouldn’t let me read that for the program.

I chose to that year to take a desperate gambit and pick the most obscure book book in the fiction section I could find. The plan was to pretend I’d read it and just make up a plot. I opted for Dear Bruce Springsteen. I can’t lie it was a good summer for being a kid and shirking responsibility. I read the first chapter and made up the rest of the book. Mrs. Morris bought every word of it. And I went on playing flashlight tag and perfecting my skills at Super Nintendo all summer as most children my age probably did. Personally I believe challenges like this most likely were more stimulating than actually reading the book. Sure anyone could write a book report and tell the truth, it took real courage and a good amount of imagination to make up a book you’d never read.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

P.T. Walkley, 9th Grade English and the Living Room

So it's 9:15 on Tuesday August 11th. I swing into the Living Room (154 Ludlow Street) in New York City. Earlier that night I had received a personal invite from PT himself via Twitter. I was bummed that I missed their short performance at All Points West. It's actually a great story you should read it on their Myspace Blog. In fact, it's stories like that that really get me into a band. Something personal, something so defiant in the face of Mother Nature. It's very Old man and the Sea. And here I am in 9th grade English again (which would be the third time around, since 9th grade English wasn't my thing the first time around). Anyhow I'm sitting here as the band sound checks and I'm thinking my spot in the room, the only one left, has to be the best one! I'm right up on the stage. The waitress swings by to check the level of my Guinness, it always seems to need a refill. I'm in a perfect spot to just chill out and enjoy the band. I have my pad out, and the angle is great for pictures and video. What more could I ask for?

PT says hi to the crowd and with not much more that a nod and a wink they start into their set. I must say that I'm be a bold faced liar and carpetbagging Californian if I said I wasn't enthralled with their sound. P.T. Walkley is Lizzy Lee Vincent, (electric guitar) Marc Trachtenberg (piano) Nicky Kulund (Drums), Dave Kulund (Bass), Michel Walkley (percussion) and of course P.T. (guitar,vocals). Folk Infused Country Story rock.... yea that sums it up well. When did all this "call back the good that was country music" start up. It seems like there's a real trend happening in the north west US these days. Country Rock is once again a variable music genre. Not that corny these colours don't run, or right wing shoot a gun style country, or some way too hot model singing cheesy country love songs country. Nope, A good old fashioned guitar forged story driven country style rock band! With songs about foulplay, and a little neurotic tune here and there. This is good stuff! The band is having a good time! They're all smiles and head bobs, its great to see that energy!

After the set I took a moment to say hi to the band. PT and I chatted for a second I bought a Cd and was off on my way back to Jersey City. It was a quick night I got off the PATH in Jersey City at 11:15pm. I still had time to get drunk for cheap at my bar!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

All Points West - How to Pack Light For a Day Festival

Back by popular demand and instructional video on what to bring and what to wear, at All Points West! Find me for a free drink ticket at tonight's after party!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Anyday Parade and Roadside Graves invade the Trash Bar in Brooklyn

Note: I’m not the Lorax, I don’t speak for the trees, but I like to think of myself as the voice of the common man here in Jersey City. A sort of Greek Chorus, if you will, cluing folks into the the comedy and tragedy of the local rock scene. I try to bridge the gap between the bands and the people in search of rock. And sure pride is my hubris, but I don’t let that stop me from doing the greater good: bringing the rock to you so you know who to see when they come around again. Here is one such story.

Saturday July 25th 8:37pm.
Rushing from work directly to the PATH after work isn’t much of a problem. But making sure you get to Brooklyn in time for a show at 10pm could be a bit of a time trial. I wasn’t worried though. Why, you ask? Well I consider Anyday Parade to be personal friends of mine. I doubt highly they’d start a show without me there, to get those ever important photos and video. Well that and the fact that I was taking the train with one of their lead singers and guitarist, Tree. I mean in all fairness they have two other lead singers/ guitarist. They probably could wing it if they tried, though I’m sure Larry Brinkman and Joe Daly would have had a bit of a discussion as to who would sing the female parts. Joking aside, Tree and I made it to the Trash Bar in time to assure that we’d be able to get a few beers before ADP began marching.

We entered the Brooklyn rock club and were greeted by the band’s new drummer Pat Byrne, who is never seen at the same place and time as Lucha DJ. Pat joined ADP a little over a month back. He appeared relaxed despite this being his first live show with the band. After a few beverages it was time for APD parade to take the stage. I spied in the crowd former drummer Chuck Richards out to support his former band mates. Joe, Larry, Tree, Chuck and Pat rocked out for the duration of their set. They have a seven inch that is due out Sept 5th. They played a few of the new track off of it. And We even got to hear a rare Waylon Jennings cover! After the set I congratulated the gang with Chuck Richards. Pat’s first show was a success. Afterwards he told me had he known Chuck was there he would have been way more nervous. That’s the kind of humility that breeds a solid drummer!

I hit the bar for a sweet tea vodka and water. Which is pretty much the most delicious drink known to man that doesn’t make you look like a tool drinking cranberry juice in a bar. After ogling the uber hot bartender for a little too long, I turned back to the stage. Roadside Graves were just starting up. Last time I caught these fellas out, I pretty much found a new favorite local band. Their country blues/ rock and roll style has something that you just don’t hear in music these days. If country rock had as many genres as heavy metal did I call these cats an epic country band. All the classic country themes are touched upon: Jail, Trains, Rain, God and DRINKING. Damn! I must be slipping! I can’t believe I almost forgot drinking. After their set RG bounded into the crowd for a song! I mean I’m right up next to the band a lot of times but I was right there with the band, I might as well of been singing too! Rich Zilg(acoustic guitar, vocals) Dave Jones (bass) John Gleason(vocals) Mike DeBlasio (piano, organ) Colin Ryan (drums, percussion) Jeremy Benson (electric guitar, vocals, percussion) are doing it, and by all accounts doing it well!

I congratulated Roadside Graves on another great performance and Tree informed me there was room in the Anyday Mobile for one more! So I took a ride back to JC with Anyday Parade.

Tree and I have been friends since before my time at Lucky 7 Tavern when I was a bartender at Pop Merrigans. Chuck Daly is my tattoo artist, Joe Daly is his brother. Larry Brinkman and I constantly recant our Midwestern upbringing and mutual love of music. Pat Byrne and I were neighbors for about a year before we realized we were neighbors, and we hang out at my bar all the time. I say all that to say this, my family is spread out all over the place, my dad is the closest about 140 miles away. Anyday Parade isn’t just a bunch of folks I know, they’re kind of like four brothers and a sister in town. Folks I’m constantly in contact with. That’s the kind of thing you just won’t be able to get out of some big city rock outfit. They’re out for me as much as I’m for them. Chuck Daly said it best, “You came out to Brooklyn, you’re out at all our shows! It’s fucking rad!” As we drove back with the Isley Brothers playing in the background, I though to myself, “All in a day’s work for a Rocker Tycoon, yea buddy!”

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Monday Night at the Rockwood w/ The McMickle Bros and friends

Monday July 20 2009. I woke up at around 5pm from a lovely mid-afternoon nap. Go ahead and take this moment to judge me. Ok know that you’re finished just remember I get more done between the hours of 10pm and 2am that most people do all day, and in some cases all week. So the nature of my waking was a bit to be desired. There is a new sidewalk being put into my new neighborhood. So My waking to jack hammers and bulldozer type machinations was a bit more abrupt that I normally rise and shine. I was having nightmares about earthquakes that I think subsequently had origins mysteriously linked to my ex girlfriend and a former High School Physics teacher. I’m frankly not quite sure that the real things origins however less sinister where not in league with that same culprits. Well either way I was up, and the McMickle Brothers were playing at the Rockwood café in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Hoping I could snag a ride and avoid the Path I shot Deivis Garcia (Deivito) a text to find out if he might be driving in. Turns out he was but he’d be late…… Curses! Foiled again! So I took the path to Christopher Street hopped a Cab and got curbside service to Rockwood Café.

The Rockwood is a pleasant little place if not a bit small. I like to think of it as cozy. Of course the McMickle Brothers’ entourage of Montclair bands quickly packed the place. Bern & the Brights, Tip Canary, Porchistas, Copasetic just to name a few of the bands that showed up to support their friends. And call it kismet, but I had no idea that Jamie Rae worked here. I took a minute to find a good spot to set up. While I was doing that, my anonymity was betrayed by my dancing skills and smile as some apparent fans of my rug cutting recognized me from the Boro Six Fest. I guess I even leave my mark from time to time. I greeted the McMickle dad (who I think looks a little like George Lucas). Things swiftly got under way. They swaggered through their set, of which I got much of on video. Katherine and Nicole of Bern and the Brights joined in for a couple of songs. It was a sort of reunion as well withprevious bandmates John Clinton on piano and Dan Mcnevin on bass. Their added help really filled out the McMickles already solid sound. Deivis and I lended our clapping and stomping rhythm. There was a minute were I saw Deivis loose track of the beat though. Many times, at previous shows, while clapping it out with him I found myself loosing the rhythm and just blaming myself. Is it possible that he was the one in the wrong all along? We may never know! In classic McMickle Bros fashion they ended their set with a classic cover song. The crowd erupted into a cacophony of applause and cheering.

After the show Matt, Sam (Vox/guitar and Vox Drums respectively) joined by Deivis Garcia, Alan from the Porchistas, Wes and Robbie of Tip Canary and several other hangers on took to a little Mexican restaurant across the street called Mole’. We had some food and drink. Laughed and sang and when it was all over, Deivis Alan and Robbie gave me a ride back to Jersey City. During the drive we played some of the most ridiculous music the mid to late Nineties had to offer. And I don’t mean like rock music. I’m talking the kind of music you would have heard in a club at a shitty Philadelphia club circa 1996. It was awful! But like train wreck awful. We couldn’t help it. Alan and I even sang a few tunes. It was a low point for us musically and a high point in good times. We stopped off at Lucky 7 Tavern and had a couple of drinks then I retired to bed for the night. I think I might sleep too much.

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Awful Truth about Mice, Men, Hounds, and Cryptkeepers

The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. I believe Robert Burns said that once. Or more likely, after he came up with such a genius thing to say he probably repeated it as often as possible, (pissing off his friends due to the fact that the man kept repeating himself) until someone else decided it was genius as well. Thusly history will remember him as the guy who said that thing we all say when we fuck up and shrug our shoulders. But egoism aside, it’s a pretty reliable quote. My plan Saturday was to go to Siren fest, see some bands get good and drunk then follow up the show by heading to Brooklyn to see The Cryptkeeper Five at the Trash Bar.

In reality that sounds, much like Communism. That is to say it works well on paper.
Instead I spent a few extra hours waiting for friends to arrive (Wayward Winos, I’m pointing fingers here), then we grabbed a little food and had a few drinks then caught up on life and that sort of thing. So by the time we got to Coney Island it was 5:45pm. The place itself was packed without much room to move around or even get anywhere near the bands for pics. We decided, or I did at least to just treat the event as a day at the state fair. Grab some food and have a few drinks, afterwards we’d catch the main act: Built to Spill. I’ll make this easy, BTS seemed like they were phoning it in. In all honesty, I was 600 feet from the stage and I’ve never been that much of a fan to begin with so, their fans and people who were closer to the stage most likely got a much more inspired show.

About halfway through the set we made for the train, but not before I snagged some coffee. Melanie of the Wayward Winos, used to work at Café Cito, located over on the Lower East Side. We decided to go have a little food before we headed into Brooklyn for CK5. That was the best Idea of the day. The Salmon was out of sight as well as the plantains that accompanied the dish. We indulged in margaritas, and good old fashioned conversation, which is a commodity lately. I rarely get to see Paul and Melanie as they traverse the world like Uncle Traveling Matt from Fraggle Rock. It was about 10:45pm as we made our way toward Brooklyn. We decided to take a cab. Now had the cabbie known were the hell he was headed we would have been in luck. Sadly, he had not idea, good thing Paul’s Iphone was handy. After a quick tour of Williamsburg, we arrived at the Trash bar.

As soon as I entered the Trash Bar, I knew I was home. Beautiful people doing the rock thing, gorgeous bartenders, and cheap beer. Whats not to love? As I walked into the door I was greeted by the cats from Honah Lee! I had just missed their set. They were hangin out waiting to see CK5 play their set. We headed to the back where the live music happened. $8 cover was fair for the number of bands that were set to play and there was a free comp cd being given away. Beantown Boozehounds were just setting up.

Before I go on I want to make an observation. When in Rome drink wine or Sambuca or what ever the hell the Roman’s drank, goat’s blood for all I care. I say that to say this; PBR is $4 at the Trash Bar, When in Brooklyn Drink PBR. Do it to be ironic, or do it because it’s cheap, or do it because $4 this side of the NJ turnpike is more rare than an honest woman.

Beantown Boozehounds are Boston’s drunkest celtic punk quartet. This is Street Punk Boston style. Songs about hanging w/friends and drinkin’ songs about going out and drinking, songs about driving and…you guessed it drinkin’. Hopefully for everyone’s sake, it’s all in jest. I suspect not. Ha! Beantown Chad (Guitar,Mandolin,Vocals), Gallows (Guitar,Vocals), Rob B. Ridiculous (Bass,Vocals), and Ricky Magic (Drums, Vocals) make up this foursome of roustabouts. It seems like everyone had a song they sang lead on. This band has four frontmen! There was a lot of energy during their set. And then in Trash bar fashion, someone just walked up to the stage and spit beer all over Rob B. Ridiculous! Like a lot of beer, so much I actually thought to myself, “Wow that’s a lot of beer to waste!” They didn’t even flinch! The song continued as if nothing happened! And this happened several times! It was like some wacky sign of respect like that scene in Dune where they spit on the floor, to seal a deal! This was my kinda scene indeed!

A little while after Cryptkeeper Five was introduced. Paul And Melanie (the Wayward Winos) and I traded off duties with the video camera. The guys from Honah Lee and I got things going in the pit. D.T. Graves kicked it off with a march on the drums. Johnny growled over the mic, “Hey Motherfucker let’s rock this joint!” And the rest of the guys followed in suit. CK5 were in rare form! Trenton’s rock-a-billy quintet was mixing up a sinister stew. Each member an essential ingredient: Jimmy Ray keeping it classy with guitar, Jay West bringin it down on bass, Ceilidh "Blue" Madigan, wailing the Sax. DT Grave’s drums for seasoning and Johnny on vox and Guitar for taste. The crowd seemed a little intimidated though, no one was dancing….. That’s when Johnny spoke up, “We have two songs left so if you’re thinking about dancing then nows the time.” That was all the push I needed. Myself, Tim, Jim, Anthony, and Justin (the boys of Honah Lee) got to work. And when those two songs were over they played and encore! Check that out below.

After the show Paul, Mel and I said our goodbyes. And made for the door. We spent about forty minutes wandering about in the wrong direction in brroklyn looking for the train. Our plan was to meet Mel’s friend Meg on Christie Street for a little more drinking and dancing. Exhaustion once again foiled our plans and we made for the Path. Once on the PATH, Paul nodded of and I started getting a little tired. THEN without any warning this happened. Go ahead take it. Let it simmer, try it again. Then scream WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Siren Festival - Only a Hipster Brings Flipflops to a Rock Fest.

Listen, it's just simple logic. Wear comfortable clothes and come prepared to dance. You'll be out in the sun all day long. Drink lots of water, and charge your shit (ie: Cameras Cell, Phones, Ipods etc). That said, the most important advice I can give you is don't fall in!

Here's a list of the Stuff I'm taking with me.


Video Camera


Light jacket

Plastic Bags

Body odor repellent


Something to write into

Cell phone


Extra Socks

One Extra t-shirt



Head phones



It seems like a lot but, I assure you you can make your best friend's girlfriend carry it when you get into the pit!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

I catch up with Plowing Mud Forever & Divison of Planes at the Delancey

Kirk Howle, lead singer and bassist for Plowing Mud Forever, sent me an email informing me that they would be playing the Delancey in NYC with a couple other Jersey City acts: Torrential Downpour, and Division of Planes. PMF was the first band I reviewed for Rocker Tycoon all the way back in January. There's been a whole lot of evolution for the site since my first night out on the snow. I was excited to see what Kirk, Ryan and Rollie had been upto for the last six months. So I hoped on the PATH and then took a cab across town to the Delancey. Cover was $7. Beers started at $5, this is Manhattan, so I roll with the price increase, but I don't have to like it.

Plowing Mud Forever was already busting out songs as I rambled in. It's been 6 months since I last saw these guys. I have to say, there's an immediate realization that they have tightened things up. It could be the sound quality of the last place was much to be desired, but I think they really improved musically as well. I guess that's a good thing, these fellas were just forming up at the end of last year. Kirk Howle (bass/vox), Rollie Middlenamethisweek Hatch (guitar/vox) and Ryan Stevens (drums) make up this growl rock trio. Inbetween songs they actually call out for a little heckling. Kirk says it livens things up. They have a vested grounding with bands like Faith No More and the sensibilities of Bill Hicks, with the volume of Spinal Tap. These cats will be playing a show with No Pasaran come Wednesday July 8th, so be sure to look out for that.

Next up Torrential Downpour, constructed themselves onto the stage. If I where to tell you that TD is a little loud that would be like telling you the sun is kinda hot. If I were to say that they were sort of intense that would be akin to saying Sam Kinison is a little intense. Torrential Downpour is Costa (Drums), Cece (Bass) Volpe (Guitar) Prkr (Vocals/Samples). Holy Crap! These dudes melt faces and serve them on toasted awesome with a side of IDONTEVENKNOWWHATTOSAY. Prkr uses his voice as a sample during the songs as well as vocalizing at the same time. This ain't no cut copy paste style of rock and roll. It involves railroad spikes and ......guns that shoot railroad spikes. You don't believe me? Well then see for yourself! It's Armageddom without the Erhnam Djinn, this is destruction after construction!

After TD I took a minute to collect the little peices of myself off the floor and i wandered outside. After I shook off the after effects of the face melting. I snagged a bottle of Bud and prepared for Division of Planes. It's great to catch up with these guys again. I checked up with them in April opening for WJ and the Sweet Sacrifice at the IMAC. DoP is a conspiracy oriented Political Punk style band. Simple Clash style set up, and solid music coupled with smart lyrics makes this act one of my Top Ten Bands to see in Jersey City. They invoke an early 2000's style of New Brunswick basement era rock. You can definitely hear the post punk influences of that era and revolution rock style lyrics hearken back to the late 70's and early 80's but DoP really has their own style of panache. Bassist Tom Unish and Guitarist J. Johnson man the vocals while Jonathan Johansen grounds and pounds the drums. These cats make full use of the stage as well. They even played a new song right near the end of the set that I caught on tape. (Look at that folks a Rocker Tycoon exclusive!) I need to get a Rcoker Tycoon signature interview with these fellas really soon.

After the show I hitched a ride with Plowing Mud Forever back to Jersey City. Conversation got stuck on the Ren and Stimpy album that came out back in 04. Up until this point, I thought for sure I was the only human in the world that ever owned that album. In my humble opinion it was a work of pure progressive jazz novelty genius. I think PMF agrees.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

My debut for Steaming Pipe

Below is my post for the Boro 6 Indie Music Fest. Which I wrote as my first assignment for the Steaming Pipe. Give this Indie News Source a look! They have a lot of talented writers. I think its a good idea to get your news from a variety of locations, for a number of reasons. You'll also find my post below. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Boro 6 Music Fest

7:47pm Friday June 19: Ace Case, the Host of Friday night’s installment of the Boro 6 Indie Music Fest and front man for the Cross Town Country All-stars, strolls into my bar looking as dapper as ever. “I knew I’d find my son talking to some pretty filly at the bar.” It’s important to note that there’s a bit of a running joke between Ace and I, where people seem to be under the impression that he’s my dad. I was however talking with a friend of mine at the bar. I excused myself and we made our way to Tierney’s Tavern in Montclair where tonight’s festivities where being held. Ace clued me in to some of the finer points of Tierney’s as we made the trip. He told me to make sure I had one of their burgers. Everyone knows I’m a sucker for blondes and good pub food, and If I can't have former I'll be needing the latter

Upon entering Tierney's, Ace informs me that the Kitchen is downstairs (I’ll need to order the burger there) and the venue is upstairs. For the sake of continuity I’m going to add my Tweets as the night went forward.

Here at the Boro 6 Indie Music Fest With Ace Case. We enter and are greeted by Deivito and Katherine of Bern and the Brights 8:39 PM

Deivis Garcia (Deivito) and Katherine McGowan (Bern and The Brights) greeted me as I walked in. Deivis shows me around gives me the ten cent tour. He also tells me to make sure I have a burger. Themes for Frances are doing a sound check as Kagero shambles in with their gear. Deivis greets Kaz of Kagero. There’s a short conversation. Kaz nods and they shake hands. Shady dealings, I say! But I guess we’ll have to see what that’s about later. I found a spot at a table and unpacked my gear.

My camera bag over the last six month has become a sort of portable office for me. 8:59PM

This is the first time Im gonna get to see @kagero in full force. Im fucking psyched! 9:10 PM

Jennifer Schwartz just hit the scene looking as fashionable as ever! 9:36 PM

Jennifer Schwartz is Newark bar, Kilkenny Alehouse’s rock queen and coordinator of events with Lowel Craig. She is also the Singer/Guitarist of Una Pong, who is also playing tonight. This will be the first time seeing them live, needless to say I’m as anxious as a teenage girl with a backstage pass.

Ace Case introduces the crowd to Ben Franklin and things get under way. Ben Franklin is Billy Grey, rocking the guitar and mic. This gentleman does some outstanding pickin’ and grinnin’. His songs are pseudo-politcal. Seems like a serious message sugarcoated with a punch here and there of touch and cheek comedy. His song Teamwork is a perfect example of this. Ben Franklin’s sound could be described as the music of Violent Femmes with a little bit of over the top brashness of Tenacious D.

Kagero steps up to the plate almost before I can get my next beer. They start it up with Jethata. Deivis stirs the crowd with a bit of stomping and clapping. Kaz (guitar vocals) introduces the rest of the band. Wynn on drums, Rob on bass guitar and backing vocals, and JW on violin, This Japanese Gypsy Rock band is one of the most unique acts I’ve ever seen in local music. If you have a taste for something fun, and you enjoy a good story this band is right up your alley! You can’t help but dance to it. I ran downstairs and snagged my burger and ran back upstairs. Mere seconds before Deivis broke the ice, I jumped in right past him and started dancing. Kaz and Wynn came out into the crowd, and I found JW a stool to stand on. It’s become a tradition of the band to perch their august violinist on a chair while he does his solo for Grappa. Later, Deivis jumped in for the final howl for Red and Black. So that was what that huddle was all about earlier! The crowd got into the groove, everyone was jumping and dancing then as abruptly as it started Kagero came to a thundering halt. Everyone saluted the band as Themes for Frances took the stage. Robbie informed the crowd that you could download their new EP on their website. I highly highly suggest you check this out.

@jhwhit and of course Kagero just gypsy punked my face off....have you seen my glasses? 10:24 PM

I composed myself. By composed I mean I went to the bar for another Guinness, and started on my burger. As I munched down Themes for Frances started up. Joshua Steele (vox/guitar) Christopher Solinski (bass) Jason Tangney (drums) Jason Malmstrom (guitar) make up the Jersey bred foursome.


TfF has a grunge style similar to Sonic Youth and Sound Garden. They have a garage rock sensibility. Their speedier harder parts regale Nirvana’s In Utero album. You can hear an influence of Color and the Shape from the Foo Fighters. They certainly bend these influences to their own sound. Unique guitar hooks coupled with Josh’s emotive vocals and Jason’s steadfast and open drumming mark these chaps for there own niche in the local scene. I look forward to seeing where they go from here.

Ace Case introduces himself disappears and resurfaces with guitar in hand. A brief interlude by Ace while Una Pong sets up. Douglass MacArthur (the HA HA HA song) is one of my favorite Ace Case specials. I picked up a great Johnny Cash style shot of Ace. Of course we all joined in for the chorus. Ace has a morbid sense of humor that really comes across when he plays this song.

Una Pong’s sound is a self-described watery analog. That term goes a long way towards colouring their sound. Jen’s Voice was distorted and robot for The Doctor Examined Me... it had a very 8 bit Nintendo feel. As the songs progressed there was a definite kinship to soundtracks for NES games like Ikari Warriors and Astyanax. Which to me are some of the best OST for games that were ever put out. UP’s tone had this dystopian sort of hopelessness about it, a sort of Big Brother is finished watching feel. Elizabeth Walsh (bass) and Jen trade off vocals during songs. Lu Norte(keys) had some sort of malfunction on the keyboard at the start of the set, which sadly never got resolved. It didn’t stop him from adding his own brand of moral support! Adam Budofsky (drums) was the backbone of the group, driving on the endeavour and adding to the suspense created by Jen and Elizabeth. The crowd got moving as the tension mounted. Then without any warning I was pulled onto the dance floor by one of the band’s fans. We danced until the end of the set with the other revelers.

Highly exhausted from the previous five bands I renewed my vigor with another Guinness as Frozen Gentlemen took flight. I was ultra excited to see these dudes again, after previewing them at Kilkenny alehouse back in March. They got right down to business as usual. They brought the rock and the crowd returned full force with the dancing. It seemed like the crazier the band got (including removal of shirts and full use of the stage) the crowd reciprocated in kind with more dancing and singing along. On their third song Deivis came up and played the distortion phone. After the shirts came off I overheard behind me “Take off your pants!” Thankfully the band did not comply. I could only imagine the kind of reaction that the ladies would have replied with after their pants came off. At that point not succumbing to the whims of 30+ twenty something girls in the room would have been a feat of will. I’m sure KISS would agree. As far as their sound, FG is sort of like the Bee Gees on amphetamines. I have to stress the good Bee Gees. They have a one of a kind style that mixes dance with rock in a way I think gets everyone involved physically, if not emotionally as well. Mido Santantos (vox, keys) is the band’s Front man calling the action and tickling the plastic whites). Quan James (vox, guitar) sings back-up with Jackie Meyer (vox, bass), together they fill out the band’s rock and funk end. Hollywood Charter (drums) tosses out a beat that ensures no one is gonna be sitting down when these cats get going!

After FG was finished, I had to admit that I was as well. Ace and I said our goodbyes and and headed for the car. On the way back to Chill Town we discussed among other things, how well the show went off over all and how the Montclair scene really bring it to the table by means of talent, support and a cadre of fans. Then we got into a discussion about Black Flag. Before I knew it we were back at Lucky 7 Tavern. I packed up my gear snagged my bike and went home, secure in the fact that Rock and Roll is alive and well in Montclair New Jersey.

Back home from Boro 6 fest. Exhausted, sweaty and feeling 21 again. Music achieves for me what make up does for 40 year old housewives. 2:33 AM

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Otto's Shrunken Head for MISFITS night

Wednesday June 3rd: My old roomates Tim and Fish were playing a Misfit's set at Otto's Shrunken Head. I had marked this as a must see event. The last time I saw Slaw play live it was in our old Basement on Hamilton Street in New Brunswick. Back in that time they went by the name Fun Ghouls (which is to me the best name of a Misfits cover band ever)! So I geared up and headed out into the rain to 14th and B in Manhattan. This is my first time at the Shrunken Head. They have a pretty cool little tiki bar vibe. Beers are $5(this is Manhattan after all). As soon as I walked into the bar Tim(bass/vox), Fish (Guitar/vox), Cheeseman (drummer/vox) and LANDPhil(guitar/wacky boxes) greeted me at the door. I hadn't seen Fish or Cheese for about five years, it was a tear filled reunion of bittersweet memories and ........ HA that's horseshit we immediately assessed the current situation. There were 5 guys all without beverage. We took the bar by storm, I indulged in a Coney Island Beer. We spent the next few minutes recanting our days on Hamilton Street.

So after a few beers and a walk down memory lane, Ghouls Night Out rolled out the red carpet. Glen-nora Danzig[The Stuck Ups](vox), Aileen [Corita](guitar) Tibbie X [Kissy Kamikaze] (bass) Miss Carrie [Kissy Kamikaze](drums) make up the all girl quartet. They all play in other bands and it looks like they get together for their love of Horror Rock to play out their day dreams (or nightmares) as Ghouls Night Out, a Misfits Cover band. They were well received by the crowd. Everyone was singing along and pushin' and shovin' to get near the mic. These femme fatales dressed the part right down to the skull style make-up and the skeleton gloves. Girls who play Misfits covers.... I have to admit I had a crush on all of them. I'm sure Freud would had something to say about me lusting after four girls dressed like guys in a band I like that modeled themselves after the undead (aside from the obviously necrophiliac associations).

Enough about my obsession with code blue. Slaw took the stage. Tim, Fish, Cheeseman, and Landphil played their Slaw originals. Gitty songs that are reminiscent of Black Flag's Nervous Breakdown and Minor Threat's Salad Days. They grinded through their set and then rolled into some Misfits covers. Hollywood Babylon, Nike A Go-Go, Teenagers from Mars. Then they did something I hadn't expected. "Zac, get on stage for this one!" Tim yelled. OH CRAP! What did they have in mind? Fish started up the song. "WE ARE 138!" I toned in, "WE ARE 138!" I was on stage signing along. I hadn't been on stage since they played a show in my basement about 5 years ago. It was too much fun. I have the bug again. After that we went into Gimme Gimme Gimme, by Black Flag. And after that I jumped off stage. They played a few more I recorded and took some pics. There's a rumour that there might be a video and some pics cycling around somewhere of me with Slaw. But for now you have these two videos and the pics I took.

Killkenny Alehouse w/No Pasaran and The Invisible Lines

Saturday June 13th, 8pm. I bust out the door of my job and hightail it directly to the PATH. I went from the PATH to a cab outside of Newark Penn Station, to 27 Central Ave. Kilkenny Alehouse. Jennifer Schwartz had put together another show, which by all indications promised to be killer.

I walked in as Sons where making their moves on the stage. This outrageous growl punk band played about five songs after I walked in. They were unchecked aggression. John (vocals) was prone to manic episodes as well as one depressive moment when he sobbed on stage. I overheard that during their first show (this being their second) he was dressed in a Santa outfit so that made the sobbing a little more disturbing. I heard influences of Minor Threat from Matt,Brian (guitar) and Butch (drums). If I could describe Sons without having your hear them, imagine One Handed Scissor by At the Drive In, during the chorus, but the entire time! It was harsh, brutal and more raw that than a maki combo. The band is still working on its name however and they may change it in the near future.

Invisible Lines
made their mark next. They are Alan (Guitar, Bass)
Greg (Guitar, Bass, Drum Machine) Michael (Drums)William (Guitar, Bass, Vocals). A sort of Conspiracy Surf Rock group. IL brought some sick energy! Songs like Do Not Be Phased that started with a prelude on the drums and guitars are the harbingers of a serious driving song. That’s if you drive in the Demolition Derby! It's a great thing coming out for a show and seeing a band you've never even heard of before that just rocks your mind away. After the show I caught up with Will. It seems IL will be recording a new album soon I personally can’t wait to get my grimy paws on it.

Andy Borsz and Sara Cavic are Slasher Risk. It’s extremely hard to put into words what happened in the next 20 mins. Suffice it to say that if music was sex, this is the craziest exhibition I’ve ever seen. Andy played the Guitar while writhing on the ground then dropped it and jumped on to the drums while Sara manipulated sounds on the guitar. They traded off from playing guitar to drums messing with the speakers. It was about as close to performance art as a rock show can get.

Reeling from what I had just witnessed on stage I took a moment of refuge in a bottle of Budweiser. Chatted it up with some folks. These show have become a serious social event for rockers in Brick City and areas surrounding. Each time there are brand new faces and some old reliables as well.

Jennifer Schwartz of Una Pong and Ryan Havers of the Vontons took my attention away from my elixir. There was to be a guitar Toss-off. Jen vs Ryan in an all out no holds barred battle royal of guitar/wits/ and shit-talking. The guitar finesse was on par the tossing was well received, I have to say the shit talking was much to be desired. I heard ZERO your momma jokes and a very low amount of cursing.

Here’s a quick lesson in History. No Pasaran: propaganda slogan used to express determination to defend a position against an enemy. It was most famously used during the Battle of Verdun in World War I by French General Robert Nivelle. "¡No pasarán!" became an international anti-fascist slogan.(wikipedia) Ok lessons concluded. Now since you have a little background, Its easy to conclude that with a name at that level of concept the band itself must breathe lightning and smoke thunder. Well if that was your assumption True Believer , then you ain’t just whistling Dixie! No Pasaran is Eric Mason (Bass, Vox) Tom Barret (Drums) and Romel Espinel (Guitar, Vox). This Clash style set up is a full force post punk band. Think Husker-Du meets Mission of Burma, with a dash of Boy Sets Fire. It’s heavy and its thrashing. They beat you over the head with guitar and bass and rip the carpet right out from underneath you with the drums. I highly suggest you make sure you see these guys the next time they get out for a show, which I believe is going to be The Groove on Grove on July 8th. In fact, say hi if you make it out. I’ll be there. I ALMOST FORGOT TO MENTION, Eric decided to chug a good 3/4 of a bottle of Heine's Famous Malt Vinegar. There are pictures, it was not the most intense event of the night but it definitely punctuated the evening.

Drunken Sufis
complete the line-up with some resolute Political Psycho Punk. Billy Delerioso takes the low end. Slinky keeps the beat. Renzo rounds out the band on Guitar. Billy and Renzo the share responsibility of vocals. DS Started off at 90 mph, and remained reckless for their whole set. It was part message part farce and all fun. They took full advantage of the ample room in the hall and came out into the crowd screaming! When they finished up I was pretty positive I couldn’t handle anymore rock for the night.

Jen offered me a ride back to the PATH. I’m never one to make my life more difficult so of course I accepted. We bullshitted about music, and what we were trying to achieve in the last five years, and how those paths always lead back to music someway or another. Relationships and what not, y’know the stuff you bullshit with a good friend at 2am on your way to the PATH. I got to the station and wouldn’t you know it the train showed up right as I got to the platform. Everything seems like it’s falling into place for the Rocker Tycoon these days.
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