Quite a year. Started it with my friends from the Press/Kntrlr/Bicycle Boys: Dave, Alex, Mike and Chuck. We hung out at Chuck’s, where I met their various wives and sweethearts… I got to be the center of attention amongst a group of couples all the while, I never felt like the 9th wheel. I know I can come off a bit boorish at times, certainly a loudmouth, thankfully I lack no amount of story telling. I think Alex, Alex’s girlfriend got the entire history of Rocker Tycoon and the Press (A tale that spans some 4 years now, and 3 then) over the course of the night. At around 1. I went home, relatively dry… I had a few, but aired out quite well. And I woke on Jan 1st hangover free.
Shortly into the year, I convinced Adam Copeland (Black Water/Meltdowns) and Gerry Griffin (Black Water/Meltdowns) to join me in creating a band. For a time Mike Horaz (I Am The Heat) stood in as our drummer. Eventually, Lloyd Naideck (Black Water/Meltdowns) settled in as our fulltime drummer. All the while Black Water was recording its second album Friendly Fire.
I practiced, overcame whatever minutia of stage fear I had lingering from childhood and we played our first show to friends in Jersey City with fellow bands, Holy City Zoo, Cryptkeeper Five and Black Water. Looking back I have to think, what an awesome line-up for my first show with Warface (our working name at the time). New friends I’d found in Holy City Zoo, old friends in Johnny and Jimmy of CK5 and my friends in Black Water 3/4 of which were in my band.
The show wasn’t exactly a packed house, but we had a blast. Played well and plenty of friends I hadn’t seen in a while came out. It was ideal to me.
Around March a new pal of mine and a Barback at my roomate’s bar, Dylan Hiester, convinced me it was time I start untapping again. I took his advice and did my first Tuesday Night Magic Draft of Innistrad Dark Ascension. I was made to feel welcome as I relearned a game I loved so well as a young adult. I remember playing Monique in round 1 or 2. She marveled at how quick I was progressing since my hiatus. “You’ve gotten better since last turn.” When I finally started doing things on her end step.
It was only a few months later I had built a deck, and began to play constructed… Two tournaments in I won the whole thing, to a very land screwed Rob Kofsky. The bug was full on! I was once again a Planeswalker.
Springtime. Warface played a show at Lucky 7 with I Am The Heat, Black Water, and Kntrlr. The Show was a rocket. Everyone had a great time and most of all we surprised some folks. “I had no idea you could sing!” was the exclamation most of my friends had. Hell to be honest neither did I!
Our next show was at the Pianoland Morgan Junction. We killed with They Live and Marvin Berry and the New Sound. I had a time so good I lost my voice the next day… Note to self: you might know the lyrics to the other bands’ songs don’t feel like you have to prove it.
Jersey City Bike Tour: Rained Out. But it’s here that we agreed a name change was in order. Adam and I agonized over a few weeks about whether we should or not then we just decided better now then later. Zac Clark and the Something… Adam argued under a small amount of protest by me that we should use what local celebrity I have in Jersey City and use my name in the band. I conceded that it’s easier to get folks out (especially after a year of promoting other bands) if they know the show is with my band. Zac Clark and the Griswolds was born.
A few weeks later we played a fundraiser for Steven Fulop for Mayor. Few rock bands have played the Zeppelin Hall beer garden in Jersey City. A 9 year old opened for Billy Alpha who opened for us. We ate chicken fingers and drank beer. We helped kick off a political campaign that I believe (no matter it’s result) will change this city for the better.
Right at the end of the summer. We released our first EP. This was momentous for several reasons. It was the first thing I’ve ever had to show for myself as a musician. Following in the footsteps of my forefathers. It was also a mark of success as a band. Now we wern’t just dicking around in the studio playing songs and then one shoting shows. Now we were recording music.
Summer fades. I begin writing Hipsters of the Coast. A blog that at the time detailed my return to Magic: the Gathering an has since become a sort of community forum. Like Rocker Tycoon, I’m now able to reach out to people in my hobby and I’ve since become good friends with my associates that help me on the blog by weighing in with their writings. Matt Jones, Li Xu, Rich Stein, Jess Lina and Giaco Furino have Renewed my thrill for writing and helped me feel like I’m making an impact locally. Even if it’s just a gaming blog.
Gerry Griffin leaves the band for the farmer’s life. We spend a few months looking for a new bassist. Someone who is into our sound, someone who digs Devo. Sam Fit the bill. He more than fit the bill in fact. I had serious concerns about the future of the band post Gerry, Lloyd and Adam assured me they were in this for the long haul. Or however novelty punk rock bands last. We officially welcome Sam in! Griswolds are once more a party of 4!
Fall comes. ZC&theGs played a show at the Lamp Post in Late Sept that really knocked it out of the park! Packed house a ton of friends and strong performances by our friends I Am The Heat, Tijuana Bibles and Secret Country. We’re all very excited and we booked a show with the Everymen for Halloween.
On the Magic front. Grand Prix Philadelphia comes up. I meet up with my buddy Stephano and new friends Brandon and Qu. We and my 20ss friends travel down to The City of Brotherly War (Magic Joke). I go 6-3 on day one narrowly missing day two. But doing super well for my first pro level tourney back. Hurricane Sandy cuts my Sunday short.
I spend the next few days playing cards with my childhood friend Harry. We play a lot of sealed (format of Grand Prix Philly) and then we decide to go to Lisbon at the end of November to play Magic!
Sandy ruins ZCGs for a month. Our studio gets robbed. And the Path makes getting to JC and Home a nightmare.
I finally get to BK. Something like Wednesday. The storm was Sunday/Monday.
November rushed through like bad Chinese food. I was busy with work and sparse Magic happened. Mid month I went on a date, and had a pretty excellent time. Her name is Victoria. We went on a few dates and corresponded during my trip to Lisbon.
Speaking of Lisbon… What a great time. Harry and I flew straight in and took a tour of the city with Taylor (our host and guide at the Oasis Hostel). This being Harry’s first time in another country, we wanted to get in as much of the travel experience as possible. Tours and drinking with locals, meeting new people! Great times, it’s been so long since I’ve been able to hang out with Harry like we did when we were growing up. There’s always some job or I’m traveling or working every weekend while he works the week. We end the trip with a huge Magic Tournament. GRAND PRIX LISBON. There’s a blog post about Lisbon that highlights my addiction to cardboard and energy drinks. So I won’t recant that here. Harry goes 4-5 (pretty good for a guy who plays a couple times a year!) and I go 5-4 not as good as Philly. Still not terrible.
I return from Lisbon, feeling pretty good about life. These trips remind me how good my life is. I’m in a rock band, I get to play games when I’m not working, and my jobs are pretty great! I’m bartending one of the coolest spots in Brooklyn. And I write for a Tattoo magazine as their travel writer. Man, if I could go back and tell that to my 14 year old self he’d … Well let’s be honest he’d probably ask me if I made the pro tour yet. Next Year little buddy, next year.
So I’m back and I’m feeling good. And then I ask Victoria to be my girlfriend. She says yes! Which is a relief, for a few reasons. It’s hard asking someone to be your girlfriend when you’re 32. It seems like something teenagers do. Strange right? Also she’s pretty awesome, and buys me cookies/ laughs at my terrible jokes.
That brings us to the present… Good Job, sweet lady that is content with her nerdy boyfriend and I’m playing some of the best magic I’ve played since 2000. Zac Clark and the Griswolds has a show coming up this New Years Eve with the Everymen at Lamp Post.
Things are looking mighty good, and nix all that crap about the Mayan apocalypse, I think it was most about a paradigm shift. Things are gonna start turning around for the human race perhaps. I hope things do at least. But not all at once, we need strife for the good music. There’s not much good music in the peace and harmony market.
That’s the year for me. Pretty wild when I look back to Jan 1, listening to Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours, to going on stage to sign off the New year. Good luck in the next one. Be safe, rock out, and always tap your land correctly.
Zac Clark, Rocker Tycoon
Releases a couple of weeks ago, Eastern Anchor’s new single James the Viking is up on bandcamp for Name You Price! These post indie guitar smashers for Red Bank NJ. Are due to release their new album Drunken Arts and Pure Science on Oct 9th. I’ve heard the album, it’s FAN-FUCKING-TASTIC. I’m impressed but not surprised. I’ll save the full review for the Album’s release, but in the mean time, James The Viking, is a harbinger of how excellent this album is. Check it out and Download it for free at http://easternanchors.bandcamp.com/
Last night I took a bike ride over to Acheron to see my buddy/co-worker’s new band’s first show. Brian fronts No Way, a post hardcore outfit that rolls like a hardcore outfit… Post post hardcore anyone? Anyhow, I just bought a new camera and frankly (Mr Shankly) I’ve been slacking in the “go to shows and make new friends and discover new bands” section of this multiple choice quiz called life after 30. So armed with a D300 a 50mm 1.8 and an okcupid date, I ventured into the belly of the beast to test the new gear, the new band, and a new girl. A day in the life as it were. How’d the date go? None of your business, you voyeuristic poppingjay! Let’s talk about the bands.
Dudes were obviously very excited to be here. If there was a way to harness the energy their 20 or so set unleashed, well let’s just say that all this nonsense in the Middle East would surely be a thing of the past. It was thrashy and rough and raw, and gosh dang it, I havent seen a good hardcore show in years. Plenty of wacky guitar tricks (One dude kept playing over his head [like a boss] during the set).
I have to apologize, and make an effort to see these cats live. I was doing date stuff while they played. Shame on me. I did bullshit with one of the cats from the band after the show though. He was pretty rad.
Caught the end of their set and took a few shots. They were pretty intense. Acheron is a small place. They sounded like they were geared for a much larger venue. That said, give these dudes a listen here http://autarch.bandcamp.com/ … EPIC.
All Eyes West
Hailing from Chicago, this three piece delivered the goods and didn’t even worry about having you sign for them. http://alleyeswest.bandcamp.com/album/all-eyes-west Listen to that! That’s just great fucking rock and roll! I dig the singer’s voice. I can’t put my finger right on it but there was a band in the 90’s that had a singer like this. If you can figure it out leave it in the comments. I had to pick up a T-shirt and a record. The vinyl is clear and looks like a big fucking eye ball… CAAAAAN YOU DIGIT, SUCKAS?!
I Hate Our Freedom
Like a gutshot from a motorcycle, these guys left one hell of an impression. I heard a lot of elements of early/mid 90’s hardcore. Remember AFI’s Very Proud of YA? Imagine that with better vocals. Actually imagine that with better everything. These cats had stage presence. The drummer was a madman. It was fast but still catchy enough that I saw a lot of people working their heads with the beat. In fact the Acheron was pretty well attended for a Monday Night.
So lets check out the pics.
Back in 1987. I was living with my mom in Ohio, a child of divorce and honestly more concerned about transformers and Thundercats than my parents deteriorated marriage. What can I say I was 7. Anyhow, while all that was going on, my Dad lived with my sister in New Jersey. During that summer he recorded, as he was want to do from time to time, a few songs onto his tape deck to cassette. In 2000 I stumbled upon this while looking through his music collection (which included Please Hammer Don’t Hurt’em and Otis by Mojo Nixon), I listened to the tape and figured out a few things. In some of the songs there’s a bird singing in the background. We had a pet bird when I moved in in 1988 named Bird. Later on we bought another bird and my dad took me out to see Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, we named the birds Bill and Ted. Somehow, I surmised that this tape had been record during the summer of 1987 when my sister and I were in Ohio with my mom.
Anyhow, like I said I found this tape. Of course I took it to the comic shop I worked at and one of the guys (Jeff Schomber) that hung out there converted it into a cd for me. And made copies. In 2001 I lost my CD collection which was gigantic. In this collection was my only copy of the album that became known as ZAC’S DAD ROX. Years went by, and I got in touch with my friend Pete Hagen. He had a copy of the CD! and he sent it to me via email. That’s how it came to you.
About this album: Needless to say as children we tend to know little about our parents and as we grow up we begin to understand them and see them not just as parents but as people with struggles as real as our own. People of emotion and of flaw but also people who know a hell of a lot more about life and commitment and suffering than we do. Will Smith is wrong, parents do understand, it’s the kids that don’t get it. So at 20 this 14 track tape gave me some real insight into the man that is my father. The funny thing is I bet he sat down and just picked a few songs to play on the guitar not really thinking about composition of set list or of when to do a sad song and when to do a fun song. ZAC’S DAD ROX ebbs and flows rather well for an album with no real forethought aside from here are some songs I figured out.
About Steve Clark: Through the perspective of a son, it’s easy to say you know your father. Minus I suppose my mom he’s the person I’ve know the longest in my life. You take all those memories and it’s hard to pick the best ones. The year he coached my Little League team (the only year I was any good) Buyer’s Electric. The time when I was 8 and he woke me up at 4am to show me that he found the Magic Sword in the NES Classic The Legend of Zelda. The time he drove my friends and I to Race Street in Philly to play our first Magic: The Gathering Tourney and we listend to Cake’s Frank Sinatra. Driving me to get my Driver’s License. Picking me up from the hospital after I’d ripped off half my face. Not to mention the advice and wisdom he’s passed down over the years. He was the first person I saw play music live. His music choice helped influence mine and gave me an ear for understanding how to have a dialogue about other people’s music. He taught me to look out for my friends and to give more than you expect to get. His positive attitude (even when things weren’t working out in his favor) showed me that life is a comedy you might as well chuckle and sing. He also taught me to not put up with bullshit people, and that there are times when you just have to move on. I mean he’s a dad, that’s want they do. Without his support I’d virtually be lost. I always know that when everything else is screwed I can land at home and figure my stuff out, get on my feet and start over again.
So listen to the album, rock out, share it with your friends, and if I can get him to come play in the city come out and see him. Happy Father’s Day, Dad
(photo by Erika Palmaffy)
Well, I’d be a real bastard if i didn’t say a damn word about my current project. WarFace is a little punk rock side project for 3/4 fellows from Black Water. It stars me, Zac Clark Alias Zulu Alpha Charlie as the lead singer. With Guitar, Bass and Drums by Adam Copeland (Alpha November Charlie [no relation]), Gerry Griffin (Golf Golf Golf) and Lloyd Naideck (Lima November). Songs about drinking on games shows, about buying stuff, about the movie 3 O’Clock High. Some guy from japan called us the “Musical Astrotrain”. Grand Victory said of us, “WarFace opens.” And that’s about as accurate a statement as one could get. We are gonna really bust out this June with three pretty Excellent Shows.
JC Friday at Painoland (June 1st)
The JC Bikes Ward Tour (June 3rd)
Steve Fulop Fundraiser at Zep Hall (June 14th)
I don’t have anything to have to listen to just yet, but rest assured we are in the works with a single real soon like. My other birthday wish is to see you out for a show… and maybe also for Steve Fulop to win next year’s election. It’ll mean good things for the music scene in Jersey City.
That’s it friends 32 posts in one day. I’d say it was hard, but really it felt great. Comment on your favorites and like them on face book down here at this list.
Imagine for a second that Josie told the Pussycats to shove off. And went and formed a new much more radical band. You get that last 60’s garage/surf style, but it’s a touch more cynical than all that lovey dovey stuff they were forced to write by the guy that also managed Jabber Jaws band (Yea Jabber Jaws had a band, did you not pay any attention to cartoons when you were little? The Snorks had a band too.) Anyhow, The classic surf beat in Losing All the Way is too perfect not to do the “Plunge” to. Janet’s voice is powerful without being too “theatre”. This song has attitude, two clenched fists, and sarcastic smile to boot.