Archive for the ‘Music’ Category
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
DJ Leonard Smalls and I have the exact same problem. It’s the same reason we listen to the radio when the TV is on. Well, we like to party. And that means we party a lot, so if we are gonna throw a party then it better be a humdinger! He called me up and said, “Rocker Tycoon, I need another band for my Valentine’s day party, got any ideas?”
I said, “Well who the hell is the headliner? I’m not a damned psychic, you know!”
Smalls came back at me, “Wyldlife!”
I said, “Fucking Dave Feldman’s group of rioter’s? Do you plan on razing the whole block or what? I guess if you’re dead set on those knuckleheads I’ll step up to the plate and figure something out. It’s gonna be a Lucky 7 shitshow kinda night, I suppose.”
Smalls commented, “So what your saying is: what we (Lucky7Tavern) lack in substance, we make up for in intensity?”
After conferring with Ghost Train PR’s Jen Schwartz, we decided I am the HEAT would be a perfect match. Oh how utterly right we were!
Saturday Night 7:30 or so. I rolled out to Lucky 7. There were something like 6 people in the bar. It’s a Saturday afternoon in Jersey City, that’s sort of normal. I find a spot, check my equipment and saddle up to the bar. I am The Heat rolls in a starts to set up. Jen looks nervous. “There’s no one here.”
I chuckle. I’m not worried in the least. Lucky’s is like the Jersey City Field of Dreams. If you rock it, they will come. When their set began I am the Heat started to play for maybe ten people. But like roaches from the woodwork, everyone began to shuffle in once they heard music.
(There’s a want, I dare say NEED, for local music in this town. No official venues and dozens of great bands. I was talking a few days ago with someone about the Jersey City rock scene, she goes, “Oh, the rock scene here sucks.”
I freaked out! “You shut your blaspheming mouth right now!” I explained that the scene is burgeoning, it’s ready to bust, there are a few places to play but no real venues. Local government stifles local music with red tape, but much like the Spice, the rock must flow. Many bars have become a haven for this scene, in the wake of Automata Chino, Lucky 7’s, Lampost and even O’Hara’s and Beer Garden have made a spot in their spaces for Live Music. I’m not sure I got that point across to the girl, I was on a rant afterall and can’t be bothered to slowdown once I start pontificating, but hey, YOU get me at least.)
Soooo…. Ah People started packing in for I am The Heat. Jameson Edwards (Guitar/Vox), Julius Myren (Guitar/Keys/Vox), Kevin Fey(Bass/Vox), Mike Horaz (Drums) are not strangers to the blog. I caught them on Halloween two years ago, the first thing I noticed was how incredibly catchy their brand of Indie Powerpop was. Insanely danceable and totally lighthearted…just fun rock music! It’s been about a year and a half knowing these fellas in passing. In the last month I’ve spent a good amount of time hanging out with these guys. They’ve made a mistake… THE MISTAKE. You ever see Almost Famous? NEVER make friends with the rock journalist! I’ve committed the same reverse sin (Made friends with a rock band), so fuck it! They plowed through their set list and ended to a very high energy packed house. I actually had trouble getting through the crowd to get pictures of the band.
Wyldlife took over after. And what I thought was a pretty packed dive bar doubled in capacity. It was like when the Grinch’s heart grew! Except there was a dude with crazy hair screaming and the whole bar was a tempest of sweat and limbs! Dave Feldman (Vocals) Sam Allen (Guitar) Spencer Alexander (Bass) Rusty Russ Barrnett (Drums) are Jersey City’s very own GlamPunk quartet! Enthusiastic is an understatement… watching these guys perform is like Christmas when you’re five. You think you’re gonna get that Fakor or maybe TrapJaw figure, then you see a CASTLE GREYSKULL sized box and it’s little-kid-bug-out-panic-happy-time! That comes close. There was moshing, dancing and even a little crowd surfing. I’ve been to a lot of shows at Lucky 7 Tavern, but this was over 9000! I Am The Heat was in the crowd mixing it up, Hell, most of Jersey City was there. You were likely there, thats how good this show was… YOU ACTUALLY SHOWED UP!
After we cleaned Wyldlife up off the floor, DJ LEONARDSMALLS and Dangerous Dave (Feldman) kept it rocking all night. The memories start to shift from vivid to vague at this point in the night. Needless to say, the commotion continued til 3am. I didn’t even have a date to the prom or a valentine… But after that show I couldn’t be bothered to care.Vodpod videos no longer available.
February 8th Lucky 7 Tavern (@Lucky7Tavern on twitter) welcomed two previously unseen bands into her doors. Nikki Sue & the Bad News played Tuesday nights Local Rock Show with Black Out Stereo. Rock did ensue, forthwith!
Nikki Sue & the Bad News is Nikki Ilchert (Guitar, Vox) , Ben Hutcheon (Bass), Mark Pugliese (Drums), Mike Petzinger (Guitar). Think a punkier Patsy Cline. There’s a ton of potential for these newcomers… Alt Country rock is on a huge resurgence and my question is could Nikki Sue step up to filling the crater that was left in the wake of losing Anyday Parade? Only time will tell, but be on the look out they are currently recording and are due to debut material soon!
Jesse Wolf (vocals/guitar) Chris Manning (guitar) Matt Brewster (bass) Mark Pugliese (drums) are Black Out Stereo. Combine elements of Springsteen with Rancid and Social Distortion and you have a very East Coast Rock-a-Billy band. Songs you hear once and can’t help but sing along to, Lead guitar that begs you to follow along with your personal air system and a Rhythm section that keeps you stumping! All the pieces fit together seamlessly. Where the hell have these guys been hiding out at? Why is this the first time I’ve seen them live? Well, either way, it won’t be the last.Vodpod videos no longer available.
Where do historical figures come from? The answer is simple, the question seems quite stupid once you hear the answer, in truth. If I were to tell you that Ben Franklin is Billy Gray, Sarah Tomek, Eddie Garza and and Adam Copeland, you’d think I was insane. How can one man be four people? More questions! And suddenly the whole mess becomes a deconstruction of not just the man, Ben Franklin, but the concept of him as well. Pretty soon, there you are, questions filling your head. Questions like: Has the Rocker Tycoon lost his mind? Who are those people that the Rocker Tycoon was talking about? And is this not a rock blog?
I’ll answer all those questions and more. Firstly, This is a Rock Blog! Damnit Man! have you been reading? Have you been listening? Have you been to the shows? Fuck there I go, more questions. Let’s assume you have been reading and listening. Then you know that Billy, Eddie and Sarah as well as new comer Adam are a BAND called Ben Franklin. Indeed, then you know that I have not lost my mind. I’m sober as a judge.
Hark! Then if those questions have been answered then you must know this: Ben Franklin will on the first score and fifth day of February (that’s the 25th) have an E.P. release party for their new upcoming album, URGENCY. Knowing this myself (This is what I do after all) I hit up Billy Gray (who knows way more dirt about the women in my life than the women in my life do). I said to Billy, “Billy, man, If you don’t let me check out your new E.P. early I’m gonna write a blog about my first girlfriend, then I’m gonna make you read it… in front of me at the bar during your E.P. release party.” Billy complied forthwith, what else could he do?
I’ve been listening to it everyday since. Listening to it in the shower, on the way to work, when I’m at home writing, and sometimes when I’m sleeping. The songs are embedded into my skull. I can’t get them out. I would if I tried. It’s an E.P. so I’ll break down each song for you. The whole thing start to finish.
Track 1 URGENCY:
Billy’s voice grains in after Eddie’s bass starts it off Sarah sets in with the drums and Adam’s lead melding with Billy’s rhythm, “There’s a sense of Urgency drowning in the frequency, in our headphones.” This song has a few solid and timeless themes. Sibling rivalry, Man vs Future, Struggle against Isolation, and the fight to become what you were meant to be. Basically its a song about getting your shit in order and living your short life with a little purpose… and that your sister is sort of a slut.
Track 2 TEAMWORK
One thing you can’t say about Ben Franklin is that they make tongue and cheek political references. I think I may have said this once. I was wrong. No punches are being pulled here. The message is clear, i think it’s clear at least: Join the military if you want to contribution to the faceless masses of imperialist conniving fat cats that control everything from the food you eat to the information to take in. They’ll sell you a romantic dream or heroism but at the end of the day TEAMWORK will only get THEM ahead. Musically they posit that war is a side effect of over population, and a large game of RISK played at the leisure of the world leaders. I could be totally of base here though. My belief is thus: It’s an anti-propaganda propaganda song.
Track 3 NO PLEASING YOU
Eddie takes the vocal lead on this track. I’d be upset with BF didn’t include one song that centers on relationships. Things slow down a bit this is one of the mellower tunes. The title is the chorus, “No pleasing you, and no reason to.” It’s about giving up on someone. Just finally coming out of the haze and saying, as Eddie puts it, “FUCK IT DUDE! (Let’s go bowling).” That moment of change when you realize this not worth it anymore. There are better thing to concern yourself with and just getting on. The song ends abruptly, which is a nice little touch.
Track 4 SMILE
Smile starts out whimsically enough, Billy is back on lead vocals. This is a great sing-a-long. I can almost feel the how crowd swaying and chanting the chorus. This is definitely a love song. I’m thinking its one of those, I can’t create a song for you, but I can for everything else deals. Why? You ASK! Well cuz you’re too god damn special to sum up in a few chords and some words. I could have totally missed the point here but that’s my guess. I’m sure Ben Franklin will comment on who close or far away I came on a scale of nuclear disasters the scale ranging from K-19 to Chernobyl.
In conclusion, I can’t get some of these songs out of my head. It took a while for Teamwork to grow on me, now I can’t get it out of my head. Oh and the Answer to the first question… HISTORY, dumbass.
Zac Clark, Rocker Tycoon
In the interest of full disclosure, two years ago, I didn’t think much of Dave Feldman. He was scrawny, he was young and he seemed quiet. I thought to myself, “Great! Another punker kid with a shitty haircut, is that what this town’s coming to.” Oh gimme a break, I was angrier in those days. I’m not sure what he did exactly but I’m one of those knee jerk snap judgment guys. I get a feeling or the wind changes and for like a whole week anyone I meet is an asshole. Dave must have met me during a tornado. Like I said, though, two years ago. During that time that weaselly little guy with the muskrat haircut and goofy smile burrowed his way into my social circle and since that happened I gotta tell you can just can’t see that fucker often enough.
He told me about his band and every now and then he’ll shoot me a text to let me know his band is playing. I’ve been a busy man lately, working, dodging ex’s (this town is getting smaller in that sense) and working on my fiction blog. Rockertycoon has taken a back seat to a lot of things. I got to 4th street fest a little late on Saturday. Dave’s band was starting to set up, a few people reminded me that he was playing I thought, Well, rad, I’ll get to see the little guy’s ska band afterall.” So they started up. AND FUCK IF I WASN’T BLOWN RIGHT OUT OF THE WATER! They actually sunk my battleship. I moved to the front of the crowd to get a closer look. I hadn’t planned on covering 4th street Fest, but now I felt it was my duty to record and spread the good word.
And the word is that Dave Feldman (Vox) Sam Allen (Guitar) Spencer Alexander (Bass) and Rusty Russ Barrett (Drums) alias WYLDLIFE kick serious ass. Sam and Spencer lay down some steady and catchy Rock n Roll they keep it simple but the impact is like dropping the C-word at your Granny’s funeral. Rusty’s drumwork is nothing short of spectacular, this dude is the bones for sure. If these guys were Transformers, Rusty would be the big one in the middle of the giant robot they form up together to make. And that means Dave is the head. Walking, no, strutting around like Mick fucking Jagger, you can tell he’s been waiting all week for this. The music is urgent and hard to hold still for. See these fucking guys! They rock, I mean it. And Dave Feldman is pretty ok on his own too, y’know, for a scrawny kid with a bad haircut.