Zac Clark, Rocker Tycoon

The Rogue Rock Writer, Half in the Bag, Submersed in the Scene

Archive for the ‘rock and roll’ Category

2012: A Year in the Life

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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

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Wyldlife at 4th Street Fest

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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.

Zac Clark, Rocker Tyccon

Written by rockertycoon

October 3, 2010 at 8:10 am

Rockabilly Buenos Aires Style

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As most of you know, my sister blog Wayward Winos is written by my best friend Paul Cox and his girlfriend Melanie McLean. Currently they are traveling through South America. I’ve been trying to get them to get me a post for the last few months, and here it is. Keep in mind all this week there’s gonna be a new post everyday! Make sure to check out their blog and if all goes right I’ll be joining them in a few weeks for a my hand at a travel post!


Growing up, bringing a camera to a show was almost unheard of. All the jumping, moshing, and dancing would most certainly lead to the demise of any object in your pockets. I can’t count the pairs of glasses I’ve broke or the sets of keys I’ve lost. Now, as a self proclaimed journalist and blogger, these ideas have changed.

So there I was, at The Roxy, in the Palermo district of Buenos Aires, a second resort after our, per usual, tardiness. While waiting for an unknown band to take the stage, I noticed many of the girls in the room were adorning a haircut in the image of Betty Page, but I payed no mind. Suddenly, the curtains were pulled open to reveal three people: one standing behind a drum set, one behind a guitar, and another behind a stand-up base… We had stumbled unknowingly into a Rockabilly show– and I hadn’t a camera!

This surely would be cause for execution at the hands of the Rocker Tycoon, Zac Clark, so I chugged what was left of my beer and sprinted the eight blocks back to our apartment to retrieve the device, then sprinted the eight blocks back to the show.

When I returned, Melanie had a fresh brew waiting for me and Los Primitivos were in the middle of a cover of “Ball & Chain” by Social Distortion. Although, it was a rocking version, I was a little worried that we were in the midst of a cover show. They soon broke out into lyrics I didn’t really understand and I was reassured that I was at my first South American Rockabilly show.

Phonzy behind the stand-up bass, aptly named the Slap Rod, carried the band in stage presence; bouncing about and using his bass like his dance partner. The other two members, Uru. Cat on guitar and Animal Lee on drums, followed closely behind, wailing out and having a jolly good time.

Since I speak Spanish just as well as I speak Klingon, I didn’t get many of the lyrics, but the sound was enough to make you want to dance. Songs like “Whiskey en el Tren” and “Primitivo” showed the true colors of good Rockabilly.

For a band that has been rocking out since 1988, Los Primitivos definitely can still put on a great show.

Check out clips from the concert and our relaxed interview with the band outside of The Roxy, Buenos Aires.

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Paul is a traveler, budding writer and beer connoisseur. He’s recently been featured on the short fiction blog hypershort.blogspot.com. Melanie finds herself behind a camera of some sort most of the time. See more of her work at www.melaniemcleanphoto.com.

Together, Melanie and Paul are The Wayward Winos. The pair has been waywardly wondering around South America, documenting their adventures. They seek unique aspects of frequent travel destinations as well as the hidden gems, share their impressions and pass along travel tips for the low-budget traveler. Join the wayward travels at www.waywardwinos.blogspot.com.

Written by rockertycoon

May 18, 2009 at 3:46 pm