Archive for the ‘Rocker Tycoon’ 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
(This year I’ve gotten a lot of inquiries as to what happened to Through Sound and Time. If you’re not hip to this section of the blog, it’s a personal reflection of what I was listening to and reading at the time. I started in 1991 with my first CD purchase and I’m upto 2005, I’ve tried to write this post several times but I always felt nauseous as I started. Anyhow, it’s important I do this so we can move on and eventually get to the good stuff … Enjoy?)
Here I am on the final leg of my retrospective journey of literature and music. It’s been a while since I did a Through Sound and Time post. I guess one of the reasons is because I’m scared. Scared? What could that mean? Scared of what? The truth is 2005 and 2006 were a sort of dark age for me musically socially and frankly I didn’t read much. It’s hard to think about that time. I guess I sort of lost the faith for a bit. I focused on other things. So I figured that I’d tackle the next couple of year the way George Lucas handled Star Wars episodes 4 – 6. or as I like to think of them: The Fall of Anakin Skywalker. Here goes…
2005 new years I remember thinking to myself that this was the same year that the Transformers Movie (1985), the Cartoon not the Michael Bay shit storm, happened. Slightly disappointed that I had neither a sentient car or a gun that became a giant robot, I began to listen to a lot of bad emo music. Bands like Brand New, Funeral, Atreyu y’know that sort of stuff. The kind of music that’s about such clever topics as “my shitty ex” or “those friends of mine that aren’t friends” or (my personal favorite) “my vampire girlfriend”. Yea it wasn’t being being me during this era.
In March I had a girlfriend … Really my first relationship. Her name was Lisa she was a really nice girl. My job at rafferty’s was boring the fuck outta me and I finally moved back in with some friends in New Brunswick. Life at the old man’s was sorta too slow for me. So I spent the next few months trying to figure a way outta this town. Between the constant boozing and the existential stasis, I was pretty sick of NB. Many of my friends had moved and I was hungry for a change.
May 28th 2005 (remember this date) I broke up with my G/f and got the fuck outta Dodge. Moved back to my dad’s to regroup. A month later, bought a White ’88 cadillac for $200, then spent the summer on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.
A man alone on the road for the first time, since my grandfather passed away, it was nice to just have some time to myself. I knew I was gonna save some money living with my cousin Angela in the South. It was just trying to figure out what to do with that money once I left.
That was a great Summer. It was a stupid summer but it was good for me. I got a job waiting tables at Out Back Steakhouse, and helping a family friend’s Restaurant as a busboy dish washer for in between. Outback never opened til 4pm so that gave me the daytime to spend alone on the beach. Cousin Angela was pretty busy so I spent a lot of the summer by myself or hanging out with Aunt Pam or Cousin Jon Tyler. I’m the eldest Clark in my generation, Angela and JT were Pam’s kids (my dad’s sister) so they were Longs. Both about ten years older than me, JT got me into Punk Rock when I was younger. He used to send me his old punk clothes. Anyhow I spent my days on the beach reading the Wheel of Time. Talk about epic 10 books long this series makes the lord of the rings look like level 1. Rich fantasy world, incredible character development, and tons of political intrigue.
In June I realized my Magic: The Gathering ban had been lifted. I spent a few bucks playing the online version of the game. By the end of the month I wasn’t really feeling it. In August I had saved enough money for an entire semester of school, so I decided that was gonna be my focus. Back to Camden and finish school in the next year.
Halloween I was Shaun of the Dead… It was a little early though not everyone got it. In late October I started dating a girl. I had a job at Applebee’s then Don Pablo’s and ended the year back at Ritz Camera. Since I was back in South Jersey I reconnected with many of my friends from the comic shop. I spent new years making out with my girlfriend drunk on a friend’s couch. It was a pretty standard New Years.
(Well that wasn’t so bad I guess, though ill say it was certainly a transition year. I stepped down a notch and focused on school the year ended well. I’m glad it’s over though aside from the Summer it was a pretty slow year.)
Zac Clark, Rocker Tycoon
Apologies if this comes out strange, it’s the first time I’ve had to write one of these. Today I got some pretty heartbreaking news, and I’d be doing an injustice to both the band and the reader if I didn’t react in some manner to it. As Rocker Tycoon, I’ve long walked a line with bands as a trusted friend and a trusted ear not to mention a journalist. I wonder if my next step is the right one often, I’m hoping that, in this, I err on the side of friend over journalist.
Today Ben Franklin officially broke up. Typing that last sentence was possibly one of the harder things I’ve done since I started this blog over two years ago. One of the bands that really helped put my faith in this scene, they’ve all also been excellent friends and many times confidants to me. I guess I should start by telling you about how I came across these kids.
It was at Boro 6 Fest at Teirney’s Tavern when I first met Billy Gray. Totally enthusiastic, and had apparently been reading about what I do for some time, I gotta say I was still dealing with my new found rock blogger status and wasn’t quite sure what to make of him.
A month or two later he came and personally put his new LP in my hand. I listened to it later that night and pretty much didn’t stop listening to it for a solid month.
Billy invited me to come see the Press and Ben Franklin at Public Assembly. Barely acquaintances at this time I was just happy to get out and see some bands, and hang out with folks in a new social circle. The fellas in the Press and I had several run ins and things were set up for a great night. There wasn’t a hugh crowd (it was a Monday) but I can tell you I was screaming my heart out to this (at the time) threesome from Brooklyn.
In coming months Billy and Eddie invited me out to shows. I met Billy’s girlfriend, now wife, Gonul. And I continued to rock out at shows. Many times inviting a date along too. They met a lot of dates, and helped me put into perspective my love life when things took a wild turn or just didn’t work out.
I’d chat with Sarah and Eddie at shows about the scene and how we were all working on something so much bigger than we are. Eddie would tell me about the scene on the west coast he was involved in and I would talk about New Brunswick during my time there. They’d turn me on to new bands, and some old bands. And helped me with ideas for the blog just by chatting with me about it. Sometimes they were just a sounding board for whatever bullshit I was going through at the bar I was working at and how I was thinking about moving on and getting more involved with writing.
When Adam joined the band we became fast friends, his astounding love of geekery, an obvious compliment to mine. Another action/emotion guy added to the band and my growing list of close friends by now in this scene.
When Eric Moeller of SPILLPEAK Media invited me to a show in New Brunswick to see them at McCormick’s I couldn’t turn it down, and I met several new friends in the Tiny Giant Artist collective. Ben Franklin played their only show they didn’t end with Fren Banklin that night.
The list of intimate moments between myself and the band could go on for weeks. I’ve written about every show I’ve been to of their’s. That’s a sort of amazing blessing that I have the ability to look back and see this band grow over the last two years with me.
With the disillusion of the band we have Sarah going on tour to return one day on a white horse like Gandolf at the end of Two Towers. Adam is in Black Water, a highly awesome band that is every bit as great as Ben Franklin. That leaves my buds Billy and Eddie. If this break sticks (and a lot of us are praying it doesn’t) I can’t for a second imagine that these two very talented, very dynamic fellows won’t continue making music. I look forward to either option and they both know I’ll make their first shows come hell or high water.
So, here I am at the end of this and I’ll admit, I’m fighting back the tears. In fact, I’m not really doing a very good job of that. Adam, Sarah, Eddie and Billy I know I’ll see you all soon, together or separately. I love you guys, I appreciate the hell out of all your support and everything you’ve done to inspire the rest of us in the scene. I’m gonna miss those glances and nods you guys give me from the stage as I’m standing in the front singing along. I guess I’ll leave you with a final note, keep in your hearts and minds how important your music was/is to a lot of us out there, not to mention each other. When you look back at Ben Franklin, look back with pride, smile and see if you can still see me singing my voice out in the front.
I wish you all the best of Luck. I don’t really know what else I can say….
Zac Clark, Rocker Tycoon
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