Zac Clark, Rocker Tycoon

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

Archive for the ‘The Meltdowns’ 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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Recapping 2011: A Year of Singles

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Every year I do some kinda recap about how I spent my year musically. This year I entrenched myself quite deeply into the local music scene. I think its funny now when people ask me what I do the first thing that comes out of my mouth is that I’m a music blogger. Saying that used to inspire a great deal of poserism in me. I was a pretender, just trying to figure out if I could hold a readers attention. Almost three years later and hear I am watching Flash Gordon, and figuring out which tracks were the best I’d heard this year. People actually value my opinion and as laughable as that still seems to me, I’m humbled by your unwavering fealthy to local music and to you tolerance for my coverage. So here they are 10 songs I rocked out to this year, in no particular order.

Sun Tea in the House of Atreus by Hushmoney


Hailing from Detroit, Hushmoney isn’t exactly local. No matter they rock out(and it’s my blog so nah)! Sort of a mix of Epic Metal and Dance Rock. Think Everytime I Die meets Cobra Starship.. Catchy though, The Breakdown is fucking rad as shit! Listen to that lead guitar! And its free so how about you get on that!

Arizona – Black Water


Yea yea I know this Track has been out for a while. But 2011 was the year I really, started listening to Black Water. After a meeting with Adam Copeland that went sorta strange (My Bad) at the end of 2010. I booked BW with Ben Franklin at Lucky 7. Although I had apparently seen them in 2009 at Automata Chino.  Anyhow, I really got into these guys in 2011 and this song “Arizona” is one of my favs.  Back in April, I asked Copeland about the inspiration for the song… about what incident it referred to. “A fictional one. Its a reverse terrorism fantasy tale of an American whose homeland (AZ) is invaded and fights back” He told me.  It’s an intense concept and the song is just as wild.

Eat People by Deep Pockets

I saw these guys at a show in the middle of the year.  And I can’t get this song out of my head.  That guitar riff is stuck in there. Seeing them live I gotta say their mid song banter rivals that of The Press’s Mike Henry.

Teamwork by Ben Franklin

In 2009 this song was my first impression of Billy Gray as well as Ben Franklin.  In early 2011 it was released through Killing Horse Records as a B-side on the Urgency EP.  What a timely song, though it’s loosely rooted in a true story, the Newburgh Four, I think the chorus really should be the new recruiting jingle for the US military.  “Serve your country.  Do us some good, it’ll get you off the street.  Keep the fear alive keep the threat alive keep the population undercontrol.”  Just listen to the thing, otherwise I’ll have to write out the whole damn thing out.

What Would Lou Reed Do – I Am The Heat

2011 was the year I moved to Brooklyn.  I moved for several reasons some good (To embed myself into the Brooklyn Indie Scene a bit more) some not so good (I’d worked at every bar in Jersey City).  One of the Bands that really took me under their wing was I Am The Heat.  No song embodies these guys better than What Would Lou Reed Do.  This song reminds me of the end of Wayne’s World when Crucial Taunt is playing to get Mr. Big to give them a record contract.  It’s chaotic raucous and fun.  That’s how I think of I Am The Heat.

Actual/Ideal – No Pasaran!

Truthfully I can’t pick one song off Porter In The Making that I like better than the others.  It’s a faceblast furnace of rock!  The whole album should be listened to over and over again while sharpening knifes.  One thing I can say with impunity about this band in that their recordings hold up just as well as their live shows.  Be sure to catch them at the Killing Horse Records 2nd Anniversary show at Maxwells this Friday Jan 6th at Maxwells.  It’ll be the last time to catch them before they go on hiatus from Live shows (hopefully for just a bit).

Retrograding the Masses – Holy City Zoo

What the fuck can I say about Holy City Zoo that I haven’t already.  I’ll keep it simple, they belt it out and they wail!  I know this is a curveball for the band (they think that Mark your Path is my favorite).  Part of the Tiny Giant Artist Collective HCZ is crazy supportive of the local scene as well.  Traveling far and wide to help spread the good word of underground music.  I haven’t seen this much positivity in a scene since I started doing this blog.

SLEEPER HOLD – CICADA RADIO

This song has heart.  It’s a little dark and little depressing but damn I just can’t get enough of it.  It’s like a catharsis to the rest of the Imposter EP.  Perfectly placed.  I hear tell KIlling Horse is looking to release this on Vinyl!

Lady Abortion – Cinema Cinema

Talk about a wall of noise!  First off the video is great!  EV and Paul are animals!  This song is like combining Motorhead and the Rocketeer!  And Live?  Fuck, I’ve seen these guys play their hearts out for like 3 hours.  Thats fortitude!  The whole Shoot the Freak EP is like a night in county jail, that is to say you should experience it with your eyes and ears at the ready.  You’ll be surprised, but at least you’ll be ready.

International – Lost Gloves

I have slept of these guys for WAAAAY too long.  The album has been on my ipod since just a little before Brick City Sound Riot and this song jumped out at me the other day.  The intro is great the melodic backing vocals contrast the main vocals perfectly.  Importantly you can dance to this!  The chorus just makes me feel like this song should be used in a commercial or as the intro to a sitcom.

BONUS ROUND

The First Time I Killed Someone – Wyldlife

My favorite song off the much celebrated LP.  These cats are in store for big things mark my words.  The story behind this song is kind of great as well.  Back in 2009 Dave Feldman, was looking for a lil extra money.  He tried his hand working as a cook at Lucky 7 with me… it didn’t take.  (Dave Feldman doesn’t cook burgers he sings rock n roll.)  Well, the guy that got his job also got his room in his apartment.  I’m not sure of the exact details, but this song is a lil murder fantasy about his old roommate.  You’re a dark dude Dave, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

HONORABLE MENTIONS

I had a terrible time narrowing this list down, but I firmly believe that ten is a good cut off and I couldn’t even stick to that.  That said, here are some other excellent songs I loves this year.  I listened to them on the train or while I was writing, friends passed them around, and they are all on my playlist at home.

Unprofessional – Nico Blues

Maps – Front Bottoms

Co-Workers – Meet Pause

Big Boss Little Boss – The Press

PBR Song – The Porchistas

Carter (Daniel, You See?) – They Had Faces Then

Club Sedition – Meltdowns

Location – Nikki Sue & the Bad News