Zac Clark, Rocker Tycoon

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

Archive for the ‘The Press’ 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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Rocker Tycoon Day: Master by The Press

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Let’s talk about whats not Evil. Actually let’s talk about a moment that made four dudes into good friends of mine. Known for their legendary mid song banter The Press is one of my favorite acts to catch live. But really I think it was Sarah Tomek of the late great Ben Franklin that said it right… you fight evil with Music!

Written by rockertycoon

May 16, 2012 at 10:45 am

The Press and Ben Franklin at Public Assembly

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September 16 2009: I took the Path to 14th and 6th ave then the L to Bedford Ave in Brooklyn to see my old friends The Press and Ben Franklin. Public Assembly is a pretty neat venue. That said it’s a Venue! It’s an honest to god place to play and see live music. That’s refreshing! The place itself is large enough for a reasonably large band with an unreasonable number of followers to play. The placement of the bar is Ideal if not perfect. I really can’t say how happy I am to be at a place with a raised stage, Even if it makes my job a little harder. Ultimately this isn’t about me anyhow, it’s about the bands the venues and the journey getting back and forth.

The first band sets up and sound checks, as the DJ (a seemingly adept fellow by his assault of the craft) sets the mood for the bar. A bit much? Nah, the live music hasn’t started yet and people are starting to come in. I say it’s working! Good job, Public Assembly! Set yourself up for success, then just ride the lightning til you’re successful, I always say. Columbus didn’t half-ass it, and look how far his bravado got him. Way to bring it on a Wednesday night!


Ivan and the Terribles’
drummer is the band’s exclamation point. She punctuated each snap and beat with a gusto I haven’t seen since I saw the Vandals back in ’02. I head over to the bar as Eddie and Billy of Ben Franklin scuttle in with their gear. We have a laugh about finally getting me out to see the band live and spotting an A&R scout (the only guy in the crowd old enough to be my dad, dressed like it was lunch hour at Goldman and Sachs), or someone up way pasted their normal bed time. I had the house’s $6 combo special: PBR can and a shot of well whiskey. For the record, Fleischman’s Whiskey has an aroma of burnt linoleum that doesn’t betray itself once it hits the palette.

The Courtesy Tier began shortly after. A great compliment of guitar and drums. These two fellas have a great chemistry together. The lyrics are of a redeeming nature and they sound much larger than they are. You’d think without seeing them that you were watching a full band with a separate vocalist. That’s the power or multi-tasking for you! After their set the guys gave me a CD and some stickers. I’ll definitely be giving the CD a look soon.

The Press took stage. Mike Henry (vocals, guitar). David Schneider (guitar) and Alex Picca (bass), Chuck Davis (drums) are Brooklyn’s steady-rock quartet. One thing I love about these guys is their between song banter. I totally feel like that’s part of the experience. I like a little chatter, while I’m waiting for my next song. Not like a whole speech but just a few quick pieces of info or a joke here and there. These guys are like a good old man barber, in that respect. They asked the crowd to sign their mailing list, and promised them stickers and pins. “If you want the stickers and pins but don’t want us to email you use someone else’s and we’ll spam that guy. This is our next song, this is what Mordor sounds like.” (It’s a good thing they prefaced with that disclaimer. As you all know, “One does not simply walk into Mordor.” Being that there are no trains in and I don’t own a car, I’d have never known, otherwise.) There’s nothing that a little humor and a LOTR reference won’t do for me. That’s just the band joking around between songs. The Press is a solid rock and roll band. Triumphant drums, 24-carat bass, No nonsense guitar, pungent vocals along with random asides about “Class 2 orcs” Do you really need me to spell it out? Go see these guys! They won’t disappoint.

Billy Grey, Eduardo Garza and Sarah Tomek, when their powers combine they form Ben Franklin (the band not the historical figure). Fresh from the studio these BK rockers just put out a really excellent CD called Optimist. It’s a must download and it’s free at www.wearebenfranklin.com. I’ve been rocking this album for the last week so I know all the words, or at least the important ones. The Press and I gathered beneath the stage for their set. They played most if not all of the songs from their LP. I was singing and dancing along, the whole time. Sara’s drum’s and Eddie’s bass lay the ground work for Billy’s guitar to tank over and They all come through with fly by air support on vocals. It’s not just good rock music, it’s fun rock music too. They have a ton of concept without going over your head. That extremely hard to pull off.

After the show Billy, Eddie, Sara and I sat and had a couple of drinks with The Press at the bar. The conversation ranged from the power of the Internet, and it’s role in the music industry to talking about the differences of where we grew up in comparison to New York City. Billy offered me a ride back to the Path. I said my goodbyes and made my way home. I was feeling way cooler than I probably was right then, so I went home and knocked myself down a peg by falling asleep to Genesis’ We Can’t Dance album.

Written by rockertycoon

September 22, 2009 at 3:47 pm