Zac Clark, Rocker Tycoon

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

Archive for the ‘Who watches the Watchmen’ 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

Honah Lee At the I.M.A.C.

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Last weekend I took the trip to Trenton to see Cryptkeeper Five. While I was there I met up with the fellas from Honah Lee. Due to time and my lack of ability to sleep in seedy train stations, I didn’t get a chance to catch them play. NO WORRIES FRIENDS! This week I caught back up with Honah Lee at I.M.A.C.(Iron Monkey Automata Chino) in Jersey city! That’s not where the Rocker Tycoon’s day began though!

Now, if we want to get technical (for the sake of being technical, I suppose we will) I was barbacking at 12am when friday actually started. The proper start of my day came the next day around 1pm, when the incessant ringing of my phone woke me from my ritual 12 hour friday slumber. Figuring it was my mom, who always assumes that if I don’t pick up the phone each time she calls that I’m in a gutter somewhere, I guiltily searched my pants for the phone. (Note: My mom works in guilt-trips the way other artists work in oils or clay, it’s her true medium. I’m sure yours does as well.) However it turns out that it was my friend Steven. The text said, “The world will scream up and shout save us.” Oh that’s right! I think to myself as my phone goes off, again for Steven, “And I will say NO!” THE WATCHMEN MOVIE IS TODAY! We make plans to go see it at 3:30pm. I shower, shave, charge batteries, clean lenses, Y’know the normal stuff you do at 2pm when you wake up. I head off to the theatre, watch the Watchmen and check the time: 6:30pm. I walk back to downtown Jersey City, hit my place, grabbed my gear and right back out the I.M.A.C.

Seems that I got there a bit early, Which was fine it gave me a chance to check out the place. IMAC opened about three months ago in Jersey City. They are one of the only venues in town that can have shows after 11pm. In a town that is very thirsty for a local music scene, or any music scene for that matter, it has become a beacon of hope for changes soon to come. The stage is slightly raised from the floor. This is ideal in my opinion. You get to be close enough to the band without looking up their nostrils, which is important when you’re taking pictures. It also puts them just high enough to be seen by the folks in the rear. The bar sits next to the stage. During the show I found that they do a combination of bar and cocktail waitress service. Again ideal if you’re rocking out, they bring the drinks to you in a crowded bar. I have to say the bathroom situation was much to be desired though. There was only one and the line was always three deep. ProTip: I used the bathroom next door at Iron Monkey. I don’t know if this was kosher and I frankly couldn’t be bothered to give a damn. They own both buildings, I say its cool to use the john in either one.

Enough about the venue, it was adequate. After a bit of a look around and a few drinks at IM proper. I meet up with Honah Lee, and got this interview before the show. Right after the interview, we all decide its best to go in and have a few drinks before the set. Conversations happened and we really hit it off, talking about comics, music we dig, stuff like that. It was beyond question that theses lads had some serious concept.

First Crooked Looks went on. Crooked Looks is Rick Smith and Colin Schiller. Hard to really categorize this band. Dance Music for punks? or Punk Rock for dancers. I’m not sure but this is a fact. They had a serious energy! Dick’s Vocals and Colin’s backing vocal and drums drove the electronic support music into a real panic. Then they pulled it all together with Well Enough Alone, a song that was reminiscent of Chubby Checker’s Let’s Twist Again. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole thing twisted merry-go-round they created! I’ll be in touch with them soon for another much closer look.

After Crooked Looks finished up my new friends took the stage. Honah Lee is Tim (vox,guitar) Justin (lead guitar), Jim (bass) and Anthony (drums). They broke out with Sobored….So bored. Tim picked up the crowd with the plea “Take me somewhere…anywhere! Just as long as it’s not here!” Justin punctuated Jim’s Bass. And Anthony kept a solid beat that got me bobbin’ my head. I should note Anthony is definitely the band’s class clown. We discussed his love for West Highland Terriers and by love I mean fanaticism. While certainly not a direct quote he expressed how they were the ultimate breed of dog and that anyone who believed otherwise would suffer the consequences.

I think aside from hangin out and getting to know the band the real break through came just before their set when one of the guy received a phone call that confirmed a sober ride home. After this we all started drinking heavily. this trend continued until at least 3am for me. And I last remember seeing the band out all the way across town. Fellas if you’re reading this……i think i may need to buy another t-shirt……oh no I still have the last one. Some chick definitely made it unwearable! Good times were had by all, good times were had by all!

Written by rockertycoon

March 9, 2009 at 4:19 pm