Page 1

DEFTONES

DROPKICK MURPHYS

NY INK ’S MEGAN MASSACRE

THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN

BUTCH WALKER’S MOTORBIKES

LEARN TO SCREAM MODERN ROCK-’N’-ROLL CULTURE ISSUE

41

STYLE GUIDE:

Andrew Bird

CULT KING

THE UNPREDICTABLE PATH OF FAITH NO MORE’S MIKE PATTON

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CONTENTS

ISSUE

41

FEATURES STYLE

LIFE ON THE ROAD

32 HOUSE

68 HARDSCRABBLE

OF ROCK

THE PASSENGER

HIP-HOP COLLECTIVE DOOMTREE

“DON’T SLEEP IF IT’S TIME TO YELL.”

INTERVIEWS

56 CULT KING: THE

UNPREDICTABLE PATH OF FAITH NO MORE’S MIKE PATTON

“THESE THINGS THAT YOU’VE DONE IN THE PAST AREN’T YOUR ENEMIES.”

64 BUTCH

WALKER’S MOTORBIKES

74 PHOTO BY CHRIS FORCE

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CONTENTS

SHORTCUTS LABEL Q&A

STUDIO VISIT

22 THRILL JOCKEY CELEBRATES 20 YEARS OF COMPULSIVE SUPPORT

52 INSIDE BENTON HARBOR’S COZY, CUSTOMIZED KEY CLUB RECORDING COMPANY

EAT & DRINK

TATTOOS

24 DROPKICK MURPHYS: RED SOX SUPER-FAN KEN CASEY REPLICATES THE ORIGINAL SPORTS PUB

30 NY INK’S MEGAN MASSACRE

26 DANISH MICRO-BREWS + TOP CHEF’S TOM COLICCHIO

25 IMPROV COMEDIAN/MUSICIAN REGGIE WATTS ON ALIEN INVADERS, INVISIBILITY CLOAKS, AND THE ULTIMATE PERIOD PIECE

FUNNY SHIT

SHOP TOUR

50 GET MOTORBIKE MODS AND A BEAN BUZZ AT PORTLAND’S SEE SEE MOTOR COFFEE CO.

88 CHINO MORENO / DEFTONES 92 BEN WEINMAN / THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN 96 PHIL ANSELMO / DOWN 98 SASHA VALLELY / SPINDRIFT

REVIEWS 102 4

BEST ALBUMS ISSUE 41

ALARM MAGAZINE

NICK AITKEN Nick Aitken is a high-fashion photographer residing in the Bay Area. A former teen model and professional stylist, he reunited with his first creative love and has shot daydreaminspired editorial and conceptual photography for a host of print and web magazines, including Tantalum, Deluxx Digital, and Kurv.

LINCOLN EDDY Lincoln Eddy cut his musical teeth at punk shows at the Flint Local 432 in Flint, MI. With a degree in English and creative writing from Michigan State University, he’s worked various odd jobs including bookseller, farmhand, and lingerie stockboy. He lives in Chicago.

BRANDON GOEI Brandon Goei recently completed an MA in New Arts Journalism from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he was the founding editor of F Newsmagazine’s music section. He has interned and/or contributed to ALARM Magazine, Pitchfork, Portable.tv, and others, and he likes his coffee like he likes his music: dark and sludgy.

SABY REYESKULKARNI

DIALOGUE 84 JØRGEN MUNKEBY / SHINING

CONTRIBUTORS

13 . . . . . . . . . . . READ 48 . . . . . . . . . WEAR 51 . . . . . . . . .GROOM Baxter Safety Razor: p51

Saby Reyes-Kulkarni is a freelance writer based in Rochester, NY, and the host and founder of the streaming radio shows Feedback Deficiency, Let the Good Times Grind, and others. He has covered Battles, Soundgarden, The Flaming Lips, and many other acts for ALARM, and he loves nothing more than bugging music editor Scott Morrow on Sundays during football season. He’d pay top dollar to see Morrow jello-wrestle music critic Jim DeRogatis.

JOHN SHAFT Jon Shaft is an astronaut, editorial and fashion photographer, artist, and creative director in Chicago, inspired by and forever seeking beautiful light.


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ISSUE

41

PUBLISHER & EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Chris Force chris@alarmpress.com ----MUSIC EDITOR Scott Morrow scottm@alarmpress.com

PRODUCTION MANAGER Lauren Carroll laurenc@alarmpress.com

-----

-----

ART DIRECTOR Spencer Matern spencer@alarmpress.com

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER Shannon Painter shannon@alarmpress.com

DESIGN INTERNS Michael Bodor Robyn Boehler ----WRITERS Joel Bednarz, Keidra Chaney, Michael Danaher, Lincoln Eddy, Emily Elhaj, Brandon Goei, Patrick Hajduch, Sean Ingram, Deborah Jian Lee, Zach Long, Bobby Markos, Todd Nief, Michael Nolledo, Saby ReyesKulkarni, Timothy A. Schuler, Josh Stockinger PHOTOGRAPHERS Nick Aitken, Dusdin Condren, Liz Devine, Bryan Hainer, Olivia Jaffe, Noah Kalina, Christopher Kitahara, Kaitlyn McQuaid, John Lou Miles, Lisa Predko, Matt Rainwaters, Jon Shaft, Wallo Villacorta, Matthew Williams ----COVER IMAGE Mike Patton by Nick Aitken ----MARKETING COORDINATOR Jenny Palmer jenny@alarmpress.com

----A one-year subscription to ALARM Magazine is US $20. Visit our website at alarm-magazine.com or send a check or money order to: ALARM Press 900 North Franklin Street, Suite 300 Chicago, IL 60610 P 312.386.7932 F 312.276.8085 info@alarmpress.com ----ALARM Magazine (ISSN 15558819) is published quarterly by ALARM Press at 900 N. Franklin St., Ste 300, Chicago, IL, 60610. Periodicals postage is PENDING at Chicago, IL, and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address corrections to ALARM Magazine at 900 N. Franklin St., Ste 300, Chicago, IL, 60610 ----Š 2013 ALARM Magazine. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is strictly prohibited. ALARM MAGAZINE is a trademark of ALARM Press, LLC.


LET TER FROM THE EDITOR CREATING THIS MAGAZINE HAS BROUGHT MANY AMAZING PEOPLE AND STORIES INTO MY LIFE. A piece of music can be such a radically influential thing to me, to us as music fans, and when the story behind that music is equally influential, it takes on the ability to transform us. You stop just hearing the music; you start to know the music. You feel the environment that created it, and you participate in its message (even if you don’t agree with it). In this issue, music editor Scott Morrow talks with multidisciplinary musician Mike Patton. His wildly diverse and successful career defies all explanation. He has independently designed what his music can be and how it can be made. He defined his own approach, his own success. And he earned it. Scott also spoke to Jørgen Munkeby, a Norwegian jazzmetal musician, who told him, “Now you’re seeing how the sausage is made. That’s the messy part. Most people would be better off not knowing.” Well, I guess we just like seeing the mess. How does a former jazz quartet transition to a heavy prog band, add in elements of black metal, and then make songs with more conventional structures? Somehow, Jørgen did it with his band Shining. He talks about creating music for a defined audience, and how the music actually is secondary to connecting with that audience. In addition to some great music profiles and a collection of great albums we reviewed (now conveniently color coded from raging to relaxed), we’ve brought some pieces of the rock-’n’-roll culture that surrounds us. We’ve got some beer and (veggie) food stories, as well as some photo highlights from when I rode out to meet Butch Walker at his studio and we cruised around on his ’66 Triumph hardtail. (Thanks to the fellas at Hollywood Electrics for loaning me a sweet Zero bike). We’ve got an awesome photo feature from talented photographer John Lou Miles, plus a bunch of other great stories from around the music world. Lastly, you’ll notice that we’ve redesigned the magazine from head to toe, and I feel like I’m supposed to write, “And we want to know what you think of it.” But really, we don’t. Not that we don’t make this magazine to be read and enjoyed by you, but we make this magazine because we want to read it. We’ve never been much for pleasing a crowd. And, though there are lots of other great mags out there, no one does things how we think they should be done, and few have such fantastic taste in music. ----Chris Force, publisher & editor-in-chief chris@alarmpress.com

PHOTO BY JIM KRANTZ

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DROPKICK MURPHYS / REGGIE WATTS / REV. HORTON HEAT / HOUSE OF ROCK

SHORTCUTS 30

Megan Massacre NY Ink’s countercultural sparkplug talks about tattoo-artist respect, being vegetarian, and breaking into a male-dominated industry. PHOTO BY MATTHEW WILLIAMS

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BACKSTAGE CONFIDENTIAL

HANK WILLIAMS III

K

nown most simply as Hank III, Shelton Hank Williams comes from one of country music’s most notable lineages. And though his crowds continue the rowdy traditions of his father and grandfather, the youngest Williams has spent more than 15 years crafting his own legacy, switching from traditional country to psychobilly to metal from album to album—and from set to set every night in concert. A typical Hank III performance lasts 3–4 hours, often with sweltering temps and unruly fans. Here the “hillbilly joker”—who sings, screams, and plays guitar, bass, and drums—talks about concert craziness and how he keeps his voice in order.

“There’s been knifings at the show, fights, wrecks, police busting people—[and] thousands of people of different walks of life getting along. The weirdest thing that’s ever happened has been people passing on while we’ve been playing—that’s about as strange as it gets. You hate to see that. “ “The biggest challenge is keeping the voice. When you got no voice, it makes me feel like I’m ripping my fans off. I do it all [to take care of it], from breathing steam to stretching to warming it up—all the vocal exercises before the show and after the show. The worst-case scenario is when I have absolutely no voice, can’t speak at all—then I have to get a steroid shot to make all the inflammation disappear. I’ve done shows with strep throat. “ “I try to keep the rooms as hot as possible, because air conditioning can take your voice before you know it. It’s pretty miserable in the summertime for some of my fans. When we played Jacksonville [last year], it was probably 140 degrees the whole show.”

TEXT BY SCOTT MORROW


SHORTCUTS BOOKS

READ SOMETHING TOM GAULD:

You’re All Just Jealous of My Jetpack (Drawn and Quarterly)

Work imitates art: The physical works of DH Phillips are just as beautiful as his aural creations in True Widow.

On the heels of his well-received graphic novel Goliath, Tom Gauld has collected a series of his cartoons made for The Guardian. With subject matter that ranges from Tom Waits’s childhood home to a feminist James Bond, Gauld has a dark humor, a tongue-in-cheek take on literature, and a drawing style like few others.

WOODWORKING ARTISTRY BY “STONEGAZE” CRAFTSMAN DH PHILLIPS OF

TRUE WIDOW Musicians’ day jobs often are held as a foil to what they’ve accomplished artistically, as if to say, “Look at what he/she had to do to create this masterpiece.” But for a few, like guitarist/vocalist DH Phillips of “stonegaze” trio True Widow, their day jobs aren’t just a punch line—they add an entirely new dimension to their artistic output. WILL ELLSWORTH-JONES:

Banksy: The Man Behind the Wall (St. Martin’s Press)

In what might be the most accurate biography of infamous street artist Banksy, Will Ellsworth-Jones interviews friends and acquaintances, compiles loads of photographs, and tries to answer the question of how someone so completely secretive has become such a household name.

MARGOT MIFFLIN:

Bodies of Subversion: A Secret History of Women and Tattoo, Third Edition (PowerHouse Books)

Originally released in 1997, Bodies of Subversion expands again to remain an essential reference on the history of women and tattoos, with historical anecdotes, full-color photographs, and a look at the effect of reality TV on tattoo culture. According to the book, tattooed women outnumbered men last year for the first time in American history.

BOOKS TEXT BY LINCOLN EDDY; TRUE WIDOW TEXT BY BRANDON GOEI; TRUE WIOW PORTRAIT BY STEVE VISNEAU

WARREN ELLIS:

Gun Machine (Mulholland Books)

With his second novel, acclaimed comic-book writer Warren Ellis (Transmetropolitan, Planetary) drips his poisonous humor and ripping dialogue into a story about twin Manhattans, centered on a sealed apartment containing hundreds of guns from unsolved murders.

When he’s not writing his band’s bone-rattling slow jams, Phillips is a woodworker by trade, creating furniture for private clients via traditional, handbuilt methods. The story of how he got started is just as traditional: “My father is an architect and carpenter. As soon as I was old enough, he started taking me on jobs.” After a stint at Boston’s North Bennet Street School, whose curriculum includes “lots of hand work and a serious education in furniture history,” Phillips set himself up in his father’s shop in Dallas and makes his honest living there daily. “Making furniture is like making a puzzle,” he says. “Everything has to fit together and go together in a certain order.” And because quality takes time, Phillips and his clients understand the kind of patience that’s required. Even with a ceaseless schedule, his waiting list often stretches months into the future—but the end result is an expertly executed mix of Phillips’s favorite classical and mid-century styles, made to order. “It’s just what I do,” he says, “and I am always glad to do more of it. I plan on doing this until my body gives in.”

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SHORTCUTS

WEB

GEAR

COMMUNITY EVOLUTION:

SOUNDCLOUD’S

PRO PARTNER PLATFORM

HEAR, BE HEARD & PROTECT YA MAC

TIVOLI AUDIO MODEL TWO STEREO

D

espite the glut of musicsharing and -streaming apps available on the Web, podcasters, spoken-word artists, and other sound creators for years didn’t have a place online to call their own. Enter SoundCloud, the Berlin-based sound-sharing website launched in 2008 that founders Alexander Ljung and Eric Wahlforss refer to as the “YouTube of sound.”

3 TIPS FOR SOUNDCLOUD NEWBS New to SoundCloud? VP of business development Dave Haynes suggests the following: in with original content. “It’s 1 Jump not just about ‘I’ve got this new [music] track I want to release,’” he says. “It can just be a recording of the world around you.” and podcasters can 2 Musicians branch out with non-music content. “It can just be snippets from the studio, or outtakes, or putting a vocal [track] up and asking the community to remix it or to provide backing for it.” ticipate even if you’re not 3 Par uploading. “Start following people you really like, use timed comments to give some great feedback, set up projects so that you can collaborate with other users.”

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Though DJs and electronic artists initially flocked to SoundCloud, its 20 million+ user base now represents a diverse collection of sounds beyond the realm of music—including sound effects, ambient recordings, news programming, and podcasts. “Very early on, we saw the gap that there wasn’t really a default platform for sound on the Web,” says SoundCloud VP of business development Dave Haynes. “You had platforms for bloggers, like WordPress, and you had platforms for photos, like Flickr.” What makes SoundCloud unique, Haynes says, is “a focus on creators that’s really grown SoundCloud and its community.” Now SoundCloud has unveiled its “Pro Par tner ” subscription ser vice with exclusive features like “Moving Sounds,” which couples visual elements in real time with sounds like a slideshow. Early Pro Partners include Red Bull’s Sound Select series for emerging musicians, Chris Hardwick ’s Nerdist podcast, and UK news outlet The Guardian. This was on the heels of SoundCloud’s 2012 revamp, which included integration with Facebook, more social-media sharing features, and a “who to follow” recommendation feature based on users’ listening activities. Some early adopters have criticized SoundCloud for seemingly straying from its user-focused approach in favor of more corporate partnerships, but Haynes says that the new developments are all part of an organic growth for the company. “I wouldn’t necessarily say that there’s any big change in direction,” Haynes says. “Since the beginning, we’ve always worked really closely with the music industry, as well as having this amazing community with general creators—anyone who wants to create sound. It’s less of a business change and more of an evolution.”

ALARM MAGAZINE

Combing simplistic beauty and incredible audio, the Model Two offers an impeccable tuner, audiocontouring circuits, and an analog tuner all housed in a variety of handmade wood cabinets. With the addition of a second speaker cabinet and compatibility with iPods (and other players), the Model Two is the coolest table radio around. $299

DSPATCH MACBOOK CASE Perfect for the fan of minimalism and function, this MacBook case is constructed from ballistic nylon and lined with packcloth for the clumsier among us. With an integrated cord-management system and additional pockets, it’s perfect for packing or carrying by itself. $60

EMPEROR MUSIC AMPLIFIERS Originally producing guitar and bass cabinets and drums, Emperor has gotten a reputation for beautiful, durable, handmade equipment. Last year, the Chicagobased company expanded to amps, and its 2013 batch of 18-, 50-, 100-, and 200-watt models comes after an impressive test run—with “pilots” that include members of Tomahawk, Melvins, Converge, Russian Circles, Neurosis, Young Widows, and more. The new amps promise a pure, clean tone by minimizing the components between instrument and speaker. $1500–3500

SOUNDCLOUD TEXT BY KEIDRA CHANEY; GEAR TEXT BY LINCOLN EDDY & JOEL BEDNARZ


SHORTCUTS

AV

Projecting a Spectacle FROM WILCO TO SUFJAN STEVENS, CANDYSTATIONS’ DEBORAH JOHNSON CREATES ELECTRIFYING CONCERT EXPERIENCES If you’ve been wowed by the projections at a Sufjan Stevens or St. Vincent show in the past few years, then you’ve witnessed the work of visual-performance designer Deborah Johnson, the founder of multidisciplinary New York studio CandyStations. Johnson, who toured exclusively with Wilco from 2003–2005, creates thrilling live sets by wedding live music performance with traditional animation, three- and four-dimensional design, video projection, and digital art. ¶ Working with a team of production designers, artists, and programmers, her approach is collaborative by nature, but never overly polished or “art by committee.” Instead, Johnson approaches her visual style as “the highest of the lo-fi, using these really sophisticated programming languages and tools—but it doesn’t look like Pixar; it looks like a child did it.”

What made collaborating with musicians appealing to you as a visual artist? I knew coming out of art school (Maryland Institute College of Art) that I was disillusioned with the idea of working in galleries. I felt really annoyed with the idea of the autonomous artist; I didn’t believe that lack of collaboration was true or relevant anymore. I started going to a lot of live scratch DJ shows—DJ Shadow, Kid Koala—that had these visual projections as they were playing. I loved the interactions between the visuals and music, and how much of a compelling and fun experience it was. I was just struck by it. I really loved the scale and experience of going to a show and seeing all these evolving backgrounds along with the music. I also knew I was a little bit of a performer, so I got

TEXT BY KEIDRA CHANEY; PHOTOS BY STEPHANIE BLACK, DANIEL BOUD & ED LEFKOWICZ

really into “playing” along with musicians live, even though I’m not a musician myself. You’re a drummer. Do you connect with drumming and percussion more on a visual level? Yes. The more I was performing live with visuals, the more I felt that visuals were ver y percussive and I had to pay at tention to tempo downbeats, accents that are really pulling from the drummer’s cue more than anything else. And I felt like, for a long time, I just took it for granted that these responses are instinctual. I had the opportunity to take drumming lessons, and my editing skills and visual-performance skill has been increased ten-fold. It felt so much more natural, and I made smar ter choices in my live performance, in terms of hit ting my marks and making a more dramatic impact.

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SHORTCUTS

MUSIC LESSON

HOW TO SCREAM BY SEAN INGRAM OF COALESCE

Y

ears ago, I realized that it had been a while since I listened to the hardcore bands that got me interested in music in the first place. I had many great memories of my favorites, but it had been long enough that I really couldn’t tell you exactly what they sounded like. A funny thing happened, though: after digging these old friends out, I realized that my memory of bands like Judge and Rorschach was super off, especially on how the vocals were delivered. It was like they didn’t scream at all back then, only kind of talked loudly. When my musical tastes finally evolved away from the tough-guy and militant lifestylechoice stuff, I was lucky enough that one of my buddies gave me a Starkweather cassette. This is the essence of what I love about extreme music. I was inspired by the longing, the embracing of the flaws and squeaks, and the sheer volume and amount of air being controlled through Rennie Resmini’s lungs to make those beautiful sounds. ¶ I feel it necessary to make this our starting point, as I do not do pig squeals, pterodactyl squaws, or cookiemonster growling. I do not cup the mic or use any magic on the board to get a sound. What I do is scream. I scream hard, wet, loud, and torn. Although the resultant sound is raw, there are a few guidelines I have learned to observe to keep my voice in top form. ¶ You can do this. It’s not rocket science; it’s just a matter of understanding your body and practicing. TIP 1:

Be safe Protect your neck. You need a few days or even weeks to get up to strength. There is no magic shortcut for this style; you will have to take a masturbation approach and keep working at it. But if there is any one important thing you need to know, it’s that you must not scream from your throat like you were yelling at your buddy across a distance. This will absolutely trash your vocal cords, and it will hurt like hell. TIP 2:

Warm up Not just for singing. I’ve become more and more dependent on warm-ups in recent years. Being able to sound wet and torn out of the gate is going to make it easier on your back and your stamina. The problem with traditional vocal warm-ups is that they’re for actual singing. They’re okay, but it wasn’t until I stumbled upon an MP3 of Jaime Vendera’s Extreme Scream series (venderapublishing.com) that getting ready truly got easy.

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“There is no magic shortcut for this. You will have to take a masturbation approach and keep working at it.” So listen—ignore his name-dropping certain bands and the extreme attitude contained on it, and pony up the money to buy it and take it seriously. If I could go back in time and give my 19-year-old self any tool or advice, this would be it. TIP 3:

Consider your intake Food, beverages, smokes, etc. I recommend having an empty stomach, because if you have a full gut, you are going to have a harder time working your diaphragm. I’ve struggled with smoking my whole adult life, and I’m infinitely better off without it, but smoking did not affect screaming in my experience, so you get a pass there.

I find that coffee, soda, beer, or anything cold make it harder for me to work out my vocals. When you are warming up, you’re clearing the crud off your cords and getting them loose. Sugar doesn’t help, and if beer makes you bloat, then avoid it. The routine I find that helps is whiskey and room-temperature water. A little whiskey, a little water, and a nice, big, empty cup to spit up anything that feels cruddy in your throat. Hot tea is amazing, but I only use it in damage-control situations. I try not to baby my cords on tour. My goal is to get them to keep up with the rest of the band, so this is my reasoning for not having lozenges or hot-tea set-ups at every show. The bottom line is if you get warmed up and are using your diaphragm correctly, it won’t hurt. TIP 4:

Use your diaphragm Learn thyself. This is the muscle that you need to be using and what all vocal coaches demand that you understand. The best way to describe how you should be using it is to take a deep breath, go under water, and release bubbles out of our mouth slowly. The strength for screaming wet and torn is not in your lungs, your throat, or how fast and hard you can push air out. Doing it correctly means releasing air at a slower and more consistent rate. This allows you to control your vocal patterns through your diaphragm and use your vocal cords for enunciation and screaming in long, drawn-out styles as well as in short bursts. Take a lot of time to discover your diaphragm and how you work with yours. YouTube videos are a great source too. This is the single most important advice anyone can give you about screaming safely and in the style we’re talking about. TIP 5:

Practice This is your job! Take your position seriously and duck out from hanging out a little early before each show and get yourself together. Once you have been preparing and practicing, you will feel your vocals click into that awesome tone. Then you’ll know what it feels like, and it’ll be easier to get back into your vocal niche. A lot of what different vocal people have told me over the years is that you’ll feel it. This is true. But that doesn’t always help when you are trying to explain how to do this. With that being said, I also would add “don’t give up.”

PHOTO BY JULIEN DODINET


SHORTCUTS

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SHORTCUTS

ART & ILLUSTRATION

THE LIVING LINEWORK OF ILLUSTRATOR

RANDY ORTIZ

The first thing that strikes you about Randy Ortiz’s artwork is the incredible intricacy—“millions of minor details that most people probably won’t even notice.” The second is how good it would look on your wall. “Some people understandably don’t want to sit for hours and hours making pointless details,” says the self-taught illustrator. “But for me it’s almost meditative, and time actually goes by really fast.” His work ranges from album art and movie posters to personal pieces designed “on the fly…with no real game plan or layout.” Influenced by artists like Aaron Horkey and Suehiro Maruo, the art incorporates both the natural world and his background in architectural engineering—shapes that have stuck with him since he learned how to use AutoCAD. “I love combining the

TEXT BY LINCOLN EDDY

straight, solid edges of said shapes with the natural, detailed line work,” he says. “The contrast works quite well together.” As for the film pieces, which include commissions for Alamo Drafthouse’s art boutique, Ortiz avoids the easy or the literal. “Yes, you’ll probably get complaints from fans that you didn’t include a particular scene or character,” he says. “But I feel that…I should stay true to what I think would make a good-looking poster, and at the same time try to capture the spirit of the movie.” The same is true of his music work—as a detailed listen and a read of the lyrics bring to life something that, though maybe unexpected, uniquely embodies the artist.

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SHORTCUTS

MY LIFE

REVEREND HORTON HEAT

GUITARS BY DESIGN

GUITAR HERO JIM HEATH ON VINTAGE GEAR, HIS SIGNATURE GRETSCH, AND VOLUME WARS

F

ew things might be more rewarding to a musician than his or her favorite guitar company requesting a signature design. So when Gretsch came to Reverend Horton Heat’s Jim Heath about putting together the 6120-RHH, he was more than happy to oblige. The guitar is a modern take on pieces of Heath’s personal collection, and as can be seen on stage, it remains the centerpiece of his “classic, vintage” setup. We caught up with Heath to discuss vintage vs. modern gear and get his advice on crafting custom equipment. In making the 6120-RHH, were you trying to take what you had and put a modern twist on it? In certain areas. I didn’t want to modernize the sound at all. When they reissued Gretsch back in the ’80s, the pickups weren’t really that good. But now they have a deal with this guy TV Jones, and he makes these pickups that are really, really good. He does a take off the original FilterTron pickups that are in the guitar, and it’s great because it gets me in that vintage style that I need. Before I started getting into the Gretsch reissue, I had a couple of Gretschs and a

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vintage (1954) Gibson ES-175. For rockabilly and ’50s-type stuff and jazz stuff, it’s really great, but it doesn’t do the country and rockabilly twang sound really well. When I got the Gretsch, that actually got me the twang and the versatility to do the kind of jazzier, vintage-style stuff. I use them straight out of the box. Is it better to have a more minimal stage volume for better house sound? For different people, it’s different. I find for a lot of bands that I go see, the sound men I’ve talked to,

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you can tell that they’re having to fight some of the harder rock bands—which have their guitar amps turned up so loud that the house guy can’t even use those sounds in the PA. And for the young metal guys, you might want to stop before you start thinking, “Wow…if a 50-watt amp is good, a 100-watt amp is great.” That’s not really what you want. You don’t want a clean sound. If you want a big guitar sound and you’re a metal guy, then you don’t want a clean sound. You want a “crunch crunch” guitar version of a chainsaw. The more watts you have, the less you can get that sound from the tubes of your amplifier, which is the best way you can get it. Why do you use a combo amp vs. a head-and-cabinet setup? That’s just kind of my style. I like the vintage-type look. Another thing is that you don’t need all that. I mean…maybe some bands do. It’s all a personal choice. But if you’re a young guitar player, what do you do? “Well, I’ll go buy a Marshall,” and go spend $4,000 or something. “Oh, wow, this is nice; this is my sound,” and then a friend of yours walks in and he’s got a little Marshall combo that he paid $400 for, and it actually sounds better. He can crank it up to get the distortion from the tube sound, and you’re over here with this giant 100-watt amplifier, but his little combo amp sounds better because he can get a crunchy sound. He can really drive those tubes, whereas driving your tubes means cranking it up to where you can’t even use it—you’re just hurting people with it.

First issued in the 1950s with the endorsement of Chet Atkins, the Gretsch 6120 has been beloved by rock royalty for more than half a century. Its signature models include designs for Brian Setzer, Duane Eddy, Eddie Cochran, Chris Cheney of The Living End, and—of course—Reverend Horton Heat. Here the Rev gives his advice for going custom. out what style you 1 Figure want, [whether it’s] a Gibson-, Fender-, or Gretsch-type sound [or something else]. If you want it to feel like a Gibson, you want a person who can handle that type of custom well. not to get too fancy. Trying 2 Try to get too many tones out of a guitar is not really that good. You can do so much with just your approach to playing guitar…I don’t think you’d want too many switches to try to get too many different sounds. let anybody make one 3 Don’t that doesn’t have the steelreinforced neck, the truss rod. Without the truss rod, over time it will start warping.

TEXT BY BOBBY MARKOS; PHOTOS BY BRYAN HAINER


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NO JOURNALISTS ALLOWED

ROB CROW OF PINBACK AND COMIC-BOOK AUTHOR GREG RUCKA

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inger/multi-instrumentalist Rob Crow is diverse enough as a recording artist—ranging from the accessible, melodic forms of Pinback to the heavy metal of Goblin Cock to the toy-organ tunes of Optiganally Yours. But he’s also a man of eclectic cultural tastes and abilities, including a side hobby as host, disc jockey, and interviewer for his no-rules podcast, “Rob Crow’s Incongruous Show.” With a fitting last name, Crow also happens to be a major comicbook geek. Here he tracks down one of his favorite authors—Greg Rucka, writer of Queen & Country, Gotham Central, Stumptown, and many more—to talk about human contact, writing female characters, and being able to like your villains.

RC: There’s a common thread in just about all of your work of strong female leads and characters, even in male-dominated series. GR: I don’t know why I do it. I really don’t. I’ve always been interested in gender politics and sexual politics, from a very young age.

Stumptown very deliberately takes a male-dominated field and turns it on its head. A James Bond novel is a very different book if James Bond is a woman. In the first Stumptown volume, [protagonist] Dex [Parios] has to deal with a femme fatale, and it’s a completely different interaction. You get immediate dividends when you do that. You can take stories that have been done over and over again and shine a new light on them.

RC: As a husband and parent of three, I’m curious as to whether you have a schedule, how you stick to it, and whether it helps you.

to get started, to break into the place where you can do the work. And that’s why I believe in trying to maintain a schedule.

GR: With a novel—I would imagine it’s like putting together the entirety of an album—it’s that sense that I’ve got to get a clear run at it. Usually, I’ll have to excuse myself from daily life for a couple days—check myself into a hotel or something—just so I can write for 18 hours straight and get over the hump.

There’s the myth of the suffering artist and the need to have pain, but having those things outside of the work—having family, your hobbies, other passions—I think makes the work better.

Momentum is a huge element, I think, of any creative process, because it takes so much energy

RC: It needs a human influence. GR: And you’ve got to get out and make contact. At least for me, from the perspective of a writer, this is solitary work. That can exact a price if you’re not careful.

INTRO BY SCOTT MORROW: PHOTOS BY CHRIS WOO (LEFT) & LINNEA OSTERBERG (RIGHT)

And there’s also the fact that I like women. I genuinely like them. It’s not solely a sexualized thing. I grew up around strong women. RC: There’s an obvious respect in your work—the quiet honor of your characters just being who they are and being able to be amazing without having to show their butts every five seconds. GR: Comics is a medium that resorts to titillation quite a lot. I understand the appeal of the lingerie model, but that’s not sexy to me. Sexy to me is competence; sexy to me is commitment and truth. Gender is an element of character; it’s not character in and of itself. At

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the end of the day, I try to respect all of my characters. I have a hard time respecting my bad guys. [Laughs] RC: Is that the definition of a bad guy? That they don’t deserve your respect? GR: Well, they shouldn’t deserve yours, but I need to find something in them that’s compelling. I think about, in the Batman books, Ra’s al Ghul. He’s the most likeable, magnetic, personable guy, and if you were to sit down with him over dinner… RC: You could totally see his side of things. GR: Absolutely! And he would sit there and be like, “We’re destroying this planet.” And you’d say, “Yeah, we really are.” And he’d say, “Did you know that if we could turn off every combustion engine for three days, the atmosphere could purge itself back to the pre-Industrial Revolution state?” And you’d go, “Really? Holy mackerel!” And he says, “Of course, there’s no way to get people to do that.” “Yeah, I know.” “I have a way to do that.” You’d say, “Yeah, really?” “Yes. I’m going to kill 90% of the people on the planet.” And that’s the point where you look at him and go, “You know what? You had me right up until then. It was a really good argument until you got to global slaughter.”

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LABEL Q&A

THRILL JOCKEY RECORDS

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RUSTRATED AFTER WORKING FOR ATLANTIC

Records and London Recordings, Bettina Richards struck out on her own, founding Thrill Jockey from her Manhattan apartment in 1992. Moving to Chicago in 1995, Richards became entrenched in the local music scene, releasing albums from groups like Tortoise, The Sea and Cake, and Eleventh Dream Day. ¶ Twenty years after the label’s inception, those bands are still putting out records, and Thrill Jockey has issued hundreds more—from indie (The Fiery Furnaces) and post-rock (Trans Am) to jazz (Exploding Star Orchestra), metal (Liturgy), experimental (Boredoms), and electronic music (Matmos). On the heels of its 20th anniversary, we spoke with Richards about Thrill Jockey’s beginnings and the unique creative atmosphere that it has strived to create for its artists. STATS LOCATIONS: CHICAGO, IL & LONDON, UK YEAR FOUNDED: 1992

What experiences early in your career inspired the creation of Thrill Jockey? I moved to Australia because I didn’t know what to do with myself and ended up working at the Warner/Elektra/Atlantic conglomerate down there. Then, through that, I got a job at Atlantic in New York and then London Records. But really, although it was probably because I didn’t want to work in that system, I was really inspired by the model of Touch & Go and Dischord. Was there anything that you took away from your time with the major labels that influenced the way you run Thrill Jockey? Don’t do what they do. [Laughs] A multinational major corporation is, by its nature, inflexible—people are commodities. The bottom line is important to me, of course, but I’m more cognizant of the fact that I’m the caretaker for someone’s artwork and that I’m dealing with creative human beings. You can’t shove them through a system and see what sticks. That, to me, is not the supportive way to deal with creative endeavors. We’re a 50-percent profit-share, and the dialogue is really open. There isn’t a band on the label that can’t get a hold of me at any time they want to. What we lack in funds we make up for in flexibility, creative syncing, and taking the time to stick with something.

Thrill Jockey has a very familial feel, as the label releases many of its artists’ side projects. What’s the reasoning behind this? It’s fundamental to get excited about a particular incarnation of a band, but we have to believe in the musicians behind it. I have to fundamentally believe in their skill and where they want to go with it. Most of the people that we work for, I feel like they would still be making music no matter who is listening—it’s a compulsion for them, and it’s similarly a compulsion for me to support them. It seems natural that if you believe in someone as a creative individual, and if you believe that every release is a part of the ongoing development of that individual, why wouldn’t you try to foster as many of them as you can? The label’s scope has expanded from the ’90s post-rock scene to encompass many other genres. How do you strike a balance between preserving the label’s legacy and attracting new listeners? I don’t spend any time thinking about the label’s legacy. The first records I did were ones by Gaunt and Gorilla, and they’re just rock records. One of the first releases I put out in New York was from an Austrian prog-rock band called H.P. Zinker. Really, I’m a music fan just like anyone else. You go on tears, your tastes take you down a certain rabbit hole, you might get really into a certain type of music, and then, suddenly, something catches your eye and you dive into a new direction. That kind of evolution as a listener is reflected in what we release. I don’t like records that all sound the same, so I don’t want to release records that all sound the same. It’s a basic super-fan formula.

EMPLOYEES: 6 IN CHICAGO, 2 IN LONDON, AN ARMY OF INTERNS GENRES SERVED: POST-ROCK, INDIE ROCK, JAZZ, ELECTRONIC, EXPERIMENTAL, METAL LIFETIME TOTAL OF RECORDING ARTISTS: 125+ BEST-SELLING ALBUM: TORTOISE’S MILLIONS NOW LIVING WILL NEVER DIE WEBSITE: THRILLJOCKEY.COM

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TEXT BY ZACH LONG; PHOTOS BY CHRISTOPHER KITAHARA


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EXOTICA

TOUBAB KREWE With an array of acoustic and electrified instruments from the United States and West Africa—including many handmade models—Toubab Krewe (pronounced too-bob croo) has created one of the funkiest intercontinental blends on either side of the North Atlantic. Having immersed itself in West African music and culture on a series of trips across the pond, the North Carolina quintet came back as a melting pot of influences. Take a jam-rock foundation, add blues- and surf-rock swagger, mix a hearty dose of Malian folk, and then splash some psychedelic effects… and you’re still not close. Here guitarist Drew Heller helps us decipher the band’s unorthodox setup.

gear tuners to make changing keys and staying in tune easier for live performances. Our drum set has cow-skin heads rather than synthetic ones.

What drew you to the sounds of Mali and West Africa? Fate. The gift of a Guinean record by Fatala called Gongoma Times in middle school. Befriending a drumbuilder and teacher named Gordon Ray during high school. Meeting kindred spirits during my young years at Warren Wilson College. How have your experiences in West Africa changed the band and the members’ lives? Can you describe (kamel-ngoni innovator) Vieux Kanté’s impact on you? Musically and culturally, our experiences in West Africa have altered our perception of Earth. “Le monde est petit mais la vie est grande (the world is small, but life is grand).” Vieux Kanté was a lightening bolt of positive creative energy. His approach to music-making embodied a landscape free of frontiers. He stretched the physicality of the kamel ngoni beyond its known boundaries.

What’s your effects-pedal setup? I play a Moog guitar (made in Asheville, NC) through this effects chain: Tuner > tremolo > poly-octave generator > delay > reverb, into a Mesa Boogie Lone Star amp (made in Petaluma, California). I mostly play through the 100-watt clean channel with the gain turned up to 3 o’clock.

What is the full instrumental arsenal of Toubab Krewe? Our standard setup: electric bass, electric guitar, kora, kamel ngoni, djembe, congas, talking drum, dun dun, sangban, kinking, singing, pianos, organs, washboard, and cigar-box banjos, basses, and guitars. I don’t

TK BY SCOTT MORROW; PHOTOS BY DUSDIN CONDREN TEXT

know if we have even approached our full instrumental arsenal. We had 15 people on stage at one point last weekend in Brooklyn. How are your instruments modified? A lot of them are homemade. The West African harps have been outfitted with

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What tunings do you use? Standard on guitar (E-A-D-G-B-E). Cigar box is cross-tuned like a fiddle (A-E-A-E). The kora is tuned diatonically in G, and the kamel ngoni is tuned to C pentatonic. Which previously unused instruments would you like to incorporate into Toubab Krewe? Accordion, pentatonic balafon, and tin whistle, for starters. If it makes melody, we’re open to it.

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MY LIFE

PUNK-ROCK PHILANTHROPY

DROPKICK MURPHYS’ PUB RED SOX SUPER-FAN AND DROPKICK MURPHYS BASSIST KEN CASEY ON REPLICATING THE ORIGINAL SPORTS PUB

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or Dropkick Murphys bassist and vocalist Ken Casey, it was a prophecy fulfilled when the Boston Red Sox broke an 86-year dry spell and won the World Series in 2004. That was the same year that his band re-introduced the song “Tessie,” a turn-of-the-century battle cry abandoned by Red Sox fans after the team’s last championship in 1918.

Casey had predicted the song—punked up and reworked to fit the Murphys’ brawling, Celtic sound—would rekindle a fan fervor missing from his hometown since the days of Michael McGreevy, a local pub owner who led a pack of “Tessie”-wailing baseball fanatics dubbed the Royal Rooters. When the prediction came true, Casey couldn’t stop there. In 2008, he opened a replica of McGreevy’s 3rd Base Saloon in Boston with business partner and baseball historian Peter Nash (a.k.a. “Pete Nice” of the late-’80s, early-’90s hip-hop group 3rd Bass). We spoke to the BoSox super-fan about life as a pub owner with a place in baseball history.

How did you come to open the pub? I met Pete as he was doing a documentary on the Royal Rooters and the birth of Red Sox Nation. He said, “Yeah, I’ve built a replica of McGreevy’s up in Cooperstown.” I said, “Geez, a kid I grew up with had been looking into opening a bar, and he actually knows what he’s doing. Wouldn’t it make sense to open a working bar in Boston?” I loved the story and just the whole kind of throwback. It seemed nice to do something that was so old fashioned, and to replicate something from the turn of the century. It was fun to be involved with. Luckily, I don’t have to be so handson once it’s open and operating. My friend does all the hard work. How did you get access to original artwork, such as an original glass portrait of the pub’s founder? Pete, as a collector, had a lot of it. But he’s also nuts. He’ll get going on a kick, and he’ll find, you know, the original door to McGreevy’s house in somebody’s attic. It would make a good reality show, actually. When the story got out, so many people from around Boston would come to us and say, “My grandfather was one of the Royal Rooters, and I have this stuff in my attic,” and they were kind enough to let us display it. It kind of grew. People wanted to be a part of it. Were you familiar with the original 3rd Base before this project? I didn’t know much about it until I got involved with the Red Sox with the song “Tessie” and researched the story of the Royal Rooters and Michael McGreevy, the ringleader. It’s so cool; there’s so much Boston history there. JFK’s grandfather [and former Boston mayor] John F. Fitzgerald hung around there, and guys like Joseph “Sport” Sullivan. I mean, he was involved with the fixing of the 1919 World Series and was the bookie at McGreevy’s. The history’s really entertaining. What’s the clientele like today?

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The members of Dropkick Murphys are no strangers to charity work. But bassist and vocalist Ken Casey says that the band has hockey legend Bobby Orr to thank for convincing them to launch their own cause, the Claddagh Fund. Founded in Boston in 2009 and expanded to Philadelphia in 2011, the Claddagh Fund supports children’s and veterans’ charities and programs for people with alcohol- and substance-abuse problems. Casey met Orr, who spent most of his career with the Boston Bruins, through the course of volunteering and fundraising. “Bobby’s a boyhood idol of mine,” Casey says. “He had the suggestion that ‘you’re doing all this stuff for other causes and other people, but you’re really not capturing the imagination of your fans and your community with that.’ He said we should start our own foundation with the band, and spearhead a lot of things to generate more money to fund the same causes we’re trying to help by maybe just playing a show for them or whatever. He couldn’t have been more right. We’ve raised well over a million dollars since we’ve been doing it. It’s amazing.”

It’s definitely the home base for the Dropkicks and fans. The music format is kind of the rock-’n’-roll and punk-rock thing, which is different than any other venue on the street that has dance music and whatnot. People appreciate that there’s always some music going here. It’s a wild cross-section—everyone from tourists to suits after work, punk kids to athletes. But that’s what I hoped for, a real cast of characters. How does it feel, as a lifelong Red Sox fan, to help bring back the spirit of the Rooters?  That was the whole gist when we got involved, that maybe this will bring back that spirit of, I guess, the modernday version of that. And, lo and behold, you never really expect it to come true to a degree. The Rooters were like the original fanatics. Back then they’d be right down on the first-base line, banging bass drums and singing songs. They don’t let you get that close anymore, so you’ve got to turn it up to be heard, which is what we’re doing 100 years later. It’s a real honor to be in this circle. We’re diehard fans.

TEXT BY JOSH STOCKINGER; PHOTO BY KEVIN DU PHOTOGRAPHY


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u FUNNY SHIT u

REGGIE WATTS Improv comedian/musician Reggie Watts on alien invaders, invisibility cloaks, and the ultimate period piece When Reggie Watts puts on a show, he takes his audience to the fringes comprehension. The comedian/ musician/polymath blends beats, tunes, characters, and ruminations about anything—from algorithms to fuck-shit stacks—in a brilliant, vertiginous sweep of sound and hilarity. Yet somewhere amid the swirl of disorientation, Watts’ otherworldly antics feel as familiar as our own wandering thoughts or the spinning of the radio dial. Over the years, Watts has gained a cult following in the alt-comedy scene. He opened for Conan’s Legally Prohibited from Being Funny on Television Tour in 2010, and last year he released his newest CD/DVD, Reggie Watts: A Live at Central Park. Here Watts takes a break to chat about King Buzzo’s hair, super powers, and how he’d stop an alien invasion. Have you received any weird fan mail? I definitely get packages where people put together paper and a strain of weed—a little kit—even

though I’m not much of a smoker. It’s really thoughtful and sweet of them. Some will bake pot cookies. I’ve never gotten anything hyper strange. Does Buzz Osborne ever ask for his hair back? No, I don’t think we’ve ever even met. I may have, in some kind of assault, unconsciously stolen some of his genetic information, but I don’t remember being part of the assault team. I’m not sure if he even knows that I’ve taken it; otherwise I think we’d be more in a battle with each other. We’ll see. If I see him and he recognizes that I’ve stolen something from him, maybe it’ll heat up. If you could make a guest appearance on any period-piece TV show, which show would it be, and what kind of character would you play? I’d be in Doctor Who. Not quite a period piece, but it constantly takes place in different periods. The ultimate period piece.

Q&A BY DEBORAH JIAN LEE; PHOTO BY NOAH KALINA

Yeah, that should be the tagline on the poster: “Doctor Who: the ultimate period piece!” I would probably be some game master of some weird reality that they would have to deal with. I would be benevolent—but they would have to go through my process to make things happen. If you had one day in an invisibility cloak, what would you do? I probably would move coffees in slightly different places every time someone was in a conversation, so they’re like, “What the fuck is going on?!?” If alien invaders landed on your doorstep, what, if anything, would you say to convince them not to destroy Earth? If they were advanced enough to get here, maybe they could create a technology that would make us less selfish. They’d have this whole workforce that they needed, that’s indigenous to the planet and that knows how it works. They won’t have to retrain their new guys if they’re planning on invading it.

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Slightly fruity from New Zealand’s “Kiwi hops,” Evil Twin’s WWW is a bitter wit for summertime. If you’re a zesty kind of guy or girl, add orange slices to accentuate the tartness.

(6% APV)

WAG ’N’ WISDOM WIT

EVIL TWIN BREWING

(8.5% APV)

GYPSY TEARS HOPPY STOUT

STILLWATER ARTISANAL + MIKKELLER + FANØ BRYGHUS

If playing Truth or Dare never has resulted in drinking real-life gypsy tears, you might happily settle on this three-way collaboration that’s thick, creamy, and slightly smoky (just like the real thing). Also, if you ever can find it, try Stillwater and Mikkeller’s Rauchstar, with a design homage to Slayer, Metallica, and indecipherable black-metal logos.

Photo by Kaitlyn McQuaid

Text by Scott Morrow and the ALARM crew

Looking for a good import? There’s been a recent uptick in Danish microbreweries, so we decided to do the painstaking research and check some out for you. Each of these picks is brewed and bottled in Denmark, a market that’s led by the Carlsberg Group.

IMPRESS YOUR FRIENDS WITH A FULL-FLAVORED MICROBREW

DANISH BEERS

BOOZE

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PHOTO BY TK

Made by a “phantom brewery” with a sense of humor, this dark-amber barleywine has a roasted-caramel flavor and a grape-like aroma. It’s delicious, distinct, and strong—a smooth, brandy-colored brew for molasses-loving metal-heads.

(10.5% APV)

OLD MEPHISTO BARLEYWINE-STYLE ALE

BRYGGERIET DJÆVLEBRYG (THE DEVIL’S BREW BREWERY)

Want it darker still? Mikkeller’s limited-run porter is nearly jet black, with a rich, smoky, slightly bitter taste ( just like we like our women) that pairs with coffee tones.

(8% APV)

PORTER

MIKKELLER

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This spicy-sweet saison (pale) ale melds the brains at Evil Twin with Chicago bar Local Option and South Carolina craft brewery Westbrook. The result is vaguely herbal, highly carbonated, and slightly aromatic of strawberries.

(5.5% APV)

PLASTIC MAN SAISON-STYLE ALE

EVIL TWIN BREWING + LOCAL OPTION BIER + WESTBROOK BREWING CO.

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FOOD

Respecting the veg T

always believed that produce is where the flavor is.” For a chef whose idea of haute cuisine is simply the finest ingredients cooked really well, he says, “It’s a matter of looking at produce differently and not always looking at it as something you quickly boil in water or sauté. Take a cauliflower, cut it into quarters, and roast it like you would a piece of meat. Don’t look at a head of cauliflower as something you have to break into florets; look at the whole thing and you can get great results.”

“Vegetable cookery is something we don’t spend time thinking about,” Colicchio says. “We want to learn how to cook meat and fish, but I’ve

Smaller protein portions and higher prices, along with the list of health and environmental benefits of going meat-free, Colicchio explains, are indicative of a broader shift that has people eating less meat and making more dishes that emphasize the vegetable. “If you look at the prices of meat,” he notes, “especially high-quality meat without antibiotics and hormones, the prices are going way up.”

with Top Chef ’s Tom Colicchio om Colicchio thinks that you can be more creative with vegetables. Best known as the head judge on Top Chef, Colicchio also is a highly successful restaurateur and all-around respected culinary figure. He’s a vocal advocate of sustainable foods and has spent the past 25 years in the industry proving that, just like meat, vegetables can be flavorful and exciting—as long as they’re of fine quality and cooked correctly.

COLICCHIO’S CUISINE

Beet salad with beet vinaigrette SERVES 6

SALAD: 24 baby beets

1 large shallot, peeled and sliced

3.

VINAIGRETTE:

¼ cup red-wine vinegar ¾ teaspoon Dijon mustard ½ cup peeled and chopped roasted beets (see above) Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper From Craft of Cooking: Notes and Recipes from a Restaurant Kitchen (Clarkson Potter, 2003)

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2.

1 cup + 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

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Heat oven to 325. Trim the green tops and stringy bottoms from beets. Wash the beets well. Combine beets and oil in a large bowl. Season beets with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Line a roasting pan with aluminum foil. Add the beets, cover the pan with more foil, and roast until the beets can be easily pierced with a knife (40 min). Allow beets to cool slightly and then carefully peel them. Coarsely chop about four beets for the vinaigrette. Set the rest aside to cool.

3 tablespoons grape-seed oil

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1.

Heat two tablespoons of oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the shallot and sweat until it is soft and translucent (15 min), then transfer to a blender. Add vinegar, mustard, chopped beets, and salt and pepper. Puree the shallots, and then with the blender running gradually add the remaining oil in a steady stream. Adjust the seasoning if necessary.

4.

Arrange beets on plates (whole or halved). Season with salt and lightly dress with vinaigrette.

TEXT BY MICHAEL NOLLEDO; PHOTO BY KAITLYN MCQUAID; FOOD STYLING BY CARMEN E. TOCCO


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ARMS OF ALAMO Alamo Drafthouse is more than a theater chain; it’s a movie-going experience unto itself, and its many arms and events cater to movie geeks far and wide. Here are just a few facets of the Alamo brand.

Fantastic Fest This genre festival of enormous scope (past premieres include There Will Be Blood, Zombieland, and Frankenweenie) is held each year in Austin, offering an entire week of underground fantasy, sci-fi, horror, action, and more.

Rolling Roadshow A mobile summer tour of the USA, the Rolling Roadshow hosts “famous movies in famous places”—for example, showings of The Blues Brothers in Joliet, IL; Robocop in Detroit, MI; Rocky in Philadelphia, PA; and Escape from Alcatraz on San Francisco’s Alcatraz Island.

Drafthouse Films

NO TEXTING! Alamo’s Tim League is adamant about keeping his chain heavenly for cinephiles.

FILM & TV

Manna for Moviegoers If you live in a city without an Alamo Drafthouse, we here in Chicago feel your pain. Founded in Austin, the theater chain that started as a singlescreen, second-run cinema (built in an old parking garage) has expanded nationwide, and it counts directors Quentin Tarantino and Richard Linklater among its big-name supporters. With a full food menu, drink service, special events, and a strict no-talking/texting policy, it’s heaven for moviegoers.

TEXT BY LINCOLN EDDY; PHOTO BY ANNIE RAY

ALAMO DRAFTHOUSE FOUNDER TIM LEAGUE CREATES THE CINEMA EXPERIENCE HE ALWAYS WANTED

But Alamo—now in business for more than 15 years—has become much more than a theater chain. It’s a full-blown lifestyle brand, with its own film festival, annual events, and film-distribution arm. And with two dozen theaters either open or under construction (15 in Texas alone), no market is too big or small. “Kalamazoo [Michigan] is a really interesting example,” founder Tim League says. “We’re opening there probably in third quar ter of this year. You wouldn’t necessarily think

Kalamazoo would be in the top of the list, but the town’s really great, there’s a university there, and everything just kind of fell into place. So really, who knows what the next place will be?” Furthermore, League understands that sacred experience of watching film in theaters, and he’s not about to let his burgeoning business get in the way. “If I have to give up watching movies entirely to build the business,” he says, “then I’ve done something wrong. That was the whole point in the first place.”

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Tim League and his team spend a lot of time dredging festivals for its distribution arm, which has circulated British dark comedy Four Lions and Academy Awards nominee Bullhead, among others. But it’s not as glamorous as you might think. At Cannes, “there’s this public facing…and then on the back side of the Palais there’s the film market—literally the back door of the tuxedo-clad theater with about 20 little, horribly depressing, terrible video-only presentation screens and everyone wearing sweat pants. It’s the down-and-dirty side of Cannes.”

Mondo A design firm and collectible-art boutique, Mondo is an autonomous branch that features a director’s series of limited-run posters. Directors like Guillermo del Toro, one of the first to sign on, are given an opportunity “to conceive what a really cool poster could be.”

Food & Film As if Alamo’s regular menu wasn’t enough, it also hosts separate food-and-film events, creating feasts to match the themes of films such as The Silence of the Lambs, The Lord of the Rings, Lawrence of Arabia, and Casablanca.

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TATTOOS

BLOOD, SWEAT & YEARS MEGAN MASSACRE’S RISE TO TATTOO-ARTIST CREDIBILITY

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f you’ve seen NY Ink or America’s Worst Tattoos on TLC, you know tattoo artist Megan Massacre (neé Woznicki) as the petite, countercultural sparkplug with a vibrant color palette. But contrary to how easy she makes it look on TV, the southeastern Pennsylvania native didn’t get here overnight. Instead, her road to success was paved by long hours and a serious art background (including acrylic, oil, and watercolor painting, sculpture, calligraphy, bookbinding, photography, and woodcarving).

Following the shows’ surges in popularity, Ms. Massacre has become one of the industry’s most famous females to sport a tattoo gun, and she doesn’t take that responsibility lightly. “If there’s anything I can convey to girls,” she stresses, “it’s to do shit the right way. Don’t cut corners.” What’s your favorite tattoo that you have? I have these really simple little spider webs around the cuticles of my fingernails. They’re by far some of the simplest tattoos that I have, but there’s something about them that I think is really unique and cool. Do you think that tattoo artists still don’t get enough respect as artists? It’s actually changed by leaps and bounds since I started tattooing, but it’s still not there yet. Things like tattoo TV shows really changed people’s minds and brought it to a mainstream audience. It gave people a little peek into the lives of the people tattooing, realizing that we’re not all criminals or in gangs or drug dealers.

ing to break into a male-dominated industry? The biggest thing to overcome right now is the stigma that you’re just trying to because it’s the cool thing to do. A lot of these girls start and they only do it for a year or two because they realize that they have to work.

Tat tooing has changed because people that are educated in art have taken an interest. Some [tattoos] look like oil paintings or photorealism. It’s at this crazy point where there are people who have been tattooing for 20 years who cannot even touch the kids who have been tattooing for four or five years, because the technology has far surpassed [what was available] back then.

Tattooing is not a hobby. It’s not something you do out of your basement when you have free time. You need to get an actual, legitimate tattoo apprenticeship at a legitimate shop, and it’s going to take a couple of years. You’re going to have to swallow your pride, and you’re not going to make any money. Just like if you want to be a lawyer, you have to go to law school and take the bar exam.

What advice would you give to female aspiring tattoo artists who are try-

You’re vegetarian and recently did a PETA2 campaign. What’s impor-

TEXT BY SCOTT MORROW

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tant for people to know about being vegetarian? A lot of people think that just because you’re a vegetarian, you live an unhealthy lifestyle or that your diet isn’t healthy. I actually feel that since I’ve become a vegetarian, I’m in the best shape of my life. I just feel better, and it’s just a healthier lifestyle if you do it the right way. Though being animal-friendly and not hurting animals is a big part of it, there’s also the health part of it. It’s really good for your body’s digestion; there are a lot of hormones and crazy things in meat that people don’t think about. Some animals are fed meat tenderizer so that the meat is more tender to eat, but they don’t realize that when you ingest it, it’s tenderizing your organs. People don’t know that kind of stuff. You are what you eat!

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CK We sent photographer John Lou Miles to a $20 million mansion in Santa Monica with Sloan Wolf and Vice Suicide. This is what happened.

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STYLE

DENIM OF FUTURE PAST LEVI’S MADE & CRAFTED DESIGNER MILES JOHNSON REINVENTS THE CLASSICS

In the world of writing, there’s fiction and non-fiction. Writers of the former call on their creative processes to cull entire worlds into existence, and those involved with the latter concentrate their efforts into building narratives from real-life happenings. Miles Johnson is not a writer—he’s the design director of Levi’s Made & Crafted and Levi’s Vintage Clothing—but if he were, he’d be straddling the line between fiction and non-fiction. The two clothing lines that Johnson directs could be seen as two sides of the same coin. Levi’s Vintage Clothing, or LVC, is responsible for reissuing select pieces from Levi’s history—and there’s a lot of history from which to choose. Take, for example, the 501 jean, which has painstakingly accurate reissues from 10 different eras from 1890 to 1978, attracting prospectors and denim geeks alike.

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Levi’s Made & Crafted is a bit different, though. “It’s all affected by things we’ve done well in the past,” Johnson says. “Made & Crafted thinks forward and takes many of our strengths in denim and the images of musical heroes, for instance, to show how we can reinterpret a skinny jean and a T-shirt.” Music culture plays a big role in both the history and current development of Levi’s lines, and Johnson doesn’t shy from utilizing it in his creative process. “Music just has to be playing,” he says. “That makes me feel inspired. If it moves you, you want to be creative.” The designer also finds a muse in Kate Bush: “She’s powerful and delicate. I love that she is in control of her sound and exposes her mind.”

Echoing the theatrical nature of Bush’s work, Johnson also has experience in the film industry, working in costume design, which gives him insight into people’s mindsets towards clothes. “Working with costume made me realize that everyone, to a point, presents themselves in clothing to give an impression,” he says. “We’re all in disguise.” The M&C Fall/Winter 2013 collection says just as much with its combination of brash colors, bold prints, and hearty textures. And Johnson, an admirer of denim’s ability to last, is eager to build new ideas based on past perceptions. “Denim is functional fabric,” he says. “This is really exciting for us, when you think of our roots and culture in durability. You’ll see a lot more expressions of this in Made & Crafted in the future. Denim naturally goes on reinventing itself.”

TEXT BY BRANDON GOEI


SHORTCUTS OPPOSITE PAGE 1. Denim Shirt / red

// Denim Jacket / indigo // Wool Coat / indigo twill // Pleated Chino / blue

2. Better Yet

Leather Shrug / yellow // Spiral Dress / rosewood // Paisley Scarf / ivy

3. Forever Denim Cardigan / denim // Nuage Blouse / pirate black

THIS PAGE JACKET: Mac /

brown / cotton blend with waterproof coating

SHIRT: Tidy Shirt / multi-check

JEANS: Tack / shattered

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TEXT BY LINCOLN EDDY; PHOTOS BY DUSDIN CONDREN


SHORTCUTS THIS PAGE

STYLE TOUR

Avion Homme charcoal-grey cadet shirt, $250 (avionhomme.com); Grown & Sewn grey wool pants, $185 (grownandsewn.com)

OPPOSITE PAGE

Avion Homme indigo-stripe cotton work shirt, $250 (avionhomme.com); Stronghold blue jeans, $295 (thestronghold.com)

AT HOME WITH

ANDREW BIRD’S STYLISH ATTIRE

Musical auteur and noted whistler Andrew Bird uses instrumental and vocal variation as a hallmark of his work, releasing songs that stand out from the singer-songwriter crowd. Understated and classy, his personal style of button-down shirts, jeans and wool pants, and sleek shoes stands out as a statement of comfort and fashion. Take a peek at a pair of outfits from Bird’s Manhattan pad.

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BUILT FOR THE LONG HAUL

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GUIDE TO STYLE

Apolis Indigo Wool Chore Jacket

LVC 1960s Orange Tab 605 Jeans

The chore jacket is a timeless piece of work-wear that has been a men’s staple for more than 100 years. It only makes sense that a modern men’swear brand would update it, and that’s exactly what Apolis has done. With indigo-dyed wool from Italy instead of canvas, buffalo-horn buttons, and a hidden pocket (for whatever may need stashing), this is a refined take on iconic, rugged style. $298

In the late ’60s, Levi’s introduced the slimfitting Orange Tab series as a more youthful option for the younger, rock-’n’-roll generation. As faithful reproductions of the same pairs of that era, the 605s are made from 100% cotton selvage denim and have a timeless fit. $215

Filson Short Cruiser Jacket in Tin The short cruiser jacket is one of Filson’s new styles for fall—a fresh take on its classic long cruiser, based on classic trucker designs. Incorporating a leaner fit and the company’s signature tin cloth, each jacket should break in uniquely to the person wearing it through the years. $260

Chippewa Collections Fall/Winter 2013 “Original” and “Reserve” Born in Wisconsin back in 1901, Chippewa has quite the heritage. For fall, the brand is breaking out some of its timeless, original styles, all handcrafted in the USA and with the same quality that has made it an American staple. American leathers, Goodyear welt, and Vibram soles. Pick up a pair and find out why they have been in business for over 100 years. $259–269

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Topo Designs Rover Pack Hitting the streets or the trials? The rover pack is the perfect daypack for you. It’s a comfortable yet largeenough size and made to endure the elements. Constructed in Colorado from Cordura fabrics—making it durable, lightweight, and waterresistant—the pack has just the right amount of pockets and compartments, keeping it practical and low profile at the same time. $139

TEXT BY JOEL BEDNARZ


SHORTCUTS

In Portland’s Kerns neighborhood, an unassuming storefront hides a place where caffeine, motor oil, and original art mix. From the wizard-painted espresso machine (which brews Stumptown Coffee) to the custom motorcycles being built in the back, See See Motor Coffee Co. is a shop that could only exist in PDX.

SHOP TOUR

GET MOTORBIKE MODS AND A BEAN BUZZ AT PORTLAND’S

See See Motor Coffee Co.

The high-flying company also is the force behind an aesthetically driven bike exhibit, The One Motorcycle Show, which has begun a tradition of showcasing unique and custom bikes and gear. We talked to founder and owner Thor Drake about his dual worlds of bikes and beans. Why coffee and motorbikes? They’re the two best things, plus coffee helps you ride faster. Actually, we wanted to create a space that was inviting and unintimidating—a little bit like a multi-functioning community space that is motorcycle-centric. I grew up a skate rat in skate shops; the feeling was always to support the people who support you. We wanted to make a place that had the same feeling. Being that motorcycling is a little seasonal in Portland, we had to add another aspect that would keep busy in the deep, dark winters. Coffee and motorcycles make it happen. Which one kicks your ass harder?  That question has many answers. The quick one is being original and authentic. I never like to miss a good motorcycle race because I have to be a good business owner. Conversely, I never want to be a bad business owner. The fight between coffee tycoon and hillbilly Viking has a good kick, I’d say.

What inspires you about motorcycle culture, aesthetics, and art? I’m like one of those creative retards— everything is inspiring to me. I think also it’s what I’m really into. I love motorcycles. If I was into trumpets, I’d probably do it the same way. I do like the basic function of a motorcycle; it sets you free. What’s unique to a See See custom bike? That’s a tough question. I think we try to give the bike a reason. I also love subtlety. I think that most importantly, we just try to do things our own way. I’m not much into preconceived notions. Hopefully, people think our bikes look fun to ride.

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COFFEE TYCOON VS. HILLBILLY VIKING: owner Thor Drake gets equally revved by both of his loves.

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TEXT BY LINCOLN EDDY; PHOTOS BY RAY GORDON


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GUIDE TO STYLE

TEXT BY LINCOLN EDDY; PHOTOS BY LIZ DEVINE

Shaving Edition

HARRY’S SHAVE CREAM

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From one of the brains behind Warby Parker comes Harry’s. Following the same concept of great quality and design for an affordable price, Harry’s offers all the essentials of the wet shave. With a blend of essential oils, peppermint, and eucalyptus, Harry’s shave cream provides a super-close shave while protecting and nourishing your skin. $8

SHOP TOUR

OLD-TIME TREATMENT, OLD-SCHOOL ODDITIES…AND FREE BOOZE

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IMPERIAL INDUSTRIES BARBER PRODUCTS SHAVE BRUSH

A key item for a traditional wet shave, the Imperial shave brush is made out of natural boar bristles (softer than it sounds), ensuring a more thorough application of shave cream and thus a cleaner shave. The brush comes with a removable protective cover for traveling. What’s manlier than applying shave cream with the fur of a boar? $18

BAXTER SAFETY RAZOR

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Whether you’re a heritage hipster or simply a traditionalist, the safety razor is all you require for your shaving needs. This custom doubleedge safety razor is made in Germany—a nation renowned for razor engineering—and is perfect for that classicstyle wet shave that has been around since the late 18th Century. Packaged in a gift box with accompanying starter blades and an instructional card. $60

TEXT BY JOEL BEDNARZ

THE MODERN MAN BARBER SHOP The haircut experience used to be different than the itchy-necked, over-per fumed salons that we associate it with now. You’d come in, bullshit with the barbers and customers in the waiting area, and get a few laughs and some advice. That’s the experience that The Modern Man Barber Shop of Portland, Oregon, is trying to bring back. Now with two locations, The Modern Man is a manly barbershop, classy whiskey bar, and a whimsical, 19th Century cabinet of curiosities all in one. We talked to co-founder Chris Espinoza about liquor, taxidermy, and what constitutes epic facial hair. The Modern Man is as much about atmosphere and community as it is about being groomed. Why is this important to you? For a lot of guys, getting a haircut is a chore, not something you look forward to. You sit in an uncomfortable chair with a silly-looking cape and basically look like a floating head trying to make awkward conversation with someone you’ve never met. Women have a lot of places to get pampered and get in some quality

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“girl time.” Guys don’t have it so easy. We just wanted to provide a place for men to come in, have a drink, get a shave, maybe a shoeshine, and just chew the fat with the boys. How do you fix up a first-timer? You’re greeted with a smile, handshake, and a “good morning, sir.” You head up to the bar for a free whiskey and are promptly seated. Your barber cuts your unruly hair and shaves your beard while acting as your therapist. After your service, we’ll seat you for a shoeshine and treat you to a cigar on your way out. We try our best to change the way you think about barbershops. What’s your favorite odd-time artifact, oddity, or replica in the store? I really enjoy my boar head. He’s mean looking and definitely means business. Not something you see every day. I have a buffalo mount that’s probably close to 75 years old that’s a customer favorite. We also have a collection of antique books to read if there’s a long wait. Do you have a favorite famous facial-hair style? Google General Burnside.

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SHORTCUTS

STUDIO VISIT

INSIDE BENTON HARBOR’S COZY, CUSTOMIZED

Key Club Recording Company

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TEXT BY EMILY ELHAJ; PHOTOS BY JON SHAFT


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“Question Mark and the Mysterians played here. Tommy James [and the Shondells], The Association, Neil Young— the place had some real history of being a venue and being a place to play.”

STUDIO VISIT

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estled near the St. Joseph River off the southeastern shores of Lake Michigan, Benton Harbor isn’t the first town that comes to mind for music recording—it’s better known for Whirlpool appliances, the House of David religious commune, and golf. Yet the small Michigan community is home to Key Club Recording Company, one of the best and most beautiful studios in the Midwest, founded by producer/engineer duo Bill Skibbe and Jessica Ruffins.

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place had some real history of being a venue and being a place to play.”

In the 1880s, Key Club’s building was a boarding house for sailors. It changed hands and became a lumberyard in the 1920s, and in the ’60s, the building was repurposed yet again and began its life as a rock and folk venue called the Unicorn Key Club.

Now Key Club is decked with custom and vintage gear lining the walls of the control room, with tree-bark paneling and even more equipment in the recording rooms (which have housed the likes of The Kills, Franz Ferdinand, Adult, The Fiery Furnaces, The Sea and Cake, Nomo, Pit Er Pat, Six Organs of Admittance, Tristeza, and Chicago Underground Trio). The studio’s Flickinger console, however, could be considered its foundation. Not only is it the first piece of equipment that Key Club acquired, but it’s also a piece of rock history, once owned and operated by Sly Stone. Skibbe recalls finding the dusty relic at Paragon Studios in Chicago before Key Club existed.

“You had to buy a key [to attend] because there were zoning laws about cover charges,” says Skibbe, the founder of Skibbe Electronics and a former employee of Steve Albini’s Electrical Audio. “So they just made it a private club. Question Mark and the Mysterians played here. Tommy James [and the Shondells], The Association, Neil Young—the

“I was leaning on this thing—it was under a shipping blanket, and I looked under the blanket and was shocked,” he says. “I knew the brand, but I didn’t know it was Sly’s. I casually asked how much for ‘this old mixing console.’ He said he would sell it for seven grand, but I didn’t have it. I had two thousand bucks, and I gave it to him to hold it for me.

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Then I panicked and had to go out and try to find the money. That’s how we ended up out here, actually.” Within a couple of weeks, Skibbe and Ruffins secured a loan to build their dream studio and buy gear, the latter of which has been just as essential to Key Club’s sound and success. (With Skibbe’s custom shop in the building, Key Club is a gear-head’s paradise.) And, conveniently, the former sailor hotel also is where Skibbe and Ruffins call home, meaning that the couple can be productive at any hour. “An odd thing about our arrangement,” Ruffins says, “is that this is our record collection; this is our personal life. So when people come to work with us, they are living with us too. It’s worth it, though. The record is worth it.” “Record-wise, it’s really fun,” Skibbe adds. “You get to be creative whenever you want. There aren’t any boundaries. One of the reasons we built the studio and came out here is because when we worked at the studios in Chicago, it was always a struggle. You had to go home at the end of the night.”


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CULT KING The unpredictable path of Faith No More’s Mike Patton TEXT BY SCOTT MORROW · PHOTOS BY NICK AITKEN · PHOTO ASSISTANCE BY LEANNE COWAN

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“Sometimes it’s just not worth harboring any bullshit and [instead] trying to move on. And musicians move on by making music together.”

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ome musicians achieve broad success, some attain cult status, and some defy all explanation. And then there’s Mike Patton, who somehow has done all three.

Even if you don’t know the Faith No More front-man’s immense, indescribable catalog, chances are that you’ve heard his voice— whether from FNM’s mega-hit “Epic” in the late 1980s or from his voiceover work in the movie I Am Legend or in video games such as Left 4 Dead and The Darkness.

But mainstream work aside, Patton’s pipes have been some of the most called-upon in underground rock and beyond over the past 25 years. Whether shrieking, crooning, chanting, or bellowing, they have been utilized with equal aplomb, from the accessible (Tomahawk, Peeping Tom) to the avant-garde (Fantômas,

Mr. Bungle, John Zorn’s Moonchild). They’ve been guests on dozens of other albums, from Björk to Sepultura, and they retain one of the widest ranges in modern music. During that time, however, one important part of Patton’s résumé—being a full-blown cinema songsmith—has gotten buried behind his status as vocalist extraordinaire. In actuality, the iconoclast always has been a skilled songwriter and arranger; much of Faith No More and Mr. Bungle’s catalogs have Patton credited or co-credited for the music. But the past decade has brought his compositional skills into sharper focus, as listeners have come to hear the schizophrenic yet meticulously arranged Fantômas, the densely layered Peeping Tom, and a handful of film scores and orchestra-backed performances (including Mondo Cane, covering Italian oldies).

Listeners, in fact, might be surprised to learn that Patton—who seldom is seen on stage with more than a microphone, a sampler or keyboard, and effects pedals—is a reclusive multi-instrumentalist. In the privacy of his home studio and with a war chest of sounds, he played nearly every instrument on his genre-hopping themeand-variation scores for A Perfect Place and Crank: High Voltage. And even though Patton records many parts note by note to cut, arrange, and layer, the results are startling—particularly on records with minimal vocals, complex musical moments, and a glut of timbres. “To me,” Patton says of the soundtracks, “what I’m trying to do—which is more important than saying, ‘Hey, I did all this myself’—is to create an illusion that it was done by a big band, or a bossa-nova quintet, or a hardcore band. I don’t want it to sound like one guy working on a nerdy-ass keyboard. ISSUE 41

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“I had friends ask me, ‘So how do you become a film composer?’ And it’s like, ‘I’m not a film composer; I just write music!’ It just so happens that I can make it work for film. I’ve never really felt that distinction.”

“I can hear [the music] in my head, which is something that’s difficult to explain even to more learned musician friends. John Zorn, for example—we’re really good friends, but there’s one thing that he grills me about, like, ‘How the hell do you hear this stuff?’ He knows, because he hears it, but he writes it down. And I say, ‘Well, I hear it, and I’ve got to do it.’ So I’ll leave myself a voice message, or pick up a keytar—anything that I can get my hands on—and it’s like, ‘Okay, that’s documented; I’ll come back to that.’” A development of the past five years, Patton’s film scores—created without traditional music notation—have expanded an already overflowing credit sheet, and the work continues to roll in. He released a score for The Solitude of Prime Numbers in 2011, and one for The Place Beyond the Pines (starring Ryan Gosling) was paired with a limited release of the film in spring of 2013. But if this sounds like Patton is trading his front-man prowess for ProTools, know that he sees the scores as an extension of what he already does. (And it’s not like he turned in his rock-and-roll membership badge. Read about the reincarnated Tomahawk on page 65.) He’s 60

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quick to erase the line between “songwriter” and “composer.” “It’s funny,” Patton says. “I had friends ask me, ‘So how do you become a film composer?’ And it’s like, ‘I’m not a film composer; I just write music!’ It just so happens that I can make it work for film. I’ve never really felt that distinction. Maybe that’s also to my detriment. With a lot of my bands, people have told me, ‘It sounds like soundtrack music.’ It’s just kind of a matter of where your head is and how you want to implement it.” Incidentally, the front-man follows in a long line of rock musicians who have made the jump to the big screen—a group that includes Danny Elfman, Hans Zimmer, and Trent Reznor. But whereas composers like Elfman and Zimmer frequently perpetuate the standard of the sweeping, orchestral film score, Patton operates in the margins, crafting ambiguous material that can stand alone or enhance a scene. These blurred boundaries have been a Patton staple from the earliest days of Mr. Bungle, the Naked City-inspired outfit that he started in high school with guitarist Trey Spruance

(Secret Chiefs 3) and bassist Trevor Dunn (now in Tomahawk). Even a band with mainstream success such as Faith No More—which toured with some of the biggest rock bands of the 1980s and ’90s—finds Patton cooing one moment before screeching the next. In retrospect, it’s remarkable that a band like Faith No More climbed (however briefly) to the top of the pop mountain, nearly cracking the Billboard top 10 with The Real Thing. The success proved to be a double-edged sword, thrusting a young Patton and co. into financial gains but also the pressures of touring life and a regular release schedule (not to mention interviews with MTV host Riki Rachtman). In dealing with the stress of sudden fame and gigantic world tours, Patton carried antics off stage—including, most famously, hiding feces in vents and hair dryers in hotel rooms on the road. He has since abandoned the crude pranks, but age has not precluded him from shocking crowds during Faith No More’s recent reunion tours: for a finale in Budapest, he swallowed and regurgitated the two-footlong shoelace of footwear that was thrown on stage, and in Brisbane, he commandeered a video camera and exposed his manhood to a crowd of thousands.


MORE MIKE

Tomahawk

TEXT BY SCOTT MORROW PHOTO BY VINCENT FORCIER

Hatchet in hand, Duane Denison’s super-group returns with new scars to show Mike Patton might be the face of the alt-rock supergroup Tomahawk, but the man and the muscle behind its weighty songs (and metallic, twangy guitar tones) is Duane Denison, the guitarist for 1990s cult favorite The Jesus Lizard. Assembled in 2000 with Patton and Battles drummer John Stanier (and now with Mr. Bungle’s Trevor Dunn on bass), his resurgent Tomahawk is back in a major way, dropping Oddfellows last winter as the band’s first album since 2007. Denison is a Renaissance man in his own right—he originally studied classical guitar; he led the jazz-rock Denison-Kimball Trio (which began as indie-film music); he has a new neo-chamber project with Alexander Hacke (Einstürzende Neubauten) and Brian Kotzur (ex-Silver Jews) called The Unsemble; and he has played in Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers, USSA, Silver Jews, and Firewater. If that’s not enough, Denison also writes music for film, theater, dance, and TV, and he recently became involved with Empty Mansions, the art-rock side project of Interpol drummer Sam Fogarino. Tomahawk, however, continues Denison’s rock’n’-roll legacy, surrounding his punchy guitar work with Patton’s dynamic vocals, Stanier’s kick-driven beats, and now Dunn’s thick grooves.

PHOTO BY TK

“For me,” Denison says, “this is a chance to rock out—get up there and play some riffs, make some noise, and crank up those kinds of sounds. And having Trevor aboard really kind of amps things up too.” Dunn’s influence on Oddfellows (released by Ipecac, Patton’s label) is harder to discern, at least partially because the material was begun before he was in the fold. But beyond his chops, Dunn’s ability to nail and contribute to the material within a short period of time really benefitted the album’s recording. “Trevor can play literally anything,” Denison says. “He’s almost astonishing, and he can get it together so fast. A lot of these songs actually were started before any of us knew whether Trevor would

do this, so that necessarily wasn’t in mind on some of it. But for instance, there’s a song called ‘Rise Up Dirty Waters’ that’s right in his power zone. A lot of rock bass players maybe would have struggled a bit with that song, but with him it was very natural and easy. And then going from that to something riff-heavy like ‘Oddfellows’ was very easy.” Dunn, known for his jazz abilities, begins “Rise Up Dirty Waters” with a walking bass line. The nimble melody is joined by an organ and an old-school rock-’n’-roll lick before moving into a weirdo gospel-rock part, and it’s one of the most unique tracks on the album. But that’s not all that’s different about Oddfellows. Patton channels 1950s pop and

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oldies influences in different spots—what Denison has called “really heavy Beach Boys” and “almost Greek choruses”—and coos on tracks such as “Stone Letter” and “White Hats / Black Hats.” Denison has the usual dose of Western twang to go with his fuzzy and wailing effects, but “I Can Almost See Them” plays up the drama with bells, timpani, and echoing vocals. It’s quintessential Tomahawk—in a way that you haven’t heard. “We didn’t want to make an album that’s just more of the same,” Denison says. “At this point, that would have been ridiculous, taking five, seven years off. I’m all for continuity—I think that this album kind of starts where the others left off. But it went to a couple places that we hadn’t been yet, and that’s good.”

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“This Faith No More reunion taught me a pretty good lesson: ‘Hey, these things that you’ve done in the past aren’t your enemies.’”

Yet even more startling might be the fact that he did the reunion at all. For years after Faith No More’s breakup, the anomalous vocalist practically disowned the band’s material, noting that if a reunion occurred, it wouldn’t be with him on the mic. Eventually, though, the members got back in contact with each other, and a series of concert offers in 2009 proved too tempting to pass up—particularly when it meant reconnecting on a personal level. And, in the process, Patton has come to find a new perspective on the band that propelled him to stardom. “I think,” he says, “that this Faith No More reunion taught me a pretty good lesson: ‘Hey, these things that you’ve done in the past aren’t your enemies.’ They’re not something to run away from but rather something to just understand. If I’m going to write a piece of music tomorrow, I’m not really going to understand it for another 10 years—maybe, if I’m lucky! The reunion with Faith No More was a really eye-opening experience because it taught me how to appreciate the music that I’ve done from a distance. When you’re in it, you’re too close. When you’re writing it, it’s still like a part of you.” Time, distance, age, maturity—whatever the difference, hardcore Patton fans were just psyched to have Faith No More back on stage, even if an emphasis on global tours left just a handful of shows, mostly on the coasts, for the United States. And the better news, if you 62

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heard about the band performing its 1995 album King for a Day, Fool for a Lifetime in its entirety in Chile in late 2011, is that Patton hadn’t just reconciled with the material. After reconnecting at a few John Zorn concerts, he and Bungle co-founder Trey Spruance—who played guitar on King for a Day—were back in good graces after a lengthy falling-out. “We hadn’t spoken in years,” Patton says. “You know, something that seems really important to you maybe one day at one certain snapshot in your life loses significance after a certain number of years, and you kind of forget why you’re mad at somebody, or you forget what happened. And you realize there’s only a certain number of true compatriots and friends and family that you have in this life. Sometimes it’s just not worth harboring any bullshit and [instead] trying to move on. And musicians move on by making music together.” That, of course, begs the Bungle question. Most of the genre-demolishing quintet is spread out, including Dunn in New York and Danny Heifetz and Clinton “Bär” McKinnon each in different Australian cities. (Interestingly, Patton and Spruance are the nearest geographically, respectively in San Francisco and Santa Cruz, California.) The two old highschool friends already have recorded together again—a Secret Chiefs 3 cover of Scott Walker’s “Jackie” (itself a cover of Jacques Brel’s “La Chanson de Jacky”) with Patton on vocals. So is a continent-crossing reunion possible?

“Who knows?” Patton asks. “It certainly doesn’t seem like it’s on the tip of anyone’s lips, but I could have said the same thing—and, in fact, I did say the same thing—about Faith No More, and that happened. And I think it happened for the better.” Whether or not fans get that reunion to end all reunions, Patton (still just 45) continues his unrelenting workload. He might be enjoying more time at home—constructing film scores helps with that—but he’s certainly not slowing down or mellowing with age. In just the next year or so, there are plans for the long-awaited Nevermen release (with Adam “Doseone” Drucker from Themselves and Tunde Adebimpe from TV on the Radio), a second Mondo Cane installment with a live DVD, and a load of performances with Zorn. There might potentially be more Fantômas too—and not even the all-electronic, MIDIbased concept that has been brewing for years. No, Patton may be no more likely to do another Fantômas album (or Peeping Tom, another volume of which is planned) than he is to reinvent himself as a country crooner. His tastes and musical proclivities are as varied as anyone in the industry—who else can sing for The Dillinger Escape Plan, reverently cover The Bee Gees, and perform with chamber ensembles? Patton has built a career out of keeping his audience guessing, and being surprised seldom is so fun. Just be ready if he ever plays the Academy Awards.


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BUTCH WALKER, A ‘66 TRIUMPH, AND THE PACIFIC COAST HIGHWAY

TEXT BY CHRIS FORCE; PHOTOS BY TIM CADIENTE

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ride into Venice, California, on a borrowed electric motorcycle. It’s warm and the fog is pouring in off the ocean. I push open an unlocked street-level door to Rubyred Studios and find Butch Walker sitting at a console, typing into a laptop. “Oh, hi!,” he says, and gets us some coffees.

Every time I visit Southern California, I look for opportunities to disprove the stereotype that everyone there is a mellow, laid-back, creative guy who spends his day surfing and riding motorcycles. I rarely find them, and today is no different. When I ask Butch what he’s been up to, amongst riding his bikes and playing some guitars, he mentions watching a wild music video that was just released for a single he produced. The single? “My Song Knows What You Did in the Dark,” by Fall Out Boy. (The song went platinum. No biggie.) After a quick tour of the studio and its equipment, and a rundown of its previous tenants (Bob Dylan was one), we focus on the backroom, which happens to be loaded full of vintage motorcycles.

Butch’s music career, and life, is a fascinating one. He lost all of his personal possessions, including his motorcycles, due to a wildfire that burnt down his rented home in Malibu (Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers was the owner). One of his first purchases afterwards was a BMW R75, which he found for sale on eBay and had restored by Apex Cycle in Georgia. “They are a husband-and-wife mechanic team, and they do restorations on old Beamers,” he says. “They made it like perfect.” With about 60,000 miles on it, it’s now his daily driver. “I’m in love with that bike. I was kind of craving a rigid again. Don’t ask me why—they hurt like hell to ride, and they’re awful for you—but there is something fun about it.” After that, the songwriter-producer picked up a 1966 Triumph from Craigslist and sent it to The Factory Metal Works. “They turned it into a whole different bike; almost everything is custom,” he says. “Man, it’s a blast—well, when it runs, it’s great. It’s a ’66, you know? It either lets you to ride it or it says, ‘Fuck you.’”

Today it wants to be ridden. We race up and down a stretch of the Pacific Coast Highway and spend the rest of the morning looking over his other great bikes. This stereotype just might be true.

ABOUT THE BIKE ¼ 1966 Triumph T100 Trophy 500 ¼ 5˝ stretch and 2.5˝ drop frame ¼ Chrome slash-cut rippled drag pipes ¼ Custom-ribbed peanut tank ¼ Vintage brown saddle ¼ Custom antique chrome oil tank ¼ Baron’s Speed Shop rear fender ¼ Custom pegs, brake pedals, rocker caps, and brass kicker BUILT BY LUCAS JOYNER AT THE FACTORY METAL WORKS IN NORTH CAROLINA. LUCAS JOYNER ALSO HAS BUILT BIKES FOR DAVID ROBINSON (DRUMMER FOR THE CARS) AND ACTOR RYAN REYNOLDS. IN A FORMER LIFE, HE RAN A RECORDING STUDIO AND WAS A HEAVY-METAL PROMOTER. CHECK OUT HIS WORK AT THEFACTORYMETALWORKS.COM.

“I have had a couple of different bobbers, a big Harley, a couple of different big twin bikes,” Butch tells me. “But what’s fun to me is getting around on something that is lighter and more nimble. Especially when you’re in LA, you can’t be on some big, gigantic bike and split lanes without taking mirrors off.”

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TEXT BY TIMOTHY A. SCHULER


LIFE ON THE ROAD

PHOTOS BY JON SHAFT

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ip hop is based on collaboration, on lending a beat or a verse to so-and-so’s new album in exchange for them producing yours, etc. But not many artists go as far as Doomtree, the hardscrabble hip-hop collective from the Minneapolis side of the Twin Cities. Most of them have known each other since high school, and all of them— P.O.S, Sims, Dessa, Cecil Otter, Lazerbeak, Paper Tiger, and Mike Mictlan—are now basically family.

Each has earned acclaim for his or her own emcee or production skills, but 2011’s No Kings was a high water mark and true Doomtree album, with members trading verses and choruses over pulsing beats, textured and warbling synths, and layers of organic and sampled sounds. The crew, collectively and individually, has been on the road ever since, supporting its group albums and solo efforts.

In following the collective on the road, we learned that there are times for sleeping and times for yelling: What are the Doomtree tour vehicles of choice? LAZERBEAK: Our number-one tour vehicle is our trusty, ol’, beat-up 15-passenger van that we’ve nicknamed Mountain. We’ve had Mountain for about a year now, and it’s already racked up over 60,000 miles between all the solo and crew tours. On the last US run, we also rented a nice new Town & Country minivan, fondly nicknamed Fountain, to hold the rest of the crew and luggage. Mountain may have been a little jealous of the DVD player and power controls.

How does touring now compare to the early 2000s, when you first started out? DESSA: We used to sleep seven bodies in a single hotel room. Now we’ve got two [rooms] and sometimes even three. Oh, the indulgence.

For better or worse, how is touring together different than taking off solo? LAZERBEAK: Touring as the whole crew is my favorite way of doing it. We’re all so busy back home and on the road so

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frequently individually that it’s super rare to get all seven of us in the same room together unless we’re playing a crew show or out on a crew tour. It gives us a chance to just hang out again and reconnect with one another, instead of just always being about business. But it can be tough keeping track of everybody from time to time, and deciding on the same place to eat is generally impossible.

Do you have any Doomtree tour rules? DESSA: We’ve managed pretty well without forging a set of tour commandments. Generally, intuition has been a pretty good guide. Don’t yell while people are sleeping. Don’t sleep if it’s time to yell.

What’s the craziest thing that has happened to you while on tour? PAPER TIGER: I lost my passport in Canada and almost didn’t make it back to America—forever.

What’s the weirdest venue you’ve performed in? SIMS: I performed at a place called The Flower Shop in San Francisco a few years back. It was an old warehouse, more of a practice/living space

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than a venue. The place had a guru of sorts, an old hippie named Diamond Dave, who took every opportunity to drop hippie-mystic colloquialisms. The whole place had a strange vibe, and we got the distinct impression that we were semi-welcome. Right before I played, I witnessed a brutal fight. Some dude beat the living shit out of someone. He was screaming, “Don’t say that! Don’t you ever say that!! Punk is not dead!!!” After they picked up the heap of that poor dude, I performed, and it was actually a pretty great show. Then we got the hell out of there.

What’s the farthest that you’ve had to travel in one day? DESSA: The drives in the West are the longest. On rare occasions, we don’t have time to sleep and will just load into the van to drive all night and all day to the next show. Somehow, that next show always seems to be in Salt Lake City.

Do you write new music while traveling, either individually or together? DESSA: Most of us are really lousy at writing on the road. Conceptually, there’s a lot of down time, but in actuality it’s tough to come by an idle hour on the road.

What’s in heavy rotation at the moment? LAZERBEAK: I can only speak for myself, but tons of new and old R&B, mostly. Luther Vandross, The Gap Band, Aaliyah, Dave Hollister, Blood Orange, Drake, M83, “Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac, “What a Fool Believes” by The Doobie Brothers, and lots of standup records for when I get burnt out on music.

What do you do to make sure you’re still having fun by the end of the tour? PAPER TIGER: Sometimes I grow a mustache; I think I’m actually due for one.

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PHOTOGRAPHY BY CHRIS FORCE STYLIST: JESSI SHEEHAN (EVOLVE CHICAGO) HAIR & MAKEUP: KRISTINA MARIE FEYERHERM (FACTOR ARTISTS) PHOTO ASSISTANT: ANDREW RODDEWIG (CLARION NEW MEDIA) 74

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MOTO JACKET: ISLE OF MAN, CHICAGO; TEE: OAKNYC.COM

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OVERSIZED BOYFRIEND VEST: ALLSAINTS, CHICAGO


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TEXTURED TOP: ALLSAINTS, CHICAGO; LEATHER SHORTS: ALLSAINTS, CHICAGO


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HIM: SILVER BOOTS: DIESEL, CHICAGO; ECRU JEANS: ALLSAINTS, CHICAGO

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HER: JEANS: ROBIN RICHMAN, CHICAGO; BOOTS: DIESEL, CHICAGO

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EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY & DAVID WINGO AN ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK

PRINCE AVALANCHE

envy invariable will, recurring ebbs and flows box set “Envy embodies what’s crucial in music to me on multiple levels. The passion with which they create and play remains at the very heart of what makes their music a vital part of being alive.” Aaron Turner, ISIS “It’s nearly impossible to overstate the influence that Envy have exerted on the underground music over the last twenty years.” Geoff Rickly, THURSDAY “There are very few bands whose immediate impact stops you dead in your tracks. Envy are without doubt one of them. Like nothing I’ve heard then or since.” Stuart Braithwaite, MOGWAI

ELUVIUM NIGHTMARE ENDING

“An album that borders on perfection.” ALTERNATIVE PRESS

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ORDER ONLINE AT WWW.TEMPORARYRESIDENCE.COM


DEFTONES / DOWN / THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN / SHINING

DIALOGUE

Shining “Blackjazz” pioneer Jørgen Munkeby trades the colder climates of Norway for sunny LA while writing his latest epic. PHOTOS BY OLIVIA JAFFE

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DEMOING:

| | Jazz-metal genius Jørgen Munkeby escapes Oslo to refine an incomparable style

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DEMOING:

THE STUDIO EQUIPMENT I’M USING TO RECORD DEMOS: · Selmer Mark VI tenor sax with a Sennheiser clip-on mic · Gibson SG Standard guitar · Motu 828 mk3 audio interface · Creation Audio Labs’ MW1 Studio Tool (DI and reamp rackmount box)

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hen Norway’s Shining released Blackjazz in 2010, it marked more than a bold new direction in progressive metal—it was the final phase of transformation of a former acoustic jazz outfit that had delved into classical melodies, prog rock, and synth-driven industrial madness. One One One, the latest from Shining songwriter Jørgen Munkeby, isn’t another shock to the system; instead it refines and streamlines, pairing more rock-’n’-roll grooves, blazing tempos, and traditional song structures with the brutality. Prior to mixing in Los Angeles with co-producer Sean Beavan (Nine Inch Nails, Slayer), Munkeby rented a house in the city’s Echo Park neighborhood, where he hunkered down to write and demo the new material. There he brought a homemade mini-studio to work away from the distractions of home, and with all of his irons in the fire—guitar, bass, sax, synths, vocals, drum programming, and production—a few weeks in sunny LA couldn’t have hurt a man used to cool summers and snowy winters.

How does being a native saxophonist affect your writing process and how you play guitar?

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My main instrument has been saxophone, so that’s where I got my feel for how to play. Now I think about the sounds

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· Lunchbox (API500-6B) with four modules (Neve 1073LB, API 560 EQ, API 527 comp, Standard Level-Or [a 500 version of the old Shure Level-Loc]) · Shure SM7b mic for vocals · CountryMan DI box · Morley JD10 amp simulator (for guitar and bass) · A few other fuzz boxes (LAL Oscillo Fuzz,

and the music in my head more than where my fingers can go. I want the sounds and ideas to start in my brain instead of having a physical thing dictate what you’re playing. All my ideas come from my head, but that’s been very much affected by an idiomatic way of playing the saxophone. I think that’s affecting how I play and write for the guitar. Guitar players—they play more chords, and they love, in metal, power-chord fifths that sound big. I don’t use them that much; I think it sounds kind of cliché. There are a few songs on the new album where I have a more standard rock tuning, dropped D, where everything is a standard tuning except the lowest string. And you get this kind of power chord on the three lowest strings all the time. So I would say there’s a little more rock attitude.

Malekko AssMaster, Devi Ever BitMangler) · MacBook Pro with Cubase 5 · Soft synths (Vst plugins) · Guitar Rig plugin · And I record bass with a Fender Telecaster bass that I borrowed from this studio, and program drums with Toon Track’s EZ Drummer

How has getting out of Oslo affected you? We as human beings are really good at making systems, and we kind of systemize our lives to make them easier. But you also get kind of stuck in a system, and it puts your brain in a mode where it clings to what it’s used to. Going somewhere puts it in a mode where it needs to come up with solutions. But it also gives you this kind of distance to what you’re doing; you’re reminded that what you’re making actually has to work for people you don’t know. You’re not making music for your mother.

How is the new material different than Blackjazz? Sound-wise, it’s going to be similar—have the same kind of energy and aggressiveness. But songs are going CONTINUED >

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PHOTOS BY OLIVIA JAFFE

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to be shorter—most of them are about four minutes. That’s quite a difference. The song structure is more clear-cut verses and choruses, but with the music that people kind of expect from us.

CONTINUED >

Foo Fighters, Kvelertak, Muse… I love the more up-tempo stuff from these bands, although mentioning them might be confusing because we’re not going to sound like them. In Norway, we say, “Now you’re seeing how the sausage is made.” That’s the messy part. Most people would be better off not knowing how it’s made, because maybe they like the end result but don’t want to know. So mentioning Foo Fighters might put a few people off, but that’s how it is. I could mention a lot of influences on Blackjazz that might surprise people. We’re not throwing in your average college-rock chorus, but there will be more vocals. There are more words too—and it’s hard to pronounce the words with the saxophone.

Will Shining remain a metal band for the foreseeable future? It’s obviously hard to say, but I can tell you that I am not comfortable with being only a “metal” band or only a “jazz” band or whatever. We exist in the transition areas between a lot of these genres, and that’s where I’m comfortable. I have a feeling that we will stay in this kind of twilight zone. We still want to target the kind of audience we have now—resourceful, smart, enthusiastic, interesting people. It’s more about that than exactly how the music sounds.

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DEMOING:

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The Deftones front-man turns dark times into prolificacy

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hen the Deftones’ fifth album, Saturday Night Wrist, was released in 2006, vocalist and guitarist Chino Moreno was publicly criticized by some of his bandmates for slowing down the band’s creative process. Lately, though, Moreno has been on a tear, releasing material by a string of concurrent projects. We caught up with him to chat about the Deftones’ latest, Koi No Yokan; the moody, synthetic rock of Crosses; Palms, his collaboration with three-fifths of Isis; and the possibility of another Team Sleep album. CONTINUED >

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| Chino Moreno | heavy time in our lives for a lot of us for a lot of different reasons, even aside from what happened with [bassist] Chi [Cheng’s car accident].

CONTINUED >

ON HIS INCREASED PRODUCTIVITY: “Writing lyrics is hard. I’m not a poet. I don’t sit around and have notebooks full of poems. When I write a song, it’s like math and English—all these different school subjects all put into one thing. But once you get something done, it fuels you to keep on going forward. I feel so great to have this new Deftones record in my pocket. After Diamond Eyes, we were really efficient. We finished it in such good time and in such a good headspace. When I did Crosses, I took that same work ethic: start something, attack it, complete it, put it away, and go on to the next thing. Once I started following through and being accountable, my life started getting better in all aspects.”

ON THE DEFTONES’ KOI NO YOKAN (ROUGH TRANSLATION OF “INEVITABLE LOVE”): “I think the album title is just a beautiful definition of a feeling that a lot of people have been lucky enough to feel once in their life. It’s hard to name a record with one theme that’s going to carry through every song. I don’t even think that Koi No Yokan does that, but it defines a strong emotion. If you’ve ever felt anything close to that, the title brings up a tingly kind of feeling. The music isn’t all lovey-dovey, but there’s a strong force that carries through the whole album.”

ON THE DEFTONES’ SHELVED ALBUM EROS: “I think it will see the light of day one day. I listened to some of it recently. I don’t even have any of that stuff on my computer, but [drummer] Abe [Cunningham] had about six songs from that record on his. It had been a few years since I’d even thought about listening to it. I got a little choked up. It was a

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“A LOT OF PEOPLE THINK THAT I DO THESE SIDE PROJECTS BECAUSE I CAN’T DO CERTAIN MUSIC WITH DEFTONES, BUT THAT’S NOT THE CASE AT ALL. MUSIC IS MY HOBBY, SO IF I HAVE A BREAK, I’M USUALLY RECORDING AND DOING SOMETHING CREATIVE.”

(ED. NOTE: After a five-year battle to recover from his accident, Cheng passed away in April of 2013.)

At that point, I was a single parent with both of my kids. I’d be at the studio ’til four in the morning and then have to go home, sleep two hours, get up, and take them to school. After coming off two records that were really dark times for us, we were trying to get out of it, but it was a hard fight. After Chi’s accident, there was some time where we didn’t think we were going to continue. About six months later, when Sergio [Vega] joined, we reached to our instruments for refuge. We started writing Diamond Eyes that day, really. So we never really looked back from that point on. I don’t think we’re ready to really reflect on that time yet. But the music itself is pretty fuckin’ rad. I didn’t remember it being that good. I was like, ‘Wow, these are some deep songs.’ I do want people to hear it, but when the time is right.”

ON CROSSES: “My buddy [Scott] Chuck, who wrote the majority of the music, does everything very lo-fi. He uses an old MPC and a lot of organic instruments...he’ll write something using, like, an old Fender Rhodes based on a couple of chord progressions and then bring it over to Shawn [Lopez]. They had close to 20 songs by the time they had me sing on them. We decided to put it out in little increments, how we wanted and when we wanted. The whole idea behind it was no hype, so people would hear about it by word of mouth. It was a little bit of a bummer when it first came out and it was depicted as me doing a witch-house project. I don’t know why anyone would call it that.”

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ON PALMS: “Aaron [Harris], the drummer for Isis, is a good friend of mine. He’d been recording this stuff over the last year or so. I don’t want to give anyone preconceived ideas, but it’s very atmospheric in the way you’d think based on the guys that are involved in it. There are riffs in there, but I wouldn’t say it’s definitely a metal record. It’s heavy in other ways. It’s very cinematic. When we finished this one song, I told Aaron that it was the longest song I’d ever sung on before. There are so many different parts and different things that the song goes through that it literally took me a week to do it because we did it in sections. The [album] is only six songs, but it’s full length because the songs are so long.”

ON TEAM SLEEP: “When that project started off, it was all about just recording with my friends in our bedrooms. There was no expectation put on it. But when I wanted to release the record, Warner Bros. had first right over whether they wanted to pick it up. They could even block it from coming out. They decided to pick it up, which was cool, but they wanted radio songs, and that wasn’t the premise. That took some wind out of the sails. Of course, their agenda was also to get me to do Deftones as much as possible, so they really didn’t get behind it. But making the music itself with the guys was a really fun thing. A lot of people think that I do side projects because I can’t do certain music with Deftones, but that’s not the case at all. I’m plenty fulfilled making music with Deftones, but music is my hobby, so if I have a break, I’m usually recording and doing something creative. There’s a lot of unreleased Team Sleep stuff, more than even I know, because after we got done touring that first record, everybody went back to writing in their bedrooms and trading files. It was cool because it went back to the way it was in the beginning.”

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DIALOGUE

One-man wrecking plan Ben Weinman on melody vs. technicality, songwriting responsibility, and financial misconceptions

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nfluenced by old punk and hardcore albums and devoid of fullblown sonic excursions, The Dillinger Escape Plan’s fifth fulllength album is, if there is such a thing, a “straightforward” affair. Raging, intricate blasts of metalcore mayhem still rule One of Us Is the Killer, but with only one “radio-friendly” track, no epic piano jams, and most songs under four minutes, it’s pure adrenaline—and still adventurous as all get out.

With the return of the same recording lineup, the band has benefitted from stronger chemistry between guitarist/songwriter Ben Weinman and drummer Billy Rymer—not to mention an even wider range from vocalist Greg Puciato, who works from eruptive anger to cooing, crooning, chanting, and even spoken (and shouted) word. Sonically, it’s still über-diverse, with bits of glockenspiel, piano, horns, “choir” effects, and keyboard squiggles, plus a “dark bossa nova” interlude, an

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instrumental synth jam, and an organic drum-and-bass intro. When it’s said and done, One of Us Is the Killer will be one of the best albums of 2013. We caught up with Weinman—who’s also keeping busy with a bluegrass soundtrack, the super-group Giraffe Tongue Orchestra, and an informal collaboration with Kimbra—to discuss next-level rhythms, keeping “feel” in music, and staying true to one’s vision.

There’s a lot happening on the new album, but it’s very to the point. Do you consider it to be more straightforward? This is the first record since our first full-length where absolutely every song was written specifically with Dillinger in mind. In the past, it was one of these things where we toured

so much, and living in different states and not having the luxuries of the Internet—we always found ourselves needing more songs, and I always had things that I was working on in the back of the bus, or throughout the years, that weren’t necessarily with Dillinger in mind. And we said, “Why not?” If I’m the creative force inMORROW Dillinger TEXT BY SCOTT and these are certain creative outlets I’ve had, why not make them a part of Dillinger? Those were a lot of the departures—the piano things or the electronically oriented songs. This [time] there was nothing just laying around that I had. And that was intentional. I really wanted to keep it separate. Some of the grooves and rhythms [on this album] were particularly influenced by old punk and hardcore stuff. To me, the energy and songwriting in those days were based only on those feelings, not CONTINUED >

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| The Dillinger Escape Plan | on technicality. The hardcore scene in the ’90s was this amazing time where metal and punk kind of met in the middle, and you first started hearing these metal-influenced riffs in punk rock. You had the energy and aggression and distortion and speed of metal, but it wasn’t this concentration on technicality like there is today with a lot of heavy bands—technical sweep picking, etc. To me, that was a really exciting time where music just moved you. That was a huge influence on some of this stuff.

CONTINUED >

What are the most significant differences on the new album? Were there things that you hadn’t tried? On this one, the main difference is the approach to some of the rhythms. I think that to mostly anybody, a Dillinger rhythm sounds pretty strange. There are a lot of bands doing complex time signatures and rhythms—the Meshuggah-type stuff has been a huge influence on metal, and it’s been a great influence. But I think that even those people who are into this music find a Dillinger rhythm fairly strange. Even we find them strange when we’re writing them, and that’s part of what we want to do—we want to keep putting ourselves in uncomfortable places. And so with a lot of the rhythms on this record, if I found myself going down an avenue that felt comfortable or typical for Dillinger, I’d change it and create a scenario where it was really weird and uncomfortable to play, or even just the process. To somebody who really studies the intricacies of Dillinger, I think that they’ll find that some of the rhythms are next-level and really awkward and bizarre. I did use a lot of organic percussion on this [album], which I haven’t really done in the past. We’ve always done little bits of sound design; when I write music, it automatically comes with that kind of stuff, because I love it and it’s part of what I do when I’m not writing Dillinger. But I thought it was interesting to incorporate a lot of organic percussion sounds

“I THOUGHT IT WAS INTERESTING TO INCORPORATE A LOT OF ORGANIC PERCUSSION SOUNDS INTO EVEN THE HEAVIEST SONGS—WHICH I THINK MOST PEOPLE WOULD BE AFRAID TO DO, BECAUSE IT’S NOT METAL TO HAVE A TAMBOURINE.”

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into even the heaviest songs— which I think most people would be afraid to do, because it’s not metal to have a tambourine. But to me, it’s even more punk and more interesting to have these organic things being hit in these complex rhythms and aggressive situations.

and risks. I think that you see the best of that on this record with Greg. And his screaming and ferociousness is at a new level—really pissed off.

On that topic of balancing melody and technicality— you’ve mentioned Mahavishnu Orchestra as an influence in the past.

Sometimes. If you asked me to make a Dillinger record after I make a Dillinger record, I’d be like, “I don’t think I can, man. I have none of that left in me. I could never make another one.” But then after a year of touring or whatever, I feel like I have to get into my studio and start making this stuff again.

I always loved that band and thought they were so ahead of their time. Mahavishnu had a style; somehow it had a style of its own, even though it incorporated all of these different influences. And the influences changed according to the people in the band, but it still sounded like Mahavishnu. That was the goal of Dillinger from day one: to incorporate all these influences but also have a very unique sound. It also wasn’t necessarily about being clean or technically perfect. The musicianship in Mahavishnu is unparalleled, but at the same time, the feeling was really important—more important than being perfect all the time.

What has it meant to have such a diverse vocalist in the band for so long? I think that Greg is at his absolute best on this record, without a doubt. I’ve said it before, but I get these songs done and I work so hard on them, and I basically hand them over to someone who’s going to sing on top of them. It’s very invasive—you know what I mean? It’s very sensitive. You never know what you’re going to get. So when he does sing on these things and takes them to a new level, and I become a fan of the song again from a totally different perspective, it’s really special. After we did that record with Mike Patton, there really wasn’t a choice. Moving forward, you can’t really go backwards. [The next singer had to be] as diverse as we were musically and as we wanted to be musically, and who could grow with the band and take twists and turns and chances

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Do you feel pressure from being the sole songwriting force behind DEP?

The only real pressure when I start that process again—it’s not really a pressure; it’s more of a responsibility. And to me, that’s not hard. It’s more of a responsibility to stay true to where we came from, without falling victim to expectations of kids out there, letting people determine how we make our music. But to me, it’s not that hard; it’s so close to my heart and my soul. The day I stop feeling that, I’ll just stop doing it.

What does it mean to have stopped “living in abject poverty” thanks to Dillinger? It’s awesome. I’ve never 100% made my living off of Dillinger; I could never imagine that. I worked a full-time job until I absolutely couldn’t keep the job any more because I was on tour so much. I never, ever had that pipedream of being a rock star. And I still don’t. I happen to love this like someone might love being a plumber, you know? It’s funny—there’s this really weird misconception about a band like ours, as far as financials and success. And it’s never accurate. It’s always like someone thinking that if you have CDs on the shelves or are in magazine, you must be loaded. Or if they haven’t heard you on the radio, you must be poor—starving, trying to make it. It’s never an accurate thing, that we’re just hard-working musicians and that this is what we do. None of us have a 401(k); let’s put it that way.

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NOLA’s reigning metal super-group goes four for IV

L

ast year, long-running metal super-group Down released the first of a sprawling four-part EP series. Aptly titled IV, the releases—the rest of which come in 2013 or later—are meant to comprise a massive new album, and the first takes the band’s Black Sabbath influences to a rawer and darker place.

Singer, songwriting contributor, and former Pantera vocalist Phil Anselmo—who teams with members of Corrosion of Conformity, Eyehategod, and Crowbar in Down—joined us to talk about soaring vocals, his home studio, and that unapologetic Sabbath influence.

You recorded your new material at Nodferatu’s Lair, your home studio. What did you use for reference mixes on the first EP? I always will reference one of my newer records with something classic and something modern just for kicks. Honestly, I can’t remember what modern record we A/B’d it with. But I always go back to Black Sabbath records. There’s always the re-mastered Black Sabbath records that are louder. I would always bounce back on Sabotage. I was going to ask you about Black Sabbath. To me, Down sounds like an extension of the song “Supernaut.” Ha! Well, you know, that’s not very far off the fucking mark. Obviously, we’re influenced by Black Sabbath. I also say that we’re influenced by the bands that were influenced by Black Sabbath, like Trouble, Witchfinder General, Saint Vitus—all

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that shit! But really, in the end, it’s all fucking Black Sabbath. Take a song like “Stone the Crow” and maybe you can see a little Lynyrd Skynyrd here and there, but really, we’re a lot more Black Sabbath than we are any fucking thing. I can’t disagree with your assessment there, young man.

The new material sounds a little darker—more like Trouble and less Southern. Was that on purpose? I know for a fact that when we went in there and wrote these songs, I wanted them to be as described. I wanted it to be raw. Definitely true to its presentation...in that it sounds like what we sound like live. It is a darksounding thing live, because we wiggle completely out of key and shit like that. The mindset was to be as raw as possible and to not overanalyze the songs. Once we got onto something and there were three

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parts to it, walk the fuck away from it, you know? When it came down to doing vocals...really, this was the least amount of time I’ve taken. I didn’t overtax myself at all thinking or worrying about how the songs are going to be. I approached it like I did the first demo. I didn’t have a bunch of material before the first demo; it was just an idea. That’s how I approached [the new material].

Are the songs an extension of jam sessions? Well, it’s collaborative. It’s funny that you mention “extension” and “jam session” in the same sentence when you’re talking about Down, because we’re the worst band in the world at ending a song. We get on that last fucking riff and no one can fucking stop. I have to scream at ’em.

The vocals seem to be the most ’70s you’ve sounded since Cowboys from Hell, when you had straight-up Rob Halford parts. Dude, I swear that I approached singing this thing a few different ways. Two of the songs we had demoed back in like 2006, when I was singing a whole lot more and was into...different shit, I guess. We had demoed the songs, and my voice was just soaring, and there were really a lot of higher parts. I tried several different ways—without killing myself, mind you—but it just kept coming out the same fuck-

DRINKING & DOZING AT NODFERATU’S LAIR Divided into four separate EPs, Down IV is being recorded in chunks at singer Phil Anselmo’s home studio, dubbed Nodferatu’s Lair. Around when the band recorded Down II: A Bustle in Your Hedgerow, the gravelly vocalist converted a barn on his secluded Louisiana property into a rehearsal space and studio—and bestowed its name in tribute to Nosferatu and the inhabitants’ tendencies to nod off during marathon jam/ drink sessions. It has since become a recording home for artists on Anselmo’s label, Housecore Records, including bands such as HAARP and Warbeast.

ing way. It’s all that would come out of me. I could have had any date in my head as far as what I was aiming for, and it would have come out the same way. To a point, it was a little fucking frustrating and a little comedic.

Some things are just meant to be. I guess! Believe me, I gave it the ol’ high-school-dropout try.

TEXT BY TODD NIEF


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PHOTO BY DEAN KARR

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| Queens of Rock |

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Duntotatem. Licate dolupta dolore quam fugit, estion reptatem ducius aut dusam, eaque volut hit, testo etur, comnimp orehent verum eum

G

rowing up in Birmingham, England, Sasha Vallely idolized the American West from afar, falling for the romanticized mythos of the desert. As an adult, she found another love—music—and spent time in Birmingham bands as well as a few Aussie projects after a move down under. But that Western allure kept calling, and she soon packed her bags for Los Angeles, where she became enmeshed in the city’s psychedelic scene. Her previous and current duties in Spindrift and The Silver Chords are extensions of that first love. Across a host of instruments, she helps her current musical projects—soon to include an all-girl group—blend rock psychedelia with Western motifs, folk and roots music, pop, and even baroque influences. Saddle up.

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Growing up in the UK, what attracted you to the sounds and history of the American West?

What makes psychedelic rock music such a good foundation for adding Western, folk, and other influences?

I have always had a fascination with America ever since I was a small child. My dad was always really into Westerns, so I grew up watching them. He always wanted to be a cowboy; he even took us to some of the old movie sets out in Spain. I always wanted to be a Native American girl, and when my mother moved out to Las Cruces [New Mexico] when I was 17 and took me to a pow-wow, I became even more obsessed.

“Everything sounds better on psychedelics.”

How important are aesthetics (both musically and visually) to your bands? I think they are very important. I’m a musician, but I have always loved art and theatrics, and I think it’s great to have all your senses stimulated when you listen to a record or go to see a performance. I also have a short attention span, which is why I like things to be interesting visually and musically.

What pros and cons have you experienced about being a woman in a rock band? It has taken a long time for me to be taken seriously as a musician. I would have started out sooner, but I felt very intimidated by the guys. In my town, I was the only girl I knew who wanted to be in a band. Even now when I turn up to shows, I often get asked if I’m the merch girl, or they assume I’m a groupie or don’t know how to plug in a cable. I guess the pros would be now that I have established myself somewhat, I get a lot of respect from my peers.

TEXT BY SCOTT MORROW


DIALOGUE

LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA BANDS: Spindrift, The Silver Chords GENRES: psychedelic rock, American Western, folk, pop INSTRUMENTS: vocal cords, bass, keyboard, percussion, flute, harmonica

PHOTO BY MATT RAINWATERS

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ALARM Magazine has all of the same in-depth features, Q&As, and reviews that you’ve loved in the past. But now you’ll read more about musicians and their lives, passions, and challenges, including a focus on rock-’n’-roll culture and lifestyle. ___

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| Two Writers, One Record |

REVIEWS

TOO HOT FOR HTTP

whose crowd was very unreceptive; it was an awesome spectacle. With that said, this is a very pretty album that I did not expect to like anywhere nearly as much as I did.

SM: Thirlwell’s affiliation intriSM: From her earliest days as a

ZOLA JESUS & J.G. THIRLWELL F. MIVOS QUARTET VERSIONS (Sacred Bones) Scott Morrow is ALARM’s music editor. Patrick Hajduch is a very important lawyer. In each issue, they debate the merits of a different album. Visit alarm-magazine.com to read more.

PHOTO BY LISA PREDKO

child opera singer, Zola Jesus has absorbed the classical and operatic influences that have come to bear in her “electro-goth” solo career. Her 2011 album, Conatus, made greater use of strings and piano, and now—with the aid of composer and The Venture Bros. soundtrack artist JG Thirlwell (a.k.a. Foetus)—she delivers a fully chamber-infused album of her existing material.

PH: I am not a huge fan of Ms. Jesus’s work, but I did have a great time seeing her live. She was almost totally off-key, and at one point she was swinging a mace around. It was the most absurdly, histrionically goth thing I’ve ever seen. She opened for Fucked Up,

gued me. He originally arranged these songs for string quartet for her 2012 performance at New York’s Guggenheim, and the studio translation gets it just right— not too dense, not too sparse. A smattering of beats and electronics accent the strings— a pounding pulse drops midway through “Fall Back,” and tracks 5–7 each keep minimal dance beats and percussive samples behind bowed and plucked strings. Zola’s voice remains the lead, but Thirlwell’s arrangements are gorgeous. As for the live atonality, I’m willing to cut some slack, especially with the pressure of opening for a punk-rock crowd. It blows me away that anyone can make operatic sounds as an adult, let alone as a 10-year-old (when

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she started). And it’s hard to be as big a spectacle as Fucked Up.

PH: To follow up on the live show, I just don’t think she could hear her band. She was hilariously off-key. I will reiterate that it was deeply entertaining. I think that Thirlwell’s contributions are at their best when they consist of strings and otherwise get out of the way. I initially expected and anticipated more industrial throb and noise; however, the simple stringsonly arrangement of “Avalanche (Slow)” is so pretty that it made me think that the percussion messed things up a bit.

SM: A lot of people don’t realize that about him—they know his name from Foetus or The Venture Bros., but he has a million projects and has spent years composing for and working with chamber ensembles (including Kronos Quartet). Hopefully, this album will broaden his exposure as much as it has broadened Zola’s range.

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BEST ALBUMS

Visit alarm-magazine.com every week to see our newest favorites, read more about these albums, and find interviews, product profiles, photo essays & more.

ROCK

HEAVY

QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE: …LIKE CLOCKWORK

THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN: ONE OF US IS THE KILLER

(Matador) The first Queens of the Stone Age album in six years is vintage Josh Homme and co., with slinky and classic rock-’n’-roll riffs topped by wavy vocals that shift in and out of falsetto. But the

(Sumerian / Party Smasher) Influenced by old punk and hardcore albums, The Dillinger Escape Plan’s fifth LP is, if there is such a thing, a “straightforward” affair, full of intricate blasts of metalcore may-

album’s style also expands from there, with a wide and unique palette of guitar tones creating alien-esque effects as well as hard-charging moments. [SM]

HEAVY

BEATS

DEAFHEAVEN: SUNBATHER

DESSA: PARTS OF SPEECH

(Sumerian / Party Smasher) Since its birth in 2010, San Francisco’s Deafheaven has received hefty praise for its shoegazing black-metal creations— joining a new cadre of well-received 102

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post-black-metal-heads like Liturgy and Nachtmystium. Sunbather, a postmetal masterpiece, intersperses a greater degree of sheer beauty and clean-channel guitar tones. [SM]

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(Doomtree) A noted lecturer, poet/ essayist, and singer/rapper in the Doomtree hip-hop collective, Dessa holds an eclectic background that coalesces in her work. Her third full-

hem. It’s still über-diverse, however, with glockenspiel, piano, horns, and keyboard squiggles, plus a “dark bossa nova” interlude, an instrumental synth jam, and an organic drum-and-bass intro. [SM]

length keeps some of her band’s echoing orchestrals but splices in electronic DNA, with symbiosis akin to Dessa’s mix of spitting and crooning. This is an imperfectly beautiful self-portrait. [LE]


BEST ALBUMS

MOOD-OMETER RAGING ≤

≥ RELAXED

HEAVY: crash and bang ROCK: and/or roll INDIE/FOLK: for softies BEATS: and/or rhymes EXPERIMENTAL: out there…somewhere

HEAVY

HEAVY

SHINING: ONE ONE ONE

FLESHGOD APOCALYPSE: LABYRINTH

(Prosthetic) When Norway’s Shining released Blackjazz in 2010, it was the final shift of a former jazz band to classical melodies, prog rock, and synthdriven industrial-metal madness.

One One One refines and streamlines the prog-metal, pairing more rock’n’-roll grooves, blazing tempos, and traditional song structures with the brutality. [SM]

(Nuclear Blast) Since 2009, Italy’s Fleshgod Apocalypse has been a quickly ascending name in symphonic, operatic death metal. Labyrinth is another epic, masterful effort—demonstrating

endless technical talent that’s guided by songcraft. Double-bass and guitarshredding madness are balanced by strings, brass, marching snares, piano runs, and operatic falsettos. [SM]

ROCK/EXPERIMENTAL

HEAVY/BEATS

NK: NOTHING TO BE GAINED HERE

THE WHITE MANDINGOS: THE GHETTO IS TRYNA KILL ME

(Triple Crown) As music lovers, we await the rare projects that combine familiar and new elements in unique, indescribable ways. Comprised of members of Envy on the Coast, The Rivalry, and The

(Fat Beats) With a name that would have given Tipper Gore an embolism in 1985, The White Mandingos is the rap-core heir you’ve wanted since Ice-T’s Body Count dropped “Cop Killer” in 1992.

Dillinger Escape Plan, NK is such a project. Its debut is a mash of Deftones-style groove riffs, heavy hip hop, shoegaze, post-punk, and soulful jams, topped by croons and weirdo half-raps. [SM]

[OC] OAKLAND L. CHILDERS [MD] MICHAEL DANAHER [LE] LINCOLN EDDY [BG] BRANDON GOEI [SM] SCOTT MORROW

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Comprised of rapper MURS, Bad Brains bassist Darryl Jenifer, and magazine publisher Sacha Jenkins, the band has crafted a unique and racially charged concept album. [LE]

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[OC] OAKLAND L. CHILDERS [MD] MICHAEL DANAHER [LE] LINCOLN EDDY [BG] BRANDON GOEI [SM] SCOTT MORROW


BEST ALBUMS

HEAVY CHTHONIC: BÚ-TIK (Spinefarm)

INTEGRITY: SUICIDE BLACK SNAKE (A389 / Magic Bullet)

RETOX: YPLL (Epitaph)

ALL PIGS MUST DIE: NOTHING VIOLATES THIS NATURE (Southern Lord)

Taipei’s Chthonic (pronounced “thonic”) returns with more symphonic thrash metal, informed by Taiwanese history and the two-string erhu. Bú-Tik ratchets up the fury with rock solos on nearly every track. [SM]

Legendary metalcore band Integrity returns with more hellacious riffs, thunderous beats, and harrowing screams—and every now and then, a harmonica part or clean guitar melody sneaks alongside the dueling rock solos. [SM]

This sophomore “LP” from hardcorepunk outfit Retox—which hits 22 minutes after just 13 on the band’s freshman affair—is another dose of high-speed aggression and witty/pithy song titles. [SM]

Members of The Hope Conspiracy, Converge, and Bloodhorse take no prisoners on another sinister serving of speed-metalcore and sludge punk, owing, in the band’s words, “as much to Cro-Mags and Discharge as Entombed and Celtic Frost.” [SM]

ZORCH: ZZOORRCCHH (Sargent House)

NOXIOUS FOXES: EPOCHALYPSO (Broth IRA)

VACATION: CANDY WAVES (Don Giovanni)

MAN OR ASTRO-MAN?: DEFCON 5…4…3…2…1… (Communicating Vessels)

This debut from Austin duo Zorch is a work of ecstatic, schizophrenic dance music. Frenetic keyboards, drum beats, and onomatopoeic scat singing fill every crevice, turning even the most curmudgeonly concertgoer into a bouncing fool. [BG]

“Loop-based riffs/power duo” Noxious Foxes is back, and it’s brought another installment of winding, aggressive riffs (via guitar and synths) and breakneck beats. Bonus: the band’s gift for nonsensical portmanteaus (“Neanderthong,” “Guggenhymen”). [BG]

Vacation’s debut LP sounds exactly like its name: like surfing on an inbound crest of hard candies—sharply pointed, turbo-boosted hard candies. Pop hooks and punk energy collide for 12 anthemic tracks. [BG]

Thirteen years since the last studio voyage from Man or Astro-Man?, the spacesurf outfit plays to old strengths while venturing onward, mixing whammy-bar vibratos and screeching effects with more vocals and straightforward rock jams. [SM]

ROSE WINDOWS: THE SUN DOGS (Sub Pop)

FRANZ FERDINAND: RIGHT THOUGHTS, RIGHT WORDS, RIGHT ACTION (Domino)

VAMPIRE WEEKEND: MODERN VAMPIRES OF THE CITY (XL)

SIGUR RÓS: KVEIKUR (XL)

This debut from Seattle septet Rose Windows destroys rock-based genre lines, shifting with ease between heavy post-rock, indie Americana, and prog folk while adding bursts of Persian, Indian, and Eastern European influences. [MD]

Scotland’s Franz Ferdinand is back for more stomp-along indie anthems. Mixing rock with ’70s-inspired funk, post-punk, and electronic gloom, the band shows that it’s still the reigning king of Brit (er…Scot) rock. [LE]

Pitchfork poster-child Vampire Weekend is back, and once again it has created some of the most culturally nuanced indie rock around—whether via dancing keys, harpsichord classicalism, or Ezra Koenig’s brain-twisting layers. [LE]

The seventh album from Iceland’s Sigur Rós is a potent return to form, recapturing the harsher, brasher sounds showcased on Agaetis Byrjun and ( ). It’s a powerful post-rock reminder that the band is more than pretty melodies and atmosphere. [MD]

RUN THE JEWELS: S/T (Fool’s Gold)

SOLE: NO WISING UP, NO SETTLING DOWN (Black Canyon)

FUCK BUTTONS: SLOW FOCUS (ATP)

QUASIMOTO: YESSIR, WHATEVER (Stones Throw)

El-P and Killer Mike’s new project, Run the Jewels, is a blast of dark, energetic rap perfection: one part sounding off, one part Southern posturing, all banger. [LE]

Just six months after his last album, activist MC Sole drops another blast of hip-hop truth-speaking. This time the Occupy Denver participant stretches his net wide and confronts globalism, rap tropes, class immobility, animal consumption, and more. [LE]

Slow Focus is another evolution for UK electronic duo Fuck Buttons—able to make eight minutes pass in the blink of an ear with thumping beats, swirling synths, beautiful soundscapes, and nightmare-ish shrieks. [SM]

Quasimoto is the squeaky, heliumpitched, blunt-smoking alter-ego of hip-hop producer Madlib. After an eight-year wait, the “bad character” is back with a batch of rare, out-ofprint, and unreleased tunes—weird and fun. [SM]

DEVEYKUS: PILLAR WITHOUT MERCY (Tzadik)

LOCRIAN: RETURN TO ANNIHILATION (Relapse)

LES RHINOCÉROS: LES RHINOCÉROS II (Tzadik)

SAO PAULO UNDERGROUND: BEIJA FLORS VELHO E SUJO (Cuneiform)

Over six long tracks, Deveykus (led by trombonist Dan Blacksberg) offers the slow, crackling burn of “Hasidic doom jazz”—merging the somber, funereal tones of Ashkenazic Jewish music with warped, deep metal tones. [BG]

Chicago’s Locrian has proved that noise, drone, and black metal make excellent bedfellows. Return to Annihilation embraces prog-rock influences (King Crimson, Yes, and Genesis, specifically), resulting in dramatic, dynamic song cycles. [BG]

On its second album as a power trio, Les Rhinocéros commingles progressive rock with jazz, worldly melodies, and other tangents. Thankfully, nothing seems forced—switching from winding riffs to Jewish-inflected dub is a logical progression. [LE]

For nearly 10 years, cornetist Rob Mazurek’s Sao Paulo Underground has merged avant-jazz with Brazilian rhythm and swing. This album might be its most diverse, with shorter durations and amorphous moments tied to circuitous melodies and rhythms. [SM]

ROCK

INDIE/FOLK

BEATS

EXPERIMENTAL

MOOD-OMETER

RAGING ≤

≥ RELAXED

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REVIEWS

HEAVY CULTURA TRES: REZANDO AL MIEDO (Devouter)

COLISEUM: SISTER FAITH (Temporary Residence)

PALMS: S/T (Ipecac)

SURVIVAL: S/T (Thrill Jockey)

A sonic cousin to Sepultura’s sludge, Venezuelan doom band Cultura Tres works from a proven formula—only with harmonized high-string riffs, a few wailing psych-rock leads, and an ability to go quiet and eerie. [SM]

More rock hooks and a host of guest contributions make their mark on Sister Faith, the latest in Coliseum’s catalog of no-nonsense punk/hardcore tunes. [SM]

Comprised of Deftones singer Chino Moreno and 3/5 of Isis (no Aaron Turner, though), Palms is weighty, pretty, and for fans of modern post-metal. [SM]

Best known for his role in the “transcendental black metal” outfit Liturgy, guitarist/vocalist Hunter Hunt-Hendrix joins old mates in Survival to deliver off-kilter arpeggios and hypnotic rock riffs, with chanted mantras over the interwoven rhythms. [BG]

BOSNIAN RAINBOWS: S/T (Sargent House)

TY SEGALL: SLEEPER (Drag City)

TRUE WIDOW: CIRCUMAMBULATION (Relapse)

SCOUT NIBLETT: IT’S UP TO EMMA (Drag City)

Super-group Bosnian Rainbows (members of The Mars Volta and Le Butcherettes) excels with proto-punk riffs, metronomic drumming, buzz-saw synths, and Teri Gender Bender’s direct, post-punky vocals. [BG]

Comprised of mostly acoustic tracks, garage-rocker Ty Segall’s new album journeys into a quieter weirdness, exploring the sides of his 1970s-rock influences that are more ballad-prone.

Texan “stonegaze” trio True Widow takes the slow-cooked approach, and with its third full-length, it offers a 45-minute hunk of melancholy rock drones, amplifying low-end tones enough to rattle any set of speakers into submission. [BG]

On her latest, bluesy rock singersongwriter Scout Niblett bares her soul while conveying the raw intensity of personal shakeups—starting with “Gun,” the powerful opener that threatens deadly vengeance on a cheating lover. [LE]

ROCK

[BG]

INDIE/FOLK POKEY LAFARGE: S/T (Third Man)

CALEXICO: SPIRITOSO (Anti-)

JOHN VANDERSLICE: DAGGER BEACH (Tiny Telephone)

BILL FRISELL: BIG SUR (OKeh)

Saddle shoes shined, suspenders tightened, and Homburg tilted cheekily to the side, Pokey LaFarge reaches to the Depression-era Midwest for inspiration on this self-titled record, delivering oldfashioned Americana and Charlestonshuffling ditties. [BG]

At its best, the work of Southwestern indie-folk outfit Calexico has a cinematic grandeur, and Spiritoso, recorded with two orchestras, harnesses that energy into a emotive live LP that covers the band’s entire career. [BG]

Recorded again with Minna Choi’s Magik*Magik Orchestra, the newest from singer-songwriter John Vanderslice isn’t as lush as his White Wilderness of 2011, but it holds a subtle density—full of warm sound and sneaking electronic tones. [LE]

With his 20th (!) album since 2000, peerless guitarist/composer Bill Frisell issues another gorgeous blend of folksy alt-country with his classical- and jazzleaning sensibilities, this time inspired by the natural beauty of the California coastline. [SM]

SERENGETI: KENNY DENNIS LP (Anticon)

DELTRON 3030: EVENT II (Bulk)

CLOUDEATER: PURGE (Nibiru)

SHIGETO: NO BETTER TIME THAN NOW (Ghostly International)

At long last, leftfield MC Serengeti pays a full-length tribute to his alter-ego, Chicago super-fan / old-school rapper Kenny Dennis. Produced by Odd Nosdam, the LP reveals a more nuanced, complicated picture of the mustachioed Shaq rival. [SM]

After 13 years away, Del the Funky Homosapien, Dan the Automater, and Kid Koala return with their sci-fithemed rap super-group, bringing a bevy of guests to help fight intergalactic corporate powers. [OC]

Cloudeater’s sophomore album (and, sadly, swan song) is somewhere between trip-hop Zen kōan and genreless psychedelia. With inward exploration, meditative beats, and subtle auditory tics, the band’s lyrical puzzles are a joy to unpack. [LE]

Beatmaker Shigeto’s No Better Time Than Now is an introspective odyssey, an ambient wave cresting after an artist’s year of change. Driven by unexpected elements, it’s a warm manifesto of fuzz and beats. [LE]

THE OCTOPUS PROJECT: FEVER FORMS (Peek-A-Boo)

CERAMIC DOG: YOUR TURN (Northern Spy)

RABBIT RABBIT: RABBIT RABBIT RADIO, VOL. 1

JULIANNA BARWICK: NEPENTHE (Dead Oceans)

Over the past decade, Austin’s The Octopus Project has built a portfolio of electronics-infused post- and indie rock. Fever Forms is a gem of progressive pop rock, full of dense, danceable jams with a glut of timbres. [SM]

Guitarist Marc Ribot is a man most prolific, and it shows on this avantrock affair—from the bluesy cursing of physiology in “Lies My Body Told Me” to wailing psych solos to “free rock” freakouts and a rock rendition of Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five.” [SM]

A collection of tunes from wife-andhusband team Carla Kihlstedt and Matthias Bossi (Sleepytime Gorilla Museum), Rabbit Rabbit Radio is omnivorous, risk-taking pop, full of head-nodding grooves and harmonized vocals. [SM]

Built on overdubbed and looped vocals, singer-songwriter Julianna Barwick’s music achieves a celestial quality. Now, however, she’s accompanied by guest musicians for a serene reflection on a journey to Iceland. [SM]

BEATS

EXPERIMENTAL

106

ISSUE 41

ALARM MAGAZINE

RAGING ≤

≥ RELAXED

MOOD-OMETER


BEST ALBUMS

[OC] OAKLAND L. CHILDERS [MD] MICHAEL DANAHER [LE] LINCOLN EDDY [BG] BRANDON GOEI [SM] SCOTT MORROW

ISSUE 41

ALARM MAGAZINE

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ALARM Magazine #41  
ALARM Magazine #41  
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