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November 2010

Mandeverest


Features

20 6 Day Riot “We once played a gig at a 8 year olds

birthday party, full of kids dancing, actually it was the most responsive crowd we have ever played to.”

22 The Oranges Band Have you ever gone to a show and

caught the last few songs of the opening band and thought to yourself, “Hey these guys are pretty alright?”

24 Brett Gleason Brett Gleason, a master of multiple in-

struments and electronic devices, breaks the musical mold with his six track EP, The Dissonance.

26 Pet Ghost Project Their music comes sprawling outward

through waves of musty air and light, collecting itself into a whole being with ambient sounds, ringing cymbals or winding bass lines.

28 Special Feature Mark Christopher Lee takes a walk on

the wild side with fellow UFO chaser, Howard Hughes

38 COVER STORY Mandeverest

Our cd release party was part of the Wavelength series (in Toronto) which has relevance for me since I have been going since the very early days. Heck, I was even a bartender at the first venue, Ted’s Wrecking Yard for a while.


Regular 7 Letter from the Editor - Yes. We do dress up in costume. A lot. 8 Dig This - Triple (um, probably more) threat Ms. Malone, The very real Ballad of Emmett Till, Those two are still pedaling South, Daisy UK hip hip hooray, pay no attention to that smell, catch a wave, love stinks, yeah, yeah all starting on

18 Dear Cthulhu by Patrick Thomas. Have a dark day 30 Dig In - This chick is cooler than a meal equaling zero points 29 Book Reviews - If You Have to Cry Go Outside by Kelly Cutrone

(and Meredith Bryan), The 27s: The Greatest Myth of Rock & Roll by Eric Segalstad and Josh Hunter, The Tao of Wu by RZA aka Robert Fitzgerald Diggs, Twitter Power/How to Dominate Your Market One Tweet at a Time by Joel Comm (with Ken Burge)

34 Jack of All Trades - kind sir, it’s a mollusk I ate 36 Zine Corner - resist even that daily show, grab a handful of horse hair, will ya?

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From the Foam Finger Committee

- gives a whole new

meaning to block heads

43 Dig This Reel - Get drunk on honeydew and lose your virginity while watching rocks best films

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Release Reviews - A New Vice, Arcade Fire, Arthur Walker, Backflow, Belle and Sebastian, Cloon, Cockfighter, Devo, Emil McGloin, Hear Kitty Kitty, Kele, Kirsten Price, Laurie Biagini, Maria Rodes, Mystery Jets, Nathan Leigh, OMD, Scissor Sisters, Shelter Red, Sia, Slum Village, The Fall, The Father, J. O’Brien, The Jersey Shore Soundtrack, Tom Jones, Tour De France, Truckers Tracks, Vessel and Wolf Parade

59 Live Reviews - Jill Avilez and The Love Absurd, Phish, Alisan Porter, Tom Robinson, Weather, Alice in Chains, Guided by Voices and Cloud Nothings

68 Poetry Corner - Homeboy Review 70 Kulture Shock - a look at pop-art pups (and a cat too) 71 Fashion & Style - show some respect to these threads 74 How to - we so need these, more than ever 75 Fitness - stop singing one hundred bottles of beer on the wall. Hit the floor and give us 50. Or, 5.

76 Truly a nice group to hang with starting on 81 Short Story - the only way to get your hands on prime real estate in Brooklyn starting on


Dig This Real Issue # 16 - Fall 2010 PUBLISHER EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Samantha “edie” Collins

CREATIVE DIRECTOR & PARTNER Jorge Leandro Rodrigues

OFFICE MANAGER Cathie Kooney

DTR STAFF WRITERS Mark Christopher Lee, Lauren Piper, Evan Bleier, Malcolm Y. Knotte (/Y), Jose Ho-Guanipa, Nelson Heise, Denny Kropotkin, Cindy Chisvette, Christian Recca, Jeff Hassay, Thomas Page, Juliette Hernandez and Angelica Wytch

CONTRIBUTING EDITORS: Des DePass, William Herck, Mark “Fish” Trout and Bryce Lochlan

PHOTO CREDITS: The Oranges Band pages 20 & 21 by Natasha Tylea Dig In page 28 by edie Jack of all Trades/Fishing with Captain Mickey pages 32 & 33 by Will Kooney Fashion & Style pages 69, 70 & 71 by edie (Model is Neysa Malone) Dig This; Neysa Malone / page 6 by Akos Simon of Akos Photography (www.akosphoto.com) Dig This; Soul Performance pages 11, 12, 13 & 14 by Juliette Hernandez Live; Phish page 59 most by Evan Bleier

244 Fifth Avenue, Suite 29037 - New York, NY 10001-7604 www.digthisreal.com 6

Dig This Real


Give the people who/what they want...

It’s been too long, friends. But I am glad to say that we are back with the latest issue of Dig This Real in all its digital glory. My great friend, Suzie Q., in Redondo Beach sent me a text message months ago stating: “I had this dream that DTR went completely digital...” While sitting a million miles away from her, in New York City, I didn’t have the heart to tell her that her dream was true. Quite frankly, moving Dig This Real into the digital, downloadable world was a decision that took a lot out of me and almost a year to make. Being an independent zine publisher should tell you that I never really marched to anyone’s drummer (no matter how great the band). Sometimes this is a good characteristic and sometimes it bites me in the ass. When we last gathered, I was battling it out with the distro folks over a polybagging/placement issue while hordes of disappearing advertisers marched right under my nose and into the dark ages of print media. Now as I type this, it can actually be debated on Mandeverest how many are reading in print or digital, no matter how many of those, “Magazines/The Power of Print,” ads you see, (and mainly in magazines). The weird thing is - for many years, people automatically assumed that we were already “digital.” I never had the heart to tell them otherwise. I also never told them the truth - that this magazine would probably benefit some by going digital. The truth will set you free I guess. But with Ipads, Zinio and all those other gadgets out there, it’s not a debate worth keeping up with because by the time you have read this (via the internet), the writing will be on the wall, screen, touch phone, whatever.. It’s no secret that the magazine publishing world is going through a tremendous facelift. And it’s doubly no secret that I am as stubborn as a pre-pubescent teenager’s acne riddled face. I am not sure where Dig This Real fits in with this great debate of digital vs. print. With this issue, we are now offering digital, downloadable issues but will also be printing hardcopies too. In a mad, final attempt to quiet the crowd screamers: “save the trees/recycle/down with wasteful magazines and newspapers,” I made a decision to NOT have children figuring that everyone would get off my back. But in hindsight, Dig This Real is my child, one that I must protect and keep safe from the dwindling culture of print magazines. In this issue, read Mark Christopher Lee’s cover story on Toronto’s own Mandeverest starting on page 36. Mark has been extremely busy with DTR over the summer as he covered the World Cup. Check out Dig This Real’s YouTube channel for more (and don’t forget to subscribe!). Another great read can be found on page 11 which is Juliette Hernandez’s piece on surf shop Soul Performance. I am happy to report that two DTR writers also resurfaced; Bryce “Precious Jewels” Lochlan and Fish. Read their pieces on page 30 and page 67. I was busy too and was so grateful to have Neysa Malone (page 6) step in and model for the DTR’s Fashion & Style column on vintage haven, Cheap Jacks (page 69). We also have a new writer joining us with this issue. Des DePass penned th-e fitness column on page 73. Check it out. As I finish this letter up, a certain song is running around in my head: “It was crime/at the time/but the laws have changed/yeah...” (The New Pornographers, “The Laws Have Changed”). Despite all this hoopla of print media, I still get stopped by people, telling me how much they enjoy Dig This Real, so thank you, Readers. Thank you for sharing our passion for all things bands/musicians/artists. Get that drum out and let’s march - forward and into the future, together. November 2010

follow me on twitter: twitter.com/thezinestress follow us on the DTR blog: http://digthisreal.blogspot.com/

edie “Bowie,” “Vic Gesha Girl” and Malcolm “Flintstone” hanging out on any given night.

November 2010

edie

Dinner. And no. It’s not a ween-er.

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NEYSA MALONE Flying under the radar may not last very long for recording artist, Neysa Malone. My first introduction to her was through her PR rep. I was in need of a model and he suggested I use her and before you could say, “you can dance for inspiration,” Malone showed up at the fashion photo and video shoot, sans complaints of missing makeup and hair stylist. Carrying herself more like a seasoned pro, Malone has an organic, approachable quality about herself. Quietly, she has the making of a star. I came to this conclusion while viewing some of her videos. In both videos (brought me back to the mid 1980s), Malone is a natural, whether she is toughing it out as a busker on the Lexington Avenue line, belting out Madonna cover songs to rush hour commuters or offering her portrayal of a Hip Hop dance gal, bouncing around New York City as she lip syncs to her own soundtrack. I could say Malone is a dead ringer for Madge in her early days but Neysa has a better, stronger voice. “Street performing was introduced to me by the Break Dancers of New York City and I wanted to be a dancer,” she told Dig This Real. “Somehow ‘street’ performing seemed like such a perfectionist way to perform being that you have such a dry stage and only if you are good enough can you make money. It’s a real challenge to me and sometimes I made more money than performing at venues!” Needless to say, street performing is still considered underpaid and mostly taken advantage of. Malone will probably not stay in that genre much longer either as she has just finished up recording her latest release simply titled, Neysa.”Raymond Angry produced most of the record,” Malone offered. Angry, for those of you not in the know, has worked with Queen Latifah, Christina Aguilera, Joss Stone, and Sean “Puffy” Combs to name a scant few. You can catch up with what Angry is up to on www.sesac.com. “This new album really represents the society I believe in and showcases the truth of my life as a rebel. I am also hoping I can make some money and save a few animals.” This is not surprising to me as Malone is clearly seen in one of her videos donning what looks like a handmade t-shirt sporting the words: save the animals. Neysa was recorded and mixed in Santa Barbara, California at Play Back Recording Studio. “I wrote all the songs on this album as well as coming up with all the concepts for the musical direction. All the songs here remind me of the music I grew up with but I also want my message to mostly count in the end.” Asked about her upbringing, Malone had this to offer, “I took dance lessons during my entire childhood. I was also in a Break Dancing movie when I was 11 in Montreal, Quebec called, “Passiflora.” Dance is still one of my greatest passions. The first time I ever performed on stage (best I could remember) was when I was in Junior High School. I ended up singing, “The Rose,” by Bette Midler. The audience went silent and I remember wearing this white dress. When I was younger I attended an amazing school in Montreal called F.A.C.E., which stands for Fine Arts Core Education. I actually started singing in the school choir and we ended up touring Europe when I was nine. Also, my love for music came from loving to dance and my Mom, who used to have some great records that I would listen to when I was younger, like the B’52’s, “Rock Lobster,” or Bob Marley’s, Survival. Montreal is still in my heart! It’s a place full of fun, good food and wonderful people.” Malone lists Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff, Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix as some of her main musical influences and all those influences can be heard in her style of electro-house, pop and dance music. Asked what piece of musical equipment she couldn’t live without, Malone answered, “a portable studio, Mac Pro and the Apogee One.” Things will most certainly get busy for Malone and the future holds many plans. “I plan to tour Europe and the U.S. as well as license some music for a couple of films. “Walking Zombies,” is the new video and my new single, “Video Game,” and others are available at my website. The full album will be released on Halloween, the season of the Witch.” Well, that’s much more of treat than a trick. www.neysamalone.com - edie 8

Dig This Real


The Ballad of Emmett Till Written by Ifa Bayeza Directed by Shirley Jo Finney The Fountain Theatre Los Angeles, CA The story of Emmett Till, a fourteen-year-old African American boy whose brutal murder in Mississippi sparked the modern Civil Rights Movement, is brought to stage by writer Ifa Bayeza and Director Shirley Jo Finney in Los Angeles. Having originally premiered at the Goodman Theatre, it has continued on its path to continually sell out the Fountain Theatre in Los Angeles, where it has gained the laude of critics, producers, and theatergoers from all walks of life. The story is told in a first-person perspective of young Emmett Till, focusing on the final days of his life before his unjust and untimely death. Till was murdered for whistling at a woman, a forbidden act enough to be punishable by death if committed by an African American man during the post Civil War era. Images of Emmett’s brutally mutilated body were seen all over the United States, and served as a catalyst for social justice movements for African Americans during the many years that have followed. Lorenz Arnell, an incredible young actor from Los An-

November 2010

geles, gives an explosive performance that pulls the audience into the personality of a young man from Chicago with a quick wit, a lovable sense of humor, and a passion for life that is unmatched. The cast brings the audience to its knees in laughter during the first act, and is then made breathless in the depths of sorrow in remembrance of the tragic murder and loss of such a brave and unique spirit. It serves as a reminder of how precious each human life is, and how strong the will to survive in the face of death can be. Writer Ifa Bayeza says of her work, “Because it is a sacred story for African Americans and a seminal story of America, I have taken great care in trying to ‘get it right,’ particularly my charge to recount the drama from Emmett’s point of view and to put his life at its center.” This she does with an intense and graceful, yet foreboding style of in-your-face, interactive stage writing that engages the audience in an intimate setting. Flanked by an incredibly talented and seasoned cast including Broadway’s Bernard Addison, theater and film veterans Rico E. Anderson, Adenrele Ojo, and Karen Malina White, Arnell is given the arsenal of a diverse crew that play multiple characters and transform the experience of the audience night after night. With powerful movement, speech, sound design, and visual settings, The Ballad of Emmett Till is a performance that is captivating from start to finish. Those with the privilege to attend this show will surely be granted a new understanding and reminder of the dawning of the African American community’s historic struggle for equality, and continued triumph over violence and discrimination in the United States. www.FountainTheatre.com - Thomas Page

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Pedaling

South

Penning this article felt more like doing research for a vacation. Jumping around this “travel” blog which is filled with photos of breathtaking landscapes of faraway places and mouthwatering meals of certain local ‘specialities,’ offered a different perspective on each destination with precise detail. But in reality, this is truly a different type of trip. It’s one that started last year around September 6th to be exact. This is the date that married couple and avid cyclists Lucie Poulin and Torrey Pass (of Montreal, Canada) faced South, jumped on their bikes in Alaska and started pedaling. It’s now October 2010 and last I heard, they were located somewhere in Peru. Call it crazy, insane, bonkers. Call it love, partnership, survival. But whatever you decide its name, Poulin and Pass started this journey to help raise funds for Cyclo Nord-Sud, a non-profit that sends used bicycles to developing countries while bringing attention to the promotion of using cycling as a viable and environmentally friendly means of transportation. Similar to the numerous bike saddle bags each carry, Poulin and Torrey have a handful of sponsors and I would imagine they will collect more, as they wait for their next used-bike shipment to reach them in whatever location they may end up at in South America. According to Cyclo Nord-Sud, they ship about 4,000 bikes annually. But these two bike riders usually find themselves amongst townspeople, whom the main choice of transportation is foot. A bike then, becomes more like a piece of pure luxury. To Poulin and Pass, it’s second skin. The two met

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years ago while working as bike messengers in Montreal. After getting married in 2006, they made the jump to provincial and national road racing. Now they’re bringing their passion for cycling and adventure to a new level. Both are extremely accomplished cyclists as well as experienced travelers. So it would only be natural for the both of them to be named ambassadors to Cyclo Nord-Sud and cycle 25 000 km across the Americas (from Alaska to Argentina) to help raise funds and awareness. They obviously have their work cut out for them, including rough roads, testy weather and trying to find a safe place to pitch a tent. The couple are clocking in full days of riding though I doubt very much that by the time they hit Buenos Aires, they just might be too tired to tango into the wee hours of the night. Anyway, the couple have already stated that by then, they are ditching the bikes for a one way flight home to Canada. In the end, what will be accomplished is an incredible experience that will prove success with donations and the probable book and movie deals. “Traveling by bicycle can be really cheap. By preparing and eating basic local foods, sleeping in our tent or with hosts and maintaining our equipment ourselves, we manage to stay healthy and happy on just a few dollars a day. We’re also writing articles and working on photo projects to help fill our bellies and fix our bikes,” they offer via their blog. Sounds simple enough. For more information, http://pedalingsouth.com and http://www.cyclonordsud. org. - edie

Dig This Real


T’ was a chilly, damp evening in London, when I climbed out of Stephan’s checkered cab, stinking of football banter. I sauntered through the gleaming lobby of the Four Seasons Hotel on Canary Wharf and once up in my suite, I found myself checking to see if I could view the “Eye,” from my window. No? Good. Though I was here on business, I couldn’t wait to reconnect with a pal, Magda. Magda is a confidant and psychic sister who was also in town on business. I needed a rescue so we planned on a getaway out of London into the West of the UK. Magda needed a rescue as bad as I did, but she had not arrived yet to the suite so I trolled around, restless. I was a bit too tired to trek outside and not into emptying out the mini bar. The final choice, flipping through the in-house hotel menu proved fruitless as well. I ended up doing something so rare (even in comparison to my band demo collection). I actually turned on the television, intent on finding something I could actually watch. It was here that I came across a program called, “The Secret Millionaire.” For some reason, I became glued to this program even after the fact that I realized it was NOT a financial advice show. But in reality, the program was about millionaires who go under cover as poor people in search of humanity, compassion and a double shot of hard living. This evenings program featured a gentleman by the name of Tony Banks. Banks had a mission to come to grips with some of his own personal demons, so off he went, relocating in Liverpool. Once there, he set out to find a “job,” and came across an opportunity to work for different charity organizations but not before having to

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abandon his first living quarters because of the instability of the neighborhood. Actually, at this part of the program, all the musical romance that Liverpool had to offer burst into flames, just like one of the buildings adjacent to Banks’ flat. I actually wasn’t feeling too good in my big, old suite at this time of the show but I continued on to view an amazing story of a blind man named Dave Kelly and how he breathed life into an organization called Daisy UK. Despite that Kelly had lost his sight around the age of 30 only makes this story more compelling. And while watching him take in Banks and train him to help out in the facility, only made all those Corporate Habitat for Humanity outings back home in the U.S. look more like an ineffective family picnic. Originally Daisy UK stood for Disability Awareness Introducing Sport to Youngsters. This is where Kelly embraces kids of all disabilities while inspiring them through various sporting activities. The more I continued to watch, the more it became so apparent that as Kelly worked with these kids, every one of them reacted like he or she didn’t even have a “disability.” And the way you can ever garner results like this is when you are clearly reacting from your heart while completely taking yourself out of the mix. Dave Kelly does this with such ease. I must say that I sat mesmerized for a minute and yes, I actually did shed a tear or two. Or a thousand. To find out more about Daisy UK, please go to http://www.daisyuk.co.uk/ - edie

CARRY OUR ZINE IN YOUR STORES! Email us at info@digthisreal.com for information 11


During the second weekend of October 2010 I was not myself. I was larger than life, beloved at first sight by perfect strangers, covered from head to toe in fur….. and I smelled like old football pads. I was, to put it simply, The Yeti. The Yeti came into existence because of a certain promotional campaign that was being run at the annual Comic-Con in New York City. My role was to put on the Yeti suit and have people take pictures with me and of me in order to generate publicity. From behind the mask of the Yeti, I had a unique opportunity to observe the goings-ons at Comic-Con as a highly visible figure while also maintaining my own personal anonymity. From this vantage point, I got to see the good, the bad, and the weird at the weekend that is Comic-Con NYC. Normally I would feel completely out of place wearing anything other than my usual attire of jeans, t-shirt, baseball cap, etc. I don’t like dressing up for work or for weddings and I haven’t had a legitimate Halloween costume since I was in middle school. I am comfortable in my regular clothes, so that’s what I wear. At ComicCon, everything was the complete opposite. I felt uncomfortable when I wasn’t wearing the Yeti costume. It is not an exaggeration when I tell you that I got more hugs at Comic-Con than I have received over the course of my lifetime. What this says about my social life or the way I was parented I don’t know (just kidding Mom), but the fact remains: People love to hug strangers in furry costumes. For those who didn’t want a hug, there was a high five, a fist bump, even a nipple squeeze or two; some sort of physical contact between myself and a convention attendee. And these interactions weren’t limited to just little kids or hormonal 13 year olds desperate to rub up against something. I had people of all shapes and sizes, ages and ethnicities, both genders and everything in between come up to me and ask for a squeeze and a picture. Apparently there is a large segment of society that has a repressed urge to hug a folk story creature from Tibet. When presented with the actual physical incarnation of this character, the Yeti, they were powerless to resist. I didn’t have to smile, didn’t have to talk. Just standing there being hairy was enough. Even more interesting than the reactions of “normal” people, was the reactions of other costumed characters. It seemed that 12

nearly every costumed person who crossed my path wanted a picture with a specific pose or position that would somehow relate to their costume. If they didn’t want a picture, the costumed individual in question would usually give me a quick up and down and say something along the lines of “What up brother.” I got the sense that Comic-Con is equally part costume contest and part performance. By wearing the Yeti suit I was stacking myself up against other costumed characters in competition while at the same time entering into the fraternity of costumed performers. With the suit on, I instantly became part of the show, as much a piece of Comic-Con as the artist signing his comics or the Playstation rep giving a preview of their newest video game. Putting the suit on was my prerequisite for getting in the club and all of the previous members welcomed me with open arms. Out of the suit things couldn’t have been more different. Walking around in mesh shorts and a sweaty T-shirt (the suit was incredibly hot) with eye black on my face, people gave me a wide berth. Because of the eye make-up I kind of looked like I was going for some sort of look but no one could figure out exactly what it was and weren’t that interested in trying. I was still totally anonymous but in a different sort of way. It was uncomfortable being in limbo between being part of the show and just being a regular fan. Needless to say I didn’t get any hug requests. Wearing an overheated, fuzzy costume in order to attract the attention of strangers might not be for everyone. I’m not really sure it was even for me but there are definitely worse ways to earn a buck. Being a highly visible part of the 2010 Comic-Con is not something I would have ever pictured myself doing, and it might not be something I would ever do again, but it is definitely an experience I will be able to look back on and smile about. By putting on this bizarre suit and hamming it up just the tiniest bit, I had the chance to put genuine smiles on people’s faces and sometimes even crack a grin of my own. Also where else would I ever have the chance to wear a suit that cost more than most people make in a week? Probably not in this lifetime. Long story short, if you get the chance to put on a costume for a day, you might as well give it a shot. After all, everybody, even the Yeti, could use a hug from time to time. - Evan Bleier Dig This Real


“Soul Performance: Doing What You Love” Opportune Moments With all the changes going on in the world, our country (and even centralized within our local communities), people have been struggling to make sense of the recession and a 9.6 % unemployment rate and where it will ultimately leave them in the grand scheme of things. During times of economic downfall and recovery, we learn real fast about ourselves and our local community. People are not confident enough to spend a lot of money everywhere, but only where it is needed. On the other hand, some perhaps begin seeking out their unfulfilled dreams or revisit activities that they once took part in but ceased to when work took too much of their personal time away from them. Soon they discover or re-discover the places and the people who can be sought out for support and a type of education that will fundamentally assist in the transitions that is life’s long journey. For countless, one of those various activities can be surfing, no matter if you haven’t ever surfed or are just trying to get back out there and be a better surfer. In my case, I had tried surfing before and wanted to surf more often to make it a part of my everyday life. I wanted my own surfboard, but on a strict budget, I could never really justify the investment to myself, even though I wanted a board so badly. That is when I met Mark and Sheryl Brög. I met Mark and Sheryl about two years ago when I happened upon their shop, Soul Performance, in Redondo Beach. I was in the area killing some time for an appointment I had a couple doors down from the shop. I was looking at the used boards in the back when Sheryl approached me to see if I need-

November 2010

ed any help or had any questions, which is a key element that makes Soul Performance so classic. While in their shop, no one is ever ignored, only welcomed and respected. Sheryl says, “Some shops you can’t get any attention, like you don’t belong there. We try to make everybody feel like they belong.” We started talking about my experiences surfing, which wasn’t much. She then began explaining to me which boards would probably be appropriate for me according to my ability and my size. Before long, I remembered my prior engagement and I left.

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But after the individual I was supposed to meet never showed up, something inside of me made me think that I needed go back to Soul Performance. Growing up in San Diego and going into a multitude of surf shops, predominantly I have experienced feelings of nonacceptance by the staff in a few shops demonstrated in several different ways, but mainly I just felt overlooked, unless we were buying new wheels or bearings for our skate decks or something. So, walking back into Soul Performance I never intended to actually buy a surfboard. I just wanted to look and talk to Sheryl some more about how to adequately select a board that would be suitable for my needs. Soon after walking in, Mark arrived back at the shop from his factory and Sheryl introduced us. Mark also asked me questions about my experience with surfboards, which was minimal. I told him that I wanted a board that I could just cruise on the waves with. So, Mark sized me up for a board that was the proper width and length so that I could have fun in the water, but also something that would allow me to progress with as well. So much positive energy and enthusiasm reflected off of Mark and Sheryl and I was soon walking out of the shop a proud and excited owner of a beautiful brand new 7’2” fusion Brög board. Mark describes it as, “A pro form board that delivers easy paddling and early planning. Moderate turning, maximum thrust. Simply put, an easy fun shape to carve and glide on.” This welcoming experience in a board shop is not easily found. That day not only did I make a sound investment in a board, but Mark and Sheryl patiently worked with me and I learned a lot that day about how to take care of my board, how to wax it properly and more I’m sure I can’t recall. Most board shops like Jacks Surfboards boast “lots of babes, hot chicks and weirdos like ‘drunk dance guy” (Surfer, Oct.2010). But, really all that doesn’t help anyone in their true quest to surf the waves. When you find genuine support from those who can give you truthful answers based on truthful statements, it is what you know and what you remember, but most of all, it is what you will tell people. Soul Performance is a shop worth remembering, and hanging out at, a place to keep coming back to again and again. So, please, allow me to further acquaint you with Soul Performance.

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An Artist and his Family

Mark Brög grew up in the South Bay and started surfing at Torrance Beach in 1981. Mark’s father furthered his passion for surfing by motivating him to build his own board. So one day he bought a blank and shaped his own board. After shaping his first board, his passion for it grew and grew. He has put an unbelievable amount of time and great effort to develop his amazing talent for shaping surfboards. Even he admits that is hasn’t been easy, but it has gotten easier over time and it’s been a lot of hard work. Mark, recession or not, is a man who is seeking out his dreams built on love. He is a micro-business owner, a surfer, an artist, a shaper, a husband, a father and more. Mark plays many roles, but it is all these roles that play an essential role that allows Soul Performance to be as unique as it is. He is a firm believer in the Law of Attraction, which allows individuals to create their own realities and is quite confident that if more people knew about it, the world would be a better place! “If you don’t aspire to dream for more and better, you’re gonna stay at the level you’re at. But, if you have that goal and that dream of where you wanna go, the path just can open up right in front of you.” As a part of the community, Mark has not only supplied many surfers with beautiful quality handmade boards, he has also had the opportunities to branch out and make amazing contributions to the local Cultural Public Art scene in the South Bay with such projects as the Single Pin Red piece, “If Slater Bowled.” Collaborating with local artist, Alison Wright, Mark was able to construct a 10’ tall bowling pin and a 4’ diameter bowling ball made out of EPS Styrofoam and espy resin. The backside of the pin is flat like a surfboard and has been on display in many areas throughout the South Bay and Culver City (http:// singlepinred.com/). Concerning the endeavor Mark says, “The whole project made me feel really good because it was so highly creative. I’ve been doing artwork for so many years and that was definitely one of the pinnacle pieces of something that I had never seen or done before. I would like to do more art like that. I like the challenge, it’s fun!” Sheryl, Mark’s wife, also plays an integral role that makes Soul Performance exceptional. Always at the shop, Sheryl welcomes people in and builds relationships with the community. Dig This Real


Their children, Shayna and Ben, hang out too doing homework or eating nachos. Together they passionately promote not only dedication to surfing, but also the idea that surfing can be all encompassing. It is being in the water and having awesome sessions, but it is also family, friends, community, and education. A way of life! And it is an amazing way to try and keep you focused on the important things in life rather than be consumed by the greed filled fast paced society we live in where, as Mark says, “The big fish are getting all the breaks.” But, it also allows for a unique understanding of nature and yourself. As Mark says, “Surfing helps you push your envelope of comfort.” And, that is why they also consider wholeheartedly that proper fitting for a board is essential for the surfer. Sheryl asserts, “It’s all about using the right equipment, going to the right spots. You know, putting all the advantages into your corner, so that you can get the experience you want. And, we are a kind of conduit to that information for people and we love doing that. That is part of being in the community. We’re not just here to make money. The money part is necessary, but it’s not the focus.”

November 2010

The Factory and the Shop

Last week I was fortunate enough to make it to Mark’s factory out in Gardena, California and watch him shape a board. It was so amazing to be there and watch him work at what he loves to do. So many boards surrounded me; the vibe inside was so upbeat and positive. It was awesome! Peter Tosh and other reggae artists’ music blasted on the speakers. I met Mauro or as they call him “Tejo”, which means ‘gecko’ in Portuguese. He was giving some love to all the boards that needed some fixing. But, in the meanwhile, Mark was looking and checking measurements on a board he shaped a few years back that he was about to reproduce for a customer. He started working and I just stood there watching every little detail of what he was doing. The business of shaping is a very delicate and precise art. All the measurements have to be perfect or it can go downhill really quick. All the shaving takes a lot of time and because it is so repetitive it is quite strenuous. It is in fact very hard work, manual labor, if you will. It is not easy! The way that Mark puts all his time and energy into making these surfboards for people truly makes him an artist. Each surfboard is an interactive art piece because it’s not just something that you put up on your wall or on the mantle just to look at. It’s something you get to know, you touch it, feel it and maneuver it with your body while the energy of the ocean pushes you. And that is why Sheryl often poses the question, “Why would you buy a surfboard at Costco and think it’s going to work for you? There is no passion, no positive energy, no love put into those boards. They are soulless. When you see what goes into making a surfboard and all the hard work, and then consider the benefits that you receive from that purchase, it becomes inexpensive because you are not continuously paying like you would for a lift ticket if you were to go skiing. Having a better quality board to learn on and progress with is just proper and that is why something that you can get that doesn’t just come off the assembly line is the way to go. Like Sheryl says, “Just think about the thought, the experience, the love that goes into making it and then to hear people come back and say how much positive energy it added to their lives! You know, what better thing is there to do with your life than that? If you can put more of that into the world rather than squeezing everyone for a nickel?” And really, it starts with that mindset. At Soul Performance they will help fit you with the right equipment, they’re not just trying to sell you something and get you out the door. It is a long term relationship and not every shop is going to take the time to make sure their customers are well taken care of so they feel comfortable enough to keep coming back. And, this is yet another key aspect of business that is becoming scarce in a society bombarded with huge corporations whose sole intentions are to make a profit. 15


Long Lasting Results

I am not just communicating this so you can all go buy a board from Soul Performance, but if you want to, that’s great too. But, really this is about everything in our lives that is important on countless and distinctive levels. It is about individuality, people and community, learning and following your dreams. Soul Performance is a family owned micro-business that is a genuine part of our community here in the South Bay. Mark and Sheryl want to give you the best kind of help that you can take with you when you go out and catch some waves. They want to get to know you and for you to share with them your experiences and love for surfing. Mark builds high quality surfboards and real long lasting relationships with people who have come into the shop and surf his boards. Mark and Sheryl have contributed positively to lives of those around them, I’m sure in many ways and also to the South Bay on a day-to-day basis since they opened Soul Performance in 2001 and will continue to do so as long as they possibly can. Sheryl maintains that, “Long time local businesses are where you develop relationships with the proprietor and they know you and they know what you need, but most of all, they want to help. It’s an awesome way to build community. Having relationships with the community is what we need to continue our communities in a positive way.” We as individuals living in a community should try to do our part to help keep places like Soul Performance and other local up and coming businesses around because these are the people who are genuinely trying to make a difference in people’s lives by developing relationships with them, which inevitably makes a positive impact on the many people around them. Sheryl always maintains the fact that they are not doing this for the money. “We’re doing this because this is what we love!” 16

So, we all have to remember what we love and make a conscience effort to go and do those things like surfing or whatever it is that you love because it’s worse not to get out there and besides “the juxtaposition of life and death makes you feel alive!” Contact Info for Soul Performance soulperformance@yahoo.com 2215 ½ Artesia Blvd. Redondo Beach, CA 90278 310-370-1428

- Juliette Hernandez Dig This Real


People deal with divorce in different ways. Some will feel as if a weight has been lifted off their shoulders and celebrate until dawn. Others will become extremely depressed and dive into the arms of the nearest bottle of either alcohol or pills. In some cases, the divorced parties will immediately realize the mistake they made and reconcile. The point is, everyone reacts differently to divorce. It is an emotional, life altering event and there is really no right or wrong way to handle it (providing things stay legal). What works for one person may not work for another and every case is different. One man found himself getting a divorce and came up with an extremely unique solution to help himself deal with it. The founder of the site, Kevin, was told by his wife of 12 years that he could, “Do whatever the $%^@# you want,” with her wedding dress as she walked out the door. Instead of pining over the memories of his married life and dealing with things in an introspective manner, he decided to take a humorous view of things and showcase his coping strategy for the entire world, or at least the internet, to see. Kevin created successful blog and website devoted to one particular remnant of his failed marriage: myexwifesweddingdress.com. The site is an ever expanding list of creative uses for the dress in question. It features a vibrant comment section and is clearly visited by a lot of folks. Luckily for us, Kevin was kind enough to take some time out of his schedule to answer some questions about the site, Darth Vader and his wife. DTR suggested that he use the wedding dress as a Halloween costume in 2010 but he had already planned to go as a Caveman….. with the dress as a garment. Dig This Real: How did you end up with the dress in the first place? Kevin: The day my ex-wife left I asked her to take it. She refused and told me to do whatever I wanted with it. How did you decide on using the Darth Vader helmet on the front of your page…..Ex-wives are from the Dark Side? The Darth Vader mask was a last minute addition to the scarecrow. We needed something for the head. I thought it was really funny. You clearly have a good deal of positive reactions to your site. Have you had any negative ones? Yes. A small percentage of people think what I am doing is very bad. I have been called all sorts of things in comments on my blog and comments on other sites with stories about my blog. Some of the conclusions people draw from my creative uses for my ex’s wedding dress are absurd including that what I have done is evidence that I must be a violent person. I think anytime a lot of people see something you are bound to get every reaction imaginable. Do you have a favorite “use” for your ex-wife’s wedding dress? I have a few. I really like the Darth Vader scarecrow, the hammock, and the fishing net. November 2010

Over here at DTR we really like the Matador cape (using the dress to taunt a “bull” mascot at a baseball game). Was that stunt something you had to work out in advance? Also what did the ballpark security have to say when you went through their checkpoint with a wedding dress? We didn’t talk to anyone in advance but just showed up with the dress.The security guy at the gate loved the idea. Then my brother ran into somebody we know who knew the ballpark manager overseeing the game. They had both seen the website and were eager to help us stage the fight with Tuffy the Toro. Have you ever received any suggestions for the dress that were just too extreme to post? Tons. I’m trying to keep a relatively clean site so I learned early that comments would have to be regulated. Every X-Rated use you can think of for a piece of fabric has been suggested. We saw that you have a section of the site showing people where they can donate dresses for more conventional use. Could you speak a little bit about that – still advocating marriage? When I first started the blog a lot of people wrote to me stating they didn’t know what to do with their wedding dresses. My brother Colin researched some charities and contacted a number of them before we decided on three to promote on the site. I have had a number of people who have told me they sent their dresses to one of them. I do advocate marriage. I have been witness to many successful marriages and plan to marry again. It can work. And lastly, of course, what has your ex had to say about the site and your success? She isn’t the site’s biggest fan but we are getting along pretty good these days. I like my ex-wife and wish her well. - Evan Bleier

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Dear Cthulhu, I recently bought a new car. I should preface this by mentioning I’m a little OCD. I love the car, but ever since I got it, I haven’t been able to sleep because I’ve been so paranoid about something happening to the car. I have the alarm set to maximum sensitivity, but since I always park in the back reaches of my work parking lot, so I never hear it. Same at the mall and the supermarket. I’m even worried about a bird leaving droppings on my car. It’s gotten to the point where I started feeding stray cats to keep the feathered pooping machines away. I even stole and buried my neighbor’s bird feeder. She’s retired and a bird watcher so unfortunately she keeps replacing them, but blames it on the neighborhood kids. So far I’ve buried five of them in my backyard. Also her pine tree is starting to grow over my driveway and it might drip sap so I was thinking of sneaking out at night to cut it down. I would have too if I wasn’t so worried about it falling on my car. Worse, my co-workers know about my paranoia and feed into it. When they come in from their smoking breaks, they tell me they saw someone near my car or say they heard metal on metal and think the car next to me may have scratched mine. That means I have to leave my desk and go out and check my car. It takes me a while because I have to check the entire body carefully; the windows, the tires and even underneath to make sure nobody planted a bomb. No, I don’t know anyone who would have a reason to do it, but it could happen. A lot of cars look alike. The problem is the checking takes so long that I’m missing time at my job which is upsetting my boss. My co-workers do this at least a few times a day, so if they won’t stop I may get fired. That means I won’t be able to make the payments, which means they’ll repossess the car, which makes me worry more. It’s at the point where I don’t sleep because I’m listening for the car alarms and the flutter of bird wings. What can I do? -Auto Obsessed in Albany 18

Dear Auto, Since you appear unable to control your obsessive urges, you need to learn to control your environment. Your actions with the cats and taking the bird feeders are steps in the right direction, just not enough. If you are that worried simply buy a car cover or in your case, several inexpensive ones that you can dispose of if the birds target it successfully. Or purchase a car port which can be ordered from most auto supply stores and put it up in your driveway. Accept that your co-workers are getting enjoyment out of making you jump through their hoops and stop it. Video baby monitors are inexpensive and easily obtained and can run on battery power. Get a multi-channel model and leave the cameras on your dashboard and rear window, each tilted toward opposite sides so you can get a good view of your vehicle. Leave the video monitor on your desk so you can glance at it while still being able to get your work done. Given the nature of your office mates, I would advise taking the monitor with you when you leave the desk for bathroom and lunch breaks or you will find it missing on your return. Plus with batteries, you can always see your car, even at a store. And with some of the models you can transmit your voice, so you can tell any actual offenders to back away from your car. Of course, you totally forgot to figure in car thieves. And joy riders and vandals. Not to mention teenagers with keys in their hands and mischief in their hearts. Plus there are people who stand on overpasses and drop stuff on cars underneath them. And dogs walking by and marking their territory on your tires. Not to mention frozen restroom waste dropped from flying airplanes that can hit with the force of a small meteorite. But I would hate for you to have more to worry about, so forget I mentioned anything.

Dear Cthulhu, I’m a car lover. Literally. I gain sexual satisfaction from actually having intercourse with automobiles. I trace it back to my youth were the only place I could be alone with my dates was in the backseat of my junker or sometimes their or their parents cars. It started insidiously. When I finally had a place of my own, I got busy there, but it just wasn’t as good. I started making excuses why my dates couldn’t come to my apartment, but after the fifth time in a month I told them it was being fumigated, the ladies started to realize something was wrong. Finally one of my girlfriends had enough and told me she wasn’t a teenager to do it in the back of some car and demanded I take her home. I dropped her off, but I was still worked up so I stopped at my favorite lover’s lane by my lonesome and climbed in the back seat to take care of business. It was amazing so I started doing it more often. I made modifications to my backseat to make it more, well, accommodating. Besides my hands get tired and I’m just not flexible enough to… well, let’s just say I can’t do it tongue in cheek and leave it at that. Around that time I started finding cars attractive. Especially red sporty ones. The more expensive the hotter I think they are. I started going to lover’s lane on foot and getting it on with the cars I found there, especially the ones out of my price range. Since the owners were inside, I had to satisfy myself on the outside, using the tailpipe more often than not. Sadly I’m not a big enough guy for that to be overly satisfying, plus that part of the car heats up quite a bit, so I invented an insulated doohickey that inserts inside the pipe. It’s filled with a thick gel like an ice pack and lubricated. It’s really good, especially if the engine is revving at the time. Let me tell you, no woman can do that. I’ve debated about trying to get it patented, but I haven’t let found a message board or a group of people with like interests, so I’m sure if it’d be worth investing the money. Dig This Real7


Problem is, I’ve been getting noticed. Folks have been calling the cops on me and I’ve only barely gotten away a couple of times. A few have even taken cell phone pictures and videos of me in the act. Fortunately, I wear a Halloween mask so I’m not recognizable, except for the tattoo on my butt. They’ve even run edited footage on the local news and let me tell you, it’s hot. Worse, the cops are now staking out the lover’s lanes, scaring all the hot cars away. Once I went at one of the cop cars, but they noticed the car rocking and came out after me and I had to leave before I was finished. I hate that. Worse, according to the news reports, they’ve found DNA evidence at some of my rendezvous, so if they catch me, they’ll link me to the crime. I can’t do no time. There ain’t no cars in jail and I won’t do a convict bus. I have my standards. I’m thinking about seeking out cars like a Lamborghini, a Ferrari and so on, but people don’t just park those kinds of rides on the street. I’d have to break into garages, which means worrying about alarms, maybe even some guy with a shotgun looking to protect his vehicle. I’ve been studying how to break into cars on the Internet and I think I can do it, which would be great. Even thinking about getting in the backseats of those babies makes my knee quiver, especially since I’ve modified my doohickey to fit in cup holders. The question is, is it worth the risk? Breaking onto a house’s garage carries a bigger penalty then just breaking into a car, right? And do you think it’s worth patenting my doohickey? I’d love to have my own business, but it has to be something I’m passionate about. And do you think the television station would send me copies of the footage of me and the cars if I called and asked? -Car Love Machine In Michigan Dear Car, Cthulhu is not a lawyer, but someone can shoot you for breaking in his house with limited penalties, so I think you may be right. As for your doohickey sideline, it has been my experience with humans

November 2010

that there is no perversion so depraved that someone won’t indulge in. And if the perversion becomes a trend, others will try it out of curiosity, boredom and a misguided desire to fit it. Judging by the Dear Cthulhu mailbag, if you could further expand your modifications to include livestock, I think you could become a rich man. You are however missing a better business opportunity. Valet parking. Offer high-end restaurants your services, undercutting the competition and you will be able to indulge your fantasies at your leisure without risk of being surprised by a shotgun. Or consider doing the same with car detailing. That would give you even more time along with the objects of your desires. And if you do an exception job you should get enough business to kept you busy and satisfied. And a last option, buy or get a job at a long term parking lot near an airport. Do not call the television stations. It will only bring attention to yourself and increase your risk of being caught. The smart move is to hope the original filmers put it on I-tube or simply set up your own cameras next time.

Dear Cthulhu, I’m an EMT. I love my job, but my shift switches every week, so it’s difficult for me to get another job and I’ve been having some money problems. It’s my fault, but lately I’ve become addicted to women’s panties. No, it’s nothing sick or sorted. All I do with them is wear them. It’s embarrassing to admit, but I love the way thongs and crotchless panties feel, especially under my uniform. And I hate to confess it, but I don’t like wearing a pair more than once. The thrill is gone after the first time. Plus, I’m a big guy and I do stretch them out, so they don’t feel the same. I make decent money, but not enough to induce my high-end tastes for my daily silk fix. Then I realized that I dealt with a lot of people who are lying down with an oxygen mask over their faces or sometimes even unconscious. They have purses and wallets. The first time I lifted a guy’s wallet as I was giving him CPR,

I felt really bad until the shipment from Vicky’s of Hollywood arrived. It became a thrill to get away with the theft. I started going to sporting and concert events just to pickpocket people. It was a rush. I now have enough panties to last me for almost three years, but I can’t stop the stealing. Enough people, at least the ones that survived, have started filing complaints with the hospital and they are investigating the thefts. Sooner or later, they’ll realize I was the common factor. How do I get out of this? -Cross-dressing Pickpocket in Kansas Dear Pickpocket, First, you should at least be smart enough to dispose of the wallets and purses in such a way that they cannot be traced back to you. Also, make sure you vary your disposal method and site or you may find police waiting for you the next time you drop one off. Since you seem to have an addictive personality and get off on the thrill, I have a solution, at least for work. Take the wallets, empty most of the cash and return the wallet to the patient’s pocket. First, by leaving some money you aren’t being greedy and stupid. The person might assume they miscounted or lost it somehow. Second, returning the wallet is much more difficult and risky, which should increase your rush. There is one thought that should comfort you. If you are caught and try to get away in the ambulance and have an accident, at least you’ll be wearing clean underwear. Have a Dark Day.

Dear Cthulhu welcomes letters and questions at DearCthulhu@dearcthulhu. com . All letters become the property of Dear Cthulhu and may be used in future columns. Dear Cthulhu a work of fiction and satire and is © and ™ Patrick Thomas. All rights reserved. Any one foolish enough to follow the advice does so at their own peril.

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If DTR’s Mark Lee isn’t filming on his Flip, he’s getting great interviews like this. Read his interview with London based, alternative, pop band 6 Day Riot’s Tamara Schlesinger (vocals/ ukulele/guitar).

Dig This Real: What would you like in your backstage rider when gigging? Tamara Schlesinger: Whiskey, wine, a kids cricket set and a cardboard cut out of David Hasselhoff. What are your thoughts on the possibility of extra-terrestrial life? I think I saw a UFO yesterday so I would say I am a believer. What is your favorite tune for jamming in the studio? We are not much of a jamming band, but we do a mean cover of, “Tusk,” by Fleetwood Mac if that counts. What is your favorite album ever? Probably a Beatles album, but I don’t have a favorite album. I tend not to listen to much music while I am writing and that is a lot of the time. Do you have any pre-gig rituals? If so what are they? Mainly picking my outfit for stage and warming my vocals up. Very boring really. 20

Whose your fave band/artist? I love Fleetwood Mac. I only really got into them recently. Why do you create music? I need to. If I go through a week of not writing or picking up an instrument I feel a build up of tension. Writing lets out my deeper feelings and emotions and is also the only real way I feel that I can express myself. When you look up to the Divine Throne of Rock whose posterior do you see sat on it ? Damon Albarn is up there for me, I think he is a genius. Who are your favorite authors? I just finished reading, The Help, by Kathryn Stockett and I couldn’t put it down. It was a great book. What is your favorite film? I love Shawshank Redemption, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest and Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Have you ever seen the film, Spinal Tap? No, I am ashamed to say. Well, guessing then - what would you say is your own “Tap” moment that you’ve experienced whilst in a band? The fact that we have gone through more guitarists than Spinal Tap have bass players? Do you have any band rules? If so, what are they? Dig This Real


No. We are pretty chilled out really, but there is an unspoken rule that when we are on tour we take turns driving each night so we can all get a chance to party after the gigs. Do you consider drummers to be musicians? Definitely. Dan (Deavin; with Edd Harwood on upright bass, Gabriel Lucena on guitar and Rachel Coleshill on violin and melodica) our drummer has a huge influence on how our songs sound and the development of the tracks. I can’t imagine why anyone would think drummers are not musicians. Do you know any good drummer jokes? Q: What’s the similarity between a drummer and a philosopher? A: They both perceive time as an abstract concept. On a scale of 1 to 11 – how loud are your gigs? This varies on whether or not we are playing an acoustic gig, but Dan hits the pots and pans pretty hard so I would say that even though we are a folky-ish band, we can probably get up to around 7 on a good day. What’s the weirdest gig you’ve ever played? We once played a gig at a 8 year olds birthday party, full of kids dancing, actually it was the most responsive crowd we have ever played to. If I said,’ sing-a-long,’ they all did. What do you drink on stage? I tend to drink wine or whiskey. I can’t drink beer or I hiccup whilst singing, the rest of the gang normally have beer. What do you think about on stage? Usually I am just thinking about the songs and how it is all sounding and what I am singing about and getting into November 2010

the vibe but occasionally I am wondering if the audience are enjoying. But mostly I can tell that from their faces. What’s the best part of being in a band? Touring, gigging and playing your songs live. What’s your favorite piece of musical kit? I love my Risa electric ukulele. It is black and looks like a Les Paul. Will the world be saved? I hope so. Simpsons, South Park, Family Guy or Scooby Doo? Scooby Doo… where are you? What’s next for you guys? We have a new single out and we are heading into the studio to record our new album which will be released this October. Up until then we have a busy festival season and then our own UK tour. What do you want your musical legacy to be? Hopefully creating the real “nu-folk” music, pushing the boundaries between genres and making something that we can call our own. Do you have any tips for new bands? Take the time to find your own sound. Don’t be afraid to do something that is a little different from everything else that is out there, and do it with conviction. Check out 6 Day Riot at http://www.6dayriot.co.uk - Mark Christopher Lee

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Have you ever gone to a show and caught the last few songs of the opening band and thought to yourself, “Hey these guys are pretty alright?” You mean to find out their name and look them up but the Budweiser (or maybe Miller High Life due to the recession) in your hand and the attractive girl/guy at the end of the bar gets you distracted and you forget. That band may have been the Oranges Band. They are an indie rock band in the true sense of the term, constantly flying under the radar but staying in the air nonetheless. Encompassing the space between kick-ass bar band and opening act for groups like Guided by Voices, Spoon and Ted Leo, the Oranges Band have carved out a niche for themselves as a group that other groups want to play with. They refer to themselves as a “semi-professional” band, but make no mistake about it, these guys are pros. Groups don’t last for more than ten years without having their shit together and they certainly don’t put more than 200,000 miles on their van touring the Country. To have that sort of longevity there needs to be a driving force behind the band and the music. For The Oranges Band, that unstoppable force is Roman Kuebler (guitar, vocals). He is the founding member of the group and also has a solo project aptly titled, Romania. Kuebler was kind enough to take the time to answer some questions for DTR: 22

Dig This Real: You were signed with Lookout Records who I read was Green Day’s original label. If the Oranges Band could put on a musical a la “American Idiot,” what would it be like? Roman Kuebler: Well first of all, we are no longer with Lookout. They folded their label operations but continue to sell catalog items. But in thinking about musicals, it makes sense because when I write, I try to have a story or theme in mind. It is not usually structured but just a way to fill in missing lyrics and ideas. Currently, I was thinking about writing a group of songs chronicling the events of a group of teenagers waiting in line overnight for tickets to a show. Basically I want to try and write a group of songs that are essentially about nothing but somehow talk about nothing in a way that is worth listening to. You recently celebrated your 10th anniversary as a band which is longer than a lot of marriages are lasting these days. Do you have any advice for bands or couples, about how to make things work out over the long haul? No advice at all. In fact, on our last tour we lost our last original member, besides myself so my advice would be to keep Dig This Real


the name, if not the band, going on. I guess my best advice is to remind people to think big picture. I certainly wish I had a more comprehensive outlook on our band and had a sense of the long term activities during some of the tougher times. You are a Baltimore based group. Could you talk a little bit about the music scene there because it’s not one that generally gets a lot of coverage. Also any plans to incorporate crab cakes or themes from The Wire into your music? Well, I don’t know if you have been hiding under a rock but Baltimore is pretty much blown up in the national press. In fact, I saw where two of our record stores were named in the Rolling Stone list of top 25 record stores in the country. I mean, I’m not saying they ain’t but... it’s a big country. Not only that but in the last few years groups like Dan Deacon, Beach House, Wye Oak, J Roddy Walston and the Business are getting hyped. I think it is really great but it doesn’t seem to have a lot to do with where our band is at this moment. I do like to think we helped it along a bit. I have never seen the Wire but have always tried to rip off Wire if that helps. You have said that Baltimore band The Fuses were a big influence on you and your music. I am curious to hear what you learned from them or what specifically drew you to their music. Well the Fuses and many other bands that we felt a certain connection with in Baltimore at the time (including but not limited to The Slow Jets, Land Speed Record, The Uniform, The Brogues, it goes on) were a way of keeping us motivated to produce quality music that was energetic. We wanted to keep pace and try and outdo each other I think. The Oranges were on the road a lot at the time so we also tried to represent those bands that didn’t really tour that much while we were out there also. Just try and talk up the scene and ten years later it worked. (laughs) In your notes for The Oranges Band are Invisible you talk about owning an album’s failures as well as the successes. What are a few failures that you own personally or as a group and are there any that own, for lack of a better word, “proudly.” Listening back, there are hundreds of failures, too many to recount. But when I think about it, it reminds of the process. It is about learning all the way through and I hope to continue to do that. If I can always listen back a few years to the recordings and say, “if I had that to do over I’d do this and this,” then I think that shows progress. As far as owning the failures, I think I own just about every single one. And I feel it too because you November 2010

look back at mistakes made personally, not so much musically and think, “I could have handled that better” and if I did how would things be different. It’s not proud but it’s true. For …Are Invisible you came up with the concept of having the artwork be just that – invisible. Now that some time has passed, would you still make that choice and what effects, if any, do you think that decision has had on how your record was received. I still think this was one of the best ideas I have ever had. Innovation is born out of necessity and it was necessary that I not slog through another round of trying to come up with the perfect cover after working really hard on the music. And the way that it speaks to the time and place of the band at the time is very appropriate as far as I am concerned. And it is a very unique idea that was executed well so, I am, and will continue to be, really happy with the whole concept. In a similar artistic choices vein, where did the name The Oranges Band come from in the first place? I got it off a highway sign for, “The Oranges.” I added ‘band’ later. You toured last spring with The Hold Steady. They are a group that had to struggle through some lean times before eventually gaining some notoriety. Do you see any connections between that group and your group and are you encouraged either personally or artistically by their success? Also would love to hear any good stories from the road... Well again, I am not sure I grant the premise here. I think they (The Hold Steady) took off pretty much out of the box and never looked back. I think they had a real solid idea of what they wanted to do and how to go about doing it. I don’t think we have been that focused in quite some time and when we were, we lacked the knowledge to make it happen so to answer your question, no, not a lot of connection or encouragement in that regard. That being said, I am personally encouraged by the members of that band in the sense that it is nice to have friends who are successful and remain friends and maintain a personal connection. I’ve known these guys for nearly my whole musical career and it is very gratifying to know that these relationships that you build as a punk traveling around and making music can be long-term and really rewarding. In that regard, it is VERY encouraging and the only reason that I continue to want to travel and make music and take it on the road. As for stories? There is a strict policy about not talking stuff like that! Sorry. (laughs) So there you have it. No great road stories but some really great insight into what being in a band, especially a working class one, is all about. The Oranges Band may never have had any huge hit songs or a great deal of commercial success, but hey, they’ve got fans, they’ve got music videos and they’ve been a touring rock band for more than ten years. They’ve even been on a jumbotron or two. Not too many people can say that. “Being the Oranges Band is a life-long performance art piece that plays out every day like a conceptual obstacle course.” – The Oranges Band Bio. The musicians that played on the latest release, The Oranges Band are Invisible, are Roman Kuebler, guitars/vocals, Dave Voyles, drums, Patrick Martin, bass and Doug Gillard, guitar. For more information check out http://www.theorangesband.com. - Evan Bleier 23


Brett Gleason, a master of multiple instruments and electronic devices, breaks the musical mold with his six track EP, The Dissonance. Defying the typical steady melodies and redundant beats of pop music, with hooks and choruses, The Dissonance is more of a series of experimental sounds and sensations that capture the essence of deep seeded emotions and a tortured soul; the kind of music that says, “I don’t care what anyone thinks, I just need to express myself.” The piano parts, obviously Gleason’s most skilled ability, are somber and gloomy, like the type of music that might be heard at Dracula’s funeral. On the fourth track, “The Escape,” he moves to take the piano piece to potential. The heavy influence of the piano throughout creates the foundation for various other instrumental tracks, none of which seem to have anything to do with each other. These tracks range from various instruments and some eerie sound effects, each introducing a new characteristic and provoking new emotions. It gives off a certain musical schizophrenia, if you will. It’s much like hearing a million voices in your head, all talking at once about different things. Perhaps that is just the type of message the artist is trying to express, though. The dark corners of a troubled mind are furthered explored through Gleason’s lyrics, sung in his deep, bellowing voice, baring a striking resemblance to that of Jay Gordon from Orgy. Especially in the ‘secret’ track, painful thoughts and emotions such as despair, agony and fear are all prominent. However, like in, “I Am Not,” strength and hope also shine through the darkness of his lyrics. Each musical instrument, sound, or device may have its own expression and agenda but the tracks flow together non-stop for the entire cd. There isn’t any transition from one song to the next. This style has also been used in albums such as Pink 24

Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, although I haven’t tried to see if it goes along with the movie The Wizard of Oz yet. If I didn’t know any better I would think I was listening to one song that goes on for twenty minutes or so. Gleason wrote and recorded each individual track on his own, a talent in itself. I had a chance to chat with Gleason. Read what he had to say: Dig This Real: What’s the most important thing you feel you’ve learned throughout your course of studies in music? Brett Gleason: Music has taught me to accept dualities, contradictions and inconsistencies; to feel opposing desires and oppress neither, to understand and accept their interdependence instead. Simply put - music is about relationships. Harmony is how two or more notes interact, engage or repel each other. Melody and rhythm are the proportions between what is repeated and what is new. Music is a constant flow of tension and release, it is a condensed dramatization of emotional existence. Music comes the closest to making sense of life of any art I know. What emotional state were you in when you wrote and recorded the material for, The Dissonance? The Dissonance, was written over many years and chronicles my first episode of bipolar mania. Obviously it wasn’t experienced or expressed in such clinical terms but instead as a philosophical and psychological journey to reconcile my urge for destruction with my desire for creation. It was a dramatic, panicked but ultimately empowering experience and I’d like to think, The Dissonance, plays that out when listened to in succession. I understand much of your childhood was devoted to Dig This Real


learning music. How did you manage the opportunity to have so many instruments available to you? Basically, being a multi-instrumentalist means starting early and being more utilitarian in your approach to the instrument. I look at the piano as a song writing tool, the guitar as ornamentation and the bass as ground to walk on. I grew up playing woodwinds which helped when I started singing. I had a bad speech impediment as a child and my parents were smart enough to get me involved in singular activities like music and solo sports. I studied piano with classical theory and guitar with jazz theory so each offers a different way of looking at a song, the piano is more cerebral and the guitar more improvisational. I’ve had to be more realistic in my approach and understand that I can’t be a virtuoso on every instrument. What is the significance of the coughing and gagging in the song, “Idealize the Dead?” “Idealize the Dead,” is about letting go of the past, seeing through the beautification that time does to turn our pain and suffering into nostalgia. The coughs and gasps are its last breaths as I reject the safety of a known quantity for an uncertain present and future. Do you consider yourself a pioneer for the future of electronic and rock music? I’d like to think so but time will tell. Are there any artists that strongly inspire or influence your own music? Smashing Pumpkins, Tori Amos, NIN, Portishead, Bjork,

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Depeche Mode, The Cure. All of whom probably inspired each other as well. Is there a name for the 6th track on your EP? Why isn’t it listed? I don’t list, “Imposter,” because I want it to be considered a ‘bonus’ track or ‘b-side.’ This was the first song recorded so as my skills improved I planned to remix and redo the vocals but I’d lost some of the original tracks and had to make do with mastering the demo. Whereas I think it stands well on its own and is one of the more accessible tracks, the production doesn’t match the rest of the record which I think flows rather well without it. What can you tell us about the full length album you’re working on? I’ve actually decided to release another EP next year. I think it’s smarter to release less music more often, especially at the start of one’s career. I would however, like to eventually combine both efforts to be re-mastered and re-released as a full length record on a larger scale. Of all the instruments you’ve mastered which is your favorite to play? Without a doubt the piano. Of all the instruments to accompany yourself, the piano has by far the largest range. I can do the jobs of a bass and two guitars with my two hands on a full sized keyboard. For more information please go to www.brettgleason.com. - Cindy Chisvette

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Pet Ghost Project

Brooklyn-based Pet Ghost Project is a unique animal in terms of bands in this day and age. Perhaps they are not, perhaps the goal and thoughts and passions are the same as every other struggling Brooklyn band, but the sweat dripping from their foreheads and the poignancy in their orchestration peers out through every fiber of their beings, whether it be live or on a recording. Pet Ghost Project has currently released five albums, with a sixth that they are sitting on, shopping around until it finds the best way to reveal itself to the masses. The most recent release, Winter Variations, is an EP of six songs that were previously released on older albums but have been remixed drastically for this record. Each song is rather different from its original, taking on a new persona for the listener to hold onto through the winter months until their sixth record, Shelf Life, can come to real life. On, Winter Variations, the song, “Cloud Seeds,” is almost eight minutes long; beginning with empty space, weird sounds and steady drums. The song bleeds out of all its edges once the bass line enters and the melody of the keys helps carry all the instrumentation along. There are no vocals in this song, just the focus on everything that’s happening, finding a way to interact, meld and become one with the rest of the instruments. Other songs on the record are much shorter, driving, with wailing vo26

cals, snarling and layered. One after another, the songs on the album are unlike the last, not completely surprising but pleasantly different, drawing the listener in to the intricacies that make Pet Ghost Project something special. Their music comes sprawling outward through waves of musty air and light, collecting itself into a whole being with ambient sounds, ringing cymbals or winding bass lines. Each song shows a new approach, a different side of the band, and with every note, tone and element revealed, Pet Ghost Project morphs with it. “Nothing is definitive, every song has a totally different approach. The only rule is there is no rule,” says Justin Stivers (guitar/bass/drums/voice), the driving force behind Pet Ghost Project. The now four piece began as a solo project of Stivers’ where he spent his time recording all the instrumentals, creating sounds, and piecing together the intricate details of his wellharnessed sound. Relocating from Portland to New York in 2007, Stivers didn’t think he wanted Pet Ghost Project to be his main endeavor. He enjoyed being in the background and through trying in Portland to be the bandleader, he decided he’d rather be a supporting Dig This Real


character in a band that was already in the works. In Brooklyn, Stivers soon found himself the bassist for The Antlers. While the band developed some popularity and gained a rather large fan base, as he toured and recorded an album with them, he was able to learn what he did and didn’t want to be doing as a musician. He decided to leave behind the backing role and continue full-force with Pet Ghost Project. The line-up has been the same three members, Stivers with Justin Gonzalez (guitar/synth/vocals) and Jake More (bass/guitar/drums/voice), for the last couple years with the addition of a fourth member, who ended up leaving the band recently. Stivers still prefers the role of bassist or drummer to front-man and while a good amount of the music comes from tunes he has crafted on his own, he has created a forum in which the rest of the members can still function as a band and not just backing members to one man’s creative vision. “They just run with ideas that I’ve laid down on the albums and it’s very ‘choose your own adventure,’ and live, it’s a totally different beast.” Every show feels like a brand new band, different energy, different style, but always the same passion. There’s an element to their live show that is not portrayed through the clean yet slightly raw recordings blaring through the speakers. The stage bounces and feeds off of the music the band is creating and it’s a new experience every time. Also a different experience for every person as one set may be way more appealing to one person then the last, according to their tastes. But for Pet Ghost Project, that’s ok, and that’s the point. The idea of a constantly changing and finding new ways to do things really excites Stivers and as he and his band continue to grow and thrive, he finds new ways to keep the music fresh and the songs unique. “A lot of the stuff just starts off as a workshop. For instance, ‘Let’s try to do something really monotonous and see how long we can keep this one pulse going,’ and then from that simple idea we’ll write a song,” Stivers adds, on how some songs get written in Pet Ghost. Every song feels as though it comes from a different place and while there can be unifying factors from one to the next, the way they ebb and flow is proof of the collaborative partnership Stivers has created in his efforts not to be the typical leader of the band. Finding this balance can be particularly difficult when the musical ideas come mostly from

one person, but the graciousness and desire to explore every and all opportunities in songwriting are what makes Stivers the type of musician that anyone would want to work with. Taking from multiple influences, some bass training and mostly just practice, Stivers’ musical ambition seems to be that of creating an inclusive collective; taking into consideration band members’ tastes, the audience, as well as their own personal intent. Live, the goal is to never bore the audience, to maintain fans by keeping them on their toes and to keep themselves interested. “I wanted to leave it open ended so that we are expanding outwards instead of inwards. It leaves open a lot of possibilities,” he said. This no fear approach is definitely working for Pet Ghost Project, and whether or not he maintains the lineup he has, or has to lose or gain a few members, the momentum seems like it will constantly be there. Even currently as a Brooklyn band, just trying to get by and pay the rent, they find that at least they enjoy the convenience of saving money by practicing in Stivers’ bedroom, which doubles as a practice space/studio. “A lot of other bands are lucky to play once a week, we play three times. But we don’t gig out, we don’t get to go to Philly that often, we don’t go to Boston nearly enough. So you take the good with the bad. Being in Brooklyn is a good place to be stagnant, a good place to be stuck.” What one might consider stuck, another might consider thriving, as Pet Ghost Project sometimes plays a show a week and always brings a solid fan base, gaining more as they go. The ultimate plan though, may or may not involve living in Brooklyn, it goes into the whole go with the flow, roll with the punches outlook that Stivers brings to his music. Like all bands, Stivers would love to have a record label and management to help him support his band, as he has laid down all the groundwork on his own so far. He would also love to be able to relocate, but maintain momentum in the cities they love to play in, even if they are across the country. The effort is visible in all of the music Stivers creates in that there is an ultimate goal to the song but in getting there, it’s a very wind-y, experimental and exciting road. Nothing is ever the same, nothing feels contrived, whether it’s lyrics, bass lines or guitar solos; there is a reason, but there’s a really fun path to follow in order to get there. “We take risks and sometimes it fails. But when it succeeds, it’s an awesome experience for the crowd.” Stivers recalls that if they feel like playing a song faster than it is on the recording, it doesn’t even have to be spoken about. The willingness to take risks both on and off the stage is a unique sensibility as sometimes it could end up being a terrible idea. Pet Ghost Project only grows from the choice to constantly stretch their imaginations and abilities. While whatever is in store for Pet Ghost Project might occur soon or it might be later, Stivers knows exactly what he wants to be doing, he’s just willing to wait it out and enjoy the ride until he gets there. He added, “I don’t know what the future is, but I know I won’t be able to not do music. No matter where I go, I will keep going. It’s like breathing.” www.myspace.com/petghostproject - Lauren Piper

November 2010

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DTR’s Mark Christopher Lee investigates the paranormally out of this world career of Broadcaster

Howard Hughes Mark Christopher Lee: Could you give our readers an introduction to your radio show, The Unexplained? Howard Hughes: The Unexplained started as a national border-to-border radio show in the U.K. that dealt with subjects usually untouched on British radio – UFOs, ghosts, conspiracy theories, angels, the afterlife and many other topics. The show did well but the station changed ownership and the new people in charge didn’t like this kind of material so they pulled the plug on my show. I was replaced by a political call-in show hosted by a British Member of Parliament. When my show ended, listeners emailed to ask me to take my work online, so that’s how we got here. What drives or motivates you into doing the show? I am fascinated by these subjects. And I want to cover them seriously, using two decades of experience in mainstream broadcast news and radio programming. I want the show to be professional but with a light and sensitive touch when required. What are your thoughts on the possibility of extra-terrestrial life? As they say in the U.S., it is a, “no brainer.” In the vastness of discovered space and the unimaginable territory beyond,

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we simply cannot be “alone.” Statistically, scientifically and intuitively there has to be other life forms out there, whether we can see them or not! They may well be with us on our planet now, but veiled in some way or invisible to us because the limitations of human perception. Have you ever seen a UFO? Never. But my grandmother saw a silver spinning disc above her home in Liverpool at dawn one morning several decades ago. She was not interested in UFOs and did not follow sci-fi. But her description is the classic, “Invaders,” craft. What’s the strangest subject matter you’ve had on your show? I thought my first guest on the first radio show would be my last. I wasn’t sure if station management or listeners were ready for what they heard. The man hypnotically “progressed” – the opposite of “regressed” – his wife live on air through a digital hookup from a studio at KABC in Los Angeles. She described her future-life in the year 3,000, where our bodies have changed shape and people

travel in flying cars. Let’s say I wasn’t totally convinced, but I’d like to be! Have you had any paranormal experiences yourself? Many. The most recent was while I was speaking to a radio producer friend of mine on my cell phone from the banks of the River Thames in London. Annie and I had worked with a radio star in the U.K. called Chris Tarrant. Chris’s affectionate nickname for her was, “Annie the Baglady from Hell.” As we spoke, a Thames riverboat passed me named Baglady! This story is one of many that have happened throughout my life. Do you have any strange rituals or quirks that you have to do before presenting a show? I just pray that whatever guides me delivers me safely to the other end of the show. When I worked in news I would sometimes produce newscasts that would go too perfectly or work out exactly to time even if I had not planned it that way. I always felt I was ‘helped’ on those occasions. On the day ex-Beatle George Dig This Real


Harrison died I did a newscast to London backed by one of his songs. It was totally ad-libbed. There was no time to prepare but my final words matched the final guitar-strums on the record. I also have a favorite watch I tend to wear when I broadcast. It’s a Seiko.

Have you ever thought of doing a show on El Chupacabra? Yes, and we will! I need to find an experienced researcher, someone who has not been heard on the other shows. If this is you, please contact me through www.theunexplained.tv.

Who has been your favorite guest? Richard C Hoagland, U.S. space expert. I first put him on the radio in London about 12 years ago. His scientific credentials are beyond doubt and his understanding of space and the politics of NASA are unparalleled. I would like him to be right about Martian Moon Phobos but I am not allowed to take sides. He believes it is an ancient spacecraft. I’m a big fan of scientist Michiu Kaku and British astromomer Heather Couper. I also got a rare interview on the live radio show with Al Bielek from the time-shifting Philadelphia Experiment. He was truly amazing. What reason would a man of his age have to lie about this? I have tried to contact him recently to do an update but cannot track him down. And I cannot find my archive copy of the interview, so if anyone has a tape or soundfile of that show – from 2005 – could they possibly get in touch?!?

What’s your favorite film? Contact, starring Jodie Foster. If we ever do get extra-terrestrial contact and if Seth Shostak and his colleagues at SETI manage to hear that signal and track that data I reckon it will happen pretty much the way it did in the movie. Don’t laugh, I also love Phenomenon, starring John Travolta. It is a great movie. And I like, Suspect Zero, featuring a one second cameo appearance by Remote Viewer and regular guest on The Unexplained, Major Ed Dames. Britain’s Sir Ben Kingsley plays the lead superbly but the movie vanished.

My favorite guest of yours probably has to be Richard C Hoagland and his whole NASA conspiracy theory. Do you think in the words of David Bowie there was or is, “Life on Mars?” I am not sure if there is currently life on Mars. But I do think Mars holds secrets and truths of a sort we may not be ready for down here on Earth. I feel our celestial ancestors may have lived there and functioned at a level of understanding and technology we can’t even imagine. But I need to see evidence before I’d be sure of any of this.

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Who is your favourite author? I like David Icke’s books. He’s been much maligned but puts a good case. Also “angel lady” Jacky Newcomb is a favorite. She has two new books out. What music do you listen to? I like many kinds of music. I recently bought a Lily Allen album but also enjoy old style radio rock like Steely Dan, Yes and icons like James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, Colin Blunstone and even the British Sinatra – Matt Monro! It isn’t about eras, it’s about quality. Monro is way before my time, but I love the story of the London bus driver who ended up living in L.A. and recording on Capitol - the same label as Sinatra and Dean Martin. Now that’s class. I’m also a big fan of The Pocket Gods ! Have you interviewed any famous musicians? Bowie, McCartney, Lionel Richie, The Pet Shop Boys, Elvis Costello, Shania Twain, but my favorite is Paul Carrack from Mike + the Mechanics and many other bands. He is the classiest of class acts and a really nice guy. His work with Ace is superb. I also like Mick Fleetwood who I interviewed from his home on Maui, Hawaii. I remember asking Bowie how he felt about everyone doing a bad impression of his voice. Then he did a bad impression of mine! McCartney is a very sincere guy, totally interested

in you and the questions you have to ask him. We’re both from Liverpool and we talked about our home city. Lionel Richie is absolutely charming and full of smiles. And the Pet Shop Boys made me laugh until I couldn’t stop. Mr. Tennant is outrageous. You’ve had a very successful broadcasting career. What do you consider the highlights to be? I announced the death of Princess Diana to London, I told the U.K. the first and second Gulf Wars were starting and I broadcasted live from Ground Zero twice. These were very memorable and important things to do. I also greatly enjoyed the ten years I spent with Chris Tarrant on London’s biggest ever morning drive show at Capital FM, with 2.5 million daily listeners. It had as many listeners as the likes of New York’s Scott and Todd at WPLJ.

What next for, The Unexplained? I want to grow the show, do a few live streaming ones (that idea is in the works now) but I have pretty much given up on getting it back onto radio in Great Britain. We don’t have enough on-air outlets in the U.K. Perhaps one day we will. My only other option is to start my own station or move to the U.S. or Canada and believe me, I would love to do that !!! The online show depends on donations. Radio did not make me rich or anything remotely like it, so I need the money to fund the work. www.theunexplained.tv. 29


I am always looking for ways to eat better, train better and keep myself fit and healthy. After all, I used to be a fatty with a penchant for smoking 3-packs of cigarettes a day (ahhh, the life of a freelancer). I am also an artist and what that means is I am more famous for my towering stack of dishes that tend to pile high in my kitchen sink than my last exhibition. On any given day and when I am feeling especially “artistic,” I have been known to let those dishes sit there until the inspiration strikes me to wash them. In my weight loss travels and with the help of a friend (who added me to the now famous mailing list), I found Hungry Girl, a.k.a. Lisa Lillien. Not even claiming to be a nutritionist, (‘just hungry’), Lillien has built a mega empire based on her philosophy on how to deal with everyday food issues. What she does is label herself as is, “foodologist,” due to her obsession with food but where most fail, she has a system on how to fully enjoy food while not letting the good times roll onto (and stay on) your waist. Millions of fans are signed up for the Hungry Girl eblast that arrives everyday and it is here that I first read about Hungry Girl’s, “Egg Mugs.” Egg Mugs are recipes where you mix a few ingredients into a mug, place in the microwave and eat. I find this super easy and much more engaging than, say, pulling out the frying pan and making a complete mess of my kitchen. Plus having one cup and fork in the sink is so much better than having a sticky art installation. These mug recipes also got me thinking about how to prepare while on the road or in the office. It’s so simple. And if you are a pro at “hand” measuring (check out http://weightloss.about.com/ library/blmeasure.htm for more info), you will be eliminating measure spoons and cups. What’s your excuse now for not having a filling breakfast? My favorite recipe is called, “All-American Egg Mug.” I have made this so many times for traveling musicians, professional UFO chasers and the occasional Weight Watcher and each time, every person served treats me like I am Martha Stewart. Lillien is a bestselling author and I own two of her books. Her Happy Hour offers brilliant drinks and bar-type snacks and some of the drinks found here are so rich in texture that they could easily double as a dessert (hello, Spiked Pumpkinlicious Nog!). I scored my Egg Mug recipes from her eblast/ mailing list but you can also get these recipes (and more) in Hungry Girl, 123 (The Easiest, Most Delicious, Guilt-Free Recipes on the Planet). Sign up here at www.hungry-girl. com. I asked Lillien if she would be so kind to supply our Dig This Real readers with one of her signature Egg Mug concoctions. She was most awesome in forwarding this along: 30

Wing It, Baby Egg Mug! 4 oz. egg beaters 3 oz chicken, chopped 1 tbsp chopped or shredded carrots Franks Red Hot Sauce sprinkle (1 tsp) of reduced fat parmesan Nuke all ingredients together (except for parm) for 2-3 minutes or until egg is cooked! Then sprinkle with parmesan and enjoy!

All-American Egg Mug per serving - 173 calories, 3g fat, 770mg sodium, 9g carbs, 1g fiber, 2.5g sugars, 26g protein Ingredients: 1 Morningstar Farms veggie sausage patty (or another low-fat patty with about 80 calories), 1 tbsp of sugar free pancake syrup (I like Walden Farms), 1/2 cups of fat-free liquid egg substitute (like Egg Beaters Original), 1 slice of fat-free american cheese. Directions: lightly spray your large mug with nonstick, cooking spray. Add veggie sausage patty and microwave for 45 seconds. Use a fork to break patty into pieces inside the mug until completely crumbled. Add syrup and toss to coat. Add egg substitute and microwave for 1 minute. Gently stir and microwave for another 45 seconds. Tear cheese into pieces and add to the mug. Microwave for 15 minutes. Lightly stir, let cool slightly before eating. -edie Dig This Real


IF YOU HAVE TO CRY GO OUTSIDE AND OTHER THINGS YOUR MOTHER NEVER TOLD YOU by Kelly Cutrone with Meredith Bryan HarperOne

This book is considered, “self-help,” as it is filed in that section of your local bookstores, yet I am not sure if the audience Kelly Cutrone is trying to reach will actually get the deepness of her story found in If You Have To Cry Go Outside. The book zig zags across Cutrone’s most colorful life starting in her sophomore year of high school to her first taste of success working her way through the public relations business to a drug induced breakdown and eventual Phoenix rising. But what picture this book truly paints aside from Cutrone’s life story is one of a spiritual journey that may save itself from the pomp and circumstantial converting of the masses. It’s no secret that Cutrone is the She-Wolf of mentoring when it comes to the bevel of girls that come to her seeking a chance to work in the Fashion Industry. In that industry, you need a Mama Cutrone. So those folks will find something in this book that may inspire them to reach within to hit their jackpot potential but what I got out of this book was a beautiful story of a broken woman who had a chance meeting with an other-worldly spiritual being that would change her life forever. It’s hard to believe that most Fashionista-wanna-be’s would be saving their pennies to tough it out to a trip to India or Katmandu for that matter (Ladies, you will have to leave your Louboutins at home) in order to pay the spiritual currency Cutrone has now accepted into her life’s bank of experience. Cutrone’s crash and burn experience is one you wouldn’t want to wish on even a frenemy. The book describes it in a desolate, dark manner and almost ending in suicide. Truly heartbreaking and sad. Usually when people hit such rock bottoms, two things happen; they either succeed in death or their will to live 14 November

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reaches out to the spiritual for final answers. Man, we are sure lucky Cutrone received her answer (and from the Mother herself!). This is where the true life lesson should be learned in this “self-help” book. The lesson of blind faith/universal trust. But, unfortunately one cannot just tap into this easily because it’s not like flipping the “on” switch. It usually takes years of dedicated study similar to the Sages before us to reach some crossroad of understanding. Mira Alfassa, the spiritual Guru and the help of a street straggler named John would carry Cutrone out of her hell and this part of the book may or may not be embraced by millions of gaggling gals because, well, we do live in a unrealistic ‘reality’ TV type of world. And no stranger to reality TV, Cutrone had parts in many MTV shows like The Hills and now, The City, a world that has so easily been conquered by Cutrone. It was her own reality TV show called “Kell on Earth,” that almost succeeded in making Cutrone a house hold name in office circles, as the guys (as well as the girls) watched weekly as Cutrone would expertly steer her ship of PR employees through the high seas of Fashion Week and the occasional nonpaying client. “Bravo,” is what most of my guy friends stated about the show because it was real to them and the truth is not something foreign in Cu-

trone’s world. To a man, Cutrone is a straight shooter and a true business woman. The book is full of “truths,” despite that it was written with Meredith Bryan, it still reads like Cutrone is sitting across the table from you. The level of honest here is noble and much needed in today’s standards. We can only hope that the Cutrone Armys that have formulated will rip those pages out and live by them as well. The book also is laugh out loud funny too and I have picked up many a Kelly-isms (“It’s not a breakdown, baby, you’re having a breakthrough,” is a personal fave). Peppered in the lifeline and spiritual epiphanies there is hardcore industry advice that anyone could use in any business platform (Cutrone’s, “fake it to make it; but sometimes the way to fake it is to shut up,” is probably one of the strongest pieces of advice people don’t use in business). Putting it all into use so that it fits into the picture of what a true karmayogi is may eventually come in due time. Maybe. Lastly, the story of Cutrone and her pregnancy (and eventual birth of her child Ava) is an unexpected human touch, amidst the business backwash and personal growth spurts. The delicate relationship that Cutrone describes about herself and her child is striking and heartfelt, offering just about every emotional feeling a person can experience while reading a book. -edie 31


THE 27S: The Greatest Myth of Rock & Roll by Eric Segalstad (author) & Josh Hunter (illustrator) Samadhi Creations Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 100 years, the “27 Club” is a concept you’re already familiar with. Its members are the perfect illustration of, “Live Fast, Die Young.” What most people don’t know is that the club is not exclusive to its most famous rockers – Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison and Kurt Cobain. In fact, the 27s can be traced back to the turn of the century, adding genres such as ragtime, blues, R&B, pop and rap to the mix. The 27s: The Greatest Myth of Rock & Roll is not just another boring encyclopedia of the lives and deaths of some of music’s most influential players. It’s a fullglossy, 310-page journey of epic proportions. It is not for the faint of heart. Imagine taking a roller coaster ride through times past. Now, imagine that experience on acid and ‘shrooms (exactly as it should be). This is what Eric Segalstad and Josh Hunter have presented.

This book has it all: The rise and fall of some of the greatest artists to ever grace Planet Earth, quotes from their family and friends, rumor, speculation, fact, paranoia and even astrology. Every

page is an expedition in psychedelic color and pop art with graphics that make the seemingly daunting amount of information come to vibrant life. And for readers with only a minimal knowledge of music’s sordid past, The 27s will provide a jumping off point for further investigation. Simply put, The 27s: The Greatest Myth of Rock & Roll is a remarkable read and a sugar high for the senses. It’s a conversation starter and a quintessential example of modern art. It is a joy and a pleasure to peruse and a tome that you will want to revisit again and again. http://www.the27s.com - Bryce Lochlan

THE TAO OF WU

by The RZA aka Robert Fitzgerald Diggs Riverhead Trade RZA is an interesting guy. He founded the Wu-Tang Clan, has produced tons of hit singles and records and created himself a superhero alter-ego named Bobby Digital. He also is an avid chess player, a vegetarian and a student of the Koran.

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There are a lot of things about him that would seem contradictory at first glance and The Tao of the Wu serves as his way of explaining them. It is part autobiography, part philosophy and part teachings. RZA’s world view is definitely his own and the tale of how he got it is, at times, a fascinating one. The book is divided into seven pillars all of which correspond with a time period in RZA’s life. He explains the part of his life in question and then identifies the situation or event that served as a catalyst for him to take a specific course of action, arrive at an important philosophical conclusion or otherwise become enlightened. He expounds on the “pillars” by offering his thoughts, predictions for the future, or general observations about the matter at hand. RZA begins his book by talking about his childhood growing up in the projects of Brooklyn and Staten Island and how this experience first got him thinking

about, and relating to, the world. It is then that he introduces the reader to the first pillar, The Calling, his introduction to Allah and the Islamic faith. RZA learns quickly about being a Muslim and the Mathematics and quickly becomes a teacher instead of a student. The notion of RZA being a teacher is strong throughout the book as are his Islamic beliefs and philosophies. When you first sit down to start reading a book by the founding member of the Wu-Tang Clan and he starts talking about the path to righteousness it is a little unexpected but you get used to it. There actually really isn’t much of a choice because so much of RZA’s narrative is linked with wisdom he learned from the Koran. Whether you believe in numerology or not, you are going to be reading about it in this book. RZA uses numbers in reference to everything – he thought of the idea for Wu-Tang’s first album the 36 Chambers on June 6th, six times six 15 Dig This Real


is thirty-six, etc., - to the point where it is almost overkill. However in his worldview Mathematics links everything together and therefore explains the world. He is wildly successful so maybe the man has a point. The main point is that the book is a lot more about RZA as a person and a man than it is about Wu-Tang, Hip-Hop, or the story of the group. He definitely covers all of these topics but only as to how they relate to the “pillars” and his personal journey. There are a few little behind the scenes type nuggets thrown in here and there but they are clearly the exception and not the rule. Probably the best of both worlds, the inside story versus the personal re-

flection, is when RZA talks about Bobby Digital. Bobby Digital is a character the RZA created after Wu-Tang somewhat dissolved and, according to him, he lived periods of his life as this fictional hero. Bobby is a complex guy, a man caught between both the dark and the light, a hero who wants to do bad things. Bobby even become so real to RZA that he had a suit built that was invulnerable to bullets and knives and had his suburban, the Black Tank, modified so that it was AK and bombproof up to government standards. As he puts it, “I was getting ready to roll out at night on some Green Hornet shit.” Apparently he’s got some Kung Fu skills as well so maybe going out as a masked vigilante would have done some

good, although I’m sure his record label wouldn’t have been too pleased. Overall, it would have been a more enjoyable read if The Tao of Wu had more Bobby Digital parts and less discussion about the fundamentals of Islam. It is cool to hear RZA’s unique reflections and stories about his life, because he’s had a crazy one, but at times the tone can get more preachy than conversational. It’s possible that the book was written to be more educational than entertaining and, if that’s the case, it certainly succeeded. It just seems RZA would be more qualified to have the bulk of his teachings be about music instead of religion, not the other way around. - Evan Bleier

TWITTER POWER How to Dominate Your Market One Tweet at a Time by Joel Comm with Ken Burge John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Believe it or not, there are still some folks out there that don’t know what “tweeting” is all about. This is because just recently, I received a phone call from a freelance client of mine, asking me what this hype was all about. But what I should had done was point him to Joel Comm’s book. Anyone who has been hesitant to jump into this manic epidemic should pick up this easy read. Twitter Power guides you step by step to building your own evil empire of Twitter-dom. Throughout the

November 2010

book you will find tips on how to integrate microblogging with that other, hear-me-out-please, addiction known as Facebook. Comm also tries to train you into exercising the good habit of mindful tweets. He points out how to separate the fans from ‘evangelists,’ while showing the reader how to get followers the organic, old fashion way (conscious, loyal networking). But mainly, he demonstrates how to build your brand using blogs, ad space and sending out engaging tweets. In the end, it’s a great crash course in social media. About 95% of those that are Twittering (famous and wanna be) really need to read this book. Most that are twittering are just filling up the cyber air waves with garbage; editorial mind junk and self-justifying tidbits that no one really cares about (read - sockington: “chuf chuf chuf chuf chuf CHUF CHUF CHUF CHUF chuf chuf chuf CHHHUUUUFFFFF EXCUSE ME I THINK THIS LITTERBOX NEEDS A LITTLE FRESHENING UP...”). Who cares about your damn cat? But then there’s those who have shown up, absorbed and slayed like Martha Stewart. Or Bethenny Frankel who plugs away at her shows or books but also tweets personal photos of herself, her newborn, husband and dog doing yoga. And speaking of dogs, when tweet-alum-

ni Mariel Hemingway lost her beloved pet dog, Bindu a while back, she used twitter to send out an SOS (but to also voice her obvious frustration, fear and eventual sadness) on this experience. Eventually an animal psychic came to the rescue where she not only described where the dog was (via twitter), but played a big part in having Bindu and Hemingway reunited after a draining 9 day ordeal...then, there the other million tweeters. Comm is considered a leading experts on all things money making online. He also showcases how to extend a personal touch when interacting on this sometimes make-believe plane. Anyway you look at it, reading this book will fuel you the confidence to step out into Twitterville confidently. Let’s just hope you can tweet with integrity and not with gaga nonsense. - edie 33


If you had a chance to hang out with one of your rock and roll heroes and spend the day doing something totally unexpected, why wouldn’t you? I received an email from my editor letting me know such an opportunity existed. I immediately jumped at the chance. Turns out that Dean Ween, lead guitar legend of the band Ween, ran a charter fishing service. I hadn’t fished in many a year but a day on the beautiful New Jersey shore ocean with a musician that I respected and admired was enough to get me searching for dates. I sent Captain Mickey (Dean Ween’s real monikor) an Ahoy email requesting an appointment. He responded right away, we set the date and I recruited two of my buddies (The Kooney Brothers; Fred and Will). A few weeks later and there I was getting up at 4 am to prepare for a day of open ocean fishing. Ween has continued to maintain a great reputation as great musicians, pumping out 17 albums over the past 15 years. While they will take the seriousness out of the music industry, they still are able to write cutting commentary in their lyrics and kick ass sounds from their playing. I’ve always loved their ability to cover all types of music and can remember being mesmerized watching Dean shred badass music from his guitar.

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So there we were showing up at the marina. We were told to look for a white boat named Archangel. Well there were dozens of white boats so we systematically walked past them all until lo and behold there it was – the ship on which we would set sail. It was a truly classic fisherman’s boat. A humble boat it was, but with enough room for the captain, me and my two buddies. It had no mamby-pambyness to it – you have to be tough to be a fisherman. If you want to sit on a soft cushion then book a tour with someone else. Captain Mickey was all about the fish. The Captain arrived (and yes it was really him). We loaded the boat with ice, rods, bait and beverages and away we went to begin our journey, heading out of the marina. Right away we could see the advantages of a small boat as we cruised past all the party boats. A swift and nimble machine, we can reach the key spots for fishing before the big ships can. Learning techniques right from the get go we are told by the captain that we should be on the lookout for seagulls diving. This means that there are small fish close to the surface which the seagulls eat. A good thing to spot as the bluefish will also come to the surface to eat the small fish. If you want to fish for blues you have to look for the signs. Unfortunately there were no signs of blues. Not to fear as it is a big ocean and the day has just begun.

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It was time to get our poles in the water. We started off slow with no bites, a few tangled lines and lost lures. We moved the vessel around a bit, headed to the Shrewsbury Rocks and then started getting bites. The day was beautiful and the beverages started to be consumed. I shared one of my beverage caddies with the Captain. I totally forgot about it at the end of the day and left it onboard. It was a pleasant mishap as now I can see it still on board in the days following our trip, continuing to be utilized by the Captain. It kinda makes me feel I am still out there. Then like lightening we started getting hits. Fred caught the first four fish but then one by one we were all pulling in sea bass and fluke. Many too small to keep and so back they went into the big sea but then one of my buds hit the lode – a 8 pound fluke - and what Captain Mickey referred to as a doormat. It was a big one. A little while later Fred once again hits it with a 4 pound sea bass. As the day continued we were able to keep over 15 fish. It was a good haul of fish to bring home, especially for the inexperienced. It must have had something to do with the Captain. On the high seas it was a day of quotes from Jaws and Caddyshack. Captain Mickey was pleased with our efforts and felt we had one of the best days he had all summer. Maybe he was just trying to make us feel good – it worked. He said it was the first time he was able to use all of the bait he brought as we had so many hits we kept having to replace our bait. We went through a 3 lb bag of spearing which are like minnows and full bag of lures. A great day of fishing was had by us all. While I talked with the Captain a bit about music and the band, 98% of the conversation was fish related. It was great to see someone so passionate about fishing with such great enthusiasm for being out there among the big blue sea. I could see where all the inspiration for the Mollusk album came from. We learned much from our Captain and hopefully he learned a bit from us. We walked out of there with a big cooler of fish and the cleaning that lie ahead. We cleaned all of the fish for a few hours back north and consumed them with pride and pleasure knowing that we caught them on the high seas with Captain Mickey. Tours can be booked year round (we are hoping to do another in the cold seasons) via the Captain’s website http://www.mickeysfishing.com. Also you can sign up for updates and see past performances at http://www.brownietroopfs.com. - Denny Kropotkin

November 2010

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THE SOVEREIGN Newspaper of the Resistance!

The Sovereign is a political newspaper that covers National issues as well as thought provoking editorial. Side by side are articles on the Obama Administration and folks that have found Jesus (“Has God Appeared In Idaho?” Issue 13). But the latter article, after doing some research, was written by a person who mans a website called: The Order of the Earth; News, Views & Musings About Our Planet, so the “provoking” part of this newspaper may be deeper than a hole full of Chilean Miners and it could take you more time to get through The Sovereign than a Sunday New York Times because of it. One thing the Times doesn’t have is a “glossary.” The Sovereign supplies you with one and it’s masthead boosts brave statements as well: “The Sovereign is an outlet for information that helps the Citizenry defend its freedoms currently under attack by our so-called “government,” and to keep selected/elected officials honest.” Dig it. Let’s bring excitement and danger back into the stories of true blue politics, people. The Sovereign is printed in newspaper format and is in color and black and white. A single issue is $3.95 and can be found on New York City newsstands. For more information: The Sovereign - P.O. Box 418 - New York, NY 10116 - www.thesovnews.com

-edie

And why should all those other musicians have all the fun? “The Angry Violist advocates the mis-use of classical stringed instruments for more experimental and exciting purposes. For violinist, violists, cellists and their friends everywhere. And anyone else who might be interested in music,” scrawls the creator of this tiny zine, demonstrating a most appropriate introduction. Offering much more than a chin rest or shoulder to cry on, Angry Violist voices a need or will to rant, especially if those dedicated to grabbing a handful of horsehair were forced to play classical music against their will. But let’s not cry over a lost rock stop. Angry Violist expresses a certain dedication to string training while dipping into the experimental vortex that these classical instruments are so foreign to. A few years ago, I worked in Classical music programming. When it came to audition time, I would witness first hand, how some musicians who play these types of instruments (violin, viola or cello) were so “unattached” to the actual instrument in performance. Reading Angry Violist filled in a lot of blanks for me and gave me some answers to why this is. Angry Violist is published out of Cambridge, U.K., and is a friendly, DIY mix of xerox, staples and collage (the size is roughly 4”x6”), but don’t be fooled by its size, because it packs a definite punch. It’s the cover of this zine that caught my attention while trolling one day through Etsy (http://www.etsy.com/shop/angryviolist). Why is it so amusing to see someone holding over their heads (in frustration) an obviously expensive stringed instrument, in the throes of its own destruction? Angry Violist stresses many different variations of these temperamental instruments in articles entitled: “Your Bow, Your Friend,” “Learning the Violin = evil? Struggling to find your sound against the odds,” and “Transylvanian Folk Viola Playing.” Angry Violist also supports the integration of, “Classical music instruments and experimental music,” while advocating this type of trained musician to step into the avant garde. In just the 15 pages here, the reader can start to clearly understand some of the real frustrations that can come with such training (especially described in the article, “Learning the Violin.”). Angry Violist can be viewed as unexpectedly punk, as its writer’s love for the Velvet Underground and Genesis POrridge is also expressed in articles found in this zine. So ask yourself: Are you blind with rage? Blind with love? Love homemade zines with heart, soul, passion and pain? Pick up a copy of Angry Violist. Angry Violist zine - PO Box 738 - Cambridge CB1 0QL http://angryviolist.wordpress.com/ - edie 36

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The WCA is a nationally recognized organization that governs all things cube. That’s right; the C stands for Cube, as in Rubik’s Cube. The World Cubing Association was created to honor and celebrate competition as it pertains to the aforementioned cube. For those who need a little history lesson, the Rubik’s Cube and all other related Rubik puzzles (puzzles that are played by twisting the sides), can be traced back to the brain of a Hungarian professor named, surprise, surprise, Rubik. The WCA was created in order to regulate cube competitions and create a fair playing field for anyone who is interested in completing Rubik puzzles in a competitive manner. Most people find solving a Rubik’s cube fairly challenging, I know for a fact that I have never solved one, but for the members of the WCA solving a cube is child’s play. They have taken the art/science of mastering the intricacies of a Rubik’s cube to a whole new level. These people don’t just solve the cubes, they do it blindfolded. Take this for an example; at a recent competition that was held October 2010 in Budapest, 21 year old Daniel Sheppard solved ten Rubik’s Cubes in an hour while blindfolded. He didn’t even come in first place. Despite breaking his own personal record and earning himself 100 euros in the process, Danny only finished third. Competitors in this event, officially called Rubik’s cube multiple blindfolded, nominate the number of cubes they will attempt to solve in the time limit, memorize them, and then put on a blindfold to solve them. This sounds incredibly difficult but competitors find different and sometimes unorthodox, ways to make it work for them, like Kobayashi dipping his hot dog buns in water at the annual Nathan’s hot-dog eating contest. Sheppard says he uses this method: “I code the pieces into letters and make stories in my head and once I’ve memorized the stories I can solve it.” If that sounds impressive, bear in mind that this is by no means the only event that serious, ‘players,’ compete in. There is also the 5x5 cube competition (a normal cube is 3x3), the 3x3 one-handed, the 3x3 with feet, something called the Megamix and even an event called the Rubik’s Clock challenge, which involves a puzzle similar to the cube where competitors move the hands of 18 clock faces to point to 12 o’clock. In other words, there are a lot more Rubik’s related games than anyone outside of the WCA could imagine. You may ask yourself: Why are there so many games? Can there really be this much interest in the world of Rubik’s cube competition? One glance at the WCA answers that question with a resounding YES.

November 2010

The official website of the WCA has everything you ever would want to know about cube related competition. There are cube statistics, rankings of players, and a list of upcoming competitions that people can sign up for. With

competitors and members from Chile, China, USA, Italy, Poland and everywhere in between, the WCA is truly an international organization and community. The world’s #1 ranked player is a reflection of that. According to the WCA rankings, the top cuber in the world is a fellow from the Netherlands named Erik Akkersdijk. A glance at Akkersdijk’s records reveals that he is a master of the cube in almost all formats from 3x3 to 7x7. He has dominated competitions all over Europe from Spain to the Czech Republic and holds multiple world records. To the regular sporting world he is a nobody, but to the WCA, it appears, he is a God. And why not? The mathematical abilities that would be required to solve multiple Rubik’s Cubes and then memorize the combination are admirable indeed. I don’t know if it is necessarily appealing to me to sit at home and practice solving a Rubik’s cube, but there’s no denying that it is probably more beneficial in the long run than sitting around playing video games. Doing multiple cubes blindfolded would also be a great party trick. The fact that the WCA exists and has the level of popularity that it does is a testament to the passion that people have for cubing. Clearly there is a segment of the world population that values these cubing contests and has no problem honoring those who excel at this very specific sport. Just take a look through the photo galleries on the WCA website and you will see photo after photo of competitors and fans alike, all celebrating the Rubik’s cube. If this one little invention can bring that much joy to that many people then bravo to the WCA for regulating it and making competitive cubing accessible to the masses. The Egyptians had the pyramids and the WCA has the cube. Check it all out at http://www.worldcubeassociation.org.

- Evan Bleier 37 17


Mandeverest 38

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Lee by Mark Christopher and have a new all from Toronto, Canada hai st ere dev Man d Ban . It is mountainous p To Escape Predators Jum ed, itl ent out bum which is instantrepeated listening but s and dem ch whi ic mus k. Their sound is best traditions of roc the in e ibl ess acc ly voice of lead singer around the fabulous ed bas is and que uni ). You can hear who gwriter and guitarist son so (al tz Min dy Man Breeders, 70’s New ces are; Sabbath, The uen infl l ica mus ir the e heard a lot of new grunge scene. I hav e ttl Sea k the and e Wav the hairs on the bac but none which made me eti s lif ton my but in l ds ban my musica Mandeverest pushed all up. nd sta k eri nec exp my of pleasurable to work with them a and made my journey ease. I caught up rel to their latest ing ten lis lst whi e enc what makes them what to find out more about ly ent rec tz Min h wit she had to say. they are. Read what

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Dig This Real: I enjoyed listening to your fab cd, Jump To Escape Predators. It was quite an epic and it seemed quite conceptual to me. Is there a theme running through it? Mandy Mintz: At the time I wrote the songs I was going through a period of change. Most stressful, some not, but I managed to put it into my writing. Some heavy stuff indeed. Also, the name, Jump To Escape Predators, is the title of a short story I wrote about Gigary the giant Grasshopper. His picture is on the inside of the cd. The sound you have is unique, a kind of grungey, moody rock with hints of prog and new wave punk thrown in, all wrapped off with your killer voice. What are your musical influences? 50 Foot Wave, Wire, Soft Boys, Magazine, Buzzcocks, The Pretty Things, The 40

Shaggs, Television, Bad Brains, No Means No, Black Sabbath, The Breeders, Sonic Youth, XTC, Glen Gould, The Verlaines, The Wedding Present, Ween, Wesley Willis, Max Romeo, Swell Maps, V.U., T-Rex, early 10CC and Genesis, Tall Dwarfs, Teardrop Explodes,Julian Cope, The Stooges, Section 25, The Modern Lovers, Rheos, Martin Tielli, Brian Eno, The Fall, Fugazi, The Feelies, Robert Fripp, The Chills, Straitjacket Fits, Jean Paul Sartre Experience, The Bats, Bailter Space, Able Tasmans, The Clash, Siouxsie, Guided By Voices, The Gun Club, Steve Harley, Robyn Hitchcock, The Jam, Japan, SYD BARRETT, Blue Orchids, The Apartments, Bowie, David Byrne, John Cale, A Certain Ratio, The Clean, Crass, Creatures, The Creation, L7, The Dishrags, Ministry, Gary Numan, Gang of Four, the Beatles, Jazz Butcher, 13 Engines, Television Personalities, Mike Oldfield, the Stranglers, King Crimson,

The Mekons (early), The Who, The Kinks, The United States of America, Robert Wyatt, Vandergraaf Generator, Sturm Group, Steeleye Span, Random Hold, Renaldo and The Loaf, Rain Parade, Pylon, Pere Ubu, My Dad Is Dead, The Only Ones and many many, many more! I should mention that those are just MY influences before I get heck from the rest of the band. I hear a little bit of Sabbath in there with those ace guitar riffs and power chords. Are they a influence or is that just me being an old rocker? That is something we hear a lot. And while I did list them as an influence, it wasn’t until people started saying we sounded like them that I really got into them. Now they get played by me weekly at least. I like the dual guitars as well. Whose idea was that? Dig This Real


This is a result of the fact that both Al Bradbury and I are guitar players first and foremost. Actually, Al started out on bass but he is an amazing guitar player and I wanted to have him in the band on guitar. I, of course, had to play guitar since I wrote the songs with a guitar and can’t really get as much out of most other instruments. What happened to The Beethoven Frieze? I wanted to pursue my own band. Do I hear a reunion? Who can say? I also hear elements of prog ala Rush, Soft Machine, or more recently Muse in the song arrangements. Is that something you’re into? Nope, not my thing. I’ve always felt that Rush was a band I SHOULD like but alas, I just can’t force it. But if you look at the influences you’ll see tons of prog. Do you like Gang of Four? Just thought I’d mention that as they’re from my part of the world (Leeds, England) and I hear bits of them in your music too. I have loved Gang of Four since I was about 14 years old so that is a great compliment. I am absolutely a huge fan of British music of that period. What stuff are you listening to at the moment? November 2010

Well, NOW I’m listening to Black Sabbath. Also, let me explain that the only new music I listen to is rediscovering records I haven’t listened to in 10 or more years. Anything that I listen to that is new never seems that great and is only a fleeting moment in time. I know, everyone hates me because I don’t seem to give bands these days a chance but honestly, I’m just waiting to hear something awesome. Yes, that means that I’m sure there are millions of people saying the same thing whom I’m sure if they heard Mandeverest wouldn’t get it either for the same reasons. I’ve been listening to the first Pretenders record lately and The Undertones some, I’ve been loving to hate Autolux, I dig Donovan, more 50 Foot Wave and I even went through a T.V. on the Radio phase. Tell me a bit more about the line up and who does what? Me, Mandy Mintz, well I write the songs. I sing main vocals, play guitar and bitch and then apologize to everyone frequently. Al Bradbury plays guitar and sings backing vocals. Kevin Anderson plays the crazy bass guitar. James van Bolhuis is our awesome drummer. Al and I both take turns at the Ace Tone organ on the record. What guitars/amps/drums do you use and why? Gear Heads Unite! I use VOX AC30, Big Muff, Ibanez Tube Screamer and I’ve been playing around with this really great octave pedal by EH called a POG(?) Gibson SG. Also John Critchley who recorded and produced the record let me play an awesome Hiwatt amp. Al uses a Fender HR Deluxe, no pedals and a Gibson ES 135, but played this really cool 73 Mann Custom Tele on the record. Kev uses a P Bass thru an old Ampeg RocketJames, ‘70’s Ludwig Maple Shell drums, black, 22” bass drum, 12”, 13” 16” toms, standard depths a 60’s Ludwig Supraphonic brass shell snare drum 5 x 14.” For cymbals, 20” Sabian Crash/Ride-80’s, 2 x 18” Medium Crashes, one 80’s Sabian, one 60’s Zildjian. For highhats, 14” mixed pair with a heavy Paiste 2002 bottom-70’s and a Sabian “flat hats” top 90’s. Do you know any good drummer jokes? Not any good ones but here’s a bad one: Why are drummers always losing their watches? Everyone knows they have trouble keeping time. Do you believe in extra-terrestrial life? Well Stephen Hawking makes it sound so logical that they’re out there so yeah, I probably do BELIEVE. Also I think it would be very selfish to think that what we see here on Earth are the only life forms out there. Heck, we haven’t even discovered all life forms on this planet! Ask me about spirits and ghosties another time. Have you guys had any Spinal Tap moments? If so, please share them with DTR. At one show right before sound check I introduced myself to who I thought to be the sound person. However, after explaining our line up and mic requirements it was later revealed to me that he was not the sound person and he was hearing impaired. What’s the best gig you’ve ever played and why? Our cd release party was part of the Wavelength series (in Toronto) which has relevance for me since I have been going since the very early days. Heck, I was even a bartender at the first venue, Ted’s Wrecking Yard for a while. The house was packed that night and we played well. Great night with some 41


great bands on the bill. And the worst (yes we all have them)? We were playing a show at The Drake in Toronto which can be a pretty good place to play before 1:30am on a Monday! By the time we went on anyone who had come to see us had left and so had everyone else. We waited all night to play to a sound man. Our original spot was supposed to be earlier but we got bumped. We played three hysterical versions of some songs that are on the cd with some hilarious hand claps, profanities and screams from Al. To make matters worse, my voice was basically gone. Who are your favorite writers? JD Salinger, Milan Kundera, Benjamin Hoff (The Tao of Pooh etc.), Lama Ole, Daniel Levitin’s, Dr. Seuss, Jim Caroll. I have a cool astrology book I like to look through sometimes. I think Al has some kind of thing for American drunks; Miller, Steinbeck, Bukowski, Burroughs and Twain. What are your favorite films? These questions are hard! Asking me my favorite film is like asking me my favorite position of the sun and moon! Can I choose just one? Maybe... I seem to like Wes Anderson consistently. Michel Gondry has done some great stuff, Terry Gilliam, I loved Barton Fink but I don’t love everything the Cohen brothers have done. Tim Burton is visually awesome when it isn’t too mainstream. I actually have always loved Xanadu and Easter Parade. I was Charlie Chaplin three times for Halloween as a kid as I so wanted to be like him and Harpo Marx. Do you dig sports? If so what sports/teams do you follow? I don’t dig sports. The other guys in the band love hockey. James and Kevin even play it every week. Are you still based in Toronto? Yup. Most of our shows are. What’s the music scene like there? Like any major metropolitan city, there’s a lot going on but it’s tough for indie bands to get really popular since there’s so much choice out there. So many shows to see and lots of great venues to check out on any given night. Therefore, while a band might have a good time slot on a Saturday night at a preferred club, the competition is tough. That being said, I appreciate that the music scene has flourished as much as it has here and that I can basically get a show without too much hassle. Any other good bands to look out for? There sure are. Too many to mention and at the same time too few. I’m not completely stoked about anyone right now but that being said, there are many bands that I respect. While there’s a lot happening in, ‘the scene,’ right now, my favorite local bands end up being bands I’ve 42

played with and am friends with so my opinion is biased. Do you have any pre-gig rituals? I summon the rock Gods and they pass on some of their powers for every show. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever taken on stage? I have a plastic lobster who comes to all our shows and gets tied to my microphone stand with a cable. He’s our mascot. What is in your rider now when doing gigs? A few beer tickets. If you were headlining your own Festival which three bands would you choose to support you? The Pretty Things - they’d have to only play from S.F. Sorrow, Television, No Means No, Magazine and The Soft Boys. Of course this is only in my dreams. Oh, and that’s 5 bands. What would be in if you made it really big? An apple for each of us and the rest can go to donations for needy people. If I made it big, I’d go out and have an expensive dinner with my own cash anyway so there’d be no need for the bar to supply anything. Who is in charge? I suppose I am in charge. At some point I would like to share the reigns but for now I’ve given us a start. Have you got any plans to tour to promote the album? It’s always been a dream of mine to tour Europe with a record of my own but there are a lot of things that need to be in place in order to do that. Primarily money. Eee Gawd! It’s tough being an indie Toronto band. What next for Mandeverest? Another album! I’m in the process of writing more songs. I’ve gotten some strong responses from the new ones. Also I’m trying to get more College radio air play. That seems to be key in raising interest in a band. Playing shows is only a small fraction it seems. We would like to take on the world though please. For more info check out www.myspace.com/mandeverest

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Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage Runder Video

If you’re a Rush fan, this DVD will help you sort out just how much of a fan you are. Can you answer the following: • Who was John Rutsey? • Which member of the group had a parent who had served time in a Yugoslavian prison camp? • Whose parents were Holocaust survivors? • Which member of the band sold farm maintenance equipment with his Dad? • Which record station broke the band? Where was it located? If you can’t, that’s okay, this DVD will answer all of these questions and more, and in a very entertaining way. With appearances from almost every major influential musician today, Rush finally gets its due. Presented in the comfortable “behind the music” stylistic format, the DVD is well produced. From the early life of the band members, to the formation of the band, through early appearances and ultimately through their evolution to today’s music, this “rockumentary” covers it all, at times a bit too thoroughly.The presentation is light hearted, though, which makes viewing very enjoyable, and at times, downright hysterical. The November 2010

tragic aspects of the band members’ lives are covered with agility and compassion and maybe even a little bit of humor. The albums are discussed not much track-by-track but with respect to the ideas that formed the central concept. A pattern of growth is established that is sadly lacking in many other band biographies. Plus, the bonus features include live performances of the band throughout their career so that if should rediscover your ineer fan, you can “dust off” your memories and relive them, even if you weren’t around in those early days. All in all, I recommend that you buy, beg, borrow or steal this video and watch it tonight. For a band that is “ranked third in consecutive gold or platinum albums after The Beatles or The Rolling Stones”, this video is long overdue. To quote “South Park” creator Matt Stone: “ Now, it’s like we’re so old (Uh, the word is “mature”, Matt) that even if you hated Rush in the 80’s or 70’s, now you gotta give it up for them, you just got to, or you’re just being an old dickhead.” I couldn’t agree more. Watch the video tonight. - /Y (Malcolm Y Knot) 43


It might had felt like the year of The Runaways, mainly due to the movie and the book that were released this year, both depicting the band’s rise and fall but what may had been forgotten (or never viewed), is the documentary produced roughly 6 years ago called, Edgeplay/A Film About the Runaways. Since this is the “movie” column, I will not go into detail of the Runaways book that came out by Runaways front person, Cherie Currie, with Tony O’Neill, called Neon Angel: A Memoir of a Runaway. I did the mistake of watching the movie before the documentary. Don’t do the same. Do, however, watch both movies back to back because only then will you truly be able to absorb exactly what these girls achieved and dredged through to get there. The Runaways were huge, but back in the time it happened, it truly didn’t feel that way because, back then (mid to late 70’s), if you hit it big in Japan, it was probably only going to last an album release. Due to the fact that The Runaways were just a bunch of girls all underaged will always cast the largest shadow, crushing the credit every musician who played in this band (and there were a bunch, mainly bass players) deserved. Also, it didn’t help that lead singer, Cherie Currie, (roughly 17 or 18 years old at the time) pranced around in lingerie and fish net stockings, a move that she probably thought 44

was “Bowie,” but wasn’t really accepted that way in the back of the minds of a million creepy guys (and girls too!). The image alone made it too hard to climb over the fact that The Runaways were not only great musicians but tighter than Miss Currie’s bustier. The Runaways movie, directed by music video maker, Floria Sigismondi was apparently drawn from inspiration found in Currie’s book as the film mainly focuses on the tricky relationship between Joan Jett (singer and guitarist) and Currie (singer). The relationship in the movie portrayed two girls that genuinely liked each other as friends, would express girls-crushes with hopes that they could be together in a band but the relationship would eventually have a fleeting sexual connection between the two with the eventual downturn of clingy, needy and maybe toxic lifeline as fame and drugs became more present in their lives. The movie feels like a MTV video and that’s ok due to Kristen Stewart’s portrayal of Joan Jett. It’s no secret that Ms. Blackheart herself practically made herself Stewart’s conjoined twin, as magazines all over the world would print photos of the two together during the making of the film. Watching Stewart act a side of Jett that most probably didn’t know existed was a more enjoyable moment of the film. Watching Dakota Fanning play the part of Cherie Currie was another key. Fanning was so convincing that both big names did not take away too much of the underlining story and turn it into a tour bus wreck. But some scenes are a bit too much and just downright strange, like the opening scene of Currie and her sister hanging out in California. The scene shows Currie starting to men-

struate, with globs of blood dripping down her leg in plain sight. Now, I’m a gal and without getting too personal here, all I am going to say is, this is highly unlikely to happen. Besides, Tori Amos is the only one that can get away with stuff like that. The other scene was of Jett sitting on the toilet in a random hotel bathroom, giving step by step instructions to Runaways drummer, Sandy West (played by Stella Maeve) on how to hold the shower head over her vagina in order to have an organism and then bam! Right there in the shower, West achieves her first organism! Something tells me that these two scenes were probably included for Indy cred, a little bit of naughty, teen shock and selling points. These two scenes sent something to my brain that whispered to my rational side that there were probably a whole lot of holes missing from the true story.

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Enter Edgeplay Edgeplay/A Film About the Runaways was made by Victory Tischler-Blue, who was a bass player in the band (under the name Vicki Blue). To date, Blue is film producer, director, writer, musician and photographer. Edgeplay is probably more of a Runaways experience because Blue rounded out each and every one involved for personal conversation and an intimate look about what really happened back then. The only one absent was Jett (who actually produced The Runaways movie). There is a small clip of an old interview with Jett speaking in Edgeplay and that is it. In Edgeplay you truly see what the Runaways experience did to these women because some

November 2010

are still showing some scars and it was heartbreaking watching West talk about how her life fell apart after the band broke up. When we lost West, as she succumbed to lung cancer in 2006, this documentary served as her voice. Two other musicians also get to speak their piece here and this is something that is a missing element from the glossy movie. One is Lita Ford (lead guitarist), who calls it as it is. Ford has some negative things to say about former band members while Jackie Fox gives details of her ordeal to the point of tears. You can actually sense that Fox (real name Jacqueline L. Fuchs) had been waiting all these years to let loose. All in all, both films have somber undertones. There will never be anything so entertaining about sexual, drug and alcohol abuse. But the undeniable spirit that the band The Runaways had back in the 70’s is exactly why you need to watch both. - edie

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1. This is Spinal Tap

The Holy Grail of Rock films is of course the mockumentary, This Is Spinal Tap. You could watch this a 1000 times and still not get bored of Nigel, Derek and David St. Hubbins’ rock-n-roll cringe worthy antics. It is fiction even though they’re kinda a real band, having toured and released albums. The film’s actors; Michael McKean, Christopher Guest and Harry Shearer actually learned to play and write all the songs in the film, but are you listening Mr. Osbourne? It isn’t real! Ozzy Osbourne, in the days before Sharon made him all hygienic and even more insane, went to see it at the cinema and thought it was all real. Ozzy had seen it all before of course with Black Sabbath even having a Stonehenge model on stage whilst touring in the 80’s. The funniest thing about it, especially if you have ever been in a band, is that we have all been here before and had 46

our own “Tap” moments. My own “Tap” moment was when playing a very prestigious venue in London (i.e. had carpet that your feet didn’t stick to and a flushing toilet) we all set off from the dressing room to go and play the gig and we couldn’t find the stage! We ended up walking round in circles with our guitars in hand timidly shouting, “Rock and Roll”….unable to find the stage entrance. There wasn’t even a janitor to ask directions from! My favorite bit is on the outtakes which can be found on the special edition DVD and features Bruno Kirby as the Tap’s chauffeur going up to their hotel room, getting stoned and singing Frank Sinatra songs whilst stripping off! Little known fact; after the success of the film, Marshall actually made a guitar amp that went up to 11 and yes - it was one louder (just ask my neighbors).

2. Stardust

This is a 1974 film based on the rise and fall of fictional rock singer Jim Maclaine. It features David Essex (a British pop star like a cross between Donny Osmond and Mick Jagger) with Adam Faith (another slightly naff English pop star) as his manager. This is still a classic after all these years. It is kind of based on the Beatles and John Lennon. It’s got sex, rock n roll and lots of drugs and features a tragic ending with Jim Maclaine dying of an overdose during a live TV performance. It’s hard to find but well worth checking out. It also stars J.R. Ewing himself, Larry Hagman, as an unscrupulous (well I never!) record company boss and my fave

drummer of all time, Keith Moon from The Who. Also check out the forerunner to this film, That’ll Be The Day, which has everyone’s favorite Beatle (as long he doesn’t sing) Ringo Starr, playing a sex crazed fairground attendant.

3. Some Kind of Monster - Metallica

Otherwise know as Metallica in therapy. This is more Spinal Tap than Spinal Tap but is still a classic film .You get to watch the band’s egos at battle – step forward Mr. Ulrich, step forward Mr. Hetfield and let’s not forget the fragile Mr. Hammet who’s not allowed any guitar solos on the album. Oh well. At least he has his ranch to play with.

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My band, The Pocket Gods, usually take a couple of weeks to knock together an album but these guys took three years, a spell in rehab and a court case against Napster before they got their act together. There’s also that annoying psychotherapist/sports coach guy (“performance-enhancing Coach,” Phil Towle) who pisses the band off by putting post-it notes with positive comments on them all over the studio. For fuck’s sake! They’re trying to make a heavy metal album full of anger and tension and to quote Spinal Tap, “you can’t make heavy metal in dobly.” Also, I thought the funniest scenes was about their guitar flight cases having stickers with the misspelling of, “Metllica,” on them. To this, Hetfield says: “20 years we’ve been together and they still can’t spell it right.” Even with these “Tap” moments you are sucked into their mad world and are rooting for them all the way and when they do get their act together they produce a “quite good” album, St Anger.

4. Raw – The Ramones

I have chosen this instead of their also excellent, End Of The Century, and I’ve also yet to get hold of a copy of their, Rock ‘n’ Roll High School, pic directed by horror great Roger Corman. This is great as most of it is footage from Marky Ramone’s camcorder and features all the best bits of the band. Their goofin’ around, their solidarity despite their falling outs and the ace rock-n-rollin’ toons. It also features a gig they played just behind the Vatican. I’m sure there must be a joke somewhere about a pope and a Ramone??? Anyone? In one scene Dee Dee goes off searching for a Rolex watch for some bizarre reason and has to wake up the road crew to borrow money to buy it. Joey is Joey a lot and Jonny actually comes across as quite fun not at all the serious party pooper he’s sometimes portrayed to be. Still, Marky steals the show and there’s guest appearances by Drew Barrymore and Lemmy from Motorhead who plays his song, “Ramones,” alongside the band. Watch with the volume at 11.

5. All You Need Is Cash - The Rutles This was made before Tap but is another mockumentary, if you will, this time taking the mick out of the Fab 4. It features ex Monty Python Eric Idle and Bonzo Dog Dooh-Dah Band’s Neil Innes and tells the story of Rutland’s finest Beat Combo, The Rutles. There’s lots of Beatles injokes and even

November 2010

features a rather fab cameo from George Harrison. Mick Jagger tries to play himself and fails to keep a straight face and his then wife/model, Bianca, also makes an appearance, The film is full of top toons. Check out, “Love Life,” (an, “All You Need is Love,” pastiche which is even cornier than the original) and, “Piggie In The Middle,” which is even more surreal than, “I Am The Walrus.” A little known fact is that the Beatles were actually fans of Neil Innes band, Bonzo Dog Dooh-Dah and they were even featured in their Magical Mystery Tour film.

6. Head – The Monkees

With this film The Monkees went from prefab boy band to art house psyche film pioneers. This is one hell of a headf*ck. The beginning of the film sees the band gate crashing the dedication of a bridge by a politician with the film then floating off into a stream of Dadaistic (wow big word there from the Marky Mark!) consciousness. Even the title itself sees The Monkees trying to get away from their squeaky clean image, as HEAD is slang for pot or acid….and also oral sex. It was even rumoured that they called it that so that if there was a sequel made they could say: “from the producers who gave you head...” It’s a long way from, “I’m A Believer!” They even parody themselves and their plastic creation with the film song, “Ditty Diego - War Chant.” It’s a parody of the band’s TV theme song: Hey, hey, we are The Monkees You know we love to please A manufactured image With no philosophies. You say we’re manufactured. To that we all agree. So make your choice and we’ll rejoice in never being free! Hey, hey, we are The Monkees We’ve said it all before The money’s in, we’re made of tin We’re here to give you more! The money’s in, we’re made of tin We’re here to give you... A little known fact is that it stars a very young and unhaggard Jack Nicholson who also helped write and produce Head. Also making cameos are a young Frank Zappa and one Dennis Hopper who would, in the following year, star in the famous end-of-the- 60s classic Easy Rider.

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7. Control – Joy Division

This is the true tragic story of the seminal Manchester (U.K.) band Joy Division and their iconic lead singer Ian Curtis, who killed himself on the eve of their first US tour. Most people know Joy Division for their song, “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” and the fact that the band became New Order after his death, but this film encapsulates all the urban angst of the post punk generation. As Tony Wilson (founder of Factory Records) famously said, “The Sex Pistols came along and shouted out ‘fuck OFF’ to the world….Joy Division took this one step further and said, ‘I’m fucked’” Rock-n-roll was never the same.

8. Magical Mystery Tour - The Beatles

9. 24 Hour Party People

A Few Turkeys For You to AVOID – HIGHLY INDIGESTIBLE May choke on Your Popcorn Warning –

NO THANKS GIVEN HERE This is the story of the Manchester music scene and the Factory Records label set up by Tony Wilson to challenge the hegemony of the London music establishment. It starts with Joy Division – (also see film Control) – then goes through to the Happy Mondays and the ecstasy fuelled rave culture that followed. It showcases the highs, lows and dodgy shenanigans of the music business. It features lots of drugs, sex, bangin’ tunes and a star turn by comedian Steve Coogan, himself a Manchester lad. It was directed by arthouse director Michael Winterbottom and is one of those films that your Gran would hate.

10. Backbeat Otherwise known as McCartney’s ego trip, this still reminds me of being slightly wasted as a student and watching it in the early hours of the morning before getting ready to go and fall asleep in lectures. It is great fun, has great toons and is as mad as McCartney ever got, Frog Chorus not withstanding. It’s just worth watching it alone for the, “I am The Walrus,” scene. A little known fact is that it also stars cult Scots poet, Ivor Cutler.

Not a bad little beat combo there. This was apparently Thurston Moore’s first experience of playing his guitar in normal tuning! Paul McCartney hated the film, saying that they took the rock-n-roll out of him. It’s probably more because it made him look like a twat.

This is a crappy film really but I had included it as it has great music, boasting one of the best rock-n-roll soundtracks ever. The soundtrack features some of the best musicians around in the 90’s playing the early Beatles material with a grunge kick including Dave Pirner of Soul Asylum, Dave Grohl of Foo Fighers and Nirvana, Mike Mills of R.E.M., Greg Dulli of the Afghan Whigs, Don Fleming of Gumball and Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth.

1. The Doors

This is Oliver Stone’s bloated (even more than Jim in his final Parisian days) biopic. It has more ham than your average non-Jewish deli and more cheese than the La Fromage fromagerie opposite the Père Lachaise Cemetery, where Jim is buried as this film should be. Not even redeemed by the great songs. And as for Meg Ryan? Quick, pass me the absinthe.

2. Eddie & The Cruisers 1 & 2

This is more like Eddie And The Losers. This is an 80s rock flick about a band who sound a bit too much like Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band on a bad day. It’s in the so bad it’s almost good category and also features a very young Tom Berenger. How they ever made a sequel is beyond me. You’re likely only ever to find it at dodgy yard sales at the wrong side of town.

3. Rude Boy - The Clash

Although this features The Clash (the U.K. punk pioneers who basically ripped off The Ramones...Allegedly.) they disowned the film as soon as they saw it. It is that bad. It was written and directed by a fan, who also stars in it as one of their roadies and consists of him getting drunk a lot and talking, ‘inane bollox.’ to anyone who’ll hang around long enough to listen (think of the sad loser in your local bar who annoys everyone and times that by 100). Avoid like the proverbial plague unless you’re under heavy sedation or a fan of self mutilation.

NB…this list of turkeys above was scientifically tested. I did not make it to the end of any of them….life is too short. by Mark Christopher Lee 48

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A NEW VICE BAND-AID ON A BULLET RECORDS

THE SUBURBS MERGE RECORDS

What do you do after leaving a multiplatinum selling rock band that literally changed the face of popular music in the 90’s and early 2000s? That’s a question most of us can’t answer, but for Ron Welty, formerly of The Offspring, the answer is produce and manage a group of young energetic musicians out of Orange County called A New Vice. Upon first inspection, A New Vice would seem to be like any other Orange County punk band. Take into account the fact that notable former drummer of the multi-platinum band Ron Welty produced their debut effort, and you’d put money that they’re purveyors of aggressive OC punk rock. After listening to their first full length LP, however, I found quite the opposite. Combining an eclectic blend of European sounding vocals, and interesting instrumentation, A New Vice come with an unexpected hybrid of European metal, hard rock, and good old fashioned punk rock. The lyrics range from introspective to aggressive and motivational. But the subject matter dominantly stays in more serious territory. Overall, A New Vice bring an interesting take on the punk rock genre. In the future I’d like to see them explore more intricate melodies and embrace their metal-ness a bit more, but they definitely have the right energy and vibe and their unique European influenced metal vocals really make them stand out in a crowded scene. www.myspace.com/anewvice - Jose Ho-Guanipa

November 2010

ARCADE FIRE It has been a damn long time that I’ve sat down with the liner notes of an album and followed along with the lyrics. It only seemed appropriate with this, The Suburbs, as it is clear how important the theme is to the Arcade Fire. Part of me regrets it as now I can’t not focus on the words and the theme and the depressing truth that the band is trying to get across in this epic record. Having been notorious for an array of instruments and their layered vocals, Arcade Fire maintains the foundations of their style but build outwardly in a really unique way this time around. It’s hard to describe their sound as they are a strange hybrid of band; helping create a type of genre with their big instrumentations and multiple players on stage, but also constantly mending and bending it to make the music theirs again. This time they had a lot of strange electronic whirrs and gadget sounds, but there was also a real down-home sprawling feeling of modern suburbia; a throwback to the music of Bruce Springsteen and John Cougar Mellencamp. The length-y tunes and plodding melodies, as well as the message of being in this ever-changing environment that is corrupt and unwelcome give glimpses of this American inspired rock music. And like that style of music, this album has good and bad parts, nothing too bad, but at times, it gets hard to swallow. The point gets reiterated just a bit too often, but they bring it back around because they are clever as hell. “We Used to Wait,” is an ode to the disappearing of letter writing in the modern culture and how we used to wait for them to arrive, and sometimes they never did. At the end of the song, we as a listener are hearing Win Butler singing, “I used to wait for it/now we’re screaming sing

the chorus again,” because the chorus was damn catchy. The song ends with them yelling, “wait” and the keys slowly fading out. No repeat of the chorus. It never comes. It is redeeming qualities like this that allows for the Arcade Fire to drive a concept home so clearly and repeatedly, because they for it do it so well. Their energy and passion comes out in extremely open vocals, both Butler’s and Regine Chassagne’s and sometimes the entire group. The instrumentals do have a plodding “Americana” quality, or as much as Arcade Fire can have, but they stay true to their roots with dramatic keyboards and melodic build ups. There are slow confessional songs of the mourning of a town, and then more upbeat quick-paced tunes that more subtle-y express their feelings of loss. “Modern Man,” rolls in like a Rick Springfield song with the guitar and drums, but Butler’s vocals maintain their tenderness as he sings, “They say we are the chosen few/ but we waste it and that’s why we’re still waiting/in line for a number but you don’t understand/like a modern man.” Chilling right? They capture the feelings completely how of it feels to be living and disagreeing with the changing times, corruption, the building of shopping malls and the impact it has on growing up in the suburbs. The addition of the big “American” style sound combined with the elements of Arcade Fire we love so well is pretty wonderful to hear. They show innovation through their ability to change with the times and take their thoughts towards something negative and make it into a beautifully melodic positive. www.arcadefire.com

ARTHUR WALKER ANIMAL NIGHTS

DBS MUSIC & MUNCH RECORDS

Animal Nights, is a tight little alterna-punk album with a lot of ins and outs and a lot of punch. The band layers their sound quite nicely, with lead vocals and guitar leading the 49


way through one up-tempo number after another. As an added touch, there are a good deal of sound effects thrown in, as well as background vocals that add to both the harmony and the humor of the sound. This album is the result of more than two years of recording, and the crisp, polished final product does nothing to dispute that. Arthur Walker should be very pleased with Animal Nights and use it as a foundation to build on. www.myspace.com/arthurwalker - Evan Bleier

BACKFLOW LOVE AND PEACE

Listening to Backflow is like a trip down memory lane. Honing in on the choppy guitars and grungy distortion that were the backdrop to much of the music in the 90’s, Backflow sound like a group who should’ve been around 15 years ago as opposed to just hitting the scene today. However sometimes it’s nice to throw on that comfortable old flannel that’s sitting in the back of the closet and watch the OJ car chase with the sound down. In that circumstance, Love and Peace, would be the perfect musical backdrop. For someone that grew up with Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana etc., Backflow’s sound is both old and new at the same time and also extremely comfortable. They definitely aren’t recreating a new genre or sound here but they certainly know how to pay homage to the classics. - Evan Bleier

BELLE AND SEBASTIAN

WRITE ABOUT LOVE MATADOR RECORDS

Belle and Sebastian’s, Write About Love, begins with a long fade-in into a hazy trance meets disco in, “I Didn’t See It Coming.” It sounds like Nick Drake joined Wings and wrote a song for their introverted niece’s prom. Then again that’s always how Belle and Sebastian sound, but in this song the 50

singer pleads, “make me dance/I want to surrender,” over and over like he really wants to dance and the hooks are smoothed and rarefied by the hand of a craftsman. It’s always good when an album starts on a high note and I appreciate when a vocalist with Belle and Sebastian, other than Stuart Murdoch, sings on-key (I’m looking at you Isobel Campbell and Stevie Jackson). The downside to setting such a pleasing tone is that it is quite difficult to maintain. B&S give it their best effort: “I Want The World To Stop,” sounds a lot like The Cure’s, “Lovesong,” if it featured Johnny Marr’s shining guitars. It would have been at home on The Life Pursuit. “The Ghost of Rockschool,” with its beatific, repetitive refrain about seeing God in everything, sounds like an outtake from The Boy With The Arab Strap. The rest of the album, however, lacks the same caliber of excellence and parts of it sink to mucky depths. The Stevie Jackson penned, “I’m Not Living in the Real World,” comes across more as some music theory experiment than the cohesive sing-along pop song it tries to be. With inane lyrics, almost (but not quite) catchy “woo-oohs” and more key changes than a locksmith on thorozine, this shows why Stuart Murdoch should always wear the captain’s hat. “Little Lou, Ugly jack, Prophet John,” could have stayed merely boring and twee but by the time that Norah Jones yawns her easyjazz-vocal-vomit, the album succumbs to its worst moments. Carey Mulligan doesn’t do much better on the title track though I appreciate Murdoch screwing with the formula a bit by bringing in different guests. One of these days his efforts might just pay off like it did on the barnburner, “Lazy Line Painter Jane,” with Monica Queen. All in all, Write About Love, stays true to its title and the trajectory that Belle and Sebastian have been on since day one. Things are mixed up a little, as they have been for the last few albums. Some may pine for the earlier, “sinister” days or await the day when the band goes all out gospel disco (as it seems it might) but for the majority of fans that have grown accustom to songs about misfits, religion and books, this album will hit the spot. www.belleandsebastian.com - Jeff Hassay

CLOON After listening to Cloon’s five-song demo, I am relieved to know that somewhere out there in the world there are bands who still play raw grungy rock! The band, from

Breda, Netherlands, is Tom Claus on vocals who bursts out strong lyrics and sounds like he ranges somewhere between Chris Cornell and Mike Patton. Maarten Flamand is on the guitar playing quick changes and fast rhythms. The drummer, Servaas Steurbaut, synchronizes with the guitar and bass players perfectly. Philippe De Vuyst plays the bass, which gives Cloon their deep heavy sound. Track 3, “Burn Rubber Blues,” begins and expires with a banjo melody that makes the track the most notable above the rest. Nevertheless, the demo is raw and rockin’ and the release of their full album is much awaited. www.myspace.com/cloonband - Juliette Hernandez

COCKFIGHTER UNIVERSAL FIELD THEORY BLUES HILL OF BEANS RECORDS

Cockfighter is a somewhat elusive new Californian “buzz” band whose overall sound is difficult to pin down. Universal Field Theory Blues, their first album rings out of the aether like an urgent message. About what and to whom I’m not sure but it sounds sure of itself and keeps the listener guessing; weaving through its mazes for that hidden cheese lurking somewhere in the pop explosions, distorted haze, acoustic-to-dance-to-head-fuck-meltdown and airy spaces that fill the album. What that cheese/treasure ends up being, is what all good albums have tucked within their depths: Every influence and musical direction is bound together in an offering to the god of song. In this case we have what sounds like (ladder day) Replacements, (early mumbling, unsure and gorgeous) New Order, John Mellencamp (assuredly with both the “Cougar” and the hand claps) and Guided By Voices (on the rare day with Tobin Sprout helming the ship) trapped in some spacious room with a physics textbook, a barrel of coffee and some ramshackle instruments. Each song and packet of sounds within it are utterly different and yet part of the whole. As HESO magazine said of them; Cockfighter is “experimental in the extreme without sounding experimental or extreme.” This ends up adding to the big picture of the album. As I see it Universal Field Theory Blues is somehow about string theDig This Real


ory, Einstein, frustration and chaos. Beginning (and ending) with an amorphic mass of swelling sound, the album literally comes out of the aether of nothingness and flirts with returning to the void throughout. “Spacetime,” puts the main themes into play, “Some Girls,” follows like a 70s John Lennon B-side with its clickityclackity drums and upbeat pledge to, “go all the way,” adding a human element before, “The Field,” revisits the chaos literally calling it out with the line, “if chaos has control/ oh I don’t want to know.” This line appears once more on the album in, “Macho/Wimp,” which seems to be the nexus of random lines from the album that coalesces into perhaps the album’s highlight. It is a slow then rocking song about (physics? and) uncertainty that is so filled with selfdoubt that it keeps getting in its own way. The awkwardness is the point. It sounds pure and pretty like a moment in, “Freaks and Geeks,” when the cheerleader smiles at the nerd or when a bank robber’s car won’t start but then suddenly, miraculously, does. The album’s more brazen moments are hit and miss; “1922(1964),” is a dance-y song that summarizes the big bang theory and ends with a Velvet Underground dirge. Interesting idea, psychotic result. “The Cause,” goes from slow, to boring, to sustaining one note for upwards of a minute and a half (super boring) but it then eases into a bonus track (which must be called “Wall of Sound”) that piles loops and melodies on like a fat kid at an all you can eat ice cream shop. Stuff is running down his pudgy arm, chocolate chips are strewn about the floor, slide guitars become unhinged, a choir takes matters into their own hands but the result is a toothy smile. www.myspace.com/cockfightercockfighter - Jeff Hassay

DEVO

SOMETHING FOR EVERYBODY WARNER BROS.

Twenty years after, Smooth Noodle Maps, Devo has officially returned! Back with their original label, Warner Bros., Devo’s new album, Something for Everybody, has 12 amazing new tracks that rock fast paced beats, heavy on the synthesizers, funky riffs, rhythmic solos and playful lyrics with a tinge of genuine concern for the devolution of the human condition. November 2010

Admittedly so, the title track, “Sumthin,’” has similarities to their classic hit from the 80’s, “Whip It,” from the programmed synth back beat to the crack of the whip sound. But, the tempo is a lot faster, the guitar riff is reminiscent of the recent indie/electro sound and the cracking of the whip really hasn’t lost its touch when infused with a faster contemporary melody and rhythm. The entire album has pretty much adhered to this gratifying recipe of music making, except track 11, “No Place Like Home.” There is a 4 count flat digital sound like the beeping of an old telephone answering machine that leads to a piano intro. The melody is slow and touching, almost melancholy sounding and just when you think, “This can’t be Devo!” the tone changes to a silly electronic xylophone infused dance beat. Devo’s music makes you want to jump out of your seat and dance, it makes you smile and it even makes you think! And even if you don’t know who Devo is, I have a, “Gut Feeling (Slap your Mammy),” that this album will become a part of your collection! - Juliette Hernandez

EMIL MCGLOIN CURTAINS

BRUTHER MONK MUSIC

Back in 2003, Emil McGloin recorded an album entitled, The First Time Around. From the onset of this production, his voice hangs deeply in the ears and sets a gentle tone of laid-back bluesstyle melody that is carried throughout the album. With a voice like a soft breeze, McGloin creates a soundscape laden with a happy moment that seems to stretch into infinity. Now, in 2010, McGloin is releasing another album, and taking his audience on yet another slow ride on a quiet emotional plane. The new album opens with a deep, slow beat that is reminiscent of a thoughtful walk on a rainy day. It builds upon the former character of the artist by emoting in a thickened tone. In the second track, McGloin employs a violin that truly tugs at the heart of the listener. This coupled with a slow marching snare beat make for a beautiful combination of sound that compliments his voice with grace and power. Upon hearing the voice of this artist, one can get lost in the thought that a subdued Jonny Lang or John Mayer is present. His voice carries the soul of these artists, while at the same time bringing the laid-back style of Jack Johnson into the mix. In his fourth and title track, the artist takes on an electric guitar sound that is reminiscent of the likes of a David Lynch film with deep, tremolo

tones that accompany a softly edging voice. The softness of McGloin’s musical demeanor continues in the eighth track, with the familiar sound of a gentle, yet steady drum beat accompanied by acoustic guitar. A nice touch to many of these tracks is the usege of slide and effected guitar, which breaks apart the mood in a careful, reserved manner. A through line in the construction of each song is McGloin’s ability to walk the listener to a building emotional release. One can get lost listening to this album, as each track is carefully placed to compliment those before and after it in such a way that the record flows almost seamlessly from a contemplative mood to a southern beat, and beyond. In track 11, the pace begins to pick up, and brings in a faster beat and a more intense style of guitar play, while continuing to maintain the same vocal style. Track 13 is a departure from the rest of the album, and resembles a spaghetti southern style of play and voice. One is immediately lifted to another world during this track. Throughout, Curtains, Emil MGloin maintains a quiet composure and continues to bring a cool vibe to the table. He is unmoved as he speaks his emotions and experiences to his audience. It is reminiscent of a lovely date at a coffee shop, where intellectual conversations and intrigue take place. This is an album that will tap the listener on the shoulder warmly, and ask to be recognized. Those who listen to it, may get hooked. www.emilmcgloin.com - Thomas Page

HEAR KITTY KITTY TAILS FROM THE ALLEY

A new rock band in Los Angeles is making waves on the Pacific. Hear Kitty Kitty is proof that girls can rock and can rock well. Tails From The Alley, has propelled the group to gain the attention of the club community all around the Greater Los Angeles area in recent months, and keep them busy with constant live performance demands. Listening to the album, it is clear that this band is not a difficult one to book. The through line is an old school rock vibe with tight musicianship and a talented front lady whose voice is reminiscent of early Pretenders and other rocker gals that have classic attitude and precision. “On My Mind,” opens the cd, with a classic guitar riff and vocals that pull the listener into a nicely-balanced rock vibe. The first thing that comes to mind when listening to this track is that it belongs in the background of a young, vibrant film, but with a lending maturity of life experience. As the album progresses through track 3, “Everything,” and, “Waiting,” the vibe moves to an easy-going yet heavier travel mode, with some excellent drum creations and a scratchier guitar sound. “Moody,” “Play That Song,” 51


pull in grabber guitar solos and solid rock beats that call for dancing. “Find My Own,” and, “Catfight,” get a little bit down and dirty, and keep the edge. Hear Kitty Kitty knows how to push the envelope and keep the power flowing with distorted strategy and precision, while keeping to the form of the old rock vibe and clarity in production. The overall sound of the album is steady, solid and strategic. Often in recent years, one finds bands like this being overproduced, toyed-with and muddied by a lot of extras. This is not the case in the production of, Tails From The Alley. It keeps the intensity while holding its focus on the key elements of the music intact. The balancing of the vocals is excellent throughout, there is clean separation between the bass and the kick and the guitar work is precise and constricted unless some serious wailing is called for. This leaves a lot of room for the bang that rock music is always looking to have, and for creative moments to present themselves nicely. Hear Kitty Kitty is like a bullet to the brain that serves as a reminder that the old school never left town, and yes, chicks can knock you out. www.hearkittykitty.com - Thomas Page

KELE

A FAR OUT PLACE GLASSNOTE RECORDS

Riding the wave of the electrosynth pop music that is becoming ever more popular, Kele throws his hat into the ring with, The Boxer. Dance loops and Night at the Roxbury-esque keyboards are present throughout with Kele providing vocals that range from pseudo raps to distorted soul singing. The mashup of all the techno elements with Kele’s British accent is also something worth noting although whether good or bad is up for debate. The result is a record that might, MIGHT, be good at a club but certainly not one that I would want to go to. However I have never been the glowstick twirling type so it could just be me. In my eyes, The Boxer, loses the fight but fans of electronic music may have a different result on their fight card. Either way Kele certainly doesn’t have a knockout. - Evan Bleier

KIRSTEN PRICE BRIXTON TO BROOKLYN

Here we have nine tracks on the sophomore record from Kirsten, a collage of rock, 52

pop, R&B, and lots of energy. Being almost three years since her first release, the distinct difference on this record is that it’s totally self produced and written. This transplant from the UK has set out to show the world, starting here in the States, that she has all the musical chops it takes to get to the top. Landing placements on various television spots, receiving positive press, and selling briskly on iTunes, this indie talent will soon be more than an indie name. Being compared to other well known names, she is well on her way to being a well known name herself. “Take me to the Top”, is debuting on a cable show, although the power pop filled, “With or Without You, “ is the official first single. Kudos to this ultra hard working indie artist for creating such a highly polished

life, she wrote the lyrics and music to her first pop song. Her efforts are beginning to bear fruit: she has played concerts in Rome and Liverpool and her music has graced the airwaves of Brazil, among other countries. She plans on continuing to rock indefinitely. Her music appeals to older fans, people who feel that modern indie rock is underwritten and over-distorted. If you think music’s first and foremost goal should be to induce good times, this is the disc you have been looking for. She creates, “A Beautiful Dream,” the name of another one of her songs. However, for those who feel that music should reflect the hectic modern world, rather than offering an escape from it, her music may feel a bit outdated. This critic can only admire her craftsmanship and the courage of a real musician struggling to make it in a world of shrinking record sales and sacrilegious sampling.

www.kirstenprice.com

www.myspace.com/lauriebiaginimusic

record.

- Fish

- Christian Recca

LAURIE BIAGINI A FAR OUT PLACE

NOT LAME RECORDING COMPANY AND SIDEB MUSIC

For a musician based in the frigid climates of Vancouver, Laurie Biagini displays an unusual fascination with the beach on her latest album, A Far Out Place. Her music is filled with sunshine, waves and kicking back. Her influences include the Beach Boys and Jan and Dean, though her voice sounds more like the Californian dreamers Michelle Phillips and Mama Cass. Perhaps the appeal of the beach is the simple relaxation it provides. She speaks to a generation of over-stimulated neurotics with the simple message of, “Happiness Looks Good on You,” the name of one of her tunes. “You are so quick to criticize,” she says, but “outside your darkness there is light.” Her music harkens back to a world before Kurt Cobain and the aesthetics of angst. The music evokes nostalgia with effects like ooh-aah vocals, clear piano lines, organ swells and surf-rock riffs. Indeed the music amounts to rose-colored glasses, but that ain’t so bad. Biagini is a multi-talented artist: she produces and plays multiple instruments in addition to composing and singing. She is a classically-trained pianist, having first played at age five and it shows through interesting chord progressions and lovely harmonies. One day, on her way home from work, perhaps stressed by the pressures of modern

MARIA RODÉS

UNA FORMA DE HABLAR BCORE DISC

Is it possible to enjoy someone’s music if you have no idea what they are saying? Or can the vibe, attitude and instrumentals carry you through the song and give you a significant idea of the songwriter’s intent? I did not have the time to learn Spanish and translate this entire album and lord knows that Yahoo’s babelfish translator is not going to give me the correct translations. To listen to, Una Forma De Hablar, it didn’t feel necessary to know the language, as Rodés’ music is extremely open and gives a lot to go on just through instrumentals and vocals. She bounces all over the place with styles and instruments, which makes the album all the more all-encompassing and enjoyable. “A Lo Mejor,” which means, “perhaps,” is a sweet, lulling song with bells, acoustic guitar and sparse, hollow percussion. Rodés’ voice is sugar-y and gentle, blending beautifully with the combination of sounds that surround her. Her tunes can range from folk-y to songs with heavier percussion and a more gypsy/family band sound; others are slower and twinkling with finger picking, cymbals and “oooh’s” in the build-ups. Dig This Real


There is a manic feel to the music, but in the way that you are pulled through a million different feelings throughout the album, verses just being overwhelmed. “Invisible” is another folk style tune where there is a banjo-esque instrument plucking away to her aired out vocals. The use of percussion on the entire album is pretty spot on to bringing one into Rodés world. It’s a little quirky and off-kilter, but only enough to keep one wanting to know what the next song will be. With the use of strings, shakers, bells, drums, guitar, and who knows what else, Rodés combines elements of Mirah and Cocorosie along with her own sing-song style to create a mild, breeze-y blend of female indie-folk music. Una Forma De Hablar, which I believe means, “a form to speak,” definitely gives Rodés a form to speak with, by using fingerpicking, drum rolls, and breathy vocals that in turn breath a life into each song. This form is light and distinct, subtle with a sense of humor and a wide range of musical styles. Rodés can make her songs extremely sultry and rhythmic or they can be soothing and more confessional in their attitude. The album feels like a real window into this musician’s personality, and makes it seem completely irrelevant whether it’s in English or Spanish. This isn’t to say that lyrics have no meaning, because they surely do, but Rodés seems to get her point across through the melodies, intonations, and clever, weird combinations of sounds that she has folded together in this patchwork of an album. - Lauren Piper

MYSTERY JETS SEROTONIN

ROUGH TRADE RECORDS

I would wager that at least half of these guys grew up with David Bowie posters in their rooms. The Mystery Jets sound teeters between new wave and glam rock with a good deal of rock riffs thrown in, although not always in the right places. There clearly is some talent here, because when the group is “on,” as on, “Serotonin,” or, “Show Me The Light,” they sound like a group taking the best parts of what their influences have to offer and putting their own spin on a familiar sound. The problem is that this happens too rarely over the course of the eleven track album. Some of the songs just come off too whiny, or too intentionally artsy, to be satisfying to listen to. The Mystery Jets have potential but it goes mostly unrealized on Serotonin. - Evan Bleier November 2010

NATHAN LEIGH

TELL ME SOMETHING HONEY Let’s start off by saying that Nathan is a talented boy. The album, Tell Me Something Honey, is a self-produced, s e l f- p e r f o r m e d album that goes beyond the standard guitar, bass and drums without losing its folksy-edge. Leigh, in his biography claims that the acoustic feel is a counter response to his work in electric bands and I will admit it does help with the intimate charm of the album. I have a soft spot for people whom go out and create a whole work of music by themselves since that is something I’m familiar with; putting together an album that sounds like a band performed it is a hard task. It takes patience, passion and talentthree things that can be heard throughout this disc. Standout tracks like the Latino vibe of, “I’m Doing Fine,” “Noise,” and its Kim Deal straightforward bass line that intros the song and, “Veils of Leaves,” minor chords and sincere intensity and meaning in the vocals. These three tracks in particular highlight Leigh’s musical as well as songwriting talents. There are some tracks that lack luster for one reason or another but that is bound to happen with sixteen tracks, especially when they are all self-produced. From personal experience it is hard to either edit or hear additional components that need added when you are alone at the helm. But this critique is outweighed by the big product and, Tell Me Something Honey, has a familiarity and closeness that overproduced albums could never achieve. www.nathanleigh.net - Nelson Heise

OMD

HISTORY OF MODERN BRIGHT ANTENNA

It seems that with pushing, prodding, studied research and thorough analysis, one could make a good argument that the best band in Rock history is either

The Traveling Wilburys (who have the strongest lineup of the entire Rock pantheon—plus if you can get Dylan to fart out a song as throwaway silly/ solidly fantastic as, “Tweeter and the Monkey Man,” you are doing something right; very right!) or OMD. Many have aimed their musical arrows at the heart of pop music and few have so successfully pulled the Robin Hood-like feat of finding the bullseye over and over again, splitting arrows in half. “If You Leave,” “Secret,” “Enola Gay,” “Electricity”… You could teach a class on songwriting formula based solely on OMD’s singles. Buddy Holly ,Kurt Cobain or the Killers somehow could have sung every one of these. They are poppy but they take chances. Through the 80’s OMD had both mathematic precession and a touch of the avant garde. They navigated their way through the music landscape with obligatory synths and drum clicks while somehow (almost) always rising above the herd. After the original duo (Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphreys) split in 1988, McCluskey began slipping in his uber human music skills (though he managed to create a girl band and write “Whole Again” the 4th best selling single by a girl group of all time). Now, 24 years after the duo’s last recording (the exceptional Pacific Age) the world gets their new offering, History Of Modern. Oh boy! It’s a shame that almost every sin and faux pas that OMD should have avoided has been smeared throughout this album like shit on a serial killer’s dungeon walls. OMD sound as if they are trying to prove that they are bloated and out of touch: antiquated sounds that were once “Modern,” rhymes and lyrics that are so easy they veer past lazy into a territory of learning deficiencies and inbred mental retardation. I don’t even like the cover of the album, what with an orange background and linear shapes like it was 1983 and the future was digital and bright. The thing is, despite being a misstep for OMD, its pores are still oozing with sugary hooks, mellotron swells, machine-like blips and repeatable choruses as to make it fun and engaging. Every song is set to medium pop-proven 100bpm tempo, which becomes robotically bland though it is perfect to jog to. I imagine some weathered pirate slave ship blasting History Of Modern all day so that its minions can row in rhythmic unison while bopping their scurvy-ridden heads. “New Babies: New Toys” and “History of Modern” are highlights that show why one would keep playing with the exact same formula for over 30 years. The overriding problem of the album, as I see it, is that it feels like OMD were trying to come back strong and rule the pop charts once again. It comes off like the nerd in some teen movie who arrives at the dance wearing a “magic” cologne that he delusionally thinks makes him a chick magnet--he asks the prettiest girl in school for a dance and then she kicks him in the balls. 53


This album is the nerd’s invitation. Cover your balls boys. OMD’s contemporaries who managed to still stick around (The Cure, Depeche Mode, Morrissey) still release successful, interesting albums but they are confident without being unrealistic, mellow without being boring and they all fuck with the formula now and again. www.omd.uk.com - Jeff Hassay

SCISSOR SISTERS NIGHT WORK DOWNTOWN

You’re in store for a real 70’s and 80’s flashback with the Scissor Sister’s third album, Night Work. Break out those leg warmers, cut the necks off your sweat shirts and hit that dance floor. The cd starts off in a most energetic way with the song, “Night Work,” with its uplifting beat, and it makes you want to keep on dancing all the way to the end. This is the perfect music, teeming with sexuality and positive energy, to dance to when out at club or a party. Vocalists, Jake Shears and Ana Matronic take turns rockin’ the microphone on each track. They harmonize brilliantly together in songs like, “Night Life,” and maintain a stable balance of male and female vocals. Shears steals the scene with his sexy, sultry voice in songs such as, “Fire With Fire,” and, “Any Which Way.” He ranges from the highest to the lowest octaves, as Matronic backs him up and eventually shows us what her voice can really do, later on the album in songs like, “Skin This Cat.” The Scissor Sisters keep club and dance music old school with melodic guitars lead by Del Marquis and Babydaddy, who is also responsible for most of the keys, bass, and programming. The entire album is bursting with sexual energy and feelings of love and lust especially in the lyrical content of songs like, “Skin Tight,” and, “Whole New Way.” From beginning to end, Night Work is like it’s straight out of a sexy, steamy love scene on the dance floor of a NYC club. Night Work is now available in stores and earlier albums, news and tour dates for the Scissor Sisters are available at www.scissorsisters.com. - Cindy Chisvette 54

SHELTER RED

STRIKE A MORTAL TERROR SILENCE RECORDS

Fans of Metallica’s, Master of Puppets, will be into this album. Strike a Mortal Terror twists and turns through song after song of head-banging goodness without bothering to worry about anything as cumbersome as vocals. The metal riffs spiral continuously upward only to come crashing down in a hailstorm of drums, bass, and cymbal splashes. Shelter Red sound like a tight knit group (with only two official members) and the playing on the album reflects that. Despite the flurry of notes, not a single one is wasted or thrown away- this is some extremely efficient metal. The only negative is that many of the songs sound similar, but if fast paced metal is a sound you enjoy, that will hardly be a problem. www.myspace.com/shelterrock - Evan Bleier

SIA

WE ARE BORN SONY MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT

For those who fell in love with Sia while listening to her album, Some People Have Real Problems, the release of her new album, We Are Born, is equally highlyanticipated and nerve-wracking. The deep sorrow and pain that is exuded in the former album is expected to perhaps continue into the current release. This, however immediately is clearly not the case, as the album opens with a new vibe in, “The Fight,” a funky bass-heavy vibe that brings a dance feel to the forefront with a victorious proclamation, “We are born.” It is an ingenious opening to an album that follows solitude and sadness in past memories of Sia’s work. The same upbeat vibe continues through, “Clap Your Hands,” and “Stop Trying.” The beginning of this album inspires those left with a sense of wanting to stand up and move forward. The tone changes back to a familiar Sia

sound in, “Be Good To Me,” which resembles earlier Sia pieces in its pacing and tone. The beat takes on a slow waltz feel, and pulls in a deep, steady drum beat and a flowing keyboard, accompanied by gentle strings and a familiar lamenting, dominant voice. After this brief break in the upbeat tone of the early part of the album, the same sense of marching on continues through, “Bring The Night,” and “Hurting Me,” with its use of chimes and snare. By this point in the record, it becomes clear that the artist has made a conscious decision to explore more deeply into the world of genre experimentation. One track feels like funk, the next like pop. And the next like rock. However there is a common thread that moves with Sia through this musical adventure. This is the feel of Sia’s personality. The whole album feels like a moment recognized and left to the wind, with the intention of looking ahead and exploring beyond an original pain. Sia brings hope and determination with her through this album, and brings the listener along with her. It is noticeable that up until, “I’m In Here,” there is very little of the familiar raw piano that has formerly been a trademark for this artist, however this, along with the vocal doubling makes the piece stand out prominently from the rest. It takes the listener back to the familiar comfort zone of Sia’s style and grace. A truly notable track on, We Are Born, is Sia’s cover of, “Oh Father,” made famous by Madonna. It is a beautifully arranged version of the song, employing a tasteful vocal doubling and a xylophone. The song builds into a commanding apex and gently brings the listener back down to a quiet, victorious finish. Sia brought the pain in her former work, and now she releases it in this set of works. She implores the listener to acknowledge and let go of suffering, and to not give up hope of the light resting around the corner. www.siamusic.net - Thomas Page

SLUM VILLAGE VILLA MANIFESTO NE’ASTRA MUSIC GROUP

Villa Manifesto is a difficult album to put a label on. Since two of the group’s founding members, J Dilla and Baatin, were deceased by the time this album was being finalized it is tough to tell how a full Slum Village effort would have turned out. It also bears mentioning that both of the passed members, particularly J Dilla, were more successful as solo artists than as members of Slum Village and Villa Manifesto was partially supposed to Dig This Real


serve as a reunion of sorts. As a result, the lack of consistency in the group somewhat shows through in the music on the album. Despite an impressive roster of producers (J Dilla, Hi-Tek, Madlib), the album is unable to stick together as a cohesive whole. Songs like the heavy sounding Dilla produced, “Lock it Down,” sound out of place alongside lighter, pop far like “Faster.” The album is slick and sounds good across the board, but there is no real flow from one track to another which takes away from the listening experience as a whole. The lyrical content, like the songs themselves, is generally good but lacks a real point / message. Most of the MCs can’t seem to decide whether they want to deal with some of the issues that clouded Slum Village’s past (money, greed, reunion, fame) or just make a party record. One of the stronger tracks on the album, “The Set Up,” does neither. It is instead more of a storytelling song which details an especially interesting day and is somewhat reminiscent of The Firm’s, “Phone Tap.” Hopefully for Slum Village, Villa Manifesto will be better received than The Firm were. - Evan Bleier

THE FALL

YOUR FUTURE OUR CLUTTER DOMINO

Nearly everyone involved in indie music whether as a fan, writer or musician has their own Fall story, usually relating to some drunken escapade of lead man Mark E. Smith. Mine is one told to me by a bass player from some indie band who had supported The Fall at a gig in Manchester. He said that they did their set and went down ok but most of the several thousand down there were there to see The Fall. Unfortunately for them minutes before going on stage Mark E. Smith, being quite drunk, went off on a rant and sacked the whole band in the dressing room. Thus having no backing band and an expectant audience he simply went on stage with a copy of that day’s newspaper and just read out the news in his imitable drunken November 2010

slurry manner….the audience loved it apparently…Indeed this new album, their 800th of their career, (slight exaggeration as it’s there 28th but each one is an epic experience) features many of the staples of a classic Fall album including Mark E. Smith’s drunken slurred obtuse lyrics, as well as a lots of fuzz bass and garagey guitar riffs. If you’re new to The Fall it could sound a little inaccessible at first but after a few listens you’ll start to get. I remember my first Fall album experience. I went out and bought, Grotesque after the Gramme, and after listening to the first couple of tracks I thought, “This is Shit!, the guy can’t sing, the guitars are discordant and there are no tunes,” but after a little more perseverance and hearing the great John Peel wax lyrical about them, I came to realise what they are about. I can’t explain what that is but let’s just say like all good revelations, it’s best you experience it for yourself. Put it this way -it’s a million miles away from the X factor and the Jonas Brothers. Highlights of this album include, “Mexico Wax Solvent,” which is funky and surprisingly upbeat and fun with its bass driven groove and background squeaks makes the perfect surreal backdrop for Mr. Smith’s drunken stumbling obtuse lyrics. “Hot Cake,” is garage rock-a-billy, like Pulp Fiction meets the Godfather in a crack garage in Manchester. “Weather Report 2,” sees The Fall at their more introspective which is like early joy division as Mark E. Smith sounds like the forlorn Joy Division front man, Ian Curtis. Throughout the album most of the lyrics are impenetrable (it wouldn’t be a Fall album if they were easily understood) though he does go on about ,“ex pats,” quite a lot and we eventually get the line that named the album, “your future our clutter,” on, “O.F.Y.C. Showcase,” which is the most lo-fi track (sounds like it was recorded on a out of control New York subway train) . It’s the catchiest song on the album but don’t tell Mr. Smith that as next time he sees me feeding the ducks on the Manchester Ship Canal he’ll probably Glasgow Kiss me (for those of who don’t know what a Glasgow Kiss is…there’s no tongues…look it up). - Mark Christopher Lee

THE FATHER, J. O’BRIEN

STRIKE A MORTAL TERROR In the bio included with The Father’s first EP, Fresh Pack of *Failures, it states: “The songs on FPO*F reminds one of Nick Cave’s bravado, Tom Waits’ growl and the poetic lyricism of Leonard Cohen.” Oh man, those are some big shoes to fill and I have to say it brings some high expectations. I cannot say that all of those

expectations were met at the same time and this disc was also not a letdown. There is a sparseness to it that does allow the listener a certain level of intimacy and connectedness with the Father. His voice is raw and gravelly, he does not utilize in the same vein as Waits but it does add character. Besides the first track the songs are aggressive folk blues that have a sense of mystery in the lyrics, the best being the third track, “One in a Thousand.” Again, I wouldn’t go as far as putting it up next to Leonard Cohen lyrically, but it is better than your average tune. One of the risks of putting out an all acoustic cd is that it does not capture the visual of the artist which in my head is probably one of the appealing aspects of The Father’s music. You hear the aggression but you can’t quite feel it as I suppose you would if you saw him live. What this disc does do is give you enough of a tease to go see The Father in full effect. www.myspace.com/thefatherjobrien - Nelson Heise

THE JERSEY SHORE SOUNDTRACK VARIOUS ARTISTS REPUBLIC

Pour out a Jager bomb and get ready to pump your fists with Snooki and “The Situation” because the Jersey Shore, the popular MTV reality TV show now has a sound track available. The cd is a compilation of tracks by various popular artists, any of which could be heard spinning at any club on the New Jersey shoreline. This I know first hand, as I am a resident of the Jersey shore myself. Enrique Iglesias starts the sound track with his dance hit sensation, “I Like It,” featuring Pitbull and following him is another commonly played radio hit by Taio Cruz, “Break Your Heart.” If that doesn’t get the booties shakin’ and the liquor flowing, then LMFAO encourages listeners to, “Get Crazy,” and then they appear later on the soundtrack with David Guetta, Chris Willis and Fergie in, “Getting’ Over You.” Lil Jon also makes 55


multiple appearances with both 3OH!3 and Pitbull on the CD. Also, in addition to these club classics, and many others, is one of the Jersey Shore cast’s very own, DJ Pauly D with a bonus track called, “Beat Dat Beat. The soundtrack is packed with heavy bass lines, synthesized vocals and a full throttle party. There is nothing this type of music is useful for other than to dance to. Be a part of that carefree Jersey Shore party life with this sound track in no time. - Cindy Chisvette

TOM JONES PRAISE & BLAME

LOST HIGHWAY RECORDS

You gotta hand it to Tom Jones. The guy has been around forever, he has his own Vegas stage show, he’s been a guest on The Simpsons, and the dude can flat out sing. However none of these distinctions really help the quality of his latest album, Praise & Blame. It’s not that the songs on this album are bad: they’re not. However the whole effort just feels misplaced. Jones takes the listener through 11 songs worth of dark, brooding ballads, rootsy, chunky blues numbers and even a few ballads. And for the most part, the songs work. The problem is that it is Tom Jones leading the charge. He can sing, of course, but you don’t need to be able to sing to make the blues sound correct. You need something else and Jones, not for lack or trying, doesn’t really have it. Tom Jones can definitely afford to get top notch musicians and the playing on the disc is first rate. The backup gospel singers in particular were a nice, and authentic, touch. The contribution Jones makes is also solid – the lyrics and the effort are there – but as a whole Praise & Blame just doesn’t ring true. However it is an entirely listenable album and longtime fans of Tom Jones will probably enjoy it much more than casual ones. www.tomjones.com - Evan Bleier

TOUR DE FRANCE L’AVENTURE

FUTURE WAX RECORDS

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TDF is the band vehicle for Franco American signer songwriter Bernadette Colomine. L’Aventure is their first album release and showcases nine French acoustic vibed pop songs ala Serge Gainsbourg and Leonard Cohen. Talking of singer songwriters, apparently the great Rufus Wainwright is a fan and Colomine, as well, as she sings back up for him on his track, “The Greek Song.” She is also helping him compose an Opera for the New York Met. There are some guest male vocals on the album but I don’t think they belong (but RW). Anyway, the best thing about this album are Colomine’s sensual, breathy, gallic vocals which sound like a world weary Vannessa Paridis with a 2 pack of Gauloises a day habit. It’s like something Leonard Cohen might have recorded in the early ‘80s before he went off to become a monk and his manager ripped him off, and am not saying that as a bad thing (sounding like Cohen that is). It has a certain charm and a distinct lack of regard to what albums should be sounding like in the year 2010. Still I guess that’s the French cool confidence that they have in their culture being superior to the mass produced clones of the Autotuned American and English Music Industries. Indeed the whole French music scene has always been different. Ever since Gainsbourg, they’re more concerned with the lyric and vibe than writing catchy popular melodic songs. This album despite being recorded in the US is no exception to that rule as it has a late night smoky vibe to it with songs about doomed relationships and betrayal. I especially like the song arrangements with their frequent tempo changes which give the album a sense of musical sophistication. The standout tracks on the album include, “Se Soir (In the Evening),” and with its chorus electric guitars and epic bass it could be a French Echo & The Bunnymen fronted by a Gallic Marianne Faithfull. Then there is, “Merde,” (shit), which is rockier in outlook than most of the tracks and has a cool lead electric guitar that sounds like something from an Isley Brothers track. “Bonheur Suspendu” (Hanging happiness), is a more typical gallic downer and is a perfect song to down an Absinthe to after a few bottles of fine wine of course! The best track on the album is, “Le Cerf-Volant,” which has a pretty melody and nice boy girl vocals . It’s lyrics are about flying a kite and for a moment we’re

transported into Michael Legrand’s’, “Parapluies de Cherbourg.” The only slight criticism I had was with the amateurish acoustic guitar sound which could have been better recorded. But maybe that was the intent and if so fair play to them for keeping it a bit rough and ready and not selling their souls to the digital devil which the rest of the musical world seems to have done. To misquote Spinal Tap;“vous ne pouvez pas faire le pan français dans dobly” (you can’t do French pop in Dobly). www.myspace.com/bctourdefrance - Mark Christopher Lee

TRUCKERS TRACKS VOLUMES 1 AND 2

Are you just itching to load up your rig and roll along Interstate 80 with the hammer down? If so, then Truckers Tracks may be right up your alley, but watch out for those state troopers. Listening to this album, you hear how rock used to sound, indeed how some people suggest rock should sound. The artists on this compilation provide a miscellany of Southern rock and blues. There are down and dirty jams, like, “Led Foot Boogie,” and “West Coast Run.” The sound can turn dark and ruminative, reminding the listener of songs like Bob Seeger’s, “Turn the Page,” on pieces like, “Black Highway,” or “Freightliner.” On other tracks, more pop-country, power-ballad type tracks, the listener can feel the freedom of the open road. Consider, “Closer to You,” “Saddle Up and Ride” and, “Promise Land.” There are even numbers driven by acoustic guitar or piano, showcasing the raspy voice of Ralph Stanley’s, “O Death.” Johnny Neel sings a sober tribute to our soldiers in, “Folded Flag,” in a voice weathered by years of whisky and chew. Russell Gulley matches Neel on, “Greenwood Mississippi,” and, “Peace of Good Earth.” You can almost imagine that Neel and Gulley had been in bar fights prior to their recording sessions, and had to sing with mouths full of blood. Listeners who love to hear Dig This Real


whining guitars and twangy harmonies will not be disappointed by these albums. However, Truckers Tracks, may incite different reactions from different audiences. If one has never driven a truck or if one is not from the South, it may be difficult to take, “Led Foot Boogie,” seriously. There is not much humor or irony in these tracks aside from, “Doodle,” or, “Lucky in Kentucky,” which describes how a man has a one-night stand with a girl in Kentucky and is then forced by her redneck father to marry her. However, many of the titles suggest cliché blues themes: “Goin’ Up the Country,” “Hard Times,” “Long Haul.” The lyrics basically add to these clichés—the message of the album is as old as rock and roll itself. However, that message is still somewhat compelling: you have to sacrifice love in order to enjoy the freedom of the open road. Neel puts it nicely: “I’ve driven more miles than I can count/ Ain’t a bone in my body that wants to settle down/Brother I ain’t lyin/If I ain’t movin’, lord, I’m dying.” The hipsters of the world would probably find this album a joke. Nevertheless, if those hipsters want to laugh, it doesn’t seem that the truckers will take it too hard. They are too busy for irony. They deserve an album of their own. And the old-school rock fans deserve it too. Indeed, for anyone who lives in a cramped urban hole, listening to this album might just inspire you to hit the open road. www.truckerstracks.com - Christian Recca

VESSEL SELF TITLED

The sound that Vessel have cultivated for themselves on their self titled album is a nice departure from what a lot of Brooklyn based groups have been doing these days. Most of the tracks are brooding and dark with firm vocals creeping over the top to lead the tunes wherever they choose to go. The songs can be quite heavy at times, with the bass and drums providing a good deal of oomph, but the biggest constant is the echoes and drones of the treble soaked lead guiNovember 2010

tar. The group even dips its toe in the ocean of psychedelic rock at times but they choose not to go in and definitely sound more like the Deftones than they do Pink Floyd (two of the influences they list on their site). - Evan Bleier

WOLF PARADE EXPO 86

SUB POP RECORDS

Who said that Arcade Fire are the only Canadian band with angst? From the very first track off their new album, a taut, suspenseful, jig called, “Cloud Shadow on the Mountain,” Wolf Parade display an intensity that they have never quite reached before. Behind a swirling mix of layered guitars and pounding drums, singer Spencer Krug relentlessly tells us that, “Everybody gotta be reborn, but you will never be born as a scorpion.” The song is good enough that you will actually want to know why. Various members of the band have been involved in side projects in recent

years -Handsome Furs, Sunset Rubdown and the influences of both of those groups respective electronic and hard rock elements are very apparent on Expo 86. Colead singer Dan Boeckner and Krug trade off vocal duties on almost every track with Boeckner’s tunes relying more heavily on synthesizers and Krug’s being more rhythmically driven. The difference between the two styles is represented by the album’s closing tracks, “Yulia,” and, “CaveO-Sapien.” But fans of the band’s older material need not fear. Even though this album is more divided than their prior efforts between the two singers, there is more than enough of the “classic” Wolf Parade sound to go around. Present in both Boeckner and Krug’s songs are the compact guitar lines, polished melodies and simple choruses that are the bread and butter of Wolf Parade’s alternative style. The album at times is reminiscent of the Cars, sometimes the Cure and overall is an extremely solid album. These guys from Canada went in the studio and got their Spinal Tap on, cranked things up to eleven, and the result is something both new and familiar. www.myspace.com/wolfparade

- Evan Bleier

CARRY OUR ZINE IN YOUR STORES! email us at info@digthisreal.com FOR INFORMATION!

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Jill Avilez and The Love Absurd @ House of Blues Foundation Room Hollywood, California “I am your tornado chaser.” Amidst a swirl of electric energy, these are the words that Jill Avilez uses to begin every set that she plays. This is followed by a short narrative, abducting the audience on a journey into an alternate universe of experimental funk and jazz that is mind-blowing. Avilez is a jazz and funk upright bassist and vocalist from Los Angeles. Just a year ago, she was performing solo in clubs across Hollywood. During that time, her stage show has continued to blossom from solo artist into what is now Jill Avilez and The Love Absurd, a revolving, evolving planetary system rooted in the highest forms of expression and experimentation. November 2010

This evenings performances mood in the House of Blues was mellow. A few bands preceded The Love Absurd in the Foundation Room, however it was the moment that Avilez and her band began their performance that the room came alive and the audience crowded the stage to get a better eye and ear on this incredible budding band. People who had attended the evening to see other bands were suddenly on their feet, dancing and shouting back at the band as they powered through their show. Avilez is a true woman of the stage. Her presence is powerful and mysterious. Vocally she embodies the likes of legends such as Betty Davis and the ideals of Thelonious Funk. At any given moment, she can go from a funk diva to a narrator, to a call-and-answer scat with her sax player, Steve Horist, who is an accomplished jazz artist in his own right. One of the most outstanding pieces The Love Absurd performed on this evening was the catchy, “Love’s No Good.” This piece builds slowly, pulls the audience gently to the edge and then bangs with a burst of power that can only be described as a powder keg of energy, complete with blaring horns, pounding drums, and a mean riffing bass. The band is extremely tight, especially for the amount of experimental jazz performed by each member throughout the show. The set is ended with the provocative, “Meaningless,” in which Avilez again starts with a slow build on her upright bass and jazz vocals, slowly to be joined by the rest of the band. What seems like a soft jazz piece quickly transitions into a scat with an Ellington style and beat, followed by a build that bursts through the room and shakes the walls down. Jill Avilez and the Love Absurd bring their spirit and passion with them wherever they go, and infect those around them to feel and move. It is impossible to watch them perform and not want to jump to one’s feet and shake it. The Love Absurd includes the following: Jill Avilez, guitars, double-bass, strange noises; Jack Keller, bass, guitar; Bryan McAllister, keys, strange noises; Dylan Stecker, drums; Phil Fiorio, trumpet; Steve Horist, E.W.I, tenor saxophone; Austin Yancey, baritone sax. www.jillavilez.com - Thomas Page 59


Phish tour 2010 doesn’t belong to your cool older cousin anymore. Hell, it probably doesn’t even belong to you anymore. Back in the day, when you were old enough to appreciate it, and he or she handed you that handmade cassette tape, there was no way they could have imagined what the scene surrounding Phish would grow to be. In a summer where major label pop acts have been forced to cancel multiple dates, and in some cases even entire tours, the Phish juggernaut has kept rolling into sold out shows in venues around the country. The Jonas Brothers might not be able to put asses in the seats, but Phish still can. However the fans that are coming out to see the Vermont based quartet may more closely resemble the brothers of Jonas than the hippies and dreadlocked wookies that would traditionally be associated with Phish. There are probably a multitude of reasons for this, but I would argue that the major ones can best be summed up by a tune from Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio’s solo catalogue, “Money, Love and Change.” The financial situation around Phish is economics 101; supply and demand. Tickets to see the group are a hot commodity and at the “relatively” reasonable price of fifty

dollars, scalpers scoop them up in droves. The band has tried to counteract this practice, and the subsequent ticket gouging that it causes, by instituting a lottery system that fans can enter into before tickets go on sale to the public, with minimal results. Scalpers and fans looking to make an extra buck will enter into the lottery multiple times and for shows they have no intention of going to in order to secure as many tickets as possible that they can then flip for cash after a markup. In these economic times, it is hard to begrudge anyone for trying to find ways to make extra money, but fans making hundreds of dollars off of other fans would seem to go against the grain of the fundamentals of the Phish “community.” However it is debatable how much of this community

What the group looks like after sampling some of the goodies that are available in the lot

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even exists anymore, as ticket gouging has now seemed to become the norm and not the exception. Before the second to last show of summer tour 2010 at Jones Beach Amphitheater on Long Island, tickets were going for a hundred dollars the drop of a hat. In fact many fans, most of them probably still in high school, seemed relatively happy to be dropping a C note to be able to see the band they had heard so much about. After perusing craigslist for tickets to the tour closer show, also at Jones Beach, it was hard to argue with their logic, if not their willingness to be gouged. Tickets for the tour closing show were starting at around one hundred and fifty dollars and were going up to three and above for VIP seats. And cash wasn’t the only thing moving the marketplace. Check out this post from the morning of the August 18th show:

FOR SOME A JB PHISH TIX TR EX E AD TR L TAN) WIL N - $1 (MANHAT QUICK SAFE FU ket to towant to earn a tic e er th t ou en m “Any wo Beach? ish show at Jones nights sold out Ph woman in return ve my extra to a am a MWM, I am willing to gi ow fore the sh . I be n fu ick qu , fe 5”7 170lbs. Your for some sa d friendly. I am an fe sa e, fre D r. Email me asap.” 31, D& don’t really matte e ag d an ce an ar appe

There’s more than one way to get yourself into a Phish show these days.

We’ve all heard of groupies waiting by the band’s tour bus looking for some post-show fun but getting busy in a parking lot before the show with a complete stranger just to get in seems a little bit much. When the band was in its hey-day during the nineties, building the loyal fan base that still supports them now, these sorts of things were not going on. Granted the internet, and the anonymity that it provides, wasn’t nearly as prominent in the mid 90’s as it is now, but there is no denying the fact that things around the Phish scene have changed in cyberspace and beyond. This change is even further exemplified by the emergence of another trend in the Phish ticket marketplace: fake tickets. For at least the past year or so, it has been commonplace to see a few people getting turned away at the door because the tickets that they have are fakes. Since Ticketmaster gives tickets purchasers the option to print their tickets at home, many people will simply make photocopies of their E-tickets and sell those off as the originals. Once the barcode is scanned at the door, the copies all become useless and the people that have them are stuck on the outside looking in. Recently people have been going so far as to make fake “hard” tickets, exact replicas of the tickets that you would actually receive in the mail. To go to that length to make copies expressly for the purpose of ripping people off just goes to show how bad things have gotten and what a commodity Phish tickets have become. Other things in the parking lot have also shifted away from the way they were in the good old days. Driving into the venue, you are more likely to see a brand new BMW or Audi than a broken down VW bus. In the parking lots, nitrous dealers and the siren song hiss of their tanks have replaced the calls for dollar grilled cheese. People used to be able to support themselves and go on tour selling vegan burritos, jello shots, or ganga cookies. With the rise in gas and ticket prices, this is probably only really still an option for the people selling hard/high end drugs or nitrous. Some of these people are probably fans of the music but the majority of them probably don’t even see a single show

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on tour, choosing to remain outside the venues and peddle their wares instead of dropping money on a ticket. The result is a parking lot scene that is populated by more dealers and scalpers than ever before most of whom care little about the music that is allowing their businesses to function. Given the fact that the organic, transitive, music Phish play involves a good deal of audience interaction, you would

Phish and Lexus are

think that the negative elements that exist outside the concert would pervade themselves into the musical experience within the show. Remarkably, this has not been the case. For the most part, the musical aspect of Phish has remained relatively unchanged. They probably play their more popular with greater regularity than they did in the past, but the band still mixes in a good dose of their more obscure tunes and finds new and different ways to improvise. Take for example a show the band played in Camden, NJ on June 25th, the one year anniversary of Michael Jackson’s death. During their rendition of “Also Sprach Zarathustra” (the theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey), Phish weaved in and out of a number of Michael Jackson teasers, including Billie Jean and Thriller, much to the delight of the attentive crowd. These free flights into musical mirth may have become ys. less frequent recently, but ada now nds bra ury both lux

Alisan Porter Live at The Creep Show @ Hotel Café Hollywood, California

Every once in a while, an artist takes the stage and sucks the air from the lungs of all those in attendance. This is the case with the performance of Alisan Porter and her band as they headlined the annual Creep Show event, live at Hotel Café. Following a fantastically talented lineup that included the amazing Ferras Alqaisi, who commanded the stage in his solo set on keys and vocals, the downbeat of Porter’s performance brought a shift over the packed and sold-out crowd that is the stuff of legendary artistry. Alqaisi later joined Porter onstage for an encore that shook the walls of the club and brought the house down. A vocalist originating in Worcester, Massachusetts, Porter has made her way through performances both onscreen in major motion pictures and onstage from a very young age. This evening represents not only a culmination of Ms. Porter’s prior accomplishments, but also a catalyst for her launch into a new career that will 62

surely be written and spoken of for many years to come. Alisan Porter’s voice is both unique and passionate, reminiscent of the soulful sound of Heart, and with a surgical precision that is unmatched by any young artist working in the industry today. With a cool look and a powerful presence, she brought her performance in each piece to what would seem an apex, and then created a new apex in style and control. Backing Ms. Porter on guitar was Ilsey Juber, a phenomenal and well-seasoned guitarist, vocalist, and drummer in her own right. Ms. Juber, a young woman born and raised in Los Angeles, is already a veteran to the music industry as well as live performance. Her unique and beautiful voice and guitar work have been capturing other established artists throughout the industry for years. These two women have the Los Angeles musical community reeling for a new wave of great young artists that has been a long time coming. To be truly great at something, you must understand that you are great and you must have the courage and confidence to step into the shoes that you have crafted for yourself. This is a concept that both women, who are now stepping into

the core jazzy playfulness and fun and excitement, that is Phish, remains. In short, although their fan base, and the financial relationships within it, may have changed, the band has not. For those who would suggest that Phish should take some responsibility in dealing with the potentially negative issues that surround the group, (escalating ticket prices, mounting scalping sales, and the ever growing availability of nitrous and hard drugs) their nonchalance could be viewed as curse. For fans who just want to be able to access and enjoy the show, whatever the cost, the group’s indifference may serve as a blessing. Either way, the band still has fans that love to see them and that’s not going to change. It remains to be seen however what true fans are going to have to do to keep getting themselves in the door to see the band. For some, it may just mean opening their wallets a little bit farther. For others, it may involve opening much more personal things in the backseat of cars… -Evan Bleier the world as a duo on the promotional tour for their upcoming album, have had a firm grasp on. Fresh from a short tour in Memphis, where they have begun to make a splash and turn heads, this band is on the verge of virtual explosion into the music industry and beyond. The upcoming vocal duet combination of Porter and Juber, accompanied by Ms. Juber’s guitar work, is one to keep an eye on, as these young women will be turning heads onstage, in record stores, and all over the real and virtual worlds for many years to come. While you wait, you can check out and purchase Alisan Porter’s self-released album on cdbaby.com. www.alisanporter.com. Also visit Alisan Porter’s Fan Page on Facebook.com and follow the band on Twitter @Alisan_Ilsey. - Thomas Page Dig This Real


Tom Robinson’s 60th Birthday Celebrations @ Shepherd Bush Empire London, England

You’ve all heard his songs from his driving rock anthem, “2, 4, 6, 8 Motorway,” to the protest pop soul of, “War Baby,” through to the camp pop classic, “Glad To Be Gay,” and during this performance, he put on a star studded show for his friends and fans at the Shepherds Bush Empire. Apparently the gig only came about as his wife, (he’s no longer gay but happily married to a woman and has kids), asked him what he wanted to do for his 60th birthday which was coming up. He thought about going out to a posh restaurant or doing a dinner party but said; “Nah I want to do a gig.” And so with the help of his friends he was able to hire out the Empire and put on his friends and favorite bands of the moment. Tom Robinson has now carved himself a niche as a promoter of the best new music in the UK, primarily through his BBC Radio 6 show and also through his fresh on the net website. Indeed he chose three acts that he had discovered to play. Opening up with was the solo pop mandolin of Cosmo Jarvis with his ace song about gay pirates to which Robinson joined him on backing vocals. Next up we had the 80’s guitar pop of Little Comets a bunch of young lads from Newcastle who livened up the proceedings with their effervescent songs about teenage angst and hanging out on the subway. The other new band playing that night were Chew Lips who were a cross between Blondie and the Pet Shop Boys but not as good as you’d think that combination would sound. The peroxide lead singer indeed looked hot but she struggled with her voice to get any impact with the crowd. Then we had a world music star who is a friend of Robinson, the Malian Kora legend Toumani Diabaté. He entranced the audience with his virtuoso performance on this wonderful sounding instrument. He got a rapturous applause and Robinson even came on stage to give him a big hug. Now up came Robinson with his band and proceeding to woo the audience with songs from his back catalogue. He had a few special guest stars including TV Smith from 70’s punk legends the Adverts. Tom even sang the advert’s biggest hit with him, “Gary Gilmore’s Eyes,” which got the audience rocking in the aisles. Robinson then proceeded to play his hits including a rewritten version of, “Glad To Be Gay,” which he dedicated to the victims of the Admiral Duncan. (the Admiral Duncan is a gay pub in Soho which was bombed by a neo-nazi back in 1999 and which killed 3 people). The crowd all sang along with him with joy in their hearts. Then surprise, surprise! Alex Kapranos and Nick McCarthy of Scots indie legends Franz Ferdinand joined him on stage for a few numbers and then wham bam thank you mam, it was to time to end the show with a stormin’ roof raising version of, “2, 4, 6, 8 Motorway.” We all stamped our feet and then sang, “Happy Birthday to Tom,” as Robinson cried. I think he had a good time. www.tomrobinson.com November 2010

- Mark Christopher Lee

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Weather

@ Java Groove Coffee Van Nuys, California A young artist is taking Los Angeles by storm. Her name is Vanesa Monarch, known by her stage name, Weather. At this performance, Weather played for an intimate gathering of artists and fans at Java Groove Coffee in Van Nuys. It became clear from the first chord struck during her performance that this solo folk artist has the gift of power and humanity in her art. With a pounding and driving guitar playing style similar to that of the East Coast’s own Melissa Ferrick, and the haunting voice that is reminiscent of the likes of Ani DiFranco and Fiona Apple, this artist commanded her space and her audience. A toxic vibe fell over the room as Monarch resonated fully in her performance. One of the most intense contrasts one can observe in Weather’s onstage persona is her ability to carry herself with the free-spirited sweetness of a youthful heart, while speaking the words of maturity and wisdom regarding her life experiences and the deep world that she taps into through her music. She becomes larger than life, almost as if no space can hold her intensity. Her phrasing is so forceful, that it warrants a second, and a third listen. At one moment, she is speaking to you, and in the next, she is off on a call to something larger. Among the songs performed at Java Groove were, “And We Said,” a piece that was accompanied by harmonica, and, “Creature,” a bare-nerves song that raises the hairs on the neck of the observer. Both songs will be on Weather’s upcoming album, Animal, set to be released in the Fall. There is much anticipation surrounding both the album release at the Hotel Café in Los Angeles, as well as the future work of this artist. The set was ended with a rendition of,“White Rabbit,” which confirmed the range of Weather’s abilities and power. She will be one to keep in sight, as she is just getting started on what will surely be a successful, memorable journey that captivates others wherever they hear her words. Previews of songs from Weather’s upcoming release of, Animal, can be heard at her official website, www. weatherthemusic.com, or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/weatherthemusic. - Thomas Page

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Alice in Chains with Deftones and Mastodon @ Madison Square Garden New York City, New York

Sporting a new lead singer, William DuVall, Seattle Grunge darlings, Alice in Chains set sail for a tour called BlackDiamondSkye. I ended up scapling a ticket for this show and I was lucky enough to score a ticket for $35.00 (the going price was $65.00 +). I was upstairs but despite that the seats were high up, I would spend the evening snaking my way downstairs. Man! People (especially chicks) love to dance to Alice! The band showcased a sound fit for an arena show. The performance in general was great and probably very close to what would had gone down in the early 90’s when Layne Staley fronted the band. The Garden crowd was pumped as fans clogged up the isles and let loose. With no security guards to trip me up, I would eventually move to another level down. This allowed more photo taking with a group of folks passing around splifs and high five-ing each other in unison to Alice songs.

When I was finished on this level, I made a crawl to the bottom level and was lucky enough to have a used ticket exchange with a person who was leaving the show early. By then I realized that the band was pretty much playing all their songs including newer ones. The sound was clean, consistent and everyone performing on stage wasn’t drunk or wasted. The band was tight and was intent on delivering a great show. By this time, everyone on the floor is dancing like mad. I couldn’t help but do so too. It was then that I really noticed a lot of gals dancing it up and one approached me. She noticed my camera and explained that she would had taken photos but didn’t know if cameras were allowed in. Something about this girl seems a little familiar and later in conversation I found out that she was Pam TERROR (of CT Rollerderby)! This evening couldn’t had gotten more perfect. - www.ctrollerderby.com - www.aliceinchains.com - William Herck

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Guided By Voices @ The Wiltern Los Angeles, California

A rowdy crowd, an exalted entrance and a wall-of-sound take on, “A Salty Salute,” began Guided By Voices reunion show in Los Angeles. At the song’s end, the repeated line, “the club is open,” became a celebratory chant with the audience screaming in ecstatic fervor. It was a good opening. Before the first note chimed out the evening already felt like a victory lap for the boys. This is the “classic” lineup of Guided By Voices including Robert Pollard (who could have just as easily spent the evening writing three new albums instead of playing three, or four, from the mid nineties), Tobin Sprout with the voice (and name) of an Elvin angel, Mitch Mitchell on guitars, perpetual cigarette smoking and Pete Townshend-esque arm flailing, Kevin Fennell on minimal basement style drums (propulsive, cymbal heavy and without needless fills or bravado) and Greg Demos, clad in a leather getup and oversized white shirt most likely from the discount bin in the rock cliché fashion depot, on bass. These are Ohio’s unlikely lads who came to survey the scene that, in part belongs to them. Like Neil Young in the 90’s strutting around with his feed backing guitars looking at Soundgarden, Pearl Jam and grunge music in general, GBV can cast their gaze at anyone from the Strokes to Best Coast and know that some of the tracks that those trains chug along have been laid with care by Pollard and company. Guided By Voices have always been wrapped in their own myth: prolific songwriting with a drunken garage band ethos that marries experimentation with a classic, Beatles-forged blueprint towards song structure. The songs could be clever, fast, slow, melodic or strange but (for better or worse) they never felt like the band tried too hard. Or could focus on them

for over three minutes. This is exactly how the concert was. Every song is a shot from the hip, possibly written in the time it took to record it—they are beyond calculation and instead come off like pure instinct, free associative seeds carelessly tossed into the soil to see what sprouts. Sometimes very beautiful things sprout. Many consider Bee Thousand and the GBV albums of the same era to be of the magical crop of weirdly successful and durable songs. This show was for these people. The playing wasn’t expert, Pollard didn’t exactly hit every note (live or on recording) but the beautiful thing about GBV is that they stacked the deck so artfully that they literally could do no wrong. They never were after gloss or precision, just a few chords and a catchy melody. The cacophony of the distorted guitars sometimes swallowed Pollard’s vocals. Fans kept jumping on stage to hug Pollard, dance or take a shot from his tequila bottle and band mates sometimes seemed more eager to flirt with girls or do Guitar Hero poses than to play the songs accurately but this all just seemed like part of the fun of the evening. When the band connected like with, “Tractor Rape Chain,” “Don’t Stop Now,” and “Johnny Appleseed,” the effects were electric. Even for those who don’t understand GBV, upon hearing gems like these, conversion is likely. I shared most of the audience’s view (from what I could tell) that when Pollard gave up vocal duties to Tobin Sprout, things reached the next level. “Awful Bliss,” and, “14 Cheerleader Coldfront,” are masterpieces whose lyrics and melody cut through to something eternal and beautiful, and all the while don’t really make any sense at all. www.gbv.com - Jeff Hassay

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Cloud Nothings @ Glasslands Brooklyn, New York

Sunday, Sept. 5th at Glasslands Gallery in Williamsburg, Brooklyn Cloud Nothings was playing, preceded by La Big Vic, Slow Animal and Psychobuildings. Slow Animal played second of the night, mesmerizing the crowd with surf-y guitar riffs and spastic yet melodic punk tunes. A trio from New Jersey, Slow Animal’s washed out vocals, mellow and layered, danced their way over plundering yet dynamic drums, creating a dizzying effect. Their sound was winding and refreshing with sick guitar lines and doubled up singing and the energy the projected off the stage was that of three friends playing music they love and having the best time doing it. Psychobuildings made one’s head hurt, but perhaps some folks like that. Having heard some hype but not knowing why, I was pretty shocked to see a man with long hair in a ridiculous Native American style jump suit just dancing like a maniac to buttons he may have pushed at some point in time. There was a bassist playing some sweet bass lines, but it was pretty overshadowed by the ridiculous dance-y beats being forced into our eardrums. Needless to say, I was relieved when it was finally time for Cloud Nothings, the project of 19-year old Dylan Baldi. Though he plays with a band live, the songs are all written by Baldi; some have been released in the form of a 7” and one EP. Baldi shows a sense of maturity and cleverness in his song-writing style, drawing from influences of straight up rock and roll, punk, and indie rock but really putting his heart into the quality of sound. Having been a huge fan of the album, I was expecting to hear just that. I had the recordings of the songs engrained in my head and when the band started to play a song I wasn’t familiar with I balked for a moment. Instantly though, my heart, as well as the rest of the crowd, was won over as Baldi proved that not only is he a talented as hell, but he knows how to perform. I was pleasantly surprised that the live versions of songs like “Hey Cool Kid” and “Can’t Stay Awake” were rushed and washed out, some verses were held longer than I was familiar with, the melodies changed a November 2010

tiny bit. Each variation seemed proof that Baldi knows exactly what he’s doing. Playing new songs, a couple album releases and some lesser known songs, Baldi gave the audience exactly what they needed to be reassured that he is not just a great songwriter who knows how to record an album. His vocals were wailing and the guitars were blisteringly surrounding in their controlled chaos. The drums trudged and clattered playfully through the melodies, and the bass carried the songs in the most subtle, manipulative manner. Cloud Nothings’ playing live breaths a different life into the songs and gives them a more malleable form than those recordings. The band was spot on, giving Baldi the instrumental support he needed to be able to deviate from the recording versions and really make every song unique to this show. Cloud Nothings will be releasing his full-length Turning On, a compilation of his EP and the 7” on October 25th. Keep an eye out. www.myspace.com/cloudnothings - Lauren Piper 67


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en Son Forgotatm Bautista by Abrah

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Me Rebukeolocio by Luis C

rong. oing it w d m I’ e Tell m rong. oing it w For I’m d eak. w For I am ou rebuke me y n e ng But wh ade stro g. m e b on I will tr s orld is for this w evil, ith Strong w with hatred. g n o t there and str harks ou s re a re The bait. out there and I’m ee good s u o y n So whe sitate. don’t he waits, a Darkness s awaits s e oh darkn you. e y o tr e its plac to des ness tak . d o d writo g t So le poets an re you e m o th b r t o fo n ice riters fro and let it e as a vo d established w as created rv : e . s is u , o th y w n y ie w w a d ss Rev But kno to emplo presente eboy Pre omputer omeboy is ready e, The H sh both under-re classes, the Hom c in d z n a a g That evil a n desig publi lum rary m b u to e te ic li g by new w rr m s , u it h g c ru s d in publi in blish ss an eboy’s as a fo u rt ll p m re a e o P p d w H y o n o s -t a in b a k Home program typesetting, des for global literary dustries, a writing meboy In m ing ers of Ho globe. Begun as ter skills, includ en, creative foru u e p p o th m n d o a c n te arou orary t s to crea contemp ish” Trou stries.org as well a , ts to teach n e boy-indu - Mark “F li e c t. m s is o it rt .h a to w d ww graphics shed writers an t: http:// bli check ou e s a le and esta p info For more

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PAUL MINIGIELLO What are three things most people just can’t live without? Cupcakes seem to be one of them...art and pets, mainly dogs, come in a close second and third. Artist Paul Minigiello has developed a niche market for himself by creating pet portraits of your beloved non-human child by channeling artists like surrealist master Salvadori Dali and queen of the self-portrait, Frida Kahlo. Minigiello creates for pet owners a custom, “surreal” portrait of their beloved. With a photo of chosen pet, he then collaborates with owner with settings and classic artists and in my opinion, this is way better than the oodles of digital photos that end up being “tweeted.” Besides, why not hang something magnificent on your walls instead? The investment would be so well worth it. Dig This Real caught up with Minigiello. Here’s what he had to say: Dig This Real: Where did you study and for how long? Paul Minigiello: I started to paint in high school. I’ve tried other media, but I prefer to work in oils. I studied art at Montclair State University and School of Visual Arts in New York. What brought you to doing pet portraits? I did a painting of my own dog years ago and that started me on the road to doing pet portraits. Do you choose the themed-artist or is this something both parties decide on? The portraits are generally a collaboration between myself and the client. We choose the photo of the pet and what environment they will be painted in. My portraits have been well received by all who have seen them. Who is your personal favorite artist? I have a few artists that have influenced me. Dali, Magritte, De Chirico. Surrealism has always fascinated me. The self portraits of Frida Kahlo have had a big influence on me in recent years.

Any shows or exhibits? I had a painting shown in a gallery in New York with the Society of Illustrators. I also did a portrait for the deejay Maria Malito on Q104FM. What are some favorite bands or music? I love all kinds of music, from classical to rock. Recent artists include Calexico, Vienna Tang and Portishead. Dali would eventually make films. How about you? I love films, but I don’t see myself making movies. Although I’ve always thought of writing my biography someday. If you weren’t painting, what would you to be doing? Something with music. I play the piano and I write songs, But I’ve never done anything with it. Stop by www.paulpaints.com. - edie 70

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Cheap Jack’s has been a New York Institution for decades, offering only the best of vintage wear. But after taking a full, private tour with owners Jack and Mona, that statement may only paint half the picture of what you will actually find within the walls of this NYC shop. What hangs on the walls or takes up space on the numerous clothing racks (which are separated by year) are pieces of history, showcasing the many trends and the very numerous influences that today’s fashion designers come to peck at. The two full floors offer enough to cover every customer’s needs whether it be a high school-er looking for something unique to wear to prom, revealers looking for a great Halloween get up, the FIT grad hitting up Fashion Week to the music producer attending the Grammys. If you are new to the space, give yourself a couple of hours. And that’s if (or not) you are a serious vintage collector.

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Jack first operated a dry cleaning business in the 1970s and stated that this is where the very first seedlings of Cheap Jack’s sprouted from. By 1975, he would open a shop to the public in a very small space originally on First Avenue in Manhattan and soon after, he would move to a larger location on Broadway between 13th and 14th Street. This is where the store would remain for 25 years and gain worldwide attention and tons of indy momentum before its next move to where Cheap Jack’s is now located on 5th Avenue and 31st Street. This location boosts two floors, covering 12,000 square feet and is a magnificent trip in time in itself, as Mona demonstrated a wall covered with petticoats and military jackets. According to Jack, it was the 1980s dance craze that extended a huge interest in second hand clothing. Mona was quick to also clear out some confusion about what vintage really means as opposed to second hand clothing. “Vintage can now spread into the 1980s. It’s usually a 20 year marker. And no, ‘vintage’ does not mean, ‘wholesale or consignment.’ Cheap Jack’s offers clothing in perfect condition. We do everything in house to maintain each piece we sell including pressing, cleaning and alterations. People do come in here hoping to sell off old clothes. This doesn’t reflect anything we are selling here. Older, used clothing does not always mean vintage. Sometimes, it’s just that. Used, old clothing.” The more I talked with Mona, the more I couldn’t believe that she was very much aware of every single piece of clothing in the store (and there must be thousands upon thousands here). She also educated me on the, “ethnical value of vintage as opposed to whatever trend is being followed at the time,” because the fashion industry has changed so much over time, including the way some clothing is mass produced. Mona also stated that she sees lots of fashion wanna-be designers (side by side with fashion stylists) poking around the racks because they find inspiration here and as she puts it, “Cheap Jack’s does not offer cookie cutter fashion.” To prove her point, she showed Dig This Real some pieces from the turn of the century as well as a breathtaking dress worn by a dancer in the New York Follies in the 1920s. Just touching the heavy silk, covered in glass beads depicting a proud peacock was enough to have me shutter. “This was a piece of history for that period,” she added before Jack folded up the swingy festive dress carefully in order to place it back in storage. As the dress disappeared as fast as it appeared to me, I felt I was at a museum exhibit. Mona is an historian of sorts as she steered us toward a collection of jackets known as Seabee Jackets. These jackets were hand sewn for the many sweethearts that were waiting for their US Navy Seabees to return from duty. But despite that she is keen on every stitch in the place, she has a sure eye for detail, style and fashion, which she demonstrated between customers, a model getting ready for this photography shoot, a stylist and my questions and inquiries. “It’s my job to have people leave here with something that is going to look good on them. I see a lot of people trying to purchase stuff that just won’t work. There are a lot of elements about vintage clothing and this is one of them. The sizing is much different than what people are used to or familiar with. And I always tell the truth.” As I rummaged through a pile of snazzy clutches, I asked Mona what her thoughts were on the clutch craze. She said, “Clutches are useless! I am a hands on person, so these are not going to do me much good! I always need my both hands to be free at all times.” Truth be told, Cheap Jack’s has one amazing selection of vintage clutches! Despite that Cheap Jack’s is a fashion landmark and could be considered the high brow of vintage shopping, while I was digging, I stumbled upon some expressive art; a man’s jacket to be precise. It was a Holston from some 20 years ago but this jacket was altered, screaming a much more pop cultured look. I questioned Jack about this and upon further inspection the Holston was apparently spray painted and lightly deconstructed. “I did that,” Jack informed me. When asked why would he do this to a Holston (!?!?!) he said, “I was bored.” In purchasing this jacket, you could now truly say you own a piece of wearable art. A 72

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short distance from where I found this jacket I spent some time on a rack of colorful, mainly long sleeved shirts for men, some, looking more like paint by number canvases. And don’t even get me started on the demin collection here! Don’t. All in all, Dig This Real had a wonderful time traveling down fashion’s memory lane with Mona and Jack. The staff was incredibly helpful and engaging as well. In ending, I couldn’t help but think - when turning on your television on any given day or time, you will most likely see something about the Fashion Industry. It seems that almost everyone is trying to break into the Fashion Industry, be it stylist, designer, PR magnet, fashion blogger or editor. Fashion has become so mainstream that it’s very own exposure (be it a reality show or a fake knock off ) has saturated the actual art of what style is, sadly in gross proportions. Luckily for us, Cheap Jack’s is here to sew things up to its proper, correct perceptive.

Cheap Jack’s

303 5th Avenue @31st Street New York, NY 10016 Monday - Saturday 11 - 8pm Sunday 12 -7 www.cheapjacks.com - edie

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The creator of Angry Violist zine just so happened to include a copy of, How To Make A Mini-Zine All of Your Own. Printed double-sided on 8-1/2x11 xerox paper with a prominent split in the middle of the paper (in order to fold it into the size of around 2-1/2 x 4); brings a smile to my DIY riddled face. All you need is one piece of 8-1/2x11 xerox paper and you’re good to go. Oh, and, “a brain with which to write, aside a pair of scissors.”

Get snapping. For more information check out http://angryviolist.web.officelive.com - edie

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5 1 n a m Fresh

Ahh college! Independence! Parties! No parents to tell you what to do. You get to eat all the junk food you want! You do who you want, what you want, when you want!

Of course there is studying and classes. As for nutrition, there is nothing but pizza, burgers, fries and beer to stuff your face with for miles!! And then there are the never-ending hours of sitting around in class. All of this contributes to that growing spare tire around your waist that makes pimples look desirable and the attractive opposite sex look like some faraway dream. Fear not! There is hope for your rapidly engorging…. education… Putting on a few pounds may not seem so serious at first and may not even be that noticeable. But, honestly, the effect that this sudden change in lifestyle can have on your body is more drastic than you might imagine. As well, as the obvious physical transformation, there are also many emotional and mental blocks and decline that come along for the ride: fatigue, depression, lack of focus (which can lower your grades – yes, waste money on school), lowered sex drive, much less stamina and bad sex. The logical answer that everyone has is: eating less and exercising more. And, mostly, I’d agree with that and tell you to the do the same. But the fact of the matter is that, eating less pizza, less french fries and drinking less beer is not just unreasonable, but also ridiculous. Why? Well, answering as a former, “fatty-aholic,” myself, “I couldn’t get enough man!!!” I was addicted. Besides that, it didn’t change the fact that I was STILL eating pizza, STILL eating french fries, STILL eating lots of unnecessary cholesterol and junk that, at the time, was making me fat, asthmatic, sick and disgusted with myself! Eating less wasn’t the answer, I needed to replace it with something else!

Arm Yourself with Knowledge

It’s time to learn a new way of handling your eating habits that allows you room to learn and to see immediate results. A Naturopathic Doctor in Connecticut named Dr. Peter D’Adamo created a meal plan that works on everyone, because it is designed specifically for each person’s individual needs – it is based off of your bloodtype, genetics and more, depending on what you want to accomplish. According to Dr. D’Adamo foods are either beneficial (genetically healing), neutral, or a food to avoid (genetically damaging). At first, this may seem overwhelming and complicated, but really in 20 years, it is the simplest eating program I have ever done. His books are easily written and the meal programs are easy to follow, even when your options on food are limited. Start with Dr. D’Adamo’s first book Eat Right 4 Your Type. His website is full of useful information as well at www.dadamo.com. Imagine if you could go and eat simple foods that correct your metabolism; you can still party and not get fat – for many people it will be as simple as drinking red wine or tequila instead of beer, for others there will be other options to choose from; eating that burger without the bun may save you some inflammation and digestion problems later. A very useful page on Dr. D’Adamo’s website is http:// www.dadamo.com/typebase4/typeindexer.htm, where you can find a list of each food and how it will interact with your bloodtype. But even looking at this page will require you do some reading of his books, which are easily available on amazon. com. Bloodtype testing kits and information on how to get all of the genetic information can be found on his website, are very reasonably priced and easily performed at home.

Really, the only way to battle this issue is to arm yourself with knowledge about food and LOTS of knowledge about your body and the way that it functions. A common trap that most people fall into is listening to advice, ads or information that is half-assed and that they themselves have not taken the time to understand. For example, “whole grain wheat is good for you, you should eat it,” or, “avoid carbs,” or, “corn syrup is from a vegetable, it’s good for you…..” Ok, seriously, don’t believe any of that crap. If any of that was true, then why am I even writing this article...why are you reading it??? Pizza’s main ingredient is wheat, the main sweetener in soda is corn syrup and avoiding carbs is like trying to avoid the rays of the sun. No one rule fits all! Besides that, some people can eat carbs and wheat and still become healthy, while the rest of us must avoid it like the plague! November 2010

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Exercise

Of course, exercise is still important. Most people think “exercise” and instantly get overwhelmed, because they are thinking, “how do I get rid of all this extra weight?!” Don’t focus on the weight, think more of how you will speed your metabolism up so much that your body will naturally just get rid of the weight. I see weight loss as a journey and the first thing to deal with is how to break the journey down into small parts to look at that will make it less overwhelming in the long haul. Look at the individual steps, versus climbing the mountain. Here are a few exercise tips you can try out: -Instead of doing an hour or two hour long run, try doing a 30 minute run in the morning and a 30 – 45 minute run again in the evening. -Instead of getting an hour of exercise in the gym, pick an exercise in the morning and do sets of it throughout the day randomly. A set of 20 pushups, 50 squats, or 60 lunges may only take you 5 minutes and can be done throughout the day without getting in the way. Drop and give me 20!! Then get back to your business! The focus is to create lots of small energy demands throughout the day that your body MUST compensate for by maintaining a higher energy burn throughout the day. This way, your body’s energy systems are not really given a chance to go back down and stay down, they are kept awake throughout the day. Four sets of 50 squats in one day is 200 squats. A set of 50 squats may only burn off 70 – 100 calories at the moment, but doing that every few hours will tell your body to maintain a higher overall energy demand throughout the day; help build more muscle; and be able to raise your overall daily energy burn. If you can raise your body’s ability to burn calories even only .25 additional calories per minute will become an extra 400

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calories by the end of the day that you didn’t need to spend an hour in the gym working for. This isn’t counting the energy demand/time that you spent actually doing the squats or performing your exercise of choice. This is a really simple example, but, you really could be looking at an extra thousand calories that you burn by the end of the day just by this simple practice.

In-Losing

So, there you have it, a few simple things you can add to your life that will not only help you have a better grades and a better time in college, but will also last you a lifetime. For more tips on how to sexy-up your body, check out my blog at http://desdepass.wordpress.com. In the meantime, keep your priorities straight… Sexy over tasty! - Des DePass

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Grae J. Wall and the Jailbirds are one of the best new Country bands in the U.K., mixing the punk energy and dynamics of bands like The Clash and The Ramones with the Country swagger of Johnny Cash. Dig this Real’s Mark Christopher Lee caught up with them backstage at a recent gig. Mark Christopher Lee: What would you like in your backstage rider when gigging? Grae J. Wall: Well, good veggie food for sure and ideally not always pizza. Whilst two of us drink alcohol – Guinness and Bourbon being preferable – I’d actually say that decent coffee is almost more important. Dave (Morgan, drums) is an addict for sure and I’m pretty close. Having said that I rarely state a rider when we’re on the continent and it’s generally a nice surprise to see what we get. Germany is great for local beers, schnapps and edibles, so it’s best to let the locals decide! Decent riders in the U.K. are so rare and it does annoy me. Dave: So do we get a rider then? As long as mangoes, blue smarties and crack cocaine are involved I’ll be a happy man. Ruth Tidmarsh (bass): Well I don’t think they’ll serve us chilled Champagne

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so….Beer. Beer. Beer, beer, beer…..and a black coffee. What are you thoughts on the possibility of extra-terrestrial life? Grae: I like the idea. There must be something somewhere, though I doubt they’re green with TV ariels on their heads, though that’d be cool! Ruth: I’m Planetruth, living proof that we exist. Dave: I’m not sure about that, I think that it’s more likely this is the only place where life exists, but there are infinite parallel universes existing at the same time that get created when a decision is made to do, or not do something. What is your favorite tune for jamming in the studio? Grae: I never jam, though I’ll sometimes just start an interpretation of something in the charts and see how far we get. We did about 30 seconds worth of, “Pokerface,” by Lady Ga Ga the other day! Ruth: I like the kind of tune that starts with a random made up riff and

then evolves into something totally different, though it’s hard sometimes to know when to stop and start another one. Dave: Likewise I never jam on a tune, I just make up new ones that other people try to jam along to in the studio. What is your favorite album ever? Grae: It changes all the time, but if I had to say one (and I know this is kinda cheating) it would be the New York Dolls double album (both the studio albums) I don’t think I’ve gone a month without playing something from this in 31 years and it still makes me grin like an idiot! Ruth: Exile on Coldharbour Lane, by the Alabama 3. I love the production and the disturbingly dark irreverence. It never fails to cheer me up. Sometimes I even think about dancing! Dave: Older stuff maybe Can’s Ege Bamyasi, or newer stuff like Nick Cave’s, Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!! Do you have any pre-gig rituals? If so what are they?

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Grae: Personally it’s two beers, two cigarettes and I like to walk the stage at soundcheck. I also often hum, “I feel Alright,” (The Stooges) to myself. Ruth: Toilet, eyeliner, eyeshadow, mascara, lip gloss, hair….. oh and tuning my bass about three times just to check. Dave: No, every gig is different, so it makes me behave differently. Gram Parsons or Johnny Cash? Grae: Oh my god! That is so impossible! I could rabbit on for hours here. Obviously Johnny has left the larger legacy simply by virtue of longevity and without Johnny you have nothing, but the tantalising beauty of what Gram left is also so inspirational. I picked up the Flying Burrito Brothers double live album recently and the real gem on there is the version of, “$1000 Wedding,” just alone at a piano round someone’s place. The fragility is just heartbreaking. Ruth: I think I’ve heard more Grae J. songs than Parsons or Cash songs so er...whatever he said… Dave: That’s a nasty question! I think it does have to be Gram as he was a big influence on starting the Rockingbirds with Alan, but we were listening to the old time stuff as well, although Johnny did make American IV and his version of, “Hurt,” is fantastic (help I can’t stop going round and round!!). Dylan – hero or traitor? Grae: I never bought in to the traitor thing but then I’ve always liked electric guitars! Blonde on Blonde and Desire are faultless. Ruth: Pioneer. Dave: Oh hero! He’s a fantastic poet with excellent taste and was amusing us with his Theme Time Radio Hour on tour and will do it again I feel. A cool dude. Why do you create music? Grae: I genuinely need to and there’s been salvation at times in having this outlet. It’s a bit like being possessed. You just have to let the voices out – even when they’re a bit scary. I guess that may sound odd in relation to performing murder ballads, but I think understanding our darker sides and the potential inhumanity that lurks within helps us keep a check on that stuff. Ruth: Music is the most effective way I’ve found of communicating soul-to-soul with other human beings. Dave: I think that’s the only reason for living and it’s been the driving force behind me for all of my life and influenced all my decisions, plus I was a music therapist for seven years and saw the healing power of music on some very disturbed people. 78

When you look up to the Divine Throne of Rock whose posterior do you see sat on it ? Grae: The closest to divinity has to be either Johnny Cash or Jacques Brel, but all those that have most inspired me have that fatally human flaw and demons flying around, from Hank Williams, Leadbelly and The Louvin Brothers through to Johnny Thunders, Richard Hell and Patti Smith. There’s a lot of crossroads out there. There’s always a big fight on it and Iggy Pop, Mick Jagger, Jimi Hendrix and Joey Ramone are always knocking each other off it. Who are your favorite authors? Grae: I’m not a great reader, but for Rock ‘n’ Roll it has to be Danny Sugerman and for philosophy it would be Hunter S. Thompson. I love Kerouac, Chaucer and I love reading poetry, anything really from Kipling to Rod McKuen. Ruth: Isaac Asimov, H.E. Bates and C.S. Lewis. At the moment I’m working my way through a series of old Victorian novels by an author called Winston Churchill. Dave: I tend to read a lot of technical, historical, or medical stuff, but Herman Melville, Henry Miller, and Spike Milligan spring to mind. What is your favorite film? Grae: Switches between The Third Man, Taxi Driver and It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World, which are more similar than you might at first think! I miss the demise of the Sunday afternoon black and white sofa flick. Ruth: Carry On Camping. When I was a kid we only had caravan holidays, so our parents took us to the cinema to see it! Dave: Wings Of Desire, A Matter Of Life And Death, Moby Dick, Forbidden Planet, Day The Earth Stood Still, Bullitt, Being John Malkovich, Don’t Look Now and now I have to stop. Have you ever seen the film Spinal Tap? Grae: Funny enough we were wearing wigs round at Dave’s the other day and I looked bizzare-ly like Nigel (Tufnel, lead guitarist), so we started quoting as you do, still a gigglefest. Ruth: God know who many times I’ve seen that film and can never believe how well observed it is and how close it comes to some of my own personal experiences? If so what is your own favorite “Tap” moment that you’ve experienced whilst in a band? Grae: I’ve played some big gigs with some tiny amps, but possibly an ex-drummer who counted in 1-2-3-4 before disappearing off the back of the stage. Or the radio interview in Dig This Real


France with The Sindys when we introduced ourselves in French, “my name’s Grae, I play guitar and sing,” “my name’s Dez, I play bass and sing,” “my name’s Kev, I am the drumkit.” Ruth: I used to play in a Country band where we lost count of the number of drummers. One used to wait until I opened my mouth to start a slow ballad then shout, ‘ROCK-N-ROLL.’ Another that I’d never met turned round and smiled at the start of a song, complete with implanted fangs. I could go on. Dave: Why are we fixating on drummers? We could all die from bizarre gardening accidents or explode on stage. Do you have any band rules? If so what are they? Grae: No cheese! Ruth: No wigs. Dave: No Fear. On a scale of 1 to 11, how loud are your gigs? Grae: Volume wise around 4 but my shirts have been known to reach 11. Dave: It’s still early days for us but it is around the 4 mark and wouldn’t want it to get to 11, but can feel a shirt competition coming on. What’s the weirdest gig you’ve ever played? Grae: Again with The Sindys, we played a cazy golf course in Normandy that got raided by the cops and closed down after a few songs. Ruth: I think possibly it was a Masonic ‘Ladies Night’ with a Country band: The chief mason’s wife was supposed to get up with the band and sing, “I Fall To Pieces.” For some reason she chose the song before to admit to her husband that she’d slept with our guitarist and she was

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leaving him! Instead of coming to the stage when announced she ran out. I then got shoved to the front of the stage and told to sing, “God Save The Queen.” They all stood up and looked at me and the rest of the band disappeared off the back of the stage. I managed to get most of the first verse right but realized they were expecting all the verses. I think it’s the musician equivalent of having your skirt tucked into your knickers. Dave: I played a gig in Sicily with The Weather Prophets at a big car park in Palermo and was flown out a few days before the gig and looked after really well then played the gig to about a 1000 people. Unfortunately it was all for a Mafia hit as a guy got his knees blown off and then covered in petrol and set fire to in the audience. Good gig though. What do you drink on stage? Grae: Beers of various kinds. In Germany I’ve had the situation where people kept bringing schnapps and insisting they were drunk immediately – dangerous! Ruth: Anything but neat spirits. Dave: Usually a J2O. What do you think about while on stage? Grae: I sometimes like to try and work out what those nearest the stage are thinking by looking in to their eyes. Every now and then you see one who is patently thinking, ‘I do not get this band at all.’ Ruth: Normally just the music is enough to think about. And if it’s going great, how lucky I am to be doing it. Dave: Oh, yeah! Just the music. I’m totally focused on doing a good performance with everything I do. What’s the strangest thing you’ve

ever taken on stage during a gig? Grae: With The Trailer Trash Orchestra we regularly take stuff on, my own favorite being a green, illuminated skull. Ruth: The other Jailbirds. Dave: Acid, supporting Camper Van Beethoven once and the drums turned into rubber and started changing shape. What’s the best part of being in a band? Grae: I decided many years ago that I would never work in a band with anyone unless I really liked them. The upshot of which is that you get to create cool stuff, have funny experiences and travel to weird and wonderful places with people you love. Ruth: Aaaah... I second that…..and also free beer. Dave: Sharing a vision of how the songs should be performed and realizing that on stage, then getting off your head. What’s your favorite piece of musical kit? Grae: I recently bought a Gretsch Travel Guitar which is very neat, but I guess my Hofner Committee is my most treasured axe. Ruth: Definitely my maple through neck Washburn bass. I was in a band with it even before I started playing. Also a blue metallic jack lead that Dave gave me. Dave: It has to be my Gretsch Rosewood kit that I’ve played on most of the records I’ve made, but I have got a Roland V drum kit that is catching up with it. Will the world be saved? Grae: Eventually it will go, but hopefully that’ll be a long way off yet. Ruth: Matter isn’t supposed to be created or destroyed. But I do think that

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the world will crash and ‘re-boot’ itself at some point, without its human ‘screensavers.’ Dave: I think it’s supposed to stop on December 21 2012, so no. Simpsons, South Park or Scooby Doo? Grae: My daughter is a huge Scooby Doo fan but for me it went pear shaped with the introduction of Scrappy. I’ve introduced her to Top Cat and Hong Kong Phooey too but we do love The Simpsons. Ruth: South Park! I have it all on DVD though I do have to be in a certain frame of mind to watch it. Dave: Can’t I have Family Guy instead ? Have you ever been to Belgium? Grae: Yes, I was there recently and a guy took me to a bar that he thought I might get a gig at. We got bought a number of bourbons and beers and the proprietor produced an acoustic and asked me to play. The next day I woke up and thought, “Damn, I can’t remember the address of that bar.” Six days later I found a business card in my pocket from the place on which the boss had simply written, “GIG?” Ruth: I went to Antwerp play at a friend’s wedding. It was a beautiful laid-back place but on the way back, I came out of the loo on the Eurotunnel train to find everyone had been evacuated to the back of the train and not told me. It was like a bad sci-fi moment at first as people had just left all their stuff and evaporated! Dave: Yeah, went to Brussels and had Steak Tartare for

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breakfast, only to be shocked to see that it was cold mince meat on toast. Why? Why go to Belgium? Grae: Jacques Brel and Tintin are two of my favorite things in the world. The beer isn’t bad either. Dave: I was playing at The Ancienne Belgique. Waffles or frittern? Grae: Waffles with maple syrup and chantilly! Dave: Waffles? I know he does. Olives or chips? Grae: Frites with mayo. Ruth: Chips oh yessssss!!! Dave: Big, fat, juicy olives, please. What’s next for you guys? Grae: More murder ballads and graveyard blues. I guess we’ll have to get our heads round itunes or revert to pressing up 78’s. Dave: Finishing printing the cds to take to Germany and to our next gig over here! What do you want your musical legacy to be? Grae: We carried the torch for a while and spat a bit of petrol on it every now and then. Dave: They took what was made before, added some of their own and forged a new link in the musical chain. Check out Grae J Wall and the Jailbirds @ http://www.myspace. com/graejwall

Dig This Real


by Evan Bleier Georgia gave herself one last look in the bathroom mirror and prepared to go back outside, an overblown smile already planted on her face. She had left her pocketbook, with her makeup inside, locked in the trunk of her car so she had been unable to do any touch ups, but that was alright. She looked good and she knew it. After all, it was a part of her job. Rich older men were much more likely to buy a house from a perky, attractive realtor than a frigid, dumpy looking one. It was just common sense. Georgia knew that sometimes she had to sell herself just as much as she had to push the properties she presided over. If she could keep her clients’ focus on her figure rather than on their concerns with shaky foundations or faulty wiring, she had a better chance of driving home with a commission check at the end of the day. That was why her dress was cut just a little too low today. Everything she did was geared towards securing her commission and she wasn’t ashamed to admit it, at least to herself. Today was no different. On this particular Thursday afternoon, Georgia was holding an open house at one of her more upscale listings. Originally built in the 1920’s, the large brownstone had been renovated in such a way that it had all the modern conveniences but still retained much of its original aesthetic. Located on Pacific Street, a quiet and scenic block, this house was a prime piece of Brooklyn real estate…. and it had a Jacuzzi. Georgia wanted to get the place sold, and take her cut, before the owner, Dave, had a change of heart or switched to another agency. This open house was the first step.

With Dave’s help, Georgia has set up quite a spread for the prospective buyers to munch on while they poked around the house. Stuffed mushrooms, devils on horseback, cold cuts, an assortment of cheeses and a variety of pickles, the Brooklyn touch, were stylishly arranged on Dave’s kitchen table next to a couple of decent bottles of wine and a centerpiece from the local florist. The idea was to present the house as a luxury dwelling and her hope was that the food would set the tone, with the wine acting as the insurance policy. With the open house set to begin momentarily, Georgia went over the major selling points with Dave one last time. Good and safe location with schools nearby, access to numerous subway lines and the LIRR, marble countertops in the kitchen, two full bathrooms, and of course, the Jacuzzi. Dave was a nice man but he could be quite absent minded at times and Georgia didn’t want him screwing anything up. If she had her way, he wouldn’t even have been there at all but he had insisted. This was the house he had raised his family in and he wanted to make sure it was going to wind up in the hands of people who would take care of it. This was one of the reasons Georgia felt the need to get the place off the market as quickly as possible; she was afraid of Dave backing out. Sitting with him in the living room and wishing he wasn’t there, Georgia asked what time it was. Dave pulled out his gold pocket watch, a retirement gift she assumed, and squinted at it. 6:01. Georgia was standing up to re-check her hair one last time when the doorbell rang. Thinking of what 6 percent of the 1.5 million asking price would work out to, she squared her shoulders and turned towards the front door. Show time.

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It was about an hour in and things were going well. Everyone seemed impressed with the house, the wine was flowing, and Dave had been doing a pretty good job touting the selling points that he and Georgia had rehearsed. There were more than 40 names in the guestbook and at least 20 of them were still milling around. A few couples were tucked away in corners, whispering back and forth, always a good sign. Confident that an offer would get made, maybe even before the open house was over, Georgia felt she deserved a taste of the wine that she had bought. She walked over to the table and, bending down lower than she needed to, poured herself a glass, remembering to smile at any husband that glanced her way. She was much more attractive than any of their wives, and probably most of their mistresses, plus she had done a great job with the spread and the wine. No doubt about, the house was getting sold. Picturing her commission check, Gloria stood up and raised the glass to her lips. Before she could take a sip, there was a scream from the front room. In seconds, the kitchen was full of everyone that had been congregated in the living room and elsewhere. The cause of this appeared to be a masked figure holding a pillow case and a large, black handgun. Georgia could tell by the eyes and the shoulders that it was a man. He began quickly circling the room, holding the pillow case out towards whoever was closest to him, gesturing with his hand (and his gun) that people should empty the contents of their pockets into the case. Stopping in front of a woman who was adorned in some particularly flashy jewelry, he made it clear he wanted that too. She complied.

After that first initial scream, the house had been amazingly quiet. The presence of the gun had subdued everyone and there was no resistance to the masked man and his ever inflating pillow case. There was something about the way that he moved, the efficiency with which he worked, that left little doubt as to whether he would use the gun. Georgia noticed the way that his eyes never stopped moving, checking and evaluating, not dissimilar to the way that she always made a point to meet the eyes of her potential male customers. She didn’t have much time to reflect on this: He was in front of her. Georgia was scared. Her purse was locked in her trunk, all her valuables inside. The only piece of jewelry she had on was a cheap necklace that looked good but was made with cubic zirconias. She put that in the case and then turned out her pockets, showing the man she had nothing else. Like leaves from a tree, a few of her business cards fell out and fluttered to the floor. Not realizing what they were, the man gestured to Georgia that she should pick them up and put them in the bag which, hands shaking, she did. The man grabbed the last unopened bottle of wine off the table and moved on to his next victim. Within minutes, he was gone. It was a few weeks after the open house fiasco and Georgia was sitting in her office. Dave’s deadline for selling the house was fast approaching and all of the confidence that she had been flowing through her at the open house was completely gone. Advertising people will tell you that any publicity is good publicity but the open house robbery, and the 15 minutes of fame that it had created, had done little to get the house sold. Georgia hadn’t received a single offer since that Thursday night. Georgia was about to start scouring the internet for a new listing to replace the Pacific Street house when there was a knock on her door. A man walked in and sat down at the desk across from her. She leaned forward and put on her biggest smile, cursing herself for being so overdressed. Luckily for her, it didn’t matter. The man was interested in the brownstone. The man, Nick, said he had been at the open house and hadn’t stop thinking about it for the past 2 weeks. He told her he had been looking in the paper every day for an announcement regarding a sale of the house and each day, when there wasn’t one, he breathed a sigh of relief. Enough was enough. He wanted to buy and had the down payment in hand, cash. Georgia couldn’t believe her good fortune and that confident feeling she had been experiencing 2 weeks ago came rushing back. She immediately called Dave and told him the situation. He gave her the go ahead to get started with the paperwork, no longer concerned with who was purchasing his house as long as it was sold. Nick, checked the time on his gold pocket watch, and leaned back in his chair. Georgia thought briefly about calling the police, then thought about the gun, and then finally her commission. She started the paperwork, thinking of what 6 percent of what 1.5 million would be. Her next necklace wouldn’t have to be covered in cubic zirconias.

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Dig This Real


Dig This Real / Issue 16  

Dig This Real's very first digital issue!