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2225 WEST MAIN ST. RICHMOND, VA. 23220 804-359-6996

...URBAN CIVILIZATION

KATRA GALA


VCU DESIGN CENTER, QUIRK GALLERY HOST:

S H R I N K A G E W O R LD W I D E AWA R D S March 26th-April 26th

Design Center/VCU Depar tment of Gr aphic D e s i g n , p a i r i n g w i t h Q u i r k G a l l e r y, w i l l e x h i b i t t h e p o s t e r s f r o m t h e S h a h n e s h i n Fo u n d a t i o n’ s 2 0 0 7 S h r i n k a g e Wo r l d w i d e A w a r d s . E x h i b i t i o n dates are March 26th to April 26th at Quirk G a l l e r y, 3 1 1 W. B r o a d S t r e e t , R i c h m o n d , VA . T h e o p e n i n g r e c e p t i o n w i l l t a k e p l a c e o n F r i d a y, March 28th from 6pm - 10pm. This reception is being held in conjunction with the Southern Graphics Council Command Print Conference. The exhibit features 23 poster s from designer s around the world who interpret the concept of “shrinkage”. This project calls upon communities to reassess their daily thoughts, attitudes and decisions that contribute to ideas o f s o c i a l r e s p o n s i b i l i t y a n d s u s t a i n a b i l i t y. T he Shahneshin Foundation, located in Zuric h, Switzerland, is an international nonprofit organization through which the “shrinkage” project was developed. The organization digitally distributes the winning poster s from the competition, which are then printed and distributed in galleries that wish to par ticipate. T he Shahneshin Foundation, as an international organization, is attempting 10

to bring together academics, practitioner s, theoreticians, and students in a diver se ar r ay of disciplines including ar t and design in dialogue-based for ums. Their priority is to bring attention to cur rent invisible and future problems through social activism and design, responsible practices of thought and decision, a n d c i t i z e n s h i p. Names of Ar tists: F r a n c o i s R é a u , J a c o b P e e l , S h a n n o n Z a n d y, A n t o n L e g o o , F r a n c e s c o Va l e n t e - G o r j u p, G a b r i e l F a i n , B o r i s L j u b i c i c , S h e i k h a B i n D h a h e r, D a v e L e e , K a t i e P e a r s o n , F. E m e l A r d a m a n , Z e y n e p Aygen, Ali Can Metin, Arianna Calle g ar o, Luca Mazza, Fr ederik Nilsson, Pallop Henpr ser ttae, Kitchai Jitkhajor nwanich, Andrea Wilkinson, F. E m e l A r d a m a n , Z e y n e p A y g e n , A l i C a n M e t i n , J a y S t o u g h t e n g e r, Va l é r i e Vo y e r, A l a i n a Prokopchuk, Mona Seddiqi, M. Emran Hossain, Lucilla Fazio, John Malinoski, ZER O-UNDIC , C a t e r i n a M a u r, P a o l o R e m o g n a , M a r c o G a l l o , D a v i d G a r d e n e r, D i a n a H a w a t m e h , a n d R a m i Bishara. Q u i r k , l o c a t e d a t 3 1 1 W. B r o a d S t r e e t , i s open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. t o 5 p. m . o r b y a p p o i n t m e n t . P l e a s e v i s i t o u r w e b s i t e a t w w w. q u i r k g a l l e r y. c o m f o r d e t a i l s and related links.


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DECONSTRU CT I N G

DA L E K Inter vie w by Ed Tr ask

James Mar shall (aka Dalek) has a cer tain way of painting that is unmistakable. Walking through the woods by my house in the great East End, you come up on a trail that takes you under a small train bridge, and there in all its glor y is an old Dalek piece. The edges and composition are still shar p, clean color s smar tly chosen, and the image is comic, organic, and somehow really familiar. Watching an ar tist find a cer tain style, perfecting that style, redirecting it, manipulating it, and taking it to ever y aspect of production can be an exciting thing to see. Dalek has taken full control of his ar t and has shown his wor k throughout the wor ld. He has designed endless products from shoes, cameras, skate decks, toys, and books and wor ked for and with ar t greats such as Takashi Murakami, Twist, Giant, Sub, K aws, and Sheppard Fairey. Dalek is a fine example of what can happen when a diver se ar tist takes in ever y cultural aspect of hip-hop, skate, graffiti, and comic ar t culture and illuminates it all for us to see.


E d Tr a s k : I f I h a d t o c a s t a l a b e l o n y o u , w h a t w o u l d y o u l i k e t h a t l a b e l t o b e ? Yo u h a v e s u c h a full r ange of diver se ar tistic projects under your b e l t t h a t s i m p l y c a l l i n g y o u a p a i n t e r d o e s n’ t s e e m right. Is this what the wor ld of a moder n painter has become? D a l e k : I ’ m n o t o n e f o r l a b e l s r e a l l y. I t g e t s t o o complicated. I guess the closest descriptive ter m w o u l d b e d e s i g n e r. T h a t ’ s r e a l l y t h e c o m m o n t h r e a d b e t w e e n e v e r y t h i n g — f o r m e a n y h o w. T h e r e are cer tainly more and more painter s that come from design backgrounds or illustrative backgrounds. It’s all a big amalgamated pile. T: A t o n e p o i n t y o u w e r e p h o t o g r a p h i n g g r a f f i t i and meeting a lot of writer s. Who wer e some of your biggest influences, ear ly on, when you dec i d e d t o s t a r t p r o d u c i n g a r t f o r y o u r s e l f, a n d w h a t differ ences wer e you finding between that wor ld, and the wor ld of ar t academia? D: Photogr aphing gr affiti was definitely what led m e i n t o c o n s i d e r i n g p a i n t i n g m o r e s e r i o u s l y. I had dr awn a fair amount as a kid, but moving to Richmond in 1988 and meeting folks like you and S h a u n W h o l e y, T i m W i l s o n , J e f f E d e n — t h a t ’ s r e a l l y what initially spar ked me to paint and take ar t histor y classes and such. Then it was a year or t w o l a t e r, m e e t i n g f o l k s l i k e T i m B a r r y, t h a t I g o t more of an itch for the gr af scene. And then not long after that, I moved to Chicago where it was


f o n d n e s s f o r t h e R i c h m o n d a n d VC U p o l i c e depar tments? Did you have a favorite place to paint?

really in full force, and that’s really what dialed me in. The biggest influences on me, when I actually sor t of wanted to make the move from doing walls and bringing that style to canv as, wer e f o l k s l i k e S h e p a r d Fa i r e y, R i c h J a c o b s , S u b, K a w s , Giant, Bar r y McGee was a huge influence...Mar k G o n z a l e s . . . E d Te m p l e t o n . T h a t w o r l d — w h a t e v e r you want to call it—was far superior to the wor ld of academia. I had a few year s under my belt of wor king things out on my own when I decided to go back to school and “lear n” painting in a more academic situation. It was good in cer tain ways, 14

although in the end the constr aints of that envir o n m e n t , t h e p o l i t i c s o f i t , t h e b u l l s h i t o f t h e o r y, and other useless crap that tries to make ar t so i n t e l l e c t u a l w a s l o s t o n m e . I j u s t c o u l d n’ t w r a p my head around most of it. Not long into that stint, fate raised its head and directed me on the p a t h t o N e w Yo r k , w h i c h w a s t h e b e s t a r t e d u c a tion I could have ever gotten—in the tr enches. T: H o w d i d R i c h m o n d i n f l u e n c e y o u r a r t , a n d i s conser vative Richmond a good breeding ground for successful ar tists? Do you have a war m fuzzy

D: Oh the inevitable question. Here is the thing about Richmond. It’s a tr ue love/hate r e l a t i o n s h i p. I m e t l o t s o f g r e a t f o l k s t h e r e , had plenty of good times, plenty of memories that I’ ll look back on fondly for as long as memor y ser ves me. But at the same time, that town has bad juju. There is just something about it that keeps it buried. I think there are a lot of really talented people who l i v e t h e r e , i n a l l a r e n a s . I d o n’ t t h i n k t h e a r t establishment there is as open and suppor tive as it should be. It lacks any real dynamic t o h e l p a r t i s t s t h r i v e , i n m y o p i n i o n a n y h o w. Richmond influenced how I got into ar t, and how I ended up moving to Chicago which fueled the next stage and on and on. Its role is cr ucial, as is ever y role or stage in a journ e y. Fo r g o o d , b a d , o r i n d i f f e r e n t , a l l t h i n g s a d d e d u p g e t y o u w h e r e y o u a r e . I w o u l d n’ t tr ade my year s there for anything and I know that it’ ll always be ther e—the safest safety net ther e is. The police in Richmond are plenty fine. There are dickheads in ever y police force. They ar e just about as you would expect from any overwor ked, under paid per son that has to d e a l w i t h s h i t h e a d s a n d s c u m b a g s a l l d a y.


T h e VC U p o l i c e — I h a d a n i c e r u n i n w i t h t h e m o n c e . A c o m e d y r o u t i n e i s how I would best describe them. Tr a i n l i n e s w e r e t h e b e s t p l a c e t o p a i n t . I n e v e r p a i n t e d a t o n i n R i c h mond...here and there. T: S o r r y ! I h a d t o a s k t h e R i c h m o n d q u e s t i o n . D: No wor ries. I knew it would have to be in ther e, and to be honest, the dynamic in Richmond is one of the most puzzling mysteries to me. There is so much great stuff there, but yet the city just seems to wallow in purgator y—ver y bizar re. I remember hearing about the Indian cur se the fir st semester I was there, and believe it or not, it seems to be the only answer t o t h e c o n s t a n t m i s m a n a g e m e n t o f t h a t c i t y. I m e a n , l o o k a t t h a t l o c a t i o n : r i g h t o n 9 5 a n d 6 4 , g o o d w e a t h e r, g r e a t h i s t o r y, a n d g r e a t a r c h i t e c t u r e . Ever ything about it indicates that it should be a thriving mega-hub of p r o s p e r i t y. B u t y e t , d o w n t o w n i s s t i l l b o a r d e d u p f o r t h e m o s t p a r t . T: A s a k i d I r o d e a s k a t e b o a r d b e f o r e I r o d e a b i k e . M y f i r s t b o a r d w a s a Logan Ear th Ski (I’m old) and was painted, stickered, drawn on and made m y o w n . A r t a n d s k a t i n g j u s t k i n d o f b l e n d e d t o g e t h e r. D o y o u f e e l t h e same way? Do you feel your wor k belongs in the kind of cultur al powerh o u s e a m a l g a m a t i o n o f s k a t e , s u r f, h i p - h o p, o u t s i d e r, c a r t o o n a n d g r a f f i t i ar t that has been commercially exploding over the year s? D : Ye a h , I w a s o n a s k a t e b o a r d p r e t t y e a r l y o n . I d i d n’ t g e t i n t o i t s e r i ously until I was about in the 8th gr ade, maybe 9th. T he fir st r eal board I owned was a Zor lac Big Boys with Indy 215s. And yeah, Pushead and o t h e r s k a t e p u n k a r t i s t s w e r e w h a t g o t m e i n t o w a n t i n g t o d r a w. A l l t h o s e under ground cultur es sor t of r an hand in hand at that point. If you wer e i n t o o n e , c h a n c e s a r e y o u w e r e b u r i e d i n a l l . I d o n’ t k n o w w h e r e m y w o r k b e l o n g s p e r s a y. I t c e r t a i n l y c o m e s o u t o f t h o s e c u l t u r e s a l t h o u g h i t ’ s

i n f o r m e d by s o m a n y t h i n g s . I j u s t d o n’ t k n o w. . . T: W h a t w o u l d b e s e l l i n g o u t i n y o u r e y e s , a n d d o y o u r e c e i v e s h i t f r o m younger ar tists concer ning this? Because let’s face it, for ever y successful ar tist, band, writer and musician, ther e is a younger cr ew that equates your success with selling out. D: My opinion on this has been pretty much the same for year s, and it’s funny to see how it continues from gener ation to gener ation. Selling out i s a t e r m m a d e u p by w h i n e y b a b i e s t h a t a r e u p s e t w i t h t h e f a c t t h a t something they hold special and have so closely per sonalized has now become the proper ty of a larger audience. And now that kid who used to hide in these cultures to avoid mainstream folks that taunted or rejected them have to share their special thing with those same people. It’s some P s y c h o l o g y 1 0 1 t y p e s h i t . . . I w i l l s a y t h o u g h . I d o n’ t h e a r t o o m a n y p e o p l e s h o u t i n g i t a n y m o r e . I d o n’ t h e a r i t a t a l l t o b e h o n e s t . Pe o p l e g o t t a d o what’s best for them, what makes sense for what they want to accomplish. Yo u j u s t c a n’ t w o r r y a b o u t w h a t c e r t a i n i n d i v i d u a l s o r g r o u p s t h i n k . I t ’ l l get you all off tr ack. T: L a t e l y, I ’ v e b e e n h i r i n g o u t C h r i s M i l k t o d o i n i t i a l f i l l - i n s , p r e p s t u f f, and projecting shit and have not only lear ned a lot from having another ar tist in the studio BUT I’ve been so much more productive. It still seems kind of weird though. D: It is nice to have people wor k on filling things in, I agree. It leaves mor e time to actually wor k on ideas. Sometimes, getting bogged down in the labor of that takes away from the drive, especially if you ar e painting i n a f l a t g r a p h i c s t y l e t h a t d o e s n’ t r e q u i r e a n y e x t r a s k i l l s t o s a y b l e n d o r a n y o f t h a t f a n c y s t u f f. I a l w a y s r e f e r t o m y p a i n t i n g s a s a d v a n c e d p a i n t - by - n u m b e r s . T h a t ’ s a l l t h e y r e a l l y a r e i n s o m e w a y s . M a y b e I s h o u l d mar ket some kits.

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T: I n t h e w o r l d o f Ta k a s h i M u r a k a mi—whom you wor ked for in a kind of factor y environment—the per sonality of the br ush stroke is gone. This kind of super flat plastic wor ld develops and the wor k becomes void of the actual hand, even though the painting was painstakingly wor ked and rewor ked. How has this approach influenced you, and do you think your ear lier days of finding spr ay can control was a precur sor to this style? D: I’d definitely say ther e ar e a lot of similarities between how I lear ned to paint walls and a superflat style. The guys I lear ned graf from taught me to paint things as if they were sticker gr aphics: flat color s and shar p edges, so it tr ansfer r ed r eal easy over to canv as. T: W i t h M u r a k a m i ’ s p a i n t i n g s , t h e r e seems to be a kind of implication a s t o w h a t t h e N e w Yo r k a n d J a p a nese ar t scenes have been and h a v e b e c o m e . N o w, w i t h M u r a k a m i ’ s wor k selling for millions, what impact will he have on the moder nity of ar t and its historically destr uctive self ? 16


D : I h a v e t o p l e a d i g n o r a n c e o n t h i s o n e , E d . I j u s t d o n’ t k n o w. T: Yo u k n o w, I t h i n k I j u s t a d d e d t h a t q u e s t i o n t o m a k e t h i s inter view seem mor e v alid in the eyes of your typical Ar t In A m e r i c a r e a d e r. I ’ m n o t r e a l l y s u r e w h y. I t d o e s n’ t n e e d t o b e so complicated. D : Ye a h . I k n o w t h e a r t w o r l d l i k e s t o m a k e t h i n g s a s d e e p a n d i n t e l l e c t u a l a s p o s s i b l e . A n d t h a t ’ s n o t t o s a y i t c a n’ t c o m e f r o m that place. I think ar t’s ability to communicate simple and complex ideas in a multitude of ways is what makes it so special to our wor ld. Ar t has the ability to move past bar rier s and create lar ger under standings of the human condition. When you star t tr ying to elitize it—put all this heavy bullshit around it—it just kills it, I think. I mean, it’s obviously a business plan, and a fine one in many ways, but I think we have to be car eful—especially i n i n s t i t u t i o n s — n o t t o o v e r - e x p l a i n a r t a n d a r t t h e o r y. T: W h e n I w a s i n t h e p a i n t i n g d e p a r t m e n t , VC U s e e m e d t o s e p a r ate the depar tments and an almost str ange stigma took over w h e r e i f y o u w e r e a p a i n t e r, y o u f r o w n e d u p o n t h e i l l u s t r a t o r o r the graphic ar tist or the fashion designer or even the sculpture student. It just seems, in the reality of it all, to be a successful ar tist you need a r elationship with all these fields. D: It’s just odd that the ar t wor ld always sor t of shunned illustr ator s. It’s such an amazing skill, and I have always been far m o r e i m p r e s s e d by p e o p l e ’ s a b i l i t y t o d r a w. T h e r e i s s o m u c h r ange when you open up to all for ms of things—to even look at patter ns, interior design, dr ess making, car design, engine design, and on and on. It’s limitless what things can infor m ar t and are and should be considered ar t in their own. 17


I t i s f u n t o w o r k o n t h i n g s o u t s i d e o f a c a n v a s . To d e s i g n a pair of shoes or a toy causes you to think in differ ent manner s. It opens up ideas that might not have come about otherwise. A toy is just a mini-sculptur e. It’s a gr eat way to make t h a t t r a n s i t i o n . I l o o k a t g u y s l i k e To m O t t e r n e s s . H i s s t u f f i s great like that. That installation in the L station on 14th and 8th is unreal and then the stuff down at Batter y Par k... T: I h a v e a f o n d n e s s f o r B a r r y M c G e e b u t I m u s t a d m i t t o h a v ing huge admir ation for his amazing, late, gr eat wife M. Killg a l l e n’ s w o r k a n d h e r l i f e s t y l e . D i d y o u e v e r g e t a c h a n c e t o meet her? This is a good quote of her s I’ ve saved in reference to having a dual life in production of public and galler y ar t: “I want to say one mor e thing about the community ar t. I guess the reason I’m interested in doing community-related things i s t h a t I f e e l t h a t t h e m o r e a n d m o r e w o r k I d o i n a g a l l e r y, i t is r eally easy to get separ ated from people. As an ar tist, you want to be able to sell your wor k and you want to be able to live off your wor k, and the wor ld that involves ar t buying and selling is a ver y closed wor ld. And sometimes you for get about the other wor ld around you. Doing community ar t sor t of keeps you in touch with wher e you’ r e from, wher e I’m from.” She had such a wonderful way of br eaking down an image to what it essentially had to be, and kind of flattening ever ything i n t o a n a l m o s t g i a n t p r e s s o r s o m e t h i n g. H e r m o n i k e r s w e r e b e a u t i f u l a n d t h e y h a d a w o n d e r f u l f l o w, k i n d o f l i k e C o n r a i l T w i t t y ’ s s t u f f. D i d y o u e v e r m e e t C o n r a i l T w i t t y ? A p r e t t y a w e some Richmond ar tist for whom myself and a lot of people will d e a r l y, d e a r l y m i s s . 18


D: I Met Margaret once or twice, but I never really talked to h e r o r a n y t h i n g. I l o v e h e r a r t w o r k . I t h i n k i t ’ s a m a z i n g a n d it’s a huge par t of how Bar r y’s style developed. I mean, he was always super talented, but it was when he met her that he took a more folky approach to his wor k and nipped the g r a f e d g e . I r e m e m b e r s e e i n g h i s s t u f f a r o u n d S a n Fr a n c i s c o in ‘95 or so and went to a couple ear ly shows of his, and t h e y w e r e c e r t a i n l y g r e a t , b u t by t h e t i m e o f h i s f i r s t s h o w a t Deitch he was onto a whole other level. I definitely want to get to a point where I can teach a bit and do community ar t projects. I do think it’s impor tant to r each out and bring ar t to public for ums, to wor k with people, and to hopefully expose to them and share with them. I d o n’ t t h i n k I e v e r m e t C o n r a i l T w i t t y. T: Yo u h a v e t a k e n s o m e w o n d e r f u l l e a p s i n t r y i n g t o e x p a n d , change, mor ph and almost divorce your self from the space m o n k e y. D o y o u f e e l t h i s h a s b e e n s u c c e s s f u l a n d w h e r e d o you go next? D : T h a n k y o u , s i r. T h e r e s p o n s e h a s c e r t a i n l y b e e n g o o d a n d it’s liberating to move into other things as opposed to painti n g t h e s a m e c h a r a c t e r r e p e a t e d l y. S o y e a h , I g u e s s I ’ d c a l l i t a s u c c e s s f u l t r a n s i t i o n s o f a r. I d o n’ t r e a l l y k n o w w h e r e i t goes next. These past tr ansitions have just sor t of happened w h e n t h e y w e r e r e a d y t o h a p p e n . H o p e f u l l y, t h i s w i l l c o n t i n u e t o b e t h e c a s e . H o p e f u l l y, a s t h i n g s c o n t i n u e t o g r o w a n d change in life, the wor k will change in unknown ways. Go check out more of Dalek’s work at www.dalekart.com. Just don’t ingest any hallucinogenic substances before you do or you might just go bonkers...or want to make art.

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POPPING THE CLUTCH A n

I n t e r v i e w

by Ja me s Way la nd

w i t h

N e i l

Fa l l o n

I m a ge by B r andon Pec k

Clutch has been one of the most unique bands to grace the heavy scene s i n c e t h e i r i n c e p t i o n n e a r l y t w e n t y y e a r s a g o. T h e y h a v e c o n t i n u e d t o evolve as their output has baffled critics and studio execs looking to label their original sound. During that time, they’ ve given us an assor tment of ter rific albums and songs, including the treasure chest that is Elephant Rider s, the iconic stoner jam “Spacegrass”, and their most recent offeri n g , Fr o m B e a l e S t r e e t t o O b l i v i o n . T h i s n e w e s t r e c o r d i n g h a s r e c e i v e d r ave reviews, and some publications, such as Metal Hammer, have gone so far as to call it “the best album the group has ever produced.” On March 21, Clutch will bring their rollicking brand of sonic aggression to T he National. T hose of you who have seen the band live will undoubte d l y b e o n h a n d i f a t a l l p o s s i b l e , b u t i f y o u h a v e n’ t s e e n t h i s u n r u l y jugger naut at wor k, you should make sur e you scor e a ticket. T his show promises to be a vibrant celebration of beloved hits and per sonal favori t e s t h a t e v e r y o n e w i l l b e t a l k i n g a b o u t a f t e r w a r d . R e c e n t l y, I s a t d o w n w i t h l e a d s i n g e r N e i l Fa l l o n t o t a l k a b o u t h o w t h e b a n d p r e p a r e s f o r s u c h a gig, and we also discussed the band’s body of wor k, their cr eative process, and their relationship with the guys from Jackass and their future plans. Read on for a peek inside the inner wor kings of one of moder n rock’s most powerful acts, cour tesy of one of metal’s most ver satile vocalists.

J a m e s Wa y l a n d : F i r s t o f f, N e i l , o n t h e b e h a l f o f R VA M a g a z i n e , I ’ d l i k e t o t h a n k y o u f o r t a k i n g t i m e o u t o f y o u r s c h e d u l e t o t a l k t o m e t o d a y. O b viously we’ ll be talking a lot about Clutch and the music you make, but b e f o r e w e g e t i n t o t h a t , l e t ’ s s t e p o u t s i d e t h e b ox f o r a m o m e n t . M a y b e you’d like to talk about what you’ r e doing when you’ r e not making music. N e i l Fa l l o n : We l l , t h a t ’ s p r e t t y r a r e . Yo u k n o w, u s u a l l y, I k i n d o f s i t a r o u n d at home. Like right now I’m at home for a few weeks, I got a few weeks l e f t . I ’ m a l w a y s w o r k i n g o n m u s i c i n o n e f o r m o r a n o t h e r. O t h e r t h a n t h a t , I k i n d o f e n j o y j u s t b e i n g a h o m e b o d y, j u s t k i n d o f s t u d y i n g t h e d o m e s t i c sciences as it were. J W: S o I a s s u m e i t w o u l d b e f a i r t o s a y t h a t t h e w o r k i s t h e p l a y f o r N e i l Fa l l o n . N F : Ye a h , I g u e s s I ’ m i n a l u c k y p l a c e . I m e a n , I d o n’ t m i n d . A c t u a l l y i t ’ s n o t t h a t I d o n’ t m i n d , i t ’ s j u s t t h a t e v e n w h e n I ’ m n o t o n t o u r, I l o o k forward to going down to the basement and writing music. Even if it ends up in the garbage the next day – it’s not like it’s digging ditches, you know? J W: R i g h t . A s i d e f r o m t h e m u s i c y o u ’ r e m a k i n g , w h a t a r e y o u l i s t e n i n g t o these days? N F : We l l , l e t ’ s s e e . I ’ v e b e e n l i s t e n i n g t o s o m e J o h n Fa h e y. A f r i e n d o f m i n e t u r n e d m e o n t o a b a n d c a l l e d T h e E l v e s S h e l v e s Fa i r. T h e y ’ r e k i n d of associated with the Deltones and Sugar man Three, kind of instr ument a l R & B . I ’ v e b e e n l i s t e n i n g t o a h i p - h o p a r t i s t c a l l e d M r. L i f, b u t t h e n ther e’ r e all the standards, the blues stuff I’ ve always been listening to that I always r etur n to as a fail-safe.

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J W: A r e y o u a f a n o f t h e c i n e m a ? A r e t h e r e a n y movies you’ ve seen lately that you would r ecommend to someone else? N F : We l l , I w e n t t o s e e N o C o u n t r y f o r O l d M e n , w h i c h I t h o u g h t w a s a w e s o m e , b e c a u s e i t d i d n’ t h a v e a v e r y h a p py e n d i n g , a n d I a l w a y s a p p r e c i ate that in a movie. Just for shits and giggles, I w o u l d r e c o m m e n d P l a n e t Te r r o r , w h i c h , w h e n I saw the previews for it, I thought it looked terribly stupid, but I wish I had gone to see it in theatres, because it’s an amazing bit of film. J W: I w o u l d c o m p l e t e l y a g r e e . I t h i n k D e a t h Proof may have been a better movie, but Planet Te r r o r w a s f a r m o r e e n t e r t a i n i n g. N F : Ye a h , P l a n e t Te r r o r w a s e n t e r t a i n i n g o n a lot of differ ent levels. J W: We l l , a s f a r a s C l u t c h i s c o n c e r n e d , I t h i n k the band is 17 year s old now if I’m cor rect. NF: Uh, something like that, yeah. J W: A n d I b e l i e v e y o u ’ v e p r o d u c e d e i g h t f u l l length studio albums. N F : Ye p, I t h i n k s o. I d o n’ t h a v e t h e s t a t s o n hand, but that sounds about right. J W: We l l , i t ’ s d e f i n i t e l y d i f f i c u l t t o c l a s s i f y y o u r 24

sound. While doing some research online I came across the following descriptions on various sites: we’ ve got “stoner rock”, “blues rock”, “hardcore punk”, “funk metal”, “post gr unge”, “alter native gener al”, which I guess is somehow different from standard alter native, and “rock fusion”, among other s. What do you make of these attempts to label your wor k?

"...... the minute you stop learning, that's basically when you're getting ready to die." NF: I like to hear that. It makes me feel like w e ’ r e d o i n g o u r j o b. E v e r y t h i n g ’ s s u b j e c t i v e , o f cour se, and I would r ather it be that way than t o s a y, “ T h e y a r e t h i s a n d n o t h i n g e l s e . ” I t h i n k that’s why we’ ve been able to do it as long as we h a v e ; b e c a u s e I d o n’ t t h i n k w e e v e r r e a l l y h a d a preconceived notion of what this band is or what this band is not. It’s just four guys who like to m a k e m u s i c w i t h e a c h o t h e r, a n d w h a t e v e r t h a t music happens to be or evoke, that’s what it is. We j u s t k i n d o f f o l l o w o u r i n s t i n c t s . J W: Ta l k t o u s a l i t t l e a b o u t t h e i n n e r w o r k i n g s

of the band. Are there roles and schedules that have become routine, or is it still a lear ning process after all this time? NF: Oh, it’s always a lear ning process. I think the minute you stop lear ning, that’s basically when you’ r e getting r eady to die. I mean ther e’s obvious things like lear ning to play your i n s t r u m e n t b e t t e r, b u t y o u ’ r e a l w a y s s t i l l l e a r n ing about new music out there that will influence y o u . T h e r e ’ s a l w a y s r o o m f o r i m p r o v e m e n t . We tour a lot, and touring can become monotonous, but if you look hard enough ther e’s always something to lear n out there. J W: D o y o u g u y s h a v e t o p l a c e a n e m p h a s i s o n creating new music or is that just something that comes natur ally? NF: I think there are two modes that we wor k in. There’s the mode when we’re suppor ting a record and we are writing new music, but that’s maybe not as intense as when we’ r e focusing on a new record. When that happens – and that will happen for us probably within the next six m o n t h s – by t h a t t i m e , w e w i l l h a v e a c c u m u l a t e d a dozen or so rough ideas. Maybe only two or three of those ideas are wor th a damn, but then w e g e t i n t o t h e s t u d i o – w e l l n o t t h e s t u d i o, but Jean-Paul’s basement, which is a studio of sor ts. I kind of like the deadline; I like the in-


tensity of it, because if you have all the time in the wor ld, sometimes you suffer from a lack of proper motivation. J W: T h e l a s t f e w a l b u m s h a v e s e e n a n o t a b l e a d dition – here I’m speaking of Mick Schauer on the organ – and I think I’ ve noticed a palpable s h i f t t o w a r d t h e b l u e s . Ta l k a b o u t h o w t h i s h a s changed the band and the progress it has allowed you to achieve so far as the music you make is concer ned. N F : We l l , I t h i n k t h a t a s f a r a s t h e b l u e s e l e ment is concer ned, that just sor t of happened i n c i d e n t a l l y. E r i c O b l a n d e r w a s p l a y i n g h a r monica on the record, which, of cour se, is kind o f b l u e s y, a n d t h e r e ’ r e a c o u p l e o f s o n g s t h a t were written more in that style. The Hammond B3 is always associated with soul, R&B and the b l u e s . O n c e a g a i n , w e d i d n’ t r e a l l y t h i n k a b o u t i t , i t ’ s j u s t w h a t h a p p e n e d . I d o n’ t t h i n k a n y o f u s e i t h e r t h e n o r n o w s a i d , “ O k a y, w e ’ r e m o v i n g in a blues dir ection.” It’s just a for ay into a different vibe, I guess, and where we’ ll go after that remains to be seen. J W: Yo u m e n t i o n e d E r i c , a n d I r e a l l y t h o u g h t h e a d d e d a l o t t o “ E l e c t r i c Wo r r y ” , a n d w h e n I t o o k i n a s h o w a t t h e 9 : 3 0 C l u b i n D. C . , h e w a s t e r r i f i c on stage as well. Do you think he may find his way into the mix again?

N F : I b e l i e v e s o, b u t i t ’ s h a r d t o s a y. T h i s n e x t tour that we’ r e doing, for v arious r easons, it’s just going to be the four of us, meaning JeanP a u l , m y s e l f, T i m a n d D a n . A t t i m e s i t w a s g e t ting to be a little more than we could handle, and I think we wanted to focus on the nuts and b o l t s . We w a n t e d t o s t r i p i t d o w n a n d t h e n s t a r t adding things again, just to give the whole thing an overhaul. J W: A l o t f a n s – a n d I ’ m n o t n e c e s s a r i l y i n a g r e e ment here – but a lot of fans felt that with some of those additions, the sound had become a l i t t l e s o f t e r. D o y o u t h i n k s t r i p p i n g t h o s e t h i n g s away indicates a r etur n to a harder sound?

"The minute you start saying, "The fans want this, we should do that," well then you cease to be a rock band. You're just a commodity."

NF: Nah. I mean, maybe it does, and maybe it d o e s n’ t . I t ’ s n o t a n e f f o r t t o. I a l w a y s t h o u g h t it was hokey when a band said they were going t o r e t u r n t o t h e i r r o o t s . To m e , t h a t ’ s l i k e s a y i n g , “ We ’ r e j u s t g o i n g t o g o d o w n t h e b e a t e n p a t h , b e c a u s e t h e o n e w e ’ r e o n i s n’ t v e r y l u -

c r a t i v e . ” Fo r u s , i t ’ s j u s t a m a t t e r o f g a i n i n g a point of r efer ence. I guess maybe the best analogy I can make is that sometimes if you add t o o m a n y i n g r e d i e n t s t o t h e p o t , y o u c a n’ t r e ally taste what the hell is going on. That’s not t o s a y t h o s e t h i n g s w o n’ t e v e r h a p p e n a g a i n , I c e r t a i n l y h o p e t h e y d o, b u t s o m e t i m e s t h e r e a r e cer tain points in time wher e you just have to s t o p a n d c h e c k y o u r s e l f. J W: I t h i n k y o u m a k e a g r e a t p o i n t . S o m u c h happens to a band when they achieve success that I think it’s fair to say that when a band says they’re “going back to their roots,” that would probably require a time machine. N F : Ye a h , I m e a n e v e r y b o d y ’ s d i f f e r e n t . E v e r y body ages. Musicians ar e no differ ent. I think the whole “going back to your roots” thing is an admission of gr ave defeat in some r egards. I think if you want to be a healthy ar tist you have to keep moving forward and be willing to accept failure as par t of moving forward; and out o f t h a t f a i l u r e y o u c a n l e a r n . I m e a n , i t c a n’ t always be roses. I think it’s mor e impor tant and more honor able to take a risk and fail than to just kind of r ehash something you’ ve done in the past that wor ked. T he minute you star t saying, “The fans want this, we should do that,” well t h e n y o u c e a s e t o b e a r o c k b a n d . Yo u ’ r e j u s t a c o m m o d i t y. Yo u ’ r e a m a r k e t f o r c e . 25


J W: Yo u m e n t i o n e d e a r l i e r t h a t a r t i s s u b j e c tive, which is cer tainly the case, although s o m e t i m e s a r t i s t s d o n’ t w a n t t o a c k n o w l e d g e that. Since that means the ar tist creates the music and the audience responds to it in t h e i r o w n u n i q u e w a y, w h a t t y p e o f a r e a c t i o n ar e you striving for? NF: I think the biggest compliment that anyone can offer is to say that your music or show influenced their music, because in that, y o u g e t a s o r t o f c r e a t i v e i m m o r t a l i t y. Yo u sor t of add your cr eative influence to the p o t . A s f a r a s s h o w s g o, y o u k n o w, i t ’ s b e e n a long time since anyone in the band was really interested in seeing a crowd beat the c r a p o u t o f e a c h o t h e r. T h a t ’ s j u s t o l d a n d tired. I think for us, I’d r ather people just be satisfied in knowing that they had witnessed s o m e t h i n g u n i q u e t h a t d i d n’ t o c c u r i n t h e p a s t a n d w o n’ t o c c u r i n t h e f u t u r e . J W: N e i l , w o u l d y o u r a t h e r h a v e t h o s e f a n s be instantly gr atified with something smooth and palatable, or do you pr efer to challenge them, forcing them to take a step back and digest what they’ ve heard? NF: Both. I think if I’m going to see a band, I d o n’ t w a n t t h e b a n d t o b e s e l f - i n d u l g e n t and just play new material because they feel 26

t h e y h a v e t o. I m e a n , I w a n t t o h e a r m u s i c t h a t I ’ m f a m i l i a r w i t h m y s e l f. T h a t ’ s p a r t o f t h e e n t e r t a i n m e n t v a l u e . A t t h e s a m e t i m e , I d o n’ t w a n t t h e b a n d t o j u s t go through the motions. So I think you have to strike a balance between those two elements. J W: C l u t c h h a s a g r e a t r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h t h e i r f a n s . I n c i d e n t a l l y, s o f a r a s I c a n t e l l y o u g u y s s o m e t i m e s d o more than a hundred shows in a year’s time. How much of an impact does your r elentless schedule have on your ability to maintain that connection with the audience? N F : I t h i n k t h a t i s t h e c o n n e c t i o n , r e a l l y. I m e a n , t h e I n t e r n e t , y o u k n o w, M y S p a c e a n d w e b s i t e s , t h a t ’ s a l l well and good, but it’s really fake. I think it’s a good way to spr ead infor mation, to get infor mation out t h e r e , b u t t o a c t u a l l y h a v e s o m e k i n d o f r e l a t i o n s h i p, it’s a false for um. The most honest thing is to be in per son, face to face, sincer ely playing, and the crowd i s s i n c e r e l y e n j o y i n g t h e m s e l v e s – h o p e f u l l y. T h a t ’ s really the kind of the mar riage between the musician and the audience. I mean, that’s as old as the hills; that goes way beyond videos and r ecords and albums. Live perfor mance is the hear t and soul of it all. J W: O n y o u r l a t e s t a l b u m , Fr o m B e a l e S t r e e t t o O b l i v i on, you wor ked with producer Joe Bar r esi, who has also wor ked with two of my per sonal favorites, The Melvins a n d To o l . W h a t w a s t h a t l i k e , a n d d o y o u t h i n k h e m a y be on board for the next album?

NF: I cer tainly hope he is. He just bought his own studio out in Califor nia. I think he did an awesome job capturing a kind of real honest rendition of what the band sounds like live. Plus, half the battle with wor king with a producer for a prolonged period of time is p e r s o n a l i t y, a n d w e g o t o n g r e a t w i t h J o e . He’s r eally easygoing and it was actually fun to be in the studio for once. In the past it’s b e e n a d r a g. We d o n’ t r e a l l y e n j o y i t , I d o n’ t think, but that time around we did. J W: I ’ m g l a d y o u p o i n t e d i t o u t , b e c a u s e I w a s going to reference how amazed I was at how live the album sounded. I think maybe going back to The Stooges and Funhouse, that’s the only other album I can think of that rea l l y c a p t u r e d t h e l i v e s o u n d l i k e Fr o m B e a l e Street to Oblivion. N F : T h a n k s , t h a t ’ s g o o d t o h e a r. I t h i n k a lot of that had to do with the fact that we really wrote the record front to back before w e e v e n g o t t o t h e s t u d i o, a n d w e p l a y e d t h e a l b u m f o r t w o w e e k s o n t h e r o a d . We star ted on the east coast and toured, basically playing the album ever y night. T he fans w e r e n’ t r e a l l y h a p py a b o u t t h a t , b u t s o m e t i m e s t h a t ’ s w h a t y o u h a v e t o d o. T h e n , by the time we rolled into Califor nia two weeks l a t e r, w e w e r e r e a l l y w e l l r e h e a r s e d , a n d w e


d i d n’ t h a v e t o w o r r y a b o u t r e m e m b e r i n g t h e p a r t s . We w e r e a b l e t o c o n c e n t r a t e s o l e l y o n the quality of the perfor mance. J W: N e i l , i n t h e e a r l y 9 0 s w h e n Tr a n s n a t i o n a l Speedway League and the self-titled album launched, the lyrics to me, seemed exaggerated and maybe even car toonish at times. R e c e n t l y, h o w e v e r, t h e r e s e e m t o b e m o r e references to real wor ld issues per taining to gover nment, maybe even r eligion popping up i n y o u r s o n g s . We r e y o u v e i l i n g t h e s e r e f e r ences ear ly on or is this commentar y on pop culture a new development? N F : I d o n’ t k n o w. I m e a n , I ’ m p r o b a b l y t h e last per son you want to ask about my lyrics. It usually takes me a couple of year s to figur e out exactly what it is that I was saying t r u t h f u l l y. I m e a n , I a l w a y s k n o w w h a t m y intentions ar e, but I always approach it as having free license to lie – to write fiction. B a s i c a l l y, I a p p r o a c h i t i n t h e s a m e m a n n e r that someone would write a fictional shor t s t o r y, s o I d o n’ t e v e r w a n t t o h a v e p e o p l e misconstr ue it for setting off opinions too much about r eligion or politics. It’s just that r eligion and politics play such a lar ge role cultur ally that I see them as fodder to be char acter s or subjects for lyrical pur poses, if that makes any sense.

J W: I t d o e s , a n d e v e n t h o u g h y o u j u s t s a i d you’ r e the last per son I should ask about lyrics, I’m going to ask another question in a similar vein. I picked up a “The Devil & Me” t-shir t at the show I went to because that’s probably my favorite tr ack since “Wishbone”. I like the song a lot, because to me it sor t of has a Jim Croce “folk stor y” feel to it, but I’m really curious as to whose per spective it’s written from. NF: T he way I envisioned it, because sometimes I kind of have this movie playing in my mind when I’m tr ying to write lyrics, it’s the devil and God incar nated as two old men on two sides of the street, sitting on stoops just kind of yelling at each other like they’ ve been doing for year s – like sometimes you s e e o l d g u y s d o. S o m e o f t h e v e r s e s a r e from God’s viewpoint – I think the fir st ver se is – and the second ver se is from the devil’s viewpoint, so it goes back and for th between t h e t w o. J W: E x c e l l e n t . I h a d a f e e l i n g a n d I w a s h o p ing you might confir m that for me. Now obvio u s l y, C l u t c h i s a l a b o r o f l o v e f o r y o u , b u t the word “labor” is there for a reason. How hard is it to keep the ball rolling, and how much of a toll does all the effor t you put in take on you? 27


NF: In a spectr um of hard wor k, this is proba b l y a t t h e b o t t o m a s f a r a s j o b s g o. I t ’ s l i k e a n y o t h e r s e l f - e m p l o y e d j o b, t h e r e ’ s f e a s t a n d f a m i n e . Yo u h a v e t o e x e r c i s e s o m e s o r t o f s e l f discipline. No one’s sending you checks in the mail, you’ ve got to go out and wor k for it. T he o l d e r y o u g e t , t h e d e e p e r y o u r r o o t s g o, a n d it’s harder to leave home and go out for weeks sometimes and come back. At the same time, ther e ar e a lot of other jobs wher e you have to leave for months at a time or weeks at a time. Cr eatively speaking, it’s easier to write and wor k when you’ r e always doing that. If you take a sabbatical and then you go back to wor k, it’s not like a faucet that you just tur n back on. J W: D i f f e r e n t b a n d s c a r r y d i f f e r e n t r e p u t a t i o n s , and while ther e ar e sever al notewor thy things that could be said of Clutch, I think the super lative I hear associated with your band most fr equently is “ter rific live act”. How do you feel about the r eputation you’ ve gar ner ed for delivering a great show? NF: I’d r ather have that than anything else. S p e a k i n g f o r m y s e l f, a s a y o u n g g u y, w h a t r e a l l y g o t m e i n t e r e s t e d i n r o c k ‘ n’ r o l l w a s s e e i n g b a n d s p l a y l i v e a n d b l o w m e a w a y. R e c o r d s are great, but the live show is so much more impor tant. I’d r ather have it that way than have p e o p l e s a y, “ O h , t h e y s o u n d e d s o m u c h b e t t e r 28

on the record.” I mean, what a drag that would be. J W: A b s o l u t e l y. I d o n’ t t h i n k t h e r e ’ s a n y t h i n g that can diminish a band’s appeal more than a lousy perfor mance after you’ ve listened to a g r e a t a l b u m . N o w, o n s t a g e , y o u g u y s s e e m r e ally relaxed. There’s a definite lack of “stage per sonas”, as I guess they’re called. Has that always been the case? If you would, talk about why that’s the approach Clutch has elected to take. N F : I g u e s s j u s t b e i n g i n r o c k ‘ n’ r o l l I ’ v e s e e n b o t h s i d e s , y o u k n o w, o f t h e s t a g e . I t s e e m s l i k e a lot of wor k, and it seems like a real hassle to be somebody that you’ r e not. Guys and gir ls who do that tend to take themselves way too s e r i o u s l y. I t h i n k i t s h o u l d b e f u n a n d i f w e h a d done that, this band would have exhausted and k i l l e d i t s e l f y e a r s a n d y e a r s a n d y e a r s a g o. I f y o u ’ r e j u s t y o u r s e l f, t h e n t h e r e ’ s r e a l l y n o e f f o r t , i t j u s t h a p p e n s n a t u r a l l y. J W: We ’ r e t a l k i n g a b o u t l i v e s h o w s , a n d c o n s i d ering the body of wor k you’ ve got to choose from, how difficult is it to nar row that down and come up with a set list? NF: T he way we deal with that is we go through a l p h a b e t i c a l o r d e r. T h e f i r s t n i g h t o f t h e t o u r Dan will write a set list, then the second night

Jean-Paul will write a set list, the third night I’ ll write the set list, and the four th night Tim will write a set list. Then it goes back to Dan, so w e d o n’ t h a v e t o s i t t h e r e a n d t a l k a b o u t i t . We know there are cer tain songs that it goes witho u t s a y i n g t h a t w e ’ r e n o t g o i n g t o p l a y, b e c a u s e w e h a v e n’ t p l a y e d t h e m i n y e a r s . We k n o w t h a t there are cer tain songs that we probably will p l a y, b e c a u s e t h e y w e r e o n t h e l a s t a l b u m o r what have you. J W: Yo u ’ v e g o t a b i g t o u r k i c k i n g o f f o n Fe b r u a r y 2 1 w i t h M u r d e r by D e a t h , M a y l e n e a n d t h e S o n s o f D i s a s t e r, a n d H e x M a c h i n e . W h a t t y p e o f s h o w should fans looking to buy a ticket expect? N F : Yo u ’ v e g o t f o u r b a n d s – g e t t h e r e e a r l y. I t ’ s j u s t g o i n g t o b e a n i g h t o f r o c k ‘ n’ r o l l ; w e ’ l l d o our thing, they’ ll do their thing, the crowd will do their thing, and when all is said and done, ever yone will have had a good time. J W: We ’ l l d e f i n i t e l y s e e y o u i n R i c h m o n d w h e n you hit T he National – I believe that will be March 21st. N F : Ye p. J W: I n o t i c e d a s I w a s d o i n g s o m e r e s e a r c h t h a t Bam Marger a directed the video for “The Mob Goes Wild”, featuring Ryan Dunn taking yet another on-screen beat down. How did that come about?


N F : We l l , e v e n b e f o r e B a m h a d h i s T V s h o w, h e and his brother Jess wer e coming to see us play o u t s i d e o f P h i l l y. T h e n , w h e n h i s c a r e e r t o o k o f f, h e w a s a b l e t o m a k e d e m a n d s o f M T V a n d p u t b a n d s t h a t h e l i k e d o n h i s s h o w. W h e n w e had that song, Bam offer ed to dir ect it on the c h e a p, b e c a u s e w e d o n’ t h a v e a b u d g e t f o r t h a t kind of thing, and it was close and easy for us, so we just did it. That’s how it happened. J W: A r e y o u a f a n o f J a c k a s s ? N F : I h a v e n’ t s e e n t h e l a s t o n e . I t h a s i t s m o m e n t s . S o m e t i m e s i t ’ s a b i t t e r p i l l t o s w a l l o w, but I know a lot of those dudes and it’s nothing I c o u l d d o, I ’ l l t e l l y o u t h a t m u c h . J W: I f y o u w o u l d , N e i l , t e l l u s a l i t t l e a b o u t y o u r side project, The Company Band. NF: Jess, who I was just talking about, called me up last year and said he wanted to put a band together just for shits and giggles. He had me in mind, Jason Diamond from Puny Human on b a s s , a n d J i m R o t a f r o m F i r e b a l l M i n i s t r y, a n d D a v e B o n e , w h o I d i d n’ t k n o w a t t h e t i m e , b u t he’s friends with Jim. These were all guys that CKY had toured with, so we just sent tracks back and for th to each other on the Inter net. Then we got together almost a year ago next week to pr actice some songs, and then last summer we

r e c o r d e d s o m e , p o o l e d o u r m o n e y t o g e t h e r, a n d p u t o u t t h i s l i t t l e E P. I t w a s j u s t k i n d a s o m e t h i n g t o d o. J W: I f y o u r f a n s w a n t t o l i s t e n t o T h e C o m p a n y Band, how do they go about doing that?

N F : A t t h e m o m e n t , i t ’ s o n l y a v a i l a b l e o n i Tu n e s . It’s The Company Band, the EP is called Sign Her e, Her e and Her e. T he physical CDs will be ready in a couple of weeks, and we’ ll be selling t h e m o n w w w. m e r c h d i r e c t . n e t .

N F : We l l , I ’ v e g o t t o s a y I ’ m p r e t t y s p o i l e d . I would have to say the 9:30 Club because it’s one of the countr y’s best venues, if not the best, and it’s only 7 miles from my house, so I can take a cab back. I guess…are these bands that are realistic or just fantasy? J W: I t ’ s h y p o t h e t i c a l , s o y o u c a n c h o o s e a n y band at all. NF: The MC5, Bad Br ains, and (long pause while N e i l p o n d e r s c a r e f u l l y ) B l a c k Fl a g. J W: T h a t s o u n d s l i k e a t e r r i f i c s h o w, N e i l .

J W: N e i l , e a r l i e r y o u s a i d C l u t c h w o u l d p r o b a b l y be back in the studio in the next six months, I believe. Any teaser s for fans as far as what they should expect? N F : I c o u l d n’ t t e l l y o u . T h a t ’ s h a l f t h e f u n . R i g h t n o w, w e ’ r e j u s t k i n d o f s e t t i n g o u r s i g h t s on new material, going over some of the stuff w e ’ v e w r i t t e n o v e r t h e p a s t y e a r. We d o n’ t k n o w wher e it’s going, but that’s what makes it fun. J W: A l l r i g h t , l a s t q u e s t i o n i s a h y p o t h e t i c a l . O n e venue, thr ee bands – what would your dr eam show be? If you like, you can play alongside two of your favorites, or you can be a fan for the n i g h t a n d s o a k u p t h e s h o w. W h o ’ s t a k i n g t h e stage and where are we?

N F : Ye a h , i t s h o u l d b e a g o o d t i m e . J W: We l l , a g a i n , I w o u l d l i k e t o t h a n k y o u f o r t a k i n g t h e t i m e t o s p e a k w i t h m e t o d a y, a n d I wish you the best of luck in all your futur e endeavor s. N F : T h a n k s f o r t h e o p p o r t u n i t y.

Clutch rocks out The National, located at 708 East Broad, Richmond, VA 23219, along with Murder By Death, Maylene Sons of Disaster, and Hex Machine on Fri, March 21st. Tickets are $18-General Admission.

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M A C Ro C k X I i s o n. A pril 4th and 5th. All Downtown. Ne w We bsite Launc hed @ macr oc k.or g W ha t ? T he M id - At la nt ic C o lle ge R a d io C o nf e r e nc e (M AC Ro C k ) is t he a nnua l c e le b r a t io n o f c o lle ge r a d io a n d t he ind e p e nd e nt m us ic c o m m unit y p e r p e t ua t e d by s t ud e nt v o lunt e e r s a t W XJ M (t he H a r r is o nbur g c o lle ge r a d io s t a t io n) a nd lo c a l r e s id e nt s. M AC Ro C k a im s t o c r e a t e a s up p o r t ne t w o r k a m o ng s t c o ll e ge r a d io, t he ind e p e nd e nt a r t is t s a nd la b e l s fo r w hic h c o lle ge r a d io ex is t s, a nd a ll o t he r a s p e c t s o f t he ind e p e nd e nt s c e ne . Wo r k s ho p s, p a ne l s, a la b e l ex p o s it i o n, a nd b a nd s ho w c a s e s s t im ula t e M AC Ro C k e r s t o ex p r e s s id e a s, ex p e r i e n c e s, a nd s up p o r t t ha t w ill e nc o ur a ge p r o g r e s s a m o ng s t c o lle ge r a d io a nd t he ind e p e nd e n t m u s ic m ov e m e nt .

W ho ? B a nd s, la b e ls, m us ic p ublic a t io ns, r e c o r d ing e ng i ne e r s, b o ok ing a ge nc ie s, a nd c o m m unit y a c t i v is t s a r e a ll g r o up s w ho p a r t ic ip a t e a t o ur c o nf e r e n c e . A f e w hi g hlig h t e d b a nd s s e t t o p e r fo r m a t M AC Ro C k t his ye a r a r e O w e n, Alo ha , M o c k O r a nge , U nw e d Sa ilo r a nd Ana t ha llo. So m e o f t h e la b e ls a t t e nd ing inc lud e N o I d e a , M a g ic B ulle t , D e a t hw is h, a n d L ov it t Re c o r d s. 30

Wher e? Ev e r y ye a r, M AC Ro C k is he ld in Har ris onbur g, Vir g inia . T his ye a r, t he e v e nt w ill be locat ed comp le t e ly in t he his t o r ic d o w nt o w n r e gion of the city. L o c a l v e nue s s uc h a s C o ur t Sq uar e T heat er, Cleme n t ine , a n d t he B l ue N ile Et hio pian Restaur ant ar e o p e nin g t he ir d o o r s t o ho ld t he shows, panels, and la b e l ex p o s it i o n.

Why ? As a r e a c t io n t o t he c o nt inue d commer cializat ion o f t he m us ic ind us t r y, M AC Ro C k w as s t ar t ed as an o p p o r t unit y fo r ind e p e nd e nt a nd under-pr omoted a c t s t o p e r fo r m a lo ng s id e t ho s e w it h gr eat er r eco g nit io n w hile g i v ing a t t e nd e e s a net w or k ing and le a r ning ex p e r ie n c e fo r a v e r y low price. No pr ofit is m a d e f r o m M AC Ro C k , a s e v er y penny we make is inv e s t e d b a c k int o t he c o s t o f paying the bands a nd e v e r y t hing e ls e t ha t go e s int o mak ing M ACRo C k ha p p e n. T he c o m m it t e e member s and s t af f p ut c o unt le s s unp a id ho ur s into planning this e v e nt , s im p ly b e c a us e w e t hink it is w or t h it as a u niq ue a nd v a lua ble ex p e r i ence. We hope you d o, t o o.

When? M AC Ro C k is he ld t he f ir s t w e e k end in A pril. T his ye a r, t h a t f a lls o n t he fo ur t h a nd fifth.


PHOTO BY SARATH NATHAN & NUMBER ONE DESIGN

CRED ITS IN CARYTOWN

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3 0 0 9 W . C A R Y S T.

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804.622.EURO

W W W. S H O P E U R O T R A S H . C O M


MY LIFE IS STARTING OVER AGAIN

Words and photos by PJ Sykes

Though I had known some of his music indirectly, my interest in Daniel Johnston was piqued when my gir lfriend took me to see the documentar y The Devil and Daniel Johnston . When I noticed his plans to tour close by, I just had to know more about him. I set up an inter view unsure of what to expect. What I did know was no matter what were to happen there was a great stor y to be told. Daniel Johnston struggles with a chronic mental illness that in the past has led to endangering himself and others. In the early 1980s he achieved a cult following after a parade of amazing events and luck. By late 1986 he star ted taking lots of dr ugs, fired his manager and became obsessed that the devil was out to get him. Johnston star ted wearing all white clothing and his shows became ver y preachy. After a long period in a mental hospital, Johnston was released and he traveled to Texas to perfor m at South By Southwest music festival. He decided to go off his meds to make the show better, unbeknownst to his father. On the return flight home Daniel thought he could fly like Casper, so he took the key out of the small plane his father was flying, and threw it out the window. Amazingly they both sur vived the crash and Johnston was sent back to the mental hospital where he spent the next few year s getting better.

Another common element in his ar t is the Dead Dog Eye. Since high school he has drawn the eye on everything. The inspiration came from a lyric in the Beatles song “I Am The Walr us”. Many of the character s throughout his ar t feature exaggerated eyes, or the word eye. Johnston has said that his fir st spoken word was eye. Austin Sound Exchange, a record store that Johnston used to frequent, let him paint a large ver sion of “Jeremiah the Frog”, his most famous character, on the side of their building. Many people take their picture in front of the mural ever y year. It’s said to be more visited than the statue of Stevie Ray Vaughan found in the same town. Johnston’s work has been shown throughout the US and Europe. He makes most of his living selling his ar twor k, though he will often draw something for fans without hesitation.

His next big break came in the for m of a t-shir t. In the ear ly 1990’s Kur t Cobain star ted to talk about Johnston in inter views and would wear the Hi, How Are You? t-shir t for weeks. Soon major labels star ted looking to sign him while he was still in a mental hospital. Due to the fact that he was unstable, Johnston was offered contracts that actually favored him. Labels wanted to take care of him, help pay for medical bills, and not force him to tour. Also during this period of time a lot of bands star ted to cover his music. People will often be familiar with someone else’s ver sion over the original recording. Some of the more famous cover s are by Pear l Jam, Wilco, Yo La Tengo, The Flaming Lips, Spar klehor se, Tom Waits, Calvin Johnson, Beck, Bright Eyes, and Vic Chesnutt.

During the last ten year s the Johnston family has turned Daniel’s music and ar t into a business. His father became his manager and his brother ser ves as tour manager. By 2007 they reacquired the recording masters for all his albums with the exception of Fun , which is still owned by Atlantic. They have a digital download website that hosts over 400 of his songs, many of which are otherwise unavailable. They stay ahead of the trends by remaining independent and controlling Johnston’s wor k themselves. Over the next few year s Johnston has plans to release several new albums on his own label, Eter nal Yip Eye Music. Since taking control they have made enough money to build a house just for Daniel on a plot of land next to his parents in Waller, TX.

Equally as impor tant has been Daniel Johnston’s ar twor k. His comic book style has graced the cover s of almost all his music releases. A big fan of Jack Kirby (co-creator Captain America, the X-Men and other s), you can often find his version of Captain America battling evil with the help of Johnston’s original character s.

Last month I traveled to the Black Cat in Washington, D.C. to inter view Daniel before sound check. When my girlfriend and I ar rived we found the Johnstons walking down the street 35


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tr ying to find access to the venue. I introduced myself and began to help get them set up inside. Before long we noticed more people entering the empty venue. Pancake Mountain, a Washington DC based video program for kids, star ted to show up. I didn’t realize this beforehand, but I was about to take par t in a filmed dance par ty, staring Daniel Johnston! Several video cameras, microphones, puppets, dancer s and children star ted to ar rive. At the same time, Daniel star ted investigating the venue in search of Diet Coke and burritos. I watched him drink four or five sodas and two cups of coffee in the few hours during sound-check. While more people arrived for the video shoot, Daniel left the Black Cat without telling anyone and we could really tell just how hard his brother must wor k on these tour s. For 15 minutes or so we had no idea where he went. Thankfully, Scott Stuckey of Pancake Mountain saw Daniel on the street and star ted to brief him on skits they wanted to film that evening. After his meal Daniel made his way back to the venue and on to the makeshift set of Pancake Mountain in the greenroom. He sat on the over stuffed couch where Captain Perfect wanted to know about LA and what he could do to cure his boredom. Daniel would zone out from time to time, but would always give ver y clever and funny answers to the enthusiastically silly Captain Perfect, instead of the lines they rehearsed.

the help and company of his longtime friend Laura. He spent a good por tion of the inter view drawing on an envelope and drinking coffee. We talked about his trip to the set of King Kong in Africa. Peter Jackson’s crew filmed a music video of him in a gorilla costume that you can watch as an extra feature on the DVD The Devil and Daniel Johnston . He couldn’t decide which cover of his songs he liked best, but did praise Mar y Lou Lord’s ver sion of “Speeding Motorcycle” that Target used in a 2003 commercial. Just when you think he isn’t paying any attention to you, he will catch you off guard with a joke or deep insight to a question. We spent some time outside the venue taking photos and talking with fans. He remains ver y polite and humble when people ner vously tell him how great they think he is. When asked how an old friend of his is doing, Dan sadly replied that she was killed in a car accident. After our shocked pause, he goes on to say, “Yeah, she also had leprosy and her head fell off, it was ter rible!” Of cour se we realize we’ve been had and he smiled and laughs with us. After his last cigarette we entered the vacant venue and prepared for Pancake Mountain’s dance par ty! Daniel perfor med two songs and everyone was invited to dance onstage behind him. At the conclusion of the last song Dan said, “Thank you and goodnight!” And before the band could finish the last chord he was backstage probably sneaking a cigarette and another Diet Coke.

I star ted to understand who Daniel really is under the medications and mental illness. At moments it was easy to forget the chaos of sound check and be swept away by his charm and humor. Though I did do a shor t inter view with him, his actions and presence spoke much clearer than his answer s to my questions. While the cameras were moved upstairs to the main stage, Daniel let me ask him some questions with

Anyone who labels Daniel a novelty act cer tainly has never met the man and witnessed his per sonality cut through the side effects of medication and illness. Thanks to moder n medications, Daniel has been stable enough to enjoy life and the success of his lifetime of making ar t. I hope we will see more of Daniel in the next ten years than we did in the last ten.

For more info on Daniel Johnston: www.hihowareyou.com www.rejectedunknown.com

NAMI is the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the nation’s largest grassroots organization for people with mental illness and their families. Founded in 1979, NAMI has affiliates in every state and in more than 1,100 local communities across the country. www.nami.org

How to help: Gateway Homes of Greater Richmond is the only nonprofit organization in Virginia to provide a transitional, residential treatment program for adults with mental illness, whose primary goal is to live as independently as possible. www.gatewayhomes.org

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For more info on PJ Sykes: www.pjsykes.com


By Lan dis Win e Ima ge by Br and on Pec k


T he r e a r e no r oc k star s in 2 0 0 8 . As m uc h a s Nic ke lbac k would ar gue ot he r w is e , t he e g r e g ious expense ac c ounts tha t a llo w ov e r blo w n coke par ties and copious am o unt s o f m o d e ls t o a cco mp any them to the Baha m a s a r e p a r t o f a ste a d ily dissolv ing past. T he r e a r e no ic o ns, no super nov as spir aling into a r t i s t ic t r a ge d ie s. Last year’s two most fr a gile p o p f ig ur e s, Amy Wine ho u se and Britney Spe a r s, w e r e s o a c h ingly dissected by the pr es s t ha t t hey b e c a m e na ke d u nder the ridic ule, s t r ip p e d o f t he p r i v a te mis er y w hic h pum ped up t he m e m o r y o f so ma ny that c am e befor e t he m . T he ir d e a t hs would simply be footnotes t o p e o p le w ho fo un d pri v ate li ves infinitely mor e e nt e r t a ining t h a n their musical output. How d id w e e nd up in t hi s pr edicament? It’s easy to say (a nd m o s t ly t r ue ) that the phenomenon of blo g g ing a nd m e d i a sa tur a tion c r eated a c lim at e in w hic h d e b a uc h er y is pop-ar t, and today’ s p o p ula r (a nd no t so popular – see Br adfor d C ox o f D e e r h unt e r ) singe r s ar e sim ply par ty ing v e s s e ls w ho s e m u sical output is entir ely ancilla r y, if no t e nt ir e ly unne ce ss ar y. U nder neath the w e ig ht o f a f la il ing music industr y and incr e a s ing ly a v id p o p hounds, it’s easy to for ge t w ha t t he t ip p in g point w as for this scatter e d a nd a lie n m us ic a l la nd sca pe. L o oking bac k, it’s easy to s e e ho w K ur t C o bain’s suicide r uined a lot o f w ha t m a d e t he g r e a t d eaths of r oc k and r o ll exc e s s s o f a s -

c ina t ing t o s o m a ny. H e r e w a s s o m e o n e w ho w a s a lw ay s int e r e s t e d in r e m ov ing him s e lf f r o m t he p illa r o f s t a r d o m , a n d in t he e nd b e c a m e s o m e t hing t ha t c o nfo und e d t he e n t ir e id e a . A c r inge - w o r t hy r e f le c t io n o f w ha t t he r o c k is t my t h ha d b e c o m e . I t w a s a he ll o f a jo lt t o a c ult ur e a w a s h in ir o nic d is c o nne c t . I n a w ay, t he c o nt r a d ic t io ns inhe r e n t in his d e a t h a llo w e d fo r his a s c e nt t o ic o n s t a t us, bu t s e a le d t he d o o r fo r a ll t ha t fo llo w e d . I n t he ye a r s fo l lo w ing, c o unt le s s a r t ic le s c la im e d t ha t r o c k w a s c ir c l in g t he d r a in. W he r e w e r e t he ge ne r a t io na l s p o k e s m e n? T he v a g a b o nd he r o e s ? I t s e e m e d a s if t he c o m m unit y w a s t o o exha us t e d a nd b r o k e n t o ex a lt s o m e o ne a s t he v o ic e o f t he ir ge ne r a t ion t ha t w a s inc r e a s ing ly d i v id e d in g r unge ’ s w a k e . O nly la te r d id it o c c ur t o t he m t ha t K ur t ha d b e e n t he o nly t hing s t a nd ing b e t w e e n r o c k ’ s p a s t a nd t he f lo o d o f p o s t - m o d e r nis m t ha t w a s t o b e c o m e it s f u t ur e . Fa s t - fo r w a r d t o 2 0 0 7 , a nd w h o t o p p e d c o u nt le s s c r it ic ’ s p o lls fo r t he ye a r ? N o n e o t he r t ha n LC D So und s y s t e m , a b a nd f r o nt e d by a J a m e s M ur p hy, a n a v id r e c o r d c o lle c t o r p us hing 4 0 , w h o c a n b e s e e n i n f ull Zig g y St a r d us t r e g a lia in t he v id e o fo r “All M y Fr ie nd s ” , o nly t o ha v e it s li d e o f f his f a c e und e r a d e lu ge o f w a t e r. W he r e a s t hi s w o uld s m a c k o f p o s t ur i ng o nly a f e w ye a r s a go, no w it s e e m s ex t r e m e ly s inc e r e . T his is no lo nge r a w ink a nd no d t o t ho s e w ho ge t t he r e f e r e nc e s, but a n a c c e p t a bl e a c t fo r a c ult ur e t ha t c a nno t a c c e p t Ro c k St a r, but r e l is he s in t he “ – e s q u e ” s uf f ix . O ur c ult ur a l Sk it t le s ha v e m e l d e d t o ge t he r in o ne g lo bulo us c l us t e r t ha t d o e s n’ t s e e m a ny le s s a p p e t iz ing t ha n a ny o ne o f it s ind i v i d ua l p a r t s, a n d no p ie c e ha s t he g r a v it y t o ho ld it a ll t o ge t he r.

D ur ing t his p r o c e s s, t he c o nce pt of t he pat het ic ge r ia t r ic r o c k e r ha s b e e n annihilated. While t he Ro lling St o ne s w ill a lw ays stand as cr ee py o p p o r t unis t s by m o s t in t he for mer gener ation, m o s t m a jo r r o c k c o n t e nd e r s ar e s t ill in aw e of T hur s t o n M o o r e o f So nic Yo uth, w ho, at 49, is c o ns id e r e d no le s s le g it im a t e or virile t han any o f his s t y lis t ic o r id e o lo g ic al pr o geny, s ur vi ving m o r e t ha n a f e w w a v e s of upheav al. Even M a r k E. Sm it h o f T he Fa ll a nd Bob Dylan (w ho a t le a s t LO O K a s if t hey ’ r e the same a ge) have m a i nt a ine d a s ur p r i s ing ly str ong output over t he p a s t c o up le o f ye a r s that has outshone t ho s e m o r e t ha n ha lf t he ir a ge. Of cour s e, Cob a in w o uld ha v e f ully e m b r aced this idea. In my m ind , s o m e o f his g r e atest ac hie vements w e r e no t his m us ic , but his c hampioning and r e v e r e nc e fo r t ho s e w ho helped him f ind his v o ic e . Wit ho ut his ins is t e nce, we wouldn’ t be a ble t o s a unt e r up t h e s t r eet to find r ecor ds by T he R a inc o a t s, T he Va selines and other s w ho he r e - e ne r g iz e d t hr o ug h the power of his f a m e . H e m a d e it s a f e (a nd hip!) to cite and p lund e r t he p a s t (o r s t e a l, in t he cas e of “ I t ’ s Shov e d ” ) in o r d e r t o e s t a blish authenticity, w hic h a llo w e d r o c k t o e nt er and mingle w it h t he s a m e p a nt he o n a s hip - hop, dance and elect r o nic m us ic w it ho ut a ny t r ue star s er upting in t he p r o c e s s. So in t he e nd , if we’ ve dispensed w it h Zig g y St a r d us t a nd M a r k Bolan, we’ r e still li v ing a m id s t t he ir “ - is m s ” , and we’ r e quite a f e w o b s c ur it ie s r ic he r a s a r es ult . 41


Star ting off in early 2004 as a monthly soul par ty at the Palo Palo club in Hannover, Ger many, Soulpower has grown into a global operating project, from E ur o p e ’s m o st r e sp e c te d c lub s to th e h i ppest sta ge s in Ja p a n a nd Austr a lia . Today, th e organization is based in Richmond, Virginia (for Am e r ic a , Ja p a n a nd Austr a lia ) a nd Lon don , En gla nd (fo r E ur o p e ). So ulp o w e r is the u lti mate sou l p a r ty, a tr ip b a c k to w he n funk an d style sti ll mattered. When the squeaky sound of wah-wah guita r s m ingle d w ith sha r p ho r n-ri ffs ri gh t on e a fte r the o the r. Whe n the d ud e s wore fly bellbottoms and polyester shir ts and the ladies were sp o r tin’ Afr o s a nd le o p a r d skin m ini - ski r ts. S ou lp o w e r b r ings b a c k the style a nd sou n d of an era that will never be dated or forgotten. Here’s the sc o o p …

ul Fu n k , Sw ee t So Th e St o n e C o ld s of

r e w o Soulp Groove a n d S o l id J a z z

r oix Ph oto s by Chr is Lac


I ’ v e b e e n a r e c o r d ge e k s inc e a b o ut t he a ge o f 1 2 . As a k id in t he 8 0 s I f ix a t e d o n o l d 6 0 s r o c k r e c o r d s. B y t he t im e hig h s c h o o l r o lle d a r o und t he s m a ll g r o up o f o ut c a s t s I hung o ut w it h int r o d uc e d m e t o p unk r o c k , w hic h p r e t t y m uc h c ha nge d my o ut lo o k o n m us ic a n d a lo t o f o t he r t hing s. E v e r y Fr id ay a f t er no o n w a s s p e nt d r i v ing int o t he c it y a n d s c o ur ing t he us e d b ins a t P la n 9 s e a r c hing fo r int e r e s t ing lo o k in g r e c o r d s. As a c o lle ge s t ud e nt I w a s go ing t o a lo t o f r o c k s ho w s o n G r a c e St r e e t a n d d r o p p ing e v e n m o r e o f my m e a ge r i nc o m e o n v iny l.

DJ T roy Nothing c o m p a r e s t o t he s o und o f

an old 45-RPM r ecor d. Whe n t he ne e d le hit s t he d e e p cr ac kling gr oov es of a n o ld 7 - inc h p ie c e o f p la stic t her e’s a w ar m th, a p r e s e nc e , a n ur ge nc y tha t le a ps out. A gr eat r ec o r d is s o m e t hing yo u can feel all the w ay down t o yo ur t o e s. I t r e a l ly gets its hooks in you. At le a s t t ha t ’ s w ha t it d i d to me .

Sho r t ly a f t e r g r a d ua t ing VC U in t he m i d 9 0 s I m e t M a r t y K ey. H e w a s a f e l lo w m us ic f r e a k w h o s e e m e d t o b e in a d o z e n d if f e r e nt b a nd s. O u r t a s t e s in m us ic t e nd e d t o b e e e r ily s im ila r. We ’ d s p e nd m a ny a d r unk e n c o nv e r s a t io n go ing o n a n d o n a b o ut 7 0 s p unk , 6 0 s g a r a ge , blue s, a ny m u s ic t ha t w a s r a w & s t r ip p e d d o w n w it h a lo t o f a t t it ud e . M o r e o f t e n t ha n no t , t he c o nv e r s a t io n w o uld t ur n t o o ld s o ul m us ic , w hic h w e w e r e b o t h v e r y exc it ed a b o ut a nd hung r y t o t r a c k d o w n. We ex c ha nge d m ix t a p e s o f s o m e o f o ur m o s t p r iz e d f ind s, t he bulk o f w hic h w e r e 4 5 s d ug up a t f le a m a r k e t s a nd t hr if t s t o r e s. T he e ne r g y, t o ug hne s s a nd r a w e m o t i o n o f t he s e r e c o r d s w e r e und e nia ble . We w e r e my s t i f i e d by t he o b s c ur e a r t is t s a nd t iny r e c o r d la b e ls w e w e r e f ind i ng, m a ny o f w hic h w e r e f r o m a r o und t he s t a t e o f Vi r g inia. We w e r e s t a r t ing t o p ie c e t o ge t he r a lit t le b it o f t he r ic h m us ic a l hi s t o r y o f o ur ho m e s t a t e a nd p a r t ic ula r ly t he c it y w e li v e d in. B a c k

in t he d ay, R ic hm o nd w a s o ne o f the main stops for e v e r yo ne o n t he R & B c ir c uit a nd it w as als o home t o a lo t o f lo c a l m u s ic a l he r o e s, some of w hic h we w o uld la t e r ha v e t he ho no r m e et ing. I n t he la t e 9 0 s M a r t y a nd I decided to attempt a n a ll s o ul nig ht a t I p a n e m a . T he bas ic conce pt w a s t o m ov e o u r lis t e ning p a r t ies out of our li ving r o o m s a nd int o a p ublic p la c e . Eac h of us br ought o ur ho m e s t e r e o r e c o r d p laye r and set up at the e n d o f t he b a r w it h a s hi t t y R adio Shac k mixer. T he nig ht s e e m e d r e a s o na bly well r ecei ved. We go t a f e w c o m p lim e n t s. Pe o p le would ask a bout c e r t a in r e c o r d s a nd no b o dy g ave us a har d time a b o ut p lay ing o ld m us ic . I t w a s pr et t y c hill. Af t e r a f e w m o r e r a nd o m nig hts at Ipanema, we d e c id e d t o ge t b e t t e r e q uip m e nt and do a r e gular m o nt hly nig ht , w hic h w e d ub b e d “ M er c y! ” We als o ha lf jo k ing ly d e c id e d t o b il l o ur selves as Scor pio B r o t he r s, d ue t o o ur f ie r c e p ride in our shar ed Zo d ia c s ig n. T he na m e ha d a r ing to it and stuc k, a n d t he nig ht b e g a n t o p ic k up momentum. T her e s t a r t e d t o b e a lo t o f r e t ur ning r e gular s and ther e w a s a n ov e r a ll go o d v ib e , but t he thing that r eally ble w us a w ay w a s t ha t p e o p le wer e dancing their a s s e s o f f t o w ha t w e w e r e p laying. To this day I ’ m s t ill k ind o f a m a z e d t ha t t his old music that I lov e a nd b e lie v e in s o m uc h m oves other people, t o o. So m e o f t he s e r e c o r d s p r o ba bly haven’ t been he a r d in ov e r 4 0 ye a r s, but t hey’ r e still getting it d o ne . St ill p a c k ing t he f lo o r. C r azy! It fills me with joy e v e r y t im e .

43


DJ Pa r i

I’m ve r y pr oud of w hat we w e r e a ble t o d o in t he thr e e year s or so that our nig ht M e r c y ! w a s ha p p e ning. We had som e gr ea t o ut o f t o w n g ue s t D J s come in and spin, and we we r e a ble t o d o o ur t h in g at some cool soul nights in o t he r c i t ie s. We a ls o b r oug ht Shar on Jones & t he D a p - King s t o R ic h mond for the fir st time in ‘ 0 3 .

I t ’ s r e a lly funny that I ended up in R ic hm o nd , VA, o ut o f all places. I w as b o r n in G e r m a ny, w he r e I s tar ted DJing in the e a r ly 1 9 9 0 s. I t w a s t he e r a of acid jazz, and my f ir s t b i g g ig s w e r e p lay ing for act s lik e Jam ir o q ua i a nd G a llia no. B ut I soon discover ed my lov e fo r o ld s c ho o l f unk and s oul, and I w a nt e d t o s t udy t he r o o t s of this music , so I m ov e d t o t he s t a t e s in e a r ly 1 994. You could s ay t ha t P ho e nix , Ar iz o na may not be the best p la c e fo r ex p lo r i ng my f a v orite music , but it w a s t he o nly p la c e w h e r e I had some friends. So d ur ing t he d ay I w e nt to s c hool (jour nal is m / m us ic bus ine s s / j a z z hi stor y), and at night I D Je d a l l a c r o s s t o w n. I s o on r elocated in Los Ange le s, w he r e I p r o m o t e d v arious c lub nights, ho s t ing g i g s fo r b a nd s li k e Mandrill, Ozomatli, a n d ye a h, t he B la c k Eye d Peas, w ho dr e w a c r o w d o f a s t unning 1 0 0 f ans bac k in those d ay s. A f r ie nd o f m ine d a nced for t he James B r o w n Sho w, a nd s he int r o duced me t o my mu s ic a l he r o, a nd s o o n I go t to DJ at his shows a nd e v e n s o m e p r i v a t e p a r t ies. I f elt lik e I w as t he luc k ie s t g uy in t he w o r ld!

Ma r ty is now li v ing in Br ook ly n, but he ’ s s t ill D J ing and is still on a quest for Vir g inia s o ul r e c o r d s. We ’ r e star ting to wor k on a w e b s it e c a lle d www. funk yvir ginia.com , w hic h wi ll b e a d a t a b a s e o f a ll the R&B r ecor ds r eleased in t he s t a t e b e t w e e n 1965-1985 that we have a ny info r m a t io n o n. Scor pio Br other s still play o ut a f e w t im e s a ye a r de p e nding on our sc hedules. In the meantime, I’ d been d o ing s p o r a d ic nig ht s at Ipanema her e and ther e d e p e nd i ng if a ny o u t of to wn DJ s w anted to set s o m e t hing up. Ab o ut a year a go our fir st out of t o w n D J f r o m w ay b a c k a nd mo s t fr equent guest ov e r t he ye a r s, D J M a r c o fr om Nor th Car olina, sent m e a n e m a il g i v ing m e contact infor mation for DJ Pa r i. Tur ns o ut Pa r i ha d tour ed Eur ope and Ja pan ex t e ns i v e ly a nd w o r k e d with James Br own and w as c ur r e n t ly w o r k ing w it h the Fir st Lady of Funk, Mar v a W h it ney. Pa r i w a s moving fr om Ger many to Ric hm o nd , w he r e his w i f e Drika is fr om. Pari & I ke p t up a c o r r e s p o nd e nc e via e ma il for se v er al m onths, a nd a f t e r m uc h a n ticipation he finally ar ri ve d he r e in M ay o f ‘ 0 7 . He pr ett y muc h hit the gr ound r unning. We s e t u p a ne w m onthly soul night a t I p a ne m a us ing Pa r i’ s name “Soulpower” and pr et t y m uc h ha v e n’ t lo o k e d 44

b a c k . T hin g s ha v e b e e n go ing r e a lly w e ll a nd w e ’ v e jus t ex p a nd e d t o a s e c o nd m o nt hly nig ht c a lle d “ H o t B ut t e r e d So ul” a t Zup p a . I t ’ s b e e n g r e a t t o ge t b a c k int o t he s w ing o f p lay ing my 4 5 s o ut o n a r e g ula r b a s is, a nd it lo o k s lik e w e ’ r e go ing t o ha v e p le nt y o f int e r e s t ing s t uf f ha p p e ning in t he n e a r f ut ur e .

B ut in 1 9 9 8 , my s t ud e nt v is a had expir ed and I r e t ur ne d t o G e r m a ny w he r e I star ted a car eer in jo ur na lis m in B e r li n. I still DJed and e ven t o o k s o m e t im e o f f t o t o ur Eur ope with James B r o w n t ha t ye a r. I n e a r ly 2 0 0 4 , I s t ar t ed a m o n t hly p a r t y s e r ie s in H annover, Ger many, c a lle d So ulp o w e r. T ha t ’ s w hen I made music my c a r e e r. T hr o ug h my a s s ociation with James


Br own, I had befriended ma ny o f his a s s o c ia t e a r t is t s, a nd w e ’ d inv it e t he m to pe r fo r m at our par ties, b a c k e d up by a lo c a l f unk b a nd . Ov e r a p e r io d o f just six months, the c onc e p t ble w up a nd w e s t a r t e d ho s t ing So ulp o w e r p a rties all over Eur ope, later e v e n in J a p a n. U p t o t his d ay, w e ’ v e d o ne m o r e tha n 150 shows in m or e tha n 2 0 c o unt r ie s w it h a r t is t s lik e B o b by B y r d , Ly n Collins (both ar e gone by no w ), Vic k i And e r s o n, G w e n M c C r a e , Pe e We e Ellis, Swe e t C har les, Clyde Stub ble f ie ld , J a b ’ O St a r k s, Sha r o n Jo ne s & T he D a p King s, RAMP and other s. Fo r s o m e o f t he m I’ v e p r o d uc e d s o m e ne w r e c o r d s. To day I m ana ge and pr oduc e J a m e s B r o w n’ s So uls is t e r N um b e r O ne , M a r v a W hitney. I also wor k with the J a p a n- b a s e d f unk b a nd Os a k a M o na ur a il, a nd I r un a r ec or d la bel with the le a d e r o f t ha t g r o up. Last spring I moved to Ric hm o n d . M y w if e is f r o m he r e . I t ’ s d e f init e ly d if f e r e n t tha n C a lifor nia, but I’m lov in’ it . I’ m r e a lly int o So ut he r n c ult ur e . . . t he m us ic , the food, the w ay of life. Alm o s t a ye a r b e fo r e my m ov e , I m e t Tr oy t hr o ug h a n online m essa ge boar d de d ic a t e d t o f unk m us ic . H is bud dy M a r t y K ey ha d just le ft for Ne w Yor k, and I ha d t he f e e ling t ha t Tr oy w a s ha p py a b o ut a ne w ca t co ming in town, bringing s o m e ne w id e a s a nd m o t i v a t io n. Tr oy ha s ne v e r r e a lly p layed m uc h outside o f R ic hm o nd , but t his g uy is a s e r io us D J a nd c o l le ctor. I thought that I had my s hit t o ge t he r, but he r a nk s a m o ng t he t o p D J s I’ ve e ver played with. If he l i v e d i n L o nd o n o r Pa r is, he ’ d b e k no w n a ll ov e r. He sur prises me e ver y time w e p l ay, a nd he ’ s r e a lly lo w - k ey a b o ut w ha t he

d o e s. H e e s p e c ia lly t a ug ht m e a lo t a b o ut s o u l a nd f unk f r om Vir ginia, and I s o o n r e a liz e d t ha t I m ov e d t o a s t a t e w it h a r ic h h is t o r y of t his mus ic. I n Ju ly w e s t a r t e d t he m o nt h ly So ulp o w e r p a r t y s e r ie s a t Ipanema. To me, it w a s a n e a s y jo b, b e c a us e Tr oy a nd M a r t y ha d e s t a blis he d a loyal cr ow d long b e fo r e I c a m e . Af t e r a f e w m o nt hs w e ha d line s o f p e o p le w aiting to get in. C o ns e q ue n t ly, w e ’ v e jus t la un c he d a s e c o nd m o nt hly p a r t y s eries called Hot B ut t e r e d So u l a t Zup p a . O l d s c ho o l f unk a nd s o ul a r e s t ill v e r y und e r g r o und in Vir ginia, and my main p layg r o und s r e m a in Eur o p e a nd J a p a n , w he r e I t o ur a b o ut fi ve or six times a ye a r. B ut R ic hm o nd is my ne w ho m e t o w n, a nd w he n I ’ m on t he r oad I mak e s ur e t ha t e v e r y b o dy k no w s a b o ut w ha t ’ s ha p p e n ing he r e . We’ r e wor king on s o m e m o r e p r o je c t s - w e ho o k e d up w it h T he B ig Pay b a c k and w ill s oon bring So ul s is t e r N um b e r O ne , M a r v a W hit ney t o R ic hm o nd , fo r a giant James Br own Tr ibut e s ho w. And w e ’ r e go nna p r o d uc e s o m e ne w Vir g inia Funk.

To lear n mor e a bout Soulpower visit www.soulpower.info and www.myspace. com/soulpower r v a. Also visit Ipanema and Zuppa for the monthly dance e vent. Soulpower will also be thr owing down r ecor ds and making you s weaty and the RVA/Galler y5 3 Year Bir thday Bash on Friday, A pril 4th so c hec k it out!

45


Intro by Parker

an Pho to: Nic k T hie nem

Inter view by Cur tis Grimstead

You won’t see a more unpredictable live music show than the Israeli trio known as Monotonix…or at least that’s the word on the street. Hailing from Tel Aviv, the band has become notorious for its onstage (which is really off stage – on the floor or on top of tables) antics including vocalist Ami Shalev lighting himself on fire, hanging from rafter s, eating sawdust, launching ketchup at the audience, showering himself in beer or the band weaving through the crowd and being lifted and held in the air while still playing their instr uments…dr ums and all. A Monotonix show is perfor mance rock and crowd interaction at its best. Our buddy Cur tis Grimstead from Ror schach Records had a conver sation with guitarist Yonatan Gat in preparation for Monotonix triumphant retur n to blow Richmond away.

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Cur tis Grimstead: You guys recently just did a record with Drag City, which is a pretty solid label. What led you guys to go with them? I also heard a r umor about K Records wanting to do a record for you. Any validity to this? Yonatan Gat: Drag City are great. We heard only good stuff about them and they have so many legendar y bands on their roster, including one of our favorites, Royal Trux. David Berman from the Silver Jews hooked us up with DC, and we’re proud to join their roster of bands.

CG: Has there been a time when ever ything just went wrong when you were playing and it became a disaster? YG: We had crappy shows with equipment destroyed. One time a kid stepped on some glass. It was bad. But we lear ned to keep things safe so at ninety-nine percent of our shows we’re in control of ever ything. Sometimes it just gets too crazy and it becomes hazy

YG: I don’t think there is much difference between the performance and the music. If our music would have sucked, we would have just been clowns. Maybe we are? I don’t know. If our show draws interest to our music that’s awesome. Our EP is coming out in April and we hope the music will draw interest to the show as well.

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Pho to: JJ Wan dler

CG: Monotonix is better known for the perfor mance of the show than the music. Most kids say they crowd surfed a bass drum. It was so crazy. How do you feel about this?

and a little dangerous. Richmond was like that last time. Richmond is insane. CG: Ever yone keeps saying that Monotonix has moved to the states. Settle the debate. Are you guys still residents of Tel Aviv and just tour the states a lot? YG: Actually me and Ami live in Jaffa (the old par t


of Tel Aviv and the oldest harbour in the wor ld). Our new dr ummer Haggai lives in Tel Aviv. We just tour a lot. CG: When you play a show do you plan out how you are going to perfor m, or do you just go with it and see what happens? YG: While we’re setting up we usually wor k up an estimated set list, that’s about it. We have some stuff we like to do ever y night like move the dr um set around.

the audience is coincidental. We want the YG: Depending on the space, there is no par ticular type of venue we like. audience to be a par t of the band. CG: You guys have been getting a pretty good word going around in the States about your live shows? What are people in Europe’s reactions and more impor tantly Israel?

YG: Well the people in Europe (where we played) are still a little scared of us. We haven’t played there a lot so they don’t really know what to expect yet. In the States people were scared and took a back step in the beginYG: Our biggest joint influences are classic rock albums I suppose. ning too, but now I believe ever yone comes to We also listen to a lot of other stuff. And we have a lot of bands we the show knowing we don’t bite. I guess it takes tour with which’s music we love. Dar k Meat is a good example I think time. In Israel, at the beginning all the venues they’re doing the Richmond show, too. They are incredible. stopped our shows after two songs. Cops were called, noise complaints, got banned from half CG: How did you decide you were going to have wild shows and the venues in the countr y, etc. Right now we can were going to play on any surface you could fit on? have a good show in Tel Aviv ever y once in a while. Israel is ver y old fashioned and conser vative when YG: We just feet there is too much separation between bands it comes to rock ‘n’ roll. and audiences. I guess I’m a little tired of rock bands staring at their guitars, sticks and mics while ever y communication with CG: The band has played a variety of venues. Which CG: I know this is probably the lamest question but what are your biggest influences playing music? Monotonix does not sound like the bands you play with. Do you listen to most of the bands you play with?

type of spaces do you prefer playing?

CG: You’re playing a shit ton of shows at South by Southwest. How did this happen? YG: A lot of people invited us to play their shows. We’re playing 11 shows in the four days of the festival. It’s gonna be fun. CG: Lastly, what is next after this U.S. tour? Any new records or cr ucial tours? YG: We hope to finish writing our album in Israel in the summer. We have three or four songs already. Our songwriting is very slow ‘cuz it’s hard for us to impress our selves now. We can’t use the old schtick anymore so we have to invent all new ones. Hopefully it will be new and different and still cool and energetic and raw. Crucial tour s? Ever y tour is cr ucial! It’s a matter of life or death, man!

Come experience Monotonix with Dark Meat, Snacktruck, and Suppression on Thursday April 17that Gallery5 200 (W. Marshall St.-8pm $6) 49


Summerbirds In The Cellar Druids Self-released www.summerbirds. com After seeing Summerbirds In The Cellar live twice, I was looking forward to an album that was even more laid back than their shows. And, although Druids is not at all a rock extravaganza, it is significantly more up-tempo than I expected. This is why I was initially disappointed and dismissive of this album. Two months ago, I would not 50

have had much positive to say about it. But now, after some time and many listens, I can appreciate Druids significantly more. There are a lot of influences going on here, but none are so heavy-handed as to overshadow Summerbirds as their own band. The dir ty synth-bass that drones over the opening track resembles mid-90s lo-fi indie, i.e. Folk Implosion, and one cannot ignore the distinctly Death Cab For Cutie-style vocals throughout. Though the vocals actually blend so

well with the music that eventually it all gently folds together, and it is not until a lyric such as, “The yelling made me horny,” stands out so much that the listener is reminded that this is not an instrumental album. My only real lingering dissatisfaction is with the bass. Summerbirds In The Cellar do not have a bass player, thus all their low-end is pre-recorded and/or played through a synthesizer. There are times that this is not noticeable, but on songs

such as the album closer, Allison Goldfrapp, against the rhythm is a little too a backdrop of a starkly close to rave/techno for me fantastical dreamscape. to feel comfor table. Black Cherry , the band’s But Druids is a good album. next release, was cause for Not amazing, but good. an aural double take, as the Definitely solid. album was full of over tly -Nathan Joyce sexed-up romps, replacing the breathy, slightly more Goldfrapp subtle seductiveness of Seventh Tree its predecessor with inMute your-face nymphettishness, England’s Goldfrapp began probably requiring a life with the sublime Felt post-coital cigarette after Mountain , a spine-tingling every listen. Again, Ms. opus that showcased the Goldfrapp’s honey-coated, star tlingly unique vocal almost car toonish voice was talent of resident chanteuse, the main attraction. The

third album, Supernature , was an electrosex homage to the exorbitant excess of the disco era, channeled through equal par ts glam, glitter and distor tion. Through it all, Goldfrapp always left you wondering what they’d do next, what ace was hiding up their sleeve for the next album. The ace this time is Seventh Tree , which can be summed up thusly: placid, tranquil, pastoral. Think dappled sunlight flitting through verdant fields, nymphs frolicking in slow motion


while the golden glow of the sun bathes the world in tender, enveloping warmth. The cover, with its image of Allison in a jaunty tricorner hat surrounded by golden sunlight, accurately encapsulates the feel of the album. It’s hypnotic, entrancing, but most impor tantly, Seventh Tree marks another complete about-face for Goldfrapp, as the band once again abandons the style of their previous album for terra incognita. Are they schizophrenic? Or just that

good? (The correct answer is a little of both.) In a way the band has come full-circle with their latest incarnation, back to a down-tempo, chilled-out album that serves as a remedy to the hyper-sexed intensity of Black Cherry and Supernature . It also sounds a bit like the morning after the night before. Ms. Goldfrapp shines as she explores both the upper and lower reaches of her register, despite the slightly off-putting, warbling, nearyodel effect in the album

opener, “Clowns.” She can’t totally escape being a sexpot, though, on the standout “Cologne Cerrone Houdini,” a tantalizing siren’s call. Seventh Tree is the perfect Sunday morning album, music to soothe the savage hangover and the soul. -Megan Petty

Sia Some People Have Real Problems Hear Music Chances are you’ve heard Sia without realizing it. After leaving Australia for climes more British, Sia Furler found her vocal services in demand. The Australian transplant has worked with heavyweights Massive Attack and Zero 7. Oh, and she sang a song called “Breathe Me”, which was featured in the finale of a little show you might have heard of – Six Feet

Under . The divine Ms. Furler first caught my attention on Zero 7’s 2001 album Simple Things , where her buttery voice fit perfectly with Zero 7’s ethereal soundscapes. Some People Have Real Problems , Furler’s third full-length album, showcases her ability to leap from wanton warbler to breathless chanteuse in a single bound. It also sounds a little, well, un-Sia. Not that it’s a bad album by any stretch, but it feels a bit Stepfordian, teetering on generic and MOR. It

definitely wasn’t what I was expecting, especially after a glance at the cover (featuring Sia holding uncapped magic markers, marker scrawls all over her face, and the album title in childlike text). I hate to use the word “pander”, but the thought did cross my mind. All is not lost, however, as there are a few bona fide good songs among the less memorable, such as “The Girl You Lost to Cocaine”, “Playground”, “Electric Bird”, and “Little Black Sandals”. “Beautiful Calm 51


Driving” hearkens back to Sia’s Zero 7 days, airy and powerful at the same time. You’ll hear guest vocals by Beck on “Academia” and “Death by Chocolate”, which should be a lot more exciting than they are, given who’s singing. But Sia does cover the Kinks’ “I Go to Sleep” rather well, so perhaps it all evens out. When it’s all said and done, I’d give Sia an A for effor t but a B minus for execution. -Megan Petty

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No BS!! Brass Band Where is Stefen? Self Released From the shrill sound of rapid-fire trumpets to the guttural thump of tubas, No BS!! Brass Band’s new album Where Is Stefan? , presents a musical collage of styles that range from big band to 80s pop rock. I haven’t had the chance to see No BS play live, but I have seen most members of their line-up play with other bands, and they definitely can move a crowd

to dance and sweat ‘til their ain’t none left. Based on that experience, I would say that the album doesn’t quite capture the energy of their live set, but no doubt will inspire some ass shaking, nonetheless. The album is heavy on funky grooves, but pays plenty of tribute to jazz, marching bands, and rock ‘n’ roll. The Led Zeppelin tribute track “Ocean” is not to be missed and a must add to your playlist of ironic cover songs. Speaking of ironic cover songs, “Owner of a Lonely Hear t” would

outshine the original if it weren’t for the nostalgic memories attached to it. Just when the beats, bleets and bursts star t to get a little repetitive, No BS moves into more experimental material with the Bitches Brew-esque “Blue and Green”. The rest of their original material sounds so fresh, it is easy to forget that No BS owes much to their horn-bearing forefathers of brass. If Herb Alper t, Maceo Parker, or Al Hir t is not your cup of tea, this album may not appeal to you; but if you delight

in thrusting trombones and the sounds of dueling trumpets, then your quest for Stefan will be just as enjoyable as mine. -Alexander Harris

Unseen Force In Search of the Truth Grave Mistake Records / Vicious Circle Records Three years after I was born, Unseen Force released their LP, In Search of the Truth , on Turbulent Records. The record was only pressed once, in a quantity of 500

records and quickly went out of print. For many people in Richmond, this was one of the bands that shaped our city’s rich punk rock history, but for people like myself, who moved here in 2001, Unseen Force was merely a whisper of a past scene I couldn’t even really comprehend. Twenty-two years later, two Richmond labels with big hear ts and a penchant for historic hardcore came together to release an allencompassing discography of Unseen Force. This


record compiles the 11track In Search of the Truth LP, a 10-song live set (with three unreleased songs) and the 12-song 1984 demo by UF predecessors, 2000 Maniacs. At a time like this where hardcore bands are emulating their hardcore forefathers in unfathomable numbers, Unseen Force is more relevant than perhaps ever before. Lyrics cover the familiar subjects such as politics, religion, ignorance and rebellion, but perhaps the most interesting set of lyrics is that of the song

“Misguided Aggression”. Essentially a “fuck you” to people that go to shows and star t fights, which I found inspiring given the amount of violent behavior in the hardcore scene at large. There is a lot of history here, and for someone who grew up listening to punk and hardcore, but is totally clueless on Richmond’s first wave of punk rock, this isn’t a bad place to star t. This is a solid record that is bursting with the same energy that got me excited about punk rock in the first

place. It’s raw, it’s honest, it’s inspiring, and if you want a history lesson you can enjoy from star t to finish, I suggest picking this up. -Brandon Peck


By Christian Ne wby Ima ge by Ada m Jur e s k o

B r i a n E n o “S o m b r e R e p t i l e s” Another Green World H a n s E d l e r “S ä g va d ä r d e t ” Elektron Kukeso N a t K i n g C o l e “Q u i zá S , Q u i zá S , Q u i zá S ” Cole Español T h e J e su s a n d M a r y C h a i n “J u st Li k e H o n e y” Psychocandy M o o n d o g “E n o u g h A b o u t H u m a n R i g h t s! ” The Viking of Sixth Avenue Fr a n c o i se H a r d y“Le Te m p s d e l ’ a m o u r ” The Yeh-Yeh Girl From Paris Ve l ve t U n d e r g r o u n d “La d y G o d i va ’s O p e r a t i o n ” White Light/White Heat A r i e l P i n k ’s H a u n t e d G r a f f i t i “H e l e n ” House Arrest K a t e B u sh “R u n n i n g u p T h a t H i l l ( A D e a l Wi t h G o d ) ” Hounds of Love P a u l G i o va n n i “M a yp o l e ” The Wicker Man N i n a S i m o n e “B a l t i m o r e ” Baltimore L e m m a D e m i sse w “A st a w e sa l e h u ” Ethiopiques, Volume 8: Swinging Addis Ta l k i n g H e a d s“T h i s M u st B e T h e P l a c e ” Speaking in Tongues B r u c e H a a c k “I n c a n t a t i o n ” Electric Lucifer N a n c y S i n a t r a a n d Le e H a zl e w o o d “S o m e Ve l ve t M o r n i n g ” Nancy & Lee S i o u x si e & T h e B a n sh e e s“H o n g K o n g G a r d e n s” The Scream Yes “S w e e t n ess” Yes

2: 28 2:40 2:45 3:04 3: 37 2: 27 4: 58 4:14 5:04 2:46 4:43 4:05 4: 56 3: 17 3:42 2: 54 4: 37


Un i Ted Blo o d Fes tiva l by Sean Patric k Rho r er

Pho to s by Manny Mar es

R ic hm o nd ha s lo n g b e e n he r a ld e d a s o ne o f t he m o s t thri ving places for ha r d c o r e in t he w o r ld . D ur ing t he la s t w e e k e nd o f Mar c h, at w hat has b e c o m e a n a n nua l e v e nt , t his c o uld n’ t b e m o r e e v id e nt . O n M a r c h 2 8 t h a nd 2 9 t h , t he s e c o nd a nnua l U nit e d Blood Festi v al will t a k e p la c e a t Alley K a t z f e a t ur in g s o m e o f t he b e s t b ands playing har dc o r e t o d ay. Am o ng t ho s e s c he d ule d t o a p p e a r a r e f a vorites Have Hear t, B la c k lis t e d , C o ld Wo r ld , C r im e I n St e r e o, a nd m a ny m o r e. One of t he bigge s t s ur p r is e s a b o ut t his ye a r ’ s f e s t i v a l is t he r e unio n of M ur der Wea pon, a w e ll r e s p e c t e d b a nd w ho s e m e m b e r s w e nt o n t o p lay in Br ace w ar and Sc a r le t . Wit h l a s t ye a r ’ s f e s t i v a l s uc h a s uc c e s s, U nit e d B lo od 2008 will sur ely b e a g r e a t t im e a g a in. Fo r m o r e info r m a t io n a b o ut t he e vent , vis it : www. myspace.com/unitedbloodfesti v al 57


I m a ge by Ant


Fat guy raises eating at Joe’s Inn to an art form For nearly 42 years, 340-pound Pat Corbett thought all he was good for was being known as the man who can eat an entire plate of the biggest pasta dish available at Richmond’s Joe’s Inn. Not anymore. Corbett’s aptitude to consume the restaurant’s “Loaded Spaghetti Dinner” and have room for desser t has placed him among the ranks of the greatest of his kind: Michelangelo, Winslow Homer and Norman Rockwell. The Smithsonian Institution announced this week that the 41-yearold’s talent of devouring an entire plate of noodles baked with mozzarella cheese, mushrooms, pepperoni, pork sausage and meatballs doused in meat sauce has been elevated to a globally-recognized ar t form. “Fauvism, Romanticism, Impressionism and Pat Corbett. We’ve never seen anything like it,” said Petrice Benedickt, an assistant curator at the museum. “His works are satisfyingly indulgent, yet uncanny in his ability to make it to the bottom of the plate.”

Added Benedickt: “This is an incredibly talented, one-ofa-kind fat bastard.” In an exclusive interview at the Shields Avenue restaurant, Corbett said his eating technique of the famous large pastas at Joe’s is unsurpassed. His tools are a simple fork and knife. His canvas, an oval-shaped, cream-colored ceramic plate topped nearly four inches high and 11-inches across with meat-encumbered spaghetti. “The ethereal colors mix with the soft composition of the sauce and bring a sweet aroma to the palate, an inspiring aura of warmth and richness,” Corbett said of the $13.95 pasta dish he can put away within eight minutes of reception and a single glass of water. “No napkin necessary.” Star ting slowly, Corbett orders a house salad topped with Joe’s acclaimed parmesan peppercorn dressing and softened with the red hue of crisp, quar tered Hanover tomatoes. With its tangy salve, the light repast evokes the viscosity of the spaghetti as it journeys through Corbett’s esophageal tube, while the peppercorns give the sensuous meats added traction as they slide ever-so-slowly into an over-sized stomach, he explains. Achieving a sense of movement in the Joe’s Inn ambiance of tranquility and calm—a crowd typically lined up out the door on a Friday night—the ar tist star ts the pasta and

begins circling the plate with the knife, carving the baked mozzarella cheese off the dish to unhinge the nearly three pounds of contoured noodles and meat from the canvas. He then begins his latest masterpiece. “After highth school,” Corbett says, breathing through his nose as he takes large, rhythmic bites, “I wath admittghed to the cughlinary inthstituth of Cthicagho but dethidegd to thtay in Richthmond to dedicathe mythelf entirely to eatingh.” Once finished tranquilly ingesting, Corbett added: “What can I say? The harmony of this ar t really comes from somewhere inside of me.” The Smithsonian’s Benedickt called Corbett’s forkwork “unparalleled” in his field, while his attention to detail in extruding every highlighted dollop of yellow butter from the packets included with Joe’s white bread is “simply breathtaking”. “Most ar tists only star t from a white canvas,” she said, “but this is a man who is so inspired by his craft that he doesn’t stop until his canvas is white—or, as he puts it, until he becomes a card-carrying member of the Clean Plate Club.”

Tobacco Avenue is Richmond, Va.’s most accurate source of misinformation. Go to tobaccoave.wordpress.com for more delicious satire and wacky entertainment. 5 9


H a n dw r i t i n g o n t h e wa ll P T 2: a rt i st i c p u b li c d i s c o u rs e, g r a ffi t i a n d v i r a l i m a g e ry B y L e e C a r le ton

T ho ugh not the fir st, Mar sha ll M c Luha n w a s a n e a r ly v o ic e r e c o g niz ing t ha t “owner s ar e aw ar e of the m e d ia a s p o w e r ” a s t hey c o n t inua lly s e a r c h fo r t he p e r fe ct mar keting pitc h, tha t “ m a s s i v e ne w gestalt o r p a t t e r n t ha t ha s b e e n iso la te d fr om the public psyc he ” t ha t w ill b e t he k ey t o inc r e a s e d p r o f it a s he no te s in Under standing Media . T he gestalt p a t t e r n is no t jus t in t he p ublic psyc he howe ver, it is also a c ha r a c t e r i s t ic o f t he m o s t e f f e c t i v e im a ge s - a c ha r a cter that m ay ex plain t he “ v ir a l” a b ilit y o f a n im a ge t o d is p e r s e it s e lf via the humans that ar e no t a bly t o uc he d by it s ic o ni c i t y. In What Do Pictur es Want? , M it c he ll d e s c r ib e s t his p he no m e n o n, o b s e r v ing : “Eve r y adv er tising ex ec uti v e k no w s t ha t s o m e im a ge s … ’ ha v e le g s ’ … a s ur prising ca pacity to gener a t e n e w d ir e c t io ns a n d s ur p r is ing t w is t s in a n a d campaign, as if they had a n int e llige nc e a nd p ur p o s i v e ne s s of t he i r o w n” (31). A pply ing Bur r oughs’ o b s e r v a t io ns a b o ut t he v ir a l na t ur e o f la ng ua ge , Mitc hell later explains: “If im a ge s a r e l ik e s p e c ie s, o r (m o r e ge ne r a lly ) lik e coe volutionar y life-for m on t he o r d e r o f v ir us e s, t he n t he a r t is t o r im a ge maker is mer ely a host car r y in g a r o und a c r o w d o f p a r a s it e s t ha t a r e m e r r i ly r e pr oducing themselves…” (8 9 ). T he s p e c if ic v is ua l q ua lit ie s o f t he p o t e n t , ic o nic im a ge a r e t ho ug ht f ully explo r e d by Ru d o lp h Ar nhe im in t he e s s ay “ Pic t ur e s, Sy m b o ls, a nd Sig ns. ” H is exe ge s is o f t he s y m b o lic p o w e r o f t he N a z i f la g is ins ig ht f u l, a n d t he s e t r a it s c a n b e s e e n a t w o r k in m o r e r e c e nt but p o lit ic a lly unc o nn e c t e d im a ge s t ha t ha v e b e e n d is s e m ina t e d g lo b a lly. Se lf - d e s c r ib e d p r o p a g a nd a a r t is t She p a r d Fa ir ey us e d s o m e o f t he s e s a m e t e c hn iq ue s c o m p o s ing t he “ OB EY M a n” im a ge in 1 9 8 9 w hile a s t ud e nt a t t he R ho d e Is land Sc ho o l o f 60

D e s ig n. T he im a ge is p a r t ly ins p ir e d by Re v. I v a n St a ng (D a lla s a r t is t D o ug Sm it h) o f T he C hur c h o f t he Sub G e nius, in t he ic o n o f J. R . “ B o b ” D o b b s a nd t he b iz a r r e , ic o n ic , hy b r id o f e v o lv i ng v o c a bula r ie s o f t h e c hur c h. T h e s e t he m e s w e r e a l s o ex p lo r e d by Fa ir ey ’ s o t he r ins p ir a t io n, Jo hn C a rp e nt e r ’ s r a d ic a l 1 9 8 8 ho r r o r m ov ie T hey Li ve , a b o ut a c o nd it io ne d c o n s um e r c ult ur e w he r e p ublic im a ge s s ublim ina l ly c o nt a in the command to “ o b ey ” t he m a t e r ia lis t , c o m p e t it i v e v a lu e s o f a c o nt r o lling alien elit e. Hyb r id i z ing t he o b ey ic o n a nd c o nc e p t w it h a g r a p hic o f Fr e nc h wr estler Andr e t he G ia nt , a r r a n ge d w it h t he d e s ig n e le m e nt s t ha t Ar nhe im sees in the Nazi f la g, Fa ir ey c r e a t e d a v ir a l im a ge t ha t c a n b e s e e n w o r ld wide in stenciled, ic o nic fo r m s, p o s t e r s a nd s t ic k e r s. M it c he l l s ug ge s t s t ha t d is p e r s a l a nd a p p lic a t io n m ay c o me f r om t he pict ur e it s e l f in it s “ int e r s e c t io n o f t w o ‘ w a nt s ’ : d r i v e (r e p e t it io n, pr olifer ation, the ‘ p la g ue ’ o f im a ge s ) a nd d e s ir e (t he f ix a t io n, r e if ic a t io n, mor t if icat ion of t he lif e - fo r m )” (7 2 ). W hile Fa ir ey ’ s im a ge ha s c e r t a inly p r o lif e r a t e d w it h t he help of his s ales o r ie n t e d w e b s it e , i t s g lo b a l p r e s e nc e w a s a lr e a dy e s t a blished by the time t he w e b he lp e d t o d ig it iz e it s d is p e r s a l a nd e nc o ur a ge m o r e pr olific , specific a n d p o lit i c a lly r e le v a n t v e r s io n s t ha t c le a r ly b o r r o w f r o m Fair ey, yet connect m o r e d ir e c t ly w it h im a ge s in T hey Li ve . I n Stencil Pir ates , Jo s h M c P he e s ur v ey s t he r e c e nt his t o r y of stencil gr af fiti, no t ing a t hr e a d o f p o lit ic a l r e s is t a nc e in m a ny c o unt r ie s as ar tists be gin t o us e s t e nc ils t o c o m m unic a t e w it h e a c h o t he r a nd t he public , cr eating a “ huge ly p o p ula r g lo b a l a r t fo r m ” (1 9 ). I n a w o r ld d o m inat ed by t he dialo g o f c o r p o r a t e lo go s a nd p o lit ic a l c hic a ne r y, “ s t e n c ils m a ke it easy to show d is s e nt a nd r e je c t io n a nd s ha r e it w it h t he p ublic ” (M c P h e e 62-63). Howe ver, t he t o o ls a nd d e s ig ns o f a r t is t s li k e Fa ir ey a r e a ls o s ub je ct t o cor por at e coo p t io n, a s in t he “ p e a c e , lov e & L inux ” s t e nc il c a m p a ig n by I B M , and gr af f it i


use in hip - ho p a nd ur b a n- o r ie nt e d a d v e r t is ing (M c P he e 115). In spite o f p o t e nt ia l c o - o p t io n, t he a m b ig uit y d e s ig ne d into ima ge s a nd s t e nc ils lik e t he “ O B EY M a n” c a n s t ill function s ubv e r s i v e ly t o w a r d s c o r p o r a t e c o nsum e r c ult ur e as Mc P he e a r g ue s : Although t hey c a r r y no s p e c if ic m e a ning, t he s e s t e nc il s have the p o t e nt ia l t o b e ex t r e m e ly p o w e r f ul b e c a us e t hey ar e com p le t e ly o p e n t o t he v ie w e r ’ s i nt e r p r e t a t io n. I n a wor ld r un by t he c a p it a lis t ne e d fo r e v e r y t hing t o ha v e a fixed meaning within the ma r k e t e c o no my, t he o p e n s ig n o f t he s t e nc il c a n b e diso r ie nting, c onfusing, or e v e n lib e r a t o r y … b e c a us e t he p ublic is ne v e r e n cour a ged to think c ritic ally, but ins t e a d s im p ly a b s o r b p r e - d e f ined m e a ning s. On one le vel, encour a ging p e o p le t o t hink o f f t he c o nv eyo r b e lt o f w o r k , sho p, e at, slee p, wor k, sho p, e a t is d o w n r ig ht r e v o lut io na r y. (3 8 ) T his fr e edom of meaning is a ls o a f r e e d o m f r o m t he s la v e r y t o p r o f it s o p e r v a si v ely pr eac hed in our c o r p o r a t iz e d c ult ur e , a nd it hig hlig ht s t he im por tance of illicit gr af fiti p r a c t ic e s fo r he a lt hy d e m o c r a t ic ex c ha nge . In a n e ssay on the c r eation a nd p o w e r o f t he c a r e f ully c o ns t r uc t e d , t ho ug ht fully compr essed glyphic sig n, g r a p hic nov e lis t G r a nt M o r r i s o n d is c us s e s t he na tur e and func tion of the c o r p o r a t e b r a nd : T he vir al sigil also known a s t he B R AN D o r LOGO is no t o f r e c ent d e v e lo p me nt… but has bec om e an ine s c a p a ble g lo b a l p he no m e no n in r e ce nt ye a r s … Glo ba l dom ination has nothing to do with turf and e ver ything to do with media … Cor por ate sigils ar e s up e r- b r e e d e r s. T hey a t t a c k unb r a nd e d im a g i nati ve s pace…T hey br eed a c r o s s c lo t hing, t ur ning p e o p le int o a d v e r t is in g hoar dings…T he lo go or br a nd li k e a ny s ig il is a c o nd e ns a t io n, a c o m p r e s s e d , symbo lic sum m ing up of the w o r ld o f d e s ir e . (2 0 ) Mor r ison ur ges us to c r eat e a nd d e p loy o ur o w n s ig ils t o c o unt e r c o r p o r a te b r anding with a tec hniq ue “ r e c o nc e p t ua liz e d a nd m o d e r niz e d ” by a r t is t A ustin Osman Spar e and de s c r ib e s a p r o c e s s t ha t c r e a t e s “ a n a p p r o p r ia t e ly witc hy- looking gly ph” (20).

O ur c o n tempor ar y a ge of f a it h genuf lect s t ow ar ds t he ic o ns and t he alt ar of g lo b a l cor por ate power, a n d t ho ugh the material b e ne f it s of cons umer cul t ur e a r e obvious, it bec o m e s incr eas ingly c lear t ha t o bedience to the d o g m a of pr ofit and the e nd le s s ex pans ion of pr od uc t io n and consumption c a nno t be sustained for lo ng. I t may be t hat t he illic it m ar k ings by ar t is t s o n t he edif ices of our ci vi liz a t io n f unc t io n a s a w a r ning, lik e D a nie l’ s r e a d ing o f t he f amous “writing o n t he w a ll” fo r B e ls ha z z a r in D a nie l 5 : 1 - 3 1 : M EN E, M EN E, TEK EL and PAR SI N - yo u ha v e b e e n w e ig he d in t he b a la nc e a nd fo und w a nt ing. T h e s a m e w a r ning s ha v e b e e n m a d e fo r t he d e v e lo p e d wor ld: w eighed and w a nt ing. We “ w a nt ” no t o nly in t e r m s o f t he q ua l it ie s w e lac k, but also in t e r m s o f o ur d e s t r uc t i v e , ins a t ia ble d e s ir e fo r m o r e . M it c hell s ober s us w it h t his o b s e r v a t io n:

T he human species is among the youngest and most fr a gile life-for ms on the planet ear th. Although it dominates the ecosystem for the moment, ther e is nothing to guar antee that this state of af f air s will continue, and most of the ima ges of man’s futur e that have cir culated in our global cultur e in the moder n er a have por tr ayed us as an endanger ed species (87). T ho ug h w e ha v e b e e n s o m e w ha t num b e d t o it b e c a us e o f it s ubiquit y, per ha p s o ne o f t he m o s t r e c o g niz a ble im a ge s is t ha t o f t he atomic mushr oom c lo ud s o r e c e nt ly e v o k e d by t he p r e s e n t r e g im e . B ut t his need not be the ins c r ip t io n o f o ur f ut ur e . We a r e f r e e t o d e s ig n ne w im a ges and ne w visions o f a m o r e s a ne , hum a ne f ut ur e , b e g inning w it h o ur w ild a nd weir d mar kings o n t he c r u m bling e d if ic e o f c o r p o r a t e he ge m o ny. 61


By John Sw ar t

P ho to s by To d Seeli e

It was about five or so year s ago that Zach wanted to go u p t o N e w Yo r k f o r s o m e t h i n g c a l l e d t h e “ B i k e K i l l ” . I d i d n’ t e v e n h a v e a b i c y c l e a t t h e t i m e , h a v i n g b e e n r e l i e v e d o f i t b y a n u r b a n e n t r e p r e n e u r, b u t I d i d h a v e a van, ideal for packing up some people and some bikes and hitting the road. So we did—about six or seven of us. The rest of the weekend was a blur of sights and sounds: spider man riding a tall bike, Zach riding a pile of filthy m a t t r e s s e s o n a 1 6 ” c h o p p e r, D i c k C h e n e y n e g o t i a t i n g with the door guy to get three bunny r abbits and a pink e l e p h a n t i n t o t h e c l u b, J a p a n t h e r r u l i n g i t i n a n e x t r e m e l y smelly warehouse, and two gir ls riding off in ambulances after a joust went awr y (one of whom I found out later ended up ditching the ambo at a red light). These are just a few examples, but I was hooked. Once we got back to town, we decided that we needed to get a crew of our own together so we could throw such a f e s t i v a l o u r s e l v e s . We h o o k e d u p a n i c e c r e a m s o c i a l , a n d a f e w m o n t h s l a t e r t h e f i r s t E v i l Fo o l ’ s D a y C y c l e Slaughterama went down in the cul-de-sac at Albemar le a n d B e l v i d e r e . A l r e a d y, o t h e r b i k e c l u b s w e r e f o r m i n g and r epr esenting—the fun movement was underway in Richmond.


A n y w a y, e n o u g h a n c i e n t h i s t o r y. T h e m o v e ment continues this month with the fifth ins t a l l m e n t o f t h i s t h i n g o f o u r s . T h i s y e a r, t h e f e s t i v i t i e s e x t e n d f r o m T h u r s d a y, M a r c h 2 7 t h t h r o u g h S u n d a y, t h e 3 0 t h . M i d d l e F i n ger s Galore kick off the weekend with a tall bike-only alleycat leaving from Holly St. Par k at 6pm. Afterwards there will be a ride up to Car ytown to catch some drink specials that the NY Deli is kind enough to offer before s e t t l i n g i n a t t h e B y r d T h e a t e r w h e r e R e v. P h i l ( o f Po r t l a n d ’ s Z o o B o m b c r e w ) i s h o s t i n g a m i d n i g h t m o v i e : T h e Po r n o g r a p h y o f the Bicycle. Friday’s events kic k of f ar ound 4pm at Holly St. Par k for the Cutthroats’ scavenger hunt/ registration session. The events are all free as usual, but we will be offering a paid service which includes a t-shir t, a slap coozie, sticker s, and a spoke card for those souvenir minded individuals. T his r uns seven bucks and is a limited r un, so scoop that u p q u i c k l y. L a t e r o n t h a t e v e n i n g w i l l b e a rock show at a warehouse space (to be announced at a later date) featuring Fr ee Cocaine (Moss is gay), Matt & Kim, the Read, and Show Me the Pink. The Devil’s Satans are co-sponsoring this one. Saturday is the main event, getting star ted around noonish at the usual spot. All the classic events like the chariot r aces, tall bike jousting, and whiplash will slay the 63


masses as usual, w hile the c hic ken fight derby and the piggy pile will surely be crowd pleaser s as well. The after par ty will be at the Canal Club a n d s t a r s t h e E a s t C i t y R i v a l s ( e x A v a i l , A n n B e r e t t a , AT P, e t c ) , A n t l e r s , M a r k L i n d , a n d Pe d a l s o n O u r P i r a t e S h i p s . T h i s s h o w i s $ 7 ( $ 5 i f y o u have the spoke card from the souvenir pack). S u n d a y w r a p s u p w i t h a c r u c i a l B i c y c l e Po l o t o u r n a m e n t a t H o l l y S t . T h i s event is not for the dilettantes as there is a $20 buy in for maximum aggro as well as sweet prizes. A n d t o w r a p t h i n g s u p, a f e w r e m i n d e r s . B r i n g w a t e r. L o t s o f i t . N o g l a s s , d r i n k y o u r f o r t i e s a t h o m e o r p u t t h e m i n a t h e r m o s ( g r o s s ) . A l s o, thefts has been up in recent year s and there are getting to be organized r i n g s a r o u n d a n d a b o u t . L o c k y o u r s h i t u p. Go to myspace.com/c yc leslaughter ama for mor e infor mation.

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J a m e s R i v e r F ilm Festiv al Preview

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By Ad am Sled d


A few days ago I sat down with Michael Jones, founder of the James Ri ver Film Festi v al, to ask a fe w questions a bout w hat’s in stor e for the festiv al’s 15th incar nation this spring. About five minutes into our conver sation I realized that my recorder had died on me. So much for a t i d y i n t e r v i e w. I n s t e a d , h e r e ’ s a f e w t h i n g s y o u n e e d t o k n o w a b o u t this year’s James Ri ver Film Festi v al (Mar c h 31-A pril 6). While there is a juried competition of shor t films, the JRFF is largely about the films and filmmakers that come to Richmond. Much like the VCU Fr enc h Film fest is sha ped by dir ector s Peter and Fr ancoise Kir kpatrick, the James River fest comes down to the tastes of Mike Jones, J a m e s P a r r i s h , a n d t h e i r v o l u n t e e r s t a f f. I f y o u l i k e i n d e p e n d e n t , e x perimental, and documentar y films, this is a good thing. Jones and Par rish have consistently brought to Richmond some of independent cinema’s most revered figures, from Stan Brakhage to the Brother s Q u a y t o C h u c k S t a t l e r j u s t l a s t y e a r. I n t h e f i f t e e n y e a r s s i n c e J o n e s s t a r t e d t h e J R F F, t h o u s a n d s o f f i l m f e s t i v a l s h a v e s p r u n g u p a r o u n d t h e c o u n t r y, e a c h c l a i m i n g i t s o w n p a r t i c u l a r m i s s i o n a n d u n i q u e n e s s . ( Yo u m i g h t r e m e m b e r t h e R VA A r t H o u s e S h o r t F i l m F e s t l a s t y e a r. G o o d t i m e s . ) W i t h s o m a n y i n d i e f i l m festivals going on, it’s hard to cut through the din and figure out which fests really do have guiding principles and which are little more than a theater and a handful of films. But a quick glance at James River’s progr ams over the year s reveal just how vital this festival is. Ever y spring the Richmond Moving Image Co-op gives us an oppor tunity to watch films we might never otherwise get to see, meet filmmaker s whose work is par t of the film school canon, and somehow still make t h e e v e n t f e e l l i k e i t ’ s v e r y m u c h a b o u t t h e R i c h m o n d f i l m c o m m u n i t y. T he JRFF is the one time I get to watch a shor t by a filmmaker I know from Project Resolution and then immediately afterward see a legend I studied in undergrad explain his newest master piece. There is an

a w e s o m e R i c h m o n d f i l m c o m m u n i t y, a n d a s t r o n g n a t i o n a l i n d e p e n d e n t f i l m c o m m u n i t y, a n d t h e J a m e s R i v e r F i l m F e s t i v a l i s t h e p l a c e w h e r e we get to meet. This year’s festival is thankfully more of the same. While all of the individual progr ams are wor th attending, there’s a handful that really stick o u t . F i r s t u p a r e t w o s h o r t f i l m s b y C h r i s M a r k e r, a F r e n c h e x p e r i m e n t a l filmmaker whose wor k has influenced other director s for more than for ty year s. Even more exciting are the retrospectives of Ken Jacobs’ work, with the man himself (and his son Azazel, who is also screening work) in town to present. Jacobs is one of America’s most impor tant experimental filmmaker s and someone whose wor k is screened in film c l a s s e s a r o u n d t h e c o u n t r y. A t m i d n i g h t o n A p r i l 4 t h t h e r e ’ s a s c r e e n i n g o f A n t o n C o r b i j n’ s C o n t r o l , a f i l m a b o u t t h e b a n d Joy D i v i s i o n . I f yo u ’ r e n o t f a m i l i a r w i t h C o r b i j n’ s n a m e , yo u ’ v e p r o b a bly s e e n h i s m u s i c videos (U2, Nir vana, Depeche Mode, Metallica, to name a few). A n d t h e n t h e r e ’ s M r. D o n n i e D a r k o h i m s e l f, R i c h a r d K e l l y. K e l l y, a V i r ginia native, is coming home to screen both Donnie Darko and his newe s t f i l m S o u t h l a n d Ta l e s . I f y o u s t i l l c a n ’ t g e t e n o u g h , V C U C i n e m a p r o g r a m h e a d R o b Tr e g e n z a i s s h o w i n g h i s f e a t u r e I n s i d e / O u t , a n d t h e r e ’ s a showing of the gr anddaddy of documentaries, Rober t Flaher ty’s 1922 Nanook of the Nor th, accompanied by the Richmond Indigenous Gourd O r c h e s t r a . Yo u m a y n o t b e a b l e t o m a k e i t t o a l l o f t h e p r o g r a m s , b u t e ven a little bit of the James Ri ver Film Festi v al is enough to r emind anyone that aside from all the Hollywood shoot ‘em ups and ter rible romantic comedies, there’s still great and ar tistic film being made in t h i s c o u n t r y. S e e y o u t h e r e . T h e J a m e s R i v e r F i l m F e s t i v a l i s M a r c h 3 1 - A p r i l 6 . G o t o r m i c w e b. o r g f o r m o r e infor mation.

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Cinematic French Kisses By Adam Sledd

With the 16th annual VCU French Film Festival right around the corner, it’s time to polish up those French language skills and stock up on baguettes. Since you’ll be able to find the festival program in every other newspaper on the block, I decided to get a little insider information on how the fest is actually put together each year. Festival directors Peter and Francoise Kirkpatrick took some time out from their preparations to answer a couple questions. See you at the Byrd Theater March 28-31. Adam Sledd: I remember hearing last year how much coming to the Festival means to the filmmakers, and that it garners a good deal of attention over in France. How has the French perception of the Festival changed over the years? Has it gotten easier to attract the big names to come to Richmond? Francoise Kirkpatrick: The French Film industry sees the VCU French Film Festival as not only the largest French film festival in the U.S., but also one which truly attracts the young students and especially the American public. This allows the French actors and directors to gauge an authentic U.S. reaction to their films. They continually say that the VCU French Film Festival is so unique because it is a different experience for them than presenting a film in a place like New York or Los Angeles where French expats show up instead of the 68

next generation of American viewers. They like coming to Richmond and getting feedback from Americans about the films plus they get a kick out of spending the weekend in Carytown—meeting and talking to students who come now from all over the U.S. We have groups coming in as far away as Texas and even the state of Washington. The French national press, radio and television cover more and more of the Festival every year as they feel it is interesting to show in France this interaction and exchange taking place between such big name French stars and Americans. Easier to do each year? Nothing is easy about organizing an event of this scale. Each year it is like giving birth. Sure, now in its 16th year, the Festival has a tremendous network in the industry over in France, but each year’s Festival is truly amazing in that shooting schedules in France and elsewhere get juggled or worked around for a director or an actor to come. We are really thankful to all the French actors and directors who work their schedule around our dates.


AS: Can you explain your selection process a little bit? Do you identify filmmakers working on new projects ahead of time and then check back in later, or review films as they come out? How much emphasis do you place on representing a wide range of films each year? FK: The French film industry makes about 160 feature films a year. We screen them all in order to make the selection for the VCU French Film Festival. Sometimes, a director will send his script to us before he even shoots it, to let us know that he wants us to read it and think about perhaps having the premiere of his film, if we like it once it is completed. Many times, directors have invited us on location to the shooting of a film so we may get an advance glimpse to keep it in mind, as a possibility, in our selection. We have also been in the editing studios a number of times with directors who were mixing their film and wanted our reactions to the cut so far and to see if it would be of interest to our public. We make a point each year in the selection of the films we bring to the Festival to represent the diversity of French filmmaking. This is why you will see in our program a children’s film, comedies, historical dramas, short-films, documentaries, art and francophone culture films. For the short films we screen about 300 shorts to make our choices. This year, amongst the 14 shorts, we are really excited about having six shorts from the top film school in the world, La FEMIS, located in Paris. AS: Finally, how does this year’s group of films stack up against previous years? Are there any films in particular that you hope people will really come out to see? FK: Like we said, every year’s Festival is like giving birth—each one is very unique in the fact that you will not see the film nor have the occasion to meet these actors and directors again. Once the Festival is over, the films are shipped back to France and the delegation returns, so unless an American distributor buys a film after the Festival, it will not be shown again in the U.S. Each film is so different and wonderful that the best thing, which some Festival-goers do, is to watch them all, attend all the questions/answers with the directors and actors and experience the full Festival. If you do, it’s hands down, an experience unlike any other that you can have with French culture and cinema. Even if you were to go to France to see a festival, a spectator would not have access to these stars like our public does. Plus, the delegation of actors and directors come here to meet the public and to get the full VCU French Film Festival experience. It is this experience that has driven the Festival and has made it what it is today. Go to fr enc hfilm.vcu.edu for mor e infor mation.

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Steel and Heels Ar t D ir e c t io n/ C o nc e p t s - C hr is t ia n D e t r e s a nd K im b e r ly Fr o s t P ho t o g r a p hy - K im b e r ly Fr o s t H a ir - As hl ey H a r t M a k e up - A ur o r a L a ne M o d e ls - Va ne s a , R ic k , P hil, C hr is t i, a nd Jo e l St y lis t - C hr is t ia n D e t r e s St y ling As s is t a nt - Se a n R a p o z a L ig ht ing As s is t a nt - C a m e r o n L e w is C lo t hing Pr ov id e d by Ex ile , N e e d Sup p ly a nd M a r y H e f f ley Hair and M a k e up St y lis t s p r ov id e d by B eyo nd t he Fr inge H a ir Sa lo n (8 0 4 )2 8 5 - 7 7 1 6 Spec ial T hanks t o Ro b H ud d le s t o n a nd R ic k fo r e v e n le t t ing us ne a r t he ir a w e s o m e c a r s.

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Set O ne: C a m o Te e - Alt e r na t i v e H a t s - G o o r in B r o t he r s O li v e Wind b r e a k e r- Pa ul Fr a nk C o r d s - 7 fo r All M a nk ind C o w b oy Shir t - Sc ully B le a c he d Te e - Am e r ic a n A p p a r e l P la id Shir t – Pa u l Fr a nk Wif e B e a t e r- L A M a d e Pa t t e r n Sc a r f - M E B la c k Sho r t s - B B D a k o t a B la c k H e e l- B a k e r ’ s Po lk a d o t D r e s s - Fo r e v e r 2 1 I nd igo M a le Je a ns - L e v i’ s D e nim J a c k e t - N ud ie B e lt - N e r v e s Re d / B la c k T ige r P r int Sc a r f – N e e d Sup p ly H a p py / M a d H a nd b a g - Pa r c e l Ea r r ing s - Ex ile Sp a r r o w Sho e s - T U K W hit e B e a d e d B r a c e le t - M a r y H e f f ley

Set T wo: Ve lv e t Sw e a t e r- Vint a ge B la c k / M a r o o n D r e s s - Ad e line St r eet M a r o o n P um p s - M o s s im o P r int e d H e e ls - P ink D e nim Sho r t s - I ns ig ht Pe w t e r H e a r t Pe nd a nt N e c k la c e - Ex ile Ea r r ing s - Ex ile Pa t t e r n Sc a r f - Vint a ge

Set T hr ee: M a d r a s Sho r t s - Pa ul Fr a nk B u r n O ut Te e - Alt e r na t i v e I nd igo M a le Je a ns - L e v i’ s B la c k Wing T ip s - J Sho e s B o le r o J a c k e t - M a r t ha M a nning Original O li v e J a c k e t - Fr e nc h M ili t a r y Vir g in M a r y Te e - Ro c k St e a dy Pe t it M o r t Te e - St e lla N e p t une B / W St r ip e d Sk ir t - S w it c hbla d e Stiletto W hit e Sne a k e r- Vint a ge P r o K e d s B e lt - N e r v e s B la c k / M a r o o n M o t t le d Sho e s - G ladiator O r a nge Sc a r f - C a s ua l C o r ne r Sue d e Sho e s - B e d St u

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RVA Magazine Vol. 3 Iss. 12 Brain Freeze  

RVA magazine was started to showcase the talents of Richmond, VA to the rest of the world... as WE see it. We pull the best media fom the re...

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