JILL SCOTT TAKES CARE OF
PHILLY THE VISUAL ISSUE: JOE BORUCHOW, MACH22, ERIC SLICK, THE GAY MEN'S CHORUS, SUGA SHAY, CHILL MOODY & MUCH, MUCH MORE
CONTENTS | Issue #4 Winter 2011
THE JUMP OFF Shorty Boy Boy; MACH22; Eric Slick; Chill Moody; Hoop dancing; Steve Goldberg and the Arch Enemies; Data Garden; Lamagier; The Sniffles; Anthony Caroto; Eye Gate II; Dewey Saunders; Jorgan Krug.
THIS PLACE ROCKS Grindcore House serves coffee and loud music; Noni's Patois picks up where Black Lilly left off; Cedar Street Studios invites you to a former casket factory.
MUSIC & POLITICS The city's Chief Cultural Officer, Gary Steuer, knows that people have a hunger for music in Philadelphia.
MUSIC & EDUCATION The School of Rock teaches kids how to be rock Gods.
the JUMP concert calendar We give you our picks for shows to see over the next few months.
COVER STORY: JILL SCOTT The North Philly native shares her talents with the world now but her heart will always be in Philly, where she's helping children from her old neighborhood experience a better life. "I was one of those kids that was able to find fun in the midst of drugs and drug dealers and shootouts and things of that nature," Jill says. "I wanted to be able to supply that for other kids so they can see that thereâ€™s more to life than just bad. They have options."
JUMP PRESENTS: ThE VISUAL ISSUE The Philadelphia Gay Men's Chorus is prepping for their 30th anniversary; DJ Suga Shay is a dubstep diva; Masthead Gallery shows off the city's best music poster artists; Joe Boruchow is making Philly look less crappy; Modern Bropar hangs with the crew at Woodshop Films.
FOOD THAT ROCKS The High Note Cafe offers dinner and a great show.
LINER NOTES Melissa Menago of June Divided talks about life on the road.
COVER PHOTO: Jill Scott, by Gomillion and Leupold. BACK COVER: Artwork by Andy Molholt (email@example.com). CONTENTS PAGE: (top to bottom) Eric Slick, by Brandee Nichols. DJ Suga Shay, by Marie Alyse Rodriguez. Shorty Boy Boy, by Grace Dickinson. Good times at the High Note Cafe, by Jessica Griffin. JUMPphilly.com
publisher G.W. MILLER III senior staff KELSEY DOENGES LAUREN GORDON COLIN KERRIGAN CHRIS MALO MEGAN MATUZAK (L.A. BUREAU CHIEF) BRANDEE NICHOLS staff LAUREN ARUTE, SOFIYA BALLIN, BRITTNEY BOWERS, CHRISTOPHER BROWN, CARY CARR, GABRIELLE CHEPURNEY, MADDY COURT, CHESNEY DAVIS, GRACE DICKINSON, MATTHEW EMMERICH, JESSICA GRIFFIN, ASHLEY HALL, SARAH HULL, AARON JOLLAY, RICK KAUFFMAN, ROSELLA LaFEVRE, KIM MAIALETTI, BRENDAN MENAPACE, NIESHA MILLER, CAROLINE NEWTON, CORY POPP, MAXWELL REIL, MARIE ALYSE RODRIGUEZ, CHAD SIMS, KEVIN STAIRIKER, KIRSTEN STAMN contributors ANTHONY CAROTO, SHAWN HILEMAN, MERCEDES JONES, MELISSA MENAGO, ANDY MOLHOLT, BRENDAN MULVIHILL, ELIZABETH PRICE design scheme by IRVING NAVARRO (firstname.lastname@example.org) these folks believe in JUMP and we love them for it KYLE BAGENSTOSE, PHIL BECK, MIKE BIXLER, CINDY BONFINI-HOTLOSZ, LAURA HUGGETT, RUSS CAMPBELL, MEREDITH EDLOW, MARY BETH RAY, LIZ SCHILLER WE PRINT 10,000 FULL-COLOR ISSUES FOUR TIMES PER YEAR, IN MARCH, JUNE, SEPTEMBER AND NOVEMBER. WE DISTRIBUTE THEM FREE AT PHILLY AREA MUSIC VENUES, STUDIOS, RESTAURANTS, RECORD SHOPS, BARS, CLOTHING BOUTIQUES, GYMS, BOOK STORES, COFFEE SHOPS, UNIVERSITIES, CLUBS AND OTHER PLACES WHERE MUSIC LOVERS HANG OUT. IF YOU WANT MAGS AT YOUR LOCATION, EMAIL US AT JUMPPHILLY@GMAIL.COM. JUMP is an independent magazine published by Mookieland Inc. The magazine was created by a bunch of passionate people with no money and no plans to get rich in publishing. We do this because we love music and we believe in Philly. This is a total break-even-at-best venture, so please, please don't sue us. You don't want to see us cry. We welcome your input. If you want to get involved, if you have story ideas or if you just have something to say, contact us at email@example.com. We really need advertisers. Advertising money allows us to print this magazine and tell stories about the awesome people doing awesome stuff in Philly. By supporting JUMP, you are supporting the local music scene. Philly rocks. Spread the word.
Building a Great Music Town I saw Tim Arnold from the Philly band Good Old War walking around Old City one day recently. He's a handsome guy with a full head of hair and an amazing effortlessness about him. He looks like a rock star. But rather than say hello to him, or mention that I run this magazine which wrote about him in the last issue - I kept walking. I was starstruck. I wasn't sure if I opened my mouth, words would come out. And I didn't want to be creepy. It's one of the wonderful things about living in Philadelphia. I see the amazing talent whom we write about just roaming the streets all the time. I see Rob from Reading Rainbow biking past my house almost every morning. Some weeks, I'll run into the Nicos Gun guys two or three days in a row. And every once and a while, I see ?uestlove leaving Honey's after brunch. Sometimes I wonder if we take all of this for granted. We think of these folks as regular people when we should be treating them like the unbelievable talents that they are. We need to appreciate and celebrate them, as that is part of what will make musicians want to be here. If Philadelphia is ever going to be a great music town again - and we are on the verge, for sure - we need to show our local talent some love. Go to their shows. Buy their music. Champion all things Philly. Of course, it's not that simple. The fallout from iTunes still has the industry reeling. We live in the age of the single song rather than the album, and that has ramifications. "People aren't going to pay $10 to see you play the one song they like," says drummer Richard Waller. Waller says that for Philly to be a real music town again, there needs to be a community of musicians constantly challenging each other. When he was a kid in the 1970s, his home in West Oak Lane was always full of musicians. His father, Richard Sr., played bass in a few jazz bands. It was not uncommon for 15 of the city's best jazz musicians to hang out, challenging each other musically, all hours of the day. "Even if they didn't like each other personally, they respected each other musically," says Waller, who now performs with MusicReport, a jazz trio that includes his father. We need talented artists experimenting, inspiring and pushing other talented artists to do bigger and better things. It needs to happen at clubs, people's homes, studios, schools, everywhere. The only thing that will build our reputation as a music town - like Austin, Brooklyn or Nashville today, or like Philadelphia in the 1970s - is talent. Richard Bush, formerly of The A's, who now fronts The Peace Creeps, says that the issue is getting people to hear the the local music. "We need local radio supporting local talent," he says. "If all people hear is the handful of big name acts, that's all they'll know." Journalists can teach people about the local talent, which is what we're trying to do here at JUMP. So check out the bands we're celebrating in this issue. Buy their music. See them live. Support our local acts and do your part to make Philly a great music town again. - G.W. Miller III JUMPphilly.com
FOCUS on Science Interested in a behind-the-scenes look at cutting edge biomedical research? Subscribe to the FOCUS podcast series by the Burroughs Wellcome Fund for interviews with innovative scientists whose research opens the doors for new therapies and potential cures in human health. Visit bwfund.org/podcasts or search for â€œWellcomeâ€? in iTunes.
The Burroughs Wellcome Fund is a private foundation located in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. Find out more at bwfund.org
Photo by Grace Dickinson.
Shorty Boy Boy Wants You to Party Hard Chesney Davis meets the man who took his name from his childhood pet. Sitting in a window seat at beer haven The Foodery in Northern Liberties, Joshua Pannepacker shares his view of what a profile of his music should be all about. “Just put all the fun shit in there,” instructs the artists who performs under the name Shorty Boy Boy. He pushes his dark blond hair back and tucks the tresses behind his left ear. Then he takes a swig of the lager he chose because it hails from his home state of New Jersey. Fun is somewhat of a mantra for the eightyear Philly resident when concerning his experimental rock-pop. And with a stage name like Shorty Boy Boy – the name of his childhood dog, a yappy, black and white Papillon - the fun seems built in. “I want to make songs that make me giggle,” says Pannepacker. But even with his sense of playfulness, Pannepacker is intent on making quality music with elements that surprise. “I can get deep into topic or thought,” he says, “but I try it keep it a little bit balanced so it’s not too heavy.” Since its inception, several musicians have contributed to Pannepacker’s venture. "It's just a project where everything shifts all the time," Pannepacker says. "It's kind of always been that way. So now I just go with it." After releasing the 2006 album Kicking Your Ass, Then Smoking Your Grass, Pannepacker’s focus shifted to playing drums for Philly-based band Saudi Arabia. The band folded after three years, so Pannepacker started playing shows with
Shorty Boy Boy material again in September 2010. In April, he began working with friend Mattias Nilsson, a recording and mixing veteran. They’ve partnered to develop the Shorty Boy Boy sound while completing songs for an upcoming album. With Nilsson on board, Pannepacker says he hopes to soon release new songs and eventually perform on the road. That’s where Shorty Boy Boy really shines. “I like to make a show of it,” he says. While powering out one of his minimal,
Find songs, videos and more at JUMPphilly.com
TAKING FLIGHT: Joshua Pannepacker, aka Shorty Boy Boy, puts the fun back in music. lo-fi ditties, it is not out of the norm for Pannepacker to be surrounded by a flock of fuzzy stuffed bears. Nor is it out of character for him to jump up in the middle of a drum solo and do the wave. Whether playing solo with backing tracks or jamming with a few of his comrades, Shorty Boy Boy always turns out an energetic show. “I want everyone to party hard,” Pannepacker says. And party hard they do.
Photo by G.W. Miller III.
MACH22: Ready To Rock 'n' Roll Kevin Stairiker meets the most ambitious front man in Philadelphia (he wants his band to be bigger than Guns N' Roses). How does one go from playing with the likes of the legendary Roots crew and being a part of Jay-Z’s touring outfit to fronting “the hardest rock band you’ve never heard of?” Simple. You don’t take the easy way out. Lamont Caldwell sure hasn’t. Caldwell talks at great length about nearly everything but all of it is worthwhile and quotable. His belief in the core ideals of rock 'n' roll is damn near inspiring, even in the face of the seemingly diminishing popularity of the genre. “Rock as a genre always has its periods of popularity and decline,” he explains. “When Nirvana came out in the early 90s, everybody thought rock was finished. But it just morphed into grunge. It always comes back.” Caldwell is bringing that fast-paced, head-banging rock back to Philadelphia with his band MACH22. They deliver exactly what you think they would - hard and heavy, blues-influenced rock ‘n roll. Though Caldwell has been the only constant member of the band since it was created in 2005, he believes that he’s finally found the right lineup to really make an impact: Ty Asoudegan, a School of Rock instructor, on lead guitar, veteran Frank Day on bass and Athens, Georgia transplant Scott Smith on drums. Caldwell, a striking figure adorned with tattoos and jewelry, handles
lead vocals and plays guitar, though he is also a multi-instrumentalist. He's been in and out of Philadelphia as a touring musician since the 90s. He’s backed up Bilaal, the Dave Matthews Band, Amos Lee and the aforementioned Roots. He toured as a saxophone player with Jay-Z, playing huge stadiums around the world. Coming back and playing bar gigs with MACH22 isn’t that much different , he says. “I try to treat every single gig I do exactly the same,” Caldwell says. “You have to be nice to everyone everywhere you go, from the sound men to the guys working the lights. You really don’t want to burn bridges.” Caldwell will keep that in mind as MACH22 puts the finishing touches on the currently untitled follow-up to their last EP, the appropriately titled The EP. Starting on December 17, the band will have a standing gig at The Legendary Dobbs on South Street, performing every six weeks. “My sister gave me some really good advice a couple years back that I try to live by,” Caldwell says. “Don’t try and reinvent the wheel. Just put it on your car and drive.” LONG LIVE ROCK: (L TO R) Frank Day, Scott Smith, Ty Asoudegan and Lamont Caldwell having a drink at The Wonder Years bar.
Hear MACH22 on JUMPphilly.com
Photo by Brandee Nichols.
The JUMP Off
More Than a Fan Brandee Nichols talks to Eric Slick, the guy who went from Dr. Dog fan to Dr. Dog's drummer. Eric Slick is dressed in business casual attire - jeans and a button-down shirt - in preparation for a meeting later with fellow Dr. Dog bandmates. They’re going to finalize the details for their upcoming album release. For now, however, he sits eagerly with his coffee by the window at Milkcrate Café in Fishtown. "Okay, I was born at Jefferson Hospital on May 15th, 1987,” he enthusiastically jokes, when asked about his history. Slick says he started playing drums after seriously wearing out his crib and bongos. He was just 5-years-old. “I broke everything I had,” he says. “Even to this day, I break my drums. I’m cursed,” He started his first band with his sister shortly after learning to play. “There are a lot of early recordings of me and my sister banging on stuff and singing about our mom,” he reminisces. “I would love to find those tapes because it’s pretty embarrassing.” Slick, 23, has since played with an extensive number of bands: the Adrian Belew Power Trio, Project/Object, Goldbug, Lithuania and even the original version of Nicos Gun, then called Young Ice. He currently plays in Dr. Dog, Norwegian Arms with roommate Brendan Mulvihill, Ape School with Michael Johnson and Paper Cat with sister Julie Slick and Robbie Seahag Mangano. He devotes most of his time, however, to Dr. Dog and Norwegian Arms. He began refining his skills at the age of 11 when he joined the Paul Green School of Rock Music - before the school formally existed. He met Paul at a performance in Old City one day. “Paul was playing drums and I was like, ‘Aw man, I could play drums,’” Slick recalls. “So I went up to him afterwards and was like, ‘Hey, can I join your school? Or whatever this is?' He was like, ‘Oh, maybe I should start a music school.’ So that whole thing kind of gelled that night. The light bulb went off.” Five years later, Slick started teaching at the School of Rock (see page 22 for the current crop of School of Rock students). While he proudly shares how fun and rewarding the experience was, he eventually got to the point where he needed a break. “It takes its toll on you,” he adds before sipping on his coffee. “Maybe I’ll teach again later in life.” Around that time, Slick met the Dr. Dog guys at an in-store performance at Tower Records (now FYE). He talked to them again a few weeks later at the Jam on the River. Then, Slick really got to know the guys during the Bonnaroo in 2007. “We hung out the entire weekend and it was awesome,” he says, with a huge grin. “So much fun. I was hanging out with my favorite band.” It wasn’t until almost a year later that he even saw them again. On Slick’s 21st birthday, Dr. Dog keyboard player Zach Miller called him and invited him out with the crew. “The whole band took me out and we went to see The Black Keys,” Slick remembers. “I ended up hanging out with The Black Keys all night. It was
Read the full Q&A with Eric Slick on JUMPphilly.com
the best 21st birthday.” A year later, Slick reached a significantly low period in his career. “I wasn’t really happy playing music anymore,” Slick confides. “I was starving. I was literally eating ramen, beans and rice for dinner.” He thought about giving up the drums to be a DJ. He even bought two turntables from a guy in Fishtown - and the guy mentioned that Dr. Dog didn’t currently have a drummer. Slick shared with Zach Miller his intentions of quitting live music and Miller convinced him to continue drumming. Soon afterward, Slick got the call from Miller asking him to audition for Dr. Dog. He was caught off guard and he burst with excitement. He auditioned about a week later, right after Christmas of 2009. “They gave me five songs to learn but I’ve seen them so many times, we ended up playing every album,” he says. Slick, with the support of Miller and lead guitarist Scott McMicken, finally went from simply a fan to regular member of his favorite band. The band recently recorded a new album, their first with Slick on drums. Fans can look forward to a February 2012 release date of Be the Void, supported by a likely slew of tour dates the rest of the year. “I can’t wait for people to hear the new record,” Slick says. “The new record is crazy. It’s really, really different.” With the right combination of talent, perseverance and timing, Slick was able to accomplish what many aspiring musicians only dream of. “I just happened to be in the right place at the right time,” he says.
Photo by Brittney Bowers.
The JUMP Off
Chill Moody: Renaissance Man The rising star from West Philly ditched gangsta rap in favor of an honest approach. Our Sofiya Ballin talks to the young man who is now trying to bring lyricism back to Philly hip hop.
hill Moody leans up against the brick wall outside The Blockley Pourhouse as music blasts through the window behind him. His face is the picture of patience and calm. He’s ready but admittedly a little stressed. “Before performances sometimes I drink,” he says, “a lot.” He laughs for a moment and continues. “I rehearse at least two or three times before a show and mentally prepare myself,” he says. Born and raised in West Philadelphia, the rising rap star who graduated from Overbrook High credits his cousins with getting him into hip hop as a child. He hung out with them, listening to their music. “I was just trying to fit in with them,” says the 26-year-old MC who has dropped six mixtapes and spins out new tracks almost weekly. “That’s how I found about Nas, Wu-Tang and Rakim.” Even though he wrote his first rap in the third grade, it wasn’t until he attended Millersville University that Chill began to put out his first few mixtapes under the name Yung Chill tha Blokk Capt’n. He laughs as he spells out the moniker. “On my first few mixtapes, everybody died in 16 bars,” he says. He hadn’t lived the violent life he rapped about and his family didn’t appreciate his music. “I wasn’t getting support from my family and that’s the most important thing to me,” he says. Chill dropped the hood rapper façade, solidified his clique of friends and established Tha ESTablishmynt, a hip hop stable that includes
producers, rappers and singers. He adopted an honest message, using his smooth flow and versatile style to deliver uplifting lyrics set to a steady, danceable beat.
or his fifth mixtape he collaborated with producer ilL MeeL to create The ilL-Chill Project, released in October 2009. It featured the track “Hip-Hop Don’t Fade Away,” which became his first song ever to be played on the radio. “It was amazing,” Chill says of hearing himself on air in January 2010. “Izzo and DJ Touch Tone called me up and I thought they were joking at first. I went up there for the interview and they played the song. It was one of the most amazing and humbling experiences.” Chill opened up for 100.3 The Beat’s Super Jam during the summer of 2010 and fans began to flock. A few months later, when it came time for fans to choose 107.9’s Hottest Philly Rapper of 2010, Chill was beating out the likes of Meek Mill, Freeway, Cassidy, Peedie Crakk and more. However, Mill’s votes skyrocketed last minute and Chill got second place. Around that time, Chill dropped his wESTchilly mixtape produced by Wes Manchild, and the radio recognition sent more than 1,000 people to his site to download the mixtape during the first hour it was online. “People knew who I was,” he says.
ince then, he’s been pumping out new tracks constantly and playing jam-packed shows like tonight, the “Swag Me Out” concert/party. Suddenly, a man marches up and interrupts Chill’s conversation. Download Chill Moody's music on JUMPphilly.com
“I don’t fucking like him!” Philly-bred comedian Clint Coley declares. “His music is trash. He’s the worst rapper ever!” Everyone within earshot laughs and Chill smiles. “No, actually, I’m a big fan of his,” Coley states. “I live all the way in California and I came all the way out here to see him on stage. I can’t wait to throw my boxer briefs at him ... after a good show.” Coley then turns and marches off and Chill just laughs and shakes his head. He seems calm but a bit anxious before his set. Periodically, he goes inside to watch the others take the stage, specifically fellow MCs Aime and Mic Stew. “Everybody is a rapper but there are few MCs,” Chill emphasizes. “There are a lot of dope MCs in the city and the most important thing is to support each other.” Philly hip hop is changing, Chill says, and he wants to be a catalyst in the revolution. “I always say, ‘I’m West Philly’s Renaissance,’” he says. “I really do think that lyricism is coming back to the forefront. No disrespect but there’s not going be any more of that shoot ‘em up, bang-bang stuff at the forefront of Philly music. I listen to that sometimes but it shouldn’t be what people think of when they think of Philly hip hop.” Dave Ghetto, a veteran Philly MC, quietly snaps photos of Chill as he talks to people outside the club. “I’m very, very impressed with Chill,” Ghetto says. “He’s not only a dope MC but his work ethic is impeccable. With guys like him, I can honestly say I really don’t have to make records anymore. We are comfortable to move on to other things when we have representation like this. To be honest, the only rhyme that I am writing in 2011 is to be on a record with him.” Chill is caught off guard by his comments, and it takes awhile for him to gather his thoughts. “Wow,” Chill says. “To hear him say that, it’s crazy.” However, Ghetto isn’t the only one endorsing Chill. Izzo from Hot 107.9 stated on air that Chill was one of his favorite MCs. “For someone in that high of a position to humble themselves and tell you, ‘You’re one of my favorite artists,’ it’s crazy,” Chill says. “It makes me want to keep doing what I’m doing.”
hill is one of the headliners tonight and he’s finally ready to take the stage. With beer in hand, and book bag strapped to his back, Chill begins to rap with an unpretentious, almost nonchalant flow. As he bounces to the beat, he speaks to the audience with focus and a quiet intensity in his eyes. “I am inspired,” he belts out, the chorus from the song by the same name, set to Journey’s “Separate Ways.” In between songs he yells out his signature saying, “Nice things!” It was born from the slang he heard when he was younger, hanging with his cousins in West Philly. They never had much but they said nice things. “And they say nice things!” Chill yells. “Nice Things!” the crowd chants back. His mother stands in the crowd, sporting a “Nice Things” T-shirt. She watches intently with the same focus, through the same eyes. Then the lights turn off. Swaying cell phones illuminate the dark room as Chill and Cody Kahmar perform the ballad “My Eyes.” After thanking the audience and his family for showing love, Chill walks off the stage as “My Name Is Hov” by Jay-Z plays overhead. “I know that there is a market for Chill around the world,” Ghetto states. “Once they see him, he might never come home again.” Thanks to Chill’s friends and the Internet, his music is already being played in the United Kingdom, Germany, Iceland and Africa. “I want people to be able to relate to my music, to see themselves in it,” he explains. “I want to inspire people. I want people to be like, ‘I can’t go a day without listening to that song.’” He pauses for a split second. “Music does that to me,” he continues. “I want to do that for people.”
Photos by Rick Kauffman.
The JUMP Off
As dubstep and electro music boom all around, she lets the beat do the work for her. Beautiful and modern, Dobrydnia is the queen hooper of Philadelphia, and she’s making her presence known.
n case you didn’t know, hooping is the term for the emerging art form involving dancing with large, customized hoops. The 25-year-old Dobrydnia got involved in the movement four years ago after watching fire dancers with hoops at a local party. Inspired and intrigued, she tried it out and instantly got hooked. She worked her way up to fire-eating, fire-hooping and fire-dancing with palm torches and fire fans. “A lot of hoop dancers are really excited about showing people the way and helping them,” Dobrydnia says, obviously proud to be part of the hooping community. “I just saw what was possible and tried it and tried it until I got it.” From clubs in D.C. to music festivals in upstate New York, Dobrydnia proves that hooping can be a business, not just a pastime. Currently holding a residency at Whisper night club in Center City as well as at The Pool at Harrah’s in Atlantic City, the celebrity hooper does oneoff events all over the Northeast United States. On top of that, Dobrydnia teaches hooping at Studio 34 on Baltimore Avenue and hosts the monthly West Philly Hoop Jam.
Electro Hoop Dreaming Our Cary Carr meets the main attraction at area nightclubs and dance parties.
ennifer Dobrydnia literally glows. A multicolor LED hoop spins effortlessly around her waist, then around her arms, making its way to her legs, all in one seamless transition. It’s impossible to take your eyes off of her. She has fluorescent blonde hair reminiscent of a fifties pinup girl, her bangs curled across the center of her forehead. In a neon pink bikini, she radiates on stage at the Art of Electronica’s event in Philadelphia’s Starlight Ballroom.
o say the least, she’s busy. But Dobrydnia’s love – no, obsession – with music keeps her moving. “Different types of music help to inspire different types of movement,” Dobrydnia gushes. Electro, house and dubstep all rouse the platinum-blonde talent to pick up the hoop and put on a show. Thrilled about the city’s recent explosion in the electronic music scene, Dobrydnia says the association between electro and hoopers has helped raise recognition and appreciation of the art form. “When audiences see you manipulating and moving a prop so effortlessly while dancing, it’s mesmerizing,” Dobrydnia explains, speaking quickly and passionately. “It’s not just a pretty girl dancing at an event – it’s a highly skilled performer.” As electro-house sensation Mord Fustang winds up the crowd at the Starlight Ballroom, Dobrydnia continues to intertwine her moves with the melodies, a smile cemented on her face. People in the crowd raise their arms in the air, their bodies lifting up and dropping down in sync with the beat. Dobrydnia feeds off their Find more hooping pics on JUMPphilly.com
SPINNING SENSATION: Jennifer Dobrydnia (opposite page, and above left) performing at the Starlight Ballroom.
energy, shaking and spinning. Blue and pink lights spray the crowd from behind her, forcing her to become the center of attention. People try to talk to her, eager for a chance to bathe in her luminosity. But she’s lost in the music, swerving her hips, her hair swinging rhythmically. It’s trancelike. So what’s Dobrydnia got planned for the future? Well, on top of performing every weekend, event planning and doing promotional support for different artists in Philadelphia, she works on custom-made hoops for the “endless amount of beginners” who are testing out the trend. “Worldwide,” Dobrydnia boasts before running off to make even more moves in the hooping scene, “the hooping thing is really catching on.”
The Random Spike
Observing The Sun "Trip-hop, drum 'n' bass with pop hooks and melodies." therandomspike.com
The Bailey Hounds
Along the Gallows "Folk/blues/rock band" who cover Pantera. thebaileyhounds.com
Demons "Industrial/psych-hop/indie electronic" from a brother/sister duo. bornto.bandcamp.com
JumpingPlanes Swallow the Concept
"Eclectic mix of heavy, spacey, tribal grooves." facebook.com/jumpingplanes 13
The JUMP Off
Orchestral Maneuvers stevegoldbergmusic.com The genre description on Steve Goldberg & The Arch Enemies’ Facebook page is as incredibly apt as it is humorous: “If it ain’t baroque, don’t fix it.” Steve Goldberg and his band have been living
in that world since they released their first album in 2007 and they continue to produce their complex but catchy pop, with classical instruments and three-part harmonies, on their new EP The Flood, due out in December. Goldberg is the only constant member in a band with a revolving door of musicians. Around 20 different people, including Turning violet Violet’s Sarah Gulish on flute, contributed to the new album in some fashion. You’ll hear around 30 different instruments played on the five tracks, including a violin, viola, cello, piano, trombone, trumpet, clarinet, flute and glockenspiel. The result is an EP-sized masterpiece that lives up to Goldberg’s orchestra-sized ambitions. Goldberg writes all of the incredibly precise orchestral arrangements on every song the band releases, which has been an unfortunately low number, Goldberg admits. “It can take me a long time to figure out the songs since so much goes into each of them,” he explains. As a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University
Data Garden: Plants You Can Hear Photo by Sarah Hull.
DIGABLE MUSIC: (clockwise from top left) Joe Patitucci, Alex Tyson and Ian Cross are merging music and biology.
with a degree in composition, however, Goldberg believes he’s up to the task. But there are certainly limitations to what a baroque pop band can do live, which he has conquered through inventive ways in the past. “When I was studying abroad in London,” he says, “I would play a show where it was just me on guitar, and then have two other people playing tuba and cello.” While that got the job done at the time, he plans to have a full band in place by the time of the release show at Johnny Brenda’s on December 10th. It’s been a long time coming for the EP. It began with Goldberg pouring his own money into the project. Then, he launched a Kickstarter campaign for $5,000. He raised the funds in 30 days, allowing him to finance such things as the mixing and mastering of the EP. “While I was making the album, all I wanted to do was complete it the way I wanted and then figure out how to do it all later,” Goldberg continues. “But it’s a lot of work, man.” - Kevin Stairiker
Imagine purchasing a discreet piece of paper, unsuspecting in every way except for its slightly grainy texture, with a digital album code printed on it. Now imagine after using that code to download new and exciting music, you plant that card in the ground and watch as it grows into a real live plant. Sound too Magic School Bus for you? Believe it or not, it works. And it’s the premise behind a new eco-friendly music label, Data Garden, which specializes in merging electronic music with, well, biology. The company officially launched their line of plantable music in October with a celebration concert at Bartram Gardens in Southwest Philadelphia. The concept has been brewing since the spring of 2010, when Joe Patitucci, who performs under the name Tadoma, sold out his run of CDs. Printing more copies seemed illogical to him. “I just started thinking about how we don't really need to be printing plastic to distribute music anymore,” Patitucci recalls. “So my buddy Alex Tyson and I thought to start up Data Garden.” Data Garden merges the digital download with a physical object that lives and grows. The download card is basically a biodegradable ecopaper embedded with real seeds. Once planted, the paper composts away and out grows what Patitucci calls “plants you can hear.” “We thought about bringing potted plants to shows but then I had horrible visions of what touring would be like,” he laughs. Patitucci's interest in electronic music and his work as Tadoma began almost as organically as his new business endeavor. “I was really bored of writing lyrics,” he says. “It felt a little self-indulgent. So I started taking in the sounds around me - the wind in the trees, the sound of the buses, anything you could hear - and tried to work it into my music.” Data Garden is meant to be a full-on community. Their website is an online magazine for electronic music and sustainable art. They operate the music label, where they support electronic artists and bands like Cheap Dinosaurs, and Ray & the Prisms, as well as Tadoma. The label releases all of their music on the biodegradable cards. “The traditional model for the record label is broken,” says Patitucci, who runs the operation with Tyson and Ian Cross. “We are looking to redefine what it means to be a record label. We are looking to be a destination for people who are interested in electronic music, bio-art, video art. We are not just bringing in music nerds but all different kinds of nerds.” - Lauren Gordon JUMPphilly.com
Photo by G.W. Miller III.
What Are You Doing to Make Your Band a Success? The Lamagier Light Spectacular lamagier.com The guys in Lamagier take a DIY approach to their music at every step of the way. They create their own music, videos, merchandise and concert fliers, and they have a bandmate designated to creating the elaborate light show during live performances. The light show is a real point of pride. “We’re working towards a spectacle,” says guitarist Shane Monroe. They’ve come a long way since forming during the summer of 2009. They began by jamming together at Monroe’s house, where he lived with guitarist Martin Fleming, his bandmate from their previous group, Names. Twin brothers John (bass, vocals) and Tony Corrado (drums), formerly of the band Corrado, began showing up to play just for fun. The foursome decided to make the arrangement official. “The Philly scene is so good,” says John Corrado. “We want to compete with it.” They took the name Lamagier (pronounced lama-geer), which is a bone-crushing bird. In 2010, the straight-up rockers dropped their debut album, With The Sound, a five-song EP produced by David Ivory, a twotime Grammy nominee for his work with Erykah Badu and The Roots. The guys are now building material for their next album and focusing their energy on live performances. Their shows are choreographed with the spectacular light show produced by Brett Hopkins, who uses an array of colors and effects specifically for each song. The guys know that it’s the experience, energy and the intensity of the live show that will keep fans coming back for more. “We’re an ever-evolving band who are constantly topping themselves,” John Corrado says. - Gabrielle Chepurney
The Sniffles thesniffles.bandcamp.com Most people probably know The Sniffles as the de facto house band at Hong Kong Garden, the ridiculously intimate Kensington house venue. Trey McCoy, Scotty Leitch and Mike Varriale formed the band there one year ago. They've already dropped a four-track EP and they are currently recording their first full-length album. The guys are also crafting a cassette mixtape of awesome Philly bands that they'll drop any day now. "We hope to have everyone passing these local tapes around in cities all over this winter," Varriale says. "Hopefully it'll put Philly on the map in terms of underground music, finally." JUMPphilly.com
Performing live is a wonderful and rewarding experience. Any musician will tell you. There’s nothing quite like it. The bigger the crowd, the more invincible you feel. But herein lies the question - how big is your crowd? There is this perpetual myth that venues are responsible for putting any and all bands in front of a packed club on any given night of the week. As impossible as this sounds, many bands cling to it like organized religion. So, now what? Oftentimes the problem is that neither party understands their role in the equation. Many venues expect instant financial results with only a minimal investment. Sorry Mr. Bar Owner, but a couple of community speakers and an 8-channel mixer does not a music venue make. And July’s calendars don’t really seem ANTHONY to have the same impact in November. It’s great CAROTO that you have a MySpace page - if only it were still 2008 and you remembered the password. If you (the band) choose to play there - and I’m guessing the booking process is rather, ahem, loose - then keep your expectations low. A venue's job is to promote itself and its lineup. They’re looking to build a loyal following of folks who enjoy a few drinks while watching live music. It’s their responsibility to provide the atmosphere. This includes a quality sound system that fits the room, a web presence with regular updates and a staff that genuinely enjoys live music. If the venue doesn’t provide this, then don’t play there. What a venue is not responsible for is telling the world about how great your band is specifically. That’s your job. Herein lies what confuses bands the most; promotion. Yes, venues understand that you’re an "artist" and that you’ve spent months writing and rehearsing your material. But a few last-minute Facebook blasts about your show will not generate a satisfactory crowd. You’re gonna have to actually step out from behind the computer and do something. Sure, the age of social networking has allowed us to reach more people in a shorter amount of time but there’s still something to be said about the tangibles like posters, flyers, stickers, etc. To be in a functioning band goes beyond the ability to string a few chords together. Today, it’s all about branding and marketing. What identifies and separates your band from the others? Will the folks who saw you perform last weekend remember your name on Monday? That, my dear bands, is completely up to you. Anthony Caroto founded Origivation, a Philly music magazine, in 2001. He sold off the magazine in 2006 and then bounced around the country before returning to Philadelphia in 2010. He now works at The Grape Room in Manayunk, doing a variety of tasks including promotion and booking.
Photo by Bethany Casperite.
The JUMP Off
The Artist And The Rapper Kelsey Doenges hangs with the creative mind of Emcee Unless, a.k.a. Dewey Decibel, otherwise known as Dewey Saunders.
ewey Saunders is a Virgo, and according to him, Virgos are super cute and really good at rapping. They tend to collect old books and they like really strong coffee, with a little bit of cinnamon, a little bit of sugar - organic, raw sugar, and cream - organic cream. He's probably being a little facetious with the organic stuff but you can never really tell with Dewey, a 28-year old renaissance man of sorts. He is an accomplished illustrator, graphic designer, painter and hip-hop artist who performs under the alias Emcee Unless a.k.a. Dewey Decibel. In the art world, his illustrations and design work have been published in The New Yorker, Next American City and Under the Radar magazine. In the music world, he has worked with Fabian Thompson and Grammy-nominated producer Rick Friedrich, who is best known for his work with The Roots, Kanye West and Patty Crash.
DEWEY DOES IT: The artist (above) . His design for Brown Recluse's album (left). A recent work (opposite page).
oday, he sits on a bench in Rittenhouse Square, which is busy with dog walkers, joggers and people placidly sitting and reading. A Knock Steady T-shirt hides underneath his chunky brown cardigan. He wears dark jeans, a baseball cap and sneakers so white they could blind you. Leaning back on a wooden bench, his right leg crossed over the left, he is calm and collected, sitting next to his girlfriend, Bethany Casperite. “My friend told me to treat this like a job interview,” he says with a chuckle as he straightens up and fixes his collar. His story starts in Boynton Beach, Florida, which he affectionately calls, “The Jungle.” “I floated up on to the beach when I was a baby on a coconut shell, like Mowgli from the Jungle Book,” he says with a smirk. “I was rescued by a band of surfers and they took me back to their jungle commune of sailors and surfers and raised me as a vegetarian, Rastafarian, hippie 16
love child. My dad was a lifeguard and my mom was a waitress. At night they would trim weed in their friend’s ganja farm. So basically, they would work all day, come home and trim buds all night. Everyone would do it. So yeah, that’s the environment I grew into, lots of reggae and weed.” “The first part is a bit of an exaggeration,”
Bethany pipes in, “The second part is pretty accurate.” His family moved north to Philadelphia when he was in the fourth grade. His mother was originally from the area and the rest of her family lived here. Trips to New York City with his grandmother became a routine event. After studying toy culture at F.A.O. Schwartz, she would take him to The Met and let him wander, consequently lighting a flame under Dewey’s artistic side. “Instead of walking around with me,” he says, “she would let me go do my thing and meet back with her wherever at a certain time." Eventually he received a design degree from Tyler School of Art at Temple University, with a focus on illustration. Soon he was getting hired by magazines to create portraits and illustrations to pair with stories but working for big organizations was artistically draining. “Sometimes illustration stuff killed me,” JUMPphilly.com
he says, recalling a specific project. “It was a totally wack assignment. The art director already had a preconceived vision, which didn’t allow me to bring anything to the table. So I just had to render bullshit. I felt kind of boxed in. I was doing all these portraits and I was kind of pigeonholed.” Now he is paying more attention to graphic design, working closely with Under the Radar, getting more shows in galleries and building his music career.
is most recent art work was a collaboration with a friend and fellow artist, Brad Haubrich, called, “The Skull, The Bottle, The Flower, The Mountain,” at Part-Time Studios in Fishtown. They have been supporting each other’s work for a while but when Brad was approached about curating a show and was strapped for time, he knew that Dewey would be the best person to collaborate with. “We both deal with objects and symbolism,” Brad says. “We settled on ‘The Skull, The Bottle, The Flower, The Mountain’ because they are reoccurring symbols in both of our work. Some of the objects are manmade and some naturally occur. There is this duality of old stuff, new stuff, manmade and natural.” Brad carved those images out of wood and the two painted them. “Brad started it off, I went in with my style, and he finished them,” Dewey says. “He killed it and brought it home.”
ewey became interested in hip hop in junior high when one of his friends introduced him to Digable Planets. In class, he would sit and write lyrics instead of taking notes, though he incorporated what the teachers would say into his rhymes. He consistently built his vocabulary, searching for new words he had never heard any rapper use.
Psychedelicized Eye Gate II eyegateII@gmail.com
The content of his music is much different than the typical rap lyrics about weed, cars, women and bragging. “I am just talking about stuff that’s a little important, in a more abstract, poetic manner,” he explains. “Being an artist, a lot of that language, the visual vernacular, comes into it. I am a rapper rapping about being an artist and a skateboarder. I think that’s kind of a unique quality in a genre so played out.” He unzips his book bag and pulls out a turquoise colored Moleskin journal and opens to a page covered in lyrics. Then, he starts to rap. His lyrics are complicated but his performance is effortless - even sitting on a bench in Rittenhouse Square, performing for an audience of two.
ewey lived with Rick Friedrich and Fabian Thompson for three years and he attributes much of his development as a musical artist to their close relationships. Rick, the owner of The Philadelphia Record Company, produced Dewey’s first studio album, Memories of the Future, giving him a lot of direction with his song writing and vocal production. “He always believed in my talent,” says Dewey. “He gave me the opportunity to record in a real studio. He definitely has been fundamental in shaping my sound and my Light shows add a lot to the aesthetic of a concert - the bright colors and strobe lights flying across the stage and through the crowd make the experience of a show even more enjoyable. But light shows have become, well, common. “When you go to a show, the maximum of what you’re going to see is some colored lights, maybe some fog, and a screen with some lasers on it,” says Andrew Baker, one of the members of Eye Gate II, a projection lighting team. How about going one step further, Baker asks. How about projecting old educational films or colored oils that make the walls look like a giant lava lamp? That’s exactly what Eye Gate II does. After forming in Athens, Georgia under the name Eye Gate, some of the members relocated to Philadelphia. They’ve continued the style, doing shows for local bands in Philly like Da Comrade! and Gondola at venues like
identity as a music artist.” As much as Rick shaped him into a recording artist, Dewey’s other close friend and fellow performer, Fabian Thompson, molded Dewey into a stage performer. Dewey was featured in some of Fabian’s songs and he's performed at many of Fabian's shows. “He is a fantastic performer,” Dewey says. “Doing live shows is where he really shines, so I learned a lot about stage presence, movement, and communication with a crowd. Fabian has pushed my song writing to new heights as well. I used to be really out there with my writing and he has helped me bring it to a place where it is comprehensible and meaningful.” The trio are starting their own record label called Bold New Breed. In addition to being a label artist, Dewey is going to be the creative director, designing everyone’s album artwork and logos for the label. “It’s cool because I always wanted to be the creative director of a record label,” he admits. “I never thought it would be my own.”
ewey has simple goals for his future. “I want my beard to get bigger and I just want to live baller status off of my art,” he says with a smirk. “I think it could happen. I think I can quit my jobs and grow a big beard.” He pauses for a quick moment and asks, “So, did I get the job?” Bookspace and PhilaMOCA. Most of the film reels, Kodakchrome slides and overhead projectors were salvaged from old schools, thrift stores and yard sales. The Eye Gate II team splash light and imagery behind bands, creating what they refer to as a “live painting.” They create a tailor-made experience meant to enhance the crowd’s experience. “We feed off of how they’re responding,” says Wes Kays-Henry, one of the members who moved from Georgia. They’ll go from atomic bomb explosions to butterflies flying through a field of flowers, to straight up psychedelic bubble movements, and sometimes everything at once. “It’s such an improvised thing with the music,” says team member Brian Kelly. “Sometimes when you’re watching it, things tend to just go perfectly with the music.” - Brendan Menapace 17
The JUMP Off Photo by Dan Bassini.
How did you end up in Philadelphia? I went to audio production school in New York. I ended up in Philly because I felt like it was a middle ground between New York and my hometown of Pittsburgh. Who do you do sound work for currently in Philly? I work at World Cafe Live, R5 Productions and any independent bands that want to hire me for their gigs. This month I'll be working at the TLA. I did the Defiance, Ohio show this summer at the First Unitarian Church. This is Jazz. Tell me about it. This is Jazz is a four-piece. I provide vocals, Chris Pires plays drums, Mark Roscoe plays bass and Philip Holmes plays guitar. We recently played three house shows with One Win Choice. You were involved with the Ox (the Kensington venue/residence that was shut down in February). What was it like for that to come to an end? Ultimately, the reason why it stopped was that we had had cops coming by for awhile and making their presence known. When Two-Piece Fest happened, they actually swarmed in, stopped the show, took everybody's IDs down. Because of the space's zoning and because we are living there, we “temporarily” stopped doing shows. I say "temporarily" because it's been six months and we've only done a couple since. It was home to about twelve people. In February we did fifteen shows. That's more than one every other day. It made sense to take a break at that point. Are you actively trying to get the Ox space up to code? There's no way we will be able to bring that space up to code. It would cost tens of thousands of dollars. It's not worth it. I think that being around shows, working shows, going to shows… the way that we were able to conduct them there makes more sense. Especially for smaller ones than any other alternative venue. We ended up losing a reunion show for The Fad to The Fire. With overhead, the bands ended up splitting $60 or so. I'm not saying, “fuck The Fire.” They have expenses. They're a business and we weren't. We had the ability to give bands like those $250 instead. You gave small acts a chance to put on rad shows. Now that it's over, are you glad there aren't tons of kids in your house each night anymore?
The DIY Glam Life The shit-kicking, beer-spitting, do-it-yourself music scene that has evolved in Philadelphia over the last two decades is thanks in large part to multifaceted individuals like Jorgan Krug. Our Elizabeth Price chats with Krug about being a soundmanabout-town, his punk band This Is Jazz, and why we can't slither down to the Ox anymore.
It was an absolute nightmare having kids running around your house. In the summer everything was hot, beer bottles everywhere, toilets were always busted. In February, I had to kick some people out of a show, like, “Hey dude, how about you not piss on our neighbor's steps? How about you don't break bottles? How about you don't try to start a fight? Stop shooting fireworks off of my roof.” Everything, everyday. We wake up, shovel beer cans, crush them and haul them to the scrap yard for a little cash. It's like the glamorous world of DIY house-show promotion. It took its toll. I never took a promoter's cut for anything I booked. That's the whole point of why that place was there. Nice to have a break? I do remember the Halloween show in 2010. We were trying to figure out how not to have 800 kids break into your room since the door was busted. Yeah! Most definitely. I forgot about that. You understand. Was that the night the cops showed up? Yes it was. Yeah. That was great.
Photo by Rick Kauffman.
This Place Rocks
Fast, Loud, Abrasive and Caffeinated 1515 S. 4th Street grindcorehouse.com Grindcore House serves more than coffee, as Rick Kauffman discovers. Could a pair of metalheads who own a coffee shop in South Philly also be the modern purveyors of radical liberty? Surprisingly, yes. Dave Anthem and Mike Barone didn’t try to make the hippest coffee shop in the neighborhood. They just made the kind of place they would spend time in. The Grindcore House in South Philly is their brainchild - a vegan, death metal café that plays host to authors, bands and movie nights. “We always thought it’d be funny to have a
coffee shop that plays grindcore,” says Anthem, a hardcore music-loving librarian, who, with his friend Barone, turned what began as a joke into a reality. “It’s fast, it’s loud, it’s abrasive and it’s what I love to listen to.” The café is intimate, communal and open to all. The French doors, hardwood floors and white tin ceiling are reminders of the 1860s butcher shop the coffeehouse space once was. The backroom of the Grindcore House contains what the guys call “The Radical Library,” a collection of rare and hard-to-find books about anarchism, socialism, communism, radicalism, feminism, ecology and numerous other subjects. “The most important aspect we wish to promote is a political atmosphere,” says Anthem, who works as a librarian at Audenried High School. “We want a place where people come together and talk and interact, not just put on their headphones, bury their head in a book and turn the world off." They have more spinoffs of hobbies than actual jobs. They've done record releases on personal labels (“Just for our friends,” Anthem says) and they design T-shirts, scarves and other items through their company, Fifth Column Clothing (fifthcolumnclothing.com).
DEATH METAL VEGANS: Dave Anthem (left) and Mike Barone at their South Philly shop that has become a destination for coffee lovers, vegans and free thinkers. Their designs push vegan values and straightedge ideals. “We just have a shitload of people helping,” says Anthem. “It’s a big collaboration.” They hold regular events at the shop that feature acoustic hardcore sets. Pygmy Lush from Virginia performed recently. There are movie nights and events with various speakers, evoking discussion and debate. Rutgers University law professor Gary Francione spoke recently about his book, The Animal Rights Debate: Abolition or Regulation. “We basically made a place where we wanted to hang out,” says Barone. “We asked ourselves, ‘What would I want to eat,’ or ‘What kind of place would I want to hang out?’ You have to love what you do.” Anthem and Barone acknowledge they took a huge risk in creating a vegan café - due to the niche appeal and the high costs of doing business in the city. But the popularity of the café and its events has proven that something radical can thrive.
This Place Rocks
Taron Green) created the event last March with the intent of fostering creativity. The name, she says, represents “God’s gift of different languages.” “The name Noni’s Patois is a reminder,” says Burrows, a poet and songwriter. “It’s your gift from God, your language, what you speak to people, how you affect a person everyday. This is your gift. So when you come to Noni’s Patois, you have to be a part of that and feel that.” A welcoming person, Burrows says she tries to be a nurturing figure to the artists who
Ted Richardson converted the third floor of a former casket factory in Port Richmond into a much livelier place - a homey recording studio that doubles as an unusual performance space. Richardson started Cedar Street Studios in 2006 after running a multimedia company. “It really got me away from being creative in the music industry, which is really my natural habitat,” says Richardson. A longtime musician, producer and engineer, Richardson found a space in the Atlas Building with lofty ceilings and wide-open floor plans. “I met my wife and she quit her job and started working full-time with me here,” says Richardson. “Our house is connected to the building. Everything just made sense.” The list of artists who experimented with arrangements or set down tracks at Cedar Street is long, including acts like Portugal. The Man, Chiddy Bang and Lost in Company. “When I moved over here, I made the decision that I am going to do things in a way that is
natural,” Richardson says. “The big decision was to have a place to be creative.” In September 2010, Richardson began running monthly showcases of the talent that was working with Cedar Street. On every second Saturday of the month since then, there have been free live events promoting the studio. It was held for the first two months at North Star Bar. Then, Richardson decided that he could save money and better promote his work by holding shows at his studio. Among the bands that have performed all-ages shows at Second Saturday events are The Mechanicals, TivaTiva and Bravo, Utah! Even though the studio usually loses money on Second Saturdays, they often lead to business. “We never make money through that,” Richardson admits. “But I’ve got a couple of bands who have started to record here because of the Second Saturdays.” - Jillian Mallon
Photo by G.W. Miller III.
At Noni’s Patois, a weekly event held at Dowling's Palace on North Broad Street, soul reverberates through the room. And when Kindle Burrows, the event’s creator and host, stands on the red-lit stage and introduces the house band and DJ, energy flows through the audience. One by one, each of the evening’s lineup of artists takes complete ownership of the stage, jamming - even if for a short time - with no hints of nervousness or uncertainty. Burrows (in the above photo with co-host
perform every week, many of whom are still establishing themselves in Philadelphia's arts community. While many of the acts that have come through are R&B or soul-influenced, the event is about live talent of all sorts - rock, hiphop, jazz, whatever. “I think she brings something that no one else has brought,” says Brandy Smith, Burrows’ sister-in-law, who helps book artists. “You can trust her when she says, ‘You’re cool,’ and when she says, ‘I love what you do.’” A Philadelphia native, Burrows says she found inspiration for her project from neosoul-based events of the past, specifically Black Lily. Black Lily ran a weekly showcase during the early 2000s, serving as a launch pad for the careers of Jill Scott and Jaguar Wright, among many others. “I want the event to be a sequel to what Black Lily did,” Burrows says. So far, the event has been a success - large, appreciative crowds have witnessed impressive talent, much of which is based in the city. Burrows has also booked an impressive list of established artists, including Jaguar Wright and China Black. Even with her accomplishments, Burrows says growing her first event as a promoter has been challenging at times. There is the occasional microphone distortion or cancelled performance. “That doesn’t stop the sprit in the room, that energy and that constant flow of happiness and euphoria,” Burrows insists. The community of folks at the Wednesday events have become a like a family. “Everybody supports each other,” says D'Armand, a gospel/pop singer. “We grow together. Everybody is teaching each other something. I love it.” - Chesney Davis
Noni's Patois: The Next Black Lily? 1310 N. Broad Street nonispatois.com
3224 Chatham Street cedarstreetstudios.com
Photo by G.W. Miller III.
Music & Politics
Champion For The Arts Philadelphia’s Chief Cultural Officer Gary Steuer, better known as the Art Czar, loves funk music, dreads the clarinet and believes that art and culture is thriving here. It can continue to grow, he thinks, with the right help. Our Maxwell Reil talks to the New York native who was appointed by Mayor Nutter in 2008 to champion our creative economy. Why did you pursue a career in the arts? It was kind of the classic story. My parents exposed me to a lot of theater and art galleries as a child, so I grew up with it. Living in a city like New York, much like Philadelphia, I had a lot of different venues for art at my disposal. So as I got older and was able to go out and appreciate the arts on my own, I decided that this is what I wanted to study. It was something I was truly passionate about. Would you consider yourself more of an art fan with a political title? I realized I wasn’t the starving artist. I ended up double majoring in theater and politics. I was hired as an aid to a congressman where I would help with certain issues such as the arts. By a fluke, I then got a second job helping with exhibitions at an art museum. It was here where I saw the business standpoint of the arts and realized that, though I was no longer an artist, I could still integrate my passion for art with the tools I had gathered from business and marketing. From a marketing standpoint, what can government do to improve and promote the arts in Philly? How much responsibility is put on those in the community? I think it’s a balance between the two. It’s easy to see with the way the economy is today, and the way society is changing, that art organizations cannot depend solely on grants and loans from the government. JUMPphilly.com
When you moved from New York to Philadelphia, did you get a different feel from this city? For me, everything was new. I got to experience different cultures, new faces and new neighborhoods. There’s a real distinct sense of neighborhood in Philadelphia, which is somewhat like New York but more intense here. There’s a real entrepreneurial buzz around this city as well. Does the Art Czar ever have free time to see a local band or two? Oh, I go to a lot of shows, some of it work related. I’m in this field because I love going to shows, concerts, symphonies, clubs. I used to be able to attend three to five shows a week but with the addition of my baby girl [born in August], I’ve had to cut back a little. When your daughter grows up I’m sure you’ll want to introduce her to all the art your parents showed you. Of course. I plan on showing my daughter everything I did. I remember the first concert my parents took me to was Sly and the Family Stone in 1970. I was so excited. I couldn’t believe the concert atmosphere and the rush you get from attending. How important is combining the arts with early childhood education? Children have to be able to experience art class in school while also having a place to take these abilities outside of class whether it is
the YMCA, local organizations or even at their own home. Parents need to be able to influence their kids and support those who are interested in art programs. All in all, you need a strong school organization, committed parents and driven young artists. The opportunity needs to be there for them. Were you in the school band? I was. I played the clarinet but I hated it. Now I can connect with music by being an appreciator. By going to concerts and shows, I still can pretend I’m in the band. Are there any albums that never left your record player as a kid? I was always a huge Beatles fan. The Rolling Stones, The Allman Brothers and Grateful Dead were constants in my musical spectrum. Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon was one of my favorites as a kid. I also loved Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue and Sketches of Spain. What does the future of the arts and culture look like in Philadelphia? I think it looks really bright. I do believe, however, that if the economy stays the way it is, we will have challenges ahead of us. Some organizations might have to merge to comply. The Cultural Alliance has done studies that in the last two years of the recession, attendance for art and culture events has gone up. Musical philanthropy has also grown throughout as well. Bands are self-promoting more than ever around the city. People have a hunger for new music in this city and that needs to be fed. 21
Music & Education
Rock Gods in the Making Things have certainly changed since Paul Green started giving music lessons to kids at his home in 1998. His Paul Green School of Rock Music quickly gained a cult following. In 2003, Jack Black starred in "School of Rock," eerily aping Green's teaching style. Green and his team used the recognition from the movie, as well as from local documentarian Don Argott's 2005 "Rock School," to go bigtime. While Green bailed in 2009, there are more than 70 School of Rocks across the country that teach kids how to be rock stars. - Photos by Rick Kauffman
IT'S ONLY ROCK AND ROLL: Averi Bent-Cole, Becca Cavalier and Tristan Walker on the SOR stage (top image). Instructor Sebastian LaBar works with Kevin Pressley (above). Clio Fleece and Ric Haas practicing (right). Opposite page (top to bottom): Jimmy Brook on guitar; Tim Green, Ishamdy Ramos, Ric Haas and instructor Noelle Hoover in rehearsal; Cypress Estrada on the drums. 421 N. 7th Street philadelphia.schoolofrock.com 22
SEE THESE SHOWS Thanks to TheSwollenFox.com for listing info. Check the site for updates.
11/25-12/1 Friday 11/25 Beru Revue (30th Anniversary Show) World Cafe Live $22-$32 All ages Saturday 11/26 GWAR, Everytime Time I Die, Warbeast Electric Factory $19.50 All ages
Sunday 11/27 Breathe Carolina, Big Chocolate First Unitarian Church $13-$15 All ages Monday 11/28 Ugh God, Pile, Psychic Teens, Wives Kung Fu Necktie $05 21+
Wednesday 11/30 Steel Panther Theatre of the Living Arts $20 All ages Thursday 12/01 Tori Amos Academy of Music $39.50-$59.50 All ages
Monday 11/21 AA Bondy, Gold Leaves First Unitarian Church$13-$14 All ages
Friday 11/18 Los Campesinos!, Reading Rainbow Union Transfer $15-$18 All ages
Tuesday 11/22 Philly Sings Philly featuring Andrew Lipke, Hezekiah Jones, Bob Beach, Rev. TJ McGlinchey, Dani Mari and Up the Chain The Fire $08 21+
Saturday 11/19 Peter Murphy, She Wants Revenge The Trocadero $22.50 All ages Saturday 11/19 Purling Hiss, Puerto Rico Flowers Johnny Brenda's $10-$12 21+
Friday 12/02 Jeffrey Gaines / Jennings Tin Angel $22 21+
Wednesday 11/23 JUMP PRESENTS NICOS GUN, Grandchildren, Prowler, DRGN KNG, DJ Ed Blammo The Blockley $09-$12 21+
Saturday 12/03 Michael Pedicin Quintet (CD release) Chris' Jazz Cafe $20 21+ Sunday 12/04 Terror, Cruel Hand, Fire and Ice, Strength for A Reason, Rock Bottom, Bottom Feeder The Barbary $13 All ages
Friday 12/02 Ryan Adams, Jessica Lea Mayfield Academy of Music $35 All ages
Tuesday 11/29 Philly Sings Philly featuring Ben Arnold, Kuf Knotz, Cresson St. Vibration, Ross Bellenoit, Steph Hayes and Joe D'Amico The Fire $08 21+
Friday 12/09, Saturday 12/10 Nutcracker: A Tale of Sugar Plum Fairies (Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus) Prince Theater $20 All ages
Friday 11/18 Jedi Mind Tricks, Outerspace The Trocadero $18-$20 All ages
Saturday 11/26 Reading Rainbow, Woven Bones Johnny Brenda's $10 21+
Friday 12/09 Get the Led Out Electric Factory $22 All ages
Sunday 11/20 Jazz Brunch with the Shai Maestro Trio World Cafe Live $15 All ages
Saturday 12/03 East Hundred, Val de Val, Turning violet Violet Milkboy $08 21+ Saturday 12/03 The Really Cooks, Conversations With Enemies, The New Connection, Mercury Radio Theatre PhilaMOCA $07 All ages Saturday 12/03 Jukebox the Ghost, The Spinto Band, White Birds Union Transfer $12-$14 All ages
Monday 12/05 Bobby Kung Fu Necktie $08 21+ Tuesday 12/06 Itzhak Perlman Verizon Hall $99 and up All ages Wednesday 12/07 Tori Ensemble Calvary United Methodist Church $10 All ages Thursday 12/08 Tin Horses, Levee Drivers, Bronze Float Kung Fu Necktie $08 21+ Thursday 12/08 City and Colour, Hacienda The Trocadero $22.50 All ages
Saturday 12/10 Steve Goldberg & the Arch Enemies, Oh! Pears, Arrah and the Ferns Johnny Brenda's $10 21+
Monday 12/12 Open Jam Session with Tony Catastrophe Triumph Brewing Company Free All ages
Wednesday 12/14 Jim Hanft with Samantha Yonack, Will Knox, Jake Hill, Alec Gross Tin Angel $10 21+
Sunday 12/11 Ximena Sariñana World Cafe Live $19 All ages
Tuesday 12/13 Big Sam's Funky Nation World Cafe Live $18 All ages
Thursday 12/15 The Slackers / The Pietasters Union Transfer $15 All ages
See TheSwollenFox.com for updated info
Saturday, 12/23 Holiday Dreams on Ice: Two-time Olympian Johnny Weir ice skates to a couple of songs sung by Philadelphia Gay Men's Chorus University of Pennsylvania Class of 1923 Arena $60 All ages
Friday 12/16 The Wonder Years, Man Overboard, Fireworks, Wheatus, Into It Over It , Moving Mountains Union Transfer $16 All ages Friday 12/16 Wu-Tang Clan The Trocadero $43.50-$45 All ages Saturday 12/17 The War On Drugs Union Transfer $14 All ages
Sunday 12/18 @ 2:30 Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia: Mozart & Mendelssohn Perelman Theater $24-$81 All ages Monday 12/19 @ 7:30 Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia: Mozart & Mendelssohn Perelman Theater $24-$81 All ages
Thursday 12/29 Start Making Sense, Great White Caps World Cafe Live $16.50-$21.50 All ages
Saturday 12/24 Matisyahu, Cris Cab Theatre of the Living Arts $30 All ages
Friday 12/30 Thursday, mewithoutYou, Screaming Females, Make Do and Mend Theatre of the Living Arts $20 All ages
Wednesday 12/28 Lucero Union Transfer $20 All ages
Saturday 12/31 Good Old War , River City Extension Theatre of the Living Arts $20 All ages
Photo by Rick Kauffman.
Saturday 12/17 TivaTiva Milkboy $08-$10 All ages
Wednesday 12/28 Valencia Electric Factory $15 All ages
Good Old War will play the TLA on New Year's Eve.
Tuesday 12/20 Old Man Cactus, The Workmen, Orion Freeman The Grape Room 21+ $5 Wednesday 12/21 Couples Only, Satellite Hearts The Grape Room 21+ $5
Sneak preview of early 2012 shows Thursday 01/05 Steel Panther Theatre of the Living Arts $20 All ages Saturday 01/07 Medea Tin Angel $10 21+ Sunday 01/08 Lifetime, Title Fight, Iron Chic First Unitarian Church $15 SOLD OUT All ages
Thursday 1/13 The National Rifle, Blayer Pointdujour Milkboy Philly 21+ $8. Friday 01/13 Minas World Cafe Live $18 All ages Saturday 01/14 Richard Bush & The Peace Creeps Tin Angel $10 21+ Saturday 01/14 Brown Recluse Milkboy $08-$10 21+
Visit JUMPphilly.com for reviews and previews
Sunday 01/15 International Guitar Night, featuring Adrian Legg, Marco Pereira, Lulo Reinhardt, Brian Gore Calvary United Methodist Church $10-$30 All ages
Friday 1/27 â€“ Saturday 1/28 Hotel Carolina: Todd Carey, Matt Duke, Caleb Hawley, Ingram Hill, Tony Lucca, Cara Salimando, Keaton Simons and Sarah Jane The Grape Room $59.99 (for two days) 21+
Friday 01/20 The Smithereens World Cafe Live $30-$40 All ages
Wednesday 02/08 Bob Mould World Cafe Live $25-$35 All ages
Saturday 01/21 Philly Gumbo World Cafe Live $13 All ages
Tuesday 02/14 Hoots & Hellmouth (two shows) Tin Angel $15 21+
Celebrate Philly music live with us
Wednesday, November 16 @ 5:00 JUMP Presents Turning violet Violet and Bedroom Problems at Temple University's Paley Library. The event will be preceded by a discussion on music journalism with JUMP publisher George Miller and Magnet/ GRID/ Decibel publisher Aex Mulcahy at 3:30.
Wednesday, November 23 @ 8:00 JUMP Presents NICOS GUN, Grandchildren, Prowler, DRGN KNG and DJ Ed Blammo at The Blockley, 38th and Chestnut streets. Thursday, November 17 @ 8:00 JUMP Presents Toy Soldiers, City Rain and Lady at The Hard Rock Cafe, 12th and Market streets. All-ages show!
Stay connected with JUMP: facebook.com/jumpphilly @jumpphilly jumpphilly.com firstname.lastname@example.org
JILL SCOTT IS A HOME GIRL THE NORTH PHILLY NATIVE TAKES CARE OF THE KIDS IN HER OLD 'HOOD. Our Niesha Miller talks to the Grammy-winning artist about her dedication to Philadelphia.
Photo of Jill Scott by Gomillion and Leupold. Camp photos courtesy of Blues Babe Foundation.
ith a financially imperiled school district and funding for after-school programs being cut, finding a learning sanctuary for a young Philadelphia student can be difficult. Jill Scott, the Grammy Award-winning artist who has starred in movies and on television shows, knows how difficult it can be.
But by the mid-2000s, not long after Scott’s debut album went double platinum, the building needed a new roof. The basketball court and the pool needed to be repaired. Rather than fix the problems, the city was going to shutter the center. So Scott donated money, saving the facility from being shut down. She became active again with the place that nurtured her in her youth. “While I was there I met some kids who were in school but were struggling to do the little things,” she says. She launched Blues Babe Foundation for them, the young people with brains and talent but She grew up here, surrounded by not the money to afford the little the poverty and drug dealing of things. Founded in 2002, Blues Babe North Philadelphia. She went to aims to provide tools and financial school in the city, graduating from support for students in their pursuit Girl’s High School, and thrived of higher education. because of the support that she They bring music to schools, run found along the way. college prep workshops, provide When she found out that her scholarships, do neighborhood former sanctuary, the Cecil B. cleanups and hold an annual camp Moore Recreation Center at 22nd for North Philly kids, where they and Lehigh, was slated to close, she meet musicians and artists and stepped in. SCOTT'S TOTS: Jill Scott (in the back, center) with children who experience positive energy. “It’s where I played safely,” Scott participated in Camp Jill Scott during the summer of 2009. “The ‘hood is sincere with some remembers. “It’s where I learned to struggles,” Scott says. “I was one of swim and not drown, where I did my first fashion show and my first talent those kids that was able to find fun in the midst of drugs and drug dealers show.” and shootouts and things of that nature. I wanted to be able to supply that She lip-synced “Kiss,” the classic track by Prince while sporting a pink for other kids so they can see that there’s more to life than just bad. They shirt and pink paisley jeans. have options.” “I played the air guitar and I tore the house down,” Scott recalls. (continued on page 30) JUMPphilly.com
(continued from page 29)
Philadelphia,” Winfield says.
he foundation is housed across the street from the famous or one week every summer, more than 60 children escape Philly’s Uptown Theatre, located on Broad Street near Susquehanna, in cracked pavements and dangerous streets, thanks to Jill Scott. a renovated three-story brown and white building. Inside, they Blues Babe Foundation hosts Camp Jill Scott, a summer camp for develop programming to change how young people work and think about boys and girls, ages 9-14, at Cherokee Day Camp in Bensalem. Through their education. self-expression, team building and conflict resolution, they work to One of their main programs is “Music in the Classroom,” where North acquire skills to become strong leaders. Philly elementary school students receive instruction and hands-on “The goals and expectations are to develop a stronger sense of critical experience from talented and knowledgeable thinking,” explains Sakina Ibrahim, the camp musicians. “Yeah, you’re one of the lucky coordinator. “It’s about letting them know there “It came out of the fact that in Philadelphia, a are options outside of where they live.” number of music programs that had been in ones, one of the blessed ones. Here, students get lessons in health and fitness, the schools for years are now being taken out,” You have to go back and bless nutrition and well-being, financial literacy and explains Aisha Winfield, executive director of hip-hop literacy. They swim and rock climb, and Blues Babe. “It was a way for us to bring back somebody else. Give them an they’ve met with artists like Rah Crawford and some of the music but also let students know how opportunity.” Carol Riddick. But the most popular day of the it corresponds with what they’re learning in other camp is when Jill Scott arrives and participates in subjects like science, math and world culture.” activities with the kids. Thomas Pierce Elementary, Scott’s former school, was the first school “I met her!” states Quadire Davis, 13. “We wrote her a song and she liked involved. One workshop featured master percussionist Leonard “Doc” it. She gave us gifts and CDs.” Gibbs, who brought in 10 instruments for the kids to experiment with. “I’m amazed they can put together such an amazing show in a week,” The program’s partner is Bridging a Sound Future, an organization run Scott says. “They are so animated and so well put together and so creative by drummer Detrick Lowman, a University City High School grad who and so appreciative. My goodness. It makes me feel great. I just feel great. tours with Scott. With his help, music companies donate instruments All I can say again and again is, ‘Wow.’ It just reaffirms why we’re doing and equipment to schools. this, why the camp is important.” “The goal is for it to be at a number of elementary schools in North She blends in so well - sporting jean shorts and a black T-shirt - many 30
of the campers barely notice she’s there. “Last year was my first year, so the kids knew Jill before I did,” Ibrahim says with a laugh. “I don’t even think I knew that she was in the room. They were doing some visual arts and I didn’t realize that she was in the room with the kids.” College workshops teach students about pursuing a college education, and leaders talk about what students need to do once they are in college. “A lot of times, students don’t have family members that have gone to college or they don’t have the proper foundation to get there,” explains Winfield. “They don’t know how to get help. When we started our scholarship program, we had students who withdrew from college. We had a lot of students that just weren’t ready to be away from home.” The college workshops and scholarship program were created with the understanding that not every person has the finances and information to attend and complete college. “Sometimes when you go to college, you can get a scholarship or you can get financial aid that will help you pay for the tuition,” says Scott. “But you still have to get to school and you still have to buy books and you still have to eat.”
cott worked at a City Blues clothing store and an ice cream parlor to make ends meet while studying education at Temple University. She wanted to be a teacher. But she quit college during her junior year because she did not have the financial means to finish. “I just didn’t have it in me to study and work two jobs that way,” Scott recalls. “I was thinking there’s gotta be something else because I’m miserable. Something just peeved me off because I’m getting financial JUMPphilly.com
JILLY FROM PHILLY: Every summer, Scott (center) takes kids from North Philly to a camp in Bensalem where they can experience nature, play games and develop life skills. aid, I’m getting loans, I’m working this hard to owe you money?” She auditioned for a part in the musical Rent, and launched her career. Last summer, she released her fourth studio album, The Light of the Sun. The album features the hit “Shame,” with fellow Philly native Eve. Many people think because Scott is in movies, on TV shows and she’s won three Grammys, creating and running a foundation for inner-city kids is easy. Fundraisers and grants are what keep the camp and other Blues Babe programs free or at low cost for local students. Good help is also hard to find. “Finding some folks who really cared about what I cared about was a challenge,” says Scott. “I finally found Aisha Winfield and she has been a huge blessing to the foundation because she actually cares. She’s very thorough and she makes things happen for the kids.” In the next few years, Scott and Winfield hope to expand Blues Babe Foundation programming so that more students have an opportunity to participate. Scott wants more children to appreciate that they have options, and that education is their ticket to success. She feels like this is something she has to do. “It’s a part of what you’re supposed to do regardless of who you are,” says Scott. “We walk away from our 'hoods or our ghettos or whatever and we say we made it out. Yeah, you’re one of the lucky ones, one of the blessed ones. So you have to go back and bless somebody else. Give them an opportunity.” 31
Singing For Harmony's Sake The Philadelphia Gay Men's Chorus has a good time, as Lauren Gordon witnesses. But they also build community. Photos by Rick Kauffman.
he lobby of the Ritz-Carlton is buzzing with activity. Businessmen and women convene for happy hour cocktails. Groups of women wearing identical bandanas (tourists, most likely) exchange itineraries. And several conventioneers network on this busy Wednesday. It is 6:29 p.m. and the unsuspecting guests in the opulent room are being served hors d'oeuvres by men in sailor hats and tribal headdresses. Then, there is a low hum, the sound of a familiar disco tune wafting through the decadent halls. The servers line up - around 30 men in white shirts and blue jeans, and begin singing a Village People medley accompanied by choreographed
dance moves complete with jazz hands and macho-man poses. This flash mob is one of the more kitschy performances the Philadelphia Gay Men's Chorus (PGMC) has done over the past 30 years, and only a sliver of what they have accomplished over the years.
ounded by Gerald David in 1981, the original four members began by caroling in bars. Quickly their respectability grew. Their first formal concert occurred on April 25, 1982. Not only have their numbers steadily grown â€“ they now have 130 members - they have since added a non-profit sector to their organization and they boast a popular,
annual holiday concert. But they are more than just a talented group. They are a support system for the gay community. “It was an important part of accepting my sexual identity,” reflects President Greg Weight on joining as a chorus member in 1997. “It was so important to see the diversity of men who accepted themselves.”
n the Lutheran Church located at 20th and Sansom streets, it is evident that Weight's statement rings true today. The mood is entirely different from their flash mob performance barely one hour ago. A more focused sea of men sit according to their positions in the ensemble - from the basses to the altos. They range from their early 20s to their late 60s. Whites, Asians, African Americans, Middle Eastern men and more, hailing from different creeds and a plethora of various musical backgrounds, begin singing beloved Christmas carols. Joe Burches, the artistic director and conductor, leads rehearsal. “Its 'candle' not 'can-dellllll,'” he remarks, playfully mocking the group's heavy Philadelphian accent. To the melodic lilt of the piano, his hands prod and pluck the air as if pulling the appropriate notes from the group's diaphragms. A chillinducing sound rises from the choir, a calming harmony in the cloak of a familiar carol fills the air. Burches, who is the only paid employee in the chorus, has watched his men evolve and grow under his direction. He’s also witnessed an evolution in community activism. “We make appearances at everything we can,” Burches comments. “It is important for people to know we are out there.” The PGMC creates a community united around music. Their vision has outreach beyond the gay community. They've visited local high schools and traveled across the country to spread their message of acceptance and hope, trying to dispel negative attitudes that surround homosexuality. “It is an extremely powerful thing for high school students to see a large, diverse group of proud homosexual men together,” affirms Weight.
am here to guide. Overall we just want a perfected, untouchable sound.” While they do infuse contemporary tunes with timeless classics, their overall style is that of a polished, sophisticated sound. For their official 30th anniversary celebration next June, they are performing the world premiere of a composition by Collaborative Accompanist Michael Djupstrom and a libretto by PGMC member Chip Alfred. “To be together for 30 years, functioning as a unit, is a remarkable feat itself,” Weight proudly states. “I am confident this is just a marker of greater things to come.”
he PGMC isn't just trying to make strides outside of the gay community, it is working to bring unity back into it. “You don't have to be gay or even a man to join the chorus,” clarifies Weight. “That is not what this is about.” Most members claim that they originally joined the chorus to meet others in the gay community. Though there are a myriad of pride events, gay bars and awareness groups, it can be hard to meet people when you aren't entirely ready to be immersed in that aspect of the community. PGMC often serves a platform for gay men to get involved but still live their lives in a “safe environment.” “The attitude in the chorus has changed dramatically to a family mentality,” Burches remarks. “We have a strong network here.” There is such a comfort level that some of the singers have used the chorus as a way to come out, Weight says, inviting their loved ones to see them in a show. The chorus has the ability to bridge many communities and subsets, Burches and Weight believe. “We have so many different groups in Philly,” Weight says. “We have the dancers, the artists, the musicians - all key players in the gay community. But people tend to stay in their own cliques. We really want to bridge that gap between those sectors because we are all hoping for the same things.” At the end of the day, it always comes back to the music. There are three auditions held every year, though many members do not have formal musical training. Each potential member is expected to have raw talent. Burches ensures he can help with the rest. “Not everyone knows how to read music and that is ok,” he explains. “I JUMPphilly.com
MACHO MEN: PGMC members performing during a flash mob at the Ritz-Carleton (opposite page), and at rehearsal afterward.
The Dubstep Diva Mercedes Jones meets the dancehall prodigy. Photos at UBIQ on Walnut Street by Marie Alyse Rodriguez.
t’s a rainy Friday evening outside PYT and DJ Suga Shay sits, perched on the high end of a bean bag chair. She sets fire to her Marlboro Light and blindly searches for the ice-laden Michelada, a cervezas preparadas, at her feet. As she swirls the drink with a straw, her glittercoated, oval-shaped fingernails make her look refined and mature. At first glance, Suga Shay appears to be a pretty girl who blows bubbles with her gum and LOLs after every sentence. And that's exactly her. Shaina “Suga Shay” Robinson is a self-proclaimed weirdo who loves Jameson whiskey, cigs and the night life. Though only in the game a short while, Shay, 23, is the dubsteb "it girl," one of the most rockin’ DJs in a scene loaded with talent. “DJing is perfect for me,” she admits. "I suck at getting up early.” This evening finds her in a pleasant mood, still a little hopped up after rehearsal with fellow free spirit Patty Crash, JUMP’s fall issue cover artist. Raised in a single-parent home in Germantown, Shay describes a childhood of options: life in the city vs. life in the suburbs; music vs. art; hip-hop vs. alternative; and neo-soul sister vs. punk princess. She loved it all. "I'm like a rock star,” she says, fluttering her eyelashes at the idea of sticking to one thing. “I'm into what I'm into." This youthful whimsy and zest for life is part of her appeal. Quite frankly, the only box she's worried about fitting into is a Serato box (which was one of her first major purchases once she became an official DJ less than two years ago). Her sudden popularity parallels the blastoff of a rocket ship. The spark came when she befriended producer Mel "Chaos" Lewis. She then met DJ JUMPphilly.com
PHSH, who gave Shay her first lesson on the turntables. Dirty South Joe and DJ Regina Gun$ Garcia took Shay under their wings. They formally taught her how to spin and then set her up with gigs, launching DJ Suga Shay’s career. Luckily, DJ PHSH also introduced her to dubstep, the synthheavy, UK spawn of reggae and dub. She was immediately hooked on its heavy bass and deep moodiness. She promptly amassed an impressive collection of music. It only took one kick-ass gig with Isreali DJ Borgore and time spent hosting a dubstep webisode series to make her name synonymous with the genre. Now, Shay’s in a rarified orbit: gigs up the ying-yang, including club residencies, and she’s shared lineups with mega DJs like Diplo. Time moves fast for her and she knows that she can't stay footloose and fancy free forever, though it’s obvious that hurtling through space gives her a thrill. Her short term goals are simple enough. "I want to command a stage,” she asserts. 35
masthead print studio • 340 brown st. • philadelphia, pa www.mastheadprintstudio.com
Masthead Print Studio brings you some of the local designers/ illustrators who create images for the sounds of some of our favorite bands. Discover insights on process, creativity and even beverage preference. INTERVIEWS BY SHAWN HILEMAN BRIAN MERCER (WWW.MERCERROCK.COM) - HIGH ON FIRE, 2010
JAMES HEIMER (WWW.JAMESHEIMER.COM) - MARNIE STERN, 2011 STEVEN SPEIR (WWW.PANHANDLEPRINT.COM) - SLUTEVER, 2011
NODIVISION DESIGN SYNDICATE NODIVISION is the three-man design syndicate of JP Flexner, Robb Leef and Ed Kelley. Starting as the creative outlet of bored teenagers in a small rural town. It slowly, with years of hard work and dedication, developed into a trio of bored man-children. They specialize in making limited edition screen printed posters for bands, venues, record labels and gallery exhibitions as well as other illustration and design projects for apparel, toys, magazines, skate companies, breweries - really whatever comes their way that personally interests them.
How long have you guys been collaborating? ED: JP and Robb met in high school art class where they developed an interest in graphic design and art in the public space. They started the
shit. Sometimes that would be a long session, sometimes two or three. This early phase really helped them develop style and techniques. Now each member tends to work on their own projects and NODIVISION has become and umbrella identity for those works. A lot of the conceptual work is still collaborative in the sense that their collectively odd senses of humor reverberate off each other and ideas emerge. They all rely on the group for inspiration and critical feedback.
If Robb was shorter would he be less likely to scare little kids? JP: Robb is actually two little kids dressed up in grown-up clothes, pretending to be a single adult.
“developed into a trio of bored man-children” idea of NODIVISION as a collaborative label for themselves in 2002. The trio as it is now has been working since 2005.
What are your spirit animals? ROBB: Dracunculiasis, guinea worm. JP: … STUFF. ED: Bubo blakistoni, blakiston’s fish owl.
When working on a project together, do you usually post up in a locked room for a while or is it more like a long period of time from start to finish? JP: In the beginning the group essentially took
a single piece of paper and sketched/erased for several hours, then put it on screen and took turns tweaking the piece until it wasn’t total
Who were you guys looking up to when you first came on the scene? ROBB: I had a fascination with street art,
illustration-based posters and packaging as well as custom typography. Some of my initial inspirations were Jay Ryan, Dan Grzeca, Guy Burwell, Ed Roth and House Industries. JP: Everyone who is psychically taller than us, in fact we still look up to those people when ever we see them. Also see artists like R.Crumb, Basil Wolverton and poster pioneers like Jim Altieri and many, many others. Oh and punk rock. ED: I am humbled by too many artists to list here. But I’ve always loved posters/design by Coop, Ed Roth and Raymond Pettibon. A few illustrators I like Crumb, Basil Wolverton and Drew Friedman. The list could go on. Anything that does not suck.
rleef-portfolio.blogspot.com • jpflexnercreative.blogspot.com
RALPH STOLLENWERK OF AWESOME DUDES PRINTING
You run a screenprinting space called Awesome Dudes down in South Philly. How long has this gem been around? Me and Shaky have been running Awesome Dudes for almost six years now. We started in a basement with one poster station and a homemade lightbox. Now we’re above ground and have three T-shirt presses and some awesome employees - Chris Kline, Max Gordon, Paul Portis, Eric Kenney and an intern, Ben Buckner, who run the presses. And a bookkeeper who keeps us in check, Stephanie Dellavalentina. We still use the same poster station.
Can you give us a run through of how your usual day pans out? The day always starts with a coffee. Always. Usually a couple of us meet up before work at Benna’s, Grindcore House, Ultimo or Black n’ Brew. We’re lucky to have a shop so close to great coffee shops. We open the doors at 10 to the public. The day consists of a lot of dick and fart jokes, and a lot of T-shirt printing - around 500 shirts a day, then we close the doors at 6.
“The day consists of a lot of dick and fart jokes, and a lot of T-shirt printing - around 500 shirts a day, then we close the doors at 6.” How well does whiskey mix with cheerios?
You have seem to done a poster for most of the bands that travel through the city. Which ones made you jump over a ten foot pole (love or hate)? This is a pretty tough one. I love a lot of the bands I get to do posters for but my favorites are The Murder City Devils, Lucero, The Bronx, Coliseum. This year I did one for Florence and The Machine. Universal Records contacted me not too long ago and asked if I’d be interested in doing her album release show poster in London. I jumped right on it. That was a real fun project.
Probably terrible, haha. But I have had beer with Cheerios. That’s not so bad. We do have a very large whiskey collection in the print shop though, about 30 bottles right now, and three cases of beer in the fridge.
What do you see happening in the next five years for you? Putting on about 20 more pounds. And hopefully owning a building that we work out of. We’ve been slowly expanding each year and I think, even within the next two to three years, we’re gonna need a bigger space, more equipment and more help.
JIM ALTIERI Did you think you were going to be a poster designer when you grew up?
No idea and I am still growing (outward)! Posters have always been something I did for fun. Music is one of my many loves. I am not a musician although I try to be, so it’s my contribution to the music scene.
What’s the best literature you ever read on the toilet? I can’t read so I just stare at the floor. Someone else is reading me the questions and typing my answers.
Is it easier for you to come up with ideas hanging out with a beer and friends or in a quiet room with CNN? I do my best brainstorming while mowing my lawn. But if I had to pick out of the two choices, I would say with a beer and friends.
You’ve been making posters for quite awhile. What’s next on your list? I have been doing this for quite awhile! Too long!! My next project is for an upcoming show at Masthead Print Studios! I also want to continue a series of prints I have been working on for about two years now. They feature “standout” individuals I encounter in my daily life. My goal is to have a show of the entire series but that is going to be a while in the making.
“I do my best brainstorming while mowing my lawn.”
Social Commentary With an X-Acto Knife South Philly street artist and guitarist Joe Boruchow creates geometric designs and bold, stylized images that take on street art's noble mission of making crappy places look less crappy. "I'll get people asking what it's for or what it's advertising,” he says. “I also get people who see it as vandalism. I try not to do too much private property but sometimes it's unavoidable." Joe's adventures in street art began in 2001 when he started making promotional posters with handmade stencils for his band, The Nite Lights. As his technique with an X-Acto knife improved, his stencils became elaborate enough to stand on their own as paper cutouts. Whether he's working on his intricate patterns or his music, Joe's artistic process remains fundamentally the same. "I guess everything starts with an idea,” he says. “Then, as you construct the song or the paper cutout, you play with the medium as the idea changes."
His wheatpaste posters, fraught with political satire and social commentary, can be found around the city on telephone poles, public mailboxes and abandoned buildings. There's a definite folksy quality to Joe's visual art and music that makes both instantly recognizable. "I generally describe The Nite Lights' music as handmade rock and roll,” he offers. “Although, some would challenge the term 'handmade' now that I use a drum machine so frequently. We like to be spooky and we like to rock from time to time. Our music is most successful when it is evocative, expressive and pretty." The Nite Lights are fast at work on a yetto-be named EP, which is due out by the end of the year. Joe’s 10th annual solo exhibition hangs at The Bean Café, 615 South St., through December 13. And if you just want to meet Joe, swing by Tattooed Mom’s, where he’s a bartender. - Maddy Court
M.C. ESCHER MEETS BANKSY: (clockwise, from above) The Geek, A Game of Chess, Nutter's Budget, 2009, Memorial, Cars and Housetops, L7, Dionysus, Engine from Market Watching.
Food That Rocks
Pavarotti With A Pizza Pie Dinner at the High Note Cafe is more than just a meal, as Kim Maialetti discovers. Photos by Jessica Griffin.
earing a navy blue apron and sporting a tan fedora on his otherwise bald head, Franco Borda takes a break from tossing pizzas to take the stage at his restaurant, the High Note Café. He shakes his tambourine and leads diners in a sing-a-long that starts with “That’s Amore” and ends with “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling,” with a few bars from “Hava Nagila” in between. It’s Friday night in South Philly and the Singing Chef entertains diners just as he has been since his days hawking soft pretzels decades ago.
a few blocks from where his restaurant at 13th and Tasker streets is today. His parents were poor, Borda explains, and he needed to work to help make ends meet.
reeeeeeeeeesh pretzels,” Borda sings during a recent interview, demonstrating how, as a 7-yearold, his pretzel aria would bring people out of their rowhomes for a taste of his song - and a pretzel. “That was how I started,” says Borda, who was born and raised in South Philadelphia, just
As soon he was tall enough to see over a shopping cart, he would fill it up with pretzels from Federal Pretzels and push it through the neighborhood streets until it was empty, sold out for the day.
At home, while his Calabrese mother cooked, Borda would steal away to his room to put on his father’s Mario Lanza records and try to imitate the sounds of the famous tenor who also hailed from the streets of South Philadelphia. “Opera is like broccoli rabe,” Borda says. “You either like it or you don’t.” And Borda liked it. In fact, he liked it so much that on weekends, while his cousins played half ball, he headed to the record store to pick up the latest Luciano Pavarotti. “I used to hide them under my shirt,” recalls Borda. “I’d be embarrassed.”
ventually Borda got over his embarrassment and graduated as a drama major from South Philly's Creative and Performing Arts High School during the school’s inaugural year. He went on to study voice at Settlement Music School and the Bryn Mawr Conservancy. After JUMPphilly.com
Bryn Mawr, he studied at the Curtis Institute of Music and began performing with the Bel Canto Lyric Opera. At the same time, he also worked in the restaurant business, and 17 years ago opened Pastaria, now the High Note Café. “I thought I was going to be another Caruso,” says Borda, referring to the acclaimed Italian tenor Enrico Caruso. “I realized in my early 30s, I just wanted to be a good singer and make a living.” Today, Borda lives in Chalfont in suburban Bucks County with his wife, Teresa, and two children, Anthony and Maria.
he walls of the High Note Café are covered with autographed photos of Borda with glitterati ranging from Pavarotti himself, to the stars from The Sopranos, to Mayor Nutter. A baseball cap emblazoned with “Borda for Mayor” hangs above black and white family photos from the Old World, and an accordion player warms up diners who study the menu, contemplating the evening’s specials. The food at the High Note Café is standard South Philly Italian - chicken Parmesan with a side of spaghetti, broccoli rabe, ravioli, meatballs and pizza. And while the dishes reflect solid, home-style cooking, the atmosphere and entertainment are what make this place stand out. In between taking orders and delivering plates, servers also deliver performances that make guests stop mid-chew to listen. “I enjoy singing,” says 21-year-old Anna Saurman, a voice performance major at Temple University and waitress at the High Note. “It’s cool to be able to combine what I want to do with a job. I’m basically practicing.”
orda prides himself on providing a space for beginning musicians to hone their talents and for established artists to share their gifts, especially in a city where the number of live jazz performance venues has steadily declined over the years. “I want to share it (the stage) more than I want to be on it,” says Borda, who explains that his long-term plans are to bring singers from all over the world to perform at the High Note in residence, housing them in one of the residential properties he owns in the neighborhood. “That’s a retirement dream,” says Borda, 50. “I have a desire to expose people to Philadelphia.” For now, Borda hosts live jazz nights at the High Note on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Friday nights are Italian song nights. Saturdays and Sundays are ballad nights. He also regularly holds opera dinners, with the next one - La Boheme - planned for Tuesday nights in December. Borda says hosting jazz nights at the restaurant has helped him develop a greater appreciation JUMPphilly.com
MEET THE SINGING CHEF: Franco Borda does it all at his South Philly eatery, from spinning pies, to entertaining guests, to serving dishes, such as the broccoli rabe and hot Italian sausage (left). The High Note Café is located at 13th and Tasker streets and is open Wednesday through Sunday. Reservations are recommended. 215/ 755-8903, highnotecafe.com for that style of music. “Jazz has opened my eyes,” he offers, noting that he advises artists play songs that people know but interpret them differently. He also wants to inspire younger artists – like the neighborhood kid who just started playing trumpet - and make them realize that performing is “cool.” “It’s what I wanted for myself,” he says. 45
Photo by Doug Seymour.
On the Road with June Divided Touring is often rocky but always fun, explains Melissa Menago, the lead singer of the Philly-based pop rock band.
he car is packed, guitar is strung and false eyelashes are on. I couldn’t really ask for more as I hop into the car with my manager and the rest of my bandmates and head for the New Jersey Turnpike. Our debut EP, The Other Side of You, was released just months ago, so our work is definitely cut out for us. We’ve been pretty successful in Philly and now we’re trying our luck in other places to spread the word. This is what brings us into northern New Jersey tonight. We really don’t know what to expect, other than some friends we have up there who will attend. Regardless, we’re excited, in good humor and ready to rock.
f you’re wondering what a car ride with June Divided is like, here it is: the music is never predictable, the conversation could inspire or disgust you and the language could make you blush or die laughing. While on the road, I’ve seen pee in a bottle, smelled the foulest of farts, stopped at the creepiest rest stops and ate some disturbing amounts of candy. This short trip is no different. Our more glamorous shows have been on the Warped Tour, at SXSW and at Philly’s own TLA. But as a new band, those gigs can be few and far between. Tonight’s show is at a humble little venue - complete with tacky decor, a depressing draught list and a small, less-than enthused, motley crowd standing around the bar. We load our gear into the small “green room,” which isn’t actually green, and discover some pizza that the promoter bought for the bands. This is more of a gesture than some venues have offered us so we’re really happy campers at this point. When it’s time for setup, it’s always the same. The sound engineer almost never shakes my hand and I get a lot of elevator eyes. I’m often assumed to be the merch girl or a girlfriend. Whatever. Once I’m on stage, people get the picture. Being a girl in a rock band is weird like that. It hurts when people brush you off and it’s rewarding when people start to take notice. But I wish gender didn’t play a role in the way people act toward me and my band. I try not to let it bother me. What really keeps me positive are my bandmates - Chris Kissel, Keith Gill and Rich Mancinelli. They see and respect me as just another musician. That’s a big reason why I work with them (besides their amazing talents). I know I’m a lucky gal.
t shows, I never have too much time to worry about any of this stuff because the chaos of setup and sound check takes over immediately. Tonight, we play our set pretty well. It’s a challenge to win over a small crowd but by the end of our set, everyone in the room is gathered close to the stage and they seem really into us. This kind of reaction is usually what happens when we play smaller venues. That’s always a good sign.
After our set, I go to our merch table to greet the small crowd forming to buy our CD. I speak with a few new fans and then a girl in the next band approaches me. She’s had a few to drink and tells me that she’s nervous to go on. I remember when I used to feel that way. And just as I’m about to offer some comfort, she lowers her voice and asks, “So who put you guys together?” I’m confused by the question and she explains, “You guys were too good. I figured you guys must be a factory band. What label put you all together? Or was it an agent? Look, I promise I won’t tell anyone. I’m just curious.” Wow. First, I’m shocked and flattered. Then, the thought of some label putting us together seems so hilarious. I laugh and tell her that most of my bandmates and I met in college, and we found our drummer on Craigslist (true story). She doesn’t believe me at first but eventually I convince her.
s we pack up our equipment for the night, one of our new fans approaches us. He is super excited about the band. He buys not one, but a bunch of our CDs for his friends and family. He tells us that our music has inspired him to pick up his guitar again. He asks for tickets to our next show. Since that night, this guy has been one of our most loyal fans. On the drive back, we accidentally hit a possum and I scream like a baby. My bandmates make a lot of fun of me. There’s some junk food, Red Bull, jokes and music. Overall, we feel good and carry on until we see the trusty Philadelphia skyline welcoming us home. Honestly, as cool as some of our bigger gigs are, I wouldn’t have traded this show for the world. JUMPphilly.com
Published on Nov 7, 2011
The winter issue features Jill Scott, the singing sensation who grew up in North Philadelphia and now provides for the children of her old n...