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Dear Readers, You have in your hands the first edition of Input magazine. With many firsts, there come many expectations, and we hope to exceed all of yours. We had a really great time making this magazine and developing our thoughts into stories and articles. We hope that you enjoy reading this issue as much as we enjoyed writing it. Stay fresh, stay cool, and keep listening to music, guys! -The Input Crew
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C O N T E N T S
Simply said, Olivia is a hipster. She has a film camera, buys vintage clothing, listens to alternative, “indie”, music, and loves Julian Casablancas. She belongs to a contemporary subculture with a basis in trendy, middle-class urban life styles. This life style shows in her magazine layouts. She focuses on the readers needs by making the layout as appealing as it can possibly be. She likes to sing in class, and occasionally make strange noises to entertain Caleigh. She wants to adop 10 African babies when she grows up.
“Ben is the hardest working member in the group,” said Olivia B. “While we play dumb games he is focused on completing all of the task. Ben Suydam is said to be the best Magazine designer in the school. He is a child prodigy. He has extensive experience with web designers and professional graphic designers from the Texas General Land office. These men and women taught him all they know, giving Ben the upper hand. He fixes every one’s problems in his group and with out him there would be no Input magazine.
Caleigh is a Neopet master and Roger Waters fan girl. She spends her day making fun of Ben, watching movies online, and listening to Pink Floyd. When she isn’t looking at Roger she is online playing Neopets or Toontown, gmaes meant for a much younger audience. With every mini-game she beats, her since of pride strengthens giving her more energy to stalk people on Facebook and watch The Dudesons do dumb things. She likes to sneak candy from her stash then throw the wrappers behind things.
Reese Hyde is a cool guy. He enjoys chilling out, listening to music, and biking around Austin. In addition to loving nature, Reese is a skilled photoshopper, computer programmer, and technical guru. He enjoys running, and was the only freshman guy to make varsity cross country at LBJ/LASA this year. Reese is always clad in a v-neck and flips his hair incessantly. When ever we need help with designs and pictures we ask Reese to help out. He might take over the world one day, so don’t get on his bad side. Just sayin’. This stellar dude is the man!
Every day after school I remember rushing home to my dadâ€™s turntable/cd player cabinet and indulging myself in music. Listening to my favorite bands, and spending hundreds of hours admiring these musicians. With this music experience I was inspired to learn how to play the drums and trained myself how to hear to the beats.
Ben MEETS Jake Pe r l m a n
“Playing around town, with your friends is an experience you’ll never forget,” 5
Jake Perlman, a man with two arms. Arms that are able to do something you can’t. He can beat to many songs. Without his rhythm there is no band. They rely on his nice, strong arms. His right is a little stronger but its ok because he uses the right more often. He fills the room full of his sound. Bang after bang after bang until he reaches the end where he gives it his all and ends with an explosion of sound.
whole house.” Every day after school Perlman remembers rushing home to his dad’s turntable/cd player cabinet and indulging himself in music. Listening to his favorite bands such as Rush, Kiss, and Nirvana and spent hundreds of hours admiring these musicians. With this music experience he was inspired to learn how to play the drums and trained his hear to these beats.
his first gig at small bar. Although he and his band mates lied about their ages to get in, it was a successful show and he got to experience the rock star life. The lead guitarist for The Action Is just happened to be at the bar on the same night. After a long conversation, lead guitarist Paul Ali, made a proposition for Perlman to come to his practices and learn the “Playing around town, with your
Perlman striking a pose while playing a gig at Trophy’s Perlman, age 29, is both a drummer and producer is on both sides of the musician’s world and has a good understanding of what each are like. His music career has been going for over 14 years and there’s no sign of it stopping. Like most musicians, he began by listening to music. “Got a good set of speakers and a sub in a good sounding room, when I’m listening I kinda take over the
“I always wanted to be Ace Frehley from KISS, and it was this dream that pushed me to become a better drummer.” From pots and pans to a Pearl Drum set, Perlman’s journey began. He started in a garage with his high school buddies. Day after day they practiced, playing KISS covers and occasionally writing their own tunes. On June 21, 2000 he scored
friends is an experience you’ll never forget,” says Jake. After graduating high school, Jake went on the road with The Action Is, which was later renamed Hotwheels Jr., and went to California. It was on the road when he realized that living the life of a musician was tough. The tough nights sleeping in a van with three other people and living off of a tip budget was not an easy task to
accomplish. A year of this life style was enough to force him to quit the band. He moved back to Austin and rented an apartment. This is where his ghetto, nonprofessional recording studio was created. His love in music still existed, but needed a break. Now with a new profession, he put his drum sticks down. “It’s nearly impossible to live off of a musician’s salary, so instead I tried to provide a cheap recording studio for other struggling musicians.” Bands like Dracomagnet, Ginger, Temperstrain, The Good Looks, and The Accidental Arts Ensemble have all been recorded in his 500 square feet apartment. The insides of this apartment where lined with egg cartons and pillows, with one mic in the far most corner of the room. He had no bed, instead used a sleeping bag. This cramp, smoky room doubled as a house and a business. On the side lines he worked in restaurants as a cook.
“Musicians are usually more about the music than some star trip.” “Hectic days are the best; they really teach you more about your true personality.” It took him 2 years from him to feel safe about where he was financially. After recording several bands and working part time jobs he was able to rent a house out. His recording studio was still based out of his house but now he had a specific room just for recording. It is similar to his apartment studio; he still uses egg cartons, but is more of what you would expect when entering a studio. Yet he still needed more money to pay the rent.
Perlman gets a workout “Part time jobs are a musician’s best friend,” says Perlman. While working at the Majestic Dinner, Jake met Matt Drenik, now lead singer of the Lions. With this new friendship made, Jake went to live the double life of a musician and drummer. After meeting Matt, he later met Austin Kalman, lead guitarist of the Lions. All three had a similar test of music and went to form a band, but they were missing a member, they needed a bassist. They bar hopped for days until they met Mike Sellman, current bassist of the Lions. The lions were then officially formed in the summer of 2005. Yet at the same time Jake was playing with a rock Choir band with Gavin Tabone. Jake was a very busy man. Most would think it to be weird to play with a heavy metal band and a kid’s choir. “I look at it as different pieces of the same thing. With both projects I’m there to lay down the beat & play to the song,” says Jake. “Musicians are usually more about the music than some star trip.” He now tours with the Lions, plays on the side with the Barton Hills Choir, and records bands from his
house. The lions are turning to be very successful. The Austin Chronicle claims that the Lions are, “a full-on firefight, Black Crowes Southern hemp twisted with PCP loud and violent.” They have travelled across the Country and recently toured in England. Their popularity is growing daily and get tons of fan because their song Metal Heavy Lady is on Guitar Hero 3, a game that over thousands of people play, even I own a copy. They are the first band, who isn’t signed to a major label, to be featured on Guitar Hero. This is the life of an odd musician. He is unlike any other for he plays with Kids and Drunks. With influence likes Metallica, Black Sabbath, and Megadeth, Jake Perlman continues to rock out with the Lions. Playing at drunk crazed bars is his dream, heavy riffs and driving drum lines is what you will experience. “Huffed any paint recently? Spend an hour with the Lions and you might say otherwise,” says Aaron Dembe, close friend to Jake and Lead Guitarist to Barton Hill Choir. 7
Auto tuning. The future of Music?
Lady Gaga. Rihanna, Vampire Weekend. All users of a controversial new technology called auto tuning. By using this process, the voices of the lead singers are covered up by a robotic version, filling in the imperfections. This way, virtually anybody can sing. As time goes on, not only are musicians using the auto tune process more frequently, but they are also becoming more reliant on the system.
Will we one day be listening to only perfect robotic voices? Thirty years ago people could really sing. Robert Plant and Freddie Mercury with their explosive vocals helped sky rocket their bands to fame. They blasted their natural talents and were heard around the world. Even those imperfections in their voices were something special that added emotion to the music. Roger Waters, one of the lead singers of Pink Floyd, is partially tone deaf. It didn’t matter because he had power in his voice. The public didn’t care if somebody’s pitch wasn’t perfect or if they were a bit off sometimes. The vocalist sang to show their passion and express their sensations, and through their singing you could hear every feeling they were trying to show. Times have definitely changed. This decade brought on a new technology called “auto tuning”. The program essentially “fixes” the singer’s voice by correcting pitch and adding in other effects. Once the vocals are auto tuned, the voice technically sounds better, but all emotion has in turn been sucked dry. Many popular artists rely on auto tuning. These new artists consist of Akon, The Black Eyed Peas, Cher, Miley Cyrus, and Ke$ha. They can’t sing a note, but the music executives like them one way or another. Maybe it’s their look, or their attitude, but it’s usually not their talent. The population is tricked into thinking that these pop sensations have musical ability, but they don’t; it’s all within the computer. Many people believe that auto tuning can’t fix a person’s voice if they don’t have at least an ounce of talent, but the program is improving at an astronomical rate. At this pace, I expect the system to evolve so that in the near future a tone deaf
illustration by Caleigh
donkey and Taylor Swift won’t sound any different. used in this way more often. Musicians should use the I took the time to listen to a medley of ten songs that program to evolve the industry, instead of taking false use the auto tuning process, which were featured on hocredit. However, I do not think that the majority of artmetracked.com. the songs included “She Will Be Loved” ists would use the program in this way, focusing more by Maroon 5 and “Beautiful Girls” by Sean Kingston. on making it unnoticeable to make them appear more To the untrained ear, you would only barely be able to talented. notice the robotic voice. However, when you are listenThe music industry has changed for the worse over ing for the fake sounds specifically, they are noticeably the years. Music used to be about expressing yourself different than the singer’s and your feelings and voice. It sounds cold and “These days musicians appear to your beliefs. It used to be robotic, and almost a bit full of passion, and all of be in the business for the fame, the musicians were very strained. I can see how auto tuning can appeal to artists, natural, real, and talented. fortune, and glory.” but after hearing the effects, These days the majority I don’t understand why any inspiring pop star would use of popular musicians appear to be in the business for the them. They sound just as bad, if not worse, because of fame, fortune, and glory. They don’t have talent; they the inhuman like quality, are tricking the public for power. The producers mix the Some artists, like T-Pain, use auto tuning in a different vocals of new pop sensations until their voice is almost way. Instead of correcting his vocals, he prefers to use unrecognizable. The music industry is doing this for it to create different effects and elements in his songs. a reason, though. This is what the public wants. They He records vocals and then enhances them in different, want perfect voices with catchy lyrics and they want purposely noticeable ways. He records his vocals many beautiful people singing meaningless songs. Instead of times, then layers them together when he is creating a becoming attached to an album and a band, people insong. I understand this use of the program. Many bands stead just want music to be in the background, and that used similar techniques in the past, but with differis what auto tune is helping with. It makes the music less ent instruments and resources. Auto tuning should be personal, catchier, and therefore less extraordinary.
“Feel the rain falling down on me. I call your name, I miss you, can't you see. I'll take the blame, we should never be apart.” Before Jesse McCartney was Jesse McCartney, he was a member of the five man, or rather, boy band, Dream Street. I was obsessed with them. I had the posters, their calendar, and all their CD’s. The best part of Dream Street was their voices. When someone hit a high note, they hit it. Chris Trousdale’s (another member) voice might have even been higher than mine at the time.
music memories by Olivia
“Kiss a cow, kiss a cow, kiss a cow, kiss a cow, kiss a cow!” No thanks, but I must have watched that Dan Crow VHS every day, singing along, passionately. My second music memory remains my favorite. Men and women dressed up in Spanish salsa suits, and danced with fruit maracas. Cows were involved. Need I say more?
“I walked across an empty land. I knew the pathway like the back of my hand. I felt the earth beneath my feet. Sat by the river and it made me complete.” A contestant on American Idol made this Keane song famous, but before that, I was listening to it religiously on my 2 gig iPod color. Its lyrics and vocals really resonated within me, and painted vivid imagery in my mind. Cliché, maybe. Good song when I was eleven? Definitely.
“You don't know how long I've been. Watching the lantern dim, starved of oxygen. So give me your hand, and let's jump out the window.” This song still remains the most listened to song on my iTunes, with a whopping 567 plays. I’m am not ashamed of that. There are those certain songs that you are always in the mood for, no matter what you’re doing, and this Shin’s song is one of them.
“I need you, babe...To put through the shredder, in front of my friends, oh babe...Don't leave me now...” I can’t even explain this song. It is one of my favorite Pink Floyd numbers, and it fills me with so much emotion every time I listen to it. Rather than explain why I love this song, I am going to recommend you listen to it. And while your at it, listen to the rest of The Wall.
“Olivia, the cutie pie, you are the apple of my eye. Olivia it’s clear to see you are the world’s biggest cutie, Olivia!” This is undoubtedly the best song ever. My mom would sing it to me before bed, and into sleep I would drift. Frankly, I’m surprised this “lullaby” didn’t turn into an egomaniac, considering I had it recited to me on a daily basis. Nevertheless, on those nights when the monster on my bed was out for blood, or the man (AKA, the tree branch) outside my window wanted to get in, that song brought me sleep, and brought me peace.
“Walking on the ground you're breaking, laughing at the life you're wasting.” My favorite band of all time, The Strokes, have always managed to capture what I’ve felt about the world. The embody the whole “get up, stand up” montra, and mix it with killer guitar riffs and drums beats. For that, I’m forever greatful.
One of the world’s best under-the-radar musicians is coming to Austin on June 19th
Charlie Mars isn’t a particularly popular musician. Most people have never heard his music, and a good number of those who have don’t know who wrote it. Charlie Mars has, however, become rapidly more popular in the last few years. Charlie Mars has played twice at Threadgill’s in Austin and has another show coming up on June 19th. I attended his May 18th show and it was easily one of the best concerts that I have ever seen. Charlie Mars writes incredibly hypnotizing music that exceeds all expectations even on CD. And live, it is the experience of a lifetime. After a relatively dull 6-year career, Charlie Mars was signed by V2 Records, a big labeling company with artists like The Raconteurs, The
White Stripes, and Dave Matthews Band. He was also managed by Pat Magnarella, the manager of Goo Goo Dolls, Green Day, and The All-American Rejects. That said, Charlie Mars has a very different sound than all of these bands, particularly in his last album, Like A Bird Like A Plane. Charlie Mars’ music is something hard to describe with words. It is a slow, peaceful sound with subtle influences from his Mississippi youth. The music is powerful and moving, full of spirit yet indubitably modest. I recommend going to his show on June 19th; tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door and can be purchased at http://threadgills.frontgatetickets.com.
♪♫♪ on the street by Olivia We all know Austin is the live music capital of the world, but behind the world of signed local bands and up-and-comers jamming in dusty bars are people playing for no one. We’ve all heard the names society has bestowed upon these people: hobos, bums, and hippies. They’re the people that young kids linger their attention on, transfixed by their melodies, as their parents tell them to hurry up and move along. They sit on street corners strumming on their guitars and belting out songs they’ve written themselves. This is perhaps the most selfless job around, and the most rewarding. Their salary? Whatever will fit in an empty guitar case or plastic container, sitting open, waiting for a passerby to toss a dollar or a few coins into it. We are all in such a rush these days. Maybe stopping to take a listen to the underappreciated street performer is the answer to all our problems. Who knows?
photos by olivia berkeley
Graham the drummer, acts casual 14
HERE TO ROCK
Fifteen year old Frank clears his throat and as he plugs his guitar in. 14 year old Graham cracks his knuckles before picking up a set of drumsticks. The dark room is illuminated by a faint light, and the hum of the audience is deafening. They are ready to rock. Now, if only they could find the remote to control the volume on the TV.
Olivia MEETS Graham & Frank
HERE TO ROCK
Frank Garza and Graham Bailey have been friends for what seems like forever, and playing Rock Band (a popular video game) has brought them closer together. With Frank and Graham, moderation isn’t a word in their vocabulary. When they get together to play, they go all out. The world of Rock Band is an endless one, and these two guys are intent on exploring it together. After playing thousands songs in total (how they still lived to tell the tale astonishes even them), the two reflect on memories, crazy gameplaying antics, and how the game compares to real instruments.
Graham sits off to the side, interjecting suddenly. “Drums are way harder in real life. Rock band drums can’t compare. Rock Band drums are more fun at the moment, because I can actually play them,” he argues. What instrument is more fun to play is a unanimous consensus between Frank and Graham. Both boys would agree that playing a real instrument is not only a more satisfying feeling, but overall, more enjoyable. When Frank is able to play a really challenging solo or song on his real guitar, he feels accomplished.
“[Rock Band] is a sweet escape. It puts you there; you feel like you’re in the moment. I get really into it and I feel like I’m on stage.” “Rock Band and Guitar Hero are really fun, but, just because it feels like you’re actually playing a song that you couldn’t play on a real instrument,” Frank says. One could argue that Rock Band is an outlet; a place where a person can play any song they want, and not be discouraged by how hard it may be. Both boys became friends by playing Rock Band. “It gave us excuses to go to each other’s houses,” Frank recalls. “We started our first real band with instruments then…” Almost three years of playing later, Frank and Graham are split on which is more challenging to play; a real instrument, or a plastic replica of a real instrument found complete with all Rock Band sets. “[Rock Band] guitar is so much harder. It’s a lot faster, and a lot of the times the bands use echoes that are added in or layered over during post production. [Rock Band] makes you play each thing. Real guitar wouldn’t do that…” Frank insists.
“When you have a really hard guitar part or whatever and you can break it down after hours of work, you can say, ‘oh, I can play as good as Eddie Van Halen.’ When you get to that point you’re like, ‘wow, I can breathe easy…’” Frank says. Even though both boys agree that real instruments are undeniably better, they can’t help but get caught up in the game and the alternate reality it creates. “There are differences because Rock Band and Guitar Hero are really fun, but, just because it feels like you’re actually playing a song that you couldn’t actually play on a real instrument. It kind of like puts you there, in the moment,” Frank states. On more than a few occasions, violence has been involved when the plastic instrument are broken out. Frank recalls pulling a fake gun on Graham. He says, “If I had shot through his head, I would have killed him.” And why was a gun involved? “Graham wouldn’t let me play
Rock Band drums on the pool table! [They were] my drums, my table, my house,” Frank says, impassioned. “It was for the good of the band,” Graham insists. Despite all the arguments that Frank and Graham get into, they never let it affect their game play. On days when endless set lists are performed, nothing gets in their way from achieving near perfect scores and accuracy. When Frank and Graham can find the time (usually on weekends and during the summer), they play for nine hours straight. Frank goes though about twelve costume changes (all depending on the theme of the song they are playing,
photos by olivia berkeley
Frank shows off his style complete with props. For instance, during the song “Man in the Box,” Frank shoved himself into a medium sized box and put on some sunglasses. During a country themed song, Frank decked himself out in a BB gun and a cowboy hat. Once, for a 20 song setlist, Frank dressed up as a popular Kealing Middle School teacher, Mr. Hendrix. Needless to say, Frank goes crazy. “You gotta pretend like it’s a real gig, ‘cause it’s serious!” Graham says. The boys are constantly working to improve their accuracy scores and unlock new songs. If you don’t treat each song like it’s important, you will never succeed at the game. Showing up isn’t the only you have to do to be well prepared for an end
less set list, though. Stretching (yes, stretching) is crucial, as is food and proper energy drink consumption. “You gotta do your knee stretches, especially if you’re playing drums,” Graham states. Flexibility helps Graham, who plays drums, hit the notes with more ease and perfection. If he doesn’t stretch, he isn’t able to play for as long, which is necessary on those days when the two boys play for extended periods of time. However, staying fueled is just as important as staying limber. “If you’re getting ready; make sure there is food in the house!” Frank interjects. “Water too… Actually, sodas are a lot better because they are [full of] sugar. A lot of sugar will help you.”
Graham recalls a day when he drank 10 Monsters, an energy drink, in one hour to stay awake and create stellar performances. “They help you stay alive,” he states. With these methods, comes success. Graham says that mastering a difficult song brings pride and a sense of accomplishment. He has beaten the song “Visions,” which is the hardest song he has in his Rock Band song collection. “They do this thing called blast beats where you do a roll with one hand, but two rolls at the same time. But I’ve beaten that, gotten like, 86%,” Graham says. “I was speechless that I had beaten it [‘Visions’]. There’s nothing quite like it.” The hardest song Frank has ever beaten was “Painkiller.” “It’s really fast on your fingers. My mind and fingers aren’t what they used to be,” Frank mentions. Needless to say, Graham and Frank will be playing Rock Band for many years to come, providing the game keeps providing songs for them to devour. “[Rock Band] is a sweet escape. It puts you there; you feel like you’re in the moment. I get really into it and I feel like I’m on stage,” Frank admits. Without Rock Band, the friendship between Frank and Graham would cease to exist. Rock Band has brought the two together, and they aren’t ashamed to admit that. Sure, the two boys have been asked countless times why they like Rock Band so much, and why they it play together all the time. The two just shake it off and ignore all the haters. “Haters gon’ hate,” Graham recites over and over. In the meantime, Frank and Graham will stick to playing to their heart’s content, together, with fans they know will never leave them, providing they don’t miss too many notes. 17
Top 5 Blues Guitarists by Ben
Before Hendrix, guitarists just strummed the guitar, played the chords, maybe picked out a solo melody. Hendrix got sounds out of the guitar that nobody had ever heard. He was THE innovator. He didn’t just accept the guitar method book approach to playing the guitar and approached the instrument as more than just chords and twangy solos. He used the guitar and amplifier together to
Eric Clapton It is big, it is round, it is somewhat distorted and it sings. For all intents and purposes, Eric Clapton invented this sound when playing with The Yardbirds. Chuck Berry hinted at it with the opening bars and solo in “Maybelline,” Clapton made it part of the vocabulary.
Stevie R. Vaughan
His hands were a channel to music and soul. To fully appreciate what took place when he picked up his instrument you must not only listen closely, but you must see it also. I urge you to watch his second performance at Austin City Limits, in particular, his solo in “Leave my little girl alone.”
Every artist has unknowingly been influenced by him. Starting in the Mississippi Delta, Johnson’s life is rife with myths, and allegory. His deal with the devil and death are full of folklore and mysticism, and it only adds to his haunting voice and groundbreaking guitar playing. His songs are just a pure expression of emotion with no bars held.
BB King He may have to sit down when he plays, but he’ll have you on your feet when he does. BB’s creamy yet piercing tone, his unique vibrato and his absolute flawless ability to express his emotions through the guitar earn him a spot in the top ten. King’s years of fame haven’t gone to his head. He is still as humble as ever giving front row seat tickets to fans waiting in a cold parking lot just to have a glimpse of him.
WHERE DID ALL THE GOOD MUSIC GO? The music of yesterday has dwindled away, leaving current music to takeover. God help us. by Olivia
“Much like the Beatle’s British invasion in the 1960’s, pop music took over again, but this time it wasn’t the good kind of pop.”
It’s 1969 in Bethel, New York. Tents stretch out for as far as you can see, full of people just beginning to wake up. Today is going to be a good day; Woodstock begins. There are no synthesizers to be found here, no pre-recorded tracks for people to sing over: just raw sound and amps. Has good music died out? Could the extinction of punk bands and rock bands alike be the reason that pop has taken over? Either way, this generation’s music sucks. Music that has been produced in the past decade has been unoriginal and terrible. Yes, I’m aware that there is good music out there. However, it is created by bands and artists that never get world-wide fame and a top 40 chart listing, and thus, remain unknown. This proves that having fans and groupies and concerts won’t make you rich and famous. When the world has a preference, and it’s pop, you don’t stand a chance. The best thing about music is that it is constantly evolving. Or it used to, at least. For the past 15 years or so, music has been at a stand still. People entering the industry see what makes money, and decide to follow in the footsteps of those who have grown wealthy, such as Katy Perry, Ke$ha, Lil Wayne, and Kanye West. Why innovate, form a band, buy instruments, and write songs when you can produce something that will get you loads of money with little effort? Blues (around 50 to 60 years ago) came from B.B. King, Pine Top Perkins, and Muddy Waters, funk came from James Brown, and pop from the Beatles in the 1960’s. From these three main genres came a wide array of new genres, each as great as the next that was created. These types of music inspired people to make art, to dance, to create, to appreciate, and to respect. Classic bands such as the ones that played at Woodstock (Grateful Dead, CCR, Janis Joplin, The Who, Jefferson Airplane, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, and Jimi Hendrix) drew people together and spurred the creation of fan clubs. Sadly, as the decades slipped by, so did the music and their fans. Teenagers grew up, got jobs, and had families. They weren’t exactly going to every Pink Floyd concert they could land tickets for. The new generation that moved in their place was called generation Y. Born in the 80’s, these kids knew nothing but bad hair and bad hair bands. Still, that was music. It was new, and different. Ten years later, these generation Y-ers were listening to grunge and hip-hop. They found themselves in this musical limbo, a time when every type of music you could imagine was accessible. Maybe you were a diehard Nirvana fan, or a super Wu-Tang Clan junkie. Nonetheless, this music was still stellar. It had an identity, and had a following of devoted fans. Sadly, the fusion of genres that many people appreciated while growing up in the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and early 90’s led to this decade’s demise. Remember
“These kids didn’t know anything else; sugar saturated beats with auto tuned voices and tattooed men with grillz were the only thing anyone bothered to show them.” Britney Spears, Ace of Base, Aaron Carter, or Dream Street? I sure do. They were the epitome of late 90’s music, created by tweens/teenagers that wore ghetto-fabulous clothing and loved by those who dressed in the same way. With the creation of uber-pop came a new global obsession. Much like the Beatle’s British invasion in the 1960’s, pop music took over again, but this time it wasn’t the good kind of pop. The same kids that grew up with their Walkman’s and Backstreet Boy CD’s turned into the ones that bought whatever was one the top 40 lists, like it was a bible they had to follow. These kids didn’t know anything else; sugar saturated beats with auto tuned voices and tattooed men with grillz were the only thing anyone bothered to show them. Everything about this music; the content, the culture, and the messages it sent out, were bad. Imagine pop music as Wonderbread and classic rock, alternative and indie music as whole-wheat bread. Pop “bread” is totally fake, full of nothing, and yet, appealing to mostly everyone. Those who have been shown whole-wheat bread (and can stand it) eat it, and try to spread it around. Which tastes better? It’s a matter of opinion, but Wonderbread is easier to chew and swallow. Anyone will tell you that. Those willing to try whole-wheat will find that beyond its bad reputation is something delicious. It keeps you full for longer, instead of giving you that initial sugar high and then leaving you feeling empty. After good music stopped being produced, and its admirers dwindled, it disappeared. Try as they might, even the children of these true followers couldn’t be strayed to change their music tastes. As sad as it is to see a child or friend sing along to top 40 charts crap, you can’t do anything. Music is personal. Attack it, and you attack the person. Additionally, any new band that used Led Zeppelin or AC/DC as their inspiration remained faceless to most of the American public, and has yet to gain international fame. Since the early nineties mainstream music hasn’t evolved in a beneficial way. Sure, it’s changed from more wholesome love “ballads” to songs with euphemisms and sexual undertones. But what about having a decade with a personality? People should be able to look back and know, definitively what the 2000’s (and the late 90’s) were all about. I suggest that we go back, pull out our parent’s records, and take a listen. You may be surprised at what you hear. Don’t give in to what is easy to listen to (top 40 hits and pop singles). Bubblegum pop was created to be easy on the ears, catchy, addictive, and unintentionally crappy. As The Who said, “Long live rock, I need it every night, Long live rock, come on and join the line, Long live rock, be it dead or alive.” I wish I could say that was still true.
Other People’s Music, Kate Bingaman Burt, from flickr.
Caleigh MEETS Jack CONOVER The could-be firefighter, accomplished ballet dancer, world of warcraft master, punk rock singing father of an up and coming rock star. Once upon a time, Jack Conover rocked the clubs with his growly voice and exuberant stage presence. The crowd is pulled into the unique style of music that Swangkee Lotel, one of his many bands, is playing. Now, his daughter, Frankie Conover, is following in his footsteps. She is the lead guitarist in Schmillion, the winner of the best Under 18 band in the Austin Chronicle this year. Conover is obviously not a stranger to the music scene. He has been in many successful bands over the years, and still goes out to different clubs to listen to the latest bands. He was in his first band in high school, and he continued to be in bands throughout his college years. However, it was after he got out of college that he was in the most successful of any of his other bands, Swangkee Lotel. “The easiest description is that it was a rock band.” Says Conover, “But, we did a lot of quirky time signatures. I sometimes would call it difficult rock. Meaning we wanted it to be hard to get your head around it sometimes.” His band and the music that they were creating was basically all Jack had at this point in his life. “I had a crappy day job and then did music. I would see music several times a week and then we would have practice a couple times a week and then we would perform a few times a month.” Jack never thought of music as a type of career, he knew that the music industry is a very difficult place to work and succeed. Music was his way to let loose and have a good
time. “I didn’t have any misconception that the music we were playing would have a wide reach. And I also didn’t have the misconception that I had the ambition to make a career that way.” Jack says. He also wonders about why people want to be famous in general. “It’s an interesting question actually as to why people want to perform. I recently, after not performing for years, did a Tom Waits cover thing where I was singing a few Tom Waits songs. I’m a big Tom Waits fan, I like his work a lot and I like the vocal quality that he has, and I like trying to emulate that gravelly voice. But when I was on stage performing it, it was a very strange feeling. I was trying to figure out why people want to perform in front of other people and in particular, I was singing some one else’s music and exclusively some one else’s music. I sort of had this odd feeling that I was just sort of there to say “hey look at me perform this. I had a lot of fun rehearsing it beforehand, there were all these people that were compelled by Tom Wait’s music and were all fans of Tom Waits and so to get together and say “isn’t artist x awesome” isn’t artist y great?” was awesome but to turn it around and play it for other people – what I’m getting at, is that the creative process of it is really important and somehow performing it was sort of secondary” “If you want to be successful as a musician you’re going to have to be in it for the slog. If you’re going to make it you’re job, it’s a job. If you’re doing it for fun it’ll
till be fun but you can walk away from it.” Says Jack, and this is the type of information and advice that he is now giving to his daughter, Frankie.Frankie is the lead guitarist in an all girl garage rock band, Schmillion. The band has played at many music clubs, such as Emo’s and the Mohawk, and at other locations for specific events. The band isn’t a stranger to the spotlight, as they met at the Paul Green School of Rock. Recently, Schmillion won best Under 18 band in the Austin Chronicle. As Schmillion becomes more and more well known, Jack has been giving Frankie a lot of advice, and has his own views on the band. “The music that Francesca is playing is really good. I like it a lot. I think there’s the potential for that band to get some traction, I would love for her to have that success but I also think that the culture of being in a rock band can be not necessarily what every father would want for his children. I smoked when I was hanging out in bars every night. I drank a lot more than I do know when I was hanging out in bars every night.” But Jack knows that his daughter can make her own choices, and that she has other options for her career. “I would be proud of her if she were to make a go of it in any sort of career as a musician. If she were to be doing biological research it would be more stable, probably more lucrative but at the same time, if she’s compelled to be a musician, I think she can succeed at it – however you’re going to define success. It’s nice to
have that creative outlet. If you can make a living doing something creative then great. But I mean, there’s clearly creativity in staining bacteria or whatever. Problem solving requires creativity – whether it’s finding a way to make your hook more infectious or how to stain a bacteria – as I have pulled out of my butt – the idea, not the actual bacteria. So whatever her career choice it can be engaging for her. If it’s music, great. And if she’s a megastar then I get to quit my job and play Playstation all do so great. But it has to be something that she wants to do and also I want her to be careful about it. I don’t want her to be – you know, I think you’re chances of running into heroine users is more likely in the music industry than in the biologist community. Maybe that’s a stereotype. I want her to be successful at whatever she does. I want her to be safe at whatever she does. If her success comes as a musician then all the better cause it’s cool. I would be happy if that happened, I wouldn’t begrudge her if she went another direction.” Jack says. He is also trying to make sure that Frankie writes her own music, and he does not try to help her when writing riffs and lyrics. “I think I’ve actually pissed her off sometimes in that I rarely try to influence what her music sounds like. She’s shown me early on that she has a lot of talent so I don’t really want to influence her creativity. SO she’s asked me to help her with writing riffs or whatever and mostly what I’ll do is just say “I like that, I like this more” I don’t do more than that to point her in any sort of direction more than that.” Jack is very impressed with how much Frankie is inspired by music, and sees something in her that he believes he never had. “I’m really pleased with Francesca’s musical direction. She seems to be compelled to do it. She seems to really want to be
a musician at a really profound and fundamental level. A lot of times I’ve made choices in my life because you know – there was a door that was open so I went through it. I’m in high school and I’m doing theatre stuff and I was in the marching band – I was a trumpet player. I listened to a lot of different sorts of music I wasn’t really in a band at that time. But I was in theatre and one of my friends who was a dancer said “you should come dance because we don’t have enough guys” and I ended up dancing for 6 years, fairly seriously – that’s the last two years of high school and all through college. And while I’m in college I was hanging out with people who were into music which in large part means that they played music. And some friends of mine were in a band where the singer wasn’t working out and they said “hey if you can write the lyrics to these songs then you can be in our band” and I ended up doing that for a long time.” Jack also knows what he will do if Frankie and her band ever become famous. “[I would] play World of Warcraft all the day. The thing is, it takes a real commitment if you want to excel at it. I’ve been what I might call a hardcore casual gamer. I really like that game a lot It’s one of the best games I’ve played. The thing of it being massively multiplayer is that there are some that are super hardcore and some that are just a pain in the ass.”
Station Identification is a teen band of four freshmen. After his previous act cheap fire, lead guitarist and vocalist m atias recruited two childhood friends to focus on a lighter, more indie-folk sound
Noe balances school, marching band, soccer practices, grades at one of the most prestigious high schools in the country, and practices and shows for his band, Station Identification. Station Identification is a student band with four members, three of which are freshman at LASA and the fourth at Austin High. The band generally plays one to two shows each month, all in the Austin area and mostly free shows. Station ID has an indie-folk sound influenced by bands such as Okkervil River, The Modern Lovers, and The Strokes. “Matias is our singer and lead guitarist; he goes to Austin High,” says Noe. “[Matias] and I went to Zilker Elementary with Henry, so we both met him there.” Henry and Noe went on to Kealing, and are now freshman at LASA, while Matias followed O. Henry to Austin High School. The band formed in the summer of 2009, before the three entered 9th grade, and added a new member about a year and a half later.
“For awhile we were trying to find a different voice for our band, so we had Zoe Yin, a sophomore at [LASA] come in and sing with us one day when we played with Ben Kweller.” says Noe.
“We liked that a lot, but it didn’t really fit with the rest of our songs. We kept on looking and eventually found a bassist, which went really well.”
that they like and try to play to. “The main [band] that influenced us was Okkervil River, a local band here in Austin that is Matias’s favorite band,
Station ID is a band that sets an example of determination, persistence, and skill, and is proof to the world that with the right idea, anything can be done no matter your age. Nate joined Station ID in February of 2010, satisfying the band’s desire for a new sound. “We wanted to either have him or another friend of Matias’ named Mason who goes to Fulmore and we chose Nate because he’s an all around great musician,” says Noe. Noe plays both trumpet and keyboard for the band, while Henry drums, Nate plays bass, and Matias plays lead guitar and vocals. “I think that for trumpet, I like the jazz more, and for keyboards and piano I like playing in the band more, so it’s just two different sides of music
that I like for each instrument.” Noe says that while there are certain bands that influenced the playing style of Station Identification as a whole, each member also has a certain band
so he tries to pull off the voice of the main singer from that band,” says Noe. “But playing-wise for me, I would pick Cat Empire. For Henry, his favorite drummer is from Dave Matthews Band, so I think he would pick them as his favorite band.” It can be pretty difficult for a local band to find gigs to play, and especially for a young band like Station ID, but the key is persistence, and Station Identification is proof of that. “For awhile, we just did open mics, and then from there we did some gigs at The Parlor,” says Noe. The band usually plays one or two shows per month, and can sometimes even play three in one month. With four high school students all active in extra curricular activities, it can be hard to get in enough practice to play for a show, especially with that many. “[Nate] plays ultimate Frisbee, as does Henry, and so with ultimate Frisbee, grades, me playing soccer at times, school and extracurricular activities just blend in, or block off practicing time and cut down gigs,” says Noe. “If we don’t have enough practices, we say we can’t play the gig.” Station ID is a band that sets an example of determination, persistence, and skill, and is proof to the world that with the right idea, anything can be done no matter your age. To track Station Identification’s shows and view pictures, video, and other media, you can find their fan page on Facebook or go to their website at http://stationid. yolasite.com.
ACL 2010*Austin City Limits 2010*ACL 2010*Austin City Limits 2010*ACL 2010*Austin City Limits 2010*ACL 2010*Austin City Limits 2010*ACL 2010*
The Black Keys
City Limits 2010 Flaming Lips
*Austin City Limits 2010*ACL 2010*Austin City Limits 2010*ACL 2010*Austin City Limits 2010*ACL
and of Heros
What Music Genre Are You? Are you a rocker or a country star? This simple quiz will tell you what music genre your personality is most like! 1 What is your favorite color? a. Pink b. Yellow/Green c. Black d. Gold
2 What are you like at school dances? a. Dancing in the middle of the crowd! b. Grinding away. c. Outside under the starry sky. d. Standing in the back making fun of the person dancing in the middle of the crowd.
4 Where do you want to live in the future? a. In an apartment in the outskirts of a big city. b. In a gritty city with lots of personality. c. On my own ranch far away from the commotion of city life. d. In a big city! Lots of lights, sights, and people!
5 What school subject interests you the
8 It would be hard to be friends with a person who is:
a. Too depressing and mean. b. Had bad taste in music and movies. c. Doesn’t like horses or being outside and working. d. Who doesn’t want to go out clubbing.
a. I hate all school classes. b. Recess! c. Music Theory d. Theatre!
6 What are people’s first impressions of you?
9 What is your favorite type of movie?
a. Psychological Thriller/Drama b. . Romantic Comedy c. Tyler Perry movies! d. Western
a. Spunky and spazzy, maybe a bit stuck up. b. A gangsta! 10 What is the most important elec. A bit of a hick. ment in music to you? 3 How do you react when you are dumped? d. A dodgy kid who is always breaking rules. a. If everybody likes it, then I’ll a. Write a song about my feelings and how like it too… I guess. 7 Your general mood can be described as: I am strong. b. The musicality of it all. b. It hurts, but you make sure that nobody c. A good twangy voice and a. Light and airy. sees you down. fiddle. b. Moody and a bit judgemental. c. I never get dumped. d. A good beat! c. Happy and poppy and FUN! d. Cry over some ice-cream and romantic d. Angry comedies. 28
Results: Question 1: A- 1 pt B- 3 pts C- 4 pts D- 2 pts
Question 2: A- 1 pt B- 2 pts C- 3 pts D- 4 pts
Question 3: A- 3 pt B- 4 pts C- 2 pts D- 1 pt
Question 4: A- 2 pts B- 4 pts C- 3 pts D- 1 pt
Question 5: A- 2 pts B- 1 pt C- 3 pts D- 4 pts
Question 6: A- 1 pt B- 2 pts C- 3 pts D- 4 pts
Question 7: A- 3 pts B- 4 pts C- 1 pt D- 2 pts
Question 8: A- 1 pt B- 4 pts C- 3 pts D- 2 pts
Question 9: A- 4 pts B- 1 pt C- 2 pts D- 3 pts
Question 10: A- 1 pt B- 4 pts C- 3 pts D- 2 pts
You are most like Pop Music! You are a very optimistic and colorful person who loves to have a good time. You are spunky and a little hyper sometimes. You like to have a lot of friends around and are always looking to party. You follow the trends and always know the hottest new singers and bands. Some negative traits connected to pop music are having little creativity and having a more closed mind. Some examples of pop groups and singers include: The Black Eyed Peas, Lady Gaga, and Britney Spears!
You are most like Rap/Hip Hop! You’re all about the bling, and love music that has a good beat that you can easily dance and freestyle to. You have a high self esteem, and are very outgoing. You are very open to meeting new people, and can easily make new friends because of your funky personality. Some negatives associated with rap/hip hop are that you can be a little egotistical and like being in the spotlight a little too much. Some examples of rap and hip hop artists inclide: Lil Wayne, Jay Z, Eminem, and NWA.
You are most like Country! You love the open air and are very extroverted. You will always speak your thoughts and are very hardworking. You have a very bubbly personality, and you know how to make people smile. You are super sweet and are very funny. Some negatives associated with country music are that you sometimes don’t know when to be quiet and when to speak up. Some examples of country artists include: Carrie Underwood, Sugarland, Keith Urban, and George Strait.
You are most like Rock music! You are very creative and have a high self esteem. You are at ease with yourself and are hardworking. You know what you like, and aren’t afraid to go out and get it. You are not very outgoing, and the friends you have are very close to you. Some negatives associated with rock are that you are not known for being kind and generous, and can be very judgemental. Some examples of rock artists include: Led Zeppelin, The Strokes, The White Stripes, Wolfmother, and The Who.
Have A Nice Day!