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Your Music Magazine Holiday Special December 2010
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By Kevin Madness Karl Alvarez is famous for playing bass in quintessential pop-punk outfit The Descendents and their afterbirth All. He’s also performed with Gogol Bordello, The Lemonheads and The Real McKenzies, but did you know he prefers burritos to pizza? Below are the details, minutia and information you cannot get from reading his Wikipedia page. Worst job you’ve ever had? I used to cut apart core samples from oil-rigs for a company called TetraTech in 90 degree heat wearing yellow rubber covered in oil from head to toe. Favorite president? Gerald Ford, because he did nothing. Does your instrument have a name? No, but when I was on tour with the Real McKenzies, I’d call my mandolin “Little Bastard” so my bass must be “Big Bastard.” My penis doesn’t have a name, either.
What do you have in your pockets right now? A cell phone, a pack of smokes and no money. What is the best year for music? 1968. If you had to live abroad, where would it be? Brazil. What annoys you? Loudmouth rich people claiming to understand what poor people go through.
What is your spirit animal? The raven.
Could you kill a human being if the circumstances were right? Definitely.
Favorite word? Lascivious. It means lewd.
Photos by Brian Crabtree
Photos by Brian Crabtree
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By 22 Manny Rivas
What Makes Abrahadabra better then In Sorte Diablo? There is more going on; it is a lot more on the experimental side. In Sorte Diablo was a bit more basic and not as orchestrated. Abrahadabra involves a live orchestra and choir and more samples. That would be the biggest difference. Interesting. I saw in previous interviews saying you would like to use a choir, I didn’t know you already have. I am surprised we hadn’t thought of it before. We are really stoked about using a live choir because that’s something we have always wanted to do. Are you going to perform with a live orchestra and choir? Yeah, in May we have a full orchestra and choir set up in Oslo (Norway) if it works out then that would be awesome. We would use the same (KORK) orchestra that recorded on our album. How do you like working with Nuclear Blast Records? It’s great, they are a very good label for us; they are promoting the album out there for everyone to see. Have you ever played at the Regency Ballroom in SF before? No, but we have played in San Francisco a few times before, this looks like the best place so far. I think Dimmu Borgir may have played here on the Danzig tour, but I wasn’t on that tour. I noticed your album is not in a typical jewel case with a jacket. How do you come up with something so abstract? We like to do different versions of the album to make it more special features then the simpler version. It’s all about putting a variety of items out there so people get what they want to pay for. There is also a special bonus on the album, you need to do that in this market because there is so much downloading these days. Have you noticed a difference in album sales from selling CDs vs. selling online with, say, iTunes? I would say the album sales are still the biggest, but iTunes is really getting up there being on the 4th position.
I know for myself I would love to have something like this. I think that is special for the metal fans because they want the actual album instead of just downloading it, but people are going to do that, too. Many of them would like to have the CD and something physical to touch. I would too, I have always been blown away by artwork. I like to hold it and see it for myself, then put it in my collection vs. a computer screen. How do you guys coordinate a stage set up and do you guys have any pyrotechnic special effects going on? Sometimes we do, but for this tour we don’t use any bombs just because we have to have techs go on tour with us. But we have a really big light show and a great production. We want to do something different every tour. In what ways have you felt the need to progress in such a competitive career to maintain or surpass the success the Dimmu Borgir has built up? As a musician you always want to make a better album. Sometimes you succeed and sometimes you don’t and that’s the life of a musician; it goes up and down. What do you like to do on your free time away from music? Stay home, watch a good movie. I mean, we are pretty normal. We go out and do things like everybody else. What kinds of movies do you like? I like everything; horror, comedies, mafia... Have you heard of Metalocalypse? It’s show that references metal bands and in the show they have a place called “Dimmu Burger”. What do you think of that? Yeah, I haven’t seen it, just heard of it. I would like to try a “Dimmu Burger” one day and put the lettuce in a pentagram. Haha. Or the tomato. Or even just the ketchup Have yourself a Demon Burger. Demon Burger? That sounds good. Damn, they stole our idea!
Winner of a 2010 Epiphone Zakk Wylde ZV Custom Guitar & Case!
Gavin Graziadei, winner of the Sacramento Guitar Solo competition, the guitar you won is gnarly, was this the first guitar competition you’ve entered? Yeah, this was my first time entering.
Nice man, would you like to thank any body? Speech time. Uh, my friends, family and the world. And the Zugh Life store.
Hell yeah, man. Once again, congrats! The guitar is brutal. Keep us YMM posted on your Was it a little nerve-racking? next project and we’ll be happy At first, I wasn’t going to enter it, then to see you out there again. some of my band mates kind of talked Definitely! Thanks a lot man. me into it, and I just ended up getting up there and shredding. Well thanks to them, dude! Yeah, the crowd liked it. Now you’re one guitar richer for it! Are we going to hear any samples from this guitar, you recording anything soon? Hopefully soon, I’m actually starting a side project, I might not be playing with Ambient Sunrise any longer, but it will definitely be going down and coming out soon. It’s going to be fun.
By Jon Hermison
Do we have a name? Not yet, just the project so far.
Photos by Caroline Reid
By Andre Estournes I was recently talking with a friend who has started down the path of DJing about extending his music library to have more to work with as well as to listen to. We started talking about the evolution of music in general as well as audio quality, which was something he had yet to be informed about. This wasnâ€™t the first time a long discussion about audio quality had come up in conversation, and I realized that I hadnâ€™t known anything about it until my friends had brought it up to me. Audio quality and the means by which one listens to music is almost, if not more, important than the actual creation of that music. It would be like the statue of David being appreciated by a blind person or the Mona Lisa being seen through sunglasses, some of the nuances and details that make them so fantastic would be lost. Now, what follows is just the basics, and even then itâ€™s a quick run-through of the basics. There are many more details and technologies out there that assure high audio quality, and they take a bit of researching to understand, but the payoff
is large. It’s a completely different experience listening to low-quality vs. high quality music that can be physically felt. The point of this article isn’t music appreciation; it’s more about audio appreciation; it’s about what we, as music listeners and audiences, can do to enhance our musical experience, to actually hear the music being offered to us. Audio quality follows the same basic principles as making a copy from a book or magazine and is important to understand for music enthusiasts as well as for those looking to be in the music industry at some level. The goal for any artist is to deliver their music with the least amount of reduction in quality, this way the audience can be presented with a song the way the musician intended. I won’t get into the reduction of quality that happens on the creator’s end, all of the compressions and conversions from analogue to digital and such, because that is the responsibility of the creator. What is important is that once it is out of their hands and being distributed to the masses, it is our responsibility to try and listen to that music to the best of our abilities, whether that’s through an iPod in highquality MP3 format, a CD, or vinyl. Just like with making a copy from a magazine, making a copy of anything is going to reduce the quality of the original; studios try to lessen the inevitable amount of audio quality lost through better equipment and technology, but this effort is lost if, on the other side, audiences don’t work to also reduce the amount of quality lost. Vinyl records preserve the highest quality of sound vibrations from the master tape (the final cut from recording). They do this because the actual sound waves are physically pushed into the vinyl which can then be read by the needle and played through speakers. So, on the upside, vinyl is as close as one can get to the actual sound quality of the master tape; the downside is that they warp (due to heat, poor storage, dust, and more) and they aren’t easily portable. Now we have compact discs, which use lasers to copy the sound, but that, in and of itself, is a poorer quality, and, on top of that, the standard for a CD being released to the masses (what is called “Red Book”) is at a lower quality to save cost. Nowadays, a consumer will rip that CD into their iTunes or other media player, which will take the data on the CD and compress it into a digital file (MP3, WMA, etc.). The upside is that immense amounts of music can be stored, but the more files you have, the larger the space they take up; players like iTunes copy the data at a poor quality because the files are smaller so more can fit in the same space. The standard bit rate (which is how much data is being read at a given moment) is 128 kbps. Now, the highest
quality bit rate that iTunes can play is 320 kbps, near CD quality. This takes up more space on a hard drive since the files are larger, but the music quality is better because, when the file was created, more data was extracted from the CD; it’s like the difference between watching a VHS in full-screen format versus watching a DVD in wide-screen; you are able to better experience it the way the creator intended. In today’s music world, they now have a file called FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec); these are compressed files (copies) that can be decompressed (played back) into an identical copy of the original data, which means they are the highest quality digital file available to today’s audiences. Sadly, iTunes and other standard media players do not explain these differences in quality to the music listener because they don’t think of their demographics as music appreciators, but more as consumers who want to have more stuff for their money. iTunes should be able to play back FLAC files, or, at the very least, warn consumers that they are listening to files created at a poorer quality than the CDs they are ripping from. To compare, it’s like being given a TV to watch a baseball game without telling you that you’re actually at the game. The music industry has been approaching music as a business rather than an art form for the past few decades. Music has two sides and two sides only: those that create music and those that listen. Mainstream/underground, popular/independent, sold-out stadium/bar room patrons, all of these are constructs that don’t truly exist. Music is a river; it’s always flowing in one direction and on one side are the creators, who continue to add to the ebb and flow of the river, and on the other are the listeners, who constantly jump in and enjoy the swim. What needs to happen for the future is a resurgence of audiences demanding the best from the artists and the artists having the ability to deliver their best to the audience. If an artist successfully does this, but the listener doesn’t have the knowledge of how to fully appreciate it, then the full potential of the music won’t be met. By once again looking at and appreciating music as an artistic medium, like painting or theater, that expands, explains, and/or criticizes society, humanity, and life can the full potential of music be realized. It requires work and enthusiasm, but the rewards gained are well worth any and all effort. The Philoctetes Center had a fantastic roundtable discussion about audio quality in 2008 that can be seen on Youtube for free. Just search for “Deep Listening: Why Audio Quality Matters.”
Photos by Kevin Graft
Photos by Kevin Graft
Internationally renowned California based Psychobilly band Stellar Corpses dug themselves out of the grave for your cryptic pleasures on December 11th 2010. The night truly was a Stellar Nightmare on Front Street. For those not in the know, the show was bass player Dan Lamothe’s final performance with the band. Though this won’t be the last you’ll hear from Stellar Corpses, “Mothman’s” presence and signature bass lines will be missed by all creatures of the night. So fear not, my little hell raisers; 2011 will bring plenty of fresh Rot ‘n Roll from your favorite crypt keepers. Keep a look out for updates by checking http://stellarcorpses.com or follow them on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ StellarCorpses Words/Photos by Caroline Reid
“Thanks to all the friends fans and family that helped make this night and the last few years possible. You guys all rock! I hope to see you all again someday!” -Dan “Mothman” Lamothe
Photo by Caroline Reid
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It’s been four years since The Velvet Teen have released any new material. Since their formation in 2000 as a two-piece with Judah Nagler and Logan Whitehurst, the band has continued, even after the tragic of loss of Whitehurst to brain cancer, to release genre-bending indie/alternative rock that could almost be considered a new hybrid of indie rock, maybe even could be said to be post-indie. Their latest release, No Star, is another confident step forward and shows the band for the first time ever as a four-piece, featuring Judah Nagler on guitar/vocals, Joshua Staples on bass/vocals, Matthew Izen on second guitar, and Casey Dietz on drums. Where 2006’s Cum Laude! was like throwing a deck of cards and letting the audience organize it, No Star shows the band handing you an un-opened deck, concise and ready to be used. Dietz’s drumming is considerably more direct than on Cum Laude!, but still shows incredible talent and serves as an amazing backbone for each track. Judah’s abandonment of distorted vocals on this EP was unexpected, but definitely welcomed as it brings a certain sort of calmness to the table that helps keep the EP grounded. Joshua’s bass lines are cool and classy, as always, and the addition of Matthew Izen on second guitar is quite excellent. While only being four songs, No Star seeks to find extreme depths in a short amount of time and does it with unprecedented ease and grace. Each track is stand-out on its own, and outstanding when placed alongside each other. If any bands want to learn how to make a perfect EP, check out No Star. It has heart, talent, depth, longevity, focus, and, coming in at around 13 minutes, it can be a quick and pleasurable listen, or can be placed on repeat for an indefinite amount of time. Most importantly, it builds anticipation and shows great promise for their upcoming full-length, which will hopefully drop in 2011. I am honored to say that this band is from my hometown and has not only grown and matured in their decade of releases, but also haven’t lost their - Andre Estournes 46 appreciation for their art.
Remember when punk rock, was… well, punk? Fat Wreck does too. Resurrected, revised, and reissued, Screeching Weasel’s Television City Dream is everything I had hoped for. I have to be honest, ever since I found a band that shared the same views I had on Led Zeppelin, I was hooked. TVCD takes me back to the days of my youth… mohawks, middle fingers, and fast bikes. With the same ol’ Ben Weasel, furious and in your face, I was ecstatic to find out that Screeching Weasel was back on the map. It seems as though Weasel has tapped back into his roots and brought us back to good ol’ days of punk. Bringing back the Oooogada sound, ‘Count to Three’, ‘Speed of Mutation’, and ‘I Don’t Give a Fuck’ will keep you thrashing! Released on November 9th, TVCD had already sold out the first limited edition color in 3 days! This is one of those albums that any true punker, has to get. The best part of the album is that there were 5 songs that were originally recorded for the album in ’98, that didn’t make the cut. But, they are included on this one! I don’t want to ruin the surprise for all you punkers out there, so make sure you get your copy today at www.FatWreck.com, and get ready to rock out. Now get out there and push somebody! - Adam Pierce
In an age of niche subgenres, folk revival and dance club hits, lovers of visceral, untamed rock are finding it harder to get their fix. Thankfully, the boys in Grinderman are back and ready to rip apart everything the digital age has to offer. Consisting of members from Nick Cave’s main project, The Bad Seeds; Cave, Warren Ellis, Martyn Casey and Jim Sclavunos’ sophomore album delivers everything that is missing from modern rock. Completed within the walls of the Seedy Underbelly in Los Angeles, and produced by Nick Launay, the producer who brought us the first Grinderman album, 2 opens the door to a diverse psychedelic journey that possesses the part of us which clings to the past while looking straight into the eyes of what is to become. While the first album was more of a loose jam session, 2 attacks the listener full-force, pulling no punches and connects with a grip of tightly knit songs. Heavy distortion and screeching guitars are offset with Ellis’ wailing violin pushing the album through the skies and sewers of the human spirit (“Heathen Child”), taking only slight pauses for oases of true beauty and love (“Palaces of Montezuma,” “When My Baby Comes”). On “Evil” (a personal favorite) Cave painfully bails to his lover, “Who needs the stars, you are my star” while the No Wave music sonically swoons with the faint cry of “evil rising” echoing from the rest of the band. Lyrically, the album is everything and more that any Nick Cave fan has come to expect from his extensive career. Issues of religion and sex are neatly intertwined (“Mickey Mouse and The Goodbye Man”) with witty banter like in “Kitchenette,” a song about MILF love; “What’s this husband of yours ever given to you. . .the ugliest fucking kids I’ve ever seen.” Or take the second song, “Worm Tamer,” with lyrics like “My baby calls me the Loch Ness Monster, two great big humps then I’m gone.” It’s important to keep in mind that all the members of Grinderman are well into middle-age because 2 is harder and hornier than anything else to come out this year, hands down. The guys themselves perfectly sum up the record, and Grinderman’s place in music, with the album art. Keeping with the animal theme that graced the first record, 2 features a lone wolf in a sterile room of white; bare teeth in a snarl, ready to fight a world of complacency devoid of the raw blood and guts of life. I was lucky enough to catch them play to a sold-out crowd in Times Square last month and their energy blew me away. Cave’s voice was perfect as he ran from side to side on the stage and standing on the shoulders of the crowd in an Iggy Pop moment. Ellis’ wild, scraggly appearance only added to his intensity, flashing wild glances at the audience in between switching instruments throughout songs to a background of melodic distortion. Dare I say it, seeing them live was even better than listening to the record. But if you’ve missed your chance this time around, go pick up 2 and get yourself prepared for the next time around. If you’re disappointed in either, it’s time to reevaluate your life. - Mat Weir
GREEN AUDIO is an expression of colorful sound. To some that may seem like a contradiction. But to frontman Adam Roth, it’s the best way to describe the energy behind his newest creation. After working with an impressive trail of artists in the Sacramento area and cutting his teeth for several years, Adam decided to take his latest songs and the best and brightest talent he could find and put together GREEN AUDIO. With a lineup of sharp experienced musicians, Adam has molded his vision with the visions of his fellow bandmates to create something that not only expresses the green shades he sees in his music, but also an array of colors created by each personality in the band. You’ll not only see the typical guitar, bass and drums on stage… but also a cello, a trumpet, percussion, keyboards and 4 singers harmonizing. The songs are rich with melody and dynamics you might hear in a classical symphony, but are cut with the jagged edge of electronics and distorted guitars to give it an attack of anger and sinister attitude. Like all contradictions, GREEN AUDIO will leave you thinking… thinking about what it really was that you just experienced. Maybe nothing more than catchy melodies over head bouncing beats… but after you see them, you’ll understand why this group loves playing music as much as they do. Passion for music and challenging each other to always do better is what fuels GREEN AUDIO to keep you looking and listening. They’ve been called a “super-group” by Jay Rossi of SacShows and Eric Rushing of The Artery Foundation. 98Rock’s Mark Gilmore called Adam Roth “one of Sacramento’s best male vocalists” and said that GREEN AUDIO recently “came out with a bang and blew him away”. Check out their music and decide for yourself! They make it easy since all of their music is available for free at www.DownloadGreenAudio.com. Enjoy! 53
Interview by Todd Graham / Photos by Mike Chavez This November, my band had the honor of sharing the stage at the Avalon in Santa Clara with a band I’ve been following for years, the certified badasses known as Nonpoint. Although sound check was running behind and people were starting to fill the parking lot outside, Nonpoint’s lead shred head Zach Broderick was gracious enough to let me shoot a few questions his way. So, being the latest to join the band, “Miracle” was your first studio release with the band? Wel, we did the EP, the acoustic, “Cut the Cord” which was 6 songs, then there was “Miracle” “(Cut the Cord) was older songs we rewrote, reorchestrated, and it has a really cool vibe. We’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback and was a lot of fun to do. So how was the tour with Mudvayne? It was great. That’s actually when we started talking to Chad Gray and Greg Tribbett, the vocalist and guitarist about producing the new record, Miracle. The tour was cool, we have a lot of the same fans, and every night was packed, a lot of good friends- it was probably the best tour we’ve had so far. Those guys are super talented too, it was an honor and a pleasure to work with them. The new album has debuted high on Amazon and iTunes - has there been any change in media and recognition with all the digital buzz? Yeah, it definitely helps the draw, and MTV
picked it up for Headbanger’s Ball, we got to host that; there’s been a lot of press, and it being played a lot on the radio. We got to reach out to a lot of people who hadn’t heard us even though we’d been around for 10 years. We’ve been keeping it going, touring all year. So how do you like touring, you hear a lot of stories about how it wears on you. I like it, I’m not one of those guys who will complain. It’s one of the most rewarding feeling to be on stage, to see people sing the songs. Living on a bus with 8 or 9 people can get under your skin, but it definitely beats my last 9 to 5 so I’m not gonna complain. Any shows or events you guys have coming up you’re really looking forward to? Yeah, late February we are going oversees for the Soundwave Festival, a 6 date festival in Australia. Turns out we have a lot of fans down there. We’re really looking forward to that, it’s gonna be huge. Well, I’m gonna wrap it up (as the sound check get’s louder against the wall behind us), is there anyone you wanna give a shout out to or say hi to Mom? (laughs) I actually already talked to her today. Well, not to sound cheezy or anything, but thanks to all the fans who watch us, support us, come out to shows, it means a lot to us, so thanks.
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Photos by Mike Chavez
Photos by Brian Crabtree
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