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Vol.38 #435 Jan 2020
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Founder- “Whitey” Lee Noll Consulting Editor/Angel of design-Robin Noll Owner/Publisher/Sales-Joshua Noll Lead writer/Photographer/Sales- “Rachel Rocks” -ProductionJosh Noll, Robin Noll, Rachel Rocks, Sadie the dog -Staff PhotographersJim Price, Rachel Rocks, Meredith Kaminek Chris Rider -MOFO (Master Of Financial Operations)Missy Weidenhof -Assistant MOFOEmily Strawser -DistributionRobin Noll, Josh Noll, Rachel Rocks, Jim Price, Keith Hummel, “Space”, Deanne Trio, Randy Wilson, Shawn Kurey, Fuzz McGirk, Jimi Jaymz, Dan Mccorkle, Zac Grace, Imelda Redding, Jeff Pittinger, Sterling Koch, and whoever else we can talk into. -Field EditorsJim price..........................................The Professor Rachel Rocks...................................Out & About Eric Hoffman.........................................National Chris Rider.........................Rider’s on the storm Daisy the cat................................The Daily Yawn
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joy flying radio controlled planes. It’s pretty crazy that if I fly my little planes, standing on the ground, I have more rules and regulations than if I hop into an ultralight and just take off to the skies myself (which requires no license or permits). Ok, enough about the future of the planet, let’s talk about some music. The holidays are over, thank God, and now it’s back to our regular day to day. During December I ventured out By Josh Noll to a place I have been hearing a lot about lately, JB Lovedrafts Micropub. It’s on Second Street in Harrisburg and has a real Welcome to the year 2020! Never thought I would make it punk feel to it. It reminds me a lot of Smalls from “back in the this many times around the sun. As a kid, the year 2020 always day” with a long bar down the one side and a small stage area sounded so futuristic and far away. I remember counting up the in the back. The bathroom has a sweet collection of Teenage years and thinking, “holy cow I will be 45 in the year 2020”. Mutant Ninja Turtles and they have over 50 micro brews on tap. Followed by, “who wants to be 45?” I’ll be too old to ride my The night I was there they had three bands: Factor, Spinebelt bike or play with my toys and life will just be a boring waste 2016 and Defiant. We were a little late to the party and missed of time. Well, it looks like I was wrong about that one. I got out on Factor but the place was pretty packed when we got 11 months left of being 44 and I plan on still riding bikes and there. Spinebelt 2016 was just getting ready to hit the stage and playing with all my toys. Although I do feel a little ripped off, we were treated to a set list made up of mostly new material because according to the movies I should at least own a couple with some of the old classics mixed in for fun. They started out hover boards and maybe a jet pack. Perhaps a car that flies? No, strong and kept rocking the whole set. It’s been awhile since I we just got this little phone that can do all sorts of dumb stuff we had seen them and it was great to see the guys still up there dodon’t really need. I never thought that people would be driving ing their thing. Be on the lookout for some new material hitting around staring at these little objects instead of actually driving the streets soon from these guys. Next up was Defiant who have the car. Or walking down the street not paying attention to anybeen gathering speed like a snowball heading for hell. Every one around them, just this little screen in their hands. When you time I see them they keep getting better and better. They have go out to eat in 2020 I would think the food would just come up been perfecting their sound and you can really hear it. They have out of the middle of the table in like three seconds, taste great some big shows coming up in 2020 including opening up for and be calorie free. Instead, we have everyone in the place starAshes to New at HMAC on January 24th along with Eva Under ing at these little screens ignoring the people sitting right next Fire, Dawn’s Divide and Violent Nine. Please, if you haven’t to them. Makes no sense to me and people keep “inventing” seen Defiant yet put them on your list of must see bands for new apps to make our lives easier. I wish people would actually 2020. I’m making a prediction that these guys are going to hit start inventing something new and exciting instead of an app new heights this year, so make sure you are part of it. that tells you when the next time you should stare at your little For New Year’s Eve we decided to go check out a band we screen again. There are some new and exciting things that will have been wanting to see for awhile, Friend of Bob. They were be hitting us in the near future, from self driving cars to packringing in the New Year over at River Bend Hop Farm & Brewages delivered by drones instead of people. I won’t go deep into ery. This was the first time I got to see a band in the upstairs pormy hatred of drones, but basically they are ruining one of my tion of River Bend which was built inside an old barn that they favorite pastimes by flooding the skies with people who misuse completely remodeled and turned into a gorgeous brewery. The them. Now that Google and Amazon will be flying them around, upstairs room is pretty awesome and it was a great way to start new rules are coming into place making it harder for me to enout 2020. Friend of Bob consists of: Troy Sturgeon, vocals; George Karge, guitar; Darren Cohick, bass; and Mike Worthy, drums. If you’ve been around the music scene for awhile then a couple of these names might sound familiar. One being Darren Cohick of Inciters fame. I have been watching Darren perform since I was a little kid and it is always a treat to see him play. As I walked up to the door of the barn I heard the familiar sound of “walk away walk away, walk away walk away, I will follow”. Right away I knew Darren was rocking away and the night was going to be worth the trip out. Once inside we got treated to some real classic tunes and the crowd was already into it and up dancing. It turned out to be one of my favorite New Year’s Eve’s ever Photo by Rachel Rocks as an old friend was there and we got a
January 2020 Cover photo & Suicide Puppets feature photos by Chris Rider Photography
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crowd excited with ‘Purple Rain’ being one of my favorites of chance to hangthe night. Hats off to River Bend for supporting local music and out and ring in Friend of Bob for rocking the night away. the New Year together. My buddy Chad Frownfelter suffered a life changing brain aneurysm about 5 years ago and has been fighting to recover ever since. At first he was stuck in a wheel chair and had lost most of Friend of Bob Spinebelt 2016 his movement. January has a lot going on. The Union House has Fast Lane on Chad however is a true fighter and has been hitting rehabs ever the 11th followed by Close Enough on the 18th. You can catch since and has even walked without any assistance during some DMC Duo on the 3rd over at the Fredericksburg Eagle Hotel of his sessions. He is committed to recovery and I wouldn’t put followed by Nate Myers and the Aces on the 4th and Myceit past him to be out skating again sometime soon (although his nea Worley on the 10th. Racehorse Tavern has Hot Mess on the mother did not like that idea). The highlight of the night for me 4th followed by their annual Y2k party on the 11th with Maidwas Chad requesting to get up so he could dance along to Hey en America and Stricken, a new Disturbed tribute band taking Jude. It was a magical moment for me and one I will not for- the scene by storm. Reverb has Micro Wrestling on the 16th if get. Rock on Chad! You’re an inspiration to us all. Anyone who you’re looking for something different and then Firehouse will thinks they have problems should take a note from Chad and just be rocking the place on the 25th. The first annual CPMA’s (Cen“keep on, keeping on.” Friend of Bob did a great job keeping the tral Pennsylvania Music Awards and Hall of Fame) are coming to Harrisburg on the 30th. There are way too many bands to list all the nominees, but I would like to congratulate our own Chris Rider for being nominated for best music photographer. Chris works hard and really takes his craft seriously. The voting is
over and the Whitaker Center is sold out, so if you don’t have your tickets already you missed out. I think it really shows that the Central PA area has a great music scene and I hope that the CPMA’s can continue to showcase all our great artists out there. Don’t forget February is coming fast and that means MMC time! Start making your plans now! I can’t wait to spend the weekend with all of the musicians and fans that come out in force to support music in the Harrisburg area. Well, that wraps up another month. Please check out the cover story for an in depth look at “who” and “what” the Suicide Puppets are really all about. It’s not all blood and gore for these guys as we explore their more sensitive sides. Peace out and remember 2020 is your year to take it to the next level. Let us help you out by promoting your band or business. Get in touch with us for all the details on just how easy it is. Later Tater, time for me to go eat some more pork and kraut.
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OUT ‘n’ ABOUT By Rachel Rocks
Happy New Year!!! Hard to believe it’s 2020! I never thought I’d live til the year 2020, let alone still be writing this article in 2020. I’ve been truly blessed in life and in our local music community… so much to see, do, and hear! I’m truly thankful for all of the friends I have made and the music I’ve heard. I know the PA music scene has had its ups and downs, but overall, I think PA truly does rock! Thank you so much to all the musicians that keep fighting the good fight of scheduling shows, hauling equipment, being away from their family and loved ones, learning new songs, and of course performing all night long! You are all truly super heroes that help keep us sane! I could never imagine a world without music! How boring would that be? One thing my life definitely isn’t.. is boring… This month started out a long time ago on Black Friday at XL Live for the annual Kix show! The first opener of the night was Dirt Cheap. I’ve heard a lot about these guys, and I believe this was my 2nd time seeing them. They were firing off a lot of your 80s metal favorites getting the crowd primed for the big show. The second opener was Steel. It was awesome to see Steel
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have the opportunity to once again open for Kix. Steel is a great match with Kix, playing 80s metal is just what that crowd needs to get fired up. Steel was told to play mainly originals which is always a little nerve racking, but I’m glad to say that the audience was drawn in to their music, and seemed to really be rocking it! Steel’s music is smooth yet powerful! These guys have been playing together since 1995. This year is their 25th year together as a band and it truly shows, they all blend so well on stage and really compliment each other. Steel has a great following and I think it’s because you know they always put on one heck of a show! You can check out their full schedule in this issue. Finally it was time for KIX! The annual Thanksgiving show is always a good one! It was even better this year because I didn’t Black Friday shop in the morning. My kids had nothing they wanted that was a super Black Friday deal, so instead I slept in! I’ll have to say that made the Kix show even more enjoyable! It’s always a blast seeing XL Live packed with so many friends. Kix seemed to be more on their game too, with a lot more music and a lot less Bullsh*t. I of course loved when they did “Don’t Close Your Eyes”… truly an amazing song even if it was released in 1988… 32 years ago! Kix will also be coming to The Chameleon soon, so keep your eyes open for that show and get out there and support some good old rock n’ roll! The next show was a super special Sunday show at XL Live when we all climbed aboard the mothership and went for a funkadelic ride with George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic. Holy bananas! What a show! I’ve been to a few shows in my time, but I NEVER saw a crowd so involved. I knew it was going to be intense when I counted a minimum of 14 microphones on the stage, but nothing could prepare you for the show that we were fortunate enough to witness! George Clinton has been throwing down the funk since the 70s! They are calling this his “Farewell” tour, but you can tell he definitely loves getting funky and getting a crowd grooving along to the beat! You would never guess he is 78 years old! They played straight through a solid 2 hours. George never left the stage, he had a chair right in the middle that he would try to sit in once in a while, but he still had a mic and was still signing and cheering along! You really can’t explain the “band” and other singers in the band. They were all a funky bunch of grooviness and love. They had the female “backup singers” and plenty of guys interjecting their own lyrics and
Reverand Horton Heat keys / XL Live
beats, plus the guys actually playing instruments: horns, keys, guitars, etc.. It was intense and amazing all at the same time. By the end of the night we definitely all had the funk!! And I swear I must’ve lost a few pounds just squeezed to the front dancing and jumping along! WHAT A SHOW! My next night out started much calmer at Cold Springs Inn to see Derek Henry’s acoustic show. Derek is keeping his schedule packed full of shows and he’s loving every minute! Derek is
Jason / Penntera / XL Live
Glenn Hamilton w/ The Marines Toys for Tots
a musician that I’ve watched since his first times on stage in front of a crowd, and it’s amazing to see how he’s grown as a musician. His confidence has grown tremendously and he really puts on a great show and he’s gaining an amazing following no matter where he is, and he’s been playing here, there, and everywhere! It’s also fun to see how Derek includes his crowds in the song and gets everyone involved. Derek is also a new advertiser, if you would like him to play at your venue, you can find all of his contact info on his ad. Derek is also the lead singer for Observe the 93rd, so you can also see their booking info in the ad too. Cold Springs Inn has also been really flourishing since it opened over the Summer. They have quite a few delicious beers on tap, plus they also carry Dead Lightnings spirits if a mixed drink is more your style. It’s awesome to see them supporting the other local breweries, wineries, and distilleries. I was there
Calling OFF Doug Friday, January 3rd CHICK’S, Hummelstown, PA 8pm Contact us: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 717.379.3973 facebook.com/CallingOffDoug
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with my good friend, and beer guru Terri, so we were able to snag a behind the scenes tour with the brewer, Kristen Richards. It’s awesome to see the behind the scenes magic. Thanks for the tour. I can’t wait til we are back to tubing down the Yellow Breeches and stopping at Cold Springs for a frosty beverage! After Derek’s show we headed back to XL Live for another great show. It was the 2nd Annual Holiday Hay Ride with the Reverend Horton Heat. We missed the 1st band, but the second opening band was Voodoo Glow Skulls. It took me a minute to get my ears adjusted, but I quickly became amazed with the Voodoo Glow Skulls. They play a very addicting ska punk vibe that is all their own. Their horn section really differentiates their music and keeps you sucked in. I was sort of surprised at how many people said they were there because of Voodoo Glow Skulls. I guess they’ve been playing together since 1988 and it was their first tour through the area. By the time their show was over we were definitely new fans! Next up was Reverend Horton Heat, I’ve heard a lot about him, Josh’s girlfriend Missy is a big fan, and I’m glad I finally made it to a show. Besides the Martini Bros. we really don’t have enough Rockabilly bands in the area and I absolutely love rockabilly.. Then to add in his keyboard player on top of the show it was awesome!! The keyboard player was a one man band in himself and so much fun to watch. The
Steve Whiteman / Kix / XL Live
Rev puts on a great show and plays all of your Christmas favorites during the Holiday Hay Ride plus a few of his own originals. The Rev ended his show with a super special guest Dave Alvin. Both guys are crazy good guitar players and were a lot of fun to watch and hear! Overall it’s another great show by The Rev! The next show was the 11th Annual Toys for Tots hosted by The River, 97.3. It was awesome to see so many people out supporting such a
George Clinton at XL Live
great cause: boxes and boxes of toys, and lots of cash donations. They had a fantastic line up of bands as usual. I made it in time to see: The Famous, The Luv Gods, The Jellybricks, and The Clarks. With so many popular bands in this area, the venue was packed from beginning to end. The Famous has only been together since 2016, but all of their band members have been playing area stages for quite a few years and they all have a great reputation for being the top performers in the area. They are one of the nominees for the 1st Annual Central Pennsylvania Music Awards on January 30th, along with the next band of the night, The Luv Gods. It’s definitely going to be interesting to see who wins. The Luv Gods, with Shea Quinn on lead vocals have also been performing on stages for probably almost more years than I’ve been alive, but you’d never know it! They are rockin to some of the newest songs out there and they mix it up with your favorite 80s hits, some Jackson 5, and then of course why not throw in some Sharks originals just to make things even more fun! Of course there was the annual surprise guest, Bruce Springsteen, or some say it might’ve only been Glenn Hamilton took the mic for a special performance. The Luv Gods always puts on a great show and they definitely have gained a lot of respect from not only the other local bands in the area, but they also have a strong following of fans as well. The Sharks are also going to be one of the 1st inductees of the Central PA Music Hall of Fame on January 30th. It’s going to be an exciting night! The Jellybricks have officially played all 11 of The River’s Toys for Tots shows! How cool is that!! They don’t play in our area too often, so it’s always a special treat and one that their fans love to support. Even though they don’t play locally, it doesn’t mean they aren’t busy, in 2019 they released a new album “Some Kind of continued on page 10....
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OUT & ABOUT continued...
Lucky” that is also a nominee for the Album of the Year and The Jellybricks themselves are nominated as the Best Rock Band in the CPMAs in January. The last band of the night, The Clarks, came in from Pittsburgh to perform back in the Burg again, and their fans were definitely glad to see them there. I’ve heard a lot about The Clarks through the years and I’m glad I finally got the chance to see them. They have been rockin’ the Pittsburgh region for over 30 years, and they’ve produced quite a few albums, selling nearly a half-million copies! They blew the roof off of XL. I’m sure we will be seeing them back there again soon. Overall it was an amazing night of music for an even more amazing cause. Thanks so much to The River 97.3, and XL Live for hosting such a magical night of music for the kids! My next magical weekend I had the special treat of spending the weekend with the one and only YTMYT, aka Whitey Noll, my Daddy. I spend lots of time with Mom, but it was a super special treat to get to spend some quality time with Dad. I know I am extremely fortunate to still have my parents both still alive and well. It’s crazy how I take for granted something so magical and don’t spend more time with my parents. I definitely think it’s going to be a resolution of mine this year, is just to spend more time with my family. We didn’t do anything extravagant, we just hung out together. We watched some movies on TV, and I was able to listen to him play his ukulele. He showed me tons of notebooks of original music he has written over the years, most of which I never even knew existed. The words of the few I had the time to read were so amazing. To hear his life through his lyrics is something you can’t even describe. I really need to find a way to preserve that music.. If anyone knows of the best ways, I’m all ears!! Hit me up, because if for some reason I would lose those lyrics, chords, etc. it would be devastating. Please email me RachelRocks@pamusician.net. We sat for hours and checked out different music on Youtube, before we knew it, it was 2am! I love you Daddy! Thank you for starting this magazine and sharing your love of music with the state and the world! Dad does have his own CD out called “Between the Curtains and the Clouds” done by the Ukaboom Man himself, his friend Joe Agolia, and my brother in law, David Greene, if you’d like a copy, let me know. The last night out this month was back to XL for the Headbanger’s Holiday! We unfortunately only made it for the last 2 bands, but that was probably a good thing because from all of the headbanging the next day I felt like I got hit by a Mack truck! The first band I saw was Fade to Black, which you might’ve guessed is a Metallica Tribute Band. Based out of Baltimore, MD, these guys have been playing together since 2013 and touring all over the East Coast. They know they aren’t Metallica, but they are doing an amazing job at keeping the music of Metallica alive and well! They put on one heck of a show, and had plenty of people banging their heads! The final band of the night was Penntera! It was so awesome seeing them play on a big stage where they can turn the volume up and MOVE! These guys are absolutely insane and do an amazing job playing some of the heaviest music out there by Pantera! The mosh pit was alive and well, and it was one of their first shows I’ve been too that allowed a mosh pit to happen. Kudos to XL for letting the fans do what they love to do! Headbang and Mosh!! And Kudos to the fans for keeping themselves under control! Penntera is also nominated for the Best Cover Band in the CPMAs. Penntera has quite a few shows coming up, you can check out the full schedule in their ad in this issue. Another amazing month of music!! I’m telling you, we are truly blessed. What I get the chance to see is just the icing on the cake, there are so many bands to see and so little time to see them!! Before I go I have to give a HUGE birthday shout out to my hubby, Kris Boob! He puts up with so much and still wakes me up from my evening naps so I can go out and rock the night away. Some days he has to wake me up 2 or 3 times til I get myself off the couch. You all should be just as grateful for him as I am, because without his encouragement, I probably would just sleep all night long instead of heading Out and About. Another special birthday is my awesome sister Andrea Greene. I love her oh so much and love being with her every chance I get! Happy Birthday AA and Kris! I love you both and can’t imagine my life without either of you in it. That’s all for this month!! Happy New Year!!!! Cheers to another year of amazing music and friends! If you see me Out and About please stop me and say Hi!! Do yourselves a favor and get out there and Support Local Music!!!! Don’t forget to Follow us on Facebook and Instagram and visit our website, www.pamusician.net.
Pennsylvania Musician Magazine
NATIONALS By Eric Hoffman
Greetings Rockers ’N’ Rollers! The year 2019 finished quite nicely with some great National bands braving the cold and touring the East Coast Both Kix and The Sharks played their annual Thanksgiving shows in Harrisburg, with both concerts taking place at XL Live. The yearly visit and reunion has become quite the staple for Central PA bringing out many fans and familiar faces of the music scene for over 30+ years. Kix continue to put on a solid great live show and had locals, Steel (Mechanicsburg) and Dirt Cheap (York), provide support for the concert. Kix have more Central PA shows announced for 2020, including two-nights at Lancaster’s Chameleon Club January 31st & February 1st, Penn’s Peak in Jim Thorpe, PA on June 19th and the York State Fair on July 28th. The Menzingers played an incredible set at the intimate Black Cat in Washington DC on December 4th. Originally from Scranton, their popularity has moved them to the city of Philadelphia, where they now live and record. They played Franklin Hall in Philadelphia to a capacity crowd of 2,500 - compared to the 700 capacity of DC’s Black Cat. The band is currently touring for their sixth studio album, Hello Exile, which was released on October 4th. The Menzingers may tour this album for the next two years and will head to Europe this January-February and then Australia the month of March. The highlight of the month included two concerts in one day in Philadelphia on December 14th. The Bouncing Souls are touring for
Elijah Hewson of Inhaler
their 30th Anniversary as a band and played two shows at the Theatre of Living Arts. The band decided to move their Saturday night concert to a matinee show due to The Misfits being in town as well at Wells Fargo Center. It was old school to see 4 punk bands begin a show at 1:30pm. The Bronx, Strike Anywhere and The Bar Stool Preachers all opened for the Souls for a great day of music. The Bronx from Los Angeles were incredible as always and quite possibly the best live punk band today. It was then off to show #2 at the huge arena featuring Agnostic Front, Dropkick Murphys and the legendary Misfits. Titled “The Original Misfits” featured original members Glenn Danzig, Jerry Only and Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein. The band reunited in 2016 for their first show in 33 years. It was rumored their NYC show this past October would be the last, until the
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announcement of Philadelphia on December 14th. There is no news of possible further shows. NATIONAL NEWS: Def Leppard, Mötley Crüe, Poison and Joan Jett & The Blackhearts will hit the road for “The Stadium Tour,” playing 28 U.S. stadiums. The trek begins in June and winds down in September, visiting many of America’s biggest baseball stadiums. Mötley Crüe, made headlines in November when its members reneged on the cessation of touring agreement they entered into ahead of their farewell tour earlier this decade. Crüe played what was allegedly its final show on at Los Angeles’ Staples Center on December 31st, 2015. The Stadium Tour has already sold more than 700,000 tickets and grossed over $90 million at the box office in the first weekend of sales. Poison’s Bret Michaels commented: “There are not enough words to thank the three generations of fans for making this such an exciting, record breaking, historical tour with the fastest sell outs in history at these stadiums.” The Stadium Tour visits Hersheypark Stadium on August 11th and Philadelphia’s Citizens Bank Park on August 15th. The Bud Light Super Bowl Music Fest will return on Su-
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per Bowl weekend in 2020. The event will be held at Miami’s American Airlines Arena over the three nights prior to Super Bowl LIV on February 2nd. DJ Khaled will headline the first night, which will also feature DaBaby and “some of the biggest names in hip-hop.” Guns ’N’ Roses will headline the Fest on January 31st, and Maroon 5 – which headlined the Super Bowl LIII halftime show earlier this year – will perform at the event on February 1st, along with a special guest. The debut of the Bud Light Super Bowl Music Fest earlier this year in Atlanta grossed $11.38 million and featured Bruno Mars and Cardi B. The Who announced it will play its first Cincinnati area concert since 11 fans died 40 years ago in a pre-show stampede. The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame band will play April 23rd at Northern Kentucky University’s BB&T Arena, across the Ohio River 7 miles south of the December 3rd, 1979, concert site, where another two dozen people were injured December 3rd, 1979, amid confusion and lack of preparation for thousands of fans lined up for hours for first-come seats. Both lead singer Roger Daltrey and guitarist Pete Townshend, have said they’ve been haunted by the tragedy. The Who is adding the concert to its “Moving On!” tour 2020 dates. The band didn’t know about the tragedy until the concert was ending. Long time manager Bill Curbishley had made the decision to have the show go on, warning Cincinnati authorities that they wouldn’t be able to control the crowd if the concert was called off. Hershey has added another concert to their summer lineup with the return of Maroon 5. The pop-rockers, who kicked off 2019 with their headlining performance at the Super Bowl halftime show, will have Meghan Trainor open on all dates, and Leon Bridges will guest at stadium shows. At mid-year 2019, Maroon 5 ranked No. 26 in touring worldwide with $24.5 million grossed. On August 15th, 2015, they grossed a gaudy $1.69 million at Hersheypark Stadium, which they’ll revisit for the final night of the tour on September 5th, 2020. Alanis Morissette announced a summer 2020 shed tour in honor of the 25th anniversary of her seminal third album, 1995’s Jagged Little Pill. The bill for the 31-date tour will be rounded out with fellow ‘90s alt-rock luminaries Garbage and Liz Phair. Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill album, is 16 times platinum certified and won the Grammy for Album of the Year. Press release notes, “she’ll be playing all her biggest hits” – comes as Morissette gears up to release her ninth album, Such Pretty Forks In The Road, on May 1st. Tour dates include Camden, NJ BB&T Pavilion on June 28th, 2020 and Columbia, MD Merriweather Post Pavilion on July 2nd, 2020. UPCOMING SHOWS: The Give Take / Timmy’s Creepshow / Bad Luck Charms - Harrisburg River City January 4th. The Glorious Sons - Harrisburg XL Live January 16th. J Roddy Walston (solo) - Baltimore Ottobar January 19th. J Roddy Walston (solo) - Philadelphia Ardmore Music Hall January 20th. Surfbort - Philadelphia Boot & Saddle January 31st.
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SUICIDE PUPPETS Breaking Boundaries
By Josh Noll When people hear the name Suicide Puppets, visions of blood, gore and destruction instantly comes to mind. What people don’t realize is that the Suicide Puppets have been misunderstood for years. So this month we sat down with them to figure out what exactly these guys are all about. First, a little history about the band which started out in 2006. Although there have been some changes to the band in their early days, the main core of the band has remained unchanged. They are: Twisty Suicide, singer, Spam lover and the one who is always first to make me feel at home at a show by extending the “number one” gesture too me every time I am front and center. Jonny Suicide, a bass playing, super hero nerd behind the scenes, who collects all sorts of vintage memorabilia from action figures to sci-fi stuff. With his hero
photos by Chris Rider Photography
being the Mighty Godzillia! Steven Suicide, lead guitar player and mild mannered individual who gives back to the community by donating his time to fundraisers when the suns out, but transforms into a lethal, axe wielding, guitar slaying monster after the demons arise. Tattuicide, the “other” lead guitar player who spends his free time inking masterpieces onto his unsuspecting victims during the day. He plays with so many “other” bands that you never know when he will pop up on stage. Disguised as just a regular guy, making faces and slamming out leads. Donnie Von Gailinger, a.k.a. “The Dark Man”, rhythm guitar player, always hiding in the darkness. He spends his free time sleeping when the suns out and when night falls, he transforms into a guitar playing beast who is always chugging out the backbone of the song, keeping his fellow players in check and on cue. Finally, we have Veritas Suicide, drummer, who if your not careful will kick you out cold in his free time if you meet up with him in
the ring Not because he hates you, but just to keep his cardio up and his legs strong for all his ruthless drumming antics. So what is the meaning behind the Suicide Puppets name and the band? What a lot of people don’t know is that they found their name on a random Google band name search. When it came up, it struck a chord with the band. Suicide Puppets are not promoting suicide but actually the exact opposite. They are trying to bring awareness that it’s out there and it affects everyone of us. We all have lost someone close to us and the Puppets have too. They would like people to not take the name so seriously, but to be aware that it’s out there and people need to never take life for granted and to always have fun with what you are doing in life. Except for Twisty that is, who says, “F-U if you don’t like the name”. When I asked the band what genre of music do they consider themselves a lot of ideas started flying around the room, but they all agreed that industrial metal with black metal influences were the main target area. So who does Suicide Puppets think they sound like? Well, you get some interesting answers ranging from Ramstein, Nine Inch Nails, Ministry, KMFDM to Rick Astley, Olivia Newton John and Static X. When given the option of the whole band being stuck in an ex-Bon Jovi tour bus for 24
hours straight, with one CD to listen to, what would it be? There were some arguments in the room with Type O Negative, Rick Astley among others mentioned. They finally decide on Pantera “Cowboys from Hell” with the final call being decided by whoever was driving said tour bus. Which they all agreed, would be Veritas due to his uncanny nature to stay sober longer than the rest of the crew on long boring drives. I next started to dig deeper by asking the band if there was a show or a band that made them want to pursue this crazy life of playing music to the masses. Some knew right away while others had to dig deep into the memory banks. For Tattuicide it was a no brainer, AC/DC. Jonny spurted out, “Alice Cooper and Kiss!” Veritas of course listed Pantera, followed by Steve’s, Metallica. Donnie Von Gailinger took some time and listed it as not one band but more of a scene. Specifically, the NY/NJ hardcore scene. Twisty, after what seemed like hours, confessed that it was just Spam that gave him inspiration. No, not the computer kind, but the canned kind. So what’s the craziest thing these guys have gone through out on the road? Stories started flying. From being rained on playing in lightning storms, to one time back about 10 years ago (in the early days), when Twisty got a little to “pre-gamed up” and passed out during the first song of the set. After a comeback of sorts, they finished the show, only for Varitas to be punched in the face by an unknown party girl who claimed she was pushed over. Really she just tripped over her own drunken feet and fell on her face. According to Donnie Von Gailinger, one of the most memorable shows for them was a New Year’s Eve show at the legendary Tubby’s in Duncannon. When the clock struck midnight, instead of lowering some sort of inanimate object they decided it would be cool to lower live suspension artists instead. Just so we are clear, they want everyone to know that no one was harmed in this event...that didn’t want to be. So let’s talk about what these guys have been up to since their last interview with us over a year and half ago. They have been working with Ryan Raes with Distilled Entertainment, a national music management company, who is helping the Puppets take their music and their brand to the next level. Ryan Raes and team are working on getting them signed by a “big” label and the guys are in the process of working on a new album. Also, they are planning on touring out of the Pennsylvania area and possibly overseas with some national recording artists. They have talked about maybe heading across the pond and over the iron curtain with some shows in Russia to help grow the Suicide Puppets name worldwide. They have also picked up some sponsors. Varitas is now slamming on the Soultone cymbals (which he is very proud of) and Jonny and Twisty are both playing HEL guitars. Yes, along with his lyrical genius, Twisty plays guitar as well. Another sponsor, Goblin Alchemy, helps them prepare for practice and shows by supplying them with some very fine meads. Which, if your like me, have heard of mead, but know little about. Meads are made from fermenting honey and have a much better taste, in my opinion, than wine. These are not lightweight drinks. With 14%
Pennsylvania Musician Magazine
alcohol content, they will get your taste buds (and your senses) in tune...fast. Goblin Alchemy is producing a special mead for Suicide Puppets named “Blood of the Familiar”. It’s a mead recipe developed with sweet red cherries and orange blossoms that is sure to get you cranked up for a night of music. This special blend will only be available at select Suicide Puppets shows. If you’re interested in Goblin Alchemy be sure to check out the back cover to see what they have going on. Who knows, maybe your band will get its own special mead, but only if you’re really cool like these guys. So what advice would Suicide Puppets give to a non mainstream band that is trying to make it in the mainstream music world? Be yourself, stick to what you are doing, keep it real and have fun with what you are doing. Don’t let the critics get you down or stray away from the way YOU want to play music. Don’t give up on your dreams and strive to be different. What is the hardest part about being in Suicide Puppets besides fighting “the norm” you ask? According to the band there are six things that make it to the top of the list: (1.) It’s hard for some of them to be standing next to the man they love, with nothing they can
Donnie Von Gailinger
do about it; (2.) Random body cavity checks; (3.) 9 am Sunday practice; (4.) Cleaning up after the mess is over; (5.) Time, not enough time; (6.) Twisty’s biggest gripe, no Spam at practice. What is on the horizon for Suicide Puppets in the year 2020? Along with working on touring, albums and drinking mead, they have also been nominated for the first annual CPMA’s (Central Pennsylvania Music Awards and Hall of Fame). Nominated in the category of “best metal band” along with some other big names in the game such as: Defiant, Anatomy of the Sacred, Gun Metal Gray and Gallowglas. It will interesting to see who takes the crown. For more Suicide Puppets content, be sure to checkout “Puppetcast”. It’s a new podcast started by Varitas and Jonny Suicide. You can find it on most podcast streaming platforms including: Anchor, Breaker, Google Podcasts, Radio Public, Pocket Casts and Spotify. “Puppetcast” sheds some light into who they are and why they exist and will be sure to keep you entertained. The first episode is out now with more to follow, so please tune in and follow. If you’re looking to catch a live show, they will be performing at HMAC on January 25th for the Sounds from the Underground Metal Festival 2 with a slew of other heavy hitters. On February 1st they will be making their debut performance at The Racehorse Tavern; hoping to not blow the roof all the way off so they can return in the near future. Finally, you can catch them down at Reverb in Reading on February 22nd with The 69 Eyes, Wednesday 13, The Nocturnal Affair, The Crowned, Husk and Signs of Withdrawal. This is an all age show, so bring the kids, they will love it. Suicide Puppets would like to thank the following for helping them along the way: Keith Hummel, HEL Guitars, Goblin Alchemy, Distilled Entertainment, Chris Rider Photography, PA Musician Magazine (shameless plug) and all of their family, friends and fans for putting up with all that goes along with being a band for 13 years. Lastly, Twisty would like to thank his grandfather, for “being such a dick”. Also he would like to say, “F-U Spam for not supporting them”.
Illusions of Grandeur
Reign of Z
The Middleton Brothers
The Middleton Brothers
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RIDER’S ON THE STORM By Chris Rider
Did you know that before Small Town Titans sang it, “You're a Mean One Mr Grinch” was originally sung by Tony the Tiger? It's true...at least according to the interwebs. Voice actor Thurl Ravenscroft, famously known for “They're grrrreat!” originally sang the Grinch. “Jingle Bells” was the first song performed in space. On December 16th, 1965, astronauts aboard Gemini 6 performed the song with a harmonica and bells after reporting a “UFO” going North to South...a command module, and eight smaller modules in front. The astronauts produced a harmonica and bells they'd stashed aboard the space capsule and played “Jingle Bells” in a performance that Mission Control was unaware was going to happen. “Do you hear what I hear” is a beautiful Christmas song...but it was first written as a prayer for peace during the Cuban Missile Crisis. “Grandma got run over by a Reindeer” was originally written as a joke by a veterinarian...a joke that produced more than 40 million copies since it was written in 1978. Some random Christmas music facts that you didn't need to know. They're probably even true, I looked them up on the internet very carefully LOL. December was a busy month for everyone, along with all the “normal” holiday stuff, there was music everywhere...here's a recap and a few images of what I got out to see this month.
My first stop was at the Abbey Bar. The opening band was Jelli, a 4 piece band described by percussionist Shelli Merrifield as “Hippy Funk Rock”. First time I've ever heard that description of a band, but it fit. I will say this is the first time I've seen a log saw used as a musical instrument...it had a very strange, etherial and eerie but beautiful sound to it that really fit their music choices. They played a variety of originals and covers including a really sweet version of Pink Floyd's “The Machine”. Headlining the show was Medusa's Disco. I think at this point, my psychedelic friend's don't really need any introduction here anymore. These guys put on yet another energetic and fun show of originals and covers including The Who's “My Generation” that absolutely wow'd the crowd. Don't believe me? Check out their first live album on any of the major sites including Itunes and Bandcamp for only $8 and hear an entire set of The Who by these guys. My next stop was back to the Abbey Bar for a night of music with a group of friends that are huge fans (and it's tough to blame them really) of the Mighty River Band. These folks always put
Jessi Adams on a great show covering a wide range of music from the Grateful Dead, and this night was no exception. If you're a Dead fan and you're in the area, you're doing yourself a disservice if you have yet to see them. They play out a lot, so there's really no excuse. Oh, and if you see them (or any other great music act that they bring in to the Abbey Bar), try their grapefruit hefeweizen. A few nights later, I headed down to Carlisle for my maiden visit to the Molly Pitcher Brewery to see Rascal Revival play. Going down, I was unaware that there was an opening act so I was pleasantly surprised to find Jessi Adams of Hanover take the stage first. Jessi has a great voice, plays a multitude of instruments for a mix of her own original music and covers including “Hey now Hey now” by Crowded House as well as a mashup of I Can't Dance by Genesis and the White Stripes' “7 Nation Army”. I don't think I'd have ever thought those two would go into a mashup...but she made it work and I really enjoyed it. Go check out her Debut EP "CALL ME HOME" on Itunes, Cdbaby, and Amazon Music. Rascal Revival took the stage next with their new bassist to play a set of their originals (including some new ones), as well as some covers including a mashup of Hakuna Matata & Don't Worry Be Happy. After leaving Molly Pitcher, I called a last minute audible as I saw on Facebook that Shine Delphi was playing at JB Lovedrafts in Harrisburg. I've heard Shine's music but had yet to see him play yet, and also hadn't been to JB's yet so it was a bit of a two-fer for me I guess you'd say. First, I'll say this – JB's has a great beer list which for some reason surprised me for a pretty small place like this. Shine took the stage and was just damn impressive from the start. He's a super skilled guitarist that sings heartfelt and relatable lyrics and he just looks like he's having a blast on stage regardless of the size of the crowd or their partic-
Mighty River Band January, 2020
anyhow and it was totally worth it. First up was Michael Cullin on the Herr St. Stage playing a mix of blues, rock & jam music including “Call Me the Breeze”. Not only is Michael a talented musician, he's also a physics professor up at Lock Haven. I'm not sure if being a science whiz helps make him a good musician...but it doesn't hurt. Next up on the Herr St. Stage was my friend John Westford. I know, this is a music magazine, why am I covering a magic act? Because I can :) John brings an awesome act of magic, sleight of hand, hilarious comedy and illusion to the stage, his second time at HMAC. John has performed all over the world and I highly recommend seeing his act. Now on to the Capital Room for something a little heavier: First up was Gram Hetrick, a new Harrisburg self-described “Fuzz Rock” band. They may be new, but they played with skill and passion and I'll definitely be on the lookout for them in the future to see how they progress. Second up was Illusions of Grandeur, a Lancaster based band that describes themselves as a “Theatrical Hard Rock/Fantasy Metal band”. This band hit the stage with an energy, power and ferocity that simply did not quit for their whole set. They look great, they sound great, and they put on one hell of a show. It looks like they'll be back at HMAC on February 13th for a show and you really, really want to be there to catch it. Headlining the show for the evening was Reign of Z. When I was invited to cover this show, I didn't have much time to do more than listen to a track or two from Reign of Z, and didn't even get a chance to preview the 1st two bands (sorry!). Look Reign of Z's “Reflections” up on you tube, and you'll see pretty quickly why I had to see this show. I can't speak highly enough of the opportunity I had this evening to see two bands with powerful female lead vocals (which I absolutely love by the way!). Reign of Z came on stage and kicked ass. They hail from the Pittsburgh area and recently released their debut EP, which I had to pick up after the show. I'm not sure when they'll be back in the area again, but I hope it's soon.
ipation. Turns out, I was actually there for JB Lovedrafts' “Songwriter Showcase” which they're hosting the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of each month. Shine brought a fellow up by the name of Peter Stone, a solo folk singer-songwriter from the Harrisburg area that had a solid American style with some blues mixed in for each of his original songs. You can catch his act in at Molly Pitcher Brewing on January 9th along with Cumberland Honey. Next up for me was a trip to HMAC. My original thought was to be there for 2 performances on the Herr St. Stage by 2 friends of mine...but it turned out there was a metal show with 3 bands up in the Capital Room that I just couldn't pass up. This resulted in a little back & forth between the stages, but I needed the exercise
Pennsylvania Musician Magazine
The last show I hit up for the month was at River City Blues & Darts in Harrisburg. A few years (ok, maybe more than a few) ago, I remember hearing the Middleton Bros. on WTPA when Coffee & The Jammer would play them, but I never got to see them. When I saw they were playing a rare show in town, I had no choice but to pay a visit and couldn't be more glad that I did. Speaking to Charlie Middleton before the show, I found him to be just a down to earth nice guy that was more than happy to talk about music and the local scene that we have here, and he was nice enough to gift me a cd titled “Canned Lightning”. Thanks again Charlie! The guys then went on stage to play 3 sets of music with a truly wide variety including, but not limited to: Marshall Tucker Band, Grand Funk Railroad, Crosby Still & Nash, Merle Haggard, and two songs that Jimi Hendrix wrote and/or made famous: “Red House” and “All Along The Watchtower”. Two of my very favorite songs, and their performance of both was just downright magical for me. This was just a great night of music to end the month for me and I really appreciate all the work they put into the show. So, there you have it, another month of music from my point of view. Got a show coming up that I should see? Send me an invite, shoot me an email or a message, let me know about it. The majority of the shows that I go and shoot I find out about through invites from all of you or your friends. Hit me up on facebook: @chrisriderphotography or email: email@example.com I hope you all have/had a great holiday season and I look forward to seeing you out there supporting all of the live music we've got in this area!
THE PROFESSOR By Jim Price
Happy New Year and New Decade, as we cross the threshold into New Year 2020. This time of year reminds us that there are always new beginnings, and opportunities to explore new endeavors and frontiers in our lives. Here’s hoping that all of our readers experience happiness and good fortune in the twelve months ahead! Although a nasty cold bug threw a wrench into part of my holiday season, I did get to enjoy some Christmas-related music events, including the annual Christmas show last month at Philipsburg’s historic Rowland Theatre. This year’s show, “Santa’s Journey,” was a fun presentation that blended Christmas tradition and humor with live music. The story focused on a stressed-out Santa going through Christmas letters and gift requests – mainly from a boy named Billy McIntosh and his mom – and lapsing into daydreams in his easy chair, often daydreaming of vacation. Those vacation daydreams transitioned into performances by a new area band, Yachtsea, who performed softrock hits of the 1970s and 1980s, or as they branded it, “yacht rock.” Although a new band name, Yachtsea features several established musicians from Centre and Clearfield County stages: Dennis Wood on lead vocals and percussion, Sherry Wood on vocals and percussion, Brett Albert on keys, Billy Moore on bass, Tom Zattoni and Darren Elensky on guitars, and Michael Hughes on drums. Yachtsea’s tunes were the soundtracks to Santa’s ocean cruise daydreams, including hits from Pablo Cruise, Christopher Cross, Ace, a Hall & Oates medley, Fleetwood Mac, Toto’s “Africa” and more. Santa also drifted into Christmas-themed musical daydreams as well, with yuletide music provided by the Rowland Capers and Philipsburg-Osceola (School District) Select Choir. The Choir sang carols and choral selections, while the Rowland Capers – comprised of keyboardists Brett Albert, Amy Jo Belko and Diana Krause, bassist John Hagyard and drummer Shawn Evans – did seasonal music from Mannheim Steamroller and Trans-Siberian Orchestra, plus
a rendition of Emerson Lake & Palmer’s “Nutrocker.” The presentation built toward the climax, where Santa desired a Christmas vacation, and the combined forces of Yachtsea, Rowland Capers and the Select Choir performed Lindsey Buckingham’s “Holiday Road” from the film “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” with “snow” being sprayed from the stage. “Santa’s Journey” successfully elevated the audience’s Christmas mood, and even inspired me to afterward drive over to Philipsburg’s Cold Stream Dam to see the town’s towering 40-foot Santa display, considered by some to be PA’s tallest Santa! Sometimes the start of my monthly PA Musician delivery duties coincides with downtown State College’s monthly First Friday activities, which often feature outdoor live music events. So as I was doing my walking deliveries in downtown State College during December’s First Friday, I heard Christmas music emanating from the vicinity of the Martin Luther King. Jr. Plaza on Fraser Street. The source of that music was the Penn State ROAR! Club Brass Ensemble, who presented brassy Christmas carols and standards near the corner of Fraser Street and Beaver Avenue. The seasonal chill made the brass instruments’ mouthpieces a bit cold on the performers’ lips, but the musicians persevered and entertained passers-by with pleasant holiday sounds. Thanksgiving weekend also provided some musical highlights, including the return of Michale Graves and his band to McGarvey’s in Altoona, headlining the final show of their American Monster tour. Four acts had performed prior to my arrival – The Snipped, Children Of October, Milton J and Offensive – but I did get there in time to see much of Brand Of Julez’s set. From New York City, Brand Of Julez delivered full-force heavy rock, with high-powered rhythms, chunky guitar riffs and hearty vocals. Four members strong, Brand Of Julez sounded powerful on the several original tunes I got to hear, and they brought Michale Graves’ guitarist, Loki, on stage to end the set with a version of Alice In Chains’ “We Die Young.” The crowd energy was already at a high level, and Brand Of Julez received resounding cheers from the crowd as they rocked the house. Capping the American Monster tour, Michale Graves and his band – Loki, Juggernaut on drums and a bassist (whose name I didn’t catch) took the stage and tore through a vigorous set spotlighting songs from his two albums with the Misfits, “American Psycho” and “Famous Monsters.” Opening with the title track from “Ameri-
can Psycho,” the group ignited the house and quickly triggered stage front moshing action with tunes from that album such as “Speak of the Devil,” “The Hunger,” “From Hell They Came,” “Dig Up Her Bones,” “Crimson Ghost,” “Day of the Dead” and more. From “Famous Monsters,” the group fired off “Forbidden Zone,” “Lost in Space,” “Dust to Dust,” “Crawling Eye,” “Witch Hunt,” “Scream,” “Saturday Night,” “Scarecrow Man,” “Descending Angel” and more. Before entering the final songs of the night, Michale paused and addressed the crowd for several minutes, expressing gratitude for their support during his more than two decades of performing music. He talked about the connectivity, and how lyrics he created to express his own emotions and thoughts connected to provide personal experiences for his fans and audiences. He brought the members of his merch crew, road manager Arturo and the members of Brand Of Julez (who opened multiple dates on this tour) on stage to publicly thank them for their work and camaraderie. With these folks on stage, Michale and band invited the crowd to sing along on the next number, “Fiend Club,” before wrapping up the night with “Hunting Humans” and “Helena.” Afterward, Michale and his band stuck around and eagerly met, signed autographs and did photos with fans for the remainder of the night. This was another excellent Michale Graves show, and beyond the music, I was also impressed with the group’s clear appreciation of their fans and overall professionalism. It’s always great to see this kind of connection between performers and audience. The idea first came about last January, as several Altoona area musicians gathered at a local tavern to discuss the possibility of organizing a special one-night show celebrating the music of Canadian power trio Rush. That initial idea culminated in last month’s Misfits & Dreamers show at McGarvey’s, where a contingent of musicians pushed their abilities and comfort zones to perform the music of Rush. Each of the seven musicians – singer, bassist, coordinator and narrator Jae Smith, singer Aislinn Feathers, guitarists Jason Feathers, Nate Nagle and Eric Prindible, keyboardist Phil Steele and Kevin Siegel on drums – got to pick one personal song of their choice for the group to perform, and the cast started the arduous task of whittling down the song list from what everybody wanted to learn and perform. A full house greeted the performers as they played two sets of Rush
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classics and deep cuts. Besides the musical detail, the group also took care of stage details, including many of the visual props that appeared during Rush’s concerts – resulting in an impressive-looking “mise-en-scene” (a French film term meaning all the ingredients in the setting, such as props, instruments and performers) that included a washer-dryer combo (Rush’s dig at rock bands filling the stage with walls of amps, including many that weren’t functional), the grooving skeleton from “Roll the Bones,” the “Presto” rabbit in the top hat and more. (Two stage hands were even “Moving Pictures” [the title to one of Rush’s most popular albums] in front of the stage before one song.) To the performance itself...Misfits & Dreamers launched the night with “Animate,” and warmed the crowd up with Rush favorites “Subdivisions” and “The Spirit of Radio.” Tongue in cheek, Jae asked the audience to say a prayer for the group as they entered one of Rush’s most technically-challenging creations, the instrumental “YYZ.” The group tapped material from throughout the Rush discography during their two sets – some of the remaining first set numbers included “Roll the Bones,” “New World Man,” “Red Barchetta,” “Mystic Rhythms” (off the “Power Windows” album), “The Pass” (off “Presto”), the Aislinn-fronted edition of “The Trees,” “Freewill” and – complete with “South Park” Eric Cartman intro – “Tom Sawyer” to end the set. The nightcap set held more incredible highlights, exploding into action with “One Little Victory” firing directly into “Far Cry.” Jae then asked for more prayers from the crowd before the musicians unleashed “La Villa Strangiato” – to my best recollection, the first time I have ever seen a local music contingent tackle this lengthy and detailed Rush instrumental! They continued with “Nobody’s Hero” (off “Counterparts”), “Witch Hunt” and the title track from “Test for Echo.” They also performed “Time Stand Still” and “Limelight,” before Aislinn again took the singing spotlight for an incredible rendition of “Closer to the Heart.” Misfits & Dreamers again embarked on another lengthy Rush classic, “By-Tor and the Snow Dog” – again, the first time I have ever heard local performers tackle this complex Rush epic! The group then sent the second set home with a Rush oldie but goodie, “Working Man.” Immediate crowd chants for “One more song!” led to the group’s quick return for one more Rush
classic – “2112 Overture/Temples of Syrinx” – to send the night home in a rain of confetti glory. The group’s performances were enthusiastic, inspired and mostly on the mark, and it was remarkable to witness these performers pushing the boundaries of their musicianship and letting it all on the stage! An exceptional night of live music – major kudos to the musicians, Rich at McGarvey’s for providing the venue for shows like this to happen, and everybody involved in bringing this night together! Jim Donovan & the Sun King Warriors made their first appearance on McGarvey’s stage last month. With a large audience in the house, the group generated joy, good vibes and abundant energy as they performed their mix of original songs, select covers and two tons of drums. It didn’t take long after my arrival to experience the two tons of drums, as namesake, singer and guitarist Jim (former drummer of Rusted Root), drummer Joe Marini and conga man Bryan Fazio mixed up rhythms in an extended percussion jam during “We Have Arrived,” before Joe and Bryan engaged in a shorter percussion exchange on the following tune, Rusted Root’s “Send Me On My Way.” The group’s covers spanned a wide range of material; they delivered a vibrant take on the Rascals’ “Good Lovin,” the new wave triple-play of Elvis Costello’s “Pump It Up,” Modern English’s “I Melt With You” and The Clash’s “Should I Stay or Should I Go,” Badfinger’s “No Matter What,” the Ramones’ “I Wanna Be Sedated” and Violent Femmes’ “Blister in the Sun.” The group did plenty from their original song catalog as well, performing “The Last Dance,” “Blend Into You,” the punchy “Hey! Let It Be!” and the group’s rowdy closer, “You Are My Everything,” where the entire group gearshifted into overdrive – Bryan and bassist Kent Tonkin exchanged Cossack dance-styled footwork, Kent and guitarist Kevin McDonald matched wits on their respective instruments, guitarist/mandolin man Dan Murphy wailed some intense harmonica and even ranted “Feliz Navidad” in honor of the approaching Christmas season, and everyone let it all out on the stage! After this display, the crowd wasn’t going to let this party end, so calls of “One more song!” led to the group playing one more – their extended funky workout on Sly & the Family Stone’s “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)” to send the night home in glory. This show was feisty and fun, as Jim and continued on next page...
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David Mollica of Black Sun
Jordan Ferraro of Downshift
Chuck Knepper with Felix & the Hurricanes
J. William Heitmann of Gallowglas
Joe Marini of Jim Donovan & the Sun King Warriors
TK Mundok & Brad Jamison of Black Cat Moan
Randy Wilson of Downshift
Duy Loufik & Don Belchof Gallowglas
Kevin, Brian & Kent of Jim Donovan & the Sun King Warriors
Ryan Weaver of Shallow 9
HOT SHOTS, SHOT HOT
by Jim Price / See all JP’s Shots at facebook .com/PA Musician Magazine 18
Felix & the Hurricanes w/ Pat McGinnis, Dave Villani & Chris Knepper Pennsylvania Musician Magazine
the Sun King Warriors invested all energy and good vibes in the audience, and the crowd channeled that energy back to the band, elevating the atmosphere and making for a total great time! Shallow 9 was originally set to ring in the Thanksgiving holiday at McGarvey’s on Thanksgiving Eve, but when a power outage scuttled plans for that night, the show was bumped back to Thanksgiving night instead, allowing revelers the chance to burn off some of their turkey calories on the dance floor. And folks took advantage, as Erika Marino Ankeny and Michael Stanley on lead voices, Ryan Weaver on guitar, keys and voice, Greg Larrimore on guitar, Mitch Neuder on bass and Todd Harshbarger on drums cranked up the dance party. Shallow 9 covered most of the bases, from funk, pop and dance hits to alternative and emo rock, hip-hop, even a ska number before all was said and done. The group kept the dance floor busy with hits from Charlie Puth, Panic! at the Disco, Blink 182, Jimmy Eat World, Fallout Boy, Outkast, Blackstreet and more. The group strung together some freewheeling dance medleys that included everything from the Commodores’ “Brick House” to the Rolling Stones’ “Miss You” to Prince’s “Kiss,” House Of Pain’s “Jump Around,” Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean,” plus numbers from Cypress Hill, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Eminem, Wild Cherry, Bruno Mars and many more. As expected, a good time was had by all, and some good pen sketchin’ was had by yours truly. Shallow 9 opened for Beastie Boys tribute Brass Monkeys at McGarvey’s late last month (recap in next month’s column), and rang in 2020 on New Year’s Eve at the Altoona Grand Hotel. Heavy-hitting rock was plentiful at McGarvey’s in recent weeks…I caught two-thirds of last month’s Friday the 13th metal music triple-bill. Small Town Horror Show kicked off the night prior to my arrival, but I got there in time to see Black Sun as they executed their dark, surging brand of original doom metal. Singer Todd McKeone, guitarist Jason Feathers, bassist David Mollica and drummer Nate Woods displayed intense, erupting arrangements that escalated as they went along. Todd’s voice rose in intensity, Jason’s guitar solo displays increased in ferocity, and the rhythm thunders from Nate and David stepped up the aggression as each number thundered forward. York’s Gallowglas finished the night with their demonstration of furious power metal. Lead snarler J. William Heitmann, guitarists Don Belch and Brian Faychak, bassist Duy Loufik and drummer Brian Durost brought the ruckus with their mix of rage, intensity and precision. The group did several numbers off their EP “Let The Fire Dine,” including “43 Gods” and “Declivity,” as well a few other original numbers. J. William displayed the feral rage, while Don showed amazing precision on tense guitar riffs and solo work. It was impressive power metal brutality that kept onlookers riveted and cheering. I also took in the Thanksgiving weekend double-bill featuring Chesty Malone & the Slice ‘Em Ups and It Is Written at McGarvey’s. I caught the latter half of Chesty Malone & the Slice ‘Em Ups’ set as they tore through fast-firing horror-themed punk rock numbers. With Bigfoot’s Ugly Mansion guitarist Jon Spearly handling bass duties this night, the group blasted through numbers such as “Everybody Hates Me,” “Skincrawl” and more. It Is Written then pounded their scathing brand of hardcore-driven metal, mixing songs from their latest CD “In Cold Blood” with several newer numbers. Lead snarler and guitarist Ken Hawkins, drummer Darl Johnstonbaugh and bassist Joe Lorenzo unleashed the intensity as they hammered such numbers as “Cells Mutate” (about battling cancer), “Human Stain,” the new gun-themed number “Sidearm,” the agitated “No Rights,” the CD title track “In Cold Blood,” the new “People Are Burning” and more. It Is Written threw down a tense wall of sound, with Ken’s passionate, angst-driven bark driving home the songs’ often heated lyrical themes. Both bands didn’t hold back and let loose with all of their respective furies on the stage, making for an exciting night. If you haven’t seen them yet or have not seen their updated four-piece incarnation, make the resolution to experience the current mach edition of Black Cat Moan in 2020. This band is giving a fresh shot in the arm to blues music and its possibilities. Now comprised of singer and harmonica man TK Mundok, guitarist “Saint George” Byich, drummer Rob Bonsell and bassis Brad Jamison, Black Cat Moan again put their invigorating brand of blues-based music on display at McGarvey’s in late November, sharing a bill with Zach Wade & the Good Grief. (In a very cool display of helping fellow musicians, Zach Wade and company opted to play first this night, so that much of their crowd would then be in place to experience Black Cat Moan continued on next page...
The Professor continued...
afterward.) Black Cat Moan’s foundation is still rooted in traditional blues and jazz, but the addition of the Rob and Brad rhythm section enables them to take their music and presentation into some new territory, including – according to their updated bio description – blues’ “...wild child, rock’n’roll.” The group did multiple numbers from their recently-issued new album “Symbols,” including the popular “Is What It Is,” “Lay It Down,” “No One Gonna Love You,” “Wanna Be Free” and more. They also did some earlier and new original songs, as well as their takes on “House of the Rising Sun” and the blues standard “Rollin’ and Tumblin.’” It all sounded great – TK’s voice elevated, intensified, shifted and accented wherever and whenever his muse directed it, and he cleverly narrated during and between songs, emphasizing the happy mood and groove, sharing backgrounds on some of the classic blues material, and injecting his stamp and personality on all of it. “Saint George” dazzled on the guitar strings throughout the night, showing clean and feisty solos while staying true to the traditional blues vibe of the material. The rhythm tandem of Rob and new man Brad packed punch behind the sound, giving it a livelier, more vibrant presence. Black Cat Moan is fast rising into something unique and special on this area’s music scene – discover this band in 2020! Downshift brought the rock to McGarvey’s early last month, with the resurrected Roadkill opening. Work duties kept me from seeing Roadkill’s opening set of “rot n’roll,” but based on posted videos I saw, the group’s return to an Altoona stage was a good one, with audience members even yelling “ROADKILL!” back to founding member, singer and bassist Greg Majewsky during the group’s title song. Downshift then powered up their rocking party for two sets. Frontman Travis Dick, guitarists Rob Lynn and Jordan “Ferrari” Ferraro, bassist Josh Michael and drummer Randy Wilson quickly had folks up and in front of the stage as they performed tunes from Foo Fighters, Ghost, Nirvana, Billy Idol, Three Doors Down, Theory Of A Deadman, Local H, Alice In Chains, Live, Tom Petty, Smashing Pumpkins and more. Some of their highlights included the Metallica double-shot of “Enter Sandman” and “King Nothing” to close their initial set, Ghost numbers such as “Square Hammer” and “Cirice,” and the punch-in-the-gut take on Paula Abdul’s “Straight Up.” Downshift kept the music and action constant, keeping the
onlookers fired up and into the show. Felix & the Hurricanes will be celebrating three decades on the state’s stages with a special 30th anniversary show at Altoona’s Bavarian Aid Society on January 17. I caught one of the group’s ‘Sunday Funday’ shindigs in late November at Altoona’s Black & Gold Tavern. The Sunday night Hurricanes cast of singer and guitarist Felix Kos, drummer and singer Bob Watters, bassist and singer Pat McGinnis, and guitarist and singer Chuck Knepper were joined by special guest David Villani on keys and vocals. It was a fun night of great tunes and musical displays, with Dave’s strong keyboard fills adding color and depth to the Hurricanes’ sound, Felix, Pat and Chuck matching wits on their respective instruments, and Bob powering it all with steady beats and rhythms. Highlights were numerous this night, including the combo jam of the Dave-fronted version of “Mustang Sally” into CCR’s “Born on the Bayou,” Chuck singing lead on Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me” and Chuck Berry’s “Maybelline,” the combo of the Bob-fronted version of ZZ Top’s “La Grange” into Grand Funk Railroad’s “Footstompin’ Music,” plus tunes from Santana, Dr. Hook, Neil Young, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Allman Brothers, Chris Stapleton, Delbert McClinton, The Band, Spirit, Marshall Tucker Band and more. On the acoustic side, I checked out Cpt. Bisquick as he entertained early last month at Altoona’s Railroad City Brewing Company. The performance alias of Graham Albright, Cpt. Bisquick strummed and sang a number of his own original songs plus select covers. I didn’t catch song titles, but his songs had some humorous and quirky themes, including numbers with the choruses “Your body is a garbage can,” “I swear a lot,” “I love to watch you watch your movies” and more. Cpt. Bisquick is working on a forthcoming album. And I saw Chet Denny during his ‘Thursday Wings & Sings’ performance at McGarvey’s in late November. The frontman for The PennSoulvanians, Chet demonstrated his soulful croon on a mix of acoustic original songs and covers. Some of his original songs are numbers he also does with The PennSoulvanians, such as “The Cards You’re Dealt,” “Louder Than Words,” “Day Has Come” and “Innocence.” He also applied his voice and soulful style to renditions of Prince’s “When Doves Cry,” Charlie Puth’s “Attention,” Bob Marley’s “No Woman No Cry,” Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” and more. Watch for Chet’s solo performanc-
es, as well as more appearances by Chet and his PennSoulvanians in the New Year. I also caught a look at young local rockers Acid Rain as they performed a short set during the weekly Wednesday Jam Night at Altoona’s Unter Uns Musical & Entertainment Society early last month. Three members strong, Acid Rain did four original, garage rock-flavored numbers: “Hey You,” “Daily Dose,” “Blue Collar Blues” and “Unknown Mystery.” Lead singer and guitarist Brandon Russell is the son of longtime area musician Ron Russell. Acid Rain has been appearing frequently at both the Unter Uns’ Wednesday Jam Night as well as the weekly Tuesday Open Mic Night at D’Ottavio’s Gran Sasso in Hollidaysburg. The area’s music scene sadly lost two longtime members in recent weeks. Chuck Long, who played drums in several Centre County bands, passed away unexpectedly on November 21 at age 65. Chuck had played drums in such bands as Thief, RPM and Crossover, who opened for national country acts including Garth Brooks…And the Altoona area music scene mourned the loss of a longtime musician and friend of the community with the passing of Dwayne McKnight on December 10 at age 76, after a battle with cancer. A drummer and singer, Dewayne performed with a number of bands dating back to the 1960s. Just a few of them included The Exotics and Nu Life during the 1970s, and he was an early member of The Fabulous Flashbacks. He also sang with doo-wop groups and barbershop quartets, and was the father of former Altoona area drummer John McKnight, continued on next page...
Dewayne McKnight & Jim Price Photo by Bill Hocherl
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The Professor continued... now based in Atlanta. We at PA Musician extend our heartfelt wishes the surviving families and friends of both men. News and notes…Multiple bands and performers will donate their talents for “Songs for a Friend: A Celebration to Benefit Our Brother, Mark Ross,” taking place at the State Theatre in downtown State College on Jan. 18 to help out area music scene mainstay Mark Ross; the guitarist for Miss Melanie & the Valley Rats, Queen Bee & the Blue Hornet Band and other projects, Mark was recently diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of cancer and is currently undergoing treatments…Western Pennsylvania natives now based in Nashville, Americana music duo Steel Blossoms has been selected to open shows for country star Alan Jackson’s 2020 concert tour; the duo of fiddler, guitarist and singer Sara Zebley and singer and guitarist Hayley Prosser performed two years ago at the U.S. Hotel in Hollidaysburg… Former One Adam 12 frontman and guitarist Lloyd Rummell has found a new band home, as he has joined Homer City-based rock group Post Traumatik…Altoona-based metal rockers Fyre have parted ways with their founding member and rhythm guitarist, Sean Stringer…Rik Golden has released his second solo CD, Hold On…Big thanks and kudos to Deanna TrioSchompert, Mo Yon, Dylan Miller and Zac Grace, who help me deliver PA Musician to Johnstown, Bedford and Huntingdon County locations every month. Please send correspondence and recordings to: Jim Price, 1104 S. Catherine St., Altoona, PA 16602. You can also e-mail me at email@example.com. And if you’re into social networking, look me up on Facebook. SUPPORT LOCAL MUSIC IN 2020!
PA MUSICIAN REVIEWS By Jim Price
BUSHMASTER feat. GARY BROWN – DANCING IN THE BELLY OF THE BEAST (no label) Born in Washington, D.C. but now calling Carlisle his home base, Gary Brown formed his electric blues project Bushmaster in 1992, and has become established throughout the mid-Atlantic region for his heartfelt, passionate blues and fiery guitar skills. Gary’s latest album, Dancing in the Belly of the Beast, blends good-time electric blues, blues-rock and funk with sharp social commen-
tary as he addresses issues of inequality and stigmatization. Gary’s blues becomes a most effective vehicle for communicating his concerns, as several of the album’s 14 songs address racial issues. The opening track, “Profile,” confronts the issue of racial targeting by law enforcement, but does so with a punchy, soulful groove and suggestions for a better outcome. Riding a march-styled rhythm, “Song for Freddie Grey” advocates empathy for victims of injustice and social fear; while the full-bodied, Texas-styled blues of “Nowhere to Run” expresses desperation with gun violence and inequality in today’s society. The Funkadelic-flavored “Pressure Cooker” vents against racism and societal indifference to it, while the funk-driven “Profit from Pain” targets power brokers who exploit others for their own personal gain. Other songs address relationship friction, such as the extended funky jam “Ajax and Hot Wax,” the Hendrix-flavored “Mushroom” and the slow blues of “Jekyll and Hyde.” Gary and Bushmaster offer happier themes as well, celebrating a passion for “The Blues,” admiring eye candy on “Miss Sexy Fine” and offering a soulful love song with “Army Of Two.” Gary reflects on lessons
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learned on the uptempo “40 Acres and a Mule,” warns that what goes around comes around on “Elevator,” and ends the set with a folksy, hopeful tone on “Thing Back Home.” Each song offers a captivating melody, is distinctive and stands apart from the others, but the album flows along smoothly as a unified set. The performances are strong and inspired; Gary sings with emotion and purpose, and his wide array of guitar skills and tones adds to the variety and colors of this album. His Bushmaster cast of bassist Justin Kimball, drummer Justin Pinkney, keyboardist Tim McDonald, slide guitarist Daniel Weston Cohen, and backing singers Tracy Nelson and Vickie Carrico sound sharp and flesh out these songs to deliver full impact. Produced by Geoff Wilbourn and recorded at Sound Emporium Studios in Nashville, this album sounds punchy, edgy and vibrant, and all components of Bushmaster’s presentation come through clean and balanced in the mix. Gary Brown and Bushmaster channel their passions for the blues and addressing societal ills on Dancing in the Belly of the Beast, an album that strives to change society for the better, one groove at a time. (This CD can be obtained through Bushmaster’s website, www.bushmasterblues.com, and through CD Baby and other online retailers.) DARKNESS ON THE RADIO – DARKNESS ON THE RADIO II: SNAKE EYES (no label) In late 2018, Johnstown’s Darkness On The Radio (DOTR) dropped their first calling card, the EP New Murders, Old Crows, a stiff power-metal punch to the jaw that introduced listeners to the group’s bruteforce firepower. One year later, the group’s second recording, Darkness On The Radio II: Snake Eyes, retains the group’s leviathan crunch, but introduces some groove and swagger to the mix. Lead snarler and guitarist Jason Straw, guitarist Jay Snider, bassist Greg Hatch and drummer Jason “Kirch” Kirchner craft six powerful song assaults (and two instrumental pieces that begin and close the album), each with distinguishable melody plots, varying dynamics and cleverly sinister and sardonic
lyrics. After the intense rifferama prelude “Last Now First…” recasts DOTR’s brutal sonic mission statement, the disc’s title track, “Snake Eyes (Watching You),” establishes a primal, thundering groove to underscore cautions about the eyes of technology watching our every move. Riding a punishing rhythm, “Excommunicado” observes social spheres and subtle exclusions from them, while the rumbling “Heavenless” explores outcasts and purgatory. A wicked, greasy and blues-tinged groove drives the malevolent “Heretic,” and DOTR blends metal grind with punk attitude on “Piss and Venom.” With Jay helping to bellow out the lead vocal, “They” ponders the primal mindset of raw hate, before the bleak epilogue “…First Now Last” brings this storm to its conclusion. Darkness On The Radio reveals more nuances to their punishing brand of metal here; these songs breathe and pulse, and Jason Straw’s vicious snarl exposes more emotion and grit. The group’s wall of metal sound remains tenacious and huge; the guitars roar, Kirch’s drumbeats pummel, and Greg’s bowel-destabilizing basslines cement the menacing backbone behind it all. Recorded by Rik Golden at his studio and co-produced by Rik and the band, this album sounds rigid and fierce, with all components of DOTR’s attack baring full teeth and cutting edge. Snake Eyes shows Darkness On The Radio’s forward motion and growth, while retaining their distinctive mode of all-out power-metal ferocity. (The album can be obtained through CD Baby and other online music platforms.) SHANNON MARSYADA – OCEANS (no label) Shannon Marsyada has the gift. And that gift is revealed in all its glory on Shannon’s latest album, Oceans. That gift is an incredible singing voice that radiates throughout the album’s dozen songs. Developing her voice and songwriting skills since she was a teenager in the early 1990s, the Hazleton-based singer and pianist displays a clear, ever-moving, dynamic voice packed with feeling on the album’s blend of thoughtful ballads and mild-mannered, upbeat poprock pieces. The slow-building album-opener “The Message” relays an uplifting message that everyone has a purpose, and Shannon’s voice soars to intense heights as the song reaches its crescendo. On the
piano ballad title track, “Oceans,” Shannon likens life to an ocean where waves lift, fall, flow and crash, and she tells listeners to ride the tide and not give up when waters become difficult. Strings help underscore the breakup ode “A Love That Doesn’t Hurt,” while in a similar vein, the piano ballad “Words” examines words as hurtful weapons – highlighted by Shannon’s voice alternating between octaves during the song’s homestretch. The album has its punchier moments, too; hints of Adele and Amy Winehouse flavor the uptempo and exotic-toned “Caught Falling,” and Shannon celebrates the joy of love on the faster-paced, acoustic guitar-driven “You Take Me Away.” Another highlight of the album is Shannon’s duet with featured guest singer Matt Dame, “Worth Their Fight,” a country-toned salute to service men and women. The album closes on a hopeful note with the modern-toned “Little Bit of Heaven,” assuring calm after life’s storms, and light after darkness. Shannon’s voice is stellar throughout the album, and her melodies and words are captivating and relatable. The song arrangements support Shannon’s voice and help color the emotional tones of her song material. Recorded using several studios and partially produced by Shannon’s husband, Mike Marsyada, Oceans sounds clear, full and consistent from start to end, and the mix and arrangements enable the beauty of Shannon’s voice to fully radiate. Oceans is a beautiful album with thoughtful, heartfelt themes, and it shows Shannon Marsyada as a shining talent reaching her full stride; here’s hoping this album propels her talents toward a broader listenership. (The CD can be obtained through CD Baby and other online platforms.)
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MUSICIANS WANTED: WANTED: Experienced drummer 45 or older needed to complete oldies/ variety rock band in Carlisle/Mechanicsburg area. call 717919-1278 WANTED: Co-writer. Aspiring lyricist seeking a musician to write songs with. If interested please email email@example.com. WANTED: Drummer~Want world wide distribution? TUKURPA an 8 time Grammy nominated Top 40 Hit band auditioning now for a drummer, Call Carl Craig at 717-418-0020. Wanted: Experienced keyboardist to join a Tom Petty tribute band call: Roby@717668-1543 WANTED: Drummer needed. Newport Perry County based country and southern rock band seeking experienced energetic drummer. Please call Steve at 717-448-7503. WANTED: Looking for bass player to play mix of covers and original, versatile musician willing to work in different genres, no metal. Centered in Selinsgrove area. Contact Bruce at bcb1946@gmail. com
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MUSICIANS AVAILABLE: AVAILABLE: Professional rock drummer available for established band 35+ years covers or originals hard rock, classic rock and dance Many years experience live and studio call: Erik@814-381-5312 AVAILABLE: Guitarist looking for other players in the HBG. area equip exp. trans all good. My style classic rock-nroll. can learn all. provide CD call 717-303-4211 AVAILABLE: Professional rock drummer available for established band. 35+ years Covers or originals. Hard rock, classic rock, dance, many years experience live and studio. Erik @ 814-3815312. AVAILABLE: Guitar player, Mature, Experienced in Classic Rock - Blues- Oldies- Older Country- (Beatles-StonesSRV-CreamAerosmith-Petty-AC/ DC-Skynyrd) etc. Looking for a working or very near working situation. Pro-equipment and reliable. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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