Music Vol. 2 / Issue 3 Spring 2011
By Valerie Barna Allentown, Pa. Image: Heralding; Tatiana Dengo San JosĂŠ, Costa Rica
Iâ€™m a skiddle-do-bop away from Lord only knows this jazz music makes me ready to start. This anxiety surrounds me and is only emphasized by Daddy Fat Sax I feel like a child lost in the supermarket.
ANNA GEANNOPOULOS editor-in-chief EBONI WOOTEN assistant editor KENNETH ROSEN copy editor MICHAEL BROWN art director AUGUSTA STATZ publisher ALLISON BENNETT DYCHE adviser GLEN OSTERBERGER adviser KIM HERRINGTON ad manager CONTRIBUTING ARTISTS
Adeshola Adigun Augusta Statz Ashley Zichlin Blake Johnson Carrie Wittmer Chantel Tattoli Chris Jones Cleonique Hilsaca Cole R. Whitworth Collin Daniel Corey Hines Deanne Revel Emma Frost Emory Dunn Jake Lee Jay Moar Joshua W. Wolfe Keenan Burant Lisa M. Miller Logan Best Mary E. Mueller Morgann Daniels Raquel Reyes Ross Martin Sam Crawford Susan Kemp Tatiana Dengo Taylor Noll Valerie Barna DISTRICT QUARTERLY KEYS HALL, ROOM 116 516 ABERCORN ST. SAVANNAH, GA 31401 OFFICE: 912-525-4713 FAX: 912-525-5509 QUARTERLY@SCADDISTRICT.COM WWW.SCADDISTRICT.COM/QUARTERLY
Top Row: Anna Geannopoulos, Michael Brown. Second Row: Kenneth Rosen, Eboni Wooten, Augusta Statz
photos by Emory Dunn
From the moment I turned on my first radio I never turned it off. I listened constantly and indiscriminately without the concept of good or bad music. Next I got a CD player and was finally able to control what I listened to. I eventually got a MP3 player and was able to take the music with me wherever I went. Even though the technology I use to listen to my favorite songs changes, there is something about music that will always be able to make me dance. The works in this issue reinforce the idea that music has the power to move and connect people. It is a way to express and entertain simultaneously. Whether a song is about rebelling against the man or exuding sexual swagger, each new listener changes it to fit their life. Music can be a shoulder to cry on, an expression of joy, a way to unleash a new persona and so much more. This is the new staff's first magazine. We had a blast figuring out the ropes and canâ€™t wait to start receiving submissions for the next issue. Enjoy!
Anna Geannopoulos Editor-in-Chief
Jazz Music and Me / 2 Letter from the editor / 4 Contents / 5 Cicadas / 6 Slayer / 8 A Love Letter to Ke$ha / 10 An Open Letter to Frank Sinatra / 11 My Best Finds / 14 MMMBop / 16 (N.) A brief moment in time Tonight / 18 Hip-Hop / 21
What is District Quarterly? District Quarterly is an award-winning, studentproduced magazine published through the Student Media Center at SCAD. Each quarter, students submit work that falls under the selected theme. The magazine features original work by SCAD students from any medium including fiction, non-fiction, video, sequential art, illustration, painting, photography and more. The theme and the submissions dictate the final product each quarter. For more information, email District Quarterly editor-in-chief 窶帰nna Geannopoulos at email@example.com.
A euphemism for a new religion
Mark Kroos / 24 Wurlitzer / 26 @SCAD / 28
Get to know Quarterly's featured musical acts
McAlister Steals the Show / 30 COVER PHOTO: Vinyl Boy Cole R. Whitworth Savannah, Ga
How do I get involved? To get your work published in District Quarterly email firstname.lastname@example.org, or attend our weekly District meeting held every Friday at 11 a.m. in Keys Hall at 516 Abercorn St.
Special thanks to District Photo Editor Emory Dunn, Graphics Editor Tom Rogers and Web Director Kelsey Norden
cicadas By Augusta Statz Tybee Island, Ga. Image: Concert in the Park; Lisa M. Miller Winston-Salem, N.C.
Have you ever heard the sound a cicada makes? It is almost like a cricket, but much louder. It seems to be neverending, especially when trying to sleep. I had never heard this noise until I moved to Tybee Island. At nights, the noise was so loud that it was almost deafening. I was curious about this insect that was keeping me up, so, I did some research. Cicadas spend 17 years underground. When this underground growing cycle of their life is over, they come above ground and live for only one day. They spend that one day of their life on the earth’s surface mating. The loud noises they emit attract a mate. After this one day of mating, the cicadas die. Can you imagine what it would be like to spend 17 years underground with only one day to bask in the sunshine of the earth? Now the cicada’s sound reminds me of the brevity of life and how each day is a blessing. Their noise serves as a reminder of how lucky I am to be alive, how lucky I am to be able to hear the mating calls of the cicadas. The once incessant noise is now music to my ears. 7
Bleedingears Ashley Zichlin West Palm Beach, Fla.
By Mary E. Mueller Milwaukee, Wis.
The scalding Milwaukee summer sun ravaged my back and neck, draining my energy as I sat waving gnats and mosquitoes away from my face. “God, I’m so f***ing bored. This heat is killing me,” Justin muttered under his breath. The warm yellow light cast lace-like patterns across his round, pink face and he wiped a bead of glossy sweat from his forehead. I eyed him up and down, raising an eyebrow at his oversized Cannibal Corpse T-shirt. “You shouldn’t have worn black, it’s absorbing all the heat.” I looked at the illustration on his shirt. It depicted two wiry skeletons pulling apart the remnants of an emaciated body. “Mary, I always wear black. Plus, this shirt is badass. I got it last winter at the best metal show I’ve ever been to” his eyes lit up with that happy remembrance you get when you finally find your car keys after hours of 8
searching. “Mary! I got two free tickets to the Unholy Alliance Tour this August. You have to come!” His excitement wafted with the breeze over to me, and I listened with interest over the spiky grass. “Slayer, Lamb of God, Children of Bodom, Mastodon — it doesn’t get better than this.” He stared at me expectantly, light blue eyes shining against his short blonde hair. “I don’t know, man, I’m not really that into metal,” I started, despite the piquing curiosity I felt in my breast. “I don’t think I’ll really fit in there,” I said glancing down at my Forever21 sundress and Birkenstocks. “You’re coming. I’ll pick you up and everything. Don’t worry, you’ll have fun.” Justin picked his 6’3 frame up, stretched, and lit a cigarette. The matter was settled. We left the August sun on our backs as Justin and I stepped into the dark, musky concert hall of The Rave. Apprehension clawed at me as we showed our tickets to security, and I
watched with growing uneasiness as giant after giant lumbered through the entrance. At first, all I could see was a river of black figures swimming below a lit stage. The menacing silhouettes of five men head-banged powerfully over their instruments, and each beat brought a simultaneous head dip from the crowd, rising and falling like waves. We stepped quickly through the outermost layer of fans, who stood idly around the corners sipping Bud Light and holding their girlfriends. The middle layer was slightly more cumbersome, as bodies stood stacked shoulder-to-shoulder, pelvis-to-rear. But I was smaller than most of them and Justin was stronger, so we managed to press craftily through until we finally reached the brick wall of humanity that often attaches itself to the front of concerts. Ramming forward, we finally found a spot with a perfect view of the looming figures on stage, right next to the growing pit of flying and stomping fans. Waves of bodies pushed against me, thrusting me into the backs of the people in front of me. Tall men soaked in their own sweat towered above me, and their long, curly hair wrapped around and clung to my fingers like thick spider webs. I could taste their salty sweat on my tongue — it reminded me of seawater. I felt the anxiety draining from my body as I realized that this was nothing like the progressive rock and indie concerts I had been to in the past. This concert wasn’t just about music, it was about atmosphere. Power and adrenaline fueled each caress of the guitar, each slam on the bass drum. Every muscle in the singer’s body popped out and hardened as he screamed or pig-squealed lines about Satan and corpses and blood raining from the sky. Excitement rippled through the air, and it grabbed hold of my body with vigor. I gazed up in wonder at the singer’s distorted face as the ground trembled precariously underneath my feet.
A series of bony elbows jabbed at my ribs and back. As another 250-pound oaf smashed down on my foot, I wondered idly if my toenail was still attached, and if so, how twisted and cracked it would look when I got home. My eardrums were in serious danger of popping and sprouting bloody cartilage, and men twice my size screamed directly into my face. It was the best feeling in the world. Furrowing my brow and cupping my palms around my mouth, I roared a hearty “F*** YEAH!” and closed my eyes, catapulting my body into the sweaty, thick crowd of muscle around me. Fans hurled, flung, smashed, and heaved themselves into each other, knocking themselves around like a giant pinball game. I thrashed about wildly, with abandon. Wet hair stuck to my face like seaweed, and I slammed my head down with every vibration of the bass. Finally, out of breath, I slunk out from the pit. Scanning the crowd for Justin, I instead saw out of the corner of my eye a young man with long black hair hunched over and cupping his face. He suddenly looked up and I saw dark crimson drops of blood falling silently out of his eyeball, twisting and rolling along his face like a river on a map. Yelling above the crowd, I
screamed, “Holy sh*t, man, are you all right?” The words jettisoned and pivoted through the music and sweat and landed at his feet. He looked slightly confused for a second, and then motioned to his face casually. “Oh yeah, I’m fine!” Then he grinned, and screamed back, “Great show, huh!?” From under the flow of blood his eyes were wide and sparkly, like a kid on Christmas morning. I grinned back and nodded, full of admiration for this brave and resilient creature. I was struck by the idea that metal-heads were like a new breed of humans. They didn’t shrink from violence and chaos –– they embraced it. Where I spent my life surrounded by peaceful yuppies that tried to ban video game violence, these men and women were like ancient gladiators, using every muscle in their bodies to the fullest, recognizing pain and conflict as necessary parts of life. They didn’t shy from this fact. They used it to their advantage for roughhousing in a healthy environment, rather than repressing their animal instincts until they popped up inappropriately. I was glad to be one of the only girls there. I felt badass, worthy, like I had passed some kind of a test. I could take the punches and even punch back, although my biceps probably felt
more like wind than muscle. Finally, the set came to a close. After two staggering encores, the lights were flipped on, revealing hundreds of flushed, red faces and drenched clothing. I found Justin and we made our way with the rest of the pack outside the large, metal exit doors, out of breath but chattering enthusiastically. When we stepped outside heavy August air flew up at me from all directions, turning my steaming hot T-shirt into an uncomfortable tent of chilly dampness. As we made our way to the car, I hobbled on the aching heels of my feet to avoid pressure on my crushed toes. At home, after trying to massage my sore neck for a while, I finally popped two Advil, took a shower and curled into bed. I thought of the glorious life of a metal-head, and every nerve in my body felt electrified with excitement from my immersion into this new and beautiful world. The beats of slamming blast hammered in my ears as I slowly drifted off. I fell asleep with a smile on my face and the stench of other people’s sweat in my nostrils.
Image: Lightajo; Collin Daniel; Memphis, Tenn.
Dear Ke$ha, I used to hate you. I wanted you to stop, and never make it pop. And then you brought James Van Der Beek of “Dawson’s Creek” back into my life by way of a music video that featured unicorns. One night with you is all I ask. We will find old jeans and cut them into shorts and pair them with frayed boots. Our tops will have excessive fringe and holes in sexy places. After slabbing paint and glitter on our thighs, we’ll go to this place downtown where the freaks all come around. Your glow-in-the-dark face makeup will make me feel unoriginal. We finish the whiskey we pour in water bottles within minutes. Between shots of tequila and whiskey and vodka we dance until our fringe falls off. When all the boys try to dance with us we throw glitter in their eyes and rip off their beards. When our brains are too delirious and we’ve hit on all the dudes (hard), we go back to your house and eat macaroni and cheese. Your house is naturally built for rainbow laser tag, which we play with James Van Der Beek. In your basement are three sleeping bags filled with glitter. We wake up in the morning feeling like P. Diddy. We have Lucky Charms with whiskey instead of milk and then we eat James Van Der Beek. Rawr! I don’t know. I haven’t really thought it out yet. Thank you, Ke$ha, for being the poor girl’s Lady Gaga. Alexander McQueen shoes that are impossible to walk in can never compare to a bottle of Jack Daniels. I just can’t get you off my mind, because your existence is my drug. Love, Carrie Wittmer
P.S. We don’t have to eat James Van Der Beek, but I’m pretty sure you don’t think that’s creepy. U R who U R. And I love who U R, until the day you eat me.
My Dearest Frank, How can I begin to express my gratitude for your existence? Could it be your co-founding of the Rat Pack, only the coolest group of people in history? Or the fact that you learned how to sing merely by singing, the same way I did as a child? Or perhaps it could be the beautiful suits you wore time and time again –– every time I see a man in formal wear I think of you. (Special mention must be made of the classic tux you wore to Truman Capote’s Black and White Ball, and the fact that your sartorial choices still inspire me to this day.) My favorite has to be the fact that you married your childhood sweetheart, because who else could be so lucky? And don’t even get me started on the fact that you later married Ava Gardner and Mia Farrow. Astounding. Alas, my truth is this: Nothing is greater and nothing makes me happier than your music. Isn’t that what it was all about? I could go on for days singing “Fly Me To The Moon,” the song that always jumps into my head the minute butterflies jump into my stomach. I should also thank you for Nancy, whose rendition of “Bang Bang” still brings me to tears. A few others seem a bit too clichéd too mention, but I couldn’t resist, so here it goes: “Call Me Irresponsible,” for making love sound so romantic; “Come Fly With Me,” for making love sound so exotic; and “All My Tomorrows,” for making love sound so worthwhile. The greatest debt is owed, however, to “The Best Is Yet To Come,” because no other song in history could possibly have pulled this girl out of the cynical grave she had dug herself into and brought her into an optimism that is only waiting for what the world has to offer. Because no other person could make me feel the way you do. For this, and so much more, thank you. Sincerely yours, Raquel Reyes West Hills, Calif. 11
Light and Dark. Black and White. Day and Night.
ct Quarterly presents
The theme for District Quarterlyâ€™s fall issue is Day and Night.
Explore day, night or both through fashion, design, writing, photography, animation, sculpture, illustration and more. Show us the contrast between Day and Night.
Submissions due August 19 Send all submissions to email@example.com Submission guidelines: Visual content: 300 dpi Written content: less than 1,700 words Videos: less than 15 minutes
MY BEST FINDS
By Taylor Noll Norfolk, Mass. Image: Melodiphonin’; Collin Daniel; Memphis, Tenn.
s a record collecting junkie, I pride myself on finding the rarest, obscurest releases from the world of garage, industrial, proto-punk, pain-house and murder-wave –– the kind of records that fly under the radar that only detects stuff that has flown under the previous radar. This is the stuff that crawled beneath the record bins into the depths of sewers and eventually into my thoroughly lathered hands. Sit back and enjoy as I highlight my best finds over the year. 14
Smellzz Lethal Injection 7”
I actually found this one in a Dumpster. The band Smellzz only released 100 of these through their first and only label, F*ck Off Records. Right after each one was pressed, a member of the band would stomp on it with one of their signature combat boots. I made sure to not even play it so to perfectly preserve the footprint of bassist, and my favorite member, Venereal Disease.
Mutilation We’re All Having A Great Time EP
The infamous industrial outfit composed a 20 minute piece called “The Pain of Living” that was so jarring, dissonant and disturbing that it made Genesis P. Orridge of Throbbing Gristle puke the previous day’s lunch all over himself.
Merv Davis A Thousand Islands 7” (UK Pressing)
Known as a bit of a hothead, this recording comes straight after Merv Davis had verbally abused his whole backup band for not properly color coordinating their Hawaiian shirts for a live performance at the Bellagio. The band claims that the somewhat dissonant piano chords heard during the “Baby’s got an island now” coda was actually Merv smashing keyboardist Larry Lloyd’s face into his own Hammond organ.
Various Artists No New Brunswick LP
This overlooked release highlights the talents of New Jersey natives such as “Norman Bates and the Mothers,” “The Child Labor Laws,” and “The Picked Herring.” My favorite are “The Executives,” a band whose hard-edged industrial sound and corporate getup misled audiences into thinking of their act as a pointed commentary on the robotic, soldier mentality of Wall Street fat cats. In actuality, the band was entirely made up of high-powered corporate CEOs. A bittersweet fact considering that the band’s most popular live song was an eight minute dance groove that, according to a writer at New York Rocker, somehow sampled the sound of “Taiwanese children being exploited.”
Neil Young 1983 Live Tour LP
Deemed an extremely sought-after collectible by Neil Young fans, this rare bootleg comes from a brief tour with “Huey Lewis and the News.” My uncle Fern, who was at the show in Duluth, Minn., described it as “somethin’ else.” He recounts: “The energy was electric. Fog machines started up and slowly enshrouded this giant auditorium with smoke. You couldn’t see five feet in front of you! A single white light shot from the back of the stage. We saw what looked like a dark, hulking figure being lowered down to the stage on wires. We didn’t know at the time, but it was Neil! Once he was lowered completely, Neil threw on his then trademark Moog keyboard, and proceeded to rip through a 10 minute new wave version of ‘Needle and the Damage Done.’ Most of the longtime Neil Young fans were rather confused. Those weird new wave kids who were on ‘X’ … well they couldn’t get enough of it.” 15
MMMBop (n.) a brief moment in time Written by Susan Kemp Aurora, Colo. Image: Untitled; Emory Dunn Lake Oswego, Ore.
I remember being 11 and let me debunk one myth: it was never cool to like boy bands. In the fall of ‘97, a girl named Mallory wore a pink Hanson T-shirt to homeroom one morning and immediately fell to the lowest rung of the social ladder even below Crystal, the girl who still didn’t wear a bra. This, of course, was not my problem. I had long since mastered the art of being the biggest poser ever. I’d rush home after school — waiting impatiently in my friend Delilah’s living room for her to finish her homeschooling studies, so we could catch Donna Lewis sing “I Love You Always Forever” on “Beverly Hills 90210” — but this was all done in secret. By school the next day, every ounce of sugary pop refrain was wiped clean from my person. I wore my black, baggy JNCO jeans and oversized screenprint T-shirt while gripping onto the Sony Discman spinning Korn’s “Life is Peachy." No one knew the Korn CD was only resting on top 16
of the actual CD playing, the “Titanic” soundtrack. It was the curse of the Discman era — the tiny window on the top would show the entire world the color of the CD enclosed inside. And people would know. I was not going to be Mallory. There was something about those blonde Mmmbop-in boys from Oklahoma, though. More and more girls were discovered in the Pop-Lovin’ Trials of fall ’97. No one expected the next girl to be Sabrina, the picture of popular with long permed hair and a spaghetti-strap tank top — she was unrelenting in sporting the latter even though she was sent daily to the principal’s office for breaking the dress code. You did not mess with Sabrina. And here she was caught with a Taylor Hanson pin-up on the inside cover of her Trapper Keeper. Sixth graders react to public humiliation in one of two ways: they either shrink in their chairs and cry (even the boys) or they prove how tough they are in the only way they know how: the proverbial F-bomb. “I don’t give a f*** what you b*tches think,” Sabrina said. I turned the Discman down to volume three. Celine got too loud during the high notes. I needed
to hear, anyway. This girl was fascinating. She was fearless. After class, I followed Sabrina to her locker. “They’re just a bunch of posers, you know,” I said. My Discman was safely stuffed in the front pocket of my backpack. She didn’t look at me. We’d never spoken before and I wasn’t in her elite circle of friends. “That’s why they keep making jokes about Taylor Hanson looking like a girl. That was funny, like what, nine months ago? It’s what people say when they want to sound cool, but if they were actually cool, they’d have a unique thought.” Sabrina slammed her locker and eyed me from my black eyeliner down to my converse sneakers. “What are you doing right now?” she asked. After a night of watching MTV while stealing vodka from her mom’s wine cabinet, we returned to school as Sabrina and Susie. The thing about life lessons is whoever learns them first ends up on top. Sabrina and I quickly learned, popularity can either be given to you or it can be achieved by stomping down everyone in your way. This is how it took approximately four days for it to be a-okay to like Hanson at Columbia Middle School. The next morning, Sabrina accused her former number two, Lynette, of copying off her quiz in language arts. When Mrs. Long pulled me out in the hall to ask if it was true, I nodded quietly. “Yeah,” I said. It got easier as the week went on. “Ew. Don’t sit there!” Sabrina screamed as Chris took a seat near the front of the class. “I heard Nikki got her period and the janitor had to come in here and clean it all up.” “That’s so sick,” I said. Two girls down. Pretty soon my afternoons no longer consisted of watching “90210” with Delilah and began to involve hanging out with Sabrina at the mall shoplifting toe rings from Claire’s
then heading to Sabrina’s to sing Hanson’s “Middle of Nowhere” into our hairbrushes. It’s not that it suddenly became cool to like Hanson. What actually happened was a lot more impressive. Sabrina twisted it so only the coolest kids were allowed to like Hanson. If Mallory, or any other outed-fan, came to school with a Tay sticker on her binder, Sabrina and I got right to task. “As if he’d like your fat ass,” she’d say, ripping off the sticker. Mallory might have been OK if it was a group shot, but the sixth grade class quickly came to an understanding: Sabrina owned Taylor Hanson. I didn’t even dare step on her claim. Resigned to being number two, I declared myself a fan of the 11-yearold drummer Zac and handed over anything I ever got related to Taylor: magazine clippings, posters, Claire’s merchandise. Even when we sang along to the songs, I was only allowed to sing Zac and Isaac’s lines. My dad always warned, “If anyone is going to get you into trouble, it’ll be Sabrina,” but I think his skepticism over my friend choice was met equally with relief that I was now liking music appropriate for my age. After all, in my poser months, I had even managed to convince my dad I was a diehard Korn fan. He bought our favor by getting us tickets to see Hanson in June, and in exchange we promised we’d hang out at my house after school where he could keep an eye on us. The problem with my place was that without fail Delilah would be in her front yard every time we got home and invite herself over. Delilah was homeschooled and weird. She dressed in neon colors and striped shorts as if she was trying to revive Kimmy Gibbler from “Full House.” Much like Kimmy, she would not go away. The three of us sat around my living room playing Pictionary one afternoon when Delilah tried to test the Hanson-claiming waters.
As it turned out, she just happened to always like Isaac. Sabrina and I exchanged knowing glances and laughed. Isaac is the Hanson brother you like when you have absolutely no taste. After all, he was ugly and incredibly old — 17. I ignored her attempts at conversation. “Hand me the mechanical pencil,” I said. Delilah shuffled through the pens and pencils in the box. “I like mechanical pencils too,” she said. “It makes it easier to clean out the dirt under your nails.” Sabrina fell on my shoulder laughing and my face turned red. “Yes, Delilah,” I said. “That’s exactly why I like mechanical pencils.” Fashion may have been lost on her, but at least she could pick up on sarcasm. It was for the best, I thought, someone had to let her know how much of a loser she was. By the time the school year ended, Sabrina and I ruled the sixth grade. The front row tickets my dad had scored from a broker for $400 each propelled us into some sort of semicelebrity. Of course, by the time the concert was a week away, these tickets had somehow morphed into backstage passes and an exclusive dinner with the boys whenever Sabrina described them to our friends. I didn’t say anything. It was their fault for being dumb enough to believe her. Oddly, I was substantially less excited about the concert. I was beginning to realize that I never liked Hanson, at least not in any way that was comparable to Sabrina’s obsession. People thought I was the nice one of the two, but as far as I could tell popularity was the main attraction, and Hanson was that little opening act that just came with the show. If I was going to feel sorry for hurting a few feelings along the way, it was going to take something more than a couple tears in homeroom. Actually, what it took was an appendicitis. The day before the big
concert, my mom rushed me to the E.R. where I lay across three chairs in the waiting room screaming as she filled out the insurance paperwork. Six hours later, I was in surgery. As they wheeled me out, I didn’t care about my rupturing appendix or the giant scar the surgery would leave across my stomach. I just knew it: Hanson was not going to happen. And Sabrina was not going to be OK with that. It took several days before I was able to eat again. On the third day, my dad came back from the McDonald's down the street with two surprises: an alternative to the hospital food and a friend to see me. It was Delilah. She brought me up to speed on the “Middle of Nowhere Tour” ordeal. My dad had offered to give her my ticket and drive Sabrina and her to the concert. Sabrina refused. I already knew this from the angry email I received. Sabrina could not believe I kept Taylor from her. “But it doesn’t make any sense,” Delilah said. “She still could have seen Taylor without you.” I couldn’t quite articulate it at the time, but I knew it was never about Taylor Hanson for Sabrina. It was about control. For me, it was all about realizing that there was something more to that song “MMMbop” than an obnoxiously consonant-heavy verse. Taylor Hanson was right, you don’t know which friends are going to last for a lifetime. But my guess is it doesn’t have a whole lot to do with your favorite TV show or band. Delilah will always be my first real friend. Someone who doesn’t care whether you’re listening to some overplayed diva or momentarily acting like one.
Listen Cleonique Hilsaca Tegucigalpa, Honduras 19
H A euphemism for a new religion By Adeshola Adigun Cape Coral, Fla.
IP-HOP My first hip-hop concert was legendary. It was a long hot Miami day and on the bill were some of the most recognized hip-hop artists’ names: Methodman and Redman, Raekwon, Ghostface Killa, De La Soul, Dead Prez, The Pharcyde, A Tribe Called Quest and Mos Def. But a three-letter-name is what sold me. “It’s the N-A-S.” Nas, one of the first emcees to receive critical acclaim in hip-hop for his approach to storytelling, was like my surrogate father during high school. I lived with my single mother and had no male role model around to teach me how to be a man. And when a potential male role model did come around, I hadn’t the slightest interest in giving him the chance to show me fatherly love. I preferred guidance from dudes like Nas, Jay-Z, DMX and 50 Cent. They told tales about rising above their tragic circumstances. They told me the sorts of things to look out for, things I wasn’t learning from my father. I must’ve listened to every Nas album, including his original demo tape, at least 1,000 times. The only exception is his double disc effort “Street’s Disciple,” which most Nas fans would agree is probably his weakest project. So in 2008 when my boy André told me that Nas was one of the artists headlining Rock The Bells
in Miami, I knew I had to be there. I paid $200 that I was in no position to spend for that VIP ticket. And even though I didn’t get to meet him, we did share what I consider a father-son moment. The sun was beaming down in full force on that Miami afternoon, and I had to make it through hours upon hours of opening acts and delays before Nas took the stage. The first few acts were mainly newcomers like B.o.B., Wale, Immortal Technique and several others. André had turned me on to Wale’s mixtapes a few months before Rock The Bells. He made sure to let me know that Wale was an Americanborn Nigerian like myself, and once he told me that I was sold. I gave Wale a listen and I could sense through his light-hearted flow and wordplay that he would find a way to leave his mark on the hip-hop world. We met Wale after his set. This was a few months before his commercial success. His humility was honest when we asked him to sign our Rock The Bells backpacks and take a photo with us. He was an emerging artist hungry for recognition. Immortal Technique was a little less approachable. His set was politically fueled and passionately charged, it was like the painful bliss you got when you stuck a key into an outlet 21
when you're six or seven years old. If you’ve ever listened to an Immortal Technique track then you’re familiar with his violent tone and provocative material. He shakes up the foundation of your beliefs and sheepish lifestyle (Listen to “Dance With the Devil”). “F*** the police!” he shouted into the mic during a break between songs. His camouflage pants and fitted cap assured me of his militant approach to expressing views. “I know what you’re thinking: My dad’s a cop and he’s a nice guy … well, f*** your dad!” By the time Mos Def came out the sun was easing up on the crowd. But it was still hot, I was hungry and I wasn’t sure when Nas would be coming out, so I had to take risks. I reluctantly walked away while Mos performed to wait in a seemingly neverending line for food. By the time Mos Def finished his set, which consisted of songs much less violent and materialistic than nearly every other artist in attendance, the flaming sun had gone down (listen to “Sunshine”). Plenty of memorable things had happened before Nas took the stage. I’ll never forget when hip-hop veteran Noreaga showed up out of nowhere to accompany Method Man and Redman on stage with a diamond-encrusted Newport box stuffed with cigarettes hanging from his chain. I was doubled over from laughter. But when Nas came out, he came out in style. He looked like a king. He bopped onto the stage slowly, and started to perform a track [“N.I.G.G.E.R. (The Slave and The Master)”] from his latest solo album “Untitled.” He wore a huge smile,
the latest Jordan IVs and jewelry that enchanted me. It wasn’t too flashy. He had on a ring or two and the typical chain and cross necklace that most rappers used to sport in the ’90s. But this was Nas so, in my mind, no one had made a cross on a chain look that good before. This was the man who had fathered me through high school. The man who told me “watch them niggas that be close to you,” and that “love changes and best friends become strangers.” Seeing him in the flesh from less than 20 feet away transported me back to high school — Back on that school bus in Cape Coral, Florida at 6:30 a.m. dreading the hour long bus route and the school day ahead of me with just a CD player and a few good albums in my backpack to keep me going: “Stillmatic,” “Nastradamas,” “God’s Son,” “I Am ... The Autobiography” and “It Was Written.” I listened to Nas’ stories just as much as my closest friends’. On my birthday in 2003 my boy Lawrence bought me Nas’ first album “Illmatic” and a compilation of his unreleased recordings called “The Lost Tapes.” My favorite song on “The Lost Tapes” was a track called “Nothing Lasts Forever.” The hook goes: "Everything must eventually come to an end so try to savor the moments cause times flies, don’t it? The beauty of life, you gotta make it last for the better cause nothing lasts forever." This wasn’t at all a new idea, but it was new to me. And it stuck. His performance was a rite of passage. I was so in the moment that I didn’t feel any distinction between myself, the other crowd members and
Nas. We were all one. I knew nearly every word that spewed from his mouth, and so did hundreds of others. It was my first experience with the electrifying intensity of live music. It is the day I realized that a concert is close to a religious experience. It reminded me of the times I had seen people get filled with the Holy Spirit at church. Some sort of divine energy takes them over and they shout, dance, shake, jump, spin in circles, fall to the ground dramatically or cry. I would sort of look at them sideways with a half-skeptical, half-approving stare, but on that day in front of hundreds of people, I was that guy. After Nas performed I was beat. I was so in the moment that I hadn’t realized how much energy I had drained. I wasn’t surprised that I had lost my voice. I was shouting at the top of my lungs. I wasn’t surprised that my arms were tired. I had them in the air for a while. I made all sorts of arm and hand movements when I was reciting lyrics. And, lastly, I wasn’t surprised that I needed to sit. I stood for several hours and I put extra energy into rapping with Nas. But I was surprised when I sat down and started to cry. I felt a sense of reconciliation and belonging. Throughout my life hip-hop songs, were like poems deliberately placed over samples, heavy drums, snares, claps and snaps. They were the scriptures I studied and memorized, and the artists were messengers showing me that I could overcome tragedy and shed light into the lives of others though music. That day at Rock The Bells was my altar call.
The beauty of life, you gotta make it last for the better cause nothing lasts forever.” “
Rock The Bells Sam Crawford Newark, Del. 23
By Deanne Revel Helena, Ala.
When I was four, my mother took me to a matinee at the Alabama Theatre. Before the show, a mighty Wurlitzer pipe organ rose from underneath the stage and grew louder. The sound was ugly and I covered my ears with white mittens. This wasn’t a song I knew. I looked around the theater at the red velvet curtains, the crystal chandeliers, the Moorish archways, all casting ghoulish shadows across the first five rows. The Wurlitzer bewitched the theater with its harsh chords. I was terrified. I buried my face into the plaid lining of my coat. The music quickened and I imagined demons flying out of the organ and kidnapping me. I hid underneath my seat and a black patent leather Mary Jane sank into a wad of spearmint gum. My mother hissed at me, “Stop fidgeting. Sit like a little lady and listen to the music.” As the Wurlitzer began to lower back underneath the stage, out of sight, I held my mother’s hand tightly so our souls wouldn’t be sucked into the hell the Wurlitzer came from. When I go to the theater now, and hear the late Cecil Whitmire play the “Big Bertha Wurlitzer Opus,” I am entranced. But the first chord the Wurlitzer strikes before rising to the stage, the first sound that resonates in the theater from an unknown place, still terrifies me. Wurlitzer Deanne Revel Helena, Ala. 24
MARK KROOS Double neck guitar virtuoso slips up and down East Coast
By Joshua W. Wolfe Madison, Ala.
It was a beautiful September day when I decided that a caffeine kick was just the inspiration I needed to finish my day of shooting photographs for an upcoming school assignment. Off to The Bean I went from my Drayton Street apartment. I ordered a double espresso to go and set out on my way, walking up the middle lane of Forsyth Park, looking for photo ops as I headed towards Bergen Hall to begin developing film. That’s when I met Mark Kroos (pronounced Cruise). Since my days as an undergrad at Auburn University, I have piddled 26
with the guitar, learning to strum a G and a D and pluck an occasional bluesy B. To say the least, I have never gotten past mediocrity. As I entered the south end of the park, between the basketball and tennis courts, I heard the unmistakable sound of an experienced guitar player –– flawless were the notes. Sitting on one of the benches right by the tennis courts was a guy about my own age. He sat picking a regular acoustic guitar, playing what sounded like a simple, mellow harmony. I approached, apprehensive at first, because I did not want to botch his focus. He stopped to reposition his capo. “Hey, that sounds really good,” I said, making my move. “Hey, thanks. I’m just trying to write some new stuff, so it probably sounds kind of crappy.”
“Better than I could do. Would you mind if I take photos while you play?” “Umm, yeah, sure.” He probably thought I was just some moron coming to get him out of his groove, but he reluctantly agreed nonetheless. “Let me play you something original. I only write on this guitar. I play my shows with a double neck.” “A double neck? You mean like Jimmy Page?” I asked. “Well the same guitar, yes," he laughed, "But we have totally different styles of playing.” So there I sat on the bench next to his, facing the tennis courts as he started off into a song. I had brought along my digital camera, so I dug it out of my pack and fumbled around with it for a minute and began taking some pictures. The song was both elegant and eccentric. I could see the waves of
the rhythm floating away, over rolling hills into a foreign land far beyond my imagination. That was my first taste of music by Mark Kroos. When the song was finished we talked for a while about our lives, where we came from, what we were trying to accomplish. He told me that he was a traveling musician trying to make it in the music business. Nine months ago he had given up the lease on his apartment in Virginia, kissed his girlfriend goodbye and hit the road with nothing more than his two guitars and a duffel bag full of T-shirts. He looked a bit disheveled and he told me that he’d spent the last two nights sleeping in his car as he was making his way north from Florida and up the East Coast. Now, I have spent some time traveling the country; I lived out West before coming to SCAD, so I did what any fellow traveler would do: I offered him a couch to crash on. He did not have a set gig for another two days, so he quickly accepted. I still had to develop some film at Bergen, so we exchanged numbers and planned to meet at my apartment later that day. Luckily, where we were sitting was only 200 yards from where I lived so giving directions was no problem. I met up with Mark that evening after successfully ruining a few rolls of film by dropping them out of the developing tank, thus making my visit to Bergen pointless. But Mark had made better use of his time. As any hard worker, Mark didn’t want to take off two days in a row from performing, so he found a little gig to play that evening in Bluffton, South Carolina. “Come with me and bring your camera,” he said. Little did he know I was already going whether he invited me or not. A few hours later we made the 45 minute drive across the Talmadge Bridge to Bluffton and pulled into Pepper’s Porch, the bar he had booked to play that night. From the moment we walked in the door until we left late that night, the people of Pepper’s
Porch welcomed us like we were old friends. Rare it is in this world that strangers receive other strangers as we were that night at Pepper’s. It is even more rare to find a musician with Mark’s unique talent. When he pulled out his double neck guitar people stopped what they were doing. When Mark began his show nobody believed what they were witnessing as a completely new sound was pumped out into the room of awestricken locals. His fingers worked both necks of the guitar like spiders spinning a new web. The bartender stepped out from behind the bar and snapped pictures with her camera phone. All I could think was, “good thing I went to The Bean.” Mark and I both made some great friends that night; some are musicians I still shoot for on a regular basis. Every so often, when I get the itch to take a drive out of Savannah, I will make the short trip through the salt marshes and Spanish moss up to Bluffton where the locals still talk about the night we all became acquainted through the power of music. I dragged myself to class the next morning, still running on the energy from the previous night. Mark had decided he would stay another night and hopefully find another show to
Photos by Joshua W. Wolfe
play while he was in the area. He did. Hilton Head Island. Again, I was in whether he extended the invitation or not. He would have had to pry me from the seat of his car if he didn’t want me to go with him. Luckily for me, Mark was a really easygoing guy, the vibe I get from most musicians. We set off that night to Hilton Head, a little farther drive, but it was a perfect day to roll down the windows and crank up the radio. Another magical night ended with more friends for both of us, and more musicians who happened to need photographs. Mark left Savannah the next day. He had a booked gig up in Virginia and had a long drive in front of him. And that is my tale of a traveling musician named Mark Kroos. He sojourns from city to city as he works tirelessly to make his career in music. He moves fast in both his travels and his guitar playing. He is an obscure friend that I may never get to know better than the occasional night or two a year, but that is ok for now because he has left a lasting impression on me and turned me towards a new aspect in photography: music. As it turns out, the song he was writing the day I met him on the park bench in Forsyth Park is called "Savannah."
Get to know Quarterlyâ€™s featured musical acts
By Anna Geannopoulos Portland, Ore.
Music Me Morgann Daniels San Diego, Calif.
steals the show By Jay Moar Melbourne, Australia Illustration by Anna Geannopoulos
he night began in an intimate theater along the tree-lined streets of Greenville, South Carolina, deep in the heart of the South. The early spring weather had the patrons in good spirits as they shuffled in. Jackson Browne's brand of folk-rock was popular around these parts. The show proceeded without a hitch. You could tell there were fans in the crowd who had seen him before –– perhaps a number of times. There was a clear sense of familiarity between them and the singer-songwriter on stage. This was the "church of Jackson Browne" and he was preaching to the choir from his pulpit. By late in the evening, the congregation received a holy treat of hymns from the songbook. During the late stages of the final set, the audience was sensing the end of a great night. The humid air inside the hall was scented with a hint of incense. Browne had just finished playing a memorable version of "These Days," a song he wrote when he was just 16. It appeared musicians in the band were taking a break and Browne was preparing to do another song solo. Fans began yelling out requests. A girl sitting in front of me with her boyfriend shouted for "Song For Adam." Others called for their unsung favorites. 30
And then a woman, southern drawl 'n all, asked Browne to pull out his McAlister. The question echoed through the room. Browne seemed puzzled at first, then quizzical. How often does a musician get a request for a particular instrument; in this case, one that wasn't even on the stage? Browne had only recently acquired his "SmeckAlister" from Roy McAlister's west coast workshop. The company began manufacturing handcrafted acoustic guitars for just a few years –– custom-designed quite exclusively for professionals. And yet here was a lady, on the other side of the country, asking to hear it. A roadie had to be sent backstage to retrieve the McAlister as it was not prepped up on the stage. The poor young guy couldn't find it, and Browne had to pardon himself while he rushed back to assist. At this point, the murmurings reverberating through the crowd were intriguing. They were going to be treated to something different. Something special. A unique performance for a unique request. They cheered when Browne returned to the stage with his shiny, new showpiece. One look at that guitar gave insight into why the southern belle may have requested it. The Adirondack spruce soundboard,
Get published! complete with Koa back and sides, cradled a Brazillian mahogany neck and dovetailed headstock. The abalone rosette inlay shone like a beacon. The McAlister was a stark contrast from the other 15-odd guitars lined up on the long rack on the side of the stage. Some of those guitars were the same models Browne played when he wrote and recorded his most famous songs. But we were now about to hear this new deluxe instrument sing. After a minute of tuning, Browne launched into his recent seminal hit "Too Many Angels." Within the first few bars, the crowd cheered in recognition of the song. It then grew deathly silent as Browne began to sing. His fingers danced around the fret board with ease, making the task look simple. The slow, rhythmic, finger style arpeggios on the strings had a full tone booming and bright. The timbre of the timber within the McAlister was easily audible. Browne sung about there being too many angels seeing him cry. An angel was on stage at that moment. And it was in his hands, crying out to the listening audience. The gathering, tuned into the moment, responded emotionally. The girl in front of me put her arm around her boyfriend and cuddled up tight. By the time the song concluded, a few tears had been shed by many. The crowd rose as one and gave Browne rancorous applause. Their prayers had been answered. Many would talk about this great performance, and the memorable interlude in particular. But you couldn't help but think that maybe even Jackson Browne had been overshadowed on this occasion. On that night, he was upstaged by his McAlister –– the sterling guitar slung to his body.
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Florence + Time Machine Chris Jones Pinehurst, N.C. 32
Happy Maladies Emma Frost Seattle, Wash. 33
Left: Lotus Flower Top: Daft Punk Bottom: King of Beats Jake Lee Toledo, Ohio
Published on Apr 29, 2011