STEAM Magazine South Texas Entertainment Art Music volume 7 issue 2 May 2018

Page 1 There is a powerful camera


in your pocket. Armed with the ubiquitous cell phone, everyone is a photographer these days. But owning the latest Apple or Google does not mean that everyone is a GOOD photographer. I read a book many years ago called "How To Photograph Your Life: Capturing Everyday Moments with Your Camera and Your Heart" by Nick Kelsh. Mr Kelsh was a professional photographer who put down his expensive, fancy equipment and picked up his wife's point and shoot camera to show normal people how they could take better photos with just a few simple tips and hints. Combining his ideas as a professional and my 20-ish years of trial and error experience as an amateur, I bring you Photography Tips and Hints for Normal People. We live in a beautiful coastal community. We appreciate our ocean, bay, beach, sunrise, and sunset scenery and we love to celebrate, preserve, and share it with our photos. So your first tip is this: If you are shooting a sunset or a beach scene - DO NOT PUT THE HORIZON IN THE MIDDLE. Either get more clouds or more water in your shot, whichever is more interesting. Slightly more advanced tip - put something in the foreground. Here are a few examples to highlight the hint. Notice that the first photo is an ordinary beach picture. The other two have less beach and more sky, with a single fisherman or beach chair, perhaps implying the vast possibilities on our horizons or the elegant simplicity of solitude.


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Max pic 2.64h X 2.19w



STEAM Magazine is published monthly by STEAM Magazine, South Texas Entertainment Art Music, in Corpus Christi, TX. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Views expressed within are solely the authors and not of STEAM Magazine. Typographical, photographic, and printing errors are unintentional and subject to correction. Please direct all inquiries to:

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Why it’s taking forever

Try this J. Michael Dolan 1. Choose! The biggest reason we procrastinate and can’t make important choices and decisions is because we’re afraid of making the wrong choices and decisions. Keep the game moving forward. Do the deep research, gather the facts, consult with a trusted expert, then make those important choices. Don’t flinch. Don’t pause. Keep the ball moving down the field. 2. Loosen your grip! Holding a firm grip on how the end result must look only blinds you from seeing the unlimited options and possibilities that are available. Especially today, in every area of the entertainment industry. 3. Raise the bar! We set the bar too low, thinking that winning the small ones now will give us the courage to go for the big ones later. But that’s a trap. Winning the small ones only keeps us stuck in an illusion that we’re getting somewhere. If you look deep, and tell the truth, you know you’re capable of playing a much bigger game. Important because the way to advance the ball down the field is to stop wondering and start doing that which you’ve been resisting, that which you’ve been avoiding, and that which you know in your heart you should be taking action on.

J. Michael Dolan Why It’s Taking Forever 1. We convince ourselves that what we’re already doing is actually working. 2. Our resistance to change slows our progress to a crawl. 3. We struggle and procrastinate way too long with important choices & decisions. 4. We hire and hang with people who agree with our way of working. 5. We don’t know what else to do, so we do nothing…or repeat the same o’l, same o’l. 6. We’re resistant to learn and reluctant to make full use of the tech tools available today that could actually make a profound difference in the results we produce. 7. We’re too proud to hire an experienced coach or consultant, who could help move things forward. 8. We use the excuse, “it’s because of the money.” 9. We justify, “it’s because of the technology.” 10. We buy the story, “things will eventually return to normal.” 11. We convince ourselves, “we’re not worthy.” 12. We remind ourselves, “it’s all about the journey.” And while the journey itself has its rewards, remaining stuck and stagnant without forward movement is more of a never ending round trip to where you’re already sitting right now. Important because the question to ask yourself is: What is the real (deep) truth of why it’s taking so long? – Better question: What will you do if nothing changes and it continues to creep along at this petty pace?

7 questions before you change course J. Michael Dolan 1. Why did I pursue this in the first place? 2. Have I completed my mission? 3. Why do I feel the need to change? 4. What do I have to gain by changing course—how will my life/career be different? 5. Will this change cause a hardship for others? 6. Am I enthusiastic about the possibilities that could arise out of making this change? 7. Am I willing to take the necessary steps to initiate this change? Important because while “never quit” may be our mantra, there are times when quitting or changing course is the only real intelligent thing to do—in order to make use of the very best talents we have, and bring us closer to the lifestyle we desire. I think as pro artists/treps we need to remain vigilant and aware of those signs that tell us when it’s time to shift direction, so we can recover, regroup, reorganize and reinvent a new game. STEAM MAGAZINE WWW.STEAMMAGAZINE.NET 2018 MAY 5

Mason Williams is known primarily for his pop instrumental masterpiece, "Classical Gas." However, there are so many more facets to his brilliant career. Between 1967-1969, he was a head writer for the controversial TV variety show, "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour" where he debuted his future award winning song, and hired an unknown writer named Steve Martin (I wonder what ever happened to him). He is also an author, poet, photographer, and did time as a stand-up comedian. While active in the early 1960’s folk circuit, one of Mason’s comedy tunes became a hit for the Kingston Trio. Another caught the attention of the Smothers Brothers which eventually led to the Brothers’ popular CBS TV show. Mason remains active, having collaborated with Manheim Steamroller, releasing several albums and appearing with a wide selection of symphony orchestras over the years. He’s also the recipient several Grammy and Emmy awards, a Writers Guild award, and in 1996, an “Honorary Doctor of Music” from Mason’s alma mater, Oklahoma City University. This is a very entertaining album with a real 1960's feel to it. The enticing Mike Post written opening, “Overture” invites you in and makes you want to stay for the whole show. Mason, along with producer Post assembled some of the finest studio musicians of the


day. The loving whimsy of songs like “All The Time” and “Long Time Blues” blend well with the hippie haze of “Wanderlove” and “She’s Gone Away,” and the trademark Mason Williams sense of humor on “Dylan Thomas,” “Baroque A Nova,” “The Prince’s Panties,” and “Lifesong.” “Sunflower” is a moody conclusion that start’s with Mason’s brilliant guitar work and segues into an unassuming symphonic accompaniment that closes the door. It all brilliantly shows off Mason Williams’ multiple talents, but nothing more than the timeless "Classical Gas." If you've never heard this classic instrumental (and you probably have at some point, considering it’s had over 5 million air plays) you should seek it out.

In 1976, Saturday Night Live was new, groundbreaking and exciting. Cast members Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi were part of a comedy upheaval that television had never experienced before. Dan loved the blues and turned his friend John on to it. Their mutual love and respect for the music was nurtured and explored. That’s how they wound up in bee costumes one Saturday night, singing and playing Slim Harpo’s “King Bee.” Soon, ideas for the Blues Brothers were developed. Aykroyd and Belushi, along with musical director Paul Shaffer, assembled a band consisting of three SNL band members, Lou Marini on sax, Tom Malone on trombone, and Steve Jordan on drums. Then Steve Cropper on guitar and Donald “Duck” Dunn

on bass from Booker T and the M.G.’s, and the Stax Records house band in Memphis came along, followed by trumpeter Alan Rubin, Chicago blues veteran Matt Murphy on guitar, and LA sax man, Tom Scott. As a result of their popular, recurring spot on SNL, the Blues Brothers opened a show for Steve Martin on September 9, 1978 at the Los Angeles Universal Amphitheatre, and the performance was recorded. The album was extremely successful, selling well over 3 million. From the very first notes of Otis Redding’s “I Can’t Turn You Loose,” the energy is infectious; the music driving and hardedged. As their alter-egos, Jake and Elwood don’t do too bad mixing blues and soul on covers by Floyd Dixon, Junior Wells, Delbert McClinton, Big Joe Turner, and Sam and Dave. Belushi is entertaining and Aykroyd seemingly holds his own on harps, and gives his own unique treatment to The Chips’ “Rubber Biscuit.” But it is this powerhouse band that just knocks it out of the park. Some of these musicians even played on the original recordings that the Blues Brothers cover. There is no one better at doing what they do on this record and it’d be very different without them. If you only have time for one song, give “Messin’ With The Kid” a try.

GRANVIL POYNTER ANOTHER DAY SINGING THE BLUES (BRINTTUNES) BY STEVE GOLDSTEIN Texas bluesman Granvil Poynter began honing his chops in his native Arkansas, studying the likes of Clapton and Stevie Ray before finding electric blues pioneers like Muddy Waters and Albert King. Granvil mixed it all up and developed a unique, single string style of authentic blues in a field where too many so -called blues bands are just doing the same old thing. On ANOTHER DAY SINGING THE BLUES, Poynter and his band of superb musicians show what the blues are about with six original tunes and eight brilliant covers. “Black” starts things off by letting you know that the blues have arrived with a smooth arrangement and slick blues harp. “Rock Me, Rock Me” is an upbeat rockin’ boogie that sounds like it’d be at home with The Fabulous Thunderbirds. There’s no mistaking the intent on the walking blues of “I Know What I Want” and the shuffling “Walnut Tree.” The open-

BUBBLE PUPPY CERTIFIED BADASS (ACTUAL ARTISTS) BY STEVE GOLDSTEIN The story of Bubble Puppy is a sad tale of what should’ve been. Four hard working Texas musicians with a common goal were determined to take their ample talents far and wide. A monster world wide hit assured them they were on their way to the top. What they got in return for all that hard work and a hit record were broken dreams, disappointment, disillusionment and lawsuits. They moved to the Promised Land (Los Angeles), changed their name and set out to pick up the pieces of their shattered hopes, but it was already too late. The damage was done. “Hot Smoke & Sassafras” was a giant hit, but this is so much more than just another “onehit-wonder” band. On their new album, CERTIFIED BADASS, Bubble

Puppy shows up to play and they take no prisoners. They breathe fresh life into songs from a half century ago with high energy and superb musicianship. Their own distinctive, hard rocking sound is alive and well thanks to founding members Rod Prince and David Fore. The 17 original songs were recorded live in the studio, including nine redone from their 1969 debut, A GATERING OF PROMISES. What you hear is what you get. And what you get is strong, driving rock and roll from five skilled musicians who’ve done the work and paid their dues. Prince’s soulful, powerhouse vocals are augmented by Puppy’s trademark tight harmonies. Their sound can be big and loud, as heard on songs like “Beginning,” “Lonely,” and, of course, “Hot Smoke & Sassafras.” Standing out against this is the pleasant melody of “Gathering of Promis-

ing track is sparsely reprised on “It’s All Black.” The title track closes the album with a fitting tribute to the late Doyle Bramhall Sr. The covers are a blend of some great tunes; Eddie Boyd’s classic “3rd Degree,” Bo Diddley’s “Hey Mama” and the Elmore James standard, “Can’t Hold Out” mixed with a few unexpected gems. John Prine’s “Angel From Montgomery” and Don Williams’ “All The Way” are given the same heartfelt treatment as Allen Toussaint’s “Get Out Of My Life Woman” and B.B. King’s “Rock Me.” The band, which includes Augie Meyers, does what needs to be done to aid and abet Poynter on his blues caravan. But it’s Granvil Poynter’s skillful guitar work that stands out. Guitarist Keith Harter and drummer Jon Harter assisted Poynter with the production and took what could have easily been another over-produced and pretentious blues album and gave it a classic, but fresh sound. They know when to hold back and when to let it rip. ANOTHER DAY SINGING THE BLUES keeps the Blues alive without resorting to overplaying or heavy-handed production. Plain and simple, this needs to be heard and appreciated.

es” which shows their folk-rock influences. Rod Prince’s fast fingers and classic tone on guitar are on overdrive on “Thinking About Thinking,” “Windy City,” “Hard Livin’,” and the sprawling “Face In the Crowd.” Much of Puppy’s hard-edged essence comes from David Fore on drums. He is featured prominently on all the tracks and even has a bona fide drum solo on the rocking “Only A Loner.” Twin leads were always part of Puppy’s identity and there is no shortage here, as shown towards the end of “Thinkin’ About Thinkin’.” “Guacamole Rock n Roll” ends the festivities with spicy, as good as it gets, Texas blues. The band is rounded out in fine form with guitarists Mark Miller, Gregg Stegall, and Jimi Umstattd on bass. But, this album is also a loving tribute to fellow founders, the late Roy Cox and Todd Potter. CERTIFIED BADASS proves

THE BUSH LEAGUE JAMES RIVAH (SELF RELEASED) BY RICK J BOWEN The Bush League was founded on a front porch in Richmond, Virginia: a city rich with southern culture and heritage. The energetic quartet have tagged their music “RVA Blues” which is a modern mix of funk, soul, gospel, and rock all wrapped up in the love of the Blues. They traveled to Ardent Studio in Memphis TN to record their third album James RiVAh, released Feb of 2018. Opening track “Rivers Edge,” is a Deep Blues stomp that pays tribute to the loving waters of the James River that runs through Richmond. A loose and playful romp thru Fred McDowell standard “Kokomo Me Baby,” flows easily into the


that Bubble Puppy is still a force to be noticed, battle scars and all. They are here to rock hard, and that’s exactly what they do.




neo soul ballad “Say Yes,” and the slow burning cover of “Catfish Blues.” Some tasty horns rev up the hill country party anthem “Kick Up Your Heals.” Lead vocalist John Jay Cecil demonstrates his skill as a bard, with the compelling lyrics and heavy drama of the gritty rocker ‘Hearse,’ and the witty, my baby done me wrong song “Tuxedo Blues.” The ode to homemade hooch, “Moonshine,” is arguably the album’s most radioready track with its clever update of classic barrelhouse blues and juke joint shout. The Bush League take us to church for a real stomp and holler frenzy, on the cathartic album closer “What’s Wrong With You,” ending with the simple RVA exclamation” There It Go!” . THEBUSHLEAGUE.COM RICK J BOWEN: WABLUES.ORG STEAM MAGAZINE WWW.STEAMMAGAZINE.NET 2018 MAY 7

By: Derek Signore, Sound Magazine Photo Credit: Lars Oddvar

Steven Van Zandt, who frequently goes by the stage names Little Steven or Miami Steve, is renowned for both his own substantial body of work and for his ongoing role as a touring and recording member of Bruce Springsteen’s E-Street Band. Van Zandt also has expanded his artistic parameters to include landmark work as an actor on The Sopranos and Lillyhammer as well as host, historian and rock’n’roll advocate on Sirius XM’s one and only Little Steven’s Underground Garage. We at The Sound are obviously a fan of both your acting and musical talents, but does it ever bother you when someone only notices you for your acting and doesn’t really know how you got started in all of this? I don’t look at it that way. Honestly, it’s just nice to have people recognize me for any of the work that I’ve done either as a musician or an actor. What is a little bit disturbing is that people aren’t understanding that the new Sopranos movie is a prequel, I’m a little old to play a younger version of myself in that movie. No CGI for me in that movie (laughing). As an actor and a musician. has there ever been a musician you would like to portray on screen? The only one that ever crossed my mind was Ravi Shankar. I thought about that, and I started taking guitar lessons a few years ago and would like to do it again. I love his music and pretty much everything about him, and in a certain light I have a little bit of a similar appearance. So no director or producer has ever approached you about playing a certain musician on screen? You tend to be typecast in this business as it is, and I certainly didn’t help matters by portraying a gangster in both The Sopranos and Lilyhammer (laughing). Now they take it for granted, every guitar player can be a gangster, can’t they all? Sure, but who doesn’t want to play the role of gangster, who else would you possibly want to star as? True, I like it also. A lot can be done with that. Just take a look at what I did in Lilyhammer, the character may have looked the same, but it was a completely different role. On a side note, I have written five scripts - two of which are gangster related. I will see where things go, but I definitely want to get back on television in some role or another. Your friend Bruce Springsteen has a stint on Broadway right now and look at fellow famed gangster actor, Chaz Palminteri and his word for the Broadway version of A Bronx Tale, seeing their success would you ever consider a run there as part of a show? I’ve thought about it, but there have been conflicts. The issue is that I have a big organization with a lot of over8 MAY 2018 STEAM MAGAZINE WWW.STEAMMAGAZINE.NET

head, and I’m running a lot of things between the two radio stations, my foundation, my label, etc. They require a certain amount of revenue that I have to find every month. To be honest, I can’t afford it right now (laughing) unless someone makes me an offer I can’t refuse. You are a famed political activist but have decided to put the focus back on your music. Why make that decision now when it appears we need voices like yours more than ever? That’s an interesting question. I think the current political environment is so obvious, it seems so redundant. When I was a complete political fanatic in the 80’s, I spent most of my time explaining to people what was happening because there was no news on the subject. It was all about shinning a light on things like South Africa and other things that didn’t make the news cycle. Now it is constantly in your face, so it’s hard to say that we should put together a political project. It’s obvious what needs to happen, and I think it will happen. With this tour a lot of the politics are already built into my songs so I don’t have to talk about it. It’s all about performing some incredible music with an incredible band through the history of rock and roll through ten to twelve sub genres. Sometimes it is good to take a break from the bad news that seems to surround us all day every day. Not all of your fans share your political opinions. Do you ever feel like you’ve alienated some of your fans with your outspoken opinions? I’m not the least bit concerned about that. My beliefs are common sense and patriotic. I’m an independent, and don’t fit into a category. I handle things based on common sense. If I had time, I would start the independent common sense party. If you’re a guy who needs an AK-47 and a clip that holds 100 rounds, than we have a problem. Why doesn’t the NRA have a state of the art database? Who is going to argue against that - just people completely in the NRA’s pocket. I’ve had my life threatened before by the racists as I’ve toured the world but that doesn’t bother me. Considering that many of your songs have political tones, has any candidate running for election asked you to use some of your materials for their rallies out on the road? Not that I know of. I’ve just never been a big enough star for that happen. I’ve been under the radar my whole life as an artist, which is partly my own fault for abandoning my world for twenty five years with acting and everything else which was a mistake. I’m being honest. I’m probably the only guy in history right now touring the venues that never had a hit, so what it boils down to is that we have to win people over one song at a time. The new album has Jazz, Doo-Wop, and a lot of different genres covering a variety of artists’ mate-

rial. That can be a dangerous game dabbling with the classics. How did you handle putting your own spin on that material without treading on the classics? I‘ve never done it before, covered another artist, so the way that this happened was that I was asked to put together a band and play a blues festival. I happened to have nothing to do that week so I figured it would be worth a shot. It ended up working out to be a cool arrangement; and, after that, I think the band and I knew we would not only cover the blues, but other genres as well. I had dabbled in Jazz with the Lilyhammer soundtrack, but no one has ever really heard that because I haven’t released it yet. I think the thing we wanted to portray to the listener is that these are tributes at the end of the day. They might be the same cords; but it’s all about the subtle nuance of the melody, and adding my own flair to put those tracks on the record. I would like to point out that we have even more genres we dabble into during the live show. Because of how well you infused yourself into the Blues genre, do you think it will have an influence on your creative style going forward? We’ll see. What is most interesting to me at the moment, and why I’m trying to stay in this thing as long as I can is because I am quite curious to see where it will go with all the influences I’ve absorbed over the past few years. I’ve always had a theme, and it is always been political, so it is going to be interesting to see what kind of artist I become when it’s all about the music. It’s about the glue, the underlying theme that holds my music together in the future. I’ve never done two records in a row in the same genre so it will be interesting to see what we put together. We heard you are offering teachers something special as part of this new tour. What are the details regarding that project? We are integrating our Rock and Roll Foundation, It’s free for teachers to come to a seminar at every show we are doing. All they have to do is contact, and they get a seminar on teaching the course. It meets all the states standards. I just want them to know they are invited free to this course.


CONTINUED FROM PAGE 11 about every genre except jazz and especially like music that makes me want to dance!

Now that you are retired do you plan to turn some attention back on your art? Yeah, and especially now that people are taking an active interest in my work. It’s odd to bring out artwork that is literally 47 years old and call it “new!” My original intent was to just release the oil pastel work, but commercial pressure for more pieces pushed me to pull work off my walls at home and make prints available. I hope to get back to acrylics this year. I’ve always been drawn to doing things I have no experience in or know how to do. It’s the challenge that makes it interesting and fun! After returning to Austin in 1972, I started working in acrylics and that’s been my primary medium. I’ve sporadically created pieces as the mood and time allowed. Not a week goes by, however, that I don’t see something or find a photo on the internet (Facebook especially) that I don’t say “Wow! That would make a great painting!” and snag it to put in an “Art” folder on my computer. I’ve got lots of things I’d like to work on.

Do you have a favorite color? What is it and why? I like complimentary colors, especially blue and yellow in combination. When they don’t fight each other, they help each other to “pop,” and I really like bright, commanding colors. I think that’s pretty evident in my work!

Are your children or parents

artistic? On the music side, I got my talent from my mother. As my father

used to say, he “couldn’t carry a tune in a tow sack,” but he’s where I got my artistic bend. Both my sons are musicians and very talented. None of my children have exhibited much interest in art, however. Have to give a shout-out to my daughter who is the World’s Best Mom! If that’s not an art, I don’t know what is!

Where can people see your

work? Best place to see my work, find out about my bands and hear the music I’ve written and performed over that past 55 years is my website, Although I’m not hung in any galleries at present, I’ve been lucky to be featured in a number of local restaurants. I also participate in pop-up shows in Austin, including the monthly Austin Musician/Artists’ Market at the One-2-One Bar. In fact, I serendipitously met STEAM publisher Rusty Hicks there which resulted in this feature in STEAM!

What is it that you want peo-

ple to take away when they gaze into your art? I’d like to think that my artwork has a couple of interesting things going for it. First is the color sense: I really like bold colors. I’ve been told that my work makes people happy and I think color is a major part of that. Secondly, in much of my work there is an implied narrative that makes the viewer ask “where’s that going,” “what’s that mean,” “where did that come from.” That I like!







8053 Callaghan Rd. San Antonio TX 78230

210.371.6510 MON-THU 11:30am-8pm FRI & SAT 11:30am-10pm Closed Sundays Facebook & Instagram: FreshestIceCreams My dad came up for a quick visit on a beautiful sunny Tuesday in April. After lunch and having played with the kids (8, 5, & 3) we all decided it was time for a treat… Ice Cream! That sounds like such a simple thing to do. Just run to the store or nearest ice cream parlor and dig in, but for us it isn’t. We eat extremely healthy and we don’t have a lot of processed sugars in our diet. That’s when I suggested we go to Freshest Natural Ice Creams.

Freshest is a cool new parlor on Callaghan Rd in San Antonio. Marco and Angela opened Freshest 6 months ago after deciding to use their family’s tried and true recipes from South America so that we may enjoy these natural treats. Their family business in southern Columbia has been around for 25 years where it started with a copper bowl filled with fresh ingredients, including the Colombian fruit Lulo which isn’t available here in the US. This bowl was placed on top of ice and spun. As the mixture froze on the sides of the bowl they would scrape the ice cream to the center with a wooden spoon before packing a bowl with the delicious treat. Back to Freshest in San Antonio, they use modern equipment and still pack the bowls to cool you down.

Marco pointed out that the idea behind Freshest is having healthier, flavorful options for your body. They use real fruit with the freshest possible ingredients and keep the natural colors, so there are no additives! They, also use alkaline water to help restore the natural pH in your body. What a neat idea to incorporate fruits, nuts, and the natural pH from this special water. Other options used are coconut milk and lactose-free milk. Along with the packed bowls they also serve fruit sal-


MEET THE OWNERS, MARCO & ANGELA ads topped with a scoop of ice cream, slushies, smoothies, milkshakes, and a traditional Columbian Oatmeal Drink that’s made with lactose-free milk and cinnamon. Marco pointed out that it can be made with coconut milk to make it a vegan drink. In fact they have eight vegan options to try from! The milkshakes and the smoothies are similar in that they are made with lactosefree milk and you can choose one or two scoops of any flavor, of course the smoothie also has a banana. Thick and rich and really flavorful!

The kids were so excited as they stood in front of the display case. Oh the choices! Each tried one flavor before agreeing to share one bowl with both Chocolate Almond and the Blackberry

made with alkaline water. Next Dad had a bowl of the Brazilian which he said he loved. The ice cream is super creamy and consisted of Pineapple, Mint, and alkaline water. At first I was really looking at the fruit salad because it’s a nice size bowl of fresh fruit of mangos, apples, bananas, and pineapple topped with a large scoop of your choice of ice cream, but it was getting late in the day and we still had dinner to eat, so I decided on a refreshing slushy. It was made using alkaline water and Blackberry ice cream and was like drinking juice with ice. It was really tasty, very

satisfying and yet not too sweet. Just what I was looking for on a hot day.

Freshest Natural Ice Creams is cute parlor with pictures of Columbia on the walls and seating both inside and outside so there’s room for everyone. Come over and try Freshest! Healthier tastes better! Freshest is located on Callaghan Road in the Grandview Shopping Center with Sprouts. STEAM MAGAZINE WWW.STEAMMAGAZINE.NET 2018 MAY 13

See: May 18 Sam’s Burger Joint, San Antonio May 26 Saxon Pub, Austin June 2 Rockit’s Whiskey Bar & Saloon, Corpus Christi

By Tamma Hicks, STEAM Magazine

hear: CDs available at Record Stores, Shows & Online

Follow: Facebook/ Official Bubble Puppy

Curtesy Photo

In 1966 two guys from Corpus Christi decided to start a band in San Antonio. They were the late Roy Cox and Rod Prince and the band is of course Bubble Puppy. It’s been just about 50 years since they made the scene with their smash hit “Hot Smoke & Sassafras” reaching #14 on the Billboard top 100 Chart for 12 weeks and it did even better throughout Europe. However, the group wasn’t around much longer than that, due to the music industry woes of the time. But have no fear; the Puppy is back and “Certified Badass”! Lead by original members Prince (guitar and vocals) and Fuzzy Fore (drums), Mark Miller (guitar/vocals), Gregg Stegall (guitar/vocals) and Jim Umstattd (bass) complete the five-piece group who has managed to capture the free-flowing spirit of psychedelic rock they started with in the late '60s.

I had the pleasure to chat with Rod and Fuzzy to find out where the name Bubble Puppy came from and tell us about the new album.


did you come up with Bubble Puppy? And I heard that it wasn’t a name everyone liked, so why did you stick with it? Just a funny side note to this… when I was looking up information on you guys “Bubble Puppy” came up listed as one of the worst band names. Rod: We got the name from Huxley's Brave New World, in a moment of un-wisdom. At the time we were playing as Willowdale Handcar, so who's to say if it was better or worse, haha. Yeah, I've been told there was a college course someplace on music marketing, using the Puppy as a prime example of what NOT to name your band.... It really wasn't a detriment till bubblegum music reared its ugly head, but by that time, Hot Smoke was a worldwide hit, and we were stuck with it. Fuzzy: From the 3rd chapter in Brave New World, The Director remarks that “in Our Ford’s day,” games involved no more than a ball or two, a few sticks, and maybe a net. Such simple apparatus did nothing to increase consumption. In the current World State, all games, like “Centrifugal Bumble-puppy,” involve complicated machines. Ha! I wasn’t there when they named the band.

the name "Demian", as an obvious link to the Wolf, since Both Steppenwolf and Demian were novels by the same author, Hermann Hesse.

When you went to CA and lost the name, how did you come up with Demian? Rod: By the time we decided to make the LA move, we were sick of both the International Artists record company and the Puppy name as well. Our good friend and Steppenwolf bassist Nick St. Nicholas had offered to manage us and get us a new record deal, both of which required a new band name. Nick's wife offered

When and where was the last time you played in the Corpus Christi area? Rod: Been a while since we last played CC. The last time we played down there was in 2014 at the Executive Surf Club. We’re looking forward to June 2nd where we’ll be playing at Rockit’s Whisky Bar. It’ll be good to be back again.


Thinking back to the end of the 60’s, beginning of the 70’s, what are the most significant changes you’ve experienced in the music industry? Rod: Ah, the music biz doesn't change much...still just as cutthroat and brutal as it ever was, haha. The late 60's was another world entirely, musicianwise. Seems like everyone played something, and music was the breath of life. Creativity and talent, at a level we'll never see again, I fear. It's sure different now…. Where did the nickname Fuzzy come from? Fuzzy: Have you seen my hair on the cover of "Gathering of Promises"? Nuff said!

Being from Corpus Christi and Mathis, do

you make it down here often? Rod: Mathis.... Well, I was born at Spohn, my grandparents lived on Lawnview, and I spent most of my young years there. My parents moved to Mathis when my grandfather retired and sold the Lawnview house to move back to Dublin. I guess I spent a couple months in Mathis before I left home for good to start the Puppy with the late Roy Cox in 67. I don't get down to CC near as much as I'd like to...the family vineyard in Dublin takes a lot of my time, as well as rehearsal and shows with the band. There's so many folks that I grew up with in Corpus that are still there though, and I miss 'em all. I know you do select shows in and around Texas, would you consider going on a large scale or intense tour? Where would you like to go? Rod: Yeah, we'd like to get on some big stages again, and play for some new people. Some festivals would be great and we wouldn't mind a nice European tour, since IA never bothered to book the Puppy overseas back in the day. Hot Smoke was huge over there. Tell me about this new album. Rod: The BadAss cd is our live set, done in the studio. It encompasses the Puppy, Demian, and later incarnations of the band's best music. This time with three lead guitarists, that really expands our trademark guitar harmonies as well as fresh vocal stylings. Not to mention the joy and magic this lineup enjoys in performance and brotherhood. There's 17 songs on the cd... in effect, a double LP, were it vinyl. What’s so special about this group of guys?

Rod: You’re right, I have to brag on the

boys some. Mark, Jimi and Gregg, and Fuzz of course, absolutely killed it on the new cd! Brilliant players, all of 'em, but the brotherhood we have in this band is unmatched in all my long experience... no ego wars, no jealousy, just pure joy in what we're doing. I can't tell ya how proud I am...of the cd, and the band! Fuzzy: I agree! Mark, Jimi and Gregg played the songs years back when they were in high school. They’ve been a perfect match for the band and great to play with. We all have a lot of fun at the shows. And meeting up with old fans who bring their kids, or fans who have traveled from Europe, Canada or all over the states really makes it special. If you could have one hour to talk to anyone

(dead or alive), who would it be and what would you talk about? Rod: We honor the memory of Roy Cox songwriting partner for many years. Roy came to several shows before he passed, and I treasure that. He was proud of his Puppy, heh. We do all the tunes Roy and I wrote...songs that mark the special times and places in our lives, bridges never to be crossed again. Rest in peace, my brother. Is there anything that I have missed? Or do you have something you’d like to share? Rod: This year's the 50th anniversary of Hot Smoke's release, and Charley records is marking it in style with the re-release of HS in 7" vinyl, remastered from the long-lost master tapes, and set for American release this month. Shinin' times ahead, folks!


Last month we decided to stay a

couple extra nights in San Antonio; we called it a working minivacation and a great excuse to see the grandkids. As you know getting a large group of people to agree on dinner is typically not easy, especially when you factor in kids and eating healthy. However, we have found the best solution to this… Yaya’s Thai Restaurants! They have three locations, so where ever you are in San Antonio you aren’t too far from a Yaya’s. From the elegantly sleek decor to the friendly and attentive wait staff and chefs to their wonderful beer and wine selections, Yaya oversees everything in each restaurant and ensures quality and cohesiveness throughout. Many of the dishes served are vegetarian and vegan. As usual our eyes were bigger than our stomachs, but that didn’t stop us! However, we asked for suggestions and of course the wait staff knew exactly what we were wanting to try. First we needed to try the Thai Coffee and Thai Tea. Both are served over ice and not overly sweet. Really delicious and I could easily imagine myself sipping one of these this summer! For appetizers we started with the Coconut Shrimp and the Thai Dumplings. There were five large shrimp battered with sweet coconut and deep fried to perfection served with a sweet dipping sauce. The tenderness of the shrimp with the crunchy nutty batter makes my mouth water just

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210.281.5215 OPEN DAILY Hours vary by Location thinking of them. The dumplings are wantons wrapped around a minced chicken, pork and vegetables and served with Yaya’s homemade soy sauce; which on its own is worth a 5 star rating! These reminded me of a restaurant we’d go to as a kid in Seattle, so this became my favorite. Next was a firepot (large bowl) of (Chicken) Tom Kha. This coconut milk based soup is seasoned with lemongrass and lime juice. A rich full flavored soup filled with mushrooms, tomatoes, and chicken and the coconut milk flavor was balanced by the cilantro. The kids devoured this so quickly that we were all lucky to have gotten a taste.


As the waitress approached

with the first of the entrees our table chattered quieted down while our senses soaked in the joyful colors and enticing aromas and when they refer to a sizzling plate, they aren’t kidding; we could see the steam rising from across the room! The Tiger Prawns were huge and grilled just right then served over sautéed broccoli, carrots, and cabbage. These were absolutely delectable. Now, any chance to have Fried Rice is a great chance in my book and Yaya’s didn’t disappoint! Thai seasoned brown rice tossed

with generous amounts of chicken, pork, tomatoes, onions, scallions and egg. I think this could be the best fried rice I’ve ever had. Have you ever had a Thai Steak? We hadn’t either. Lightly seasoned and grilled perfectly to medium-rare and served with a creamy Panang Curry made with coconut milk, bell pepper, lime leaves, green beans, and sweet peas. The curry had a little spicy heat to its flavor which mellowed out when eaten with the vegetables or a bite of steak, ensuring that everyone could taste how yummy it was. Our final entrée was the Queen of Duck with Thai Basil. It seems like duck can be dry or greasy so when it was being placed in front of us our eyes widened and we all gasped. It was beautiful! And so tender and moist that it melted in your mouth. Crispy roasted and served with stir fried basil sauce,

bell pepper, onion, green beans, bamboo, fresh basil, and scallion. We all enjoyed this with the exception of one of the boys – he said he loved it and asked for more!

Well, you can’t leave a Thai restaurant without having dessert and Yaya’s had us covered, Sticky Rice with Mango! I don’t know much about mangos, but this one was perfectly ripened, firm and sweet. We learned that the plate was presented to resemble a traditional Thai bracelet worn by the women. The coconut milk sweetened rice was surrounded by thin slices of mango and topped with whipped cream and a cherry. Almost too pretty to eat, but we did! By the end of our meal we were all full and satisfied and still felt the energy for a stroll around the Riverwalk.


In the 60’s we used a lot of dynamics. We only had one channel to capture everything at once. So what we did was arrange the room as a mix, so that the vocalist was closest to the microphone, the guitars were to one side with the bass and drums back center and the rhythm section to the other side. Then the extras like a horn section and background vocals would be on the opposite side of the room as the vocalist. Then in the 70’s there was a boom in recording advances. We went from 1 channel to 4, then 8, and wow man, 16! And the possibilities just kept growing. Now with the advent of digital recording not only are the channels and track nearly unlimited, you don’t even have to be in the same country or on the same continent to record! It’s really unbelievable.

You have so many great stories of the people you’ve met, but you have one in which you didn’t get to meet the guy. Would you tell me about that? Sure. I was living on 120th and West 70th, right downtown near Central Park. A block and a half one way was Lennon’s apartment building and the other direction was the Orwell House, where Paul McCartney lived. So one afternoon I walked up to the guard shack at Orwell House and told the guard, “Yeah I’m here to see Paul McCartney,” and he said, “He’s in 9B. Take the elevator up to 9 and he’s just down the hall.” As I’m walking into the building I’m thinking Wow, that’s easy! So I get off the elevator to a hallway with red velvet on the walls and black doors with brass knockers and I find 9B. I knock… no answer. I tried again, still no answer. I didn’t get to meet him and I didn’t even think to leave a note. I’m sure the guard knew he wasn’t there and that’s why he let me go.

By Tamma Hicks, STEAM Magazine

I was looking at a few of your albums,

I’m sure as you’ve gone through the pages of

STEAM over the last 3 years you’ve seen ads for our radio station and you’ve probably looked us up. STEAM Magazine (SMR) is an online station broadcasting at 320k, which means we are super clear. You can listen via the web (needs a flash player) or on mobile apps like KryKey Premium Radio and TuneIn – both are free on iTunes and Google Play.

The best part of SMR is that we play Indie Artists from all over the world. We average 50,000 listeners a month from everywhere and we’re adding music all the time. We’re a little like the ol’ FM stations because we’ll play the whole album and there isn’t a lot of commercials or talk. We also play a huge variety of genres, from country to rock and Americana to Celtic and metal to instrumentals and techno and EDM. OK, so my point to this is that we find a lot of music through ReverbNation, and if you haven’t checked them out you really should. One of the artists we recently

added is the Americana/Latin/Jazz guitarist Jeff DeVillez from Corpus Christi, and we thought we’d introduce him to you.

Jeff DeVillez has been doing musical things for more than 50 years. At the age of 5 his mother, a concert cellist, convinced his dad, an engineer for GE, to get Jeff and his sister a piano. After only a few lessons, the head strong boy said he’d learn on his own, but not with that teacher. And he did. The first song he learned to sing and play, which he did repeatedly for his relatives and his parents’ friends, was “Prince Igor” from the classic musical, The King & I. That was his first taste of stardom and he liked it. As a young teenager he began teaching himself guitar. His next big taste was at a school talent show where he played guitar and sang a song he’d written. The auditorium was full and the girls thought he was really cool; so that’s when he decided that music would be his life.

Since then he not only learned but lived the music business. His dad always wanted to


know why he didn’t follow in his footsteps, but in a way Jeff took after both his parents in his musical career. He started in Indiana where his uncle owned night clubs, lived and worked in New York where he amassed most of his recording knowledge before heading to Mexico and Guatemala where he worked with the likes of Menudo and Ricky Martin and many, many more Latin artists, and finally landing in Corpus Christi.

He is a singer-songwriter with more than 6 albums with radio play and concerts throughout the world and hundreds of songs more just waiting to be recorded and performed. He has a proven track record as a recording engineer and producer as well as a live-mix concert engineer for dozens of artists from the US, Mexico, and Central America. Currently Jeff is preparing to head to Austin where he’ll record his next album which will be hitting the stores sometime this summer. How has recording changed in the last 50 years?

TropiCowboy, True Believer, and Timeless, and I noticed that you include the words to each song. Why do that? First, because I like having something tangible in my hand and you don’t get that with digital downloads. Don’t get me wrong, all my work is available online too. So when I’m playing someone’s album I want to know where and who helped in making that music. I think that when someone gets the hardcopy in their hands it improves their understanding of what they’re listening to; that’s why all my albums include a booklet that tells you who, what, and where this music came from. It gives them all the credits and the words so they can sing along and again, know what they’re listening to.

What do you like to listen to? Or should

I ask do you listen to music? I have met many people that can’t listen to music, because it’s an overload on their system. Oh yeah, you never know where inspiration is going to come from, so I definitely listen to other people. My wife and I are real fans of mellow to a more intricate Jazz. Peter White, a jazz guitarist from the UK, is just fabulous, so is French jazz guitarist Marc Antoine; both are good friends of ours. They used to tour a lot together. Marc does hiphop flamenco and if you get time to look him up; I think you’ll really enjoy it. Look for Urban Gypsy. JeffDeVillez