Monday, December 10, 2018

Win cool free stuff from the Bigfoot Diaries

In the spirt of the holidays and because we got day drunk yesterday and decided to do this, the crew at Bigfoot Diaries headquarters (Troy's basement) is giving away a prize pack to a few lucky readers as thanks for letting us invade your Facebook feeds.

Here's what you could win:

* A brand-new Walkman-type 
   cassette player 

* Batteries to operate the darn thing

* Headphones

* Four mixtapes compiled  
   from records in the Bigfoot vaults

* Original Bigfoot artwork mini- 
   coloring book with each tape

* Set of colored pens to     
   make them pretty

* Some other cool stuff 
   we need to get rid of

How to win:

* Like the BFD Facebook page if you haven't already so you can get updates and we can feel important

* Tell us briefly about either 
     A.) Your bigfoot or alien encounter 
     B.) The time you were the highest 
            you've ever been

     C.) Your greatest garage sale/ thrift store/ dumpster diving find

Bonus points if your story covers all three options!

LEAVE YOUR STORIES in the comment section of the blog. 

Be warned, we might share your stories, but we can do so anonymously if you've got one of those grown up jobs or reputations you need to protect. We'll either pick from our favorite stories or just pick a few names at random - we really don't know what we're doing here...

We'll wrap this up on Dec. 19 so we can get prizes out before celebrations commence for Yule, Xmas, Winter Solstice, Kwanza, an extra day off work or whatever you celebrate (sorry for missing Hanukkah). 

Oh, the tapes are 90 minutes each. One each of classic metal, old-school punk, rock 'n' roll you prolly won't hear on the radio, and one full of weird "music" you'll appreciate only if you're tripping balls. 

What are you waiting for?

Also - - Thanks to Tyler Walpole and Petra Lange for creating Bigfoot drawings that are actually good and letting us add them to the mix. 

Saturday, December 8, 2018

What The Hell Are We Up To Now?

Lets see...

Brand new Walkman with headphones and batteries, 4 mixtapes (punk, metal, rock n roll, and weird shit) from The Bigfoot Vaults, mini coloring books with origina
l artwork, pens for coloring them in.... Very limited! Perfect for the music lover in your life. Stay tuned to see how to get your set for free...!

Friday, December 7, 2018

Pass the Salt and Butter Dept.

You ever have somebody ask you what record you'd pick if you could only have one? You know, if you were stranded on an island, what record would you want with you? ( Of course all of these hypothetical islands have record players and power sources.) I can not ever come up with one. I can't even do it if you gave me ten to pick from. The list would change on a daily basis. I will say though, that if I was to find myself in such a dire predicament, and  if I had a copy of Follow Me To The Pop Corn (from Jazzman Records) I would at least be able to feel like things are pretty all right. Swell even. This collection of smoldering old and obscure Soul and R'n'B tunes flows across your brain like a molten lava cocktail. Cuts from Litttle Jimmy Ray, Plas Johnson, Dinah Shore (Yep, that's right.), Shorty Long, and plenty of others sure set the mood for drinking some stiff Bourbon drinks  in some weird club like you might catch on the late, late, late show back in the good old days of the TV wasteland. Belly up to the bar of the El Tangier Club and start knockin' back the cocktails as the smooth, and smokey sounds slide you down the chute, for one pleasant, long, dark, night of the soul.

How this stuff, or maybe rather, how this scene got the moniker of popcorn I really don't know. In the late 60s and early 70s some of the DJ's at clubs in Belgium started playing these records. It caught on, people started turning up, dancing their asses off, it became a rage, and thus a scene was born. But still, why Popcorn? Why not Liquor infused Honoluchee Bundt Cake? Or Brandi drizzled Pineapple Flips?  Those may or may not really be great, but they seem to get a little closer to the overall ambiance of the place in my mind this music takes me, but it really doesn't matter. That's the name it's got and why should I complain? It's enough that this style, or genre, or whatever, exists and has it's adherents. Thus allowing me  to stumble on to this, (Thanks WFMU) and now you can too. This would be great for your next gathering of friends, or even when your about to sleep off that whiskey drunk. Slap this on while you start sinking into your alcoholic dream world and turn the trip into some kind of cryptic, subconscious joy ride filled with all sorts of deep and profound symbolic messages containing concepts of life altering importance; and then forget it all but a few disconnected images and scenes by the time you wake up and wrestle with that obscene, Bukowskiesque hangover. At least you can play the record again, so it's all good.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Five Questions... with Marc Storace of Krokus

Marc Storace isn't a household name, though had things gone a bit differently in the early '80s, it's highly possible that his name would be. After Bon Scott's passing, AC/DC was looking for a new singer, and the band had sent an invitation to Storace to audition for the new gig. Ultimately Storace declined, citing loyalty to his own band, Krokus. At the time who could blame him? Krokus was gaining serious momentum, and it wouldn't be long before they were getting tremendous airplay on both FM radio and on MTV, which at the time was still in it's heyday and playing music videos. Things were cruising nicely for Storace and his band, so why jump ship?

Interestingly enough in 2016, Storace admitted that if AC/DC were to call again, he'd definitely accept the chance to audition. Brian Johnson had left the band, citing issues with his hearing. Doctors had told Johnson that he risked complete hearing loss if continued on, and apparently it was enough for him to consider retirement. (In August of this year, rumors began flying that Johnson rejoined the band.)

So Marc Storace, at least for the moment is still with Krokus. Out of the goodness of his rock and roll heart, he agreed to answer a few questions about his extensive life of fronting a band, touring the world and not having any regrets.

Tell me a crazy but true rock and roll story.

Well, almost like an exert out of Spinal Tap it was! We were playing our last gig as Special-Guests on the huge Def Leppard -Pyromania- Tour in 1983. Krokus`s Headhunter album was sitting proudly at Number 24 in the Billboard Charts at the time...we were having the time of our lives.

After the end of every show we always came out to give one or two encores, the first of which was the title song of our current new album Headhunter. This song pleaded for theatrics so, LD, our tour-manager, not of small physique, would don this Henchman costume and "Bigfoot" his way onto our stage holding a huge Swiss ax high above his masked head. The band would be half way through the song and the henchman would walk out towards our lead guitar player, Fernando and hand him the heavy ax. It was always after Fern had just finished playing this long great guitar-solo and after he had teased and thrashed his guitar across the stage long enough!

He then would take the deadly ax from LD and get to work aggressively on his whining-guitar, which would eventually meet it`s ill fate ending up totally demolished high above his own head, it`s body pierced by the ax`s spike, with the neck still hanging from the strings accompanied by screeching guitar sounds coming from the speakers!

You can`t imagine how the crowds went berserk each and every was scary, hilarious and much fun for all.

Part of an old tradition sees bands and crew members playing pranks on the last day of each tour...and this was no exception.

So, on our last night, still guesting with Def Leppard on our Headhunter tour, LD, our enormous tour manager, goes into the dressing room to change into his Henchman Costume, but, while he was doing so, one of the crew locked him in as was planned!

No problem, LD was armed with a huge ax which he immediately put to good use and made it onto that stage just in time...after first demolishing the dressing room door of course...ha ha ha ha ha! That`s one of the stories that easily sticks out in my head.

Krokus in 1983
You've clearly toured all around the world. What was touring like during the '80s and how is it different compared to how bands tour today?

We always preferred a night-liner to planes where possible because of the socializing and comfort factors involved. Of course we spent much time in cool hotels and enjoyed spending our days off at these huge Malls or Theme-Parks. We were into roller-coasters, good movies and good restaurants a lot. Nowadays we tend to fly much more but still enjoy some good old night-liner rides. I guess that`s how it is for a lot of bands today.

Tell me about the current state of Krokus.

Krokus is basically composed out of a bunch of old school rock`n`roll buddies who saw it fit to reunite after being apart far too long.

Each musician today totally respects the other, first for the music, then for the rekindled old camaraderie created over thousands of road miles, as much as the realization that the band will be celebrating 40 years since coming into being! Together we fought many fads and trends trying to stay true to the core, to keep our own identity ! Of course there were slight deviations...but these were mere intrusions of the times!

Today we are living what destiny has confirmed to us. That it was worth getting back together to reform the class of 1982. We`re are more or less the same hard working team that put so much energy..blood, sweat and tears into the band`s music and playing it around the world.

Today we sound close to where we left off in 1988 with the HEART ATTACK album...but with an additional and fitting touch of blues. Both our albums HOODOO and DIRTY DYNAMITE, released after the big reunion concert of 2008 here in Switzerland, helped us regain immense worldwide recognition...and the respect from our old hard core fans simply grew.

Our latest 2014 release, the "live" album LONGSTICK GOES BOOM! proves once and for all that we are a live-force to be reckoned with, so we`re back to where we started really, or maybe even further...truly amazing, but we are at the ready!

You almost became the singer for ACDC after Bon Scott died. Please tell me about that process, and do you have any regrets for not taking that job?

Had I accepted to turn up for an audition, I honestly doubt whether the lads would have been looking for someone who sounded so close to their dear Bon really. My loyalty to Krokus was too big then already anyway, so, absolutely no regrets.

Fill in the blank: If I could go back in time, I would ______________.

Never not follow my instincts again.

What is the most surprising thing you ever received in the mail from a fan?

I once received this beautiful velvet pouch containing this shining polished-crystal necklace. There was a parchment saying the crystals had been exposed to many full moons. I lost it somewhere along my travelling way.

If you actually did "Eat the Rich," what would it taste like? 

Well, I hate to go out of context and hope this does not shock you BUT according to the diaries of marooned survivors who forcibly resorted to cannibalism (they ate some muscle of their dead colleagues) for survival reasons, human flesh tastes like chicken!

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Coolest Song This Week: 'Gone Are the Days' by Pat Todd and the Rankoutsiders

Pat Todd is perhaps most famous for being the head honcho in California's legendary cowpunk scene as the front man for the Lazy Cowgirls. But don't for a second try to convince yourself that just because that band doesn't make records anymore, that he is succumbing to his golden age in a quiet and lethargic retirement.

Bien au contrare, mon ami!

From Los Angeles, Pat Todd and the Rankoutsiders are there to pick up where the Cowgirls left off, still inventing music that is rich in flavor and high in attitude. Or maybe it's rich in attitude and high in flavor?  Or maybe they are high and rich? Or one or the other? Or none at all...

Fuck I don't know. All I know is that it rocks, and it's the coolest song I've heard this week.

Cheggitout man!

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Five Questions With... Kelsey Magnolia

Kelsey Magnolia -- bad-ass freak
Kelsey is pretty fucking awesome.
That’s the simplest way I could think of to start this piece. She’s an amazing artist, music fan and promoter, psychedelic warrior, road dog, wrestling aficionado, and all round bad-ass weirdo. 
She’s also one of those rare people who not only does cool shit, but inspires and supports other people trying to do the same. 
Kelsey started the annual “Too Broke for the Arts Fest” in 2014, giving other local artists, crafts people, and musicians an outlet to share their work. She’s an ardent support of local music and books some of the best house shows you’ve never been to. She rages like a mad woman, can drink and smoke you under the table, and throws herself 110 percent into anything she commits to. 
It’s hard not to admire a person like Kelsey who wears her passions on her sleeve without apology. Her quest for adventure, pursuit of the strange, and lust for life make Des Moines a brighter, livelier, more colorful city. We’re lucky to have her here. 
Check out her work here. Shoot her a message and say hello or commission a piece if you’ve got a few bucks. You won’t regret it.

Kelsey with by far the coolest fucking thing ever made
from Perler beads. It's also for sale. Hit her up.
You’re responsible for introducing the human race to the grays and reptilians. What do you include in the opening message? 

"You're going to have to excuse, like, 95% of humanity, but a lot of us are SUPER stoked to meet you guys."

You’ve already taken puff paint and Perler bead art to new heights. What other mediums are you interested in working with?

"I'm interested in just about everything and love to learn. Airbrushing is definitely something I'd like to learn more about, as well as getting more into screen printing. If I won the lottery I would have the biggest studio with everything imaginable. I could maybe afford a potter's wheel and kiln with a couple mill in the bank."
Tell us about Too Broke for The Arts Fest. Why did you start it and do you plan to continue with it?
"When I decided I wanted to actually get into doing art more, I wanted to set some goals for myself. The first one I thought of was trying to display at the big art fest in town. I quickly found out it was HELLA expensive to even apply, and most of the artists weren't even from Des Moines, let alone the midwest. So I decided to put on my own show of local artists the same weekend, and throw some bands on the show for an extra fun time. The first Too Broke was June 28th, 2014, and we've been growing for five years now. I really love the Vaudeville Mews, but I'm thinking of trying to find a bigger venue to be able to keep growing as a show."

Tell us a crazy house-show story?
Psychedelic piano made in 2017.
"I'd have to be able to remember the house shows in order to tell you anything, man. Ha, mostly kidding. The coolest show was probably when Rattlehead from LA played and recorded the whole time they were at our place. I still have the flyers they put up around the house informing people they would be on film throughout the night. I'm not sure if anything ever came out of all that footage, but I would love to find it. It was a wiiiild, crazy night. The most legendary moment is most definitely when Kevin dropped an elbow off the stove onto Tory. It was unforgettable, no matter what state of mind we were all in."

You contributed to a kick ass psychedelic coloring book a while back. How did that come about?
The book is called Let's Create Something Magical Volume 3 and was put together and released by Weird Destiny, a kickass duo of dudes from Texas, Billy and Colby, who put on the freakiest of shows for the weirdest of freaks. I got super into Miley Cyrus when she collaborated with Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips for her Dead Petz album. I think I just followed a bunch of people who were mostly into the Lips on Instagram, and then became friends on Facebook, and I'm pretty sure that's how I met Billy, who moved out of Austin and now runs Weird Destiny on his own.
Bonus Question: 
You’re in charge of Miley Cyrus, Ric Flair, and King Diamond for a day. What kind of plans are you making for the group? 
Oh man, it'd have to be 2016 Miley so she would still properly party with us. And Flair in his PRIME. King can be present day, cus I'm pretty sure he's always been legit AF. We'd start with some killer brunch in a greasy diner and then see where the weirdness would take us...

Friday, November 30, 2018

Five Questions With... James Biehn

James Biehn at the Greenwood Lounge
Five Questions With … James Biehn
The most important thing to know about James Biehn is that he’s as good a dude as he is a guitar player. And vice versa. And that’s saying a lot.
When he’s not gigging with the James Biehn band, he’s playing solo shows all around the city or sitting in with the many musicians wants to play with him or playing one-off shows with a variety of bands. On top of that, he’s the owner and driving force behind the Central Iowa Music Lab in Des Moines, where dozens of students are learning from James and other top players in Des Moines to play and sing and write songs and work together as musicians. Oh, and he’s also an amazing father to about a half dozen or so super rad kids (I think it's 5, but I can’t keep track).
To say James is integral to the music scene in Des Moines is an understatement. He’s not only a key player in most everything cool that’s happening now, he’s also planting seeds for the future, breeding the next generation (or two) of musicians that will carry the torch forward for years to come.
Somehow, we caught James when he had a few minutes to spare and he agreed to answer a few questions for the Bigfoot Diaries.
If you haven’t seen him, do yourself a favor and check him out as soon as you can. 
The James Biehn Band will be at the Greenwood Lounge tonight (Friday, Nov. 30) at 9 pm. There’s no cover, so there’s no reason not to pop in for a bit.

You teach a lot of people to play. Is there anything about music that can’t be taught?
“Anyone can learn to play music. It is the job of the instructor to understand how each student is ‘wired’ and adjust their teaching techniques to accommodate that student. Also, a student’s goals also come into play. Learning guitar to play by the campfire? That’s probably an easier goal than, say, playing at the Blue Note (jazz club) in New York.”

If you could only play one chord from now on, which one would it be and why?
“Probably an open A chord, all fretted strings played with the index finger. That’s get me a long way towards my dream goal of playing rhythm guitar like Malcolm Young.” 

When was the last time you played “Freebird” at a gig?
“Last time was probably around 2006 at Raccoon River Brewing Company. That’s the last time I remember anyway. I actually don’t mind playing it if it’s a sincere request. But it never is. I’d play it more often if it was mandatory for the person that requested it to sit in a chair five feet from me for all 12 minutes of the song. But they’re usually pussies, so they won’t.”
(Note: I’ve yelled Freebird at James many times and he’s never once found it as funny as I have. Because I love him, I promise to stop now).

Zappa, Hendrix, Vaughn, or Garcia. You can bring one back to join you in one gig. Who do you pick?
“Probably Hendrix, just because he encompasses a little of what each of the other guys possess: Vaughan’s blues roots, Garcia’s improvisational abilities, and Zappa’s progressive songwriting.”

On those rare nights when you’re not playing, which local musicians will get you to a show as a spectator?
“I’ve played a little bit around the country and I’ve never found musicians more gifted or skilled than the musicians in Des Moines, Iowa. Some of them have been good, but never better. That’s why it’s hard to pick one or two. That said, off the top of my head, I’d say Jeff Banks, Chad Elliott, and Matt Woods. They are listening to their inner voices very intently and doing a great job of making sure that what they’re hearing on the inside is what we’re hearing on the outside.”

Bonus question
You’re very complimentary about everyone who plays music. That’s nice, but come on — who do you really dislike?
As long as someone is really working on their craft and trying to realize their potential, then I’m a fan. But some people get on stage with goals that are decidedly non-musical, but they have the appearance of musicians. I won’t name names, but I find that so disingenuous. Duane Allman once said, ‘This ain’t no ballet and it ain’t no g…m fashion show.’ The minute the music starts to resemble either of those, I’m out. I want to connect and be connected with. If that isn’t your goal, then I don’t want any of it.” 

Connect with James on his fan page to find future shows and check out the Central Iowa Music Labas well!

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Fallon to Launch Tour of New Book

Press Release from Ed Fallon:

DES MOINES — On Sunday, December 2, 2:00 p.m. at 500 E. Locust Street (third floor) in Des Moines, Ed Fallon will launch his book Marcher, Walker, Pilgrim. The book is Fallon’s memoir from the Great March for Climate Action — the 2014 march from Los Angeles to Washington, DC when a core of 35 marchers walked 3,100 miles in eight months.

“While this book is deeply personal and reveals details of my life few are aware of, my motive in writing Marcher, Walker, Pilgrim was to rouse people to take action against the existential threat of climate change,” said Fallon. “The urgency I felt during the March is now greater than ever. I hope this story inspires people to mobilize to fight climate change immediately, before it’s too late.”

Through candid introspection, Fallon weaves four threads throughout the narrative:

(1) A changing climate regularly threatens the vulnerable, exposed March community,

(2) As the miles unfold, Fallon struggles with his search for love and meaning,

(3) Climate change is already impacting the lives of people marchers meet along the way,

(4) Internal disputes threaten to tear the March apart.

Here are a few excerpts from the book:

“We arrive at our campsite in a park in Gibbon to an almost warlike scene. Large hail stones have broken glass and smashed cars. Siding has been ripped off buildings, paint stripped from houses. In the park, mature trees that normally would provide shade are half naked, their foliage shredded by hail. I try to imagine what would have happened to our tents, vehicles, and bodies had we camped here the previous night when the storm struck.” (from Chapter 25)

“For better or worse, somewhere in the middle of the last century, there occurred a seismic shift in how American males regarded romantic relationships. The love-intoxicated, idealistic man-hero of Victorian times sobered up. He accepted the fact that divine forces weren’t simply going to guide him to his true love, where recognition of their predestined union would be mutual and instantaneous. … He wisely pivoted his strategy, seized the initiative, and began to spend prodigious amounts of time in bars.” (from Chapter 4)

“In my tent along an Arizona highway, two days’ walk from Phoenix, I imagine that when I again fall asleep my dreams will guide me back to that moment with Grace, guide me to a realm of time and space where our waltz never ends, where her head forever rests against my shoulder, her hand fitting perfectly in mine, my other hand around her waist, holding her close, dancing slowly, spinning ever onward beyond turmoil, beyond pain and suffering, beyond eternity itself.” (from Chapter 11)

“The 19-mile march to Gary, Indiana takes us through East Chicago and Whiting, past the most disturbing industrial carnage most of us have ever witnessed. We pass miles of smoke stacks and flaming towers — garish monuments exposing the lie behind modernity’s sanitized facade. Of all the ugliness we’ve seen on the March this is the worst.” (from Chapter 34)

Ed Fallon’s life of public service includes 14 years in Iowa Legislature. Since 2009, Fallon has hosted a weekly talk show, the Fallon Forum. He also directs Bold Iowa, a non-profit organization whose mission is to build rural-urban coalitions to fight climate change. Marcher, Walker, Pilgrim is his first book.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

And Now, a Little Ditty From the BFD Crew...

Happy Thanksgiving Day from us at BFD. (Even those of you who are on the Group W bench.) We're extremely thankful for you! 

Stay lit. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Coolest Song This Week: "Bigfoot Blues" by Texacala Jones Pony Island Express

Texacala Jones Pony Island Express hails from the heart of Bigfoot country, Austin, Texas. The band is fronted by the legendary Texacala Jones and features guitarist Chelsea Taylor, drummer Frank Garymartin, and Nathan Calhoun on bass.

Yes, THAT Nathan Calhoun. (Yeah, when we see a good thing, we usually run with it.)

Enjoy the fuck out of it. You know we are!

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Five Questions with Nathan Calhoun of WE Are The Asteroid

If you were at the Melvins show at Wooly's several weeks ago - and I'm sure you were, because any useful human being who thinks of him/herself as a punk would have bellied up for this show - then you might have seen one of the more unique bands that's come through Des Moines in recent memory.

Now you are probably like, really? The Melvins unique

I get your point. Aside from Buzzo's hair and maybe Steven McDonald's shoe size, there isn't really anything rare or remarkable about what the Melvins do. (Fight me.) There's hundreds of bands that create volcano sludge rock, and while the Melvins are exceptionally good at it, especially with McDonald on guitar and Jeff Pinkus on bass, it's not necessarily groundbreaking in terms of what's been coming through Des Moines over the years.

Photo by Troy Church

I am referring to WE Are The Asteroid, the band that played in direct support of the Melvins. If the apocalypse has a soundtrack, WE Are The Asteroid is composing it. 

Now look. I completely understand if you've missed opening acts at Wooly's because you were preoccupied taking shots at the Locust Tap. (God knows I wouldn't pay Wooly's prices for alcohol either.) But if that was the case at this show, then you made a terrible mistake.

WE Are The Asteroid deserves your attention. ALL of it. 

One part kaleidoscopic mindfuck, one part dramatic freebooter, and one part Godzilla crushing Tokyo, this three headed monster has the grit and melodrama of those old black and white horror films you used to stay up late and watch as a kid when you spent the night at the neighbor's house. Imagine The Valley of Gwangi put to a non-visual musical score... That's pretty much what you get with WE Are The Asteroid. Only it IS visual... Audiovisual. And it's fantastic. 

I'm not sure what kind of trouble these fellas got into growing up before they formed this band in Austin, Texas, but they certainly don't fall in line with the artists who have made Austin famous. Cowboys, rednecks and bluesmen in cowboy hats? This ain't them. You're not going to find their music in the Good ol boys section of the record store.

WE Are The Asteroid is drummer Frank Garymartin, guitarist/singer Gary Chester, and bassist/singer Nate Calhoun. Nate Calhoun took some time after a recent tour in Japan to answer five questions. 

Can you tell me about a personal paranormal experience you've had?

That’s funny you ask. Just recently, on tour with The Melvins, I was backstage reading “Chariots of the Gods” for the umpteenth time, when a bright flash of light emanating from the bathroom startled me from my book. I jumped to my feet and rushed into said bathroom with no regard for the privacy of its occupant. As I entered , two glowing orbs were exiting the room via the HVAC duct. Then, in horror,I noticed at my feet, disintegrating before my eyes, the fancy suit and gorgeous (I stress gorgeous) hair of Steven McDonald, melting into smoke along with his very large tennis shoes. I ran to the WATA van and didn’t say a word. This is the first I’ve mentioned this to anyone, due to the concerns for my mental health it may cause. When I saw Steven the next night, he gave me a very unsettling wink.

For Joe Sixpack, who only listens to FM classic rock radio, how would you describe your band? 

I would say, in my best Texas accent,  “Joe, it kinda sounds like your favorite band from the classic rock station fell down the stairs and just weren’t “right” anymore. I mean they can still play and everything, but they seem like they lost their fucking minds” 

Why did you name your band We Are The Asteroid? What does it mean?

I heard a science story on the radio about the upcoming 6th extinction event on planet earth. The 5th one being the dinosaurs, caused by an asteroid. The scientist said “This time , we (humans) are the asteroid.” I immediately jumped on that. It resonated with me.

Nate Calhoun. Photo stolen from Facebook

Do you have a good Steven McDonald story?

See the answer to the first question! Steven and all the Melvins were really kind and generous on tour. It was a real privilege to play them all.

What's the nuttiest thing you remember about touring in Japan? 

I can safely say that everyone in WATA really loves Japan. We’ve been there twice in our short (3 year) existence. And the band we’ve toured with (here and in Japan) Tsushimamire is so fucking awesome. They’ve been a great eye opener to us in many ways. That being said, everything about Japan is super nutty. It’s just so different in obvious and subtle ways, that it’s totally psychedelic even when stone cold sober. 

 "Mushrooms" is a great song. Do you have a weird mushroom story? 

Hmmm. One time (a long time ago) I was in New Orleans for Mardi Gras. On the street, I ran into a guy I knew from Houston “Ricky the thief” . He had a big bag of home picked mushrooms along with the more traditional dried commercial variety. After taking some of the commercial ones , we set off to find a place to turn the big bag of fresh picked ones into a tea. I guess they had been in the bag for a while. When we piled them into the pot and started boiling them , maggots just came pouring out and boiling alive. (And yes we were tripping at this point). But we strained them really well with a t shirt and didn’t hesitate to drink that gallon of mushroom maggot tea.

Monday, November 19, 2018

That Time (last night) I Ran Into Steve Vai

Making the rounds around Hoyt Sherman Place during the Generation Axe show last night I noticed someone sitting at the back of the loading dock where a couple million dollars’ worth of equipment had made its way into the venue earlier in the day.
As head of security for this show it was my job to make sure this person wasn’t trying to sneak in or walk off with some equipment. I approached and said hello. The guy looked up apologetically for raising concern, offered a hand to shake and said, “Oh, Hi. I’m Steve.”
I’ve worked enough shows and met enough artists that I don’t get star struck much. But, holy shit. Steve Vai just introduced himself to me. If you don’t’ know who Steve Vai is, first, shame on you. Second, just google him. I don’t have space to write his bio here. Briefly though, he’s the guy near the top of every “greatest guitar player ever” list, and the driving force behind the Generation Axe touring guitar masturbation fest featuring himself, Zakk Wylde, Yngwie Malmsteen, Nuno Bettencourt, and Tosin Abasi.
He told me he was just taking a quick break outside while Yngwie Malmsteen was on stage, and was listening for his cue to join him. I told him that was perfectly fine – and then immediately felt as stupid as humanly possible for telling him it was OK to be at his own show.
Trying, and failing, to play it cool, I said I was just watching Yngwie and that he was “killing it.” Fucking dork. Steve kindly agreed though, and commented about how exact and precise he is and how amazing it is to play with him. He truly seemed like a fan, just some dude chilling and talking about music. I asked where they were headed next and admitted he really didn’t know. Then he asked “We’re in Des Moines tonight right?” I responded awkwardly with the Spinal Tap quote “Hello Cleveland!” and he said “It could very well be Cleveland. I can’t keep track.”
I mentioned I was a big fan, especially of his work with Frank Zappa back in the 80s and he broke into a huge smile, and said Frank was incredible and one of a kind. A guy who saw us chatting came up and mentioned he had an album he’d brought to Get signed. Steve said “Yeah, no problem, go grab it if it’s close or just catch me afterwards.”
He came back from his car with a copy of “Ship Too Late to Save a Drowning Witch,” an album Zappa released in 1982. It’s best known for “Valley Girl,” the song in which Moon Unit Zappa, like, forever changed the way we speak in the United States. Steve was credited on this album for playing “impossible guitar parts.”
Steve took it in his hands and smiled, said “Oh yeah” or “Oh Wow” or something along those lines, turned it over to look at the front and back, seeming to recall some memory or another. “This album was half studio work and half live,” he said. “You know the song ‘Envelopes?’ It was supposed to be a live recording but Frank messed up and had to dub in some studio parts. That was the only time I ever saw Frank mess up.”
He then started talking about the incredible range of music that Zappa was responsible for. “Frank put out a lot of different music. Some of it was really ahead of its time and people might just be appreciating it now. Then there’s stuff he did with the synclavier that is so incredible and so far ahead of its time that in 100 years people will just start to understand how brilliant it is.”
Then Yngwie played a particular lick that caught Steve’s attention and stopped him mid-sentence. “Oh shit. That’s my cue.” I walked him back to the entrance and mentioned that I always loved the story about when he auditioned for Frank and before I could finish he laughed and said, "I hear Linda Ronstadt is looking for a guitar player.” He shook my hand again and thanked me for some damn reason, then climbed on stage with Yngwie and proceeded to just tear shit down.
Not a bad night.

Saturday, November 17, 2018


Reading is, of course, one of life's greatest pleasures. We here at BFD HQ have a thing for the written word. I like words in all the different platforms that they are presented. Books, magazines, zines, newspapers, blogs, comic books,candy wrappers, cryptic post-it notes left on truck stop urinals, and yes, even the profound words of wisdom found scrawled on the bathroom stalls of the seedy bar on the corner. It's all a real blast and I figure you must agree because your reading something right now. Or maybe your having it read to you, but either way, if you get a kick out of lit then you may enjoy a few of the things that have found their way to my mailbox.

First off is a zine from some group of Pagans. It has Asatru Apothecary emblazoned on the front and back cover so maybe that's how these folks identify themselves, but I'm not sure. Anyway before SPRING OF WYRD arrived I had it imagined it to be some tome about a bunch of guys telling how to mix up some psychoactive brews and twisted tales of what these concoctions can do to ya. I envisioned deranged stories of tripping bad asses on hallucinatory quests through the concrete landscapes morphing into hellish, dark alleys of the Interzone while doing battle with goblins, demons, strange creatures and Catholics. I'm not sure why my imagination built the thing up that way but that wasn't what I got. Rather this zine is a rather serious take on the historical mythology( or is it mythical history) of meads, ambrosia's or whatnot. It's really kind of scholarly and yes there are recipes, so if your inclined to get hold of the ingredients( some of which are Henbane seeds, dried Yarrow, etc.) you could whip yourself up a batch of outlaw ale and maybe embark on some shamanic vision quest and better your life a little in the process. Who knows. This is an interesting read and I'm thinking these guys take it all pretty seriously. I might actually drink a couple of beers with these guys. Maybe.

Next up I got three issues of THE ROCK N' ROLL HORROR ZINE edited by one Ben Fitts. There is a fourth issue out I think so if your so inclined you may want to check it out. the premise of this is spelled out for you in the title. Rock n roll horror fiction. Not bad really. I haven't read all of the stories yet but you get stuff about cursed guitar peddles, killer musicians (as in they actually kill people), and other such stuff. Some of it is kind of Twighlight Zonish in ways or at least is making the attempt. I don't know that I would call what I've read so far amaturish but some might. I don't know, but one of the thing I like about this zine (and zines in general) is that it can feel like it's someone telling you a story over beer and tacos. there's something kind of one on one personal about it.

They take submissions so you could send them your own spooky rock n roll tale and why shouldn't you. I think you'd get a copy of the zine to give to yer mom and maybe something else. Again contact 'em and find out for yourself. As far as getting these things you should check out places like Etsy, Ebay, and other online places that sell zines. When I tried to link the websites it kept coming telling me it couldn't be reached so go find the stuff for yourself. It's out there and it ain't that hard. Besides it'll build character.

Last but certainly not least is the complete bound collection of DENIM DELINQUENT. One of those great rock n roll fanzines from the 70s.

This is chock full o great stuff. That gonzo, amateur approach to rock writing which basically beat the hell out of a lot of the pro mags. Edited by Jymn Parrett and lots of contributors some of whom you may know and others you may not, this thing delivers. The thing about mags like this isn't that it's about rock n roll, it is rock n roll. Lots of Seeds, Kinks, and Stooges worship. This kind of thing existed, exists, because of that obsessive, burning drive to get something of your own out there. If the pros won't cover what you want; go out there and cover it yourself with your own style and own language, and screw it if you ain't as slick or don't have the production values of the biggies, because that's never been the point anyway. It's rock n roll presented as a high energy, youth gultcher, seedy affair. Reading this is the same thing as playing one of your fave records and what's more is that you can do both at the same time. Get it at HoZac records and I  mean get it.


There's not much to be said that hasn't already been said about this guy. I know there's been a lot of controversy about how much the guy wrote and credit given for and taken for things and all that, and I don't know enough to really comment much, and don't want to go there anyway. What I will say as whatever the case, this guy was involved the creation of an epic 20th century pop mythology. I find Marvel comics pretty much a pile of crap these days; but in the 60s and 70s, and even in to the early 80s this stuff was vital to me, and goes along way into reflecting the weird world that exists inside of my head. I learned to read because of a Spider-Man comic book. I would actually go as far as to say that reading Spider-Man was possibly my first psychedelic experience. So for whatever part he played in the creation and perpetuation of Marvel comics I am honestly and eternally grateful. NUFF SAID!

Monday, November 12, 2018

Five questions with... Simeon Coxe of Silver Apples

A little background...

I found a copy of Contact by Silver Apples at a garage sale on the south side of Des Moines last summer, pulling it from the usual collection of grandma’s dusty old Herb Albert records. I’d never heard of the band, but for a buck I threw it on the purchase stack assuming I’d found yet another generic and forgotten rock record that might have a decent song or two on it. Was I ever wrong.

From the moment the needle hits vinyl, Contact is some seriously unique and weird shit with primitive synthesizers taking the lead over timid, almost apologetic vocals, discordant banjo, and percussion that is odd only in its normalcy among the chaos. It’s hypnotic and almost impossible to stop listening to once it begins. And, despite (or because of ?) the weirdness, it’s incredibly listenable and provides new discoveries with every repeat play. From the first listen I knew this was one of my all-time great garage sale finds. 

Silver Apples consisted of two members: Danny Taylor on percussion and vocals, and Simeon Coxe on vocals, oscillators, and banjo. Simeon and Danny (who had previously played with Jimi Hendrix) started off in a more traditional rock band, but Simeon discovered the audio oscillator and started incorporating it into the band’s performances until shit got so weird that everyone but Taylor just walked away and left them to whatever it was they were doing.

What they were doing, incidentally, was breaking new ground and establishing the framework for new musical genres to come — EDM, Kraut Rock, underground dance music, and indie rock

Simeon Coxe at work on The Simeon synthesizer. 
The backbone of the Silver Apple’s sound came from The Simeon, a homemade synthesizer that Simeon has described as “consisting of  12 oscillators, an assortment of sound filters, telegraph keys, radio parts, lab gear and a variety of second hand electronic junk.” 

Simeon and Danny parted ways after Contact, the follow up to their 1968 self-titled album, following the collapse of their record label (Kapp). An unauthorized CD issued by a German label in 1994 that contained both albums helped rekindle interest in the group. The pair reunited in 1996 and performed until Danny’s death in 2005. Simeon released Clinging to a Dream under the Silver Apple name in 2016, and has continued performing around the world. 

I reached out to Simeon to thank him for creating such amazing work and he agreed to do a “Five Questions With...” interview for The Bigfoot Diaries.

Silver Apples, 1967, first live show in Central Park.
 30,000 people were in attendance.
1. What is the best way an intelligent being from another planet or dimension could make contact with us?
“By decorating its message with confusing emojis so we get so hung up in trying to crack the code that we forget to guard against their attack.”

2. What is your all-time favorite sound?
“The sound of my own tinnitus because only I can hear it.”

3. How did you first discover the audio oscillator that you began incorporating into your music?
“A friend of mine in NYC had one that he used to play along with Beethoven after drinking a pint of vodka.”

4. Was it madness or genius that led you to create The Simeon Synthesizer?
“Definitely madness.”

5. What are you currently working on or have plans for in the future – musically or otherwise?
“I am currently basking in the joy of doing absolutely nothing.”

Bonus question: What is the strangest experience you’ve ever had?
“That time, remember? When time stood still, and everybody on earth had to reset their clocks, but no one could agree how much. That was strange!”

If you only listen to one song: A Pox on You

All photos from courtesy of Simeon Coxe

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Five Questions With... Ted Nugent of the Amboy Dukes

If a 13 year old kid asked you to hand him any album that would change his life forever, what record would you hand him? 

Music is truly a force to reckon with and has a power unto itself, including an element of universal communication. I don't believe music unto itself has enough meaningful impact to actually change a person's life, though it could be a fortifying soundtrack to upgrade if accompanied by intelligent, sincere and loving direction and guidance. As part of an overall message of being the best that you can be, there is a lot of music out here that inspires.

What do you say to people who attend your shows that don't want to hear about your political views... Who just want to hear your music?

I don't have to say anything to a person smart enough to know how incredible my music and band are, they already know how killer we are.

Side 2 of the first Amboy Dukes album starts off with a song called "Let's Go Get Stoned." What is your position on the legalization/decriminalization of marijuana? 

That was a great old song by Bob Dylan that some of my band mates actually believed in. And of course, unlike old clean and sober me, they are no longer around because of it. Dope destroys lives and everything and everybody around it. I am very much opposed to its legalization on any level.

What memories of any do you have about playing in Des Moines, Iowa? 

Many a glowing memory shine in my overwhelmed memory bank, and they are all wonderful! Intense people love intense, soulful music and our connection represents all the best elements of music and a united appreciation for the best of the best.

Do you still have the spandex pants with the suspenders that you feature on the cover and the back of the Double Live Gonzo! album?

No, I donated them to a charity and believe they have been hung over someone's home to keep away evil spirits and hippies. I understand they do so flawlessly. I last wore them around 1985 at an event where we buried disco.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Papa's Got a Brand New Bag of Tricks: GHOST plays Ames 11-4-18

As the moonless sky raked across the heavens Sunday night, I ventured into C Y Stephens Auditorium in Ames  to check out this latest incarnation of Ghost, the mysterious and ever-changing Swedish metal band that unabashedly courts Satan through it's horror church persona and infernal, godless lyrics.

Ghost takes the stage. Photo by Troy Church

My first intro to this band came in about 2011 when I was working part time as a line cook at a local restaurant. A co-worker, Nick (from Black Market Fetus) had taken it upon himself to burn off a few CDs to pass along, and Ghost's first full length album Opus Eponymous was among them. 

"Give it a listen," he said. "Let me know what you think."

Right away I became enthralled. By the music certainly, but maybe more by the way Ghost conducted their business. It was fascinating to me that a band could exist in the internet age and maintain such a masked level of anonymity. While it's since become known that the front man of the group is Tobias Forge, the identity of the rest of the band members remains unclear. 

One interesting theory at the time, and another factor that piqued my curiosity, was that the band was actually an alter-ego of the Swedish pop band The Cardigans, who'd shed their wholesome image for one of Satanic majesty, with inverted crosses, black papal robes and a darker, heavier image. (This rumor dispelled quickly while members of the Cardigans were spotted in Sweden while Ghost toured North America in late 2011.)  As members of Ghost have gone on to become ex-members of Ghost - I mentioned that they are ever-changing - their identities have become known. The identity of the current roster however, remains shadowy.

Cardinal Copia. Photo by Shanna Von Fumetti Wylie

Because of that first album and the mysterious nature of the band, I have remained a fan of Ghost, though admittedly I hadn't sought out any of their music since Opus Eponymous. I've kept tabs occasionally, knowing that Forge would change his persona from album to album, encrypting a new image for each new "concept," taking on a different Papal personality with each new release. What I didn't realize was that Forge had discarded the Satanic Pope image altogether to become Cardinal Copia for this latest incarnation. On this tour, he dons makeup but without complete facial disguise. 

I got the sense after seeing him perform that I might recognize him if I saw him on the street. I also got the sense that I probably have seen him on the streets, and that he looks nothing like what I'd expect somebody to look like who sings in a Satanic metal band. At the risk of pushing the envelope too far, I also got the sense that he resembles somebody who might actually be a member of The Cardigans. 

Sunday night was the first new night of Daylight Savings, and to my time-warped brain, it felt much later than 8:00. I was tired and not sure what to expect. The auditorium, while mostly full, seemed subdued and tired as I took my seat. I only sat there for about two minutes before the lights went down and the curtain dropped. Instantly I became aware that my preconceived calculation of the crowd had missed the mark, a thunderous clap erupted as the stage revealed itself to the auditorium.

Nameless Ghoul. Photo by Shanna Von Fumetti Wylie

The stage consisted of a marble stairway and terrace that sat atop a black and white checkerboard floor. Two platforms book-ended the terrace, one housing a guitar station and the other, an area where the keyboards were set up. Unnamed Ghouls took residence on each of these platforms, as well as on the stairway leading up to the terrace. Behind everything was giant set of cathedral windows with stained glass imagery. Front and center, in the middle window was a depiction of Papa Emeritus, the original Pope played by Forge on the band's first album, depicted much like you would see a once-living Pope exhibited on a window in a modern Catholic church. Smoke erupted from each side of the stage and the band held a long droning minor keyed note to set up the launch into the first song. As the song permitted, Cardinal Copia entered the stage to sing the first lyrics of the night. The crowd, already thunderously loud, erupted even louder.

At this point I should probably admit that I couldn't tell you the name of a single song by Ghost. The only CD I ever owned was one that was burned for me, and like on most burned CDs of the day, song listings weren't attached to it. I was running with blind expectations but it was enough for me to believe that  I'd enjoy the show. (That and the fact that my girlfriend is a big fan and accompanying me was everything I needed to put my ass in a seat.)

I'd seen the mockery of the band on social websites, but hadn't given it much thought. I understand that a band like Ghost isn't for everybody. Personally, I was still on the fence. I went in with blind expectations but when the curtain dropped, I knew I was in for a helluva night.

A highlight of the show was when the two front guitarists, both of whom exchanged lead parts throughout the night, participated in a battle. After a couple bouts of chasing scales, each scale a bit more complex than the previous, the battle ended when the one guitarist played a very sloppy intro to "Stairway to Heaven." After about 12 notes into Stairway, he stopped and waved his hands in disgusted defeat. It was a light moment but effectively funny. 

Photo by Shanna Von Fumetti Wylie

Another highlight was when, during a particularly intense guitar solo, Forge appeared at the top of the stairwell in full Pope toggery and accompanied the guitarists with an impressive sax solo. Forge would was constantly leaving the stage and reappearing.  Sometimes he'd be dressed completely differently, but damn if he wasn't always dressed immaculately. The way he flounced upon the stage gave the impression that he's well versed in Shakespearean play acting. Delicate and calculated, he seemed very aware of his every motion.  At times throughout the night, he gave the impression that he is a diva of sorts - In fact, his stage presence and theatrics are very similar to those of Geoff Tate's. 

Of course the band was fully disguised, wearing black robes and chrome plated devil masks. The masks didn't hinder the ability to play at all; Ghost is a well-oiled machine. Every musician was spot on, and while it was obvious that they were working hard, it also appeared that the band was legitimately having fun. Humor apparently is a mainstay throughout a Ghost concert, another quality I wasn't necessarily expecting. My experience when a band puts on a Satanic metal concert has always been that it's serious business. While Ghost was serious about putting on a quality concert, it was apparent that they were all having a blast. 

Usually when a band is having a blast, the audience is as well.