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Thursday, August 4, 2016

Five Questions with The Two Tens

The Two Tens are Adam Bones and Rikki Styxx, two garage rockers who hail from Los Angeles. They are currently on their Hashtag Volume Tour, and are in the midst of conquering America one gig at a time.

Bright and sassy, they are one part lip-smackin' bubble gum and two parts jaw breaker. While their smiles may be conspicuous, they aren't out to woo you with deep thought provoking lyrics and over saturated chord progressions. Just straight forward in your face smash rock. This is the band that your big sister never told you about, because she didn't want you stealing her records.

They roll into Des Moines tonight to play Vaudeville Mews. Show starts at 9:30 with Nowns and The Holy Rattlesnakes opening.

What is the untold backstory of The Two Tens?

Adam: All parts of the backstory have been told and have been truthful. Nothing has been untold. Rikki was the drummer in the last lineup of my solo project. I started to get burnt on that and decided to strip things down and write more punk style songs and not censor myself in the song writing process. I approached Rikki about the duo idea because not only is she a great drummer, but she's just fun to hang out with. She was into it and the rest is history.

Rikki: The truth is, Adam is my musical soul brother and bleeds rock n roll. He's also one of my best friends so it makes playing music fun. It just works.

You guys put more music into a 2 minute song than most bands put into music that's much longer. What is the secret to cutting a good GARAGE tune?

Adam: I like a song, garage or otherwise, to has to have a good hook. Something that grabs me and that I can sing along to. I like to make sure that there's an element of "grabbing you" in the songs... in more ways than one, hehehe.

Rikki: I like a song that's high energy, in-yo-face and makes you feel something.

Adam Bones and Rikki Styxx: Two Tens

Finish this sentence: This tour will be a complete success if:

Adam: We truly have a great time, meet cool people and not end up wanting to kill one another. I don't think we'll have an issue accomplishing any of these things.
Rikki: We make some new fans and some lifetime memories.

Have you been in Des Moines before? Do you have any impressions of Des Moines? Have you heard of Des Moines?

Adam: Ha, I have heard of Des Moines. I have played Des Moines once years ago with an old band I was in. I can't remember the name of the venue. We didn't really get to explore the city or do a whole lot, being on tour and all. But I can remember everyone being nice and the highlight was making friends with local band, North of Grand. I really like their albums.

Rikki: Well I don't even know how to pronounce the name right so......Adam keeps having to correct me. Ha!

Tell me about the worst gig you ever had.

Rikki: Any show that is at an upstairs venue with no elevators. And no roadie. No seriously, can't really remember a bad one.

Adam: I try to make the best of all gigs. So I can't really think off the top of my head of a completely hellacious show. However, my previous band played a festival-type arts and music event. The pitch of the event made it seem like it was going to be packed and a blast. It was quite the opposite. We played a big room in the LA Convention Center to about 10 people. And on top of that, our lead guitar player got in a car crash on his way to the gig and never made it. We went on and still made the best of it, but it was a weird day. Silver lining... we got to see TJ Miller do an improved stand-up routine. Improved because he too did not have an audience. I thought he was hilarious.

What would you do if you learned that Donald Trump was using your music during campaign stops?

Adam: Politics schmolitics... boring...

Rikki: Freedom of speech, but I probably would make a personal statement that (I) don't support him.

What else does the world need to know about The Two Tens?

Adam: They need to know that we love what we do and we want them to love what we do as well. Come see us at our shows and say hi, we'd love to meet you.

Rikki: I like to give sweaty hugs out after the show! Boom!


The Two Tens Official

Monday, April 25, 2016

Five Questions with Matt Loewen of Head For The Hills

On Friday, Colorado progressive bluegrass quartet Head For The Hills will make a return to Des Moines. It'll be their first visit to the capital city since last fall and they are fresh off the heels of a Pacific Northwestern tour with Pert' Near Sandstone.

Progressive Bluegrass is a subgenre of traditional Bluegrass music. It essentially became a thing in the late 1940s when Earl Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys were doing duets with banjo and contrabass. In a nutshell Progressive Bluegrass is traditional bluegrass that draws instrumentation from other genres, such as electric guitar and bass, and even keyboards. Steve Martin's Steep Canyon Rangers are an example of traditional Bluegrass that has become progressive - they've recently added a drummer to their band. While this isn't the exact definition of progressive bluegrass, it's a a simple nod to that direction. Other factors include non-traditional chord progressions and drawing elements from other musical genres such as Rock and Roll or Jazz. Head for the Hills does this, as can be heard in this instrumental rendition of David Bromberg's "New Lee Highway Blues."

Head For The Hills are Adam Kinghorn on guitar, Joe Lessard on fiddle, Matt Loewen on bass and Sam Parks on mandolin. It'exciting to have them back in Des Moines on the small stage and if you can't catch them at Vaudeville Mews on Friday, make the short drive to Cedar Falls on Saturday and see them at the Bella Sala Brew Grass Festival reunited with Pert' Near Sandstone and many others.

Despite being on tour last week, bassist Matt Loewen took a few minutes to answer five questions. 

Do you have any memories of playing in Des Moines?  

We've played Des Moines a handful of times--a big highlight for us was doing 80/35 Fest last summer. Great bands and a great crowd! 

What is the Pickin' on the Poudre project, and how did that become a thing?

Pickin' on the Poudre is the opening weekend event we do at the Mishawaka Amphitheater (Bellvue, Colorado) every year. Though we haven't always called the show "Pickin' on the Poudre" it's been happening every year since 2004 and is one of our favorite shows of the year. We'll be back this May 14th for the 12th year. 

Head For The Hills (Photo courtesy of Graham Gardner)

The Bluegrass genre has gained momentum over the past few years. What does Head For The Hills do that sets them apart from other acts?

I think we bring a unique and eclectic set of ears and chops to songs that are deep and frequently stray from standard source material for the genre. Domestic abuse, comic book meta-ficton, gun violence--all these and more come up in our songs. Plus there's no banjo! 

What are the biggest obstacles to overcome while touring as a four piece band?

Same as touring with any small independent group--it's challenging to make a living while creating at the level we want to. It's all on us, we don't have backers or a record label or anything. Money is always tight but the rewards are high and we love what we do. 

Tell me a true and crazy "Bluegrass Band on Tour" story. 

I once got electrocuted on stage. Threw my upright bass out of one hand and my beer out of the other. The rest of the band thought I got stung by a bee but that was no bee. Haha. The show however went on.


Pertinent Links:

Head For The Hills Official 

Head For The Hills Facebook

Head For The Hills Youtube 

Pickin on the Poudre 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Five Questions with GOSH!

GOSH is Paidrag Steadman, Claire Lambach and Kyle Prenevost
Rock Island is a landmass nestled between two rivers, the mighty Mississippi and the lesser known Rock River in eastern Illinois. Interestingly, it's not an actual island.. but it does contain historic elements of rock - as in rock and roll.

The Rock Island Brewing Company was creating delicious crafts long before breweries became a mainstay in Des Moines, and their soundsystem has been kicking out the jams with live music since it's creation in 1979. Needless to say, it has been a destination for us knuckle dragging low-lifes who, since the late '80s and early '90s when we needed a good rock and roll show to fuel our angst and social awkwardness. At the time, the closest comparison we had in Des Moines was Hairy Mary's or the Laughing Iguana. Neither was serving craft beer.

So when I heard GOSH! on Iowa Public Radio last week, and learned that they were from Rock Island, it came with a flood of nearly forgotten memories. It didn't hurt that the band has a unique sound that caught my attention - I immediately used my Shazam app to identify the band - it came up blank. So when the DJ mentioned that they were GOSH! from Rock Island, I made a mental note. When I got home later that night, I surfed Youtube digesting all that I could.

GOSH! mixes garage pop and psychedelia in a unique way that seems mysteriously complex but delightfully simple. I was surprised to learn that they were a three-piece band as I swore I was hearing more than what was actually happening. According to Claire they took their name from a Beach Boys song. 
"Padraig and I were taking a Clickhole quiz together titled 'How many Beach Boys songs do u know?,'" she explained. "GOSH! was one of the answers and we decided it sounded like a good band name." 

Listening to them I hear elements of White Mystery, Black Box Revelation, and The Flaming Lips - when the Lips were more entwined in psychedelia than in commercial pop.

Tomorrow night they are set to kick off a northeastern tour (SEE BELOW), and they tell me that they have never played in Des Moines, but they would really like to do so. (Are you reading this LEFTY'S?) Despite their impending tour and the craziness of preparing for that, GOSH! was gracious enough to spend some time with me and answer a few questions.


What are the top 3 band rules you have set for each other as you go on tour?

Padraig- I think our only real rule for tour is to not get too fucked up to play and load gear. Other than that it's a free for all. Personally, I try to make a rule of not eating too much shitty food. It's really easy to get sick on tour and eating McDonalds every day definitely exasperates that. I also try to drink a ton of water so I wind up having to stop the van to piss like every 20 minutes. It's fun. 

Claire- 1. Keep low expectations: Tour can be hard and you never know what kind of show you're gonna play. Often times people don't pay attention to your set, or the show wasn't promoted very well and only 5 people show up. As long as you don't expect the rock star treatment you will end up havin a good time and meeting cool people. 2. Don't drink too much before we play: this is a rule for obvious reasons. We are on tour to share our music, but if we are too fucked up to play then our set we would suck and no one would care. 3. Take advantage of the amazing cities we visit. I like to map out our trip in advance and find cool things to do en route. For example, I learned about the Cryptozoology museum in Portland, Maine and I'm super stoked to check that out.

Kyle- 1. Don't fuck up the show. 2. Take care of each other. 3. Have a shit ton of fun. 

Your band consists of two males and a female. How does that paradigm work while touring - Is there a relationship involved, and if so, how bad does it suck to be the odd person out?

Padraig- Gosh! started when Claire and I began dating and started writing songs together. Kyle is one of my best friends of all time and jumped on board. 

Claire- Yes, Padraig and I have been together since the start of GOSH! I met Padraig's friend, Kyle around the same time and he quickly became my best buddy. It just made sense to get him in the mix on drums. 

Kyle- They're my best buds so it's not really a thing for me. Besides, more groupies for me.

You have a gig in on April 19th in Portland, Maine, which you mentioned is the home of the International Cryptozoology Museum. Tell me about any paranormal experiences you might have had, or perhaps a Bigfoot or UFO sighting in your past.

Padraig- We're super excited to go to the Cryptozoology Museum! I don't have any first hand experience with the paranormal, but lots of people in my life have. For instance, my mom grew up in this colonial house in Virginia right on the Chesapeake. And she always said there was a civil war burial ground on the land. Well my whole life she always told me about the variety of ghosts she'd encounter. And one ghost was a woman who had no feet. She just levitated. Well one of my cousins was out in the yard with a metal detector a few years ago and came across a shallow brick tomb. All that was inside were a pair of skeletal feet. 

Claire- Hell yeah the museum is gonna be SO DOPE. I found out about the Cryptozoology Museum while planning the trip and immediately said "yaas we have to gooo!"  My dad is a huge Sasquatch believer so i'm lookin' forward to bringing a souvenir home for him. I haven't experienced any real paranormal activity, but my brother told me all those classic scary stories like Bloody Mary and Candy Man when I was way too young. I couldn't sleep for what seemed like months and hallucinated creepy clowns and ghosts all the time.

Kyle- I've actually seen a couple UFO's. My buddy's parents were having some sort of get-together so I figured free food and drinks sound good. We were outside jamming and people started to notice something in the sky, and we're like yeah whatever OK, but we went to check it out and a group of like 15 of us watched a light that was pulsating and would get really bright and then dim as it circled around the sky. It was pretty weird. 

When was the last time you did something completely stupid and said to yourself, "Man. That was fucking dumb."?

Kyle- I partied all night Saturday until 8 AM Sunday morning and that was pretty fucking dumb. I'm fucking 30.

Padraig- Yeah I got really drunk, partied way too hard and didn't go to work the next day. Lost that job. Definitely beat myself up over that one. I've been doing pretty alright since then. Did have a hard time figuring out the gas pumps outside Milwaukee recently though. That was kinda dumb.

Claire- I've never done anything stupid.

Not sure how it happened, but at the moment I have "Careless Whisper" by George Michael stuck in my head. What song is currently driving you insane?

Padraig- Right now for me it's "Choices" by E-40. But I have lots of fun with it. 

Claire- Growing Pains theme song. I just googled this to find out, I guess it's a song called "As Long As We've Got Each Other" by B.J. Thomas

Please describe the most awkward moment you have ever had while performing onstage.

Padraig- For this current band it was a show in Minneapolis. That city is one of my favorite places to play. We have a ton of really good friends who make amazing music up there. And the shows are always amazing. But this last time we were there, we had the sound guy from hell. He was just the typical macho moron saying sexist shit talking about how he's been doing this for so long and that there's no way 3 bands are gonna be able to play in four hours and all kinds of bullshit. Well he just put a real damper on the show. And basically we were so worked up and nervous for our set that like halfway through a song we just fucking forgot it and had to stop. Wound up only playing four songs. And it's a song we've been playing forever! That was probably the most awkward thing that's gone down on stage for Gosh! But now it's just a funny story. There were definitely some pooped pants on stage with the last band I was in. That's all I'll say about that though.

Claire- I haven't been performing for very long, and I always do it almost completely sober, so nothing too awkward has ever happened to me. I guess I would have to agree with Padraig, I totally fucked up a song and we had to just stop playing it half way through. The sound guy was such an asshole, when he was passing out wrist bands he said "so are you actually playing tonight?" He assumed I wasn't a musician because i'm a girl.



friday april 22 nyc/north hampton/ new haven?
sunday april 24 new york
tues april 26 baltimore/DC
wed april 27 pittsburgh



Thursday, November 26, 2015

We Reluctantly Review Adele's Album Breaking Record

I bought the new Adele album because why the fuck not, everybody else did. It's bold  and it's exciting and frankly, your grandmother would love it. And I like your grandmother so it's a win win for everybody.

Happy Thanksgiving. 

Monday, November 23, 2015

Eleven Things I Learned Going on Micro-tour with Dead and Company

I learned that this latest incarnation of the Grateful Dead is a force to be reckoned with. I seriously had my doubts when I heard the band was teaming up with John Mayer (just like I did when they tabbed Trey to play the Fare Thee Well shows) but being at the shows in St. Louis and Minneapolis this weekend changed my attitude completely. 

I saw the Dead when they toured with Warren Haynes in 2004 and I left disappointed. The performance I saw lacked depth, feeling, and soul. The music was flat. I came to prefer Ratdog over Further, The Other Ones, and Phil and Friends. I wasn't cool with the choices to "replace Jerry" and basically swore off the Dead forever under the assumption that nobody would be able to create the sonic masterpieces that Jerry did. Well of course their music had become tattooed into my soul, and staying completely away from it was never a realistic option. 

John Mayer was an interesting choice for the lead guitar part, but now having seen him play, it all makes sense. Not only is he capable of hitting the notes in a soulful way with exceptional tone, he's also able to mark the songs with his own signature in a way that doesn't step on the toes of the songs themselves.  Plus his energy really seems to be combustible  - Bob Weir hasn't looked this young and vibrant in years, and it was great to see him smiling again and having fun.

I learned that Oteil Burbridge is a damn incredible bass player and I was reminded that Jeff Chimenti is a beast on keyboards. I also learned that Chimenti has been with the band for 13 years - making him the longest tenured keyboard player in the band's history. 

Phil Lesh never shook his ass when he played. Oteil does it every single night.

I realized that I miss the Bob Dylan songs the Dead used to play. Wish they'd mix one in now and again, especially when playing Minneapolis, which is Dylan's hometown.

I was reminded a Dead show is an ever-revolving guessing game. Knowing this, the band is extremely subtle about creating their set lists and often throw curve balls when doing so. For instance, where was "Big River" in St. Louis and/or Minneapolis? As much as it seems to be a no-brainer, the Dead ignored it - but not completely. Their performance of "Mexicali Blues" in Minneapolis is in itself is a nod to "Big River." Dead Heads know what I'm talking about.

I realized that Mickey Hart really has no value in the band other than the sounds he makes during Drums/Space. Billy Kreutzmann is more than capable of holding down the drum duties on his own, and while I understand that Hart is a renowned percussionist and a legend in his own right, he really seems secondary and unimportant in his role as a drummer for the Dead. (If you disagree, listen to anything the Dead did from 1971 through mid 1974 when Hart took hiatus from the band.) This is something that I've considered for several years but was validated this past weekend when somebody else brought it up in conversation.

I realized that cowboy boots are great to travel in because they are so easy to kick on and off. But by all means don't leave home with just cowboy boots. A comfortable pair of tennis shoes would have gone a long ways considering how much walking we did and how often I found myself standing in one place for long periods of time.

I learned about Reverb, a non-profit organization that is committed to keeping concert tours as green as possible. I volunteered to sell Nalgene water bottles to help raise money and awareness for this organization in exchange for free admission to the Minneapolis show. Reverb goes through the trash at the end of the night and separates recyclables from garbage that belongs in the landfill. They also go through garbage in the concession stands, removing leftover or thrown away food, and they turn it into compost. It was a great experience even though I missed the entire first set of the show and some of the second. (I could hear, just not watch.) I was given a kick-ass shirt for volunteering and it gave me an opportunity to hear the band sound check before the doors were opened to the public, and that was definitely cool. 

Water bottles for sale

I realized that getting stoned and trying to sell water bottles to strangers can be a very strenuous and difficult task. If given the opportunity, I won't make that mistake twice.

I learned that sometimes you get lucky and get travel companions that, even though you don't know them well - or even at all - they turn out to be the best travel companions in the history of the world. I'm not exactly sure what happened that put me in the same car as Trucker and Jezebel, but the stars must have been shining because it was PERFECT. Big thanks to those two for the 1400 miles of endless conversation and general feeling of togetherness. I actually felt like I was in a tribe. 

(I love you fuckers!)

I realized that the Dead are the last bastion of American rock and roll. No other band comes close to providing the experience you get when the Dead comes to town, and I would venture to say that no other fan base anticipates the music as much as Deadheads do. There's a reason people quit their jobs to join this circus, and while most regard that act as irresponsibility, it is a thing that happens and I totally get why it happens. 

I'm still trying to figure out a way to make the New Years Eve shows in Los Angeles a reality. 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Psychedelic Pop Group AVERS To Play Vaudeville Mews on Wednesday

Avers, from Richmond, Virginia, kick off a tour tomorrow night and will be bringing their psychedelic bubblegum act to Des Moines on Wednesday. 

Since their release of debut album Empty Light in 2014, Avers has made quite the splash opening for The Foo Fighters, Real Estate, Tune-Yards, J. Roddy Walston & The Business, Cloud Control, and being invited to play SXSW, Hopscotch, and Austin City Limits. The Daily Beast dubbed Avers the "winners of SXSW" and the band made Esquire' Magazine's "10 Bands you need to know from SXSW."

From Daily Beast: Sounding reminiscent of a more melodic and put together Sonic Youth, the six-piece has the advantage of being comprised of veteran musicians. Drummer Tyler Williams is from indie folk darlings the Head and the Heart, and the instrument-trading, vocal-duty-sharing wall of five front folks are all heavy hitters in the Richmond music scene.

There's a ghostly psychedelia to their sound, reminiscent of the British garage pop that is currently sweeping across Europe. Melodic keyboards entwined with razor sharp guitar riffs set a serene background for the lofty vocals of whomever takes the lead on any certain song. Circling guitar notes flutter upward through the atmosphere like lazy smoke from a campfire. In an era when rock music has become over-produced and stale, Avers is writing and performing songs the way music was meant to written and performed. There's nothing prefabricated with Avers, just raw psychedelic power, trippy melodies and spectral vocals, all of which delightfully gets encircled within a melty dreamscape. 

Their sophomore album is set to be released this fall and their newly released single "Vampire" is quickly gaining the respect of music aficionados, radio stations and journalists alike as they embark on this new national tour. SXSW was a huge success for them, and now with a rejuvenated vigor, Avers is ready to show the world that they are a force to be reckoned with.

Avers will play at Vaudeville Mews on Wednesday, July 27 along with Leggy and Ramona and the Slimdudes. Show begins at 9:00.

Avers - Photo by Matt Cairns


Pertinent Links:

Avers on Facebook
Avers on Instagram
Avers on Twitter

Avers Official

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

And Now, A Damn Good Story About A Motorcycle Gang

In 2007 David Allen Coe played Boone, Iowa and I remember thinking it was a pretty big deal.

I had been living there for several years by that time and it seemed odd to have a country music legend playing in what amounted to being small town Iowa. The bars in Boone were pretty standard, with each having a steady stream of regulars who frequented the establishments at particular times during the day. 

Lynn's had the morning crowd which consisted mostly of railroaders who worked the overnight shift for Union Pacific. You had Wilson's across the street that maintained a steady rotation of bar dwellers from early in the morning until late into the night. Down around the corner you had Ooops! which was famous for it's greasy but delicious breakfasts. Out on the south side of town there was the night clubs and the restaurant bars. Boonies enjoyed drinking and like the creatures of habit that most of us are, they enjoyed drinking at the same places during the same times of each day. 

So when The Venue opened on the edge of town, it didn't cater to a huge populous of Boone's regular bar hoppers, as established drinkers weren't likely to stray far from the circuits they frequented. The Venue was huge by Boone's standards, built into an old abandoned warehouse. When it first opened it billed itself as a "Honkey Tonk" which is not a horrible thing, but it created a clientele that consisted of cowboys and farmers dubiously mixed in with the Affliction t-shirt wearing crowd. No woman in her right mind would go in there by herself without fear of something scary happening. The place was high on testosterone and low on common sense. 

The building was too big to build a crowd to capacity on weeknights, and even if there was 50-70 people there on the weekend, it seemed like a small crowd because of the excess space. Naturally, the owner needed a way to draw in larger crowds, so he built a stage in the wide open room and started booking national bands. 

It was a big deal to have David Allen Coe come to town, and the Boonies seemed pretty excited about it. I think Drowning Pool might have played The Venue along with a few other shitty radio bands of the time, but booking Coe seemed pretty big by Boone standards. 

Personally I was ecstatic  - My mother had played his records all throughout my childhood and I knew all his hits and most of his B-sides. In 2007 I had no idea that David Allen Coe was still touring, let alone willing to play a "small" bar in Boone, Iowa.

I bought a ticket and took the ride, as they say. 

It was a rainy night, I remember that. The lot hadn't been properly graveled and it was very muddy. There were several people who needed a tow by the end of the night. Interestingly, the heavy rain didn't deter a long line of motorcycles from being lined up near the entrance of the bar. 

I walked in and instantly caught a vibe I hadn't felt before. It was tense and dangerous, with a heavy anxiety settling over the pace. The bar looked tiny - it was absolutely packed to it's brim with bikers and cowboys, but mostly bikers. The Sons of Silence had always had a strong presence in Boone, and it seemed like the entire gang had made it out to this concert. People seemed unsure of one another, and I didn't feel particularly safe for reasons I wasn't quite familiar with. When people say that you can cut the tension with a knife, I know what they are talking about. It was THICK... like a cloud of danger and uncertainty. 

I bought a beer and found a spot where I could stand against the wall. I liked knowing that I had nobody behind me and that I could see peripherally across the room in case something were to happen. I just knew that something was about to happen, and I wanted to be see it coming, and escape the room if I felt the need to.

A friend walked by and I mentioned the tension to him. He told me that it was rumored that a rival motorcycle club was in town from out of state who had some unfinished business with the Sons of Silence (was it the Mongols?) and that there was likely to be a confrontation during the concert. More so, it was rumored that factions of that group were already in the building wearing plain clothes which would give them the element of surprise if there was going to be an attack. Having my back against the wall seemed like a very smart move at that point, but I was still dealing with a high level of uncertainty and the unsettling feeling of not being completely safe. I stood there waiting for the show to begin, cautiously eyeing the crowd, careful not to make eye contact with anybody for too long for fear of that person coming over and bruising my ego. I've never been in a tougher crowd in my life.

Suddenly the lights went down and the stage lights came on. The packed house moved as one, standing up and cheering for the show which was just about to begin. The band band came out oblivious to the tension, it seemed. 

Then Coe came walking out onto the stage to a thunderous roar. Very slowly he swaggered up to the front of the stage and stood staring out into the audience, as if he were looking for somebody he knew. Then, he plugged in his microphone and said, "Let's get one thing straight right now. I am the baddest mother fucker in this room, and if there's going to be any trouble here tonight, it starts up here on the stage with me!"

David Allen Coe clearly doesn't give many fucks.

Everybody in the crowd went nuts, and the tension in the room instantly thinned, as if somebody had let the air out of a balloon. There was no trouble to be had on that night, just good ol' bottle chucking honkey tonk country music. The biggest mishap occurred at the end of the night when people had to call a tow truck to yank their cars out of the muddy parking lot. 

Whether you like David Allen Coe or not, he is a hell of a showman, and this concert on a Wednesday night in Boone remains one of the more memorable performances that I've seen.

And I never did find out if the Mongols(?) were actually in Boone on September 19, 2007.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Afroman Puts Out Statement, Says He's Done Performing Live Concerts

The following statement was posted on Afroman's Facebook page on February 23rd. A video of what he calls a "slap" against a female fan who climbed on stage can be viewed at the bottom. 

I've been rapping professionally since the year 2000. Early in my career I have had problems with people jumping on stage grabbing the Mics , spilling beer , on equipment and ruining a show . I had a special clause put in my performance contracts that demands security watch stage and politely discourage anyone from jumping on stage. In my 15 years of performing I noticed once one person jumps on stage 100 people jump on stage. In 2007 I hired a CPA to do my taxes. I had several accounts . Before getting sign to Universal I worked regular jobs where the employers took the tax out before I received the check. After signing with universal everyone would give me the money upfront and it was my responsibility to take out the taxes. To help checks clear I would transfer money from time to time. The CPA I was using at the time didn't know that and she was counting the transfers as profit deposits. This was money I had in the bank already. To make a long story short she told the IRS I made over 700,000 that year . When it was more like 200,000. I tried to explain this to the IRS they told me to pay the tax on the 700,000 and they will give me a refund later. Frustrated because I was over taxed I took a deep breath and begin paying unfair over Tax which is still collecting interest might I add. Not to mention things are a lot slower than they was in 2001. Two divorces didn't help me none either. I got blessed one time and played six shows that paid me 10,000 each . The last show paid me 7,000.
On Dec-4-2011 the st Charles county police dept in Missouri pulled me over and took all of the money I earned from the shows. When I asked them why they claimed I was a drug dealer. I told them I was a Grammy nominated singer/rapper they chuckled and Stuck to their suspicions. Before I got pulled over I gave a couple thousand to my mom and use some for myself I was down to 64,000. The DEA reported 54,000 indicating to me that either the St. Charles Police Department or the DEA stole 10,000 unreported dollars from me. Lloyd Cueto a lawyer I hired at the time took the DEA all of my tax records , and tax returns , musician plaques verification that I am a taxpaying working citizen of the United States verifying I made two to $300,000 a year legitimizing why I might have $64,000 of cash on me. After all of that the DEA refuses to give me my hard earned money back. Since I owed back taxes I figured the DEA would turn the money over to the IRS. The IRS fully aware that the DEA is illegally holding money and that they illegally robbed from me on the side of the 70 freeway 12-4-11. yet and still the IRS refuses to ask the DEA for the money. One branch of the government is telling me to pay my taxes the other branch of the government is Robbing the money I'm trying to pay my taxes with. I have been working hard trying to pay off the IRS and get my money back from the DEA. I keep the faith like all will work out in due time , but it's 5 or 6 years later interest is rising with the IRS while the DEA continues to read a newspaper and ignore the fact they have rob me for my money. The DEA never pressed charges . They just kept my money . I am working too hard for a crooked government . My patience has become short and I am losing my mind. I don't care if I pay the IRS or not. If they really want a payment they can take the money that the DEA stole from me. While I was paying unfair taxes working for the IRS I was also getting frustrated at a lack of security at a lot of my shows. We go over everything over and over again on the phone then when I performing the whole crowd jumps on the stage pours beer all over everything and I have to buy equipment the next day instead of make a profit. I figured everything would come together in due time I underestimated the frustration and anger in my life coming from everywhere and I tried to work and make everything work out. In my frustrating ambitious efforts ,the IRS , DEA , lack of security and other pressures in my life have busted my pipes to the point where I have disrespected another human being twice.
IT WAS A SLAP/PUSH !!! And she quickly recovered. This situation is still bad however I must clarify its not as bad as lying news publications would have you believe.
The incident with the guy in Cincinnati did not happen the next night like mediatakeout lied and said it did . It happened last year. is a fake afroman site
Ran by an anonymous stranger just like @afromanmusic is on Twitter that is a fake account ran by an anonymous stranger. My real twitter is @ogafroman. My actual website is
Young lady I do not know your name
I want to truly apologize for slapping you. I understand if you never forgive me ever.
Young man whoever you are I want to apologize again for throwing you off stage. I understand if you never ever forgive me also .
I just got accepted into a anxiety anger mgt class . I start Friday .
I no longer have the desire to perform for people . I will continue to record I will continue to make albums I will continue to make videos I will continue to make movies .
Forgive me my debts as I forgive my debtors . I want to thank all the fans that forgave me . At one point I hated Ofc. Wilson now I am Ofc. Wilson or catching a similar fraction of the type of hate he caught
Don't hate because you might become the victim of your own hate. 

What do YOU think?

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Former Iowa Lawmaker to Begin 400-mile Walk in Lee County

Former Iowa State Rep. Ed Fallon will begin his 32-day, 400-mile walk along the length of the proposed Bakken Oil Pipeline in Keokuk on the morning of Monday, March 2nd. The exact time and location will be announced later. Fallon’s route will take him north along the Mississippi River to Montrose, then through New Boston and Donnellson, veering northeast and crossing into Van Buren County south of Houghton on March 4. Fallon will walk an average of 15 miles each day. He is working with pipeline opponents in Lee County to set up a public meeting on Tuesday, March 3rd (time and location TBD) to listen to area residents’ concerns about the proposed pipeline. Fallon will share his own concerns about climate change, water quality, private property rights and the what he sees as the often heavy-handed use of eminent domain.

Ed Fallon at the Ritua Cafe (Photo by Bigfoot Diaries)
As a lawmaker, Fallon floor managed a key bill on eminent domain in 2000, and was involved in helping to craft the eminent domain laws that passed in 1999 and 2006. From 1998-2004, both as  a lawmaker and as director of 1000 Friends of Iowa, Fallon traveled the state working with dozens of communities opposed to what many saw as the misuse of eminent domain.

“We won a majority of those battles,” recalled Fallon. “I saw how deeply Iowans valued their land and their quality of life. And when pushed by a developer who sought to take their property for the private gain of someone else, people banded together and fought and won. I doubt that has changed much in the past decade, and I am optimistic that the Texas corporation that wants this pipeline can be stopped.”

Fallon believes his lengthy experience preventing the abuse of eminent domain could be helpful to landowners opposed to the Bakken Oil Pipeline. But he feels strongly that climate change must be part of the conversation as well.

“We have to grasp the seriousness of the climate crisis,” said Fallon. “While this pipeline is wrong because government shouldn’t take people’s land so an oil company can get rich, it’s also wrong because it deepens our dependence on fossil fuels and slows the expansion of renewable energy. And renewable energy is doing a lot more for Iowa’s economy than oil ever will.”

Fallon commences his walk on March 2nd, one year and one day after the March 1st, 2014 start of the Great March for Climate Action. Fallon initiated that March and walked every step of the eight-month, 3,000-mile trek. Fallon served in the Iowa House for 14 years before running for governor (2006) and US Congress (2008). Since 2009, he has hosted the Fallon Forum, a talk show available online and on three Iowa radio stations: KDLF 1260 AM (Des Moines), KHOI 89.1 FM (Ames) and KPVL 89.1 FM (Postville).

Sunday, February 1, 2015

BREAKING! Roommate To Actually Pay Rent On Time


We just received word that Annie will actually be able to pay rent on time for the month of February! 

Annie is that one roommate that everybody has - the one who typically drinks her rent money away, and has only half the amount on the first of the month. Because of the awkwardness this creates, she typically stays out late on a normal night and leaves the house early in the morning to avoid any unwanted conversation with her roommates.

Despite having her complete rent payment, Annie chose to eat alone.

"Guess who can pay rent on time this month?" Said Annie to a stunned table at the weekly household brunch. Ed, the eldest member of the household nearly choked on his breakfast.

"That's incredible!" he said, wiping pancake off of his his mouth. "I'm stunned. I don't know what to say."

Annie grabbed a bowl of scrambled egg mixture and headed back to her bedroom, something she usually does in order to avoid the awkward conversation that typically occurs at the brunch table.

"You don't have to eat by yourself upstairs!" Ed called out to her as she headed upstairs. 

This will be the first time that Annie has made a full payment of rent on the first of the month since before October.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Grant's Tomb - Waxing Poetic: Beyond The Making Of The CARE EP

You all know someone like this. They sit at home, at coffee shops, on the toilet, with their phones, tablets or computers, reposting and sharing memes, petitions, and edgy blogs all in the name of the unholy social media god Activism. Comfortably in their pressed shirts or sweatpants, it doesn’t matter, you all know someone like this: Spreading fear, misinformation and flat out lies. It’s a social pandemic, especially among my generation (the so-called “Millennials”), its rallying cry a hash-tag. You saw it with the Occupy movement; a movement that any honest person would recognize amounted to less than a bowel in the grand scheme of things. It’s a way for them to say “I’m doing something about injustice!” without actually doing anything.

I’ve never been a huge fan of overtly political music, mostly because none of it aligned with my own views, but mainly because those kinds of bands always became a caricature of themselves. When Rage Against the Machine espouses the evils of capitalism, but turns around and sells a box set for over $100.00, you have to stop and go “huh, something isn’t adding up here.”  

Before we even had a drummer, Joe and I would spend a lot of our Friday nights working on music together. One song that he brought to the table early on was a fast and short slab of punk rock that cut out all of the filler found in modern hardcore. In its initial stages, the song barely broke the minute mark. As the song progressed and we had more band members in on the writing sessions, it extended out to just over 2 minutes. A perfect length if there ever was one. 

When picking song titles, I never tried to take things too seriously and have fun with it. Some of our previous working titles have included such gems as “Tacocat is Tacocat” and “False Meat,” but with this one, I knew I wanted to make a statement, even if we didn’t have any lyrics written for the song. 

There is an individual that members of our band, myself included, have had dealings with over the years. I believe deep down that this person has a good heart, but at the end of the day the first paragraph in this entry sums up their use of social media. Things like Facebook, Twitter, tumblr, and YouTube are all great tools. They allow the sharing of ideas and thoughts to happen freely and instantaneously, but they can also be abused. This person was an abuser and they would viciously attack anyone who didn’t agree with them. Instead of being able to articulate a single thought, they resorted to personal attacks. Ad hominem much? We agreed on the title “Armchair Activist.”

Panthallasa at House of Bricks in June of 2014 Photo by Bigfoot Diaries
 (Click to enlarge)

I’m sure I had heard that phrase somewhere else before, but I couldn’t tell you where. It’s a direct title and it leaves its meaning up to no question: someone who sits in a chair and talks about all of the problems in the world, how they should or could be fixed, but doesn’t actually do anything about it. The music fits the title perfectly. From the start, the song kicks into high gear and is really a testament to the speed and dexterity of Joe’s playing ability. 

I’ve stated before what an awful guitar player I am, well maybe not awful, but certainly not the greatest. This song is fast, I can’t stress that enough, and while I can’t tell you the exact bpm, I can tell you that when we went to record the song I wasn’t comfortable actually playing the rhythm track on it. The great thing about playing in a band with such talented musicians is we always have a contingency plan in place. Dan, our bassist, graciously stepped up to the task and recorded both the rhythm guitar and the bass tracks on this tune. This wouldn’t hinder us however; I had actually been using my down time from playing the song to incorporate electronics into the song. For my part, I wanted to add in sounds that would keep the song on edge and almost uncomfortable. I used a white noise filter and something resembling air raid sirens as well as a bass synth to keep the song menacing without overpowering the strings. 

Our drummer Shane is a gift that keeps giving. Not only is he one of the greatest drummers I’ve ever heard locally, but he’s (and he’d probably laugh this off) an extremely poetic lyricist. He nailed the theme of the song perfectly with the lyrics. He captured the sarcasm and “holier than thou” attitude that I was looking for. I’m sure Matt may have rephrased some sections of the song, but they remained largely untouched.

Shane Mills is a gift that keeps on giving. Photo by Bigfoot Diaries
“Armchair” is a real barn burner and its one of my favorite tracks to go back and listen to. Our producer, Griffin, added in the guitar noises/feedback to bridge it to the next song…

Sequencing any release is an under-appreciated part of putting something together. Forgive me if I’m repeating myself, but an improperly sequenced album or ep can be disastrous for the listener. For the kind of music we play, front loading an album (or in this case ep) with the heavier or louder songs would leave the listener winded by the time they got to the more subdued and softer tunes. The opposite is also true; by putting the more melodic leaning songs up front, it could potentially lull the listener to sleep when the primary goal should be to have them actively listening and enjoying the music. 

In the 11th hour before we went to record I sprung a new song on the guys that I really wanted to include on this release, however I knew it was going to increase the recording budget and add more stress on the guys by them having to learn a new song with less than a month to go before tracking started. The guys were gracious enough, agreeing to add it to the recording. 

The song itself was written in a single afternoon, on a hot Sunday in August. I had some free time that afternoon after church and I jammed through it without over thinking a single part of it. I’ve always felt that the best songs capture an intense moment of passion, be it guilt, love, anger, fear or even sorrow and I’ve tried to convey whatever emotion it is I am feeling into my writing. It’s another fast punk rock anthem that has very sludgy ending. I had several ideas for the title, but in keeping with the spirit of not over thinking things, I opened up a search engine and typed in random words eventually landing on something called a “Skinwalker.” 

I’m an avid fan of the horror fiction genre, be it video games like Silent Hill, the original Resident Evil or movies like Dawn of the Dead or The Thing, something about it gets my adrenalin pumping. Skinwalkers primarily show up in Native American folklore and there was even a case of a lawyer suing someone accused of being one. I didn’t want the title to be directly influential on the lyrics, and instead went with “Skinwalk and Rupture.” It leaves a bit of mystery and ambiguity to the title of the song and also serves as a break between the two very distinct sections of the piece.

Guitarist Joe Curry: Photo by the Bigfoot Diaries

Lyrically the song is a continuation of “Armchair,” but on a broader level. The line “Can you form your own opinion without parroting everything you read” is the greatest indictment of my generation; even I’m guilty of it at times. Matt actually flipped the lyrics around between the bridge and the chorus to fit the song better, it kept the message intact which was pretty cool. 

Something that I feel is missing in punk rock, hardcore and metal is music with substance. We’ve made a conscious decision to never push a message on our listeners, but instead to have them question themselves. Why do you believe what you believe? Is it because they were your family’s values or your own? And if these beliefs are yours, do you hold them sacred or just when it suits your own needs and desires?

By Grant Peter


Panthallasa is having it's EP Release Party on Valentine's Day at the Vaudeville Mews in Des Moines. It's a 5:00 show and will include The Maw and Creation Complex. $10 gets you in the door plus a copy of the EP.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Five Question's With... Ben Crew of In Defence

In Defence from Minneapolis will be bringing their tooth chippin' style of DIY thrash punk to the Underground Rock Shop on Tuesday, February 3rd. This early show (doors at 5:00) will be a great opportunity to get out and relieve some of that pent up winter stress.

While they like to joke that they are rip-off artists, In Defence purely does things like nobody else. Other bands eat pizza... In Defence prefers tacos. Other bands fear the law... In Defence thinks The Police are rad. (Well, technically they are referring to the band, The Police.) Other bands encourage moshing, In Defence coaches the the circle pit method. Most bands spell "Defense" with an "S"... In Defence uses a "C."

The show on Tuesday night promises to be a night to remember, and frankly, the kick in the teeth that Des Moines severely needs. Other acts on the bill are Ghostbusters, Nancy Grace Death Squad, Dark Mirror and Traffic Death.

I was able to chat with Ben Crew - the man in front of the band - and ask him a few questions.

Do you believe in the mental trick of spoon bending?

Yes. I believe in the power of the mind and the power we have to bend spoons and shape our reality. This is a very deep subject. I'm surprised you started out by asking it. If I took time to elaborate I'd never get to the other questions so I'm gonna move on now. But we can talk meta physics and perceptions of reality later.

Rumor has it that you gave Fat Mike a tattoo once?

Um... I think you've might have heard several  different stories.... I was on tour with Dillinger Four and NOFX. The guitar tech for NOFX had a tattoo gun and gave me a tattoo at the last day of the tour. I am also in the NOFX video for "Seeing Double At The Triple Rock" but that has nothing to do with tattoos... but one time In Defence played a tattoo parlor in Texas. It was wild. I ended up naked. This guitar tech dude whipped my ass with a studded belt. It bled. He was so amazed that I took it like a bad-ass that he made me give him a tattoo right there at the shop. I should let you know I'm not a tattoo artist. I never gave a tattoo before or since. But it sounds cooler to tell people I gave Fat Mike a tattoo so lets keep spreading that rumor.

Tattoo given by Ben Crew to Guitar tech dude

Tell me another punk rock story.

Oh shit... There are so many but now that you asked my mind is blank. Oh... I made out with the singer from GWAR once! We'll... We kissed... ok I kissed him...  but he wanted me to. Ok it's really not that exciting. In Defence was playing a show in Richmond. Gwar lives there. I was told that they might be at the show but I didn't know anybody or what they looked like with out their costumes. So I was getting nervous. I didn't know what to do. I'm like if Gwar is here and everybody else here has seen Gwar and Municipal Waste and Lamb of God and all these other awesome bands from Richmond there is no way in hell we are gonna impress anyone. Cuz once you get to taste the best everything else just tastes bland ya know?! So I'm like ok fuck this! My new goal is to make these people unimpressed as fuck. I want to underwhelm the shit out of these people. I want them to leave and go "that was terrible... the worst show I've ever seen... wow that band stinks". So I get up on stage as we are about to play and start taking off my clothes. Not in a sexy way.  Kinda like the way an out of shape depressed middle aged man would... Then I start talking to the audience about how depressed I am. How my life was a failure. How I had no real family and this band was just a way for me to try and get some attention. Try to get someone to love me.... I was really trying to weird these people out. Then a voice rang out from the audience "I'll love you!" So I walked into the crowd and started kissing him. He came up to me after we got done and introduced himself as Dave Brockie (Orderus Urungus) lead singer for the band Gwar. He was like "our bands should tour together sometime! I think it would be fun."

What's the most interesting experience you have ever had that involved a cop?

The most interesting experience I've had with a cop was when In Defence was playing a house show in Kansas City. The police came to shut it down. Then somebody gave them a copy of our record and told them we had a song called "The Police Are Fucking Rad!" and they were like "we'll I guess we can let you guys play". So they left and show was raging!

If music didn't exist, what would you be doing?

Sitting on the couch watching the TV show  "Its Always Sunny"  over and over and over again.

I wanna live to be 100. Got any advice for me?

I have no clue. I just turned 40 this year but I still feel like a kid inside and I do stupid shit a teenager would do just cuz it's fun. My mom died when I was 13 years old. I learned at a young age you never know how long you got so you gotta make what you got count! Apparently I just do stupid shit. 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Chattanooga's STRUNG LIKE A HORSE To Release "FREE" Album

After a few years mesmerizing countless audiences on the road with a unique brand of gypsy punk inspired bluegrass music Strung Like a Horse are proud to announce their first full length studio album, “FREE.”  

The band is employing kickstarter, a crowd-funding site to raise the funds to properly release and duplicate their latest work. To help spread the word they are releasing a zany and captivating rib-tickling video folks are bound to watch over and over. At press time, they have received almost 2/3 of the amount they need. 

The two previous releases from the band, “Live at Lindsay Street,” and “Glad,” have been well received both in the US and in Europe.  In their new work, Strung Like a Horse has chosen to expand their palate and explore more diverse soundscapes.  For example the title track “FREE” is a bouncing melodic anthem with a nostalgic feel, while “Trailer Park Astronaut”  is a slow bizarre ballad.

Strung Like a Horse (Press Photo)
Current fans will identify with the fast-paced violent humor in “Prequel” and “Horizontal,” and the slightly naughty swing tune “Dangly Bits.” All in all, “FREE” is a well-paced album with world wide appeal and a bargain at any price.


Strung Like A Horse Official

Strung Like A Horse on Facebook

Strung Like A Horse on Twitter