Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Bigfoot Diaries Poet Don Larkin: "Gravel Travel"

Well I sit here dreaming and singing along
Bout those who ain’t with me yeah those who are gone
And sometimes I sit here and I see your face
In my mind and in mirrors and all over this place

Sometimes I sing loudly and sometimes I sing high
And sometimes so sadly I just wanna cry
Rhyming my feelings from down deep in my soul
My mind and my freedom and old gravel roads

I dream of my Daddy he’s been gone 20 years
I still see his face past whiskers in mirrors
I pray for my Mama yeah pray she can walk
I need to call her yeah she’s gonna wanna talk

She’ll tell me sing loudly and please sing high
She’ll say sing a sad one for me I need a good cry
Just rhyme your feelings boy from down deep in your soul
Your mind and your freedom and old gravel roads

And I think of my lady, the one just for me
So lovely so pretty yeah so fucking sweet
Miles on the gravel too many to care
Walking together and winding up where

She’ll tell me sing loudly and please sing high
She’ll say sing a sad one for me I need a good cry
Just rhyme your feelings boy from down deep in your soul
Your mind and your freedom and old gravel roads

Monday, April 29, 2013

Summer Music Preview: Rocket Suzie Festival

Spring came a bit late this year in Iowa, but it looks like summer might be coming a bit early. 

The Rocket Suzie Music Festival will take place on the banks of the Little Sioux River in Spencer on June 8, a full 13 days before Summer stakes it's claim on the northern Solstice. This will be the first year for Rocket Suzie, and it already promises to be one of the premier music festivals of the concert season. Touted as a gathering of songwriters, this day-long event will feature acts from Iowa, Texas and Chicago. 

“This inaugural event has a memorable line-up that brings together sweet sounds of Americana,” said Elice Brunnette, Co-Founder of the Rocket Suzie Music Festival and General Manager of The Bear Coffeehouse and Wine Bar. “Each musician was invited to this festival because of their outstanding reputations as memorable songwriters and performers.”

Rocket Suzie's logo was created by Van Holmgren. 

The Rocket Suzie festival lineup headlines with Iowa folk legend Greg Brown. This Grammy nominated musician was a regular performer on a Prairie Home Companion during the '80s and it was through that success that he was able to form Red House Records, a label that would eventually feature the likes of Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Lucy Kaplansky, Pat Donahue, and John McCutcheon. In 1996 Rolling Stone called Brown "a wickedly sharp observer of the human condition," and his songs, while complex in style are written about life's simplicities. He has that uncanny ability to capture a moment of time through a song, like a composer taking a musical photograph. His live shows are known for being intimate and emotional and at times extremely personal. He is a highly touted songwriter and his songs have been performed by the likes of Willie Nelson, Ani DiFranco, Carlos Santana, Jack Johnson, and Joan Baez.

Preceding Brown on the Rocket stage will be The Trishas from Austin, Texas and while the band consists of four women, none of them is actually named Trisha. Bright Giant, Dick Prall, The Host Country, and Chad Elliott will also perform.

From Greg Brown's Official. Photo by Greg Wood. 

"Rocket Suzie" gets it's name from the park which surrounds the festival area which was nicknamed "Rocket Park" by locals. "Suzie" comes from the festival's proximity to the Little Sioux River which runs close by. The music festival will run in association with The Bear Coffeehouse and Wine Bar (aka "The Bear"). It's listed as a "comfortable, casual coffeehouse serving beer and wine along with simple, earthy and robust foods." The Bear features live music every Saturday night. On June 8th, that music will be transferred to the Rocket Suzie stage.

This event seems to have that down-home American feel to it, along with all the trimmings of a summer picnic. Rocket Suzie will predate other events that are slated for this summer and should make for a wonderful kick-off to the music festival season. Tickets are available now through Tickly. 



Rocket Suzie Official (Band links and ticket info available here.) 

The Bear Coffeehouse Official

Rocket Suzie on Facebook

Rocket Suzie on Twitter 

Bryan's List of Musical Happenings 4/29/13

Monday, April 29

Ankum, Thompson, and Sutherland at Greenwood 7:00
Luke Fox, Ben Wantland, Steve Kowbwel Band, Quiet Hollers Monday at Vaudeville Mews 7:30

Tuesday, April 30

Josiah Leming w/ One Love at Vaudeville Mews 6:00
Luke Fox & Daniel Christian at Mars Cafe 7:00
Josh and Will of Bright Giant at El Bait 8:00
Dan Jones at Greenwood 8:00

Wednesday May 1

The High Roller Express at Hull Ave Tavern 6:00 ($1.00 beers too!)
Ira Grace and the Bible Belt Prophets at Fire Creek, WDM 6:30
Bob Pace and the Dangerous Band at Zimm's 7:00
Magoo (Mike McGowan from Hello Dave) Raccoon River Brewery 7:30
Gordon Lightfoot at Hoyt Sherman 8:00
Brother Trucker at El Bait 8:00
B. John Burns at Greenwood 9:00
World Beat Night at Star Bar 9:00

Thursday, May 2

Rainbow Penley at Coda Lounge, Savery Hotel 6:00
Magoo (Mike McGowan from Hello Dave) Raccoon River Brewery 7:00
The Black Lillies at Gas Lamp 7:00
Corey Smith, Conner Christian & Southern Gothic at Wooly's 7:00
Open Jam feat. Fat Tuesday and the Greasefire Keys at Gas Lamp 9:00
Soul Searchers at Greenwood 9:00
Reggae Thursday: Leradee & the Positives at Star Bar 9:30

Friday, May 3

Work Release Party w/ Bob Pace & the Dangerous Band at Gas Lamp 4:30
One Night Stand at Snus Hill Winery, Madrid 6:30
Ramona Muse & Derek Lambert at Mars Cafe 7:00
Rob Burchett at Fire Creek, WDM 7:00
Ira Grace and the Bible Belt Prophets at Gas Lamp 9:00
Roster McCabe w/ Zeta June, Limbs at Wooly's 9:00
Heath Alan Band at Greenwood 9:00
Parranderos Latin Combo at Raccoon River Brewery 9:00
The Smoothsayers w/ Aries Rising at Underground 9:00
Dead Horse Trauma at DG's Tap House, Ames 9:00
Luke Fox and Mason Jar at Kelly's Little Nipper 9:00
Midlife Crisis w/ Violent Fade, Hero's End at House of Bricks 9:30

The Fourth Will Be With You

Saturday, May 4

James McCartney w/ Adam Zwig at Vaudeville Mews 6:30
No Triangles at Ritual Cafe 7:00
Caleb Hawley at the Grapevine, Clive 7:00
Wild Rumpus w/ Doctor Thunder & Person Whale at Mars Cafe 7:00
Viva Montessa, Nest of Snakes, Blacked Out World, Resurection Mary at Krazee Kafe 8:00
Logan Mize w/ Randy Burke and the Prisoners at Wooly's 9:00
Mooseknuckle at Star Bar 9:00
Rick Burke at Greenwood 9:00
Charlie Parr at DG's Tap House, Ames 9:00
The Young Funk & TBA at House of Bricks 9:30

Sunday, May 5

Planet Passenger at Snus Hill Winery, Madrid 2:00
Freestyle at Summerset Winery. Indianola 3:00
Truth Be Told at El Bait 8:00
KeepLove (Dave Samano) w/ The Nemo Orchestra at Wooly's 8:30
Walker and the Texas Dangers, Alone at 3AM with Matt Woods (Not local Matt Woods) at Gas Lamp 9:00

Limited Edition Bigfoot Diaries Prints For Sale

In our ever ending voyage to move forward and make this and the webcast a valid entertainment source, we are now making our show prints available to the public for $10.00 each. Every print is a 11"X 17" limited numbered edition and is made of the highest quality card stock. Many are signed by the show's guests.

Proceeds will go to maintaining business costs (PO Box fees, business cards, webcast production, etc.) These babies would look pretty freaking awesome hanging on your wall, don't ya think? 

We're happy to ship them if necessary - just add an additional $5.00 to the order to cover shipping charges. International rates may be higher. 

Artist: Magnus Sellergren

This print was designed by Swedish rocker and graphic artist Magnus Sellergren. He created it specifically for the purpose of generating revenue for the Bigfoot Diaries - a gift to us. What a guy, huh? He's a great artist too, and we are humbled by this incredible gesture. You can see his other artwork and hear his extensive music catalog by joining his Sellergren Design - Art is the Enemy Facebook page.

Artist: Cveckian

This print, created by our own incredible Cveckian, is from our first show in which we shared the studio with Pavement's Bob Nastonovich and local folk rockers The High Crest. Signed copies were made available for this print, but they sold out quickly. However, there are still a limited number of unsigned prints available for sale. 

Artist: Cveckian

This cool poster was also designed by Cveckian, and we still have signed copies available for distribution. It is commemorative of our 2nd show in which  Jeremiah Tuhn (owner of Brolester Records) was our in studio guest, and we were graced with the musical stylings of local outlaw Jacob County. Signed copies will feature both these local giants. 

Artist: Tom Bolan

Our third show featured Mitch Newman and John Price in the studio, along with Thankful Dirt, whom we consider musical royalty. This poster has a limited number of signed copies available as well, and would look great in any rustic setting. Artist Tom Bolan does amazing work, and his company, Artworx Design is well known in the area for being the go-to place for t-shirts and other graphic art needs. You can check out his website here!

Artist: Jason Boten

This poster was created for our infamous first show that never happened. A wicked snowstorm hit Des Moines on January 27th, and subsequently, we were forced to postpone our first broadcast. Nonetheless, this poster, created by local rocker Jason Boten (Nest of Snakes) represents that tabloid feel we were going for, and we were sorry that we couldn't fully utilize his artistry. Prints are available, however. 

Artist: Cveckian

Cveckian created this monster during election season. It was featured in the Bigfoot Diaries in our election special article, and it has generated a lot of positive feedback. It's iconic, and extremely timely. It would also look fabulous on a wall in your house or in your apartment. If you are interested in buying this print, or any of the others, simply send an email to bigfootdiariesblog@gmail.com with the poster(s) of your choosing. From there we will discuss payment options, and whether or not it needs to be shipped etc. 

We thank you for your interest and your support of the local arts! 

Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Bigfoot Diaries Interview With Graham Bonnet

Graham Bonnet never intended to be a hard rock vocalist. Growing up in the United Kingdom, he fancied himself more of an R&B singer than anything, and he enjoyed some success with The Marbles, a band he had formed with his cousin, Trevor Gordon. "Only One Woman" hit number 5 on the UK Singles Charts in 1968, and "The Walls Fell Down" became a moderate hit for the duo in 1969 when it reached number 28. Both songs were written and produced by Robin, Barry and Maurice Gibb of the Bee Gees.

The Marbles: Graham Bonnet and Trevor Gordon
Over the next decade Bonnet drifted into obscurity until 1977 when he released the self-titled Graham Bonnet, which went certified gold in Australia. His cover of Dylan's "It's All Over Now Baby Blue" reached the top five there, and later "Warm Ride," also written by the Bee Gees (it was a leftover from the Saturday Night Fever sessions), reached number one.

Then in 1979, through an unlikely series of events, he was asked to audition for Rainbow. Initially he was hesitant to do so. The idea of being a hard rock singer didn't appeal to him in the least, and he he only relented after being talked into it by his personal manager. Ritchie Blackmore liked what he heard in the audition, and hired Bonnet on the spot. It was with Rainbow that he gained the most success, with he release of Down To Earth in 1979. Joining him in the band as new additions were Roger Glover on bass, and Don Airey on keyboards. The album was a bit more commercial than Rainbow's previous releases, but  also had a bluesy hard rock feel to it, fueled by Bonnet's razor sharp vocals and Blackmore's ground shaking guitar work. The single "Since You Been Gone" became Rainbow's first hit single, and "All Night Long" followed right behind it. Both remain FM radio staples to this day.

Bonnet was surprised to learn that he enjoyed being a hard rock singer. In 1983 he formed Alcatrazz and has subsequently worked alongside some of rock and roll's greatest musicians. Micheal Schenker, Steve Vai, Yngwie Malmsteen and (briefly) Clive Burr have all shared the stage alongside Bonnet. To this day he performs and tours with Alcatrazz, who's lineup has varied over the years.

Currently, Bonnet resides in Los Angeles. When I reached him by telephone recently, he was enjoying the merits of having his grandchildren in the house, and was preoccupied with a telephone pole which had come down in his yard. "We had the police here and everything." he said. "It was all good fun."

What are you doing these days?

Ah, well basically going out and playing with the new version of Alcatrazz, doing our old stuff. You know that stuff from ten thousand years ago. Uh, so we're going out on a short tour... Doing about three gigs in Europe. One is with Whitesnake... I think that one's in Poland. We're then going to Italy and then to the Czech Republic. But that's only for a short time and then we come back again and hopefully do some recording. I've got a lot of session stuff to do apart from the Alcatrazz stuff so I've got a lot of sessions with other people at the moment. But we are playing as much as possible. We played here a couple of months ago at the House of Blues but most of that stuff is done over seas unfortunately because there seems to be a bigger following for the music that I've done in Europe and in England, in Japan or wherever than over here. It's hard to get work here and there's no money here for one thing. That's another problem, is getting the whole band out there. I get  a lot of gigs to do by myself, playing with whomever it may be in whatever country I'm in. The economy is so bad. You know we usually play Russia every year and this time and this year so far it's been like, 'We can't ask you over because there's no money.' So most of the Alcatrazz stuff, the new version of Alcatrazz anyway, is being done over seas. And not so much here. We've done some stuff over here and some stuff on the east coast in a couple of clubs, but it's really hard to get anything happening here because we don't have anything new out at the moment and you know... We are relying on people's memories to cling on to, you know nineteen-eighty-whatever it was when Alcatrazz was first formed to sing along with the Golden Oldies or whatever. So that's kind of what's happening and the fact that I do a lot of sessions with other people and albums with some of the other guys in the band. To be honest, nobody is in one band anymore, like it used to be. Everybody is in like ten thousand different other bands to stay alive. Slash for instance... He had a few bands and it's the same with us. We have to play whenever we can because things have changed since way back when.

Bonnet formed Alcatrazz in 1983 and tabbed
Yngwie Malmsteen as his guitarist. 

Who is the current lineup of Alcatrazz?

Tim Luce is the bass player. He's played with lots of different people... He's played with Roger Daltrey. He's been around forever and he's played with lots of different guys and he has his own recording studio. He's also a great engineer and producer. That's Tim, and then there's Howie Simon who was with a guy called Jeff Scott Soto and what was the band he used to be in... Oh God... Howie's been around for awhile as well and has played in different bands. You have to Google their names and find out. There's stuff they've done that he hasn't even told me about! That's two of the guys at the moment. Glen Sobel was our drummer but Alice Cooper just snagged him and took him on tour. So at the moment we don't actually have a drummer but we are going to start rehearsing with a new drummer, Bobby Rock in awhile because we have to do this short stint in Europe. But Glen was snagged by Alice Cooper and was given this extensive tour. At the moment we aint as well known as Alice Cooper for instance, so he went where the money is, and that's something that we all have to do. It's a job now, you know?


It's not the way it used to be... It used to be fun and crazy out on the road... Everybody was having a great time and now everybody's working all the time... It's just changed so much.

Well let's talk about the old days. What are some of your memories from when you were in The Marbles?

Well that was the very first time I actually got into a recording studio, it was with the Gibb brothers because my cousin, Trevor Gordon was in the Bee Gees when he was a kid, when he was about eleven or twelve, whatever, and they used to play together in Australia and they used to do shows together, TV shows and things like that. I was introduced to the Gibb family back in 1968 and my cousin in fact, was going to record with them and they were going to work with him and then my cousin said, 'Well my cousin sings also..." because we were in a band in London at the time, me and my cousin and I and some other guys and so he invited me along to go with him to see Barry Gibb and Robert Stigwood who was their manager at their place in London. It kind of went on from there. Barry wrote a tune, I went into a studio with my cousin, we "La-La'd" through this tune that had no words, and then Barry came into some words a couple of days later and it was a song called "Only One Woman" and we recorded the thing, and it did pretty good in England in Europe and Australia. It was released every where but here, I think. Well it was released actually here but it was on some rinky-dinky label that nobody had ever heard of, it was on some subsidiary thing. So it was never on a major label here, and it didn't do anything. There was really no promotion done out in this country at all, but in the rest of the world it did really well. It got up to number 3 in England on the chart. So that was then.

Bonnet replaced Ronnie James Dio in Rainbow in 1979. 

Jumping ahead a few years... You replaced Ronnie James Dio in Rainbow. How did that go down?

Well from that song really... It's so strange. Rainbow didn't have a singer, and they were auditioning a singer in France, or on the border of Switzerland actually, and the band was playing this game where they would play a song and say to each other, 'Who is this singer?'... That sort of thing. And then they just happened to play "Only One Woman"... It was Cozy Powell playing the game with the rest of the band. There was no TV in this place, this chateau, like everybody had to record in their chateau. It was the law back then. You had to be in a place where you weren't distractive, but it was boring as hell, I can tell you. So they're playing this game and Cozy played this song that the Gibb brothers wrote for us, and he said, 'Who is this singer?' and Ritchie Blackmore said, "Oh that's Blah Blah..." Me, you know the Marbles, 1968, and he said, 'Where is this guy now?' and so my friend Micky Moody was working with Roger Glover who was in Rainbow at the time, putting down these tracks and Roger got in touch with Micky and he asked about me because he knew that I was being managed by the same people that Micky Moody was being managed by. Micky was in Whitesnake at the time I think... And so they got in touch with me and I went over to meet the guys in this haunted chateau place, and I auditioned with a song called, "Mistreated" which I had to learn because I knew nothing of Rainbow at all. So  had to go out and learn this one tune... and that was my audition song and they gave me the job. 

I went back to England - back to London - and said to my manager, 'This really isn't my kind of thing. These guys have all got the standard Rock "look," you know those spandex pants and that kind of thing, and whatever, and the long hair. I thought, 'I just don't fit and the music just don't interest me that much, you know,' and he said 'Well I think it would be a good move for you to get away from what you are doing, which was mainly R & B and low Pop stuff, you know what I mean? I enjoy all kinds of music, but this was just one style of music I wasn't used to you know, semi-classical, and very intricate instrumentally and I thought, 'How am I going to fit into this? It just isn't my kind of deal, you know? But he said, 'You'd better do it. It'll be very good for your career.' Of course he was thinking about himself, because he could make some money off this because Rainbow is a big band... Sort of Deep Purple revisited. So um... I took the job and did find out in the end that I did enjoy the music alot. It was kind of hard for me to adapt to it because I was used to writing stuff on my own, or playing with whomever with a guitar... Knowing when the voice happens, the chorus happens and where the middle bit happens, and that kind of thing. But this was so intricate. The arrangements to at least to me, were very lavish and experimental for that time. You know... 'Where does the singing come in?' I couldn't figure out how to fit the vocal into this semi-classical stuff, which Roger Glover had to help me out with, because I had no clue! So Roger wrote all the words, and I provided some of the melodies, but he gave me a rough idea. I sort of ad-libbed my own melodies to things, and he would say, 'Go a bit light here.' and something like this. And he would suggest stuff. So Roger wrote the words, and I wrote the melodies.

Well, I'd say you did pretty good...

Well yeah. It took a lot of time because it was something that I just wasn't used to. I was used to getting demos from songwriters who were all done, and the harmonies and the rest of it, and this is how it goes, and you know, copied... Like Russ Ballard say for instance, who wrote "Since You Been Gone," and so it was a difficult time for me. We got through it, but it was a slow process for me because Roger got stuck on lyrics and he didn't know what to write and he'd ask me and I said "Well I don't know what to write for this kind of music, I'm not used to it," You know. But yeah, after the many laborious hours or months as it was, it turned out pretty good.

Bonnet enjoyed working with Ritchie Blackmore. 

Was working with Ritchie Blackmore as exasperating as the media made it out to be? 



No. Ritchie, he's great! (laughing.) He and I became sort of close on the road when we first went out on tour. I don't know what it is. He... Rich is one of those guys... What can I say? Yeah sometimes he is a bit anti-social and he picks his friends way carefully and he only has a few friends that he can really get close to. That was a part of him being stand-offish or whatever, but I never found him like that at all. He was just the opposite. he's very shy, he has a very shy personality and people often mistake that for being obnoxious or whatever that may be. But no. he was friends with my dad and that whole kind of thing while we were on tour in England. He used to hang out with my dad, you know? So yeah... He has that reputation, the man in black and all that, but he... (laughs) I don't know if he minds me saying all this but he is a really sweet guy! He really is.

That's awesome.

At least to me anyway... He was to me. With other people they kind of hated him and I could never see why. I didn't get it. But you know, anyway.

Your typical recording studio is not a haunted chateau. 

That's good to know. I like that answer. Reportedly he wanted you to sing the tracks to Down to Earth from inside a castle, and you resisted, because in your own words you said it was haunted. What was going on in there? 

(Laughter) No. He said it was haunted, not me. He was freaking people out. You know, windows would open mysteriously, strange noises in the night and all that kind of stuff. As I said, the place, it was a castle... This place was just a chateaux... castle whatever you want to call it. To me it was horrible! Nothing around there, it was in the middle of the countryside in France and there was nothing to do. It was a little village with a pub and whatever... A little town wall kind of thing. It was just horrible and I couldn't get into it. We couldn't get the right sound in there anyway because all the rooms were very echo-y and the stone walls and it was cold... and it was just not the deal, you know? So then we eventually went to a place with a proper studio and that's where we recorded all the vocals because we just weren't getting anything there vocally. But  some of the tracks, especially the drum tracks were recorded in the chateaux because of the acoustics. So yeah. 

You recorded Bob Dylan's "It's All Over Now Baby Blue" in the '70s. What is it about Bob Dylan and that song in particular that inspired you to record it? 

Well I always liked Bob Dylan you know? He sort of cropped up in England when I was 15-16 something like that. I was in a band at the time and we played a lot of Bob Dylan tunes, along with Beatles tunes and The Who and all the rest of it. We played int he pubs, and we played everything that was charting at the time, and back then folk music became a big thing with all the Mods and the Rockers in England, and at that time in the 1960s when everybody rode Lambrettas and Vespas and they wore these parkas with the with the furry collars like Eskimos and that kind of stuff... And with spiky hair. That was me! That's what I was doing. And all those guys were into Bob Dylan and people would play records, we'd have parties and play all this Bob Dylan stuff. I just really got into the lyrics he wrote, I thought they were fantastic, and the stories he wrote. That spawned interest from me, and it was a very fashionable thing to like Bob Dylan because he was underground and nobody really knew who he was until much later. So, I used to sing that tune, "Baby Blue" way back then before I did the Marbles thing. I listened to it and thought, this reminds me of something, and I was walking into the studio and I said, How would you feel about doing the song, "Baby Blue," the Dylan tune? And the guy said yeah, yeah... How we gonna do it though? I said, Have you ever listened to "Maggie May" from Rod Stewart... (sings) Wake up Maggie I think I've got something to say to you... You know. I said, isn't that very familiar to "Baby Blue?" Let's do it like that, let's do it like the Rod Stewart tune. He said Oh yeah! Ya think it was ripped off from "Baby Blue" and I said I think so, yeah. Cause "Maggie May" you know what song I'm talking about, right? 


So yeah, we basically did the arrangement around that, I just got my guitar out and said let's do it like this, you know. And that's kind of how we did it and it seemed to work. 

That's excellent, What a great story. You have worked with some of the most revered guitarists in the history of rock and roll. Who was your favorite to work with? 

(Laughing) All of them! 


Yeah because they were all different, it was all exciting, everyone was different, you know from Yngwie to Steve Vai to  Danny Johnson, to Micky Moody way back when, when we played in the studio cause Micky Moody played a lot on my stuff. Gary Moore back then as well. Steve Vai, Yngwie Malmsteen, that's the Alcatrazz guys. And of course Ritchie... They were all so different but all so great at what they do. They were all completely different in style and that's especially what I liked about Steve Vai... Kinda off the wall coming out of Frank Zappa's band. Very very different and very very inventive because he had to be.. That's what he had to do with Frank Zappa, you know. Frank Zappa would knock on the wall and say, "What is that note?" Steve would say, "I don't know, what is it?" And he Zappa would say, "Well it's a E." And Steve would say "How do you know?" (And Zappa would say) "Well everything you hit, has a note. Every tree, when a branch breaks, there's a note there somewhere. Which is absolutely right, every sound has a note but you have to listen really hard.. (laughs)... So Steve was different. The second album we made with Steve Vai is my favorite, actually. Of the Alcatrazz stuff anyway.

Who do you listen to today? Anyone that is new? 

I listen to some stuff. A lot of it... I've heard it before (laughs)...  It's like there are so many bands now I couldn't tell you one name. The Foo Fighters is the last band I kind of liked, which is a few years ago I know. When they first came out, I should say. I like the energy of that band and I thought what they did was really cool. But a lot of the stuff is rehashed 1980s with more distortion and not so good vocals... I don't know. I hear stuff all the time that my kids play and there's nothing that is picking at my ears and I'm going Hey... What's that?... Except for... There's a car commercial I heard that's on the TV now and I cant think of the guys name who sings it, which is terrible. My memory is not working very good today. It's called "Powerful Stuff" oh what's his name? I think it's a Suburu or something? It's a guy with an acoustic guitar, and he sounds kinda like Otis Redding from way back... Kinda like "Dock of the Bay" kinda thing. And there's this American guy and he's on this commercial and the song is "Powerful Stuff." (The artist that Mr. Bonnet is referring to is Sean Hayes, per Google.) He's got such an interesting voice... He's just a guy who has a lot of soul. And a lot of feel... It's just a guy and an acoustic guitar and I like things that are different. It's kind of like when Queen came along, it was like, Oh my God what's that? You know, because it was so new, and experimental when I first heard that "Bohemian Rhapsody" thing. I was like, What the hell is that?.. Because it just blew me away... And I'm waiting for that to happen again. Some day it's going to happen but a lot of the stuff now all sounds the damn same! It's all processed, and over-processed and auto-tuned and whatever else. It just sounds like it's coming out of a machine, basically which it is. There is nothing new to me... I've heard it all before. I'm waiting for something different. That's why I liked the 1960's... There was a lot of good stuff and it was all different. I was lucky enough to grow up in the '60s with The Who and the Animals and the Beatles of course, and the Stones, all those guys and the Kinks... And all those bands were all so different. The Kinks were like this Punky kind of thing, you know, a very urban kind of music. And these days, there is nothing I've heard that interests me that much yet. But I'm sure it will happen.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Behind the Scenes with Thankful Dirt at BFD Live

While we were live on the air last night at the Webcast One Studios in the skywalk in Des Moines, our mixologist Cveckian was behind the scenes shooting candid footage of Erik Brown and Darren Mathews of Thankful Dirt as they prepped for their on-air performance. One thing we realized: The acoustics in the skywalk are amazing. 

Bryan's List of Musical Happenings 4/22/13

Monday, April 22

The BATS: Banks, Ankum, Thompson, and Sutherland at the Greenwood 7:00
White Water Ramble w/ Tallgrass at Wooly's 9:00

Tuesday, April 23

Ryne Doughty at El Bait 8:00
Stevan Robinson at Greenwood 8:00

Stevan Robinson plays the Greenwood on Tuesday. 

Wednesday, April 24

The High Roller Express at the Hull Avenue Tavern 6:00 ($1 Beers Too!)
Steve Kowbel at Fire Creek, WDM 6:30
Bob Pace and the Dangerous Band at Zimm's 7:00
Josh Sinclair at Raccoon River Brewery 7:30
David Zollo at El Bait 8:00
Rosco Bandana w/ Josh Davis and Will Locker at Gas Lamp 8:00
The High Crest at Greenwood 9:00

Thursday, April 25

Chad Elliott at Coda Lounge, Savery Hotel 6:00
Jason Walsmith at Confluence Brewing Co. 7:00
Scott Holt at Gas Lamp 7:00
Songwriter Night: Chad Boyles, Darren Matthews, Michael Enos, Josey Todd at House of Bricks 8:00 Just added!
Open Jam feat. Fat Tuesday and the Greasefire Keys at Gas Lamp 9:00
Soul Searchers at Greenwood 9:00

Friday, April 26

Work Release Party w/ Bob Pace and the Dangerous Band at Gas Lamp 4:30
Trouble No More at Snus Hill Winery, Madrid 6:30
Kevin Lindgren & Tommy Lewis at Grapevine, Clive 7:00
Alex Kintzle w/ Joshua & Kristen Putney at Mars Cafe 7:00
Women Writers in the Round: Jen Allen, Lavonne Roberts, Kat Darling, Patresa Hartmen at Ritual Cafe 7:00
One2Punch at Fire Creek 7:00
JJ Express w/ Chris "Mojo" Sutliff at 1st Ave. Speakeasy, Newton 8:00
Tony Bohenkamp at the Garage, Indianola 8:00
North of Grand 10th Anniversary Show at Gas Lamp 9:00
Pert Near Sandstone, Mr. Baber's Neighbors, Poppa Neptune at Wooly's 9:00
Sutherland, Ankum and Thompson at the Greenwood 9:00
Los Saltinos at Star Bar 9:00
The Smoothsayers w/ Aries Rising at Underground 9:00
The Giving Tree Band at DG's Tap House, Ames 9:00
Lady Soal, Jym Crow, and The Candeez at the House of Bricks 9:30
The Sheet at The Standard 9:00
Double Penetration (Rich Cantrell & Erik Brown) at House of Bricks 9:30

North of Grand will celebrate 10 years on Friday at the Gas Lamp

Saturday, April 27

Lyal Strickland at Grapevine, Clive 7:00
Bill Matykowski at Smokey Row Coffeehouse 7:00
Dead Larry CD Release Party w/ Mighty Shady and Useful Jenkins at Wooly's 8:00
Aquamarine Dream Machine at Lot 33 8:30
Matt Woods at the Longest Yard, WDM 9:00
Max Eubank at the Star Bar 9:00
Randy Burke and the Prisoners at Raccoon River Brewery 9:00
Hymn for Her feat. Molly Gene One Whoaman Band at Gas Lamp 9:00
Crooked Mile at the Greenwood 9:00
Rumble Seat Riot w/ Peace, Love and Stuff at DG's Tap House, Ames 9:00
The Maw at House of Bricks 9:30

Sunday, April 28

Brewer Project at Snus Hill Winery, Madrid 2:00
Fat Tuesday Trio at Summerset Winery, Indianola 3:00
Biscuit Miller & The Mix at Byron's, Pomeroy 5:00
Tommy Castro and the Pain Killers at Gas Lamp 7:00
Fruition at El Bait 8:00

Friday, April 19, 2013

Bigfoot Diaries Live! Sunday Night at 7:00 (CST)

Grant's Tomb: DHT's Vi-Ops "Album of the Year"

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present you with my 2013 Album of the Year: Dead Horse Trauma’s “Vi-Ops.” It’s a smooth and complex beast of a record that has such a high replayability I’m almost in complete shock that it’s a local band. Am I biased? Yes, but it’s that bias that gives me the ability to actually critique this album for what it is. I’ve had nearly two weeks with it, to soak it in, digest it and spit it back out.  

When I first reviewed Dead Horse Trauma’s 2011 release “Tellus Hodiernus Caducus,” my only real complaint regarding the disc was the mix. It felt thin to me and if memory serves me correct I compared it to “As the Palaces Burn” by Lamb of God. Well, I’m not so na├»ve as to think that Dead Horse Trauma actually listened to me, much less care what I think, but holy crap, their new album “Vi-Ops” is like a giant slap in the face. It is such a massive sounding record that if it were a physical being it would certainly leave a crater the size of a mammoth in its wake. Vi-Ops is the album that Dead Horse Trauma have been striving for since their inception back in 2006.

The lyrics on this record show how far
Eric Davidson has come as a writer.

The album proper starts of with the thunderous “Murder of Crows,” with its snarling and dark electronic intro that gives way to the one-two punch from the string section. Enter vocalist Eric Davidson. His vocal delivery is superb on this record and I wouldn’t be surprised if something along the lines of “Fuck it, big chorus on every damn song!” left his lips at one point while penning the lyrics. The lyrics on this record show how far Davidson has come as a writer, yeah he's still pissed but where as on past releases he directed his anger at specific individuals, the album is both conceptual and deep, speaking of the evils of government corruption and mass media’s distortion of truth. Sure, that’s well tread ground, but where he excels is where so many others have failed or sputtered out. His ability to craft a story that is meaningful yet ambiguous enough for the listener to get caught up in is what separates him from the rest. Try typing in the song titles into a search engine, see what you come up with. It’s almost like he is daring the listener to dig deeper. 

The second track “The Head of the Snake” is sure to be a bruiser in the live setting. Guitarist Seth Peters comes in with a chugga-chug but then throws the listener a curve ball and takes off in the opposite direction just when the listener start to bang their head. The breakdown at the end of this song is by far the finest he has composed, leaving just enough space to catch a gasp of air before you are pounded into submission. Another noticeable aspect of his playing is the introduction of lead guitar work on nearly every song encompassing this album, something that the band needed to do to really set them apart from the pack. You will be humming those guitar melodies all day long. Indeed, the use of space on this record is crucial. See the lead off track “Reckoning Day.” It stomps and strides with absolute conviction only a band as sure of itself as Dead Horse is could do. They pull it off flawlessly and just after the first chorus is complete-a perfect example of “sing-a-long” if the band ever had one-the action breaks up for just enough time to bring in the goth sounding synths.

Not only is Jason Handy their beat machine, but he is also
the guy responsible for the band's graphic designs

Newly promoted sampler Taylor “Made” Guy (he was their lighting dude on the last two releases) really shines on this album. The chorus…well, practically the entire song “Mocking Bird” really gives him ample opportunity to flex his digital muscles, and its done with such taste and care. Vi-Ops has a lot of ear candy, but it is just so flawlessly executed and placed at just the right moments at just the right time you probably won’t even notice it. Speaking of “Mocking Bird,” what an epic ending; the band really played with dynamics on this album. The loudest parts are loud but what’s even more impressive is how deafening the quiet moments are.

This album marks the recording debut of bassist BJ Forst (the previous two albums where handled by “Bad” Brad Koehler) and he provides that all too over-looked low end stomp. His playing is precise and isn’t over the top. Coupled with drummer Jason Handy, they make for such a tight rhythm section you would think they have formed some symbiotic relationship, playing off each others strengths and keeping the songs moving forward. 

The last song on the record, “Daffodils,” exemplifies everything that is great about this record and is the perfect ending to the disc. Its groove-heavy verses lead to that big open chorus where Davidson calls out the nay-sayers for what they are, just plain jealous. 

Click to enlarge
Because I’m an artwork guy (yeah, I still buy cd’s), I have to bring this up. The album art, although it’s sparse, is awesome and totally sets the appropriate tone for the record. Not only is Handy their beat machine, but he is also the guy responsible for the graphic designs. Those awesome t-shirts at their merch table? He designed those. That excellent music video for “Reckoning Day?” He was behind that one as well. 

Seriously, I can’t find fault with the album, as much as I’d like to say “they could have done x and y better,” I can’t find it (maybe a lyric book?). It’s a short release, there’s no doubt about that, but its brevity is one of its strong points. It leaves the band with absolutely no room for filler (even the two interlude/intermission tracks are completely necessary for the overall cohesiveness of the album). At the risk of sounding like a broken record, it’s a perfect album, simply put. It will be interesting to see where the band goes with their next release, which I’m told they are already in pre-production for. This band has yet to plateau, and Vi-Ops is certainly a triumph.

Dead Horse Trauma will be playing their cd release party @ Wooly’s in Des Moines IA on 4/20/2013 with Cirrus Minor, Nuisance, and Pinwheel. Why don’t you go hit them up on Facebook?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Samantha: Life in Seoul and the Doomsday Threat

I haven’t written anything in a while. Life in Seoul is like living in New York City on steroids. I have come to the conclusion that there aren’t enough hours in the day for parties, concerts, coffee dates, long work weeks, projects, art, international phone calls, sleep, my Boston terrier and the occasional pajama day. As I am finishing a glass of wine and refining this, North Korea is finally taking a back seat in the news, as Boston has now become America’s new biggest obsession. I should be writing on Global Arts Therapy and its progress however right now I need to share my experience of North Korea, the DMZ and the Joint Security Area with you.

Samantha with a guard in the Joint Security Area
North Korea, lord only knows that in recent weeks the international media has been writing tales of how the DPRK is going to blow South Korea and the U.S into tiny pieces and I am here to tell you, for your own sanity STOP WATCHING THE NEWS! In recent weeks all of us in South Korea have heard plenty of threats and some have witnessed protests in the capital city of Seoul.  After several calm weeks in Yongin, I decided I could use a trip to Panmunjom and the DMZ so with the help of the staff at my school, I booked a trip up the place which has escalated and heightened fear in recent weeks internationally; the DMZ is an area consisting of 2 kilometers that neither of the two Koreas own. This place is where the propaganda and freedom villages exist, there are rice paddies and about 212 people coinciding within the area, it is dangerous and there isn’t a lot going on however you can feel the tension within the two kilometer span.

Guards patrol the Joint Security Area in Panmunjeom 
Looking onto somber foundations of old bridges and wondering what life was like when the two Koreas were one and people were able to see their families and share common bonds without restrictions makes you question why they split in the beginning. I’m not here to make commentary on Asian history, I’m not a historian and I’m not some arrogant fuck that is going to sit here and feed you rubbish.  The North Korea and Joint Security Area which I was able to experience was calm, I saw some guards and crossed the demarcation line, I did not visit Pyongyang however if the chance arises, I’m there.

In the border territory of Paju one can visit the Imnijak sculpture park and wish bridge, there you can see all of the prayers, and reunification hopes and wishes that South Korean people make, it is touching to examine this and realize that families have been divided for 60 years now. There are remnants of a train at the park as well in which remind us that not long ago life functioned with ease and joy within the two Koreas.

Although reunification now would lead to a substantial deficit, President Park Gyung He would like to see this happen.  With the bellicose rhetoric behind North Korea and the constant saber rattling that they do, I firmly believe the two Koreas will not reunify any time soon, however as for those of us living in the South-we are not concerned about their ranting and raving. We get up each day, head for our morning coffee and take on the day.  The North is a source of laughter around offices and a little work conversation, nevertheless we are not heavily concerned with Kim Jung Un’s threats.

Prayers for reunification in the JSA

So in America when the sun goes down, fear not of North Korea, listen less to the media and place a great importance on doing something good for your country, your state, your neighborhood and worry less about a possible nuclear threat. If you are concerned with North Korea, volunteer for a charity that can assist getting their people some food and medicine.

-Samantha Thomas

Monday, April 15, 2013

Bryan's List of Musical Happenings 4/15/13

Monday, April 15

S.T.A.B (Sutherland, Thompson, Ankum, and Banks) at the Greenwood 7:00
Good For You at Gas Lamp 8:00

Tuesday, April 16 

Andy Fleming at El Bait Shop 8:00
Acousti-Beast at Greenwood 9:00

Aquamarine Dream Machine plays a rare show Wednesday at El Bait.
(Photo courtesy of  Des Moines Live Music)

Wednesday, April 17

High Roller Express at Hull Avenue 6:00
Matt Logan at Fire Creek, WDM 6:30
J.D. McPherson w/ Dustin Smith at Vaudeville Mews 7:00
Bob Pace and the Dangerous Band at Zimm's 7:00
Josh Davis at Raccoon River Brewery 7:30
Ben Wantland at the Greenwood 8:00
Aquamarine Dream Machine at El Bait Shop 8:00
Korby Lenker w/ Ryne Doughty at Gas Lamp 9:00

Thursday, April 18

Rainbow Penley at Coda Lounge, Savery Hotel 6:00
Richard Arndt and the Round Guy at House of Bricks 6:30
David Zollo at Confluence Brewing Co. 7:00
Joe Goodkin of Paper Arrows w/ Dustin Smith at Gas Lamp 7:00
Open Jam feat. Fat Tuesday and the Greasefire Keys at Gas Lamp 9:00
Soul Searchers at the Greenwood 9:00
Laradee & The Positives (Reggae) at Star Bar 9:00

Friday, April 19

Work Release Party w/ Bob Pace & the Dangerous Band at Gas Lamp 4:30
El Dorados at Snus Hill Winery, Madrid 6:30
Bonnie Finken w/ Seth Hedquist & Scott Dawson at the Grapevine 7:00
Tweed Funk at Gas Lamp 9:00
The Jeff Banks Band at the Greenwood 9:00
Shady at Best w/ Luke Fox at the Underground 9:00
R.S.V.P at House of Bricks 9:30

Saturday 420

Dead Horse Trauma CD Release Party at Wooly's 5:00
Bill Matykowski at Smokey Row 7:00
Flynn Barn Dance: Barn Owl Band at Living History Farms 7:00
The Nadas at Hyperion Field Club, Johnston 7:00
420 Rock and Roll show at the Hull Avenue Tavern 7:00
David Zollo w/ Joel Baker & David McGahuey at the Grapevine, Clive 7:00
He's My Brother She's My Sister, Ramona & The Swimsuits at Vaudeville Mews 8:30
Tequila Sunrise at Byron's, Pomeroy 9:00
The Lowdown, Fancy Pants at Underground 9:00
Trampled Under Foot at DG's Tap House, Ames 9:00
Heath Alan Band at Greenwood 9:00
The Sham w/ Michelle Mcguire at the Gas Lamp 9:00
The End (Beatles Tribute Band) at Raccoon River Brewery 9:00
Latin Night at House of Bricks 9:30
Euforquestra 10th Anniversary w/ Blue Martian Tribe at Wooly's 10:00

Sunday, April 21

The Blues Bureau at Snus Hill Winery, Madrid 2:00
After Hours at Summerset Winery, Indianola 3:00
Vesta Salon Rockin' Earth Fundraiser at Gas Lamp 4:00
The High Crest at Byron's, Pomeroy 5:00
Robert Deitch & Tim Mitchum at the Grapevine, Clive 7:00
The Dark Royals at El Bait Shop 8:00

Interview with "Rawrb" Kersey from Psychostick

The first time I heard Psychostick was in 2007, and I was hating my job.

I was in a rut, stuck in the kitchen on the closing shift of a restaurant I didn't like working at. I was burnt out and tired and things weren't particularly good at home. I was sick of my job and feeling overworked, and had even grown tired of the people I was hanging with. It was a miserable time in my life and there didn't seem to be much prospect of things to get better any time soon. I  was beat down and feeling sorry for myself when the song "Beer" came on the radio. It was my introduction to Psychostick.

Beer is good!
Beer is good!
Beer is good!
... and stuff.

Now before you start thinking that I heard "Beer" and my life changed at that instant, and ever since then I've been engulfed in a world of warmth and fuzz, you should know that that most certainly isn't the case. 

But I do remember thinking that it was a clever song, and it did give me an instant of joy in what was otherwise a pretty horrible night. And when I eventually got off work, that song remained in my head... and later when I sat at the bar it was still there... and for several days thereafter.

That's Psychostick for you.

They seem like the kind of guys who would bring a rubber chicken to a cock fight. The brand of music they create - humorcore as they call it - is uniquely their own. But what's especially unique about them is that one can't just brush them off as being a band that is funny. These fellas are actually very talented musicians, and when they play live and mix their sophomoric humor into their carefully crafted songs, they capture an audience as well as anybody I have ever seen. 

Psychostick played the Vaudeville Mews in Des Moines on April 5th. I was lucky enough to catch a few moments with Rob "Rawrb" Kersey, the band's singer to talk about their current tour (Our Tour Can Beat Up Your Tour) and a bit about life on the road. Psychostick seems to be in constant travel, and I was hoping to get some good stories out of him. Unfortunately I caught Rob on a night when he seemed a bit weary. I understand that life on the road is a grind, so I am extremely gracious to Rob for spending a few minutes with me. 

So, "Our Tour Can Beat Up Your Tour." What's that all about? 

It's just a funny little name that we came up with. (laughs.) We try to make our tour names different and interesting so that people do a double take and they get interested, you know. There's some really lame tour names out there so we try to fight back.

What's the biggest challenge you have faced on the road so far? 

Um.... (pauses) I think our biggest challenge... There was a show in Florida where we first went up with Polka Dot Cadaver and we got crammed on to this other show and it was a big ordeal as we tried to figure out how to make that work. We all just got crammed together... We tried not to go on at one in the morning.

So you were scheduled to play earlier but then you got caught up in something that you had to play later then?

Um... (pauses again) No.. We were scheduled. We were warned about it. The band that was headlining the show before us ended up playing like 30 minutes later than they should, one of the bands went over their time and it was very stressful but that's okay. 

One of those things. 

It's a small thing. That's really most of the challenges we meet other than the long drives. That's just part of it.

Long drives... Where did you play last night?

We played in Chicago. 

That is a long drive. A long 8 hours... Besides "Beer" what its the most requested song you get? 

Lately it's been "Because Boobs."

The new one. 

Yeah. From girls oddly enough. That and "Dogs Like Socks." It's our newest release and it's doing really well. We don't get request for it, but people are like, "Oh that's you. Okay."

"We Ran Out of Cd Space" Do you play that live? 

No we have never done that live. When we recorded that one it was with different band members at the time, and we haven't quite figured out how we want to do that live yet. We'll get there, though. It's in the works. 

So you haven't put out an album since 2011?


Are you working in the studio? 

Oh yeah. Later this year we're gonna be recording and writing and all that stuff. There's a lot of stuff... We've just been busy touring and we've been trying to keep up and pay our bills and whatever. But yeah. We should definitely be having something coming out sooner than later.  We don't normally like to wait this long between albums but it's tough to be able to sit down and write when you are on the road so much. 

How do you do your best writing? Because Humorcore is it's own thing. You don't just have a deep thought and then write a song about it. 

Well you know it's one of those things that you shouldn't think too hard about it. There's a laugh test we have with our songs. If it makes us laugh, I mean genuinely laugh then that's a good start. And that's pretty much the deciding factor. Everything else is... There's been songs that we've had to scrap because they weren't as good, or funny.

It's got to pass the laugh test. 
bassist Matty J. at home in KC

I am just guessing that when you guys wrote " Numbers (I Can Only Count to Four)" you were driving through some small town in Missouri or somewhere, and Drowning Pool came on the radio and you made the song your own... 

Actually, again, that was one of our ex-band mates, Jimmy. He was in a band called Indorphine, and we were on tour with them before he joined us, and he was kind of singing that to that, and we just started running with it. 

Do you guys just tour non-stop?

No, we stop. Otherwise we'd die. No, we go for a couple of months, and then we try to take a month. Whatever makes sense. It depends on a lot of different things. there are so many variables. I couldn't give you an exact amount. Whatever makes sense is the best way I can put it. 

Are you based out of Arizona then? 

Well no we started in Arizona, but right now we are based out of Kansas City. It's easier to tour from there than it is Phoenix. If you look at a map, there is nowhere really near Phoenix that you can tour to unless you want to drive forever. 

So what are your thoughts about Des Moines? 

Des Moines is... To be honest, I am really impressed with how... up to date Des Moines is. You wouldn't think that coming here, but it's a college town, and there's a lot of modern restaurants especially, over here you got the pizza place... 


Fongs. Fongs is amazing. And Zombie Burger is one of my favorite spots. And lots of open minded crowds and everybody is having fun. Des Moines is a great pace to play.