Sunday, July 28, 2013

Last Webcast (for awhile) Will Be Sunday Night

Tonight will mark the last webcast we do for awhile as we regroup and figure out which direction to go next. Des Moines rock veterans Ned Rood and Dirk Newton will be joining us to talk about the good ol' days of Des Moines music... Plus anywhere else the conversation takes us. It's bound to get a bit zany! Jeff Banks will be performing magic on his guitar live in the studio. You can tune in here - a live stream link will be set up. 

Artwork by Cveckian

Thanks to everybody who has supported us, and continues to do so! We appreciate it more than you could ever know! 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Guest Commentary: Gavin Aronsen of Ames Prog

Cityview’s Irresponsible Flirtation with Autism and Vaccine Myths

Last week’s cover of Cityview, Iowa’s flagship alternative weekly, promoted a self-serving story about the newspaper’s own beer festival in Des Moines. The author, managing editor Amber Williams, wrote that beer, “when consumed moderately, provides more than nine essential nutrients and six distinct health benefits, according to natural foods authors Larry and Oksana Ostrovsky.”

Research published in respected medical journals and by the federal government has confirmed that beer can be good for you. So it’s strange that Williams instead cited information from the Ostrovskys’ self-published e-book, which falsely claims that gluten has been shown to cause autism and repeatedly references, a conspiracy website that rejects modern medicine and believes the government is responsible for the Boston Marathon bombing.

Williams doesn’t advance any of those theories in her story, but this isn’t the first time she’s flirted with junk science. In February, she wrote a cover story questioning the merits of the flu vaccine. After falsely suggesting that a flu shot can cause the flu, the story shifts its focus to a mother whose Des Moines Area Community College class research paper convinced her not to vaccinate her kids. Her doctor “told me his own daughter had been injured by a vaccine, and now she’s full-on autistic,” the mother said.

But there is no evidence that vaccines cause autism. Those who believe there is rely on lingering falsehoods from a fraudulent study published in a medical journal 15 years ago that has been thoroughly debunked and retracted. The autism vaccine myth has resulted in the deaths of several children around the world. It has stricken many more people with preventable diseases including mumps, whooping cough, and, this year in Brooklyn and Wales, measles.

Failing to get vaccinated against such diseases also has a high economic toll. In 2004, an Iowa college student studying in India came home infected with measles. The two-month effort to prevent the spread of the disease was estimated to cost more than $140,000.

Williams never mentioned any of this, and, using a quote from the mother in her story, actually suggested the opposite: “I found a lot of reports of vaccine failures that linked vaccinations to things like meningitis and measles.”

A week after the vaccine story, Cityview published a letter from a reader who slammed the story’s poor sourcing. The paper dismissed his complaints at the same time in a snarky editor’s note explaining that the mother’s research paper “received a 97 percent,” that “she passed the class with a 98 percent overall,” and that the reader’s “line of work, by the way, is pharmaceutical sales.”

Williams’ vaccine story remains relevant now that Jenny McCarthy, a leading proponent of the autism vaccine myth, has joined ABC’s popular daytime talk show The View. The show averages more than three million viewers for every episode and airs five days a week. Many journalists have written about fears that McCarthy will use her new soapbox to promote dangerous junk science. Williams, on the other hand, never corrected her own story.

By treating the Ostrovskys as a credible source in her latest cover story, Williams, in the words of the letter criticizing her vaccine story, demonstrated that she still doesn’t “fully understand the power of the press and the responsibilities that come with being a steward of it."

Author: Gavin Aronsen - Ames Progressive (Original article)

Monday, July 22, 2013

Bryan's List of Musical Happenings 7/22/13

Monday, July 22

Chad Elliott & Bonita Crowe at Soumas Court (behind) Big Chair Coffee, Perry 5:00
Findlay Family Fun Fest at Greenwood 7:00
Chad Elliott & Bonita Crowe at La Post, Perry 8:00
David Zollo & Body Electric at La Post, Perry 8:30

Tuesday, July 23

Abby Normal, Comfort Zone, Fahrenheit at Valley Junction 10AM-5PM
Des Moines RAGBRAI music at various stages 11AM-10PM
Eddie Andorfer at beaverdale Farmer's Market 4:30
Ryne Doughty, Brother Trucker, Fruition at El Bait 5:00
Steve Pellow Trio w/ Geoffrey Jr. at Wooly's 6:00
Summerland Tour 2013 at Court Avenue Bridge 7:00
Party party Karoke, Blu Simon at Mullets 8:00
Lindgren and Lewis at Greenwood 8:00
River Monks, Terriers, Mr. Nasti at Vaudeville Mews 10:00

Wednesday, July 24

Chasing Shade at Fairgrounds 8:00AM
Knoxville RAGBRAI music at Knoxville 10AM-11:30PM
Rebel Road at Country Night, Zoo Brew 6:00
Bob Pace & The Dangerous band at Zimm's 7:00
Mary McAdams at Raccoon River Brewery 7:00
Fancy Pants at El Bait 8:00
Chris Muhlbauer at Greenwood 8:00
Ryne Doughty and the River rats at Gas Lamp 9:00
Matthew Sweet and Bonnie Finken at Wooly's 9:00
World Music Wednesdays at Star Bar 9:00

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Poet Don Larkin: Skittles


In this land of the free and home of the brave
There’s a young black kid dead in his grave
A hoodie and skittles and dark skin at night
How can this cause such incredible fright

What the hell is he doing, yeah what’s he up to 
Be the judge and the jury, it’s all up to you
Walking and talking and heading to Dad’s
Tell me now Georgie, does that sound so bad

What could you see as he walked in your ‘hood
How could you tell he was up to no good
Courage in a holster and no balls in your pants
Judge and the jury and no second chance

Call 911 but do not back down
Be a big man, yeah clean up your town
They always get away, you gotta keep them in their place
So holster your courage then start on the chase

Call him suspicious but never mention a crime
Be the judge and the jury armed with a nine
Georgie the watchman, he’s just keepin’ it real
Like Batman and Robin and the man of steel

The neighbors rest easy when he’s on the job
He’s got their back, and says it’s no prob
Shit doesn’t happen on old Georgie’s watch
He’s the judge and the jury and his nine has a notch

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

GMFCA Now Accepting Applications for Marchers

From the desk of Ed Fallon: 

The Great March for Climate Action announced today that it is now ready to formally accept applications from prospective marchers interested in participating in next year’s eight-month, 2,980 trek from Los Angeles to Washington, DC. The Marcher Application and an accompanying promotional video were sent to 132 people who expressed interest in marching. The application and video can be found at

“Sending out this application is very exciting for me,” reports Marcher Director, Zach Heffernen. “The diversity of individuals who asked me to send them an application is amazing.  They have ages ranging from 9-74, are originating from all along the West Coast to the Midwest to all along the East Coast, with backgrounds ranging from college students, to self employed business professionals, to medical doctors, to retirees and everything in between.”   

“Today is a landmark day for the Climate March,” said Ed Fallon, March founder and director. “It’s the culmination of months of hard work, of laying a solid foundation for what we believe will be a pivotal moment in the battle to mobilize America to address the climate crisis.”

“Given the early interest, we are confident there are well over 1,000 people ready to make the commitment to march across America for this cause,” continued Fallon. “We now enter an important new phase, where we build a march community of 1,000 climate patriots.  Not only will we march side by side for eight months, but we’ll learn how to live together, work together, and communicate the urgency of our message to the people we meet as we travel across the country.

“The release of the marcher application and promotional video is a huge milestone for the Great March for Climate Action,” concluded Heffernen. “It signifies a time for public engagement, an invitation for others to get on board by stepping forward for our planet and our future.”

The Great March for Climate Action is headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa. On March 1, 2014, 1,000 climate patriots will set-out from Santa Monica, California, walking across America to arrive in Washington, DC on November 1 to inspire and motivate the general public and elected officials to act now to address the climate crisis. It will be the largest coast-to-coast march in American history.

(For more information, please go to

Monday, July 15, 2013

Bryan's List of Musical Happenings 7/15/13

Monday, July 15

Findlay family Funfest at Greenwood 7:00
Sierra Leone's Refuge All Stars at DG's Tap House, Ames 8:00 
Don Brown & Friends at Lot 33 8:00
Malcolm Holcombe w/ The Smoking Flowers at Vaudeville Mews 10:00

Tuesday, July 16

Emma Negete at Beaverdale Farmer's Market 4:30
Andy Fleming w/ Dewey Ford at El Bait 8:00
Acoustic-Beast at Greenwood 9:00

Wednesday, July 17

Reeferseed Express at Hull Avenue Tap 6:00
Sons of Gladys Kravitz at Throw Back Night, Zoo Brew 6:00
Bob Pace & the Dangerous Band at Zimm's 7:00
Josh Davis at Raccoon River Brewery 7:00
Plain White T's w/ The Wind and the Wave, Andrew Ripp at Wooly's 8:00
Infuzion at El Bait 8:00
Ben Wantland at Greenwood 8:30
World Music Wednesdays at Star Bar 9:00

Nick Knudsen joins JJ Express Friday night
in Newton. 
Thursday, July 18

Final Mix at Jasper Winery 6:00
Tony Valdez at Valley Junction, WDM 6:00
David Zollo at Coda Lounge, Savery Hotel 6:00
Andy Fleming at Confluence Brewery 7:00
Turnpike Troubadours w/ Bright Giant at Wooly's 8:00
The Soul Searchers at Greenwood 9:00
Gas Lamp's Open Jam ft. Fat Tuesday and the Greasefire Keys 9:00
Jenny Dalton w/ Why Make Clocks, Ira Grace & the Bible Belt Prophets at Vaudeville Mews 9:00

Friday, July 19

Work Release Party w/ Bob Pace & the Dangerous Band at Gas Lamp 4:30
Urbandale's Friday Fest: Faculty Lounge at Walker Johnston Complex, Urbandale 5:00
Hold On to Rock Band at Rendezvous on Riverview 5:30
Abby Normal at Snus HIll Winery, Madrid 6:30
Joseph Smith at Ritual Cafe 7:00
Dave Moore at the Grapevine, Clive 7:00
Jeremy Joyce at Mars Cafe 7:00
Luke Fox, Steve Kowbel, and Steve Noble at Peace Tree Brewery 7:00
High and Lonesome Reunion w/ David Zollo and Body Electric, Brother Trucker, Fancy Pants at Wooly's 8:00
James Biehn at the Underground 8:00
Floodplane at Mullets (Out Behind) 8:30
The Jitz w/ The Real Action & Ego at Gas Lamp 9:00
Three Legged Dawg at Greenwood 9:00
JJ Express w/ Nick Knudsen at First Avenue Speakeasy, Newton 9:00
The Sheet at the Standard Martini Bar 9:00
Viva Montessa, Handlebar, The Maw at House of Bricks 9:30
Christopher the Conquered w/ H.D. Hamsen & the Electrophones, Dylan Sires & Neighbors at Vaudeville Mews 10:00 

Saturday, July 20

Paige Harpin & Friends at Fire Creek, WDM 6:00
A.S. at Ritual Cafe 7:00
Bill Matykowski at Smokey Row 7:00
Muhlbauer & Smith at Madison County Winery, St. Charles 7:00
Danny Wolf and You Never Knew Me at Mars Cafe 7:00
Filthy Still w/ Yankee Cockfight, Antoine Dukes and Rachel Kate at Gas Lamp 8:00
Randy Burke and the Prisoners at Raccoon River Brewery 9:00
Heath Alan Band at Greenwood 9:00
Justin Time, D-phEkt at Underground 9:00
Guilty Pleasures at Star Bar 9:00
Blackburner at Vaudeville Mews 10:00

Sunday, July 21

Gruve at Snus Hill Winery, Madrid 2:00
Reverend Raven and the Chain Smoking Alter Boys at Summerset Winery, Indianola 3:00
Dave Moore at Byron's, Pomeroy 5:00
Wayne Hancock w/ Randy Burke and the Prisoners at Gas Lamp 7:00
Dan Navarro w/ Chad Elliott & Bonita Crowe at the Grapevine, Clive 7:00
Fruition at El Bait 8:00
World Beat at Star Bar 9:00

Thanks to Bryan Farland for his weekly contribution. We appreciate the hard work it takes to compile this weekly list. Additions/corrections always appreciated.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Photo Blog: The Fleshtones in Iowa City 7/5/13

Last weekend The Fleshtones headlined the Friday night version of the Firecracker 500 at the Blue Moose Tap House in Iowa City. It was a rare opportunity to see the New York legends and for most of the night, they held the crowd in awe. Cveckian got some amazing shots. Click on any photo to enlarge it.

Keith Streng of the Fleshtones chooses his
pedal. All photos by Cveckian unless otherwise
noted. (Click to enlarge.)

Fleshtones bassist Ken Fox plays along to "We Remember the Ramones." 

Bill Milhizer is an outstanding drummer. The entire band is incredible.

Keith Streng takes over Peter Zaremba's lead vocals for a song while Zaremba
focuses on the keyboards. 

Peter Zaremba  shares vox with Ken Fox. 

Keith Streng goes airborne mid song. 

One feature of the show was a Tom and Jerry-esque chase scene across
the stage. Zaremba would chase Streng to one end of the stage, where they'd
turn around and Streng would case Zaremba to the other. 

Cveckian captures a great shot of Fox, Zaremba and Streng mid-song.

Meanwhile, Milhizer still keeps the beat. There's a wide array of stickers on
Milhizer's bass drum. Note the Hed (PE) sticker, for one. 

Ken Fox plays an open E as Bill Milhizer lingers in the background.

Part of the Fleshtones "act" was, they would periodically stand like this
with their arms crossed out in front of them. I wasn't quite sure what it
represented, but the entire audience followed suit. Another "act"
was when the entire band would spontaneously spin in circles.
Again, the audience participated.  

Streng kicks up some dirt as Zaremba
belts out lyrics.

Fans watch as Zaremba shakes his maracas offstage. The gal is actually
Moselle Spiller of Crushed Out, who played in direct support
of the Fleshtones. 

The Fleshtone's set list. (Photo by T. Church.)

All photos by Cveckian, unless otherwise noted. Click on photos to enlarge. 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Samantha L. Thomas: Love Music Good for Seoul

Five weeks ago I had an idea and the idea grew into this with a little help from a few brave people and a lot of amazing individuals who wanted to show their love and support. Event planning is one of the most stressful, amazing, crazy experiences I have ever gone through. However with great people supporting your mission who are willing to step up and rock out, anything is possible.

Amazing crazy experiences...
Love Music was an event that cannot be translated into any language. Not to sound cliché but it was a moving experience to watch so many brilliant people who were so different and so alike to rock out to music and stand up to assist others.

Love Music brought bands back together, fueled passions and inspired individuals to think about being proactive in global communities. Nights like July 6th are rare, when you are moved beyond words and you are smiling, crying and laughing all the while trying to make sense of how on earth it all came together.  If people believe that art and music can’t bring people together then the cheap cocktails and the Soul of the city itself will.

Diamond Dog performs. All photos by Leah Ladner
July 6th brought a musical event that is one for the history books in Seoul, South Korea. Bringing together some epic bands to rock out for charity including Magna Fall (lead singer Kevin Heintz hails from the great state of Iowa), BlueSnake, Diamond Dog, Red Cha Cha and Samba Mamba also came to share their talents at the Love Music event that raised money and also launched Global Arts Therapy.

Red Cha Cha performs. 
Expat artists also showed up to participate in a "drink and draw" event which coincided with Love Music with the help of Jankara Studios. Global Arts Therapy’s first event not only hosted a plethora of talented artists and musicians it also brought an eclectic crowd of expats and South Koreans together to mingle and rock out for a great cause. To listen to BlueSnake play covers of Hendrix and Red Cha Cha covering Placebo and David Bowie songs was food for the Seoul. As Diamond Dog brought their own unique sound to the event, ranging from classic rock to grunge, Magna Fall also delivered a stellar set of handwritten lyrics and music, while Samba Mamba performed a mix of techno and rap beats. The event culminated an international crowd on an international mission-to bring art programs to developing countries.

I encourage you to visit to see what some incredibly talented expat artists are doing in Seoul and furthermore if you aren't Googling or Youtubing the bands in the article above, you are missing out on absolute amazingness. These people make me want to stay in Korea and never leave and I firmly believe their passions will further ignite fires in all of us.

Artists showed up to participate in a "Drink and Draw" event which
coincided with Love Music. 

-Samantha Lee Thomas, originally from Iowa is the founder of Global Arts Therapy, an international initiative that uses artwork as a power for healing. She organized the Love Music festival in South Korea where she currently lives.


Jankura Artspace Seoul 

Magna Fall on Facebook

Samba Mamba on Facebook

Band Bluesnake on Facebook

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

On Tap This Weekend: Camp Euforia Comes Alive

Summer's here and the time is right for dancin' in the cornfields.. 

This weekend music lovers will descend into Lone Tree, Iowa for the 10th Anniversary of what has become the premier  psych-rock concert festival in Iowa, Camp Euforia. What started out in 2003 as a Fan Appreciation Party, Camp Euforia has grown into Iowa's premier independent music event.

Euforquestra started the event as a celebration of Iowa City's musical heritage, but Camp Euforia has evolved to include bands from all over the country. One such band is Greensky Bluegrass who hail from the shores of Lake Michigan. Rolling Stone declared that these fellas are "representing the genre for a whole new generation" and while they play Bluegrass in it's traditional sense, they also have a penchant for bringing it front and center to music's modern era.

On a straight track from the Red Rock Amphitheater in Colorado, Greensky will settle into Camp Euforia on Saturday night at 7:30 on the Cheba Hut Main Stage. They recently played on the main stage at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival in Telluride, Colorado, and later this year they will make their mark at  Austin City Limits. Just a couple of weeks ago they played at the incomparable Electric Forest Festival in Rothbury, Michigan. Touring is now in their blood, and they are making new fans everywhere they play.

Other bands that will be featured Camp Euforia are Dumpstaphunk, Dead Larry, the Beaker Brothers Band, The Pimps of Joytime, Pert Near Sandstone, Ultraviolet Hippopotamus, Maximilian Eubank, Chasing Shade, Zeta Zune, David Zollo, Mr. Baber's Neighbors, D. Bess, Public Property, Fire Sale, Uniphionics, Jaik Willis, Tallgrass, and of course Euforquestra.

Greensky Bluegrass live (Photo by Jamie Van Buhler, used with permission) 

As far as concert festivals go here in the great state of Iowa, this two night event in Lone Tree will pretty much mark the peak of the season. It's all downhill from here. Camping is always recommended, and is included with the ticket price. Tickets can be purchased by following the links below. 

Buy your ticket and take the ride... 


Tickets to Camp Euforia

Camp Euforia Official

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Conversation With Keith Streng of The Fleshtones

When the Fleshtones formed in 1976, they couldn't have comprehended the rock and roll journey that they were about to embark on.

Their very first live gig was performed at CBGB, which had opened just a few years earlier. As a young band, they shared a practice space with The Cramps on Bowery Street in New York City. They toured with the likes of The Dictators, REM, Chuck Berry and Iggy Pop. Once they even opened for James Brown.

They played at the magical complex at the top of the World Trade Center called Windows On the World just a few weeks before the building was destroyed by the attacks of 9/11. Their music has been featured in soundtracks to movies, and they have been tabbed to perform on tribute albums for the likes of the Dictators, Link Wray, James Brown, Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs, and the Kinks. The Fleshtones themselves have released over 20 studio records, and were a vital part of CBGB's closing ceremonies when the punk palace closed in 2006. They remain the only band from the "CBGB Era" that has remained intact for all these years.

And despite this incredible resume, the Fleshtones have somehow managed to keep themselves under the radar of hip and popular culture. But judging  the state that the music industry has become, that's probably not a bad thing.

The Fleshtones will glide into Iowa City this Friday to headline an explosive lineup at the Firecracker 500 Rock Fest.

The Fleshtones perform at the 2013 Ink and Iron Festival in Long Beach.
(Photo by Jon David.)

The Fleshtones got their start after you all moved into an apartment and there were some instruments left behind from previous tenants. At that point you decided to form a band.. Is that an accurate assessment?

It's basically true. It wasn't an apartment, it was a house. The house had a basement. it was a private house in Whitestone, Queens but that's kinda why the band started. Yes.

So did you already know how to play the instruments? 

Well uh, Not really. I was a drummer already but then I decided to play guitar after seeing the Ramones but it's very true. We rented the house and went down to the basement and there was a Japanese guitar and bass just left there, you know in very bad condition, but they were playable. That's kind of what started the Fleshtones. 

Then your first gig was played at CBGB? 

Yeah. Um.. we played "Audition Night" which was every Tuesday night back then. I can even tell you the phone number... It's 212-982-4052. I called it so many times that I still remember it.

You also played the last gig at CBGB along with the Dictators and your friend Andy Shernoff? 

Yeah we were ALMOST the last night. There was one more night after us I believe I think that Patti Smith played. But we were the next to last night.

Keith Streng. Photo by Bigfoot Diareis

Ok... Gotcha. And you shared a rehearsal space with the Cramps. Do you have any stories that maybe other media sources haven't picked up on yet? 

I do remember we shared a space with the Cramps for a year and a half and there was one time the rehearsal space flooded and their equipment got destroyed. But we were in the back room and the flood did not reach us. So the Fleshtones were lucky for once! So maybe that's a story the mainstream news doesn't know. 

How was Lux Interior as a person in a rehearsal space as opposed to how he was onstage?

Oh he was just an avid rock and roll fan, a horror movie fan, a really nice guy. I'm the one who got the Fleshtones into the rehearsal space because I was friends with Lux and Ivy when they lived in New York City. They lived in New York City for a few years and then they moved to L.A. I used to go up to thier apartment sometimes. Their apartment was like a used record store! You walk in there are there were like racks and racks of singles and albums. Anyway, it was a lot of fun. He was a very nice guy and Ivy was very nice also.

What an incredible band, for sure.

Yes they were. Probably my favorite live show ever, was seeing the Cramps first show... Their very first show in New York City, I was at it. There was maybe another 35 people there at Max's Kansas City as well on a Tuesday night and it was incredible!

Wow. How cool. I saw them in Minneapolis a few years before Lux died and it really changed the way I look at live music. I'd even say that it was life changing. 

Ah good. Same for me.
Photo by Cveckian (Bigfoot Diaries)

So tell me about... The Fleshtones opened for James Brown once? 

Yes, in Paris. That was a long time ago. The audience actually accepted us, we already had a pretty good following in France and Paris. We did OK. It was at the Zenith, a pretty big place. We played, I don't know a half an hour and we of course did not meet James Brown but some of his band members were interested in us and we were talking to, and I did get a very upfront seat to see James Brown perform so that was the good part of it.

Nice. So what is the secret to longevity? 

I think the secret is you have to like what you are doing. You have to like playing live, and you have to of course like the other guys in the band and also, having a record label that is going to release a new album... If you make a new album and release it every two years and you go out and promote it, that's how a band stays around. You have to make new records, but of course you have to like what you are doing and who you are doing it with.

Of course... Right. Got a question from left field for ya... Where do the Fleshtones buy their clothes at?

Where do we buy our clothes? Oh God... Well, we don't shop together.


There was a time we used to shop together, but that was decades ago. But personally speaking, most of my stuff is from... Everywhere. (Laughs.) You know, I have shoes from Madrid, Spain, I have shirts from France, I have pants from Sweden.. Pretty much if I see something, like if I have a day off and I see something, I buy it. As a result through the years, I have quite  a collection of shirts now and shoes and pants.

Yeah, you guys are one of the best dressed bands!

Oh thanks.

Have you been to Iowa before?

We have but it was a very long time ago. We played in I think, Iowa City? 


There is a college there, yes?

Yes. The University of Iowa.

Yeah we played there. We played there a couple of times but that was decades ago. It's been a long time. 

I have one more question for you and it's actually unrelated to what to what we have been talking about. The Master Plan... Will the Master Plan be putting out any more releases?

Master Plan: Maximum Respect
I don't know if we will do any more recordings, it's not so easy to get the band together. We are available to play live shows if there is something that is worth while we can reform the group and put it together pretty easy and be available. But I don't know about recording. It takes a lot more to put together a record than it does to put together a live set. So at this point doubtful for another record. I do have this other new side project that is releasing a new record, it's called The Split Squad and we are playing shows. In fact we have shows coming up that we are playing with the Fleshtones. The Split Squad has Eddie Muñoz from the Plimsouls in it, it has Clem Burke from Blondie in it on drums, It has Scott McCoy who is from the Young Fresh Fellows and who played with REM all these years, I'm in it of course, and it has Mike Giblin on bass, who is from the Parallax Project. He's the one who actually came up with the idea to put the band together and he wrote most of the songs. There is an album coming out soon... The Split Squad.... It's called "Now Hear This." So there you go. That's something new I'm doing.

Awesome. Thank you for your time. It means a lot to me.

No problem. I'll see you in Iowa City at the Firecracker.

Monday, July 1, 2013

The BD Interview with Frank Hoier of Crushed Out

This next week the Firecracker 500 will explode upon Iowa City. Revelers of this rock fest will invade The Mill on Wednesday and Thursday and then move to the Blue Moose Tap House over the weekend. Each night will feature local acts, bands that are up and coming, and national headliners.

The Fleshtones are scheduled to headline Friday night which, on it's own is enough to warrant excitement and buzz. But another band that is beginning to make some waves is Crushed Out, who will play in direct support of the Fleshtones. Like the Fleshtones, Crushed Out hails from New York. This husband and wife duo first began to play together in Brooklyn after they met in a hallway of an apartment building that they shared. Aside from having a deep and secret admiration for one another, they began to realize that they were also compatible musically, just from their passing flirtations in the hallway. Then, through a series of coincidental events they were eventually brought together. Naturally they began to write songs as a tandem. Now, as a married couple they are becoming a force on the national tour circuit.

Crushed Out is Moselle Spiller and Frank Hoier

Crushed Out is Frank Hoier and Moselle Spiller. They are the perfect example of what can happen when a band believes in themselves and works hard to achieve goals together. Entirely a grass-roots endeavor, Crushed Out has overcome it's share of obstacles but continues to push onward towards bigger and better things. They do their own marketing through the social networks and create their own posters. They don't rely on a record company to financially support their tours. They independently built and maintain their website. They graciously interact with fans and are genuinely excited to share their art. Crushed Out is paving their way to national acclaim. 

Oh yeah... and they will rock your fucking socks off.

I was able to reach Frank Hoier by telephone and he was gracious enough to let me into the band's proverbial inner circle. Our conversation was more of that than an interview, and I found Frank to be extremely engaging and open about the path that he and Moselle have taken during their magical journey. 


What is the biggest challenge a married couple has, as a touring rock and roll band?

Hmmm. Do you mean as an independent band, or as a couple? 

As a couple. You know... Obviously real life brings out tensions and everything else. How do you deal with being on the road together all the time? 

Well, we're pretty lucky because we love to be together all the time, and we just get a long really well. It is kind of hard doing everything just two people as far as driving and we are our own label. So the challenge is, a lot of work. The work is never finished... And I would say the biggest challenge of being an independent band is getting the word out on the shows obviously, because we don't have an advertising budget really, so yeah. That's probably the biggest challenge. But we are fortunate to be able to do the label ourselves because Moselle is such an incredible artist and actually a graphic designer also so she can do a lot of hand-made stuff and transfer it into the computer and you know, we totally do all our social media complete 100% ourselves, and tour blogs and Moselle does all of our graphics and website and stuff and even most of our videos. So yeah, I guess the challenge of being a couple on the road is all the work on two people.

So is it true you and Moselle met in an apartment hallway in Brooklyn?

We lived in the same building, yes. So yeah, we'd see each other in the hallway of our building and say hello to each other, and eventually one of us MySpaced the other because... This is the bizzarre part of the story... We had mutual friends in New York and didn't even know it and she was on MySpace to message a friend, and I was in that friend's Top Friends. She was like, 'That's the guy in my building!' and she clicked on it, and I think I had an acoustic show that week. I used to perform a lot and do more acoustic guitar and harmonica song writing and she came to the show and that's how we met each other.

You guys use MySpace?

Oh no... That was in early 2007. No. I don't think I've logged in in about four years (Laughs).

There seems to be a trend with two-piece bands. You've got White Mystery, Black Box Revelation, there's the White Stripes of course... The Accidentals. Would you say it's a financial thing? Is it just coincidence... What do you think the trend is there? 

Well I think probably all those bands do it for different reasons. But we were just so thrilled that we could even play together and that it was fun immediately. So that's what sparked our band to be a duo. We were a couple who was together all the time, and there I'd be playing an acoustic show and Moselle would be sitting int he audience and it just seemed kind of silly that she was getting so good at drums so fast, and we were writing all this new material together just purely for fun, so the reason we did the duo was because... Well it was an absolute accident. We never planned to be a two-piece rock and roll band. It's kind of... you know... Sometimes I feel like it's a disadvantage to be a duo because we get compared to the Black Keys and the White Stripes so much and I think that kind of turns some people off but what can we do, it's just what happened. You know maybe one day we'll have more people in the band or maybe not. It's a different energy, a duo. It's very exciting to me, it's like the two energies crashing directly into each other and there's so much room for improvisation and just changing the song, because we just have to look at each other. So I find it interesting and unique. A lot of rock and roll bands are a four or five piece and it's sort of like a big circle of energy, and in a duo to me, it's like two energies crashing AT each other.

From the fan's standpoint, I really like to watch the duos play. It DOES create a brighter energy.

Yeah. I totally agree.

So tell me about the "Atomic Era" of rock and roll and how you came to use that phrase to describe your sound.

Oh I love that because I mean, the kind of rock and roll that we play is that crazy joyous stuff like Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis, that's how we love to do it. We like to make dance-based crazy joyous rock and roll like that. And so  I was reading a Bob Dylan book and he said something about that - how like all those performers in the '50s at the very beginning of rock and roll was so crazy with all those characters... Bo Diddly, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis... There's such a unique energy to their delivery and their talent and their performance and that's just biggest in our heart, you know we love all kinds of different music but that's the stuff that we keep coming back to. That era in the '50s to call it the Atomic Age was super brilliant of Bob Dylan to say that. I think it fits it nicely. 

Yeah I love it too. Great description. 

Yeah definitely.

Crushed Out is on Tour
(Click to enlarge.) 
So Crushed Out has a new record out called Want to Give that just got released. How is the album doing along with your tour? 

Oh, I think it's going OK. We're our own label and we had to change our band name the month before we released this album because of a big problem with a trademark issue. We were served a cease and desist so that I think hurt some of our momentum, because we were touring really hard under our first name (Boom Chick) and then right as we were about to release this full length debut, we had to completely change our name and re-brand ourselves. But in retrospect we are in a much better position. We're in a much better position than we were 6 months ago because we worked so hard under the new name. So I do kind of feel that this new album got a little pushed under the rug because of the name change. But you know the reaction that we do have is pretty strong. I'm pretty proud of the album. The song writing particularly. 

Yeah. It's really catchy. It seems to push it self from one genre to another.


It does! It leaves me with questions. When I'm listening to the songs I Find myself going, OK... Gosh. There's that song about shaking a can to release the poison - which is clever... Another one, Country Star. It's done so well, in the old country tradition.

Thank you!

And I'm curious about "Miss Mouse." Tell me about the lyrics to this song.

Well that song came about, we were just kind of jamming something and I did this weird minor yodel (yodels "Whoooooooooooo"). I like to yodel a lot. I like Jimmy Rogers and Hank Williams and that era, so I just kind of came up with that little thing and liked it and I said, "What does these sounds and this chord make you think of, Moselle?" and I just put her on the spot. I said, what do you think of when you hear these chords? And she said something like... An owl. I like a lot of the murder ballad type of songs like the old folk songs and strange stuff like that. Um, and so I just came up with this kind of murder ballad kind of thing where someone is enticing Miss Mouse to come into the woods and it turns out that the character is an owl. Like, Come down to the river with me my dear... She won't marry him so he stabs her and pushes her in down by the banks of the Ohio... I really love those songs. The song kind of came to be this murder ballad show tune because of the way that we put the dramatic stops and stuff.

It's a cool song.

Yeah, it's probably the most left field song on the album, I think, in retrospect. It's kind of you know... that's just a whole different branch of American music but we still kind of do it a little bit more rockin'. I think of it a as a murder ballad show tune!

What exactly is your genre? When somebody asks you what is your genre, do you say rock and roll?

Well you've got to make it kind of interesting because "Rock and Roll" means completely different things to different people... Like VERY different things to different people so we came up with something fun. We like to call it "Honky-Tonk Surf" or "Surf Blues" to just kind of show it's... We are Rock and Roll but we are trying to specifically reference as many wide branches of it as possible. 


Pertinent Links:

Crushed Out Official

Crushed Out on Facebook

Crushed Out on Twitter

Firecracker 500 Official

Bryan's List of Musical Happenings 7/01/13

Monday, July 1
Luke Fox & Old Salt Union at The 503 5:00
Findlay Family Fun Fest at Greenwood 7:00
The Uncluded (Aesop Rock & Kimya Dawson) w/ Hamell On Trial at Wooly's 7:00

Tuesday, July 2

Daniel Wipf at El Bait 8:00
The Highroller Express at Greenwood 9:00

Wednesday, July 3

The Highroler Express at Hull Avenue Tavern 6:00 ($1 Beers too!)
Decoy at Red White and Brew Night, Zoo Brew 6:00
Dark Star Orchestra w/ Pert Near Sandstone at Nitefall on the River 6:00
Bob Pace and the Dangerous Band at Zimm's 7:00
Jason Walsmith at Raccoon River Brewery 7:00
The Firecracker 500 Rock Fest at the Mill, Iowa City 7:00
The Blue Band at Valey Junction, WDM 7:30
Tinsley Ellis at Gas Lamp 8:00
The High Crest at Greenwood 8:00
Brother Trucker at El Bait 8:00
World Music Wednesdays at Star Bar 9:00
Lord Bishop w/ Hot Sawce at Vaudeville Mews 9:00

Thursday, July 4

Land of Blood and Sunshine, Christopher the Conquered, Diamonds fr Eyes, Is Home Is at PBR Bar, Vaudeville Mews 5:00
Brian Congdon & Brad Seidenfield at Jasper Winery 6:00
The Firecracker 500 Rock Fest at the Mill, Iowa City 7:00
The Soul Searchers at Greenwood 9:00

Friday, July 5

Christopher the Conquered w/ Peace Love and Stuff, featuring Rebel Creek at Gas Lamp 12:00 Noon
Work Release Party: Bob Pace & the Dangerous Band at Gas Lamp 4:30
80/35 Music Festival 5:00
Urbandale's Friday Fest: Abby Normal at Walker Johnston Complex, Urbandale 5:00
Backstage Boogie Band at Rendezvous on the Riverview 5:30
Hold On at Snus Hill Winery, Madrid 6:30
The Firecracker 500 Rock Fest at Blue Moose Tap House, Iowa City 7:00
Crosswind at Jasper County Winery, St. Charles 7:00
BLKHRTS, White Lines, 2AM at Gas Lamp 7:00
TBA at Greenwood 9:00
Roster McCabe 80/35 After Party at Wooly's 11:00 (Free)

LSD and the Search for God play at Vaudeville Mews on Sunday Night

Saturday, July 6

80/35 Music Festival Noon
Zane Gelder at Fire Creek, WDM 6:00
Oak Creek Band w/ High Crest at Stone Pier Concert Series, Black Hawk Lake, Lake View 6:00
The Firecracker 500 Rock Fest at Blue Moose Tap House, Iowa City 7:00
Bill Matykowski at Smokey Row Coffeehouse 7:00
Josh Davis at Raccoon River Brewery 9:00
Can O' Worms at Greenwood 9:00
Dessa of Doomtree w/ TB7 at Gas Lamp 9:00
This Sudden Darkness, Divinion, Hours of Decay at House of Bricks 9:30
80/35 After party with Umphrey's McGee at Wooly's 11:00
The Poison Control Center w/ Ramona and the Swimsuits, Pure Gut at Vaudeville Mews 11:00

Sunday, July 7

Bebad and his Case of the Blues at Snus Hill Winery, Madrid 2:00
Bobcats at Summerset Winery, Indianola 3:00
Weekends with Forrest, Pets With Human Names, Deaf Kids at Play at House of Bricks 5:00
Brandi Carlisle w/ The Lone Bellow at NItefall on the River 7:00
Randy Burke & the Prisoners at El Bait 8:00
The Telescopes, LSD & the Search for God, Dresden Style at Vaudeville Mews 8:00
World Beat at Star Bar 9:00