Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Briar Patch To Celebrate 10 Year Anniversary of "Tornado" w/ Bluegrass Event

The Briar Patch pond, during calm weather.

2004 was a rough year, weather-wise. "The tornado outbreak" in May of that year is well documented. It was business as usual at the Briar Patch in Bevington on May 22nd until late at night, the straight line winds crept in.

"We heard it was 106 mph," said Bob Rice, owner of the Briar Patch regarding the wind speed. "It was part of a big system."

The Patch has endured many storms over the years, but none as big as the monster that surprised campers late that night. Tents went flying, as well as Bob's canoe. People remember being lifted off of the ground. Chaos ensued and campers, under a second's notice, managed to keep their wits and guide each other to safety. The police arrived to help out, as did the fire department. It was a major storm, and it's amazing that nobody was hurt or killed. 

Bob has announced a 10 year anniversary bluegrass show to commemorate the event. It will be held on Saturday May 24th, and Bob hopes that people who were there in 2004 will return to celebrate that incredible night, as well as others who want to hear the stories and listen to live music. Cover is only $10 and that includes a night of camping. Since then, until this year, Bob hasn't started his event schedule until June.

The lineup includes three great bluegrass bands, The Cardinal Sound, Crossroads and Hanging By A StringMore information will be announced as Bob passes it on. 

(Please feel free to share your stories in the comments below.) 

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

James Kottak, Drummer for The Scorpions, Arrested in Dubai

The authorities in Dubai don't have much patience when it comes to drunken behavior nor are they lenient when somebody publicly shames Islam.

Who knew?

Well, everybody... right? 

No. Apparently James Kottak, drummer for The Scorpions didn't get the memo. 

On April 3rd, he was en route from Russia to Bahrain when he was arrested while in transit in the Dubai airport. He was convicted of being under the influence of alcohol, raising his middle finger and insulting Islam. The band was scheduled to play in Bahrain at a Formula One race on April 5th, but Kottak was a no-show. According to newspapers, he has been sentenced to serve one month in jail for his offensive behavior.

Reportedly Kottak consumed five glasses of wine while while traveling on a Gulf Air flight from Moscow to Dubai. After landing, he took a wrong turn in the airport, and in his confusion, started swearing and flashed his middle finger at the other passengers. He also reportedly made comments about 'non-educated Muslims' and dropped his pants to show his backside.

"I confess to drinking alcohol but I refuse the other two charges, he told the court. "I did not do them." 

"There is no way that I would say such a phrase about Muslims, whether I was drunk or not," he added.

In addition to being sentenced to one month in jail, Kottak was fined 2,000 dihrams  for consuming alcohol without a license. 2,000 dihrams is approximately $545 in American currency. 

There is no mention of the incident on Kottak's website, nor on the Scorpions'. The Scorpions' website lists tour dates for April 28th and April 29th in Germany. At this time it's unsure if the dates were cancelled or if a replacement drummer was used. The concerts are affiliated with the MTV Unplugged series, so a drummer may not be needed.

Kottak will be credited for time served and should be released this weekend.

Iowa Public Radio To Record Jake Bellows At The Fremont on Thursday

American musician Jake Bellows who hails from Omaha, Nebraska will perform a solo show at the Fremont on Thursday night. The performance will be recorded by Iowa Public Radio.

"I don't really know how that came about," he told me in an email conversation. "But I'm stoked. I'm a big fan. Maybe I just got lucky and somebody there happened to like the music? I was told about it through my friend Caroline."

Jake Bellows (on the right) and a robot in Scottsdale, Arizona a few nights ago. 

Bellows might be better known as the lead singer of Neva Dinova, an Omaha based group that made some marks on the Indie scene. They haven't released an album since their re-issue of their self titled Neva Dinova in 2009 but they have done some collaborative work with Bright Eyes on the One Jug of Wine, Two Vessels EP. Currently he is outlining other ideas. 

"I'm writing some music for a project called Raven that will include two very talented young ladies from Omaha, Nebraska," he explained. "Also scoring a movie, a short film that a friend of mine wrote and directed. His name is James Erstad. The film is called 'Month to Month."

The music of Jake Bellows is a mixture of folk, rock, and psychedelia with undertones of country but overall, his style is a hard to define. He will rotate stage performances with Dan Hutchison (Fetal Pig, Why Make Clocks) with additional sets by Derek Lambert. The Fremont is at the corner of East 9th and Fremont Street just north of I-235 and they have some of the coolest bartenders in town. The show starts at 10:00, but it is free to attend.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Keith Levene Launches Campaign to Release New Record, Offers Rewards

I was pretty surprised to receive an email from Keith Levene requesting that I help spread the word about his Indiegogo Campaign. I took the request seriously. After all it's not often that a founding member of The Clash and Public Image Limited reaches out to you. He had me at "Hey Troy!"

Levene has released his share of records. However, in 1983 he composed an album that he hoped would put Public Image, Limited in the commercial spotlight. Unfortunately, due to creative differences and lack of support from other band members, this album was never released. It's name, fittingly enough was The Commercial Zone. But as the band left Levene high and dry as they embarked on a tour of Japan, he felt that he had no choice but to abandon the project. Now, 31 years later he wishes to complete what he's already started... And he is hosting an Indiegogo campaign to raise money to get this project off the ground. 

It's pretty simple, and it comes with rewards. For what basically amounts to pocket change, you can support the project and also be rewarded for your generosity. Click here to view the project's website. If you decide to spend a little more, the value of the rewards increase. But act fast. The campaign is only runs until 11:59 (PST) on Monday, April 28th.

The Indiegogo Campaign

The campaign is aiming to raise $12,500 which will go towards production costs. Funding duration: March 23, 2014 – April 28, 2014 (11:59pm PT).

Contribution perks are as follows:

For $10 get a shout out from Keith on his Twitter and Facebook accounts thanking you for supporting the CommercialZone 2014 initiative. Estimated delivery: May 2014.

For $15 get Killer in the Crowd CD signed and numbered special edition and a shout on FB and Twitter. Please add $10 for shipping outside the UK and $5 for the UK.

For $20 CZ2014 Download. Here it is! 30 years in the making: A digital audio download of Keith's Commercial Zone 2014 album containing original music. Estimated delivery: April 2014.

For $25You will receive a shout on Twitter and FB and a CZ-2014 T shirt (image of Keith on a white T shirt). Please add $10 for shipping outside the UK & $5 for UK shipping.

For $30 CZ2014 Download + Art. A digital audio download of Keith's Commercial Zone 2014 album with his original downloadable artwork. Estimated delivery: April 2014.

For $40 CZ2014 Download and Book. A digital audio download of Keith's Commercial Zone 2014 album with 30 page digital picture book containing photos, artwork, and a preview of Keith's forthcoming book "Diary." Estimated delivery: April 2014.

For $75 Signed, Numbered CZ014 CD Signed and numbered CD of Keith's Commercial Zone 2014 project with special commemorative 12 inch art work by Keith and downloadable 30 page picture book.

Estimated delivery: June 2014.

For $300 Producer credentials. You are listed as a producer on the CZ2014 project! You get a digital download of the 2014 album and picture book.

Estimated delivery: April 2014.

For $3500 get Keith's Les Paul guitar which was used on the MeTaL BoX in DuB series and the guitar on which he real time composed "Search 4 Absolute Zero”. Obviously there’s only one available and naturally you receive all the other product from the project too. This is the only signed Levene guitar.

Monday, April 21, 2014

80/35 Announces Lineup, Everybody Pretty Much Agrees It Sucks

A few weeks ago one could have purchased tickets for both nights of the 80/35 Music Festival for a mere $50. The tickets were sold sight unseen, meaning that if you bought tickets, you put your trust into the organizers to provide you a valuable concert experience. 

I'm really glad I didn't spend the money.
Since the very first 80/35 in 2008, it seems that the lineups have diminished a bit over the years. Last year while House of Large Sizes and Dinosaur Jr. caught my attention, nothing else on the bill offered much to my taste. It seemed a little heavy on jam band participation, and while that's not automatically a bad thing, the festival seemed to feature many bands that already make consistent tour stops in Des Moines. 

For the money, I opted instead to go to Iowa City and see The Fleshtones headline the Friday night lineup of the Firecracker 500. That was a great show which featured Crushed Out, The Ills, and Lipstick Homicide. Some of these bands I'd never heard of. But at least their names contained a level of excitement. 

This year's 80/35 line up seems to be straight out of the parody piece that Jimmy Kimmel put together for his show last year. The piece features his reporters at Coachella, asking music fans about bands that do not exist. Of course the fans were "in the know" about these non-existent bands, and well... comedy ensued.

This year at 80/35 - aside from a couple local acts - there isn't much on the ticket that gets my attention. The band names could be made up for all I know. While I suspect that this is not the case, the names of the featured bands are void of excitement and don't jump out at you like the bands that played at the Firecracker did. Raz Simone, Caroline Smith, Chicago Farmer, and Dr. Dog... You can't judge a book by it's cover, so I took the time to watch videos of each of these performers. There is certainly nothing there that screams, "This is worth $50."

Friday night's headliner is Conor Oberst.

A curious Google search revealed that Oberst is a musician in the band Bright Eyes. Again, this meant nothing to me. However, links to pages with forums brought the realization that there is some hype for this band. Thinking that maybe I should give Conor Oberst the benefit of the doubt, I watched a 45 minute video of him performing at the Green Space from April 10th. I cannot believe that he has been tabbed for the headlining slot on Friday night. He'd be great in a Hoyt Sherman Theater type setting, or even a large coffee shop, but I am having a hard time imagining him playing on a large stage in an outdoor music festival. Let alone headlining.

One more thing: one of the genres that he has been associated with Conor Oberst is a new one to me: Sadcore

Music from the core of sadness. Sounds lovely.

The rest of the lineup, aside from Ziggy Marley and a few locals is mostly trivial. Many of the bands I listen to are not household names, but most are certainly tried and true, and not part of a hipster culture where people tend to base their level of integrity on what they wish they knew. Anybody who is seriously excited about this lineup is kidding themselves.

Here is who has been announced as playing so far:

Conor Oberst
Ziggy Marley
Best Coast
Xavier Rudd
Raz Simone
Dr. Dog
The Envy Corps
Caroline Smith
Chicago Farmer
Shy Boys
Max Jury
Bum Rap
Holy White Hounds
Brother Trucker
Aquamarine Dream Machine
Kris Adams
Bonnie Finken
Quick Piss 

I will predict that unless they announce The Rolling Stones or Neil Young as the Saturday night headliner, this year's attendance will be way down compared to previous year's. While it's nice to see new local acts getting fair play, it's disheartening that overall, this is what the festival has become.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Camp Euforia XI Announces 2014 Lineup

Yep. It's that time of year again when we start to make plans for the summer festival season. Camp Euforia XI (CEXI) will be in full swing, and as in the past, it will be rocking an incredible lineup. Bluegrass, world, reggae, funk and jam will be coming to Lone Tree, Iowa this summer, which will mark the festival's 11th year. It's one-festival, two-days, for all-ages, July 11-12 on "Jerry's Farm." 

"This year is for CEXI fans, and we'll be turning it up to 11!" says Eric Quiner, director of Camp Euforia. Our local, regional, and national acts are the biggest yet, and we couldn't be more excited to showcase them all on Jerry's farm."

Get close to the music with three different venues which include the outdoor main stage, the up close and personal small barn, and a late night acoustic stage. CEXI offers free parking, free camping, regional arts and crafts vendors, and music that keeps on going into the wee hours. There will be a Saturday morning yoga session available as well as morning coffee with the Grosso Family Band. This intimate festival continues to find faithful fans that yearn for a music festival with a totally personal experience.

Tickets are available at right now. 

For more information, please go to

For volunteer information, please email

About Euforquestra: Originally from Iowa City, Iowa Euforquestra relocated to Fort Collins, Colorado in August of 2008 and has made a splash on the Colorado music scene.  Euforquestra is energy and rhythm personified. The band's ever evolving sound has been influenced by music from all over the world with an emphasis on funk, pocket and groove. For over a decade the band has been electrifying dance floors with their own unique style of funk, afro-beat, soul, reggae and dub. to create a sound that "explodes, melts and dances in your ear with sheer bliss." (Chris M. Slawecki, 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Ultimate Warrior (1959-2014)

Professional wrestling lost a legend when The Ultimate Warrior died after collapsing in a hotel parking lot in Arizona on Tuesday. Three days earlier he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. The night before he died he made an appearance on Monday Night Raw, his first in 18 years. Many who were with him backstage remarked that he seemed to be in terrible pain and some thought that he looked weak when he did his signature rope shake during Raw. Others thought that he appeared sweaty and uncomfortable. 

One person said, "We all felt like we thought he was going to blow a gasket. it was pretty easy to see."

I remember when Ultimate Warrior made his presence known in the World Wrestling Federation. In the late '80s I was still moderately interested in the shenanigans of professional wrestling but it was increasingly becoming boring to me. Then suddenly, here was this flamboyant, long haired, and muscled heathen of a man who seemed to defy gravity as he spun himself through the air like a human propeller. Nobody was prepared for this new, intense style of wrestling including his competition. When others didn't have an answer for Hulk Hogan's strength and stamina, Ultimate Warrior did. In 1990 The Ultimate Warrior pinned Hogan during Wrestlemania VI to become the WWF World Champion. (Incidentally, he was already the Intercontinental Champion, a title he had to relinquish due to rules stating that he could not hold both titles.)

Hulk Hogan stares down the Ultimate Warrior
The ref holds both of the belts.
Suddenly, wrestling was fun to watch again. If the Ultimate Warrior was on TV, I stopped what I was doing and viewed it. He was mesmerizing. He was incredible. And to my mind then, he seemed invincible. 

The Ultimate Warrior gave a speech to the Monday Night Raw crowd. It was chilling, in retrospect:

No WWE talent becomes a legend on their own. Every man's heart one day beats its final beat. His lungs breathe their final breath. And if what that man did in his life makes the blood pulse through the body of others and makes them believe deeper in something larger than life then his essence, his spirit, will be immortalized. By the story tellers, by the loyalty, by the memory of those who honor him and make the running the man did live forever. You, you, you, you, you, you are the legend makers of Ultimate Warrior. In the back I see many potential legends. Some of them with warrior spirits. And you will do the same for them. You will decide if they lived with the passion and intensity. So much so that you will tell your stories and you will make them legends, as well. I am Ultimate Warrior. You are the Ultimate Warrior fans. And the spirit of the Ultimate Warrior will run forever!

Despite showing signs of pain and discomfort, it doesn't appear that anybody approached Warrior to ask about his health. It's a sad notion because maybe somebody could have directed him to a person or a facility that could have monitored his condition more closely and extended his life. 

Is it possible that Warrior recognized he was nearing his own demise? It certainly seems so based off the words in his final speech. In true warrior fashion, he seemed to atone for his death with wisdom and clarity, as he kept his suffering to himself.

Rest in peace Warrior. You changed everything. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Hello again!

I'm going to keep this short, sweet and image free...

I'm Rita and I'm back! I wrote for Bigfoot Diaries a few years back, went on hiatus and realized I really miss writing.

To reintroduce myself; I'm a Sagittarius, I love all things soft, fluffy and squeezable. I'm currently working as a bartender and dabble in all things shiny, creative and weird. Music. Everything music. (I ask that you forgive my scattered thoughts as I'm surrounded by five rabid dogs that seem to believe running from one end of the house to the other like rockets is a really enjoyable game.)

I don't claim any professional knowledge. I own a guitar that is lovingly tampered with not nearly enough as well as a banjo that I've been too lazy to romance and a drum kit in pieces in the basement. I have neither the self-discipline, patience or time to master any instrument.

Like most of you, my opinions about music are right. What I love, everyone should love. What I hate should never be played on a jukebox or radio. My tastes are vast. In February I went to Manowar and Bela Fleck/Abigail Washburn with The Del McCoury Band...two MINDBLOWING shows.

I'm going to be on here sharing my opinions, research and interviews as much as my life will allow. You may not all like what I have to say, but I may not like what you have to offer. I'm really excited to have this opportunity to write for Bigfoot Diaries again and look forward to making people happy or angry and giving warm and fuzzy affirmations.

I thank you for taking time to read this and allowing me into your world!