Nothing Fishy About Jack Russell’s Great White

JACK RUSSELL'S GREAT WHITE will play The Coach House Jun. 15; press photo

JACK RUSSELL’S GREAT WHITE will play HOB/SD Sep. 12, The Wiltern Sep. 14 and HOB/Anaheim Sep. 15; press photo

“It’s a fine line between insanity and genius and I walk the edge of that line every day,” Jack Russell declared while explaining that he never gets bored, even on the road.

“Well you know I’m the kind of guy that can have fun in a shoebox, I entertain myself, I never get bored. I think when people say they’re bored they’re just boring. For me, and I don’t mean this to sound conceited or whatever, but I’m my own favorite company, you know? I make myself laugh. I’m a total goofball.”

Jack Russell’s Great White is currently on the SiriusXM Hair Nation 2018 Tour that will stop at HOB/SD Sep. 12, The Wiltern Sep. 14 and HOB/Anaheim Sep. 15, but there’s not much he needs to bring along.

“Just my underwear,” Russell laughed. “The only thing I take on the road and is really important is my warm up tape and Throat Coat tea. Everything else kind of finds it way. Of course, I have my own microphone and things like that but other than that I’m pretty self-sufficient.”

The longest tour Russell ever went on was for 16 brutal months, without any breaks, not even going home once.

“Just tour, tour, tour, tour, play our shows,” Russell recalled. “Yea, it was pretty grueling. I get home and my kid is 3 inches taller. My wife found somebody else. It was like ‘Oh hello. Goodbye.’ Being on the road is very hard on relationships. I mean it really is. I’m on my third wife right now. So, we’ll see how that goes.”

Last year saw the release of He Saw It Comin’ which featured 11 songs written by Russell and guitarist Robby Lochner. The pair work well together, bouncing ideas off one another. Russell writes lyrics, but not music, although sometimes he comes up with a melody such as for the song “She Moves Me”. He then sort of hummed it to Lochner so he could figure out the chords.

“It’s about a guy that falls in love with a prostitute,” Russell began. “She ends up staying with him all night with their first tryst. So, he thinks she’s all with him, so he moves in with her. Then he finds he’s the one being left alone and she’s out there doing her thing. He can’t help it cuz he’s in love with her.

“And it’s all based on life experience. That happened to me at one point. I fell in love with this porn star and she’s ‘I’m off to work’. I finally woke up to the fact, I mean I always knew what she was doing but then one day I was like ‘this is crazy’. She’s going off to work, having sex with guys for a job, then she comes home and I’m like, ‘wanna make love?’ and she’s ‘I’m too tired. I’ve been doing that all day long’. This is really disgusting, so I had to bail. That was back when I was getting loaded all the time. Now that I’m sober I don’t do crazy stuff like that anymore.”

That’s not entirely true – he’s found other crazy things to do, such as fish for sharks, which since he lives on a boat, is something he can do when ever the urge hits him.

“Sharks have always been my thing,” Russell shared. “I just love them. They’re beautiful creatures. The ones I fish for are Mako sharks, they’re really acrobatic, they’ll come out of the water, they’ll do cartwheels in the air. They’re just incredible fish. They really are.

“When I was a kid, my father used to take me out fishing down in San Diego, and I started working on the boats when I was really, really young. At one point I managed to get a 100-ton license, which as far as I know, I’m still the youngest kid to ever get a 100-ton license with the Coast Guard, a Master’s license.”

Considering all of the mainstream success and tours over the years, Russell says the coolest place he’s ever played is the L.A. Forum, which happens to be where he saw his first concert. It’s also where he was presented with his first Platinum record.

“I remember sitting in the 22nd row, loge seat, when I was 15 years old watching Blue Oyster Cult,” Russell recalled. “I told my friends, I’m gonna be on that stage one day and you’re gonna be asking for tickets. And they’re like, yea, right.

“And then April 6, 1988, I was sitting across the parking lot and I opened up my window and there was the Forum…I was playing there the next night…it was sold out…I just sat there and stared at it for like an hour.

“Then when I went to soundcheck the next day, I walked in and they were setting up all the gear, so I went out and I sat in that basic area where I was when I was a kid. I watched them setting up and I looked and said, ‘you know, Jack, you’ve really come a long way’. I’m looking at the stage and I went, ‘Yep, about 5000 feet’.”

In addition to the current tour, Cleopatra Records will be releasing his two solo albums which have never came out in the States, beginning with Shelter Me in June.

“In fact, it’s so hard to find, the record company had to go on eBay and pay 90 bucks to buy the CD, so they could make copies,” Russell laughed. “That’s pretty funny.”

And then there’s a book that Russell has been working on with a ghost writer that is due to come out in the Fall called, “Dancing On the Edge”.

“The reason I really wanted to do it was to let people know that no matter how far down the scale they are in life, if you really want to and believe in it, you can be anything you want,” mused Russell.

“I think people need to know that instead of feeling sorry for yourself and think you’re stuck in one spot, if you really want to be getting out of it, you can do whatever you want.

“We’re the architects of our own lives, and if you think positive things, positive things will come back to you and vice versa. So, I don’t ever think bad about people. I hate no one no matter how bad they messed me over I just pray for them. I don’t carry around that emotional baggage, cuz, you know, it’s really bad to do that. Plus, it’s painful.”

Break On Through With Wild Child

WILD CHILD play The Coach House Sep. 1; photo Wayne Herrschaft

WILD CHILD play The Coach House Sep. 1; photo Wayne Herrschaft

“Probably the number one comment we have received for many years is, ‘I never got to see The Doors live but I feel this is as close as I will ever get. Thank you for doing this. I was born at the wrong time and missed it’,” Dave Brock (founder/vocalist) shared.

SoCal is fortunate once again to experience the sensation that is Wild Child, as they return to The Coach House with the ultimate tribute to The Doors Sep. 1, playing songs such as “Hello, I Love You”, “Touch Me,” and “Light My Fire” to name a few.

“The Coach House has a long history of hosting some of the best bands that ever played,” Brock said. “If the walls could talk… The level of entertainment there is always at the top. The setting is very intimate yet holds a fairly big crowd for a club. There’s not a bad seat in the house. People have a great time there.”

Concert Guide Live caught up with Brock to find out how it all began, about the attention to detail in both the sound and equipment, and much more.

CONCERT GUIDE LIVE: Did you ever see Jim Morrison play live?
WILD CHILD: Although I was alive when The Doors were playing, I was far too young to actually see them in person. My brother was eight years older than I and saw them as a teenager. He loved The Doors.

I remember one time driving home with my mother and brother as a small kid. The long version of “Light My Fire” was on the radio and I remember my brother yelling out loud that this song was going to last all the way home. I was aware of The Doors as a child, but they really didn’t get on my radar until midway through college, when I was going through a phase of discovery as most young people do. Questioning… everything. Exploring, testing the boundaries. Examining everything I was ever taught or told. This is great music for those at that period in their life.

Dave Brock, Wild Child

Dave Brock, Wild Child

CGL: How important is it to you and the rest of the band to play the songs as close to the originals as possible?
WC: Probably the most important thing that Wild Child does, is playing the music as close as possible to the original. Whether it be the studio recorded version or perhaps a great live version. Or a combination of the two.
Our instrumentation is exactly what The Doors had. We were able to find a very rare Gibson portable organ, as Ray (Manzarek) used to play live on stage. Very ominous sounding keyboard that is impossible to simulate with a synthesizer. We also had Ludwig Custom make a drum kit exactly like John Densmore’s. Same Gibson SG guitar Robby (Krieger) used to play.

But it does not stop there. It’s mandatory in this band to play the songs exactly like the original members. No one interjects with their favorite licks they have learned over the years or plays in a different style. We realize what people are paying for and what they deserve.

CGL: What is one of your favorite songs to play live?
WC: What I like most about The Doors songs is that for the most part they are very different from each other. It’s almost like walking through an art gallery, each song is like a different painting. With lots of visual imagery and poetry. The band is comprised of such different types of musicians. A boogie-woogie keyboard player, a flamenco guitar player and a jazz drummer in the same band. Crazy good!

CGL: What is the longest tour you ever went on? How did you keep yourself engaged while constantly riding a bus?
WC: The longest tour I was ever on was in Europe. Mostly Western Europe. However, it was only for about a month and a half. I have never done extremely long tours. Probably why I have had such a long career. I have also very rarely done bus tours. I prefer sleeping in hotels. Our equipment / crew needs are so small that we really don’t even need a bus. I went on a few bus tours with Ray Manzarek and Robby Krieger of The Doors, when I was their singer. That is how they preferred to tour. Those were great times, but I hated leaving a five-star hotel room to bump down the road in a bus overnight. The closer I can get to a normal life on the road, the better I feel about it.

CGL: Tell me about the moment that led to you deciding to do a tribute to the Doors?
WC: While attending Long Beach State University I became a big Doors fan. I heard a radio ad about the Jim Morrison rock opera at Gazzari’s night club on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood. So, I went to it the next evening. It turned out to be a live audition and not really quite a rock opera, yet. I showed up and they let me in for free. All they needed was my name for the clipboard. Later I found myself being called on stage to sing a song. The only one I knew was “LA Woman”. Never before doing something in front of a crowd, held a microphone etc., I was singing “LA Woman”. When it was over, Jim Morrison’s sister, Anna came out of the crowd and had photos taken with me. Soon after they offered the lead role to me. That’s what got me into this mess. But I really have enjoyed it. After that journey ended, I took some time off and then formed my own band, Wild Child.

Dave Brock, Wild Child

Dave Brock, Wild Child

CGL: How many songs do you know? Are there any you’d still like to learn?
WC: I’ve probably done every song The Doors have done at one time or another. However, for our show I have to realize that most people coming to see us only know what they’ve heard on the radio and may not even own any of the albums. So, I have to be careful with how many obscure songs we add to a set of music. Maybe two or three at the most. Luckily the hits are not poppy or corny.

CGL: Vocally, what do you do to keep your voice and range in shape?
WC: My secret to vocal longevity is attributed to these two things. First of all, I sing in my own vocal range. Where a lot of people doing other people’s material actually have to sing outside their normal range to accomplish that. That is very hard on your voice.

Iron Butterfly Brings Psychedelia To The Coach House

IRON BUTTERFLY play The Coach House Aug.18; press photo

IRON BUTTERFLY play The Coach House Aug.18; press photo

Sixties psychedelic group, Iron Butterfly, best known for the song, “In A Gadda Da Vida”, from the album of the same name that sold over 48 million copies, will bring a slice of musical history to The Coach House Aug 18.

“We don’t really dress up for the occasion, the guys are in their 60s,” percussionist Mike Green said.

“There may be a tie-dye shirt here or there, or Indian moccasins, mainly because it looks good on stage. We also have a sixties style light show.”

Back in the day, the band used to make sure there was a certain kind of beer or food in the dressing room, or maybe a bottle of whiskey.
“Now all I want is Pepto Bismo and Advil,” Green joked.

While some audiences may be skeptical about the changing lineup of the group, Iron Butterfly was never about one member, it was about a specific sound of the band, which the current lineup captures.

“We go out and play the original songs, it’s not a tribute band, we are Iron Butterfly,” Green said.

A little background history goes like this. Green, who has known the group since the early days, assembled the current incarnation of Iron Butterfly with the blessing of “In A Gadda Da Vida” drummer, Ron Bushy, who is presently on a medical hiatus and is the only member to appear on all six studio albums.

“There was never a percussionist with the original Iron Butterfly,” Green explained.

“Ron wanted to add a percussionist to augment the sound because it is very percussion driven due to his famous drum solo.”

Rounding out the band are Ray Weston (drums) who started touring with the band after Bushy took ill; Dave Meros (bass) joined following the death of Lee Dorman; Eric Barnett (guitar) has been a long-time member of Iron Butterfly; and Martin Gerschwitz (keyboardist) who recreates the ethereal, churchy organ that is as critical as the drums to the overall Iron Butterfly sound.

“I wanted to find people that knew the sound, liked the sound, and were familiar with it,” Green said.

Over the years, there have been several lineups of Iron Butterfly with some of them using the name illegally. Now Bushy owns the name and Green is his partner in licensing the group so there should always be a true representation of the band, it’s music, and the whole Iron Butterfly experience.

“This is the most solid incarnation, with the remaining original members’ blessings,” Green said.

“Come and return to a different place in time and experience Iron Butterfly.”

faUSt Promises Splendid Mess At The Broad

faUSt play The Broad Jul 28; press photo

faUSt play The Broad Jul 28; press photo

FaUSt, the legendary 60s German experimental rock band, will make a rare appearance July 28 at Summer Happenings: Social Shamans at The Broad in Los Angeles, supported by the Goethe Institut.

Concert Guide Live caught up with founding member, Jean-Herve Peron the day after arriving in the U.S.to talk about the upcoming tour, politics, and music. En route to their Air BnB in Chicago, Peron was a little bit punch-drunk, excited and ready for the first show.

“We are totally ready,” Peron enthused. “We are jet-lagged. We are nervous. We are standing right in the middle of a huge traffic jam. The weather is too hot. We are ready!”

CONCERT GUIDE LIVE: Will you have any sort of stage show or are you just going to play your instruments and go for it!?
JEAN-HERVÉ PÉRON: It’s going to be a splendid mess. A great touted performance. There will be women and men involved and water tanks and all kinds of things happening. Dada, punk, poetry…

CGL: FaUSt has been around for nearly 50 years, which means you must have a fanatical fanbase. Are you making new fans, as well?
JHP: Our bodies are aging and our bones and muscles are getting involved in time. But our spirit is not getting old for some reason. Sometimes I wonder, am I infantile or am I senile? I’m not sure which end I’m at. So that keeps us in a position of always looking at the world with newborn baby’s eyes, and the same with art. My friend, Zappi (co-founder Werner ‘Zappi’ Diermaier) and myself are still curious about things, we like to explore new things, we like to discover the digital world, all kinds of things.

CGL: Going back to the beginning, what were some of your early musical inspirations that lead you to doing this type of music?
JHP: The major factor that was triggering our energy was that we wanted to find our own destiny. Let me put it this way – Germany was a cultural wasteland after WWII. The USA helped Europe to get back on their feet. The economy got much better but there is always a side effect to this.

Obviously, all the European’s are very thankful that the USA helped us get out of this mess. But the side effect was that we were invaded by a new culture, a new way of food, of art. I’m talking about like the McDonald invasion and also, I’m not being arrogant about this, but this wasn’t enough for us young people. I’m talking about 1960, fifteen years after WWII was over. We were young, and we wanted to have our own way of thinking. And certainly, the lyric of typical rock-n-roll didn’t satisfy us, and the three-chord endless sequence didn’t satisfy us. We were eager to find our own identity. That was the main motivation.

CGL: It’s probably that way for every generation.
JHP: Absolutely. In 1968 we were the May ’68 children and we wanted to change everything socially, politically, economically, sexually, Everything. And nowadays I notice, and for this I have an excellent thermometer, I have a daughter who is as young as I was in ’68, and I feel they are confronted with a similar situation and I feel that there is a lot of energy that is similar to the energy that we had back in ’68.

My daughter’s generation is having a hard time. There is a powerful drift to the right and it’s all over the world. In Europe it’s very clear to see and in other countries also. And the young generation doesn’t want to go right. A huge majority of them don’t want to go right. They have other values in life. I can feel in my daughter’s communication that she’s desperate, but she certainly isn’t helpless. She’s conscious of the environment she’s conscious of the political weirdness of the time and she’s acting against it. I am very proud of this generation.

CGL: When you put together your set list do you know what you’re going to do in advance?
JHP: We have more of a general idea of what we are going to do, and the rest of the set list will be influenced by whatever happens on the days before or directly on the day. But since we know that technical matters are involved of course we know roughly what will happen.

And may I mention, it will be quite exceptional – we will have this splendid group of three colorful ladies called Ernsthafte Angelegenheiten. That means in German, “Serious business. Serious matters. Serious Issues”. They will bring this new blood into FaUSt. And that promises to be for us and everybody involved very challenging but very interesting.

CGL: Are they playing with you or are they playing separately?
JHP: They are playing with us as part of FaUSt. We also have some friends playing with us.

CGL: Is there anything else you’d like to add or talk about?
JHP: We are extremely excited to be performing in the United States. It’s a bit complicated to get into your country but once we are here, it’s great. Meeting so many people in the audience. Meeting so many different artists in so many different cities. We are privileged.

The Los Angeles portion of the tour will include founding members Jean-Hervé Péron and Werner ‘Zappi’ Diermaier along with Amaury Cambuzat, Braden Diotte, and possible surprise guests.

Come Hear Legendary Guitarist Dick Dale!

DICK DALE plays The Coach House Jul. 14; press photo

DICK DALE plays The Coach House Jul. 14; press photo

Legendary guitarist, Dick Dale, continues to play to live audiences everywhere and will return to San Juan Capistrano’s icon, The Coach House, July 14. SoCal has been fortunate to hear Dale perform at The Coach House numerous times partially because he and the owner go way back.

“Gary (Folgner) and I have been very dear friends from the beginning of time,” Dale mused. “Many, many, many years ago he called me up and said ‘I would like you to come and play at my place’.”

This was back when Dale had a 15 piece rock band with keyboards, horns, backup singers, double drums, etc. and there was no way he could pay the whole band to play at his place.

“So my drummer and my bass player said ‘We’ll come and do it, Dick, you just bring your guitar and we’ll back ya’,” Dale recalled. “I got afraid because usually I have the whole band to fall back on. But they convinced me.”

Once he had stripped down the band it naturally led to creating his now signature style of guitar playing but don’t limit it by calling it “surf”. He plays a variety of music from Rockabilly to Boogie Woogie to Jazz to Big Band and everything else.

In fact, Dale pointed out that the word “surf” can actually become a negative and prefers not to use in advertising because it limits his attendance.

Many years ago, he performed a sold out show at Fullerton College, but when he returned several months later, something was amiss and the place was only half-filled.

“When I went outside the building there were all these surf posters so I took the booker and walked him up to a black man and I said ‘Excuse me, sir. Would you go and see the king of the surf guitar?’

“And he said ‘No, man. That’s not my bag, man.’

“Then I said it in a different way. I said, ‘Would you see a guitar legend, even if you never heard of him?’

“His reply was, ‘Oh man, I dig guitar, man. I’ll be there in a minute’.”

Several years into his career, in the late 50s, Dale wanted to give his band a name like many of the bands of that era, which is when The Deltones came about.

“We would perform at Riverside National Guard Armory in San Bernardino,” Dale recalled. “We thought the radio would be the big deal. We would take ads out on the radio that would say ‘Go see Dick Dale and The Deltones’.”

Now, 30 plus years later, people still remember the name The Deltones. Dale says people often tell him he looks familiar, or ask him if he plays guitar, but it’s the name The Deltones that they seem to remember more than his own name.

“You know why they remembered The Deltones?” Dale asked. “Because it was the last thing that was said to them on the air – Dick Dale and The Deltones!”

Dale’s lengthy career has witnessed and pioneered much in the music industry and he has a lot of stories to boot. He rarely does interviews anymore because he feels there’s too much sensationalism and wonders why people can’t just write good things. This is something he and his wife, Lana, feel strongly about.

“All we want to be is left alone. Let us take care of God’s creatures, the animals. And we will entertain and try to help people who have the same ailments that we have by showing them, ‘Look at me, I’m still on this stage and I’m not taking drugs to do it’.”

Having said that, when he’s off stage Dale does like to converse with people and share the things he and Lana have been through, showing he’s the same as they are.

“We are just showing the people that we are like them and we give them little tips when they ask us, ‘How do you perform on that stage? It looks like there’s nothing wrong with you and you’re what, 80 years old? ’,” Dale said. “But there are times I’ve had to sit in a chair. There are times they had to carry me on the stage, the pain was so great.

“I’ve been in the martial arts ever since I was 18. It’s been a way of life. I learned things to help fight pain and how to deal with it.”

Over the course of the interview, Dale shared some of the things he’s learned by experience over time which are akin to words of wisdom.

“I have a statement I’ve always said – when anything hits you in the face whether it’s illnesses or pain – I always say, ‘Deal with it.’ Then I say, ‘Get used to it.’

“The other one is, ‘Your body follows your mind. Don’t be so weak in your mind that you will allow something in your body that will kill you.’ Your body is your temple. Treat it like your temple. That’s what we do.”

Mark your calendar and don’t miss witnessing some legendary music and you may even get to hear a few funny or enlightening stories in between the songs.

James Williamson And The Pink Hearts Live Debut

JAMES WILLIAMSON AND THE PINK HEARTS play El Rey Theatre Jun. 29; photo Heather Harris

JAMES WILLIAMSON AND THE PINK HEARTS play El Rey Theatre Jun. 29; photo Heather Harris

“About this time last year, I started feeling like I wanted to write some more music,” guitarist, James Williamson (The Stooges, Iggy Pop) recalled. “But I really don’t write lyrics. I’m just no good at it. At this point in life I’ve finally admitted it, so I don’t even try anymore.”

JAMES WILLIAMSON; photo Heather Harris

JAMES WILLIAMSON; photo Heather Harris

He reached out to a couple of people, including frontman, Frank Meyer (Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs), who played with Williamson on his previous L.A. show for his solo album, Re-Licked.

“I knew he could sing and I knew he had a good stage presence,” Williamson divulged. “But I didn’t know if he could write lyrics.

“I contacted Frank because it would be great if someone could write lyrics and sing them, too. He just jumped all over that. He could turnaround lyrics like in a day. So as quick as I could feed him new riffs, he could write lyrics to them.”

All of this songwriting resulted in the album Behind the Shade, a new project called James Williamson and The Pink Hearts which not only features Williamson on guitar and Meyer on vocals but also vocalist/violinist, Petra Haden.

The group will perform for the first time Jun. 29 at the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles followed by a show in San Francisco, marking the live debut of the new material. If all goes well, more dates will follow.

“We’ll focus on the album but that’s only 11 songs and so that’s not enough for a set,” Williamson explained. “So, we’ll kind of dip into my old catalogue and pull out another 9 or 10 songs and fill out the set.

“It will be a mixed bag, but I think you’ll like it because this is really a different band in a lot of ways. When you hear Frank and Petra sing some of my old catalogue it’s like a brand-new song.”

JAMES WILLIAMSON AND THE PINK HEARTS play El Rey Theatre Jun. 29; photo Sarah Remetch

JAMES WILLIAMSON AND THE PINK HEARTS play El Rey Theatre Jun. 29; photo Sarah Remetch

Joining the trio on stage will be the regulars from the album, drummer Michael Urbano (Smash Mouth), bassist Jason Carmer (Cat Power), and keyboardist Gregg Foreman. Andrea Watts, who wasn’t on the album but who played with Williamson on his last Los Angeles show, will be doing backing vocals.

Williamson has long been noted for both his aggressive guitar playing and sound on 1973’s Raw Power, a classic, explosive, rock album put out by Iggy and The Stooges. His amp-guitar combination came from a suggestion by the engineer at CBS Studio when they recorded in London.

“My go to guitar is a Gibson Les Paul Custom,” Williamson stated. “I’ve pretty much played that for my entire career. Yes, I’ve had many other guitars. And yes, I had many other guitars before I started playing those but that was the guitar that sort of established my sound on Raw Power and that along with the Vox AC30 is kind of my sound.

“Since then though, I’ve started using a kind of imitation of that guitar put out by a company called Eastman. I put my pickups in them cuz I have some custom-wound pickups that are terrific. You’ll see, if you come to the show, I’ll play a Gibson Les Paul, and also an Eastman, and believe it or not, for a couple of things, I’ll even play a Telecaster, so it’s all over the place.”

He still prefers to keep his guitar effects “old school”, using a treble boost pedal for a little extra sustain when playing solos. That’s pretty much it.

“But I do have something that’s a little bit unique to me,” Williamson said. “In my Eastman guitar I have a Piezo electric bridge that I had them put on the guitar, it comes from Fishman. What I had them do is to split it out, make it a stereo signal. So, I have the magnetic pickups and the Piezo pickups, and it goes out stereo, but I can split it outside of the guitar and send one of those sides to an acoustic emulator, so I get a very convincing acoustic sound and at the same time, I can also get the magnetic sound so that I can play some acoustic numbers on the album. It’s pretty cool.”

Williamson put his guitar aside for the tech world for many years, claiming both things required total commitment. Picking it back up was difficult, but he managed.

“Probably the more amazing thing was that I managed to do the tech thing which was really a big sort of existential gap,” Williamson laughed.

“Let’s just say it was difficult from time to time but I managed it cuz it was so exciting. I mean tech at that time was really friggin’ amazing with all the things that have happened. It was a very interesting sort of front row seat.”

Fortunately, he has picked his guitar up again and with renewed songwriting, a little bit Americana, a little bit “Stooges”, the new music fits nicely with the new millennium.

Curtis Harding Brings Soul Power And More

CURTIS HARDING plays the El Rey May 31; photo Matthew Correia

CURTIS HARDING plays the El Rey May 31; photo Matthew Correia

Curtis Harding brings his songs about sassy women and love both good and bad to the El Rey May 31. The man oozes soul, traditional soul, ala Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, and other pioneers of the genre. Just check out last year’s Face Your Fear – every song is a winner.

Harding moves the soul genre forward into the new millennium, his voice capturing every emotion imaginable. But, his lyrics are important, too, easily relatable and sometimes funny.

As Curtis explains, “The record [Face Your Fear], to me, is all over the place because I go through moods, man. I change.”

Hailing from Saginaw, Michigan, his church-going mother exposed him to gospel music and his big sister showed him rap music. Both have inspired and motivated Harding through his musical journey which eventually lead him to make Atlanta his home. There he sang backup to CeeLo Green and eventually connected with Black Lips’ Cole Alexander who was spinning classic gospel at the time. The two formed the band Night Sun.

Harding’s style is a combination of different genres which all culminated in his debut solo album Soul Power. While his latest album takes his unique style to another level, this time collaborating with Sam Cohen and producer Danger Mouse.
Don’t miss this fearless performer at the El Rey May 31.

High Energy Rock Collective Soul Shine

COLLECTIVE SOUL play The Coach House May 6; photo Joseph Guay

COLLECTIVE SOUL play The Coach House May 6; photo Joseph Guay

Collective Soul hit the ground running after their first song “Shine” took off back in 1993, and they haven’t looked back since.

“When it happened, it did happen fast for us,” bassist Wil Turpin recalled. “But being that excited that young and feeling like you had so much more to do and so many more songs to create – in the moment you don’t analyze what it feels like, you’re just doing it.”

Signing with Atlantic Records and going double-platinum with their debut album, touring across North America, going triple-platinum with their second album, charting on Billboard with the singles “December,” “Where the River Flows,” “The World I Know,” “Gel,” and “Smashing Young Man,” Collective Soul continues to rock the masses nearly 25 years later.

“Honestly, we were just like ‘All right. Ok let’s go. Let’s work. Let’s get some stuff done. This is just the beginning.’ And sure, enough it was just the beginning.”

With a sold-out show coming up at The Coach House May 6, the band is looking forward to a special night. It’s not part of a tour, they just happened to be coming near the area and were looking for a place to play.

“Our agent and our manager said this room would be a cool room to go play and to just have fun for a night kind of thing,” Turpin said. “We heard it was a cool, hip spot.

“I’m sure we’ll play at least 90 minutes. We’ll probably play longer in a place like that. You’ll hear the hits. Not all the hits but you’ll hear most of the big hits and we’ll probably throw in some songs no one’s ever heard, then we’ll throw some stuff off our latest release.”

One of the things Turpin enjoys about playing live is the energy transfer between the band and the crowd. The give and take.

“What I like most about playing live is the fact that there’s really just five people creating these frequencies and it can change the way people feel and you can feel their energy rise and it comes back to you,” Turpin explained. “As a musician, it’s extremely tangible and that’s what I like about playing live.”

Fans have often commented that Collective Soul has a rawer, rockier sound when playing live than what comes across on record.

“Yea, and I would say we are kind of like a studio band,” Turpin agreed. “We all kind of grew up in the studio. My father owns a recording studio that we all cut our teeth in. So, I think Collective Soul does have a tendency to make things sound really polished, I’d say, in the studio.

“But live we embrace sounding more rockin’, more raw. It’s something we’re definitely aware of and for us it’s something we dig, too. It’s not that we should necessarily change what we do in the studio it’s just that “live” is different than “the studio”.

“I couldn’t tour all the time without creating new stuff and when I create new stuff I feel like I have to go out and perform. They’re both something we need.”

A new album, a double album, is in the works that will be released in 2019. While recording new music last year, the group realized they were approaching their 25-year anniversary so decided to wait to release the new material.

“We had more tunes, so we just thought ‘let’s don’t release a record this year, let’s just take our time, record 10 more songs, and release a double album and promote it for our 25 years,” Turpin reasoned.

This coming summer, Collective Soul will embark on the Rock & Roll Express Tour with 3 Doors Down and Soul Asylum.

“Yea, it’s gonna be a good rock show, I’m looking forward to it,” Turpin said. “We played a couple shows with Soul Asylum before – I’m a big fan – and then we played a number of shows with 3 Doors Down. We’re all good buddies so it should be a real fun tour.”

But first, there’s the unique show coming to The Coach House.

“We’re excited about seeing this room. We love the area so we’re just excited to get back there. Plan on plenty of new tunes and a lot of high energy rock-n-roll!”

Amerikkant but Ministry Took Command In Anaheim

MINISTRY

MINISTRY; photo James Christopher

MINISTRY was in top form at House of Blues Thursday night, kicking off the Amerikkant tour. They played well, sounded good, the stage was well-lit, the live mix was LOUD but spot-on allowing enough separation between instruments – a feat in itself – with up to eight musicians at any one time.

MINISTRY; photo James Christopher

MINISTRY stage; photo James Christopher

An eye-catching stage was adorned on each side with monstrous blowup chickens (turkeys?) sporting weird Trump-style hair and anti-Nazi symbols. Stacks of neon television sets were strewn about the stage and a sea of creepy cool mic stands woven with skulls and silver bones were front and center. A video screen furiously projected in the background throughout the set as the anger within the newer songs grew and grew.

Al Jourgenson MINISTRY; photo James Christopher

Al Jourgenson MINISTRY; photo James Christopher

Whether you’ve been, following Ministry through their various incarnations, or new to the world of Uncle Al Jourgensen, I cannot urge you enough to check out the latest album Amerikkant before seeing them on this tour. It’s in your best interest to familiarize yourself with these new songs – they’re the theme and motivation for the tour.

Sin Quirin MINISTRY; photo James Christopher

Sin Quirin MINISTRY; photo James Christopher

Ministry ushered in the evening with three tracks off Amerikkant beginning with the live debut of the lengthy, industrial-metal song, “Twilight Zone” that brings you into the fold, setting a unifying tone before moving into the live debut of, “Victims Of A Clown”. It’s another sure-to-be classic Ministry song, with guest vocalist Burton C. Bell (Fear Factory) taking over lead vocals while Jourgensen sang occasional backup but mostly played stunning guitar on his teardrop, masterfully using a distorted wah-wah effect and slide.

Cesar Soto MINISTRY; photo James Christopher

Cesar Soto MINISTRY; photo James Christopher

A little past the midway point of the set, some of the “older” songs from the late 80s, early 90s, began to appear “Just One Fix,” “N.W.O.,” “Thieves,” and “So What”. The band was truly locked in at this point and became even looser playing the longtime fan favorites, culminating in a 13-song setlist, plus a single song encore – 1999s “Bad Blood”.

All night, the frenzy of the crowd escalated as the energy of Ministry continued to fire on all cylinders. It never felt like they were just phoning it in. Everyone seemed keen to be on stage, playing great music both old and new.

Al Jourgenson MINISTRY; photo James Christopher

Al Jourgenson MINISTRY; photo James Christopher

Ministry definitely took command in Anaheim, but they also provided a platform to let your inner angst run rampant for a couple of hours.

Don’t forget to do yourself a favor – check out Amerikkant.

Goth Duo MGT Bring Positivity Into The Light

MGT - Ashton Nyte; photo James Christopher

MGT – Ashton Nyte; photo James Christopher

MGT adds a little night to the daylight. In a good way. Musically unique, yet familiar in a half-remembered sense, with vocals that add an unexpected comfort.

“I try to be comforting,” singer Ashton Nyte (The Awakening) agreed. “There’s a lot at odds in the world, I think a little bit of comfort goes a long way.”

Having just completed a string of dates in support of their sophomore album, Concert Guide Live caught up with Nyte, who alternated between talking somewhat seriously and sometimes with a bit of tongue-in-cheek.

MGT - Mark Gemini Thwaite; photo James Christopher

MGT – Mark Gemini Thwaite; photo James Christopher

CONCERT GUIDE LIVE: You joined MGT as lead vocalist for the latest album, Gemini Nyte, a clever combination of names – yours and guitarist Mark Gemini Thwaite (The Mission/Peter Murphy). But, the first album had a variety of singers so are you just involved with this album, or could there be further collaborations together?
ASHTON NYTE: Basically, the first album was Mark’s first solo album which is called Volumes. And on Volumes he wrote the music and then he got a range of guest vocalists to write the lyrics and to sing. I was one of those and eventually we just hit it off and kept writing songs.

The original plan was to release the new body of work as “Gemini Nyte”, as a new project, essentially. But what happened is the record label got involved and they encouraged us, to release it as the second “MGT” album rather than a new project. So as things are now, Mark and I wrote this album together. I’m the guy who writes all the words and sings them and Mark generally writes the music and plays it. That’s how this has come to pass.

I’ve never worked in a collaborative sense like that before. It’s been quite liberating and interesting to have somebody else write the music and myself provide the lyrics and the vocals. Then we mix it together and produce it together and you got the album.

MGT - Ashton Nyte; photo James Christopher

MGT – Ashton Nyte; photo James Christopher

CGL: What do you like about playing live?
AN: it’s the other half of the whole. I think creating the music is wonderful, you know, it’s like seeing it from a seed to a tree. But performing is the other side of it, it completes the picture and it satisfies something in me. I don’t know if that’s healthy or unhealthy, but I find it very satisfying to see people’s response, to act and to engage. I’m not the kind of performer to just, you know, stand there and be removed from it all. I think it’s important to engage with the audience and we have a good time and hopefully they do, too.

CGL: What do you remember about the first time you ever played live, Were you nervous?
AN: No, I was very excited. I think I’ve always had that “the more the merry” type feeling. I played the first show and I was looking forward to the next one and playing to more people and playing louder.

CGL: Whatever possessed you to go into music in the first place?
AN: Probably some sort of mental disorder. I don’t know. It’s just always been my passion. I can’t really see myself doing anything else. It’s something I need to do. I could do other things, but I would never want to stop doing it, let’s put it that way. I enjoy various artforms but, music is an integral part of my life.

CGL: Do you find yourself listening to music all the time?
AN: No, I probably spend more time creating than listening. I probably spend a fair amount of time listening. It’s healthy to be aware of what’s going on, whether it’s recent or something from the past that continues to inspire and invigorate. But, I like to think that I write more than I listen. Focus more on creating than catching up.

MGT - Richard Vernon; photo James Christopher

MGT – Richard Vernon; photo James Christopher

CGL: Where do you get your ideas and inspiration for your lyrics?
AN: I think there was a kind of dystopian themed undercurrent that runs through this album. I think that’s probably self-explanatory. The place we find ourselves in the world these days leaves a lot to be desired. So, a lot of the songs reflect that but I’m singing from the perspective of hope and positivity, trying to recognize some of the problems but remaining optimistic and making suggestions to move forward rather than complaining and whining things.

CGL: Do you write all the time, or do you just write when you need to come up with a song?
AN: I write all the time. I have referred to myself as a compulsive songwriter, it’s an addiction. I have a band, The Awakening, and we’ve released I believe eight albums and I’ve released another eight… which is 16 albums which is more than most people and I probably have as many albums with the material that’s not released so I think it’s safe to say my songwriting addiction is real, and that the therapy hasn’t worked, yet, but I’m giving it time, I’m working through it.

MGT - Nick Mason; photo James Christopher

MGT – Nick Mason; photo James Christopher

CGL: What about the other musicians, will MGT have a set lineup moving forward?
AN: I mean, it would be lovely if we could keep the same (musicians), from a unit perspective, to keep the same live line up as it is now. The band that’s touring right now isn’t the band that played on the album, for example. If the stars continue to align and everybody is available to do that it would be wonderful for us to keep doing it this way.

CGL: Do you have a home studio, or do you record in different places?
AN: I have a studio in my house. So, does Mark. Which is how we assembled this album. He did his thing and I did my thing and we file-shared pretty much. Wonderful the way we can do it these days.

CGL: What was it like when you first started?
AN: When I first started recording? Back when I was 12? When I was 12 it was difficult understanding things. I think we all improve with age. That’s the point, I think.