This Patch Of Sky Brings Post-Rock To SoCal

THIS PATCH OF SKY play Hi Hat Sep. 20; photo Shane Cotee

THIS PATCH OF SKY play Hi Hat Sep. 20; photo Shane Cotee

Those who are looking for the chance to enjoy music that is instrumental but cinematic in quality are in luck as This Patch Of Sky shall soon be coming to Neck Of The Woods in San Francisco Sep. 19 and The Hi Hat in Los Angeles Sep. 20.

“We’re really looking forward to Neck Of The Woods – we’ve never played there before,” Kit Day, the group’s lead guitarist, mentioned. “And then, down in L.A., The Hi Hat looks like an incredible venue so we’re excited for that one as well.”

Of the two appearances, Day proclaims he is especially looking forward to playing at Neck Of The Woods.

“I’m really looking forward to playing with the bands Wander and Our Fathers. Wander is also a post-rock band and Our Fathers has vocals with a bit of post-rock tendencies.”

This Patch Of Sky, like Wander, is a post-rock band. First formed in Eugene, Oregon in 2010. Day says the group initially started off as just a means for him and friends to meet and indulge in their love of playing their own music.

“I started the band after a band that I was in kind of faded away and it was really just to have some fun, jam with some friends,” Day recalled.

“Growing up, I’ve been in a ton of bands. It always seemed to be the vocalists that kind of made or broke the band. And this time around we just decided, ‘hey, let’s just start playing with no vocalist’.
That way we’re not stuck with verse, chorus, verse, chorus and can do what we want to do, let the song, the music take you where you want it to go without having vocals in it.”

Day describes the music as “the soundtrack to the end of world.” Instead of words, their songs depend entirely on atmosphere, mood and sound.

“The music that we create, we try to invoke emotions through it,” Day explained. “We don’t have a vocalist and so instead we let the instruments basically do the talking for you. Anyone that listens to our music, they’re really just interpreting it how they want to interpret it which is what we love. It’s really a universal language. A lot of what we do is more soundtrack type stuff for movies so when you just think of the end of the world, you have a roller coaster of emotions that are going up and down and that’s what we try to create.”

Their unique music has helped them acquire a following in the music community along with critical praise. Such support has, as of this writing, been of immense aid in the creation of three albums with the latest, These Small Spaces, being released last September. It’s even helped Day and his bandmates produce the soundtrack for the Russell Brand documentary Brand: A Second Coming.

But despite all that, Day says the group still enjoys the thrill of playing live.

“Oh man, it’s so much fun,” Day said. “Playing live is definitely my favorite thing to do. A lot of people don’t really know what to expect when they go and see an instrumental band because they’re usually focused on the singer. Being able to present what we have to an audience and being able to create those emotions live, that’s definitely one of our favorite parts.”

Though This Patch Of Sky has performed at a sizeable number of live concerts, the most memorable to date was some time ago in Phoenix, Arizona.
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“We played at The Rebel Lounge with a band called Holy Fawn,” recounts Day. “We didn’t really know what to expect when playing with them and the first time seeing them live they just absolutely blew us away. This was a year ago. Since then we’ve become really good friends and we ended up doing a small tour together this year. It was incredible just to see that band night after night perform. They’re probably one of our favorite bands to play with.”

Beyond their upcoming appearances in SoCal and other places around the United States, Day says that the group plans to take their music in a new direction: around the world.

“Europe is a big one we’re looking forward to next year,” Day mused. “We haven’t quite announced it yet, but we are looking to get overseas. We’re also playing in Mexico City this February that we’re excited to announce here shortly as well. So really, it’s just taking a national act and becoming international. That’s really what we’re focused on right now.”

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.”

Gary Numan Brings The Future To The Observatory

GARY NUMAN plays the Observatory Sep. 4; press photo

GARY NUMAN plays the Observatory Sep. 4; press photo

Always moving forward, Gary Numan continues to be a pioneer. While first becoming a household name with his futuristic single “Cars” in the early eighties, he has never stood still. Always looking ahead at what’s next, he has constantly molded and transformed his sound: from the synthesizer played through guitar effects in his early work, to experiments with jazz as well as funk, to the industrial style of his more recent output.

As a result of all this, he released his 18th album Savage (Songs from a Broken World) last year and is currently touring around the world behind it. Garnering rave reviews, it further establishes Numan’s desire to keep pushing forward and push the envelope of what music can be. In anticipation of his Sep. 4 show at The Observatory, we caught up with Numan to find out what makes him tick, the concept behind Savage, and what tomorrow holds.

CONCERT GUIDE LIVE: You’re currently on tour. For those who do or don’t know your history, what can we expect from a Gary Numan concert these days?
GARY NUMAN: I have a real problem with nostalgia, I don’t like it at all, so I tend to focus on the new rather than the old. For people coming along hoping to predominantly listen to the early electronic stuff from a lifetime ago, I think they will be disappointed. Most fans are aware of this though. I’ve never wallowed in nostalgia. I do a few songs from the early days but it’s a quarter of the set at best. I’m promoting a new album, Savage; in fact, this is my second North American tour promoting Savage, so that’s where the main thrust of the show comes from.

Gary Numan album cover "Savage (Songs From A Broken World)

Gary Numan album cover “Savage (Songs From A Broken World)

CGL: Tell me a little bit about your last album Savage (Songs from a Broken World). Why did you choose that name for it?
GN: Savage looks at a world in the future that’s been devastated by global warming. However, the global warming element of it is simply the backdrop for the main topic the album looks at, which is the brutality of humankind when survival of the fittest becomes the norm. It is not a happy album, but it does have tiny slivers of hope if you look hard.

CGL: Is there a particular song that sticks out for you from that album?
GN: I like to think it has many stand out songs but the one that really works the best for me is a song called “My Name Is Ruin.” Partly because my daughter Persia sings on it, and appears in the video for it to be honest. She’s also toured with me a number of times, and has sung it live all over the world so it’s become a definite favorite to play live.

CGL: What are some of your favorite songs to play from Savage?
GN: The album was written from the outset to work well when played live. The majority of the songs therefore have huge chorus melodies and are deliberately dynamic sonically. This makes them exciting to play live, but my favorites are “My Name Is Ruin” and “Ghost Nation.”

CGL: Who is in the current tour lineup? Have you guys toured and played together before?
GN: Richard Beasley on drums, Tim Muddiman on bass, Steve Harris on guitar and David Brooks on keyboards. Tim is the new boy, and yet, he’s been with me for nearly 20 years. We are all very close friends and have been touring together for a very long time, so it makes it a very enjoyable experience. Arguments amongst us are almost unheard of, extremely rare. I could never tour with people that I didn’t get on with. Spending months at a time in a bus with the same people could be difficult if the personality mix isn’t right. We have that, with the crew as well actually. I miss everyone when we’re not touring.

GARY NUMAN; photo James Christopher

GARY NUMAN; photo James Christopher

CGL: What is your favorite aspect to playing a live show?
GN: The crowd reaction makes or breaks it. If the crowd is with you, and vocal about it, that lifts you to a state that’s hard to find anywhere else. It is literally ‘uplifting,’ and we all feed on that. A quiet crowd makes it feel more like a job. Luckily, we don’t get too many of that kind. Also though, I love traveling; so beyond the show itself, I really love the process of touring, of constantly moving to new places. Each day becomes a new adventure.

CGL: Which other songs from your history do you especially like to play?
GN: From my history? None really. I’ve played all the older songs a thousand times, so they’ve lost their spark and charm somewhat. Because of that, I do try to pull out some rare things once in a while to keep me interested in back catalogue, or rework them to keep them feeling a bit fresher. That works for a while.

CGL: You have been playing music for 20+ years now. What is your take on the current state of music and its future?
GN: I’ve actually been doing this for over 40 years and I very much do my own thing. I welcome new technologies, be it musical or social, and incorporate those that help and move around those that don’t. But, it’s all about how it can help me. I got sick to death of listening to people whining about the state of the music business, albums sales falling, this is wrong, that’s wrong, always complaining, always worrying. I don’t agree with any of that. These changes are not the death knell of the music business. I’ve loved the way the business has evolved over the last 15, 20 years or so. I’ve embraced every change that I thought would help me and my career. It’s brought artists closer to fans (for those that want that); yes, record sales have fallen but new opportunities have come along. New types of label deals have meant that, for some of us, decreased album sales have not necessarily meant a decrease in income. You just have to really understand what works and what doesn’t. I self-manage for example, that was a huge change, but it’s really worked for me. I don’t sign conventional artist deals with labels, haven’t for a long time. There is so much you can do to combat the down side of change if you keep your eyes open, and there are new opportunities that didn’t exist before.

CGL: What do you like about playing music today compared to the past?
GN: Nothing’s changed as far as I can tell. Playing music today is exciting and rewarding, just as it was before. The only thing I would suggest that is arguably better these days is reliability of equipment. It is true that I have more confidence now compared to when I started, which is understandable, and that brings with it a less stressed attitude at show time. I like that, so that’s an improvement I suppose.

CGL: Is there a new album and/or material in the works?
GN: There is a special edition of Savage with three new songs coming out in November, but I plan to start the next studio album, the follow up to Savage, in February 2019. Looking forward to that very much.

CGL: What inspires you to continue making new music?
GN: I have three children so wanting to make sure I can give them the best chance in life keeps me eager to work harder than ever. Beyond that, I’ve never lost my love for moving forward. I still get very excited by the challenge of finding new sounds, new ways of putting music together, new things to write about. I’m creative by nature, it’s a need as much as a desire, so I’m always surprised when people get in to the latter stages of their career and start writing bland old shit, or repeating themselves musically. Wanting to progress, to create new things, is what gets me up in the morning. It’s never been a problem finding the desire to do that.

CGL: Is there anything else you would like to add?
GN: Just that I am hugely grateful for the support. People taking the time to come to a gig is not something I take for granted, and I am very grateful.

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.

Alice Cooper: A Tale From The Photo Pit

Alice Cooper; photo Reuben Martinez

Alice Cooper; photo Reuben Martinez

Walking into Pechanga Resort and Casino, waiting to see if my credentials were there, I was excited to see and photograph a rock legend – Alice Cooper.

Once inside, they told me and the other photographers that we were allowed to shoot the first four songs. Normally it’s three! But as the lights went out, not having a photo pit at this venue the tricky thing is to try to fit in and not to get in the way of others watching the show.

Alice Cooper; photo Reuben Martinez

Alice Cooper; photo Reuben Martinez

As soon as Alice came out the crowd was instantly on their feet. Alice knows how to entertain, and with an elite band as well. One thing to look for at his shows is his guitarist Nita Strauss, I like to call her the Queen of the 6-Strings. A phenomenal guitar player as well as Tommy Henrikson and Ryan Roxy, and Glen Sobel on drums and Chuck (Beasto Blanco) Garric on bass. Every musician in Alice’s band is top notch.

Nita Strauss (Alice Cooper); photo Reuben Martinez

Nita Strauss (Alice Cooper); photo Reuben Martinez

As the songs play on so do his stage antics. From a fencing sword with money featuring Alice’s face being thrown to the crowd, to a monstrous “Alice” as a Frankenstein monster, to a guillotine where his stage hands throw him in and cut his head off executioner style.

Alice finished the night wearing a white tux jacket while playing hits like “I’m Eighteen” and “School’s Out”, accompanied by a bubble machine. Personally, this was such a treat to shoot, just seeing someone that is 70 years young still touring and putting on a great show.

If you can, check out Alice Cooper and his amazing band on the Paranormal Tour.

Set list:
Brutal Planet
No More Mr. Nice Guy
Under My Wheels
Billion Dollar Babies
Be My Lover
Lost in America
Serious
Fallen in Love
Woman of Mass Distraction
Poison
Halo of Flies
Feed My Frankenstein
Cold Ethyl
Only Women Bleed
Paranoiac Personality
Ballad of Dwight Fry
Killer
I Love the Dead
I’m Eighteen
School’s Out

The Clarion Call Of Arise Roots

ARISE ROOTS play HOB/Anaheim Aug. 23; photo Andy Ortega

ARISE ROOTS play HOB/Anaheim Aug. 23; photo Andy Ortega

Reggae has been around for quite some time now, and over the years it has only gotten more popular. It has been through many changes, from the early days of inception through its exploration in genre-mixing as of late. It is always refreshing to see a band who can pull from its long history while adapting the music to recent changes in the musical landscape; Arise Roots deftly achieves this with their unique take on reggae.

“Root is what our own personal likes and loves were,” according to lead singer Karim Israel. “All our hearts were definitely in Roots, and that’s kinda what brought us together when we first met. We all came together and started jamming on some Dennis Brown and different Roots artists. That comes from my own personal love for that subgenre of Reggae.”

ARISE ROOTS; photo Andy Ortega

Further explaining the band’s desires, he goes on, “One thing we focused on though, in the music, was not just focusing on Roots; like we incorporate other styles and genres of Reggae, and not even just a subgenre itself. We are seeking to not just put ourselves in the box of Roots, but just creativity and music. And so, whatever comes out, we’re not necessarily trying to fit it or keep it into that Roots box. It’s still Reggae definitely, but we’re not just pigeonholing ourselves into just Roots.

“The live show, to me, by far is the most amazing factor/part/whatever you wanna call it in being a musician. That energy. It’s the energy that the crowd brings to the table every night. No two shows are exactly the same; it really depends on each and every individual person that is there, and what they bring to it. When people come, and they are expecting to share in the experience, and they are coming and bringing their energy, bringing their anticipation….it just adds. It’s like cooking a big pot of gumbo, and each show and person brings its own thing to the table. Some nights are great, some nights are just absolutely amazing.”

ARISE ROOTS; photo Andy Ortega

ARISE ROOTS; photo Andy Ortega

His passion for music is undeniable, and obvious when one goes to an Arise Roots concert. Elaborating further, “Being able to feed off that energy, and I like to not just feed but also create that energy. So that people can feed off of our energy…and it just keeps going back and forth like an electrical current. It just keeps going back and forth, back and forth, and that’s the best way I can describe it – as a current. It just keeps rotating and rotating, going and going. It’s almost unexplainable being up there and feeling it; and once the people start singing the words and stuff….it’s just amazing!”

Israel is obviously a lyricist with his uncanny ability to put his passion into words the way he does. He describes the songwriting process, “When we write these songs, no one is guaranteeing that somebody is gonna like the song that you write. When we finally write it, and finish second guessing ourselves, and put the words on the paper; and once those words actually come out and you see the people digging it- it’s a relief, it’s a natural high that you feel, and it’s amazing. That’s what we like to bring to the table, a piece of our souls.”

ARISE ROOTS; photo Andy Ortega

ARISE ROOTS; photo Andy Ortega

Having released a new song recently, “Nice and Slow,” it has become a staple of their live sets. “Our new single, I love playing that,” Israel declares. “It’s got a lot of good energy. Being the newest one, it’s always good to test it out on crowds and see what the response is with people. So as of right now, I gotta say “Nice and Slow” is my favorite to play.”

Israel was raised on Reggae via his parents, especially his dad. And recently had one of his favorite moments in the band: “We were playing in San Francisco, and I was able to have my dad come onstage and sing. Which for me was a dream come true cuz my dad was the one who introduced me to Reggae music from birth.

“He actually emigrated from Jamaica to the States, back in the seventies, to do Reggae music. My mom and dad actually met at a Reggae show, so if it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be here. So, the whole time we have been playing, he has being hearing the stuff and seeing it online but had never been able to make it out to a show. In San Francisco, he not only was able to see us but also come onstage and perform. That was a huge moment for me.”

ARISE ROOTS; photo Andy Ortega

ARISE ROOTS; photo Andy Ortega

Arise Roots is amped and excited for what the future holds, evidenced by their long hours spent on their upcoming new album. Israel explains, “It’s our best album to date. We are extremely excited to get it out. We’ve done some kinds of experimentation with some sounds, and even the writing on some of the tracks has been a little out of the box for us.

“One thing that is different about this album than the others before is that before we would play it live and see what the crowd participation was like. If it works with the crowd, we’ll add that to the list of songs that will most likely be on the album. This time around, we have kept a lot of stuff secret and just kept it amongst ourselves. Not let anybody hear it, not even family members. Just pulsing on creating the vibe, the feel of the album, the mood of the album, the sound of the album. And then release it all together at once.”

But while waiting for the album to drop, Arise Roots shows are the best place to catch the smooth vibes and soul-filled music this band brings to Reggae. Catch them at the House of Blues Anaheim on Aug. 23.

Katastro Brings Ecletic Strings To SoCal

KATASTRO play The Constellation Room Aug. 22 and The Music Box Aug. 23; press photo

KATASTRO play The Constellation Room Aug. 22 and The Music Box Aug. 23; press photo

The eclectic jams of Katastro shall again be heard in SoCal, with stops at The Constellation Room Aug. 22 and The Music Box Aug. 23 in celebration of their latest album Washed.

Ryan Weddle, the band’s bass player, says he looks forward to the appearance and ensures concertgoers are in for something unique.
“I feel like people can definitely look forward to a set that incorporates a lot of different styles,” Weddle said. “We try to add, you know, a lot of jams and we bring in our influences from rock and hip hop.”

Formed in 2007, Katastro has become notable for its unique music style that blends rock with other genres of music though the group’s origin began as a music band in high school.

“Our singer Andy [Chaves]met our drummer Andrew Travers and guitarist [Tanner Riccio] there and they formed the band and started out as like a live hip hop group,” Weddle explained. “Then the sound kind of changed with everybody’s different musical background and it became more like this rock with influence from blues, a little bit of reggae and a little bit of a lot of stuff.”

Weddle joined up later in 2008 thanks to his mutual friendship with Chaves. The four-man lineup has not changed in its 10-year lifespan and continues to play what Weddle describes as a “bridge between hip hop and alternative rock music.”

He also says that this bridge is both maintained and often improved upon with all manner of new musical incorporations.

“We’re incorporating a lot of, you know, sample bass production and some more beats and subby bass lines, stuff like that, while still maintaining a guitar and a sort of alternative feel with it,” Weddle recalled. “It’s just kind of a melting pot of rock and blues and hip hop.”

For their newest album Washed, Weddle and his bandmates have been more daring in implementing new approaches in both fine tuning their music and even how they create it.

“We did it a little differently and we all just went up to a cabin and we wrote the full album in, I think it was eight days,” Weddle recalled. “And we just slept out there and wrote everything from scratch all together. It was kind of cool kind of switching up the way that we usually do it. We got a different outcome that we were all super happy about.”

That outcome in particular is that Washed is one of the group’s first albums to reach one million plays on Spotify. Weddle, who likes to set personal accomplishments for himself and his group, is indisputably pleased with the accomplishment.

Beyond recording, Weddle and his bandmates put a special emphasis on their live shows and do their utmost to tailor each show to get the most positive reactions they can from each concertgoer who attends.

However, one concertgoer that remains unpredictable is nature, specifically the Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado.

“The first time that we played there it was stormy and crazy and our set got cut by 15 minutes because of that, Weddle recalled. “So, we pretty much ran out there in the pouring rain and performed a 15-minute set. None of us remember any of it because we were just so excited to be there, and it was just like this crazy, crazy day. We were lucky enough to go back a couple years later with the Dirty Heads to experience that again. We got really lucky and missed the storm this time.”

Such live experiences are why Weddle is just happy to be able to play music he loves with his fellow bandmates and is even more happy to have been invited to share it with all manner of music lovers live.

“There’s so many venues and different types of venues across the country that we’ve been lucky to play and it’s just cool. I’m excited to get out and experience more.”

Katastro’s current tour will last until Aug. 25 wrapping up at the Launchpad in Albuquerque. However, Weddle says that he and his fellow Katastro bandmates will still be busy.

“We’ll be doing that for a month and then we are taking, I think we have, three weeks at home and then we’re going back out with Iration and Common Kings on the east coast in the fall, Weddle said. “So, we’re kind of booked up for most of the year. Right now, we’re trying to play as many shows as we can and just promote this new album.”

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.

Tribute To Tributes: Queen Nation

QUEEN NATION

QUEEN NATION (Queen Tribute); press photo

Although it’s no longer possible to go see the classic line-up of the British rock band Queen due to the death of Freddie Mercury in 1991, tribute bands across the globe have stepped up to help others experience the influential musical group in its prime. One of these bands is Queen Nation.

Founded in 2004 in California by Dave Hewitt, the vice president of entertainment at The Canyon in Agoura Hills, Queen Nation has striven for 13 years done their utmost to capture the look, sound and style of Queen.

However, given the emphasis placed on giving great performances, Queen Nation’s tireless efforts to perfectly capture Queen’s unique music are not easy. Mike McManus, who plays the role of Queen’s legendary guitar player Brian May, admits that is quite task.

“I think because with the instrumentation, obviously Freddie Mercury’s vocal range, the harmonies and the song writing, it’s really difficult to pull off. I think, as a musician, it’s probably some of the most challenging music to perform.”
It’s even more herculean as McManus and his group do their utmost to emulate everything about Queen specifically during their iconic run during the 80’s.

“We wanted to make people who had seen Queen back in 1980 to kind of give them the feeling they were seeing that all over again. We try to do the same outfits they wore around the same time and the same mannerisms. We want people to kind of revisit the classic Queen concerts.”

QUEEN NATION

QUEEN NATION (Queen Tribute); Big Time Photo

The group is so devoted to replicating Queen’s trademarks it even goes so far as to actively promote audience participation.

“We try to get them involved as much as possible. We encourage singing along. We tell them right at the beginning of the show that ‘we’re not going to do all the work. We want to hear you guys singing loud and clear,’ and it usually works.”
McManus says the effort is worth it. To him it is an honor to commemorate a group whose music and efforts were invaluable in helping him and his bandmates becoming musically active.

“I always said that if I was ever going to be in a tribute band that the only one that I would ever would be to Queen because they’re my favorite band. They’re the reason that I started playing guitar and making music in the first place.”

The group’s efforts for 13 years have not only become “second nature” but made the group of the most prolific Queen tribute bands in the United States. The group has this year enjoyed a very busy schedule for instance.”

“Our first year together we did five shows and now this year we’re ending the year off with I think like 97 or 98 shows,” reports McManus.

That is in fact the norm for the group. McManus says that he expects the group to attain more just as much, if not more, appearances next year.

“We’ve already got 45 shows lined up for 2018. It’ll probably be closer to a hundred shows again next year.”

It’s also helped the group play to great fanfare at local music venues and county fairs but high profile venues too such as Angels Stadium and Las Vegas Hilton. Yet no matter the locale, one thing McManus and his group love more than sharing their love of Queen at such venues is being able to meet fellow Queen fans.

”I could sit here all day and go over how lucky we’ve been as a touring band to meet some of the greatest people you’d ever want to meet.”

For example: McManus specifically recalls playing at the 5th Annual Rock Against MS Benefit Concert & Award Show in Los Angeles last year. Not only did the group headline along with legendary groups such as Foreigner and Whitesnake but equally iconic musicians who grew up with Queen.

“Nancy Wilson from Heart was there, Scotty Hill from Skid Row, Steven Adler from Guns ‘n’ Roses, Jerry Cantrell from Alice in Chains. It was a big star-studded charity benefit and they all loved Queen, just like we did.”

It’s that kind of love for the music of Queen that looks to keep the members of Queen Nation busy for some time McManus says.

“The beauty of this music is that it goes from generation to generation. We have families come to see us every year and we watch their kids grow. We’ve made some really good relationships over the years with our fans and we hope to continue that.”

Just as Queen Nation shows no sign of stopping in helping preserve the legacy of Freddie Mercury and Queen, neither will their music which McManus states firmly will keep going on indefinitely.

“They’ll be playing Queen when you and I are both long gone,” McManus said.