by Lisa Sanchez Gonzalez
Twitter at @lsgoriginal
I really got to celebrate my “Rockstar” this past week as I got my metal on with some amazing bands. Nothing for the faint of heart this week!
First off, my apologies to Chip McCabe for missing his Black Stool show on Friday. Live & Local on Thursday night kicked my ass (OK. Yes. I feel asleep on the couch. Sigh…)
Secondly, I know that I speak for many in saying that the CT music scene is losing a very important member of its music reporting “team” as Eric Danton exits stage left from The Hartford Courant after 10 exceptional years. He’s brought us insight, intelligence, opinion, and a good dash of humor in his music critiquing and reporting. He will be sorely missed in CT music but I’m sure that our loss will most certainly be someone else’s gain. I know we will all be watching for his next move. Congrats to you, Eric…and thanks for the rock n roll! Check out Eric’s final “Sound Check” here… http://courantblogs.com/sound-check/eric-r-danton-leaving-courant/#comments
Thursday night was unbelievable at Arch Street Tavern in Hartford. It was one of the best Live & Locals yet from Chip McCabe, CT.com, and Rick Bober. The night showcased some great rock bands out of New London. MC’d by Eric Danton (bitter sweet as it was his last as critic for The Courant), it started with a terrific set from Space Orphans (that includes bass player fantastic, Kelly L’Heureux of Atrina and M.T.Bearington fame). Unfortunately, I made it in time to see only a couple of songs so I hope to catch them again soon. Next up came 2 bands nominated multiple times for Whalie Awards (presented this coming Saturday in New London) – The Suicide Dolls and Ferocious Fucking
Teeth. Suicide Dolls also has another kick ass bass player in Michelle Montavon. I’ve seen the Dolls play before at Idiot Village and loved them then. Lastly, a band I’ve been anticipating finally checking out for some time, Ferocious Fucking Teeth. WOW! I have seen countless, probably thousands, of bands. And I’ve seen bands with double drummers. But I’ve never seen a band that has two drummers who face one another on a – shared is the only way I can describe it – drum kit. Amazing! And they played, well, with ferocity! You should find a way to check out all 3 of these bands if you can! Oh! And one other thing about FFT…How cool is a band when you can buy their VINYL only but they include a CD inside?? Pretty f’ing cool, I’d say.
I spent an incredible day at WCCC’s Big Gig 2012 on Saturday. There’s absolutely too much to tell about the day so I’ll be publishing a special edition of lsg spot this weekend that will feature thoughts, reviews, and interviews with some of the bands as well as pictures. It was a crazy day and I’ll try to bring some of the madness too you! This is the picture gallery. http://www.localbandreview.com/2012/05/lsg-originals-wcccs-big-gig-in-pictures/
Lovely songstress (and birthday girl!), Daphne Lee Martin has a new single called “Sweet and Low Down” that will be available tonight at her birthday party at the Oasis Pub in New London. You need it. It’s fantastic. “Keep doing shots of you so I can feel you coursing through my veins.” Yeah. Go get it!
So the Whalie Awards are this Saturday night. There are so many incredible musicians up for awards this year, it was horrible to try and vote! But vote I did and LBR will be there to find out who wins and document the event for you. You should go! It’s open to the public with a red carpet event beginning at 6:00 pm at The Hygienic Park in New London.
Support LOCAL! And, as always…
Occupy a VENUE!!
“Spot”light on… River City Extension’s Joe Michelini
Last November, I had the good fortune of interviewing River City Extension front man, Joe Michelini. At that time, the band was supporting their 1st major effort, “The Unmistakable Man”. Now, 6 months later, the band is releasing their latest album, “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Your Anger” June 5. In this follow up interview with Joe, he tells me about the album and his love of cats. PS…You can pick up said CD EARLY at the show in CT on May 29th at The Space. Enjoy!
lsg: I spoke with you before your last show here in November, which was kick ass by the way. You were basically winding down promotion of your last album, “The Unmistakable Man” and at the end of recording your new release. At that time, I couldn’t even weasel the name out of you, so are you ready to talk about “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Your Anger”?
JM: (laughing) I am so ready and I’m glad that you brought that up because I remember that interview specifically now!
lsg: So what do you want to tell me about it? I’m excited!
JM: Oh everything. What do you want to know?
lsg: Well, let’s see. I guess I’ll start with a couple of my thoughts. I received the CD in the mail yesterday which I’m so excited about. So I’ve got lots of questions about it. I had a friend (a song writer) tell me once that the most important and significant parts of his life are immortalized in song – the good, the bad, the ugly. I read with interest your “Thank You” on the new CD that basically says I’ve cleansed myself with this record and hope you can deal with it. Wanna talk about that?
JM: Yeah. We should maybe avoid the embarrassing misspelling that happened in that little confessional. Just kidding. Just had to get it out that something wasn’t proof read (Note: Damn am I glad I’m not the only one with that problem!) A lot of these songs were hard to record. They were very emotional for me. It’s hard to move on because there’s a lot of things in life that you can’t change and there’s a lot of people’s opinions of a situation or of you that you can’t change. No matter who you try to be, who you were, who you’re gonna be. So going back and recording these songs was difficult. I’ve changed a lot over the last couple of years and I struggled the way that anyone does going from 19, 18 to 23. I’m only 23 years old now. And went through troubles involving other people. I think that I was generally reckless when it came to considering other people’s perspective on a situation. As much as I try to do the right thing and be kind and care for people, I was not as attentive or aware or responsible as I should have been. And I say as I should have been but I don’t know if anyone really is at that age. I don’t even know that I am now. I just know that I’m more that than I was before. And, I think that what was good about this record was, it was a way to put certain things between myself and that time in my life, it was a way to offer closure to myself and to other people involved in these songs and the subject matter. You know, it’s a way to say it’s done. Even thought the song may not totally encapsulate the whole thing, it’s gonna be around longer than anything else. Longer than I’ll remember what a moment smelled or tasted like or sounded like. The songs will continue to remind you of that. Kind of like its own time capsule. And I think that it was good to record them and get them down and make an emotional statement with them because every time we play a song it feels different. And it does evolve. If you don’t record a song, at least for me, it’ll evolve over the course of a couple of years and change depending on how I feel about the subject matter. And I think what was good about this was that I was able to put the cap on it and I think that there were so many other people involved in the events recounted in this record that it was a big exhale for me and for a lot of people who are or are not in my life anymore.
lsg: You encapsulated just that. It was a cleansing experience. I love the packaging. I love that you include lyrics – so few people do that anymore – and the art is fab. What’s the significance of the rainbows?
JM: Well, I think that it started when my brother actually painted the cover of our record. It’s of the Tom’s River as viewed from near where we live. When I got , picture for Christmas, he framed it and gave it to me for Christmas, I saw it and knew it was the cover. We had not chosen an album cover yet. So, I ran it by the band who all felt really good about it and from there, it was the kind of thing just like anything else where if you have an idea that you’re really passionate about, you follow through with it. But if you don’t, it’s not that you’re not passionate about your album, you might look around. What does this album art look like or what does that album art look like. I think when I chose my brother’s art work, I was so into that painting and the way that it related to the record and the title and everything, it felt right. The colors felt right. The movement of it felt right. And from there on out, we just decided we were gonna do our own thing and that was it. I liked the rainbows. When you look at the record, it’s kind of dark looking, you know what I mean? But as you start to unfold it, as you start to look at the insert and pull out the disc, there’s a lot of bright, vibrant colors and I wanted to signify hope. Hope and darkness and to realize that I have chosen to make some better decisions in my life. I also thought about when people put this CD away on their shelves, and they will, that maybe the disc will sit in the car or something like that. I felt that I didn’t want any of that dark aspect involved. I wanted it to be hopeful and joyful. For those of you who have not seen the disc yet, it is hopeful and joyful, I think.
lsg: And as I’m sitting here looking at it thinking yup, it’s exactly what you described because you do look at that cover picture and go wow that’s stormy and ominous and then you open it up and you’ve got this beautiful pastel and the CD is pastel. You described it very well.
JM: All the colors involved in that, I should mention, in the colors of the CD and the booklet are in the painting, they were samples from the painting. They guy who helped us design it, Mr. Matt Gould, that was his idea and I thought that was nice.
lsg: I’ve been able, in the few hours I’ve had this in my sweaty little hands, I’ve managed to get through track 8 of 14 and I have fallen in love with RCE all over again. At first blush, I find myself loving “The Fall and the Need to be Free” first off. Tell me about that one. I read the lyrics and really enjoyed the song as a whole. It really stuck out for me.
JM: That song and “Golden Tongue” on the record were, I think, the most difficult to record emotionally. When I wrote “The Fall..” it was not intended to be a work that we were going to do as a band. It was not intended to be a public work at all. I wrote it as a letter, kind of, to my friend who I’d had a falling out with and instead of…I’m not able to do this often so I don’t want it to be one of those things where I’m a song writer who cannot express themselves in any other way but writing songs. I’d love to continually express myself making songs but not often do I write a song to a person because I feel like it’s the best way to communicate with them. I do believe in face to face sit downs. But in this case, it felt right and I had something to say and I felt like I was able to say it through song and so I recorded that song and I sent it to my friend and it was a really emotional moment. I think that was hard because we are no longer in touch and I don’t think we ever will be again. That song was just a slight lull. It struck peace for matter of a month and then…as it goes.
lsg: I felt it. You know, you are such an emotional writer and that one really jumped out at me as I was listening so bravo. So, not to color my opinion of the CD at all, but do you have any favorites from this new release?
JM: Yeah. I have favorite songs that I think were recorded the best or captured the best. I have songs that I wrote that I think that was my favorite song to write. Or my favorite song to play live or my favorite song to play with the band. So which one do you mean?
lsg: Favorite recorded song. What was the most fun?
JM: What do I think sounds the best on the record? I think “Everything West of Home” sounds really good. I think that one took a lot of work and came out the best sounding on the record from a studio standpoint.
lsg: I can’t wait to hear that.
JM: That’s interesting to me that we’re talking while you’re at this point in listening to the record. There are some themes and lyrics that are in the “second half” of the record that get brought up from earlier songs. And that’s one of them. I’m interested to hear your reaction to that.
lsg: I can’t wait. What are the major differences from your last release to this new one? Anything that stands out to you that’s different?
JM: What do you think? I’d love to hear what you think about it!
lsg: Well, I think that it’s got a whole different feel to it. The sound is a little different. I think that, of course the caveat here is that I haven’t listened to the whole thing so I don’t know how it progresses with the rest of it. But, I think that the last one was just really, really joyful and so wow. This one feels like it’s a little more…contemplative? Maybe not as fun. But like I said, I haven’t gotten to the full set so…
JM: Oh no, it doesn’t get any more fun!
(laughter from both)
JM: The record gets darker. It goes on to be honest with you. That’s good. That’s a good reaction to it. That seems right. It is more contemplative. It’s records like this that they wonder, you’re like, well, I’m glad I did it and I wonder if it will totally end my career in music! Because, it’s the kind of thing like its not…I don’t know. I think it is fun. There are parts that are really fun. And there are parts that are really heart breaking, I hope. And, I just hope that folks who listen know that we created an honest record. That I went through a hard time and this was that hard time. I think that it’s probably a little less punchy than the last record. It’s a little more patient, more reserved. I think it’s a little more cohesive as an album than the last one was.
lsg: I think it was a little more edgy too. A little more electric guitar in it.
JM: Yeah there is. I think that was the other thing though too is that we sat down to make the record and it was like ok what kind of band are we? And I think that’s a really, I don’t want to say it’s a dumb approach to making a record but I think it’s…I don’t know. I don’t know what kind of band we are but I’m not really worried about that. I’m concerned with making real music. I want to make real emotional music and I want to try and capture my band as musicians. I want to try and capture how I feel inside and what I think we really sat down to do was what kind of record is this and what kind of songs? You know if this song is a song that needs electric guitars in the studio then we’re gonna put electric guitar in it. And if it’s a song where we don’t want any cello or horn, then we won’t bring in any cello or horn in it. It’s not about breaking a stereotype for a band, it’s not about making a follow up to “Unmistakable Man”. It’s about making a record as real people where we are in our lives as musicians as a song writer and communicating that with our audience successfully. And that’s all we can ask for. If we ask for anything else, we’re gonna end up doing it for all the wrong reasons.
lsg: You’ve got a ridiculous tour schedule criss crossing the us from coast to coast in July. I’m looking at this thing going wow do you even get a break? Do you plan to continue the tour in the US after July?
JM: I hope so. We don’t have any plans yet but I’d love to. I think that everything will come in its own time. And as we are called, we will arrive.
lsg: Is there anywhere that you haven’t played that you think you might this time?
JM: Yes. I’d really like to tour the UK. We have friends in Wales that we met when we were touring Australia this year. I’m interested in the culture and our friends in Squeeze, that’s their homeland and I’d love to be a part of that and see that. I’ve always been curious. I’ve had the opportunity and have been blessed with the opportunity to travel to Europe recreationally with my family from time to time and I would love to tour there really almost more than anything. But I think my curiosity gets me about going over to the UK and I am also a beer advocate. A few of us are. And I’d like to try some beers over there.
lsg: Awesome! What’s in store for RCE for the next year?
JM: Well. We’re gonna do our national tour then we’re gonna come back and kind of do a record release weekend in the Northeast more or less. We’ll do 3 shows in Boston, Philly, and New York which I’m so excited about. And in October, we’ll be heading down to Austin City Limits which is an incredible thing and we’re very excited about. I don’t know. I think I’m going to try and reinvent myself as a writer and I think that we’re going to try some new things as a band. There’s just a lot that’s going to change. I don’t want anyone to get latched on to an idea of the band looks like this or sounds like this. We’re people. We change. We’re not trying to put anything on right now. We’re not going to try and put anything on later. What you see is what you get. But, naturally, that’s going to change with life. So I think that it’s just important that people know that. If they’re going to remember anything, I hope they remember the feeling that they get and the feeling that we both share when we’re at the live shows together. Remember the connection that we feel when they listen to our music. It’s not about us. We’re doing this anyway. If people listen to it, and buy our records, that’s incredible and helps us make other records, you know? We are in a period of transition as a band. This is our second record so it’s a transition in our career. As time goes on, I just want everyone to know that as these changes happen, they happen because they have to. Not because we are being paid to or because anyone wanted us to. We’re making these records because we believe in them and because we like them and we’d like them to be successful enough to make another one. But, if no one buys this record, I would care because it would be harder not to make another record soon. But, I would make another record and it doesn’t matter anyway. I just want people to connect to what we’re doing. It’s not about me, it’s not about the band. It’s not about them either. It’s about music. Music is great. We come together to commune in this wonderful feeling that we all get from music. You can call us the artist or you can call us the facilitator but my intention is as great as your interpretation. So if you believe in that, then there’s really no really telling who’s on what side of anything. I just hope that with everything that we go through in the next year, that the people that come to our shows or buy our records know that we’re just doing the same thing as everyone else. We’re happy to be there for them and blessed to be able to do this for another year. I hope we get another year out of it. That’s what I hope. That’s what I’m trying to say. =)
lsg: I’m gonna go into my last question which is normally just whatever comes to mind so today the question is…Dogs or cats?
JM: Dogs or Cats. Oh man. Cats.
lsg: Cats, huh? Why?
JM: I like dogs. A lot. And I think that if I lived alone, I think I would have a dog. If I was married, I’d probably have a cat. A dog can be the strong, consistent companion. But, I don’t know. I’ve always felt connected to cats. I’ve always enjoyed their independence from their owners in some way. I guess I connect to them emotionally. When I see a cat or talk to a cat or meow at a cat. Without getting all freaky about it. Maybe I’m a cat. I don’t know. Maybe I was a cat. I like things that purr more than thing that bark.
lsg: Well that’s a good reason right there in itself!
JM: Then let that be the reason.
lsg: OK. There’s the reason. I like things that purr better than things that bark.
Yeah. So do I… – lsg
Post interview note: A. Joe wants you to know that there is a BBQ before the show on Tuesday at 5:00 at The Space. Get out there because he wants to eat potato salad with you! I listened to the rest. It’s kick ass as well. And will provide my critique to Joe later!
CHECK OUT RIVER CITY EXTENSION THIS COMING TUESDAY AT THE SPACE PRESENTED BY MANIC PRODUCTIONS! GET THERE EARLY FOR A BBQ WITH THE BANDS! JOE MICHELINI WANTS TO EAT POTATO SALAD WITH YOU! Tix available through http://manicproductions.org/?s=Brown+Bird&submit.x=9&submit.y=10
HOT local video of the week…Graylight Campfire
I love this band. Straight forward, 3 piece rock n roll. This video was filmed at Local Band Review’s Epic ADA Fundraiser at Illusions by Lucky Souls Productions. Dig!
What’s Playing in “The Flounce”? Ellen Sackman
(Music in my car CD player this week!)
Band: Ellen Sackman
Album: Movin On
Genre: Acoustic / Folk / Rock
Fave Track: Letting Go
What’s HOT this week…
Friday May 25
* KLOKWIZE ‘HOOD HIPPIE: THE ALBUM’ RELEASE PARTY- Presented by Radio 104, Up Or On The Rocks, Hartford – 7:00 pm
* Golden Microphone’s Bookstore Blues Club, Never Ending Books, New Haven – 7:30 pm
* Johnny Tripps, Hards Corner Tavern, Stratford – 8:00 pm
* Amalgamated Muck, The Buttonwood Tree, Middletown – 8:00 pm
* Emile Rivera and The Triple Troubles & ROPE, Elm Bar, New Haven- 9:00 pm
* OFF THE CUFF “EXTRA”, ELAINES PIZZA, Broad Brook – 9:00 pm
* SPIRIT SHAKER, THE BRICKHOUSE, Newington – 9:00 pm
* Fernando Pinto presents Roots Music Caravan featuring Jim Carpenter and the Hoolios, Café 9, New Haven – 9:00 pm
* Freeplay, JAKE’S, Wallingford – 9:15 pm
* Manic Productions presents The Arrogant Sons of Bitches w/ The Fad, Dan Potthast and HKPOE!, Heirloom, Danbury – 7:00 pm
* Lucky Souls presents The Self Proclaimed Rock Stars & Dexter, The Outer Space, Hamden – 7:30 pm
* Death To All But Live Band Karaoke!, Coach’s, Hartford – 10:00 pm
* Fee Vechitto’s Debut with GJ’s, THE RED DOOR!, Watertown – 10:00 pm
* Oasis Presents: Daphne’s Birthday & Pre-Whalie Party, The Oasis Pub, New London – 10:00 pm
Saturday May 26
* Summer Sparkup, Dewey’s Pub, Seymour – 3:00 pm
* Cerce/William James/Night Owls/Native Wildlife +more, The Dream Support Network, Hartford – 6:00 pm
* THE 2012 WHALIE AWARDS, The Hygienic Art Park, New London – 6:00 pm
* Killer Kowalski, She Eats Planets, Elm Bar, New Haven – 9:00 pm
* Ghost Heart / Reaching Moon / City Streets Country Roads, Heirloom, Danbury – 7:00 pm
* SATURDAY!!! JUSTICE, THE DRAFT HOUSE, Shelton – 9:00 pm
* EULA, SPEAKEASY W/ FAKE BABIES, The Submarine, New Haven – 9:00 pm
* NEW REMAINS, THE HUNGRY TIGER!!, Manchester – 9:30 pm
* Graylight Campfire, Ray Kelly’s Pub, Bridgeport – 9:30 pm
* John Fries & The Heat “Whalie Awards” after party show, The Commoner, New London – 10:00 pm
* BIG BANG BOX, Two Boots, Bridgeport- 10:00 pm
Sunday May 27
* DRIVEN, THE PAVILION, Old Lyme – 2:00 pm
Tuesday May 29
* Pre Show BBQ with River City Extension w/ The Drowning Men and The Proud Flesh, The Space, Hamden – 5:00 pm
* River City Extension w/ The Drowning Men and The Proud Flesh, The Space, Hamden – 7:00 pm