Feel the Fielder tonight at Station

Okay, maybe not literally, but tonight you will want to be at Station in Ballard for the Feel the Fielder benefit concert.  As discussed in my last post, Jeff Fielder had his instruments stolen when he was on the road with Sera Cahoone and tonight is the benefit concert to help him get back on his musical feet.  It’s going to be a great time with a lot of great musicians (click for the flyer).  Additionally, there will be a silent auction featuring cool local art and a raffle including great prizes by such sponsors as Pyramid Alehouse, Ocho, Tilth, Sonic Boom, Highway99, SwirlyGig, and more!  Come on out, have a great time, and show your support.

Bow Down Before the Lords of the North

Lords of the NorthSome call it stoner rock – perhaps due to how the songs give way to occasional low tuned, psychedelic jams; or maybe because the lyrics depict dark winter landscapes filled with rising souls and flying falcons.  Whatever the case, the label doesn’t do justice to the heavy, blues driven rock that defines the Lords of the North.
Rising from the dark cold regions of the Pacific Northwest, Lords are bound to make their presence known in Seattle.  The Lords of the North bring a heavy and dark sound that is a refreshing throwback to the early Black Sabbath days.  Likewise, though only a three piece band, Pat Kearney, James Roche and Tony Tharp manage to deliver a powerful performance with the raw authenticity of a Bleach era Nirvana. 
I caught their debut show at the Rendezvous last week, which incidentally, was also their CD release party.  Though I could sense they are just beginning to pull together their game face when it comes to playing live together, they still played a great set and the crowd was amped.  Lords of the North are definite up-and-comers, so check them out while you can still see them in a small venue.  They play Wednesday night (April 2nd) at the Comet and will be live on KEXP from the High Dive in May.  Check out their Myspace site or buy their album online from Amazon (DRM free).
While at their show, I captured a recording with a ZOOM micro-recorder I had stashed in my pocket.  If this was their first official show, the clips below must be the first official bootlegs (disclaimer: since these tracks were recorded from my pocket, I highly suggest that you only use these recordings to supplement the Studio album).  Enjoy.

Lords of the North

POC#18: Tesla gets Rude and Rocks Seattle

Dave Rude

On Sunday night, Tesla put on a rock show to remember at the Showbox Sodo in Seattle.  The show rocked the venue with all of the enthusiasm and energy that Tesla is known to exhibit.  Prior to the show, I sat down with Tesla’s newest member, Dave Rude, to talk about playing with Tesla, fronting the Dave Rude Band, the future of record labels and even beer.  Following the interview, we hear a track called Eighteen Eyes from Dave Rude Band’s newest EP.  Check out the interview and then go visit Dave on myspace!

Talking Metal Enters the Living Room

Talking Metal PodcastIf you’ve listened to the CrapMonkey Podcast for any length of time you’ve probably heard me mention the Talking Metal Podcast.  In the podcast, Mark Strigl and John Ostronomy cover rock and metal from many different angles.  Not only do they have impressive back stage access to metal legends; they are also well suited for spotting and exposing new talent on the horizon. 

On February 22nd, the Fuse network will premiere the first Talking Metal television episode that “will feature exclusive interviews and field packages in the podcast’s signature style.”  The show will air at midnight Eastern (9pm Pacific) and I already have my DVR locked and loaded and hope you’ll do the same. 

As a podcaster, a metal head and a media consumer, I’m proud of these guys for a few reasons.  From a Podcaster perspective, they took their passion for metal and ran with it.  It was and is a labor of love.  The fact that others have taken notice validates everything Podcasting stands for: broadcasting your passion and finding your audience.  As a metal head, I’m impressed that they marched ahead, even as pop-culture was turning their nose up at metal.  As such, the Internet proved to be a great medium for pulling together the metal audience from disperse geographies.  Likewise, over the couple of years in which they’ve been podcasting, the tides have shifted some, and the new television show is evidence that Metal is making its way back toward the mainstream.  Perhaps Talking Metal played some role in that shift, but regardless, Mark and John held fast and did their thing until the world took notice ( first iTunes and now the airwaves).  Finally, as a media consumer who pays over $100 a month for cable, I’m excited that their will be a new show in town that was not slapped together by some douche bag producers following a formula for capturing an advertising demographic.  The Podcast is testament to the fact that this is a real show with a real soul that is simply being ported to television. 

So again, be sure to catch the premiere on February 22nd.  Congratulations Mark and John, and if you ever find yourself in Seattle, allow me to give you a tour of some of the incredible breweries we have out here 🙂 – Rock on!

Amazon Launches mp3 Download Service

Amazon recently launched Amazonmp3, a music store without that pesky DRM. For my first dip into the Amazon pool of digital music, I purchased Retox, the latest album by Turbonegro. This album has proved to be challenging to find in my local music stores so I was glad to find it here. For under $10 (after tax) I was able to download the entire album in unrestricted mp3 format (encoded a 320kbps). The process was simple, especially since I am enrolled in Amazon’s One Click service. I searched for the album, found it, previewed some tracks, then clicked to purchase. An Amazon MP3 Downloader application needed to install on my system, but it is a pretty small and lightweight application (especially if you compare it to an iTunes front end). Within moments, I had the album on my local machine, completely DRM free. Granted, the overall selection of the store is still quite limited since not all labels have chosen to climb on board the DRM free train… but I suspect they will have to before long. Due to Amazon’s dominance in online retail, the broad device compatibility it affords, and the overall ease of use of this service, I think this will become a pretty popular music store fairly quickly (provided they convince a few more labels to sign on). Watch out iTunes, you’re in the crosshairs of the world’s largest “Internet Bookstore.”

Johnny Pinchaloaf Rocks Ballard Brewfest

Trav and Wen

The Ballard Brewfest took place on March 4th, 2007 and featured some great live entertainment.  We were first treated to Gelsey’s Polka Sing-Along and were then honored with the presence of the rock n roll legend himself, Johnny Pinchaloaf.  The weather was great for gathering and plenty of quality beer was pouring.  The parts that I remember were filled with fun and good cheer.   Photos are available on Flickr.

Gelsey Polka

Johnny Pinchaloaf

Ozzfest 2007 Rocks the Gorge in George

OzzfestThis weekend we traveled out to the Gorge in George to take in Ozzfest 2007.  We started the journey at about 1pm on Friday.  Wendy and I met up with our friend, Art, at Pyramid Alehouse and then hopped onto I-90 to head east.  It was a simple plan: Wendy and Art would take the day off of work at Pyramid and we would camp out in the desert near the amphitheater in order to ensure a timely arrival at Ozzfest on Saturday.  The plan was perfect with the exception of one unforseeable flaw…  Ozzy’s band (Ozzy not included) decided to roll into Pyramid for a beer at around 3pm Friday afternoon.  As we pulled up in the 103 degree desert, we got the call on our cell telling us about the celebrity encouter at Pyramid.  Throughout the day, we continued to get updates from the folks at Pyramid telling us that the guys were still in the bar, that Zakk Wylde was totally cool, that they were signing autographs and taking pictures, and on and on it went until they finally headed back to their Seattle hotel sometime after 10pm.  Of all the weekends not to follow our usual routine of hanging out at Pyramid!!!

All was not lost, however, in turn for the hospitality shown by the fine folks at Pyramid, Zakk agreed to put us on his backstage pass list.  I was pleasently suprised when, indeed, the three backstage passes were sitting at the gate for Art, Wendy and I.  Very cool for the band to do that for us!  It was awesome to hang in back with the tour buses and it was really impressive to watch the shows from the side of the stage.  Unfortunately, we did not get the opportunity to meet Zakk or Ozzy.  Zakk (and even Sharon Osbourne) were floating around back stage, but the buses arrived very close to show time and they didn’t seem eager to do the fan thing,  so we left them alone to prep for the show.

Even though we were cooking in the Eastern Washington Desert instead of drinking IPA’s with rock stars, it was a great weekend.  The show was awesome, the Gorge was beautiful as usual, and we learned that our rock idols are not only cool and down to earth, but they also have great taste in beer.  Below is some brief video I recorded as I wandered around the fest.  Check it out if you have 3 spare minutes.  There’s no polish on it, but I recorded a brief snippet of Lamb of God, Ozzy and Zakk.  Also thought it was funny that, while poking around on the stage, we noticed that Lamb of God is using a Dangerous Toys flight case.

Jeff Fielder Slides Into Nectar

Jeff Fielder played the Nectar the other day (opening for Sunday Morning Music) and had some fun playing slide guitar. I really enjoyed this clip so I figured I’d share. Look for a clip from the Sunday Morning Music performance in the near future.

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Jeff Fielder’s Last Disguise

Finally, after over a year of playing Jeff Fielder’s music on the CrapMonkey Podcast, I now have a website to point you to and an album to reference.  Jeff Fielder’s new CD, Last Disguise is hot off the presses and soon to be available in the Seattle area as well as in online outlets like Amazon.com and Itunes.  The CD consists of ten tracks (including two covers) that come to together to form a showcase of truly superb songwriting and musicianship.  Likewise, the accompaniment of musicians like Jason Staczek, Zach Harjo, Myles Corbin, Mike Stone, Mike Musburger, Derek Brown, Darren Loucas, Ivo Nakov, and Kristen Ward make this a must have album!   


Some Buttrockers Can’t Look Good with Just a Microphone

This topic is long overdue, and for that I apologize.  Still, I feel compelled to expose the fact that some butt-rock front men just can’t look cool with only a microphone.  The easiest way to avoid looking like the dork is to have additional talents, such as being able to play the guitar.  Metallica front man, James Hetfield, never looked like a turd, nor did Dave Mustaine of Megadeth.  Paul Stanley, while looking lame at a variety of different times for a variety of different reasons, always had the guitar as a cruch (even if he was playing rhythm most of the time). 
But what if you couldn’t play the guitar?  In that case, you would have to count on being really damn cool.  Ozzy Osbourne for example.  He’ll be getting his robe stuck in his wheel chair before he stops looking like the lord of the stage.  Or take Axel Rose (before he went nuts).  Way too cool to be mocked and his snake-like dance moves drove the point home.  If you can’t be Axel cool, you have to be so appealing that the ladies don’t notice twirling the mic stand is your only talent and the guys can’t risk making fun of you for fear of being outcast by the ladies.  Case in point, Vince Neil, John Bon Jovi and Bret Michaels.  When chicks dig you that much, the guys have to fall in line or they’re going home alone.  If you’re ugly, then you better rely on theatrics.  Dee Snyder understood this one all too well.  As soon as the guitar solo hits, you better be chomping on a giant bone or swinging a switch blade in a choreographed knife fight, otherwise, you’ll just be standing around in make up.  If make-up isn’t your style, you better look to props.  Ask Rob Halford as he’s rolling across the stage on a motorcycle.  If Halford’s approach is a bit subtle for you, take a lesson from Ronnie James Dio.  Pull out a broad sword and battle the dragon until you cut out his Sacred Heart. 
So, with all these examples of how to look cool with only a microphone in your arsenal… what can go wrong?  Plenty, I assure you.  Let’s start with Don Dokken.  That guy couldn’t look cool if he single-handedly took down every last dream warrior.  Or there is Joey Tempest of Europe, who can’t even keep an imaginary tune playing air guitar on a microphone wire.  Jani Lane of Warrant could have been just a subtle dumb ass, but then he decided to compensate by adding in synchronized dance moves… which sealed his fate as a super dumb ass. 
To summarize, if you are starting out as a vocalist in a buttrock band, I encourage you to learn from what you’ve just read.  Be sure that you are able to eloquently withstand a lengthy guitar solo without bringing your career to a screeching halt.  Also, be sure to let your guitarists come over and sing into your microphone now and then… it just might buy you a couple rounds of fingering his fret board during a power chord… and that my friend, may just get you through.