Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Watch My Fat Face Sing To You

When someone sings his own praises, he always gets the tune too high. ~Mary H. Waldrip

The Best Unheard German Expressionist Soundtrack Yet...

Kilborough 17 was one of the only bands in the Fort Myers area (2000-2002) to innovatively mix elements of shoegaze and electronica into a digestable pop format.

Much of their subject matter focused on dark and brooding themes, which was rounded out by the heavy yet spacious use of delay and synth.

Kilborough 17 eventually disbanded due to being incredibly ahead of their time.

Jonothan Glover, a former member of Kilborough had this to say:

"Every moment of Kilborough seemed to be a moment of misery AND jubilation.

We had this really ambitious approach, using synths, drum machines, plus live drums, and guitars to try and meld a cinematic, almost symphonic kind of sound within the time constraints of conventional rock. As with all ambitious things, we rarely were able to actualize the concept."

Where Have All The All Age Venues Gone?

The concept of the all age venue has been around for a number of years.
For the uninitiated, all ages simply means: all who wish to see a show are allowed admittance.

So why aren't there any?

The sad truth is, when it comes to all age sales versus alcohol sales, the all age venue is doomed to live a relatively short life.The reason for this is, when a venue first opens, the overhead cost is usually high, due to any number of renovations that may have been done to it- anything from renovations, to bringing the building up to code.

The owner has to make money off of something. If not alcohol then what? Most of the all age venues I have seen or played in usually limit their fare to coffee, obscure records, or comics, which all belong to a rapidly dwindling market. Who needs to buy records when you can download them for free while sipping on a mocha from Starbucks?

Why don't they just make it a point to check I.D.'s at the door?

Because every kid who frequents a place that serves alcohol is just too much of a legal liability. Imagine an underage kid driving home drunk from a show and getting in a wreck or causing a fight. Youth is already unpredictable enough with insular hormones awash in melancholic confusion. Why throw alcohol in the mix?

What can be done?

This is a tough question and one I have been trying to answer for a while. House shows can be put on for certain bands,if they are folksy or acoustic. But any band not in that genre will probably catch the attention of the police.

Can this be remedied?

Is there a way to have a successful space that operates at low cost and attends to the needs of youth and touring bands in a safe and comfortable environment?

I don't know.

Thoughts anyone?

Monday, April 14, 2008

OT: The Power of Ideas.

I've often wondered about the power of an idea. How it can take shape and propel one to do something they wouldn't ever dream of doing normally. The past couple of years have seen a sweep of new age beliefs that mostly dwell in the realm of thought.
Of course this brand of championing thoughts as things is nothing new. The idea has been repackaged over and over again making it new for the contemporary audiences of the time.

The reading of such literature contains within it a certain running thread, that you can essentially do whatever you'd like to. And this is the main ethos behind much of punk rock music. In fact, punk pioneers Bad Brains might have never existed at all if it weren't for the singer, H.R., finding a copy of Think and Grow Rich on his father's desk.

The power of an idea is an intangible topic at best to try to discuss. But that is exactly what I have seen happen at shows before. People coming together and dancing,collectively taking part and creating the energy that is visible at shows; based on nothing more than people with ideas who picked up instruments...

Interview with Jon Glover of Ars Phoenix

The following interview is with Jon Glover of Ars Phoenix fame. His new album Engines of Progress is currently all the rave.

What inspired you to start playing music?
I'm not sure I can define a particular catalyst. I'd always been interested in music, I suppose for its emotive/aesthetic qualities. Of all the arts, music seems to, at least for me, have the most potential for eliciting a visceral emotional response. Expression, catharsis. If Spinoza was right about there being a third kind of knowledge--affect/affection/intuition/expression--music is the best way to engage it.

Do you think there is something to be said for going out on your own against what society as a whole wants for you, and striking out on your own?
Chasing down your own dreams or, as you put it, going out on your own IS the lesson. Success, in the corporative sense that we are so familiar with as Americans, reeks of hopelessness to me. I think the major lesson that playing music on our own terms teaches us is that there are always different ways to do things, different than the typical models always offered to us as the only options--major labels, living on the road, finding a "marketable" sound, finding a career instead "wasting time" on art.

Craziest thing you've ever done on stage. Most injuries sustained.

I was always the cautious one. In Failsafe (1995-1999) there was always an unsaid competition, I believe, between Leo, TJ, and myself for who could create the most chaos on stage. I did a fair amount of thrashing around on the stage floor, but nothing like Leo or TJ. Leo actually threw himself down a half pipe ramp that we were playing on at some skate park show once. That freaked me out. As far as injuries go, I was usually inflicting rather than sustaining them. The headstock of my bass drew blood from Leo's head on two occasions.

Do you feel a connection to something when you play?

"Feel" is the key word here. There is an abstract sort of sensation I get from playing music. Just sort of a harmony or resonance between myself and the sounds. I've been reading too much Spinoza, because I also am thinking of this from a Spinozistic perspective--when two "bodies" (in this case me and the music) are agreeable to one another--harmonize--their power, their ability to be affected, to FEEL is increased. This just might be an explanation for how music works period, but I definitely think it explains how it works for me.

Being from the "scene" do you feel that there ever was one in Fort Myers, and what construct made it up? What do you think tied the different personalities within the groups together?
Well, I was from the Naples scene, which strangely enough, was very distinct from the FM/Cape Coral scene, despite the many overlaps between all of them. I had been playing with bands in Naples since I was 15. It really wasn't until I was about 18, when Failsafe started playing more in FM, that I think I was really even aware of FM as a part of the same scene. Did Naples have an actual scene? Yes, I think so. But when FM and beyond get tacked on, that construct gets harder to articulate. Naples was basically a circle of friends who played in bands together.

The more things change, the more they stay the same? True or False?

Completely false! Really, this cliché is based on two assumptions--the stable/fixed/unchanging psychic core of the individual, and the stable/fixed/unchanging character of history. So many external factors affect how we as humans perceive ourselves and our societies that the act of comparison (between a current self and a past self, especially) is extremely tenuous. When we look back at ourselves 10, 15, years ago, do we truly recognize ourselves? Anyone who answers this question with too much confident affirmation should not be trusted.

That Strange and Distant Town To Our South (2)

Naples 1998

An influential band for the time and place,Failsafe was one of the only bands in the surrounding area to be playing what would later be popularly known as "screamo".

Where are they now?

Terrance Hannum,(the kid in the yellow) now teaches art at Columbia University in Chicago.

Jonathan Glover,(the bass player) is currently working on his masters and fronting Ars Phoenix.

Dave Miller, (the drummer) is a back up dancer for Redman.

And the singer, Leo Ashline is currently a vegan chef...

That Strange and Distant Town to Our South.

Naples is a strange place. Look hard and long enough past the ritz and the glitter and you will find quite the "scene". In fact, the music scene in Naples carries within it a large history of very good bands; bands that were at the forefront of many of the "new" popular genres today. What’s more is that in most places, once people reach a certain age, they simply move away never to be heard from again. Not so in Naples. If someone moves off they stay in touch, often collaborating with one another in future projects.

Maybe there's something in the water that rallies the people together, causing them to love and care about the bands...whatever it is Naples certainly seems to foster their own.

Click here to read about the magic that is the Naples music scene.