Nathan McEuen – Side by Side

Nathan McEuenNathan McEuen recently wrapped up production on his sixth solo album called, “Side by Side.”  I’d been hearing about a pending upcoming release for the past year after he started a Tuesday evening residency at Amigos in early 2014.  I made it a point to stop in on a dozen or so occasions to check it out; Nathan has this sort of shy, witty charm about him that is quite endearing.  I quickly came to know by heart the inspiration behind the banjo he played.  In a nutshell, it’s a gift from Russi Taylor, the voice of Mini Mouse.  The banjo belonged to her late husband Wayne Allwine, the voice of Mickey Mouse.  It’s a lovely story with a delightful song written in thanks for the honor of being the recipient of this gift.   But as quaint as that is, you really need to read the liner notes behind Taylor’s inspiration and the song, “Pictures of You in My Heart”.   There’s no doubt about it, Nathan has heart and it certainly comes through in his writing and music.

Of course some of the basics on Nathan are good to know.  He comes from a very talented family of musicians; I’m sure you’ve seen his brother Jonathan McEuen play around town either with his own shows, contributing to other artists or joining Nathan for a tune or two from time to time.  And of course, there’s pops, John McEuen from the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.  I was lucky to be at Amigos the evening both Jonathan and John joined Nathan for a couple of songs.  When I mentioned to Nathan you could see the genuine affection his family has for one another, he just looked down with one of those shy smiles and said, “Yes, it runs deep in our family.”McEuen Family

Nathan’s record, “Side by Side” features six tracks out of ten on the banjo, an instrument he said he just picked up a few years ago (I did mention he has talent, right?). The remaining four songs are Folk – Americana and not only feature his guitar work, but he brings to the table the amazing Jesse Siebenberg, who helped co-produce this one in part at Brotheryn Studios.

Other musician credits to note:  Randy Tico on upright bass; Jesse Olema on fiddle; Ashley Broder on mandolin; Samantha Harvey on accordian; Craig Eastman onfiddle, Chris Caswell strings and piano; Marcy Vaj on violin and viola; Jeness Johnson on cello and as mentioned previously Jesse Siebenberg B-3, bass, drums, slide guitar and BG vox.

My own personal protocol when it comes to reviewing an album is that I spend some time with it.  A lot of time.  I’ll listen while driving around, I’ll listen while working at my computer, and I’ll sit there doing nothing else but paying attention to detail.  The great thing about Nathan’s “Side by Side” is that I was already familiar with most of his songs and now I had the chance to learn the lyrics and hear what his songs sound like with a full band behind him.  But I know an artist has passed my own personal acid test when I find myself whistling or singing a line from one of their songs. “Side by Side” has passed with flying colors.

Nathan has a way of writing clever lyrics:

“They say I’m always up to no good
I’m the best at bad decisions

But am I always up to no good?
Well if you stand where I’ve stood
Your high horse might be broken
What’s so bad about feelin’ so good?”

 “Up to No Good” is my favorite track but I’ve found myself humming to all his lyrics and I have a new found love for “Pictures of You in My Heart” after learning the true life back story on it.  Nathan does justice to their love story.

I recommend picking this one up the next time you see him or on his website.  The CD will get a broader distribution in a few months.

www.NathanMcEuen.com
www.Facebook.com/NathanMcEuenMusic

The Interview

Nathan McEuenI sat down with Nathan at Amigo’s the night before leaving for a few weeks taking his new material on the road for shows in the Colorado Rockies, Idaho, Utah.

Ventura Rocks:  How long have you been working on material for this one?

Nathan:  Probably about a good year and a half.

VR: What inspires you to start writing?

Nathan:  I started writing as a child when I was about eight years old simply because I was surrounded by a bunch of people who wrote songs and it was such a cool thing to create something out of nothing.

VR: Are you always writing material?

Nathan:  Absolutely. Today before the show, I had a songwriting session in Thousand Oaks even though I just released an album, I’m already working on my next one, actually two of them.

VR:  I recall when we spoke last year you had different types of material, some harder than others, like the Foo Fighters?

Nathan:  Well, in the stylings of…I didn’t want to release an album with five different genres on it; that would be too difficult to explain to people, so the first one I ended up putting out an album with banjo and guitar. Half of it’s banjo instrumentals and joined with a bunch of other musicians that range from an upright bass, mandolin, fiddles and a little bit of percussion that go around the banjo.  The other half is singer songwriter fully produced full band material.  so this album is a cool complete contrast. half of it’s instrumental and the other half singer songwriter.  That was a lot of fun and it seems to be going over really great at live shows playing the banjo then singer songwriter thing. It’s a fun blend.

VR: I don’t know that I was a fan of the banjo before, but watching you play the past year it’s in my realm of reality now and I’ve really begun to appreciate it, even dig it.

Nathan: It’s definitely an acquired taste.

VR: I sit there and watch you picking, it’s amazing. Let me see your fingers!.

Nathan: Okay.

VR: (Inspecting Nathan’s fingers) Oh my god (impressed).

Nathan: Yeah they’re calloused a little bit.

VR: Yeah they are!

Nathan: I’m constantly playing.

VR: How long have you been playing the banjo?

Nathan: A solid four years. I grew up with a banjo playing father which a lot of people know, and some people don’t. People might assume I started playing it at a young age, but no, we kind of out of respect for my father, my brothers and I, and even my sister, we kind of decided to not play the banjo for a long time for various reasons.  But four years ago I started finding my own voice on the banjo and I started writing a bunch of songs.

VR: What does your dad think about that?

Nathan: When we talk about it, he’s told me things like, “I don’t know Nathan, you’re finding a bunch of notes that I never had.”  Or, “I can’t play that like you.”

(we laugh)

Nathan: And it’s nice because I can’t play like he does. It’s fun thing because it’s not like I’m copying him.

VR: Right, it’s your own style.

Nathan:  And there are some things that I think he’s very proud of just to say the least.

VR: Well I was here (at Amigo’s) that night when your brother Jonathan and your dad joined you for a couple of songs.

Nathan: That was so much fun, and that was a very rare moment.  He just happened to be passing through town.

VR: I was just sitting there watching the three of you and it was clear, you could see the genuine affection that you all have for one another.

Nathan: Yep. (pauses) It definitely, runs deep in our family.

VR: So where did you record this one?

Nathan: Mainly I recorded it in Southern California between the Valley and LA; it’s simply a guy who has a studio in his back yard. And I recorded the majority of the banjo instrumentals there. The majority of the singer songwriter part was in Ojai at Brotheryn Studios, and a couple of studios in between. Once tracked needed a string quartet so I recorded that in Venice. The first song that I ever tracked for this album actually was tracked in Atlanta, Georgia called Tree Sounds Studios. So I started in the East Coast actually and then brought it to the West Coast.

VR: When mixing the album did it sound like it was recorded in different places?

Nathan: Well the whole point is to have contrast.  I didn’t want the banjo to sound exactly like the produced singer songwriting stuff.  So there’s a continuity between the songs, but there is a drastic change halfway through the album people will notice, but it seems to flow.

VR: Who produced it?

Nathan: I produced most of it.  The last half I co-produced with a friend of mine, Jesse Siebenberg. I had other executive producers, but they took care of financing. But Jesse was producer with me the last four tracks, and I produced the rest of it.

VR: He plays on it as well?

Nathan: Yes. Jesse is an animal in the studio; a lot of people who work with him know him to play everything it seems. But on this album in particular he is playing – between the four tracks – some slide, the bass the drum, keyboards, and singing background vocals even!  We had a great time, we just got a lot of work done.  A majority of those songs we got done very quickly and once we got to the point where we needed to add strings, it was just very easy because we worked so well. He’s easy to work with.

VR: He’s a pro. Very talented.

Nathan: For sure.

VR: And you have your own label?

Nathan: Yes, my own label with six solo albums out now. I’ve been acting as my own label for the whole thing; some days it’s answering the phones, and some days it’s emptying the trash and other days playing songs on the stage.  It’s been fun keeping it going, but I am looking to partner up with people who see the vision and the grand picture but I can still act as my own label and pay for all the recording, but partnering up with a distribution company will be very beneficial for me.

Ventura Rocks in the Ventura Breeze – 4/16/14 – 4/29/14

Ventura Breeze logoVentura Music Scene
by Pam Baumgardner
VenturaRocks.com
Pam@VenturaRocks.com

With the weather warming up more music is being offered outdoors. One recurring event, Folk Steady, can be found at the Ojai Rancho Inn where Vaughn Montgomery of the band Little Big Here puts together a pretty cool list of bands (including his own) playing for free (donations welcomed). Vaughn told me he’s been holding these concerts since last summer and depending on the weather they fall on the first Sunday of the month with seven or eight acts on the bill.

Todd-Jesse-VRThe first Sunday of April I caught just a couple of the acts including a great set from the owners of Brotheryn Studios, Todd Hannigan and Jesse Siebenberg, along with Micah McCabe and Taylor Quinn which included a guest appearance by Roger Keiaho of Rey Fresco. The afternoon was a blast. It was completely a laid back vibe with a swimming pool, nice lawn area, and a huge tree where the band plays underneath. Scratch Food Truck was on the grounds for those who didn’t pack a picnic lunch. In attendance were Steve and Polly Hoganson, Charles and Christine Law, Amanda Peacock, Dan and Malory Grimm, Becca Fuchs and just tons of other musicians, friends and families.

Vaughn’s completely on board with future gigs telling me, “I’d like to keep doing them indefinitely. It seems like a good alternative from hearing music in a bar. These concerts feel more like a day in the park, with families and dogs and some sky.” Catch the next one scheduled for May 4th, bring blanket, low chairs, sunscreen and refreshments.

Speaking of fun in the sun, Ventura Earth Day Eco Fest has plenty of music lined up for Saturday, April 26, along Ventura’s promenade. Just a couple of acts to watch for are the Barrelhouse Wailers, D.on Darox and the Melody Joy Bakers, Derek Jennings and Soul Infusion. Check out www.VenturaEarthDay.org for more information.

Of course there is Ventura Beach Festival with Martha Davis and the Motels headlining on May 3rd at State Beach. See www.VenturaBeachFestival.com ticket info and further down the road it’s the Roadshow Revival: A Tribute to the Music of Johnny Cash on Saturday, June 14 with the Paladins, Dale Watson, Calico, Hard Six and the Mighty Cash Cats lined up so far.

And finally, Bombay’s will host a fundraising event with Tommy and Paddy Marsh and special guests. A percentage of sales will be donated on April 19, 6-9 pm to the Botanical Gardens, so grab a burger and brewski, enjoy the tunes while supporting another great cause!

Do you have any music related news or upcoming shows you want help publicizing? Send all information short or long to Pam@VenturaRocks.com.

Album Review: Dan Grimm

Average Savage
by Pam Baumgardner

Average SavageI’ve gotten to know Dan Grimm the past couple of years and have had several conversations with him, the last one with him explaining how “Ventucky” is not a derogatory term…at least not to him.  He loves this town; there is no doubt about that.

With his latest release Average Savage, Dan continues to grow as a songwriter.  His songs tell stories of love, drama, struggle, some of which are quite personal. I’ll be up front and honest, there is nothing sexier than a man who isn’t afraid to show his love for his woman and profess he’ll eat monsters for her.

Monsters
Baby don’t you worry
Cuz I eat monsters for you
Sweet tasty monsters just for you

That’s just freakin’ awesome!

I love grabbing an ice cold beer at the end of the day, sitting down and putting my feet up while relaxing to Dan Grimm, because I know before long I will feel at ease with any residual stress from the day will just fade away with each song.  By the time I get to “Mirror” I’m relaxed and I’ve finally arrived home mentally, leaving the day behind.

And as much as love relaxing to Dan’s music, I always try to catch his shows live because Dan always surrounds himself with nothing but the best local talent around.  It’s not long before the audience as a whole finds the groove and starts dancing to tunes such as the title track,  “Even Good Love” or “Seven Up.”

Dan Grimm bandDan describes his sound as “flip-floppytonk” or “rock ‘n’ roll with a little bit of country” and I can’t disagree.  I loved learning the lyrics and anticipating the slide guitar or vocal harmonies.  The album was well produced with a mix of guitar sounds between acoustic, steel and electric (loved that slide guitar work from Neal Casal and vocals from Jaime Wyatt).

Even Good Love Hurts
Wha’d you think it would be easy 
It aint trouble all the time 
You could try harder to please me 
I don’t read minds and pantomime

Sweet Relief
Try to tell a man he’s got no integrity
Even if he’s evil and all he tells is lies lies lies
and I don’t think there is any remedy
Maybe it’s best if you cut your ties

Dan Grimm Band

 

 

 

 

 

Average Savage was produced by Jesse Siebenberg at Brotheryn Studios in Ojai, CA.  All songs written by Dan Grimm except “Even Good Love Hurts” (Dan Grimm & Jaime Wyatt), “Change is Blowing Bitter” (Dan Grimm & Jesse Siebenberg), & “Mirror” (Dan Grimm & Jesse Siebenberg).

 

https://dangrimm.bandcamp.com/album/average-savage
www.myspace.com/danisgrimm
www.reverbnation.com/danisgrimm
https://www.facebook.com/DanGrimm
www.DanisGrimm.com

 

Interview: Todd Hannigan

Todd Hannigan was navigating his way to LA to see friend and business partner, musician Jesse Siebenberg, who was playing at the Fonda. I had the pleasure of talking to the singer/songwriter, record producer and Grammy winner who had a lot to say about music, surfing, film-scoring, turning 40 and his hometown of Ventura, California.

Todd Hannigan

photo by Bridgette Lopez

Polly:  You grew up in Ojai or Ventura?

Todd Hannigan:  Both actually. We went between Ojai and Ventura but spent most of our time in Ventura and I went to Ventura High.

Polly:  In high school I was like a hippie theater geek, what kind of group did you hang out with?

Todd:  I did as little time in high school as I could, haha, but when I was there I hung out with the surfers and I also played golf and tennis.   But mostly surfers, and I was trying to get out of class so I could ride the waves.

Polly:  So Surfing was a big deal for you as a teenager growing up.

Todd: Yes it was like the biggest deal.

Polly:  I saw the short film posted on your website. Tell me about the Patagonia “Worn Wear – A Film about the Stories We Wear” project and how did you get involved?

Todd: I was talking to Lauren and Keith Malloy (local surfer/film maker) and they thought they’d be making a short called Worn Wear and I told them I’d like to be involved tell me a little bit about it and when it came time to do the music I was doing stuff with Emy Reynolds, a few other people and Lee Koch was going to be involved.  So I’d already been working on most of their stuff, so usually Keith asks me to do music for them.  We actually co-wrote a song that’s in there.

Polly:  I recognized Emy right away, her music starts out at the beginning of the film.  Who else plays on it? You play on it and then you got the Malloys?

Todd: Yes, me and Keith but I’m still getting the artist list together I apologize.  One of the things I’m doing right now is getting an official list of all the songs that made it in and I’m going to post it because a lot of people have been asking where to buy it.  Plus I didn’t do all the music so I’m still getting all of that together.

Polly:  Well it’s a beautiful sound track and I can see how people are interested in getting it.  What is the process that you go through in scoring a film?

Todd: Really I try and spend a little time before I start, getting a real good idea of what the director wants. A lot of the guys I’m working with nowadays are more experienced and good at telling you what they want or whether you’re allowed to do what you want.  There’s a couple different styles of how you approach scoring.  See what comes to mind first.

Polly:  So it just depends on the director then, sometimes they have a clear cut specific idea and you collaborate and other times he gives you free reign.

Todd: Sometimes they say write something and they’ll send me the idea/theme and dialogue or they’ll send me a theme with a track of something they can’t afford like a Rolling Stones song with the tempo to cut to, and what the images look like and the rhythm they’re looking for. From that you get the picture of what they want.  I match the tempo with our song and throw that Rolling Stones sample track out.  That way our song matches all the same cuts.

Photo by Cliff Montgomery

Photo by Cliff Montgomery

Polly:  Patagonia is such a huge presence in Ventura county and around the world. A unique business that’s more a way of life. Do you know and have met Yvon?  (Chouinard, owner of Patagonia)

Todd: Yes, we’ve met. I’ve actually spent several hours recording an interview at the old Brotheryn.  He told a lot of cool stories and a lot of my friends work there.

Polly:  The Patagoina’s philosophy seems to have influenced in my opinion your lifestyle and a lot of people in Ventura.  Do you see that?

Todd: Yes, I agree with that. I don’t do much climbing but I surf and do like their message with the worn ware philosophy. To re-think the disposable economy and plan on keeping your stuff for a couple generations and learn how to fix your stuff and buy stuff that will last at least your lifetime.  Especially now during the holiday shopping season their campaign says a lot. And if they have the balls to do that with their advertising campaign then I should try and look long term.

Polly:  This is another great Malloy project. You’ve been collaborating for years. How did that happen?

Todd: We started hanging out together at Emma Wood and down around California St a long, long time ago when I was probably 9 or 10 years old. Then when I first started playing guitar I couldn’t wait to show them my first riff or my first set of chords.  And when I saw Nick Drake I told them hey check this guy out or check out Robert Johnson. We’ve been really connected musically for years.  So when they need music they call me.  I was able to come through with a couple songs initially and as they’ve grown I’ve become more involved and that it’s been good shit. I’ve been really lucky, yeah lucky.

Polly:  It seems like they started out surfing and now they’re making their name in the film world which is pretty cool.  So you’ve done a lot of soundtracks at Brotheryn.

Todd: We actually got nominated for a second Grammy a couple days ago.

Polly:  A second Grammy?

Todd: Yeah

Polly:  That’s awesome!  I was going to talk to you about The BIG EASY EXPRESS. (Brotheryn 2012 Grammy winner for best long form music video featuring Mumford & Sons, Edward Sharpe & Old Crow Medicine Show)

big easy express photoTodd: Right, which we mixed.  That was one we didn’t write any music for because it was about bands who make music themselves. We mixed all of the sound, the dialogue editing and final mastering.  Big Easy was really fun to work on, a very exciting project by Emmett Malloy. That’s actually the first time I’ve worked with Emmett.  I’ve always worked for Chris, Keith and Dan (Malloy) and when Emmett hired me it was really kind of cool.  It was his first Grammy too.

Polly:  That’s a great accomplishment, so what’s the second Grammy award for?

green day cuatro posterTodd:  It’s a film called “Cuatro!” a documentary about Green Day.  We mixed a while ago, last year, but for some reason it really got no press, nobody saw it, nobody heard about it.   I was really surprised when it was nominated.  It’s a great film.  A friend Tim Wheeler directed it and Tim Lynch produced it the same producer on the Big Easy, they are the guys from Farm League down in Santa Monica where I get a lot of work from.  Farm League has really been responsible for getting me a lot of the work that I’ve been doing and I owe them a lot.

Polly:  It seems like the connections that we make even at a young age and the friendships it kind of leads to other things and grows and these days, it’s really who you know.

Todd: Yeah, we definitely have to have the opportunity to do good work and to even learn how to do it.  You also have to deliver once you get hired.  I’ve been in a position before where some friends were getting really popular or famous and making some moves and I wasn’t ready to go along for the ride, I didn’t have enough experience.  You really have to be in the right place at the right time and be ready.  So you work your whole life and try to get good at something and hopefully you get the opportunity to show that on a larger scale.

Polly:  Your studio in Ojai – Brotheryn is a full service recording studio?  Who are the musicians you’ve worked with in studio?  

Brotheryn StudiosTodd: This year – a musician named Johnny Boyd, Lee Koch, Dan Grimm, Dave Palmer are projects we’ve done this year.  Jason Mariani does a lot of the music work, a lot of the mixing and is the head engineer at Brotheryn.  A lot of the bands contact him directly where as I’m more hunting down filmmakers specifically.

Polly:  Your partner in Brotheryn is Jesse Siebenberg, who’s been out on tour with Lissie.  How did you guys meet?

Todd: Well, you know that’s so funny, I met Jesse Siebenberg when I was hired to do a session for a guy named Syd.

Polly:  You mean Syd, Syd?  (Erin Sidney, local Producer, singer, musician and drummer for Mia Dyson, The Pullmen, Hotels and Highways)

Todd: Yes, he was coming in to do his record when he was working with Hartley (Fitzgerald-Hartley) back in the day.  That recording session with me was long, long ago.  I had no partners, I was by myself at the Haley ranch (first Brotheryn Studios location in Ojai).  He said he has this guy coming in that’s going to play drums, guitar and bass on the album and he’s awesome and it was Jesse!  Jesse came in and said hey I can’t believe this place is here.  He’d been in the area for awhile but didn’t really have anyone to record or hang out with.  He said you know I have a bunch of gear and maybe we can figure out a situation where I can leave it here and use it whenever I need to.  So a week later we get a U-haul, drive it up to his dad’s (Bob Siebenberg drummer for Supertramp) place in Yosemite. We got a mixing board, mics, a bunch of stuff and we became partners basically right then and there.
Todd and Jesse Canyon ClubPolly:  That must have been a long time ago.  Was that in the 80’s?

Todd: Hahaha, I wish we had started back then, no I was still in school in the 80’s.

Polly:  Oh right haha.

Todd: It must have been around 2001.  No, 1999, I remember having conversations about Y2K with Jesse.

Polly:  Right, all the world’s computers were going to shut down.

Todd: Yeah.  Back then Jesse hired Jason to do some mixing on another record and also on Syd’s record.  Jason was freelancing in L.A. and we were giving him more work than he was getting in L.A.  We told him move up here, in fact just bring your stuff up here and it’s worked out for everyone involved I think.

Polly:  How did you get started as a musician? You mentioned you were about 10.

Todd: Well, I was infatuated with music as a listener.  My brother had a guitar when we were growing up which he would hide from me but eventually let me play it.  My dad also had a roommate who had a guitar who let me use it.  I would play every day for months and months, I wouldn’t put it down.  After a while I got pretty good pretty quick.  Then my uncle Peter a classical guitarist showed me a couple classical pieces where I’d have to use my fingers. Which is the style I use to this day.  Then I’d just jam to cassettes. I listened to a lot of psychedelic music, a lot of Hendrix.  I’d just play guitar, no real songwriting, then record on a cassette deck.  When I was about 25 for whatever reason I sang a song called “Blue Sky” and my friend who was making a movie heard it.  He asked hey who’s that?  I want to use that in my movie.  Well, that’s me.  He said bullshit I didn’t know you could sing?  I said I didn’t either.  And that track made it into the movie.

photo by Pam Baumgardner

photo by Pam Baumgardner

Polly:  That’s incredible.

Todd: Yeah, then I knew, wow that’s pretty crazy. So maybe I should write some more songs.  So I ended up doing that.

Polly:  And it’s served you well.

Todd: Well I didn’t write my first song with lyrics until I was 25.  Anybody can do it as long you have passion for it then you should just do it.

Polly:  You really need to have passion.  

Todd: With surfing and music the one good thing is how it’s always different.  Like waves are always different or your mood, that’s why I never get bored with music or surfing.  And that’s why I love music – to go in and create is my favorite thing to do.  It gets even more fun the longer you do it.  Like surfing.

Polly:  I checked your website and FB.  You just put up some new tracks.  Are you working on a new record?

Todd: Yes, I’ve put a lot of new music up on my website because there are some composing agencies in L.A. and San Francisco who wanted to hear examples.  So I posted those.  To give those folks an idea of my writing style for film opportunities.

Polly:  What’s your process when you write a song?  Do you hear the music in your head or do the lyrics come first?  

Todd: Usually I’ll start playing a melody on the guitar, a certain rhythm will inspire me for the most part.  Sometimes I’ll wake up with a lyric.  Not to be too literal but it could also be something that happens in my life that will inspire me.  Sometimes the music and lyrics can come at the same time like with the song “Where I need to be”

Polly:  I was listening to your song “End Game” and there is a line that I thought was really interesting you say “I’m going to keep on trying til my dying day and I’m going to keep on dreaming until they take it away”  Is that a message you’re sending out to the Universe of where you’re at?

Further Than the BowTodd: Well I’m trying to convince myself…

Polly:  Hahaha

Todd: Definitely to other people, and as you know life can beat you down a little bit.  You don’t have to look far to see that.  Often times I write songs to convince myself to keep trying harder.  In this case it’s about a goal.

Polly:  So I wanted to share something with you I don’t know if you realize this but there are some circle of friends who lovingly refer to you as Todd Hattigan because of your hats. Did you know that?

Todd: Haha.  Oh my God.  That’s funny.  I’m trying to grow my hair out so I don’t have to wear hats.

Polly:  What was your most memorable gig?

Todd: The Canyon Club with Jackson Browne.

Polly:  That’s cool.  Where is your favorite place to surf around the world?

Todd: Favorite place?  Probably here when the waves are good.  It’s a great feeling to be at home and be surfing.  When the waves are pumping and there’s not a lot of people in the water.

Polly:  What advice would you give to up and coming singer/songwriters?  Any words of wisdom?  I know part of it is to make sure you have the passion.

Todd: If I was starting out and I ran into myself in the future I would really wish I had read the book Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell  which has a little bit to do with music but mostly about how to get good at anything.  He talks about meeting your 10,000 hours. It’s really fascinating and I’d really recommend it. For me I’m just starting to feel like I’m owning what I’m doing as an artist.  It’s a lifetime choice to be involved in music and it’s not about the money. It’s something you choose to do because it makes you feel good and hopefully you have something inside of you that you want to share with the world.  Doing it for the right reasons and know that it’s going to take awhile.  And get a second job that allows you to do your music is something I figured later on.  My job in studio allows me to not depend on making money playing music as much. That helps me writing wise that let’s me write stuff that I believe in. Be a waiter or server or anything that pays you as much money in as little time as possible so you can play and write the rest of the time.

Photo by Amanda Peacock

Photo by Amanda Peacock

Polly:  Right.

Todd: And don’t be afraid to play gigs.  I was petrified Polly, when we played our first gig at your old place upstairs.  I was so, so scared.

Polly:  You’re kidding!

Todd: Oh my gosh I was so scared for the first couple of years but you know that was a really, really cool way to jump into the music world.  But I think maybe even the first 25 gigs at Zoey’s actually…haha

Polly:  It definitely is the more you do the more comfortable and better you get.

Todd: Yes, that’s what I was trying to say it helps doing open mics and what you were doing where you were encouraging up and comers.  Another thing I would suggest is don’t be so concerned about money from the gig so much.  Just play as many gigs as you can so you get better at your craft.  Then you can worry about making a livelihood from your craft as you get better.  Don’t put money before the craft, put it after.

Polly:  That’s good advice.  Well I was going to ask you, because you just recently had a birthday…

Todd: 40!

Polly:  40 years old really…

Todd: Four Zero

Polly:  How do you feel about that? hahaha

Todd: Oh man, I don’t know, how should I feel? I don’t know, I was fine for my 30th .  As far as turning 40 I’m trying to ignore it and keep running laps and eating organic food.

Polly:  I don’t think age is that important anymore as far as a number.  I think it’s just what’s in your heart and what you put out there. I mean, 40 is like the new, what 29?

Todd: Hahaha, yeah, The Heavy 29’s (name of his band).  Well I hope so, I wished I’d said that.  40 is the new 29.

Polly:  I was going to ask you, okay so you’re 40…or 29, are you where you’re at or did you ever think you’d be where you’re at now personally and professionally?  Are you in a good place?  

Todd: Yes, I think I’ve already reached a path where I’m achieving as far as being involved with music, yes, I’m very happy and surprised actually. I still have a lot of time to get better and work on the highest level in the world.  I’m actually further along than I expected.  It’s kind of crazy.

Polly:  Good for you Todd.  What’s your assessment of the local music scene, you’ve been involved for so many years?   

Todd: I would say the number of artists that I’m aware of seems to be growing. There are pretty solid artists that have put in their time. But I’d say we need to work on more venues that are basically like the ones you guys had (Zoey’s) because I think that helped cultivate the most.  That’s like having a farm and the musician is like the crop.  It seems like with the absence of Zoey’s the scene is more about drinking than listening to the music.  Some places are trying like Bombays.

Polly:  I know Diego is trying.  It’s almost Christmas, are you ready?  

Todd: As ready as I’ll ever be.  I’m doing memberships to the Organic CSA, buying vitamins. Thanksgiving was great.  I like spending time with the family.

Polly:  Any New Years resolutions?

Todd: None this year but I make and break them all year long.

Polly:  Last question, you’ve played music and surfed all over the world. What keeps you coming back to Ventura County?

Todd: It feels like home.  And this place is as nice as anywhere.

www.toddhannigan.com
www.brotherynstudios.com
www.wornwear.patagonia.com
www.bigeasyexpress.com
www.
greendaycuatro.com
www.grammy.com

photo by Pam Baumgardner

photo by Pam Baumgardner

Ventura Rocks in Ventura Breeze – 10/30/13 – 11/12/13

Jason Mariani, Dave Palmer, Don Heffington, Neal Casal, Dan Grimm, Jesse Siebenberg and Bob Glaub. Photo by Amanda Peacock.

Jason Mariani, Dave Palmer, Don Heffington, Neal Casal, Dan Grimm, Jesse Siebenberg
and Bob Glaub. Photo by Amanda Peacock.

The Music Scene
Around town
by Pam Baumgardner
VenturaRocks.com
Pam @VenturaRocks.com
I heard an amazing cut off of Dan Grimm’s upcoming new CD, Average Savage , called “Sweet Relief.”  Dan told me that he just got done recording his third release at Brotheryn Studios in Ojai. It was produced by Jesse Grey aka Jesse Siebenberg and engineered by the Grammy winner Jason Mariani. “It sounds like JJ Cale, Dire Straits, Jackson Brown, Steve Miller, and Paul Simon,” according to Dan. His players are virtual who’s who in the industry from Don Heffington on drums (Bob Dylan, Dwight Yoakam and Lucinda Williams); Neal Casal on guitar (Ryan Adams, Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Weir andl Lesh); Jesse Grey Siebenberg’s help on guitars, keys, drums, and other various instruments (Lissie, Supertramp, Kenny Loggins); Dave Palmer on keys (Fleetwood Mac, Fiona Apple, Chris Issac) and Jaime Wyatt on duet vocals best known for the Calico Girls.
Average Savage available soon on iTunes, Spotify, Sound Cloud, Salzers, and of course at all of Dan’s live shows. www.danisgrimm.com

Tony Cortez and Carl Valdez, original members of the legendary Nardcore band Ill Repute, are teaming up again after 20 years to form an “old school punk” band with a hard-edged punkabilly sound. Rounding out the new band are Randy Miller, lead guitar (Global Warming, Mayors of Garratt) and local bassist Mojo who is well known on the local music scene. The band hopes to be gig ready by the end of the year and have already been offered a spot on a local punk compilation album. Cortez and Valdez are also featured in the book and documentary, “Clean Cut American Kids – the story of Ill Repute” by True Underground Network in association with Firehook Entertainment and Canadie Bacon Films.

Author and blues harp master, Jon Gindick is bringing his Blues Harmonica Jam Camp to Ventura. This 5-day camp, usually held in the Mississippi Delta, takes place January 21 – 25 at the Pierpont Inn. Focusing on the joys of jamming, each camp is limited to about 30 students, or campers. Gindick is flying in his core team of harmonica coaches to give each camper the time and attention they need. Campers jam with a great blues band daily. It’s a music-learning vacation. Coach/performers include Cheryl Arena from Boston, Hash Brown from Dallas, TJ Klay from Nashville, Rj Mischo from Arkansas, Ralph Carter from Malibu and Brian Purdy of Florida. In addition to in intensive instruction, a show is planned at Yolie’s Blues Club. Get more information at www.Gindick.com.

And then finally, it’s a travesty that we lost Zoey’s. Their doors official closed October 20. We can all be Friday Morning Quarterbacks and place the blame on the City, or landlords, or poor management, or the economy. But deep down inside, if you have the courage to look, you might agree with local musician and photographer, Chris Jensen. Jensen commented on Ventura Rock’s Facebook page, “I’m feeling guilty as hell because I wasn’t down there at least once a week, every week, experiencing great live music…when was the last time you were there? We are the reason Zoey’s is closing…So sorry Zoey’s.”

What the Hogansons did was quite amazing; they provided national acts in an intimate setting while allowing the best of our local talent to shine. So we need to learn a lesson, and learn it quickly.

What a class act Steve and Polly Hoganson are as they leave us with this thought, “Our hope is that you all continue to enjoy and support live music and the community of musicians here in Ventura County and beyond.”

And I say, “We won’t let you down Steve and Polly.

[PDF of Ventura Breeze issue: http://venturabreeze.com/10.30.13.pdf]