Interview: Chris Jay – Baker’s Dozen Film

THE FILM “BAKERS DOZEN” IS BEING SHOT ENTIRELY IN VENTURA WITH CAMEOS BY LEGENDARY WRESTLERS AND YES, THEY NEED A BUNCH OF LOCAL PEEPS AS EXTRAS.

During their down time local musicians Chris Jay and Aaron Goldberg (Army of Freshmen) decided to write a screenplay. As anybody in the biz can tell you this is not a small feat. This project has been a long time dream of the super energetic Chris Jay. We chatted about the low, low budget film and their decision to shoot it entirely in Ventura.  They will film all over the city for the next 13 days but their immediate need is for extras on MLK day – 1/20/14 at Camino Real Park Ventura from 10am-5pm.

Army of Freshmen

Polly: Tell me about this film project that you’re working on, how did it come about?  It’s you and Aaron right?

Chris JayChris: It’s me and Aaron, we co-wrote it.  Actually, we started to not tour as much when the music industry got a little funky.  We began working on a little screenplay on our off time, here and there, just a little bit, for the past couple of years really.  It’s a comedy.  What happened is we got a producer who produced one of our old videos. We got in touch with him, turned him on to the project and he helped us put the script together to a presentable point.  We made the decision we didn’t want to do what we do with music where you spend so much time begging people to listen to you and help you and sign you. And we knew that for first time screenwriters no one is going to read a script two musicians wrote.

Polly:  Right

Chris: So we decided to fundraise on our own.  We thought the film was funny, the concept was funny.  For the past couple of months that’s what we’ve been doing raising money but we have also been working on pre-production we’ve actually been putting it together.  Like you know I contacted you months ago asking to film a scene at Zoey’s long before we got any interest.

Polly:  Yes, I remember.

Chris: We were hoping once we got the funding we could jump.  We were basically in pre-production on a film that had no money and may not exist.

Polly: Haha, well did you finally get that producer on board and who is that?

Chris: Yes a gentleman by the name of Reza Rezai and you know he’s just a friend who did our video and also did some smaller indie films.  So he knew really low budget.  Even if we did raise some money it was going to be incredibly low budget.

Polly: So what is your budget?

Chris: I can’t really tell you our budget because we don’t have a finalized one yet.  And frankly we are trying to continue to raise money but we did get more people on board and one or two investors who decided to back the project enough for us to get cookin’.

Polly: Nice, good for you.

Bakers DozenChris:  We’ve been going absolutely nuts for the past two months basically putting the movie in to production.  And we are happy to report we’ve been working, working, working.  We kinda kept our months shut, because we didn’t want to seem like we were bragging and telling people we were doing it because these things can fall apart so easy especially when we had this many people, and money and stuff,  we didn’t want to embarrass ourselves.  So we put everything in place.  We picked a date, got tons of people, we’ve been casting, working on the script, just literally doing a crash course on the film business.  We started filming yesterday [1/18/14] and we are filming 13 days over the next 19 days all in the city of Ventura. Every single scene is going to be shot in a location in Ventura.

Polly:  Wow!

Chris:  So we have 13 more days on 6 days off on a 20 day schedule.  We wanted to keep it homegrown.  We wanted people to contribute and people have been amazing!  We got all of our locations for free with the exception of the baseball field we had to rent from the city which is understandable because we had to shut down part of the park.  But we got everything else for free.  We have gotten every single meal donated for the whole shoot, just local restaurants helping us out.

Polly: That’s so cool.

Baker's DozenChris:  It’s been wonderful! Our producer was hesitant to film in Ventura simply because it’s an hour outside of L.A. actors driving and all that kind of stuff, but he’s been thrilled and what we’ve found is that community feel, and all the bonuses, and the fact that people are excited!  So say if we did go down to L.A. and we walked into the “Zoeys” of LA and asked to film for a day you know their fee is going to be $1000 bucks. Flat out.  That’s how they make extra money.  So many people are filming down there, film permit people are hard, it’s a nightmare.  Here it’s been such a smooth ride.  Especially since we are so ultra, ultra low budget just to be able to have people so on board and so helpful it’s been really, really cool.

Polly:  That’s so great.  So you started yesterday.

Chris:  Yes, and it’s been more work than I’ve ever done in my entire life.  Music videos are great but that’s one day.  This is a like a music video times 2 weeks.  We got enough people to be in the film but we are so low budget we couldn’t hire a production crew.  We do wardrobe, we do location scouting, we supervise catering.  Literally we weren’t prepared for that on set work so for the past 48 hours it’s just been this whirlwind of four hours of sleep. Getting there at 6am it’s great.  The energy has been great but it’s been a whirlwind.  We are going for it!  Tomorrow is day 3.

Polly:  Tell me about tomorrow and needing Extra’s at El Camino Park

Chris:  It’s our big baseball day and we’re at the park we need a bunch of people hanging out, in the stands, kicking it, we just need to create that vibe.

Polly:  What’s the basic storyline?

Chris:  It’s a raunchy comedy in the vein of “40 Year Old Virgin” or “Super Bad” or “Old School”.  The plot is a loser in life and love gets into a high stakes bet where he has to find and go out with the girl he had a crush on for every single year he went to school.  So he’s got to go back and find 12 different girls, find out what they’re up to now and somehow convince them or trick them into getting with him.  That’s the gist of it but there is an evil company owner that if he wins the bet he gets the company and he can give it back to his dad.  This is not high brow.  This is Adam Sandler stuff.

Polly:  Haha, right.  Is this a short film?

Chris:  No, it’s a full length feature film.

Polly:  Wow.

Baker's Dozen setChris:  We are going for it a full length movie.  That’s the insanity of it.  If it were a short film we’d shoot for 3 or 4 days but we’ve got tons of characters and locations. We’re basically making a low budget movie by Hollywood standards on no budget. To be frank we are trying to make a million dollar movie on a tenth of that budget.  People are telling us we’re insane, we can’t do it, you’re getting in way over your heads but that’s the only way we’ve ever don it, we don’t know any other way.  So if we’re going to fail we might as well fail in a big way. We’ve got a bunch of extras in it, bunch of homies from the local music scene.   If this comes out, when it comes out at least from a local stand point we’re going to rent a screen at Century 16 and invite everybody and say – we don’t know what the hell we made here but at least we’ll get a kick out of it.  And you’ll see a bunch of people on the screen.

Polly:  That’s awesome. I’m so happy for you guys.

Chris:  It’s always been a dream of ours.  It’s a weird thing.  It’s either put up or shut up.  It’s one thing to work on a screen play but it’s completely another thing to make it because the whole time you’re wondering man if this stinks I just spent a massive amount of my life working on this project.  So it’s wild.  And you put your faith in so many people.  That’s what I’m learning too.  You know me, and much like yourself we’re micro managers.  We want to have our eyes on everything we do.  But it’s hard to trust someone with your baby.  That camera man he’s got your baby.  That director, he’s got your baby.  Those actors they have your baby.  You may have a little bit of say but you’re not going to tell the camera guy who’s gone to school where to put the camera.  You’ve got to roll with the flow.  So in the last 48 hours I’ve learned to breath and if you’re not digging what you’re seeing you have to trust that they are doing it for a reason.

Polly:  That’s so exciting for you guys.  We’d love to be involved.  How can we be involved?

Chris:  Well thanks for spreading the word and encouraging people to come out.  There’s going to be some really neat stuff.  We have cameos from three legendary wrestlers.  I know that sounds funny but I’ve always been a big wrestling fan.  We ended up getting Jake “the snake” Roberts, Tommy Dreamer and Diamond Dallas Page.  So if anybody comes tomorrow afternoon, if you’re a wrestling fan, these wrestlers will be hanging out, in Ventura, in Camino Real Park, and will be accessible for autographs and stuff.  And I know this is super last minute.  But that’s how film world is.

 Polly:  I know, you audition on a Friday and then you have to be on set at 7am Saturday. 

Chris:  Exactly.  Thanks for everything, spread the word and if you can please swing by tomorrow it will be an experience!

 Links:
www.facebook.com/armyoffreshmen
www.BakersDozenTheMovie.com

Interview: Eric Rachmany of Rebelution

Rebelution – 2 shows, December 30 (sold out) and December 31 2013, New Year’s Eve, at the Majestic Ventura Theater.

Before sound check for their show tonight (Dec 30) at the Majestic Ventura Theater, I got to talk to Eric Rachmany, lead singer, for Rebelution. He waxed nostalgic about his time in the 805, his first show at the Ventura Theater and what the band’s philosophy is all about when it comes their music.

Just a sample:

Polly Hoganson:  How you doing?

Eric Rachmany:  I’m Great!

Polly:  How’s the tour going so far?

Eric:  It’s been great, we had a little bit of time off we’re recording our next album for the last couple of weeks and then we just played a couple shows in Santa Cruz. Then we have these Ventura shows and then we have a couple shows in Orange County.  We start our big tour in February.  That’s like our winter tour.

Polly:  I saw your schedule, it’s pretty gnarly.  It’s exciting you’re criss-crossing the country then you’re also making time to go to Thailand?

Eric:  Right Yeah, we have a festival to play in Thailand on March 1st

Polly:  Have you ever been?

Eric:  I’ve been to visit but never to play.

Polly:  That’s cool.

Eric:  Yeah

Polly:  I was on your website and you have the video “Skys the Limit” posted.  I really like that song by the way. 

Eric:  Oh Cool

Polly:  You have a great voice.

Eric:  Thank you

Polly:  It was directed by Marley (bass player) and  it looks like you shot a lot in Isla Vista.

Eric:  We did, we thought it was probably a good idea to go back to where we got started and just kind of feel the vibe of Isla Vista while we were filming the video.

Polly:  Whenever you come back to the 805, is it nostalgic?  Does it bring back memories for you guys?

Eric:  Definitely, you know we spent a pretty substantial amount of time here both while we were in college and then actually after we all finished school we all stayed in the Santa Barbara area for a few years. Although we weren’t here a lot of the time we were touring this was still our home base and you know when we got dispersed to different parts of California now but Santa Barbara will always be our home.

Polly:  Now when you got started in ’04, does that seem like a lifetime ago? Or does it seem like yesterday?

Eric:  It feels like yesterday.  It really does.  Time has flown by it’s really hard to believe it’s almost 10 years ago. That’s actually mind blowing to think about. We’re just having so much fun with what we’re doing.  We love performing we love playing and recording music and when you have fun doing time flies by that’s the truth, haha.

Polly:  Haha!   Well looking back through the years and where you’re at now is the journey what you thought it would be?

Eric:  You know I think since I was a little kid I always thought the music I was apart of would be exposed to the world somehow.  I didn’t really know what it would take to do it. So I feel like that has happened and I’m thrilled that I’m playing music for peoples.  I can do this for a living. But I didn’t really know what it would feel like or the steps we would have to take to get our music out to people around the world you know?  I think with Rebelution we played so many shows starting from Isla Vista, playing small clubs to festivals, outdoor venues and amphitheaters now I think we’ve done so many shows that we are confident in what we’re doing and although 10 years have gone by very fast it’s been a nice, slow progression for the band so I think in that regard we feel very comfortable in what we’re doing.  It’s not like we’ve had this huge jump in success.  You know we’re an independent band and we do everything our selves. We’re kind of rising slowly but surely. We’re really happy with that.

Polly:  That goes to my next question in that you guys are pretty DIY.  Is that the direction where you think the music business is going?  Bands are pretty much going to do their own thing?

Eric:  You know, I think the music that we play isn’t really typical for the music industry latch on to.  That’s what I think a lot of the bands we’ve come up with both in the Santa Barbara area and around the country that play similar music to us, are all independent as well.  I think the bands just like us we do it for the love of the music, we do it to spread a positive message, to bring happiness to both ourselves and to the crowd, to the people.  We like staying independent there’s no pressure,  we write music that we love and that’s what it’s all about.  It’s not about making money for us it’s about you know staying positive and keeping a big smile on our faces as we get older. You only live once and we’re trying to live that way. Haha

Polly:  Haha, there is that philosophy that if you do what you love and eventually you’ll reap the rewards.  So it sounds like you’re time is at that point. 

Eric:  Yeah, and I understand it’s really hard to make a living out of this business and the music industry is really cut throat and that’s another reason to stay independent.

Polly:  Right.

Eric:  And It’s also I don’t need a reminder as to why I’m doing this.  We get out there and we play the music that we love and it’s always been that way since day one.  And while we’re happy doing what we’re doing there’s no reason to change our philosophy, change our sound, we do it because we love it.

Polly:  I’ve always been fascinated by how a group of friends get together and form a band.  How did it come about that you guys in college decided to hey one day, let’s make music.

Eric:  Yep, I was always into music when I was a kid. I started on piano then moved to guitar. Once I got to Santa Barbara City College I took this songwriting class. I just fell in love with it.  I don’t know.  The first thing they make you do in class is play one of your own songs.  I’d never done that before and I never thought of myself as a singer.  I always thought of myself as a musician/guitar player and I got up and sang a song and I listened to everybody else and I was able to form some friends and felt really comfortable at it.  And it was through that music dept at City College that I met our bass player Marley and we both shared a love for reggae music and we figured that out in a relatively short amount of time.  Then he found our drummer Wes in another music class us three got together and then we met our keyboardist Rory along the way and then we were jamming a lot of classic reggae tunes like Sublime, this was the kind of music we all related to at the time.

Polly:  Sure.

Eric:  And then we played a show wow this is the most fun we’ve ever had and we just kept on doing it.  Next thing you know we’re writing original music and I think it’s because of that one songwriting class that I gained that courage to you know sing, because I’d never really done that before.

Polly:  Well you’ve got a great voice.  I love your voice.

Eric:  Thank you

Polly:  Any tips for up and comers, that you know you would recommend?

Eric:  Just what I was touching on earlier you just have to love what you’re doing and not think about the rewards, like you were saying if you love what you’re doing the rewards will come.  It may not be like a monetary thing.  It’s important to just play music for the love of playing music.  You should never really forget that.  It is I understand it’s very difficult to be a musician full time but yeah, but from my experience it is possible to be an independent band and to play music for a living.

Polly:  Sure.

Eric:  We worked really hard played multiple shows.  I think it’s important to get out there and perform live.  Nowadays it’s very difficult.  The major record label would never go over with us basically what we do.  We’ve always wanted to do it ourselves.  It’s definitely possible.

Polly:  When you listen to music, when you’re on the road, who’s on your iPod?

Eric:  Haha good question.  To tell you the truth I’ve been writing so much because we’re preparing for this next album so um I’m not really sure who I listen to.  Obviously I’m a big fan of reggae music, once in a while I’ll check out what music is coming out of Jamaica and around the world.  A lot of the times I’ll start listening to stuff I used to listen to whether it’s hip hop, rap, metal, punk rock, there’s folk music, oldies, I’m a big Beatles, I love everything.

Polly: The last record that you guys put out, “Peace of Mind”, what was the evolution of and the thought process of putting out a triple record? (A regular record, an acoustic version and a dub version). That’s pretty ambitious.

Peace of Mind albumEric:  Yeah,  I think it was our love for different types of music that we decided to do that.  We always talked about doing an acoustic album but the idea stems from our good friend and manager Dean who said what if we released it all together?  I thought it was a great idea and I love playing acoustic.  It was relatively easy when we went in the studio we were just free with it and had the acoustic album in a few days.  I think we’ll try and do something like that in the future.

Polly:  Well it’s a great record and I appreciate the acoustic aspect of it.  To see what it sounds like without all the bells and whistles.

Eric:  Yeah, haha.

Polly:  You guys did a really good job.  I did see that you posted some pictures that you guys are in the studio now.  Going to hear anything new and different?  Or pretty much, you follow the same formula, but try and change it up here and there?

Eric:  Yeah.

Polly:  Going to be along the same lines?  Or are you bringing in more cow bell?  Haha.

Eric:  Haha, yeah well it’s actually confidential information.

Polly:  Haha!

Eric:  It’s really hard to explain. PEACE OF MIND was probably our most creative album to date.  It had a lot of different styles of music.  This one I think is different but it’s similar than that it’s got a different style.  I really can’t describe it.  But I think everybody will be happy. There’s something for everyone I think is the best way to describe it.

Polly:  That’s cool.

Eric:  But I think it’s the most thrilled I’ve been about recording an album ever.  I think that’s got to say something.  But like I said earlier we love doing what we do.  It feels good the way we recorded this.   The vibe and the energy that went into it, I think people will be into it.

Polly:  I’m sure they will.  You never let your audiences down and that’s why you guys are so popular.  You’ve got a sold out concert tonight (Monday, December 30, 2013 Ventura Theater).  That’s exciting.  Two nights at the Ventura Theater.  You must be excited about that.

Eric:  Definitely, yeah, a little funny story.  The first time we played the Theater we shared an opening slot with Iration they kind of started in Isla Vista as well.  Whichever band sold the most tickets was the one that would get direct support from the artist Yellowman (headliner) I ‘m pretty sure Yellowman didn’t bring anybody.  The Theater relied on us and Iration to sell all the tickets. It’s funny just thinking about that and fast forwarding to right now and playing 2 nights at Ventura Theater and how we remember our first start there.

Polly:  It must be a great feeling.

Eric:  Yes, it is. It’s a legendary spot for us.

Polly:  Eddy Numbskull is bringing you back to Ventura.  You guys collaborate a lot? He’s a good friend.  A great guy that puts on a quality show.

Eric:  Definitely, we always had a pretty good relationship with Eddy. For a long time now, and he’s been promoting our shows for several years.

Polly:  I  see you’re super popular in Guam.

Eric:  Oh Guam. Yeah.

Polly:  It’s funny because my parents are from Guam.

Eric:  Really?

Polly:  Yeah, I wanted to know if you had any of the local cuisine while there. Haha.

Eric:  We had a lot of amazing fish while I was there.  I forget what other local stuff.

Polly:  Red rice is big, BBQ Ribs…

Eric:  Yeah, Guam, the first time we went to Guam one of our songs was a big hit.  I think it was “Safe and Sound” and it’s still to this day probably one of the most amazing shows we ever played because we were a small band from Isla Vista and all of a sudden our music became this big hit on this island and we played a show for about 6000 people.

Polly:  That’s awesome.

Eric:  That was an amazing feeling definitely.

Polly:  And they love to party and they love to dance.

Eric:  For sure.  We went to a small Chamorro village and it was spectacular going to this small village and seeing how people had been living for decades and the culture. It was amazing.

Polly:  A lot of great musicians, bands started in the 805 some still make their home here like Ozomotli, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, all those guys came up through the 805.  What is it about this part of California that makes it such a fertile ground for live music?

Eric:  Yeah, I think the college town is big for us.  Because there are a lot of people we played to. Isla Vista all jam packed in a small community.  All the students were young and they were hungry for music.  Typically it’s the younger crowd that comes out to see live music.  They are searching for different types of music.  A lot of people visit Santa Barbara. It’s a beautiful place.  You have the coast, the ocean the mountains.  You can see all sides.  Santa Barbara is a perfect way to describe California. Santa Barbara and Ventura too is both warm and cold.  I think that California in general is a melting pot.  There are so many different kinds of people here.  It’s also a spot that you get a lot of people from down south and up north coming to this area.  It’s a place that makes people happy.  You want to rejoice.  You want to be surrounded by the arts,  the music, dancing.   In that regard it’s a great place for that.

Polly:  Now both nights are all ages shows.  Is it important for you to always get the music out to all ages?

Eric:  Yeah, I like to it’s preferably to a 21 and up show.  We think our music relates to all different kinds of people. It’s funny I have grandparents that listen to our music and little kids, like our cousins, 2, 3 and 4 years old that fuss when our music doesn’t come on in the car.  Yeah, I think we’re trying to spread a positive message and there is a lot of negative music out there we hope we’re getting people on the right track.

Polly:  I really love your music.  It is feel good music and it is for the ages.  Any New Year’s resolutions?

Eric:  Haha, that’s a good question.  I got asked that question last night.  Just keep writing music. Just keep on being creative.

Polly:  I sure appreciate your time.   Have a great show tonight, Happy New Year.  Travel safe, looking forward to hearing your new stuff in ’14.

Eric:  Perfect, thanks so much Polly. Appreciate it. Talk to you soon.

(See photos that VenturaRocks.com took at the Monday night Rebelution show:
http://venturarocks.com/blog/rebelution-at-ventura-theater/)

Eric Rachmany – Vocals / Guitar
Rory Carey – Keyboards
Marley D. Williams – Bass
Wesley Finley – Drums
Khris Royal – Sax

www.rebelutionmusic.com
http://www.venturatheater.net/
REBELUTION ON STAGE

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

Interview – Dean Dinning of Toad the Wet Sprocket

Toad the Wet SprocketToad the Wet Sprocket has their first release as a full band in at least 15 years.  It’s a big deal.  And we know it’s a big deal because when the guys in Toad went to fans for help on producing the album via Kickstarter, you won’t believe how quickly the band made their target of $50,000.

Ventura Rocks (VR):  I have been listening to the new CD, I’ve kept it constantly in my car for the past couple of weeks, I’m loving New Constellation.  I don’t understand how you can just pick out a song to push on radio because there are so many solid songs on there!

Dean DinningDean Dinning:  Well that is interesting, because we are about to release another single. We released the title track, “New Constellation,” as the first single; it got a little traction out there on the radio, but we’re ready to release another one.  This is the first time we’ve put out a record in 15 years, but thanks for things like i-Tunes where people can actually go on and sort of cherry pick the record and the songs that they like, it’s really kind of helped us find out what song should be the next single.  It’s interesting because you can take a look at what individual songs people seem to be responding to, and just go, “Oh, obviously, that’s what people want to hear, so let’s put that one out as a single.”

(VR):  Alright, so what’s going to be the second single then?

Dinning: It’s going to be a song called “The Moment.”

(VR):  Nice, very nice. I was putting my money on a bonus track, “Finally Fading.”

Dinning: It is a great song.  That song was previously on Glen’s solo album back in 2002 or so, and that’s the reason we didn’t put in the main listing of songs for the record or release it as a single.  One of the things we wanted to do was to put out something 100% new.

(VR):  Well that makes sense, you’d want to choose a song the whole band had done together as a group effort.

Dinning: Right, especially after all this time.  But it’s such a great song and we’ve been playing it live in concert and people really like it and are responding to it.  We do a really great version of that song, a little more rocking than the version Glen had done on his solo album.  While we were in the studio making the record, we didn’t know if other songs would turn out as good as we hoped, and we might need an up tempo pop single like that.  But as it turned out we had other songs that hopefully would do the job.

(VR):  As a former program director of a rock alternative radio station here in town, KXBS, The Bus, and I’d like to think I have an ear for what would work on radio but I have to say I’m having a hard time! “California Wasted”, “I’ll Bet on You”, “Get What you Want,” Is there Anyone Out There,”  “Life is Beautiful,” these are all solid songs.  You guys have got to be proud of what you did here.

New ConstellationDinning: We’re really happy with what we did, we had a great bunch of songs.  Before we made the record we went in and played for Mikal Blue, who is our producer.  He has a studio down in Thousand Oaks, we played for him absolutely everything we had. And some of the songs like “Bet on You” was originally another song that Todd Nicols, the guitar player, and I had done on a record we had done with a band that we had briefly after Toad called Lapdog, and we had done this song called, “See You Again.”  And I played that for Mikal Blue one day when we were in the studio and we were playing every idea that we had so we could make sure that some undiscovered gem would not be heard when we went to make the record.   And he just flipped out for “See You Again” and he worked on it and rearranged it and rewrote the lyrics and it’s a whole new song.

(VR):  It’s beautiful.

Dinning: You know you look at the album “New Constellation” as kind of a best of everything that we all been doing for the last 16 years I suppose, and us throwing it all in there and making a Toad record out of it.  But thank you!  That was the idea to have really strong songs with sing along choruses and stronger individual identities and hopefully it wouldn’t just all blend together.  We wanted something that would get people’s attention.

(VR):  Crazy good harmonies, you got the hooks up the wazoo.  It’s really nice.

Ok, Let’s talk about Kickstarter; from what I read, Toad was thinking it would take two months to hit your goal of $50,000, but it took so much less!  How did you get wind that this was going on?  Explain how it all unfolded.

kickstarterDinning: We were actually in New York out on a very short tour where we were scheduled to play at Willie Nelson’s 80th birthday celebration and the the Kickstarter went live during that time and we were watching it.  We all got the Kickstarter app for our phones and we were watching it in real time.  It was climbing so quickly…you know, it was unbelievable!  It was sort of like watching the individual song sales on i-Tunes.   (laughs) You know there’s this new fangled thing called the internet these days and you’re able to watch your project in real time as people are pledging and the numbers are just going up and up and up, and halfway through the first day we realized we were going to hit the goal the next day! And we did!  It was unbelievable, we set a $50,000 goal originally and we hit it in 20 hours.

(VR):  Oh My God!

Dinning: You know we had a feeling that our fans would really respond to the idea of Kickstarter, because they really wanted us to make a new record.  Our fans have been paying real money to buy tickets to come out and see us live for the last 15 years.  I mean we were broken up, we got back together, and we’ve been touring off and on pretty steadily since 2006.   But we had no idea that they would jump on it with that kind of enthusiasm.  And even at the end of the two months – well once we hit the original goal, we made another goal, which they call a stretch goal, And we said, Okay, if we get to $100,000, then we’ll throw in a live acoustic CD.  And people encouraged their friends, shared it on Facebook to get more people to participate.  Our fans just really showed up.  That’s the main thing that we found out just how much real love there was for the band out there in the world.

(VR):  What validation.  That is just so amazing.

Dean DinningDinning: And we did this other thing with Kickstarter where as soon as we hit our original funding goal which was really big, we didn’t expect to hit it that quickly, we wanted to let people hear the music, and that was the ideal all along.  The record was pretty much done, and we wanted people to be able to download it.  No one had ever done that on Kickstarter before; normally you have to wait until the end to even get the email addresses of the people who had pledged.  So we had to figure out a convoluted system.  We set up a second page where we would have to send messages to the backers and then have them put their email addresses on another page and we would send them a download for another site…you know, at the end of the day, we ended up with about the first 6,000 of the most diehard fans of the band got the download of this new record they had been waiting for, for all this time.
And as far as critical reviews, we’ve done really well, but having the fans love it as much as they did right off the bat…it made me feel like I really didn’t care if someone gave us a bad review now, because the people I care about love it.

(VR):  Exactly, and that is the bottom-line, It’s about the fan, the person who wants and knows and loves the band, someone who has always been there…and how they feel about it.   That’s all that really matters.

Dinning: Yeah, that’s what matters. And we got them first which was really really cool.

(VR):  What’s it like this time around?

Dinning: I can’t get over how fortunate we are to have all of these people who have stuck with us for so long.  The best reason to want to keep doing this music is the difference that it has made in people’s lives.  Every night going out there on stage and seeing their faces light up when we play a certain song, it’s the best thing in the world.  It’s pretty cool.

(VR):  And Glen’s voice seems to be holding up alright?

Dinning: It’s doing just fine.  We have a new rule where we don’t do more than four shows in a row, and he’s not spending too much time talking after the shows.  We do these big meet and greets after the show; we’ll go out in the lobby and take pictures and things.  People always want to engage in some very deep conversations, but he’s had to develop some sort of discipline to say, “You know I’d love to have this conversation, send me email on Facebook.”  The voice is something that you just can’t wear out. Talking is actually worse than singing.  So yeah, we’re holding up real well!

(VR):  What’s next for the band?  Continue doing what you’re doing?  Keep touring and see how long you can go with this?

Dinning: Yeah, that’s the great thing about doing this ourselves; we get to decide when it’s over. No one in an office somewhere is looking at a balance sheet – and our balance sheet is on the positive side – but no one is looking at it and saying, “We’re not going to put any more money into this.”  It’s up to us. The next single is going to go to radio right after Christmas, we’ve got tour dates in the West…it’s so odd, but we get calls to play on the East Coast all the time, and we have to schedule things more along the West Coast, so finally we’re getting to places like Salt Lake City and Seattle and Portland.  Things are so much more spread apart in the West, it’s harder to tour out here, and there are lots of places. So we invariably fine ourselves going up and down the East Coast and in the Mid West more than we make it out here to the West. But we’re going to do all those places in about two weeks in February and we’re looking forward to summer and the rest of 2014.

http://toadthewetsprocket.com/
https://www.facebook.com/toadthewetsprocketmusic
http://www.twitter.com/toadwetsprocket

Toad the Wet Sprocket

 

Interview – Scotty Morris of Big Bad Voodoo Daddy

One of the hardest working, consistently touring bands around is Ventura’s very own Big Bad Voodoo Daddy (BBVD).  We got wind recently that the band had a new CD and it’s their second Christmas album at that.  I downloaded it from Amazon.com, gave it a listen and quickly got into the holiday spirits.  It’s quintessential Big Bad Voodoo Daddy doing  Christmas classics.  It doesn’t get any cooler than that!  So we  caught up with Scotty Morris (lead vocals, guitar, songwriter, bandleader, all around good guy) to get the lowdown.Big Bad Voodoo DaddyVentura Rocks:  So this is not Big Bad Voodoo Daddy’s first Christmas album.  Why a second one?

Scotty MorrisScotty Morris:  After the first Christmas album was released, we started touring behind it with our “Wild and Swingin Christmas party” and the tour just started to build a really large fan base. Every year it just kept getting bigger and more fun. So after ten years we felt it was time for a facelift.

VR:  How is this one different from the first?

Scotty:  This one is different in many ways, the first being that we tried to focus our attention on some of the more popular tunes, the classics and then try and really stay faithful to our sound, what we thought we could bring to these ‘Very’ recognizable tunes. And secondly and most importantly, we are just a better band then when we made the first one so it’s  just more interesting all in all.

VR:  Are they all Christmas covers?

Scotty: All but one song is a remake, the title track ‘It Feels Like Christmas Time’ it’s the only original tune on the record and probably one of my favorite tunes I have written to date.

VR:  What can people expect to hear?

Big Bad Voodoo DaddyScotty: People can expect to hear BBVD in top gear. This is a very eclectic mix of arrangements of very classic Christmas tunes performed by a band playing in top form. Very fun and really a good balance of what I think we do best.

VR:  BBVD remains a touring powerhouse.  I saw your current schedule, is that to support “It Feels Like Christmas Time” or is that still a typical month for the boys?

Scotty: The Christmas tour in support of ‘It Feels Like Christmas’ started on December 1st and will continue through the end of the year. And yes, that is a pretty typical month for us.
We will be home for Christmas, we fly home dec. 22 and leave again on the 27th, so if you see one of us surfing or at Trader Joe’s and we look a bit tired, you’ll know why:)

VR:  Glad to see you’ll be home for Christmas!   Will Ventura get a chance to see you anytime soon?

Scotty: Our next local performance will be at the Thousand Oaks Performing Art Center for New Year’s Eve. Hope to see Ventura in the house!

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy Official Website

Interview – Immortal Technique with Adam Clark

Immortal Technique photo by Pam Baumgardner

Immortal Technique
photo by Pam Baumgardner

Immortal Technique’s management contacted VenturaRocks.com to see if we’d like to do an interview with Tech when he would be headlining the War and Peace Tour at the Ventura Theater on Thursday, September 12.  We put out our feelers immediately to a couple of artists here in Ventura who know Hip Hop and Rap.  We thought it would be interesting to have one of our local artists conduct the interview and drummer Adam Clark immediately stepped up to the task.

About Immortal Technique:
A Harlem-based emcee who progressed through the ranks of the New York City battle rap scene and found success as a recording artist. Although he is a accomplished lyricist, Immortal Technique is also widely known as a voice of Revolution/activism. The Billboard charting artist has sold over 250,000 records and been hard at work preparing his long awaited 4th album The Middle Passage, and recently released an award winning DVD entitled The (R)evolution of Immortal Technique (directed by Cary Stuart).

About Adam Clark:
Adam arrived on Ventura’s local music scene a little over a year ago and quickly earned a reputation as one of the best jazz drummers on the scene. Ken Winter, writer for L.A. Jazz Scene, wrote recently, “One of the best drummers I have ever heard, Adam Clark, drives any band he plays with.”  Adam quickly became one of the hottest drummers in demand and can be found either playing with Tommy Marsh and Bad Dog, Two Trees, his own Adam Clark Band, along with a number of different projects.
Adam has been a fan of Immortal Technique since 2007 and was well-prepared for the interview.

Interview between Adam Clark and Immortal Technique took place the evening of the Ventura Theater’s War and Peace tour stop on Thursday, September 12, 2013.

NOTE:  This interview has been transcribed and contains adult language that could be offensive to the reader:

Adam Clark:  Today we have one of the most influential hip hop artists of all time and what I consider to be the most thought provoking of all the conscious hip hop MCs of the 21st century, Mr. Immortal Technique.  Thank you for coming to Ventura man and taking the time to do this interview.
As musicians and artists, we always start off as fans of the music, I’d like for the people listening to this interview to get to know who influenced you as a conscious hip hop artist.  Which of the legendary MCs is Immortal Technique a fan of and consequently who should the younger generation of hip hop artists get to know as a foundational artist of hip hop?

Immortal Technique (hereafter “Tech“):  I grew up listening to Miles Davis, Coltrane, Bob Marley, Michael Jackson, Jesus Christ anybody…the Beatles, people rapping on the street corner.  I think for me it was less of listening to it solely on the radio or having 45’s.  I know a lot of people tell me, they’re like, “Oh man, I grew up watching this or doing that.”  For me, I grew up in New York City in the 80s, all I had to do to see hip hop was to walk out my front door.  I didn’t have to fuckin’ buy a CD.  I didn’t have to buy vinyl, I didn’t have to anything.  I had to go to a park on a Friday and people were rapping.  I had to walk down the street towards the high school and people were battling.  You know what I mean?  Obviously, I was exposed to it a lot more as I got older because they let you out of the house, but it was everywhere.  You’d see people beatboxing.  When I started rhyming, I’d tell people I could rhyme every since I was about nine years old.  I started making up rhymes in the car. And it was because brother, back in the day on the radio it wasn’t just Top 40 all the time.  On the radio they actually use to spin breakbeats. But that’s crazy for us to think about now.  Imagine a major radio station here, It’s like “Oh for the next fucking two hours I’m just gonna have a DJ slice up, cut up breakbeats.”  You know, going back and forth. “Hey if anybody’s out there, we got some shit for niggers to rap to.”  That’s unheard of now.  So I think I had the benefit of immersion.
It’s like . . . how come this Rosetta Stone program is working such a slow pace for this kid or he’s got French class, and here’s this other kid, he picked it up like this [snaps his fingers]. Well he lives in France dude, or you dropped him off, you dropped him in some immersion school where people speak nothing but.  So when I was a child, I spoke the language of hip hop.

Adam: Nice. You know they say the best way to learn the language is to move to that country.

Tech: Well the country for hip hop was New York City.

Adam:  Exactly.  For the older generation that didn’t grow up with hip hop music, how would you describe the difference between conscious hip hop and rap, or rhythm and poetry?

Tech: well for me it’s funny, the people always ask me how I feel about that word, that connotation.  I don’t really consider it, what I do conscious music per se.  Because conscious doesn’t really imply that you’re going to do anything. It’s just that you know things. For example, how many people do you think in this city know that their fucking congressman is a crook? Or that the President doesn’t have the people’s best interest in mind when he signs things like the Monsanto Act?  You know what I mean?  How many people know that?  Being conscious of something doesn’t imply that you’re going to do anything about it. Because you’re going to be pacified and placated by all of the amenities of society offers an individual to be lead astray or to be put aside. So for me, I prefer to say that there are people who in my life who influence me to be a revolutionary, to be active. To say you know what? I don’t just want to know what’s wrong, I want to know how it’s been wrong in the past.  I want to know what’s been done about it in the past.  Because all these problems that we see today of a Republic that moves towards empire becomes militarized, you know, that’s part of history.  That’s part of the Roman experience where you can go back 2000 years and see evidence of that.  The problem is that we have a real issue with confront the mythology of America which prevents us from putting things into the proper perspective.  We think that this is the first time we’ve seen this.  We have a tendency to look at other governments and be like, “You guys are really fucked up.  Damn, what a bunch of savages.”  As if we haven’t killed a handful of our presidents, assassinated . . . .  Does that make us savages? We’ve only had twenty years of peace since the Republic was founded in 1776.  Doesn’t that make us warlike and just completely hell bent on our own destruction or the destruction of the world because that’s the ultimate course that non-stop war can only lead us to?  So I think that without considering those particular things, you know I look at myself a lot more as a revolutionary rather than a conscious artists and if I have to explain it to people who didn’t get it, I would say hey listen man, the differences between someone who knows what wrong and someone who’s willing to change it.   You know, someone who knows everything about the world, yeah congratulations! That means you’re the wisest fool in existence.   Because you know everything that could help anybody, and rather than doing something about it, you just keep it to yourself and you’re sitting on a rock doing nothing.

Adam:  Right on man.  Actions speak.   Going back to when you were talking about some of your influences man, that was really cool that you listened to Miles and Coltrane because those guys were heavy influences for me; I went to school for jazz music, so I was always listening to that.

Tech: Well, I use to play jazz trumpet.

Adam: Oh, nice!

Tech: Yeah, when I was a little kid, and my dad had all these little tapes with that stuff on there, and he had an old Chick Corea tape. . . and I’d be like, “Alright cool, I’ll listen to it.” I always liked jazz and I guess since I grew up listening to it because of my father, and then a bunch of oldies, classical music and different sits, so for me, I guess… I mean I can read music, so it’s not like one of these artists that thinks “Oh I’m a musician” and he can’t read music. You don’t know what the fuck you’re doing.  But at some point, when I heard the amount of influence that jazz had on the 80s and 90s hip hop, it was a natural transfer for me.  It was like: Oh! He took that loop and turned it into this, or blues or soul… You know, that’s so natural.

Tech and Adam

Tech and Adam

Adam: Having that musical background shows in your music too.  How important is James Brown’s influence on hip hop as far as his rhythmic and sometimes improvised vocals as well as his drummers such as Clyde Stubblefield.

Tech:  They call him the Grandfather of Hip Hop; and I think that’s the proper terminology. I think his influence is definitely huge. I think also his story mirrors some of the pitfalls that exist in this industry for all artists as well.  You get out of control with drugs and all kinds of other shit, you know not to take away from his legacy but that is also an indicator of things that we need to change about this business.  You know when you get involved, you got to separate the street from the business. You got to learn to separate what you want to do from what you have to do. It feels good to party every night, but you can’t do that if you’re sitting here trying to get something done, if you’re trying to get a project advanced.  I know motherfuckers who go on the road and every night’s a fucking festivity.  (Laughs) And I gotta admit, I don’t mind jumping on the tour for three or four days, but God Dammit, if I’m on that tour for four months, when I get home I won’t know who the fuck I am!  Which is crazy.  I think everything in moderation has to be considered.   But in terms of James Brown’s legacy, like the musical aspects of it, he went through so many periods of change in his sound.  If you go back to the 50s, he’s the same guy singing “Prisoner of Love” and that sounds like some old doo wop shit.  Know what I mean?  He was sitting there, doing a completely different sound and then said, “You know what? I’m going to take this sound now and I’m going to revolutionize it. I’m going to put my best foot forward, I’m going to choreograph all this stuff or I’m going to have this choreographed.  I’m going to have this be spontaneous; I’m going to give it all to the show.”  That was a true showman.  You know what I mean? That was someone when you went to see a show; you got 100% of that man’s mind, body & soul.  You could see almost as if it pained him.  He fell down on his knees and damn near broke his knees sometimes falling down on the floor.  It was like he wanted to hurt himself or sacrifice what he had to show you that the soul in his music is alive in you, even though you didn’t realize it.

Adam:  For sure man, he’s kind of like a fighter who leaves it all in the ring; like no regrets after the show, like gave it complete 100%.   So when it comes to politics in the arts, I think of artists like Fela Kuti, the inventor of Afro Beat music, Zack de la Rocha, Public Enemy, and of course Immortal Technique.  What are some other artists or scholars that influence you and aren’t afraid to speak the truth, that we can be on the lookout for in the 21st century?

Tech: Of course there are greats that are still around like the illustrious Harry Belafonte, I really consider him an absolute pioneer and a great man.  [He’s] someone who reaches out to a younger generation.  There’s Dr. Cornell West who is definitely a positive influence in a lot of things that I do. For some of the people who may not know, in terms of historians, there’s a man by the name of John Henry Clark who passed away but his works are still available.  Incredible historian about antiquity to put life 2000 or 3000 years ago into perfect perspective into how people behaved and what they believed in at that time. You know the origins of Samarian and Mesopotamia and that mythology and confronting the fact that people believed in that, the same way that people believe in Christianity, Judaism and Islam.   And the same way brother, I mean the same fanaticism, the same zealotry and I’m sure the same cynicism from a few people (clapping sarcastically) “Yeah   yeah, I’m here in church doing what I need to do, but I don’t really believe in any of this.”  Because that’s the unspoken truth, it’s the reality behind faith today.
The majority of people who believe in a religion aren’t fanatics at all. You know what I mean? The majority of them are just Christian because their parents were Christian; or Jewish because their parents are Jewish; or Muslim because their parents are Muslim.  It’s not like they had a choice.  You know? It’s not like they sat down one day and took a big book of religions and said, “Oh I like this or that.” No!  You were put into that life homie.  And your parents were put into that life because their people were conquered by someone who had their religion.  It’s wasn’t like someone just prophesied it.  And that’s the majority of the percentage of people who believe in that sort of thing.
But I think reading Mr. Henry Clark’s work  and the fact that he’s from Harlem and that he was one of those people who reached out, like I said, to a lot of younger generation people and said, “You need to listen young brother, we’re not talking about Black history, we’re talking about human history.”  You know, we’re not talking about Indian history, we’re talking about…or about Latino history, we’re talking about indigenous people who lived on this planet who were the first Americans.  Let’s talk about their lives. Let’s talk about the mass defections from European colonies because they didn’t want to live under some rigid you know religiously impressive society; whereas they sought this as a paradise.

Adam:  Nice.  Well to continue Mr. Clark’s knowledge and encouragement to the younger generation, what are some words of encouragement that you could offer to some high school teenagers who may be feeling depressed or maybe misunderstood by their friends or family?

Tech:  I could just tell them, listen man, people always ask me how I feel about younger artists that are doing crazy shit like for example, someone asked me, how you feel about Chief Keef or one of these other artists, and I always say, hey listen dude, how do you expect me to judge somebody who I was probably worse than, when I was a kid?  You know? I definitely carried guns and knives; I had a beef with all kinds of people.  I used to strap a meat cleaver to my forearm. I wasn’t playing. I didn’t give a fuck.  I didn’t give a shit about school.  So I completely understand the worst of the worst of that reality.  What I don’t understand and what I can’t understand is not having, for example, things like a father. I had a father and you know, he’s a really hard man on me, but he told me one thing that always stick in my mind, is the only thing you can control about your kids is who you have them with. Because they’re going to grow up to do whatever they want to do.  You know? And at some point, irrespective in as much love and affection as you give, all that, I think I can control you and manipulate your life, you know kids aren’t stupid.  They start to see through that shit. You know kids are tired of being talked about in the third person.  Like, “Oh yeah, he’s such a good kid.”  I’m right here motherfucker.  Why you talking about me like I don’t exist? And then you expect me to exist and be everything that you want me to be.  You don’t have to be anything that someone wants you to be. As long as you’re successful doing what you love to do.  Motherfucker, if you want to paint.  Paint.  But fucking learn how to paint!  Or you know what?  If you’re going to do a job or you have a dream? Always have a side gig.  I remind people, dude, from my personal experience I didn’t just jump into rap and expect someone to pay my fucking bills, I didn’t just leach off a woman like some fucking deadbeat coward. No dude! I had a part time job.  Three days out of the week I had to be at some place from nine o’clock in the morning until fucking six p.m. at night, working at some bullshit office.  Not because I wanted to, but because I had to pay these bills, you know? I pretended I didn’t speak English to work at some sweatshop, so I could get the money for fucking Revolutionary Vol 1.   I invested in the most important dream.  My dream.  You know, not somebody else’s pipedream. That’s what I tell kids.   And get your fucking side gig on my nigger. If you want to get your job done, if you have a dream, you want to start a low-rider business, you want to start a promotional company, you want to be a fucking artist like I said, or a DJ, you want to be a journalist, you want to fly airplanes. . . whatever the fuck you want to do man, realistically speaking, have something that’s going to help you learn discipline, that’s going to provide you with money to feed your family and yourself, all that.  But do it in conjunction with what you’re doing.  Learn two skills not just one.  Don’t devote yourself to the dream until you’re ready to give up that other life; or rather don’t give up that other life until you’re willing and capable of devoting yourself to the dream.  Because there was a point in my life where I finally said, OK, this is starting to pop off for me. I’m starting to get offers for shows a lot. I’m starting to get people who want to buy my CD.  I’m looking at getting some distribution.  Or I can tell all this to fuck off and go back to going to college part time or working part time for the next three or four years.  What’s it going to be? I took my shot.  But you know what?  I took my shot after aiming for about a year and half of what the fuck I wanted to do.   Fire with conviction.

Adam: Smart way to be. What advice could you give to a younger independent MC?  For instance, now that you have hindsight as an independent artist, what are some problems you have encountered, and furthermore what are some of the solutions to those problems?

Tech:  Sometimes it’s not great to do business with friends and family, because it’s harder to fire friends and family. And sometimes, people just need to be fired. Learn the business. Fuck the art and all that other shit, if you want to do this as your life, that’s only one side of this, as fucked up as this sounds.  You know, I’m not saying, fuck art. I’m saying your art will be fucked if you don’t learn the business.  That’s what I’m telling you.  I’m telling you that having great power without perception is not just economically and politically, it’s also spiritually useless.  If you’re going to be put in that position, you know, that’s your livelihood. You have to ensure you’re not the one that’s used; you have to ensure the people aren’t manipulating you for your music to go somewhere.  Let’s say you’re song is about artist freedom, and then someone wants to get it to be on like a cigarette commercial. So what you really do my nigger? (laughs and says sarcastically) “Wow! You’re really free sucking on that cancer stick bro.”  And at some point, what are you really going to do with what you’ve done?  Consider that. Consider what impact you want your music to make with other people.  Do you want to inspire or change?  Or do you not care and just want to get the money?  I mean answer these questions honestly.  You don’t have to answer to me.  Fuck me, you don’t care about me and my opinions are useless.   Answer them for yourself. If you’re in hip hop to get women, then you’re a fucking idiot, you know?   You should be doing Salsa, or some sort of Spanish music; (laughs) because the amount of women at those shows far outweigh anything you’re going to see in hip hop.   You know, if you’re going to do music because you want money, then more likely to [sic] get a job being a lawyer, or doing some other shit because that’s a guaranteed payday. As oppose to this which is not a guaranteed payday. Not always.  The people you see on TV are not the rule. They’re the exception to the rule. And everything is political about it.  So I tell people regardless of what you think is the measure of success, realize that’s only something that is applicable to your life.  And I tell artists all the time if you’re not going to participate in getting that business right, then you will find yourself taken advantage of.  You will find yourself being a pawn in someone else’s game, unfortunately.  I definitely have experienced people trying to control my career and that’s why I remain independent, that’s why I work with people I trust.  And it also helps to be around motherfuckers that known you for a long time, and they can tell you about yourself.  You know if you surround yourself with a bunch of yes men, then you’re never really going to have perspective.  You’ll just have people who agree with all the bad decisions you make.   That’s all I can tell you bro.

Adam:  Right on.  Cool.  Thanks for your time and for speaking with us.

Adam, Tech and Pam

Adam, Tech and Pam

Pam (sneaking in at end of interview):  Can I ask a question?  What do you hope the kids take away from your show?  What do you hope to inspire in them?

Tech:  See that’s one thing I’ve always kind of left up to them, because people have used it for so many different things.  I just say that I hope that it inspires some positive thing in their life, or inspires them to confront some negative things in their life.  I’ve had people come up to me and say, “I really wished that you had been there for me.” And I’d be, “I don’t know you.” “Yeah but like your music, I wish I had it when I was 12.  Some really fucked up things were happening in my own house.  I found a way to confront it and found that it wasn’t my own fault.  Through your music.”  If I could do that for people, if I can make them confront their demons and show them that if they call them by their name, then they have no power.  That’s the way you caste the devil out. You call it by its name.   You can’t stop being an alcoholic until you admit you have a problem with alcohol.   You can’t stop being a drug addict until you admit that you have a problem with drugs.

Pam:  Nicely put.  Thank you.

TECH:
www.twitter.com/ImmortalTech
www.ViperRecords.com
www.MySpace.com/ImmortalTechnique

ADAM:
www.twitter.com/AdamClarkDrums
https://www.facebook.com/AdamClarkDrums
www.LosAngelesDrummer.com

Photos of that evening’s concert plus a few with fans and Tech after we did the interview:

 

Interview – Lee Koch

Interview with Lee Koch
9/19/12

Ventura Rocks sat down with Lee Koch just after his sound check before his show at Zoey’s recently.Lee Koch

Ventura Rocks:  Ok, let’s just get this out of the way right now.  Now do you pronounce your last name?

Lee: Cook, like C.O.O.K.

Ventura Rocks:  Doesn’t look like that at all.

Lee:  Not at all. K.O.C.H., but I believe I’ve come across other people over the past few years that spell and pronounce their name the same way.  I never thought I’d meet another person who spells and pronounces their name the same way except my family.

Ventura Rocks: And where are you from originally?

Lee: Temecula, California.

Ventura Rocks: Do they have a big music scene there in Temecula?

Lee: No. Not at all!  There are touring acts who play like at the casinos around there, but that’s about it.  And then there are bar bands and cover bands, but there’s no venues like Zoey’s here [in Ventura], where you can pay ten bucks and see a really great band you’ve never heard of.

Ventura Rocks: Right!

Lee: Actually one day my wife and I hope to do something like that some down there in that area.

VR: Your own club?

Lee:  Keep in touch with Polly and Steve [Zoey’s owners].

Ventura Rocks: Absolutely!

Lee: They’ll show us how to do it out in that area and guide us.

[At this point Nicole Koch stops by and gives hubby a kiss.  Nicole is pregnant with their first baby, and she is glowing! After Nicole walks away Lee is now glowing as much as his wife.]

Ventura Rocks: Your first?

Lee: Yea.  We’re about halfway, she’s due February 1st.

Ventura Rocks: (Don’t you love when the man uses “we” when referring to pregnancy? Their love for one another is almost tangible!)  Wow! Congratulations!  Do you know if it’s a girl or a boy?

Lee: No! We’re going to wait. We like surprises.

Ventura Rocks: You crazy kids.

(laugh)

Ventura Rocks:  Well that’s awesome.

Lee: Yea, we’re excited.

Ventura Rocks: How long have you been married?

Lee:  Two and half years.

Ventura Rocks: Well that’s super cool.

Lee: Yea, a lot of pivotal happenings going on right now with music, and obviously a baby; it’s good; it feels like you’re really living life.  After being on the road, and then getting that news and doing that whole surreal TV thing!

Ventura Rocks:  So tell me how the “TV thing” came about.

Lee: Well actually I had stepped out of music to pursue a bakery with my wife and my older brother.  I have friends who already run one in Temecula so I worked there to educate ourselves so one day we could open one of our own.

Ventura Rocks: Now are you a baker or a business people?

Lee: Neither.

Ventura Rocks: (laughs) I’M A MUSICIAN!

Lee: Yea! But we just wanted to try a different avenue and we’re both hard workers and we thought we’d collect some business savvy along the way.  We already learned how to bake decently.  And then The Voice came along with an email from a guy who manages the runner up from the first season.  His girlfriend saw me do a show at Zoey’s, she bought a CD and brought it back home to him and said, “You gotta listen to this guy”.  At that time, his artist, Dia Frampton, was doing really well, she had an indie sort of voice and she ended up taking 2nd place on The Voice.  So her manager sent me this email, and I wrote back and said, “Thanks anyway, but I’m getting into baking and I’m not really going to perform music anymore.  You know, I’ll always write, but not perform anymore.

Ventura Rocks: You were really thinking you’d never perform again?

Lee:  Yea, I had actually quit.  I performed my last show at Zoey’s as a performing musician.

Ventura Rocks: Wasn’t that hard?

Lee: Kind of, but I never get too hung up on stuff.  You hear people say that they’re going to make it no matter what, against all odds, and that’s great, more power to them. I love hearing success stories.  But I don’t really beat things over the head.  I kind of do it until it gets exhausting.

Ventura Rocks: Do it as long as it feels right?

Lee:  Yea, I think I just felt stuck doing the local bar scene and I had come full circuit.  I love all those places and I’m so happy I got to meet all the great people I had, but I think I was just done after five years of doing it. I did an album I was really proud of and I said I did my music thing, now let’s see what else I can do.  I’d still do music for myself, my family and my friends.

Ventura Rocks: So you said no to The Voice.

Lee: Yea, I said no, and then he got back to me again and he said it seems like you have nothing to lose, why don’t you  try it out and maybe it will get you a couple of cool shows and sell some CDs from it, and get you a little bit of exposure.  So I said, Yea, he’s right, it would probably be fun and what if I actually got on TV; that would be a trip!  Something to tell my kids. And so it happened…barely, by the skin of my teeth.  There were 120 people that it got whittled down to that did the blind audition. I probably was like the 90th person to go and by then I thought all the teams would be full, but I grabbed the 48th spot out of 48th.

As soon as I made it onto a team, Nicole and I agreed that that was kind of the push we would need, the exposure we would need to get back into music and give it one more go. For all that to happen and to not try to jump back into music, it would almost be arrogant in a way.  Oh yea I could do this, but I’m not gonna… you know, people would kill to get that kind of exposure.

Ventura Rocks: Absolutely.

Lee:  It would almost disrespect the people that have been so supportive of my music by not pursuing it again.  And I thought, that’s not really my style. A lot of people had my back and a lot of people really supported me during the show. So the only thing to do, and the right thing to do would be hit the road again.  We hit the road in March, so that we’d be cross country while my episodes were airing, and that’s exactly how it played out.  A lot of people recognized me because the show was fresh, and I got to play a lot of venues that I would not have been able to otherwise. I pulled The Voice card and even if it’s not my idea of validation of good music. It’s still other people’s.  If someone famous tells them it’s good, then they believe it’s good. If that’s how they think of me as a good musician, then I’ll take it and I’ll go play for them and share my original stuff.  That was my main goal, to get my written stuff out there.

Ventura Rocks: What size audiences have you been playing for?

Lee: Some festivals with about 1200 people, but I’m use to 50-100. So anytime there’s a few hundred people, that’s a good size crowd for me.  I’m still an unknown in the industry for sure, even after being on national TV.  A lot of people are on national TV nowadays, it gets played up and a lot of the other contestants are like, “As soon as I get on NBC, I’ll be famous.  It’s surefire.”  But I didn’t’ think that going into it. There were a lot of people that were let down as they were getting eliminated, but I was totally content because I knew I would just run with the momentum until it stopped and then hopefully we had built our own organic momentum.  That’s kind of where it’s going.

Ventura Rocks:  You already had so many people who believed in you.

Lee: Yea definitely, the fans I do have, are super supportive, they’re like super fans…but not in a weird way like where they stalk me. I know most of them personally and they have become friends, some of my best friends these days are people that we’ve met at shows.  We just kept in touch and they really connected with my lyrics we usually have a lot in common, it’s just really cool.   So I just got to show some respect to them by continuing to do this music.  Like I said, I will always write, but I’m going to keep recording and performing for those people who want to come out; they really long to hear me play these songs, which is really flattering.

Ventura Rocks: You have a new project you’re working on now?

Lee:  A new album.  I’m going to go in next month where I did my debut album with Jesse Siebenberg and use pretty much the same formula, I’m going to introduce about 10-12 new songs. And we’re just going to build them with some great musicians that we know and some new ones who have freed up recently.

Ventura Rocks:  So the tour is wrapping up?

Lee:  The tours been great.  We’ve been on the road since March; we went up to Alaska, across the South to the East coast and back to do this West coast tour for the last two months.   So from March until now, mid September, we’ve only been home for about a month.

Ventura Rocks: You’re wife has been on the road with you?

Lee:  Oh yeah.  That’s the only way we’d do it. As long as we’re together whether it’s baking or music, we just want to be together, and now with our little baby.  Any extra money that we raise from this fundraiser that we’re doing through Kickstarter, which is done in four days…

Ventura Rocks:  How far are you away from your goal?

Lee:  We’re two-thirds.  We’re at 16 grand, we need 24.  If we do go over, by the grace of God, we’re going to put it towards a small motor home and take the baby out after the next album is done, and just keep doing this as a family.  And whatever musicians are brave enough to come along with the baby…we’ll see!


Lee Koch Note:  Lee made is target on his birthday 46 hours before the deadline.  Total pledges after all was said and done were $25,360.  Looking forward to the new release and watching Lee hit the road with family in tow…as long as it feels right.

We hope it’s for a very long time.

Interview – Camper Van Beethoven

Interview with David Lowery
8/27/12

Camper Van Beethoven (CVB) will be releasing their forthcoming studio album, La Costa Perdida on January 22, 2013.  This will mark the first studio album they’ve recorded together since 2004’s New Roman Times!

Camper Van Beethoven

Camper Van Beethoven – photo credit: Jason Thrasher

Ventura will be the first of three shows in preparation for PioneerTown Palace, the band’s 8th annual end of summer camp out near Joshua Tree.

Ventura Rocks:  We caught both Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven last summer for Indie West Fest at the Fairgrounds.  It was extremely cool being able to see both bands on the same bill.  And now Camper is returning for an intimate show at Zoey’s.

David Lowery:  Yea, We really enjoyed that.  There’s a long history between Camper and Cracker stopping there in Ventura playing the Ventura Theater and even before in some weird places in some small bar off of downtown in the 80’s with Camper.  So a lot of history with the area.

Ventura Rocks:  You have a new album coming out.  Can you let Camper fans know what to expect along with trying to explain the vibe that is Camper Van Beethoven to those who are not familiar with the band?

David Lowery:    Well Camper Van Beethoven originally came out of the punk rock alternative scene.  We have a lot of sort of exotic sort of folky / hillbilly, old gypsy music sort of element to what we’ve always done.  I don’t know how that all really came about.  We just kind of mixed those things together…the punk and early alternative sort of folky things.  And we’ve had an enduring following since the mid 80’s all over the world.

This album we have coming out, it’s pretty much laid right up the middle of what Camper does.   It’s a lot like our other records, but there is a sort of California scene to the whole record.  We’re not sure how that came out, it’s not a “California Girls” sort of record, but maybe a “Northern California Girls.”

Ventura Rocks:  What can we expect at Zoey’s?

David Lowery:  We’ll be playing a half a dozen songs off the new album a dozen or so off all the other albums.  It will be a good mixed bag.  We haven’t played in a few months.  We have our festival that happens that weekend out at Pioneertown out by Joshua Tree

Ventura Rocks:  Yea, it sounds amazing.  How many people do you get up there?

David Lowery:  It’s not a really big place.  It only really holds about 700 people in the immediate area, so we sell 700 tickets, sometimes more people show up.

We’ve been doing it for eight years now. It’s a lot of fun.   But we were thinking we needed to do some warm up shows before this.  Cracker has been playing all summer but Camper Van Beethoven hasn’t been playing.  And so we wanted to do some warm up shows and we’ve had a long history of playing in Ventura so we thought we’d would play there.  Plus I don’t know if people know this, but the crew that works for us are all actually from “The Nard” or Ventura.

Ventura Rocks:  (laughs) That’s right!  The Nard.  So how much social media does Camper use?

David Lowery:  We use all that stuff.  You know it’s not like Camper Van Beethoven is all over the Television or the Radio, so this is the way they find out about us.


Camper Van Beethoven will be playing at Zoey’s on Monday, September 10, 2012.  Visit Zoey’s official website for more information and to GET YOUR TICKETS NOW.


CamperVanBeethoven.com

Facebook/CamperVanBeethoven

DavidLoweryMusic.com

David’s now infamous blog on: TheTrichordist

Twitter:
DavidCLowery
CamperBeethoven
TheBandCracker