FLABmag 2010 - 2013


 

From 2010 -2013 this was FLABmag's website.
Content is from the FLABmag's 2011 - 2013 archived pages offering a glimpse of what thsi site offered its readership.



PODCASTS & SUNDRY FOR DISCRIMINATING SMART ASSES

 

About

FLABmag is an arts & culture magazine & podcast created by Maria Colon in 2010.  It began on the east coast but is now based in California. It has also seen many contributors come and go, but Maria and Gabe Hernandez (producer and contributing writer) remain, producing podcasts and the rest of the regularly posted content seen here.

The content is now mostly long-form podcast conversations with musicians and visual artists.  There are also Q&As, concert reviews, album reviews and essays from years past in the archives, but moving forward content will be largely of the audio variety.

This magazine/interview/conversational show was created with the discriminating smart ass in mind.

 


 

 

POSTS

 

Mark G by Paul LaRaia

Interview With A Drummer: Mark Giuliana

May 31, 2013

Improvisational Jazz  drummer, Mark Giuliana takes a few moments to break down his practice and philosophy in this week’s installment of “Interview With A Drummer.”  An an economy of words to match his beats.


FLABmag: When and why did you start playing drums?

Mark Giuliana: I started playing drums in 1995. My cousin was playing around that time and I remember going to his house and playing a little bit. It was nothing more than some innocent fun.

FLABmag: What, if anything, transpired to keep you playing all these years?

Mark Giuliana: The empowering feeling of creating something that I believe in.

FLABmag: What was your first kit and, who, or how, did you pay for it?

Mark Giuliana: My parents graciously bought me a Pearl Export drum set from Ritchie’s Music Center in NJ.

FLABmag: Spec out the kit(s) you are currently playing on – if there is significance to the set-up, in terms of sound or the genre of music you are currently making, please note it as well.

Mark Giuliana:

Drums: Yamaha Maple Custom Absolute
20” kick
14” snare
14” floor tom

Cymbals:,Sabian
14” artisan hi hats
18” legacy crash with holes
21” prototype ride
variety of 10” and 12” stack combinations

Heads: Evans
Sticks: Vic Firth 85A

FLABmag: What are your thoughts (philosophies or opinions) on the “natural ability” vs. “practiced player” discourse surrounding percussion?

Mark Giuliana: I believe that neither can stand alone – it’s the marriage of the two that creates greatness.

FLABmag: I’ve heard many stories from musicians who have said they were “spiritually called” to play their instrument. Playing along with this idea, were you called to play drums? If so, was this something that happened early in your career or later? What did it sound (feel) like?

Mark Giuliana: I don’t feel that I was “spiritually called” to play the drums. I do, however, feel very lucky and grateful to have found something that I love, and get the chance to do it everyday.

FLABmag: What makes a player a “legend” or “great”?

Mark Giuliana: Commitment, un-compromised creativity, and serious amounts of hard work.

FLABmag: Can a woman ever be as great a player as a man?

Mark Giuliana: Of course.

FLABmag: What kind of drummer do you aspire to be?

Mark Giuliana: An honest one.

FLABmag: How often do you practice? If you don’t, why? If you do, what aspects of drumming do you practice the most often?

Mark Giuliana: I practice as often as I can, which isn’t as often as I’d like. Most of what I do is on a practice pad and consists of very basic, rudimental things. I do the things I’ve been practicing since I was in high school – singles, doubles, rolls, flams, etc – all things that can always improve and keep me in shape.

FLABmag: Do you rent rehearsal space or are you the neighborly nuisance?

Mark Giuliana: Rehearsal space.

FLABmag: Even at this stage in your career, do you occasionally take lessons with a professional instructor?

Mark Giuliana: I haven’t taken a formal lesson in awhile, but I’m lucky to be friends with a lot of musicians that I really admire, and therefore get the chance to pick their brains on a regular basis. Some of my heroes have become some of my best friends.

FLABmag: Have you had, or currently have, any physical difficulties from playing and what have you done to alleviate them?

Mark Giuliana: No…knock on wood.

FLABmag: Given the instrument is physically taxing do you have a health regimen you employ to maintain stamina and strength?

Mark Giuliana: Nothing too specific. I do my best to eat healthy and get to the gym a few times a week.

FLABmag: What was the first instance in which you managed to play a song in its entirety without missing a note? What song was it?

Mark Giuliana: I don’t think that has ever happened. The majority of the music I play is highly improvised, so I don’t know what notes to play until they are played.

FLABmag: Was there ever an instance onstage you knew you were going to be sick or were feeling extremely fatigued? What did you do about it? Did you leave the stage or keep playing?

Mark Giuliana: I got very sick while on tour in Europe a couple years ago, and had to get an I.V. backstage before a gig in Innsbruck. I looked and felt horrible, but managed to get through the gig, and the remaining 10 days of the tour. It was an experience I would like to forget, but never will.

FLABmag: After all these years: How’s your hearing?

Mark Giuliana: Thankfully, my hearing is in good shape. I always wear earplugs in rehearsals, and I’ve been trying to wear them on gigs more often.

 


 

SK_photo

Podcast #0010: Sonny Kay

May 29, 2013

This week’s guest is multi-media artist/singer/entrepreneur/art director/fellow college alumni Sonny Kay, who is perhaps best known for starting the fabled indie label, Gold Standard Laboratories, and being the creator of some  pretty legendary The Mars Volta album artwork.

We discuss that (though not to the extent warranted) and his career as a lover of punk rock, and a whole bunch of rambling on about life in Boulder, Colorado circa the 90s. Seriously, if you’re wistful about your days at ole CU, then this will be a pleasant podcast for you to listen to, if not, too bad. It was pleasant for me to stroll down memory lane with someone who was there at the same time I was.

Sadly, we never met…or did we? Listen to find out…

Music featured in this podcast includes “Pre-Super Model” by Angel Hair/images and “Swift Kicks” by The VSS off Nervous Circuits/images – both can be purchased on Amazon/images.


Jon_Sortland

Interview With A Drummer: Jon Sortland

May 24, 2013

Jon Sortland is a native Grass Valley in Northern Californian. He’s been playing drums in and around the Sacramento area for close to 20 years and is currently in a band with long time friends, Jonathan Hischke and Brian Belier called EV KAIN. I gave him our questionnaire and he happily provided his 15 cents!

FLABmag: When and why did you start playing drums?

Jon Sortland: I was kinda cursed in a way.  In the late 80s I lived in Grass Valley, CA.  It was said to be one of the most conservative counties in CA back then.  I rode a skateboard, which in the eyes of the jocks and coaches, was a crying shame.  In their eyes I was a waste of my God given endowment as an oversized boy (6’5” and growing) to play some form of “ball”.  Around 1987, at age 15, I encountered Matt Wedgley.  He was or still is one of those encyclopedia types that knows every band and album title down to the lyrics, (We didn’t have Youtube or even an internet then).  He would hassle me endlessly about my bad hair metal cassettes.  Not real metal, hair metal.  Not even real hair metal, more like White Lion and Quiet Riot.

The great opportunity for Wedge to wake me up came when Wedge forced me to see “Youth of Today” live in Nevada City.  It was my first live show and it was terrifying and exhilarating.  No power ballads or flicking tongues and hot licks – just raw sonic bludgeoning.  They were a phenomenal force of pure adrenalin.  I never heard music the same way again.   I started banging on paint buckets.  I was told that a 10 gallon paint bucket perfectly fits a 14” snare head.  I set up a tuppeware/bucket kit.   I kept seeing this dude in high school that had been bringing his guitar to school with a pocket rocker headphone amp on his belt and some skate shoes (Scot Pickering).  I said. “Do you like punk?” He said “Sure”.  We started a band with my buddy Wedge on the mic since he knew so many lyrics.   So with the early formation of the band we went to see the Santa Cruz, SST band “BL’AST” play Rollins Lake in Grass Valley.  They tore it up so hard.  It was the next level of desire to do what I was witnessing on that stage. Mom and Grandma drove me to Sacramento to get my first kit from a Sacramento newspaper Want Ad the day after the BL’AST show.

We named our band “Circus Tents” and played Cattle Club in Sacto very frequently as well as all over our little town and even out to Gilman St a few times.

/images

FLABmag: What, if anything, transpired to keep you playing all these years?

Jon Sortland: Nothing satisfies that urge like the drums do for me.  I have tried and may keep trying to start bands or make recordings, as anything other than the drummer, but it is very hard to let go of that role.  It is a language that I have a better handle on than any other language I dabble in.  Such as writing or talking.

/images

FLABmag: What was your first kit and, who, or how, did you pay for it?

Jon Sortland: It was a grey, 5-piece Tama Swing Star with a set of Paiste Rude Cymbals.  Hat, crash, ride for $350.00.

/images

FLABmag: Spec out the kit(s) you are currently playing on – if there is significance to the set-up, in terms of sound or the genre of music you are currently making, please note it as well.

Jon Sortland:  Ok, a gear head I am not.  But lets try:  Fibes Crystalite: I stopped using all but the 26” bass drum.  It’s accompanied now with a 14” Roto tom rack and 16” Roto tom floor.  Left of the Paiste 13” 2002 series hats I have a 10” tom to add a little fruit to my cocktail, if the Roto’s aren’t enough.   Just got a 20” Paiste 2002 crash/ride.   (BTW I see Eric Gardner has touched down here before me.  I totally stole the Roto aesthetic from him. Thanks Eric!  ;)

Really though, those Roto’s have some kind of orangutan clang as opposed to too many years spent with sonic boom and all attack.  I’m so tired of “Power rock” tones.  Who knows what tomorrow brings with my constant new inspirations.  Reverb on snare? Hope not.  Probably though.  Oh god.  If I still had hair I’m sure my 12th grade shaved sides with long top would be back in effect too.

/images

FLABmag: What are your thoughts (philosophies or opinions) on the “natural ability” vs. “practiced player” discourse surrounding drummers?

Jon Sortland: Here’s the deal.  I think, if confident enough, we can all respect each other.  I tend to see perfect chops and say “Oh he must have had marching band in HS” and I think they may see me and say “Wow he’s sloppy but he has heart.”  I don’t know.  I remember friends that still can’t really play drums but could pay “wipeout” on their knees in PE and I couldn’t really do it.  Didn’t feel very natural to play drums for me.  Though once I caught the fever for it, it seemed to start happening very fast.  Maybe because the band was super fast.  I don’t know.  There are perfect emulators and there are those who innovate, then those who play very simple patterns but those patterns, no matter how simple, are perfect and sometimes I envy that ability.  It’s art in my world.

/images

FLABmag: I’ve heard many stories from musicians who have said they were “spiritually called” to play their instrument. Playing along with this idea, were you called to play drums? If so, was this something that happened early on or later? What did it sound (feel) like?

Jon Sortland: I spend so much time on other instruments.  I just recently felt some call to own this role for myself and start mixing new ideas into the pot.  I’m feeling like there is something bigger to say but I have not harnessed it.  It’s like the verge of some notion or unlocking of rhythms that are scratching at the door.  I gotta get closer physically to the rhythms in my head.  So yea.  There is a call.

/images

FLABmag: Can someone who didn’t have the hand of god reach down and move them to play drums develop the skills to play on the level of Tony Williams or Neil Peart? Or did these players posses something innate (pre-ordained by god) that cannot be learned?

Jon Sortland: It seems like these moments come by like comets.  It’s really too overwhelming for me to fathom how big these moments have been throughout history.  I’m typing these answers now midair on a trip home from NYC to SF and the last thing I did was make the tourist stop at Strawberry Fields in Central park.  At some point I was struck once again with how large that moment was in time when the Beatles came together.  Peart happened upon that role.  Would he have thrived as an already great drummer if he hadn’t met the other two?  Sure? Maybe not?  It seems like he answered the call and that quest lead him on a trip that he commanded by going deeper and deeper.  Now he will go down as an incredible innovator.  It all came together for them.  Perhaps he was the right mind for that journey and seized it.  Took it to a level.   I think with that strong sense of going deeper and being unafraid we can all take the call.  But there is only one Peart.

FLABmag: What makes a player a “legend” or “great”?

Jon Sortland: I guess when this person has something that speaks or articulates something that so many people resonate with.  Often the ones who really get it are crafters themselves and they carry on so many of the traits they lifted from the legend which ultimately lends to the legendary status.

FLABmag: Can a woman ever be as great a player as a man? Name one female player who is destined for greatness.

Jon Sortland: I’ve been amazed by so many ripping females.  My fiancé, Micayla Grace, is an incredible musician, and the drummer of her band, Clear Plastic, is a female by the name of Lia Braswell, she straight up rips.  I was also raised by a gang of earth shaping women.  This world will one day be ruled entirely by woman.

FLABmag: What kind of drummer do you aspire to be?

Jon Sortland: I want to have a quick but excellent rhythmic answer to any riff thrown my way and always be challenged to the end of this stroll on earth.

FLABmag: How often do you practice? If you don’t, why?  If you do, what aspects of drumming do you practice the most?

Jon Sortland: I never practice.  I just go to band practice.  This is a realization I’ve had so I just bought an electronic kit for my basement office.  Now, 1 month later, I can’t get enough.  I have my acoustic kit set up way across town so it’s just not practical to drive out and play with any regular schedule.  So lately I just YouTube song bits I love and play along.  Been digging the Meters, Cactus “Evil”, I never listened to Bonham much but recently stumbled upon “Fool in the Rain” which lead to Bernard Perdy which spun me back to Toto.  It just spirals.  I find that I’m less attracted to drum fills after playing a lot of fast fills in other past bands, so I’m drawn more so to creative patterns.

FLABmag: Do you rent rehearsal space or are you the neighborly nuisance?

Jon Sortland: Yea all the above.  My electro kit is still loud and echos through the hall but I am the building manager at the moment.  Nobody complains.  Real drums and studio is really where it’s at for me though.

FLABmag: Even at this stage in your career, do you occasionally take lessons with a professional instructor?

Jon Sortland: I do not take lessons.  There is so much to learn and I certainly could benefit from it but I think I would take piano lessons first.

FLABmag: Have you had, or currently have, any physical difficulties from playing and what have you done to alleviate them?

Jon Sortland: I’m hoping that the practicing that I’ve started making a more regular commitment, I’ll be able to stop hitting my hands, nose and legs with sticks in the heat of battle.  So aside from walking away from a show with my ass kicked I don’t have too much trouble.

FLABmag: Given the instrument is physically taxing do you have a health regimen you employ to maintain stamina and strength?

Jon Sortland: I tend to hold my breath and then when my big vocal part comes up I am totally winded and vocally weak.  My good buddy, and a ripping drummer, John Clardy, told me yoga could help with controlling the breathing.  He’s a fierce beast of a drummer so I know he knows what he’s talking about.  Thank you Dr. Clardy.

FLABmag: What was the first instance in which you managed to play a song in its entirety without missing a note? What song was it?

Jon Sortland: Never have.  I learn other people’s songs on guitar and entertain myself for days but I don’t know any drum covers.  I can do some version to play along but I just never do that.  I definitely lift ideas from my heroes.  I learned so much from RKL “Greatest Hits” Live Berlin album.  Bomer was incredible.  Bits n pieces of great moments have taught me a lot.

FLABmag: Was there ever an instance onstage you knew you were going to be sick or were feeling extremely fatigued? What did you do about it? Did you leave the stage or keep playing?

Jon Sortland: Funny you ask this question.  SO many times I have nearly fainted.  It’s the breathing issue.  In my old band CigaR, I would just get overwhelmed by adrenalin.  Going for it fast and hitting hard then hit a long drawn out vocal harmony and actually see stars.  I’ve nearly passed out several times.  I let my arms take over and I kinda double over like I’ve been shot and look like I’ve been tossed on a horse that’s fleeing a gun fight for a song or 2 then back to normal.

FLABmag: Is it true drummers have superiority complexes specifically derived from being in much better shape than most people, especially fellow band members?

Jon Sortland: HA! I’m sure a lead singer started that rumor.

FLABmag: How often do you glance in the mirror and say, “Damn I have great __________!”

Jon Sortland: “…obstacles to overcome.” Everyday.

FLABmag: After all these years: How’s your hearing?

Jon Sortland: I can hear well enough to know that Counting Crows are playing in the background somewhere and it’s making my skin crawl.

 


qotsa

Queens Of The Stone Age Live on NPR/images

May 22, 2013

 

NPR’s First Listen will stream the sold out QOTSA show at the Wiltern in Los Angeles live online as a videocast/images.  Gig starts 8pm PST/11pm EST.

The band will play the entirety of the upcoming release, Like Clockwork, and some older tunes as well.

The record can be pre-ordered on CD and vinyl now from Amazon/images and from iTunes/images.

NOTE: iTunes pre-orders will immediately receive “My God Is The Sun.”


reptiel_outside

Podcast #0009: Brian Weaver

May 22, 2013

Welcome to this week’s podcast. Our guest is Brian Weaver, the bassist for Reptiel, a band based out of San Francisco Bay Area.  I “discovered” REPTIEL/images through the magic of spam emails, or rather, Brian sent me an unsolicited email that included a download to their 2010 self-titled debut, a musical effort I compared to “Jefferson Airplane meets the The Yardbirds mixed strangely with Captain & Tennille.” That is to say, it was way out there, defying categorization and listener comprehension – it turns out several of the songs are sung on foreign languages, and apparently, not very well. At least according to Brian.

Now they have a sophomore effort, Violent Sagas of the Ancients.  Of course, Brian sent me email to let me know.  This latest effort can easily be described as “Prog Fantasy,” as the themes mimic  tropes readily found in your Lord of the Rings/images and Game of Thrones/images type sagas. Turns out these guys are a bunch of Sci Fi/Fantasy nerds!

So, if you’re interested in that sort of thing, and surely you’ve become a GOT addict via the HBO series/images, then you’ll love this bizarrely circuitous, religion as fantasy heavy conversation.

Brian Weaver on the Interwebs:

Reptiel on Bandcamp/images | Cubby Control Records

 


cindy on gretsch_gregoryfranz

Interview With A Drummer: Cindy Blackman Santana

May 10, 2013

Cindy Blackman Santana is probably known to most in pop culture as the drummer for Lenny Kravitz in the 90s, but she has had a long and storied career as a jazz drummer backing the likes of Cassandra Wilson, Angela Bofil, Bill Laswell, Joe Henderson, to name a few. She was mentored by Tony Williams, who is her main musical influence, and holds the firm belief that jazz is the highest form of music a drummer can performs because of the creativity it requires.

She is this week’s featured drummer, answering FLAB Magazine’s 20-Question Questionaire regarding her evolution and perspectives as a drummer.

FLABmag: When and why did you start playing drums?

Cindy Blackman Santana: From my earliest memories of hearing music, I remember that the drums always stood out and resonated with me. I loved their sound as well as their rhythmic nature.

FLABmag: What, if anything, transpired to keep you playing all these years?

Cindy Blackman Santana: The love of making music and expressing/channeling it through the drums has always inspired me, as has (especially in the last 10 years or so) being able to touch people’s heart and make them feel good.

FLABmag: What was your first kit and how did you pay for it?

Cindy Blackman Santana: My parents first bought me toy drum kits & then student model kits. However, my first professional kit was a Slingerland. To pay for it I had a job babysitting for an entire summer. At the end if the summer I was a little bit short of the total so my Mom helped me by covering the remainder of the balance.

FLABmag: Spec out the kit(s) you are currently playing on – if there is significance to the set-up, in terms of sound or the genre of music you are currently making, please note it as well.

Cindy Blackman Santana: Lately I play on either a 4 piece kit with an 18”, 22” or 24″ bass drum, 8×12, 14×14 & a 6 1/2 x14 snare. I add a 9×13 Tom to that for a 5 piece or … I play a 7 piece by adding a 16×16 and 16×18 to what is listed above. I play any of these set-ups in any genre; it usually depends upon the amount of notes I am inspired by at the moment or the practicality of transporting my drums.

FLABmag: What are your thoughts (philosophies or opinions) on the “natural ability” vs. “practiced player” discourse surrounding percussion?

Cindy Blackman Santana: I believe in progress and in pushing myself as far as possible so… I appreciate natural talent but don’t like to rest on what God gave me. Practicing and learning help a player transcend themselves and opens up new avenues of expression because it helps you build a greater vocabulary, and that’s very inspiring to me.

FLABmag: I’ve heard many stories from musicians who have said they were “spiritually called” to play their instrument. Playing along with this idea, do you believe you were called to play drums? If so, was this something that happened early in your career or later?

Cindy Blackman Santana: Oh, I absolutely believe that this is the case for many if not most or all musicians. Music is an incredibly intense and sacred way to connect to the Creator AND to other people. For me, I was attracted to the drums as an infant so I know that I was spiritually called because I was too young to know anything about why I would, wouldn’t or should play the drums…. I only knew that it was something that I had to do.

FLABmag: Can someone who didn’t have the hand of god reach down and move them to play drums develop the skills of Tony Williams or Neil Peart? Or did these players posses something innate (pre-ordained by some god) that cannot be learned?

Cindy Blackman Santana: Some God? I believe that there is only ONE God and Tony absolutely had a God given gift because he was an innovator as a teenager.  I don’t know about Neil Peart’s history in terms of when he started playing or anything like that but … To arrive at the level of excellence that Tony or other innovators did, God definitely had a hand in it. There is a certain level of awareness that comes with God given gifts, some things can be learned and other things come with a person’s level of understanding…. but, to learn drumming skills takes practical application, study, time on the instrument, practice & playing experience.

FLABmag: What makes a player a “legend” or “great”?

Cindy Blackman Santana: Being able to transcend technique so that notes are not just notes, rather they are part of a language of musical beauty.

FLABmag: Can a woman ever be as great a player as a man? Name one female player who is, or isn’t, destined for greatness (Please don’t say Meg White!).

Cindy Blackman Santana: This is a ridiculous and demeaning question.

FLABmag: What kind of drummer do you aspire to be?

Cindy Blackman Santana: The Kind that transcends technique with a flawless language of beautifully musical sounds.

FLABmag: How often do you practice? If you don’t, why?  If you do, what aspects of drumming do you practice the most often?

Cindy Blackman Santana: I practice as much as I possibly can.

FLABmag: Do you rent rehearsal space or are you the neighborly nuisance?

Cindy Blackman Santana: I practice both at home and in a rehearsal space. Playing at home requires developing a controlled touch, so I like being in both playing situations to have the choice of using and applying every dynamic level.

FLABmag: Even at this stage in your career, do you occasionally take lessons with a professional instructor? If you are an instructor yourself, describe your teaching style.

Cindy Blackman Santana: I haven’t taken a formal drum lesson since I took some lessons with Alan Dawson, but I had incredible lessons in NY watching great drummers and speaking to them and I learned a lot from some non-drummers too. When I teach, I use a lot of methods that I learned from Alan Dawson, Art Blakey, Tony and some things that I have figured out for myself.

FLABmag: Have you had, or currently have, any physical difficulties from playing and what have you done to alleviate them?

Cindy Blackman Santana: I’ve over come a few physical injuries by having physical therapy and being patient with the healing process.

FLABmag: Given the instrument is physically taxing do you have a health regimen you employ to maintain stamina and strength?

Cindy Blackman Santana: At my best I employ yoga, tai chi, jogging and or gym workouts, as well as a health conscious eating and living lifestyle.

FLABmag: What was the first instance in which you managed to play a song in its entirety without missing a note? What song was it?

Cindy Blackman Santana: Songs as a kid but I don’t remember the names.

FLABmag: Was there ever an instance onstage you knew you were going to be sick or were feeling extremely fatigued? What did you do about it? Did you leave the stage or keep playing?

Cindy Blackman Santana: Many times over the years, but I kept playing only missing a gig once when just prior to the performance I got food poisoning so bad that I had to be rushed to the hospital. I’m grateful that it hasn’t happen ever again.

FLABmag: Is it true drummers have superiority complexes specifically derived from being in much better shape than most people, especially fellow band members?

Cindy Blackman Santana: I doubt it but … don’t be a wimp around us! Ha ha, just kidding!

FLABmag: How often do you glance in the mirror and say, “Damn I have great __________!”

Cindy Blackman Santana: Never. I’m not that narcissistic. I’d rather meditate to bring more love & light to my surroundings.

FLABmag: After all these years: How’s your hearing?

Cindy Blackman Santana: What?

 


 

Vin McCreith Gets Close with a Seemingly Taciturn Fan / Photo: Maria Colòn

Q&A with Vin McCreith of Adebisi Shank

July 14, 2011

FLABmag:  I know you’ve already been asked about the band name, but I read that you said it was meaningless, yet your Wikipedia page says it’s a nod to Simon Adebisi, one of the most notorious characters on the HBO prison drama, Oz.  If it’s true that it is that’s brilliant! My question is, what was your favorite storyline involving Adebisi on the show? (I loved when he went straight after hearing the African spirits calling him. Of course two episodes later he was up to his old tricks…I was a huge fan of the show!)

Vin McCreith: For real, Oz is one of our all time favourite shows alongside Homicide: Life on the Street. I just found out tonight that a friend of a friend in LA just gave Tom Fontana (creator of Oz!) an Adebisi Shank t shirt. Small world! Don’t sue our ass.

 

FLABmag: Band names aside, there seems to be an upsurge in popularity for bands with instrumental/experimental sounds. Your band being one of them. How does Adebisi Shank differ from other instrumental bands, aside from being Irish?

Vin: Well for me Adebisi Shank differs because it involves a lot of things like tuning my bass and showing up to places on time, things which I don’t neccesarily have to do for other bands. Apart from that we’re all pretty much made up of atoms, cells, DNA and whatnot.

FLABmag: Since I’ve only recently discovered you guys the following question may be tedious, but I always like to ask, how long have you known each other and how did you meet? When did you start playing music together?

Vin: Mick and Lar had been playing together for years and I was a friend of theirs. I was making music on my own and the next logical step was to play together. This all started about 4 years ago. But we’ve been friends much longer than that. That’s the best thing about being in this band – getting to spend time with my best friends. And making new ones along the way.

FLABmag: I read that your influences included Fleetwood Mac and Lindsey Buckingham…I hope this was not a joke because I always thought Lindsey Buckingham was maligned and is a great songwriter and guitar player who hasn’t received the credit he deserves. What about him do you like and which is your favorite Fleetwood Mac song?

Vin: It was absolutely not a joke! Lindsey Buckingham is a total musical inspiration of mine, and has been ever since I was a little kid. I totally agree with you about him not getting the credit he deserves. Obviously I love his guitar playing, but he’s a gifted producer and arranger as well. My favourite Fleetwood Mac song changes from week to week, but at the moment it’s Sara from the Tusk album. It’s such a beautiful recording, and the arrangement is sublime, the backing vocals, how it builds. I also love Trouble from his first solo album.

FLABmag: How did you get involved with Sargent House?

Vin: It was pretty organic. We’d played with Maps and Atlases and Tera Melos and at some stage got talking to Cathy Pellow. She liked our .gifs and we liked her moxy. It’s a real family vibe over there which we picked up on early from talking to a couple of the bands on the label and that’s something that really excited us.

FLABmag: Do you plan to relocate to Los Angeles to be closer to management/record label?

Vin: No but I would consider moving to Los Angeles to be closer to Two Boots.

FLABmag: You’ve been doing some touring in the U.S. this summer, so far, which city had the most engaged crowd? Unresponsive crowd? Most generous audience – in terms of buying you guys drinks at the bar?

Vin: Some righteous chaps in San Fran bought me whiskey in the Great American Music Hall, which was lovely of them. I’m not much of a drinker but that shit was delicious. It certainly seemed like everyone at the US shows went home happy anyway. They were some of our favourite shows of ALL TIME and I include the agricultural revolution and Ming Dynasty in that. If I look out at the crowd and see someone looking sad, I make a mental note to surf a rainbow of awesome into their dreamscape that night and deposit an N64 with Goldeneye and four joypads in their brain.

FLABmag: What’s been the general reception from music critics and do you feel reviews have been accurate – in terms of qualifying your sound and live presentation?

Vin: It’s been incredibly positive which is hugely gratifying, mostly for my Dad who gets Google alerts about the band (hi Dad if you’re reading this)…we never expected anyone to like our band really, all we knew was, from the very first time we played together, it felt amazing. It SOUNDED like ass soup, but it felt amazing. One of those things has stayed the same, and the other has changed. I’ll let your readers decide which is which. I wouldn’t expect anyone to ever have the same interpretation of our band as we do, because even our interpretations differ, often several times per song.

FLABmag: I was at the show in San Francisco and noticed that the dudes in the crowd were pretty amped up (in a good way) by your music. One dude looked like his head was going to snap off his spinal cord, he was jerking it around that hard. What’s it like looking from the stage out into an audience filled with head jerking, convulsing dudes?
(Oh by the way, there was a really tall guy with a ski cap standing center stage who wasn’t exactly all smiles until Vincent got in his face. I caught that with my camera…turns out the fellow has a lovely smile. My friend and I were actually afraid of him when we first went up to the stage. He was kind of intimidating. So thanks for loosening him up.)

Vin: It’s all about the love. Lets just have naked oily fun. I don’t remember the ski cap guy but if he was here right now I’d give him a big hug and a piece of my Toblerone. To us, every single person at the show becomes a member of Adebisi Shank. There’s no us and them, it’s only us. The great thing about that is when we play lousy we get to share the blame.

FLABmag: I assume there will be more touring this summer but what’s next after summer is over? Recording? Relaxing? More touring into fall?

Vin: We’ve got a few surprises coming up but mostly we’re going to be working on our tans. Mine’s coming on nicely but Lar is starting to peel.

 



 

ALL POSTS IN REVIEWS

Reviews: Exo-Planetary Hospitality – Bosnian Rainbows at the Troubador, Los Angeles

November 4, 2012

West Hollywood, CA

October 25th, 2012

“Don’t ask me about any other band or whether they’re touring.  This is a new band and it’s what we’re concentrating on now.” — Omar Rodriguez Lopez paraphrased

The Troubadour seems to have once again taken on a Cape Canaveral-like character for Omar Rodriguez Lopez.  Nearly ten years ago, it served as a celebratory launching site for his other band, the indefinitely moored Mars Volta.  This past Thursday, the loyal but confused remnants of that band’s ever-splintering following–I, being one of them–showed up expectant with hope that Omar & crew could repeat history and lead us, by way of planetary-leap, to another celestial musical orb that resides within that distinctly rare–in astronomer’s parlance–Goldilocks Zone, capable of sustaining our devoted fascination. Colonies are forming as we speak.

millenium

Millennium – Gourmet Vegan Cuisine

March 11, 2012

 

After embarking on a raw vegan ‘cleanse’ for a few weeks, a sumptuous meal at Millennium, a gourmet vegan restaurant near Union Square in San Francisco, was to be the congratulatory meal for suffering the anticipated feeling of  deprivation.  But by the time the night had arrived, deprivation was an extremely inaccurate description, so instead of desperate indulgence, this treat turned into a celebration of vegan cuisine beyond the limited range of local raw and vegan cafes and of course, my own imagination.

My “cleanse” buddy and I arrived at 5:30 sharp for our reservation which brought the two of us into an empty dining room – we were the first to be seated.  This gave us plenty of opportunity to watch as every seat became occupied; Millennium draws a mixed crowd; from hipsters to young families with adventurous children and everyone in between..  Since the restaurant has been open and successful for almost two decades, I’m not revealing anything insightful – but we were impressed to see this level of interest in a cuisine that highlights sustainable and organic veggies in place of a prime cut of meat.

 

Experience Dub Trio's heavy metal shreds layered with smooth reggae grooves

Concert Review: Dub Trio @ Brick & Mortor, SF

November 19, 2011

I’m not a fan of dub. I’m not a fan of metal. When I was told I’d be covering a live performance of a dub/metal band in San Francisco at Brick & Mortar, I was just confused. How do you combine these two seemingly opposite genres of music?

Dub Trio has taken this odd idea and turned it into a science. Out of Brooklyn, NY, drummer Joe Tomino, bassist Stu Brooks, and guitarist D.P. Holmes prove it’s possible to break genre stereotypes and blend clashing sounds into palatable rhythms.

As the back up band for the likes of Matisyahu and Mike Patton, it’s a real treat to see Dub Trio stand alone and unveil their specially crafted music. Their performance in San Francisco was part of their guerilla album release tour for IV, their latest record with New York-based label ROIR.

 

Review: Fops “For Centuries” EP

October 5, 2011

 

When I first received my digital download of the new EP, Fops: For Centuries it was actually labeled “Crestfallen.” It even loaded into my iTunes as such and was assigned the “Blues” genre. I was immediately intrigued as this band was as far away from blues as any band could get. But I took the title as a good sign believing it to be an insider’s nod to the criminally under appreciated, Yeth, Yeth, Yeth (Monotreme, 2010). A record so perfectly executed by Chadwick Donald Bidwell (lyrics) and Dee Kesler (vocals) with its homages to the type of New Wave found on the Pretty In Pink soundtrack and Kraut-esque electronic rock with head spinning, heart rending lyrics roiling with psychological ponderings, sociological intrigues, romantic mysteries and varying degrees of the aforementioned psychological state of crestfallenness that a follow up of as high, or higher, caliber would seem impossible, for certain, but perfection always is. However, I was keen to be delighted once again, believing if there be such an act who could accomplish the impossible, it would be Fops, but no such luck.


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