Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A Ripple Conversation with C.J.Snare vocalist for Rubicon Cross/Firehouse

I had the chance to speak with C.J. Snare vocalist of Firehouse. He has a side project called Rubicon Cross along with guitarist Chris Green(Furyon). Taking a heavier more modern approach to the songs in this project, I chatted with C.J. about the project, Firehouse, and a life on and off the road.

Tell me how this project came together?

   I met Chris when we were doing shows together and we became fast friends. we became really important players in each others lives. Brothers from a different mother you know. We were best men at each others weddings. His son is my godson so we just became family. When he finally moved to the states we put this together. It had to be written. We have a really good creative chemistry. These are songs that people should hear. True and raw emotions.

What are the touring plans?

   Anyone who reads this should know that Firehouse is still alive and well. It is not meant to conflict with that band. Rubicon Cross does plan to tour. Fill in the gaps after Firehouse is done touring. We will hit the road in the fall with Rubicon.

How is the writing process different for you in Rubicon versus Firehouse?

   Writing is writing. There are different emotions. When Bill Leverty and I started writing for firehouse, there was the potential to be at the top of the pop charts. Not just the ballads. we had rock songs too. With Chris in Rubicon we don’t have any thoughts to become huge rockstars. It just felt like we had to write this. More of therapy for us. It’s a niche market.

How important is social media to you?

 It has really impacted the world. Myspace was an attempt and then face book really took it to another level. It’s so important for a lot of people in the industry. We have a really good publicity department on our team. I am very active with it. Very hands on.

Where do you see music in general heading?

    Purchasing the song has been devalued. Social media has done that. The live aspect is what keeps it going. It is difficult to become huge unless you're in the Beyonce or Katy Perry status. I don’t see bands getting like that anymore. Firehouse has a select audience and so will Rubicon. Only in pop music will things get big fast. Established bands can survive. This is a good way to challenge myself and see what the industry to offer. It will be up to the people to vote when the album comes out May 19th.

How do you keep your voice in shape?

   Practice and genetics. I don’t drink before shows. It dries my voice. It’s like a muscle. Firehouse music is certainly challenging. People say I still hit those high notes so whatever I do is working. It’s a great compliment when they say wow you still sound like the CD.

Craziest thing that has ever happened on the road?
   Been on the road a long time. we got pulled over by the FBI on the bus. They were looking for an underage girl who might have been with us. She was the governor’s daughter and we may or may not have “dated” her. They searched the bus , but she was not with us. There we were standing outside the bus at 4 am while the FBI searched it with dogs.

The difference for you then and now as far as touring?

  Back then it was tour bus, press, show, back to the bus, city and town after town worldwide. It was repetitive but also rewarding. Now we do a lot of flying. The equipment is provided for us a the gig and we fly man. Kind of like what the country artists do. They do a few shows then go home to live a semi normal family life. If I stretch my arms out that is the amount of time I fly and if I hold my hands an inch apart, that is the amount of time I spend actually performing. Certainly we are not at the top of the charts anymore. Social media affects supply and demand. There are pockets where we go. It keeps us busy from may to September. we are slammed. I am filled with gratitude for that. But during the downtime that is where Rubicon Cross comes in.

Who were your favorite bands growing up?

    I started with classical. My mom said if you can play this then you can play anything. Then I started with Alice Cooper, The scorpions, kiss, Judas Priest, and Iron Maiden. My roots are based in metal. Rubicon is metal based. Not super heavy. But heavier than firehouse as a whole.

If you could sing for any band, who would it be?

   (Laughs). I gotta say and there is no way that I could sing for this band, but I love Judas Priest. Been a fan of Halford. He has one of the best voices. That would be the band. even just to jam one time.


Monday, April 21, 2014


May 29 - Chop Suey - Seattle, WA
May 30 - The Hawthorne Theatre - Portland, OR
Jun 1 - Bottle Rock Festival - Napa, CA
Jun 3 - The Casbah - San Diego, CA
Jun 4 - Sainte Rocke - Hermosa Beach, CA
May 23 - Friday LIVE! @ The Factory - Charlotte, NC
May 31 - Bottle Rock Festival - Napa, CA 
Jun 6 - Circus Mexicus - JJ's Cantina - Sonora, Mexico
Jun 28 - Red, White & Brews @ Nottingham Park - Avon, CO
Jul 8 - Neptune's Park @ 31st Street - Virginia Beach, VA
Jul 10 - Brew Thru Summer @ Roanoke Island Festival Park - Manteo, NC
Aug 2 - Kokomo Summer Series @ Foster Park - Kokomo, IN
Aug 3 - Down By The Riverside @ Mayo Park - Rochester, MN
Aug 23 - Silver Cross Field - Joliet, IL  
Indie rock stalwarts Camper Van Beethoven are back with El Camino Real, the companion studio album and follow up to their highly lauded La Costa Perdida. Whereas La Costa reflected the northern California “back to the country” side of the band with lush and trippy references to Jack Kerouac, Richard Brautigan, The Beach Boys and “Big Sur," the songs on El Camino Real are firmly rooted in a grittier earth - one that lies beneath the southern half of the state and stretches all the way down to Baja California. Produced by the band and recorded in various studios and living rooms, El Camino Real’s harder sonic edges capture the sounds of an entirely different road trip from Bakersfield through the Inland Empire and beyond the border to Mexico. The lineup remains Victor Krummenacher, Greg Lisher, David Lowery, Jonathan Segel and Michael Urbano.
Music historians will note that despite the band’s extended residency in Santa Cruz and parts north, Camper Van Beethoven actually formed in Redlands, California—a semi-urban, multi-cultural polyglot landscape populated by a host of characters brought to life by the angular notes and dry observations of El Camino Real. Similarly, the songs “Camp Pendleton,” “Dockweiler Beach,” “I Live in LA” and “Sugartown” evoke a particular view of life in said regions.
Says David Lowery: “The best way to look at the new album is to draw a contrast between the two. On La Costa Perdida the ocean is calm, benevolent and feminine; on El Camino Real  the sea is filled with darkness, secrets and chemicals.”

 Camper Van Beethoven's El Camino Real will be released on June 3rd via 429 Records, with gorgeous cover art by acclaimed artist, Michael Wertz
1) The Ultimate Solution
2) It Was Like That When We Got Here
3) Classy Dames and Able Gents
4) Camp Pendleton
5) Dockweiler Beach
6) Sugartown
7) I Live in LA
8) Out Like a Lion
9) Goldbase
10) Darken Your Door
11) Grasshopper

VOLUME IV Announce ‘No Sleep Till Stoned Goat’ US Tour With ORDER OF THE OWL

Volume IV / Order Of The Owl - US Tour 2014

VOLUME IV and ORDER OF THE OWL, two of Atlanta’s ultra-heavy favorites, have announced a co-headline tour/path of destruction in the days leading up to the Eye Of The Stoned Goat Festival, the full dates are as follows:
4/29 Johnson City TN @ Hideaway
4/30 Pittsburgh PA @ Garfield Artworks
5/1 Allentown, PA @ Good Weekend
5/2 Buffalo, NY @ The Lair
5/3 Brooklyn, NY @ The Acheron
5/4 Worcester, MA @ Eye of the Stoned Goat, Ralph’s Rock Diner [info]
5/22 Birmingham, AL @ TBA *
5/23 Nashville.TN @ Foobar *
5/24 Savannah, GA @ The Jinx *
* Volume IV only

VOLUME IV are currently supporting their latest album ‘Long In The Tooth’ which is out now via Ripple Music, a review for which you can read HERE and an interview with Guitarist/Vocalist Joe Carpenter HERE.

<a href="http://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/album/long-in-the-tooth" onclick="javascript:_gaq.push(['_trackPageview','/yoast-ga/outbound-article/http://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com']);">Long In The Tooth by Volume IV</a>

The Haunted - rEVOLVEr

"No Compromise," "99," and "All against all" are the best,with "No compromise," easily in the top 20 of my favorite songs songs of all time-- which actually led to this review: I figured, "If this song is on this album, the whole thing must be worth investigating, right?" And you know what? It is.

rEVOLVEr is the perfect marriage of singer Peter Dolving's manic lyrical brilliance coupled with an unusual/off-kilter delivery and his hardcore punk-ish-but-not-somehow sounds, and the Björler twins' thrash-death tastic riffing and soloing; both were balanced here-- after this record, Dolving jumped the shark (he's the hardcore punk who was too off-med/weird to front a band in 1988); but time had not yet finally caught up with him here.

Dolving was, essentially, the Agnostic Front/ Cro-Mags' unmedicated frontman with, essentially, At The Gates. Nice production, too: ultra-clear, like Arch Enemy's on Khaos Legions: must be a Swedish thing.

Dolving doesn't do as well --nearly as well-- while being slower, or softer, or singing over acoustic pieces; his pompous overstatement --not unlike Danzig's, one suddenly forefront-- overshadows his fury. It's rare on this album, however, and quickly forgotten. It does become a problem on later releases, but that's beyond the scope of this review.

"All against all," and the bonus tracks "Fire Alive," and "Smut King" reflect the very-distant but still-present Pantera image; the spirit of Vulgar Display of Power, but without the somehow-complete prostration thereto:

"Abysmal,"  at about 3:45, fades out, with regret, like Trouble's "All is Forgiven," and just as hauntingly....

"99": the best of the reverse-gallop thrash tunes, and/or an even tighter Sepultura-- tight solos, though however rare, and ones suggesting restraint-- sounds like, almost, a Sepultura/ Vio-lence covers album: the best of the fury of youth, coupled with the best songwriters that they love.


Sunday, April 20, 2014

King Dead - part 1: The Music

    It was a long day, work had worn me down with simple monotony. I got home and checked the mail. A glorious caffeine smell burst out of the box. Oh yes, it was coffee time. I had requested a King Dead CD and a bag of Evil Weevil coffee to review, both were impressive.

    I'll start with the CD. King Dead is a instrumental trio from Pennsylvania, this is their debut EP, and they've signed with Earsplit (not bad at all). It's a little long for an EP, but so what? When my band, Deadweight (now Grel) put ours out we said the same thing. It's good music. I usually think that instrumental bands have a hard time sounding dynamic without the use of either vocals or virtuosic playing, but these guys do it. The music has feeling and some emotion, which is more than can be said of most things I hear, even with vocals. The sound is a neat mix of psych/doom/ambient/whateveryoucallit, and it has that spring-reverbed-to-hell surfdoom thing I talked about in my review of Merlin's album. I love that sound. I think it's really cool and refreshing to hear, even Sun o))) has started doing things like that. So, there.

    I always have a rough time picking standout songs on these things, mainly because I don't think so much of this music is built to have standout songs, but to fit together as a whole instead. If I did have to say "oh, listen to this one" I'd say listen to "As One Plows And Breaks Up The Earth, So Our Bones Hvae Been Scattered At The Mouth Of The Grave" which is a mouthful, but yeah, it kind of encapsulates everything I have to say about this great release.




Saturday, April 19, 2014

Joe Pass - Virtuoso

So few can do it well. Solo - no vocals, no bass, no drums, no effects, no other instruments whatsoever, and no rhythm track.  Just one guitar.  Alone.  Without help.  Even fewer guitar soloists can profitably record an album of solos.  One guitar through a clean amplifier, microphone and mixing board to tape, then, mastered and released.

There was one cigar-chomping guitarist, a former heroin addict, a prodigy who became a sideman for Frank Sinatra, Sarah Vaughan, Johnny Mathis and Ella Fitzgerald, among others. He played with all of the jazz and bebop greats including Oscar Peterson, Zoot Sims, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie and Count Basie.  He died of liver cancer at the age of 65 in 1994, but not before inspiring a generation of improvisational jazz guitarists.  His genius can still be heard on over one hundred albums.  Joe Pass had, and his recordings display, the gifts of a master guitarist.

During his lifetime Joe Pass recorded six special solo albums among his 100+ recordings - Virtuoso, Virtuoso No. 2, Virtuoso No. 3, Virtuoso No. 4, Virtuoso Live! and Virtuoso In New York - with absolutely no accompaniment.  Just Joe and his jazz box, improvising.

The first Virtuoso album was released in 1973 on Columbia's Pablo label.   It only contains one original composition, "Blues for Alican," but offers improvisational guitar wizardry on an additional eleven American songbook standards, including Cole Porter's "Night and Day,"  and Hammerstein and Kerns' "All The Things You Are," and "The Song Is You."  Pass mesmerizes with his ability to simultaneously play, in time, melody lines, chords and bass lines. It is difficult to remember that the sound is coming from only one guitar and one guitarist.

The Oxford Dictionary defines "virtuoso" as "A person highly skilled in music or another artistic pursuit." Joe's Virtuoso is thus an understatement. He was more than a virtuoso, more than a master, more than a mentor to a generation of jazz guitarists - he is, due to these recordings, immortal.  Guitarists still bow to his artistry on their own journeys.  I was fortunate to have seen him and to have taken part in his mass improvisational guitar lessons that he taught at The Great American Music Hall in San Francisco in the early 1980's.  There was, and could only be, one Joe Pass, a Five Star General in the Guitar Army.

- Old School

Friday, April 18, 2014

Polaris Rose - OceanSongs EP

Begin established routine.  Search through promotional messages.  Listen to music linked in those messages.  Research the bands who created these songs.  Nothing strikes my fancy.  Hello?  What's this?  A song melding aggressive alternative rock guitar with poppy male and female vocals?  I like it!  Who is this that I am listening to again?  Ah, it's a band who goes by the name Polaris Rose.

Polaris Rose is based out of Los Angeles.  The group is made up of guitarist/vocalist Peter Anthony and bassist/vocalist Madelynn Elyse.  Kiel Feher handles the drums.  OceanSongs is the band's latest release.  It follows on the heels of another EP entitled The Moon & its Secrets.  Waveriders this collection of five songs sounds great!  Peter and Madelynn both have strong voices that blend seamlessly with each other to create wonderful harmonies.  When it comes to the instrumentation the way these musicians combine alt rock, indie rock, pop, and a touch of the electronic to create their invigorating sound is very impressive.  Also the production on this EP is crisp and uncluttered, allowing every musical element to shine. 

All in all waveriders, I highly recommend that you listen to OceanSongs from Polaris Rose.  This EP rocks, it rolls, it brings the energy in the room down, it brings it back up, it demands that the listener sing along, it solves complex arithmetic in five simple steps.  Okay it won't actually replace your calculator or abacus, but the rest is 100% true!  I want to hear more and I think you will too!

-- Penfold



Thursday, April 17, 2014

AC/DC deny split rumours but confirm Malcolm is taking a break

From Classic Rock Magazine.

16/04/2014 ~ by Luke Morton

Founding member of the legendary hard rockers is taking a hiatus

It's been on the cards for the past 24 hours and now it's been confirmed via AC/DC's Facebook page that Malcolm Young is taking a break from the band due to his ill health.

In an official statement posted on AC/DC's Facebook page, the band have said: "After forty years of life dedicated to AC/DC, guitarist and founding member Malcolm Young is taking a break from the band due to ill health. Malcolm would like to thank the group’s diehard legions of fans worldwide for their never-ending love and support.  In light of this news, AC/DC asks that Malcolm and his family’s privacy be respected during this time. The band will continue to make music." Rumours had been running wild on the internet since it was alleged that Malcom Young, rhythm guitarist and founding member of the group, was no longer able to play. The rumours were originally denied by frontman Brian Johnson.

BLACK COBRA Confirms May West Coast Tour Dates The Cutthroats 9 And Årabrot To Provide Support On Five-Date Run

The decimating metal/sludge duo that is BLACK COBRA has crawled out of the shadows with their first shows since two one-off cross-continental gigs in January, proclaiming an upcoming May decimation of the West Coast!

The newly planned five-day, five-city run will originate in BLACK COBRA's San Francisco hometown on May 22nd, then systematically shredding through Fresno, Pacifica, Portland and Seattle. Providing opening support for the trek will be California-based noise metal outfit, The Cutthroats 9 (featuring members of Unsane, Death Angel and -16-), and Norwegian Grammy-winning noise/punk outfit, Årabrot.

Preceding the new West Coast tour, BLACK COBRA will raid Portland to take part in the annual Stumpfest on April 26th, performing alongside sludge metal visionaries, Yob, and gritty doom unit, Diesto.

Additional live outings will be announced in the coming weeks. BLACK COBRA is currently constructing new material; additional news on the band's 2014 actions will be released in the near future.

4/26/2014 Mississippi Studios - Portland, OR @ Stumpfest w/ Yob, Diesto [tix]
5/22/2014 Slims - San Francisco, CA
5/23/2014 Audies Olympic - Fresno, CA
5/24/2014 Winters Tavern - Pacifica, CA
5/25/2014 Rotture - Portland, OR
5/26/2014 El Corazon - Seattle, WA

For all BLACK COBRA coverage, in North/South America contact dave@earsplitcompound.com and in Europe contact lauren@rarelyunable.com.



Visually intoxicating, uncompromisingly heavy and revered for making music and lifestyle one, Electric Wizard have completed work on their new studio album, title to be confirmed; the album will be the band's first release through Spinefarm Records.

Formed by vocalist / guitarist Jus Oborn in 1993, Electric Wizard (based in the UK's South-West) have thus far released seven studio albums - an increasingly influential body of work recorded on vintage analogue gear with as little technology as possible intruding on the signal ("Protools is for pussies!").

Result: some of the heaviest, dirtiest, most evil-sounding audio ever put to tape, and more importantly to vinyl, with both Come My Fanatics (1997) and Dopethrone (2000) being lauded as landmark releases.

A cultural as well as a musical force, Electric Wizard have left an indelible mark on a host of different genres, the likes of doom, stoner and sludge; at heart, however, they stand as an iconic British metal band, cast in the great tradition, with lyrics and artwork reflecting the hypnotic weight of the music, and subject to the same intelligence and detail.

Wreathed in occult ritual and drug-culture references, with classic '70s horror an inspirational seam, Electric Wizard are poised to turn a page; there's the new deal with Spinefarm Records, plus - after a nine-year hiatus - the return of Mark Greening (the drummer on Dopethrone), who completes the line-up of Oborn, US guitarist Liz Buckingham, a key member since 2003, and new bassist Clayton Burgess (Satan's Satyrs).

Fueled by strong emotion and the harder sounds of late-'60s Detroit, the remodeled line-up - isolated by choice, giant stacks glowing red - set about crafting an eighth studio album to both rival and exceed the milestone recordings of the past, with Buckingham keeping things suitably monolithic and the band generally looking back to some of their earliest influences.

Toerag Studios in London was once again charged with capturing 'The Sound', and (encouragingly) words like "raw", "hateful" and "sickeningly heavy" are being traded.

Says Oborn: "Our master plan is this. Real metal!! We stand for rebellion, we are with the kids; we fight, puke, smoke weed, etc... Electric Wizard is an entity, with its own history, its own symbols, its own iconography, and with this new album, we wanted to return to basic values. It's primitive. We needed to claw it back down to the evil core - sex, drugs, violence, revolution... to go back to being a band that hung out and jammed hard. No teaching songs, just feeling them out. If you jam enough and you are on the same level - artistically, musically, whatever, you gotta be committed - then good music will happen. I totally believe that..."

Electric Wizard will make the following festival appearances in 2014, with more shows to be added:

May 2   Temples Festival, Bristol, UK (headline)
June 20   Hellfest, Clisson, France (Valley Stage headline)
July 3      Roskilde Festival, Roskilde, Denmark (Arena Stage)
July 4       Sonisphere, Knebworth Park, UK (stage headline)
August 16   Jabberwocky, The Excel Centre, London, UK
September 12  Reverence Valada, Portugal (headline with Hawkwind)

ELECTRIC WIZARD are: Jus Oborn - lead vocals, guitars | Liz Buckingham - guitars | Mark Greening - drums, percussion | Clayton Burgess - bass

Established in 1990, Spinefarm Records is an international rock and metal label with dedicated offices around the globe. Working with Caroline under the Universal banner, Spinefarm marries the ethos of the independent to the clout of the major, developing signature artists worldwide.


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