The single, which was released on Cabrera’s 2004 album “Take It All Away” featured Goo Goo Dolls frontman John Rzeznik on backup vocals. The single reached #15 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Michael L. Smith
The single, which was released on Cabrera’s 2004 album “Take It All Away” featured Goo Goo Dolls frontman John Rzeznik on backup vocals. The single reached #15 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Michael L. Smith
“Morrissey must hate fat girls.” And with that observation by guitarist Jason Hurt, I was given notice as what to expect when I stepped outside to interview the men of Deadly Fists of Kung Fu on a night when they opened for 80′s British rock group Modern English.
Modern English, touring with their original lineup of Robbie Grey (vocals), Stephen Walker (keyboards), Michael Conroy (bass), Gary McDowell (guitar), and Richard Brown (drums) and with a re-recorded version of their signature 80’s hit “I Melt With You” under their belts, the British group hit the Vinyl Music Hall stage with opening act Deadly Fists of Kung Fu performing as The Exploding Boys in tribute to The Cure.
After The Cure tribute, headliners Modern English took over the Downtown Pensacola stage. Before jumping into “Hands Across the Sea”, lead singer Robbie Grey tossed of his sport coat, and announced his pleasure with the crowd and the fact that this was the first time that the original Modern English lineup has played Florida in 25 years. The crowd was more than appreciative of the band’s return, especially when the group finally pulled out their hit song that was featured in Nicholas Cage’s film “Valley Girl.
After the show, the members of Deadly Fists of Kung Fu (Phread Touchette (bass), Zac Hobbs (vocals/guitar), and Jason Hurt (guitar) stepped outside Vinyl Music Hall and into a narrow alley way to answer a few questions about tribute sets, comic books, their favorite concerts/shows of all-time, Why Jason and Alex Steward are not allowed to have mics together, James Brown “quotes” and more.
***INTERVIEW WITH DEADLY FISTS OF KUNG FU***
WARNING: IF THIS INTERVIEW WERE A MOVIE, IT WOULD RECEIVE A PG-13 RATING FOR LANGUAGE AND OCCASSIONAL VIOLENCE WITH MEN IN TIGHTS
TCAS: You’ve just finished The Cure set and you’ve been known to do a lot of crazy tributes (in the past they’ve rocked sets ranging from Prince, Tom Petty and The Cars before. (photos and article from Deadly Fists of Kung Fu The Cars tribute set at Vinyl Music Hall-oween show) How does this rank as far as tributes…
Jason: I sort of put it in the middle because it feels like we played it really well and that’s not as much fun.
Zac: In the spirit of The Cure, I’d have to say it was abysmal. (nearly evil chuckles ring from the trio)
TCAS: Did you guys consider dressing up? I know you guys have dressed up for other shows before (the band didn’t dress up on this occasion.)
Zac: We dressed up last time we did The Cure.
Phread: I had my skinny jeans in the car…I just never put them on.
Zac: My mom bought me a Siouxsie & The Banshees shirt just for this show. I’m the only 34 year old guy on earth whose mom bought…
Jason: There was thought of dressing up, but then the air-conditioning went out in my truck and so…you know…
TCAS: How did you guys get (Alex) Steward in the band?
Jason: Andy B.’s (Andrew Bennett) our regular drummer. He’s on hiatus right now, so…you know Alex is our buddy and Alex is a hoot! And Alex is about as kick ass drummer as there is on earth. So…
Zac: It’s like when that one guy on Voltron died. What was that guy? (short pause to recollect the name and then instantly) Sven!
(The trio jump into a simultaneous outburst rivaling the most seasoned improv comedy troupes.)
Zac: Sven died and the other guy came and dropped the Blue Lion. Or Sven was the replacement guy…
Jason: No. The Princess. You’re calling Alex the Princess….
Phread: He’s a total princess.
Jason: Yes. Yes, you’re calling Alex the Princess…
Zac: He’s like the Princess of Voltron…with better hair.
Phread: He’s got the helmet.
TCAS: What do you have coming up as far as shows?
Zac: Nothing solid right now…
Phread: Well, besides that slumber party…that’s not public.
TCAS: Very private. Private Eyes Wide Shut party.
Zac: He was in Cockfight, you’re not going to freak him out.
TCAS: I’ve seen some crazy. You guys were in The Deads (formed by Eugene Swank of The Scaries and most recently The Ghostown Phantoms) so when did you guys start the Deadly Fists of Kung Fu?
Jason: It’s funny. The Deads. I f*cking loved The Deads. It was a great band, but we had that problem where nobody in it could get along. Like we all just hated each other, except for me and Zac. And the other guy we thought we got along with…after it was all over we found out…”No, I hated all of you f*cking guys.
Phread: You mean Zac?
Zac: Still is. I still hate all you f*cking guys!
Jason: But yeah, that’s how we first did a tribute set was after it was all over. It was like being in a band was a bummer for awhile so we just did this Tom Petty set to have something to do. And that was the first time Zac had ever sang and then it was like, why have you not being doing this the entire time? Why have we been putting up with singers since…you know…high school? So then we just started being a band as Deadly Fists of Kung Fu. Instead of doing Tom Petty songs, we do Tom Petty rip-offs.
TCAS: The superhero theme. I remember you guys used to have Captain America on the amps. Do you still carry on that tradition now? Is that a tradition? If you didn’t have them would you lose your powers?
Jason: You know what…we’re not as good as when we don’t have amp toys. So yeah, we definitely need…
Zac: I do get a little bit more excited when I have a man in tights to turn around and look out. Empowers me.
TCAS: So how did Phread get involved?
Zac: God, I have no idea.
Phread: I lost a bet.
Jason: We’ve had more bass players than Spinal Tap’s had drummers.
Zac: There have been like seven of them.
Jason: But Phread was the first and hopefully last of our bass players. So he is like the sandwich around the other bass players.
Zac: He’s also several of the meats.
TCAS: No vegetarian here, huh? How does the music come about? Do you sit around and jam?
Zac: There’s actually very little of that. We don’t jam very well.
Jason: We’ve tried to write as a group and it’s terrible. So we’re trying to write some new stuff.
TCAS: I’ve got to ask you this Jason. I know you like to banter with the crowd…
TCAS: Has it ever gotten you in trouble at a show or anything?
Jason: You know. It’s funny. We had Alex with us tonight. And one of the conditions was we couldn’t give Alex and I a microphone. And the whole time I was wondering is, “What the f*ck could he have said that’s worse than what I’ve said?” But no, I’ve never…like, surprisingly, no one has ever tried to kick my ass. I’ve never gotten kicked out of a show. There was one guy who got really pissed at one time when I said Lynyrd Skynyrd was from Alabama. But that was about it; that was the worst problem I ever had. Well the Van Zants are from Florida, but who gives a f*ck? You know! Lynyrd Skynyrd the band is from Alabama.
TCAS: What’s the best concert you’ve ever seen?
Jason: My favorite show personally. I guess 2000. Me and Zac and Zac’s girlfriend were going to see J Mascis + The Fog, which was Dinosaur, Jr. not being called Dinosaur, Jr., but when Mike Watt (Photos and article from the Mike Watt show at The Handlebar with Lite and Deadly Fists of Kung Fu opening) was playing with them. And on the way there Zac and I got into a fight and I had them drop me off at my granny’s house. And had someone else pick me up and then saw the show. But it was like the best show ever because Mike Watt was playing with them and they did all of these Stooges and Black Flag covers and it was just awesome.
TCAS: And you guys made up.
Jason: And we made up, yeah!
Phread: By knocking boots.
Zac: We’re bringing it back.
TCAS: (To PT): Favorite concert?
Phread: That’s hard to say. I saw Liz Phair at the 9:30 Club in D.C. and that was pretty f*cking awesome actually.
TCAS: “F*ck and Run” (Liz Phair song).
Phread: In her time…she’s sexy.
Zac: I would have to go with the Afghan Whigs at The Howlin’ Wolf in New Orleans.
Phread: Oh man, that was…
Zac: Yeah, that was wonderful. I saw him (Greg Dulli frontman and architect of the Afghan Whigs) pass out on stage. Which was pretty awesome. They counted him out like it was a wrestling match.
TCAS: Did he finish the show or was that the end of it?
Zac: That was the end of the show, which was fine because he had done it for entirely too long at that point. I was one of like six people down there.
Phread: They played the Nite Owl and that was awesome.
Jason: Yeah, the Nite Owl they did that count to 36 before they started. Do you remember that? And they played “Retarded” twice because Pensacola was so retarded for “Retarded”.
TCAS: Who would you guys like to play or tour with?
Zac: Dinosaur. I’d love to play with Dinosaur Jr.
Jason: I would love to play with Dinosaur. I think right now, I’d really like to play with the Hold Steady.
Zac: Yeah. I’d like for The Replacements to do a reunion tour and us to play on it.
Jason: I would like for us to just go on tour as The Replacements.
TCAS: A lady, when you guys were playing, was screaming, “Now that’s a rock n’ roll band. No tattoos, no piercings, that’s rock n’ roll.” So none of you have piercings or tattoos?
Zac: Oh no, we have tattoos…but they’re hidden.
Jason: One of our other bass players, Scott Alvarez, he’s a tattoo artist (Alvarez’s Skin & Bones Tattoo Parlour Grand Opening w/ Kent Stanton performing). She would have hated us then.
TCAS: She loved you guys.
Zac: That’s a rock n’ roll band with tattoos. If she’d known the truth.
TCAS: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Zac: Well, there’s always “Don’t pet a burning dog.”
Jason: I feel Admiral Ackbar (Star Wars Return of The Jedi) with “It’s a trap.”
Phread: Watch out for that.
Jason: I have a little devil and angel on my shoulders. The angel is Admiral Ackbar saying “It’s a trap” and the devil is James Brown saying “Smell it, taste it, stick it in your mouth.” And those are my two favorite bits of advice and I don’t know if James Brown ever said “Smell it, taste it, stick it in your mouth.” (At this point, everyone outside is rolling with laughter) But I feel like he probably did at some point.”
TCAS: Can you guys top that one?
Zac: No, no. I’m going to have to go with “Smell it, taste it, stick it in your mouth.”
Phread: Don’t roller skate in a bath tub. Bad idea.
Jason: There’s not very far to go, except down.
Phread: Which goes back to “Smell it, taste it, stick it in your mouth.”
TCAS: DC or Marvel?
Zac: Oh wow. Depends on what you’re asking.
Jason: I’m more of a DC person in that I love Superman and Batman. But I love the big overgrown cosmicness of the Jack Kirby characters like The Fantastic Four and Dr. Doom and stuff like that. So it is hard for me to say. Most of all, I just like men in tights punching each other.
Phread: That’s a good quote.
Zac: Marvel is just a little bit more circular and God, by no means are they simple. They’re just a little bit more simpler than DC. It’s a lot bit easier to grasp it. I have to go with, I’m a bigger fan of DC’s characters, but Marvel’s stories. Really they’re right there. They’re a little easier to read. And in no way are they an easy read. Their movies don’t suck nearly as bad.
Jason: That’s true. But DC’s got better cartoons.
Zac: DC does have better cartoons.
Jason: But cartoons don’t make as much money.
Phread: Man, if I had to choose, I’d go with DC, but I prefer the indie stuff. I used to like Image back in the day. Because I’m a hipster.
TCAS: Serious question. Crunchy or creamy peanut butter?
Phread: Easy. Creamy.
Zac: See, I dig the crunchy, but I can never get anyone to help me finish the jar and I’m not going to eat the whole f*cking thing. I like the crunchy, but it hurts my gums a little bit, but I think it’s worth it.
Jason: It lasts.
Zac: The crunchy? It doesn’t last as long. The creamy is a way better plan.
Phread: I’m just saying, you said…(The trio go off into another playful argument)
TCAS: Anything else you want to add before the end?
Jason: I feel like I haven’t embarrassed myself once, so I’m going to quit while I’m ahead.
-Michael L. Smith
Link to more photos from the concert by PNJ photographer Phil Bailey
With the grace of Abbagnato and the daring of Kaupus, a red-eye flight was taken mid-song by Billy the Kid Pettinger. Alone on stage with her acoustic guitar, the musician took a small breath, widened her gaze and opened her mouth to strike a note while spinning away from the microphone stand, holding the angelic sound and returning gracefully to the point where she started the feat. Pettinger executed the flowing-flawless 360 degree maneuver as part of her set during Vinyl Music Hall’s weekly Awesome Monday’s at the adjoining 5 1/2 Bar.
Commencing this night’s special edition of Awesome Mondays at the 5 ½ Bar was local artist Rob Dill and his solo music project Martyr the Unicorn. Having recently opened for the 10,000 Maniacs at Vinyl Music Hall, Dill was greeted by an audience of close friends that included childhood friend and professional skateboarder Pete Kelly. Check out Dill’s site for upcoming shows and new recordings.
Billy The Kid followed Dill on the Vinyl stage for a set that displayed elements of rock, folk and story-telling. The Vancouver native is touring on the strength of her latest album “Ours.” The title is a reference to the support given by those who helped make the album possible. As stated on her website…”This album was entirely fan and friend funded. Even the studios, musicians, engineers and artists at times donated their services to make this thing happen. We made it. Together. It’s Ours.”
The first half of the set was supported by her band The Southside Boys, while the finish concluded with her alone on the intimate stage performing for the receptive crowd. Check out Billy’s Blog where she shares everything from work-in-progress lyrics, videos, artwork and updates from her travels; she even tells of a recent dream where she won a radio contest to meet Ryan Adams. They meet and immediately Pettinger wants to collaborate, but an odd turn of events creates an even odder situation.
Closing out the evening were the pairing of Brooks Hubbert and Evan Levin. Joining forces, the duo created a gift of sonic and visual pleasure. While Hubbert explored compositions of sound with guitar and various effects, Levin composed one of his signature paintings under the watch of black-light and darkness.
-Michael L. Smith
Additional Photo Galleries of the event.
Setting fire to the book of adolescent despair with one of the most recognized riffs in modern, hard-rock history, guitarist Jerry Horton led the crowd into the most aggressive moment of the night as Papa Roach frontman Jacoby Shaddix reached out from the stage, looking into an audience only inches below and launched into the band’s biggest hit “Last Resort.” Ending with the song that confronted the struggles of depression, hopelessness and introduced the Vacaville, California band to the world, Papa Roach added to a very memorable night of music in the Amphitheater at The Wharf in Orange Beach, Alabama.
Originally scheduled for the Sunday of Labor Day weekend (September 4th), this stop of the Rock Allegiance Tour was postponed by the development of Tropical Storm Lee and its movement in the Gulf of Mexico which delivered heavy storm conditions to the area. The Rock Allegiance Tour and the crew of The Amphitheatre at The Wharf showed their metal and rescheduled for the upcoming Thursday. Unfortunately, Buckcherry were not able to perform on the rescheduled date (scheduling conflict) and even though the event lost the Labor Day crowd, the show went on in true hard-rock form.
The Christian hard-rock band RED from Nashville, Tennessee had just started their set when I made it through the gates of the Amphitheater. With the release of their most recent album, “Until We Have Faces,” the group, led by Michael Barnes (vocals), Anthony Armstrong (guitar), Randy Armstrong (bass), Joe Rickard (drums) have been nominated for several Grammy and Dove Awards throughout their history. Taking the crowd into the sunset hour of the festival, RED definitely showed that they belonged on the same stage as headliners on the Rock Allegiance Tour.
With a history dating back to 1994 and the release of their debut album “Snuff the Punk” on Rescue Records, P.O.D. (Payable On Death) have separated themselves from the excesses that have shortened lives and careers in the rock industry. Indulging in themes of positivity, the band’s catalog of empowerment and spirituality explode throughout their sound. Even though I wished the band would have added Sleeping Awake to their set, Sonny Sandoval energized the audience, strutting about the stage while Wuv Bernardo (drums), Traa Daniels (bass), and Marcos Curiel (guitar) supported their sonic attack of hits. The band even threw in a cover of the Sublime classic “What I Got” that kept the crowd dancing and singing for good measure.
From the streets of Kansas City, Missouri and with over 9 million albums sold and numerous chart-topping hits, Puddle of Mudd made their way to The Wharf stage and immediately rocked the Alabama night. Donning a military-style jacket, Wes Scantlin led crowd through the band’s diary of social Americana. Supported by his bandmates , Doug Ardito (bass), Paul Phillips (guitar), Dizzi Devereux (guitar) and Shannon Boone (drums) the group fired off hit after hit. Supported by massive radio and video, the group garnered a loud, sing-a-long vibe from their fans during their entire set.
Closing out this evening of the Rock Allegiance Tour, Papa Roach’s performance mirrored the many angles of life, from the metal-ballad “Scars” to the industrial and post metal-core collision of “Getting Away Murder” the band (Shaddix (vocals), Horton (guitar), Tobin Esperance (bass) and Tony Palermo (drums) provided the heavy finish for this turn of the Rock Allegiance Tour.
It was an evening tryst with the Devil. As the sun ran like hell from the ivory moon and her black shadows of night, rock fury descended onto the stage as the Nekromantix had their pleasure with the Vinyl Music Hall crowd.
If Jerry Lee Lewis, Dally Winston (of S.E. Hinton’s “The Outsiders”) and Ludwig van Beethoven got in a bar fight, Nik Flagstar would be the product of their battle royale. Pushing buttons and punching a sound that smells of the road, rough women and hard-livin’, Nik Flagstar and His Dirty Mangy Dogs (Pecker (bass), Isaac (drums) make no-apologies for their content and make a hell of a rockin’ sound that got the night started right.
Next on stage were The Howlers (Eli Misery (vocals), Josh (guitar), Peter Panic (upright bass), Vince (drums), Horacio (guitar). With a switchblade sharp cut of pure-punk energy and rockabilly dipped in the pools of hell, the San Gabriel Valley, California band cranked a sound that was reminiscent of Danzig-era Misfits courtesy of Misery’s growl and stage presence. The band loved every minute on stage and even carried their energy into the venue after their performance as they joined in the pit and hung out with the crowd during the Nekromantix set.
Touring in support of their lasted album “What Happens in Hell, Stays in Hell” the Nekromantix began their set in near darkness which gave way to a burst of white lights throughout the first few songs.
Formed in 1989 by Kim Nekroman after a stint in the Danish Navy, the group have toured the world converting the masses onto their psychobilly sound. With Nekroman leading the charge on bass, Francisco Mesa assaulting the night on guitar and Lux calling the demons of hell with her drums, the trio worked the Vinyl Music Hall audience into a ghoulish frenzy well into the night.
Michael L. Smith
Part Detroit-Determination and part California-Cool, JTX brought their All-Party, Pop-Parade to Downtown Pensacola as their single “Love in America” is dominating the top of personal playlists, airwaves and satellite radio stations around the world.
Returning to the Vinyl Music Hall stage after recently opening for piano pop-rocker HUGO in March, the men of Skin Wiggin (Buck Pate (vocals/bass), Joe Whisler (guitar), Mark Lang (drums) started the show with their Gulf Breeze rock sound. Check out their video “Crash” which was a viewer favorite on the TV show The Uncharted Zone.
Opening with their hit “Love in America,” JTX made their first performance at Vinyl Music Hall. In a show filled with costume changes and tributes to 80’s pop influences, JTX (JT Harding) and crew (Carey Weaver (drums), Brian Carney (bass), and Joe Doc (guitar) wielded a generous blend of pop that was reinforced with heavy doses of rock, keeping the energy level of the night near clip.
Closing out the show were local favorites, Deadly Fists of Kung Fu. On the trail of the recent announcement that the rock foursome will be the opening act for the reunited, original lineup of Modern English (“I Melt With You”) when the British group invades Vinyl Music Hall in September, the group are well-disciplined in the arts of surprise and detail. Always keeping audiences on their toes, the band (Phread Touchette (bass), Andrew Bennett (drums), Zac Hobbs (vocals/guitar) and Jason Hurt (guitar) will perform as The Exploding Boys, a tribute band dedicated to The Cure. With past tribute performances ranging from Prince and The Cars (DFKF performing as The Cars @ Vinyl Music Hall-oween Party) the band, who are known for their near OCD accurate tribute sets, will assuredly create another must-see night of music.
After their set, JT and the rest of his band (Carey Weaver (drums), Brian Carney (bass), and Joe Doc (guitar) took a few minutes to discuss Madonna, Prince, playing for the troops in Afghanistan, the JTX Experience and more…
TCAS: What about the JTX experience gets you off the most? Is it the playing, the recording, songwriting…you’ve got a lot of songwriting credits.
JTX: Two things for me; playing live for sure, but hearing one of our songs on the radio. It’s a great feeling.
TCAS: Are all of you from Detroit?
TCAS: I know this off the topic, but…Stafford and Calvin Johnson (of the NFL Detroit Lions). Is it going to happen this year?
Joe: No injuries. No injuries.
TCAS: It seems like every year, the Lions have the team, but…
Joe: Don’t land on the shoulder, man. Just don’t land on the shoulder.
Brian: Where still proud of the Tigers though, man. We’re in a pennant race.
TCAS: That’s right. I remember the old Kirk Gibson days…
Brian: Good times in Detroit.
JTX: I made out with his daughter.
JTX: Yeah. Yes. Yes.
TCAS: Kirk Gibson’s daughter?
JTX: My claim to fame.
Brian: I can confirm that.
TCAS: “Like Madonna in 85’”…
TCAS: When did you lose your virginity?
JTX: I’ve only been with three girls my whole life. And what a night it was.
Brian, Joe and some people in the crowd: Oooooooooh!
TCAS: What Madonna era represents where you guys are now? There’s 80’s Madonna…wild and crazy. 90’s Madonna was self-empowerment. Post-Millennium was like…
JTX: Great question. I would say…and it’s not every day that I would compare myself to Madonna, but I would say in the beginning where she was trying to get noticed; “Like a Virgin” wearing a wedding dress on the MTV Awards. Yeah, trust me, the first time I’m on TV, people are going to remember it. I already wore a bra on The Today Show…Youtube it. And those songs were great too. We’re on our way up. We’re trying to get noticed. Bring me a wedding dress!
TCAS: What is the craziest thing you’ve seen at a JTX show?
Joe: (laughs and looks at their vocalist) JT.
Brian: A robot last night. A cardboard robot.
Carey: Machine guns.
JTX: We played in Afghanistan and after we were there for a week. After the songs…they wouldn’t pull the triggers, but everyone would cheer and hold up their guns. And you would see…because they’re never without their machine guns over there.
TCAS: Thank you guys for playing for the troops. My dad’s retired Navy. So, thank you. If you were voted the next President of The United States of America, what would your first action be and how wild would your Inaugural Ball be?
JTX: The Inaugural Ball would be really wild because I could get anyone to play it, I would imagine. Van Halen with David Lee Roth, Prince, Madonna, Prince. My first action would be…
Brian: Ban the designated hitter.
JTX: On the serious tip…
Joe: Whatever you want! You’re the President.
TCAS: Whatever you want.
JTX: Free health care for everybody. (Looking at his band) Fellows? Tough question.
Joe: End the wars.
Brian: Bring the armed forces back home.
JTX: And I want the ingredients for King Dongs.
TCAS: King Dongs or Ding Dongs?
JTX: Same thing. And I want Ron Jeremy to stop making films. (Chuckles all around)
TCAS: He has passed his prime.
TCAS: How many rounds would it take “Love In America” to knock the hell out of “Party in The U.S.A.?”
Joe: Ooh. I think it already has.
JTX: He’s talking about “Party in the U.S.A.” not “Party Like a Rockstar” (rap song by Shop Boyz)
TCAS: Oh, no, no, no. You’ve already knocked that out…
Brian: By Miley Cyrus.
TCAS: Yes, Miley. Everybody loves that song, but I like “Love In America” better.
JTX: How many rounds?
TCAS: Yes. UFC or boxing 12 rounds?
JTX: I gotta say, man. Claude Kelly wrote “Party in the U.S.A.” and he’s got some great melodies, but since that’s kind of a teenager song, we’d probably go a good 10 rounds. We’d come out on top with our cherry, vodka snow-cone, heavy-metalness. That man has great melodies in that song.
TCAS: Would it be a knockout or decision?
JTX: It would probably be a decision. I’ve got my nice hat on tonight. My band says TKO.
TCAS: Do you guys do any karaoke? What do you sing?
JTX: When the drummer does it, it’s Scaryoke. I do “Summer of ‘69” by Bryan Adams.
Joe: Journey. Journey’s good.
JTX: You can sing Journey?
Joe: Scream and grab my balls.
Brian: Do a little “Man-Eater” by Hall & Oats.
(Everyone breaks out into the “Woo Ooh, Here She Comes”)
Carey: A little Johnny Cash.
JTX: Oh yeah! He’s got a low voice. Give me a low voice.
Carey: (lowering his voice and hitting a spot-on impersonation) “A little Johnny Cash.”
TCAS: The Man in Black.
TCAS: Now there is porn star karaoke out in L.A. Where they have the pornstars sing karaoke. Have you guys been to that?
JTX: No, no, but sign me up.
TCAS: How has the music industry changed from an artists’ standpoint and as a fan, as a lover of music?
JTX: Well, both because I used to love…and I miss going to record stores. So as a fan, I miss that. But as an artist, it’s great to know that with one click of a button you can email songs to anyone and they can find you on Facebook, especially as a new artist. And they can look you up on Youtube. Because how would anyone…how would you know we were even here? As a fan I do miss the record stores, but there are some in New York. As an artist, I love that you can get your music out to anybody.
TCAS: What are you listening to now?
JTX: Some of my favorite new songs. I’m a real pop fanatic. I love any song that you can hear one time and just remember. I love “Pumped Up Kicks” by Foster the People. I’m a big Counting Crows fan. I’ve always loved Bruce Springsteen. I saw Prince at Madison Square Garden this past year; it was incredible. I became a big Kenny Chesney fan after he sang my song (“Somewhere With You” which he co-wrote with Shane McAnally)
JTX: What are you listening to, Joe?
Joe: Pop radio. Katy Perry.
JTX: Katy Perry. We love that record.
Brian: I just went to a My Morning Jacket show. It was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. It was incredible.
TCAS: I read the People article about your father (JT’s biological father is actor/comedian/talk show host, Jay Thomas; a fact that JT did not learn until he moved to California to follow his dreams. In 2008 People Magazine featured their extraordinary journey in the
Oliver Jones article, “The Son I Never Knew.”)
TCAS: That blew me away. I did not know that until I read…
JTX: I didn’t either until I met him. (laughs all around) I thought it was Ted Danson. I was bummed out.
TCAS: Is he pretty supportive…
JTX: Yes. 100 percent. We’re kind of like long-lost fraternity brothers. We’re two wild men together.
TCAS: Who parties harder?
JTX: (pauses for a brief moment) He does. He’s been known to enjoy the…herb. But that’s not a secret; he says that on Letterman. But no, it’s great. He’s taught me a lot about the entertainment industry. He couldn’t be more supportive. He has me on his radio station all the time. We went on TV together…Dr. Phil…The Today Show… I acted like a complete fool. It was great.
TCAS: With all of that happening, as an artist, what has been the highlight of all this craziness going on? What has been the thing that makes you go “Wow! This is pretty awesome.”?
JTX: The highlight, honestly right now, there have been a lot of highlights, but seeing Kenny Chesney sing “Somewhere With You” for 80,000 people is good, but that’s someone else singing a song. I think that what’s happening with “Love in America” right now is exciting. It’s in the “Friends With Benefits” (romantic/comedy movie starring Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis) trailer. It’s going to be used on X-Factor. It’s just kind of bubbling-up for us. We can all kind of feel it. We’re waiting for other people to catch on to it. So, it’s great. It’s right on the edge. It’s exciting. It’s on Sirius XM a lot. We drive around and here it all the time.
Joe: I think it’s crazy…everyday there are two or three new videos of fans filming themselves doing…some of them are pretty creative…
TCAS: I’ve seen some crazy ones too.
Joe: Yeah! It’s incredible that people would go out and spend their time to do something like that for this song.
TCAS: As a lover of music, what has been your highlight as a fan.
JTX: I saw Prince this last Christmas at Madison Square Garden. Two and a half hours, non-stop hits, no nonsense, no long jam solos. It was mind-blowing. It was hit after hit after hit. Are you a fan?
TCAS: Yes, yes, yes.
JTX: Also, I’ve been traveling a lot. I’ve been lucky. I met a lot of people. I met the singer of Third Eye Blind this year, that was a thrill…
TCAS: Stephen Jenkins.
JTX: Totally. I’m a big Counting Crows fan. I met Adam Duritz, I see him walking around New York a bit. I’m trying to think of other things. You’ve got some great questions.
TCAS: Thank you. Would you rather have an Academy Award or the highest grossing film of all time?
JTX: The highest grossing film of all time. Not for the money, but because more people would see it. An Academy Award would be great, but I would like for a lot people to see the movie. Now if I would rather have a Grammy or the biggest selling album of all time…the biggest selling album of all time. Would you rather be Michael Jackson or Men At Work? Hey guys, would you rather win a Grammy or have the biggest selling album of all time?
Joe and Brian: Biggest selling album.
Brian: Well I would think they would go hand-in-hand…
JTX: No, would you rather be Michael Jackson or Debbie Boone? Seriously.
Brian: I gotta think MJ has got a couple Grammys.
(a group of enthusiastic people stop by to say their hellos and thank JT and his band mates for their show)
TCAS: Academy Award, highest grossing film. Third option. Cult status.
JTX: Cult status…
TCAS: Like David Lynch, David Cronenberg…
Joe: So, you’ve got to wait 20 years for that to happen.
TCAS: Bruce Campbell has kind of got it, but you know…
Joe: Yeah and Bruce Campbell’s like 65 now.
Brian: Another Michigan man himself, right there. Bruce Campbell.
JTX: Jay Thomas (JT’s biological father) kind of has cult status (without a pause or even breath) I’ll take the highest grossing film of all time. (JT cracks a smile and laughs with the crowd)
TCAS: Honest answer, I like that. Top 5 albums of all time?
JTX: There’s a lot of them…
Carey: “Joshua Tree” (U2)
TCAS: No particular order…
JTX: “Born in the U.S.A.” Bruce Springsteen, “Purple Rain” Prince. I mentioned Prince a lot. KISS “Alive II”…
Joe: Green Day’s “Dookie” still a great album. Timeless record.
Brian: I got some wild tastes, man. Weezer “Pinkerton”’s great. The first Mars Volta album (De-Loused in the Comatorium)
JTX: George Michael “Faith.”
Joe: “Blood Sugar Sex Magic” the Red Hot Chili Peppers. That’s definitely top 5.
(People in the crowd and passers-by start throwing in their favorites)
JTX: Could be a confusing interview.There’s so many.
TCAS: What is the greatest piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
JTX: Great question. My dad said, “You could do whatever you want to do. Just do it your best.” So I said, “Alright.” And off to Hollywood I went.
TCAS: Along the same line, what is the best advice you could give to someone who wants to be where you are?
Joe: Turn down and stop playing so much.
JTX: Never take a day off. Rehearse on Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve. You got a date on Friday night, that doesn’t matter. You better jam or have a gig, there’s someone else in line that wants to. So, that’s my advice. Kerry?
Kerry: If you ever get into a sticky situation and you get stuck, you pick the best road for yourself and you go with it.
Carey: Basically, trust your instincts. If you think you’re doing too much…you’re doing too much. If it’s not right, it’s not right. Just follow your gut.
Brian: Every morning before my dad would drop us off at school, he would tell my sister and I “Be a leader, not a follower.” I’ve got to pass that on. That was every morning like clockwork. I would be like, “Yeah, yeah, yeah” but now as you’re older, you realize it’s true.
TCAS: One more question…
Brian: No problem, man. We’re having a blast.
TCAS: Thank you, thank you. It’s kind of a serious question now. Peanut butter; crunchy or creamy?
(bassist breaks out in a laugh)
Brian: (immediately answers) Crunchy!
Joe: I started creamy, I evolved to crunchy. So, I don’t know…
TCAS: You have to pick one. You cannot be on the fence.
Joe: I guess today I’m crunchy.
TCAS: Crunchy! It’s not peer pressure is it?
Joe: No, no, not at all. Tomorrow it might be creamy.
Brian: Definitely crunchy with raspberry jelly.
(A chorus of disapproval including shouts of “strawberry jelly”)
Earl Lyon (founder of local punk band Earl’s Killer Squiller): Concord grape!
TCAS: Anything you guys want to add?
JTX: Look up JTX on iTunes and Twitter and Facebook.
-Michael L. Smith
“Expect your every need to be met. Expect the answer to every problem, expect abundance on every level.” -Eileen Caddy. The Egyptian born, Irish raised, New Age author who passed away in 2006, wasn’t talking about the longest running annual tour in North America, but her quote describes the atmosphere of the Vans Warped Tour in 2011.
In Part I of the Vans Warped Tour feature, we covered the initial festival hours of the tour as it hit Atlanta, Georgia. Now we dive into the midway point and the Southern heat of the popular, American music festival.
3:50 PM A Skylit Drive (Ernie Ball Stage)
Keeping with the prevalent, post-hardcore push of the festival, “A Skylit Drive” garnered the largest gathering for the Ernie Ball Stage all festival. Led by Michael Jagmin (vocals), Nick Miller (guitar), Joey Wilson (guitar), Brian White (bass), Kyle Simmons (keyboards), and Cory La Quay (drums), the screamo band from Lodi, California recently released their latest album, “Identity On Fire” in February.
5:00 PM D.R.U.G.S. (Tilly’s/AP Stage)
When a door one door is closed in your face, a greater door may be opened for you in the near future. Such was the path of Craig Owens. The Michigan born lead singer found a new voice in the band D.R.U.G.S. (Destroy Rebuild Until God Shows), which he formed in 2010 after he was let go by his former band, Chiodos. Their self-titled debut album D.R.U.G.S. hit the #1 spot on Billboards U.S. Hard Rock charts after its release in February. Sheltered from the elements of the Georgia sun and heat, D.R.U.G.S (Matt Good (guitar), Nick Martin (guitar), Adam Russell (bass), Aaron Stern (drums) and Owens (lead vocals) performed under the concrete shelter of the Tilly’s/AP Stage for an enthusiastic crowd.
Stepping back outdoors, I had a few minutes to catch The Narrative on the KIA/Kevin Says Stage and The Acacia Strain on the Advent Stage, while getting some water, a bite to eat and picking up free merch from booths including the Conan The Barbarian tent.
6:00 PM Against Me! (Teggart Stage)
Absorbing as much of the Vans Warped Tour experience as I could, I finally made it to the Teggart Stage just in time to catch Against Me! The Florida foursome led by Tom Gabel (vocals, guitar), James Bowman (guitar), Andrew Seward (bass) and James Weinberg (drums) are keeping their hard-working punk ethic alive and have recently announced that they are starting their own record label, Total Treble Music.
The day grows even heavier as the music hits hard and the festival comes to an end in PART III.
No Mothership. No Bootsy Collins. No crazy, multi-colored hair. What would a post-millennium George Clinton deliver for the funky-faithful assembled inside Vinyl Music Hall in Downtown Pensacola, Florida?
With a storyline worthy of a Lucas/Spielberg “Indiana Jones” treatment, the original “Mothership” that floated on stage during stadium tours and delivered Dr. Funkenstein (Clinton) was abandoned in a junkyard by former promoter Bernie Walden and has never been found. A replica was created and housed in Clinton’s Tallahassee studio until the Godfather of Funk was approached with the request of having the hallowed vessel displayed in the Smithsonian Museum of African-American History and Culture. (To read the amazing history of the original “Mothership” and journey of the “Mothership 2.0”, from its creation to it’s placement in the Smithsonian, read Chris Richards’ Washington Post article)
What would George Clinton have in store for the Northwest, Florida crowd? Let it be known, that Mr. Clinton did not disappoint. With the Mothership decommissioned and Bootsy Collins “doin’ his own thing,” The Groove Maestro enlisted a corp of elite musicians including his Granddaughter, Sativa (Shonda Clinton) to fight the tyranny of conformity and dullness that looms in the dark caverns of the music world. To paraphrase former Florida Governor Jeb Bush’s older brother and former President, George W. Bush, “You’re either funkin’ with us, or funkin’ against us!” Of course, the same paraphrase could be said of Anakin Skywalker in his rage toward Obi-Wan in Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, but lets keep the Florida connection going here.
With no opening act, Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic unleashed the funk in nonstop waves of groove and theatrics. After watching his performance, I’m supremely confident that the World’s Ambassador of Funk would easily rock an acoustic “unplugged” tour, even if he and his entire band were boom-butt naked on every stop of the tour.
After a round of celebratory shots were given to the band by a gracious, young lady in the audience, birthday boy and Mike Pinto drummer, Todd Elrod walked to the microphone and shared his appreciation to the crowd and his band mates.
With the recent announcement of their addition to the 2011 DeLuna Fest lineup, Paloma opened the show at Vinyl Music Hall. With a soon to be released EP wrapping up at Raw Panda Studios, the group led by Giovanni Lugo (vocals, guitar) Aaron Finlay (drums), Hale Whisler Leal (bass) and Nathan Dillaha (guitar), will also be playing the Loda Live Music Festival in Mobile, Alabama.
Crafted in the same city that gave birth to such unique artists as G. Love & Special Sauce creator, Garrett “G. Love” Dutton (G. Love & Special Sauce @ Vinyl Music Hall), Pinto brewed his reggae/ska/hip-hop blend in the City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. With a goal of embracing new sounds and creative elements into his music, Pinto moved to San Diego, California while traveling the world with his group (Elrod (drums) and Matt Brein (bass) and sharing his laid-back message of positive music and good times.
Heavy music is alive and well-represented on this year’s Vans Warped Tour. Created in 1994 by Kevin Lyman, the tour kicked off its partnership with Vans in the summer of 1995 and has become the longest running annual tour in North America.
What began as a showcase for mostly Southern California punk and ska artists, the Vans Warped Tour has become a traveling, outdoor roadshow of music diversity containing fan-friendly booths dedicated to social awareness, music/culture publications, fan revelry and anything else music related.
With the August 1st stop hitting Atlanta, Georgia and over 73 bands playing 30 minute sets throughout the day across seven stages, every music lover in attendance could easily find ways to indulge their live music craving.
1:00 PM August Burns Red (Teggart Stage)
With their recently released “Leveler” album fresh in hand, the men of August Burns Red (Matthew Greiner (drums, keyboard, piano), JB Brubaker (guitar), Brent Rambler (guitar), Jacob Luhrs (lead vocals), and Dustin Davidson (bass) properly set the tone for my Monday afternoon: Heavy…Hard…and Loud!
1:20 PM Abandon All Ships (Advent Stage)
Making a mad dash to catch as many bands as humanly possible led to witnessing the start of Toronto metalcore unit Abandon All Ships’ set. The group is led by Angelo Aita (vocals), Daniel Ciccotelli (guitar), Martin Broda (bass/vocals), and Sebastian Cassis-Nunez (keyboard/synth)
2:00 PM Asking Alexandria (Teggart Stage)
Navigating a sea of soaking-hot energized people, I made my way back to the Teggart stage to catch Asking Alexandria.
This is one example of the dilemma one faces when checking out a tour with so many good bands. Just a few stages away, California metal band Of Mice & Men were playing on the Advent stage and Atlanta crunk rockers Family Force 5 were starting their set on the Nintendo 3DS stage. The choice was made to bet on the band formed by guitarist and current Guitar World coverboy Ben Bruce. Rounded out by James Cassells (drums), Cameron Liddell (guitar), Sam Bettley (bass) and Danny Worsnop (vocals), the hot bet paid off as the group poured their metal mayhem on the crowd.
3:00 PM Gym Class Heroes (Teggart Stage)
Holding camp at the Teggart Stage afforded time to watch Travie McCoy and the rest of Gym Class Heroes smooth out their indie hip-hop style for a crowd that was geared and ready to dance in the Georgia heat. Before the rest of the band (Disashi Lumumba-Kasongo (guitar), Matt McGinley (drums) and Eric Roberts (Bass) launched into their hit “Cupid’s Chokehold” (which features a sample from Supertramp’s “Breakfast in America”) McCoy proceeded to address a few bands who have played the Warped Tour in previous years. Citing the crying and emoting he’s witnessed of other performers who sing about lost love and sad days, the lyricist eloquently advised the guys to suck it up, move on and find another lady.
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