Posts Tagged ‘SLUGGOS


* Ex-Breathers, Earl’s Killer Squirrel, Altered States @ Sluggo’s Vegetarian Restaurant. 1/21/13

Henry Rollins is a Terminator living in Tallahassee, Florida. He was sent to rule the world and his weapon is the hardcore band Ex-Breathers.


When Cyberdyne first sent Jim Morrison to do the job, he was interrupted by the 60’s and death. The corporation may just succeed with Ex-Breathers.

Their site says Ex-Breathers are David Settle (guitar), Adam Berkowitz (drums), and Jack Vermillion (bass). But these may be nicknames for these lethal Terminators. (My name for the T-X is “Box Office” because she is the main reason I watched that bomb-of-a-movie known as Terminator 3 more than once).

I’ve only seen Ex-Breathers once, but after their show at Sluggo’s with Earl’s Killer Squirrel and Altered States, I definitely want to see them again. Post-Black Flag-Rollins is thick n’ heavy on the bands EP “Collision,” but this isn’t a Rollins Band rip-off. These Terminators guys are real. As good as the album was, the band is even better live. Go with them if you want to rock.

– Michael L. Smith



* Lagwagon, Plow United, It Starts Today @ Vinyl Music Hall + INTERVIEWS W/ JOEY CAPE & EARL LYON 10/28/2012.

“That’s my favorite tour story and I never tell it. I never felt comfortable telling it really until recently. So I’m really glad that we’re coming back there. I’ve got lots of good stories about Pensacola because we basically lived there for a couple of days after that.

I was excited that this interview was with someone in Pensacola because one of my favorite memories from Lagwagon touring happened in Pensacola; we actually broke up onstage at a gig at Sluggo’s. “

– Joey Cape of Lagwagon


I don’t know how long Joey Cape had been keeping it in.

I don’t know when he made peace with it all, but Cape talked about the band’s onstage fight at Sluggo’s, his drummer’s addiction, and the days he spent in Pensacola while Derrick Plourde was in detox.

Earl’s Killer Squirrel frontman Earl Lyon witnessed the fight and also gave his account for my Pensacola News Journal “Music Matters” column “Lagwagon back in town that nearly spelled its end”   before the show at Vinyl Music Hall.

The full interviews with Cape and Lyon follow bellow.

Joey Cape Interview

MS: With all of the touring with Lagwagon, your solo work, and new band, what’s the most exciting thing for you?

JC: It’s always been just the creative side of things. I much prefer working on new music and the recording process. That’s always, for me, been the most rewarding part of the gig.

MS: What’s the craziest thing you’ve seen at one of your shows?

JC: (Silence) Well, it’s a funny thing you bring that up, actually because I was excited that this interview was with someone in Pensacola because one of my favorite memories from Lagwagon touring happened in Pensacola; we actually broke up onstage at a gig at Sluggo’s.

MS: Wow.


JC: Back in 95. It was insane. It was just insane. It makes that Billy Joe thing-freaking out on TV or whatever, that Radiofest-makes that look totally weak. (Laughs) The only difference is back when we did it, there weren’t smart phones and the internet wasn’t in everybody’s hands. I’ve wished forever and ever that somebody got it on film because I would love to see it but no one did. Because, when you really think about it, it’s funny.

Basically what it was, was that, the drummer that toured with the band was really…he was having a real hard time…he was a drug addict. He was getting worse and worse on tour and we were…the tension in the band, in other places as well, was getting heavier and heavier and everybody’s come to terms with this stuff now, we’re all at peace with it. There were many, many good years after that when Derrick (Plourde) was fine and we’re all friends, so I’m not saying anything that’s going to cause anybody grief, but it was bad. Derrick was a mess, he couldn’t stay awake on the stage. People in the band…we hated each other. (Laughs). I’ll never forget, we’re onstage at Sluggo’s and our drummer just nodded out and then Shawn Dewey our rhythm guitar player, he started yelling at somebody in the audience for running into the microphone and hurting his face, he was bleeding or something. And I start yelling at him, I start saying, “Well, I don’t care what he says. We don’t agree with him.” to the audience and then we started into it and then our other guitar player-you got to remember, these guys are giants. Like Shawn Dewey is like 6’7” and Chris Flippin, other guitar player, who came to my rescue there and they started fighting, he’s 6’9”, almost 6’`10”, he’s 6’9 and three quarters, so the two of them start fighting, and they’re fist-fighting onstage.

Our stage-tech guy pulls the kick drum out from in front of Derrick onto the ground and Derrick falls in the middle of the stage and starts kicking him and calling him an f’n you know what like, “You’re ruining this band.” (Laughs) I know it’s not funny at all, but it was so…it was so surreal when I look back on it now. And Jesse (Buglione) bass player, he’s kind of standing there cross-legged with a cigarette smoking really awkwardly, looking at me and I looked at him and I just kind of made this face like “Oh, well!” because that’s it! And Jesse nods to the right and I look over and there’s this crowd; like a full Sluggo’s room of kids with their mouths going “Oh my god. What am I watching?”

That’s my favorite tour story and I never tell it. I never felt comfortable telling it really until recently. So I’m really glad that we’re coming back there. I’ve got lots of good stories about Pensacola because we basically lived there for a couple of days after that. Me, Brian and Steve was our stage guy, our one roadie; we had one roadie back in those days and so he’s part of our team. He and I stayed there while Derrick went to a detox facility in Pensacola. We got to know the locals pretty good. It’s a cool town. I haven’t been there in many years, so I don’t know.

MS: Did you go to the beach when you were here?

JC: I don’t remember going to the beach in Pensacola, Florida. I remember going out every night, late, going to clubs and hanging out with a couple people that we knew a little bit. I kinda knew that guy Gus (Brandt), who ended up working with the Foo Fighters. You know, it was like weird. It was more like a David Lynch movie back in 95’ to me being an unlocal. It was like this guy that had a cab that wasn’t a cab and he called it Ramen Cab and you gave him Top Ramen, he would drive you anywhere. I don’t know if you ever heard of that. And…uh…yes, so we would just stock up on top ramen and give it to the ramen cab guy and he’d drive us around to these bars and hang out with the local punk kids. It was just super fun. We were having a great time while our buddy was trying to…you know, it was for the better of course. I remember going to the beach in Florida towns on the east coast on the other side.

MS: Glad you guys are coming back to Pensacola. Just you saying Sluggo’s, I remember those memories of old shows back then.

JC: The other thing was the Nite Owl.

MS: Oh,the Nite Owl. That closed down back in 2000 something. I saw my first show there in the late 80’s. That was an awesome club too. The Handlebar is still around in Pensacola.

JC: Oh yeah! I remember that place. Cool. Yeah. I’m sure we’ll go out. We’re not a band that shies away from hanging out after the shows (Laughs). We pretty much go out every night and-to our detriment, I’m sure. We like to have a good time. I’m going out in Pensacola for sure. Provided that I’m not sick, you know what I mean. Which is the only thing that keeps me from going out is if I get sick. I don’t think that’s going to happen. That’s great. I’m looking forward to seeing you, It’s been a long time. Like I said, we spent a few days there so I kind of feel like I got to know the place a bit. It was so long ago.

MS: The box set came out last year, what Lagwagon songs get you off the most when you’re playing them live?

JC: It’s cool because we’re playing songs from the first five records. There are some songs in the set that we really haven’t played much since the early, early days and those are ones. They feel new and they feel refreshed and sometimes that effects the other songs in the set that are old as well that we have been playing for years because when everything is in the same setting that old feeling that the band had, that vibe, somehow it kind of elevates everything to a little bit higher intensity. I can’t really figure it out, but I know some of those songs…well, if you…there’s a song called “Lazy” that’s a song on our second record, and we didn’t play that song for so many years and I think that was mostly my fault…it’s a really hard and high song to sing, super intense; kind of a voice killer, but I think that I finally got my shit together. I’ve finally gotten strong enough now to do those songs, so that’s really cool. Just anytime you’re doing something you haven’t done in a long time, it feels fresh and good.

a_img5325Joey Cape Lagwagon

MS: What would Joey of today tell a younger Joey just starting out?

JC: I would say, “Remember that band that you had that sounded kind of like Nirvana before Nirvana existed? Maybe you should’ve rolled with those dudes.” (Laughs) That’s only for my daughter’s sake. Yeah, I don’t know. I’m pretty happy with the way we’ve done things. We’ve been pretty true to ourselves and self-indulgent the whole way. I don’t know that we’ve ever really made any decisions that weren’t serving our immediate needs. That sounds weird, but that’s the way to do it. When people start planning and calculating for success and those kinds of things, you can make a lot of bad decisions in music and in general in the business of music. And we’ve stuck with the same label the whole time; we didn’t really promote ourselves in a way that put us into a different perspective to those that like the band. I don’t know. I don’t have a lot of advice. Maybe drink less.

MS: As far as advice, since you mentioned it; what’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

JC: Oh, boy. It’s usually me giving the great advice out here (Laughs). Boy, that’s a really tough question. I mean, I’ve been given lots of great advice by people. I don’t even remember who, but somebody must have told me sooner or later, somewhere along the line really early on, that the best thing to do is to “Just be yourself when you play shows.” Because-and maybe I just figured this out, but I’m sure somebody said it to me somewhere along the line as well. This is good advice, “If you can figure out a way to do something that embodies entertaining people and completely maintain your own personality without creating any kind of alter-ego or…there’s a way to do it where you just literally walk around being the same person you are offstage, you can have a much better run and a much better time and it’s never going to get weird.

MS: This is a crazy one; do you prefer crunchy or creamy peanut butter?

JC: Oh man, that’s a really tough one…well it depends. I mean, you know, my initial reaction was crunchy because it’s more exciting (Laughs)…but, I mean, I would say…I’m going to go with creamy because-first of all, creamy is just an awesome word. For some reason, all I can think of right now is peanut butter on celery and I think that smooth is better on the celery.

MS: That’s true. You’re making me hungry Joey.

JC: You’re making me hungry, man. I haven’t eaten yet today. I got to get a peanut butter sandwich somewhere.

MS: You guys are in New England tonight, where?

JC: We’re in Massachusetts…we’re playing Boston tomorrow night and we’re just in a parking lot somewhere in Massachusetts with the day off. Literally in a dirt, parking lot parked nowhere near anything. It’s not going to be a very fun day, but the Smoking Popes are playing in Boston tonight and the word is we can get a shower from a hotel nearby the airport, then we can take the Blue Line downtown to Cambridge and we can see the Smoking Popes. We’re probably going to stay in the bus and watch the Chappelle Show. (laughs)

MS: This is my last question for you. Is there anything else you’d like to add for the fans coming out to Vinyl Music Hall in Pensacola?

JC: I hope they show up. It’s been a long time. I don’t know what that means; I don’t know if we have any. I hope there’s a lot of them. I don’t know what night of the week it is, but I would always say the same thing, man, “Just come on out and have a good time with us cause’ we’re fun.”  Introduce yourself when you get a chance.

Earl Lyon (Earl’s Killer Squirrel) Interview

MS: What do you remember? First of all, why were you there?

EL: I worked there at Sluggo’s back in…the one on Palafox and Intendencia; the three story one and one night, Lagwagon’s playing, everything’s going fine and in the middle of the show, they cut the set short because, obviously, some people were out of it and couldn’t perform. And the next thing you know, people are leaving and they had a big fistfight between the two guitarists.

MS: Did you see the fistfight?

EL: I was in the dressing room cleaning up while they were fighting right there on the side.

MS: Where you shocked or did you see it coming?

EL: I wasn’t really shocked, but for seeing Lagwagon for, that was like my fourth of fifth time seeing them and they seemed tight and you didn’t think anything like that would happen, but obviously, there was a breaking point, you know.

MS: Hell yeah. Is there anything you want to add? Are you going to the show next week?

EL: Oh yeah. I’m going. I love Lagwagon. They replaced those two members, the drummer and the guitarist after that and moved along and kind of really got kind of-I wouldn’t say emo-, but he really started thinking out his music when Lagwagon got back together and started their fourth album “Double Plaidinum”. It was really thought out after that. You could tell that everything that happened that night affected him.  

Michael L. Smith


* Weight of the World, Vices, Cold Hearted @ Sluggo’s Vegetarian Restaurant. 04/29/12

A dislocated knee and a smashed wall, all before the headliners hit the stage. It’s was a hardcore kind of night, brothers and sisters.

The kid with the dislocated knee popped it back in and the dude who smashed the wall caught serious (and justified) hell as Weight of the World, Vices, and Cold Hearted ended my Sunday night at Sluggo’s with a BANG.


Michael L. Smith


* Sluggo’s Cover Band Show @ Sluggo’s Vegetarian Restaurant. + INTERVIEWS W/ CRYSTAL TREMER & PATRICK JENNINGS.10/29/11

The devil is in the details and hell was a busy playground during a special Halloween edition of the annual Sluggo’s Cover Band show featuring bloody head-to-toe authenticity as bands and audience members dressed up in downtown Pensacola.

Three years ago Crystal Tremer organized the first Sluggo’s Cover Band show after witnessing similarly themed shows during her travels throughout the country. Perpetually creating, Tremer also launched the annual Battle of the Bands competition in addition to kicking off her third Cover Band show. “And hopefully when I move from here, I’ll pass the torch along to someone that wants to take care of it. It’s just something for people to do in this town.” added Tremer.

Of all three years, her favorite Cover Band moment came near the end of last year’s event when Tremer had to turn off the lights and kick everybody out during the Iggy & The Stooges set led by Patrick Jennings.

Fully understanding the reason for cutting his set short, Jennings explains his view of the event. “Well, I understand the need for it. It was a couple of minutes ‘til three. Legally they had to get everybody out of there. Although, when you practice something for several months, it’s pretty disappointing if you don’t get to finish your set.” The group had just started to play “I Wanna Be Your Dog” and Jennings made the call to keep playing as their equipment and lights were cut off. “Yeah, we started to play it. Just keep playing. Yeah, we pretty much got shut down, but it was fun. It’s all good.”

***Patrick Jennings Interview***

What can people expect from your set this year.
Jennings: Well, this year we were starting to figure out who we were going to cover this year and they moved the coverband show to Halloween weekend and we decided that Samhain or Sauin would be appropriate because Sauin is the Celtic holiday. So kind of in the same vein as All Saints Day, but a lot of the traditional Sauin traditions have morphed into Halloween and also Samhain, as most people refer to the band, being Glenn Danzig’s band between The Misfits and Danzig, I figured it was thematically appropriate as well. You know kinda scary, horror-rock certainly evil had a habit of covering themselves in blood during their performances so we might pull that out as well. We hope to see a few more people getting into the actual costume aspect of the cover bands this year, it being Halloween. It should be cool. Yes. I’ve done my wig shopping.

Can you give a hint for next week? (The interview was conducted one week before the show and for a feature in the Oct. 28th edition of the Pensacola News Journal Weekender)
Jennings: Not really any huge surprises. I don’t know how familiar most people are with Samhain anymore. When I was 13, 14 in middle school, they were pretty big. We’re doing it to entertain other people, but it’s really for us. It’s a lot of fun to do it. I’m hoping there will be some surprise bands that show up. I’m looking forward to Louis Prima. That should be a lot of fun. He’s probably most famous for his “I Wanna Be Like You” song from The Jungle Book….when the monkeys are all dancing around. Incredible jazz performer, so if somebody can pull that off, that’s impressive.

(In response to The Beatles cover band)
Jennings: Oh wow…that’s tricky. You better do it right. That’s not one where you have a whole lot of room for error. I’m looking forward to the Cheap Trick. That is the same guys who did Queen last year, so they always do a good job.

Who’s in your band?
Jennings: It’s Acorns with me singing and playing guitar on a song or two perhaps. Acorns is Shane Langseth, Dave Myers and Scott Dixon. They were along with Chad Porter when we did The Stooges and this year it’s Acorns and me.

Most memorable coverband moment?
Jennings: Watching as a spectator, I thought that the Etta James band last year was amazing as well as Dinosaur, Jr. Tom did a solo Danzig organ performance the first year and that was interesting. Those three. I would say the Etta James, Dinosaur and Danzig the first year are really good and Queen last year was really good. As far as performing…the Neil Young band we did the first year was a lot of fun. It was a great…playing with Terry Johnson, Shane and Brandon Warren, they were just a great group of people to work with. We kind of rocked the songs a little louder and faster than Neil would have played them (catches himself), maybe not louder, but faster. That was a lot of fun. By the time we got on stage, I was a mess. It’s on youtube.

Crunchy or Creamy peanut butter?
Jennings: Creamy. I don’t like the texture of the peanuts in the peanut butter. I just like peanuts on their own. Roasted, boiled, whatever. I don’t like peanuts in cookies. I don’t like peanuts in…anything. Creamy peanut butter though. Eat it by the spoonful.

In Closing:
Jennings: I encourage people to come out, check it out. If they haven’t seen it before, it’s always a lot of fun. Dress up if you want. Saturday before Halloween and have a good time.

***Crystal Tremer Interview***

Band Trophy:
Tremer: I didn’t do a trophy last year. I did a trophy for Battle of the Bands because I noticed that really doesn’t happen anymore in Pensacola, so I decided to try to do that again. So I made a trophy for that. I am this year going to do a small prize for the band that people vote for.

What is the greatest concert you’ve been to of all time?
Tremer: (Without even pausing to think) Iron Maiden, Dio, Motorhead. I was out in California and I went to the Concord Pavilion with a couple of friends. Each band had a huge animatronic that rose out of the stage. It was the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen.

Crunchy or creamy peanut butter?
Tremer: I like the crunchy one. (laughs)

Favorite album of all time?
Tremer: That’s a hard one to judge because it changes every week. There are definite ones that are up there. I would have to say ADD/C and I think it was there title album. They are a band from Chattanooga. This is like the hardest question.

– Michael L. Smith

Related Link: Photos from the Sluggo’s Cover Band Show 2010


* Parts & Labor, Acorns, Imaginary Air Show, Dustin Toney @ Sluggo’s Vegetarian Restaurant. 04/25/11

Social etiquette dictates that one not ogle or objectify. No lingering eyes on food, people, etc. The whole is more than the sum of its parts (Aristotle). When one of your parts involves the drumming of Joe Wong, you know that you have a complete monster in your sights. For as intricate and complex as the music of Parts & Labor sounds when listening, Wong is out of this world when watching the band live; technical, fast, fluid and deathly efficient.

After watching Parts & Labor perform at Sluggo’s Vegetarian Restaurant, one realizes the talent of musician needed to execute their experimental rock creations. Born of Dan Friel and B.J. Warshaw, Parts & Labor brought their Brooklyn-born sound to Pensacola, Florida before setting off for a tour of Europe.

Working the stage as opening artist for the show was Dustin Toney. With various audio samples serving as a backdrop to his vocal performance, Toney gave a reverent nod to the show headliners offering a prize to anyone who could name the Parts & Labor sample he included during his set.

Following Toney were local group Imaginary Air Show who regularly throw in a few subtle surprises during their shows as well. With a new EP soon around the corner and a few new songs on display, the band played musical chairs toward the end of their set. While Sean Peterson, Aaron Finlay and Brandon Warren mix n’ matched instruments between songs, Todd Vilardi set aside his guitar and grabbed his microphone stand. When asked by an audience member why he didn’t switch, Vilardi smiled and replied “I have nothing to switch to.”

Next on the bill were Acorns. Providing the heaviest set of the night, the Pensacola trio of Dave Myers, Shane Langseth, and Scott Dickson quickly set up on the Sluggo’s floor and proceeded to pound the paint off the walls and, quite possibly, dislodge blocks of cement outside. Also showing their musical versatility, the trio swapped places during a set that pleasantly banged loose a few eardrums.

With the exit of Acorns, came the entrance of Parts & Labor. With a newly released album entitled “Constant Future,” the band’s set created a swell of sound geared to make aural senses jump into orbit. Friel, Warshaw, Wong and Tom Martin (guitar) produced a technical, wire-tight display that concluded with a rising finish that roared and used every bone of their living monster.

-Michael Lashan Smith
-New Video for the Parts & Labor song “Echo Chamber”


* Sexy Crimes, Sports Bar, Boneless Rats @ Sluggo’s Vegetarian Restaurant. + INTERVIEW W/ BONELESS RATS. 04/20/11

A year goes by fast and in the case of business, a year can exceed some venture’s lifetime; opening…closing…THE END. But on April 20th, Sluggo’s celebrated the one-year anniversary of its current location. The chapter now being written inside 101 S. Jefferson street should read as another positive addition to its history.

My memories of Sluggo’s originated with meeting friends and watching a ton of local and touring bands from the second floor of the Intendencia Street location. The reward for tackling a lifelong fear of heights and the steps to the balcony was the reward of an unobstructed view of every show I could catch.

With a short-distance move to Palafox Street came memories of the dark entrance that led to booths that seemed to reach the ceilings and swallow patrons in comfort and shadow. Fear juggling was entertained again by the narrow flight of stairs that led to a pool room and the area where the bands performed. Across the street from what used to be the J.J. Newberry’s where mom would occasionally take me on Saturday afternoons as a kid and a short walk away from Buccaneer Coin and Stamps where I used to buy baseball cards and crazy stamps, a new file of memories was created for my developing adolescence.

-The tuxedo my fianceé (at that time) ruined with her wayward cigarette during a Tuesday Martini Night.
-The night of a Mike West & Myshkin show where Mr. West taught everyone a lesson in “show etiquette” when a friend who I hadn’t seen in years and I held a reunion that got too loud with excitement that West cold-cut off his set mid-song from across the room and asked if we were done yet.
-The Digital Underground show where I produced the ticket that had been purchased immediately after they were made available, only to have the accompanying show go unseen by my eyes because I went to find my friends outside and was denied re-entry because the show was at full-capacity.

After an amazing run downtown, Sluggo’s was forced from the location and fell off the map for a few years. The creation of Terry Johnson and Nick Flynn would not be gone for long, when plans were announced for the venue to reopen on Garden Street with the inclusion of several unique ideas which included a vegetarian restaurant. The few shows I caught there ranged from a cool performance art exhibit to a show that included a friend’s band. Unfortunately, the venue disappeared again, leaving a huge hole that was difficult to fill.

Sluggo’s eventually found a new home on Cervantes street where the body of diverse shows shared life with a vegan menu. After several years and many shows at the location, Sluggo’s moved to its current home and played host to a one year anniversary show with Sports Bar (Kemper “Johnny K” Blair, Stuart “BERNIE” Holt, and Cliff “The Wizard” Boyd. Richmond, VA), Sexy Crimes (Cassady Fernandez and Joel Control. Brooklyn, NY) and local group Boneless Rats (Joe Boneless, Travis F*ck and Jesse “Jesstro” Vanderweert.)

……………………………………….Boneless Rats Interview………………………………………………………..

TCAS: In 2011, what’s in store for the Boneless Rats?

JB: Tour

TF: Release a 7”

JB: We just put out a tape two weeks ago. It’s the “First Two Years: Demo Tape.” It’s available at “Wax On The Tracks” and soon at “Revolver Records” and directly through us at

TCAS: What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

JV: Ever been given about anything?

TCAS: Anything

JB: Oh man….

JV: “Keep it secret. Keep it safe.”

TF: I agree with Jesse.

JB: I agree with that too.

TF: That’s perfect.

TCAS: What is the best advice you could give some else?

JB: Do it yourself, no matter what.

TF: Yeah…I agree with that.

JB: Don’t worry about anyone else. Do your own thing.

JV: DIY Work ethic. Do what you gotta do for yourself.

TCAS: Anything you want to add before I add the last question? Life…Art?

JB: Have fun.

TF: Music’s awesome.

JB: Have fun.

JV: Have fun. Don’t take it too seriously. Don’t take it….fun…in between not taking it too seriously and….

JB: Serious enough.

JV:….not slacking off.

JB: Learn as much as you can about everything, but don’t take anything too seriously. Have fun.

TF: Keep it secret….keep it safe.

TCAS: Big serious question now. Real serious moment. Crunchy or creamy peanut butter?

TF: Crunchy.

JB: Crunchy. Extra Crunchy!

JV: Crun….

JB: Wait! No, you have to get the natural stuff. None of that hydrogenated sh*t. Straight crunchy.

JV: Straight Crunchy!

JB: Yeah! There you go.

TF: That’s what we like.

JB: You gotta throw in your ad for General Jesse’s…

JV: Also, I’m coming out with a new gin. General Jesse’s Gin. Our slogan is “It’s Generally Drinkable.” It comes in gallon, half-gallon and trash bag sizes. It’s coming out soon. General Jesse’s Gin.

TCAS: Any websites or links to buy your tapes, CDs, vinyl?

JB: or it is my show photos, photography that I do.

TF: I don’t talk much. I’m the drummer.

JB: We’re shy.

JV: We’re all shy.

TCAS: I’m socially awkward too. Thank you gentlemen.

-Michael L. Smith


* The Lisps, Fabric @ Sluggo’s Vegetarian Restaurant. 03/10/11

Vaudeville-acoustic met Improv-electronica as “The Lisps” and “Fabric” shared a bill at Sluggo’s and talked about Civil-War sci-fi, “nice-sex” advice from mom, artistic passion, peanut butter and more.

If the ghost of Samuel Beckett possessed the players of Prairie Home Companion, one would brush close to the experience of watching Brooklyn based group “The Lisps” perform at Sluggo’s Vegetarian Restaurant. With thespian hues painted on their musical canvas, César Alvarez (vocals, guitar), Sammy Tunis (vocals, melodica, percussion), Lorenzo Wolff (bass), Eric Farber (drums) are touring with an album to be released soon and a “Civil War Sci-fi musical” set to premiere in 2012.

Questions with “The Lisps”

TCAS: What does 2011 have for you?

César Alvarez: We’re releasing a new album in a couple of months. We are working on a great big musical that we wrote which is going to go up the following year, 2012, up at American Repertory Theatre in Boston. So that’s a big deal for us and we’re going to be working on that all year.

Sammy Tunis: César is having a baby.

TCAS: Congratulations. When is the baby due?

César Alvarez: Thank you. June.

Sammy Tunis: Finding true love.

TCAS: Anything else?

Lorenzo Wolf: You know. I think you nailed it.

Sammy Tunis: Yeah. Musical, album, baby, love.

TCAS: What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?

Lorenzo Wolff: My parents heard me having sex for the first time and my dad said “Make sure you have safe sex” and my mom said “Make sure you have nice sex.” That was the best advice I’ve ever gotten.

César Alvarez: That’s the best advice I’ve ever gotten.

TCAS: Can that be topped? You don’t have to top it, if you want to throw anything else in there.

César Alvarez: I think we’re going to go with that. That’s our final answer.

TCAS: What advice would you give for someone wanting to be where you are?

César Alvarez: Sitting in a club, not knowing where we are going to sleep tonight in Pensacola? If you want to be where we are….

Eric Farber: Can I answer for real?

Everybody: Yeah

Eric Farber: Oh man, it’s going to be boring. I think you just have to be real passionate about doing something and then you just f*cking do it…do it…have an enthusiasm about it, really an enjoyment with it…just keep on wanting to press that and let that outlet go.

TCAS: That wasn’t a corny answer. That was awesome.

César Alvarez: We’ve been a band for coming up on six years. And we feel that year seven is our year. That the point is…

Sammy Tunis: Seven year itch.

César Alvarez: it really does take a long time to do anything and you have to be patient, just keep at it. I agree with Eric.

TCAS: Last question. Crunchy or creamy peanut butter?

ALL: Crunchy.

Sammy Tunis: Come on.

TCAS: It’s unanimous.

Sammy Tunis: We don’t agree on much, but…

Lorenzo Wolff: Sammy has a philosophy and I adopted it. I think most people ought to, is that you need at least a duality of consistencies in every food that you eat. Something that has a nice bite and something that has a nice release.

Sammy Tunis: That’s my thing. My philosophy with food and with life is…hard and soft…together.

César Alvarez: I don’t agree. I like things that are squishy and flaccid.

Lorenzo Wolff: Just squish?

César Alvarez: I’ll take like a pudding in a wrap…with pudding

Sammy Tunis: That’s why I’m not big on burritos because it’s too much soft in a squishy thing.

Lorenzo Wolff: Bacon and a burrito, you’d be fine?

Sammy Tunis: Yeah of course, and when the burrito is fried like a chimichanga, that’s fine too.

César Alvarez: A soft pudding burrito. I love it.


Navigating the stage like sonic lab techs going from station to station, musicians Brian Brown, Sean Peterson and Brandon Warren joined to form the music project “Fabric.” The trio conducted their experimental feats of daring by moving about the stage and testing the boundaries of keyboards, strings, and digital machinery.

Questions with “Fabric”

TCAS: What does 2011 have in store for you?

Brandon Warren: Musically?

TCAS: Anything.

Brandon Warren: More drum students. That’s my…

Brian Brown: I just want to connect with people. Seems pretty important…you know what I mean? That’s what I want.

TCAS: What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?

Brian Brown: Awesome question. Did you hear that question (to Elise Lullo)

Elise Lullo: Yeah. I did. I heard it when he asked them. I immediately knew my answer.

Brian Brown: What’s your answer?

Elise Lullo: In high school my mom told me “Kill them with kindness.”

Brian Brown: Yeah.

TCAS: That is true.

Sean Peterson: “Strive to be child-like in everything you do, but never childish.”

TCAS: Any pearls Brandon?

Brandon Warren: I don’t have any pearls.

TCAS: What’s the best advice you can give to someone who wants to be where you are?

Sean Peterson: Get a job.

Brandon Warren: Yeah. If you like music, get a degree in something else. Or be cool with being an artist.

TCAS: Crunchy or creamy peanut butter?

Brandon Warren: Crunchy.

Elise Lullo: I used to be all about creamy, but then I switched to crunchy. I’m a convert.

Brian Brown: Crunchy.

Sean Peterson: Crunchy


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