Archive for April, 2008
Mines students have been unjustly stereotyped as “uncreative.” Within the last month CSM has seen the release of the newest issue of High Grade, stellar performances by Mines Little Theater, and most recently, the spring concert for the CSM Choir and Band. The band program, which was started over 50 years ago, has seen a variety of manifestations and performance venues, from football games to concert halls. The choir, which also has a rich history of performance and excellence, opened the night.
As the Melodic Majors and Minors finished their harmonious rendition of “Lollipop,” the main chorus took the stage. As they filled Bunker Auditorium with the sounds of unamplified, a capella voices, a certain sense of wonder came over the audience. Although Latin may be a dead language, the words came alive during the choral rendition of Carl Orf’s “Carmina Burana.” The selected pieces ranged from traditional songs to modern music. The finale, Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” was an enjoyable take on a classic rock ballad.
Following the choir, the Flute Choir took center stage. The selections of Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” were played with a gentle grace and fluid harmony. Finally, the main Concert Band performed their set. “This piece was written by a trombonist,” said director Robert Klimek. “He wrote it for the opening of a hat shop his wife had opened. Unfortunately the shop closed down after only about a month, I think they must have spent all their money on hiring a band.” Klimek proceeded to conduct two pieces written by David Bobrowitz, followed by a piece by Tschaikovsky. At this point Klimek addressed the audience again. “The composer’s notes for the next piece state that this song is intended to ‘drive percussionists nuts.’” A rousing and energetic rendition of Andrew Boysen Jr.’s “Relentless” followed. The final song of the night was conducted by graduating drum major Chase Ruff. Klimek introduced the final number by saying, “We’ve had a theme song. Whether it’s a patriotic event, Mother’s Day, a salute to heroes, or any occasion, our theme shows up. Pirates!” With those words, Klimek invited Ruff to conduct the theme from “Pirates of the Caribbean.” As the show ended the band played an energizing and spirited version of the CSM fight song.
The spring concert was a bittersweet occasion for the music program at Mines as the LAIS department celebrated their graduating musicians. Andrew Cavendor, a graduate student and French horn player, was involved with the music program for six years. “This is how I was able to stay sane,” said Cavendor. “Not only do you get about 60 new friends, but you have the ability to see different aspects of Mines that you wouldn’t normally get to experience. Playing for alumni has always been enjoyable, because of the school spirit and pride that is involved.” Michael Krizmanic, another graduating member, played trumpet with the band during his entire college experience. “Tonight I really enjoyed the whole performance, because everything came together,” said Krizmanic.
As one of the top artistic events of the spring semester, the choir and band concert showed that Mines students can be successful in areas other than engineering.
Another interview from E-days 2008, this one with up-and-coming California act I Hate Kate. Lead singer/songwriter/guitarist Justin Mauriello sat down with me to talk about everything from the Denver music scene to his biggest inspirations. Enjoy
[Oredigger] Do you play for many colleges?
[Mauriello] Yeah, usually it’s this time of year, there’s Greek week and many colleges have festivals. College shows are always really fun to play, it’s kind of a different vibe, it’s more like a big hoopla, a big party. They’re always a lot more fun, and it’s cool because you play with other bands you know, and you see friend’s bands that you haven’t seen in a long time. They’re always fun.
Who are your major musical influences?
Growing up I had so many different influences. What got me playing guitar was Kirk Hammett from Metallica and Michael J. Fox when he played “Johnny B. Goode” in Back To The Future. I saw him playing that thing and I decided that I needed to start playing guitar so I could learn how to play “Johnny B. Goode” like he did. I also got into a lot of ‘guitar shredders,’ I was huge into Joe Satriani, and I loved that sort of shit. But then I was always auditioning singers, and I could never find a good singer, so I said, “Man, I’m just going to fake it.” I was just kinda faking it then, and I’m faking it now. But as far as singers go, I went through a big punk phase where I really got into Fugazi, the Descendents and I used to really love those sorts of bands, but now I can’t really say there’s one person I aspire to be like, or one main influence. But anything from those old metal guitar players to a lot of those punk bands. I even got into new wave shit when I was in junior high. I loved bands like Depeche Mode and the Cure and I still love them now. So all those bands put together influenced my writing and musical taste.
How do you feel about the current music scene, especially here in Denver? Also, what do you think about the state of the music industry?
Those are two different things. As far as the music industry and the labels, I think it’s just shit. All the major [labels] have become conglomerates and a lot of the good bands and good indie labels are actually starting to get bigger than some of the major [labels]. They’re becoming their own entities. The industry as a whole is at a bad place, but there are still some really strong labels.
As far as where music is at, I think it’s at a cool place right now. You mentioned Denver, here KTCL plays such a good range of music, which you don’t see in every city. They veer off the beaten path and play other bands and have the balls to jump on something before everyone else does, so I have a lot of respect for them for doing that. It’s cool because when you turn on the radio you’ll hear anything from local bands here like Single File, who are a pop-rock band, and the Flobots, who have a totally different style, yet they’re all still being played on the same station. So I think it’s cool, because people are being a lot more open minded than they have been.
What are your passions for writing new material and performance?
My passion in life has always been music. I want to give a different answer, so I’d say music and bowling. Bowling drives me to get out of bed in the morning. As far as getting inspiration for songs, if I see something that just strikes me, or inspires me to write lyrics or music it’s just life experiences. But as far as something that just keeps me going, truthfully the music experience itself is just so fun and rewarding. To take something you’ve created and play it in different parts of the world and have people sing along with you is awesome, it’s an amazing feeling. That truly does get me moving… and steak.
I get up in the morning and think of a nice juicy stake. It’s very tangible, because I know within a couple hours I could be indulging in a fine piece of meat. Also, a cup of coffee. You wake up in the morning and say, “What do I want to do?” You’ve got your morning snap session, which is a little alone time with yourself in the morning, and some coffee. You wake up and say, “This is exciting, I am excited to get online and look at internet porn.” Things of that nature really get you moving, but as far as my inspiration goes, I’d definitely say music.
Any plans for releases and/or touring?
Our label, Glassnote Records, has pushed the album until May 27th, and if they don’t push it back again we’ll be out in support of that all summer.
I did some research and found that you used to sing for Zebrahead. How would you say I Hate Kate is different than Zebrahead, and what have been some of the highlights of going out on your own?
It’s very different, musically, and the whole attitude and vibe of the band is different. With this it’s everything I’ve ever wanted to do. I had a great eight, almost nine years, with that band, and it was a great time. I look back on it and there’s a lot of fun things I got to do and a lot of experiences, so I’m grateful that I got to do that. But at the time the change was necessary for the better of myself and the better of them. So it’s been a very positive experience.
What is your favorite song to perform?
It always depends, usually the song they always play on the radio is the most fun to play because everybody knows it and goes nuts for it. But personally I like playing “Inside Inside” a lot. The energy and rhythm of that song just pump up my adrenaline an extra bit. I don’t know what it is about that song, but there’s something about the energy to it that makes it the most fun to play. Sometimes I just like to rock out the ballad. Like last night we played for over an hour in the high altitude here, it was a nice chance to slow down and take a little breather. It’s a wonderful little trick that most people don’t realize, and we get to catch a breath. So last night playing our ballad “It’s You” was heaven sent, but “Inside Inside” is my favorite.
Is there anything else people should know about?
What About Bob is probably the best movie that’s been created and I think that it’s a very underrated movie. Strange Brew as well, it’s an old classic, and it’s one of the most brilliant movies I’ve seen in my life. I also want to thank everybody in Denver, because the fans have just been amazing and very gracious to us for over a year. We’re looking forward to playing here, at this fantastic institution. Also, check out comedian Neil Hamburger on YouTube, he’s the best comedian who’s ever lived on the face of the planet.
This is an interview I did with a couple of the guys in Goldfinger a few hours before the 2008 E-days concert. This was originally slated to run in print, but due to the sheer amount of profanity, it went online exclusive. It was an interesting talk, we heard about everything from inspiration for their music to bands Goldfinger does not like. Enjoy
[Oredigger] Do you play for many colleges? How do they compare to other shows?
[Paulson] We play a few a year
[LeMieux] We’d like to do more, have us back. Actually wait until the gigâ€¦
[Paulson] The cool thing about playing college shows is you get to play to people that normally wouldn’t come check out your band, and you also get to play with other artists you normally wouldn’t play with.
[LeMieux] Unfortunately that’s also the bad part about it.
[Paulson] You might get stuck playing with They Might Be Giants, rather, they ‘might’ be giants, but they definitely are douchebags. We did a string of college shows with them about a year before Kelly joined the band and they were just fucking tools. I think they looked at us like the kind of guys that would beat them up in high school, although we weren’t those kind of guys at all. So they just decided that they were not going to be friendly, and they haven’t been ever since.
[LeMieux] What did you guys call them?
[Paulson] ‘They might not strike their drum set,’ ‘they might not let us sound check,’ and so onâ€¦
[LeMieux] Yeah, but how can you argue with “You’re not the boss of me now!”
[Paulson] I think it’s funny because when that show [Malcolm In The Middle] came on the air people were congratulating me on the score. People thought that that fucking song was Goldfinger.
[LeMieux] But yes, we like college shows
[Oredigger] Who are your major musical influences?
[Paulson] As an individual it would take four hours to explain, as a band I would say the Buzzcocks, the Replacements and the Police.
[LeMieux] A little bit of Clash, and some Fishbone, as an individual it’s too broad. I listen everything, I’ll go from jazz to Slayer.
[Oredigger] More specifically, what is your favorite album right now?
[LeMieux] Charlie is going to laugh, and everyone else would laugh if they were here, but I have been listening to The Smiths’ Greatest Hits, and really digging it. I never used to like that band. They’re our drummer’s favorite band and I used to make fun of him, but now I’m like, “I like some of these songs.”
[Paulson] Yeah, they wrote some great songs. Right now I’m listening to The Dwarves Are Young And Good Looking. I want to clarify that it’s The Dwarves and not The Doors, because I was misquoted on that once and I hate the fucking Doors, and hippies.
[Oredigger] What is the driving factor behind your songs? What about the new album?
[LeMieux] Resentment and animosity. It could be against ‘the system’ or ‘the man.’ There’s a tune on the record about Kevin Kjonaas. Charlie, want to take that?
[Paulson] It’s about a friend of ours who is an animal rights activist who was unjustly victimized by the Patriot Act and will spend the next seven years in prison for an animal rights website.
[LeMieux] He posted phone numbers to a bunch of animal tester guys. He put their personal phone numbers up and since they’re probably lobbyists, and the government and them are probably giving each other mercy-jerk reach-arounds, they basically just threw him in the fucking pokie and he’s there to rot.
[Paulson] He did not encourage violence. He did not encourage people to act against them, he simply placed their information on a web site.
[LeMieux] He didn’t go to war with anyone, he didn’t fuckin’ raise gas prices. So that’s something, other stuff is like relationship stuff. There’s a couple tunes about war on the new record. Religion, which is going back to ‘the man.’ There’s a lot of this kind of anti-disestablishmentarianism.
[Paulson] This is the most political record Goldfinger has ever made. I would say it’s the only record we’ve ever made with a political slant. We’ve definitely addressed animal rights a lot over the years, but what’s gone on in this country over the last eight years is just so fucking inexcusable, so how could you not write about it?
[LeMieux] Unless you live in this beautiful town. I don’t think I could complain about anything.
[Oredigger] You should be here when the brewery smells it up.
[LeMieux] I actually caught a whiff coming in last night. I used to live by a mushroom plant, it was bad.
[Paulson] We live by the Budweiser plant in L.A. and it smells good. It smells like a giant beer, but this smells like a public toilet.
[Oredigger] I think it’s because the water treatment plant is down there, but let’s talk about the new record Hello Destiny. I’ve read that it is a return to the older Goldfinger style, how is it different than Disconnection Notice?
[LeMieux] First of all, the new record comes out April 22. Disconnection Notice was sort of a disappointment. Honestly, I don’t think it was a good representation of Goldfinger when it came out. Charlie wasn’t with the band at that time, he decided to party off on his own for a little while. I think when Charlie came back and with the abysmal sales of that record, it basically opened some people’s eyes, no pun intended to the name of record before that.
[Paulson] My recollection of it is this: I said, “Look, Goldfinger is a pop-punk band. We shoud be on an indie [label], and we should play the kind of music that we’re good at, that made people like our band in the first place. Experimentation is fine, and we’ve done plenty of it, but it’s time for us to get back to what we do.” That was more or less it. Kelly agreed and so did Darren. That was part of the condition for me coming back, I didn’t want to make an adult-contemporary record. We are an aggressive pop band with punk and ska influences. [to Kelly] Do you agree?
[LeMieux] I wanted to do that on the last record, even when you weren’t in the band, and I fucking threw a fit. But sometimes you get overpowered, and I think there was a little more allegiance on this one. With the outcome of Disconnection Notice, I think it was really prevalent that we needed to do this.
[Paulson] Not that we care that much about material success, it’s just that if you’re bumming out the people that support your band, you don’t want to do that.
[LeMieux] Or if you’re doing a tour and you only play one song from the new record, it’s a bad sign.
[Oredigger] How do you feel about how the internet has influenced music?
[LeMieux] They need to work on the publishing. It’s still too fuckin’ ‘wild west’ for me, and I said this a long time ago. Before record sales started tapering off noticeably, and everybody started whining about not getting paid, I remember doing interviews, just like this, and listening to a couple other people, who aren’t here right now, say, “I love it man, free music, da da da.” Then, when it started dipping in to everyone’s pocket, they all started squealing like a bunch of girls. I think the artists need to get paid, period. Unless you’re on the fucking charts, you’re probably making money, but if not, you’re out touring. You’ve got to go out and tour and earn your living. With gas prices going up, you almost need to play and set up a satellite somewhere and beam the fucking concerts out to people. Charlie what do you think?
[Paulson] I couldn’t disagree with Kelly more. A band like us doesn’t make money off of record sales. I’ve never made a dime off of Goldfinger record sales. Without getting into the really boring logistics of how payments break down, we’ll say for a band like Green Day or Metallica, it hurts them, because they make a fuckload of money off of record sales. If you don’t sell more than a million records, you really don’t make money because so many people have their hand in the pot. Goldfinger has sold about two million records worldwide, of all the records put together, and I have never made one cent off of record sales. So, fuck the record companies.
[LeMieux] I agree with that.
[Paulson] Who it hurts the most are the record companies. I think for a band like Goldfinger it only helps us, because what we do is go out and play. That’s how we eat, that’s how we pay our rent, so the more kids that have access to our music for free, the more kids that are going to come to our shows. You cannot download a t-shirt, you cannot download the concert experience. Goldfinger does not make money off of record sales. Like Kelly was saying, if we were Metallica, or a band like Korn or some fuckin’ bullshit like that, it would hurt us, but it doesn’t, so STEAL OUR RECORD.
[Oredigger] Boldly said, what are your plans for the next few months?
[Paulson] We’re doing a bunch of one-offs here and there, then a quick west coast run once the record comes out. Then we’re going out with Less Than Jake for the whole summer. Plus a double header like us with Less Than Jake is something our fans have wanted to see for over a decade. There was always this sort of unspoken rivalry between the two bands, so it’ll be a sort of home-town throw-down. There’s been a lot of shit-talking between the two camps, but I think it was all in fun. It’s going to be fun, and both bands are going to push each other hard so the kids will definitely get a good show out of this package.
Missouri band Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin (SSLYBY) released their second album, Pershing, on April 8th. The group, which is composed of Philip Dickey, Will Knauer, John Robert Cardwell, and Jonathan James, has been around since 2002, and released their first album Broom in 2005. Pershing is SSLYBY’s first professionally produced record (Broom was recorded in a band-member’s basement with low-quality equipment) and has received a large amount of buzz on music blogs and other websites.
Pershing begins with “Glue Girls.” The song, which is very similar to the material they’ve released in the past, is upbeat and makes use of fast chord changes and doubled vocals for some great effects. The song also has a few catchy melodies, both sung and played by electric guitar.
Other highlights of the album include “Dead Right” and “Think I Wanna Die.”
In both songs, backing vocals create memorable harmonies, which are offset by clean and crisp guitar playing and interesting rhythms, making both tracks very appealing.
Lyrically, SSLYBY appears to be trying too hard to match their upbeat, catchy melodies with equally catchy and cute lyrics. In “Oceanographer,” for example, almost every line has an end rhyme with the word ‘oceanographer.’ At times, however, the lyrics match the songs perfectly. “Boring Fountain” is a song about ennui and malaise, and the tired state these conditions cause. The words “by the way I feel nothing” permeate the song, perfectly balancing the melody.
Pershing finds SSLYBS more musically mature than Broom. They sound less like The Shins and The New Pornographers and more like a band creating its own sound. While this can act to their disadvantage at times, overall they’ve created a solid record whose upbeat and catchy tunes are sure to brighten a listener’s day.
This is the last of the E-days 2008 interviews. I talked with Kristen right after her great set during the E-days concert. Key has an interesting story and is a musician with lots of potential [not to mention that she's totally hot].
[Oredigger] What’s your story? Where are you coming from?
[Key] I’m from Cincinnati, Ohio. I grew up in northern Indiana, by Ft. Wayne, and I moved to Cincinnati to go to college. I started playing guitar when I was 17, started becoming more serious when I was 20, and started playing out right before I turned 21. I met my drummer, and we started working together writing songs and eventually put a band together. As a band we still go by ‘Kristen Key,’ so we don’t really have a band name. So for the last three years we’ve been playing out, writing songs and whatever. Then in January, 2008, our studio engineer sent [Goldfinger singer] John Feldman a link to our MySpace page and that’s how we hooked up. He called and said he wanted to see us play, so we went to Toronto and played a show with them [Goldfinger]. He liked it, so now we’re working together on writing songs, getting a record done and hopefully landing a deal here before too long.
Who are your musical influences?
As far as influences, I don’t know, but as far as artists go, Jimmy Eat World is probably my favorite band and my favorite solo artist is actually Jack Johnson.
From what you’ve seen, as an up-and-coming musician, what are your thoughts on the music scene and the industry?
The music scene totally depends on where you are. Some people in some places of the country really care about music and other people don’t. But for the most part, everybody loves music. As far as [the music scene] goes, it’s just about writing real songs people can relate to. As far as the recording industry goes, it’s really really hard right now, because music is free. You can get it off the internet, so people are really particular about who they want to record and who they want to spend their time and money on, it’s just a lot harder than it used to be.
What is the inspiration for your song writing?
My songs come more from life experiences, whether it’s from personal relationships or seeing other people in their relationships, they’re just about life. I think the most important thing in life is how you relate to people and treat others. Because [relationships] are so important to me, that’s the core of my songs.
What is your favorite album right now?
This is going to sound so lame, but I really like Miley Cyrus. So lame, but I’m a huge Hannah Montana fan and I love Miley Cyrus, so I have to give her mad props. That’s probably number one in my CD player right now, but it changes like weekly or monthly, but right now that’s what it’s going to be.
Colour Revolt is a group with a European sounding name touring, living, and making music in Oxford, Mississippi. They were given their first chance to turn heads in 2006, when they toured with emo-rock giants Brand New during the summer months. During that time they were sporting a shiny new self-titled EP, which received praise from many critics in the music world. This spring, the boys in Colour Revolt have come back with a full length album.
Unlike their first EP, Colour Revolt’s Plunder, Beg & Curse is a more laid back disc. Rather than attempting to captivate minds through music and lyrics with just six tracks, the band paces itself for a full-length experience. From the opening track “Naked And Red,” the original and bold style with which the group plays is easily heard, but not quickly discerned. A flurry of electric guitars and raw vocals ring out in a style that is reminiscent of other musicians, yet hard to define by those terms.
Lyrically, Plunder, Beg & Curse is similar to a long modern poem written about classic topics. “A Siren” is a track about temptations and the fleeting nature of depending on other tempted people. “Moses of The South,” a song about suffering and realization, showcases the softer side of Colour Revolt as acoustic guitars take the foreground and reverberating echoes of electric instruments ring out in the background.
“If God is good why can’t I be?” are the deep words that open the closing track “What Will Come of Us?” As the album comes to an end, thoughts about the frailty of humanity and connection to greater purposes still resonate. The ability to cause people to stop and think is a powerful tool, and Colour Revolt uses it not only effectively, but beautifully as well. While they have yet to make a big name for themselves, Colour Revolt is on its way with their new album.