YabYum Seven: Damian Gomes

Damian Gomes 01Who are you and what do you do?

I’m Damian Gomes and I’m a figurative painter working in PHX, AZ.

How did you get your start?

As a young child of about 5 or 6 I remember a teacher asking us make a drawing of whatever we’d like. I chose to draw this old man resting on a bench. other kids were drawing stick figure bodies with lolly pop heads. Apparently I did a much more advanced depiction of my subject. So much in fact my teacher called my mom into school to talk with her about it. After that I used to carry a note pad with me everywhere I went.

What inspires you?

I find inspiration everywhere I look. Old photos, books, a walk along the railroad tracks, etc. But most inspiration I find right in front of the canvas.

All photos courtesy of Damian Gomes

What do you like about AZ?

Well, I like the summers here, because I can cook food on the hood of my car and the heat exhaustion can sometimes generate useful hallucinations. And people. I’ve met some solid humans in Phoenix.

Where can we see you(r) work?

To keep up with my latest work, please follow my Instagram and Facebook pages.

Damian Gomes 03What would like to accomplish before you die?

Before I die I would like to have an exhibition at the Tate Modern in London. Also, I really wanna host Saturday Night Live. I just haven’t figured out a reason why they would want me to. But I’m working on it…

What is your mantra?

Keep painting. Just, keep painting …

~

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Radio Phoenix Podcast: Jason Woodbury

jason woodbury 001Mr. Jason Woodbury joined us in the war room that is the Radio Phoenix Studios and together we hashed out a musical takeover of epic proportions. OK, so that didn’t actually happen but we did discuss local music past and present. He also brought down some killer AZ tracks which we happily played over the internet airwaves and, as always, the complete playlist can be found below.

Now then, make sure to tune in every first and third Wednesday of the month at 7 PM for The YabYum Hour, only on radiophoenix.org.

Complete Playlist:

Billy Sedlmayr “Pan American Highway Blues”

koleżanka “Snow Cone Summer/Flyfishing”

Eric Bachmann/Jon Rauhouse “Camille”

A Technicolor Yawn “Blankets”

The Beans “Empty Shoes”

Karima Walker “We’ve Been Here Before”

Howe Gelb & Lonna Kelley “Terribly So”

Vernon Wray “Lonely Son”

Rainer “The Oasis”

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Recorded live on March 1, 2017

When In AZ: Round TWO!!

Photo by Kyla F. Borders

by Carly Schorman
Senior Editor

Back in 2009, for those of you who don’t remember, a major moment in Arizona music history took place – the When in AZ compilation came to life. More than fifty Arizona acts covering favorite tracks from other Arizona musicians are featured on this one massive collection that has persisted in the hearts and minds of local listeners, elevating the compilation above that of mere ephemera to a lasting marker of both time and place.

I mean, on When in AZ. Volume 1, you have a Yellow Minute recording of “Dot Dot Dot” which was a What Laura Says song, Lonna Kelley covering Treasure Mammal’s “Everybody’s A Winner”, The Liars Handshake performing AJJ’s “Let’s Get Murdered”, Black Carl covering Kinch, Fatigo, Colorstore, Truckers on Speed, Back Ted N-Ted, Kirkwood Dellinger, Courtney Marie Andrews, Gospel Claws, Former Friends of Young Americans… Gah! I’d better stop before this gets weird. You just have to check out Volume 1 for yourself here.

But we’re not here to talk about what happened way back when. Phoenix musician Nick Kizer, the man-behind-the-movement who provided the organizational force to get this project off the ground all those years ago, is ready to do it all over again.

That’s right, folks. When in AZ. Volume 2 is getting underway this year.

The When in AZ project not only offers musicians the opportunity to pay tribute to their favorite locally-penned songs, but it’s also a way of introducing their sound to new audiences. And, the entire endeavor is a not-for-profit effort that donates proceeds from the project to local children’s charities. So it’s good music and for a good cause. That’s our favorite combo.

And now, it’s time for a disclaimer. We, at YabYum, are part of the organizing effort for When in AZ – the 2017 edition – not for any monetary gain but because we think this project is pretty rad. We covered the first compilation back in ’09 and we watched it live on as a memento of the artists that make the wondrously vivid and diverse music scene of Arizona.

Along with our senior editorial team (me’n Mark), Nick will be joined this time ’round by Sarah Ventre of KJZZ and Girls Rock Phoenix, music writer and cultural phenomena Mitchell Hillman, musician Erick Pineda of Citrus Clouds, and audio-engineer Jalipaz of Audioconfusion, who will be offering a special rate for artists looking to record a single at the studio for the compilation.

Now, you’re hopefully starting to wonder how to get involved with When in AZ, Round Two.

Well, if you live in Arizona, just record a cover of another Arizonan’s song: past or present. Keep in mind, you’ll need to ask that artist for permission. Then send it in (to wheninaz@gmail.com). That’s it. That’s the genius of Kizer’s project. It captures the NOW of Arizona music in a fresh way and without subjecting entries to a “review board” to select the “best” which usually just means a few people picking out their favorites. [ Disclaimer 2: We’re not pointing fingers. We, at YabYum, openly acknowledge picking favorites. It’s called being a critic.]

If your band (or you) record a cover and send it in, we’ll include it. Now, before any troll decides they can exploit that previous statement to an annoying personal end, we reserve the right to not let you muck it up for the rest of us. All joking aside though, When in AZ seeks to encapsulate music in this place, at this time, so we want to hear from all you splendid music-makers that share this desert state.

When in AZ mastermind Nick Kizer took some time to answer a few questions about the project to help give folks a better idea of where it came from and where it’s going.

when in az new 1YabYum: What first inspired you to start When In AZ?

Nick Kizer: In 2009, when I was a younger dude and more active in the music scene with my band, Babaluca, we would often “shoot the shit” with other musicians after gigs. We were always talking about how AZ talent would leave the state for LA or New York once reaching a certain level of popularity. The concept was intended to be a snap shot of the scene at the time, hence the title, “When in AZ”.

Please tell us a little about the first compilation? How many artists appeared on it? When was it released? Did other people help you pull it all together?

The compilation was open to any AZ musician who wanted to cover a song by another AZ musician or band. It was a novel idea and the largest Arizona-based music compilation at the time. There were 50+ artists that recorded songs for When in AZ. The 2009 release was followed up with a multi-venue showcase at local spots such as Trunk Space, Rhythm Room, Modified Arts and Hard Rock Cafe. All proceeds from sales of the compilation and the shows went to music based charities for children’s programs in need of instruments.

I received so much help from other musicians, venue owners, local audio engineers, and media. A big shout out to my friend Laci Lester who helped me put together the first comp.

It’s been seven years since you put out the compilation. What made you decide to take up the project again?

I have had so many friends and musicians ask me about it over the years. It feels like the right time to make it happen again and I think I have a good group of people working on it with me. It’s going to be epic.

Please tell us a little about the review process for submissions (or lack thereof) so artists looking to submit have an idea about what they should expect.

Similar to the first comp, I invite any Arizona-based musician to participate. In the first compilation we received a lot of rock and electronic submission. We are interested in expanding genres for this volume. No one who submitted last time was rejected. I think that made it very special.

So, what are the basic guidelines for artists looking to submit?

The main requirement is that they get permission from the artist they want to cover. That is pretty easy. From there they recorded the cover song by any means they have. We are working with Audioconfusion recording studio to make an affordable/quality option for artists that need help. We will also master the compilation once all the songs are received. The deadline to submit a song is August 1st.

You booked some pretty ambitious shows to celebrate the launch of the first compilation. Do you plan on hosting similar events for the reboot?

The shows are an important part of When in AZ. We will probably do something similar at multiple venues around town or maybe a festival this time around. Details are still being worked out. All I know is it is going to be fun.

Submissions are now open.

LINKS:

Facebook

Bandcamp

when in az vol 1

Radio Phoenix Podcast: Strange Lot

strange lot 02We’d been wanting Strange Lot to come down to the Radio Phoenix Studios for some time so it was great to have them down in the laboratory mixing it up. We talked the new record, our love of Tucson music, and animated videos. And don’t forget that TONIGHT, March 4, is the Strange Lot + Desert Beats Dual Record Release Party with Snake! Snake! Snakes! and Dead Canyon at Valley Bar!

Make sure to tune in every first and third Wednesday of the month for The YabYum Hour, only on radiophoenix.org.

Complete Playlist:

Strange Lot “Gods & Clods”

The Myrrors “Liberty is in the Streets”

Snake! Snake! Snakes! “Breakdown”

The Desert Beats “Wolfman Is Here”

The Thin Bloods “Peter Was A Virus”

Slow Moses “High or By or”

Strange Lot “Born”

Destruction Unit “If Death Ever Slept”

Dent “Visit”

PRO TEENS “Control”

B.O.T.S. “Lil’ Smokey Fangers”

Saddles “Face Paint”

Diners “fifteen on a skateboard”

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Recorded live on February 15, 2017

YabYum Seven: Nader Abushhab

Nader Abushhab 01

Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Nader, and I’m a commercial portrait and fashion photographer from Phoenix, Arizona.

How did you get your start?

I started years ago as the buddy with the disposable camera in high school. Yep, disposable. Kodak and Walgreens made some money from me back in the day, haha. As an adult I was doing corporate video production, and decided to invest in a DSLR for the first time in my life. From there, I took a ton of crappy images, but stuck to it and fostered my craft for several years. I’ve been shooting full-time for about 3 years now.

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All photos courtesy of NBMA Photography

What inspires you?

People and light. It’s really that simple. I love sculpting with light, and I love interacting with my subjects to create.

What do you like about AZ?

I’m originally from Chicago, so my go-to answer used to be the weather. Nowadays, I have to say that Arizona has inspired me to connect with the planet more. Sounds cheesy, but the breathtaking views throughout this state have made this city boy appreciate nature and Earth with all of my heart.


Where can we see you(r) work?

I always update my IG and my site. I’d love to connect.

Nader Abushhab 03What would you like to accomplish before you die?

I want to see as much of the world as I can while engaging with and photographing the wonderful people who inhabit it.

What is your mantra?

Memento te hominem esse.

~

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Radio Phoenix Podcast: Parlor Birds

parlor birds 01Brand new band Parlor Birds joined us at the Birdcage, that is, the Radio Phoenix Studios, earlier this month and now the podcast is available for your listening pleasure. We chatted with Mike and Kuhar about the band, what’s coming up, and, as usual, our guests brought along some killer tracks to play on the air. If you like what you hear, check out their second show at Rogue Bar on Saturday, March 4, and tune into the YabYum Music Hour every 1st and 3rd Wednesday of the month at 7 PM only on Radio Phoenix!

Complete Playlist:

Parlor Birds “Lizzards”

Rose Colored Eyes “Deadman”

Treasurefruit “C’est La Vie”

Field Tripp “John Wayne”

Jay Allan and the Uncommon Good “Never Go Back”

Korbe Canida “Bathtub”

The Black Moods “So Good”

The Darts “Revolution”

The Sweet Nothings “Thoughts in my Head”

The Sink or Swim “Revolving Doors”

Wyves “Bitch Has Got Problems”

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Recorded live on February 1, 2017

For the Record: Don’t Let It Be by Playboy Manbaby

for the record pbmb

by Carly Schorman
Senior Editor

So, I’ve been a Playboy Manbaby fan since the band’s inception or, at least, since their very first show. And, as I’ve stated before, they keep getting better with every single album they put out (which is really saying something considering the band has been consistently putting out music since 2012).

I’m not bragging when I claim to have loved the Manbabies since they were Babybabies. I’m just trying to qualify the following statement: their new album really is their best album ever, hands down.

Playboy Manbaby will release Don’t Let it Be this coming weekend at The Trunk Space in downtown Phoenix. This much-anticipated follow-up to 2014’s Electric Babyman contains 11 feisty tracks that mark real growth for the band, musically speaking.

The songs on Don’t Let it Be are refined in a way we haven’t heard before from the punk-funk outfit. They go beyond the raw explosiveness of earlier releases to carefully constructed songcraft. And they do so without sacrificing that savage emotional force that made them a crowd favorite early on.

Don’t Let it Be kicks of with “You Can Be a Fascist Too” – the first single off the album which was released just in time for that inauspicious inauguration. Then the second track, “Last Man Standing”, highlights the band’s horns section – David Cosme (trumpet) and Ricky Smash (sax and we know that’s not your real name) – before “Bored Broke & Sober” takes over. “Cadillac Car” is already to be a crowd favorite and is in contention for personal favorite from the album along with the apocalyptic “I’m So Affluent” and the super rambunctious number, “White Jesus”.

The album bears the mark of maturation, not just in the lyrics, but in the instrumentation as well. The orchestration is thoughtful, impeccably timed, and, well, rowdy as fuck.

Robbie Pfeffer, lyricist and vocalist, has a reputation for being a blitzkrieg onstage. Offstage, however, he’s the guy that will pet your dog and ask about your mother. Rather than suggesting that these are two separate and oppositional expressions, I’m putting forth the argument that Pfeffer is the quintessential example of the much-maligned millennial. He’s the meta-millenial. Kind-hearted, community-focused, and facing a world that keeps threatening collapse with a can-do attitude. The existential angst runs high in these young ones, but that’s not going to stop them from cold-crushing outdated conventions with their dad-staches and second hand clothes. They were born to rage against the dying of the light. That mixture of humor and personal fortitude comes through in the lyrics on this album in high shine.

If you go in for the riled-up cross-genre style of music Playboy Manbaby has become known for over the years, Don’t Let It Be might be you’re favorite album this year. You’ll laugh. You’ll dance. You might call your boss and quit your job so it might be best to hide your phone before smashing that play button. This album has that fury in equal measure to that signature Playboy Manbaby humor.

In keeping with the “For the Record” tradition, I had the chance to ask Robbie Pfeffer some questions about the album, the impending release show, and what’s next for Playboy Manbaby.

YabYum: Let’s start with all the details. Where did you record the album? Who helped out?

Robbie Pfeffer: We recorded with Eamon Ford at his old house, then at Chad[Dennis, the drummer]’s house, then at his new house. Lots of different houses. A ton of people have offered me great feedback on this album and helped it become what it is. Also we’re really stoked to have Lolipop and Dirty Water Records help make it a tangible thing!

So, what’s with the title? Do you bear some Beatles’ ill will? 

I think it fits the album pretty well, it kind of sets the tone that this is not going to be a “chill” experience.

With previous releases, the tracks seem a bit more of a cathartic drive. That energy is still very much present on the new album, but it seems like there’s more of a focus on songcraft, both lyrically and instrumentally. Has PBMB shifted their approach to songwriting? Or is this just the natural effects of the maturation that evolves from playing together for several years?

Ever since this band formed we always heard that we are band that doesn’t translate well past the live setting. So we really wanted to make a record that stands on it’s own even if you’ve never seen us. That’s the goal, at least.

On a personal writing level I’m not trying to hide the meaning of what we’re talking about in any way any more. I want to take the most direct path to the point I can find. I really don’t want subjectivity anymore, I want specific meaning. That might change in the future, but for now, that’s how I’m approaching writing.

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Playboy Manbaby – Photo by Peach Girl Photography

One of the things I like most about PBMB is the band’s ability to tap into the current cultural malaise and channel that angst into some sort of purifying flurry. As the principal songwriter for PBMB, would you say that’s an unintended consequence? Or is there some underlying philosophy at work here?

I’m an anxious dude and I try to stay alert to the societal changes around me. Music has been a way for me to work that out without drowning in my own existential dread. Also, I know I’m not the only person who questions what it means to be a person and the dynamics of power that exist in this hyper-active world we live in so if people can know that it freaks me out too, but I’m still trying my best, maybe that’ll be comforting to some people. Really I just want everybody to treat everyone else with a little more empathy and kindness.

It seems like you’re a real nice guy (irl) so my guess is that you just have a real low bullshit tolerance level to manifest the sort of aggression we see onstage. Is there a line for you between the performative persona and the other guy? Or is Playboy Manbaby the place to purge all that aggression so you’re not punching people in the throat? The people want to know.

That’s very kind of you! I really disdain violence of any kind. My hope is that when people are dancing at shows they can respect everyone around them and make sure that while they’re having a good time they’re not ruining anyone else’s good time. Generally people have been really great about this, but in the few instances where it’s gotten out of hand we have no issue stopping a show to make sure everyone gets to enjoy a safe, inclusive environment.

We’re a band of nerds and outcasts and we’re not about to be a platform for macho dudes to beat up on vulnerable people trying to have a good time. If anyone feels uncomfortable at our show for any reason please contact any of us and we will address it immediately without question.

The release show happens this coming weekend and the lineup is pretty stellar. Want to tell the people of the internet what they can expect by way of lineup and location?

I’m super excited about this line-up. We ran into the Thin Bloods dudes on NYE and were excited to hear after they’ve all been scattered across the country and busy with other stuff they happen to be back in Phoenix. We’ve shared a ton of great memories playing with them and they’re one of my all-time favorite bands so that’s fantastic news. Also, super stoked on The Darts, Genre, and Andy Warpigs. All great musicians and great people who bring rad stuff to the community.

What’s next for Playboy Manbaby? Touring? Videos? Sit back and relax for a while as reward for a job well done?

Hopefully, all of the above. We took way too damn long on this record and I never wanna take that long again. We’ve got like 10 new songs that we haven’t recorded and we just wanna make as much art as we can until we collapse.

~

Do not miss the Playboy Manbaby Album Release /// Thin Bloods Reunion show happening Saturday, February 25 at the Trunk Space or you will be so sorry.

An Insider’s Introduction: Brandon Kellum

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All photos courtesy of Brandon Kellum

by Mark Anderson
Senior Editor

Brandon Kellum is a pretty funny guy.

You don’t have to know him personally either. Just follow him or his band, American Standards, on social media and you’ll see what I mean. His band’s music however, is no laughing matter.

Nope, no Flight of the Conchords folk or The Lonely Island hiphop here. American Standards is as raw and brutal as it gets. And you know what? If you don’t like it, you can simply move along. They’re not here to make nice and maybe that’s why they’ve amassed such a following.

I’ve been following the band long enough to know that something was a-brewing in the Standards’ camp so I reached out to lead vocalist, Brandon Kellum, with some questions and he graciously took the time to answer them. Read below to find out about the new American Standards album, what’s coming up for the band, and of course, some handy-dandy beard grooming tips.

brandon kellum 02YabYum: How long have you lived in Arizona?

Brandon Kellum: 271,000 hours. Give or take a few hundred depending on when you post this.

When and how did you first get involved with the Arizona music scene? Do you play any instruments as well? I thought I saw an old pic of you playing guitar…

In 2001 my father bought me a Fender starter kit for Christmas. I wanted nothing to do with the thing- I wanted the spotlight that went along with being the singer of a rock band. Although I had a passion for writing lyrics, I soon found out my vocal abilities at the time were lacking, to say the least.

I picked the guitar back up around 2002 and started my first band playing a mix of originals and Deftones covers at places like the Mason Jar. I was immediately hooked and dove deeper into recording, touring and booking bands – cutting my teeth at places like The Trunk Space, Modified Arts and The Phix. It’s almost ironic that over 15 years later I’m answering this as the vocalist of a band.

When it comes to American Standards’ songs is there a principle songwriter or do you guys all collaborate to form new songs? Maybe some of both?

We mostly pray to the gods of post-hardcore’s past then sit around drinking beers till they answer. It’s been quiet for a couple years.

I swear I saw something about a new AS album coming out… I’m just gonna assume something’s coming out because it’s been a few years since Hungry Hands dropped. Where and when did you record the new record or are you still recording it?

It’s been a few too many years since we’ve released new songs, if you ask me. American Standards recorded our new album around June of 2016. It’ll be called Anti-Melody and it’s being released April 15th with a release show at Pub Rock Live. Eight tracks with a run time around 25 minutes. Builds a lot on the media satire, materialism, and other sociopolitical themes that I think American Standards have become known for but it also has a much more personal story than possibly past releases. With the passing of our founding guitarist Cody Conrad, my grandparents, and father all in close proximity- what was once about the growing divide in our society became more intimate and now includes themes of loss and separation at an individual level.

General thought is that a melody is a sequence of notes that come together to make a satisfying sound. Going back to the theme of the album, the content is heavily influence by what pulls us apart.

We tracked everything at Kingsize Soundlabs in Los Angeles (The Mars Volta, Bad Religion, Letlive) with Andy Marshall. There was a bit of a hang up in the mixing and mastering, but I’m real excited to say that it will be out in April. We’ll also have a couple singles with videos released prior to that.

Is the personnel the same as your previous albums?

At this point I think it’s safe to say that American Standards has become a collective of artists with similar passions contributing their talents for a couple years at a time… or until they find out we aren’t going to be playing the next Super Bowl Half Time Show (SPOILER ALERT).

Both Corey (guitar) and I have been here since the beginning but we’ve had quite a few drummers and bassists rotate out. The line up we’ve had for the past year is The Monstars of hardcore. If I know anything about Space Jam… The Monstars always win.

brandon kellum 03I know you guys have toured – is there a favorite venue or even a specific show that stands out as one of your favs?

The ones that feed us and/or give us an open bar tab. Locally, places like: the Rebel Lounge, Crescent Ballroom, Joe’s Grotto, The Hive, The Rock and any of the Mantooth-run venues have always been great to us.

On the road, we can’t say enough good things about Metro Music Hall (UT), 7th Circle Collective (CO), The Flux Capacitor (CO) and anywhere that Mike Steezy will have us in New Mexico.

As for specific shows, the smaller ones always exceed our expectations. We much rather play to a room of 50 people that are there to have a good time then 500 that only care for the headliner.

What is your take on the greater Phoenix music scene? The good and the bad from the your perspective.

There’s no doubt that Phoenix has an abundance of talented musicians, great venues and passionate people to support them. I think like any music hub though, that same volume creates a fair amount of over-saturation. Any given night we have 10 shows going and fans have to decide which one to go to. It’s a good problem to have but feels much different then playing in a smaller town that may get a show or two a month that everyone comes out to.

It also creates a bit of unhealthy competition that serves to feed some egos. I think we can take a bit of a step back and find out how we can use this wealth of “musical resource” to our advantage. Support each other and lift everyone up together rather then create all these sub divisions of genres and cliques within them.

What should change, if anything?

We need to stop saying what we don’t like and start focusing on what we do. Too often people bash other bands that aren’t their preferred taste, or venues that don’t host the shows they want to see. If you don’t like it, you have the power to ignore it and move on. Keep an open mind, search out new music and share what you find.

brandon kellum 05What’s upcoming for American Standards? Any touring? I see you’re playing Bisbee in a couple weeks and that show looks pretty frickin’ awesome…

Next on the radar is the album release April 15 at Pub Rock with Eclipses For Eyes and some additional support bands TBA. Soon after, we’ll be doing some touring through the Midwest and East Coast to support it. Definitely sprinkling in a couple local shows- one of which is a pretty awesome reunion tour of a band I know our fans will know and love. Keep an eye on our social media for those announcements.

Bisbee is also coming up February 25th at The Quarry. We love to play new places, especially in smaller towns. Makes for a great day trip or overnight for anyone looking to travel.

Is there anything I forgot to ask that you feel we should know about you or the band?

Nothing that comes to mind. People that know us, know that despite some of the more serious lyrical content we try to stay pretty tongue in cheek at our shows and online. That being said, I can’t say enough how much I appreciate everyone’s support over the years. Especially sites like YabYum that give us a platform to get our music out to a larger audience.

We had a particularly tough couple years with the passing of Cody then soon after both my grandparents and father to cancer. The band really helped us get through these experiences and the fact that anyone gives a shit about something we’re doing is the greatest gift we could ever ask for.

Your beard is totes rad too btw, I could never achieve something like that. Any grooming tips for all those looking to live the bearded lifestyle?

Thanks! Just use sandpaper (extra coarse) and apply directly to the area where you’d like to see hair growth. It’s an effective exfoliate and available at any local hardware store.

~

Check out American Standards on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and at The Anti-Melody Release Show April 15 at Pub Rock Live.

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Photo by Jacob Reynolds

Radio Phoenix Podcast: Sturdy Ladies

study ladies 00Our regular host, Mark Anderson, came down with a bit of a bug so Senior Editor (and button pusher for the YabYum Music Hour on Radio Phoenix) declared it a Ladies Night with The Sturdy Ladies. Roddy was on-hand to help out and The Sturdy Ladies’ brought some stellar tunes to share. You can find the complete playlist below along with the podcast of our live show.

Complete Playlist:

Sturdy Ladies “Sturdy Ladies Theme”

Whispering Wires “Time Travel Pills”

The Rondelles  “Cafeteria Rock”

Holly and the Italians “Tell That Girl to Shut Up”

The Shaving Party “Sounds”

Bosswitch “Born to Death”

Jumping Bomb Girls “Neptune Married the Treble”

The Real Kids “Do the Boob”

Sturdy Ladies “Cat Olympics”

Krab Legz “Claws Across America”

The Echo Bombs “Mervin Hellville”

Candygirl “Beehive”

The Wilt Family “Death is Unlike You, Baby Bird”

Sturdy Ladies ” Creepy Crawly”

Plus a Special Bonus Surprise Song we can’t reveal here…

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Recorded live on January 18, 2017

It’s a Couples’ Thing: Round Two

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Image Source

by Mark Anderson
Senior Editor

“Being in a band is tough. Being in a band with a significant other is even harder – just ask Greg Allman and Cher, Lindsey and Stevie or Liam and Noel (OK, so the Gallagher brothers weren’t really a couple but they sure did act like one). A band, any band, is like a big ol’ dysfunctional family. There’s the creativity. There’s the arguing about what gets written and what gets played. And, musicians are just a handful. Throw in all that and then add the dynamics of a personal relationship and it’s amazing anyone stays together.” – Frank Ippolito, original introduction to “It’s a Couple’s Thing”.

Although I’ve never experienced the situation myself, I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of being in a band with a significant other. My partner and I do run music publication together so that’s reasonably close, I would say. I’ve also experienced being in a Family Band playing with cousins. Still, not the same thing.

So when Staff Writer Frank Ippolito originally submitted his Couple’s Thing article I was thrilled. Now, here was some insight on the very thought that had oft occupied my mind.

Then, the years drifted by and I came to know my own fair share of couples in bands, bound by the state &/or not-so-casual cohibitants. In honor of Valentine’s Day 2017, I decided it would be fun to revisit Frank’s questionairre of yesteryear with some new participants, including: Ariel and Kalen of Snailmate, Dana and Pete of JJCnV, Stacie and Erick of Citrus Clouds, and Sharon and Frank of both Battered Suitcases and Labor Party.

This Valentine’s I thought it’d be sweet (and a lil’ corny) if we learned a little more about being a couple in a band. And of course, a big thanks to all the bands that participated.

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Sharon and Frank

How long have you two been together?

Battered Suitcases: 32 years, where the hell did all that time go?

Citrus Clouds: We just celebrated 4 years together this February.

JJCnV: We didn’t start living until we were together. So we’ve been together all our lives.

Snailmate: A fucking eternity.

When was the first time you two got together and jammed?

Battered Suitcases:  I first joined Frank on stage at a Halloween show in 1984 performing The Small Faces’ “Get Yourself Together”.

Citrus Clouds: The first time we jammed was at the first Citrus Clouds practice in 2014. We decided to start a band as a fun little project after I bought her a bass for our first anniversary.

JJCnV: Before we said ‘I Do’.

Snailmate: Kalen sat in with Ariel’s old band 4 years ago.

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Stacie and Erick

Were you a couple before that?

Battered Suitcases: Yes, since July of that same year.

Citrus Clouds: Yes we were.

JJCnV: A couple of what?

Snailmate: A couple of weirdos.

When you did decide to be a couple, was jamming together the same or a little weird?

Battered Suitcases: We were already a couple…

Citrus Clouds: Since we were previously a couple, it really wasn’t weird. It was frustrating at first because Stacie was learning the bass but she picked it up extremely quickly. She’s musically gifted!

JJCnV: Once Jeff [the drummer] got over it, it was fine.

Snailmate: Our band started like any other relationship: we had just gone through a bad breakup and we were desperate and lonely.

Does the music ever become bigger than the relationship?

Battered Suitcases: No, we always matter more.

Citrus Clouds: Music is bigger than almost anything. With the Clouds it’s so intertwined that it is never an issue.

JJCnV: Every aspect of us is larger than life.

Snailmate: Music is our whole world. The relationship is a suburb.

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Pete and Dana of JJCnV

When it comes to your music, who is responsible for writing? Pretty sure it’s both of you…

Battered Suitcases: You’re correct, it’s both of us 🙂

Citrus Clouds: Erick usually writes songs on his own then we get together and play them. Some songs like “Imagination” were written really naturally from a jam. Those are special and are celestial gifts.

JJCnV: Both of us.

Snailmate: We each write our own parts and then shit on whatever the other person wrote.

Say someone writes a song about a “relationship” do either you ever go, “Uh, is that about us?”

Battered Suitcases:  Of course now and then… used to happen more in earlier days.

Citrus Clouds: Not really, because it is vague enough that other people can relate to it as well.

JJCnV: It’s best for our partnership if there aren’t a lot of questions…

Snailmate: Kalen writes about the meaningless of existence in a cold, uncaring universe. Ariel writes songs about girls.

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Ariel and Kalen. Photo by Paul HIckey

What advice would you give other couples in a band?

Battered Suitcases: Don’t take any advice 😛

Citrus Clouds: First, enjoy the fact that you get to create sounds with the person that you love. Use music as a way to share and enjoy the unique experiences that playing music offers. Carry her gear!

JJCnV: Eat at the tastiest restaurants you can, always try to out-do each other in the song writing department, and never take yourselves too seriously (unless you’re writing about death).

Snailmate: Put the music first.

~

Make sure to check out Frank Ippolito’s original It’s a Couples’ Thing article and check out the Artist links below –

Battered Suitcases

Citrus Clouds

JJCnV

Snailmate