An Insider’s Introduction: Jaime Paul Lamb

jaime paul lamb 07by Mark Anderson
Senior Editor

Jaime Paul Lamb is a music archivist.

Not only of his own bands (of which there are many), but of many great lofi/garage/punkrock bands across this fine nation as well.

We here at YabYum came across his music a couple years ago and were instantly hooked to Jaime’s brand music: garage pop with grit. Recently, however, I came to the realization that I knew absolutely nothing about Mr. Lamb beyond his musical offerings and decided to change that.

So I sought him out through the power of the internet and he filled me in on all the Jaime Paul Lamb happenings from his main act, Moonlight Magic, to putting out a punk rock compilation to playing while only wearing a dog collar…

When did you first arrive to Arizona and how did you get involved in the music scene here?

There are really three answers to that question because I’ve lived in Phoenix three different times and each time was distinctly different.

I got out of rehab in NY in the summer of 1990 and I didn’t want to go back to CT, where I had grown up. I was 19 years old, a high school dropout, and had been laid off from my job at a machine shop, and had a gnarly breakup with my girlfriend. She was no bargain – but I don’t want to get into that here. The counselor at the treatment center said that they had a deal with a halfway house in Phoenix and that they sent a lot of people from NY/CT/NJ out there. I said I’d like to go.

I moved to Phoenix – alone and with nothing – and lived at the halfway house around 7th st & Indian School and worked at Lindstrom’s Car Wash on Central. It was a cool, simple life.

Anyway, I picked up a gig drumming in a Hardcore Punk group called the Swooping Monkeybats. We were sort of a composite of things like Rudimentary Peni, the Misfits, and the Cramps. We played a lot with our friends the Glass Heroes. Once, we even had Sublime open for us at the Atomic Café, which is now called Pub Rock in South Scottsdale.

It was a cool time for a few years. I was off of drugs and made some really great friends. We would go to Tracks In Wax and buy a lot of Garage and Surf and Punk records from Don. I had a job at Tower Christown. There were a lot of romantic drama scenes at Tower. It was cool. Me and my other friends played music, drank coffee and smoked cigarettes. Luckily, I had a 4-track recorder, so I got to document some of that period.

In 1994, I moved out of Phoenix. I wound up in Houston TX for 9 months. A couple friends of mine lived there. We played and recorded some music and gigged a little in Houston and Austin, but I just really hated Texas, so I moved to Huntington Beach and Costa Mesa (CA) for a couple years. I ended up getting a drug habit but, whatever, it was cool. We had a Garage Punk band called the Dropouts and we used to play with the Stitches and Duane Peters’ Exploding Fuck Dolls, who were our buddies at the time and we did that until we ran out of money and resources and then I bailed back to Phoenix.

I moved back in 1997 and started a garage band called the Van Buren Wheels. I played Vox Continental organ and wrote all the tunes. We had a good run. Vince Bocchini, from Los Dirtclods & Rabid Rabbit, was the singer and Steve Shelton from the Glass Heroes played guitar. It was cool and people seemed to like us, but I got back into drugs and it kind of ruined the band. So, after a couple years of that, I moved to Vegas.

I was in Vegas and Los Angeles and Minneapolis and back home to CT doing my thing for the next 15 years or so before coming back to Phoenix in 2014.

What are some of the early, perhaps unknown, artists and bands that helped define the sound you go for?

My favorite rock band is the Velvet Underground, hands down. And I don’t care how cliché that is because everybody loves the Velvets and says how influential they are. The Velvets are actually my Top Five favorite bands – they inhabit 5 positions until another band is allowed to even chart. So, that’s how that is.

Other than that, I like a lot of stuff. I listen to a lot of Free Jazz, Hard Bop, Avant Garde, European Concert Music, 70s Power Pop, Indian Classical Music, 60s Khmer Pop, Thai Pop, Gamelan, Mid-80s Black Metal, 50s Exotica, Lounge Music, 60s Ska, Northern Soul, obscure 50s Doo Wop, 80s No Wave, Library Music like the KPM Library, 60s Bossa Nova, Dutchbeat, Early 80s Hardcore, 60s Punk, Krautrock, etc. – I can go on and on. I’ve worked in record stores and have been a very avid music fan my whole life. I’m into everything.

But, to answer your question more directly, in terms of some other less conspicuous bands that I have found influential, I would say the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, Albert Ayler, the Downliners Sect, Martin Denny, Chaino, the Flamin’ Groovies, the Electric Eels and some of Billy Childish’s work from the 80’s should be enough to make the point.

jaime paul lamb 06
Moonlight Magic

How did you get into self-recording? I believe you record at home, what is your current set-up like?

I only went digital a few years ago. I have always been a little behind the curve, technology-wise. I’m currently running Ableton Live 9 as my DAW and I have a Focusrite interface, or whatever it’s called. It’s the thing that the mics plug into, like a pre-amp. I don’t know – I’m not much of a techie. I had a good buddy, Bruce Connole (who was in the Jetzons, Billy Clone and the Same, the Cryptics, the Revenants, etc. – a real Phoenix legend, if you ask me) set me up with the whole thing, and he laid a bunch of plug-in suites on me. He really hooked me up.

Anyway, I have some decent mics and I’ve learned how to use the equipment enough to make some sounds I like. I get better every time I do it though. I’m constantly learning stuff just from getting in there and doing it. Of course, I couldn’t be bothered to actually read the manual or watch tutorials. I don’t have time to do things the right way. Haha. Duh. I’m way too punk for that.

What band(s) are you in currently? I know many of the tracks and bands on your Bandcamp, SoundCloud and YouTube pages are of older bands but honestly I can’t tell if you recorded these recently or 20 years ago!

Currently my main group is Moonlight Magic. We’re instrumental and we write all our own music – no covers at all. We gig a lot and we just cut a record for a future LP release on Slope Records. Cris Kirkwood from the Meat Puppets produced it. He’s extremely talented and insightful and has become a really great friend – we went and had Cambodian food the other night and laughed our asses off at nothing – it was great.

I started playing guitar for Eddy Detroit a couple years ago. I used to see him in the 90’s and always thought his thing was super cool – in an authentically “outsider” kind of way. Eddy is a true weirdo. He always had that tropical, Exotica element with the hand drums and his association with Sun City Girls, who are so awesome that they actually defy critique. I have no idea what to say about them. I love them. Anyway, check out Eddy’s stuff if you’re unfamiliar – it is very unique and sort of voyeuristic, like you’re listening to someone come unraveled on mushrooms.
I had the good fortune to go with Eddy and I Bob (from the Very Idea Of Fucking Hitler) and Hisham Mayet (Sublime Frequencies and Assophon, who put out Eddy’s last two records – including Black Crow Gazebo that we recorded at my house which had Dan Clark/AKA Clear Bob from the Feederz/Exterminators/Victory Acres and Alan Bishop from the Sun City Girls on it) on a European tour. We played all over the place and it was amazing and I love all those guys.

jaime paul lamb 04Andrew Jemsek (from Haunted Cologne, Button Struggler, Fathers Day and a million other things around town over the years) and I had been trying to get something going for about a year. He’s just a super-talented younger guy, like me, with an incredible sense of humor and he’s become a really good friend. His exceedingly virtuosic musicality is only surpassed by his deep, deep humility… he’d be the first one to tell you. So, Andrew and I started writing all of these lounge-y little melodies and nice songs and bossa novas and sambas, etc. because we wanted to make a pornographic movie starring Eddy as “The Coconut Man” who has this foot fetish (anybody who knows Eddy knows that this in reference to his storied obsession with girls’ tootsies) who ends up eating out this girl’s butt. Andrew and I were going to be hard-boiled detective types who were trying to put a collar on Eddy.

But the music ended up developing faster than the porno film so we figured we might as well round out the band. I had recently done a rehearsal on another project with Ruth Wilson (from Tempe’s legendary Flathead) who was a friend of mine from the 90’s – around the time everybody was playing at Nita’s Hideaway. I always loved her playing and I thought she was a super-cool chick, so I called her up and she loved the idea. I’m not sure if we ever told her about the porno movie, but whatever. She is rock solid and her and Eddy make one of the tightest rhythm sections I’ve ever played with.

So, we wrote a ton of tunes and have been playing regular engagements at cocktail lounges like the Bikini (every First Friday 6pm-8pm) and the Womack, Carly’s Bistro (every 4th Saturday 10pm-2am), art events and festivals, private parties, casuals and other things that come up (though we’re decidedly trying to stay out of the rock rooms – because we are a real “Lounge Combo” – we don’t need to be the center of attention, under lights and shit. We are fine with being wallpaper and accompanying whatever else is going on. We are very subliminal and ambient like that. We get in people’s ears differently than rock groups do. We kind of take the back door into your mind).

jaime paul lamb 01
Thee Faded Pyctures

Anyway, Moonlight Magic is my main thing – and we just recorded that LP for Slope – but I still do other projects like Thee Faded Pyctures, which is a 60s Punk-style project that I sing and play organ in. It’s a lot of fun and high energy. We gig infrequently, but we did record an album last year and we’re still looking for a label to release it.

Oh, and I play bass in a jazz trio with a killer local drummer named Troy Maskell (from Thee Madcaps, among other things) and Steve Asetta (a tenor saxophonist that I used to play with a lot in NYC/CT when I played upright bass on jazz projects). We play straight ahead and “Out” jazz and have a regular thing at Carly’s Bistro, every 2nd Saturday from 10pm-2am.

And, of course, I do my home recording stuff where I play all the instruments, but I also have invitational recording projects with friends. We’ve got a couple of those going right now. One is called Puppy and the Hand Jobs – kind of a sleazy, punk/r&r thing like Crime or The Jabbers.  We will have an LP out next year on Loose Grip Records out of Los Angeles. And another [project] called STNKY FRKS (part Pagans, part Black Randy, part Yardbirds).

It seems like you’re a multi-instrumentalist. Do you lay down all the parts of your recordings?

Yeah, if I’m doing a home recording or sketching out an idea, I’ll usually get all the parts and the arrangement together on the guitar or piano, then I’ll sometimes lay down a scratch guitar track to a click so I have something to lay down drums/percussion to. After that, I’ll either do a guitar or bass track – whichever one seems like the better way to go. Then, whatever…organ, vocals, hand percussion, kazoo, ambient noise.

After I have all the tracks, I EQ everything, mix levels and usually apply reverb (where needed), compression, and a limiter. I’m pretty basic and I don’t know a whole lot. I’m not interested in the techie/production aspects. I don’t know anything about the plug-in suites I have. I know enough to get by.

What’s your view of the garage/lofi/punk scene currently here in the Valley and State? I’m sure you’ve witnessed a few changes. Although, maybe it’s stayed pretty consistent?

I have to admit that I haven’t paid much attention. I tend to not like modern Garage bands. And I definitely can’t stand going out to see live rock bands. It’s loud and I don’t drink and I’m not out cruising for sex so the whole thing is pretty boring and too loud. I’m not interested in that kind of night life, despite the fact that I’ve lived and died in stupid rock clubs for the last 25 years or whatever. I’d rather go ride my bike or take a walk than go see some band go through the motions in a rock club. Not all bands, of course, but the vast majority of output from most rock bands is redundant & unnecessary. I know that the same critique can be leveled at me and I’m okay with that. Don’t get me wrong, I like music and most of my friends are in bands and doing creative things but it is so fucking rare to hear somebody doing something that is truly mind-blowing and innovative. And again, I’m not saying I am capable of that either. I’m getting a little depressed just thinking about it.

jaime loudCould you tell us about the WE’RE LOUD: 90s Cassette Punk Unknowns release you helped put together?

I had a Yamaha 4-track cassette recorder throughout most of the 90’s. I wrote a lot of tunes, had a million bands and recording projects and documented just about everything with that 4-track. Not just Punk either – we did a lot of Psych and non-idiomatic free improvisation, noise-scapes and Musique Concrete – but the stuff people were interested in was the Garage Punk material.

Anyway, about 5 years ago, I was living in Los Angeles again and I had this cache of demo and home recorded cassettes from all of mine and my friends’ bands that had never seen the light of day. I literally had all these cassettes in a taped-together Chuck Taylor shoe-box. I figured I digitize everything and put it up on Bandcamp or something.

But then I got the idea to hit up my buddy Bazooka Joe Alameida. I knew him in Las Vegas years ago. I met him at the Double Down and we connected over a mutual obsession with Crypt Records’ Back From The Grave and Garage Punk Unknowns compilations. He eventually got into the business of putting out Garage Punk records and had a label called Black Gladiator. He also worked for Slovenly Records – Pete Slovenly/AKA Sticker Guy, who every band in the 90’s had their nice vinyl stickers made by.

Anyway, I figured if anybody would be able to do something with these recordings it would be Joe. So, I sent him some mp3s – just a taste, maybe 10 tunes – and he emailed me back saying, “we HAVE to put this out!” He was so enthusiastic about it that I started to get all excited too, and then he got Pete involved and Pete was really, really into it too.

The part of the process that blew my mind the most was that they got Tim Warren to master all my cassette recordings for vinyl. He was a hero of ours because he was the guy behind CRYPT Records and all of those great comps that meant so much to me and my contemporaries on the Garage Punk scene in the 90’s. So I was unbelievably stoked to have a guy like that involved.

Anyway, the record came out a year or two ago – a double LP with pics and liners and the works. They did an amazing job with it and kept me in the loop the whole time. You can buy it at record stores or online. It’s easy to find.

There are even festivals in Europe called “WE’RE LOUD” after a song I wrote that’s on that comp, but I never get invited to come over and play them! Jajaja!

What’s upcoming for Jaime Paul Lamb? More releases? Any shows booked?

There’s a lot on the horizon right now and I’ve been extremely busy.

Moonlight Magic has been gigging like crazy (catch us at the Bikini Lounge every First Friday from 6-8pm and at Carly’s Bistro every 4th Saturday from 10pm-2am and we’re usually at the The Womack once a month, so watch their calendar – You can find our Facebook page pretty easily too, if you want to see our updated calendar) and we’ve got that record coming out on Slope Records.

Thee Faded Pyctures have an album recorded and have been gigging sporadically. We just need to get somebody to put it out.

I’ve also been playing bass in Mighty Sphincter, Doug Clark’s legendary Phoenix Horror-Punk band that’s been around for a million years. We’ve been rehearsing and working on an LP and some shows.

The Gnomes actually have two LP’s worth of stuff recorded that I haven’t bothered to shop. I wish someone would put that shit out because it’s some of the best music I’ve ever written. It’s a shame that more people can’t hear that stuff.

Puppy & the Hand Jobs are putting out a vinyl LP on Loose Grip later this year. We might have a hard time getting gigs because I play naked in that band with a dog collar on because I’m “Puppy”.

And then I have a bunch of recording and basically conceptual art projects called: Wrong Hole, STNKY FRKS, The Lamebrains, TRD STRM, and a bunch of the stuff that’s on my Bandcamp and Soundcloud pages.

jaime paul lamb 03
Puppy & the Hand Jobs

Do you have any parting words of wisdom for the young kids out there that want to live the grimey, rocknroll lifestyle, free-wheeling about the country playing and recording in a ton of bands, crashing wherever they can and surviving just long enough to make it to the next gig?

You know, I think the thing that matters most is trying to live authentically. I try to have real experiences that are unmediated by things like my cellphone and computer programs. Not that I’m a Luddite or any kind of curmudgeon – I simply insist on having a genuine and visceral experience in life.

I have no regrets about my past. I’ve had a good run. I’ve gotten into a lot of adventures and misadventures, but I love my life. In fact, overall, heroin has had a positive effect on my life, if I look at some of the meaningful experiences I’ve had over the years and all the causal cycles that were subsequently set in motion.

Obviously, I’m not qualified to give advice to anyone, but sometimes when I leave work on Friday afternoons, I tell some of the younger guys who work in the warehouse to go out, experiment with drugs, try to have sex with someone or some thing, and do something dangerous.

~

Check out Jaime Paul Lamb on SoundCloud, Bandcamp, and YouTube and Thee Faded Pyctures on Facebook.

Catch Moonlight Magic at the Rhythm Room on April 26 with Coconauts and Acapulco Five-O.

jaime jungle

YabYum Seven: Brooke Grucella

Brooke Grucella 03Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Brooke Grucella, I am an artist, curator, and Professor of Practice for the School of Art, University of Arizona. I primarily work in 2D and installation these days, however, occasionally I dabble in video and sculpture.

How did you get your start?

How did I get my start….as far as exhibiting…hmmmmm. Well once I graduated from the MFA program I began to search for galleries around the country that exhibited the same type of work I was doing. I got my start as a sort of New Brow, graffiti- influenced artist.

I started showing at a space called Wind-up in Mesa along with a wide arrange of Low Brow, New Brow, Graffiti, and Pop Surreal artists. I expanded out to Cella Gallery with my first solo show, shortly thereafter. Both spaces have since closed, but they gave me my first taste of working in commercial galleries.

Brooke Grucella 02What inspires you?

I am inspired by a lot of things, most of all pop culture and youth driven culture. There is a dash of nostalgia in my work, but it is obscured by the use of skate, surf, toy, comics, and cartoon imagery. Most of my figurative work revolves around my siblings coupled with the stories and communication of our relationships.

Right now I am fixated on abstracting comic book imagery into symbols that represent both the emotional and physical states of dealing with the trauma. Trauma or the disruption of the norm can happen any number of ways.

The next body of work is going to deal with the trauma of cancer. It has effected my family is quite a few ways so I am creating these “portraits” of family members’ cancer using comic book and surf/skate influenced imagery. It would sort of look like microscopic images of the cells, but think of garbage pail kid aesthetics.

Statement:

My work is an investigation in memory and perception. The process of encoding, storing, and retrieving information as it is filtered through an amalgam of consumer and popular culture intrigues me.

My work focuses on how various forms of collective culture shape issues of sex, gender, politics, depression, fear, anger, love, loss and social strata. My own personal experiences and those of the people who immediately surround me influence the content of the images.

The work considers what develops when romantic, platonic, familial and social influences translate into various forms of recollection. The pieces are not nostalgic, but rather an exercise in distilling down memory into a mutation of commercialism. Figural, textual and decorative aesthetics are essential in the presentation of each piece. Products are signifiers of the events themselves; creating memory becomes a spin-off of the popular culture process.

Brooke Grucella 05What do you like about AZ?

I can remember the first time visiting Arizona before moving here. I thought it was bloody hot, but coming from Simi Valley, California, which is nestled in the Santa Susana Mountains, I thought the spaciousness of Arizona was amazing! The open space, the sunsets, and the monsoons are utter highlights for me. Plus living in Tucson I have the added perk of being in a sort of artsy liberal-ish small (feeling) community.

Where can we see you(r) work?

My work was recently up at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art and will soon be in the Small Works Invitational at Davis Dominguez Gallery. I am working on getting my website up and running this summer and Foudai Projects in SF has some of my works in their inventory.

Brooke Grucella 04What would you like to accomplish before you die?

That is a BIG question. Honestly, I would love to be able to focus more on my studio work and travel across the country meeting people, learning new places, finding different inspirations and explore.

What is your mantra?

You can’t make red from orange. Meaning, you can’t go back and change what has already happened. All you can do is live, learn, and grow.

~

Brooke Grucella 01

For the Record: Mr. Mudd & Mr. Gold

mudd 01

by Mark Anderson
Senior Editor

Holy hotcakes, Mr. Mudd & Mr. Gold have (finally) released their debut album and it was certainly worth the wait. It’s good. Damn good.

Given that they joined forces in 2012, five years may certainly seem like a longer-than-normal time frame for a band to release their first album but it’s certainly not unheard of. Within that time the duo, Tyler Matock (vocals, acoustic guitar, harmonica, kazoo) and Jesse Gray (banjo, electric guitar, suitcase drum) have amassed quite the local following and are known for their hootin’-hollerin’-boot-stompin’ shows all across the Valley.

For you see, Mr. Mudd & Mr. Gold play a “bastard child of rock, alt-country, blues, Appalachia, and bluegrass.” The music gets rowdy sure, but it also gets down right contemplative and even sweet.

“You Never Loved Me” is the perfect opener for the album, Jesse’s banjo setting the immediate tone. As Tyler’s guitar and then vocals come in with “Don’t change your mind/Go grab your things/I got the time honey/You got your dreams” you’ll know right away what you’re in store for with Mr. Mudd & Mr. Gold.

Although they do a tremendous job on their selection of covers (“Killing Floor”, “Bad Gasoline”, “Mole In The Ground”, and “Rex’s Blues”), I prefer their originals with “Ain’t That Bad”, “Goodbye Mama”, “Fight the Urge” and “American Dream” some of my top songs right now by any band locally or otherwise.

I was able to catch up with Tyler and Jesse via the Internet and ask about the new album, what’s upcoming, and, yes, even their sense of style.

YabYum: How long have you lived in Arizona? Are you from here?

Tyler Matock: I’m born and raised here in Phoenix. A second generation at that.

Jesse Gray: I’ve lived here about 6 years. I was born and raised in Kansas and Missouri, and also spent a few years in Portland, Oregon.

mudd 02
All photos copyright and courtesy of Mr. Mudd & Mr. Gold

What drew you personally to the music of Appalachia? Who are some of your influences as songwriters?

Tyler: As far as Appalachian music goes, I really hadn’t been exposed to that particular type of music at all until I started jamming with Jesse. I think its impossible to be around (a real banjo player) without being exposed to Appalachian music. However, I was listening to music very similar in sound both regionally, and aesthetically before I had met Jesse.

After my dad had taught me how to play a few simple chords on guitar, I tried learning songs that worked with the chords that he had taught me. Early country and blues music lead me straight to an affection for any thing out of the American South – which is responsible for almost all genres of music to this day.

I discovered this music by becoming a “nerd” for finding my influences’ influences. I became compelled to research what influenced Bob Dylan, Townes Van Zandt, Steve Earle, John Prine, and the endless list of iconic songwriters. It was like my own crash course for understanding and appreciating the heart and soul of what American music is, and all about. That being said, as much as I write, I never try confine myself into to sounding just like those guys – that just sounds exhausting and not very fun to do, because that stuff was so groundbreaking for it’s time, and it’s almost damn near untouchable still to this day.

I just think with all those older influences in tow (Jimmie Rodgers, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Tom T. Hall, Lee Hazlewood) and combing influence from more contemporary artists and songwriters I like (early Avett Brothers, Langhorne Slim, Ryan Adams, Dr. Dog, Neutral Milk Hotel, and maybe one of my top 5 albums of all time called, Return of the Frog Queen by Jeremy Enigk) – I sort of subconsciously draw from the past and the present in hopes to make something that is relevant to myself and of course the audience or listeners as well.. Wow, that’s a really long answer.

Jesse: Part of what drew me to the music of Appalachia was having an intense love for the mountains. Some of my favorite memories are of finding gold with my family in the mountains of Colorado. When I first heard Clarence Ashley’s “The Cuckoo”, it completely captured that feeling for me. Though not technically Appalachia, I think the feeling is the same.

When I started playing banjo, I naturally gravitated toward that feeling. But I wanted to rev it up, too, and add some rock, punk (just in the sense of being aggressive) and blues to the mix. Then I discovered Roscoe Holcomb and Dock Boggs, and found that they were already playing clawhammer and “oldtime” banjo in a really aggressive, dirty, bluesy style way back in the ’20s and on, before that style became a bit diluted. They really crystallized that “mountain” sound. I think it’s a beautiful sound, and I can only hope we catch a little of that in what we do.

It’s incredible to find out Mr. Mudd & Mr. Gold was the late Dan Somers last record he worked on. Would you speak a few words about him for those who didn’t know him?

Jesse: Dan Somers was an amazing guy, and I really miss him. He was so intelligent – but with a modesty that often doesn’t go with that – funny, genuinely nice, and fun to hang out with. Truly one of my favorite people I’ve met since I’ve been out in Arizona. He added so much to the album, and I feel incredibly lucky to have worked with him – the album wouldn’t be the same without him – but I really just miss him as a person. Weird to say that about someone you only hung out with a handful of times, but some people you just feel an instant connection to. I’m glad people got wind of the things he had to say, because I think they’re really important. All I can hope is that his words saved some people from having to go through the things he went through.

Tyler: I couldn’t be more honored to have met and been given the opportunity to work with Dan. It pains me to this day knowing now, what he may have been suffering from then. I’ll always remember how sweet of a person he was – how kind and insightful he was – how hard he worked – his poignancy and wit. He immediately lead me striving to be a better musician and most importantly a better person. His band, Lisa Savidge, remains to be one of the coolest bands I’ve ever heard come out of the local scene.

mudd 05You guys have played a lot of shows. Any one in particular stand out in your mind that’d you care to mention? The release show looked like it was a grand ole time!

Jesse: There are a number of shows that really stand out, and we’ve had the privilege of playing with some really great bands at some great places. But the release show is a night I’ll never forget. Last Exit was packed, and when we got up on stage, virtually everybody had moved up front waiting for us. We wanted to give them everything we could, played for an hour and a half, and every song felt top of our game. We got to show them a lot of newer songs, expand, and go to different places with the music that we can’t often go to during shorter sets. And the crowd was right there with us from start to finish. We have a lot of sides to our music that people haven’t heard yet, and we’re excited to show them.

Tyler: I’d just like to sort of echo what Jesse said. The CD release was such an unforgettable show for us amongst so many others we’ve had prior to that. I think why its one of my personal favorites was to see all the hard work that was put in to make it happen. I had put a lot of pressure on myself to reach out to everyone I knew. I even mailed out letters with a flyer invitation and a little note to family members and close friends. To see almost all of them show up and support us – and then to deliver them a show to remember was quite the achievement. We’re a live band and a good performance is very important to me. Giving the crowd everything we’ve got and leaving it all out on the stage is the ultimate goal. I feel like we made that happen, and I can’t wait to show more people what our live show is all about.

You played with a drummer for your Tiny Desk Concert submission. Have/would you ever play with other musicians or is the music you create as Mr. Mudd & Mr. Gold inherently a two-man show? I can certainly hear fiddle, washtub bass, mandolin, mouth organ, and any other manner of instruments joining in with the sound…

Jesse: We’re definitely open to playing with other musicians. I think the first step would be adding a rhythm section. Then other musicians could come in on top of that. The music has been moving in different directions that would call for that type of thing, so it’s definitely something that could happen. We’re both drawn to expansion and different sounds – rock, garage, soul, psychedelic, shoegaze, etc – and have no intent on staying exactly the same, being purists, or treating the music like a museum piece.

Tyler: The songs I wrote on this album came to me when I was pretty young as a songwriter. Most of them were the product of being a young 20 something-year-old. And I personally don’t regret or discredit any of those songs because we still play most of them to this day, however, they were written at a time with no expectations and more of just a catharsis for myself. I think now, as a growing and practicing songwriter, I’m adapting to the world and life around me as a 30 year old – which brings a little more expectation upon myself to adapt with music artistically.

A lot happens in life from then until now. People change. People grow. And just like music or art, they grow and change as well. The growth seems to be a natural progression into what can be the best possible way to create our best art, or in this case, our best possible songs. Jesse and I are naturally comfortable working with the “less is more mentality” because that’s all we’ve ever known as a band – but we’re now also beginning to realize the potential of adding more parts and tools to follow what the songwriting is currently calling for.

mudd 03You guys sport some awesome threads. Are these thrift store finds or are there certain Western stores you’d care to name drop at all?

Jesse: For me, the threads are all thrift store finds. Being in a band gives you a bit of a license to dress like a fool, and we have fun with that. I’m still looking for assless chaps – that’ll be the holy grail.

Tyler: First of all thanks for diggin’ the threads haha. I think fashion and style has always been something important to me, even before music. That being said, I don’t AT ALL claim to having any “cool” fashion sense, but rather just wear what makes me feel good on a “trial and error” basis.

When I first started playing out, (just for open mics), I would wear the best 3-piece suit I could get my hands on. Even if it meant literally piecing all different types of brands of clothing together (old & new). Somehow though, I think I made it work. I think Justin Townes Earle, Pokey LaFarge, and Langhorne Slim, all have great styles, and I realized they pulled from American classics. So that’s what I try to do. Just pull from what I dig all the greats wore. Jimmie Rogers and Samuel Lightnin’ Hopkins were two of the coolest, sharpest dressed dudes in music, in my opinion.

Clothes make me feel good. Especially well made clothes – old and new. I feel like I can perform better when I’m dressed right. I consider clothes as my tattoos, except I get to change them whenever I feel like it. I’ve worn a hat as long as I can remember, I’d love to have my own signature Stetson someday. Retro Ranch, Buffalo Exchange in Phoenix /Tempe, and Incahoots Vintage Clothing in Flagstaff might be one of my all time favorites for go-to threads in AZ.

~

Follow Mr. Mudd & Mr. Gold on Facebook and listen to Mr. Mudd & Mr. Gold below.

For the Record: Kinship by The Wanda Junes

wanja junes 01by Carly Schorman
Senior Editor

The Wanda Junes journeyed up from Tucson to record a new album at Fivethirteen Recording in Tempe and the band carried the feel of that dusty desert divide they traversed straight into the studio. Kinship, much like its title suggests, has a familial, kitchen-table atmosphere. The album sounds like a bunch of old friends (of really talented, musician-type friends) hanging out while hashing out some tunes.

The singing (and songwriting) duties get passed around the table which only adds to the communal feel of this recording. One person tells a story and then the next recounts a tale. From the rambling ballad “Green Pastures” to the wry look at acceptance offered on the album’s closer, “I’m Home”, Kinship offers listeners a storybook of Americana.

I find I’m rather taken with the bittersweet sound of “For Now”, but Kinship glows with an interior warmth from beginning to end. There are moments of humor and sorrow and joy to be uncovered in the homespun stories of The Wanda Junes.

The album was released through Baby Tooth Records on limited edition cassette tape last month.

I’m just starting to wonder… do you have to play an instrument to hang out with The Wanda Junes’ crew? I mean, can you just bring some snacks to share and take it all in? I suppose I’m willing to take the next best thing: hanging out at my own damn kitchen table with the music of The Wanda Junes. You can do the same. There are still some copies of that limited edition cassette available so head here to score your copy.

I had the opportunity to ask Bobby Carlson of The Wanda Junes about the new album, communal songwriting, and what this Tucson band has in the works next. Check out our chat below. But, first, take a gander at the new album, Kinship. 

YabYum: Quite a cast of players you’ve gathered. How did The Wanda Junes join forces for the greater musical good?

Bobby Carlson: It hasn’t been the smoothest process. And not the most exciting tale.

I moved from Flagstaff to Tucson in June of 2012 to start the Wanda Junes with Steve Soloway. We had already begun sending recordings to each other and when Steve recruited Jesus Robles, we had a set of songs and he fit right in. A year later, we had our first album Factory Plaza finished, Jesus had bailed, and Steve set off to Maine to start his family.

The band actually played a “last” show and had every intention of breaking up. By then, we’d picked up Thom Plasse and Jeff Henderson, and, at some point, the three of us decided to just keep going, or to try, at least. We played one show as an acoustic-ish trio, but by then Adam Frumhoff, an old friend from Flagstaff had joined, and we had recruited Karima Walker soon after as well. That was just to play banjo. How little we knew!

We recorded half of Hi Fi Record Album and then Allison McGillivray joined and she helped us finish it (she actually introduced us to Karima). Later, Karima quit, and we got Nathan Fenoglio. We recorded Kinship and Allison quit to go save the world from nuclear annihilation, and Nathan quit to save his world. My old roommate, Tony Ballz moved in with me, and naturally into the band. When Allison and Nathan left, we were demoralized and unsure of what was going to happen. We got writing and things currently feel solid, like a car commercial with a Bob Seger soundtrack…

I noticed that the band makes the trek to Tempe to record over at Fivethirteen. We love that studio but I’d like to know what keeps you coming back?

Well, we love it too. I was introduced to Catherine through Abe Gil and Owen Evans, separately and together, when I still lived in Flagstaff, and it’s been my go-to spot ever since. I get the impression that they like working with us. I wish we had the budget to just have a standing weekend with them every other month or something. The recordings that I’ve done there, if I’m unhappy with anything, it’s either with my songwriting or the performances. It’s always on my end. At this point, it’s really comfortable, which when you’re recording, is pretty important. I’m perfectly happy making this entire interview a testimonial for Fivethirteen.

Songwriting and vocal duties seem to be shared amongst the band members. I would imagine that lends to the sense of camaraderie. Is that the result? Does the band feel more like a gathering of friends than perhaps other bands you might have played with?

It is a gathering of friends, which is the only way I’ve ever done it.(Somehow it’s still stressful at times.) I’m not a good enough player to do it any other way. The result, we all hope, is a better record, and a better live show. Nothing more exciting than white dudes playing guitars, am I right?

Can you tell me a little about how the band approaches songwriting? Does it vary per person?

It does vary. Adam and I are the two main songwriters right now, and the process is a little bit different with each song. But the songs are arranged by the band, and it’s pretty rare for there to be a lot of notes from the songwriter when we’re all writing our parts. The strongest songs, or our favorites at least, have been ones with the heaviest collaboration, which is good news for all those co-ops and communists out there.

What’s next for the band? Writing new songs? Shows? Tour? Music video? Please tell us all the things.

We’re playing some shows around Arizona, trying to put this Kinship album on all the top ten lists. We’d love to release the album on more formats. We’re recording at Midtown Island [in Tucson] at the end of April. (We still love you, Catherine!) We’re thinking that will be the beginning of our next thing–either as a single or several [singles], and/or the beginning of the new album. We just stay focused on songwriting and we hope the rest takes care of itself.

~

Radio Phoenix Podcast: Blaze Rock

blaze rock 01Blaze Rock joined us at the Radio Phoenix Studios for our latest episode of The YabYum Hour. We talked a lot of AZ HipHop, got schooled on some cats we never heard of, and definitely head-bobbed the whole time. As always, our guest brought some great tracks down and the complete playlist can be found below. Click on the artist name for more info.

Make sure to tune in every 1st and 3rd Wednesday of the month at 7 PM for each live episode of The YabYum Hour, only on radiophoenix.org.

Complete Playlist:

Blaze Rock “Defy Gravity”

BP Mercenaries “Boogeyman”

HYPR BST “Level Up”

ROKNOWLEDGE “Time Is Like A Promise”

Blaze Rock “Fearless”

Black One “Status Quo”

Blaze Rock “Failproof”

Blind Man ft. Purita “Gladiator Pen”

Cross Platform “Loved By You”

Mega Ran “Kickin’ In Doors”

SPAN PHLY “Joy”

_

Recorded live on March 15, 2017

ZapCon Returns: An Interview with Wes Cleveland

zapcon bannerby Amy Young
Contributing Writer

Do you love to play arcade games? Love punching the pinball flippers into action? If so, make ZapCon a must-go destination.

Now in its fifth year, the annual gaming convention is back. Geek out for hours on April 29 and 30, when the Mesa Convention Center becomes a magical, electronic wonderland, loaded with hundreds of games.

Play for fun or get competitive in one of the tournaments. There’s also food trucks, a bar, and enough lights and sounds to keep your brain on high alert. We got together with one of the event’s founders, Wes Cleveland, to get the low down on the convention itself, along with some details about what to expect this year and in the future.

Amy Young for YabYum: Tell us about how ZapCon came to be…

Wes Cleveland: My partner Zack and I went to a pinball & arcade show in northern California called California Extreme a few years back so Zack could buy some arcade games. We had an incredible time and on the ride home, trailer full of games in tow, we wondered why no one in Phoenix was doing anything like that. So, we decided to take it on. There was a pinball show in town back in the 90’s called the Wild West Pinball Fest, and around the time we were thinking of starting up our own show, I coincidentally found myself at the garage sale of the guy who ran the Wild West show, Dann Frank. He was really helpful, and he’s been a big part of the show ever since. Synchronicity!

What is your role? And has that changed or evolved since the inception?

ZapCon is run by a 501c3 non-profit organization called the Classic Game Preservation Society, and I’m the Vice President. I handle the lion’s share of the event coordination and promotion for ZapCon. It’s been that way basically from the beginning, though now we’ve started doing ZapCon Nights periodically at the local arcade hot-spots, so now I coordinate and promote those as well.

What are this year’s highlights?

This year, we have a lot more tournaments and competitions than before. The Gaming Zone is hosting a Street Fighter Alpha 3 tournament, a Street Fighter 3: 3rd Strike tournament, and a Tetris tournament. Sid Seattle is hosting a 10-arcade-game round robin high score competition. This Old Arcade is hosting a “Random Fighters” tournament, where you play on a randomly determined fighting game each round (I’m pretty proud of this one. I came up with the idea for the ZapCon Night we did at Cobra last year). There’ll be a Cyber Troopers Virtual On Oratorio Tangram tournament. We’re hosting a Donkey Kong high score competition.

The AZ Pinball Players League is hosting the IFPA pinball tournament. Danger Dann’s Pinball Rodeo will be there of course, and he’s bringing back Tag Team Pinball this year. I’m working on one or two more as well, but I don’t want to say anything and jinx it.

zapcon 01Do you have a personal favorite game and why?

Favorite game…For video games my go-to answer is usually Ikari Warriors. Man, I loved that game as a kid and I put a lot of quarters in it. I think we’re actually going to have one at the show this year! BUT, I think right now I’m going to go extra nerdy and say either of the Dungeons & Dragons side-scrolling beat ’em ups. With how different all the characters play, and the different paths you can take, and all the secrets, they’re great games you can replay quite a bit without getting bored. We’ll have a two-player D&D at the show. I’d love to see a 4-player show up someday.

Now for pinball, I love my Judge Dredd. It’s a perfect theme for me, and the game is really fun. Very under-appreciated, in my opinion. Though I would really like a Tales of the Arabian Nights. I played it a lot at Arcade Expo in Banning the other weekend. Man, that’s a good game. Not underappreciated, however. That one’s expensive, which is why I don’t currently own one.

What can people expect from ZapCon?

People can expect to play hundreds of rad games! There’ll be lots of opportunities to get competitive, if that’s your thing. We’ll have an excellent selection of food trucks on site throughout the weekend, so the challenge of finding an open restaurant in downtown Mesa on a Sunday can be avoided. For the grown-ups, we’ll have a bar open Saturday night in the lounge, where you can also play on a selection of classic gaming consoles ranging from the Atari 2600 to the Super Nintendo.

One of my favorite aspects of the show is the custom games. Each year we end up with a few, and in the past we’ve had Polybius, Space Paranoids, ZapCon: The Game, Tales of Cthulhu pinball, a re-themed Flash pinball, and a few others. We have one or two lined up for this year as well. We’ll also have a few brand-new games. On the arcade side, we’ll have a Skycurser and on the pinball side we’ll have a few of the new Stern titles, like Aerosmith, Batman ’66, and the Vault Edition Spider-Man. Did I mention hundreds of rad games?!


What are the biggest challenges running a gaming convention?

The biggest challenge for me is getting games for the show. We almost totally rely on the generous contributions of private collectors, and as you can imagine, they might be hesitant to put their precious babies out for the public to play. We take very good care of the games however and have a staff of knowledgeable & professional technicians to make repairs on-site, and a larger team of volunteers keeping an eye on things to make sure the games are being treated with the proper respect.

zapcon 02What does the future of ZapCon look like?

I’d love to see ZapCon continue to grow both in game numbers and attendance, and we continue strive to achieve those goals. We’re also continuously trying to come up with fun and interesting content for the show as well.

~

Get all the details on the ZapCon website or Facebook event page.

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 …

~

Damian Gomes 04 Damian Gomes 05 Damian Gomes 06

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”

_

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