Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Our Weekend At Old Settler’s

What. A. Weekend. We ventured out to Driftwood, TX this past weekend for the Old Settler’s Music Festival. It was a weekend of the outdoors, BBQ, a bit of mud, great music, great people, and all-around one of the best music festival atmosphere’s that I’ve experienced. We started everything off by heading to Camp Ben McCollough on Wednesday night for a pre-festival party. We saw Rhythmic Statues, who were a really cool jam band, and Dead-Eye, a local Grateful Dead cover band. Both bands set things off right for the weekend that we had ahead of us. This was also the night that I realized that Russ was a celebrity at Old Settler’s. He seemed to know just about everyone.

Thursday night we came back to Camp Ben McCollough where we started things off with Bill Kirchen, who blew me away. The guy was a total badass. He was like a musical encyclopedia in the way that he impersonated so many great guitarists and his original stuff was very solid as well. After Bill Kirchen, we saw the bluegrass band, The Infamous String Dusters. They were a bit poppy and polished for my taste, but they were a fun band of talented, very skilled, fast picking musicians.

Friday night, we went across the bridge to the real festival stages where we saw a newgrass legend, Sam Bush. He was one of the highlights of the festival for me. By the end of the set, he had everyone “Howlin’ At The Moon”. With the help of a band manager of the Mavericks and the Old Settler’s staff and volunteers, Russ got a front row seat for both Sam Bush and The Mavericks (and also for the rest of the festival). The Mavericks took the stage just after Sam and closed out the night with some really cool Tex-Mex style country music. Read the rest of this entry »

Grimy Styles returns to the Flamingo Cantina

We went to Grimy Styles at the Flamenco Cantina last night on 6th Street.  The show was insane.  It was a packed house for was their first gig there in a while.  I had never seen them or heard of them before last night.  I was told that they were one of Russ’ favorite bands and his old friends from when he used to do the First Thursdaze gigs down at Ruta Maya.

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Grimy Styles definitely didn’t disappoint. Read the rest of this entry »

Sundaze Conversations #8: Matt Hubbard

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Get to know Matt Hubbard with us. Matt really has some cool things to say. I have only recently come to know him. Whîch is weird because I like the guy and also we have been on the scene for much of the same time. I wonder how many times we crossed paths. One thing I have learned from him is that you don’t need to return used ear plugs after a gig… Thanks Matt for sharing words. Our team this time was Alexîs, Rockslide and me (transcribed by Alexis Mathews) Thank you for reading…

 

AustinDaze: How did music become a part of your life? What influenced you? 

Matt Hubbard: Well, my parents had a piano before any furniture. I was born in Ann Arbor in 1970 and my parents were broke students but they bought a piano.  My twin sister and I started plinking on the piano probably around one, or something like that.  We took piano lessons at five.  Never wanting to be a professional musician or anything, I was just having fun with my sister.  We were always in church choirs, and I was in high school and junior high jazz band on trombone, and had a lot of other experiences in school which helped me play music.  I was in tons of bands in high school, then went to Oberlin Conservatory and got a composition and electronic music degree.  The summer after I graduated I attended the P-Funk show at the second Lollapalooza in Detroit, Michigan.  I had this vision of all these golden streaming lights around Austin, Texas, so I moved here.

AustinDaze: WAIT! You had a vision in Detroit, at Lollapalooza, of lights in Austin, during George Clinton? That’s awesome.

MH: Well, I would say he was partly responsible for the vision, but it was about 4AM when we made it back to the campus of Michigan State University where my father was a professor of biomechanical engineering. Dad invented the HANS device that protects auto racers’ necks.  He worked for General Motors before that and developed the crash test dummy head you see all the time. The dummies are on the cover of George Harrison’s last record…it’s his face.

AustinDaze: That’s amazing!

MH: So I can say my father was on the cover of a Beatles record. His face… sorta.

AustinDaze: That is too cool!  So, can we go back to your vision? A vision of Austin, Texas?

MH: Well, I was just looking up in a clearing in the woods, me and some friends, ‘cause Michigan is full of woods so it’s hard not to wonder amongst the trees.  I just looked up and saw North and South America, and sort of a map, and all these golden streaming lights coming around Austin.  I also heard there was a lot of music here…

AustinDaze: I’ve seen you play the organ and trombone. What came first? Ummm….(“He’ll read anything on the teleprompter. ANY THING…”-ANCHORMAN)

MH: Well, obviously piano came first, and then you usually start trombone around sixth grade, because your arms have to reach a certain length to maneuver the slide.  I think most band programs start in fifth or sixth grade. I wanted something that had no keys because I was so angry about having to take piano lessons all the time.  I was pretty good as a kid, and I was fortunate that my piano teacher Deena Agree taught me classical and jazz theory starting in third grade. I still pretty much use that knowledge today. I haven’t really gotten must past that actually.  So trombone was later but I learned how to play harmonica literally around the campfire.  My mom taught me some guitar chords when I was in ninth grade, and I ended up playing bass.  I played bass in several bands, like Paul Nelson and Calvin Russell. So… I play a lot of instruments. I got a theremin in the mail yesterday so we’ll be adding that to Golden Dawn Arkestra right away.

AustinDaze: So do have a favorite band you are playing in right now? 

MH: Not really. Well I play sporadically in 7 Walkers with Bill Kreutzmann, The Dead drummer, George Porter Jr. and Papa Mali. I’ve often played with older guys and you learn from them. We played a gig this past August 1st, a private party in Connecticut and that was a lot of fun. Wally Ingram was on drums as well as Bill. Keller Williams played with us too, as well as Eric McFadden and Colonel Bruce Hampton. I’m also in Greezy Wheels, I just joined that classic Austin Band.  I’ve been playing with the Texas Mavericks along with Speedy Sparks, Alvin Crow, his son Jason Crow, John X Reed, and Hector Molina, all of whom played with Doug Sahm at some point except me.  I recently had the honor of joining Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians at a reunion show in Dallas and look forward to working more with them.  And of course I’m in the Matt Hubbard Trio which plays every Wednesday at the Continental Gallery 8:30-10PM… I brought you a poster!

AustinDaze: Cool!  

MH: I’m also in Lechuza with poet and wife Martha Fowler and Mario Matteoli from the Weary Boys and his wife Cayce from The Preservation.  We are finishing up our second record as we speak.  It’s a haunting sound that reminds me of the Velvet Underground and Mazzy Star.  I know I’m in some other bands, I probably forgot…oh, and the Golden Dawn Arkestra, duh!

AustinDaze: Oh yeah! Of course! 

MH: And that’s kind of a bizarre on-the-rise project.

AustinDaze: How did you get involved with the 7 Walkers? 

MH: Austin briefly had a Hard Rock Cafe on 6th street, do y’all remember that?

Austin Daze: I remember hearing of that briefly… 

MH: Yeah, nobody really went in there. It couldn’t compete with the local businesses so it closed.  I was playing there with Jane Bond and we were opening for Jerkuleez which was a short lived instrumental funk project with Scrappy Jud Newcomb, Papa Mali, and Bruce Hughes.  Papa Mali said, hey, I like your sound, let’s work together sometime so I think about a year later I played with him.  He met Bill a short time afterwards at Oregon County Fair, and Bill’s then girlfriend soon to be finance and now wife Amy said, “Hey you need to check out this guy Papa Mali.” So they jammed all night and had a blast and then Bill wanted to form a band and Papa Mali asked me to be a part of it.

AustinDaze: So you have the Matt Hubbard Trio, you have Golden Dawn, what do you like better? Do you like a big group or a small group? 

MH: Well, it’s just like different sports. I went to Interlochen music camp and music school in Northern Michigan. I was playing the end of summer honors concert or something with literally  200 people. I was just playing trombone in this huge orchestra, and I thought I could be playing ”Old Rugged Cross” and no one would know!  I prefer a smaller combo, like basketball where there’s five people on the court at one time.  That’s always fun because with less people there is more room for spontaneous deviations and improvisation.  Golden Dawn Arkestra is a very special project as well with an element of organized chaos. I don’t really have any preference. I still play solo, but I would say my limit is like, 200 people… {laughter}

AustinDaze: {laughs} Okay, so no more than 200 people. 

MH: When I play at the Continental Gallery with Brad Houser and Robb Kidd every week, you know I can pretty much play anything I want and go anywhere and they can follow me.  That’s also true in a band like Golden Dawn because there is basically a framework for a party, and the party can always take different directions, and you have a lot of leeway doing sound effects and jumping around and stuff. So, that’s fascinating. But then I was in a band Fastball, briefly, which has very tight structured pop songs. So you know, every different gig and size of gig has it’s challenges and there’s no one favorite, or least favorite.

AustinDaze: Okay, well speaking of challenges, in Golden Dawn you guys are costumed, so how do you guys play so well with your faces covered by a costume? 

MH: My new one, which I have in the car, is sort of a third-eye weird goggle thing that Echo the dancer made for me.  It doesn’t cover my mouth at all, just my eyes, with these weird sunglasses with a third eye reflective surface…

AustinDaze: So you can’t see? 

MH: I can see, so it doesn’t really effect my playing at all. Robb Kidd, the drummer, has his face completely covered in a sheet, so he looks like a weird wizard or something, but since he’s not singing or anything it’s not a problem. Obviously the horn players have to have their mouths open.  Josh Perdue who plays guitar has sort of a veil on but doesn’t have to use his mouth.

AustinDaze: But when you’re playing in a band with five or 10 people, is it important to see the other players for visual cues as to… 

MH: Well… you’re in sort of this telepathic field, where you don’t have to see necessarily. I mean, blind musicians play like Stevie Wonder who’s show I will be attending in late November!

AustinDaze: Well, give us some advice from what you’ve learned in the music scene over the years, and for other musicians who are giving this a try.

MH: You mean specifically the Austin scene?

AustinDaze: Yes and…..

MH: Or of music in general? Hmm… I guess try to do your own thing and don’t try and be like everyone else, you know what I mean?  There are so many singer/songwriters in town who just strum a guitar and try to be like Townes Van Zandt.  That’s cool but I think trying to be different is probably a good idea. ‘Cause, you know, no one is going to be Willie, no one is going to be Townes Van Zandt, but you can be yourself.  The same is true for a lot of institutionalized jazz players who are so hung up on studying Charlie Parker and Coltrane, which is great, but you also have to be yourself too, not just emulate others.  Having the courage to discover who you are is always a journey in any style of music and the arts.

AustinDaze: Well, I know Willie Nelson is in your family, how does that relationship help you grow as a musician? And what have you learned from that relationship? 

MH: Um, well what I’ve learned from him is a lot. I met him recording his daughter Paula Nelson because I’m also a recording producer and eventually was running his home studio in Luck, TX. We recorded two albums that were up for Country Album of the Year Grammy, “The Rainbow Connection” on Island and “Run that By Me One More Time” a duet record with Ray Price on Lost Highway.  I’ve recorded with him on dozens of album projects, voiceovers, and duets.   Willie’s the real deal, he’s not fake at all. It’s not an act and no one scripts his public statements. He just takes the responsibility of being a star very seriously. He always tells people if you’re a star and in the public you have to be honorable 100 percent of the time.  Always do the right thing, it’s a huge responsibility you know?  Look, most of his friends are dead, but he’s still going strong. Still trying more than anyone at his age.  He’s definitely family-oriented and you know I have a 14-year-old son with his granddaughter Martha.  Willie is definitely a genius and a role model, but also a real person.  There is no BS-ing him, he can read anyone.  He is also very forgiving and wants to have peace in the world.  He’s a great role model of how to handle success, because it drives most people crazy when you’re that level. I mean, look at Michael Jackson, or whoever else you want to look at… Willie went through that insanity and came out the other side stronger. The same challenges would  totally diminish some people.  Willie’s from a poor background and was taken care of by his grandparents.  They lived a hard life in the Depression era, and a hundred dollars is still a lot of money to him. He’s very generous of course, but he doesn’t take anything for granted. I mean I could go on and on about what he’s taught me.  His faith in my abilities has given me confidence, obviously, and I’ve played on so many huge stages, under a lot of pressure.  That’s where I thrive, where I function my best so I never really get stressed out. I’m never afraid on stage, never have been you know. Fear has no part of me as a musician. I know that no matter what I face I can handle it.  That’s a great feeling to bring onto stage and I know it helps other people feel confident on stage as well. It’s a unified organism. Especially in Golden Dawn. And that’s something in Golden Dawn I push.  I keep saying this band has a huge potential.

AustinDaze: And it does!

MH: Yeah, I’ve been in a lot of buzz bands you know, played on Black Joe’s first record, “Bitch I Love You,” that’s me playing piano… I’ve been here for 20 years as of October, I moved here in October of ’94.  I’ve recorded a lot of stuff with Willie Nelson, 7 Walkers, meeting everyone in the world, so, you know, I think Golden Dawn could be a good third act.  Along, with of course, my Matt Hubbard Trio {laughter} every Wednesday at the Continental Gallery!

AustinDaze: John {Branch} was saying that was his favorite gig to play, the Continental Gallery.

MH: Well, it’s great.  Sniz and friends, the guys from the Greyhounds, are on Wednesday’s after me and it’s a huge jam.  Gary Clark Jr. sat in with all of us the other day. Tons of musicians stop in and I’ve played up there in the past with Charlie Sexton and David Garza and like everyone, you know?  So now I’m doing my own thing and about to release my own album.

AustinDaze: When will that come out? 

MH: Well, this year, it better! I recorded it with John Bush who along with Brad Houser play with me in Greezy Wheels.  Brad Houser is in the Matt Hubbard Trio as well and and they’re both from Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians. John actually produced my album and played percussion and drums on it as well as Robb Kidd on drums and Brad on bass. They are awesome.

AustinDaze: I think that’s all I had… Is there anything you want to add? 

MH: You know, I wanted to say that one of the hugest influences on me musically is George Porter Jr. the bassist from the Meters and also 7 Walkers.  He’s the total professional, and a role model musically and personally.

It’s a really exciting time in Austin as a musician now. Music and art are sacred to me and I think it can bring world peace.  That’s my main philosophy.

AustinDaze: Well that’s a good note to end on, world peace. 

MH: {laughter} Alright!

Sundaze Conversations #5: John Branch

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Get to know John Branch with us. We sat down with John at Chez Russ. We talked music,friends and philosophy. And we laughed a lot. Three of John’s band are busting out nationally. We talk about that. With all of these positive things going on he is still just our friend, John; ”
people are just people…” Our team this time was Alexis, Rockslide, Gewel  and I.(Transcribed by Alexis Mathews)

Austin Daze:
So John, you are involved in three different bands on the verge of taking off. Spanish Gold and Hard Proof are on the ACL line up this year. And Golden Dawn Archestra, which is one of my favorite bands right now. What do you think of this popularity and how is this effecting your music?

 

John Branch: Right, I mean, I am very honored to be a part of three bands that are doing such cool things musically.  That’s definitely why I got involved in it. They’re all my friends, people I’ve played with for a long time and I think it’s great. The hard thing of course is managing a schedule but you know, maybe the consequence of getting older is you just use your calendar a little bit more {laughter} to figure that out.  There is definitely that crossover, more with Hard Proof and Golden Dawn, just because they are big bands.  I like those kinds of bands because the bands are the summation of a lot of little things happening all at the same time.  If you just did one part it wouldn’t have the same effect, but to get nine, ten, eleven people all on the same page, it’s a really powerful performance, you know? And with Golden Dawn, obviously it’s more enhanced with the visual aspect of it.  Hard Proof is more focused on the music where as Golden Dawn kind of has both and has more of a theatrical aspect.  Between all three I guess I should say, the other difference is in the other two bands I play guitar, in Hard Proof I play guitar and keyboard, and in Spanish Gold I play bass.  So, they’re all great because I get to do some different function within the band and contribute in a different way.  This year has been a big growth thing for me as a musician with other gigs I play.  Definitely my solo material I have been working on a lot this year as well.

 

Austin Daze: What’s really cool is that all three bands are so different musically.

 

John Branch: Yeah. Yeah, for sure. I mean the main thing I would say for sure with all three of them that is consistent is the groove. They’re all kind of danceable and they all kind of bring people together around a groove. In Spanish Gold, there is a lot more singing, there’s more hooks and chorus’, so that makes more people involved too. But if you go to any of those shows I’ve done the past six months, there’s always a sea of people dancing, they’re all tied in and they’re all kinda getting off. There’s other things that make each band individual and distinct but they’re all there because it’s a good vibe, groove, and not just in the sense of being a wild, crazy party, it’s more of an uplifting experience.

 

Austin Daze: How did you get involved with all the different bands?

 

John Branch:  Out of these three I first started playing with Hard Proof and I got involved with them maybe a little more than two years ago. For a little while I would sub, cause at the time there were two guitar players, and one of the guitar players played keyboard. So I subbed maybe two or three gigs over maybe six months playing one of those roles, where I was just playing guitar, or I played guitar and keyboard depending on which one of those guys wasn’t there.  Then Aaron, the sole guitarist, meaning he only plays guitar, he left for about five months for an internship for his graduate degree and he was in New York for five months so they needed a sub.  So he went and did that and I was just playing with them for five months just playing guitar.  Then when he came back they just said we really like what you do on guitar, you know, it was just another little element to the thing.  So, now it’s morphed even more to where there’s always two guitars and keyboard.

 

Austin Daze: Yeah.

 

John Branch: Yeah, cause if Gerardo is playing guitar, then I’ll play keys and vice versa. It’s better when there is some other kind of timbre, some other kind of texture going on. Gerardo does the Farfisa where I do the Wurlitzer.  They all have a distinct keyboard sound so that’s different.  And then Golden Dawn. I’ve known Topaz forever, we played together in Mudphonic, and we still do that every now and then.  He started doing that band {Golden Dawn} maybe, a year ago, and I played with him in his other project Hellfire Social, and then that led into Golden Dawn. He just started doing GDA for fun I think honestly just kind of to do something different.  I think it’s cool because it focuses on his strengths of what he used to do with just the saxophone, back to that afro influence he’s got and just kind of like chanting stuff, obviously still funky. I just said, hey man, I’d like to be involved in that anytime, and he just kind of approached it as a collective. It kinda still is although it’s more formulated, formed, come together more as just a big band, but not everyone that always plays is always on every gig.  He and Greg, the bass player, started working out ideas more regularly.  And then, Laura, she became involved, and the three of them are more the primary writers.

 

Austin Daze: Yeah, everybody in that band, everybody’s friends.

 

John Branch: Yeah, exactly, we…

 

Austin Daze: I love going to see y’all play cause everybody on stage is a friend

 

John Branch: Yeah, yeah, exactly, we’ve all done things and other projects and it’s cool to get everybody together.  Everyone really tries to make time and make it work when they can.  Sometimes, it doesn’t always work out but definitely more than 75% of the time I’d say we can get it together. And then with Spanish Gold, I’ve know Adrian Quesada for a long time, long time back to…

 

Austin Daze: Did Spanish Gold evolve out of, that, I forgot the name but it’s that band you were doing with Adrian awhile ago

 

John Branch: Oh, the Echocentrics? That’s a great project.  Echocentrics was really Adrian’s kind of solo project because it was all his music. Then he involved the singers.  He wanted to try a recording project. As he started getting things together, he wanted to perform and do it live.  Then that involves kind of another faction of musicians that all know each other and play together in bands. But Spanish Gold really came more from Dante, I think, contacting Adrian because Dante wanted to do a solo record and then he called Adrian just to bounce ideas off each other. They knew each other from, technically speaking from Laredo, but they didn’t really reconnect until a few years ago. Adrian knew about Hacienda.  Dante knew about Grupo Fantasma, Brownout, and those bands that Adrian’s involved in.  They were trying to bounce ideas about where to record and Dante quickly changed it to a collaboration. They were looking for studios {when} Dante came here to do some demos with Adrian.  Then Dante {said} I know a drummer who would be down for this.  So that’s how Patrick became involved.  They booked some time in Nashville for a couple of days and were literally like, lets just go record and see what happens. They tracked, like, half that record in a couple of days just being in the studio.  Dante had most of the song ideas.  He’s the lyricist.  The other guys bring the groove and kind of the production of things together. The two guys that are playing bass on the record are Tim Deaux, who plays in a band called the Whigs, and that’s through Dante’s connection in Nashville.  Then the other is Jesse Ebaugh from the Heartless Bastards, obviously living here in Austin.  They played on the record.  It took maybe three sessions or so, six to eight months to record and finish it because of everyone’s schedule, Dante with City and Colour, Adrian with his projects, Patrick with My Morning Jacket.  They really didn’t play live very much for almost a year, did a handful of gigs, and then SX came around. Jesse was doing that. Then really, they got the momentum and they were like let’s just put this record out and just see what happens.  I think it was unexpected.  They didn’t know how much they would like the record or what it would turn out to be.  But it just got better and better and kept improving, and it was really good, we should do something with this and see what happens.  So they put the record out and I became involved. I’ve known Adrian for a really long time. I recorded some solo records of my stuff with him in his studio.  I played on a bunch of different gigs with him where I was playing either guitar or keys in a lot of different sessions.  My stuff, I played the bass on, so I think he got an idea, well, he can probably do a bunch of different things. So Jesse and Tim, since they are associated with bands that tour a lot, they really just couldn’t commit to how much touring Spanish Gold was going to do this summer.

 

Austin Daze: What’s really interesting about that is that Spanish Gold has exploded differently than some other projects you are involved in, like Spanish Gold doesn’t even play that much, like, I’ve only seen Spanish Gold once at SXSW.

 

John Branch: Right

 

Austin Daze: And you guys are exploding so fast

 

John Branch: Yeah, yeah, I mean, you know, they really took the time. They knew when the record was going to come out. They had established some press stuff.  They really were good at building up the anticipation for that record.  They had the single, “Out on the Street” and just kept generating more and more interest in the band before the record came out. So when it finally came out, I think it was a pretty big release for a lot of people.  I think a lot of people were really looking forward to it ahead of time.

 

Austin Daze: So how did you get on Letterman?

 

John Branch: They had that booked already. I mean, when Adrian brought me in they already had their tour booked.  It was more, are you available for these dates?  They needed to work out whether one of the other guys was going to be able to do the tour, because they had recorded on the record and that sort of thing.

 

Austin Daze: Right, right.

 

John Branch: So, I’m very fortunate to say Letterman was a by-product of them just having a tour booked and they just ask me to do the tour.

 

Austin Daze: Nice. That’s a pretty sweet little perk there

{laughter}
John Branch: Not bad. Not bad. Not bad, no.

 

Austin Daze: No, not bad. And speaking of other big things that you’ve done, you’ve opened for Sting…

 

John Branch: I did open for Sting. I had a brief stint playing with T Bird and the Breaks, another big Austin band, and so that happened with them. I actually got to meet Sting, briefly.

 

Austin Daze: Yeah, tell us how that happened?

 

John Branch: I was trying to load out and he came up behind me {laughter}. There was all this equipment around, and there was this little path to the elevator, and I’m waiting there right in front of the elevator, and it’s kinda stuck, and I heard people behind me…, “We need to get this one, can you get the next one?”  I just didn’t think anything of it.  I kind of turned perpendicular and I’m just kind of standing there, looking around.   Then I look to see why I’ve turned, cause I didn’t even think about it.  Oh, oh.. that’s Sting. Oh, they want Sting, to get that elevator, and get him out of there.  Then something was wrong with the elevator, so we’re standing there for a while.  Finally, I just had my amp and my guitar, a big amp, and he kinda looked down at it. I had put my pass to the show on the amp and he looked me in the eye and says, “Do you need a hand with that?”  I kinda looked at him and he was trying to be funny.  But I was like, allright, if you’re being a jokester, okay.  So I said, “Well, if you’re offering, sure I’ll take you up on that,” that thing weighs 60 pounds!”  And then, well he one upped me, cause, you know, he’s Sting… {laughter} and he’s like, well, it does have my name on it… But then he came over and picked it up and obviously it’s heavy. He kinda groaned and was like, “Oh, nah, I don’t do that anymore.” And my girlfriend was there and she’s freaking out, cause she’s a huge Sting fan.  She couldn’t even talk to him

 

{laughter}… {laughter}

 

I mean, it was GREAT meeting Sting. He’s a phenomenal musician, a phenomenal music spokesperson. Just absolutely, iconic but… you know all and all in the end he’s still… I wasn’t going to talk to him, but since he talked to me, he’s still just a normal guy. I think in those situations, if you meet someone like that, you talk to them normally.  They’ll probably be more normal.

 

Austin Daze: {motioning across the room} we were talking about that earlier, Russ and I were, about, people, just being people…

 

John Branch: Yeah. Exactly so…

 

Austin Daze: Okay, how did music become such a big part of your life?

 

John Branch: So, I played piano, I got piano lessons like a lot of people when I was really little, and then I quickly became to hate it.

 

Austin Daze: Mmhmm!

 

John Branch:  I was probably five and then I started playing guitar, maybe 10? My dad had a guitar in the house.  I just liked it.  It just seemed cool.  I liked the sound of it and he had a book.  I was just into figuring things out and it was a book with pictures, where you put your finger and all this stuff.  I knew how to read music from piano.  So I could kind of put that together and I did that for a while. I loved it but I guess it was also to impress my parents, that I could do something.  I really did it for six months.  I got more into it and I was trying to get through the whole book. They got me lessons.  They got me an electric guitar and it was all over after that.

 

Austin Daze: Nice. Very nice.

 

John Branch: My dad had a bunch of records and so I can honestly say when I was eight… or nine years old, I got a walkman.  I think the first thing I bought was the Beatles Anthology ’62-66, so that was probably the first thing I had.  Really my dad’s musical influence, he had all those records and played them all the time.

 

Austin Daze: Okay, well tell us about some of the other gigs with you’re involved in around town. We’ve talked about a few

 

John Branch: Yeah, so I don’t play with T Bird and the Breaks anymore. We’re still buds, but the other things that I do, are, my own solo music, which is under my name, John Branch, and then I still play with Mudphonic from time to time, with Topaz.

 

Austin Daze: You’re playing with them… on December 2nd. 

 

John Branch: Yes I am, playing with them on December second. We’re actually doing a gig on October 24th at C Boys, I think it’s just going to be an amalgamation.  It’s going to be me and Greg {Rhoades}, and guests.  It’s really cool cause, that band, we used to tour so much and play together for years.  We really worked it hard.  We got involved with other things because we wanted to do different stuff, which have spawned Hellfire Social and now Golden Dawn.  I did Hard Proof and Alex started playing with a bunch of other people.  Now he’s in Brown Sabbath, doing that thing.  Now when we do a gig, we can make it a special thing and we try and get some other guests to come in. We definitely have lots of other guitar players.  The last gig we did we had David Jimenez on guitar.  He is just an amazing singer from Baby Atlas.  Eric Zapata from Gary Clark Jr., came and played with us.  We had some other friends. Nikki, she’s a great soul singer.  She came in.  We just try and do that every time we play.  We’ll definitely do that again on Oct. 24th. We’re still trying to round out the band but it will be under Mudphonic.

 

Austin Daze: It’s going to be under Mudphonic, love it.

 

JB: Yeah, I think it’s going to be the Mudphonic All Stars.

 

Austin Daze: Cool.

 

John Branch: Yeah, but the other things I do that are regular. Probably my favorite gig, is Wednesday nights at the Gallery.  I’m super tight, really good friends with the Greyhounds; Trube, Farrell, Snizz. When Anthony and Andrew are on the road with JJ Grey & Mofro, I usually play with Snizz and Bobbie {Perkins}

 

Austin Daze: Oh Yeah!

 

John Branch: Yeah, from Mudphonic, and then Josh Perdue, Matt Hubbard. It’s just a great.  It’s my favorite room to play in.  I mean that room is the perfect amalgamation that I am talking about, these bands, everyone just coming together and just having a great time.  Like, things were really shitty this week, but now I’m here, Wednesday night the Gallery, and everyone knows it’s going to be a great time.

 

Austin Daze: That’s really cool, that that’s your favorite out of everything you are doing.

 

John Branch: Yeah. I mean, I love the Continental Club in general, but that room has a really, really special vibe.

 

Austin Daze: Yeah, totally! It does.

 

John Branch: I love the Continental downstairs, it’s great, C Boys is great, there’s a bunch of great gigs, but that one’s always consistent. You see friends, you see new people, you see tourists and everyone’s always having a great time. You know, that’s really a special thing.

 

Austin Daze: We have known each other a long time, So back in the early days Ghandaia, which I always say wrong…

 

John Branch: Ganhn-die-ya {laughs}

 

Austin Daze: Yes! So since the early days of Ghandaia, things in Austin have really changed. How do you feel about these changes and how to you feel they have affected the music life in this town?

 

John Branch: Both ways, positive and negative. I guess.  I don’t know if I should start with negative or positive {laughter} I’ll say negative, so that way we can end on positive. Negative, I think with more oversaturation of musicians, because there are more places to play, they can’t keep up with the amount that Austin is expanding.  I think in general, culturally, it is harder make a living from music, particularly playing live.  But there are ways to do that being involved with music, but performing music is what I mean, making a living that way. It’s harder to get better paying gigs, let alone paying gigs, because there’s a whole plethora of people who will play for free. You know, so, it devalues the idea of live music because live music is just something you’re supposed to have in Austin.  At the same time, I think it’s really positive because the sonic scope of Austin music is way bigger now. There’s so many other different kinds of bands.  I’ve been in Austin, mostly on, and little off, since 1995. So I remember when Liberty Lunch was around and Antone’s was open on Guadalupe.  All that stuff and those were awesome times!  Granted, it was why I moved here because all the music at those places was music I was into but now there’s all sorts of different clubs that bring in all different types of music {and} musicians.  It’s brought people from all over the country. It’s positive because you get different perspectives and different styles but you also make connections with people who have connections that lead elsewhere. And I think for any musician nowadays, you need to make a wider net, cast a bigger spectrum to be working as a musician, you know? So, I really enjoy that. My experience with that has been what happened with Spanish Gold.  Adrian lives here, Dante lives in Nashville, Patrick lives in Louisville.  We did that tour.  We fly to Nashville, hope you learn the record, we rehearse for two days, and then a week later we were playing on Letterman. That’s it.  That’s just kind of what happens. Austin has grown, people are more interested in Austin from all over.  You get a lot more influence.  It’s not just Austin is the blues town, like it used to be twenty, thirty years ago. There’s still a lot of blues, but there’s a lot of rock.  There’s a lot of Indie stuff.  The Latin music thing has really taken off. There’s all sorts of much more developed pockets, scenes like that. It’s really, really cool.

 

Austin Daze: And you came here to Austin, or like you said, for college,

 

John Branch: Yes, yes I did go to college. Amazing.

 

Austin Daze: {Sarcastic} Wow. But yeah, you started playing in Austin in college, that’s when Ghandaia started, right?

 

John Branch: Yeah, after I finished college. I should have finished in ’99 but it ended up being 2000.  I got a classical guitar degree.  I sojourned to Spain for a semester sabbatical.  Then I came back and finished.

 

Austin Daze: Nice!

 

John Branch: I knew Freggie and Alex, Freggie because we went to the same college. I met Alex in 95, and I knew him.  I didn’t hang out with him much through college until I came back and I was finally really really living in Austin, not just {the} area of Austin. They started doing gigs.  I was actually playing bass {laughs}. They needed a bass player and they were like, “well, you can bring your guitar too.”  After we did that one time they were like, why don’t you just play guitar.

 

{laughter}IMG_4253

 

That was a great experience.  That was definitely a young band working it out. Lots of rehearsal, you know, not very many gigs, but definitely really satisfying, I moved to California after a couple of years and they really took off a lot more.  But it was all part of the process because Ghandaia went on to do a lot of great things. Not that what we did at first wasn’t great.  I love that record. But then I heard the second record and I was like, man, such an improvement, and that’s what you want as a musician.  You don’t want to put out a crappier record {laughter} if your first record was good.

 

Austin Daze: Okay, I ask Josh and Robb the same question, How do you play your instrument in GDA with your costume covering your eyes?

 

John Branch: Well, I think I gotcha on a technicality there… my face isn’t really covered in my costume. It’s just covered on the sides, so I still have my eyesight. Josh has definitely got the full on mask.

 

Austin Daze: Yeah, {laughter}

 

John Branch: But, at the same time I teach a lot of guitar.  I tell my students to close your eyes and you just try.  It’s a combination of seeing it in your mind, without, literally seeing it, you know?

 

Austin Daze: Yeah.

 

John Branch: And then you just get used to the feel of it, like how far something is from another thing.  Probably the best way to think of it is typing on your computer. It gets to the point where you are just looking at the screen and typing. Not that you don’t look at the typewriter, or the keyboard every now and then, but mostly you’re looking at the screen, correcting.  It’s kind of the same thing.

 

Austin Daze: Very nice analogy.

 

John Branch: Mmhmm. mmm.

 

Austin Daze: Okay, give us some advice, what have you seen over the years, for people trying to do what you’re doing.

 

John Branch: Definitely, definitely, definitely, you want to do it. You love to play music and you love to connect with other people.  I’m sure everyone has said this but don’t do it for the money because there are definitely better ways to make money.  As you get older, you think about maybe trying to do something a little bit different.  But ultimately I can’t make the commitment just to not play music or to just “kind of” play music. I wouldn’t know what to do. If I just kind of worked a job all the time that wasn’t music related at all and then kinda played music, I think I would go crazy. So there has to be that kind of…

 

Austin Daze: Passion.

 

John Branch: Passion or drive.  You really want to do it and you love making music with those sacrifices that come along with it. But, at the same time, you get all the reward of self-expression and just being creative and thinking differently.  Have a good attitude. {laughter} It depends on what kind of musician but if you’re going to be someone like me, who works with a lot of different people, you have to have a great personality. I mean, you want to be a strong personality but at the same time, you want to be able to relate to people.  If you’re a musician, that’s super opinionated and super judgmental of other people, it’s going to be really hard for you to do anything.

 

Austin Daze: Do you meet a lot of people like that?

 

John Branch: I have met people like that and it’s definitely not good because you’re not gonna connect with your band.  Even if you do have a band and you’re like that, crowds feed off of that really quick. Like, this guys kind of a dick, I don’t think he really wants us here.   Why are we here?

 

{laughter}

 

John Branch: And then they leave, well that’s not good right?

 

{more laughter}

 

Austin Daze: Right, right.

 

John Branch: You know, that’s the antithesis of all the stuff I’m talking about with the other bands.  You just want to be in this vibe, where everyone is getting along, feeling the music the same way, whether you’re listening, dancing or playing.  Those are the really, really important things.  The thing about music now, as I get older {is} there’s so many ways to do creative things with music. Obviously, it’s not like they just invented recording but it’s so much easier to do that on your own. Really learn new things, learn new approaches. I dig that. I think that’s cool to be creative in that format even though I’m not playing live. I teach guitar.  I think it’s really cool to connect with a kid or an adult, or whoever is taking a lesson, just to inspire music.

 

Austin Daze: Did you do School of Rock this summer?

 

John Branch: Rock camp! Yeah, you can inspire kids to do that, that’s really cool for you. I mean, it’s work, at times, but if you can inspire someone to start playing something they didn’t think they could play because you were able to impart on them, that’s cool. It gives me an idea to do this or just gives you more fire to keep doing what you’re doing.  You’re not staying stagnate, you know?   That’s a cool way, other than, I played this really awesome gig.  You just keep having kind of that positive energy around you and let it flow.

 

Austin Daze: Very Cool. Is there anything else you want to tell us that we didn’t ask, anything you want to mention?

 

John Branch: Um, Not really…

 

Austin Daze: Are you looking forward to ACL?

 

John Branch: Yeah! I’m definitely looking forward to ACL.  I’m excited.  There’s two things I’ve got coming up that I am excited about.  I’m definitely going to be putting out a lot of solo material.  I’ve been doing since the beginning of the year The Song Machine with Andrew Trube from the Greyhounds. It’s a group of musicians from all over the country.  You get a little phrase at the beginning of the week and then you have to write a song by the end of the week and record it.  Some weeks I do it on my iPhone  and I just do a song.  Other times, I really try and do a whole recording.  I’ve probably got, in some form or fashion, forty or fifty songs at this point.

 

Austin Daze: That’s awesome

 

John Branch:  I’m going to try and start whittling that down and release some new material soon within the fall. And then I’m doing and online guitar lesson thing, branchoutguitar.com

 

{Matt Hubbard walks in}

 

John Branch: Oh hey buddy! {laughs}

 

Matt Hubbard: Oh, this still going?

 

John Branch: No, no, we’re just finishing up. But those are the exciting things on top of all the other exciting things…

 

Austin Daze: Cool! Lots of excitement. Lots of good things. Cool. John Branch, check him out, go to www.branchoutguitar.com Cool. Thanks John.


John Branch: Thank you.

 

All ATX British Invasion at ACL Live BY ROCKSLIDE PHOTOGRAPHY 2014

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LET’S TALK SOME HAAM!

Thanks to my friends at GIANT NOISE MEDIA, I was able to ask a few questions and  get some good answers from Reenie Collins, executive director of HAAM. THE AUSTIN DAZE LOVES HAAM! WE BOUGHT   OUR TICKETS TODAZE!image

AUSTIN DAZE: Why is HAAM such a beneficial thing for musicians in Austin?

Our city takes great pride in the fact that we are the “Live Music Capital of the World”. To this end, Austin boasts over 8,000 working musicians who imagebring in over $2 billion in economic activity annually to Austin. Musicians are very important to our community – not only culturally, but economically. The majority of these musicians are among the “working poor,” without the ability to purchase health insurance or afford even basic health care. Over 82% of Austin’s musicians fall under the 150% of Federal Poverty Level (FPL) guidelines meaning that a single person would earn $17,000 or less a year. The mission of Health Alliance for Austin Musicians (HAAM) is to provide access to affordable, quality healthcare for Austin’s low-income, uninsured working musicians, with a focus on prevention and wellness. By providing these safety net services HAAM enhances musician’s quality of life, in turn, enhancing the economic development of Austin. Since its inception, over 3,500 Austin musicians have received HAAM services and been provided with over $30 Million dollars in healthcare services.

AUSTIN DAZE: Tell us about what HAAM is and why it is so important for us all to support it.

Before HAAM, many musicians were not taking care of their medical, mental or dental health at all and instead would wait until, what could have been easily treated or prevented situations, turned into more costly and dangerous conditions that would then be seen by using the emergency room as their primary, and often only, source of care. The creation of HAAM changed that. HAAM is not insurance and it is not a provider – rather a community collaborative that facilitates access to effective medical, dental, mental health, hearing and vision health services. While the Affordable Healthcare Act (ACA) will provide much needed insurance coverage to those who are eligible, over 60 percent of HAAM members are not eligible for ACA because they make less than 100% of FPL. HAAM is still going to be needed to provide healthcare services for these musicians. For those that do opt to purchase market place insurance, there will still be dental, vision and hearing services which are not covered by ACA.

AUSTIN DAZE: Tell us about HAAM Benefit Day.

 

This is our 9th annual HAAM Benefit Day and to be honest, it like putting on our own mini SXSW! We have over 250 participating businesses and over 150 musical performances all over Austin. HAAM Benefit Day is sponsored by Whole Food who has been with us since the very first one. John T. Kunz – who is a member of the HAAM Board and owner of Waterloo Records – and Robin Shivers – our founder – actually came up with the idea as a way to raise both money and awareness about HAAM. HAAM Benefit Day now brings in almost a third of what we raise in a year! It is the one time of year, we ask our HAAM musicians to give back and they come out in full force; we always have more musicians than spaces to play. What a great challenge to have! HAAM Benefit Day 2014, on Tuesday, September 23, is a uniquely Austin event where businesses across Austin donate to HAAM in support of musicians’ health. Musicians perform throughout the day at businesses, retail stores, outside stages and more. Kicking off at 6am and running until well past midnight the day serves as a city wide celebration of Austin music and the community that supports the amazing musicians who call Austin home.

Donations during HAAM Benefit Day go even further, every dollar raised turns into $7 in direct services is provided to Austin musicians, who wouldn’t otherwise have access to health services that HAAM provides.

Over 200 Austin businesses participate in HAAM Benefit Day; including Whole Foods, SXSW, C3 Presents, Silicon Labs, Keller Williams, Frost Bank. HAAM Benefit Day enjoys strong local media partners that ensure that we have great coverage not only the day of the event but in the month leading up to it as well. Emmis Stations KGSR, 101.X, The Austin Chronicle, Do512, as well as other television and print media strongly support HAAM Benefit Day. For the past few years HAAM Benefit Day has attracted national and local media attention and even trended on Twitter! We are hoping to raise $350,000 this year! So every dollar counts. It is amazing to see how generous Austin is. All over town you will see our Gray Donation Boxes and just on that day alone we get over $25,000 cash from music lovers.

AUSTIN DAZE: What can we expect from HAAM Benefit Day and All ATX at ACL Live?

A rockin’ good time is what you can expect! Music, music and more music. All over Austin. As we mentioned, we have over 150 Live music performances on HAAM Benefit Day all over town. There are too many to list here, but you can download our free APP haambenefitday and see all the artists and where they are playing. You can sort by type of business if you want to find out who is giving back to HAAM on Tuesday or you can sort by area of town or type of music or even by a specific artist. It is really a cool app and we are hoping that people will use it and find out where they can support HAAM. We start the day out at Whole Foods Downtown at 6:00 am with Elizabeth McQueen and from there the day just gets better and better. KGSR is doing a live remote with us there that day and I will say that you are in for a surprise “KGSR speical guest” who will be arriving about 2 pm! But we have music going from 6:00 am – 2:00 am. There is probably not an area of town where you won’t find a HAAM show somewhere ranging from bank lobbies to restaruants to office buildings and all the Whole Foods Markets.

All ATX is also going to be incredible. This is the second Annual concert benefiting HAAM. Some of Austin’s best along with special guests Eric Burdon and The Animals and The Zombies will be playing songs from The British Invasion. You will hear songs by Alejandro Escovedo to Ian McLagan to Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis to Ruthie Foster. We will have Quiet Company, Christopher Cross and many more take the stage on Monday night. I think it is going to be a really special show mixing in some of Austin’s best with these music icons from across the pond. We are very grateful that for the second year in a row, All ATX has come out in support of HAAM.

 

Sundaze Conversations #3: Ken Hoge

This is the third one. This was an awesome one to be a part of. Get to know Ken Hoge with us. We met Mr. Hoge at SouthPop for a conversation and that led to a privàte tour through his photos on display there… The stories behind the photos are the gold. If you have any interest in music you need to read this. Rockslide and I made a new friend that daze… Thank you Ken.
Check out his work : www.kenhoge.com

 

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Daze: How did you wind up documenting the Austin music scene?

Ken Hoge: I went to UT in Austin and graduated in 1977. I was in Radio-TV-Film. I wasn’t a really good filmmaker, but I enjoyed photography, which I had done in high school. I worked for the Daily Texan at UT, so I was shooting photographs. When I graduated I decided I wanted to go back one semester to take a class in the Art Department with Garry Winogrand who is a well-known photographer.

I was hanging around in Austin and decided to apply for work with the Austin Sun, which later became the Austin Chronicle. They hired me and, pretty quickly, I hooked up with Margaret Moser who was just beginning to work there at the same time. Well, we kind of became a team.

Basically, I would get $5 from the Sun for every photograph I published. We would go out. She would do interviews; and I would shoot pictures. It got to be a lot of fun and, eventually, I got press credentials from the city; so, we went and shot everything. From late 1976 to 1981 when I moved to Houston, that is just what I did—I went out every night and shot photographs and tried to get them published in as many publications as I could. I have about 400 concerts cataloged from that period.

On January 8, 1978, Margaret and I bought tickets for like $3.00 at Joske’s and drove to San Antonio to see the Sex Pistols play at Randy’s Rodeo. I took photographs of that, some of them are in this show. That show changed the music scene in Austin substantially. Within a few months, I shot the first performances at Raul’s, and a huge punk scene bloomed.

In 1981, I had been in Austin for 8 years and decided to go to LA or go to Houston–I wound up going to Houston. I have been doing Scientific work ever since then, but I had this body of work that had been published in lots of magazines, lots of books, album covers, documentaries, VH1, HBO… for everybody who was doing documentaries about the Armadillo, or Antone’s, or Soap Creek, or Austin back in the day, Willie Nelson, any of that stuff.

Daze: How did your show here at the Austin Museum of Popular Culture come about?

Ken Hoge: I have the old blues artists, I have the rock and roll, I have the world music, there’s Genesis, there’s Todd Rundgren. My work runs the gamut from Willie to the Sex Pistols.

I started to get a lot of interest. People would find me on the web and want to publish the pictures; so, a few years ago I went to Fotofest, a big photography festival in Houston that’s been going on for a number of years. It’s one of the bigger photography conclaves in the world.

I went through a process there where I took my portfolio, a large part of which is hanging on the wall here, and had it reviewed by collectors, and curators, and publishers–people from Russia, from Italy, as well as people from Texas. It’s great but it is a really weird experience. You go in this room, and there are 50 tables, and they’ve got numbers on them. They might be curators, or whatever. Before the process you make a list of these people and pick out the ones you want, and they go through a lottery. You get about half the ones you want, and half the ones you don’t. By the end of that process, I’d gotten a lot of positive feedback on the work. So, I thought, “I’m going to go with this. I’m going to share it.”

Daze: So what’s next?

Ken Hoge: I’ve been represented at Wild about Music for 4 years now. I am selling prints through them. I am going to try to carry this show…get as many bookings as I can across the country; and, I am looking at several different book deals.

I feel like I am preaching to the choir here because South Pop is all about preserving the culture that goes back to the Armadillo, sort of, as a core. Those were the days when I was twenty years old, and it was something I just did day in and day out.

I broke this show up into a couple parts. I did this (wall with large contact sheet surrounded by a jumble of left over prints) to show people that…you know, you walk into a gallery and everything is just framed and it’s all so precious. All you can do is go around and look at it; then, you are done. I wanted to make more context for it, so I came up with the idea of blowing up a contact sheet and, then, do all this (points to the prints) to show people that you shoot a lot of stuff, and you edit. Not everything makes it. Back then it would be one picture and I would move on.

I plumbed through my catalog. This photo of Muddy Waters and Angela Strehli right here was taken in 1978. That’s the final print right there on the wall just Ken-Hoge-MuddyWaters_AngStropposite. That was the choice I made, but you can see I had lots of choices. Here is Jimmy Vaughan playing guitar behind his back, while Muddy comes over and strums on it.   But I chose the print because I liked Muddy’s face so much. It’s like a contour map, and he’s just lost in the blues.

It was a magic time in Austin. I know people probably get tired of hearing that if they weren’t there, but it really was. It was awesome. We had so much fun. I was the typical slacker. I managed an apartment complex for free rent. Then I could afford to go out and do this kind of stuff. We had all kind of weird jobs. Margaret worked at Piercing Pagoda in Highland Mall for a while. I was like, “Don’t you have to go to a class or something to learn how to pierce ears.” And she was just like, “No. They just show you how to do it.” She’s in the mall just punching holes in little girls’ ears…but she never had a problem. I worked for the State. Oh, god, I worked in darkrooms. It was horrible because some client would come in with a precious photograph. It would be so hard to print; you’d spend all night to get this cibachrome print which is a nasty hard to do process, and they’d come in the next day and go, “No. no.” And you’d be like, “Shit…”

But going out was so much fun that I’d do anything to keep doing it. I wasn’t the writer, so a lot of times I was just going around taking pictures of stuff, and I didn’t necessarily get to know everybody’s story. I had the pleasure of meeting and hanging out with a lot of people, but I am very visual, so I just had the camera.

Daze: Did Margaret retire, so she could write the stories behind the photos?

Ken Hoge: No, that had nothing to do with her decision to retire. It’s possible, but she has lots of projects to juggle and so do I; so, we don’t know if it will ever come together. But, yes, we’ve discussed it. She has this incredible memory. She can remember the details. She was almost always there when I shot. I hope that comes true.

Daze: There’s that quote, “If you remember the Armadillo, you weren’t there.” If you were there, though, your photos are a cue that brings a lot back.

Ken Hoge: A lot of times I think my memory is manufactured from the photos. I don’t think I ever forget anything; I just can’t pull it up. I’ll have memories sometimes of the most obscure things. Sometimes somebody will ask me a question and two days later, I’ll remember the answer. But I won’t be able to remember a name of somebody I see on a daily basis. I will just blank. That’s just the way memory is. I’ve made my peace with it—I had dinner with a couple of friends the other night who are in my age group, and I took solace in the fact that they shared in this conversation where we all went, “Remember that place where that person was, and we did that thing.” The conversation kept stalling because we’d get to, “Oh yeah, we stayed at…” and we were all going, “What was the name of that?” It was a shared experience. We all have mental overload. All this is in your head, and you’re supposed to remember all these details. Sometimes, though, I think the fact that I took those pictures is the way I have any memory at all of a lot of these events. You remember specific things in your life, but you misplace a lot. Like, “What were you doing, you know, in the summer of 1992?” I don’t know.

Daze: That’s where you need cues, like this photo of the Armadillo.

Ken Hoge: That’s a 360º pan. Mose Allison the famous pianist and jazzy blues artist, that’s him up there on the piano. The Armadillo was a big place. It was an armory. It was huge; I mean it was freaking huge. My flash would barely reach back there. I was standing in about the middle of the room; so, I kind of centered on the stage. This would meet over there (points to either end of the panorama), and you would have the whole 360º.   They have software that can put that stuff together, but I just made a bunch of prints and just stuck it together the best I could.

That was sort of ground zero. I’d gone to the Armadillo three or four years, I came here in ’73, but I didn’t have a camera to take with me. The only camera I had was a twin lens reflex. I shot for the Daily Texan with that, but I finally got a 35mm and that was it…I took every single picture with the same Nikon FM2.

I had a beautiful Beretta 30 gage shotgun that my Dad had given me. I grew up in Waco, and I used to go dove hunting. I wasn’t a big hunter, but I had a friend who had a farm; so, I had frequent opportunities to go dove hunting. I had this beautiful engraved shotgun, and I hocked it to get $200; so, I could buy my first Nikon.   And I shot every picture with that kit.

I still pick up a camera, put it to my eye and, then, have to remember whether it’s a camera I have to look through the viewfinder, or look at this (the screen). I can’t tell you how many times I’ve pulled out a little point and shoot camera and tried to do that.   I have a Nikon D7000 that I love. It’s in the trunk, and I haven’t taken it out in like eight months. I just use my iPhone.

I even use my iPhone at work now doing documentary work for medical studies because it’s so easy. I can take my iPhone, take a picture of that tack from this far away (maybe the width of a hand) and have it come out sharp. That’s really hard to do with regular equipment. You have to have a macro lens; you’ve got to worry about the lighting. Or, you can just take your iPhone and go click. Nine times out of ten, it’s not a work of art, it’s just documentation.

This was serendipitous, this display (points to another collection of smaller prints mounted together in a collage).   I brought my show with me and it had pieces, and then there was this built in display area in the gallery and I didn’t know what to do with it.   I was going to have a photo album that was just stuff that I thought some people from back in the day would like to look at. We were going to put it on a table, so people could flip through it. And then it occurred to me to do this instead which is probably good because it forced me to edit.

Daze: What’s the story behind this photo of Stevie Ray?Ken-Hoge-4-78-SRV6th1000-p

Ken Hoge: That is one of my favorite photos. It’s in front of OK Records which was next to Cat Man’s Shoe Shine Parlor and the original Antone’s on 6th Street. You can see the Driscoll Hotel reflected in the glass. OK Records sold all the old blues records, Freddy King, Chubby Checker, Fred McDonald, Albert King.

Margaret was writing about the Vaughan brothers, so we took them both down there to 6th Street, which was the blues scene hangout, for photographs. Stevie and I were both 22 years old when I took that picture. Sometime in the ‘90’s, Sony Records put out a compilation of SRV recordings called Blues at Sunrise. They used that for the album cover. That was probably the most widely seen picture that ever I did.

Daze: Do you know who this is in the refection? Is that Margaret?

Ken Hoge: She is just standing to my right over here. You can see her outlines. That’s her head. She’s holding my camera bag or something. In fact, that’s an apt metaphor for the whole show because Margaret and I got married in ’78, I guess it was, and were married until ’83. That relationship opened a lot of doors for me, and once those doors were opened it was fun. She got us in, every show. It made it a lot easier to take interesting photographs.

Eventually, I did get press credentials, but she helped a lot. There were always shows that were like touring shows, the bigger names, that might have some restrictions. Having a press card got me past that. That was a big leap, and once I made that leap, I got access. And I took advantage of it.

Daze: What was your favorite show?

Ken Hoge: You know, that’s a toughie; but, the show that changed my life more than anything was the Sex Pistols. There’s the print from that show. I was right in front of Sid Vicious. It was a bowling alley; and, then they turned it into a country western nightclub. The marquee on the nightclub said the Sex Pistols tonight…Merle Haggard two days later. We’d never been there, you know. We drove to San Antonio for it. It was the craziest thing you ever saw. The thing I came away with was it wasn’t just a concert; it was performance art. They deliberately came out and insulted the crowd, provoked them. The crowd started participating. They started throwing things at the band. You can see there’re pieces of whipped cream on his outfit here; you can see where things have splattered there. Everybody was throwing empty beer cans at the band. In fact, at one point, somebody hit Sid in the head with a half full beer can. He got pissed, took off his bass, and stated raking it over the crowd. I was about this far away, just out of reach.

Ken-Hoge-SexP_1-8-78-1000-pThey stopped the show and there was all this hubbub, and Johnny Rotten looks over and says, “Oh, Sid dropped his guitar.” There was general mayhem, but believe it or not, they settled the crowd down…Sex Pistols came back out, and they finished their set. They didn’t really play worth a shit; but, I’d heard Never Mind the Bullocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols, and I loved that album—I still love that album. It’s one of the best albums ever made. I knew the songs in my head, what they were supposed to sound like, so I didn’t mind that they could barely play. It was performance art.

Six months later at Raul’s in Austin, it was the same thing. The Huns came out, and they would slash the banner behind them. It would be Jesus on a cross…all this really provocative stuff. Audiences would start throwing things at them; and the band would come out and go at the audience. It was participatory. It was all kind of a put on. Until I saw the Sex Pistols, I thought you go, and you are an adoring fan, and if you are lucky, maybe they’ll look at you, you’ll get a guitar pick. But this was different—at any moment chaos could have broken out, holy shit could have gone wrong. So, it was very exciting.

Groups like the Uranium Savages, I hung out with them. I took a bazillion pictures of them back in the day. People would dress up and go to the concert like it was Halloween—everybody dressed up. Whatever the occasion was, they turned it into a costume ball. Everyone participated. That was really cool. I was really attracted to that.

That was the big impression, that one concert. I bought a book once called the 50 concerts you should have attended, and one of them was the Sex Pistols in San Antonio. That’s the only one I attended, but I was like, “Yes! I got in the book. I was there.”

One other time that made a big impression on me was Townes Van Zandt. Margaret and I went to interview Townes Van Zandt and, as it happened, it was in Houston. I had family in Houston, so we decided to make the trip to see him at Liberty Hall. We got there that afternoon, we sat around with Townes, and I shot like three and a half rolls of film with him back stage, just passing the time. We got totally blitzed. This guy liked to drink vodka, so he is swigging vodka out of the bottle, smoking dope. By the time he went on, we were so plastered I only took three pictures of the performance—really bad pictures. But we had so much fun interacting with him; that’s one of my favorite photos, that portrait of Townes. I shot a whole lot of pictures that didn’t work, but I just love that portrait. It’s not posed at all. He just was there, and I was shooting.

Daze: What is this display about?

Ken Hoge: It’s a memorabilia wall that was really popular at my last show, so I decided I want to continue to do it. This is what my bedroom wall looked like at the time. Didn’t everybody, when they were young, stick the posters on the wall? Well, this is pretty much what mine looked like. I used to make posters sometimes. Here is a Raul’s poster we distributed on the drag. There’re song lists, there’re the old tickets, the old buttons, backstage passes. A lot of these posters were my photography, or somehow I was involved—I was at the show. Or sometimes it’s just zeitgeist stuff, like Bob Dobbs. Do you remember Bob Dobbs’ The Church of the SubGenius? You need to look up Bob Dobbs.

Daze: So when the poster artists made a poster, they would call you and say, “Do you have a print?”

Ken Hoge: Yes; or they would maybe ask me to come and shoot promotional work.   That’s the Neville Brothers up there at Antones, they asked if they could use that. I shot a lot of stuff of the Judys, the Uranium Savages, the Cobras. This is the B-52s backstage looking very bored, which is why I love that photo. They just look like they couldn’t care less. They did a great show that night at the Armadillo. I wanted to put stuff up so you could linger a little bit, and maybe find something of interest in all of this…a context for the pictures.

Daze: The people that come tonight will bring a lot of context, their own context.

Ken Hoge: That’s what I mean about preaching to the choir. I feel very honored to do the show at South Pop because these are the people who were around when I was enjoying this time in Austin. They were good times. I really don’t have any tragic tales. We were poor as dirt and skinny as hell, and twenty-two years old. You know, life was good. This is a picture of Margaret Moser and me about the time we got married. It was fun to hang out with her because she knew everybody. She had a way of getting us into any situation.

About the only negative thing that ever happened was I went to a Patti Smith concert once at the Texas Opry House. There were a lot of people there. This was when she was at the height of her popularity. Here is the ticket stub right here, July 1979. I positioned myself on a chair in sort of like the mosh pit area, there wasn’t a mosh pit, but in that area where that would be. I was over a little bit towards stage left. I couldn’t move because I was surrounded by people standing.   There was this huge bank of speakers on either side of the stage. And, she cranked that music up louder than any concert I ever heard. I didn’t remember to bring earplugs; and I was stuck there for the entire show, like ten feet from these speakers. I held my camera against my head to try and protect my ear. It was agonizing.   For at least two weeks I felt like, you know after you mow the lawn you have this buzz in your head?   It was like that. I blame her for my like 60% hearing loss in my right ear to this day. And, I didn’t forgive her for over twenty years. I finally forgave her when she put out an album I liked, Trampin’, and I thought, “Oh, I’ll let bygones be bygones.” There’s no reason to play music so loud that people’s ears bleed. But she did, and I guess it was kind of a punk thing. I know I have permanent hearing loss from that.

Daze: The show is called Man on a Mission, is that a reference to the mission you had when you went out every day in the ‘70s and ‘80’s?

Ken Hoge: That’s exactly it. Actually, the gallery came up with it, and I had to ask them what it meant too. That’s not unusual. The same thing happened at my show in Houston. It was an official Fotofest show, kind of like a dream come true for me because I had gone through that Fotofest process where I was judged over and over again.   I decided okay I think I got enough validation, I’m going to go ahead and push this.   But, they came up with the name for it, and it was called “A Day in the Life.”   And I was like, “Okay, you know, that works.”

When South Pop asked me to do the show, they knew my work; and, that’s what they decided they wanted to call it. What it refers to is that I was trying to shoot everything that was going on. I talk about it in my artist statement that the camera was my ticket. I got to where I’d get access to go back stage or something. I didn’t feel comfortable unless I had my camera there and was taking pictures. As long as I was doing that, I was cool, I had a place; but, a lot of times I was too embarrassed to talk to people. I wasn’t one of these real pushy, go up and try to chum with everybody guys… and it is the same thing in my current work.

What I do now is for the Texas Heart Institute. We do advanced cardiovascular research.   We’re working on artificial hearts, mechanical and biological hearts, stem cells, and all these things. I have to go in and move among these people. I can be sort of like a Red Cross person in a war zone because I’ve got an anesthesiologist, and surgeons, and nurses, and people to run the heart lung machine, and people who do all these other support services, and they’re all dickering with each other over this case or whatever it is. And I get to kind of float through like I have no rank, I’m just sort of there.

If I play my cards right, I get good access and people ignore me because it’s cool that I’m there. The trouble is if you come in and you don’t fit, if you interrupt or you bother the process; you don’t get good pictures that way.

When you see a good documentary film, you always sit there and wonder, “How did they get the people to ignore them?” I’ve seen wonderful documentaries that are so intrusive; and yet, it’s like the cameras not there. Well, that’s what you have to do. You have to get to the point where they are so comfortable with you that they don’t even look at you, and they forget that you are there.

Part of being ubiquitous when I was shooting music was people just started waiving me through when I’d show up at the Armadillo. People knew who I was, and why I was there; so, they’d ignore me backstage. I went through gauntlets at the beginning. “Who are you? Why are you here? What are you doing? Who are you taking pictures for?” But after a while, nobody asked those questions anymore. I learned to just stay out of the way and take pictures. I just think that’s the way. That was the accomplishment, honestly. It wasn’t so much the pictures although thank god I was able to take what I think are good pictures of that time. It was getting access and being part of it. That was the big deal.

I just wanted to be part of the scene. My role was as the photographer.

 

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Sundaze Conversations #1: Barfield- The Tyrant of Texas Funk

Get to know Barfield with us. We sat down with The Tyrant after Sinners Brunch at Jo’s. The team this time was John Grubbs , Caity Shaffer and I. We had a good time. Make sure you see the Barfield show live. Trust me, you will be entertained!

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Daze: When and how did you know that you’d be a channel for funky soul music?  Tell me a story of how it all started?

Barfield: It kind of morphed over years.  I started out in a garage band when I was in junior high school.  I came from the school of thought of how the classic 60’s guys like Mick Jagger and James Brown fronted those kind of bands.  Then I grew to love country music too, so I sang in some country bands, country rock bands.

I was born in Houston and was around a lot of that kind of music–high school soul, funk. It was all mixed, everything was kind of no holds barred.  It was like you can like anything.  So my dad didn’t play an instrument, but he liked whatever he liked.  He might like a rock song, and he might like some classic jazz song or something.  I grew up with that, but I think as time went on…

I was playing in Wisconsin with a little band when I broke off on my own, doing more R&B and blues and soul, and a little bit of funk with my other stuff. This guy billed me as Mike Barfield and said, “Hey, I hope you don’t mind, but I called you “The Tyrant of Texas Funk.”  I said,  “No.  That sounds good.”

When I came back here, that’s been ten years ago I guess, I told Steve about it.  That’s how I became billed as that.  I gradually started doing more and more of it, and met Johnny Moeller, the guitar player and Mike Flannigan, who plays organ upstairs.  Mike was originally in the band with me too, and when I was doing the funk thing we wrote songs together.  It just kind of came that way–we didn’t really consciously plan it as such.  We got into R&B and soul, then gradually started to morph it into the funk thing.  I think with me it’s like if I had horns and all, all the time, you’d watch it and someone with my persona would get lumped into Blues Brother things.  What we do, it’s not really pure funk and soul, it’s more of a garage approach, a small combo. I love all that stuff.  The fun of it is just doing it I guess.  Just being able to live life and enjoy it as much as you can.

Daze: You’ve always had a great band.  How did you meet all those people?

Barfield:   When I first moved back in here, in 2000, I was still playing with the Hollisters, and I was on Hightone.  We had a record, and the guitar player moved to Seattle. I had to grab somebody, and I grabbed Chris Miller.  He left the Marcia Ball band and came with me.  Chris’s kind of open, in the genre sense, and came up liking the same things even though he was from Portland, and I’m from Texas.  We did that for a couple years and I started wanting to make a record on my own.  I made a record called Living Stereo with Fort Horton Studios, and it had some covers on it, some country songs I wrote, and soul, R&B, a couple blues tunes.  That was kind of my stepping out thing.  I did a soul tune by a friend of mine and Chris and Dave Miller were on that.

I was playing one night with Chris Miller doing a little thing I don’t normally do, playing an acoustic gig at Flipnotics.  And Chris said, “Oh, Johnny Moeller is here, “ and was talking about Johnny’s guitar playing.  So, I went out to the Poodle Dog Lounge where Johnny happened to be playing and Lazy Lester came out.  That was the first time I met Johnny and his brother Jay, and Mike Flannigan. I started hiring Johnny a couple times, and we just got to know each other. I never believed that much in cornball destiny things; but, in some ways, you wonder why you connect with certain people or not.  It’s just happenstance. I don’t know, but as soon as I saw him play, I just knew I’d be playing with him, or I wanted to.

I met Nick Curran years ago too when he first moved to town; that’s how I met Damien.  Nick and Damien were playing together, and Damien goes “hey man, I’d like playing with you, give me a call.”  And, I called him.  I was a big champion of Nick and Gary Clark Jr.  I did a show opening up for Southern Culture on the Skids one time.  It was just me, Gary Clark, Jr., and Jay Moeller; we all set up in the front–the drums, and then Gary, and then me.  We had no bass player; I just played maracas and sang.  We did the opening show and called ourselves The Solution.  I’m proud of those moments.

It’s all kind of a good friendly big camaraderie here and that’s what I like–a lot of that kind of intermingling from people that play in different groups.

They (the band) are all inspiring to me.  They are younger than me, and you naturally feed off that energy.  I’m always looking for somebody that wants to have fun on stage too.  That wants to be original.  That is my thing as the band leader or front man- to have that freedom where you know that the guys you’re working with are all good at what they do.  You don’t want to press on anybody too much like, “I want you to it play exactly this way,” which would be more of the James Brown approach probably.  He was more of an architect in his way.  My blueprint is different. I have to let somebody do their thing and thereby get even more out of it, I think.  They enjoy it more ’cause everybody can take a little advice or something, but nobody wants to be told to play just “that.” They might take it for a while, but it’s more enjoyable to have freedom in music.  I call it just playing from the gut.  It’s strictly from your soul and from your insides.  Why would you want to hold that back in anybody?

Daze: You don’t hold back much.

Barfield: That’s great because I’m hoping that’s what’s happening. If you’re not feeling as good as you normally are…say you are feeling tired and what not, that will bring you up, make you feel better.  It helps the audience have a good time if you are enjoying playing, and I like whoever plays for me to always feel that.  You have parameters of course on the songs you are doing…

Daze: Do you have a preference between The Continental Club and C-Boys?

Barfield: I like both. I like the small, relaxed hang out at C-Boys with the little deck in the back.  So, that’s nice; it’s a little more intimate.  But, the stage sound on stage at the Continental Club is one of my favorites in town.  I love it, and I’m used to that site.  It’s got the perfect size.  The Continental has probably been my main stay and most favorite club in Austin for years.  I’ve been really lucky because I’ve been working there for a long time. Without that club, I think I would have had a rough time.  Steve Wertheimer is  a great club owner, the guy that owns both C-Boys and Continental Club. He’s been very, very good to musicians.

Daze: When did you decide to drop the guitar and be a front man?

Barfield: I never really was a guitar player anyway, really.  At first I started out as a front man only.  Then, later on when I started playing with this other band, the Hollisters, I had to get a chord book and learn basic acoustic rhythm to do that music; and so I did that for years.  I still enjoy that, still do it sometimes; but, when I’m doing this band, that just has no place at least right now.  There is something freeing about not having that to worry about.  Then, I can dance and I can do whatever I want to do.

Daze: Who taught you how to dance?

Barfield:  Just watching TV.  When I was a kid I used to love all of the dance shows on TV, even local in Houston–that would be the Larry Kane Show where they would just have dancers.  It would be like the old Dick Clark show.  You’d see kids dancing, and the bands would come on and play or they’d be taped and just had the music…and then Soul Train.  I grew up with that, my age group.  To me that was the epitome of free form dancing.  My last years in high school, the white kids wore platform shoes, long hair, and blacks had fros, whites too.  Those were the styles I grew up with in the 70s.  I think it’s timeless–I don’t think it’s ever gone out of fashion.

You can be free and ridiculous; you quit worrying about what people think.  If someone wants to laugh at me, that’s fine too.  I don’t really care.  It’s like I know that I’m going to enjoy my life as much as I can.  You want to make fun of that, that’s fine.  Some people just want to go “look at him” but I think it makes people relax too and they aren’t as inhibited about dancing.  Some people need somebody to be that for them, so that’s what I tell them, “I’ll take care of the embarrassment for you.  You don’t have to worry about it.”

Daze: Is that part of what’s behind lyrics like “Popping the Cooch?”

Barfield: Yeah, subconsciously, I’m sure that is a lot of what it is.  I got that because one of my friends used to talk about this guy he worked with, who would brag, kind of joking around humor like, “This is how you pop that cooch,” and make that sound and do it (clicks his tongue).  It’s nasty, but at the same time it’s harmless fun.  I had a whole group of girls in Lincoln, Wisconsin.  They came out and said, “We’ve got a surprise for you tonight.”  I was like, what is it?  “It’s about music.”   And I thought, are you gonna bring me a record.  So, I get to this show, and all of a sudden they’ve got this look on their face and they pull their shirts off and they all have tank top or a black t-shirt that said “Popping the Cooch” on the shirt.  My point there is that some girls don’t find that offensive.  It’s not my wife’s favorite song that’s for sure.

Daze:  You mentioned James Brown before.  How do you feel about being compared to him?

Barfield: I’m flattered if someone even thinks about comparing me to James Brown.  There are only a few musicians that have been giants, Mount Rushmore type figures in music.  He would be one to me.  He took some musical form like rhythm and blues and soul music, and all of a sudden he accents it another way.  Just by his natural instincts, and lack of formal training, comes up with this thing that nobody has come up with.  He truly is the Godfather of Soul.   He started out more as soul and became funk.   I can’t think of anybody I would say has been more influential.  There’s a movie coming out about him that Mick Jagger produced.

Daze:  Did you ever get to meet James Brown?

Barfield: No.  I saw him once in his later years, but even at that age, he was still very tough.  He was like 70 years old and still doing a couple moves.  Maybe he didn’t sing as good as he used to, but he was great.  The band was machine tight.  I mean, I wish I could have seen him way back.  A lot of my favorite singers are people of that era.  I wish I could have seen Jackie Wilson.  I love him.  He’s a singer, and his vocal range is so different from mine.  I am naturally a baritone, but I kind of have a high end to my voice; so, I have always admired someone who has that higher range.

Daze:  What is your writing process like?

Barfield: When I am writing for this band, or trying to, sometimes I will have an idea on my own; or, other times, Johnny will have an idea about a rhythm or chord progression, and I’ll put lyrics to that.   Sometimes I’ll have both.  “The Struggle” I wrote myself.  “Popping the Cooch, I wrote.  With the Struggle, I originally wanted a song that just stays on the one all the time.  And that’s what that song was.  Some stuff I will start off on the acoustic guitar.  Lately, I am writing a lot with Johnny.  And I used to write a lot with Mike Flannigan too.  I like having a partner in crime.  Sometimes the whole band will get in on it.  Sometimes they just help arrange it.  It just kind of depends.

That’s what’s fun about being in a group.  Feeling like if it is really going good on stage, or if you come up with something good, you almost feel like you are part of a big wheel that’s turning.  You’re making this whole thing go.  At the same time, you’re just a big spoke in it, part of the thing that’s pushing it forward.  When everybody is in that, and the whole band can feel it, there is nothing like that.  I love that feeling.  It is kind of like you are tripping in another way.  You are physically involved, and mentally involved, but it’s relaxed.  It’s just happening.  All those things you’ve worked on before.

But “good’ and “bad’ you know.  Some nights when I feel it’s not as great, that’s when everybody goes, “Man, that sounded so good!”   And you’ll think, “Oh, I thought we were a little bit off.”  It’s a strange thing.  That makes you realize, “I don’t have a whole handle on it either. The people out there; they are the ones making it too.”

Daze:  What’s next for you?

Barfield:  We are trying to get a little EP out.  We’ve got a recording we are waiting on to get mastered.  Hopefully, we’ll make some vinyl.   Some CDs.  Have a release party.  Try to get out more.  I am looking forward to that.  It’s always hard too—the waiting.  I just try not to worry about things like this as much as I used to.  Take it day by day…

Daze:  Do you have a lot of gigs this week?

Barfield: Tuesday night, at the Continental.  Just about every week.

Daze:  Your gig is one that, definitely, everybody in Austin needs to go out and see.  Thank you for doing this.

Barfield:  Ah, you bet.  Thank you, man.

Shots of the Daze # 47

Shinyribs live at Threadgills 5/24. This band blows my mind. Kevin Russell is one of the greatest performance artists around. The horns that they have onstage are some of the best around. The drummer also comes from The Gourds days. There was a mad keyboard player and a bass player on this night. I have long been a fan of the Gourds. This band takes what they were doing one step further. I think it’s because Kevin is able to write and perform material that is outside of what was the norm for the Gourds. The crowd’s faces were mesmerized and transfixed on Kevin as he performed Sweet Potato. Watching these people is almost as entertaining as watching Kevin go through the movements on stage. I was talking with my friend after a show, and he was saying Kevin Russell has “the flow.” Magic and grooves seemed to go through his body. I recommend catching these guys create.

www.shinyribs.org

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Shots of the Daze #45

Papa Mali Trio live at Cboys Heart&Soul. 5/22/14.

On this night, the trio was made up of Robb Kidd on drums, Brad Houser on bass, and the excellent Papa Mali on lead guitar and vocals. Ever since I heard about this show, I knew that it would be a reunion of many old friends. I was right. Papa Mali used to be a regular in the Austin music scene before he moved to New Orleans and this night brought out many of the musicians he used to play with as well as most of his Austin fanbase. I must have gotten hugs or shook hands with most of the filled room that night. The music was stellar. There were many guests. The first guest was Scrappy Jud on guitar. It’s been a long time since I have seen Scrappy tear it up and rock out. He is usually in a more subdued context. I really enjoyed watching him let loose. He is one of the greatest guitar players I know of.  Also joining the line-up was Martha, she added sweet vocals to the already-good sound. Then. Claude showed up and playing a melodica and Papa Mali kept the crowd moving with amazing licks. We took a break with them. He came back out with Kevin Russell from Shinyribs and the stage was on fire because both of these people have really incredible stage presence. They finished off the night with “Lovelight” and “Bertha” and  kept everyone dancing until 2am. This was a Thursday night but it felt like a Saturday because the movement of the crowd kept up til late. I hope Papa Mali felt the outpour of love from the fans and I hope this means that he’ll be returning often. We miss him…

Thanks to Cheryl for pictures 🙂IMG_3268 IMG_3203 IMG_3179IMG_3224

Slideshow of Tom Jones at ACL live at the moody theatER by Robert Smith

George Clinton Parliament Funkadelic Slideshow

Shots of the Daze #42

The Whiskey Sisters live at the Continental and then Dumpstaphunk live at Emo’s 4.18.2014
My FUNKY Friday night with Bobby “Giant Man” Perkins began with The Whiskey Sisters. He played bass with them making everybody smile. I dig it when he fills in for Lonnie Trevino, their regular bass badass.The Whiskey Sisters played two nights in a row to a packed audience. That is really just fuckin awesome. This band continues to fill rooms and get better with each show. Word is getting out about them. Soon they will be doing a European tour. See them in intimate clubs while you still can.

We then headed over to Emo’s to see some funk. Dumpstaphunk has two basses, an organ, a guitar and drums. This band needs to be seen live. This experience needs to be felt. The double bass riffs really hit your soul and force your body to move. It’s a very cool thing. The Groove Line Horns were sitting in and the room was filled with much soulful dancing. Ivan Neville captains this ship of funk from behind the keys. I make it a priority to catch these guys whenever they are in town. We hung out with these guys after the show, the party never seems to end for New Orleans musicians.

The New York Times stated, “Dumpstaphunk is the best funk band from New Orleans right now.”

We always keep the spontaneity going, that’s something I love about this band,” says Ivan. “We can funk it out with the best of them, but we also like to showcase how all sorts of music can come together and push the boundaries of what funk music is.”

Check out what these guys are doing at www.dumpstaphunk.com
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Rockslide’s Old Settler’s 2014 Slide Show


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Lost Bayou Ramblers opening for Arcade Fire

Lafayette Louisiana’s Lost Bayou Ramblers had the honors of opening slot on Arcade Fire’s recent Texas dates.  The two bands may come from opposite ends of the continent, Arcade Fire from Montreal Canada, and the Ramblers from south Louisiana’s Acadiana, but they still share a common culture: these are the two regions in North America to speak French as a dominant language.  Arcade Fire’s Win Butler, wearing a Pope bobblehead mask, joined the band onstage for a version of The Who’s “My Generation,” sung in Cajun French of course.

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Shots of the Daze #41

Old Settler’s Music Festival Weekend, April 10-13, 2014. THANK YOU TO EVERYONE INVOLVED. This is probably one of the best festivals to attend, anywhere. As soon as you get there, it’s like heaven; friends old and new are everywhere, there’s great barbeque, the music is stellar and the weather is perfect. This all makes for a perfect festival experience. I am grateful to have been a part of this show for the past 13 years. This year, I saw Del McCoury, Jeff Bridges and the Abiders, and the North Mississippi All Stars on Friday night, and Saturday night I saw Robert Randolph and The Family Band, Shinyribs and Bighead Todd and The Monsters. One of the greatest experiences of this festival for me, was when they let me right up front to see The Dude. Also rocking out to Robert Randolph with my friend Jimmy was an unforgettable experience. The only thing missing was a river of chocolate, and then it would have been the festival of my dreams. See y’all next year!IMG_2465IMG_2469IMG_2490IMG_2507IMG_2542IMG_2513

More shots of The Golden Dawn Arkestra at Empire Control Room


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Shots of the Daze #40

Golden Dawn Arkestra and Money Chicha blow us away at the Empire Control Room 4/5/2014. We bolted out of a happening party to enjoy a night of music from outerspace. It’s always nice to see our friends GDA play at a new venue, and Empire Control Room didn’t disappoint. They had a projector blasting trippy displays over the musician’s already colorful costumes and faces, which made for a very photogenic shoot. The GDA line up always seems to be growing, on this night front and center was our friend John Speice IV on percussion. John then joined his other group Money Chicha in an equally ravishing set, although we missed Adrian’s stage presence. We try not to miss it when both of these bands perform, not only are they all very good friends, but they are equally awesome performers. While we can’t post all of our favorite shots in this post, enjoy our GDA and Money Chicha at Empire Control Room slideshow, coming right up after this. IMG_3116IMG_3048IMG_2991IMG_3155IMG_3210IMG_2451

Shots of the Daze #39

The Austin Music Award’s Best Rock Band, Quiet Company, plays an intimate set for us at a friend’s semi-annual house party, 4/5/2014. We all had a good time, chowing on queso and talking to our friends from all walks of life. We had to skip out early to catch our next group of shots, but this was a gathering we couldn’t miss. IMG_2402IMG_2488

Shots of the Daze #38

Brownout presents “Brown Sabbath,” at The Mohawk, 4/3/2014. Brownout played an early set and then got the crowd warmed up for Brown Sabbath. Brown Sabbath is basically the members of Brownout with the addition of Alex “Ozzy” Marrero. The band transitions from Brownout to Brown Sabbath by donning a black wardrobe and rocking out to some old metal classics. Alex is a great front man that I haven’t seen take the lead in many years, but proves to be an awesome performer that is backed by my favorite band in Austin. Get out there and see Brown Sabbath while you still can, it’s sure to be a crowd pleaser, but remember to bring your ear plugs and an extra pair for me, cause I usually forget mine.

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