Helloween is the influential power metal band from Hamburg, Germany. Since 1984 released a string of albums that have often featured concepts and storytelling commenting on the human condition in both personal, emotive narratives and paralleling historical references with current events and commenting on recurring themes of human civilization and the impact of culture and those in power on the lives of people within and without a particular country. The iconography of the pumpkin has been part of the group’s artwork since early on and infuses the often weighty subject matter of the songwriting with a touch of humor and humanity. In 2016 older Helloween lead vocalists Michael Kiske and Kai Hansen rejoined along with long time singer Andi Deris for the kind of sound not many groups in metal have ever had in one band. In May 2023 the group was slated for induction into the Metal Hall of Fame.
Arts Fishing Club is an indie rock band from Nashville that formed in 2016. Singer/guitarist Christopher Kessenich grew up seeing live music with his father and older brothers witnessing a mix of alternative music, classic rock and jam bands all of which fed into his own eclectic songwriting. The band’s debut album Rothko Sky (due out June 16, 2023) is arranged as a kind of personal journey of a person who in the first half of the record sets out in life idealistic and open to everything only to find out that all of us have limitations both human and of our own unique psychology. On the album’s second half there is a reflection on the nature and impact of love, sex and pain and how that can shape who we are once the shine and novelty of new experiences evolves into appreciating the breadth and depth of life. The songs have a bluesy grit and an often impassioned delivery informed by the flow of its narrative element for a record that sounds like it had to be made by a band a few releases into its career once it has figured out who it is and what it wants to say with intention but with the exuberance of a new band intact.
The group is now on its first larger national tour with a stop in Denver at Globe Hall on May 23, 2023 and we had a chance to speak with Kessenich about hits roots as an artist and the rich tapestry of creative elements that went into the make-up of Rothko Sky. Listen to our interview on Bandcamp and follow Arts Fishing Club at artsfishingclub.com.
Buck Gooter is a “Ghost-motivated electronic rock” band from Harrisonburg, Virginia originally consisting of the duo of Terry Turtle and Billy Brett. Across many releases starting in 2006, Buck Gooter has charted a unique creative vision from the music to the artwork and performance style. At times a self-styled “industrial blues” group Turtle and Brett infused their highly political and insightful songs with an electrifying intensity and layered aesthetics fusing the avant-garde with the immediately accessible. Like a punk band that got into arthouse films and drew more inspiration from the likes of The Screamers, Butthole Surfers and Chrome than the usual suspects. Turtle tragically passed away on November 20, 2019 but left the legacy of the band to Brett who has continued Buck Gooter and releasing albums to which Turtle contributed posthumously including 2021’s Head In A Bird Cage and the new album Ghost Brain which includes samples of Turtle’s vocals and music with contributions from Oliver Ackermann of A Place to Bury Strangers who recorded, mixed and mastered the record at Death By Audio in Queens, NY. It represents but the end of a chapter in the life of the band and a new beginning.
Listen to our interview with Billy Brett of Buck Gooter on Bandcamp and see the band on tour in the USA now including on Friday, April 14, 2023 at Glob in Denver with Polly Urethane, Nightshark and Pythian Whispers, show at 9, $10. The tour itinerary below following the Denver show all with Kilynn Lunsford.
4/15/23 – Albany, CA @ Ivy Room^ 4/16/23 – San Francisco, CA @ Thrillhouse^ 4/18/23 – San Pedro, CA @ The Sardine^ 4/19/23 – Los Angeles, CA @ Permanent Records Roadhouse^ 4/21/23 – Phoenix, AZ @ The Lost Leaf^ 4/22/23 – Miami, AZ @ Miami Loco Arts Festival^
Per the group’s Bandcamp page, “Nastyfacts were part of a Brooklyn teen punk scene that included the Speedies and The Stimulators. Their core line-up consisted of Cherl Boyze on bass and lead vocals, guitarists Brad Craig and Jeff ‘Range’ Tischler with Genji “Searizak” Siraisi on drums. These last three also sang back-up. They began playing music together while attending St. Ann’s School in Brooklyn.” And the band’s sole release during its initial run was the 1981, three song 7-inch Drive My Car originally engineered at Media Sound Studios in NYC in 1980 as produced by Ramona Lee Jan known for her work with The Ramones and Brian Eno among others. The record became a bit of an underground hit and championed by the likes of John Peel and with music appearing on old punk compilations like Killed By Death. Boyze was an 18-year-old queer POC in a band with people in the mid-teens or younger at the time of the release of the record and touring wasn’t exactly on the agenda and as would happen in the normal course of events the band drifted apart and Boyze went on to other musical projects and styles, relocating to the Bay Area and is now known as KB. But for that period when Nastyfacts were around they regularly played CBGB’s and Max’s Kansas City and other venues willing to host all-ages shows. One thing that set the band apart from other punk bands of its milieu was obvious musical ability and KB’s melodious vocals. Fast forward some decades and Drive My Car has been reissued again on Left For Dead Records on November 18, 2022 available on limited vinyl 12”, CD, cassette and digital downloads via Bandcamp.
KB has since become the founder and director of Queer Rebel Productions (est. 2008), a queer and trans artists of color organization (QueerRebels.Org), was the bassist in the pit band (The Felicia Flames) for a recent production at Z Space in San Francisco of The Red Shades: A Trans Super Hero Rock Opera and is now a member of The Homobiles “The Bay’s Mainstay Queer Party Punk Supergroup” according to The East Bay Express with Lynn Breedlove formerly of queer punk legends Tribe 8.
Listen to our interview with KB about the band and the record and what the artist has been up to since those early punk days on Bandcamp. And to learn more about Nastyfacts and order copies of Drive My Car, visit the Bandcamp link below the interview.
King Tuff is the creative moniker of Kyle Thomas who has established himself as an artist whose imaginative and eclectic songwriting has evolved over the course of several imaginative albums. His style might be traced to some roots in psychedelic and garage rock but what shines in his recorded output and performances is Thomas’ craft as a storyteller whose lyrics illuminate aspects of American life and culture through the lens of his own experiences and their grounding details. With his latest record Smalltown Stardust, Thomas reflects on the small town life hailing from Brattleboro, Vermont that shaped him and drawing on warm memories to inform a set of songs that sound like an affectionate exploration of how reconnecting with a past one left behind in pursuit of one’s life goals can enrich an appreciation of where you are now and where you’ve been. Beginning to end it’s an album of uncommonly well crafted pop melodies that feel grounding and comforting after a time of some of the greatest chaos and uncertainty for any musician hoping to share their music with a public in living memory. The record is also a celebration of the community and context of Thomas’ musical life and conceived and recorded while his housemantes Meg Duffy (Hand Habits) and Sasami Ashworth (Sasami) were putting together their own extraordinary records of the past couple of years (Fun House from 2021 and Squeeze from 2022 respectively). Some of that spirit creative spirit and good will seems to have intermingled into Smalltown Stardust as well.
Listen to our interview with King Tuff on Bandcamp and follow the artist at the links below. King Tuff performs at Globe Hall on Saturday, March 11, 2022 with Tchotchke and The Savage Blush, doors 8, show 9.
David Libert has lead a storied life in his more than fifty years in rock and roll as a musician, songwriter, tour manager, booking agent, producer and, briefly, drug dealer on Sunset Strip. He recently collected many of his memories of that career in his recently released autobiography Rock and Roll Warrior (September 23, 2022, Sunset Blvd. Books). In his youth Libert was a member of The Happenings who scored hit records including “See You In September” and a cover of “I Got Rhythm” that spent several weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles charts peaking at number 3. While in that band Libert was the de facto guy that did all the unglamorous things in a band that a manager usually performs and that lead to his stint as the tour manager for Rare Earth before taking on that role with the band Alice Cooper from 1971-1975—arguably the group’s most productive creative period. After moving to Los Angeles following that run with Alice Cooper he came to represent George Clinton and Parliament/Funkadelic, Bootsy’s Rubber Band and The Runaways. Libert also represented Living Colour, Sheila E., Vanilla Fudge, Cactus and a bevy of other artists. Libert turned 80 on January 20, 2023 and his autobiography and his recollection of his life and career are extraordinarily lucid and entertaining. In the interview listen for Libert’s amusing and interesting story about Guns N’ Roses.
Listen to our interview with Libert on Bandcamp and to order a signed copy of Rock and Roll Warrior please visit Sunset Blvd. Books.
The CBDs are a Power Folk Trio formed in the Boulder area in 2013 when the members of the band more or less met each other through their wives and via the world of CU Boulder. Burt Rashbaum (keyboards, vocals), Evan Cantor (acoustic guitar, harmonica, bass, vocals) and Roland LaForge (electric guitars, vocals) all grew up on the East Coast of America and were electrified by the counterculture of the 60s and 70s and all witnessed that great wave of music and art as it was happening before they separately found themselves moving to Colorado in the mid and late 70s. Rashbaum has a background in writing and has been a published author for decades, Roland LaForge was a geologist who spent times in volcanoes around the world gathering data for analysis among his other duties and Evan Cantor in addition to more mundane jobs was a part of Colorado’s avant-garde as a member of Walls of Genius with Little Fyodor (aka Dave Lichtenberg) who blurred the lines between punk, tape collage and noise and Cantor experienced the rich and great underground scene of 1980s Denver and Boulder including witnessing shows at The Packing House and The Junkyard including the legendary 1986 show with Einstürzende Neubauten the tickets for which were painted bones one had to purchase at Wax Trax. Cantor was also in various other left field punk and experimental rock bands over the years but upon befriending his current bandmates he reconnected with some of his own roots in that genuinely cool end up hippie subculture and its own musical leanings.
The CBDs have been playing shows along the front range for the past decade and are now finally releasing a double album conceived of as representing the kind of set list one would hear at one of the band’s performances. Two Sets is the kind of record that could have come out fifty years ago, a decade ago or now and its refreshing and spontaneous energy draws you in immediately into its stories of life, love, bemusement at some of the situations one finds oneself navigating through life. In moments it recalls the off the cuff brilliance of the Grateful Dead or The Band and in others of Frank Zappa in his mode of thoughtful storytelling. It’s a varied record that flows so well it’s like listening to the kind of movie one would hope someone would make of a Tom Robbins novel but one more rooted in instantly relatable and evergreen themes of human connection that bypass sectarian political and cultural divides. It’s a gentle yet potent reminder of an era of idealism and open humanity that never needed to get tarnished and one that seems accessible, practical and nurturing.
Listen to out interview with The CBDs on Bandcamp give a listen to Two Sets on Bandcamp as well (linked below) and witness the easy and creative connection of the band for yourself live. For more information on the band and their future exploits visit thecbds.com.
Upcoming Live Dates for The CBDs:
3/5/23: Very Nice Brewing Company, 4-6 pm, 20 Lakeview Dr., Nederland, CO 3/18/23: BOCO Cider, 6-8 pm, 1501 Lee Hill Dr., Boulder, CO 5/5/23: The Rock Garden, 6-9 pm, 338 W. Main St., Lyons, CO 6/6/23” The Local, 7-9 pm, 2731 Iris Ave., Boulder, CO
Weird Al Qaida got off the ground in 2008/2009 when Eric Peterson and Ingvald Grunder formed the experimental project with the aim of being able to explore whatever musical ideas came to mind. Both had been in bands in and around the Denver music scene for years prior with Peterson having played in power pop/punk pop group The Barrys and Grunder having spent some time in Orbit Service. Weird Al Qaida doesn’t fit nicely into any Denver subscene not being quite noise enough for that world though elements of musique concrète, ambient and noise are elements of its songwriting and not quite psychedelic folk or jazz enough for a more mainstream version of that. But its fascinating body of recorded work including the 2011 seven inch Psychic Wizard, 2016’s Plastic Family and now the 2022 record The Dog & The Deer showcase imaginative soundscaping and arrangements that expand categories of what music can be while remaining essentially accessible.
Listen to our interview with Weird Al Qaida on Bandcamp and connect with the duo at its website linked below. Weird Al Qaida performs at Mutiny Information Café on Friday, February 17, 2023 from 8:30-9:30 pm and with any luck we’ll get further chances to catch the band in person now that live music is back to being more regular.
Mark Bingham got an early start in the music business when he was signed with Elektra Records at the age of 17 in 1966 and released a single on Warner Bros. before returning to his hometown of Bloomington, Indiana to attend university. At the time he started Bar-B-Q Records and in 1975 he relocated to New York City and started the band Social Climbers but also got involved in recording some of the city’s more adventurous artists like Glenn Branca, MX-80 and in particular Bush Tetra’s 1980 single “Too Many Creeps.” Bingham moved to New Orleans in 1982 and started The Boiler Room recording studio and in 2001 opened Piety Street Recording but ended operations with the studio in 2013. Across his decades as a producer, musician (studio, live), composer and recording engineer, Bingham has worked with R.E.M., Ed Sanders, John Scholfield, Flat Duo Jets, Allen Ginsberg, Marianne Faithfull, Elvis Costello, Allen Toussaint, Korn, Dr. John, Pretty Lights, Dave Matthews and countless others but is perhaps less known for his eclectic and vast body of work that is his own music. So from 2022-2023 Nouveau Electric Records is releasing Bingham’s collected work in 22 albums. The series began with the release of Mushroom Crowd and Goo Seneck on Friday, November 18, 2022 with albums released every two months through September 2023 including the recently issues William Blake in Bakersfield.
Listen to our interview with Mark Bingham on Bandcamp and please visit Bingham’s own Bandcamp below for more information on the producer and the aforementioned series of releases.
Pink Lady Monster is a Denver-based band that began as a vehicle for singer/guitarist/keyboardist/synth player Simone’s songwriting but began to take on its current form once Savanna joined the group on bass and synth and Gabe settled in long term on drums. Its early music might be loosely be described as in the realm of psychedelic rock or dream pop but since it began actively performing live in early 2022, Pink Lady Monster has branched out and incorporated more ambient soundscapes into its aesthetic and now the project is seeking to leave behind its softer more mellow sounds in favor of musical ideas that eschew conventional structure and favor songwriting that while perhaps still accessible veers off standard genre styles. Those that have seen its entrancing shows of 2022 may be in for a bit of a sonic departure in 2023 going forward. What music from the band exists online are often more like Simone’s early sketches of songs and as interesting as they are the live band that emerged out of those recordings is more of a force with an undeniable mystique and creatively vibrant. One might compare the music of 2022 to the likes of Blonde Redhead in its moodier moments and like Broadcast once the synth became involved in mix but you’ll have to see for yourself what Pink Lady Monster has been crafting until it releases the album reflecting its current state of development.
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