5 Questions with Enter Shikari

By: @brentXmendoza

Closing in on ten years of politically conscious, genre defying musical anarchy, Enter Shikari is set to invade The Sunset Strip once again when they perform here on Saturday, March 23.

Since the release of last year’s critically acclaimed A Flash Flood of Colour, the band has been touring nonstop spreading their progressive global message while collectively kicking post-hardcore musical ass on stages across the world.

It’s been a little over a year since the release of A Flash Flood of Colour, an album whose lyrics seem to focus primarily on issues surrounding the current global recession. Do you think we’ve made any economic progress over the past year?

Well, how long have you got? I think the fundamental problems are the fact that our economic system is completely unsustainable and inefficient. First of all the obvious point, capitalism relies on infinite growth and we live on a finite planet. It falls at the first hurdle! There ain’t no planet B as they say!

It’s also a system that relies on cyclical consumption, a constant cycle of production and consumption. But this hasn’t taken into account the exponential advancement of technology and therefore technological unemployment. The more people that become unemployed as machines take over mind-numbing jobs, the smaller the amount of people that have purchasing power… We need a system that allows humans to reach their true creative potential and to not be stuck in a soul destroying repetitive ball-ache of a job that a simple bit of machinery could do!

The band has quite an eclectic mix of very cleverly crafted song titles. Which of your song titles are you most proud of? What’s the story behind it?

Thank you! “Fanfare for the Conscious Man” is probably a proud one for me. I used to play with my dad’s vinyl when I was a kid and “Fanfare for the Common Man” was always a favorite. I like to think I brought the grandiose nature of that old track into the fury of our song.

Other ones with a narrative or history to the actual titles themselves would be “Return To Energiser,” which is the command heard in many laser tag places when you need to reload.

Thoughts on the current dubstep trend/craze?

Indifferent I guess… There was a point where I became slightly frustrated at the way the “mainstream” had gotten hold of it, but that’s the trouble with any new hyped underground genre—as soon as labels and artists see a dollar sign on it they’ll dive in and dilute it or just plain murder it. We were lucky enough to see dubstep grow from its very roots—living here in London—and many of its classier artists still influence us to this day.

The band’s been touring pretty much constantly since January of last year. Looking forward to taking some time off? What’s next?

Yes this summer should be great fun: a bit of writing, some festivals and some time at home. The best of all worlds in comfortably sized doses! After the festival season, we’ll be gearing up to get back in the studio for whatever comes next!

Are you more “at home” on the road than when you are actually at home? What’s the one creature comfort you miss the most?

Weare comfortable with being on the road, but if you’re away for longer than a few months it really does begin to grind you down—mainly because you miss your family and friends. And I do miss my mum’s cooking [laughter]!

Bonus Question: Can we all finally come to an agreement that “color” is best spelled the American way sans “u?”

Well to be honest we’re both wrong I reckon… The logical way to spell it would surely be “culler,” but that’s our confused English language for you!

Tickets for Enter Shikari, Architects (UK), Heartist, and Crossfaith are on sale now.

Q&A with William Elliott Whitmore

By: @brentXmendoza

Friday, Iowa born folk-artist William Elliott Whitmore brings his uniquely modern take on bluesy Americana here to The Roxy Theatre. With a soul bearing voice well beyond his years, Whitmore has been catching a well-deserved buzz touring across the U.S. with a vastly diverse array of acts ranging from Red Sparowes to The Pogues. Before reaching this week’s stop on The Sunset Strip, learn all about WEW’s journey to his genre defying success, as he regales fond youthful memories of moonshine, explosives, and gangsta’ rap.

You’ve toured and performed with a number of notable acts? Who was your favorite? What are your recollections?

I’ve had the fortune of touring with some great acts over the years: Red Sparrowes, Chris Cornell, Samantha Crain, Murder by Death, and many many others. The Pogues tours were fun. We did a couple nights at the Wiltern in L.A. a few years ago, and I remember going onstage during their encore. It was a raucous number, band members flailing every which way, Spider Stacey hitting himself over the head with a foil serving tray, friends rushing the stage to join in… I went onstage with a pint glass of whiskey and offered it to Shane (MacGowan). He took a worthy swig thinking it was beer and made a sour face, then shrugged and took another pull. A bunch of great fellas!

Is finding success and building a fan base more or less challenging in the folk/acoustic genre, as compared to other more “mainstream” styles of music?

Finding success in any genre is a challenge, unless you’re Justin Bieber, who seemed to be a sensation overnight. I’m not knocking him at all actually, it just so happens that he never did a basement show in Tulsa and upon being offered a place to crash, was offered the couch that the dog normally sleeps on—and throws up on. Just saying…

What was the first record/CD/cassette/eight-track you purchased with your own money?

I remember my mom buying Dolly Parton records… but I think the first tape I ever bought with my own money was Kill at Will by Ice Cube.

Which song off the new record are you most proud of? What’s the story behind it?

My favorite track on Field Songs is “Don’t Need it.” I wrote that song in the studio in between recording other things. I wanted to use an electric guitar on it so I had to walk to the music store and borrow one.

Any good moonshine stories?

We used to blow things up for fun! These were our own things: old junk cars, faulty washers and dryers, broken television sets. Never other people’s things—like an act of vandalism—but our own stuff for acts of poetry and enlightenment. Even Alfred Nobel knew that poetry and explosives could go hand-in-hand. There was moonshine involved almost every time… One day we were watching an old Buick “give up the ghost,” and a chunk of the engine block blew into the air and onto someone’s truck windshield. Fortunately it belonged to the guy who fashioned the bomb.


Tickets are available via Ticketweb.

Q&A with Blaqk Audio’s Davey Havok

By: @brentXmendoza

This Friday, super fans lucky enough to secure tickets to the sold out show, will get a chance to catch AFI “side-project” Blaqk Audio, as they perform brand new tunes from their just released sophomore effort Bright Black Heaven.

Having played many of their early AFI shows here at The Roxy, the duo consisting of Davey Havok and Jade Puget have a great affinity for the room, and continue to return time and time again, whenever they have new material to debut or feel like taking a break from the arena circuit and playing an intimate, just for the fans, club gig. See what the band has in store for their much beloved fans this time around, as Mr. Havok himself gives us a little insight into the next chapter in his musical odyssey.

The title of the new record Bright Black Heaven. What’s the origin?

The tone of the record varies from uplifting moments of elation, to those of more shadowy transcendence. We felt that the title encapsulated that overall mood.

Do you find it becoming increasing difficult in the writing process, deciding which songs to use for which project?

Not at all! The delineation between projects is clear—Blaqk Audio is purely electronic and songs are consciously created for our records working within that format.

What’s your favorite track off the new record? Could you please share the story behind it?

I couldn’t truly choose a favorite, but “Everybody’s Friend’s” definitely comes close. The tone of the music moved me as soon as Jade sent it my way. The melody came quickly, as did the lyrics, and it has remained one of my favorites to perform live.

With the upcoming November election on everyone’s mind, what are your thoughts on musicians taking political stances, endorsing presidential candidates?

I take no issue with anyone voicing their political beliefs, but I personally have never been comfortable combining my own with our music.

What’s your favorite vegetarian/vegan restaurant in Los Angeles?

Doomie’s Home Cookin’ (1253 Vine St.).

This is the second intimate show you’ve played at The Roxy in recent years. What keeps you coming back?

We’ve had the pleasure of performing at The Roxy for years. The history of the club, the passion of the staff and the energy of the room always makes it a joy to come back!


Tickets are no longer available for this show.

SSMF Interview: Peter Murphy

By: @brentXmendoza

Unwittingly “The Godfather of Goth,” Peter Murphy has enjoyed a massive cult following for over 30 years. Never failing to reinvent himself and stay relevant, the ghostly baritone voice behind hit songs like “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” and “Cuts You Deep,” is currently touring the world on his aptly titled Ninth post Bauhaus record, with a stop scheduled at The Roxy Theatre for night one of SSMF 2012.

You’ve been on quite an extensive world tour over the past couple years. How do you handle life on the road, and being away from your family? Are there any creature comforts you miss, that you can’t get?

Playing live is a privilege. I also feel a responsibility to give audiences that rare event, the real thing as it were. Work is good for the whole being, and creature comforts—I am very lucky to have an assistant for top food stuff. But one does miss a certain physicality, if you get my drift—when one is not a monk, so to speak.

All my satisfaction and art is expressed in that two hours on stage; and I am often astonished at how wonderful it is myself. Writing songs is another privilege… I’m not one to sit at home and be an indie musician, with a bedroom Pro Tools, and put records out online, and pretend to be successful. Musicians must get out there, or they are half baked. I’m one of a kind!

What’s your favorite city to visit? Is there a place you consider your second home?

I lose a little sense of my roots working so long this past year and a half. Each place is defined by the audience that night. I love the audiences more than the buildings. Portland I remember was somehow a very attractive audience. Santiago, Chile—mass audience attendance (smoky air though)… So many people in so many places, all unified by the shards of light that is the Murphy concert experience—not to forget my band .

Seems like over the past few years, there’s been a musical trend towards an 80’s throwback sound, and “darkwave” influences, very much reminiscent of your early work with Bauhaus. Have you noticed this..? Have any of these newer bands caught your ear?

The only ones I can remember thinking that about were bands such as Radiohead, The Virgin Prunes, and Nine Inch Nails. Bauhaus were never involved in any goth “scene.” Our fans and other bands created it. We were post punk, yet totally unclassifiable.

Reminiscing a little bit… one of the quintessential cult, goth films for any music/cinema lover is The Hunger, in which Bauhaus had a notable cameo. Can you share with us the story of how the band became a part of that project?

I worked with Ridley Scott’s associate director Howard Marks on the award-winning Maxell tape TV ad in 1982. Howard became a great admirer, and once seeing my live performance of “Bela Lugosi’s Dead,” Howard drew Tony Scott’s attention to myself and the song. Shame about only seeing Dan’s (guitarist Daniel Ash) elbow in the scene though. Such a good looking boy then…

“I Spit Roses,” the first single off of your current record Ninth—from what I understand is about your last falling out with your former bandmates in Bauhaus. Has there been any sort of backlash or responses as to your perspective on things? Is everyone on relatively good terms despite the disbandment?

Oh that is a kind rendition of the event… taken into what is a non-related shanty tale ultimately. We were never on good terms in reality, only tense and wary of a member or two—the snake in the grass. We have a saying in England, “too many poles stuck up member’s arses for too long.” Although, we are still polite to one another… I’m trying to de-brainwash Daniel from his Bauhaus/Love and Rockets traumas to take up his well earned right, and be the guitarist that he is—an iconic one at that!

Perhaps the most well known collaboration you’ve been involved with was your work with Trent Reznor and Nine Inch Nails. Can you talk a little bit about how that relationship first begin? Any future plans to work together again?

Trent listened to my music way back, and loved it and paid it forward by generously inviting the band on his NIN tour, and inviting me personally to create backstage impromptu radio sessions, and appear as myself in the NIN show proper. Would love to work with Trent again, yes. He has it in spades too.

Where do you see yourself ten years from now, twenty years from now? Still making music?

Yes please! Also a successful actor… showing my art work, as well. Writing a novel or two…

Peter Murphy kicks off SSMF at The Roxy on August 16. Get your tickets now!

Exclusive Interview: Lukas Nelson

By: @brentXmendoza

Toting a guitar case full of new tunes from his recently released sophomore effort Wasted, Lukas Nelson brings The Promise of the Real to The Roxy Theatre on Saturday, July 28. While staying true to the musical path laid down by his dear dad (Americana hero Willie Nelson), Lukas is truly coming into his own, with an ever lengthening list of glowing accolades, and exponentially growing fan base.

Smack-dab in the middle of an extensive North American tour, Nelson recently took a moment to iPhone it in to The Roxy, to share his stories of growing up with a famous father, preteen trials and tribulations with ‘NSYNC, and trying to stay grounded on the road, at the young age of 23.

Last year you played over 200 shows, at this point do you feel more at home on the road, than at your actual home?

You know, I’ve always been at home on the road. I grew up traveling on the road with my dad, so it’s just been always that way you know… I feel more comfortable moving than I do just sitting still for sure.

And the new album Wasted, you mostly wrote that on the road right?

Yeah, it was mostly written on the road, and it was kind of a snapshot of where I was in my life at that time.

One of the major themes of the record seems to be about not getting caught up in the party, and sort of staying on point. How do you manage to stay grounded at 23 years old? How do you stay focused when you are surrounded by a party all the time?

Well I pick the party, I choose the party. I choose to surround myself with people that don’t suck energy, you know… and I don’t drink as much anymore. I quit drinking for about a year, and now I just started drinking wine again, but everything’s in moderation now. And I started working out again, running, and joined yoga, and stretching; and just being with my family, and staying in contact with them all the time is really helpful.

Must be difficult though trying to maintain that lifestyle while on the road…

Well you know, you take it one day at a time. If you think about it in terms of forever, it doesn’t work; but if you think about it in terms of right now, then it’s easy, for me at least.

Your band, had a lot to do with sort of taking your songs that you initially recorded and really shaping them, and taking them to a whole new place musically. You want to tell us a little bit about that writing process?

I write all my songs on an acoustic guitar, usually late at night, and I just put it on my iPhone. Then when I show them to the band, it’s always great because usually when we get together, it becomes something completely different in terms of… it takes on another life. It’s still the same song, but it grows a little bit, and that’s why I like to play with a bunch of different musicians, and use the same songs, because they are always interpreted differently.

I’ve been listening to a lot of Radiohead these days, and The Flaming Lips, and Arcade Fire, and trying to not change my writing style, but to apply the different production techniques that they use on the writing that I have.

Have you been fortunate to meet any of those inspirations?

Yeah, I met the Arcade Fire guys, I didn’t meet Thom Yorke, but I’d like to meet him; he seems pretty cool. I’ve met a lot of my heroes, and I’ve gotten a lot of great advice from them—Neil Young, and Kris Kristofferson, and all those guys are really good mentors, and I feel pretty blessed to have their influence in my life.

And you’re also pretty close with Bob Dylan and Neil Young as well..?

I’ve played with Bob a couple of times. I got to sit in with him, and hang out with him when I was like 15, and ever since, I’ve gone back and forth, and sat in on sessions a couple of times. He’s a great guy, but Neil is more of an uncle, he’s more of a…. you know, if I need to, I can reach out and he’s there. And so, he’s helped us with the recording process a little bit, even his advice you know…. He lets us do it on our own of course, but he’s one of those guys that gives you a little nudge in the right direction, just like my band.

Growing up in Maui, I would imagine it would seem to some people, sort of unlikely that you would’ve followed in the same kind of musical footsteps as your father..?

Well you know, I’m just a product of my environment… I started playing in jam bands when I was in Maui; that’s where I learned to play guitar, in the jam band scene; playing Grateful Dead tunes, and playing improv stuff. That’s what I grew up learning. And of course, I had my upbringing—listening to the country stuff that dad sang. So, it all combines… and I’m still growing, I’m still learning. In fact, I don’t even know if I’ve truly found my own style yet, but I’m not rushing; I’m just putting out what sounds good.

Being exposed to such musically rich, and sort of legendary people and influences growing up, did you ever go through that usual early teen, bad pop phase?

Absolutely! When I was like 10 or 11, or whenever ‘NSYNC first came out, I was like every other kid in my school was—super into it! But I was also, at the same time, I was into Frank Sinatra, and Dean Martin, and John Lennon, and The Beatles, and The Rolling Stones, and Creedence Clearwater; so I was listening to that, at the same time that this new stuff came out… and it was new, it was the type of thing where I thought it was important to be a part of—to be socially accepted in school. I was kind of a dorky kid anyways, so anything I could do to get accepted, I would do it. It wasn’t until later, that I became more of an individual, not that I wasn’t at the time, but it wasn’t until later that I stopped caring, you know.

Was there a moment, or a time in your upbringing where it sort of dawned on you, or you realized that the people that you were surrounded with, were these sort of legendary icons, and that this wasn’t the norm?

Sure, there’s always that in the back of your mind, but it was the norm for me. You know, I can’t really… as much as I try to put myself in other people’s shoes, I have to just take my experience, and learn the lessons that are applicable to my life. And you know, everybody grows, everybody learns, everybody becomes a better person with time; and I think I’m a pretty self-aware person that tries to grow and learn, and read a lot. So all these things… having those famous people around, it wasn’t about them being famous, as much as it was about them being intensely aware characters, and really people you can learn from. For example: Kris Kristofferson, Neil Young… all these people aren’t famous because they’re just famous; they’re famous because they’re heroes, and because they’re characters that have overcome adversity, and challenges, and stood the test of time. And that’s what should be celebrated in society.

I’ve been reading a lot of Joseph Campbell these days, and he talks about mythology in our society, and how we celebrate celebrities just for being famous, and we don’t really celebrate the “hero” concept. It’s something that’s not at the forefront of our culture right now, and we’re in desperate need of that!

Talent and celebrity are no longer one and the same…

Yeah… and talent doesn’t even just have to be talent with an instrument, or talent with a song, talent can be the kind of talent that it takes to speak to hundreds of thousands of people and move them into changing the world…

Finally, sort of a broader philosophical question—what is “the promise of the real?”

It’s a mantra. It’s something that as a band, we can look at everyday to remind ourselves where we’ve come from, how far we’ve come in this amount of time, and how to stay true to ourselves in the journey that will follow. It helps us to stay grounded, to say “Ok we’re The Promise of the Real, and we’re not going to do anything that will compromise our integrity.”


Tickets for the July 28 show are available via Ticketweb.

Opening the night are He’s My Brother, She’s My Sister, The Wailiens, Dave & Devine, The Hunchies, Red Circle Underground, and Breanna Lynn.

Exclusive Interview with Lisa Marie Presley

By: @brentXmendoza

Tuesday, June 26 Graceland heiress Lisa Marie Presley makes a rare live appearance here at The Roxy Theatre on The Sunset Strip. Touring on her third record Storm & Grace, the “Princess of Rock and Roll” has been receiving glowing accolades for her stripped down, moody, southern goth effort, as she returns to her family roots, and steps away from her previously more production heavy body of work.

Currently in the wind down phase of her month long, coast to coast tour, LMP took some time out to phone in to her Hollywood performance destination—The Roxy Theatre, to give us a little background on the new record, discuss her simplified and calmer life in the UK, and reminisce about her “metal days” on The Sunset Strip.

Where are we calling from?

I am on a tour bus en route from Chicago to Indianapolis, Indiana.

So the new record Storm & Grace, it’s your third album… tell us about that.

I’m really proud of this record. It’s a much more organic, broken down record compared to the previous records I’ve done before. It’s a much more intimate, concert type of situation compared to my previous efforts. Things are simplified, I’m not over-doing things. It’s just a different vibe now…

You’ve been getting rave reviews for this new record. Some are even calling it the best of your career. Do you pay much attention to that sort of thing? Does it affect you?

I try not to pay too much attention, ‘cause you know you get excited about one good one (review), and then two bad ones will come along [laughter]. It has been overwhelmingly, really nice though… and surprisingly positive. So I am really happy about that; I love that for sure.

Have there been any events in your life that really sort of influenced the mood and/or theme of the record?

I think deconstructing, and reconstructing my life at a certain point, and moving away; moving out of the country and writing the record, and just really a total overhaul starting from ground zero; the record kind of hints at all that. So it came from a real raw, organic place relating to the changes I was making in my life at the time.

What’s your favorite track on the new record?

I’m partial to “Soften The Blows” it’s one of my favorite songs… I like “Over Me,” I like “Storm of Nails” a lot… ya know different ones have different meanings for me, but I have a definite attachment to each of them.

This upcoming show at The Roxy, does that hold any special significance for you either playing the venue or playing on The Sunset Strip?

I was part of the whole heavy metal scene back in the late 80’s, so The Strip sort of represents that for me; it was a really fun area to go to. It’s always more nerve-wracking to play a show in L.A., simply because most of the audience are family and friends; so it’s a little bit harder for me to do shows like that, it’s more pressure. I prefer when I don’t know everyone, and they’re not part of my family. It’s a lot less stressful for me.

I heard a rumor that the poster created for this Roxy show may actually end up on display at Graceland?

I dunno… I hope so! I mean that would be cool to get that. It will probably go in the archives. Yeah, I mean we kind of try to save everything.

On the road do you have any pre or post show rituals that help put you in the proper state of mind for either performing or decompressing afterwards?

I mostly just like everything as calm as possible ‘cause I’m so affected by different energies going on… So I like to be alone, and all by myself for about 30-40 minutes before a show to collect myself. And I have various throat spays and humidifiers I breathe, and little voice exercises I do, but that’s kind of it, nothing elaborate.

And obviously throughout your life, and now with the new record, you’ve done tons of press, and media, and interviews. Are there any particular questions that really irk you, or certain pet peeves pertaining to the journalists interviewing you?

I just kind of go into auto-response a little bit. What I don’t like is when an interviewer will get me warmed up, and then about half way through the interview will launch into some inappropriate line of questioning. They tend to just kind of want to try and chat, and act like they love the record, and wait till they get you coddled in… and then, as if I don’t know it’s coming, they try to ask you something ridiculous that has nothing to do with the music. That sort of thing… it doesn’t upset me… ‘cause I mean you can’t really get upset about that sort of thing because it’s so silly, but I don’t love that [laughter].

How do you want to be remembered? What do you want to be written in the history books, so to speak?

That I’m a mother… that I actually wrote some pretty good songs. People can maybe learn from my mistakes, and some of the things I’ve done… Just that I definitely had a life worth living. But being a mother is the most important part. Being a good mom.

Tickets are on sale now for the June 26th show via Ticketweb.


Exclusive Interview with James McCartney

By: @brentXmendoza

Thursday, May 31, rock n’ roll royalty returns to the fabled Sunset Strip with Beatle progeny James McCartney. Having painstakingly crafted his own critically acclaimed and unique pop sound, McCartney has for years been patiently stowing away musical gems, until he felt both the music, and a career as a solo artist, were ready to stand on their own merits.

Retrace this road to solo stardom, as the humble and heartfelt scion of Sir Paul speaks about the personal stories behind his songs, his off-duty hobbies and embracing his legendary lineage.

You didn’t release your first solo material until 2010? Why wait so long?

Well honestly, I just wanted to wait until I had the strongest possible collection of songs before introducing them to everyone. And I wanted to do this in the right way; so I waited until I felt both the music and myself were ready.

I would imagine you would be pretty stressed/apprehensive about releasing your own solo material given your lineage? Do you worry or care much about “expectations?”

I’m not really… I mostly want to enjoy letting it all happen as much as possible, and then just be who I am. I like to embrace the connections to my family and my lineage, without either running towards it, or running away from it.

Tell us about the track “I Love You Dad.” Is there a particular story behind it?

Well my dad had just written “Dance Tonight,” and he’d been playing a lot of mandolin. He gave me a mandolin for Christmas, and I loved it and started playing it a lot. I was walking around my kitchen and playing this riff––quite like he’s doing in the video for that song in fact––and I was thinking of my dad. That riff became the basis for the song. In some ways, it’s a bit like my own version of his song “Here Today” in that I was trying to say something very heartfelt to him, in the same way he does to John in his song.

When you’re not playing music, what do you like to do in your spare time? What are your non-music related hobbies?

Meditation is a big part of my life, and I often do work with the David Lynch Foundation. I also love painting, sculpture and reading. Recently I did something really fun… I did some voice-over work for a cool animated feature called The Beach Chronicles, which was an official selection at the Miami Film Festival this year. That was great!

This is your second show on The Sunset Strip. Does this area hold any significance for you personally?

Oh, just great memories mostly… hanging out with my family, Jeff Lynne (ELO), Dave Grohl. Yeah, I love L.A.

What are you most proud of in your life?

Of being a songwriter, of writing songs. I really love this new song I just wrote in fact…


Tickets for this show with The Rambles and DJ Dayle are on sale via Ticketweb.

Q&A with Queen Caveat

By: @brentXmendoza

Thursday, Apr. 12 Roxy faves and Sunset Strip mainstay Queen Caveat take the stage for a headlining show, that may soon prove to be a major turning point in the band’s young career.

Already on the tip of every tastemaker’s tongue, QC is poised to claim their rock n’ roll throne with the release of their second EP Slap on the Wrist, and a prominently featured “role” on the upcoming ABC 20/20 special “Sunset Boulevard: What’s Your Dream.” Climb on board this ride to the top, as these shooting stars regale stories of their rise to power.

Every band’s favorite question — where does the name “Queen Caveat” come from?

Ben: We adopted the name “Queen Caveat” months after we started the band actually… When Will (bassist Will Weissman) and I first met Lauren, we were at a party in Silverlake, and we heard and saw this girl barreling down the stairs in a frantic energy! Will turned to me and said, “That girl is the definition of Caveat!” Months later, when deciding on a band name, and thought “Queen Caveat” was the best fit—beware The Queen!

How was SXSW this year? How did it differ from last year? Any crazy stories?

Lauren: This year we were much more professional. We learned last year, that looking behind “the curtain,” and over-exploring the lovely party scene can be detrimental to our health, and performance. As the singer, it was very important that I hide after each show with a cup of hot tea, and Angry Birds to preserve my voice… but don’t worry, I made up for it on the last night!

Tell us about this upcoming ABC special “Sunset Boulevard.” How did that all come about?

Ben: We met our ABC friends last May 2011 at The Roxy Theatre. They told us that they were interviewing a number of Nic Adler’s favorite L.A. bands… and a month after our initial interview, they reached out to us, explained the piece, and that they wanted to follow our daily lives as an up-and-coming band in the L.A. music scene. The special, “Sunset Boulevard: What’s Your Dream” aims to capture the essence of Sunset, the dreamers if you will.

Besides featuring us, the show will also follow an up-and-coming actor, student, etc… It’s been a really exciting year, and we’re thrilled to see our goofy faces on national television! It airs April 21st at 9 p.m. on ABC

Lauren, who are your past, present, and future female rock idols?

Past – My first self-discovered idol was Fiona Apple. I was seven years old when I discovered her music video on MTV… I was jaw dropped, and something inside of me clicked, and sent chills down my adolescent spine. Later in the year, when school started, I was faced with suspension for checking out her tape at the library during a class field trip… this only made me worship Fiona more!

Present – At this point in my life, my current idol is a local artist, a modern day saint… Aja Volkman-Reynolds of Nico Vega claims that title for me. Her voice alone could be the reason for my rapid and constant inspiration, but it is only one of the reasons… she believes in her craft, and has faced hardships that she plowed through with grace and strength. Her lyrics are words that shape her, and they are conjured up in complete truths. If you want to know her, just listen because she’s a teacher.

Future – Someday, many, many years from now, when I have children, I will force them to be musicians. I suspect my unborn daughter will be my idol in the future… I am my mom and dad’s idol, so it just makes sense.

The new EP Slap On The Wrist—is there a musical and/or lyrical theme that runs through this record?

Ben: As a live band, we went into the studio with the goal of capturing our stage show, and live performance. Many artists will agree, that capturing the sound of a band live on a recording, is one of the toughest things to do. We locked down two days at Sunset Studios here L.A., and our producer set us up to track live—which in my opinion is the only way records should ever be made.

This EP, even though it’s our second official release, is the first record with Jesse (drummer Jesse Magnuson) on it, so we are looking at it as our first. We have been performing around L.A. with the current lineup for the past few years, but without the recordings to represent us. Don’t get me wrong, we love our first EP Emptor, but Slap on the Wrist represents the four of us individually as musicians/artists, and more importantly the four of us collectively, as Queen Caveat.

Queen Caveat plays The Roxy this Thursday with Cherri Bomb, Vokab Kompany, Sound of Ugly, and Kady Z. Tickets are available via Ticketweb.


Get a free download below!

Q&A with The Shakers

By: @brentXmendoza

One of the shining jewels in the tiara of L.A.’s great music scene—The Shakers will take the stage and take no prisoners, as they co-headline a bill this Saturday with Warner Drive.

For those unfamiliar with this Hollywood by way of Philly quartet, think Motown vocal sensibilities, meets high energy classic rock; a pairing that has been drawing huge crowds, and plenty of word of mouth praise on The Sunset Strip, and beyond.

Before heading to this weekend’s big “title fight,” get to know The Shakers’ swelteringly charismatic frontwoman, Jodie Schell as she discusses her affinity for Madonna, her sometimes Stepford wife alter ego, and shares a tale of tambourine trauma.

Who are your female rock n’ roll role models?

The first album my dad bought me and my three sisters was Cyndi Lauper’s “She’s So Unusual.” That probably explains a lot! Madonna and I are from the same hometown, so when I was a little awkward kid with a big split in my teeth, I truly thought we shared destinies.

If I can continue, I’d like to add to this list: Tina Turner, Carmen Miranda, and Mama Cass for sure. Can I keep going? Rosemary Clooney, Ann Wilson, Bonnie Tyler, Mary Travers, Dusty Springfield, Ann Margaret, and Suzi Quatro. I know a lot of them aren’t in the rock n roll hall of fame, but I could give a very detailed account as to why they all should be. Call me if you’re on the edge of your seat.

When was the last time you were in a fight? Who was the last guy/girl you punched/slapped/karate chopped?

The last fight I got into, I lost—my beloved white, ten inch, double row, Remo tambourine. My beast turned on me in San Diego one night. Luckily it was during the finale, because blood went everywhere!

I was too embarrassed, and worried to make the situation glorious. God it hurt so bad! I screamed my head off when they stitched my hand back together.

I really never fight though. If I get close to it, my self defense kicks in—I turn super nice like a Stepford wife, and then run into the green room to scream about it to my bandmates! But, they know exactly how to help me and when.

Do you remember the first time you heard one of your songs on the radio? Where were you? What were you doing? Make us a mental picture.

Philly’s WMMR was the first station to ever put The Shakers on the air. The project was so new, and I was still on the fence as to whether or not I could be a frontwoman. Chris Lee and I had flown out to Philly, and I was in the car with him when I heard it… leaning toward the radio display screen, as if that’s where the sound is coming from.

I can still hear Jaxon’s voice saying my name even now as I look back. So many doubts and fears vanished that day. It’s a good memory.

What other local bands should we be watching out for?

Go see Audra Mae, Red Circle Underground, Ruby Friedman Orchestra, and Dead Sara right now!!! More bands to adore, or tattoo yourself about: Warner Drive, Badwater, Irontom, Tha Boogie, Indians, oh and or course Lady Sinatra!

What can we expect from The Shakers in 2012?

Well first, you can expect a massive show on March 3rd at The Roxy. The Shakers and Warner Drive don’t intend to leave the walls, the roof, or your shorts intact!

For the spring and summer we’ll be traveling fools again—new haunts and old-haunts (Utah, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Arizona, Illinois, Ohio, Wisconsin, Missouri). Also, a music video is in the works.

I know we just put out “Oh So Loud,” but we already have so many new songs! Chris, Nick, Blane, and I fully collaborated and we want to get back into the recording studio immediately!

There’s a new challenge now that The Shakers have trademarked the name and LLC’d, so we’re brainstorming new ways of approaching everything. We’ve come really far on our own, and all we have to do is stick together and keep going.


See The Shakers shake things up with Warner Drive, Diamond Lane, Emily’s Army, Laura Wilde, Vas Defrans, and The Lbian’s on March 3. Tickets are on sale now via Ticketweb.

Q&A with The Young Rapscallions

By: @brentXmendoza

Saturday, Jan 28 The Young Rapscallions return to their favorite spot on The Sunset Strip to unveil a bevy of their most promising new tunes at their CD release party.

With this pending second record, the band of besties are taking a more mature approach to their indie/garage rock sound, and delivering only the best of their best offerings, in a 5 song EP entitled “it is what it is.”

Don’t miss the thoughtfully crafted new numbers dished out by guitarist Nick Chamian, bassist Taylor Messersmith, frontman Jonathan Sanders, and Superbad-ass drummer Christopher “McLovin” Mintz-Plasse, as they share the stage with The Shakers, Ice Cream Fire and other fresh faced up-and-comers.

You seem to be releasing new music at a somewhat rapid pace… Why release an EP, instead of waiting to do a full length? Where does the title, “it is what it is.” come from?

We just felt the urge to do something a little different with this current release, as opposed to the previous. Our first album was a young, first attempt at releasing all our songs that we had at the time. The new EP is more of a thought out process… We spent more time working on fewer songs, and really pulled out new thoughts and ideas that were not in the songs originally. Our producer Keith Armstrong had a big role in that.

“it is what it is” didn’t really come from anywhere. I think it’s just one of those simple truths in the world. And in regard to the world of music, there really is so much out there, that every band/artist is going to bring something different to the table. It all just is what is.

What band have you been most excited to play with/open for/share the stage with, thus far? If you could tour with any band or artist in the world, who would it be?

Opening for The Expendables in Santa Cruz, was definitely the coolest band we’ve had the pleasure of opening up for. As for opening for other bands, there are so many great artists I would love to share the stage with… Judging from what I’ve been listening to lately, I would say—My Morning Jacket, The National, Fruit Bats, Pinback, and the list goes on…

Any good tour bus/van stories? Any odd superstitions or ritual, like not washing your stage clothes, etc?

Well seeing as though our longest venture on the road, as a band, has only been about two weeks, we don’t really have any crazy stories yet. The goal, is usually to just get as weird as possible. Our only ritual is to be together right before we play and just feel one another’s energy and focus together.

Why are actor turned musician bands notoriously so terrible? Do you think your drummer Chris could put Jason Schwartzman to shame in a sudden death drum off? If your frontman quit tomorrow, who would you rather replace him with: Russell Crowe, Dennis Quaid, or Bruce Willis?

I don’t really think actor/musician bands are notoriously terrible. Jason Schwartzman plays in a band called Coconut Records, which I believe he sings and plays guitar in? I dig them!

It’s just about being creative in any outlet you have; actor or not, a band is either cool, or they are not…. And definitely Bruce Willis, that dude blows a mean harmonica!

How do you define success as a musician? Who will you know when you’ve “made it?”

In my eyes, a successful musician is able to play their music for people who are willing to hear it, and truly enjoy what it is that they are bringing to the table. That might mean playing stadiums, or that might mean playing coffee houses…

The fact that we are a band of best friends who get to write and perform music together is everything really; anything else is just an added bonus!


Tickets are on sale via Ticketweb & The Roxy Box Office at 310-278-9457

Exclusive Q&A with Scott Russo of Unwritten Law

By: @brentXmendoza

Emerging from a flourishing early 90’s San Diego music scene with contemporaries like blink-182, Buck-O-Nine, and Rocket from the Crypt- Unwritten Law have stood the test of time with a career that now spans 20 years plus.

Friday, Dec 30 the band returns to their home away from home on The Sunset Strip with a new lineup and a treasure trove of hits from a career that continues to thrive.

So the band recently went through some lineup changes…

Well I mean the band kind of broke up about six years ago. We got an offer from one of our homies Kevin Zinger who owns Suburban Noize, and that’s when we decided to make another record. It took a long time; it took like 16 months, but out of that came Swan.

We did one tour, and the boys just seemed like they were pretty tired; and two of the guys in the band have young kids, and we’d been together for 21 years, and after that last tour, they just didn’t see any light at the end of the tunnel. There was no money being made…

It was just kind of a wrap… They were kind of done. Which is to be expected. That’s a long time to be playing music, and touring, and kids, and bills, and all that kind of stuff. But for me, this is my life; that’s all I do; I like to be creative and make music. So it’s more or less what I’m prepared for, but it wasn’t so much for the other boys. They opted to leave. So we picked up two new members; and we went out and did The Warped Tour this past summer, and another West Coast jaunt.

How did you go about finding new band mates? Were they already friends, people you knew?

Yeah, well one of the guys, the guitarist we got, Kevin (Besignano) was from Bullets and Octane. He had played with me in my solo project, Scott Russo and Big Big Bang, which is not rock n’ roll at all, it’s more like Portishead meets Lily Allen; but he’s been my friend for a long time; he is a guitar genius, and he was a guitar tech on the tour that Steve (Morris) was leaving on.

But before even Steve left the band, I remember thinking, “he’s not going to make The Warped Tour…” You know, the other guys were complaining about doing twelve hour days in the sun, and the whole thing…

So I told Kevin, “Steve’s not going to make The Warped Tour, do you know the set?” And he was like “Yea man, well I know half the set now…” I mean, he literally is a genius…

And that night, sure enough, Steve up and quit. And I was like, “I fucking told you man!” Anyways, that’s how I found Kevin, kind of a premeditative thing… and then through him we found our bassist Derik (Envy), another super talented guy, a blessing on the band for sure!

So playing music for twenty plus years, and going through various lineup changes… and even your own changes in life, how would you say your music has evolved?

I mean, I write the majority of the music, so it’s like the music really kind of changes with how I change in my musical taste. I mean, I’m a fan of all music to be honest, and there really isn’t anything I don’t like; and it just kind of depends on what I’m listening to, what I’m really into at the time.

I mean for this record in particular, I was listening to, just crazy shit- like a lot of Mickey Avalon, a lot of Patsy Cline and weird shit…it’s not weird shit, but just stuff that has nothing to do with the record that I wrote. I mean I was even listening to like Lady Gaga, ‘ya know just like weird shit man!

But I think that with me in particular, and how I write music, and what I want to put out, it’s all kind of choreographed or tailored to the project that I’m working on; like I know with Unwritten Law, you have to have the shorter guitar riffs and/or the acoustic style or whatever… You can’t really stray too far from that formula because, you know, we started as a punk band, that’s now a rock band, and it kind of has to stay inside a certain box. So when I’m writing songs, I always have to be inside that box- but lyrically I can take it to a different level that’s for me personally.

I’m just kind of sick of people pushing issues… everything just feels so stale and so serious right now, and I just don’t think that that’s the music for me. So I wanted to at least lyrically make a record that was fun and that was… I mean for me at least, I’m into falling in love, and I’m into partying, and so that’s what I think a lot of people can relate to because it’s very much a part of everyone’s life, where as a lot of rock out right now is very serious, and for me it’s kind of stale.

So all I want to do is make a fucking fun Friday night record, something that has some fangs, that really fucking… sticks in the jugulars of people out there that I feel are like me. I want to make something that people want to put into their record player without twisting their brain up too much… that was kind of the focal point of the lyrics for Swan in particular. But as far as the musical catalogue goes, you know, again it just goes with whatever it is I’m listening to at the time.

You mentioned falling in love… any new relationships that are inspiring the writing you’re doing write now?

Umm, well since I’ve finished the Unwritten Law record, I’m currently producing this band called Super Groupie, which are these three kids that are eighteen years old, and it’s kind of along the lines of Shwayze meets MGMT; and they’re really inspiring to me, ‘cause they’re kind of like writing lyrically the same kind of shit I’m in to, but musically they are all devastating!

One of them sings and raps, and one of them is a singer… one of them has this sort of trashy voice like Violent Femmes kind of style, and one of them has a Mike Posner type of voice… it’s kind of all over the place, but it’s really fucking cool, and that’s really what I’m focusing on right now; that and my daughter, who is also starting to sing now, and she has a really original voice, and she really writes some pretty fucking gnarly lyrics. So it’s pretty impressive and those are two things I’m really trying to focus on outside of Unwritten Law at the moment. And then when I finally get these two projects rolling, then I’m going to go back to my solo project and release my first record.

How old is your daughter?

Cailin (Russo), she’s seventeen.

And a budding musician as well?

Yeah, well actually she’s a model, and she just walks around the house and sings all the time… but she has an incredibly original voice! Like most girls, you know, kind of sound the same, sound all nasally… Where she has sort of this throw away, Amy Winehouse kind of voice; it’s like raspy and kind of like she doesn’t give a fuck, which I like, which I think is really cool!

And so she came to me and said she wanted to sing… So I produced three tracks for her, and I gave her the music and said come back when you finish these three tracks. And a couple of weeks later she came back with it… and her lyrical style and her vocal rhythm were just incredible. So I’m just really, really excited to see what happens!

As far as the Super Groupie kids go- they’re all pretty fucking dope, and so these two projects I really feel like, they can really do some damage.

I just think pop music in particular, sooner or later is going to have a bit of an edge to it, and I think it’s going to come from Southern California. I think these two groups are going to be in the forefront of that when it does happen. Pop music with a little bit of fangs just enough to fuck people up, you know, so it should be pretty cool!

It seems when you play The Sunset Strip, that you always seem to gravitate towards The Roxy. Is there anything particular about the room/venue that keeps you coming back?

Yeah, ‘ya know I’m homies with Cisco and Nic (Adler); and Cisco is one of my really good friends, who actually helped me with some of the lyrics on Swan…

So it just feels good there. I can go into the office and ask for extra guests [laughter]. I just feel like the place is home ‘cause the Adler family has been so good to me for at least 10 years. I actually feel guilty when I play other venues in L.A. [laughter]…

What can Scott Russo fans/Unwritten Law fans expect in 2012?

Unwritten Law is going to record a studio acoustic record. We did release one acoustic record, but it was live, for an MTV show… So I want to do one in the studio where we can have overdubs and harmonies and everything proper. So we will be releasing that sometime next year… other than that we’ll be working Swan all through next year, and hopefully I’ll be putting out my solo record towards the end of next year as well.

Unwritten Law plays The Roxy on December 30 with KiLR, Death By Stereo & Matt Toka. Tickets are available via Ticketweb & The Roxy Box Office at 310-278-9457. All advance ticket purchasers will be granted access to a 30 minute intimate acoustic set and will also receive a copy of “Live and Lawless! Even more – just for purchasing a ticket, you’ll get an Unwritten Law track instantly!


Exclusive Q&A with Jimmy Gnecco

By: @brentXmendoza

One of the most powerfully emotive voices in rock, Jimmy Gnecco returns to On The Rox for an exclusive showcase Thursday, December 8.

Touring on his newly released, full band version of his solo record The Heart, Gnecco will once again bring his soaring vocals to fans lucky enough to secure a ticket for this intimate engagement.

In preparations for the big show, Gnecco phoned in to The Roxy to bring us up to speed on his deeply personal songs, talk about touring troubles with Marilyn Manson, and address those ever-present Velvet Revolver rumors.

So tell us about the new record The Heart X – Edition

Well it’s basically version of songs from The Heart, the original record, which was mostly acoustic… Some of the songs, when I was first writing them, I could really hear them with production like this, being played with a full band, and really “done up” like we normally do with Ours records; but the original intention (of The Heart) was always to keep things minimal, for it to be just my voice and my guitar, and be really raw.

So as I wrote some of the songs, I felt like some of them could really exist in another environment; but at the same time I didn’t want to change the original intention of the record. So then I just thought well, if some of them work out on the road, I’ll do “full” versions of them… I mean normally people kind of do the opposite; but it’s just the way it went this time.

Last year, we played arenas across Europe with the band a-ha, and that’s when a lot of these songs really came to life; so after the tour, we went back in the studio to sort of capture the way the original songs sounded when touring with a full band.

I was reading that the song “Bells” has a special significance for you and the band…

Yeah, the thing about “Bells” is that- from the time I can remember, four or five years old, I was having these strange nightmares… I’ve always dreamt a lot, very vividly at night, but I could never really place what they were about; it wasn’t anything specific, it was just a feeling, and I was trying to put that feeling into music my whole life basically.

It’s maybe sort of a combination of the emotions I felt from those dreams, with maybe songs from the 70’s that I heard growing up, or just something I heard in my head…

I started to write “Bells” a while ago… pieces of it were in a song off my first record called “Here Is The Light.” So I’d been working on it since 97’-98’ and I’d always find myself going back to it, trying to figure out where the chorus was…

I wanted to do this record, where we weren’t sitting on the songs too long; ‘ya know, sometimes you write a song, and if you sit on it too long before you get a chance to record it, it loses that original intent that it had when it was being written. I really wanted to do as much current material as possible.

So “Bells” is kind of that one song that captures that feeling that I’ve been trying to aspire to since I’ve been making music.

The songs you chose for this record seem to be your most vulnerable, deeply personal… and having the intimate relationship that you do with your fans… are there any particularly memorable stories that have been conveyed, that stick out in your mind, about how these songs have affected people?

This record for myself, and a lot of people really meant a lot… people who knew that my mom was sick and dying during the time that I was recording; and other people who were close to people with cancer or sickness felt a certain connection to this record.

It definitely wasn’t for everybody, meaning the first edition of The Heart that I put out. It is a really sad record, and I never had any intention of it being part of the commercial world or getting play on the radio. I wanted to make something that was really from the heart without any filters, or any influence/interference from anybody- management, record labels, even other band members; and so my intention was to put something out that was completely, and solely from my heart; and I hoped that the record would serve as a comfort to some people, even though it would bring emotions up, and stir things in people. So I feel like that happened on the first round of the release…

I also felt like there was a lot of hope, and excitement in these songs as well; and I felt if people liked the first record, maybe they’d appreciate this one too. And again, I didn’t necessarily do this for anybody else, it was just that I could hear the songs existing in both forms; and still, now listening to them, I’m not sure if I like any one version more than the other; it’s just a different kind of experience.

If you want to put a record on by yourself, and really emotionally get deep into something, and kind of cry your eyes out, then I would maybe lean towards the first release; but if you want to listen to something loud, like in your car, or go for a run, or workout, I would probably put the second one on.

You’ve toured with a number of very diverse artists from a-ha to Marilyn Manson, and it sort of seems like it has always been a challenge pairing you with “likeminded” headliners. Have you found it difficult playing to these different audiences that maybe aren’t as receptive to your style of music?

Yeah, I mean that’s not necessarily anyone’s fault or bad reasoning… A lot of tours come up over the years, and some things make more sense than others; but I’ve always tried to not have any genre boundaries for the type of music that we make, and not necessarily categorize it. I mean, who wants to see the same band over and over?

But there is something to be said for mindset or like-mindedness… I like to be around likeminded people, but I also like to be around people who think completely different, who approach things completely different, so Manson was one of those cases.

It’s kind of interesting, when our first record Distorted Lullabies came out, there was kind of this thing going around that we were a Christian band… I guess because of some of the references and the lyrics; but ‘ya know, I was raised Catholic, and it’s certainly a part of my life; and while I don’t necessarily subscribe to any one religion, I guess there are hints of that in the music, but again, I just like the idea of throwing people for a loop.

…just as long as we’re not touring with someone who’s just completely filled with hate and malintent. Manson is a smart guy, and I don’t think he means any harm, but a lot of his fan base is just completely filled with hate, and unfortunately that didn’t work out for us. But Manson himself I have a lot of respect for, he’s an entertainer ‘ya know…

I like all kinds of music, and I always have my opinions about what would make sense as far as touring, but it often just comes down to whether I like the person in the band. Jakob Dylan came up to me and talked to me, and naturally I love Bob Dylan, and I can appreciate Jakob’s talent, but I was just struck by what a sweet guy he was, and I just thought, “yeah, let’s go play some music together.” So sometimes a tour gets picked just like that, and you hope that the music is going to translate.

You just got on stage recently in New York with The Velvet Revolver guys; do you want to address any frontman rumors?

I did… we’ve been talking back and forth about doing something for years. I’ve always been a big fan of those guys, and Guns N’ Roses. Before Weiland joined the band, we had been talking, and the timing just didn’t work out; and then after he left the band, we sort of resumed talking, and maybe again it just wasn’t the right time, or the right set of circumstances… So finally, all the talking stopped, and we got a chance to just play- which is what I wanted to happen- and so I jumped up on stage and played a few songs. I had a really good time, and felt really comfortable, and I just enjoyed it.

Again, at certain points in your life, you just get completely tired of your own point of view. I just made this deeply personal record, entirely on my own, and I think I was just starting to get this feeling that I really want the experience of a different perspective, and a different point of view, and just being around some other people. So it was really exciting for me to get up and play with them, so we did that, and I felt at home.

So we’re talking about getting together some more, and playing some more music, and writing some songs, and seeing what becomes of it, see if we can make something happen. It really comes down to- we have to make great music. So we have to get together, and see if it works…

I’m really looking forward to finally spending some time with them. I can’t say Velvet Revolver will or won’t continue as a band, I don’t think any of us know, but I’m excited to get into that process.

You’re coming back to L.A. and playing On The Rox, a room you’ve played a number of times before; do you have any special attachment to that place or something about in particular that you really love about the space?

Yeah, I love the whole feeling of The Roxy. I love a good rock club, and it’s got to be dingy enough to feel like you’re in a rock n’ roll club, but still feel like a real show, and The Roxy has always been that sort of premiere venue.

There’s no bad seat in the house, it sounds great; so when I go out there, and do these really tiny personal shows, it just feels like home to me. Whether it’s upstairs or downstairs, it’s just always felt comfortable, and I feel a connection to the place.


Jimmy Gnecco performs at On The Rox on December 8. This show is 21+ and tickets are available via Ticketweb now.


5 Questions with Gentlemen Hall

By: @brentXmendoza

In three short years, Boston based Gentlemen Hall has become one of the most decorated and critically acclaimed indie bands to explode out of New England’s pop-rock hot bed.

Currently touring in support of their sophomore effort “When We All Disappear,” the band has taken to the road to bring their exponentially viral, synth-tastic jams to the masses.

While en route to The Roxy, the Gentlemen Hall were kind enough to kill some of their tour bus boredom by participating in a quick round of “5 Questions.” The following are their collective responses…

Wow, so you guys have won a boat load of awards! Which one was the most meaningful for the band? Which one caught you most “off-guard?” And where do you store this treasure trove of trophies?

Awards for art have always felt sort of silly to us, because it’s all subjective… but they have led to tons of exposure, so we do appreciate all the opportunities. The Billboard Award is our fav because all of our mommies and daddies saw us on the “Billboard Music Awards” on ABC.

Tell us about the Gentlemen Hall smoothie. What flavor is it? Did you get to collectively pick the ingredients/decide on the flavor? How many have you consumed; and have you ever “spiked” it?

Ben & Jerry’s has been extremely supportive of the Boston community. We got involved with them several years ago in conjunction with a festival concert series they host called the “Fair Trade Festival.” Last year Boston was officially sanctioned a “Fair Trade City,” so we’ve seen steps towards better and fairer wages. It’s been an honor to be a part of that!

The smoothie is sort of a slurpable commemoration of that relationship… we have not put alcohol in it, as of yet, but if we did, it would have to be tequila since it’s a lemonade ice smoothie!

So the band is named after an infamous Prohibition-era speakeasy in Boston. Who in the band would have most likely taken to “rum-running” during the 1920’s dry spell?

Aside from @Cobimike, the whole band is pretty heavy on the moonshine! Who would make the best bathtub gin..? We’d have to say @Sethflute. He’s quite the craftsman.

Other than Sam Adams, what’s the best thing about Boston? Ever party with Matt and Ben? And “pahk the cah in hahvahd yahd,” funny or not?

It’s the only place we know that will thunder during a snowstorm. Gnar! The accents ain’t bad either. Nice work!

Finally, Seth what’s up with that flute?

I make you scoot, scoot, scoot when I toot, toot, toot!


This Wednesday, Oct 12 Billboard Presents Gentlemen Hall with Shinobi Ninja, Hank & Cupcakes, and DJ Tony Martinez. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Admission is FREE with RSVP.


Local on the 8s: Music Behind the Weather

By: Brent X Mendoza

For those who, unfortunately, live outside the sphere of Southern California’s consistently moderate climate conditions, apparently there is a need to know what to wear when getting dressed for one’s day? In these early pre-caffeinated hours of confusion, masses of Americans turn to The Weather Channel and “Local on the 8s” when deciding between a heavy wool sweater and a thin cotton hoodie.

Laying down the ambient downtempo music beds for the guide to your daily climatic grind is frequently the job of North Carolina based electronica mastermind, Matt “Trance” Fury, who has been quietly crafting chilled out mixes for over a decade.

Before tuning in for your next local weather update, read up on the man behind those soothing seasonal songs!

So “Trance” Fury? Seems like a pretty bold moniker for your downtempo style of music?

Actually, I took the name on almost 15 years ago when the “Trance” genre was not really defined the way it is now. I personally interpreted “Trance” as something you could zone out to.

Do you write pieces specifically tailored for The Weather Channel or do you license pre-existing tracks?

Well, yes and no… I took a long break between albums from 2000-2006. So when I finally released “7 Steps to Resolution” in 2006, my goal was to re-introduce my name back into the electronic scene; and I feel like I succeeded quite well.

So then when I released my 2009 album “Mother Earth and Father Time,” I set a goal to get one of my songs on The Weather Channel because I am such a huge fan. So that was my specific inspiration for writing the track “Carolina Shore,” and have been writing tracks used by TWC ever since.

“Local On The 8s” is specific to each cable subscriber’s area. Do they also change the musical selection based on the local weather conditions? Do they ever play “New York City Winter” for an L.A. forecast in August?

I believe that the “Local on the 8s” music is nationwide, as far as I know… I’ve never seen them change songs based on weather conditions, but they do tend to gear tracks to the seasons. That is a good thought!

So to answer your second question: They have not played “New York City Winter” in August as of yet; but you probably heard it last March!

Tell us about “The Other Sides of Trance.”

This album is a two volume remix EP of older tracks. The recording technology has changed so much since I wrote a lot of my older tracks, that I decided to re-record, remix, and re-master a handful of them with the help of guitarist Eddie Easterly and programmer Nick Kisler. It’s called “The Other Sides of Trance” because it’s all about new spins on old tracks- kind of a play on words.

This past July was one of the hottest on record. What does a heat wave sound like?

You’re not kidding! Was it hot in L.A. also? It’s been brutal here in North Carolina, and I haven’t had a chance to escape to the beach much. In fact, I haven’t even sat in the studio much because of the heat… but I would probably interpret a heat wave as a long drone.

Then So Cal’s moderate and consistently warm temperatures must be pretty non-inspiring?

Well I wouldn’t say that! I lived in Orlando for five years, and was constantly inspired. In fact, the track “Hurricane Florida” came out of being there; but I guess you don’t have to worry too much about that in California!

I’m sure I could find something to get inspired by out in L.A. Warm, comfortable nights are some of my favorite inspirational climates!

Thoughts on naming your next track “Roxy Summer,” or “Stars Over Sunset Strip,” or “Nic Adler’s Magic Fedora” anything along these lines? Any other title ideas?

[Laughter] Nic should have a Twitter account just for his hat! I love that thing! I guess I need to take a trip out that way soon to start getting some ideas; and maybe play The Roxy.

I haven’t been out there in 15 years, but I promise when I do, the first round of brews is on me!


You can catch Matt “Trance” Fury’s new track “February (Mid Winter Nights Mix)” running through October on The Weather Channel’s recurring regional forecast report “Local on the 8s.”


Q&A with The Knux

By: Brent X Mendoza

Refugees from Hurricane Katrina, brothers Krispy and Joey Lindsey, better known as The Knux, have been calling L.A. their home for the past five years. Now set to release their sophomore effort entitled “Eraser,” the critically acclaimed duo is poised to introduce the world to one of the few truly original sounds to emerge from a long progression of new millennia blasé.

This Sunday, September 25 catch this arena bound band at their record release party as they debut tracks from their new album two days before its release. Until then, catch up with the brothers Krispy and Joey, as they fill us in on all their latest “knucklehead” antics.


Tell us about the new album “Eraser.” How does one avoid the so-called “sophomore slump?”

Krispy: Keep doin’ what the fuck we wanna do! We’re not influenced by the outside world – so we’re not worried about things like that. We’re very different guys coming together, and we have a great balance. We’re able to keep creating progressive pop music without outside constraints.

Joey: Our label Cherry Tree allow us to be very free as Martin (label founder Martin Kierszenbaum) is a fan of us as a whole, and that feels positive.

Looks like there are a number of collaborations on the new record. Besides those artists, who would be your dream collaboration, and what sort of musical direction would the song take?

Krispy: We met Trent Reznor at a Jane’s Addiction listening party and he’s probably one of our biggest influences as a programmer and producer. So Trent would be a highpoint for sure. Now in our late 20’s, we find ourselves going back to what we were influenced by as teenagers; and his music from the 90’s still holds strong to this day.

What was the recording process like working with producer Robert Orton (three-time Grammy Award winning mix engineer)? What did you learn?

Krispy: For someone so accomplished, Rob is a very easy person to work with. Ideas flow smoothly through and from him… He has a process that I really appreciate.

Also working with my bro who’s so scatterbrained, it’s nice to have someone with a mathematical process. I learned so much more about compression and effects- mainly how to use reverbs and delays together in ways I would have never thought about before.

Better song: A) “Beautiful Liar” (Beyoncé/Shakira), B) “Maniac” (Michael Sembello), or C) “The Eraser (Thom Yorke)? And did any of these inspire songs of the same title on the new record?

Joey: None of these records inspired the album, but damn, “The Eraser” is an incredible fucking song! We were just listening to Thom Yorke on my Youtube playlist when we were in Ireland. Benny, our DJ, got depressed.

Everyone has a great story about a night out on Bourbon Street. Anything you’re legally
allowed to share?

Krispy: Too many stories, too many drinks [laughter]…

Joey: Fuckin’ Bourbon Street..! Locals only go to Bourbon to catch tourists slippin’.

Krispy: We’d rather share a story live from THE ROXY this Sunday!


The Knux take the stage here at The Roxy Theatre this Sunday, September 25. Doors open late at 10:30 p.m. Tickets are only $13.50.

Follow Roxy blogger Brent X Mendoza on twitter @brentXmendoza.

Q&A with Danko Jones

By: Brent X Mendoza

WEDNESDAY, September 14 Canadian trio Danko Jones hits The Sunset Strip for a night of “Never Too Loud,” hard rock!

Five albums deep in their career, the group led by front man and namesake Danko Jones, have built a sizeable loyal fanbase by simply (or not so simply) “putting in the work” of constant touring, and turning out consistently solid records.

Sending us this report from the road, Jones-the one man multimedia empire, brought us up-to-date on all his latest happs including: his alternate careers as a music columnist and podcaster, his spoken word side project, and making music videos with “The Karate Kid” and Frodo Baggins.


You write a number of different music columns that appear in publications all around the world. How do you tailor your writing style when speaking to these diverse audiences? Also, how do you keep informed about all the different music scenes you write about?

I don’t tailor my writing style to any particular group or country. I just write about rock and metal, and that seems to be universally understood. I’m basically left alone to rant about any particular whim. Of course I don’t get to proofread the translations… you can’t oversee everything!

Tell us about this video you did last year for “Full of Regret.” How did the diverse cast of celebs come about?

We did a trio of videos that started with “Full Of Regret” starring Elijah Wood, Selma Blair, Lemmy Kilmister, Mike Watt and us. Getting an all-star cast to appear started with Elijah, as he is friends with The Diamond Brothers (Josh and Jason) who directed all three.

Once Elijah got on board we were able to get Selma Blair. Getting Lemmy and Mike Watt came from us since we’ve toured with Motörhead and played shows with Watt in various incarnations over the years (Dos, The Stooges, Iggy Pop).

For the second video, “Had Enough,” we got Ralph Macchio to star in it along with comedian Don Jamieson and character actor Frank Drank. Ralph was a childhood hero for all of us because of The Karate Kid movies and “Crossroads.” And the third video brought back Ralph, Elijah and Watt again while Jenna Malone and Art Hsu signed on too.

So I see that you were a character in this “Sex Tips from Rock Stars” book; what were your tips? Also, what are your qualifications for dispensing sex advice?

If you read the book, you’ll quickly realize that I don’t have any tips to give. The title is misleading… It’s just a bunch of guys in bands answering questions on sex, but I wouldn’t call any answers “sex tips.” I’m the one looking for tips because I’m baffled most of the time, hence the songs.

With the band, podcasts, and writing for music multiple music publications, do you find any time to relax? What do you do on your off time? Do you have any non-music related hobbies?

Writing the columns is totally fun to do, and podcasts are done every other week so I have plenty of down time. What else is there to do between rock shows anyway?

A lot of people in our business party it up when they’re not rocking out, but to me there’s just way more things to do. What people don’t tell you is partying is only fun when it’s done with interesting people but the catch is the more you drink the more boring you get, at least that’s what I’ve observed.

The only non-music hobbies I have are watching “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and listening to Joe Rogan and Jim Florentine’s podcast.

Finally, with your spoken word background… can you give us a little ode to The Roxy? A haiku perhaps?

There’s nothing “spoken” about writing a haiku!


Danko Jones plays The Roxy Theatre Wednesday, Sept 14. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $13.50.

Q&A: Kreayshawn

By: Brent X Mendoza

“Gucci Gucci, Louis Louis, Fendi Fendi, Prada…” The song’s been in your head for months; and now the YouTube, viral sensation that has been blowing up your computer speakers will be blowing up the PA here at The Roxy Theatre.

That’s right, this Saturday, August 27 we are all very excited to welcome, Kreayshawn and her crew, who will be giving us a little taste of the tracks she’s been painstakingly honing for her first full length release.

But before heading to the show, educate yourself on this L.A. by way of Oakland, future hip-hop mogul, as she discusses her roots, her new record, and even answers a few questions from her fans. Check it…


First off what’s the origin/s of your name? A play on “creation” perhaps?

Yes, right on the ball! I am one creative kitty.

Do you have a release date for your first full length? What can we expect?

I’m working on putting it out this fall and def before the end of the year. It’s going to be a CD touching on a mixture of subjects that I hope everyone will be excited about.

How are you finding the L.A. music scene? How does it differ from Oakland?

In Oakland everything is more connected than out here; In L.A. everything is very mainstream.

With all this controversy that has been following you… don’t you think it’s actually been beneficial, in a “any press is good press” sort of way?

Yeah, it’s always nice to have your name in the tabloids, but I would rather be reading successful stories than negative made up stories.

With the massive success of “Gucci Gucci” are you nervous about having to follow that up? Any feedback from any of the designer labels mentioned in the song?

Yeah we got hit up by Gucci, but as long as we don’t use the logo it’s all good.

I’m not nervous with the follow up because I’ve came out with songs that people like just as much!

Finally, you have some rather unique tattoos including a mixture of Disney characters, food items, and numbers on your knuckles. Care to explain the meanings behind these?

My sailor moon tattoo symbolizes my childhood, the numbers on my knuckles is a play on a telephone, and my Goofy tattoo is for my friend Goofy who died.


Kreayshawn hits The Roxy Theatre with special guests Roach Gigz, and CBG this Saturday, Aug 28. Doors open at 8 p.m.


SSMF Profiles: Buckcherry

By: Brent X Mendoza

Before heading back out on the road to headline the Rock Allegiance Tour along with Papa Roach, Puddle of Mudd, and POD, Buckcherry will be making a stop at home and visiting our very own Roxy Theatre to pay their respects to The Sunset Strip as one of the featured bands at this year’s music festival.

Phoning us from the road before a benefit show in New York City, front man Josh Todd brought us up-to-date with the band’s latest whereabouts and shared with us his recollections of coming up as a young band on The Sunset Strip, his first show at The Roxy, and his number one sex tip for Buckcherry fans.


So this upcoming show at The Roxy, what can we expect? Debuting any new material?

No, I mean debuting new material with the internet now is not really a good idea [laughter]… We’re not even really at that stage right now where we have new material worked out that’s presentable to the public; we’re still in the embryonic phase of the songwriting process; and we have five records, so we have a lot of songs that we already can’t make it all the way through.

But we have a nice set worked out; we’ve been on the road for over a year, and I think things are going to go off at The Roxy.

Growing up in So Cal, how does it feel to be part of such a historic event like The Sunset Music Festival? What does it mean to you?

It’s cool ya know… I mean it’s our heritage; that’s where we came up on The Sunset Strip.

When I graduated high school, all the first club shows I ever saw were up there; and that’s when The Strip was still at the tail end of the whole hair band thing; so it was just insane up there, and unless you were there to witness it… it was quite a scene!

I was glad to be a part of it for a little while and to actually come up out of it and still be doing what we do is awesome. So we’re excited! We haven’t had a show in Hollywood in a long time, so it’s going to be good.

Do you remember your first show at The Roxy?

I do! I remember I was in a band called Slamhound, and I don’t know if it was the first time, but we played a sold out show up there opening up for Pretty Boy Floyd and that was really nuts!

I think around that time, or shortly after that… we’d only been a band, or only playing out for like 6 months, and we got on the cover of Rock City News; and we just thought that we had arrived at that point!

It’s funny ya know, looking back at how green we were, and naïve… but we were on a mission ya know? We were hungry; we were animals, and we just wanted to crush that place.

A couple bands you’ve worked with before Mötley Crüe and Escape The Fate are also going to be a part of the festival. Any plans to jump on stage and jam at all?

I dunno… They’re playing the following day that we are, and we have a lot of stuff going on; a lot of press going on, and we’ve been touring… so ya know, my time at home is really precious and I’m going to be with my family as much as I can when I’m not on stage or doing press.

So I don’t know if I’m going to be able to make it out, but I love both those guys and we had a fun time writing songs; and I think we’re going to hopefully hook up in the future and write some more.

Maybe the next Buckcherry record?

Maybe the next Escape The Fate record [laughter]

You were speaking before about the hair metal scene back in the day; how do you think the scene in Hollywood, on The Sunset Strip has changed since your younger days? Do you relate to what’s currently going on? What new local bands are you into?

I mean it’s a different place now… it’s just not a controlled market like it used to be, so there aren’t these big movements of music because you can just log on and basically access any genre, any kind of music you want. So it’s much different then when I was coming up.

I do like a lot of new bands… One band I’m really into right now is Rival Sons. I think they’re really great and I’ve been listening to them a lot.

So how are you guys utilizing the internet and the changing marketplace?

Well we’ve just really been trying to get more intimate with our fans through Twitter, and Facebook, and all that kind of stuff… and incorporate everybody into what we are doing; which is kind of the way we rolled out our record “15.”

Ya know, Myspace was really big at that time, and the fans kind of dictated the pace of that record, and what songs were going to popular. And I think that’s what’s cool about the internet; it’s not as expensive to market a record, which is good, but you’re also not selling any records… So it kind of balances itself out.

Finally, your bass player Jimmy was one of the contributors to this book: Sex Tips from Rock Stars. Do you have any tips for any Buckcherry fans that maybe find their way backstage?

I only have one tip – always wear a bag! That’s it. That’s my tip!


Buckcherry plays this Thursday, Aug 19 along with Taddy Porter and Dead Sara. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are SOLD OUT.


SSMF Profiles: Nico Vega

By: Brent X Mendoza

Thursday, August 18 kicks off the first official start of SSMF; and to “ring in” this year’s festival, The Roxy Theatre and 98.7 Close to Home proudly present the indie rock pride of Los Angeles: Nico Vega.

Celebrating the release of their Nico Vega covers Nico Vega and Rod Stewart EP (yup that’s really the title!) released earlier this year, the band has a set chock-full of new material planned for those lucky enough to be in attendance.

Before heading out to the big show, catch up with front woman/siren songstress Aja Volkman as she updates us on the band’s latest happs.


What other Sunset Strip Music Festival bands/artists are you most looking forward to seeing?

Imagine Dragons! They are playing at The Roxy on the 20th at 4pm I think. I am excited for a lot of different bands: Semi Precious Weapons, Eastern Conference Champions, and I am really excited to see Matt and Kim.

What inspired the Nico Vega covers Nico Vega and Rod Stewart EP? Do you think Rod Stewart is aware of your homage/dedication? Thoughts on future covers of “Hot Legs” and/or “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?”

Hahaha! I don’t know if he is aware of it. I think “Young Turks” is a really fun song. The whole EP was a place saver for the band while we finish our next record, and covering Rod Stewart just made the whole thing more fun!

What’s the status of a new full length? Are a continuous flow of EPs a more savy way to go with the current state of the music biz?

Possibly… but we are big fans of making a whole record. An EP is a good way to get the singles out before you drop the whole record, but I’m not sure how we will do it yet. I am really happy with how the record is sounding. I can’t wait for it to drop. We are in the studio every day right now fine tuning it.

Your band bio refers to Nico Vega as a sort of “modern day saint.” If they were making a comic book inspired movie with St. Nico Vega as the central character, what sort of superpowers would she have? Who would be her nemesis?

I think she would be a regular person with a great ability to love. I think the inability to love everyone is one of the main weaknesses of the human way; the isolated separation between people… Even your next door neighbor is a stranger. How often do you walk around treating everybody with the trust and kindness that you would treat a close friend with? If there is one way we could benefit from St. Nico Vega I think that she would carry a message of unconditional love and oneness. It’s something that I constantly have to work on because I am shy in social settings. Except of course on stage! I don’t think Nico Vega has any enemies.

The band has a pretty tight knit fan base. What’s the coolest/creepiest/most extravagant gift you’ve ever received from a fan?

Hmmm… Good question. The coolest was either the framed silk screened Nico Vega posters sent to us from St. Louis, or the gold necklace that was blessed by a monk that a man gave me. Nobody is really creepy, but the funniest is probably the underwear women throw at me on stage. It’s a really nice gesture, and I completely appreciate it, but I’m already wearing underwear. I don’t need to borrow some!


Thursday, Aug 18 Nico Vega takes the stage along with Eastern Conference Champions, State Line Empire, Goldenspell, and Incan Abraham. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are, you guessed it, $9.87.



SSMF Profiles: Holland Greco

By: Brent X Mendoza

Photo: Dalen Muster

Pop bliss princess and ukulele enthusiast Holland Greco has voiced songs for numerous hit TV shows and films including original arrangements for “The Looney Tunes Show” and “Scooby Doo.”

When she’s not penning tracks for song placement, she can be found performing with any number of musical projects, the newest of which, The Stripminers, a collaboration with Brett Anderson of The Donnas.

Catch Ms. Greco in her solo incarnation next Friday, August 19 as she performs under the stars on The Sunset Strip as part of the festivities for SSMF week.


First off, Holland Greco… great name! Family name, stage name, is there a story behind it?

Thank you! It’s my middle name and last name.

What other Sunset Strip Music Festival bands/artists are you most looking forward to seeing?

Well, I really like The Veronicas. Those girls can sing, write, and play some seriously great pop songs. I also like Melissa Villasenor. I’m an America’s Got Talent watcher and she was good on that. Of course I’m looking forward to Mötley Crüe, the SSMF atmosphere, festival food, and hanging out at The Roxy!

Why the ukulele as your primary stage instrument of choice? How long have you been playing the uke? Who taught you?

The uke happened by accident. The truth is that in 2006 I was asked to play it in another band. One of the band leaders drew pictures of the two chords I was supposed to play. I learned those, and that was the beginning. After that, I taught myself to play by using chord charts.

I also play some keys, guitar, and other random bits.

Noticed your musical contributions to “Looney Tunes” and “Scooby Doo,” that must have been a bit surreal? Any other classic/icon cartoons you would love to write music for? Also, working with children’s entertainment, were you subject to a morality clause in your contract?

I really love working in animation and children’s entertainment!

I would love to voice a cartoon character or sing more for cartoons/kids shows. Any of ‘em!

The Looney Tunes Show hired me as a vocalist. I didn’t write “Yellow Bird,” but I’m thrilled to have been the voice on that. “Merrie Melodies” are classic! I think it’s the coolest thing I’ve done recently. (Listen here.)

Same with “Getaway Yeah” for Scooby Doo. That was a vocal job only, and it happened a few years ago. (More than 85 thousand views!)

I was not subject to a morality clause. Lol. Morality is so subjective… I wonder what something like that would say? If someone asked me to sign a morality clause, I imagine it would have to be a huge job for me to be ok with it, just because freedom and privacy is so valuable; but I could handle it!

You have several musicals listed on your résumé (Lovelace: A Rock Opera and Ed Wood Monsters of Hollywood: Vampira), who would you say you relate to more Linda Lovelace or Vampira?

Haha….. Vampira definitely! I like her exaggerated monster-movie-loving character. She was ahead of her time, very glam, and The Misfits wrote a song about her, which my trio covers!!!

Tell us about “Tunnel Vision?” Care to explain the origins of the title? Also what other TV/flim/soundtrack/acting projects do you currently have in works?

Tunnel Vision is my first solo record, and is available at all the digital outlets. There are some really cool recordings on there. I encourage everyone to check it out, listen to it, and buy it too!

It’s funny that you would ask about the title. I am blessed to have some great mentors in my life, and Gail Zappa is one of them. She has a gift for words and titles. She suggested that I start a blog called “Holland’s Tunnel Vision,” which I thought was a great title. In addition to that, the lyrics on “Tunnel Vision” are very much about desire so strong that you can’t see anything else. Just convincing, striving, obsessing… going after what you want… it also took that kind of force to write and record the album. So all those things worked together to make “Tunnel Vision” the perfect description of the work.

New and upcoming..? I have a stash of demo recordings that are getting sorted through and shined up. We’re putting them in categories because I record soul-style songs, dance songs, folk songs, and novelty stuff. In a couple of years from now, I’ll probably have a number of other five song albums out in totally different styles. Variety pleases me!

Speaking of variety, I play a number of instruments in The Stripminers. They are a new and very special band that you will be hearing more about.


Holland Greco will be performing as part of SSMF week along with The Roxy’s own Megan Jacobs, The Mowglis, Of Verona, and Goodnight Noises this Friday, August 19 at the Jack Daniels Experience Outdoor Acoustic Stage. Performances kick off at 6 p.m. 21+ only. 8950 Sunset Strip.


If you follow The Roxy online, you know how much we love questions. For this round, we’re putting them in your hands! Scheduled for next week, we have an exclusive interview with the utterly cool Kreayshawn for her sold out August 27 show and we want you to submit the questions!

Tweet your questions @TheRoxy with #AskKREAY, post them on our Facebook page, or email them to theroxy@mac.com.

We want to know what you want to know about the hottest thing to come out of Oakland this year. Send them in & maybe she’ll be answering you!

SSMF Profiles: The Expanders

By: Brent X Mendoza

Forming in 2003 So Cal reggae giants The Expanders have grown to become one of the most respected bands of their genre. Real “musicians, musicians,” the group pays homage to traditional “rockers” style reggae reminiscent of influences like The Ethiopians and The Mighty Diamonds.

Strutting their ska stuff at this year’s Sunset Strip Music Festival, frontman Devin Morrison and the rest of the band are eager to add to their growing résumé of impressive accomplishments, and introduce a whole new audience to their traditional throwback sound.

What other Sunset Strip Music Festival bands/artists are you most looking forward to seeing?

We are really just looking forward to checking out the vibes, and are excited to be a part of this event!

Kind of an ambiguous band name. What’s the origin?

The name is modeled after some of the classic reggae studio bands such as The Observers, The Aggrovators, The Upsetters, etc. We wanted a name that sounded similar to those bands because our music is greatly influenced by the sound they created.

Hailing from So Cal how did the band develop such an authentic and traditional reggae sound?

Everyone in the band has listened to old-school reggae music for years and years. We all grew up on the music, and so when we started playing it, there was no question as to the style that we wanted to bring forward. Also, being from L.A., we have been fortunate enough to watch and learn from groups like Hepcat and others who have been playing traditional Jamaican music for more than twenty years.

We are just trying to carry on that tradition of Los Angeles reggae/ska bands producing a vintage sound. The only difference between us and other L.A. bands like Hepcat or The Aggrolites is a stylistic one, in the sense that they specialize in “ska/rocksteady” and “skinhead” reggae respectively, while we tend to focus more on what has sometimes been called “country roots,” the kind of reggae that was played by Jamaican groups like The Ethiopians and The Mighty Diamonds, as well as on early 80’s rub-a-dub styles like that of The Roots Radics.

You’ve played with the who’s who of the reggae world. To date, who were you most thrilled to collaborate/perform with?

Yes, we have been extremely fortunate to have had the opportunities to work with some of our Jamaican musical heroes. As to who we were most excited to work with, it is very difficult to narrow that down.

We have worked with Alton Ellis and Roy Shirley, both of whom have since passed away. I know that working with Leonard “The Ethiopian” Dillon and Vernon “Maytone” Buckley were two very special experiences for us because we look up to those artists so much. We can’t forget to mention Stranger Cole, Pat Kelly, The Cables, The Wailing Souls, Scientist, and Willie Williams, all of whom have been a pleasure and an honor to work with.

White Widow, Northern Lights, or Mauwie Wauwie?

Yes please!


The Expanders by TheExpanders

The Expanders play at The Roxy on August 20 during the Sunset Strip Music Festival. For more info on the fest vist SSMF.com

SSMF Profiles: Jordan Cook

By: Brent X Mendoza

Catching the crowd’s ear on The Sunset Strip is no easy feat in a town notorious for its jaded, “seen it all, heard it all” audiences. So the fact that Canadian guitar prodigy Jordan Cook has been turning heads and packing houses after being introduced to The Strip only one year ago, is a true testament to his skill and stage presence.

Having already performed with greats like B.B. King, Van Morrison, and the Aretha Franklin Band, Cook is now poised to make his Sunset Strip Music Festival debut here at The Roxy Theatre.

Before heading to the show get to know this guitar virtuoso and all his vices and virtues.

What other Sunset Strip Music Festival bands/artists are you most looking forward to seeing?

My band and I are going to try and take in as much of the festival as possible. To narrow it down to just a few may be difficult. We’ll see what happens… my guess is we’ll hang around the Roxy as they are putting up with us.

With a few rare exceptions, why are there no good Canadian bands?

If you haven’t heard:

Arcade Fire, Age of Electric, Attack in Black, Arkells, Bionic, Big Dave McLean, Big Wreck, Big Sugar, Black Mountain, Blackie and the Rodeo Kings…

There really are many great bands/artists in Canada. Don’t get me started with the C’s.

Your latest record is entitled Seven Deadly Sins. So which of the seven deadly sins are you guilty of committing most frequently?

Acedia: As sometimes I spread myself too thin. When I’m at my best musically, there are times where I’m not my best in other areas.

During the songwriting process, how do you find the line between writing simple, catchy melodies and keeping things technically interesting for yourself as a guitar virtuoso?

To be honest I don’t usually think about these sorts of things, as I’m a bit “guitar-ded.”
I truly just play what I feel.

What’s been the highlight of your career thus far? Have you yet had that “I’ve finally made it!” moment?

Thus far a memorable highlight was being declared “the revelation” of Switzerland’s Montreux Jazz Festival, and having the opportunity to perform with B.B. King and Van Morrison with my dad being in the front row watching.

I’ve yet to have the “I’ve finally made it” feeling, but gaining fans when we play makes everything worth it.


Jordan Cook hits The Roxy’s stage during the Sunset Strip Music Festival street fest on August 20.
For ticket info visit SSMF.com.

Catch Up with Ky-Mani Marley

By: Brent X Mendoza

Thursday, July 21 reggae chart-topper Ky-Mani Marley will bring his world tour to our humble abode here at The Roxy Theatre. Doing his father’s legacy proud, Marley has made quite a dynamic career for himself not only as a musician, but also as an actor, and an internationally recognized humanitarian/human rights advocate.

Currently at work on a brand new double album, Marley is certainly showing no signs of slowing down as he continues to blaze trails in the music world and beyond.

You’re currently working on your fourth studio album. What can we look forward to? How would you say your music has evolved over your career?

My new album Evolution of a Revolution will be a double album, the “Revolution” side of the album will be a follow up to my last album Radio and the “Evolution” side will show how I have evolved.

It will show a somewhat softer side. It will be comprised of more universal music; music that I would like to think speaks to the heart and soul of all. I like to say it will be an album where reggae meets the rest of the world.

As a youth, you were a bit of jock, playing soccer and other sports. Have you been following the Women’s World Cup at all?

Unfortunately being on the road hasn’t allowed me the opportunity to follow Women’s World Cup.

Of all your philanthropic/humanitarian endeavors, which are you most proud of? Can you recall one singular defining moment in your life where you felt like you truly made a difference in the world?

Wow! I can’t recall one particular moment that stands out… but I do think that one thing that did impact me was summer of last year: Through my organization Love Over All Foundation (LOAF), we did some renovations to a school in my hometown of Falmouth, and the parents and most of the community came out to help. I was overwhelmed by the number of people that came out to contribute without having to be asked.

Besides annoying interview questions, what are the drawbacks of being the progeny of reggae royalty?

[Laughter] At times because of my last name people have preconceived notions of who I am or who I should be. I can only be me.

Your film résumé seems to be coming along nicely. Any new projects in the works? Has leaning the craft of acting had any influence at all on your music?

I don’t think acting has influenced my music, but I do have a few scripts that I am reviewing now.


Ky-Mani Marley takes the stage Thursday, July 21 along with Gramps Morgan, Arise Roots, Bodhi Rock, and DJ I & I Sound. Doors open at 8 p.m.