Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Ben McLane - Music Lawyer at Large

Hey everybody, I just wanted to inform you all about a music lawyer that I ran across on MySpace by the name of Ben McLane (no relation to Bruce Willis' characer in Die Hard, by the way...for it's one c and not two, in case you're wondering!) I asked him if he'd like to share a couple of words for us here in the blogosphere, and he agreed; which basically resulted in the very brief Q & A session below...

PS: What exactly does a music lawyer do?

BM: We deal with anything that has to do with the music business - mostly contracts and consulting, but some recording agreement shopping - its too much to boil down

PS: How did you get into the business of being a music lawyer?

BM: Well...I just love music and the trivia, but I have no musical talent, so it seemed like a good way to work in it and actually survive.

PS: In your opinion, how important would you say it is for a music artist to have legal representation?

BM: Very... if there is a real deal going down or a paper to sign that involves rights and money.

PS: To date...have you represented any high profile celebrities and/or well known musicians?

BM: Many; please see benmclane.com under clients.

PS: What's your personal take on the Jammie Thomas Rasset case? Do you think the jury's decision was fair in that particular case?

BM: We dont follow this stuff that closely - I deal 0% with court/litigation - I only deal with contracts and deal shopping so I try to not let this type of activity slow me down - but I can say that if there is no money being made by the people that make and work in music, there will be no music business so hope it gets sorted out and everyone is happy.

PS: What services is it exactly that you offer for people in the music industry?

BM: Lots, depends on what someone needs assistance with - please visit benmclane.com.

PS: If it were not for this, what else would you see yourself doing for a living?

BM: I have no idea really... but I'm glad I don't have to make that call right now! [laughs]

Well... that's about it. Told you it was brief, folks! Anyways, you can find out more about Ben McLane by visiting his website at http://www.benmclane.com or check out his MySpace profile at http://www.myspace.com/benmclane.

This has been P.S. Elliott (AKA: Dr. Gonzo XXVII) reporting for the disassociated press, that is... The Gnoyze Guitar Mods & More Web Blog.

"As your paralegal-in-training, I advise you to listen to this man!"

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Getting to Know Your PR Girl

A while back I got a message in my MySpace inbox specifying some rates as far as general music promotion was concerned, and unfortunately I had to decline, since my whole music project is basically put; in development hell at the moment. But what I found interesting about this profile (AKA: Your PR Girl) is that she's involved with the whole promotional campaign side of things, regardless of what type of artist she's representing...which really intrigued me, since her business doesn't only cater to one specific type of industry. So I eventually wound up contacting her about doing a little interview for my blog, and she agreed to do it. So, here it is... my interview with Your PR Girl (AKA: Jessica) who shall be referred to in the very aptly abbreviated PRG: headline. Read on...

PS: How did you get into the business of promotion?

PRG: I've felt a passion for the music industry as far back as I can remember. My career began by helping friends and local artists on business and public relations. One day, someone asked a client if I was his girlfriend, and he replied with: "Nah, this is my PR Girl." And the rest, as they call it...is history.

PS: How long have you been in this business?

PRG: I grew up with a mix of music and business around me. The contacts and high-profile people I've met made me feel so at home in the industry. So it seems like forever.

PS: Would you describe yourself as a behind the scenes person or do you really put your name out there when it comes to working on behalf of your clients?

PRG: I would describe myself as someone with extensive contacts and experience in the entertainment/music industry. I can open doors and get the artist in front of the right people. The rest is up to the individual talent and direction of the artist.

PS: Can you name any famous celebrities that you've done work for?

PRG: We reach so far beyond the scope of just promotion. :) Some clients, past & present include: Jake Owen, Daequan Cook (of the Miami Heat), LL Cool J, Country Music Awards, Will Smith, etc. There's more, but I think you get the idea. There is a market for just about everything. And we all have star potential. You just have to know the audience and know the proper course of action.

PR Girl Logo

PS: Describe the specific packages that you offer (i.e. promotional incentives, public relations, freebies, etc.) as well as any rates that may apply...

PRG: We do everything from Artist Development & Management to Touring & Internet Marketing. Cookie cutter numbers are almost a disservice, as each artist is unique with different needs than the last. Starting out in the trenches myself, I empathize with how hard it is. Fact: "It takes money to make money." If you're an artist, and are willing to invest in music - then I can work with whatever the investment is. If you don't have capital/investment - there are ways to earn some of what we do by Referrals. The best service I can offer is to show others how to be smart about business. Their [music] business. And that is the first step in being successful.

PS: Can you tell us, in your own words, why bands (and/or people in the entertainment industry) should pick you when it comes to getting their name out there? What would you say gives you the edge over any of the other general promotion agencies out there?

PRG: Even though this is my bread & butter - I'm real. What you see is what you get. Everyone I've talked to has told me I'm refreshingly honest about the business. If you want something and it's not the best for you - that is my response. Building trust into the relationships with clients is key in helping them succeed.

Well, there you have it folks... Your PR Girl. Please be sure to visit the PR Girl's website online at http://www.yourprgirl.com. And don't forget to tell her that P.S. Elliott sent you!

This is P.S. Elliott (AKA: Dr. Gonzo XXVII) reporting for the disassociated press, that is... The Gnoyze Guitar Mods & More Web Blog.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Share and Share Alike?

Hello once again, my fellow prisoners... today's WTF? moment in history is brought to you in part by none other than (drum roll, please) the record industry! Ah, yes, the good ole' record industry! This morning whilst perusing through the internets (sic) I happened to spot myself this interesting story this morning online at Yahoo! (actually, at the time of this republishing, the aforementioned link has been deleted into the annals of Yahoo history, and I don't mean browser history, if you acquire my drift, so I've taken the liberty of sharing a link which describes the bigger gist of what this here blog post is all about). Either way, I just couldn't bare to pass this up without first sharing my two cents worth... so here goes.

Apparently, Jammie Thomas-Rasset, a mother of four had been fined $80,000 (plus tax?) for illegally downloading some tunes off of Kazaa. (I'm not even going to input a link to this site, because it has cost me problems in the past with viruses and whatnot...so do it at your own risk). This to be sounds like the end all be all to one's own personal right to privacy. I mean...how in the hell did they determine that she was the one responsible for this type of alleged activity? There has to be like thousands, maybe even millions of people that are downloading tunes off of some site or another, but they chose this poor woman, who's a mother of four, as a scapegoat to serve as a musical martyr. This to me is a fine example of what the evil empirical record label of a music industry represents on any given one of its better days...the ills and thrills of corporate capital greed. It's bad enough that they even went as far as attempting to settle the case for a measly, I don't know... $3,000 or $5,000?!? Sure, let me just dig into my other wallet, I'm sure I have a stack of Benjamins hidden away in a secret compartment somewhere! The article goes on to name a couple of artists that she purportedly shared songs of, via the use of illegal file-sharing, and whatever else have you. The artists included were none other Gloria Estefan, Sheryl Crow, Green Day, and Journey, just to name a few... which they did, either way; so I have no idea how many other artists were affected by this alleged free for all deal.

Doesn't anybody have the decency to put two and two together sometimes? Not everybody uses Kazaa; and the ones that do, use it at their own risk. But to crack down upon a mother of four just to musically crucify her as a means of serving an example of everyone who engages in the guilty pleasure of getting songs for free is just sick, in my opinion. So where do we go from here then? Do we summon up the ghost of Frank Zappa's Central Scrutinizer, just so we can finish enforcing all the laws that haven't been passed yet? You know, all the normal, day-to-day activities you may be performing that might one day end up affecting your parent's credit rating?!? Are they phucking serious here?!? Sure, I understand that a performer is entitled to reap the rewards of all the fine work they do as musical artists; that is...whatever's left awarded to them after the label and/or the management finishes corn holing them for everything their worth, but this here just doesn't really sit all too well with me, 'cause I figure if this can happen to her, it can happen to just about anybody...and deliberately at random! I wonder how all these aforementioned artists are feeling about this; as a matter of fact why doesn't someone bother to write them a letter (or an email) with the link to the story and ask them what's their take on it? Do they feel that this lady deserves what she got, just for being a fan that probably couldn't afford to buy the actual discs that the songs were on, just because she may be struggling to get by and trying to keep her family four children well fed and looked after and whatnot?

This is really sick and appalling here, folks. Not only are the big name artists; specifically the rock n' roll singers that already dancing upon our paycheck(s), as Beck sang in the self-deprecating opus Pay No Mind getting rich and fat off of our musical tastes, but now the industry that represents them is taking the liberty of milking their fans out of their money a little more. What I say is that maybe we ought to do the same to them, you know? Starting with all the bank financier's that caused the big economic collapse that we are all now facing in the midst of this recession. Hell---we can't even determine if what we're in is actually a recession or another Great Depression. Yes indeed, we are all in denial, which is one of the first steps that a recovering alcoholic must face. And to that I offer a toast! A toast to alcohol, for without it---there wouldn't be any honesty left in the world. I salute all ye corporate demons and pocket picking sycophants that have nothing else better to do than to steal from the poor and give to the rich. I applaud your merits for displaying the class that you show in dealing with a practice that is as common as say...a three loaf clover! (And my apologies for not being able to come up with something wittier here, but it's what I've got to work with, so bear with me, folks). And what's even more ironic here is that there's an industry based around rewritable CDs, blank tapes, and just about any other recording paraphernalia that you can think about, out there! Which would make this type of criminal behavior perfectly encouragable in a sense, wouldn't it?

Anyways, that about does it for my rant, slanted view, stance, take, spin, or whatever you want to call it...on this whole story. If you've got any of the artists mentioned above on any of your own MySpace profile's friends list, why not send them a message, or leave them a comment asking what their opinion is on the issue? Of course, don't tell them you heard it from me, 'cause the last thing I need is to get sued for insinuating a public spam campaign, if you can call raising awareness about this particular issue just that. Hey, there's an idea! Why not get all the artists together so they can raise funds for this woman to pay off her lawsuit? We can call it Jammiepalooza or Thomasfest, you know? Something like that! Yeah, that sounds reasonable. A concert to benefit the poor and disenfranchised that can't afford to buy their own music! Call me crazy, but we may just be on to something here! We can sell all the CDs to benefit Jammie's court case...and the rest of the profit will go towards paying off all the injured parties that are probably busying themselves with wine, women, and song as we speak, either way! So rock (opera) on there, fellas!

And finally, here's a nice little visual which I came across somewhere online, ages ago, which I thought would help illustrate the satirical point that I may be making here, a little more clearly...

Music Communism Image

And since I downloaded that image way back in the day, I guess the authorities will be looking for me as well, very shortly! Either way, I've taken the liberty of looking up just where that thing was from, and I found it on The Modern Humorist. You can click on the image or the link to access that site. I figure it's the least I can do to give back to the community...not like some industries that I know of that will not stop at nothing to milk every last penny out of us all, especially if we don't even deserve what's coming to us in the first place!

This has been P.S. Elliott (AKA: Dr. Gonzo XXVII's other alias) reporting for the dissociated blog that is The Gnoyze Guitar Mods & More Web Blog.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Cystem 32 - Children of the Techno Industrial Wilderness

Cystem 32 is a musical duo composed of two unique and creative personalities that are "The Voice" and Safiok Brains.  If one were to take a look at their MySpace profile, one could see them defining their music as experimental/industrial, or the better still hitherto unknown (and you just gotta hear for yourself) category of: other. They define their music as odd yet even; asymmetrical yet symmetrical, disconnected yet together, odd yet even, jagged yet straight, or experimental with just the right hint of satire, just to name a few... They are two halves that make a whole, and without them (they write) the world would cease. And they're never complete...they are what scientists can only refer to as an inverted black hole.

Originaly named the band started as Faltered Reaction; compromised of only one member; Safiok Brains, in one room, with one computer, and one vision. Safiok Brains, always one to be inspired, wrote a few instrumentals back in 2007. After searching and searching for new members that could share the same vision, he came across "The Voice" which ended his search for what he believed to be the perfect second member to the group. Prior to his work with Cystem 32, "The Voice" wrote a song that later become Circle Of Doves while he was doing his own college radio shows on the fantasy radio station 84.5 Missing Link radio. After their first show together on August 22nd, 2008 at The Wallflower Gallery, both members decided to continue making highly inspirational and truly unique music.

Their music is something else, and their live shows are worth seeing...they write. I, myself, have yet to attend one of these happenings in person, but I'm definitely inspired to go see them perform. And I encourage you all out there to do the same, for the band has already chosen a possible time of death for their act, which be sometime in the fall of 2010. So chances are if we haven't slipped into some time warp as of late, you can all still get a chance to experience music that as no name, as they put it. Below is an interview that I conducted with this duo recently, and for the sake of rational continuity here, I will be referred to as "PS:" while the group's name shall be abbreviated "C32:" with the occasional response from "The Voice" being listed as "TV:" and Safiok Brains being referred to as "SB:" So with that being said, on with the interview...

PS: How did Cystem 32 come about and where does the name come from?

TV: I would describe Cystem 32 as a child born into poverty; strong, hardy, and full of potential for success. My friend and I formed this project as an effort to reinvent the contemporary musical sphere and comment on specific social personalities. The name, "Cystem 32," comes from the name of the computer software folder and largely reflects our unique and domineering style of music, including the industrialized "C."

SB: Well our name, Cystem 32 stems a lot from the focus of a computer file, early industrial works, such as tape sampling, our use of "not instruments", and Dada-like approach to everything we do. The system 32 file is buried deep within the disk drive and if that file gets, oh I don't know...deleted? Then your computer is vanquished and unable to function anymore. Hence our slogan "without us your world would cease" because it is true, computers do control and dictate our lives.


PS: So the variation on the spelling of system to cystem is in no way a reference to the artist Jean-Michel Basquiat by any chance, right?

C32: While we are very familiar with Basquiat, there is no reference to him whatsoever in our name.

PS: And as a follow up to that question, how influenced would you say your music is by art in general?

C32: Completely. From our outfits, to our music, to our theatrical performance, our group is entirely composed of art.

PS: What does Safiok mean exactly?

C32: It is the key to unlocking the mysteries inside of all us. One day, we stumbled upon a Spacemaker in an abandoned hotel when we were doing a photo shoot to promote our next album. The pencil box said Saflok Brains on it. We quickly altered the name and decided it would fit best for our backup singer/synth player.

PS: What are your musical influences?

TV: My musical influences relate mostly to my desire to express myself in vocal performance. The explosive voices of Thom Yorke of Radiohead, Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan, and Muse.

SB: My own influences are Throbbing Gristle, Monte Cazazza, Science, Sex, Machinery, Synthesized creations and the ever impending argument (which might rarely cause a debate) of "Is it noise, or is it music?"

PS: Describe your experiences playing in the city. Do you feel that there are enough outlets out there (meaning venues) to express yourselves?

TV: No. Playing in the city exposes us to a wide range of music and their for helps us create a new style. There are not enough venues in our area.

SB: The venues here are lacking, and I think that it's safe to say for the rest of the world. Most people don't seem interested...scratch that---willing to want to hear what we have to say. Our experiences in the city only help us get out their to the select group of people that like our style.

PS: How would you say that the internet social network has had its affect on your music personally and/or creatively? Do you feel as though it creates a disconnect between you and your audience since they could be listening at home and not bother to come to the shows, or is that right there the very essence of what you're trying to define with your music...(i.e. the disconnect that comes about as a result of technology and all its self indulgent gadgetry?

C32: No, it does not take away from live playing. While we are trying to send a message, we are also trying to entertain and the internet is a very accessible way to do so.

PS: So what do you have to say? Meaning, what message are you trying to convey through your music?

C32: What were trying to say is that there is more than you think.

PS: Do you feel any sense of indifference towards what you're presenting on stage, or has doing your act over and over helped to win over your fan base?

C32: Not indifference. The more we play, the more surprised we are by the audiences reaction...even more so than they are when they see us play.

PS: Do you regard Florida as a hometown where you can make it or do you both as artists feel that touring outside of the state is necessary to draw attention to what you’re doing?

TV: Touring outside the nation would make it easier to achieve fame but it is not necessary.

SB: I agree, touring would be nice and I would like to expose people to a live Cystem 32 show, but with the internet it makes it somewhat easier at getting our name out there, only we just need to be advertised.

PS: In your own words, what is a live show featuring the music of Cystem 32 like?

TV: Different, a lot of fun for us and the audience. Its exceptional.

SB: Our shows often leave people who don't know us confused and intrigued. People seem to think we do some heavy narcotics.

PS: How long have each of you been involved in music?

TV: Well Cystem 32 has been around for about ten months, but my interest in music has gone back to as far as I can remember.

SB: I've been interested in music ever since I played video games. Sound has always captivated me and what better way to express it by making something few people here in Miami have heard.

PS: Is the select group of people that you mentioned; the ones that you are getting through---are they fellow musicians as well? The reason I'm asking this is because I'm trying to see if your sound is favored more by musicians that know and understand the mechanics of what it is you're trying to do and present on stage. In this instance, would you say that it's easier to play to fellow musicians than it is to an audience with a taste for music appreciation?

C32: Quite often it is fellow musicians that appreciate our form of expression. Occasionally, we also find the "enlightened" audience that sees us for who we really are.

PS: Do you regard your music as an art form or as more of just a basic mode of sonic expression?

TV: It has elements of both in it.

SB: It's all for you to figure out. That I can say.

PS: Do you consider yourselves to be more like musicians or DJ’s?

TV: Musicians. Absolutely, because DJ's don't make music and we do. They don't make their own music.

PS: What instruments do you play then?

C32: This is all we play. "The Voice" & Safiok Brains each play the same instruments while taking turns in live performances except "The Voice" plays guitar and does singing, while Safiok Brains does the backup singing. Overall, our arsenal includes: samples, synthesizers, guitar pedals, tape recorders, GameBoy programs, GameBoys, backing tracks, metal popcorn cans, & singing. The only thing we have not tried out live yet are our metal popcorn cans.

SB: Musicians, not stars but musicians.

Cystem 32 Image

PS: Describe the preparation involved behind the stage personas of "The Voice" and Safiok Brains...how did they evolve as the essential characters behind your stage act?

TV: Preparation for my stage persona, "The Voice" requires much mental preparation and embodiment. My practice in a local acting class helps this process. "The Voice" was born because he was asked to be born, unconsciously by disruption in society. He serves to represent a mode which many a person in today's world would conform to.

SB: Preparation requires discipline, on a daily basis. Acting classes have help me out in characterizing. Safiok Brains came from every dark thought or thing unimaginable to man that he conjures in his subconscious. We as a society are not stable, this character represents the darkness that inhibits the world that most kids have forgotten about due to the millennium and how this millennium ends up taking the 1980's and redoing it in every aspect possible for example the clothes, fashion, movies, and music. They all come back in full swing. Unfortunately the millennium only brought cliches and shows that everything has been done already and theirs an unnecessary need to do it over again and make it seem different. But deep down, inside the character, Safiok Brains and myself both know it's all been done before.

PS: And as follow up to the very last answer you gave me in regards to preparation (Safiok's answer specifically, that is) Do you feel what you're doing has already been done before? And if not, then...what would you say you're doing differently when it comes to performing, songwriting, or just the creating the music in general?

C32: It has been done before. Take a look at the industrial revolution of 1976. Throbbing Gristle made the genre and it was embraced by Monte Cazazza, SPK, Non, Nurse with Wound, Cabaret Voltaire, Clock DVA, etc., etc. We are only able to rediscover these "lost elements" (and its true, Throbbing Gristle now a days are so distant, people don't consider them to be the pioneers of industrial music) because we are at a 50/50 with knowing what industrial music is originally comprised of and we recreate it and share it with the rest of the world. We are okay with this.

PS: Also, besides MySpace, do you guys have a website where you sell your music, either per track or as an whole CD package?

C32: We currently do not have a website to sell music. The only times we sell music is during our live performances.

Well, there you have it, folks... Cystem 32; children of the techno industrial wilderness, and legends in their own time. This has been P.S. Elliott (AKA: Dr. Gonzo XXVII) reporting for the disassociated press, that is... The Gnoyze Guitar Mods & More Web Blog.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Interview with C~of~W - The Pioneers of Rebel Rock

Recently, I became aware of this band, that was recently stirring up a buzz down here in Florida, so I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to interview them for this blog. The band in question is none other than C~of~W (which stands... well, read below to find out!). What was even more surprising to me was that the band is actually a family... which is a pretty rare site to see in this day and age. And even rarer is the fact that the lead guitarist and vocalist is a child prodigy that's only "knee high to a grasshopper" as the Red Hot Chilli Peppers would say. They have an up and coming engagement at an event called SoCool Evenue, so please be sure to check it out, for this is a band that is definitely not to be missed. So without any further ado, below is the interview that I conducted with Oggur P.C. (vocalist/keyboardist) of C~of~W.

PS: Cite your musical influences for us.

OPC: Our biggest musical influence is definitely U2. But who can come close to ever sounding like them. We have literally woken up with their music, watched over and over their live concert videos and in our car that’s what’s always playing besides our own shit.


PS: How many instruments do you play and which one would you consider to be your main instrument?

OPC: Well I play the drums and keyboard, my son Elternative plays the guitar as well as the drums. But I will be focused more on vocals for live play, but will continue playing the drums on some of our recordings, I love it.

PS: What do the initials C~of~W stand for?

OPC: What does C~of~W stand for? C~of~W stands for "Cup of Wine"... and there’s a crazy story behind it, and how we came up with the name.

PS: Would you care to elaborate upon that a little more?

OPC: Glad you asked. Okay, so it all starts on us figuring out what the name should be. Elternative wanted a different name but the name he wanted was already taken. I happen to always drink wine before I go to sleep, I hate sleeping by the way, and one day as I was sipping away on my wine I said to Elternative, we should name it "Cup of Wine". He actually liked the idea, but wanted to abbreviate it. After a few discussions and uncertainties my wife searched the word "Cup of Wine". It so happens that in the Jewish Religion, they celebrate a feast where they serve five cups of wine on the table, they drink four out of the five cups and the last cup they leave full in acceptance of Elijah the Prophet whom some believe to be the Messiah. They call it Elijah’s Cup of Wine. My son’s real name is Elijah and this is his band so when we read that we definitely knew it had to be "C~of~W" for "Elijah’s Cup of Wine".

PS: What genre would you say best classifies the music that you're producing?

OPC: We really don’t know, but my son describes it as "Rebel Rock" because we oppose every system that’s out there. All of our songs are so different from each other that it’s hard to say. Some have said its indie, some punk rock, others hardcore. But I like Elternative’s description better.

PS: How many members are in the band and how many have their been to date?

OPC: We have four members right now, though we started with three; My son, myself and my wife. My little sister joined us after the first four songs were being recorded.

PS: Is it hard to find a balance between a personal life and a professional one, when it comes to playing music together as a family?

OPC: Man, playing together as a family is great. We all live together and we are always together. We are all in awe in what we’re doing and in what we’ve created. My wife and sister are just filling in, in what my son and I were missing. We started out not knowing what the heck we were doing, only knowing that we loved making music and that we wanted to play live in front of a crowd, whether it was two people or thousands of people. We enjoyed each other's company but knew we needed a couple of more elements to join us. We asked a couple of experienced boy’s to join us, but both denied and we ended up with these two fine chicks. When it’s time for business, when it’s time for rehearsal we are all focused, when it’s time to promote we are all focused, when it’s time to take time off we enjoy each other’s company once more, music is a gift, and we are all enjoying this wonderful journey of being an artist...


PS: Which song do you consider your favorite and could you tell us why?

OPC: Favorite song? Man... they are all so special, but it definitely my son’s favorite is Magazines Don’t Have Pictures. Its unique guitar riffs, drums, bass and lyrics are all just a fresh new sound. Mine is Song of My Fellow. It has so many angles, beats, an intermission where it completely slows down and then speeds back up, it’s truly a cool song. My wife’s favorite is one called Dawgs and the reason is because that’s where she was most passionate on the bass guitar. My sister’s favorite is Dumb obviously because of the drums...

PS: To date how many albums, demos, singles, etc. has your band released?

OPC: We have just finished our first album entitled Shells on the Beach which will be out on June 20th, 2009.

PS: What would you say are the central themes or subjects behind your songs?

OPC: We speak about everything that goes on in our personal life, also about an abandoned generation being raised without parents and being raised on television, and being told, what to think, what to believe, what to study and all the other make believe crap.

PS: Could you share with us your thoughts on the local music scene here in Florida... like, do you think it still has a long way to go before it actually caters to musicians, or do you think that it's fine the way it is?

OPC: I think we have so much talent and potential down here in Miami. We just need a specific band to go out and put us back on the map so we can get the attention of both the country and the world. We’re willing to take on that task, so... let the revolution begin!

PS: I've been told that your band is generating a buzz down here recently. What in your opinion, do you think attributes to that success?

OPC: This is a 24 hour business. You have to hustle, take risks, and be creative. We’re just constantly coming up with ideas on how to market ourselves. But this comes from an invisible and creative place within, and only then will the doors open. Our sound, unique lineup, lyrics, staying in touch with our fans and supporters is another great aspect of it. You can’t just expect people to like you and follow you just because you sound good, there are tons of bands out there and you need to separate yourself in some kind of way, and really show people you care. I mean they’re the ones who buy and listen to your music; the least you can do is acknowledge them. Especially in the beginning when your fan base is not that big.

PS: And as a follow up to that question (and the one prior to it, as well...) do you think that local bands can actually start making something happening to change the music landscape down here in Florida, or do you feel that it is necessary for them to have to go someplace else and tour the country in order to raise awareness about what's going on down here?

OPC: Man, I’m a firm believer in starting in your own backyard. But you have to go against the current, be innovative, it takes more than talent, it takes courage, guts and a lot of faith in what you’re doing. It all depends on what you want though, if music is just a hobby than treat it like that, but if music is what you’re really passionate about and want to make a career out of it, then you have to launch out and separate yourself from those that are treating it like a hobby.

PS: Do you think that social network sites help a great deal in getting in touch with or at least acquiring a strong fan base, or do you leave it more up to live appearances to do just that?

OPC: If you’re serious about your work, then you need to put your name in how many things you can. Create a buzz, act like you’ve made it. Act, walk, and talk like you’re the biggest thing since the freaking Beatles.




PS: Describe what performing on stage is like for you as a musician, and/or an individual, for that matter...

OPC: That’s what we live for, that’s why Elternative started the band. He loves to perform and is great at it. The interaction with the crowd, to feed off them, to see them singing along to your songs...it’s truly a supernatural experience. Elternative’s reason for starting the band was to play in front of thousands of people. That’s what really motivates him, not the studio part and recording, but rather being on stage and just letting go and feeling free. It’s a place of freedom, a place where you can be yourself; as both an artist and an entertainer.

PS: Where do you see your music headed towards in say the next couple of years?

OPC: Where do we see our music going? We will continue to evolve as musicians. Never getting comfortable but always pushing towards a fresh start. Every song is different, every sound is never alike, and so we’ll continue to surprise ourselves as well as our fans. Our album sounds like nothing I've ever heard before and that is the comment we hear the most. Most absolutely love it, others just hate it, but that’s the sign of pioneering. A pioneer's work is first criticized, then analyzed and finally it's imitated.

PS: Do you feel as though your band is a novelty act... what with it being a family band and all, as well as having a child prodigy behind the guitar?

OPC: Well, this is his idea. His dream and he wanted us in it. I’m just glad I can be part of it. I don’t know how long we will be doing this, he wants to make about sixty albums, and we are already starting to work on the next ones. The way music is being made and marketed is changing so rapidly, so I think maybe it won’t be sixty albums, but a whole lot of songs coming. But knowing him, it will be about sixty albums. [laughing out loud]

PS: Do you personally feel that something as unique as your set up/make up/or whatever it is that sets you apart from the rest of the bands out there; can be subject to wearing off as the years progress?

OPC: Anything can wear off at any time, we love to evolve, my son will evolve, and all of us will evolve as musicians as well as artists. The cool thing is that our music and songs are not little kid's songs... they’re controversial, truthful and very relevant to our time. The first four songs were just a little taste of what the rest of the album will be. We will experiment with as much as possible on the next albums; we are now coming to know so many other great bands and styles of music. I can’t say we will follow any specific motto or style but one thing is for sure we will be our own biggest fans and our biggest critics. This is just me and my son’s first business venture that we have done together. So you'll have to enjoy us while it lasts. We will stop whenever we feel is time to stop. We have other ventures in mind for the future, such as movies, animation shows, websites, engineering roller coasters and so much more. Music is just a step to catapult us to higher heights... although, music is our first passion and base.

PS: Thank you very much for doing this interview.

Well, there you have it folks! C~of~W, the self-proclaimed pioneers of "Rebel Rock". Be sure to get their new album Shells on the Beach, which will be out on iTunes soon. And also, if you're on Twitter be sure to follow them as well for all their latest happenings...

This has been P.S. Elliott (AKA: Dr. Gonzo XXVII) reporting for the disassociated press, that is... The Gnoyze Guitar Mods & More Web Blog. Peace (frog) out!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Ladies and Gentlemen... The Van Orsdels

About a week back when I was dropping off some of my guitars to get fixed at Guitar Center, I ran into an old friend of mine, who just so happens to be the drummer for the band The Van Orsdels. I asked if he would care to do an interview for his band, to which he said sure, and after exchanging emails and sending him the questions, I took a look at my inbox, and noticed that I got a response from the group's singer (George Van Orsdel...AKA: GVO for all continuity purposes of this here blog interview) with the answers provided to the questions I sent. So without any further ado, here's the interview with The Van Orsdels...

PS: Cite your musical influences, as well as the band’s influences in general, for us.

GVO: As a band, we are influenced by such bands as The Nekromantix, Mad Sin, The Misfits, and musical styles ranging from psychobilly, punk, surf, metal. Our music definitely runs the gamut. It comes from the fact that each band member comes from a different musical background. I (George) come from a punk/psychobilly background, stuff like The Misfits, Social Distortion, The Damned, and a lot of psychobilly, whereas Rich comes from a metal background, with personal influences like Tool and Mike Patton projects. Orlando comes from a rock background with heavy training in jazz guitar from the likes of Django Reinhardt, and also a lot of classic rock stuff. Steve comes from a rockabilly and punk and hardcore background. Each of us bring a little something different to the table, and in the end it all works out beautifully.

PS: Can you describe the line up for me…like for example, what instrument does each band member play, etc.?

GVO: I am the singer, I have been with the band since the beginning (I started the band along with the original guitarist Todd), Rich plays drums and has been with the band about four years now, off and on. Steve plays the upright bass and he's been in the band now for about a year and a half and our newest member and guitarist Orlando, has only been with the band a couple of months, but has already brought a lot to the table.

PS: And as a follow up to that question...how well would you say that the band works together when it comes to rehearsal, presentation, coming up with new material, etc. as opposed to other bands that you’ve been in before?

GVO: I think we all work very well together. Each member does a great job coming up with their respective parts. Rich and Steve always manage to come up with great drum and bass parts. Orlando has already shown that he is very good at writing music. I think the line-up we have now is strong, and it seems that we are well on our way to writing a whole new batch of songs for our next CD.


PS: Where does the name The Van Orsdels come from and what does it mean?

GVO: There are many stories and explanations to where the name came from. I remember reading about William Wesley Van Orsdel, a reverend who started a church in Montana back in the late 1800's. Apparently years later the church became abandoned and there were rumors it was haunted. The story fascinated me and I thought the name Van Orsdel sounded cool and at the same time sounded spooky, like some old European doctor, like Victor Von Frankenstein or something. Also, there is a Van Orsdel Cemetery in Louisiana, which adds to the dark aspect of it.

PS: Also, would you say that The Ramones influenced your band to use sibling stage names for the act altogether? (i.e. Hoggin’ Dick Van Orsdel, Orlando Van Orsdel, Satch “the Bruiser” Van Orsdel, George Van Orsdel, etc.)

GVO: I would definitely say The Ramones influenced us in the sense that we all use the same last name as stage names. It's not only a nod to The Ramones, but to me it's always represented a sense of unity in the band, something I feel is very important. To me, being in a band is likened to a family or marriage. There is a sense of unity, a bond. I am a HUGE Ramones fan, going back to when I was a kid.

PS: Can you explain what the genre of Pyschobilly entails exactly?

GVO: Well, psychobilly basically started by combining the sensibilities and fashion of 1950's era rockabilly, with the raw energy and aggression of punk rock. The Cramps, as much as they will deny being a part of the psychobilly genre are actually considered the originators of psychobilly, but The Meteors are probably considered the first band to call themselves true psychobilly. The scene has definitely grown in the past twenty years worldwide, with internationally known bands such as Mad Sin, Demented Are Go, Nekromantix, Tiger Army, and many others.

PS: How many members are in the band and how many have there been to date?

GVO: The Van Orsdels consists of four members. As far as past members go, we've been through our share of band members and line-up changes. I think all in all we have had a total of about twelve members in six and a half years; including the current members.

PS: What would you say are the central themes behind your songs?

GVO: I am the main lyricist, and since I have always been a huge fan of horror and monster movies, my lyrics tend to lean toward those central themes, although we do have many songs that were written on life experiences or people I've known, or friends who have died. Psychobilly music usually lends itself to dark images of zombies, monsters, etc, so some of our music also leans towards those topics.

PS: Which song do you consider your favorite and could you tell us why?

GVO: Personally, I like "Shallow Grave" because it's a fun song to play, very melodic, but also because it was written about a friend of mine who passed away.

PS: To date how many albums, demos, singles, etc. has your band released...and are you working on any new material at the moment?

GVO: We have our full length CD, Miami Morgue Riot! which was released on Crazy Love Records, a psychobilly label based in Germany. Then there's our debut seven-song CD, titled Ain't Life A Drag? as well as a CD of outtakes, demos, and previously unreleased tracks called Leftovers. We are also featured on the SoFla Records compilation CD entitled SoFla, So Good, So What? as well as a Cleopatra Records Psychobilly Christmas CD, where we recorded a cover version of "You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch" which was a lot of fun to do. At the moment, we are in the process of writing material for our next CD. Things are moving pretty good and we're hoping that towards the end of this year we can start recording it for an early 2010 release, hopefully sooner.

PS: Could you share with us your opinion on the local music scene here in Florida...like, where it fails or where it actually works?

GVO: I think the psychobilly scene in Florida isn't as strong as I would personally like it to be, but I think that is partly because a lot of people aren't familiar with the genre, or haven't been exposed to it. We do get a lot of support from the punk crowds, because our music definitely lends itself to a punk feel. The punk rock crowds have been incredibly supportive of us, and have helped us along, as well as the die-hard psychobilly fans around the state. I think the one thing the Florida music scene can benefit from is working together as a whole instead of trying topple each other over. Many times have I seen bands try to sabotage other bands, and in the end all it does it hurt the scene. We are all here trying to accomplish the same thing, to improve the South Florida music, and show the rest of the nation that we have a lot of great bands and music to offer.

PS: What in your opinion, do you think attributes to a band’s success?

GVO: I feel that hard work and determination goes a long way. Dedication and responsibility as well. I have been in many bands and have played with many musicians and I have noticed the ones who work hard and dedicate themselves to their art are the ones who go further. The Van Orsdels have been around six and a half years, and in that time we have hit more than our fair share of road bumps. We have dealt with things that would've normally destroyed a band, but I have been determined to make this band succeed. I feel this band still has much to offer musically, and so we continue forward.

PS: Do you think that local bands can actually start making something happening to change the music landscape down here in Florida, or do you think it relies more upon support from the industry as a whole?

GVO: I think bands need help on both levels. Bands can definitely make a difference by getting exposure, playing shows, getting their name out there, work together. At the same time, as is the case in South Florida, a lot of the venues aren't willing to work with the local bands to get shows. Many venues won't bother giving local bands the time of day, and in turn the local bands and scene suffers because they don't have anywhere to play. Venues like Churchills Pub in Miami has always been very supportive of the local scene, but there are still many places, especially in Broward County, who don't bother with the local scene, they would rather book nation acts and charge $20 per ticket. That doesn't help the local bands or scene at all. I think the local music industry has to recognize and support the local acts, they need to try harder.

PS: Do you think that social networking sites help a great deal in promoting the band, or do The Van Orsdels rely more upon live settings to do that?

GVO: Absolutely! Sites like MySpace have definitely been good to us. It's a great way of getting exposure, and it's a great way of sharing your music, informing fans of upcoming shows, etc. I have always been a strong believer in promoting, and I never pass up the opportunity to go to a show and hand out flyers for upcoming shows, but that only gets you so far. I think sites like MySpace can get you exposure on a greater level, more so than just handing out fliers at a local show. Not only on a local level, but internationally. We have fans all over the world, thanks to the widespread exposure we've gotten through MySpace, and our official website.

PS: Describe what performing on stage is like for you as a musician...

GVO: For me, it's one of the greatest feelings. I have been performing in bands over half my life, and it's the one thing I can't do without. It's such a rush to be onstage. And I love it, whether it's playing for a crowd of 20 or 200, it's still an amazing feeling. It truly is my drug. I'm sure the guys in the band share my feelings.

PS: Where do you see your music headed towards in say the next couple of years?

GVO: I think we still have a lot to offer. As I mentioned, we're working on a whole new batch of songs, as well as other projects. We have some music that will be featured in an upcoming horror movie, so I would definitely like to explore that avenue some more. I would also like to see our horizon broaden, try new things, new sounds in our music. I am very excited about what the future holds for The Van Orsdels.

PS: Thanks for agreeing to do this interview. This is P.S. Elliott (AKA: Dr. Gonzo XXVII), reporting for the disassociated press, that is... The Gnoyze Guitar Mods & More Web Blog.  If you haven't checked out The Van Osdels Site yet, do yourself a favor and check it out! And if you're on MySpace, be sure to add them as a friend so you can catch them at their next scheduled live appearance!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The New Mauxms Album Review

Recently I was proposed with the idea of giving a write up to the new upcoming Mauxms album, and I just couldn't resist to share a couple of words on this subject, all for the sake of my blog audience, or anyone who's really into supporting the local Florida music scene in general. Gabe was courteous enough to give me an acetate of his band's newly polished tracks, which will appear on their upcoming LP, which is still in the works as we speak. So as you can see, I'm really excited about delivering this review on it. Anyways, after listening closely to the tracks, these were some of the words that came to mind...

Mauxms Album Cover Art

Anthem opens up with a symphonic cacophony of horns set against a spontaneous break beat that's purposely (and masterfully) out of control. The refined madness in this instance is obviously a hats off to Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention (circa Lumpy Gravy or Uncle Meat, for that matter). You can also hear traces of Hugh Masekela, Miles Davis, or the soundscapes that Jimi Hendrix was exploring during his Band of Gypsies/Gypsy Sun and Rainbows period. It's not until the song reaches its close that one begins to realize what exactly prompted this track's livelihood. It seems to be a rehashing of the very famous Also Sprach Zarathustra (AKA: The 2001: A Space Odyssey theme) but cleverly done in such a way that it comes off as a highly original (tight budget orchestra-like) opening number while also paying homage to the original symphonic piece. The red eye of the freakish rogue ship's computer Hal comes to mind here, resonating the onerous phrase "I'm afraid I can't do that, Dave!" and goes on to echo eerily within the confines of my mind. Of course, that's just my eccentric influential take on it all. One only needs to attend a live Mauxms show and see them make it their own center piece for the night, summoning up their free formed rhythm section of sonic magic in order to pave the way for the wonders of the blues, jazz, psychedelic, and all the other funk-like experimentation to come.

On'er Blues sounds like it was taped straight from a live performance. One can almost smell the smoky atmosphere of a blues lounge on this number. It begins with a cross between a Boston number and what one would normally hear coming from the likes of The Saturday Night Live Orchestra. The only thing missing here is a celebrity walking to the stage and doing his warm up routine. Of course, in this instance...it's the band themselves that are providing the warm up, for themselves, as they go into very well delivered solos, which are all heralded by the funky chanting of James Partridge, singing: "Get up! Get it on top of me now!" This very well polished studio gem, and what makes the song all the more exciting are the cues calling for the guitar solo work of Gabe Mendoza as well as a bass solo, provided courtesy of Andrew Herrero whose virtuoso technicality reminds me of Jaco Pastorius. The song also sounds like something out of a Traffic repertoire as well. I'm thinking Light Up or Leave Me Alone. Very cool, man! Very cool... trey superb, to say the least!

Ponsela conjures up several images of free form jazz play a la the likes of King Crimson In the Court of the Crimson King, and then switches gears into a progressive drum solo highly reminiscent of Neil Peart (of Rush) and/or Stewart Copeland (of The Police). If I wasn't paying careful attention to the song I'm playing, I could have sworn that my Mp3 player changed tracks on me and was kicking out the jams with Demolition Man. Science! Come to life, indeed... Javier Mendez and Ronald Romero are by all accounts, indeed a very tight rhythmic section; two syncopated drum machines to be reckoned with---with a bevy of drum stick swirls and percussive beats to boot!James Partridge's vocals soar while offering the cleverly written couplet in the opening verse; "You cannot hide what you cannot vanish, you can lie but you cannot damage..." After the tempo stops and fades into another movement, he summons the spirit of Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin fame and embodies the cool vocal styling very much like Plant does in the Zeppelin staple I Can't Quit You Baby. The tune later cascades into a percussive driven tour de force, with the line: "¡Tu No Puede Salvarte!" which literally translates into "You Can't Save Yourself!" which is also reminiscent of early Santana back in their 60's Woodstock heyday with their electrifying rendition of Soul Sacrifice and all. Yes, sir... nobody is safe from The Mauxms' unstoppable musical tour de force!

Perhaps the most exciting and moving piece comes in the form of Vesuvium. The beginning cymbal crashes pave the way for what can only be described as a nod to Frank Zappa and his City of Tiny Lights. It then fades into several musical suites, some of which remind me of The Red Hot Chilli Peppers' (Blood Sugar Sex Magik, and/or any of the other funky numbers from the Californication album). As the song progresses, the tempo changes into a slow moving blues piece that can only be described as something out of the early Pink Floyd catalog, particularly something in the More Movie Soundtrack (I'm guessing maybe Quicksilver, or More Blues?). Portions of this section also remind me of The Floyd's live onstage performances of Embryo, Sheep, and/or Pigs (Three Different Ones)for that matter as well...don't ask me why, it just sounds good! It is here where Gabe Mendoza's guitar work is at its peak, using a handful of delay and compressor pedals at his disposal. You know you can always rate the musical abilities of a musician by not only how great they perform, and/or what they play, but also for their technical know how when it comes to using effects at their advantage. And these boys, are definitely no exception to that rule.

If you haven't had a chance to see The Mauxms perform live, then do yourself a favor and add them as a friend on MySpace and go out to one of their shows. You won't be disappointed. For this, my friends, is the epitome of what a great band is; and what good music should be, for that matter! Anyways, that's just my two cents worth on this exciting subject. I hope you all will dig it as much as I have. Until next time...

This has been P.S. Elliott (AKA: Dr. Gonzo XXVII) reporting for the disassociated blog that is The Gnoyze Guitar Mods & More Web Blog.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Interview with Gabe Mendoza of The Mauxms

Months back when I was helping to put shows together for a venue I'd rather forget about... but will eventually write about in my semi autobiographical memoirs (whenever I get around to writing them), I happened to stumble across this really enthusiastic group through MySpace that were interested in performing at what would have been the first venue show of 2009, on the last Friday of January (since I was in charge of arranging end of the month shows, and whatnot). Unfortunately, things just fell apart (as usual) for me and my growing sense of disenchantment with the powers that be and all; meaning of course, the potential hassles from the city regarding noise complaints, as well as a whole other bevy of reasons, which were referenced in the (now out-of-commission) T-Central profile blog on MySpace (most of which will someday be recounted in that aforementioned semi autobiographical book I have planned). Any who, this particular group The Mauxms (pronounced "The Moms" and not "The Malcolm's" as I initially thought) is one of those rare exceptions that can best classify the potential of what the South Florida music scene really has to offer. Their leanings towards blues, jazz, funk, and just about every other style in between transcends itself rather fluidly on the stage.

This is not just your typical garage band here, folks...these cats are really well versed when it comes to their musical vocabulary. And one can easily take notice of the creative foundations that start to shake once they are performing. It's these subtle textures, these shades of musical preferences, that their music is centered around, that really makes seeing them play live all worth while. I recently had the opportunity to get an exclusive interview with Gabe Mendoza (lead guitarist and founding member of the group) which was conducted via email (which I sent just last night, only to be met with an almost immediate reply of YES!); followed by the question as to whether or not I wanted to conduct the interview via instant messaging (which to date, I've never once seen work on MySpace) or via the regular email messaging system. I opted for the second, because it's terribly easier to do it this way sometimes. And taking into the consideration the one infamous complaint that I received from an artist regarding my purported misquoting and all (which again, I hope to write about in my upcoming novel), I've decided to just follow the principle of the simple copy and paste routine and not edit the responses to the extreme. Although I am still prone to correcting grammatical errors every now and again, as well as sentence structure. So please don't sue me for misquotable (sic) distortion here folks, for this is just a work in progress... and I'm not really a journalist, I only play a Gonzo-lite on the internet! lol. Anyways, with all that out of the way, what follows are the words that he had to share with us regarding his band, the passion behind the music he creates, his view on the local music scene in general, and the immediate future for the band The Mauxms. He told me he'd type up the responses in about fifteen minutes, which he did (more or less...) and that he typed fast, which he demonstrated to me right away, for he just, and I quote "shot down" all those answers within a matter of minutes. So without any further ado, here's my interview with Gabe Mendoza (i.e. "GM:" which is not to be confused with the car manufacturer that just went belly up). Anyways... Enjoy!

PS: Cite your musical influences, as well as the band’s influences in general, for us.

GM: The group comes from many diverse backgrounds, but we all tend to agree with certainty on funk like James Brown, Parliament, and also Bootsy Collins. As for me, I am into many and all things jazz and blues. Not straight ahead stuff, but basically every mainstream genre "played through" jazz; jazz rock, blues, psychedelic, progressive, and best of all...free jazz. Even The Beatles were jazz (at times).

PS: How many bands have you been in prior to this one?

GM: I have been in one band prior to this. It was only last year that I was playing with a group by the name of The 2AM and I actually played my first "show" of my life with them. It was fun and a good summer fling, but I wanted to play different music.

PS: Describe the line up for us...meaning, how many members are there and what instrument does each band member play, etc.?

GM: At the moment there are a total of five members in The Mauxms. We have James Partridge on vocals, Andrew Herrero on bass, Ronald Romero on percussion/fx, and Javier Mendez on drums. I play guitar. We are still on the hunt for the three missing elements of the group, which are Tenor Sax, Keyboards/Synths, and a second guitar.

PS: And as a follow up to those two previous questions...how well would you say that the band works together when it comes to rehearsal, presentation, coming up with new material, etc. as opposed to other bands that you’ve been in before?

GM: This group is like nothing we have ever been in before. I doubt their past groups used to keep in touch on a daily basis and send out weekly newsletters with information of where practice will be held and other “internal matters”. We have strict policies and respect for being on time and our hard work always seems to pay off in the end, when we feel play a good show. As for overall operation, it’s always made clear before anyone joins that ego’s are to be checked at the door and no idea is a bad idea until proven so. This way there is no "fear of rejection" or ridicule when an idea is presented. A lot of the things that make this group interesting have come from experimentation and pure curiosity.

PS: Where does the name The Mauxms come from and what does it mean?

GM: "Mauxms" is just another way to write "Moms". Where it came from I can’t really say... it just came out of my pen one day and went down in a book. It was meant to be used as a pen name, or maybe it was some subconscious thing from listening to Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention. Just remember; the X is silent.

PS: How did the band form?

GM: I always had an eye for putting the right team together and so while I was always out playing shows and meeting people, I had a keen eye on who I wanted to create a group with. Everything worked out in that we were all able to come together at the right time and actually get along well enough to see this project through. The band formed from a musical hunger and understanding that this isn’t some kind of a weekend band thing.

PS: Which one’s Pink? Meaning... is there a leader, or are all of you, each in their own way, an essential ingredient to what makes the band function as a whole?

GM: I formed the group, but it was always made clear that myself or anyone in the group wasn't the group. We are all parts that make the whole. Cheesy, yes. But this is where the magic lies within us. Though there is the saying; "You can’t have too many chefs in the kitchen", and to an extent this is true but with all the ideas floating around it wouldn’t work out if I were the one that was "doing all the driving."


PS: What genre or category would you say that the music your band produces falls into?

GM: Ready? Jazz – Rock – Punk – Progressive – Latin – Psychedelic... This is a never ending question that we are faced with. In all honesty; putting this under a genre and calling it a day might keep that one listener away who looks only to the "labels" that critics have put on music. Helpful as they may be, they don’t seem to encompass exactly what we are doing at the moment.

PS: Do you regard your band as just being a quintessential jam band, or do you regard it as something more with a message to it, lyrically and/or otherwise?

GM: Well, the term "jam band" is something thrown around so lightly today that its almost lost its meaning altogether. When musicians first get together and "jam," this can already be considered a "jam band." The Miles Davis, Quintet, and everything he went on to do in the 70’s can also be considered a "jam band" but those guys were really cooking. We do explore certain parts of our music, but not enough to be labeled as a "jam band" at least, I think...

James has only scratched the surface with the lyrical talent he possesses. We are quintessential hard workers and a group of guys who aren’t looking to make a quick buck with what's "In" at the moment.

PS: Which song (that you’ve written with the group) do you consider to be your favorite? And could you tell us why...?

GM: Well, Ponsela still stands as one of the funner (sic) songs to explore, with all the sections. But the bridge in Vesuvium is still one of my favorite sections to enter in the songs we play. And then there's the song Anthem, which is always fun to play to new ears.

PS: To date how many albums, demos, singles, etc. has your band released...and are you working on any new material at the moment?

GM: Since we only started in November of 08' and actually found the core in April, we have our EP and a handful of cover songs which we enjoy performing. With our self titled EP being released mid June 09' (go to www.themauxms.com for more information) we have already begun to answer the question many have, which is: "So what else you got?" And my answer is: Expect the new material in form of an LP as well as an interesting story.

PS: Could you share with us your opinion on the local music scene here in Florida... like, where it fails or where it actually works?

GM: I'm actually one of the worst people to answer this question about "Miami's scene" in that I only got into it last year. Conversations about Poison the Well shows, Twice the Sun, Nonpoint, and all those cool things that were happening here usually don’t come with many words from me. I was playing sports at the time and not doing the slightest thing with music. As for what I see happening now, I must say the music scene here is somewhat of a drab and sometimes just a few "well planned events" from becoming something like it used to be (from what I've heard of it). If money is what a band who plays original music locally here is after, they will not find it.

I personally feel there needs to be more competition among all the acts here in Miami. Some kind of a standard needs to be set. A standard of performance. Bands need to understand that we are dealing with a very "fickle" city and one that’s culturally spread so thin that one must work twice as hard to "capture" new listeners. Attention and care needs to be put by the bands and the promoters to create an atmosphere that creates a reception for the audience to receive and give back to the bands.

Promoters also need to create a more comfortable atmosphere for the bands. Too many are in it for the quick buck, and most haven’t ever played an instrument or lugged a giant AMPEG bass cab through a sea of people. Events should be planned for their quality over their quantity. No one really cares to sift through four shitty bands to finally get through an act they like at 12:30AM.

PS: And as a follow up to that question, what do you like and what do you hate about the music scene down here in Florida?

GM: I think I summed it all up in my rant above. I do love the commitment of the people here who work to keep this thing alive. I love also the fans that you would never see anywhere else but at a show...these are the people who will go and buy a CD and will follow you faithfully. I just hate that there aren’t enough of these people around here.

PS: What in your opinion, do you think attributes to a band’s success?

GM: Hard work; communication; networking; a strong vision; goals; an understanding of what you DON'T want; and finally, good songs, not bad ones.

PS: Do you think that social networking sites help a great deal in promoting bands in general, or do The Mauxms rely more upon live settings to do that?

GM: We are still too small and too new to really feel the effectiveness of the "social networking" thing. Does it get the word out? Yes. Does the attendance at shows reflect how many people "saw" or "clicked attending"? [laughing out loud] In all honesty though, we have a very keen eye and understanding that social networking sites are something to stay and if used effectively, you can tap into a much wider audience than you could ever today with newspapers and/or radio.

PS: Describe what performing on stage is like for you as a musician...

GM: Input and output. We plug in, and put out our sound. On the other side of the stage, people are letting us in and responding back with their attention and actions. It's a cycle, we as musicians give only to receive from the listener and only to give it right back. To connect with an audience like that is probably the reason why BB King still plays at the age of 82 (now deceased at the time of this republication), or Clapton, or McLaughlin, for that matter. You can’t escape the beauty of performance. I also see it as going to work; showing up; being ready for all the unexpected things to happen in the night and building up that excitement and anticipation to play, then finally having the chance to do so. It’s like curing and itch.

PS: Where do you see your music headed towards in say the next couple of years?

GM: Our music would likely be one of constant evolution and the search for new sounds. What was done on a previous record, shouldn't really need to resurface as if it was all over again in the next. This is the approach most bands who have a foot (or two) in the business end up doing. Some call it "selling out," but I think it’s just the never ending search for new musical palettes and the new music that all the experiences life has taken them through with the old sounds.

PS: Thanks for doing this interview.


Photo courtesy of Christina Mendoza

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