Saturday, May 27, 2017

Johnnny Tsunami Serves Savory Renditions - Musk Minus Mochelly - Armin Yaeger's Benefit Show

Like most places, Monterey is rather historic - it’s culture carries with it a perpetual legacy to which locals stubbornly adhere in one way or another. So with all the tin cans and classic literature and hippies, it might seem difficult to create a lasting impact in this sleepy place. In this vein, one could debate the importance of, and too the difference between legacy and history for some time. I know, for I have battled the query myself. Speaking before the world’s grand theater, they are like lupines and monkeyflowers, or like trap music and rap music. Each are apparently the same upon an undeveloped glance, but have paltry similarities. While both legacy and history are derived of time passed, and while both are easily distorted, obscured, or weaponized, history is objective, while legacy is subjective. Legacy cannot exist without history, just as philosophy cannot exist without science, and while asking which came first is an evolutionary paradox, one can certainly annotate when both are witnessed in the same event. For all this bullshit that might induce brooding in even the most stoic of intellects, however, I am actually prefacing what some would (correctly) deem a minor affair, as most are in Monterey County. To what I refer is an intimate event that celebrated a little bit of legacy, while creating a little bit of history, albeit the procession’s containment within a quintessential dive bar in Seaside, named Cuz’s Sportsman’s Club. Mental Musk, minus Mochkelly, offered a rejuvenating performance, after their retirement from a most quarrelsome gig with which they wrestled in valor for entirely too long. With their Stetson-donned drummer who substituted Patrick Kelly in addition to his normal obligations, so too did perform the legion of long-lived locals, known as Johnny Tsunami and The Shoulder Hoppers, the intermissions serenaded by Yvan Vucina. The role these two bands adopted, although on the night after Chris Cornell’s suicide, was not in his honor, (though honored Cornell would have been to attend this show) but rather in honor of a man who I’d only grinned to meet between the two ensembles. A surfer, he is, and a skater too, with a strong sense of home that sets my eyes aglow. A warmth carried from his bald head to his plaster arm cast, which all made very wordlessly clear his identity, as well as the honor by which so many guests abided with their attendance. His name is Armin… a cast, that is - a circumstance only after he’d eaten asphalt during an attempt to bomb one of Pacific Grove’s satin declines. He thus found himself short on rent-money, as is expected when paying another guy to reattach your fingers. Public favor, however, ensured that Armin was far from impoverished, for although short on money, he was exceedingly rich on friends.
I arrived at the Sportsman’s on my longboard, (not to tease Armin, of course) right in the midst of Mental Musk’s opening set, a few familiar faces smiling at me through the doors, and plenty more unfamiliar, but warm nonetheless as their eyes passed my way and beckoned my entry. Elliot Crisco Breadfred Cheesebrother, as I have elected to call him, was first of the stage holders to offer me his smile. It was his that ultimately reeled my tired feet to the front of the nonexistent stage, bathed in the light of neon beer signs and the lamp over the billiards table, upon which rested a cue fastened with a rifle’s lever and scope. There were bearded bikers leatherclad, wicked old men wearing sunglasses indoors under the pool table light, middle-aged mothers and housewives lubricating their joints with alcohol so they may dance and revel until the next episode of Wendy aired. His black jacket flaring with straps and buckles, Yvan Vucina twirled in place and thrashed about as his hands rode the neck of his guitar like a dressage horse.When he stood in place, it was for those angelic eyes to tempt the crowd, (though he knows not what seduction manifests he manifests during his performances [click link for vid]) and for his angelic voice to noose us around the neck, make us feel afloat as the oxygen seeps away into ether. Maybe I imagine such only cause it suffocates me to attempt singing the notes he sings, to attempt to wield the power he reserves under a tepid facade. Elliot, tepid too even in moments of absorption, was exceptionally inspired that night. I cannot suppose even an inkling of what forces inspire a stoic, passive man like Elliot. It was not for my pondering, perhaps, for some power more provident than a few pale ales steamed out his stomach, pervaded from fret-licking fingers to tapping feet with the holy spirit - of John Paul Jones. Upon the stool of the expansive drumset, however, was not the explosion that is Patrick Kelly, and there was not his duct-taped snare or his cherished symbols. There, instead, was an inked cowboy in his black Stetson and ragged tanktop, with a drumset inclusive to the whole of Sublime’s discography. Though unbeknownst of the many changes and transitions that characterize Mental Musk’s catchy but complex music, his tight versatility, volume, and the metal exterior of his costume were more than enough to sate my appetite. And yes, Sublime was certainly among this drummer’s repertoire, for he was a Johnny, or maybe a Tsunami.
“I can play for, like, six hours, straight, just, non-stop,” Allan boasts, and his stature, whether brandishing tattoos or draped with his black undertaker blazer, advised against disputing this claim. “And what else are you gonna do in a situation like this? We’re not used to this, y’know, Johnny Tsunami. We play three set shows straight and we jam on most of em, then ya throw these boys into it.” It was refreshing for him, however. “If you didn’t notice, I have a total metalhead tryna break out.”
“I did notice.”
“Yeah, especially when I play with these guys, and I havta play all lightly so you can actually hear em!” He laughs to himself, one of but a few smiles that pried open his beard. A tangent regarding the late Cornell ensued, then Allan concluded, “So I don’t mind playing with Musk. It’s fun, even though it’s hard to keep up. You saw me on that cover of The Ocean we did - I just couldn’t get it down. But the first time I saw Mental Musk was like, one of their first shows… I gotta say, these boys get better every time I see em.”
Soon after, Allan removed his blazer, and reclaimed his pedestal before the drumset. He was accompanied by three other men of similar age. Beanie-donned Barrett quietly tuned his guitar. Another imposing figure known as Royster, looking like a caucasian tiki-man who settled down in Monterey’s white sands, pulled up his weed-socks and moved with the groove before it even began. A bald-headed Ron, shorter than his comrades and with a grand total of fifty songs splayed across the floor at his anterior, clutched an acoustic guitar and waited beside one of the microphones. In the midst of their set, as I stood outside the front door, there too appeared a curly-haired man, younger and skinnier than the other musicians. He slipped into the crowd with a saxophone case in hand. I was excited at this, and followed him inside. He removed his jacket and his instrument, and liberated the nervous expression on his face by ripping through each song like Adolphe Sax had forged this weapon for the very purpose. Chris, was this one named, but that's a misnomer for this timid jazz man. “Kroeze” was what Royster insisted I called him, as though it were his baptismal name, pronounced “Crew-zee.”
“Johnny Tsunami is not a real person, I’m guessing,” said I over the lid of my coffee cup, as I discussed with Royster their band. It was a few days after the show and we convened at a cafe in PG.
He became thoughtful, though doubtlessly pitched similar queries in the past. “Well… I guess technically just Barrett and I are. We're I guess the core of Johnny Tsunami, so if you wanted to say we were Johnny Tsunami, I guess you could.” explained he in a deep voice, slathered thickly in the tone, the accent of his homeland - right here on the Peninsula. Even the manner with which he hung his shoulders, slouched his back, and kicked up his feet was pervasively local. “That’s not really fair, though. Allan, Croeze…” and he proceeded to educate me on Chris’ advanced phonemes, “they’re always there. It’s hard to have a show without them.” I had no doubts of this. Without Kroeze and Allan, this band would find it slightly more troublesome to graduate from a mere cover band, to a group of true bards. Without their distinct stylizations of bebop and hard rock, respectively, each song would actually be little more than a cover, but with them, each song is an interpretation, a rendition, a variation. However, the story of Johnny Tsunami excluded the ‘Shoulder-Hoppers’. Therefore, Royster clarified, “Then we have the Shoulder-Hoppers. That’s like Ron. We call him a shoulder-hopper cause he kinda just shows up when he wants to. We’ll perform or practice without him.” However, unlike the traditional notion implied of a shoulder-hopper, Royster clarified, “We appreciate having him, though. His rhythm holds it all together. And I mean, we'll let anyone jam with us.” I could confirm the nature of Ron’s position in the band, as he had abdicated and retreated to the audience while the other four continued, with Barrett and Royster adopting vocals. Aside from other random guests, (ie. anyone who wants to play and can follow the etiquette) “We also have a rapper… Y’know, people think we’re restricted to rock and reggae cause that’s what we usually play, and cause of the crowd we appeal to. Like in that bar, almost everyone’s between ages thirty to sixty or so. But we were around when rap and hip-hop was becoming a thing! Y’know?” He then showed me this video. Certainly they grasped the diversity Royster defended, for a white-boi not far from them in age laid down lines with an attitude that the old-fashioned, east coast-versus-west coast era would have appreciated.
You might now be asking yourself if Johnny Tsunami only plays covers. The answer to that is a technical ‘no’ but a practical ‘yes.’ Royster claims that they have “five or six” original songs, but for the duration of the show that I witnessed, there was nothing but covers; Tom Petty, Sublime, Grateful Dead, and Ben Harper among them. However, as mentioned, I would not suffice my own necessity of expatiation to tell someone that Johnny Tsunami and The Shoulder Hoppers are a cover band, even though all they play are covers. This is because the studio editions of the songs they play are edited, composed, mastered, and condensed into easily digestible doses for the commuter in their car, or the casual listener relaxing with friends and a boombox. Tsunami, however, are bards of spectacle, bards of presence and appeasement. They take a song they know and love, learn the rhythm, the lyrics too, and then… that’s it. Just play it. Jam on it. Extend it to fourteen minutes if need be, whatever keeps the crowd engaged, whatever keeps them dancing or smiling or generally staying about and tolerating the atmosphere. Johnny Tsunami put themselves on this Earth not to display and express themselves from deep within, and not to tour and sell albums. They are here to entertain, to make you happy, to make you feel welcome. This is not entirely for wont of altruism. “We can’t go on tour, we can’t make the time to practice our own music, cause we’re old men!” Royster says, excepting Kroeze, who is “twenty-eight, I think.” He continues, “We all have day-jobs, we all have families. We don’t have time to write and practice original songs like all the younger bands around here - the ones who are trying to make it, who don’t do anything but work on their own material.” However, the wisdom of these Monterey staples, all native to the sand and silt atop which they perform, achieves them fruition far more frequently than the youthful ambitions of their contemporaries. Among them, Mental Musk, DZR, Valley Soul - all bands who are riding what Royster called ‘The Coffee Tour,’ and subsequently, all candidates for success so driven that they might make way for San Jose or Oakland or, God forbid, Los Angeles. “We don’t go on big tours and gig all over the state or the country or wherever… For bands like us, for most bands, really, there’s two tours: there’s the Tavern Tour, and there’s the Benefit Tour.”
The explanation offered by this bassist epitomized music scenes everywhere. To paraphrase, Royster paid mention to numerous other styles of localized shows, but he only elaborated upon those which drew profit. So this excludes “...bald dudes in black leather beating each other up in a small room to screaming,” as he described the punk shows of which Allan daydreams. The tavern tour and the benefit tour are both confined to their respective locale, and they often overlap, as with Armin’s show. Tavern tours do not pay a cover, as the band organizes a standard wage for their gigs, and the business uses the band to attract guests who would drop all their money on the bartender. Benefit tours come after the tavern tour fizzles away. Thus, the benefits of paying a staple figure’s rent, or raising money for leukemia research, become encouragement to endure the same performance again, or to catch a new spectacle and a fresh experience. Then, of course, is the Coffee Tour, where younger bands get together and attempt to draw their respective posses into caf├ęs, covered by a set ticket price at the door. This is effective only because no one wants to buy coffee at nighttime anyway, many among the audience are underage, and because multiple bands can suffice from each other's profits. That is not a compromise that ordinarily befits the wisdoms of Johnny Tsunami.
Atop all these local tours, Johnny Tsunami manages to thrive. The formula is scripture to them. The law of tours leads them to new gigs and steady profit, and the shows that ensue lead them to the meticulous process of working the crowd, for which these men have exceptional talent. “If everyone is all drunk and ready to have a good time, we might wanna play a dance song to get them going, so we look at the list of the fifty damn songs… and choose one. If they don't vibe with that, we can play a slower song, and everyone can just relax and talk, and we’ll work our way up, get em ready for a dance song.” Royster explained to me the science of his humble industry with the efficacy I would demand of any schoolteacher such as himself -  and I must say, I was enlightened thereafter by his cohesive comprehension of such operations as the arbitrary prolificity of pleasurable noise. They demonstrated this method too, days before it's articulation. I paid witness as they massaged the saloon wherever the knots were tight, wherever the acid was pent. People began to move when they beckoned movement, and people began to chill out when the music chilled.  It was connective. And as for Armin, I don't know if his arm feels any better after the performance, but he sure as hell knew where he belonged, knew the legacy that was perpetuated in his name, and the tiny piece of history that it forever ingrained upon the minds of his guests.

Thanks for reading more of my drivel, everyone, and if you want to embrace the real talents that made possible this posting, check out Johnny Tsunami and The Shoulder Hoppers on Facebook, as they have new shows all the time! And if you aren't a pussy, you'll also embrace the spirit of rock n roll and check out Mental Musk on their own Facebook, or on their Instagram. If that really isn't your thing though, then Yvan's solo work is the introspective lullaby you might need, so check him out too on Facebook. And if you want to honor the man who originally created this blog, check out KAE9mm on Facebook and listen to his savage fucking bars on Soundcloud.

If for some reason you'd like to get in touch with me, shoot an e-mail over to widmer.wyatt@gmail.com and I'll get right back to ya.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

"Songs Hotbox Harry Taught Us" Salvages the Sanctity of Monterey Music.

Tourists and travellers around these parts don’t usually know just how peculiar a place it is in which they are vacationing. However, even with all the Seuss trees and the ear-ringing quiet of nighttime, a peculiar place I would never deem this, if it lacked the characters whose stories, philosophies, and demeanors enrich the town so. As the valley downriver is made fertile by the highland silts, so too are the towns on this bay made fertile by the folks who make here their homes, many of whom are natives, destined for peculiarity, and many more are expats like myself, seeking the right solution of misfits in which to make their impression. While the Salinas river seems of most aid to artichokes and wine grapes, Monterey’s sweeping currents do well supporting a lively music scene, even if artichokes get old after a while. It was for my weariness of these proverbial artichokes that I reached blindly into the sod and began groping about. Whatever I clutched effused with aromas of pine-blood and whiskey and was woodburnt onto a hunk of gnarly wood, salted by seawind. If you could not know my joy, reader, to have found this enchanting relic in my own town of residency, I should let you imagine my spinning about the heel, holding the plaque up high, until the quivering green of the wood behind me, the blending blue of the seasky after me, distorted into one. Even during my tenure here yet far, I have witnessed a few bands rise and a few fall. Bands do not last long around here, but recently I’ve begun to wonder if the youth of our scene’s constituents has let fester a lack a patience for a wound’s healing - and so we lose artists like Glass House, and The Shigs, for more recent examples. Four years is a very long time. Even so, all us locals have seen that the oldest of the pines about are covered in scars, their vicinity often littered with the carcasses of their kin. Natural selection, I suppose - it tends to favor the adaptable. This adaptability, however, did not truly manifest as a driftwood plaque, or a pine tree, but in a dilapidated package that contained the Songs Hotbox Harry Taught Us.
“He is real,” says a man who looks the younger half-brother of Adam Sandler (and is apparently happier with his career path). Mike Scutari, is this one’s name. He plays rhythm on an acoustic guitar and sings most of the male vocals, and though has performed with his bandmates in other projects, is attributed as the harbinger of the Songs Hotbox Harry Taught Us. Although, he did not create any of the songs played by the bluegrass ensemble. That was Hotbox Harry, who, according to legend, delivered this namesake in a paper package that appeared dug from the grave. “He was a sorta mystical old hobo-storyteller type. Ya know the kind. Walks around everywhere, talks a lot, sings to himself,” a sickle grin cut across his cheeks and drew low his brow, the bard still guitar-clad and onstage of the aptly named Barmel, in Carmel. Expressions can remain distinct even on the most distinct of faces, as Mike has been blessed with both, and this grin, juxtaposed to the toothy smirk I returned his way, assured me that I certainly knew the type. Peculiar people grow well in Monterey, but Mike instilled in me the desire to see what botany blossoms in societies such as Arcata, California, in Humboldt County. It was here, upon a seedy tavern barstool, that sat a man, “...with an enormous beer-belly, overalls, a big Santa beard - the whole getup. He n I sat at some bar in Arcata, shared stories, then started sharing songs. I was there listening to him and just couldn’t stop thinking, He’s damn good at writing those.” He sure was, but they parted away and left nothing to each other but addresses and fond memories. After three years, wherein the transient old friar was but his own memoriam, a parcel arrived in Mike’s mailbox, addressed from Hotbox Harry (presumably under a more official pseudonym, but this was not clarified), and it contained a mixtape of the mystic’s many tunes. Thus was Mike inspired to the creation of a new band, and none might receive their deserved justice if he had not bestowed upon his homage the apt name of Songs Hotbox Harry Taught Us.
“Elliot’s playing bass tonight,” said Yvan on a humid dusk as I entered his lair. “I was gonna go check him out tonight, at Barmel, but I’ll come see Valley Soul real quick.” And with this I was rather content. I love Valley Soul. I had seen them on several previous occasions in environments more suitable to their energy, but for this performance, they dampened their attack and slowed their tempo and played a show more appropriate to a natural-history museum whiskey-tasting. Perhaps destiny thought it funny that I should go to a whiskey-tasting in Pacific Grove where played a band that seems to me of the sort who’d be more partial to a toke, while Hotbox Harry would have better befit the tone. Instead, I stole myself away, mind in a medley of a thousand-something taxidermied songbirds and wildflowers, and migrated to Barmel with Yvan. This joint is one to which I yearn I might return more often. No larger than a middle-school classroom, it is not scarcely packed like canned cream corn (I hope that shit died with Boston Market’s popularity) by a manifold of audiences, no matter the music present. The ambience is purposefully seedy, salvaged together with an eye keen to the candid, the stage small and sandwiching a dancefloor between itself and the dark seating area. Obscure vinyls line the ceiling, a mannequin leg is nailed to the gable by an inoperable jukebox. It is not exactly a remarkable feat to muster quite infectious a motion and emotion alike amongst the drunken patronage at Barmel, but I have never seen a crowd around here so brilliant with smiles and so diverse with its dancers. A decent indication that a band deserves its attention is when all the folks who don’t (or shouldn’t) dance, go on a-dancing anyway. Then I turned round the speakers and saw my friend Elliot deeply indentured to his groove, and he greeted his bandmate and I with a thrust of his chin and a bite of his lip.
On his left flank hunched his father in much the same posture as junior renders his instruments. Tracy Cheseborough, is this mountainman. A weathered, houndish face sits on shoulders bony and broad, his arms and legs long, his torso clad with the attire John Muir would have worn to track cinnamon-haired bears in the Sierras with nothing but a dog as his weapon. Tracy “climbs a lotta trees,” as Elliot says - in other words, he’s a forester, with a fortuitous fervor of nature from where he doubtlessly adopts much musical influence. Tracy is also a divinely talented multi-instrumentalist, boasting proficiency on three primary instruments: cello, as I had first witnessed him play with another ensemble - electric guitar which he tickles and strokes in more the manner of flow that a piano player might exhibit, as his long fingers slid up, down, and side-to-side of his guitar neck, letting wail his instrument like a Missouri bluesman does his voice upon arrival in the Harlem Avenue Lounge - and mandolin, which I’ve not had the pleasure to witness as a fellow mandolinist. A distinct, delicate style of bluegrass he renders of his guitar, heavy with country influence and a hint of folksy melancholy - likely a derivative of his time in an Irish folk band. Upon meeting Tracy, I was graced to a simple introduction. The firmest handshake I could give was squandered by his grip. Sensible, for I suppose the man had spent many miserable hours holding onto cypress roots as the mud fell from beneath his Big Sur home. Or he climbs a shitton o trees. His words were few, his voice was worn and rickety, his glare was indecipherable, and I loved it, and was almost sated of the need to converse with him.
To Elliot’s right was one of an uncounted collection of temporary drummers. Stevie Hegger, on my first visit, who is regarded as one of Monterey’s most technically talented musicians, and indeed he was shrewd among a jam session just as well. Then there was their lapsteel player named Nick, who, though not the usual pedalsteel player (named Howe), meditated over his instrument as he found empathy in its strings with which he flowed carelessly through each song. There too was a second electrical guitarist on my first visit, named Jaimason, whose style bordered more along the bluesy jurisdictions of rock and roll. Defiant, one might think, but, despite the warmness with which Hotbox receives its audience, they are a definitively defiant band, by my account. By Tara’s, however, the band’s female singer, they’ve remained quite loyal in their musical stylings. To what? To whom? Why, to Hotbox Harry, of course, granted, as Tara said, “Now that Hotbox has been together so long, I think we take more poetic justice with songs and our style to them.” Although, “Everything on our album is Hotbox Harry’s.”
Tara is another story worthy of some recount. I needed not the chance to converse with her to know this, for a woman so reminiscent of my mother (who herself was an estranged eclectic that sang like a cement-sea siren for an old-fashioned blues band in Chicago) ought to bear some wisdom, something else that deserves expression to those whom are graced to hear her voice. I saw a comfort lining the earnest in her eyes, and that earnest was only byproduct to the sounds she sang. Amidst her direction, executed with flicking wrists, finger gestures, mouthing phrases and reinforcing them by her brow and her gaze, all mid-verse, she is rife with emotive power. Despite their repertoire of original work comprised by Harry’s fun-filled Americana, both performances I saw by Hotbox were littered with impromptu and unpracticed jams, some blues, some Irish traditional, some surf, some rock and roll, and all the while that this eccentricity was weaved into a drunken crowd, Tara enunciated her lyrics not only by tone of her robust and silky voice, but by the bend in her brow, the grade of her grin, the whimsy in her swaying waist, and the ample employment of her arms to communicate with the onlookers and performers, even when the hollers of the intoxicated masses drowned the monitor’s aid. As with any wonderful voice, I obligatorily approached Tara after their performance without greeting, only asking, “What music were you trained in singing first?” It seemed fitting, for I could truly not discern from where her influence was most heavily derived.
A sharp, Irish looking face cradled in curly red hair and freckles around two emerald eyes, which peeled wide at me with clarification. “Well, I don’t have any training.”
In that moment it occurred to me that her eclecticism was most likely the byproduct of as much. All technical aspects of her singing were solid as brick, but the emotions, even if not of her own lyrics, were the mortar she laid between these bricks. “Self-trained, then?”
“If you can call it that,” she said, looking back at the band. “Well, I was in a choir for a bit, like a church choir, but that’s an ancient story.” Those eyes rolled around and she swatted this history away and off her breath.
“I see. That’s actually why I approached ya, cause, just like yer singin, that’s similar to what my Ma did,” and I explained, in brief, my familiar affinity for her style. My mother was too in a church choir for much of her life, despite her musical passions residing as comfortably in Iron Maiden as they did in Nichiren Buddhist chants.
The kicker came, however, when she said, “I’ve sung Irish folk music for a while, too,” and I crossed my arms in satisfaction and smiled, because folk music from the British Isles and Scandinavia is the SHIT and you can fuck off if that’s funny.
“Oh yeah, I can hear it, I can! That’s fantastic.” A moment’s exhaustion of nerdisms.
Tara later recounted to me a journey that, a decade before, took her from the choir in a town called Plainfield (I know it supposedly was near a field, or a plain, as in a prairie, or a meadow, but what kind of bored asshole names a town Plainfield?) in New Jersey, to New York City where she attended grad school. Harbored in Brooklyn, she often daydreamt on a National Geographic spread that depicted Big Sur, where her roommate was eventually sent for work. Tara came to visit, fell in love with Big Sur for the second time (firstly in the magazine spread), and decided she would return. Upon finishing her education, she came out west in a manner thankfully much unlike what Tom Waits claimed it, settling with her boyfriend, now husband, ultimately at Notley’s Landing by Palo Colorado Canyon. No, I don’t know where she got the money to do this, but I seethe with jealousy anyway. A decade has passed since, and in that time, she joined Tracy to sing for the Big Sur Family Band (of whom there seems to be paltry memoriam on the internet), and they two moved onto Irish traditional music with Mike, followed by Hotbox Harry upon its inception by Harry and Mike’s graciousness. I still often see Tara and her retinue of equally Irish-looking husband and child indulging their freetime throughout Pacific Grove.
The second guest drummer I saw on the stool was a man from New Zealand named Sean. He looked like many New Zealander’s I’ve met, with a prominent nose and an unconquerable smile peeking from between rich curls that jiggled all over his head and off of his chin as he played with such infatuation that it seemed second-nature. Watching him drum even on the same repetition was immensely pleasurable and made materialize many a grin over my cheeks. The drummer featured on Hotbox Harry’s album, I should note, is Tara’s husband David, who left the band so their child could watch the shows. Then of course is Elliot, who is a personal friend of mine and all around great guy, with an apparently hereditary comprehension of musical instruments that harnesses all the expressions of himself he may ever need make - though he is insistent that he sucks. The bassist for whom he often substitutes I’ve not seen nor met, but his name is Chris, and in his regard, Elliot says, “I’m shit. Their normal bassist is way better. I suck.” (Yeah, that’s an actual quote). I’ve talked about Elliot in a previous article or two, but here’s some things you might not have known about him: Elliot has a sitar with which he has no training but still managed to jam on it with beside my mandolin and Vucina’s guitar; Elliot was often called ‘Cheese-bro’ in school; Elliot has a fuckin sexy collection of guns, including an 1860 Colt Army revolver; also Elliot works at Julia’s restaurant in Pacific Grove, an artistic and reasonably-priced vegetarian joint that uses mostly local and wild ingredients, and where, among a host of other performers on other days, Yvan Vucina performs in his solo project every Saturday at 1 PM.
However, what you will not find at Julia’s Restaurant, or anywhere else where Mike and friends do not minstrel, or even across most of California, is bluegrass, and much less so bluegrass that harnesses the spirit that many bluegrass bands attempt until their tone is more generic than the wiry, redneck characters most of my youth would imagine upon mentioning of the genre. This is because Songs Hotbox Harry Taught Us does not operate in the bounds of bluegrass, and as far as I can tell, has no tethers to the genre beyond the fact that it was how Harry wrote his songs. They are not necessarily trying to play bluegrass, but they are trying to play music that moves them, and move they do - especially Mike and Tara and Elliot - with a fervor for the moment that appears in the countless smiles cast between each other and into the crowd like glow-rings and blunt wraps, the usual gifts thrown out at a modern show. Speaking of which, I know not if the band is truly partial to hotboxing anything, or even if they burn. What I can say surely, however, is that their soul is as strong as the aromatic vistas in the town from which they hail, and those vistas host better smells of which to be reminded than a stale dankness and bongwater, and is equally as intoxicating, so I’ve no complaints.


Thanks again for giving my piece a read, and let’s all go to a Hotbox Harry show next time we’re craving something purely Monterey, but not the same as the other shit in Monterey. You can like Songs Hotbox Harry Taught Us on Facebook, listen to a few of their tunes on Soundcloud, and buy their album on iTunes. And if you’ve any reason to get in touch with me, Y8, the author, you can e-mail me at widmer.wyatt@gmail.com.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Spectral Spectacle - "Space-Hoodie" Muse Appears in PG

Just as any small town, a variety of transient bards are bound for Monterey County every year. Some cross the ocean from Australia (such as Natalie D-Napoleon) and most simply trace the coast from LA or SF. And always delighted should we be to welcome such guests whose stylizations might enrichen our music scene that hinges on surf, punk-fusions, and indie-rock. Surf and punk and indie can and often are fantastic, but can just as easily make one weary. The Monterey scene went somewhat stale for a short time, as shows were happening, but it was the same shows, the same bands, and even when not, the same people. While there are a myriad of talents in this town, some deserve more recognition than others receive. Granted I reserve a certain spectacular bluegrass ensemble known as Songs Hotbox Harry Taught Us for to contradict such a notion in my following post. So the reader might imagine my enthrallment as genres scarcely performed or attempted were stumbled upon today in hybrid form. They were preparing their equipment while I walked Lighthouse Avenue during Pacific Grove’s Good Ol Days festival. Besides the occasional big-city busker minstreling unfed hours away, lonesomely so in some resonative capsule of the city, like a subway or an old plaza, it is rare that I happen across a person who happens to have undertaken jazz as their primary musical pursuit, and applied that undertaking as well. I love jazz. Though I am no historian on the genre as many fans are, I truly love jazz, only slightly moreso than I love technical composition - the ability to harness and masterfully execute the techniques yet provided with which to play an instrument - that is applied in progrock and progmetal. Space Hoodie does jazz, and naturally they are quite partial to technical composition, trading many conventions of their craft for the lucrative products of [even more] contemporary music [than jazz].
I saw there before the antique-store, in the shade beneath a retro gas-station pavilion, now decommissioned and jade-hued with succulent bushes, a Jordan Peele doppleganger, who rocked back and forth on his feet, conversing with the audio engineer, while he fiddled a baritone saxophone’s buttons. A crimson Gretsch drumkit was mounted by a man who looked like he was at once shirtless and desperate in his cargo-shorts, before he jumped a radioactive Peruvian flute band and tried on all of their exotic shirts, before he settled appropriately on the neon-green one. Then there was a Jew-fro, more like a Celt-fro, if that’s a thing, and beneath it, a skinny man in sweats resting his arms over his fretless bass-guitar. To cap it off, some dude was on the keyboard wearing a striped polo and khakis and all-together bearing semblance of another new version of good Ryan from Wilfred, this time in suburban Germany. The sidewalks were aglow with the hazy sun under which I had been strolling for some time amidst my thoughts, and the crowd gathering round the band seemed like one that was not intent on staying themselves when the music began and the youngins filtered in. Thus was my curiosity captured, and thus I sat myself down and watched.
Michael Booker, the saxophonist, pushed his sunglasses up the bridge of his nose and approached his pedalboard and leaned into the microphone. “Hey everyone,” he said, his voice light and grassy, “um, I hope you’re all havin a nice day, out here today, enjoying this, eh, wonderful day. It’s so cool to be here in Monterey, playin for you guys. We want to start off with somethin chill today, so, uh, here goes. Enjoy.” That was it, and then they started playing. Ryan Scott Long, the rather professional drummer whose rhythm was tighter than his ride cymbal was loose (he kept knocking it off its stand), enraptured the band immediately to a substantiation of his sound, so voluminous in the scape it created that there were no tracts too small upon which to develop. A jazzy exploitation of progressive music with soundscapes intermittent. That was cool as fuck - Ryan is a drummer whose percussion is, altogether, best described as ‘cool-as-fuck’, even for what he did to those Peruvian panflute players. However, it seemed Booker tried to retract the rodentine anxiety harbored as he first spoke to the audience. The music that resulted in his tenseness was a sonic experiment of slow, repetitive progressions and ambiences that seemed like they should have worked, but did not. It was uncanny, and I was almost inclined to stand and continue walking.
Then people began to leave, and a group of hipsters sat down in their stead. With this exchange came their second song. It was interluded with yet more awkward inklings of the sax-player’s mind dispatched to the new audience, some rather funny (he later mentioned that his ulterior endeavor is stand-up comedy, which permeates into every public interaction), and all rather amusing. Now, that anxiety which oppressed him so in the first song became fuel for the second. The drumbeats, almost metallic but somehow genuinely bebop all the same, were beat into the flat concrete scape before them, and that rigid, bearded face over the toms bit his lips and smiled maniacally and laughed in similar humors, as he drew the schematics of the song with precision enough to translate them to real schematics that might build a rocket. I swear to everything pleasurable on God’s Green Earth, you could build a fucking rocketship and blast it to Proxima Centauri with this man’s talent (that link sees him playing hardcore metal or something you can’t hear cause it’s POV). The bassist, Riley Hagan, struck synthetical waves of aura into the music that, though prudently funky, imbued a somehow refreshingly modern vein of electronica into the song, which was stitched quite subtly between the amalgamate music, and he did it without frets, so that was cool too. All the while, he hosted small-talk with the drummer during their songs and was grinning warmly and swaying and swiveling from the shoulders and hips. The keyboardist, Nick O’Connor, most reminded me, both in appearance and style, of the keyboardist from Vulfpeck, with hardly a correction to be made on his part, as he watched intently the constituents that guided his hands, weaving silk from the keys of his instrument. I wondered where all his cyborg bastard children were sitting in the audience waiting to strike, because he did some seriously sexual things to that keyboard, and I loved nothing more than when his solo arrived.
And of course there was Jordan, and this time, though still warming himself up and thereby climbing scales up and down for many of the iffier moments, he displayed the force that could reconcile the ensemble’s disparities. The man was swimming through the air with his baritone sax and he skipped and rocked and even twirled at a slight with the contortions of his sound. However, it was the dancing that his saxophone did which most mystified me. It was one of those peculiar instances in which I could not have been more delighted at my disproving, and the more he straddled harmony and dissonance, the more he cauterized the seams between each transition, the more he made reconcile the likes of jazz and funk and trip-hop and prog-rock and all the other shit I heard amongst his tooting, and the more I wanted not to leave.
Alas, leave I did, for I had a novel-trilogy to edit (yeah, I know - I’m looking forward to starvation, mind you), and when I was done with that, I wrote this, because I could not pry it from my mind. Jordan Peele, er, shit, I mean Michael Booker imposed some fantastic improvisation, not only in the bebop hoorah that highlighted his playing, but in his ability to turn heel and render the band all within the same crucible no matter his ambitions. A cover of the song "Dare" by The Gorillaz, a Paul Simon-inspired hymn, and an impromptu exchange from some fresh original content to a funky rendition of 2pac, mid-song, all proved the bandmates’ versatility. For the thirty minutes that I was attending and observing this group, I was pleasured with watching their many expressions of communication or of gratification manifest on their bearded faces. I was treated quite diversely, from chill and simple to energized and intricate, and the treat was satin smooth and satiating. For that, I offer my sincerest gratitude. And atop this all, upon my shouted inquest of “Where’s yer band from?” Michael, who had already been working the youth amongst the crowd and ingraining his charisma into our memories, responded with honest thanks (he had forgotten this detail in their introduction) and radiant humor, infectious as it smiled from his face and those of his bandmates.
Oakland, basically, but moreover they hail from “...just, the whole, uh, general, like, eastern Bay region,” so if you’re ever around Oakland or Hayward or Fremont, keep an eye out for Space Hoodie, cause my day was damned made by their spectacle.


Thanks again for reading my first posting in quite some time. I have been uninspired and not attending many shows as of late, save for those of bands of whom I have already written, so I was waiting for the write moment. That moment arrived when I came to know Stories Hotbox Harry Taught Us, but as I witnessed them, I thought that Space Hoodie was too imaginative and too fresh to pass up, so have my quick article and be happy with it. If you wish to contact me for some reason, hit up my e-mailbox: widmer.wyatt@gmail.com.

And if you want to check out Space Hoodie, watch some Youtube videos of them going ham. Then, they also have a Facebook from which is also linked their drummer’s professional webpage and many cool Youtube videos of him and the sax-player in action.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Forged For Everyone - The Glee and Gloam of Glass House

Hospitality is a virtue into which I place great value. For someone to open their doors to their private quarters and welcome another’s entry is a quality I do not harbor as the host might harbor me, and thus, my obligation to reciprocate their generosity weighs upon me like the rain in the clouds. It is for this belief that I have indentured myself to exercise great sentiment as I undertake the recounting of the deceased local band Glass House’s story. Many artists, including myself, craft their poetry in reflection of stories and experiences to which they alone can relate. Although, art is intrinsically interpretable to the viewer, which allows the esoterism of certain artists to survive consumer scrutiny. Local music figures such as Vincent Randazzo, for example, seem to draw most lyrics from introspection and past events - his album’s are a contemplative experience, surely. Even so, Vincent’s music has not suffered in popularity because of this. And on the same note, I am equally indulged by someone sharing with me the wonderments of their minds as I am by their sharing with me of the things that make them just as human as I am. In this story, however, we focus moreso on the latter of these qualities, once again, for the sake of hospitality’s virtue.
“Just where did I go wrong? I guess I see why. I said that you were small and you went out to cry. She was busy workin it, but yer jerkin it, into yer old gym sock, but I must say that, I’m not surprised. You’re caught up in a lie.” If you click that link, you should be blessed to see a performance of the song Porn. Maybe lyrics such as this avert you from Glass House, maybe they just don’t tickle your fancy, or maybe you’re straight-up offended. To the last outcome, I say, “Go fuck yourself,” and to the former two, I suggest you keep watching that video. One of the songs they play in that set is sure to appeal to your emotions, be they humors or sorrows or otherwise. And for this effect, the ensemble’s dynamic is greatly integral - each personality and the style with which perform and compose conglomerates into a universally understood conveyance. Consider Glass House a sentimental unifier, a sonic asylum.
We were truly gifted to have such bards in our midst. Bands that endure, however, require patience, and I believe that impatience is what most often fiddles the sores on the relationships between bandmates, and prevents them from healing, prevents them from turning into the scars that will one day be ogled for the story they tell. Glass House, as far as I could discern, had fewer scars to bare than most bands in the graveyard, for interpersonal turbulence was not their catalyst into disbandment. No, it was something much different, something for which no one can reprimand them. That is because it was the strength of their bonds that ultimately separated them. So what justice need I allot them differently? It’s hard to say, harder to write, and that’s why I’ve spent so much time simply digesting the nature of Glass House instead of regurgitating it onto the page.
“I played in a couple different groups in Australia, but Glass House has a really special dynamic where we can be absolutely ruthless to each other, but by the next practice we’ll get over it,” says Bryce, the primary bassist of Glass House. “By ruthless I mean if someone writes a shitty part everyone says it is, and then we try something else.” One could argue that Bryce is the reason for Glass House’s disintegration, even though during his first leave, Monterey’s Bass God, Zack Gattis (presently a member of the funk-punk surf-rock band Nuclear Fuzz) adopted his place. It was not just consequence of Bryce moving to Australia. It was consequence of the affection - whose caliber I cannot accurately estimate - that was upheld for Bryce by Glass House’s frontwoman, Meagan Hoch.
“I met Bryce when we started the band,” Meagan explains upon my inquiry, though, as expected, she didn’t reveal much. “I didn’t actually get to know him until six months into playing music with the boys. At this point it was just me and Wesley with a different guitarist and drummer. [Bryce] was the only bassist we really knew at Carmel High.” A stoic young woman, I have previously described this one as looking like the grunge era’s Nordic shieldmaiden. This reticent palate she provides is an optimal platform from which to offer their listeners the hospitality I keep referencing, for I do not necessarily look at her and think Man, what a unique character, but rather, Man, what could this character be made out of? The only window to her personage is the music she writes. And the music she writes is friendly in its own way, relatable, relevant to the lives of any millennial; an embrace of all the people, and all their struggles, who embrace her music, as much as it is an attempt to console the self.
I would normally be disinclined to imply that any single individual of a musical project is its director. Wesley Kise is the thoughtful guitarist of Glass House, who reminds me for some reason of a young comic-book hero’s alter ego. Wesley has equipped me with some striking wisdoms about the robust, crystalline voice that shadows the stage in its melancholic exhaustion. “Well, ya know she’s all quiet and introverted,” Wesley explains of Hoch, “but at practice she decided the end result of almost everything. And there’s good reason for that. She kinda just has this natural ear for writing music… We’d be stoked on this stupid breakdown or groove change in a song and she’d just gimme this look that said, ‘Change it.’ Ha ha ha! Then I would and she’d either gimme the look again, or just a little nod. Sometimes she’d feel bad about telling us what we couldn’t play like we were gonna rebel or some shit, but I’m honestly so glad we had her making the decisions.”
Meagan, however, holds a more modest opinion of her position. “I’m lucky, ha ha!” she admits of Wesley, “He knows exactly where I want things and I don’t have to say a thing. He fills the space with something way more creative than I had envisioned. When we write songs, mostly Wesley and I meet up… then Bagel and Bryce add some more dimension, and that’s how our songs are made.”
Wesley had a wealth of insight, however much it dissents from his companion’s outlooks. He seemed more than capable of articulating the origins of the group’s talents. While Meagan presents a firm grip on human nature, and Bryce has as much to say as he does to play, and Bagel provides the stopping power of their music, Wesley describes himself as, “...more technically mindful because I had the most training, and to a certain degree that helps. But…” he digressed, “...at the end of the day, no matter what style of music you’re playing, if you have it in you and can keep going, technique means almost nothing.” Surely there is truth to this. While some bands, like Animals as Leaders, thrive on the premise of masterful technicality, the detrimental singing techniques of Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin is one of Wesley’s greatest influences) and many punk bands have exhibited that technicality is meaningless. “That’s what the rest of them have got a shit ton of,” Wesley elaborates, “Drive. Especially Bagel. He has more energy than anyone I’ve ever met.”
Bagel. That name caught your eye, didn’t it? This charismatic and pensive musician, though far more humble than his hairy, meaty composure would suggest, plays the drums in Glass House, his instrumental influence having been cited primarily as metal music. After having interviewed Wesley, who responded exceedingly well to stark questions, I approached Bagel with an inquiry of his reaction to the light in which his bandmates see him. To this, he replied, “Can you ask me about something else? I don't really want to talk about myself.” At this, I grinned. He did begin to divulge some details of himself, however. “Wesley and I were polar opposites when I began,” says Bagel. He implies, however, that Wesley’s esteem was not ill-placed. “A couple years ago, I would have never thought that I would play music at all - much less play shows in a band.” He then added, “But I’d say technical skill matters a lot more then Wesley would think. He should give himself more credit.” And from there we descended into a challenging discussion about the musical definition of technicality.
I tried to learn more about Bryce, too, from Bagel, but the only remark he made of the bassist before I spoke with the man himself was that he became more liberal over time… “That might just be college, though,” he added. So, I approached Bryce next, and I was nothing less than satisfied with his level of retention and elaboration during our conversation. It was Bryce who captured for me the companionship that solidified this group, the image of whose members in my mind became more quiet, more introverted over time. In recollection of his camaraderie, Bryce shared, “One of my favorite times… actually, just chilling with Bagel and Wesley up in Sacramento was really nice. I hadn't really hung out with them for like a year since I was in Australia and that was really nice from just driving around to me and Bagel reading on a park bench silently for like half an hour and then discussing the nature of everything, it was a great time.” Sounds like what I do when I return home to my old friends, and I believe it was this quality of exodus to and return from strange and distant lands that captured my fascination with Bryce’s tale. Every piece of this tale he could share of the return home, I like to think ties his throat in knots and pushes up behind his eyes. “...one of the Allegro’s shows, we were playing the song Last Night by The Strokes and there were only like 30 people there but most of them were singing along and it was so cool, the energy in the place was awesome.” Despite the value Bryce clearly holds for the intimacy forged between him and his bandmates, however, they had not always been anything more than a manufactory of music. “Before I went to Australia, we honestly didn't hang out much together. Bagel would always be off doing his own thing and although Wesley and Meag used to hang out all the time… Wesley got a girlfriend.” And it wasn’t all rosy during his return either, with ample fodder for contemplation to arrest his journey home. Besides the struggles of acclimation between the cultures of Burgerland and Dinosaur Island, the struggles of time’s passage and home’s abstraction, there too was interpersonal development from which one could likely draw many dramatic dialogues, but let’s reduce it to what Bryce said. “When I got back though, the group dynamic was really different and it fucked with me hella. Like Bagel and Wesley were best friends, and them and Meag had gotten really close. I think my return also fucked with them because I just showed up and took a bunch of Meag's time.”
And times have only continued to alter. Presently, well, there is no Glass House. Minus one traditional member was survivable. However, minus two, including the frontwoman, was an epitaph for their collective gravestone. The band is retired, I should say. To speak of death, like of demons, tends to invite it, and although this is silly superstition, I like to believe that, given the foreseeable circumstances, it is but a retirement, and although most people retire permanently, they are not rendered entirely incapable of their trade until, well, death. Retirees tend to revisit the things that occupied their time and filled their bellies for so many years, like how my Grandpa conducts a Sea Cadet program (the Navy for teenagers) in the very recruitment center that once contained a firing range to which he was namesake. “The music scene here is wild,” Meagan claims of Melbourne, Australia’s second city in Victoria, where she now resides indefinitely. “It’s a great platform for local bands… The community shows large support for its music scene. Especially with the abundance of venues. [And] with the drinking age being 18. It’s a lot easier to find shows.” Perhaps such fertile sod for music is striking to locals of Monterey Bay’s vicinity, where the soil is more sand than peat, but this is merely the nature of big cities and the media industries they produce. I asked if she’d be playing with Bryce, which she confirmed would occur after some inspiration streams her way, and also did she claim that Wesley would visit for two months and likely produce content as well. “He’s my best friend,” she says, probably with a smile, “so we’re stoked he’s coming along for part of the ride.”
The terminal of Glass House speaks largely for itself. The future, as far as can be discerned, will never yield a new incarnation of the ensemble, so it is their past that is all they left to us. There are few stories in general unworthy of remembrance, and fewer stories of bands that are unworthy of remembrance. However, what is memorable is not always pleasant, or personal. Music can be enjoyed without pleasantry, (I mentioned one of my favorite metal bands Seance in another post) or without relevance to the lives of any given community’s average citizen. The remarkable thing about Glass House, who just so happens to hail from the hills beneath whose shadows we probably all reside, is that they have undergone a quest that I doubt any band I meet or they meet in the coming years can recall. But I have already detailed the shattering of the Glass House. So what of the blower and his workshop in which the house was created, piece by piece?
As mentioned in brief before, the conception of this punk band for non-punks initially sparked at Carmel High School, in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. This town is similar in some ways to Coronado, California, as I have gathered, which would render it quite unfriendly towards the alternative crowd. However, with wealth (and wealth is plentiful in Carmel even for those who don’t possess it, but merely live immersed in it - I know from personal experience) there comes a lot of free time, a lot of financial liberation, and a lot of boredom and emptiness, remedied by the incessant and attricious indulgence of artistic endeavors. This is what I did, when I found myself plastered with a cringe and perpetually shivering down my spine for the six years I lived amongst (but not as a member of) the excessively wealthy. So, I would hypothesize that this contributed, at least in a substantial degree, to Meagan Hoch and friends’ desire to seek for themselves a solace that did not require vacating to the far side of the entire Pacific Ocean (that's really fucking big). Instead, they found a place within their own habitat that allowed them some of the growth they would need. Meagan explains, upon hearing my skepticism of Carmel as a healthy artistic environment, that, “There was a club called The Singer-Songwriter’s Guild that made sharing our music much easier. The genre then was more like soft Coldplay songs and less yelling, haha! There’s something about playing with a group of people and having that input from others that makes creating something together much more fulfilling.”
Wesley broadens the understanding of their history. “Meagan and I have been playing and writing music now for like, four years, but Glass House started like two years ago,” he says. After Bryce phased into the jam sessions as, supposedly, Carmel High’s only talented bass player  “...we decided we wanted to make a band, and we kinda played around with different configurations, but it didn’t really start until Bagel came into the picture. Which was two years ago.” There again, the so-called ‘polar opposite’ of the football-plushie that is Bagel has attributed to him the energy produced from the conquest of friction that ultimately powered Glass House’s development. And based on the surely simplified explanations of their past that I was so kindly awarded, one might predict that friction was a common restriction to the band’s movement. However, if anything, it is testament to the physical laws of our universe that govern not only the manners in which increments energy interact, but also the manners in which people - the most unreasonable, irrational, chaotic monsters on God’s green earth - interact with each other and the world around them. Glass House is a product of the differences between its constituents, and as such, one is reminded that, ultimately, every force in the universe is acting against your own - every division of energy, including your person, competes with every other, only complimenting each other when it is convenient to their arrangement. Damn, was it convenient to Glass House’s arrangement! If we wanna stay in this heady vein of thought, we might also remind ourselves that movement cannot be had without first overcoming friction and the byproducts of this effort. First, this friction lead a high-schooler jam session towards fruition as a cohesive unit, fed by the dancing shadows around them and the constant offering of their audience to, “Come closer! Everyone! Come closer!” Perhaps from this proximity they indulge so wholeheartedly is produced the friction that spurs them to creation.
Sometimes it just spurs them into memory. Bagel recalled to me a couple of his favorite stories with the band after I inquired of a certain photograph posted to their Facebook. It featured, from left-to-right, Zack Gattis, Bagel, a friend of the band, Wesley, and Meagan, all plastered with enriched countenances and standing outside in nothing but their underwear. “Hahaha, that’s from Underground Forest,” explained Bagel. “Well, when we were playing a show it would usually be in a small space, so that shit would get hot. And when it gets hot you peel off layers. But for us it became kinda a competition, to see who would go the furthest.”
“Was anyone drunk?” I ask, “or is this just normal of Monterey folk?”
“Actually we were sober!” he laughs, presumably, because of his emoji usage. “Which probably makes it worse… We even went all the way at practice once. You can ask Meag about that one.” I didn’t ask Meag, I pressed Bagel and was rewarded in short. “Wesley’s Mom walked in on us while we were practicing naked that time…” as though there is a repertoire of other times they did this. “Fucking great. Definitely can’t hide behind a drumset. She looked, popped her head in, saw what was going on, stopped saying what she was going to say, and closed the door,” laughing emoji.
So perhaps, on that note, Glass House isn’t always so hospitable. I guess it depends on the kinda person you are. I only find myself reaching the conclusion of this story and yearning for more, staring through the barred doors of the House, imagining that someday, the bar might be lifted, and if so, that it is not converted into a Starbucks. Stay cool, Glass House, even though that name does not necessarily encompass your quartet any longer, and I wish you not only artistic success, but strong companionship, and many opportunities in the future - perhaps with different groups, in different places - to summon an audience to within an arm’s reach of you as they sing along and strip off their sweat-soiled shirts and move to the music that you (or perhaps mostly Meagan) spawned, that you offered to us, like a cup of Earl Grey or a dark stout, so we may hear your qualms and your tales and be reminded that we are not alone. Thank you, Glass House.

Also, on an unrelated note, I beg of you to go on Thursdays to Planet Gemini on Fremont Street in Monterey, especially on this Thursday, for Mental Musk, who headlines the weekly show (and fucking shreds up their instruments every time), is featuring a special guest, 831sound’s very own founder and Fresno-born trap rapper, Kae9mm (whose music can be streamed on Soundcloud). Let’s try to pack that big floor this week! Spread the word! How often do you see rappers performing around here for fuck’s sake!?

Also, also, Glass House isn’t around anymore, so I’m not sure how efficacious it is to share their social media, but here’s their Facebook if you wanna check it out.

Thank you more than I can expatiate for taking the time to read my bullshit, and for waiting for me to figure out how to write this rather sympathetic piece. Future pieces will not ordinarily take so long, but I don’t really have any deadlines or scheduling for this piece of my daily agenda so it happens when it happens. And if you’d like to contact me for some reason, shoot an e-mail to widmer.wyatt@gmail.com and I’ll probably respond because of how evanescently warm I feel inside anytime somebody conveys to me their appreciation of my work.