Archive for November, 2011
So now it’s Monday afternoon and we’ve had our successful party. Val then asks me if I’m leaving today. I replied that I probably should. But then he says, “Dude, it’s Halloween night in New Orleans! You have to go out tonight!” Apparently, this IS the night for locals to go out. Mardi Gras is insanely stupid, but Halloween is more “happening” because thousands of tourists haven’t flooded the streets and hotels. So it’s really festive, but not to the point of aggravation. So, I agreed. After all, there were still people to meet and venues to visit.
So, we go out to Pravda, which was a neat little place. They had absinthe which was rather expensive, and after much debate, decided I would indulge in one. I really like absinthe as a treat. I spent time trying to get pictures while I was out. I realized that I left the batteries to my nice flash, the one that makes all my pictures come out great, at home in Tally, and then the batteries died in my camera. I couldn’t find an outlet to plug my charger into either. So, I borrowed Val’s and later his girlfriend Marion’s camera to take pictures and had someone hold a flashlight for lighting. I couldn’t adjust the aperture or shutter speed to compensate, but I got some pretty decent results that way.
While we were there, we ran into some goths from Chicago, who were about to give me crap about “dressing goth for Halloween is NOT a costume!” until I told them that, “I dress like this all the time!” One of them was wearing this awesome deep-sea angler fish costume that she had made and I tried to get some good pictures of that. It was hard because it was entirely black and cast shadows on her face. I then got some of her without the helmet, and she really surprised me with how quickly she could get into a pose. I wished I had gotten her contact info so I could try and schedule a shoot if I ever got up to Chicago.
So, the evening went on and we had the security guy dressed as a clown patrolling back and forth throughout the evening. Finally, the liquor had its way with Val (hey, it was my turn the next night!) and we had to get him home. So, we get kicked out of the bar (why we were there past closing I don’t know) and now we have to get Val home, and he’s kind of heavy and can’t really help us by walking.
We were standing on the curb wondering what to do, when suddenly, and I am not making this up, this red Jeep pulls up and over to us. I remember someone saying that they were our ride, so the passenger side doors were opened and I looked inside. The driver says, “Hi, I’m Tina!” to which I replied, “Hi, I’m Tim!” A guy riding in the back seat jumps out and helps me wrangle Val into the front passenger’s seat and everyone piled into the jeep. On the ride home, I made some casual conversation with the guy (his name was Jack) helping us in the back seat. We made it home safely thanks to Tina and Jack, and Jack helped us get Val upstairs and on a mattress.
The next morning, when everyone was among the living again, I checked my Facebook. It turns out that the guy in the backseat with me was none other than DeeJay Jack Phoenix! Of all the ways to meet an influential DJ in the goth industrial scene! Val made the observation, “I got thrown out of a bar by a clown after it was closed…” to which I added, “and then we got helped home by a famous DJ from Boston!” Only in New Orleans…
So, I walked over to the House of Blues for the Endless Nights party. I entered the bar
and no sooner than I’m in sight of the dance floor, what song begins playing?
“Monsters” by Crüxshadows. I could only shake my head at the irony that virtually no
one in the venue had any idea that helped create that song. But, I really do like
to dance to that song, so I jumped out on the dance floor. I’m sure everyone was wondering
who the crazy guy was, but it’s a great song to dance to with built in “breaks” during
the verses before it goes big in the chorus. I had a fun time at the night and returned
safely to Valek’s.
Sunday was the day Valek and I were to throw a house party at his place. He had been out of town for the weekend and came back on Sunday. He wasn’t sure he’d still be in the mood to do the party after the long train ride, but after I got him from the train station, he decided we
should do it.
The idea was, that since I couldn’t get an “official” gig at a venue in town
for the weekend, I’d just play at his house and we’d get a bunch of people over to be the
audience. Well, the party was a success, we had quite a few people over, good conversation,
and everyone seemed to have plenty to drink. Unfortunately, the cops got called (about 11:30
on Halloween weekend in New Orleans? Really??) and we had to tone it down. I got up
and played a few songs, but the mood was a little dampened after the police were called, so I
did 4 or 5 songs and then stopped. Overall though, the party was a great success!
At the party, I met a girl named Josie and she had crashed at Val’s place. The next morning,
her phone had died so she couldn’t call her roommate, Tina, to come pick her up. So, I dialed
the number for her so she could get a ride. As it turns out, her roommate is Tina Root! That
would be the vocalist from Switchblade Symphony!
I haven’t blogged recently, not because I’ve been lazy and not because there isn’t anything to blog about, but the action has been non-stop, so I can’t even stop to change my mind if I had to. Even after events unfold, I have to spend time following up on said events and there is often not time to sit down and write about what happened. However, I have a few moments now and will try to recap…
I left for New Orleans to attend the Anne Rice Vampire Lestat Fan Club ball as the organizer, Sue Quiroz’s, guest. I was invited for the music I did to this video piece: ARVLFC video. In order to make trips worthwhile I often try and schedule gigs both coming and going from an appointed destination. I tried to get a gig in Pensacola, since it was about time for me to play there again, but had no luck.
Fortunately, Phillip Makselan in Pensacola pulled a rabbit out of a hat at the last minute and it was a huge help. Phillip is a very talented photgrapher. Here is his official photography page: Phillip Makeselan Photography. His significant other, Sarah Agnew, is a cosmetologist and did a bang up job rescuing my nails after I attempted to paint them black. After a few minutes, with only my $2 nail polish, my nails looked awesome! Here is her info if you are in the Pensacola area: Sarah Agnew Cosmetologist
So, I finally make it to New Orleans with just enough time to run into my host, Valek Reed’s, house, get a shower, turn around and race off to the Anne Rice Vampire Lestat Fan Club Ball. The ball was great! Voltaire did a great job of MC’ing and played a set towards the end of the evening. I met up with writer, Dionne Charlet, who graciously showed me around the venue and introduced me to many people. A fun evening was had by all.
Saturday, there was a small buffet/cocktail party/auction at Chateau Bourbon on Iberville. I again met with Dionne, who introduced me to some of the guests and writers for the Undead Con. I had a really great time talking writing with everyone, how to get readers interested in your stories etc. Many people said that there were attending the Endless Nights event later that evening, so since I was already downtown and had paid for parking, I just stayed and chatted until it was time to walk to the House of Blues where the event was being held.
This is a list of dark wave bands, in no particular order, that have in one way or another shaped or influenced the sound of Sapphire Rebellion. Of most of them I am a “fan by periphery” meaning that I like them, or some of their songs, but have never been “fanatical” or had to buy their latest release. Some of them I’m only familiar with their “biggest hits” but that’s how music is I guess. The notable exception is Sisters of Mercy, and I own(ed) Floodland and Vision Thing and listened to them many times on “repeat.”
First in my list of influential dark wave bands…
I call myself a “heretic in the church of the Cure.” I’ve never been a huge Cure fan. It also seems that I like the songs that I’ve heard the band themselves hate, i.e. I love, “Love Cats” because it’s awesome to dance to, and I like “Friday I’m in Love” just because it’s fun. However, every single release that I have heard has had great production, and I noticed this when I started studying music production on my own. So you can bet that their songs started getting some serious “critical listening” from me when I started studying their mixes, arrangements, and production.
Second on my list of influential dark wave bands…
The Cruxshadows (Original line-up):
Note: [It was while in the original line up of Cruxshadows that I first heard the term "dark wave." I didn't really know what it meant nor that it actually applied to the type of music we were making. Of course, years later, now that I know what it means, I believe the term "dark wave" is quite applicable to what we were doing. ]
Now this might seem like I’m trying to pat myself on the back because I was in the original line up. But, frankly, there are a lot of good songs that could have been great if we’d known what we were doing. I feel that these songs should be vamped up to “live” in their fullest potential. Many of the lyrics are very well done and I think they deserve to be heard by a larger audience. There are also a few songs that were really good in my opinion, and never got played live or released. If I can convince Rogue to let me get those, I might be able to realease them as SR “remakes” as well.
Third up in my dark wave list…
This band has had a big influence on me because of a couple of “non musical” reasons. One is that they have a unique sound. Even when they change things up a bit, they still always sound like Depeche Mode. Two, they have had an enviable career and probably the “ideal” career that any independent underground band could dream of having.
That is, with each successive release comes increasing success. Each step in their musical “career ladder” is ascended in order, and they have been able to appeal to the masses without alienating the core crowd that embraced them at their start. This is an amazing achievement!
Much more often we see bands that have to choose between appealing to their original crowd and staying limited, or choosing to grow by appealing to the masses. It would be an extremely tough choice and one I’m trying to avoid ever having to make. I’m purposefully trying to grow as Depeche Mode did in a very natural and organic way.
Fourth on my list of influential dark wave bands…
I didn’t really like industrial at all when it was coming to prominence in the US. I guess that doesn’t count “Art of Noise,” which in retrospect, is technically industrial music, and was what I thought industrial music should be; musical. It was fellow Cruxshadow, Sean Flanagan, and the fact that the music was being spun at the club we attended, that got me to listen a little more, eventually finding things I could like about it. I found Nitzer Ebb probably the most musical and appealing of the genre at the time. Later, after hearing bands like Gravity Kills’ natural fusion of industrial rhythm with crunchy guitars, it was obvious that THAT was a sound I could get into!
Fifth on my dark wave band list…
I like Peter Murphy because he is one of the few solo artist “in the genre,” even though I hear he does not consider himself as such. He is able to stand on his own simply by being a talented and dedicated artist in his own right, and not part of an “act.” (Although you will hear me refer to both bands and solo artists as “acts.”) His voice is both unique and riveting. When he starts singing about something you feel compelled to listen to what he is going to say next. I’m only really familiar with “Cuts You Up” and “Strange Kind of Love,” but the lyrics are meaningful and uplifting to listen to. People have suggested that I cover “Strange Kind of Love” and I may do it just for fun.
And last but certainly not the least on my list of influential dark wave bands…
The Sisters of Mercy:
This last one is kind of obvious with me. I loved Floodland and listened to it over and over. The music sounded to me what “gothic” rock should sound like; as serious as if I were in church, but a really awesome church. It had elements both profound and exciting: a singer whose delivery was both dramatic and dynamic, entire backing choirs, serious strings, and a killer driving beat to boot. Even if you weren’t exactly sure what the song was about because of Andrew Eldritch’s oblique lyrical style, you had a sense it was something important, an observation about society, a justifiable criticism, or perhaps a reflection on an historic event. The mystery combined with the dark, driving, nature of the music made for a compelling combination.
So this summarizes the main dark wave bands who influence the Sapphire Rebellion sound. There are many other influences to be sure, and many of them are not “dark wave” but I’ll probably post about that another time.