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-Calendar Updated - 2/3/08
-Editorial Updated 1/11/08

January 2008
Beatallica *1/08

Brew City Sludge 1/08
CD/DVD Reviews  1/08
Crystal Corner Bar 1/08
Eclectic Vibes 1/08
Fair To Midland 1/08
The Honorary Title 1/08
Letter To The People 1/08
Rock Star Death Notices 1/08
The Scarring Party 1/08
Slipped Discs 1/08

December 2007
Ottoman Empire *12/07

CD/DVD Reviews  12/07
Coheed & Cambria 12/07
Dan Hicks & the Hot Licks 12/07
Dry Bean 12/07
Fair To Midland 12/07
John 5 12/07

November 2007
Dropkick Murphys *11/07

Dad The Plow 11/07
CD/DVD Reviews  11/07
Robyn Hitchock 11/07
Reptile Palace 11/07


Alphabetically by Last Name

30 Seconds To Mars *3/07
48 Hours In Iceland with Last Crack *4/05
420 *3/01
1956 4/05

Abstract Giants 10/04
Adema 4/05
Aerosmith *1/07
Alabama Thunderpussy 6/04
All Girl Summer Fun Band
Bernard Allison *6/00
Alston 2/05
Alter Bridge * 9/04
Amen 5/04
American Headcharge * 10/01
Ian Anderson  10/06
Anthrax * 10/04
Anthrax 11/05
A Perfect Circle 12/03
A Perfect Circle * 4/00
Arena Venus
Arrested Development
Asylum Street Spankers *2/07
Atomic Bitchwax
Autolux 10/05
Avenged Sevenfold *7/06
Awesome Car Funmaker *7/05

Baghdad Scuba Review 7/07
Beastie Boys/Mix Master Mike *12/04

Beautiful Creatures * 9/01
Black Label Society *7/00
Black Sabbath * 12/98
bloodsimple 2/05
Bif Naked *11/05
Big Sandy And His
Fly-rite Boys
Big Wu 8/04
Billy Idol 9/05*
Birth Of Tragedy 4/06

Blaqk Audio 9/07
Blind Boys Of Alabama
Blue Man Group * 10/03
Bo Diddley  10/06
Boney Fingers 1/05
Books On Tape/The Demix 3/05
Boris The Sprinkler *7/99

Broken Social Scene 7/04
Lonnie Brooks 9/05
Lonnie Brooks  8/01
Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown *7/00
Jack Bruce  12/01
Bugattitype 35 *8/97
Burden Brothers * 6/04
Built To Spill  9/06
Buzzhorn, The * 8/02

Cadillac Pete 6/07
Captured! By Robots *6/05
Calexico 9/06

Carbellion 9/05
Canned Heat
Canned Heat 7/07
Cates, Lucas  8/07
Cealed Casket 10/07
Cibo Matto *5/01
W.C. Clarke 9/00
Coal Chamber * 2/98
The Cocksmiths *10/07
Coolzey 1/07
Cradle Of Filth 12/04

Cradle of Filth 10/07
The Cummies 7/05
Curran, Nick
CUT The Movie 4/07
Crest/Jack Cracker
The Cribs 4/06 3/04
Cynergy 67

Damage Plan * 4/04
Dark New Day 5/05
D.A. Sebasstian *2/05
Days Of The New 7/04
Days Of The New  *8/98

Danzig 10/04
The Dead Kennedys 10/05*
Decapitado * 3/04
Anthony DeCurtis  10/06
Default  12/01
Davis, Rachael 1/06
Deep Purple 4/04
Def Leppard 7/07
Deftones *12/06
Denali 4/04
The Dials 12/05
Dimmu Borgir
Dirty Three
The Dirty Three 10/05*
Disturbed * 8/00
Disturbed 9/05
Dismemberment Plan
Donnas, The * 7/03
Dorsey, Claude * 12/03
Drain S.T.H. * 6/97
Drill 187
Driver 13  9/01
Droids Attack
Droids Attack  12/06

Dropkick Murphys
Drown * 4/99
Drowning Pool 3/04
Drowning Pool * 11/01
Duarte, Chris

Eagles Of Death Metal *5/06
Edwards, David "Honeyboy"
El Donk
Electric Hellfire Club * 3/02
Endeverafter  9/06
Evanesence * 2/04

Factory 81 *12/00
Fear Factory *7/01
Finger 11 *11/04
Bradley Fish *2/06
Fluid Ounce *3/99

Freshwater Collins 1/05
Future Leaders Of The World 10/04


German Art Students
Gingerjake *6/07
Godsmack * 2/99
Godsmack 12/04
Goldfinger 3/05
The Gomers 9/02
The Gomers *4/06

Goo Goo Dolls
The Goo Goo Dolls *6/06
Gov't Mule 11/04
Gov't Mule  11/06
Guided By Voices 6/02
Tracii Guns 5/06

Grade8 * 1/03
Gravity Lost 10/04
Great Girls Blouse  9/01
Green Scene  3/01
Greene, Jackie * 8/03
The Gufs  12/06

Halford  12/06
Hank Thomas & the Western Starlanders
Heavils, The * 3/03
Helliphant 2/07

Helmet 10/04
Hersh, Kristin 7/03
High Noon Saloon's Cathy Detmers 5/05
Hiss, The 4/04
Hope Conspiracy  10/06
Hot Tuna
Hotwater Music 12/04

Huun- Huur-Tu * 2/03

Icon The Mic King 4/07
Infantry Rockers 9/02
Iron Maiden 8/05*

Jessie Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter *4/05
JJO Band Camp 7/04
John Paul Jones  11/01
Judas Priest * 8/04

Junkers, The
Justin Hinds 9/00

Karl Denson's Tiny Universe 1/05

Katie Todd Band  8/06
Kid Rock * 12/99
Killingtons, The 3/04
King Crimson  11/01
King Gun 9/04
King Solomon
Kittie 7/04
Kodo Drummers 3/05
Korn *3/06

Lacuna Coil * 7/04
Ladysmith Black Mambazo
Lamb Of God 11/04
Sam Lay 9/05
Last Crack * 11/02
48 Hours In Iceland with Last Crack *4/05
Last Crack in Amsterdam 6/05
Lavette, Bettye
Tommy Lee *6/02
Les Ballets Africains 3/07
Les Paul 5/07
Les Percussions De Guinee * 1/01
Life Of Agony * 5/98
Little Feat 7/04
Locksley 2/07

Bob Log III
Long, Chris11/04
Long Story Short
Lordi  8/07
Lorenzo Music * 2/98
Lotus 4/06
Lovlies, The

Machine Head *9/99
Magic 7 *9/96

Man.. Or Astro-man *10/96
Aimee Mann 6/06

Marilyn Manson *
Mickey Hart's Planet Drum * 10/98
Midnight Oil *7/02
Midwest Rock Opera Company (MiROC)
Ministry *3/96
Mississippi Cactus
MOD 7/04
Monster Magnet *9/98
Moon Gypsies
Mötley Crüe 12/04
The Motor Primitives 3/07
Moving Parts
Mudride 3/05
Mudride 3/02
Mudvayne *1/01
Mudvayne 3/06

Must *3/05
Muzzy Luctin * 10/99

Natty Nation 2003
New Recruits
Nevada Backwards * 5/03
Nine Inch Nails 10/05*
Nomonic 3/04
Nonpoint 12/00
Nonpoint  12/06
North Mississippi All-Stars 9/05

O.A.R.  6/07
Oh My God
Osborn, Joan*5/96
Osbourne, Ozzy*12/01
Otep 5/07

Pantera 2/01
Papa Roach  *11/06
Paramount Records
Pelican 1/07
Pimps, The
Poison  9/06
Polysics 10/07
Probers, The
Projekt Revolution  8/07
Psypchedelicasi  *9/97
Puddle Of Mudd * 8/01
Puta Pons 6/01
Q and Not U 3/05

Rammstein *12/00
Ray Condo And His Ricochets
Reason For Leaving
Rebels Without Applause *9/00
Red Elvises, The * 4/01
Reel Big Fish  11/06
Reptile Palace Orchestra * 11/03
The Residents *2/01
Rev. Horton Heat * 2/02
Rictus Grin 1/07
Marc Rizzo 3/07

Robert Randolph And The Family Band * 3/03
Roadrunner United 2/006
Roxy Saint 11/04
Rundgren, Todd 4/04

The Sadies 9/06
Schwillbillies, The * 12/02
Screamin' Cyn Cyn & the Pons  8/07
Second Coming *5/99
Sevendust * 4/97
Sevendust * 8/99
Sevendust 9/03
Sevendust *2/06
SevenOneFive *4/06
Shadows Fall 7/07
Billy Sheehan  10/01
She Might Have A Gun *3/99

Shot To Hell * 9/02
Siegel-Schwall Band *1/06
Skintones, The
Slayer *1/07
Sleestak 9/04

Slipknot * 4/04
Slipknot * 5/00
Skindred 10/04
Smithereens 1/05
Snooky 8/04

Snopek III, Sigmund 4/04
Jill Sobule 6/06
Something To Do
Eric Sommer 7/07
Southern Culture On The Skids * 5/04
Soulfly * 2/01
Soundtribe Sector 9 2/05
Space 2004
Spiral Seed 4/06
Split Lip Rayfield  *10/06
Static-X *8/07
Stone Sour *10/06

Suite 13
Sunshine For The Blind 1/07
Supersuckers, The * 5/02
Stone Sour *10/06
Stone Temple Pilots *10/00
Story Of The Year 3/04
Stuck Mojo * 4/98
Kasim Sulton 8/01
Sunset Black
Sunspot 6/04
Summerfest History 6/07
Super Deluxe 3/05
The Swanks 9/05
System Of A Down * 9/99

Koko Taylor 3/06
Taylor, Otis
Taylor, Otis 6/04
Tenacious D * 4/02
Telenovela 1/05
Terra Diablo 9/07

Tesla 3/04
Tesla *7/07
Thompson, Ed * 10/02
Tiesto 9/07
Tool *9/06
Tony Levin Band
Tormentula * 4/00
Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players
Trans Siberian Orchestra *12/05
Trinity James 12/05
Trout, Walter 4/04
The Tubes 4/06

Ultraspank *7/98
Umphrey's McGee *9/07
Under The Surface 9/04
Union Pulse
Union Underground *6/01

Voivod * 4/03

Wakeman, Rick
Wasp 4/01
Webley, Jason 2/06
Wickershams 9/02

Yamagata, Rachel 11/04
Youngblood Brass Band
Zen Guerilla

Factoid/Quote of the Week

"Underneath all that hair, there's a little, tiny, Jewish accountant." Gene Simmon's Wife

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Albert Einstein

"Good judgement comes from experience, and experience comes from poor judgement."  George Washington

"If the disclosure is true, it's breathtaking. The president is revealed as the leaker in chief." - Representative Jane Harman of California, the senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee

"I tell you, he's President George Bush, not King George Bush. This is not the system of government we have and that we fought for," Sen. Russell Feingold, D-Wisconsin:  The Associated Press.

“Priest Holmes told me to never get comfortable. He said that no matter what you’ve done, it’s never enough and that you always have to prove yourself. I think that stuck with me the most since I left.” Samkon Gado - Running Back, Green Bay Packers

"I've never supported him and certainly would never vote for him. I think he's a fool and a man without forethought. I have no confidence in him whatsoever. I think he's an idiot, I really do. He has done nothing to our country but drag it down to the ground." - Ronnie James Dio from an interview in Terrorizer Magazine in UK

"You may lose with me, but you'll never win without me." - Terry Bradshaw

"We are exquisitely social creatures. Our survival depends on understanding the actions, intentions and emotions of others. Mirror neurons allow us to grasp the minds of others not through conceptual reasoning but through direct simulation. By feeling, not by thinking." Dr. Rizzolatti, a neuroscientist at the University of Parma 

 "Which would you rather watch at halftime? Aging rock stars or supermodels playing full-contact tackle football in lingerie?"  former NBA Star Dennis Rodman

"Anything that seeks to rule using fear or guilt can't possibly be divine." Rökker, publisher, Maximum Ink music magazine

"Most rock journalism is people who can't write, interviewing people who can't talk, for people who can't read. -- Frank Zappa, Chicago Tribune - Jan 18 1978

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Reel Big Fish - November 2006
Author: Patrick Stutz
Added: 11/15/2006
Type: Interview
Viewed: 7394 time(s)

Reel Big Fish - November 2006

L toR: Wong, Regan and Christainson outside the Ambassador Hotel - photo by Patrick Stutz

Across the street from the evening’s venue at The Rave in Milwaukee, sits the historical looking Ambassador Hotel on Wisconsin Avenue.  The inlaid marble floors and Art Deco design of the building’s lounge gives an upper class façade, where women sip martinis and the men order scotch. Off in the furthest corner from the street window, the general décor of the bar is thrown off by facial pierces, t-shirts and blue jeans as three members of the Orange County ska band, Reel Big Fish, sit quietly sipping vodka tonics, bloody Maries, and lattes.  Being a little out of place is a scene trombone player Dan Regan says the band is familiar with.  

“A lot of times the promoter of a club we play will know someone at the classiest joint in town,” Regan says.  “They’ll get us in, then turn around and ask us to change our shoes.  We’ll just stand there because we’re in a band.  We literally just finished playing and think ‘Man, what are we doing here?’”

Today however, the band has a great reason to sit in an upscale bar and toast drinks.  After ten years of being locked to a record label, Reel Big Fish is finally free to set its own path.  It’s in control of its own finances, just released a new double live disc, and with a still growing fan base the band is now ready to start over and try to unlearn everything the record companies have taught them.


Reel Big Fish at the Rave in Milwaukee - photo by Patrick StutzThirty-three year old Matt Wong sits in the Ambassador’s lounge with his back against the wall, holding a half empty bloody Mary. At this moment he’s a living metaphor for the band’s last ten years in the music industry.  

“Bands are a lot like baseball players in the sense that other teams are continually buying your contract,” the bassist said.  “One day your on this record label, there’s a negotiation and the next day your with somebody else.  You cross your fingers and hope to get treated well, but if you’re not a multi-million dollar act, you basically get lost in the shuffle.”

When Reel Big Fish first signed to Mojo Records (a division of Universal Records) in 1995, ska music had hit the mainstream.  Bands like No Doubt and Dance Hall Crashers were receiving high levels of radio play, but Regan said his band remained a little skeptical.

 “We thought ‘It’s ska music.  It always goes away.’  So when we got signed we figured it was never going to work and tried reveres psychology.  If we said it wasn’t going to work than maybe it would.”

The high energy formula that the band developed and the lighthearted lyrics of singer/song writer Aaron Barrett produced two results. The songs struck a cord with ska fans making Turn the Radio Off the group’s highest selling album.  It also protected the band from criticism by poking fun at its self and the label that signed it.

“We wanted to be the first ones to mock what we were doing so we could always say ‘We told you so,” says Wong.  “It’s like calling yourself out before anybody else can.”

The lyrics on the album also foreshadowed how Reel Big Fish would eventually feel towards the music industry. 

Turn the Radio Off sold over 700,000 records,” recalls Wong.  “On our contract we got 12 percent of the record sales, but there were all the promotional costs, and industry X, Y plot graphs.  From that 12 percent we had to recoup the record label for money supposedly used and we actually ended up owing.”

Trumpet player John Christianson notes that “Just from that first record, the label probably made around 5.6 million dollars, but the band didn’t see a scent.”

“That’s basically what’s been happening to us throughout our career,” Wong adds.  “And there was nothing we could do about it because we were obligated by this damn piece of paper we signed.”


Wong swallows the bite of asparagus that sat in his bloody Mary soaking up vodka, before leaning forward and screaming “Give us free! Our Chains have been broken!”  The Amsted quote causes Regan to throw his arms in the air and cheer, as Christianson breaks into smile.  All of the business folk turn and look. “We’ve been on a label of some sort since ’95,” says Wong.  “Now we have complete control over what we do.”

Earlier this year Reel Big Fish got a call from Jive Records, who carries artists like Brittany Spears and Justin Timberlake, and was told that they were being dropped from the label. 

“They told us not to take it the wrong way and we were like ‘This is great, thanks,’” says Regan.  The label didn’t really do much for us.  If we wanted to make a video or something we had to call a friend and do it ourselves.  So we’ve slowly been networking and piecing everything together waiting for this moment.”

Within three months of losing its label, Reel Big Fish released the independent double live disc, Our Live Album is Better Than Your Live Album, which works as a greatest hits collection, and matching DVD.

“We’re hoping that now with this live album and DVD that people won’t have to buy our past records, which are all on record labels,” says Regan.  “We’re still not getting any royalties from our back catalog of songs.”

By producing its own CDs, the band can now claim 70 percent of disc sales, and is no longer under pressure from record execs to hit specific goals.

“The year Turn the Radio Off came out was great because the industry was really pushing ska,” Regan said.  “After a year and a half the industry started looking for something new to push and suddenly selling 300,000 records was considered a failure.  Man, that’s still a lot of records.”

Regan believes that with the technological bounds over the past 11 years, bands nowadays don’t need to sign a label to get records out.

“With Pro-tools on a laptop, people can make records in there bedroom that sound just as good as the records we made a long time ago,” he says.  “Plus with the internet popping up as a dominating force in the music industry, places like Myspace, and the ability to burn 100s of CDs from home, the record industry has really seen a shift from the sort of system that we were shackled to for so many years.”


Christianson chokes on Wong’s bloody Mary as he passes it back.  “It tastes like cold vegetable soup,” he calls out going back to his alcohol free latte.  The band recognizes the irony that the majority of its fans aren’t old enough to drink and yet a good number of its songs involve drinking.  But it’s the age of the fans, the band says, that keep them going.

“We always tried to capture the energy of the live shows on our studio records,” says Regan, “But it never really worked.  There’s just something about those kids screaming at you that you can’t do in the studio.  Maybe we could hire a bunch of 15-year-olds to scream at us and yell ‘Play “Beer!”’ all day.”

Despite poor record sales and a lack of radio play, Reel Big Fish has kept a strong youth following world wide and can consistently sell 700 to 1,000 seat anywhere in the United States. 
“You can feel really old really quick in this industry,” says Regan.  “Sometimes it’s hard to jump around when you’re 29, wearing a suit and it’s 110 degrees on stage.  But even if I’m in the worst mood, after watching the kids dance, I know I better move or they’ll string me up.  Our fans can get crazy.”

Regan believes the band also influences the crowd, but that it’s important to set clear boundaries, because of the young age of the fans.

“We sing about our own problems because that’s what we’re experts on,” he says.  “Being in a band and drinking, it’s the one thing that we all have in common.”

But when it comes to politics, Regan says that’s where the band draws the line.

“When you’re dealing with 15-year-olds, you have to present a very clear message when talking politics,” he says.  “They can’t come up to me, ask me one thing and then go up to Aaron or Matt and get another answer, because these kids are in a place where they’re looking for something to latch on to, and we don’t want to be the ones to mess them up.”

Recently, the band started working with Music for America (MFA), an advocacy group dedicated to raising awareness.  During Reel Big Fish's up and coming tour, MFA will be setting up a booth to educate fans on voter registration and to discuss student healthcare and personal finance.

“We have this whole generation of people that are in debt right now because they never learned about any personal finance in school,” says Regan.  “We figured by getting involved with MFA we could talk to kids about how the most punk rock, nonconformist thing they can do is not get a credit card and not become a slave to these banks.  It’s something the whole band has struggled with and it’s something all of us stand behind.”

Wong insists on buying the next round.  The luster of the Ambassador’s lounge has worn off and the happy hour crowd starts to filter in.  He drops a fat tip on Mike the bartender and divvies out the drinks before turning around to grab his next bloody Mary.  His glass is now filled to the top and it spills as he sets it down. 

“You have a whole salad bar in there,” Christianson says. 
“Yeah, I guess I’ll be fine for a while,” Wong retorts.

Like the rest of the band, Wong is very satisfied with his current place.  It took some rough detours to get there, but he and the rest band have somehow remained positive. 

“If you would have asked me several years ago if we’d hit our peak, I would have said yes,” Wong says.  “We were on the radio, we were in a movie (BASEketball) and at the time I believed that was all we needed.  Looking now, the crowds are still the same, we draw just as many people, if not more, and we are finally in control of what we do.  So ask me now, do I think we’ve reached the peak? Looking at our history and our track record, I’d have to say no.  It still might be awhile before we are there.”

Article Pages:  1  

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