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Minneapolis' Heatbox

Heatbox

by Andrew Frey
May 2009

Vocal organists are a hard lot to find. Humans may all be born with mouths, but what emanates from that orifice varies greatly. Babies tend to be the most creative but also unrefined when it comes to their vocal expressions. Some folks however take the time to refine their vocal tool and the results can be spectacular. Case in point HEATBOX, the one man beatboxing sensation from Minneapolis, MN who describes his music as sounding like a “funky a’ capella group from outer space.” 

His new release is called “System” and drops on May 5, 2009, necessitating a tour and therefore a fantastic opportunity to see him live and in top form. I’ve seen HEATBOX several times over the past several years and he is always extremely interesting and entertaining as a performer.  I was pleased when he recently had a moment to answer a few questions. Since the amount of solo beatboxing performers is a slim one at best, I was curious as to how he chose his musical path.  “I have always had a nerdy spot in my heart for a’ capella music… and funk!” Heatobox begins. “But really I think it chose me.”

When performing, Heatbox is far more than just a simple a’ capella performer. Hums, whirls, squeaks, scratches, thumps and bumps are but a paltry attempt to semantically replicate the types of sounds in his arsenal of vocal slurries. I questioned if certain sounds are harder to generate than others?


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EOTO

EOTO

by Andrew Frey
April 2009

The legendary String Cheese Incident has spawned several side projects, but none more current and relevant than EOTO, which features and is comprised of SCI alumnists Michael Travis and Jason Hann. In a recent e-mail interview I was fortunate enough to have Jason explain some things about EOTO. We started with the name.

“EOTO used to be End Of Time Observatory,” begins Hann. “We sort of pronounced it E-O-T-O for a bit and then started saying it as a word: EeOhToe. When we did that, some Japanese fans told us that it means “good sound” in Japanese. Since then, we’ve been the word rather than the letters.”


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Les Claypool

Les Claypool

by Andrew Frey
March 2009

Conjuring questions for Les Claypool brought forth memories of the past to mind. I quite vividly recall the first time I saw the astounding grand bass flailer. A friend and I drove from Denver to Boulder to hear Primus play. On the way to the show we anxiously listened to a warbled and horribly warn cassette of “Suck on This.” Maybe 100 or so people were in attendance at the bar called “Tulagi’s on the Hill” for the “Suck on This” tour stop. Nothing could have adequately prepared me for what we witnessed and experienced that night. My life has never been the same since.

However, many roads have been traversed since then. Countless tours, numerous albums and incessant musical creativity have brought us to this point. As the summer looms ahead, Les Claypool has seized the opportunity to bring a new spin on entertainment to the people with something dubbed “The Oddity Faire.” In a recent e-mail interview, I asked Les a few questions about the tour, the new album, and movies.


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Madison's Elf Lettuce (well, at least we got the logo)

Elf Lettuce

by Andrew Frey
March 2009

Some bands find their strength in Satan/Jesus and others in sexual escapades. However, for the Madison quartet Elf Lettuce they draw off another, more untraditional source of power and unmitigated majesty.

“We have a mascot - a lawn gnome named Ricardo Perfecto,” begins guitarist and vocalist Alex White in a recent e-mail exchange. “He’s actually the second mascot we’ve had, because our first mascot, Eugene, was tragically decapitated after an audience member ‘accidentally’ knocked him off the rather tall stage at The Frequency in Madison in September.”

The stalwart band, rounded out by Jacob Lison (guitar, harmonica, vocals), Joe Murray (drum kit) and Eli Reichenberger (bass, vocals), took their loss in stride and managed to recover nicely after finding a replacement.


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Madison's acoustic outfit Fermata

Fermata

by Andrew Frey
January 2009

The band Fermata evokes a forgotten gothic era.  An era with a certain raw, earthy melancholy atmosphere permeating all it contacts. Upon consumption of their potent sonic brew, the listener is whisked off to a musical merry-go-round of passion and excitement. Vocal visions are painted for our ears to hear and see. As the visions clear, we find that these spellbinding tales are spoken through the various physical and musical voices of a far flung ensemble from Madison, WI.

After witnessing Fermata’s performance on Dec 15 at High Noon Saloon, time was set aside to find out more about this band. Now, through the modern marvel of e-mail, we have been granted a view into the workings of that which is Fermata.


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5319 ViewsPermalinkFermata WebsiteFermata MySpace
Droids Attack Vs. Imperial Battlesnake

Imperial Battlesnake

by Andrew Frey
August 2008

Firmly seizing upon the bombastic hammer of thundering metal, comes Imperial Battlesnake. This Chicago-land experience consists of King James and his aggressive drum beating, Doom Wop Costanza hopping up the explosive bass playing with intestinal fortitude, Greazy Dave Reece augmenting the relentless guitar killing with powerful staring and tongue tornados, Ronnie James Theo exemplifying skin-scaring guitar riffing with quicksilver solos, and Wes Nile spewing forth a mouth-warping vocal rampage while sporting a Napoleon Complex. 

With so many colorful characters to choose from, one can hardly go wrong! Recently I touched base with the Imperial Battlesnake troupe for a quick e-interview.


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That One Guy on the cover of Maximum Ink in May 2008

That 1 Guy

by Andrew Frey
May 2008

The world of one man bands is an eclectic and beguiling one indeed. In the past, they have been a whirlwind of instruments strapped to a person’s body with arms and legs quivering and flailing to produce rhythms and sounds that forged into music. That 1 Guy (aka Mike Silverman) is a one man band for the cyber age. His hands, arms and feet are strumming, plucking, smacking and caressing his unique instrument dubbed, “The Magic Pipe” while inserting in clever sound snippets and samples. It is a sight to behold!
I caught That 1 Guy’s last tour through Madison at the Annex and had a blast. It is a unique, absurd and elegant performance.

Recently I managed to squeeze in an e-mail interview with the man behind the GUY. He’s a busy guy. In fact due to an unexplained delay with the e-mail interview, I thought I had lost my interview possibility. He begins by recanting, “So sorry to be M.I.A.  I jumped out of my last tour into a very intense recording project that finished yesterday.”

Since his music is created via his own concocted instruments, I decided to start off by having him describe the focal point of his stage show and musical production, The Magic Pipe.


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Clutch on the cover of Maximum Ink in April 2008

Clutch

an interview with Clutch vocalist Neal Fallon
by Andrew Frey
April 2008

From the first time I heard the song, “A Shogun Named Marcus” in the early 90’s, Clutch has been one of my favorite bands. They have been around for quite a few years and have garnered numerous accolades. This hard rockin’ and hard workin’ outfit from Maryland has produced 10 enthralling full-length releases with the most current being, “From Beale Street To Oblivion.” After all this time and numerous tours both stateside and abroad, I was lucky enough to capture a moment of time with the sardonic, yet nonchalant vocalist for the group, Neil Fallon. The band is completed by guitarist Tim Sult, bassist Dan Maines, drummer Jean-Paul Gaster and organist Mick Schauer.


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Kodo Drummers

Kodo Drummers

by Andrew Frey
March 2005

The first drum beat each of us experience is our mother’s heartbeat. This drumming continues as our own heartbeat propels us through each day of our existence. On Sado Island near Japan, the group known as KODO express their own heartbeats through drums. Taiko drums to be exact.“

Historically, every culture has had their own kind of drum. It can be considered as “a tool shared by all mankind,” explained Jun Akimoto, KODO’s tour manager. “It definitely has the “power” and “possibility” to appeal to and connect the people all over the world.”

During their performances, the KODO performers are clad in sweatbands and loincloths and meticulously beat their drums to create rhythms and patterns as old as our collective human heartbeat, yet as new as the ears that hear them. Drums with names like “Hirado-daiko” (flat-barrel drum), “Chu-daiko” (middle-sized drum) and the giant 800 pound “O-daiko,” (a double headed drum made from the trunk of an African Bubinga tree and the hide of a large cow) all have been chosen and woven into tightly composed and choreographed rhythmic and musical tapestries. KODO have given over 2600 performances in 42 countries on all five continents since their debut at the Berlin Festival in 1981. When asked about a favorite among their live performances, Akimoto replied, “All the performances we’ve done are memorable in their own way but to name one, the outdoor concert that we did at Red Rocks, Colorado in 2002 as part of a music festival made a lasting impression as the venue was unique. Also our concert at The Acropolis (in Greece) was amazing.”


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Cradle of Filth

Cradle Of Filth

by Andrew Frey
December 2004

A grim figure stepped up to the mic and began “Your misery is worn as a veil, To hide bewitchment of the ugliest kind, In place of Eve, a bitter parody hails, Daggers from the swagger of a sodomite’s concubine.” Then the vocalist raised his hands up and screamed the chorus, “Gilded cunt…you gilded cunt!” before launching into the next verse.

For the uninitiated, “Cradle Of Filth” is Britain’s premier erotic black metal band. They have been shocking and stunning fans around the world for well over a decade. Outside of the 11 or so CDs available, they have been pumping out a proverbial onslaught of vile merchandise for the black masses. Rings, posters, stickers, shot glasses, pendants, t-shirts, computer icons, wallpapers, and so much more! Most of the merchandise has their trademark vampiric appearance and often shows off partially clad, (fake) blood splattered females.


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