Photo by James Lockridge.
Free family-friendly live concert at Main Street Landing on Wednesday, November 20: Live broadcast on 105.9FM The Radiator / the cable TV channels of RETN / and streaming on bigheavyworld.com!
Join Big Heavy World, Main Street Landing, and RETN for the first of a monthly concert series featuring free admission to a live concert broadcast of Big Heavy World’s local music radio hour, ‘Rocket Shop.’ Come be our studio audience in Main Street Landing’s Black Box Theater! At 7pm we’re hosting a Musicians for Musicians panel on the subject of copyrights, then at 8pm we enjoy live music from Hana Zara, followed by an ensemble performance by Aram Bedrosian, Mahlon Gross and Mark Lapierre.
Hana Zara is a Nebraska native and Burlington transplant. Her latest album, ‘Tatterhood,’ received rave reviews from Arts Riot and Seven Days. First hand testimony about Hana’s live show: ”I suppose Bob Dylan had a first gig somewhere. I don’t know where but I would imagine that if we could crawl into a time capsule and travel back to that moment it would be one to savor, or maybe Leonard Cohen…the music that had a real message, poetry that evoked something inside and stirred up the spirit. This is what I observed on Thursday night at Cafe Vivaldi listening to Hana Zara perform her first bonafide gig in NYC. While I really wanted to stand up and say to the audience… you are witnessing the beginning of what I truly in my heart think is a momentous occasion….the birth of a real artist. And so amidst the chatter and sound of plates clanking she took a sip of water, lifted her guitar and quickly tested her starting note. The sound of her voice has a vulnerable lilting quality with an airy kind of tone. You might be inclined to close your eyes to just listen but you will not because there is a sweet kind of self conscious shyness rolled up into a street smart gypsy. She paints her lyrics. I imagine what might happen with this career and only hope that she remains true to the exquisite essence of her unplugged self. Standing up there alone is perfection. She is a little dark jewell. I am really looking forward to her CD.” -Kathy Ingraham (singer and composer for film, TV Commercials, Records- Warner, RCA, Arista, Epic, AVI)
Aram Bedrosian, Mahlon Gross and Mark Lapierre
Aram’s debut album of funk driven, melodic pieces instantly earned him international acclaim for it’s balance of technical achievement and musicality and solidified his place on the forefront of bass innovation. He is hard at work on the follow-up, A Dark Light, set for release in October 2013. He has performed on stages across the country, appeared on dozens of albums, owns and instructs at The Bass Dojo in Burlington, Vermont where he resides. He is also the resident bass instructor at multiple colleges and gives lessons worldwide via webcam.
The Rocket Shop Live concert series is made possible by Advance Music, the Vermont Arts Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Main Street Landing’s Black Box Theater is accessible; for more information contact Mariah Riggs, (802) 540-3018.
Words by Valentina Frimi. Photos by Lily Chau.
Bonita Kosak came to Rocket Shop to talk about her upcoming album, ‘Sunflower Serenade.’ With the help of Kyle Rose, this charming lady uses honest words and imagery taken right out of the Vermont landscape in her acoustic songs to bring powerful political messages to light. Her album will be finished by the end of the year.
Andy Lugo brought news of his open mic nights at Manhattan Pizza in Burlington.
Iron Sword stopped by Rocket Shop tonight to talk about their recently released EP ‘Loose Leaf.’ The metal band from Burlington formed in 2012, with Brandon Pratt, Mike Graham, Ben Morrisette, and Drew Storcks, who shared an interest in metal, and were influenced by acts suck as Black Sabbath and Elder. You can often see them playing local gigs at Nectar’s, The Monkey House, and 242 Main, but they’re looking into future plans of touring the broader horizons of New England. https://www.facebook.com/ironsword
Photos by Lily Chau.
Bad Dog interview by Valentina Frimi.
Bad Dog came by Rocket Shop last Wednesday to play tracks off of their album ‘Sounds Like Humans,’ recorded in Middlesex, VT. The hard-rock band from Plainfield, Vermont, Tim Gregg on guitar, Shane Roya on bass, Dan Sharp on drums, and Joe Byers on vocals, are influenced by a broad variety of styles, but most notably Black Sabbath, Faith No More, and Primus. The four crammed into the station, and even with their edgy, youthful style, the rockers have a warm, whimsical presence as infectious as their catchy track “Ice Cold Beer.” Bad Dog will be playing at Positive Pie in Montpelier, on the 23, among other areas in the state. Bad Dog: http://www.reverbnation.com/baddogmusic
Bad Dog interview by Jack Donahue.
We had Bad Dog stop by Rocket Shop Wednesday this week to promote some of their old sounds from the album ‘Sounds like Humans.’ Entering Big Heavy World headquarters, Bad Dog makes an entrance. While getting their picture taken on the couch the guys were all smiles as they tangled themselves up for the goofiest pictures they could attempt. “We’re different than most other bands,” Says lead singer Joe Byers, “we just like to have a good time.”
When asked why they stopped into BHW, Tim Gregg who plays guitar for Bad Dog replied that they had heard about it before and decided to try it out. There were long pauses between questions where the band would lightly poke fun at each other’s responses, having already made themselves at home. The album ‘Sounds Like Humans’ is the band’s way of expressing their thoughts by putting a “positive spin on negativity.” Joe adds that their songs aren’t real political, but just them expressing what they think is important. Bad Dog talked a little bit about new music that may be coming out but estimated that it would be a least six months until another album may drop. Their message is simple and Tim Gregg said it best with a smile, “Just show your tits.” You can find Bad Dog’s music here at http://www.reverbnation.com/baddogmusic or you can check out there Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bad-Dog/112528552209092
Photos by Lily Chau.
Rik Palieri stopped by Rocket Shop Wednesday evening to talk about his recently completed tour project which produced the album, ‘Almanac Trail’. Rik, along with musical partner, George Mann, dug into the Woody Guthrie Archives to then tour for five weeks across the country, walking the same footsteps that The Almanac Singers (Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Lee Hays, and Mill Hampbell) did in the 1940s as young men. Rik, the self-proclaimed ‘folkie’ with denim jacket and western hat accessorized with silver conchos, radiated the confidence and passion of the romance of the road.
Rik, originally from New Jersey, currently resides in Hinesburg. He has been a musician all his life, playing banjo and singing, but is an author as well. From an early age, he discovered his love for folk music and as a teenager, had the opportunity to become the mentee of Pete Seeger after playing with him during one of his concerts. In his 20s, Rik came up with the idea for this project of recreating the Almanac Singers tour as a tribute to them, but even with an enthusiastic blessing from Pete himself, Rik did not have the kind of contacts needed to tour the trail until now.
The album ‘The Almanac Trail’ was recorded in Electric Wilderness Studios in New York with Rick and George covering the music and Pete Seeger telling stories of the 1940s union tour through actual 1940s microphones. Rik’s hope is to bring the story and music of The Almanac Singers to a new generation.
Photos by James Lockridge.
Bandleader stopped by Rocket Shop tonight to play some tracks off of their new LP ‘Cole, Pressure, Time’. The progressive indie rock band is comprised of Patrick McCormack, (lead singer/guitar) Alex Cseh, (lead guitar) Dan Dodd, (bass) and Jordon Chamberlin, (drums).
Bandleader formed in 2011 by Patrick, looking for backup to bring to life his solo work and diverge from his folk style to go more electric. He knew Chamberlin through high school, then recruited Cseh by posting an ad on Craig’s List. As the group started performing around the area, a fusion of each of their different music tastes took a life of it’s own, After building a Kickstarter for the new album, they met their goal half way through the 30-day fundraiser and finished with 128% of their goal made. The album was written over the course of one year, then recorded after building a temporary studio in a secluded cabin in the woods with the help of Chicago sound engineer, Jamie Carter, who Patrick had worked with in the past on his own. Recording of the LP took just 5 days.
You can pick up their new album ‘Cole, Pressure, Time’ at Pure Pop, Burlington Records, and at their upcoming show at The Monkey House on October 26th and at www.bandleaderband.com.
Acoustic folk punk band, Red Tin Box, visited Rocket Shop last Wednesday, hailing from Lyndon State College, in Lyndonville, VT. The group includes students Garrett LaBarge, (lead vocals, guitar) Michael Mahn, (‘banjolele,’ ukulele, vocals) and Andrew Fahle, (bass, guitar, vocals). The three friends, each originally from Maine, New Hampshire, and Connecticut, came together to form their group in 2011. Together they radiate a positive, laid-back vibe, which brings as much charm as their upbeat, quirky acoustic tracks. They enjoy listening to bands including Blink-182, along with fellow Lyndon bands Suncooked and Bible Camp Sleepovers.
Their first album ‘Simple and Sincere’ was released April, 2013. The band is looking forward to their upcoming week-long tour from Oct. 4th -12th, appearing in venues across the Northeast, reaching New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York (At The Delancey in Manhattan), Virginia, Washington D.C., and finally returning to Burlington to play Higher Ground on October 12, opening for Ewert and the Two Dragons along with Trapper Schoepp.
The podcast of tonight’s show is below.
Photos by Lily Chau.
Sails (above) and Watch Your Head (below) joined host Bolton on Rocket Shop tonight!
Photo by Lily Chau.
Clark Russell of Blowtorch joined Adam Desrochers on Adam’s last night as host of Rocket Shop, tonight. Blowtorch performs at Hopapalooza during the South End Art Hop, in the big tent behind the Maltex Building on Pine Street in Burlington, on Friday, September 6 at 7pm. Serotheft and Funkwagon also perform. Everybody’s going to miss Adam – Thank you for being there for Rocket Shop and all our guests!
Words by Marissa Bucci. Photo by James Lockridge.
Serotheft is a dance-driven livetronic band that was formed at Saint Michael’s College in 2009. It features Alex Greene on bass, Derek Rice on keyboards, Devin Atcherley on drums, and Ted Kenney on guitar and vocals. The group started playing house parties around Burlington until they had their first show at Metronome downtown, and they have been playing bars and concerts ever since.
The four of them took a break for the month of May after several months of recording their first full-length EP, entitled ‘Albatross.’ The band has a summer packed with tour dates and festivals across the East Coast, playing events like Disc Jam and Susquejamma, as well as other individual concerts. Check out their complete list of concerts and like their page at www.facebook.com/serotheft. Serotheft perform Friday, September 6 at the South End Art Hop.
The podcast of tonight’s show is below.
Words by Nick Carter. Photo by Lily Chau.
Authentic, wise and worn, Mark Lavoie (pronounced La-voy) has seen it all. From mega-blues festivals in Norway to down-and-out clubs in New Orleans as the driver for blues great Sunny Terry in the ’70s, to the stomping ground of folk legends Joan Baez and Bob Dylan, harmonica player and singer Lavoie wants to bring blues back to the front and center of the American musical palate.
In-between teaching gigs at Middlebury College and maintaining a robust touring schedule, Lavoie sat down with Big Heavy World writer Nick Carter for a few words on his experiences as a blues man and what needs to be done to keep the American blues scene alive.
Reclined and relaxed on the radiator couch, Lavoie dives into his experience with the blues and a little insight on the beauty of the harmonica.
Nick: You’ve been a musician for a long time, at least 30 years, how’d it all get started?
Mark: Well, I’ve always been a singer and I picked up the harmonica when I was 20 years old, when I heard Sonny Terry from Terry and Brian Mcgee and got totally hooked on his style and just went for it, ya know? Got to meet him, befriend him, was his driver in the summer of ’76.
Mark: Well, I left Burlington and flew into Atlanta and we did an East coast tour and we went down to Atlanta, Baton Rouge, New Orleans, up the coast to Richmond, Delaware, ended up in New York at The Other End where Joan Baez and Dylan got their start.
Nick: So, you’ve been around. How’ve the blues changed since your start int he ’70s?
Mark: the blues is definetely taking a beating, in this country, I mean its our American art form and as Willie Dixon once said, “the blues is the roots and everything else is the fruits,” ya know? I mean it is losing ground. You go to festivals, it’s basically a bunch of grayhairs and of course the legendary blues cruise and there’s that demographic that was in college in the ’60s, and early ’70s and all these blues greats, Muddy Waters, Elmore James, Papa John Creech, Sun House, John Lee Hooker, you saw all these blues acts on the college campuses and it got its surge and the blues was really big in the late ’60s and ’70s and started sliding away in the ’80s. And there’s still festivals and this whole clique of people that go to Memphis every year for the Blues Awards which I go to as a member of the American Blues Roots Duo on the Delta Groove Label, which I’m a part of with Bill Simms Jr.. Even at those festivals there’s very few young people, like 5%.
Nick: Why the drop in interest amongst the youngins?
Mark: It’s America, it’s the American public and the media and they don’t play blues. I mean Buddy Guy was just at the Flynn, OOOO MMM GGG I mean hes still keeping it alive but still most stations don’t pay the blues. But once you get out of the U.S., you go to Europe? Huge. Canada, you’re talking Norway, Spain, France, go to Brazil, Argentina, Australia, the Philippines, Japan, parts of China… I mean the blues, our American art form, they just want it and Bill Simms plays over in Europe with the Heritage Blues Orchestra and Tatum in Norway, biggest blues festival, and whoever gets booked there and all the buyers buy those artists for US festivals.
Nick: Funny how we get our blues clues from Europe.
Mark: Check out my website with videos of me and Bill, I’ve tried to get this music alive in college campuses ’cause that’s the only way to keep it alive. We gotta have workshops and performances or otherwise it’s going to be long gone, like ragtime.
Nick: Keeping blues alive, 2013. You sound like a blues activist to me. How’ve you been keeping it alive and well in VT?
Mark: I teach at Middlebury College, and the reason I got hooked in was Bill Simms Jr. who is the real deal, old school African American. We been together since 1993, and since 2003 we’ve been very active. Got us on the Delta Groove Label now. Bill and I perform and Peter Hamlin, professor of music asked me to come on board, and they appointed faculty to teach harmonica and I also build harmonicas and it’s been a really wonderful experience because when you teach, you learn a lot.
Nick: There’s something very basic about how the blues is played, not too much gear and stuff, ya know computers and what not.
Mark opens up his harrmonica case of about 30 custom-made little zingers. Some gems, made out of titanium, Vermont maple, and each with a distinct intonation, color and tone.
Mark: When you get playing and your ear hears something and it gets tougher down the line because it gets very specific and all the harmonica players, even if you have three of the best harmonica players sitting here and each one of us played the same harmonica it’d sound different.
Interview by Nick Carter. Photos by James Lockridge.
Alyssa and Kelly from Stick Shift Records joined host Adam Desrochers on Rocket Shop tonight to play tracks from the new compilation CD, ‘First Gear: Feminism in the Northeast.’First Gear’ is the first record released by the DIY Feminist micro-label Stick Shift Records, based in Burlington, Vermont. The compilation features 13 songs by feminist bands from New England and New York, and it showcases some of the best feminist, women, queer identified, and trans identified musicians in the Northeast punk scene, including three bands from Vermont. Check out the Bandcamp album page!
The Stick Shift Records Interview
Talking DIY, feminism, the ‘mosh grope’ and the future of the independent record label with Kelly of Stick Shift Records and the band Doll Fight!
Stick Shift Records is a small DIY, feminist, punk record label based in Burlington, Vermont. I sat down with the Girls Rock instructor, Doll Fight! member and all around community badass Kelly (on the right in the photo above) and her Toasters T-shirt clad and artistically inclined partner Alyssa on the eve of the release of Stick Shift Records’ debut release, ‘Feminism in the Northeast: First Gear.’ It’s a community-minded compilation of New England & New York punk bands dedicated to making the punk scene a more feminist, queer-inclusive, anti-racist, anti-sexist community.
In the age of the click and play, online dominated one-song attention span music space, with songs flying at you from all directions, Stick Shift Records wants to direct you towards some pretty gnarly tunes with a powerful message of community, tolerance, and standing up against the bull.
Kelly’s definitely the talker of the duo but Alyssa got her two-cents in here and there….enjoy!
Nick: You’re bringing back the ‘comp! I grew up listening to compilations from Nitro, Epitaph, whatever but haven’t seen too many recently. Why’d you go down that route?
Kelly: I miss the compilation format, my formative years listening to music were really, like, Epitaph comps, and like DIY comps and from the local DIY scene and community that I was in Connecticut and it’s just that’s how I’d find out about new bands and music, I would check out the latest comp. Now that we have the internet, everyone just checks things out online but, I think that there’s something to a comp, its kind of an art form itself.
Part of the vision of the label was about building community and a compilation seemed like a really good way to do that because I could get all these different bands from all over New England, and the comp’s regional; New England and New York bands from our immediate community.
Nick: So who’s behind Stick Shift and how’d it all come together?
Kelley: The label is pretty much me, and my partner Alyssa (Alyssa grins at the earned recognition) does a lot of the design work, like the logo and on the rare instances when I do design I’m really not good at it, so Alyssa handles most of that stuff, and is the primary artist. I do the business end and work with all the bands, make all the copy. I took a lot of inspiration from Mike Park who runs Asian Man records in San Diego.
Alyssa and Kelly discuss proximity of San Diego to San Francisco “dude, I’m a East Coaster…”
….and that idea of any money that I make goes straight to the bands, not necessarily to their pockets but towards releasing more music by more artists. I mean, there is some overhead, it’s pretty low overhead, but still some costs involved with making CDs and stuff yourself, gotta buy lots of ink!
Nick: At the risk of sounding like a job interview, where you see this label in five years?
Kelly: I would hope that we would be beyond compilations as our exclusive format, I mean this is our first record so it’s the only thing we’ve exclusively done, but my hope is that in five years that we’ve put out a couple of compilations, got a couple donations in, raised a little bit of money, and be able to front recording and production costs for a local Burlington band, help with promotion, really back them up on it, at least one band in five years, hopefully two to three bands in five years.
Nick: Even here in progressive Burlington in 2013 you go to any hardcore show or wherever and its largely dominated by a male audience and male artists, so what’s been the response from the bros? Are they supportive or telling you to take a hike?
Kelly: It’s been mixed, like some weird stuff has happened. I went flyering for Doll Fight!, especially when we’re playing with other feminist bands, and gone down the main strip down South Winooski and have come back and all of our fliers are torn down, just ours! And the fliers are ripped like someone was like “That girl band flier, I’m taking down.” It happened more when Doll Fight! first started and gradually got less and less so I see that as a positive change. In terms of the record label, my clarifying moment when I decided to do something was when I went to see the Toasters at Metronome last fall and there was a pit which was weird for a ska show for me but anyway I was on the edge of that and people were moshing or whatever and over the course of that show I had three different men grope me; the first guy pinched me, like on the sides and I shoved him in his chest and the second guy just like popped out of the pit and like just grabbed by boobs as if he was going to fall if he didn’t.
Nick: Ha, how convenient!
Kelly:(laughs) Kelly: Right, conveniently there to cushion his landing… then somebody else like slapped by butt, while I was standing around and I didn’t even see who it was I just saw a big hairy hand retract into the crowd and that was like the tipping point for me, I was like this is fucking ridiculous and I decided I needed to do something. You gotta make shows a safe place for women and queer people and then I think that’s really a more effective way to making things better.
Nick: I remember reading an Ian Mackaye interview from a while ago about how he felt that hardcore was going in this direction of a one dimensional experience where the audience is just standing there and getting yelled at when it needs to be a much more inclusive experience, more communication and an understanding between everyone present.
Kelly: Yeah, that’s kind of what punk is all about, like bands supporting each other. Everyone’s in it together, shows are more like happenings, and people want to support each other. If people are getting stomped on in the pit…
Nick: … Ya know, groped?
Kelly: (laughs) Right, who wants to get groped? Like, if you’ve got a supportive scene with people having fun together and not people being like ‘how tough I can be in the pit’ or ‘how many people I can knock down and how many drinks I can have?’ You have to change that, people gotta be like, okay, I’m going to have fun with a bunch of cool people, it’s gonna be awesome, that’s the unity everyone’s always talking about in punk rock and that disappeared somewhere. I mean, you see it in pockets in bits and pieces, and that’s what I want to bring back!
Hell yeah, Stick Shift, Check ‘em out at http://stickshiftrecords.tumblr.com/
Words by Ben Fox. Photo by James Lockridge.
Central Vermont country musician Tim Brick will be performing a solo acoustic set Wednesday, April 17 as part of the Rocket Shop Live concert series at Main Street Landing. Brick will bring his brand of soulful, rock-infused country music to the stage without his usual backing band, which consists of Todd Wells on bass, Steve Quennville on drums and George Seymour on the pedal steel, banjo and fiddle.
Brick grew up on country music and has played in multiple rock bands, brilliantly fusing the two together. “My favorite era of country music was the mid- to late-1970’s dubbed “The Outlaw Movement” with Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Hank Williams Jr., Johnny Paycheck,” Brick says. “That, coupled with my love of Southern rock, which the edgier country artists of that day were really akin to, it was only natural that some of my music would reflect that.”
As for his songwriting ability, that comes from the heart and soul. “Lyrically, I’m inspired mainly by emotions that I’m feeling at the time. I write in the moment… There’s an inherent honesty in music that makes it easy to tackle the tough issues… I like my music a lot like I like life: simple, to the point, honest and real.”
With two albums available through his web site, www.timbrickmusic.com, and lots of shows being played throughout the state, it is clear that Tim Brick is on a mission to bring straight-forward country-rock music to as many Vermont audiences as he possibly can.