Thursday, May 21, 2009

Billy bang

Bonnie "Prince" Billy slayed at Santos tonight (technically last night, but I'm still up). Visit The Volume for a review, with pics by myself (as above) and Laal.

For my fellow Oldham nerds, here's my best stab at a set list:

"I Am Goodbye"

"Lessons from What's Poor"

"Gulf Shores"

"Lay and Love"

"My Life's Work"

"Easy Does It"

"64" [from Get on Jolly]

"The Brute Choir"

"I Don't Belong to Anyone"

"Cursed Sleep"

"All Around"

"Where Is the Puzzle?" [I think]

"Death Final"

"Beware Your Only Friend"

"[???]" [lyrics about following a "shrouded figure"; anyone?]

"[???]" [think I caught the lyric "The purpose of this life is to live"]

"What Are You?"

"[???]" [hard-rockin' song; didn't catch any lyrics]

"I Called You Back"


"Ease Down the Road"

"Careless Love"

"Even If Love"

"Hard Life"

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Live and dangerous // Recently...

Wanted to round up a few live reviews I posted recently on The Volume, all photographically (and/or videographically) enhanced by myself and/or Laal, who snapped the Black Pus pic above.

*Positive Catastrophe at Jazz Gallery - 5.8.09

*Mastodon at the Fillmore - 5.9.09

*No Fun Fest at MHOW - 5.17.09
[choice live video of the aforementioned Black Pus, a.k.a. the solo project of Lightning Bolt's Brian Chippendale, on this one]


Also, a list of recent delights:

*Precious Metal
I am so psyched about this book. PSYCHED. What this is, is a compilation of the so-called Hall of Fame features from Decibel magazine, i.e., the best metal publication currently on the market. The HoFs are oral-history-style making-of pieces on the purported best extreme-metal albums of all time (don't get me wrong, I basically agree with the choices). I've read many of these in their original form, but--much as was the case with Ben Ratliff's excellent The Jazz Ear, discussed within this post from January--they're all expanded here and they're just so amazing. Such a variety of personalities and motivations, from the uber-enigmatic and neurotic (Kyuss) to the arch and sardonic (Carcass) and the on-another-planet visionary (Morbid Angel, of course) and the thoroughly demented/zonked (Eyehategod). As much time as I've spent listening to metal, I've never heard some of these records and I'm really enjoying spinning them as I read. If there's one quote that, more than any other in the book, should convince you that this is an essential compendium of knowledge, it's this, from one of my personal heroes, Mr. Trey Azagthoth, who discusses the making of the killer Altars of Madness:

"That record has so many riffs, and the way they're played today has a little more fullness. Back then everything was kinda rushed and fast, so it didn't really come together as well, I guess, as far as the atmosphere and trippiness. I really wanted a feeling of like going backward or playing sideways and dragging--just all these weird feelings that I wanted to put in the music that I think later [Morbid Angel] albums have. But I think that record had more cool riffs than any other record anyone's ever done, if you count 'em. There's probably, I don't know, 50 or 100 riffs on that record, it seems like to me. I didn't want just a couple of cool riffs and a bunch of filler in each song--I wanted parts where there's actually singing over complicated riffs rather than an easy riff for the vocals."

Re: "dragging," "sideways" riffage, YES. I know *exactly* what he means about M.A.'s compositions, though I've never known quite how to articulate it. Re: AoM having more cool riffs than any other record, I'm sort of inclined to agree. Though I far prefer Covenant overall, you can beat M.A.'s debut full-length for sheer part-by-part awesomeness. Anyone got any other favorite riff records they'd like to cite? For me, another biggie is Mastodon's Remission, which has a gargantuan riff quotient. And Sabbath Volume 4, obviously. Anyway, if you are into metal, you won't want to do anything but obsess over this book once you get ahold of it. Here's hoping for a volume two, with some more obscure choices! (I pitched a Hall of Fame once that I thought was great, but I never heard back. How 'bout it, Decibel, wanna give me a shot?)

So a lot of my recent listening has sprung from this book, namely:

*Kyuss s/t a.k.a. Welcome to Sky Valley
Loved this one as a teen. Holds up much, much better than I'd expected, probably due to the formidable pop element in many of the songs.

*Dillinger Escape Plan Calculating Infinity
Oddly, I've never really gotten to know this album, though I've heard many bits and pieces over the years. The hardcore aspect of D.E.P. has always been tough for me to relate to; as far as math-rock and -metal, I've always related much more to the Midwestern tradition (Craw, Dazzling Killmen, etc.), in which there was no macho-ness, only sublime eccentricity and outsider rage. But you can't deny that there's a special kind of savagery going down here.

*Carcass Necroticism - Descanting the Insalubrious
What a fucking great album. I loved Necroticism's successor, Heartwork, in my adolescence, but for some reason, I never went back and bought this. Carcass might be the funniest death-metal band; they've got a real sick and sardonic sense of humor and an extremely distinctive writing style. Very sophisticated stuff that doesn't sound dated at all (like, say, roughly contemporaneous discs such as Obituary's Cause of Death and Cannibal Corpse's Tomb of the Mutilated, both of which are featured in Precious Metal and both of which sound pretty weak and primitive--in the pejorative sense--to me today).

And then there's other stuff, like:

*Propagandhi Potemkin City Limits
Not quite as good as the best album of 2009 so far, but still incredible. What a brave and revelatory band. Prog-punk poetry forever!

*The 1966 Carla Bley tracks currently spinning over at Destination Out.
As the D.O. dudes indicate, this material does present a kind of parallel-universe free-jazz aesthetic that has no real point of comparison in that time period. Bewitching stuff.

*AMM Generative Themes
Pulled this off my shelf randomly the other day. Very, very cool. Not as profoundly austere as some of their later stuff and actually more akin to clattery free jazz than I thought they ever got. Very singular group; every fan of experimental audio stylings should check out at least a few of their discs.

*Melvins Pigs of the Roman Empire, The Maggot and The Crybaby
Ah, the Melvins' early Ipecac years, before the current Big Business-abetted Renaissance. Some spotty stuff indeed, but with amazing high points. (An investigation obviously spurred on by Friday's awesome Webster Hall show.) Pigs, a collaboration with Lustmord, has some great shit on it. Was bummed out by it at first, but if you give it time, it sinks in. "The Bloated Pope" and the title track both kick hard and the soundscape stuff sounds way cooler to me now than when I first got ahold of this. The Maggot is... a little shaky and nondescript in spots, but it's worth a listen for the awesomely glammy and hammy and doomy cover of the early Fleetwood Mac tune "The Green Manalishi with the Two Prong Crown." The Crybaby is also a tough listen, but the Tool collaboration "Divorced" is very intriguing as are the team-ups with Jim Thirlwell of Foetus and Kevin Sharp of Brutal Truth.

*Genesis The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway
I've had this for like two years and I STILL haven't made it all the way through, which is more a testament to my short attention span than to the way I feel about this record, because I absolutely love it. Totally undated prog, right here, with steely urban themes and mountains of wit and eclectic ambition. I'm late to the party on this one by decades, but if anyone hasn't dug into Genesis's Gabriel years, pick this up pronto.

*And lastly, two tracks from the first Thin Lizzy album (self-titled) that Tony e-mailed to me. So lean-sounding and peculiar. Rhythm section is like the perfect midpoint between the Jesus Lizard and Zeppelin. Lyrics are arcane and suffocatingly British, in a good way.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Heavy sounds: Melvins stomp through their history at Webster Hall

As much of a Melvins freak as I am, I was oddly not all that psyched for the band's 25th-anniversary show at Webster Hall last night. A lot of that probably had to do with the gig's gimmicky conceit: King Buzzo (above, in long-ago adolescence) and Dale Crover, along with guest bassist Trevor Dunn, would play 1993's Houdini in its entirety, preceded by a "Melvins 1983" set with Crover on bass and original member Mike Dillard on drums.

This might seem blasphemous to some, but I've never considered Houdini to be a totally satisfying album. The first two tracks, "Hooch" and "Night Goat," are indisputably among the finest heavy-rock songs ever composed, but after that, there's quite a bit of what sometimes feels to me like filler. Re: the 1983 stuff, I'd only had minimal exposure to it via Mangled Demos, and though I found it to be a charming time capsule re: the band's snotty punk origins, I wasn't too impressed.

Fortunately, the show surpassed my expectations in every single way. It was completely phenomenal, rivaling the other pinnacle of my scant few years of Melvins concertgoing, the debut of the Big Business–abetted quartet lineup on the 2006 (A) Senile Animal tour. (Here's a TONY preview/interview I wrote at the time.) At Webster, the band took what seemed like a formulaic and predictable concept and made it genuinely suspenseful. I was hoping to take pictures but I stupidly forgot to charge my camera battery. Instead, I humbly offer this detailed recap.

Introducing the 1983 lineup, Buzz joked a bit re: Dillard being just out of prison, but otherwise the frontman was surprisingly warm and gracious. The ensuing set was brief (maybe 25 minutes or so) and a great warm-up to the show. Dillard isn't a great drummer by any standard, but he seemed thrilled to be onstage with Buzz and Dale, the latter of whom was surprisingly capable on bass and backing vocals. The straightforward, hardcore-era songs, like "Forgotten Principles," came off as solid and catchy. Another highlight was "Set Me Straight," which dates from that period but was re-recorded for Houdini. (It made another appearance in the later set, with the Cream cover "Deserted Cities of the Heart" tacked on.)

At the end of the last 1983 song, Dillard quickly switched places with Crover. The latter kicked into a thunderous march rhythm, which the former mirrored on a miked-up snare near the front of the stage. The drum pattern settled into "Second Coming/The Ballad of Dwight Fry," a set of Alice Cooper covers from 1992's Lysol. Dillard then exited, giving way to the highlight of the show: a Buzz/Dale mini duo set that surveyed their entire career, via tunes from 1991's Bullhead ("It's Shoved"), 1989's Ozma ("Oven"), 1996's Stag ("Black Bock") and 2008's Nude with Boots ("Suicide in Progress"). This part of the show struck me as a badass declaration of independence for the frontman and drummer. Melvins have gone through countless incarnations since the early '80s, but Buzz and Dale have been the twin anchors of the band that whole time. (This is something I can relate to a little, given that two thirds of my own band have remained stable for about seven years, during which time we've gone through something like five bassists.) Last night, they proved that they were more than capable of going bassless.

After an insanely tight version of Ozma's compact avant-metal opus "Let God Be Your Gardener," Dunn came out and the Houdini run-through began. The set kicked off with an ultramenacing "Hag Me" and proceeded through the album in shuffle mode, a strategy that added a key element of surprise to what could've been a mere recital. Interestingly, the band dispensed with the album's three "hits"—"Hooch," "Night Goat" and "Honey Bucket"—early, which afforded the more obscure songs a nice bit of breathing room. (I expected an agonizingly drawn-out "Night Goat," as heard on the live-Houdini album, A Live History of Gluttony and Lust, but the trio served up a concise, no-nonsense version.) The concluding drum jam on "Spread Eagle Beagle," with Dillard and Dunn joining in on auxiliary percussion, was pretty spiffy and the Kiss cover "Goin' Blind" was every bit as sublimely anguished as on Houdini, but the song that really got me was "Joan of Arc." An effective track on the record, this one was an absolute heaving monster live, with Buzz and Dunn aligning for the chthonic vocal squeal that signals the thunderous drum kick-in. The third time Crover bashed his way in, I heard someone next to me say to his buddy, "This is the heaviest thing I've ever heard in my life." I'm inclined to agree: utterly massive and gut-churning. There is no band that grinds so slowly with such a glorious sense of groove.

After "Spread Eagle," the Houdini trio offered a two-song encore (though without any sort of break) that was slightly victory-lap-ish but nevertheless awesome. First was the Lysol closer, "With Teeth," an immensely poignant tune, trudging and soulful. Then, "The Bit," Stag's Crover-penned opener and a true classic of Melvins' Atlantic period. Buzz sent everyone off with a lounge-act-style band intro, complete with a cheesy Dunn bass solo. All in all: two solid hours of artful heaviness and a stern reminder not to take these national treasure for granted ever again.

Here's my attempt at a setlist:

FIRST: [1983 material, including "Forgotten Principles" and "Set Me Straight," and, I'm pretty sure, "If You Get Bored" and "Snake Appeal."]

THEN: [Buzz/Dale duo]
1) "Second Coming"/"The Ballad of Dwight Fry"
2) "It's Shoved"
3) [slow unknown blues - cover? Crover sang; chorus sounded like "let me roll it"--anyone know what this was?]
4) "Suicide in Progress"
5) "Oven"
6) "Black Bock"
7) "Let God Be Your Gardener"

LAST: [Buzz/Dale/Dunn]
8) "Hag Me"
9) "Pearl Bomb"
10) "Hooch"
11) "Honey Bucket"
12) "Night Goat"
13) "Lizzy"
14) "Joan of Arc"
15) "Set Me Straight"/"Deserted Cities of the Heart"
16) "Sky Pup"
17) "Teet"
18) "Goin' Blind"
19) "Copache"
20) "Spread Eagle Beagle" [Crover, Dillard, Dunn]
21) "With Teeth"
22) "The Bit"
23) [band intros/loungey outro]

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

In Full: No Fun Fest's Carlos Giffoni

I'm no connoisseur of noise, but I love a lot of music that could be categorized as such. (My main man in that field is Joe Colley, on whom I wrote a bit here.) Thus I've always been curious about the annual NYC noise powwow No Fun Fest--running this Friday through Sunday at Music Hall of Williamsburg. I've never attended the event and have never covered too much of that stuff, but this year that all changes. Here's a TONY No Fun preview feature I wrote, which includes an interview with fest honcho Carlos Giffoni (above), as well as a "Five Essential Noise Records" playlist (with short streaming audio samples) that Giffoni compiled and a supplementary interview with Thurston Moore, a ubiquitous presence at local noise events. I'm very psyched to check out Sunday's NFF lineup, which includes the awesome-sounding pairing of Kevin Drumm and Prurient (though I just found out Merzbow canceled due to swine-flu fears--bummer!). Will surely report back next week.

In the meantime, I thought it would be fun to post my unedited conversation with Giffoni. I had a great time chatting with this exceedingly amiable dude. It's always cool to meet a serious achiever in their field who has absolutely zero ego or pretense about what they do. I definitely recommend Giffoni's own work, including the bracingly buzzy recent synth disc, Adult Life, discussed here. Below is the full transcript of the interview, which took place at a West Village Vietnamese joint on April 27.


HS: Can you tell me a little about your upbringing and how you started playing music?

CG: Sure, I was born in Venezuela, in a city called Barquisimeto. My family wasn't really what you'd call an artist-oriented type of family: My dad was an engineer and my mom was an office manager. But I just naturally gravitated toward an interest in doing music stuff. And I started playing in a punk band when I was 15 or so as a singer, and we did tape demos and played radio shows and stuff like that. So that was my first exposure to performing music. And then at the age of 18, my whole family moved to the U.S. and I moved with them. So I was living in Miami then for four years. And I was really interested in experimental-sounding stuff, even though—because I was in South American and access to the internet was limited, even at that point—I didn't know much except bands like Sonic Youth and My Bloody Valentine, just because I liked the stuff that was going on, kind of like what was called "alternative" music then. And then when I got to the U.S., I was able to dig a little deeper and I had more internet access and I had a few friends in Miami that were doing stuff that was related to Harry Pussy and things that were going on in Miami and I got asked to play in band then, which was Monotract, which was my first full-on experimental project that I was involved in.

HS: You played guitar in that band?

CG: I started off playing guitar and then later on, I started doing electronics and things like that. Again, it's kind of like the same thing: I didn't have access to understanding how certain sounds were made, and I just started as a guitar player and it went from there, and I got into other things. Just from being in the band, we started touring and trying to figure out how to do a 7" ourselves, all that kind of stuff, and we did a lot of smaller tours up and down the East Coast, a few tours towards the West Coast, and it was kind of like small shows, basement shows, and we started making connections with other bands that were doing interesting stuff and that's kind of how I really established my knowledge of underground music, was in the U.S. And then I moved to New York in 2000 and started organizing smaller shows, kept playing with the band, started doing collaborations with other people and then I got the idea to do the Fest, and the Fest started in 2004, after four years of being very active on the music scene here, doing my own shows and playing with other people.

HS: Since you started off as a performer, what led you to booking shows?

CG: I guess when I first got to New York I felt that there were a few people that were doing shows but it was very sparse, and there were still a lot of people that I had met from touring in the U.S. that would sometimes get in touch and ask me, like, "Is there any way we can get a show in New York? Do you know anyone?" And sometimes I could connect them to people and other times I couldn't and I thought, Maybe I should try myself to set up a few shows, and that's really how it got started, from asking a few venues that I had played if I could set up a show. That's how it started, from really, really small shows to what has become the fest now.

HS: How did you come up with the name?

CG: Right, so, yeah—It's kind of funny because at first I didn't know what it was going to be called; I had no idea what to call the fest and I started asking my friends about it. And "No Fun" is actually the first thing Thurston Moore replied to me when I asked him on the spot, "What's a good name for the fest?" So then I was like, "Alright, that's perfect." So it's tied to, like, the Stooges song "No Fun" and it was kind of like a joke too, but for me it was perfect for what I wanted to put together.

HS: Is the name meant as a joke? In other words, are people having fun in a traditional way at these shows?

CG: Yeah, I think people can have fun at anything, you know. But there's definitely one end of the spectrum, which is like very serious people doing very academic stuff and maybe that is something that I'm not that much into; I like some aspects of that. But then there's the other aspect, which is younger people trying to figure it out on their own, coming up with their own music systems and their own way of performing and I think that can be very enjoyable, so I think there's definitely room in there for it to be enjoyable, depending on the act. And the nature of pure noise, it's a little bit—it overtakes your senses, so if you see a noise show that's really loud and there are a multitude of frequencies that are all represented at the same time, it's both physical and it hits you also subconsciously in a way that you can't move [Laughs], you know, just letting the sound just wash over you. So that doesn't necessarily mean that it's not an enjoyable experience: It's enjoyable in a different way. So there's that aspect. But what I do with No Fun, there's so many different—It's not just like a noise thing: There's so many different subgenres and connections with other different types of music so you have to go band-by-band, act-by-act and see what they do.

HS: That touches on something I'd like to talk about, which is, where do you draw the line for what you book? What do bands like Bardo Pond, Phantom Orchard [Zeena Parkins and Ikue Mori] and even Lightning Bolt have in common?

CG: There's a common mistake in thinking right away that No Fun is just a noise festival, because there is a lot of that in what I do as a musician and the kind of shows that I usually put together. But the truth of the matter is that the fest is about underground music in general and things that I like. It's not to say that my taste is better than anyone else's; it's just that I happen to be in the position that this fest is possible and when I first started, I felt that there were a lot of bands that needed more exposure along with the experimental bands that were more established that could work very well together at a festival setting. So I think I can go as far away as my musical tastes go as far as what I consider worthy—not worthy, but what works at the fest. And more than the full fest itself, I'm more careful about a progression day-to-day and band-to-band, to try to make something that's interesting and engaging. I try not to put bands that are too similar back-to-back unless I feel that for some reason it's worth it. I think that's there's really no limit there; I mean this year, we have a few bands that you could consider pop bands, right? Not talking about Sonic Youth and Bardo Pond, because they have other things in their music and they're probably going to do sets that are gonna be specific to the fest, but there's like Xeno and Oaklander, and Blank Dogs that are pretty much pop music, so yeah, I think there's no limit there. As long as something comes from an underground approach and it has something interesting either structurally or sonically, then I think it could fit in the fest.

HS: So you're really thinking about programming an evening's worth of music and in a larger way, the three-night experience.

CG: Yeah, definitely when I'm working on the lineup, the way that I do it is I always have like ten bands, let's say, that I really want to have that year: [bands] that haven't been there before or that I feel like they need to come back and play again or they're like legends to me and I want to bring them in. So that's how I first fill a good chunk of the spots. And then there are many other bands that are always on my list, artists that I feel like they can do something really good. And then there's friends of mine that will come to me and be like, "Hey, check this thing out" or "Listen to this," and I'll check it out and I'll be like, "Oh, this is really good—let's give it a try." Once I have all those bands, once I have the full picture, then it's when I go and divide it by day and try to make it so that it makes sense from beginning to end. So it comes from having a larger group of bands and then trying to make it work on a day -by-day basis, both with the progression of the entire thing and the progression day-by-day. So, that's pretty much how it works. And then the headlining thing, it's kind of funny because I don't think some of the bands that are headlining are better or worse than some of the other bands playing before; I just try to make it so that there's the most amount of people watching each band.

HS: It seems like over the past couple of years, with Wolf Eyes signing to Sub Pop, etc., that this whole noise community started to pick up steam. When did you notice that it was catching on?

CG: I think probably around 2002 or so, 2003, I started doing some shows that were the same idea of No Fun but condensed into one night. So the first big show that I had that was a complete success beyond what I expected was a show where I had Wolf Eyes and Lightning Bolt, and Deerhoof also played. I think it was 2002 if I'm not mistaken—I have to double-check that. So yeah, it was a sold-out show, full capacity, between 400 and 500 people—I can't even remember what the capacity of the place was. But that was the first time that I felt like, Alright, there's enough interest here that if you have the right event and there are people that want to know these bands, I saw there was possibilities there beyond the usual basement shows that were happening until then. And then, like you said, shortly after that, there was a lot of success in what Wolf Eyes was doing and there were other bands that started playing and more people started coming to shows. Maybe in a way that has rebounded a little bit now, when it's harder for a regular noise show to have a few hundred or a hundred people now, which happened a lot around the first year of No Fun when I would even just have a Hair Police show with a few other bands and we would get 200 people. Maybe the same show today would have 100 people. But the fest has kept growing and we keep getting bigger venues and it keeps getting sold out. And instead of growing up, it's grown sideways, where there's like more interesting bands now, there's like a younger generation of bands that is happening, and there's more people around the world that are willing to set up a show and make something happen. So I think that's a healthy thing in a way. Instead of just a few bands picking up, it's kind of grown across a little bit.

HS: And you're doing a No Fun Fest in Sweden?

CG: Yeah, I just announced today that I'm doing a Swedish version of the festival September 18, 19 and 20. I have support from someone over there that's been organizing shows for years, and we're doing it at this really amazing venue over there called Fylkingen, where they did all these sound-poetry records many years ago and it's like a really beautiful venue underneath a really old historical structure there. Yeah, I'm really happy with that and I'm working on the lineup but I don't want to work too much on it till the fest in the U.S. is over, then I'm really gonna go deep into it, start announcing bands and stuff like that. But it's something that I've actually been working on for about three years now, just trying to get the right setting to have the fest in another country. And there were some opportunities where it almost happened in Switzerland a few years ago and that ended up not working out and there was some other talk of having it in some other places, and everything was right for this to happen in Sweden this time. And I'm looking forward to that more than anything, like trying to bring it to other countries and see what happens. My dream ideally would be to have it in South America one day. I think that's a longshot, but who knows? It could happen.

HS: How do you go about marketing and promoting something that's so uncommercial?

CG: I do advertise in a few magazines, like Wire and Signal to Noise, that are geared specifically toward experimental music. But other than that, a lot of it is really like word-of-mouth: e-mail lists, different [message] boards that I'm on, and I do have a press list that I e-mail with my events and the fest information. And that's pretty much the way it happened. Even from the beginning of the fest, I think it was such a success that I kind of had press people coming to me and asking me about it and wanting to write about it, so I was really lucky that it happened that way from the first fest and from then on, I built my own contact list and I build my own network of people and different online venues that I spam with information about the fest. And that's pretty much how I've done it. A lot of people get surprised when they figure out that it really is just me doing everything for the fest. And every year, I have volunteers; I have a few friends that help me with different things, for example Maya Miller always does the signs, posters, ads—that kind of a thing. And I have a few people that have helped me with other things. But yeah, that's kind of how it is: just trying to figure out alternative ways to promote and to make stuff happen.

HS: Considering the success of No Fun Fest, do you ever think about the fact that this music might belong underground, that it's not meant to get popular?

CG: I think that as far as getting super popular, I don't think it'll ever happen. I think that when we talk about popular music, we have to talk about something that can be liked by at least half the population of the world. And I feel like that's not really for experimental music to succeed in that way, just because there's no giant machines that are behind it, promoting and making things happen and exposing it to a number of people in the world that it becomes pop music. It's the same thing with jazz—jazz wasn't pop music before but now, it's pop music. Or, like, rock, it's pop music now; it wasn't when it started. But with noise and experimental music, it's always going to be underground. I feel like maybe it reaches up a little bit with certain bands that get popular enough to be noticed, but that's not something new; that's always happened, like with Throbbing Gristle, for example, which hit a certain peak many years ago and then went down. Even things that are kind of noisy but are more like electronic music like Autechre or Aphex Twin—that's something that got popular to a certain extent and went back to being interesting only for a certain group of people. So I don't see a ceiling like that for any of these bands where they could become like a mainstream band. Could it happen? Sure there's a one in a million chance that it happens; there's always like the strange situation when a band like that reaches out and gets popular. But I think also it's not what they're going into it for. Like if I'm a songwriter, I'm going into it like, "Yes, I want to be successful someday and reach as many people as possible" and that's my goal. But I feel like a lot of these bands, they just want to be able to create something unique, be able to travel a little bit and have a good time with their friends. They just have a need to create this type of music and that's good enough. So, that's how it is for me, for example, in my own music. I do it 'cause otherwise, I don't know what else to do. [Laughs] I have to do it. Then if there's some other things that come with it, like traveling and being able to put out records and things like that, that's great, but I don't think anyone's expecting any more.

HS: Do you personally hope to not have a day job and do this full time?

CG: Sure, I think that would be the ideal situation, right? And I could if (a) I didn't live in New York City, which I love living here so I can't do that, and if (b) I was willing to live at a level that I'm not willing to live at, right? [Laughs] So you know, now I have an apartment—a nice place. I live with my girlfriend and I have two cats. I travel to visit my family overseas once a year, right? But there are many people who just do music and they try to figure out a way to work within what they have, right? Meaning, like, for example, Wolf Eyes. Those guys, they're not working; they don't have day jobs. But, you know, they have to be touring all the time and they have other avenues of making money, like with their own label and things like that—it's a lot of hard work. So, yeah, I mean, I would love to not be doing anything else, but I'm aware that currently, that's not something that's doable for me. But sure, someday, even if I get a better job situation, like before I had where I could take off whenever I wanted and kind of work from not being at the place—Sure, I would love a situation like that. We'll see what happens; you never know. We'll see. I mean, I did do it for a period of three or four months a while ago, when I was just doing the label and I had kind of like a teaching gig that was like once a week. We'll see what happens.

HS: Do the people you work with know about your work with No Fun?

CG: It's kind of funny because I think a lot of people do not know, but every once in a while someone will bring it up, like, "Hey, so how's No Fun going?," just kind of like putting me on the spot. Or recently, they see something on Facebook or they see something somewhere on the internet, and they're like, "Oh, that's you! You play with this person!" or "You do this fest!" So it's always kind of funny. My boss knows because I went to school with him, so he's aware of everything I did before he hired me. But yeah, it's kind of always, you know, not a very well-kept secret in a way. Like whoever wants to know, they can know.

HS: Where does the funding come from?

CG: Yeah, so that's the million-dollar question, like how did I make it work financially. I have to say that I took a giant risk, especially on the first year, with all the costs, where for some reason, credit-card companies really like me. I have these credit cards with a really high spending limit, 'cause I guess right away when I first got to the States, I started getting credit cards and I was pretty good about paying them. So the reality of is that I always have one or two credit cards where I put all the cost and then I pay it back with the ticket sales, and that's how it's worked. I did have like somewhat of a—it wasn't a sponsorship. It was kind of like a sponsorship from a beer company at one of the fests that the venue worked out so we had something to work with up front. But it just basically pays for itself with ticket sales and there's been like a few years where I lost some money. There's been a few years where I ended up a little bit on the plus side, so yeah, it's tough [Laughs]. It's just me and my credit cards, man; it's not easy.

HS: It must be really interesting for you to reach out to Merzbow, Cluster and other forefathers of the noise scene. What's that like for you?

CG: It's really great. I mean the first year, everyone that played, I knew from playing shows or collaborating or playing the same festival or in some way or another, I met them and I could directly ask them to participate. From the second or even more in the third year, I started to reach for things that I just wanted to have no matter if I knew these people or if it was possible or not. So even beyond what's been presented at the fest, there's been many other acts that I've tried to get but they have not worked out. But it was very easy for me to approach them, I have to say, because I already had the first year and I had the second year of the fest, so I had something that I could show them: that it was a legitimate event, that I had press for it, that there was other bands or other acts that were similar or people they knew were playing. So it became a lot easier to make it happen. Something like Cluster, for example, I noticed that they were planning to play one reunion show in Berlin and I noticed that there was a festival that they were playing in Scandinavia, which I had played. So I just asked the festival person in Scandinavia if he could put me in touch with them. It happened like that. And I always try to make a connection somehow with the person I'm inviting even if it's through a third party as opposed to trying to contact them through an agent or their website or something like that. Because I feel like that's part of the fest, that personal quality that is on that level that is not like this big festival even though it's kind of become that. There's not 20 people; there's no state funding like there is for festivals in Europe. So I think that's part of the charm of the festival is that it's personal; it's more of a community-driven type of thing, at the promotion level, the booking level, everything that's done for it. And the volunteers that help me, at least half of them are friends that really want to help me out and who want to be there. So yeah, it's been really great to have Merzbow, Cluster and Incapacitants. And sometimes, like Incapacitants, who are these super-legendary Japanese guys that have never played in the U.S. before, I went to Japan. I went and I did a tour in Japan, and part of the reason was to meet them and talk to them, and I have a connection to them, and they see that I'm a real person that just wanted them to come and I could offer them everything they needed to make it happen. It's interesting, and it's been a really good experience to make that happen. And it's made some really interesting things happen for me at the musician level too, like when I went to Japan last time, I played with Merzbow, so we played together a few shows and that came because he had come to the fest and we had met and we had been interchanging music, I had been sending him stuff, he had been sending me stuff. So in a way it's all kind of connected to what I do personally as a musician, the fest and my personal life with my friends.

HS: How do those older musicians react to the younger artists? Are they open to that music? Because a lot of that music is very different...

CG: Definitely. I think that it depends. I would think that at first they feel very curious about it, right? To see that there's this event going on and that there's all these other bands that maybe they've never heard of. So I think that in that sense they're very open-minded about it, and I think in another sense, sometimes it's like you say—it's so far apart. Like when Cluster played, I can't remember which band it was; it might have been like Nautical Almanac or some band that played earlier on, but Joachim [i.e., Cluster's Hans-Joachim Roedelius] comes to me and he's like, "Why is it so loud?" [Laughs] And of course there's still going to be a distance between them, but maybe sometimes you can kind of reach, sometimes maybe you can't reach that distance, but I think that it has to be interesting for them as musicians to see that (a) there's this much interest in their stuff by young people and that (b) there's all these younger bands that are in some ways continuing what they started.

HS: For someone like Merzbow who's been around for so long, he was already a legend, but it must be a big benefit to him to have this whole new scene that's embracing that music.

CG: Yeah, I think that's definitely the case.

HS: You mentioned that there were some artists that had not worked out. What would be your five dream acts that you'd like to have at the fest?

CG: Sure. That's hard to think on the spot. Klaus Schulze would be one person, with the stuff that I'm more interested in now with synth music and electronic stuff, who actually told me he's never played in the U.S. and that he will never play in the U.S. So he's against coming here.

HS: Is that for political reasons?

CG: I don't know. I guess it's his own personal—not liking the way America is in general, both politically and in the international situation with the rest of the world. So that was a bummer. Masonna, which is a Japanese performer that's really amazing. He's wanted to do it before, but it's never worked with the dates; there's always something that conflicts. And another Japanese act that I've been wanting to make happen is Hijokaidan, which actually the two guys from Incapacitants are now in the band and it's Jojo Hiroshige, who did the Alchemy Records label. And Maryanne Amacher. She's like an amazing electronics—she's been around forever. She only has two records, which is mindblowing, but she has her own "ear music" concept; she makes these really resonating high frequencies that make one of the bones inside your ear vibrate and create tones inside your head. So she's really someone that I admire just because she's been doing it for so long and that's really interesting to me. But that's never worked out either. Let's see, how many is that?

HS: Four [Laughs]

CG: Okay, so... Hmmm... There's a lot of stuff. There's a band from the West Coast called Caroliner, which I really, really liked, and I actually set up a show, helped them set up a show years ago, but they're not really touring or doing anything, and I feel like they're really good because they're another band that are very, very strange and they have a whole kind of like ethos around them that's very interesting but they're also like a rock band in a way, like a psychedelic rock band, but they're a noise band too. That's another band that I would say. So I think that's five that have not worked out. I mean, there's others and I could think about it and I could keep coming with them, but...

HS: A lot of these collaborations that come up at No Fun Fest, like with Merzbow and Chris Corsano, is that you suggesting that?

CG: In some cases, it is. I'm always for trying to make that happen, right? Try to make like a bridge between the generations and the different styles in a way. That's not always possible. So if I have something in my mind that I think would be perfect, I do suggest it. And it some cases it has worked, some it hasn't. But sometimes things just work out perfectly. For example, Masami—Merzbow—he just did an album that has a lot of drumming on it, a lot of freestyle drumming. So when I invited him, I mentioned, "Oh, I really like this record that you just did." So he said, "If you know a good freestyle drummer that's going to be around at this time, I wouldn't mind playing with them." And Chris had already said yes to come and play a solo set on Friday so I figured that would be a really best-case scenario situation for a drummer for Merzbow. So that was my suggestion but it came together on its own organically. I think that's the best scenario when things happen like that. I think there's a lot of things that have come from bands and people that are just at the fest and they meet each other and things happen from there, so I feel like there's been tours and collaborations and records that have spawned just from all those people being in the same room for three days, talking and interchanging ideas and approaches and things like that. So I think that might be one of the things that are a merit of what the fest has done, that it has sparked a flame a little bit to make things like that happen.

HS: Where do you see the fest going from here?

CG: My answer to that, like we were talking before, is to go out of the U.S. I feel like instead of me trying to reach for acts and make it make sense at a larger level, like keep growing and getting a larger venue and trying to get a headlining type of act. For me, the answer is to go to other places, right? When I did the fest at first, there weren't as many young bands in New York that were doing interesting stuff and now there are, and I feel like, maybe if I go to Sweden and do it there, maybe there will be some renewal and some interest there and maybe there would be some new people that would start bands. And my ideal situation is to keep doing that and to keep expanding in that way that No Fun could happen anywhere in the world. It doesn't have to be a giant event, but it can be a decent size, where we can get a good crowd and we can have a unique, very different event to anything for three days anywhere in the world. So I think that is the ultimate goal for the fest right now. Who knows, it might change next year, but that's what it is for me right now.

HS: There's a common criticism of noise or electronic music being someone just standing there pushing buttons—that it lacks a compelling performance element. How do you respond to that?

CG: Right. I think in some cases that is true. Because of the nature of noise music, I feel like there's more attention to specific frequencies and details in sound that require full attention. I know that at least for me in some of my music, it is like that. But I also feel like that is not true at all; it depends on an act-by-act case. You see something like Wolf Eyes: When they're playing, it looks more like a rock show. Or even Merzbow, some of the time he's just sitting there but other times he's really getting into it physically with like handmade instruments. So I think that that's not true at all. You have something like the Macronympha performance years ago. That wasn't even safe [Laughs]—it was so physical that people got hurt.

HS: What happened, they were breaking glass or something?

CG: Yeah, I think someone got hit by a bottle and needed 10 or 15 stitches on his head. It was mayhem, and it actually came from like a feedback reaction between what the performers were doing and the audience was getting involved too and all of a sudden the audience was onstage and there were things flying everywhere [Laughs]. It was almost like a riot there. So that's a perfect example of how certainly there are specific occasions where there is not a lot of movement from the performer, but that's not the all-across rule. There's many shades of noise and experimental and what acts you could see at the fest.

HS: From what you described and from performances I've watched online, it seems like the crowd gets pretty rowdy.

CG: I think in some cases what happens is that there are some people who are coming from places where they don't get any of these bands to play in one day, or like in one year, they don't get a third or fourth of the bands, and they come to the fest and they're so psyched and pumped up that it becomes an energy that's way more exciting than any other show that could be happening. And even from the beginning of the fest, that's how it felt. Even when the first band played, it felt so different than any other show I had been at, just because the people were so excited, and there were so many people there from different parts of the country and even from different parts of the world that were there, and that was their one big event they were gonna go to for the year. I think that's what causes a more physical reaction than normal for these bands or for this type of music, is that excitement. It's built up every year.

HS: Is there ever a point when you felt it was getting too out of hand?

CG: [Laughs] Well, whenever the owner or the manager of a venue comes running to you with big eyes and screaming, I think that's when you've gotta try to make things calm down a little and maybe talk to a few people and try to see how you can make it work. But other than that, I try not to get in the way of any of the performers, like their concepts or ideas. I try to make sure what they're doing is safe, but other than that, I don't try to get in the way.

HS: So even from the first fest, you had people traveling to attend?

CG: Yeah, even in the first festival, I clearly remember there were a few people from the U.K.; there were a few Europeans too. And I feel like this year, I know for sure because some people have written me asking about hotels and things like that. There's people from Sweden, Japan, again from the U.K. There's people from Greece that have come over, from Mexico. I remember a few years ago we had a guy from Mexico who wanted to take pictures with me and who was really excited about being there. I feel like maybe at the beginning, it was like just a few Europeans that were traveling over more than anything and a few people from England, and now there's people from all over the world: Japan, there's a few people coming from Istanbul this year. Even from the beginning, I think there were a lot of people traveling to this and even more so now.

HS: Have you personally attended every single night of every fest?

CG: Yes, I've been to every single one, and I have seen as much as possible of each night, except for the moment when I had to sit down with an owner to settle something or before when we had two stages, I always try to make it so there's a possibility of seeing everything if you run up and down between the two stages. This year we only have one stage, but half of the time, it's been two stages, and I run up and down to see most of it. I think I've seen at least a little bit of almost every single act that's played.

HS: Does it ever just become too much for your eardrums?

CG: Sometimes it could become too much just to my body from running up and down and having to be there early for soundchecks. I think at least half of the time, I've gotten sick right after, like I got the flu or something, just from being physically strained. Other than that, no: It's what I enjoy, so for me, it's like, I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. I mean, I do like being on the beach in the Caribbean too, so I think that would be a hard choice. [Laughs] But other than that, I think that for me, I'm actually having a good time.

HS: If you could say what you're most proud of about No Fun, what would it be?

CG: I think that it's definitely for me, especially in the last year or two, seeing a lot of new bands and a lot of younger guys, like Emeralds or Noveller or Infinity Window that I feel like maybe they wouldn't be around or maybe I wouldn't know about them if it wasn't for the fest happening. So things like that, seeing that there's renewed interest and that bands are going to continue to challenge the expected music, it's the most exciting and fulfilling thing for me.

HS: Can I ask you your age?

CG: I was born in 1978, so that makes me 31 now.

HS: One more thing: What do you think is the importance of someone like Thurston Moore, who's always talking about this scene in the press?

CG: I think that for me personally, even more than the fest, I've been friends with Thurston for over ten years now. So for me, it was very important to have someone that I could connect to the music I liked growing up and then connect to what I like right now. So in that sense, I feel like he's an important person in the way that he could be somewhat through his music and through his other bands a conduit to more interesting music as well and more unique things that people would not find out about both if it wasn't for Thurston doing music with Sonic Youth and also having a personal interest in noise and new music. So yeah, it's super important to have people like that.

Saturday, May 09, 2009


I've known for a couple of weeks, but I'm still sort of in shock over this. Extremely honored and psyched at the same time, though. Stay tuned; it'll take a while.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Monster ink

The USA Is a Monster is signing off for good this Saturday, and that sucks. No current band embodies the prog-punk ethos more winningly. Read more thoughts, explore some links and have a listen over at the Volume and definitely make it out to Saturday's show (details here, via Todd P). Album depicted above isn't the current one, but damn, isn't that the coolest cover you've ever seen?

Monday, May 04, 2009

Cup of Joe

It's always wonderful and poetic when I'm in a deep listening rut (the good kind) and then the artist or band in question happens to play a show. There's no chance Mr. Giuffre (R.I.P.)--whom you'll recall from below--will be coming to town anytime soon, but fortunately, his onetime collaborator (and another-time tribute-payer) Joe McPhee stopped by the RUCMA series tonight, on this drizzly Monday evening.

The program was billed as New York Alto Solos, which in practice meant a few pieces on alto sax, one on alto clarinet (an instrument not unlike a bass clarinet that I don't think I've ever seen or heard before) and then another one on alto sax. It was a steely Monday today--a deep slog--and I felt outstandingly nourished by what McPhee was up to. He is a stellar improviser, relishing his sound materials so caringly and for so long, the kind that invites you to really step outside of whatever mix you're in and think and feel for a while.

The setting was an LES bar, formerly Meow Mix and now called Local 269. There was loud traffic and some arguing outside and it was raining. Some in the audience looked back nervously every time the door opened or the cash register dinged. McPhee kept his eyes closed. Before the last piece, he remarked, "I'm really liking the rain, and that bus that went by was great." It was like a gift of permission: "Don't stress about the din," or somesuch. He didn't shun it or shut it out and it taught a valuable lesson by example.

But what sounds!, sometimes flinty and turbulent, and then other times that patented deep abstract-soul thing that McPhee is so insanely good at. In the latter mode, a piece called "Old Eyes," dedicated to Ornette Coleman. "We have to give people their flowers while they're here," said McPhee when he was done.

He dedicated the first piece to the Lower East Side itself, so I guess it was fitting he welcomed in the city ambience. He welcomed happy sonic accident too. An errant squeak on the horn led to a few minutes of exploring that texture, exhausting the chance find, resolving it, making it part of the song. It's a lesson in economy, watching him. He spent a lot of time with just the keys, no breath, tapping them and just zoning out on that soft makeshift percussion. It sounded like a hushed thumb piano.

When I heard the Sunn O))) playback a few weeks ago, I thought about the blessing of the time to just sit and zero in. That was recorded music, though, and this was a blissful live scenario, just sitting there drinking a Hoegaarden with an orange in it that tasted fizzy and delicious, and closing my eyes and even feeling like I wanted to cry a few times. (Felt choked up also on the train earlier listening to a Paul Bley solo piece, "Mephisto," from this record.) The whole audience was with McPhee. It's not some "heroic" and hackneyed ecstatic-jazz thing when he plays, just a miracle of concentration. He cares about sound and its conservation and finding out what can happen at a certain time and place and seeing it through.

Insanely, a 69-year-old man. Always thought of him as of a younger generation, but he's only a few years younger than Ayler or Shepp. Seems like he didn't get his due really till the late '90s, but maybe that's just when I started hearing about him. (Or maybe it's that he took a little while to come into his own; his current work sound much, much deeper to me than what I've heard of his early stuff.) He was wearing a killer hoodie advertising Scandinavian power-jazz unit The Thing, with whom he sat in to brilliant effect at Zebulon a few weeks ago. Also, cargo pants.

Last night, an evening crammed full of luminaries at Radio City. Fine, even rad in spots, but it didn't even remotely do for me what this did.

A great American artist, inadvertently responsible for the name of this blog, once sang, "I could spend my whole life just listening to sound." It seems like Joe McPhee pretty much has, and I could spend my whole life just listening to him. He performs again this coming Thursday, 5/7, at The Stone. Maybe I will see you there.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Playlist: Jimmy, Joe, etc.

Was offblog longer than I'd hoped, but not necessarily longer than I'd expected. Anyhow, some recent listening, apropos of very, very little:

*Jimmy Giuffre
The Jimmy Giuffre 3, Emphasis & Flight, Free Fall, Conversations with a Goose
What can I say but that I'm floored. I'd had a date with this music for a while. I guess I first became aware of the Giuffre/Bley/Swallow trio via my former colleague K. Leander Williams, who was a big fan. But I didn't dig in seriously till the past week or so, abetted by some loaners from Joe, who recently scored a bevy of JG discs. For all my drummerness, I adore the phenomenon of strategic drummerlessness in jazz. The clarinet-piano-bass music heard on E&F, Free Fall and Conversations with a Goose is exquisite: liquid and microscopically interactive. Sumptuous and titanically strange, in tiny ways. It is music of Discovery, no doubt. Free Fall (waxed in 1962), the last studio recording by this band, is a real head-scratcher, sounding formless at first and then blooming into something ultramysterious but also structured. Emphasis & Flight is PHENOMENAL. It's two live concerts, from 1961. Much more apparent form here, with clear-cut heads and the like. But no less free-sounding. Incredible variety of pieces and masterful concision. You must acquire this music. I might try to help with that at some point, but I can't now since I've got no web storage just now. Conversations is from '96; it's part of the aforementioned trio's second phase. (I could be mistaken, but I'm pretty damn sure Giuffre is holding a cooked goose on the cover; anyone got a large scan of this amazing pic?) Swallow on bass guitar this time. Superstrange music that has a feeling of oozing along. There's a real mindmeld to this session; don't think there's any precomposed music here, but I could be wrong. Didn't like Swallow's tone at first, but I'm fine with it now; started thinking how I shouldn't disparage bass guitar in this context if I'm down with Jim Hall's nonbass guitar in an earlier drummerless Giuffre band, documented on The Jimmy Giuffre 3. What a charming, charming record. Dry, spare sounds abound but with much plainspoken beauty. The record gets weirder as it progresses, gradually segueing from happy-go-lucky swingers into oblique melodic poems. In the latter vein, "The Green Country (New England Mood)" is a masterpiece.

I know everyone and their mother said this when JG died last year, but WHY is he not better known and WHY is the Free Fall trio NEVER mentioned in any account of seminal free jazz? (Okay, Ken Vandermark named a band after it, but still...) And why can't I find any interviews with Giuffre online? Seems like an outstandingly underdocumented figure journalistically. Damn, I would've love to have had the good sense to go and talk with this brilliant man while he was still alive.

BONUS--> Dig this, from the liner notes to Free Fall: "Given: this trio; a great studio on 30th Street in New York City; an engineer with radar ears and safe-cracking fingers.... [ellipsis mine] Given: the visions received from thinking on such things as ... [ellipsis sic] gravity, Monk, electricity, time, space, the microcosmos, leaves, chemistry, power, Gods, white-hot heat, asteroids, love, eternity, Einstein, Rollins, Evans, the heartbeat, pain, Delius, Scherchen, Art, overtones, the prehistoric, La Violette, wife, life, voids, Berg, Bird, the universe.... [ellipsis sic]"

Has anyone written a more profound "influences" list EVER? We need more thinkers like JG in music.

*Joe McPhee
No Greater Love, As Serious as Your Life

Heard Mr. McPhee live w/ the Thing a little while back and was reminded of how much he rules. He brought major gravitas there, as he pretty much always does. What a strange musician, though--not at all just a post-Ayler tenor giant as he's so often pigeonholed as. No Greater Love is an amazing CIMP release from 2000. There are some spirituals on the program, which definitely brings Ayler to mind, but the record (a quartet with reedist Joe Giardullo and two bassists: Dominic Duval and Michael Bisio) doesn't have that vibe at all. It's lush and strange and joyful, not harsh or anguished. Definitely file this one under "Speaking of the awesomeness of drummerlessness." And no coincidence, b/c McPhee not only recorded a Giuffre tribute album back in '91, he actually appeared on disc alongside Giuffre himself on a record from that same year called River Station. Would kill for a copy of this but can't find it anywhere. Anyone? As Serious... is a great solo set named, of course, for Val Wilmer's essential free-jazz tome, one my favorite music books. Very cool and odd trumpet thing starts off the set. It's called "The Death of Miles Davis" and features many fascinating tiny, alien sounds of the sort often heard from Nate Wooley and his ilk. Also there's a sort of overdubbed chorale that put me in mind of George Lewis's awesome Solo Trombone Record. Some very focused and intense solo alto stuff on As Serious... as well. McPhee plays in exactly that setting this Monday in NYC, as part of the RUCMA series, so don't sleep on that.

*Neil Young
Mirror Ball
Beautiful, beautiful '95 recorded with all of Pearl Jam as the backing band. Has that awesome bigness and shaggy warmth heard on PJ discs from that era, e.g. the phenomenal No Code. Read more on this rekkid here, via the Volume.

The Pod, All Request Live
Ween is on the brain and... that's likely to be the case for a while, I'm "afraid." The Pod is outstanding: like a weirder, more deliberately agonizing Pure Guava. The obnoxious stuff here is ultraobnoxious ("The Stallion, pt. 1"), the funny stuff is ultrafunny ("Pollo Asado," of course) and the sad stuff is borderline terrifying ("Demon Sweat"). All Request Live has a version of "Happy Colored Marbles" (a song from the epochal Quebec that I'd never really paid that much mind to) that I find superbly moving. That disc as a whole is an awesome demonstration of the way the current Ween (i.e., full band) honors and animates the group's lo-fi duo back catalog.

*Chester French
"Ciroc Star"
Unbelievable song from these Harvard-hop buzz magnets. The full album don't cut it at all IMHO, but this track is golden. Listen here, via the Volume.


Also: Thanks, Hexa, for a really fun show.


Also: Laal and I got to check out a Deep Tones for Peace rehearsal last weekend, featuring the awesome pairing of Henry Grimes and Trevor Dunn. Check out a pic and some vids here, all from behind the scenes.