Saturday, December 22, 2007

Ani Kyd and Guests at The Cobalt, December 15, 2007 By: Christine Albrecht

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On December 15th, I was invited to the Cobalt Hotel to celebrate Rob Schindel’s birthday. Rob’s better half, Ani Kyd, had arranged Rob’s birthday festivities as well as the evening’s entertainment which included several of Vancouver’s celebrated underground musical artists.

The evening opened with Ani’s son, Michael Kyd, performing an acoustic set. Michael’s act is entertaining especially because of his self deprecating, witty lyrics. His songs are performed in a ‘confessional/ narrative’ style; serious, contemplative lines countered with amusing statements like, ‘…but I just beat a twelve year old girl… in swimming.

Next in the evening’s line up was Dirty (Derek) Swagger performing his songs with a Johnny Cash/ Kenny Rogers country flavor.

Mr. Plow was third on stage and hilarious from start to end. His tunes’ titles, alone, are amusing: ‘Let’s Get Fat Together’, ‘Biscuits and Gravy’, and ‘Fuck DOA’. Anyone who can work the lyric ‘Feel my girth’ into a song, deserves a listen. I also feel his songs are so quick with the one-liners and innuendos that one would have to listen to his act several times to catch all the inside jokes (and it helps if you’re over the age of thirty, or very well read, to catch the cultural jabs).

Understandably, I got a couple of ‘Are you for real?’ stares when I asked who performer number five was. “Cummings? Is that with a g?” I inquired. Then it clicked. The fellow crooning in his best Elvis voice was none other than Jim Cummings of I, Braineater. I apologize everyone, but I haven’t seen the fellow since the ‘80s, and believe me, we have all changed considerably since then. His voice is like a fine wine and has improved with time.

Gerri Jen Wilson of JP5, Spank Machine etc., took the stage for her first solo venture. She started her set with ‘These Boots are Made for Walking’ and ended with the Rezillos’ ‘Somebody’s Gonna Get their Head (Kicked in Tonight)’ . She sounded great and looked very comfortable without any bandmates to accompany her. Perhaps we will be seeing more of solo-Gerri in the future?

Then our gal of the moment, Ani Kyd, took the stage as the final act. Her acoustic set was definitely an interesting take on her usual hard-driven songs. Creepy Feeling, 13, and Rejoyce adapt very well to an acoustic venue, but I was very surprised (and pleased) with the softer offerings of My First Kill and Erase. The acoustic vibe allows the focus to fall on Ani’s vocal range, especially with Erase. I think Ani should record and release a disc of acoustic tunes (with a mixture of new and old) as she may find herself with a different, yet still homogeneous, fan base.

It was a fun evening full of musical surprises. Well done, Ani, and happy birthday, Rob.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Interview With Seether (Dec 11/07) Part TWO By: Shane Christensen

Interview With Seether (Dec 11/07): John Humphrey Drummer Part TWO

By: Shane Christensen

If Zeppelin goes on tour I’d give my right arm to play a show and open for them. John Humphrey

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Due to the length of my interview with John Humphreys, this is the second of two parts.

The first part can be found at Seether Part One

Seether is already famous for a few non-musical items that I won’t go into because it’s been written to death, but this band could rival Def Leppard for surviving personal pain and calamity amongst its members, and for this they have my admiration and respect.

A special Swanktrendz thank you goes out to Lisa Pieterse at WindUp Records Canada, for her efforts in organizing this phone interview with Seether.


ST- Would you say the band members share a similar taste in music, or is there a wide divergence of music that you’re into?

John Humphreys, JH- I think there’s a little bit of a divergence there. I appreciate the Seattle sound with bands like Soundgarden and Nirvana, but I was more of an ‘80s kid. By the time those bands were out, I was already with the Nixons and those guys were more like my peers as I was trying to do albums and records and compete with the quality of those bands, or along those lines. My influences go further back to bands like Led Zeppelin, Van Halen, or Motley Crue and I was into that style and flash which I hoped I’d bring to the band. I also appreciate the early ‘90s which was when Shaun actually picked up the guitar, and I had already been playing about 10 years by then.

ST- How did you find working with Howard Benson as a producer?

JH- Magnificent. He’s a great guy and he was about the quality of songs. Shaun wrote a lot of material - close to 60 songs - and everybody had their input. Then we helped narrow the 60 songs to 15, and 12 ended up on the CD. Howard really brought out a lot in us and helped us to trim the fat, shape the songs, and arrange the result. Some of the songs, arrangement wise, were recorded completely different and then changed in post production. He (Howard) also added keyboards and a lot of ‘colour’ to the CD. A song like Breakdown had Howard adding a keyboard line to; he also suggested Shaun play sitar on the song Don’t Believe. He brought an interesting dimension to the band and helped us grow a lot. I really appreciate his ability as a songsmith and I feel he brought the ability to our project.

ST- Do you have any personal favourites on the album?

JH- I do. It changes from day to day sometimes as I really like the whole album, but Walk Away From The Sun is one of my favourites as well as Eyes Of The Devil, which actually was one of the first songs written as the band was playing. Shaun started playing the riff and Dale and I just sort of jumped in, whereas with other songs Shaun would have a demo with a drum machine on it and give it to us. Then Dale and I put it through our ‘filter’ (along with Shaun) and ‘out comes’ the song with a Seether feel. Eyes Of The Devil was completely organic. It is an interesting song because it occurred during a natural process of literally playing/jamming and the music just evolved into a song - that same day.

ST- As a drummer in the studio, do you have a lot of musical input as far as the songwriting goes? I know Shaun writes the lyrics, but is it a band effort for the music?

JH- Musically, Shaun is very open-minded and I, as the drummer, can have carte blanc to do anything I want. I just keep it tasteful and, like earlier when I was talking about Dave Grohl, importantly - I try to support the song. The role of a drummer in rock music is laying back and supporting, and carrying the song to make it flow and provide the tempo and feel that is very important. But it’s not about flash or ‘pulling off your cool fill’ of the week. It’s about supporting your song and making it the best it can be. I’d like to think I’ve been a part of a lot of great songs during my career.

ST- I agree. When you can find the balance of drums, guitar, or any instrument - and someone like Jimi Page or...? Led Zeppelin did it well- that is the goal of any great band. Seetherdoes this well, and in listening to your last album, I hear a diversity that joins songs with a harder edge such as No Jesus Christ and Don’t Believe, with radio-friendly songs like Breakdown or Rise Above This and they’re all great songs.

JH- Believe it or not, it wasn’t premeditated. I mean it wasn’t like we needed so many singles or anything. Again, I have to credit Howard as it was just choosing the ‘best’ songs, regardless of whether they’re heavy or mid-tempo, just as long as they’re ‘great songs’. And I’m really proud that we do have some good songs here.

ST- Even though I’m not a big fan of reviews, while researching Seether I came across a Rolling Stone review… Are you aware of it?

JH- I am, I am.

ST- When you or the band sees or reads something like that, what is your reaction? Do you just kind of let it roll off your backs, or does it piss you off?

JH- I think it’s a bit of a thorn in your side, and it sucks. I mean, let’s be honest, we’re human and that kind of thing sucks, but it’s kind of weird ‘cause what other business
can you pour your heart and soul into a project to complete an album and have it critiqued by the world?
. I appreciate all the opinions, but there’s a million different people, with that many different views. I can’t hold too much faith in that magazine, sometimes.

ST- I question his actually listening to the CD as there’s no merit in what he’s saying. He was writing anything because your CD is a is a full album, with no filler tracks at all.

JH- I agree, not to sound arrogant, but I feel strongly about our CD, even though Rolling Stone begs to differ. I’ve written songs and I’m a big music fan myself. We’re hardest of all on ourselves; as musicians and artists. We will not turn out something that wasn’t the best work we felt we’d done at the time.I don’t sit around. listening to my Seether, patting myself on the back, but I am proud of this CD. I can go to bed at night saying we did a really good job.

ST- I totally agree . My final query, John,is a question that Swanktrendz asks all successful artists - such as yourself: ... Are there any lesser known bands that you enjoy and appreciate, bands you’d like to mention them so they may receive better audience awareness?

JH- Actually, there’s a brand new band that’s from Oklahoma, where I hail from, and I’m going to start producing them. They’re on my friends list on Myspace. They’re a great bunch of guys, called Stone Cold Sober. They’re an unsigned band with pretty good songs, and I’m going to try to help out with a little of my experience so that they don’t have to make the mistakes I did. I always like being able to help, and this is a band that I think is pretty cool.

ST- Excellent. We’ll provide a link to Stone Cold Sober.

Visit Stone Cold Sober

Also, I appreciate, and want to thank you for your time, John, as I know you’re a busy fellow. Enjoy the rest of the tour, and I look forward to seeing Seether in Oshawa in January.

(Shane's Note:) As a footnote to this piece, I’d just like to say that there’s a perception in certain circles that rock artists (especially hard rock) are lazy, not too intelligent, and often self medicated, while writers are the complete opposite of the work ethic spectrum. John Humphrey and the other members of Seether are reasons why such generalizations are unfair. Seether works harder than most ‘working people’ would ever dream of. On the other hand, Brian Hiatt’s Rolling Stone review of Seether’s recent album is an embarrassment to music reviewers, fans, and musicians. Yet the Seether article is not alone, too many times I have wondered the reasoning behind similar articles that were off the mark. I suppose The Rolling Stone is no longer a member of the school of responsible journalism, choosing self importance/promotion over musical inquiry and substance. A new affiliate for the grocery store tabloids.

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Back to Seether Part One

Interview With Seether (Dec 11/07): Part I By Shane Christensen

Interview With Seether (Dec 11/07): John Humphrey Drummer Part One

By: Shane Christensen

Behind every great drummer is an awesome mom, and an awesome wife. John Humphrey

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This Article is written in two Parts, the second part can be found here Seether Part Two

I used to be a faithful reader of Rolling Stone back in the ‘70s because the magazine was cutting edge and very relevant at that time for those of us whose musical palette ran the entire spectrum, including fringe or obscure acts. But even then, I noticed there was an elitist and snobbish tendency in reviewing albums, especially if the band in question did not fall into their idea of the cool or politically appealing acts like Springsteen or U2. ( My idea of any fair review is to give the disc a day's worth of listening, even if it kills you.)

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So as I did my research for a Seether phoner interview with their drummer John Humphrey, I wasn’t surprised at what a terribly biting and unflattering review their new release, Finding Beauty In Negative Spaces, received from the rag/mag. And as an ongoing supporter of the underdog, I was truly hoping that I would (at the very least) like something about their new album. I have always felt bad reviews can be a result of ulterior prejudice/motives or even the jealousy of a fellow musician who just didn’t make it; who hates anybody who is on their way to fame and fortune.

I was pleasantly surprised upon the initial few listens, realizing this would be an album that wouldn’t kill me to listen to, which makes the whole process a lot more enjoyable.In fact, I like their music very much. I state this based entirely upon their most recent release, Finding Beauty In Negative Spaces, and the previous album Karma and Effect. I have only heard a couple of cuts from their first release Disclaimer, but something tells me it will be under the Christmas tree.

Seether is already famous for a few non-musical items that I won’t go into because it’s been written to death, but this band could rival Def Leppard for surviving personal pain and calamity amongst its members, and for this they have my admiration and respect.

Heading into the interview, I have to admit I was excited because I’m a drummer and I think John is incredible at his craft. I would compare his talents to those of one of his predecessors in Seether, Josh Freese, (one of my all time favourites in his work with A Perfect Circle.)

In speaking with John, it was evident that he is a true rock journeyman; dedicated member of the band, who enjoys the current ride Seether is on with the hit songFake It and album.

Due to the length of my interview with John Humphreys, this article will be read in two parts. As well, A special Swanktrendz thank you goes out to Lisa Pieterse at WindUp Records Canada, for her generosity and effort in organizing this phone interview.

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Swanktrendz,ST- Thanks for taking the time out of your very busy schedule to speak with Swanktrendz, John. It is appreciated. How is the tour going for you?

John Humphrey, JH- It’s going great. We started back in August, about 3 months prior to the release of the album in the States, supporting Breaking Benjamin and Three Days Grace. We had been off the road and away from touring for about a year and we just wanted to get out and play, and that support position seemed like a great opportunity to get in front of some people who are also our fan base, as well. Those bands were a great match with good crowds to play to. That tour ended November 19th, and now we’re headlining our own shows here in the States. We’ll break for the holidays, and then we’ll be up in Canada with Three Days Grace starting in January.

ST- Are you looking forward to a month off?

JH- Yeah, absolutely. We’ve been hitting it hard for five months and a three week break is a well deserved break and holiday which gives us the chance to go home and see our families.

ST- I had read on the internet that you toured with the Nixons (previous band) upwards of 300 shows a year?

JH- Yeah. That was kind of my foyer into the music industry, my baby years, you know? I really cut my teeth with that band. I joined the Nixons in ’92 and was with them 8 years through to 2000. They were similar to Seether as far as the music genre but we lived the work ethic of a road band who lived out of our suitcases, and who played 200 to 300 shows a year. It’s the same effort with Seether, you know? So I was used to the work ethic when I came to this band.

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ST- Was that one of the things that Seether was looking for when you came on? That commitment to the road?

JH- Absolutely. They want not only a qualified musician, but someone who was compatible with the mentality that Seether is a road beast that lives out of suitcases. We like being in the studio and making albums, but our thing is taking it to the people, living on the bus, and hitting the road. I think that’s a constant philosophy throughout my early life and background, and I think that attitude helped, along with my ‘around the block’ experiences. Having to speak a couple of times, kind of helped my position, too. Some musicians are a little green and haven’t done this type of questioning and really aren’t used to the rigours of it all.

ST- On a personal level, how does being in such a hard working band affect a marriage? Or do you have a very understanding woman?

JH- (Laughing) Yeah, absolutely, man. Behind every great drummer is an awesome mom, and an awesome wife. My mom put up with the ‘wood shed’ years with my rehearsals in the shed and the garage, and my wife is absolutely supportive. She knows that music is a big part of me as a person, and my kids are my biggest fans, and biggest fans of this band. They’re wonderful to have and are very supportive as well.

ST- Do you find during the shows now, because of the success of the single Fake It,there’s a reaction from the fans?

View Seether Video here courtesy of WindUp Records Canada

Watch' Seether's Fake It Video

JH- You mean an immediate reaction as we’re playing it live?

ST- Yes, exactly.

JH- Yeah, definitely. When we started in August, the song was obviously just starting in radio, so it’s been interesting to watch the evolution and familiarity of the song as it becomes a high point for the fans. Now when we kick off that bass line, it’s immediately recognized and there’s that instant crowd response. Back in August, the response was a little slower, but now it’s definitely the show stealer and it’s been great to really watch that song grow up.

ST- I guess it’s picking up steam the longer the song and video are charting?

JH- Yeah, absolutely. It’s done well and I’m really proud of it as I think we’ve done a video that fits the song really well. I think it’s the first time that a song and video have come together like that for us and where the interpretation for that song is put into the video. I think fans and people have really responded positively to both the song itself and the video that provides the perfect meshing. I think the song has triggered something.

ST- How has the band dynamic changed playing live, now that you’re a 3 piece? Is there a big difference?

JH- Yeah, it’s a lot of fun, and I think it sounds great. There’s not a lot of 3 piece bands out there, so I think it’s interesting. We go back and forth about bringing on a guitar player, but we’re having a lot of fun being a 3 piece so we’re not too sure if we’re going to do that or not.

ST- I had read recently that Shaun was considering adding a second guitarist for the live shows. Are there any concrete plans to do so right now?

JH- No, not concrete. But we’ve definitely kicked it around and there’s guys out there we’re considering. In fact, we’re going to be talking about it tomorrow at a band meeting, and figure out what we’re going to do.

ST- Is there a chance that Pat Callahan might return to the band?

JH- I don’t think so. I think he is much happier now.

ST- I’d like to talk about your drumming influences going back to when you first started playing. Who would you say were the guys that inspired you to drum?

JH- I was definitely influenced by the ‘80s era of music and concerts back then. I really dug the big shows and presentations that had the drummers that you could see visually all the way to the back of the arena. It’s drummers like Tommy Lee, and I love guys like Tommy Aldridge that I saw way back when with Whitesnake. *I really love Dave Grohl, but it took me to when he started playing with Queens of the Stone Age on the album Songs for the Deaf to really appreciate him as a drummer. I do understand that as a drummer he was supporting the music, playing great fills, driving the great melodies and songs that Cobain was writing. When he did the Queens of the Stone Age album, he kind of went off a little bit and showed his skills and abilities, and I became a fan of his.

ST- Along those lines, have you been following any of the Zeppelin clips that were on YouTube today?

JH- (laughing) I haven’t, but I’m a huge fan of Jason Bonham. In fact, back in the Nixon days I was fortunate enough to do a few shows with him as he had a band that was doing Zeppelin covers and stuff, so seeing him doing that, it’s really amazing. I hope they follow it up with a tour ‘cause somebody asked me the other day What would be your dream tour? and I never thought I’d have the chance to say it, but if Zeppelin goes on tour I’d give my right arm to play a show and open for them. Although I’m sure they have enough material that they could probably handle the whole night all by themselves.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucketthe second part can be found here Seether Part Two

Suedehead (In Memory of Andrew) By: Lezah WIlliamson

Yup, that's me. I'll answer to whatever you want to call me: Suedehead, Baldie, Chrome-domus, Stubby, Skinhead... The list goes on.

Probably the Christmas season is not the best time to take a razor to one's head; I have visions of Great Grandma having a massive coronary beside the Christmas tree when she finally sees me. But trust me, it was all for a good cause.

You see, someone I really, really liked and admired died in September of cancer. He was 20 years old. I really thought he was going to make it - in fact, this time last year we got the good news that, following six months of treatment, his MRI was clear and he was cured. I can remember being so happy last Christmas...

But come February, it was clear that Andrew's cancer was back, and he finally succumbed to it in September. So a group of friends from his old high school got together and bet the Vice Principal that if they could raise $10,000, the VP would have to shave his head. He agreed, and a week later, there was $10,059 in the coffers, and one administrator, three teachers, and about 50 students had parted with their locks.

Now, it's too late for Andrew. A great guy who was looking forward to a great life; that was Andrew. He was a top academic student, and had just finished his first year of university in Ontario. He was a real humanitarian, and had raised funds for many different causes during his time as Students' Council Vice President. In short, Andrew was a great guy and I could go on and on and on about why the gods of cancer should have picked someone else, if they had to pick at all.

But we can't escape the fact that he's gone, and all we can do is keep his memory alive - and keep the money rolling in. Hopefully one day soon, cancer will be beaten.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

A New Breed of Designer Shoppers By: Christine Albrecht

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I just received a crash course on Shopping For Stylish Young Women For the Year 2007/08. Gone are the days of ‘Let’s head out to Le Chateau or H & M for some deals’. Gone are the ‘Let’s cruise pricey Robson Street (Vancouver’s modest equivalent to Rodeo Drive) to score some clearance sales like that $2500.00 swing coat we saw a month ago.’

Even my online shopping for deals at (Designer and my tunnel vision regarding buying only Catwalk Big Names is passé. (My downfall is the inability to deprogram myself from that hypnotic 50% clearance lure for items that are inflatedly marked up 600%).

This is not to say I will no longer shop these sites, but I want to share with readers that our upcoming trendsetters, movers and shakers with disposable cash are not buying into the ‘established designers are the best philosophy. They are scouring the world in search for their chosen designers to spotlight. And ‘quirky’ is in!

While On buzznet, I learned from mdktx1 that shopping for clothing involves searching sites around the world for that special or unique something. mdktx1 did not specifically corner me, stating, You need to learn this...! Rather, I learned from reading her posted Christmas Wish List.

Mdktx1 has a style I find fun, funky, eclectic, and interesting, and I was (acutely) aware that my idea of high-end shopping was archaic, and Versace is a word to be uttered by the beyond - thirty crowd, who have simply forgotten that other designers co-exist in our world. And as for our notion of leaving the house to shop? And in our own city...? Hardly! Let someone overseas discover Vancouver’s unique shops while we discover theirs.

(Of course the truly funky, unique and quirky independent Vancouver shops need to be marketed first and foremost.) I am sure that mdktx1 will love Vancouver’s offerings once I send her some original and fun boutique links. (And by all means, if you know some great local independent designers’ shops - send me the links to their sites so I may enlighten Europe, Australia, and South America! Suggestions for Unique Vancouver Shops

Most importantly, let me clarify something up front. Mdktx1 and other nouexveau shoppers like her are not arrogant or even foolish in their quest for unique, original clothing. The articles they gush over are a fraction of what we were willing to pay while visiting the established names such as Prada, Cavelli, or Versace.

The online economy generated by the purchasing power of these 16 to 30 year old fashionistas makes this generation the new movers and shakers of the fashion world. These are the young women we see strolling down the street and wonder, ‘Wow, what a great look! Where on earth did she get that?’ Once the aforementioned established designer shops catch wind of the new (and hot) trends, they will promptly release their variation of the trend, of course, with the unspoken impression that the style originated with them. After all, they have more marketing/ propaganda dollars to spend on advertising than those unique shops the fashionistas are frequenting.

And now ... I humbly pass on my recently acquired knowledge in the first of my “What’s New in Shopping” segments. You will be directed to these desireable online stores which will result in a friend/ sibling/ child etc. gushing, “Oh My Gawd! I can’t believe you’ve even heard of this shop!”

Here are some sites for you and interested friends to peruse at your leisure. These links will help introduce what will (no doubtedly) be the upcoming trends amongst our younger, similarly aged, or older and savvy worldy shoppers.

Read, memorize and pretend to have been aware of these companies for a long time... but no longer than six to eight months! (Trends have a short shelf life after all).

Fabulous one-of-a-kind homemade and vintage accessories at Etsy’s Site Just check out these 1960 vintage Mary Janes!

Cool Hunter has some mainstream designers, but they also have great ‘80s Space Invaders Hoodies - go to The Cool Hunter. Don’t forget, you can also buy music, books, gadgets, art and housewares at this shop.

Must have sunglasses from Cali Roots

A lovely message scarf from Lulette

Hoodies from Australia Indie Merchandise store

Jewelry from missbibi (Items in every language but English) Miss Bibi

More t-shirts from the Indie Merchandise store

As well as t-shirts from Glamour Kills

Some sweatshirt designs from Sweden’s Shobo shobo

It would be fabulous to scoop some more shoes from the U.K.’s Angeline Tournier Site.

More clothing from JC De Castelbajac.

Check out the clothing at Lonely Hearts Club in New Zealand, Australia and New York. As well, check out their Winter 2007 and Spring 2008 Collections.

Mr Dear John Letter by Shane Christensen

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John Lennon is without a doubt one of the most influential persons in my life, and quite possibly in the lives of an entire generation. I remember as a kid watching A Hard Days Night on TV and being utterly mesmerized by his humour and wit, as well as by his amazing musical talents and abilities as leader of the biggest musical phenomenon of the twentieth century.

Because the Beatles were Lennon’s show, especially in the pre Fab days when they played the raunchy stripper clubs in Hamburg; where they refined their musicianship to the level that would propel them to the type of fame, fortune, and influence that was previously unheard of, except maybe in the case of Elvis. The movie Backbeat is one of the finest biographies of any band or individual I’ve ever seen, and it shows a realistic and truthful account of just how driven John was to reach the heights he succeeded in reaching, in his too short existence.

As a lifelong fan of the Beatles, I was devastated when he was gunned down by a deranged individual at the young age of 40, although sadly at the time I thought he had lived a fairly long life. (I was 18 at the time). I couldn’t listen to his music for years, because it saddened me to think that he was gone, and taken in such a senseless way.

But as you get older and experience more of the up and down realities of this world, you come to realize that life can be tragically unfair to everybody, regardless of their stature or position of wealth and accomplishment. John Lennon did not deserve to die the way he did, but the sad reality is that the same can be said for a great number of public figures or regular Janes and Joes of the world.

So as time went by, I would occasionally listen to the old albums, and eventually the sense of enjoyment did return. When their catalogue was eventually released on CD, it didn’t take me long to buy everything they had produced, so I could hear it like new again, without the skipping and scratching that was on my overplayed and abused vinyl copies.

And while as a kid I loved his music simply for what it was (because it was so damn amazing) later, as a somewhat mature adult I discovered that the message found in many of those songs was equally extraordinary. It could be debated forever whether the Beatles led or followed the social and cultural movements of the time, but it can never be denied that they were more than just a profound musical influence.

And while in subsequent years, ‘tell-all’ books written by the likes of Albert Goldman would try to portray Lennon in the most unflattering or hypocritical ways, the true fans didn’t care either way. Anyone who’s lived long enough to observe human personality understands we are all capable of transgression and less than perfect behaviour. One of John’s rare traits was his willingness to publicly discuss his past indiscretions and errors, and freely admit that he could be a prick and a bastard at times.

And that’s what I loved the most about John Lennon, and I recognized it immediately as a young child watching a magical movie about the day in the life of the world’s biggest rock band. He could be the consummate joker and great entertainer, but he was also painfully honest and self-depreciating, sometimes to a fault. Although outwardly he could appear tough and brash, especially in the early days, just beneath the surface lay an intelligence, compassion, and vulnerability that defined who he was: one of most special human beings who ever walked the planet.

Thank you John for everything you gave us all during your too brief existence. You are still sorely missed by millions - for your music… and your message.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Aaron Nazrul – Butterfly Man CD Release (and CD Party at The Media Club Dec 9th)

Attend Aaron’s CD Release Party on December 9th at 10:00 p.m. at the Media Club in Vancouver, B.C.

Lit Fuse Records presents Butterfly Man , the debut folk album from Vancouver singer/songwriter Aaron Nazrul , produced by former “Doug and the Slugs” keyboardist and Genie Award-Winner Simon Kendall , with additional tracks produced by Lin Gardiner of Super G Music and Vancouver’s DJ Darren Woodhead .

Aaron Nazrul (real name Aaron Ross) was a hit at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland, winning popular and critical acclaim: “The Golden Voice of the Festival…definitely a talent to watch for in the future.” Festival FM Radio

Aaron’s music combines the raw emotional intensity of Ben Harper and the cultural diversity of Manu Chao, an emerging talent with the voice of a future classic.  Tracks of note are As the Sun Goes Down, Take These Chains, Butterfly Man, and Delivered featuring guest vocals from Frazey Ford of The Be Good Tanyas.
The album was inspired by Aaron’s recent travels in South East Asia, and includes songs written during a motorcycle trip through Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and China.  Butterfly Man is a slang term in Asia for a restless traveler who never settles in one place, or with one person.
The album was Executive Produced by Lit Fuse Records founder Baba Brinkman, who has gained international recognition for his Rap Canterbury Tales performances. Butterfly Man is now available from the iTunes Music Store, with general release in retail stores December 4th.


Saturday, December 01, 2007

My Luminaries’ Charitable Release ... Let The People Decide

Let The People Decide is a 7 track live album charting Reading band My Luminaries last year of touring across the UK and Europe. It is a download only release, which can be purchased via a donation of the buyers discretion. 50% of proceeds go straight back into the Reading branch of Billy Bragg's Jail Guitar Doors campaign, following on from this year's festival at the Fez Club, which raised £2000 to buy musical instruments for inmates at HMP Reading Young Offender's Institute.

My Luminaries Myspace

Funds raised from this album are essential to putting the campaign's previous results into action through in-prison tuition, workshops, prisoner led concerts and much more. For information on its proven benefits towards increasing self esteem and decreasing re-offending please see the JGD Reading myspace site or Billy Bragg's nationwide Jail Guitar Doors site (link below).

Billy Bragg’s Jail Guitar Doors


1. A Little Declaration

2. Welcome

3. An Order From The Chaos

4. The Outsider Steps Inside

5. Waiting On A Revelation

6. Petrol Station Union Jacks

7. My Idiot Fix


LTPD can be purchased November 30, 2007 onwards, from both the My Luminaries myspace site and the JGDR myspace site and using the paypal donation link below.

After donating, paypal will redirect to the download site, where the album can be downloaded as a .ZIP file.

My Luminaries Paypal Link

Strata Releases Stay Young Video

Strata is a four-piece rock band from California. Although I can’t give them kudos for a great name, I can give them kudos for a great video release, Stay Young.

They have experienced previous success with their songs, Piece by Piece and Never There (She Stabs) (featured on the soundtracks for the movies The Punisher and Elektra, and on the video game, Madden NFL 2005).

Check out their latest video here:

Visit Strata’s Video Stay Young

Or here:

Visit Strata’s Video Stay Young

Visit Strata’s Website

Visit Swanktrendz Website