Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Rival Sons - Robert Jon and The Wreck Play Off Center Festival 2013

Robert Jon Burrison (Vocals)
Steve Maggoria (Keys, Vocals)
Kristopher Butcher

Long view of the venue
Jay Buchanan (Vocals) of Rival Sons
Scott Holiday (Lead Guitar)
Buchanan and Robin Everhart (Bass)

Michael Miley (Drums)

Packed at the Samueli Theater for Rival Sons and Robert Jon & the Wreck

Monday, January 14, 2013

Off Center Festival Returns to Segerstrom Center

Off Center Festival Returns to Segerstrom Center
Rival Sons + Reggie Watts + The Car Plays + Belarus Free Theatre: Minsk 2011: A
Reply to Kathy Acker + Doug Varone and Dancers: Stripped/Dressed + Fleur
Elise Noble: 2 Dimensional Life of Her + Marc Bamuthi Joseph: Word Becomes
Flesh + Indie Band: Sea Wolf + Off Center Lounge at Leatherby’s Cafe Rouge
January 22 – February 2, 2013; tickets just $10 and $20

Renée & Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall
COSTA MESA, CA – Segerstrom Center’s Off Center Festival returns for its second year, January 22 –February 2. The festival will showcase more of today’s finest contemporary performing arts companies and several of last year’s favorites. Off Center Festival is an eclectic and even audacious mix of groundbreaking theater, music, dance and performance art that takes place throughout the campus. The festival officially opens with the Center debut of California rock band Rival Sons on January 22 and the following evening welcomes back popular comedian/musician Reggie Watts. The Car Plays also returns with many new works that once again place the actors in the driver’s seat of this wild theatrical experience that takes place in actual parked cars on the Arts Plaza. New to the Center will be the Doug Varone and Dancers performing Stripped/Dressed, Fleur Elise Noble in 2 Dimensional Life of Her, Marc Bamuthi Joseph’s The Living Word Project: Word Becomes Flesh, the Belarus Free Theatre performing Minsk 2011: A Reply to Kathy Acker. Sea Wolf, the band that inaugurated the Center’s Indie Band Series in 2008, returns to Founders Hall. Off Center Lounge in Leatherby’s Cafe Rouge will again become the gathering place for artists and audiences.

“The return of our Off Center Festival is tremendously exciting,” said Center President Terrence W.
Dwyer. “An eclectic array of adventurous international theater companies and innovative dance, music
and interdisciplinary presentations await Festival attendees of all ages. Our audiences can look forward to performances that will thrill, challenge and entertain, and we’ve kept the price of tickets low, as little as $10, to encourage attendance at multiple performances by these extraordinary artists. And we invite
everyone to stop by our Off Center Lounge at Leatherby’s Cafe Rouge afterwards to meet and mingle
with artists, staff and audience. The energy of these post-show gatherings is exciting.”

Beginning Sunday, December 2, ticket buyers can customize Off Center Festival packages of three or
more shows for just $10 per ticket. Single tickets for $20 will be available beginning January 6. Tickets
can be purchased online at, at the Box Office at 600 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa or by calling (714) 556-2787. The TTY number is (714) 556-2746. Some performances are suggested for
mature audiences only. Please contact the box office for suggestions. Artists and program are subject to change. For more information, please visit

Indie Band Concert:
Rival Sons
Opening with Robert Jon and the Wreck
January 22 in Samueli Theater

“…despite impeccable retro credentials Rival Sons are doggedly establishing
themselves as a vital force for the modern age, too.” – The Guardian

California’s Rival Sons is a raucous, maximum-blues-infused, hard rock band who explodes with the
rhythm and roughness of some of the greatest rock acts of all time. From a self-released full-length album Before the Fire and EP (self-titled), to the strength of their live performances, the band gains major attention everywhere they play. With artistic chemistry that lends to the authentic and raw side of rock music, vocalist Jay Buchanan, guitarist Scott Holiday, bassist Robin Everhart and drummer Mike Miley harken back to when the thrill of rock and roll truly made a difference.

Reggie Watts
January 23 in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall

“Do yourself a big favor and go see him on tour now.” – MTV

Internationally renowned vocalist/beatboxer/musician/comedian/improviser Reggie Watts wows audiences with his unpredictable performances which are created on the spot using
only his formidable voice and looping pedals. No two songs are ever the same. Blending and blurring the lines between comedy and music with his unique lyrical style. Hilarious, brilliant, unpredictable – Watts is a staple of the international performance scene. He opened for Conan O’Brien during his 2010 tour and played Bonnaroo. An avowed “disinformationist,” Watts loves to disorientate his audiences in the most entertaining way. You may not know what Watts is going to do, but that’s OK – he doesn’t either.

Belarus Free Theatre: Minsk 2011: A Reply to Kathy Acker
January 24 – 26 in Founders Hall 
Performed in Russian with English subtitles

“What makes it heart-rending is the knowledge that the events described are
true.” – The Telegraph, London

Internationally acclaimed Belarus Free Theatre’s, Minsk 2011: A Reply to Kathy Acker is a brave and
unflinching play about repression and sexuality in Belarus, Europe’s last dictatorship. Strip clubs,
underground raves and gay pride parades pulse beneath the surface of a city where sexuality is twisted
by oppression. A love letter to a home that exiles those willing to fight for it, Minsk 2011 celebrates and
mourns a land that has lost its way.

Responding to American writer Kathy Acker’s 1981 text New York City 1979 depicting sexuality in New York, Minsk 2011 reveals the scars of repression in Belarus where protests are brutally suppressed and underground nightclubs are routinely raided by Special Forces. Minsk 2011: A Reply to Kathy Acker was originally co-produced by Natalia Kaliada and Nicoli Khalezin and Fuel Theatre Company (UK). It was first presented at the Pleasance Theater during the 2011 Edinburgh Festival Fringe and received the Fringe First Award by Scotsman newspaper.

Belarus Free Theatre was founded in 2005 by husband-and-wife team Natalia Kaliada and Nicolai
Khalezin, joined shortly afterwards by Vladimir Shcherban. All company members have been arrested,
lost their jobs, been forced into hiding or exile for making theatre. Despite this, the Belarus Free Theatre
continues to develop award-winning work with the support of artists around the world. In 2011, the
company received the OBIE’s Ross Wetzsteon Award for its productions of Being Harold Pinter, Zone of Silence and Discover Love, which were performed in repertory with the Public Theatre and LaMama in New York. Their Global Artistic Campaign has attracted the support of thousands of artists internationally, including Tom Stoppard, Steven Spielberg, Jude Law, Kevin Spacey, Mick Jagger and Václav Havel. Minsk 2011: A Reply to Kathy Acker was co-produced by Theatre Group Fuel of the United Kingdom.

Moving Arts LA: The Car Plays
January 25 – 27 and February 1 and 2 on the Arts Plaza

“Being in the same car as the actors made for an intensely intimate performance
setting….Gimmicky? Sure. Novel and clever? Sure. Effective and mind-blowing?
Definitely.” – OC Weekly

Truly a show back by popular demand, The Car Plays was a triumph at the first Off Center Festival.
Conceived by Paul Stein and produced by Moving Arts, The Car Plays is an environmental theater event.  This year’s festival will include several new works, including seven world premieres, four cocommissioned by South Coast Repertory with the Center. All 15 plays are performed simultaneously
inside parked cars. Audiences of two move from vehicle to vehicle, experiencing works by different
playwrights in an intimate setting all too familiar to Southern Californians – the inside of a car. For Stein, who lives in Los Angeles, his car was a haven of solitary moments of reflection, long talks with friends, an occasional breakup or two and much more. Drawing on those memories, Stein collaborated with playwrights to create an experience that engages audience members in a new “performance model” of voyeuristic intimacy due to proximity. Audiences will experience five plays in one hour, as “car hops” usher patrons from car to car. There are three different tracks of five plays each. Each play lasts approximately nine minutes.

Doug Varone and Dancers: Stripped/Dressed
January 25 and 26 in Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall

“Varone’s ability to convey depths of emotion through highly charged, physically
exciting choreography has made him a rarity among his generation.” The New
York Times

Award-winning choreographer and director Doug Varone works in dance, theater, opera, film, television and fashion. He is a passionate educator and articulate advocate for dance. In Stripped, Varone’sinsightful way of dissecting his choreography for dance audiences helps to demystify the art form for many viewers, and provides an overture for experiencing his work. The first half of the evening, with Varone as MC, provides an intimate look at his creative process. The company, dressed in only rehearsal clothes, under simple lights, presents a detailed look into the intricacies of how dances are created and performed. After a brief Q&A and an intermission, the company returns with Dressed, presenting the works, fully staged with lights and costumes.

Indie Band Concert:
Sea Wolf 
Opening with The Donnys The Amys
January 28 in Founders Hall

Sea Wolf is back – the Los Angeles-based indie band holds the distinction of opening the Center’s Indie Band Series in 2008. Earlier this year, the band released its third album, Old World Romance, on Dangerbird Records. It is the highly anticipated follow-up to Sea Wolf’s successful sophomore LP, White Water, White Bloom. While the gorgeous full-band arrangements coupled with often dark yet buoyant lyrics are sometimes reminiscent of White Water, White Bloom, Church delves into new territory with Old World Romance. Joining Alex Brown Church on Old World Romance are Lisa Fendelander (Keyboards), Joey Ficken (Drums), Ted Liscinski (Bass) and multi-instrumentalist Zac Rae.

The group’s debut LP, Leaves in the River earned the band a place among 2007’s top ten “new and
notable” Southern California bands. They rocked on Late Night with Jimmy Kimmel and the video for
“You’re a Wolf” can be seen on MTV. They’ve played LA’s Greek Theater alongside electronic French duo Air. Sea Wolf has performed at The Troubadour in Los Angeles, the Treasure Island Music Festival in San Francisco, the Mercury Lounge in New York City and the Belly Up Tavern in San Diego. They have been featured in the Los Angeles Times, Flaunt, Paste and Magnet.

Fleur Elise Noble: 2 Dimensional Life for Her 
January 30 – February 2 in Studio Performance Space in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall

“Noble not only deconstructs her art, she shreds, incinerates and rebuilds it,
milking the full potential of today’s technology like an Andy Warhol for a new
era.” – The Adelaide Advertiser

An award‐winning and enchanting mix of drawing, animation, puppetry, projection and paper,
2 Dimensional Life of Her is a richly imagined performance installation set in an artist’s studio. Australian director/creator Fleur Elise Noble conjures a parallel world in which everything thought to be flat becomes something else. Noble’s drawings begin to reproduce themselves, drifting between surfaces and moving in and out of three dimensions. In this illusionary, captivating and cheeky work, visual tensions build and realities pile up until the artist loses control of her creations and absolutely anything becomes possible.

Marc Bamuthi Joseph/The Living Word Project: Word Becomes Flesh
January 31 – February 2 in Samueli Theater

“This is the kind of event that can act as epiphany, as a life-changing event: not
only for what it says, but how it says it.” – Cedar Rapids Gazette

Using poetry, dance and live music, a brilliant young cast presents a series of performed letters of a
father to an unborn son, documenting nine months of pregnancy from a young, single father’s
perspective. These performed letters incorporate elements of ritual, archetypes, and symbolic sites within the constructs of hip hop culture. Word Becomes Flesh evolves the realm of spoken word and realizes the form’s theatrical potential as the poet/dancer presents the complex contradictions involved in race, using the stage as an open page, and deftly writing the body as text. While women continue to fight for their right to make choices about their bodies, the legacy of patriarchy and male privilege still allow a man the social right to choose domestic absenteeism and refrain from offering either emotional or financial support. Word Becomes Flesh critically, lyrically, and choreographically examines this phenomenon.  The Living Word Project is the resident theater company of Youth Speaks Inc., which is committed to producing literary performance and verse-based work that is spoken through the body, illustrated by visual and sonic scores, and in communication with the important social issues and movements of the immediate moment.

Off Center Lounge at Leatherby’s Cafe Rouge January 23 – 26 and January 23 – February 2
No Off Center Festival experience will be complete without some mixing and mingling between artists and audience. It is a rare opportunity to actually discuss the works with the creators and performers. And there will be a special low-cost menu for the artists and their fans.

Segerstrom Center for the Arts applauds Acura, Official Automotive Sponsor of the Center.

Segerstrom Center for the Arts is unique as both an acclaimed arts institution and as a multidisciplinary cultural campus.  It is committed to supporting artistic excellence on all of its stages, offering
unsurpassed experiences, and engaging the entire community in new and exciting ways through the
unique power of live performance and a diverse array of inspiring programs.
Previously called the Orange County Performing Arts Center, Segerstrom Center traces its roots back to
the late 1960s when a dedicated group of community leaders decided Orange County should have its
own world-class performing arts venue.

As Orange County’s largest non-profit arts organization, Segerstrom Center for the Arts owns and
operates the 3,000-seat Segerstrom Hall and intimate 250-seat Founders Hall, which opened in 1986,
and the 2,000-seat Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, which opened in 2006 and also houses
the 500-seat Samueli Theater, the Lawrence and Kristina Dodge Education Center’s studio performance space and Boeing Education Lab.  A spacious arts plaza anchors Segerstrom Center for the Arts and is home to numerous free performances throughout the year as part of Segerstrom Center for the Arts’ ongoing Free for All series.

The Center presents a broad range of programming each season for audiences of all ages from
throughout Orange County and beyond, including international ballet and dance, national tours of top Broadway shows, intimate performances of jazz and cabaret, contemporary artists, classical music
performed by renowned chamber orchestras and ensembles, family-friendly programming, free
performances open to the public from outdoor movie screenings to dancing on the plaza and many other
special events.  It offers many education programs designed to inspire young people through the arts.
These programs reach hundreds of thousands of students of all ages with vital arts-in-education  programs, enhancing their studies and enriching their lives well into the future.

In addition to the presenting and producing institution Segerstrom Center for the Arts, the 14-acre campus also embraces the facilities of two independent acclaimed organizations: Tony® Award-winning South Coast Repertory and a site designated as the future home of the Orange County Museum of Art.  Segerstrom Center for the Arts is also proud to serve as the artistic home to three of the region’s major performing arts organizations: Pacific Symphony, the Philharmonic Society of Orange County and the Pacific Chorale, who contribute greatly to the artistic life of the region with annual seasons at Segerstrom Center for the Arts.

Friday, December 28, 2012

The Growlers release "Hung At Heart"

(L-R) Scott Montoya, Matt Taylor, Brooks Neilsen, Anthony Perry, Kyle Straka
            Down to the Newport peninsula, just off of 56th St., I have no trouble finding a parking spot now that the crowds are gone and there are mere days left in the summertime season.  Lead singer of local band the Growlers, Brooks Neilsen, is just about to join drummer, Scott Montoya, in the water for a quick session.  They only have three days to mellow out in between tours, but amidst the constant list of band-related things to take care of, the boys detach from a decent swell to tell me about their newest full-length release, Hung at Heart.

How was Coachella 2012?

Brooks Neilsen:  (Laughing hysterically) It was good.

Scott Montoya:  It was hot.

Neilsen:  I felt like it was the first time that we played like a big stage at a festival.

How was the sound?  Those systems are some of the biggest in the country, did it feel like that?

Montoya: Not really.

Neilsen:  It’s all the same shit.  We got a little overly nervous and then we got out there, and it’s the same shit.  I think the only thing we were thinking about was how hot it was.  It worked out.  It’s hard to get people into it when it’s fuckin’ 115 degrees in the sun.

There wasn’t any covering on the stage you played?

Montoya:  (Shakes his head no.)

Neilsen:  There were some people misting other people with mister guns, so I think that helped a little.  It was 4:20pm and they were all stoned.  All in all it was good.

And you played both weekends of Coachella?

Neilsen:  Mm-hm.

Montoya:  First weekend wasn’t as hot.

Neilsen:  First weekend was nice.  We went in, played, and went home.  Second week we kind of stuck around for the shenanigans.  Scott had fun.

Montoya:  I had a lot of fun.

You always have fun.

Montoya:  I was so hot I thought I was going to overheat and pass out.

Neilsen:  I pretty much did.

Montoya:  I didn’t know whether to play faster to get it over with, or play slower and conserve my energy.  I was thinking that the whole time, trying to get to the end.  I just wanted it to be over, it was horrible.

Neilsen:  I drank too much and overheated and fell off of the stage.

You fell off of the stage?

Neilsen:  It was like 10 feet tall.

I’m glad to see you survived.  That’s what the medics and security are for, right?

Neilsen:  Yeah, I fell on security.

Montoya:  Then we went back to a trailer and met a guy that played saxophone.  There was this trailer next to the stage that was really air-conditioned—it ruled—and met a guy that was emotionally scarred by ‘Careless Whisper’ on the saxophone for some reason.  It was really funny.

You just played FYF Fest also?  Was that a little more bearable?

Montoya:  No, it was just as fuckin’ stressful.

Neilsen:  Well, we got to do whatever the fuck we wanted there on the stage, and decorate the stage and do weird shit with projections and whatnot, which was rad.  In the end, it looked really cool and great, but they wouldn’t approve anything that we were doing.  It was like, ‘Nah, you can’t do that, no nipple tassels, no fireworks, none of your own lighting…’

Montoya:  No goat.

A goat?

Neilsen:  We were going to bring a goat on stage.  We also faked Warren’s (of The Abigails) death.

Yeah, didn’t OC Weekly spread it around?

Neilsen:  Yeah, I think they fell for it a little bit.  It was a good, big, tasteless joke.

Montoya:  It could have gone over better…

Neilsen:  Fuck you Scott.

Montoya:  It went over great!

Neilsen:  He didn’t like my delivery, he thought I did it too emotional.  I kind of bummed everyone out.

Montoya:  It was really believable.

Neilsen:  I’m really good at that shit.  I got them to believe Warren (Thomas) died.

Montoya:  There were a few people that started crying.

Neilsen:  And Warren was backstage and was supposed to come out and be like, ‘Hey.’  (Laughing) He just, he didn’t come out…

So that inspired the press release?

Neilsen:  Yeah, they called him like, ‘Are you dead?’  He was like, ‘No, I just passed out for three days.  Sometimes you get a little tired, and I was a little tuckered.’

Montoya:  It was fun.

Neilsen:  It was good, the whole time there was crazy shit.

Montoya:  We had a lot going on and it was a lot to manage, especially when there were people getting pretty drunk.

Neilsen:  It was in the midst of so many things—moving our fucking warehouse out, and we were about to hit the road for a tour—so it was a lot of shit.

The Growler lair is gone?

Montoya:  Lease is up.

Neilsen:  The warehouse is gone, everything’s in storage, and we are road-dogs.  We’re looking for a warehouse when we get back.

Will it be local?

Neilsen:  Costa Mesa or Long Beach.  I just found some great spots in Long Beach, so my broker is hitting them up right now so I can go look at them tomorrow morning before we take off.  It’s going to be bigger, badder, weirder, cleaner.

Cleaner?  You say that now…

Neilsen:  I threw away half of that warehouse in the dumpster.

Were you still a little emotionally attached to that stuff?  I know how you like to hoard...

Neilsen:  Yeah, but I’m finally over it.  It felt good to throw that shit away.

Montoya:  Purge.

Neilsen:  Baby steps, ‘k.  And buying less things on the road.  I’m getting better.

Montoya:  Purge.

Let’s talk tours.  You just got back from a tour…how long were you out and where did you stop?

Neilsen:  Almost two weeks.  West Coaster…  Yeah we went to Portland, Seattle, Vancouver, Eugene, Arcata, Humboldt, Chico, San Luis Obispo, San Francisco.  Wow, I think that’s everything.

And you’re back on the road for another tour in two days?

Neilsen:  That one is for three or four weeks.  I’ll get back the 16th or 17th, then we play October 19th and 20th at Observatory.  This tour’s gonna be really good.  This one is like perfect time of year and they are all spots that we’ve been building.  We’ve been touring for a little while now, so we don’t have to show up to any empty venues anymore.

It just takes time to develop your crowd, right?

Neilsen:  This last one was great.  It was Guantanamo Baywatch and Cosmonauts, who are great people, who party.  This time we jump on with Florida Kilos, a touring band, likes to drink Tequila and have fun.  It’s gonna be great.

You look kinda tired when you say that…

Neilsen:  (Laughs) I know, when I’m home right now I get to just surf and chill…

And recharge your batteries?

Montoya:  Touring is tiring.

Neilsen:  This tends to happen in between each tour, just at least three days at home to surf and be back.  You only need to be home for a short amount of time to get bored, like, ‘Alright, I’m ready to go back on the road.’
Let’s talk about the new album, Hung At Heart.  You write a ton of music all the time, but how did you choose for this collection?

Neilsen:  I don’t want to go through all the bullshit, but the album has been somewhat cursed.

Montoya:  It’s a nightmare.

Neilsen:  It’s been a fucking nightmare.  I mean, it’s too easy—we wrote the songs, the songs were good, we recorded the songs, should be over with.  But the record didn’t sound that good, we threw it away, we re-recorded it.  It took forever, shopped it out, people act like they want to do something, then they give shitty offers, so finally we said, ‘Fuck it,’ and put it out on Everloving (Records).  It was supposed to come out in October.

You guys started the recording process with Dan Auerbach?

Neilsen:  Started with Dan.

Too bluesy or what?

Neilsen:  You know what, we went in there with very little time.  We had written the songs rough-draft and didn’t have time to actually write them into songs.  Then we were touring, we changed drummers…

Montoya:  We just got back from Brazil too.

Neilsen:  Just got back from Brazil, went straight over there, jumped in and recorded 18 songs in ten days.

Montoya:  They weren’t even done being written.

Neilsen:  So we had to get there in the morning, hung over, write ‘em, record as much as we could everyday, and then party with Dan at night.  We got home, and the record was taking a long time to be mixed.  We originally wanted it to be tape, it wasn’t.

Montoya:  Dan just came out with an album too, so he was really busy touring around.

Neilsen:  He was busy and we had taken so long that we had been playing the music live.  We had changed the songs a bit and they sounded better and were better written, so we’re like, ‘Fuck this, let’s go record the record over, on tape, down the street.  We have the songs better written, we’ll take our time and do them right—‘cause it was taking a while anyway—and it came out better.

You never mention Mike McHugh?

Montoya:  Yeah, Mike helped.  Mike did the recording.

Neilsen:  (Laughing).

Montoya:  Mike helped us record.

Has he recorded everything for you guys through the years?

Neilsen:  No, we just did a 7” with him before that.

Scott, how much of the catalogue have you recorded?

Montoya:  I did the earlier stuff.

Neilsen:  All the earlier stuff.

Montoya:  Up until Gay Thoughts.

Neilsen:   This time we wanted to go into the studio, but since it didn’t work with Dan, we still wanted to go into a professional studio.  We wanted to do it on tape, so we did it with Mike, and Mike’s the man, but it was taking a while.  But we did it, we finished it, and the record is supposed to come out November, but they fucked up on production of the vinyl so we missed deadline, so now it’s going to be out in January.  We already have everything set up and people jonesing, so for the fans, we’re doing like a limited tape on Burger Records that’s all the rough-drafts from the record and some extra songs that haven’t been recorded.  So we’re going to have double, and that’s just more stuff that’s cool.  And the CD and the tape for Hung at Heart will be out in January.  October for the Observatory shows with Burger are going to have this tape and we’ll do a listening party for the Hung at Heart album.

What types of songs are we to expect?  Same feel as before?

Neilsen:  (Sarcastically) Nope, we went all dance music—it’s like cross-trance and I have the sound-effect on my voice like Cher…  It’s a little of the same Growlers.  We kind of picked some happier stuff, and some weirder style songs, kind of funkier.  But it’s got everything, some reggae-sounding stuff.

Montoya:  It’s cleaner though, the recordings are better, for sure.  Mike’s really good.

Neilsen:  Better vocals, more in front, just more legible, and we’re stoked on it.  But, after a month of songs, we wanted to hear something new and make something new, and it’s been too fucking long.  This thing needs to be out there so we can go make a new record and move the fuck on.

Baby steps…  So eventually you’re planning on releasing cassette, vinyl, CD, and digital versions of the album?

Neilsen:  It all got pushed back.  I gotta change it right now ‘cause all these people think we’re releasing all that at the show.  We’re still gonna offer a limited cassette tape with Burger that’s gonna be the demo-songs from and some other unreleased songs on there.  It’s going to be that cassette tape, but we’re also gonna do, you buy two days, you get to go to the listening party, you get t-shirts, CDs—all this different shit.

Montoya:  A listening to the new record, not the demos.  We’re having a listening party…

Neilsen:  In January.  Yeah it got pushed back.  That was going to be the whole deal, but, what can I do?  We thought, at least give them something, ‘cause I was thinking, fuck, we gotta pull out the record and bum everyone out.  It’s mostly close fans that are going, so I think they’re going to enjoy the demo songs—our close friends and my chick do.  They like that shit more.

There’s a character about demos…

Montoya:  It’s way more raw.

Neilsen:  And there’s imperfections and things that you get attached to.  I like when you can hear someone coughing or something.

That’s how the 7” felt to me.  It wasn’t perfect, but you listen and you get accustomed and then you love it.

Neilsen:  Totally.

So next year you’ve got an album coming out in January.  Will there be a trip to SXSW or any tours to go along with that?

Neilsen:  I don’t know if we’re gonna do SXSW yet.

Montoya:  South By is exhausting.

Neilsen:  We enjoy it, but I don’t know how much these festivals do for you.  I mean, they go and they see you, and it’s like they’re burned out.  If they saw you for five minutes, they keep it in their head that they saw you, and then you’re back there in a month and they’re over even showing up.  I don’t know, it’s weird.  People are all over-stimulated.  You see a hundred bands and it’s like, ‘Uhhggg.’  And we do the same thing, we go and we just party.

Montoya:  By the end we’re fucked.

Neilsen:  We might do it again this year, but we’re definitely going to tour heavy starting in January.  We’ll tour for five or six weeks, come back for a little bit.

Check out what the Growlers are up to these days here.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Honeypie "Fields Don't Disappear" Review

                 Artwork by Trisha Smith, Ryan Radcliff & Jake Melham  

            Throughout the mix of compositions encompassing the 35 minutes of Honeypie’s newest album, Fields Don’t Disappear, it is obvious to me that these songs are creations blooming from personal experiences direct from band-staples, Trisha Smith (Vocals) and Ryan Radcliff (Lead Guitar, Lap-steel, Keyboards, Bass).  As any good artist knows, the translation of excellent music comes in the projection of honest and deep emotion from within.  Smith and Radcliff, joined by a few of the finest fresh-faced accompaniment the Orange County music scene currently has to offer (Jake Melham - Bass, Tony Cupito - Drums, Darren Carr - Drums, Brian Wardell - Drums, Felipe Arroyo - Rhodes, Lauren Salamone - Rhodes, Spencer Askin – Vocals/Trumpet, and producer Jon O’Brien – Keys/Bass/Percussion), Honeypie succeeds in the construction of a truly professional record from start to finish.
            Opening track, Miss Me, sets an image of the spirited Smith as a wholesome female laced with an air of sweetness about her, but also possessing an underlying hint of boldness and seductiveness. Throughout the record, her personality fluxes between these ends of the spectrum as each song plays.  Meanwhile, to the untrained or unfocused ear, Radcliff’s musicianship is almost missed from time to time due to the gentleness of his playing—a difficult trait for some composers to possess.  In each piece, Radcliff provides the perfect mood for the sweet duo, sometimes through an involved fuzzy electric Gretsch guitar solo, found on songs like Leaves Are Falling and Tyler, sometimes with a pluck and bend of the lap-steel like on No Difference and Fields Don’t Disappear, sometimes a mention of a guitar chord to harmonize with Smith’s vocals, a deep blending of bass, or touch of keys to fill the sonic holes and complete each song, like on Naturally and Pocket.  Other textural sounds supplemented by Salamone, Wardell, Arroyo, Carr, Askin, Cupito and Melham help fill in the final details, giving the feeling of completion that otherwise would not have existed.
            The cornerstone of this album is undisputedly Jon O’Brien, who was able to tame all the layers of this in-depth piece of work, mixing each frequency to complement each other, rather than contend.  O’Brien was able to take the influnces of Smith and Radcliff, like Regina Spektor, Spoon, Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, as well as M. Ward, and create a working combination of Folk, Pop and Indie styles into one collaboration that encompasses the musical entity that is Honeypie.  The standout song of the album is indisputably Della, a composition that O’Brien proposed Smith and Radcliff to create late during the final recording process in order to build the body of the album to a completely mature size.  While each song has it’s own attributes that make it memorable, Della is haunting, and aching with a melancholic vibe that radiates from the breathy vocal projections of the mesmerizing Trisha Smith.

Listen to the album and download for free at

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Factory Records: A Q&A with Dave "Noise" James

When did music first seep under your skin?

Dave “Noise” James:  So, I’m 43 years old, to give you a timeline.  I first got turned on to music by my parents, like pretty much everybody else.  My dad was really into—and still is—Ray Charles, Johnny Cash, Lou Rawls.  Johnny Cash and Ray Charles really came from my dad and my mom gave me Beatles records when I was too young to remember.  She was really into like Neil Diamond and Barry Manilow, so I’ve always been down for anything.  They were never really into the coked-up stuff from the ‘70s, so I didn’t grow up with a lot of the same influences that my friends had, like the Crosby, Stills & Nash, or James Taylor, or any kind of that stuff from the ‘70s.  My parents were just more mellow.  I kind of got an appreciation from that.  My first records would be Beatles records—and kids get shitty toy records, those don’t count—but the first real records were like Beatles records from my mom.  I got a paper route when I was ten years old.  Because of the Beatles albums, I had an appreciation for records themselves.  Having a paper route, I had to get up at weekends each day at 5am or 6am in the morning and deliver the newspapers.  So I had bitchin’ access to garage sales.  I was up early and I was the first guy there so I had first pick of the records.  That’s where the bug started for record collecting, was just getting to the garage sales before anyone else and scooping stuff up.  Years ago there was a store at Harbor and Adams in Costa Mesa called Music Market.  They were pretty much…you could pretty much compare it to like what Amoeba is now—not as big square-footage-wise—but they were the place where, if it existed, they had it.  They had imports and everything.  I lived maybe a half mile from the place, so with the paper route money, I would just bike or skate over to Music Market with my friends and blow the paper route money on records.  There was a little circle of us that had a passion for buying records.  So between garage-sales and Music Market…

Were you the one passing out music to friends getting them hooked on stuff?

No no, I actually got most of my influences from my friends.  I wasn’t the trailblazer with music.  Like The Beatles I got from my mom, but like the Stones and the Who and the offshoots of that I got from my friends.  I had a buddy who was a year or two older than me and he was the guy who got into punk through some other neighbors who were older than us and latched onto that.  I guess if I chased my own kind of stuff, I was into really over-the-top Top 40 kind of stuff—Culture Club, Eurythmics, Thompson Twins—like I loved that kind of stuff too, I’m not ashamed to admit it.  Some days I’d be listening to Culture Club, some days I would go with Black Flag, or I’d put both in the mix and I’d be happy.  I was cool with whatever.

You are able to have a deep appreciation for music when you can see it from all sides.

It’s funny too, coming up with the punk rockers, there was like the punks versus the heavy metal guys—and I mean it all crossed over within a few years—but me and my friends, we really avoided the metal stuff.  We were into some of the stuff, but it took a few years for us to appreciate the metal, so I’ve got a way broader knowledge of the punk than the metal, which I’ve gained over the years.


Let me grab this real quick.  (Answers) Factory Records.  Ah, open ‘til 8 o’clock tonight.  Yeah we’re at 440 East 17th St., we’re between Tustin and Irvine Aves., and we’re behind a barbershop called Classic Clipper Barbers, so look for them.  Sure, bye.  (Hangs up).  Sorry about that.

It’s quite alright.  Tell me about Noise Noise Noise, your old record shop?

I started that and it opened on April 2nd, 1991.  My knowledge came from, like I said, the garage sales and Music Market.  I actually started working at Music Market in January 1988, so I worked there for a little over three years I think.  I also did some time at a record store in town called Discount Records, and I did the record swap out in Buena Park, ‘cause there’s a big record swap every month.  So I had knowledge and that was like my college—working at Music Market.  I went to OCC (Orange Coast College), but I didn’t learn much there.  I was too busy drinking and not giving a shit, drinking and going to shows.  So I didn’t really gain much out of OCC, but Music Market I really learned about pricing used records, you know?

That’s a big part of the record store deal.

I was young.  When we were working there, a few friends and I, we look back and laugh at like the killer jazz we would come across and be like, ‘Fuck, no one cares about this,’ and then throw it in the $.50 bin.

And then you find out later that jazz record was worth $100?

Yeah, it was that we just weren’t into jazz and we didn’t have an appreciation for jazz or soul, so some people got some killer deals.  But yeah I’ve learned over the years.  So I opened up Noise in ‘91, and it was probably about four times the size of this and it had a back room and little office.  It was a lot bigger.  It started off just with used records and CDs were real hot back then—a lot of punk and indie kind of stuff.  Probably within six months or a year, maybe even the first few months of being open, a guy came in from LA and he had this stack of records and he said, ‘Hey I’m a distributor, I sell dance music.  There’s this new shit that’s taking over, it’s called techno music.’  He’s like, ‘Do you want to try it?’  I’d been to raves and stuff and I really dug that kind of sound, so I was like, ‘Yeah, just give me two of everything you have,’ and I put it out.  Within a week it was just gone.   And so we were one of the very first stores to sell the club music in Orange County—the techno and house.  I think it’s called electronica now, but back then it was techno and house.  That really filled the place up with customers.  We still did a lot with the punk and the indie stuff, but techno really put us on the map.  We became a really big store for that, and some other shops opened up in town after that that were just techno-based.  We started doing more of the hip-hop—just any kind of club wax, ‘cause nowadays everyone’s got their laptop, but back in the day you had to have turntables, a mixer, and a big ole’ crate of records.  We were one of the hubs for tons and tons of DJs coming through.  One of my favorite quotes ever is, ‘There is no record collection that is not hip-hop.’  It’s totally true because we sold all these different genres, so the hip-hop producers and samplers would come in just buying all this weird shit to sample and looking for beats and stuff.  Some of the techno-only stores didn’t have that, but we’d have the crazy jazz or the weird Prog records, or the reggae to sample, so people came from all over.

That was the time when sampling really took off?

Yeah it was essential.  It was huge.  And that was also during the pop-punk/ska explosion too, so we sold tons of that kind of stuff.  We did a lot of in-stores with local bands playing.  Home Grown, who got really famous, they used to play at the shop.  They played a few shows and I had a label so we put out a single for them, and we did a Sublime 7”.  We did a lot of cool stuff.  The label was me and Lob over at Vinyl Solution—to give him credit too—but yeah, it was killer times.  There was just so much going on.  Record stores today aren’t um…they aren’t necessary…like 15-20 years ago it was somewhere you had to go to find flyer to shows, you couldn’t just turn on Myspace or Facebook or any of that shit.  To look up shows, it was like, ‘Oh we gotta skate over to the record store and find flyers or grab a zine, see whats going on, to buy tickets, to get singles, all of that kind of stuff.  It was a real amazing time for music and we were just right in the mix of it.  It was rad.

Then everything changed?

Yeah, heroin shut it down in 2006.  I was pretty fucked up for the last few years of it and stopped paying rent and all those good stories that come along with drugs, so I shuttered it in 2006.  Yeah, that was the end of that.  For the first, probably, 12 years it was just amazing.  It just kicked ass and it was an awesome place to be, very good times.  The last few years were kind of sad, but, whatever.

Things are cyclical it seems.

(Customers walk in).  How you guys doing today?

Customers: Good, how are you?

James: Good.

Shopping through your store, I enjoy your labels and the commentary.  We’ve discussed how you have absorbed so many musical genres, but how did you discover all the information you post?  Is it through word of mouth or mainly online?

Yeah I use online too, but I’ve just been doing it for so long that a lot of it is just like…yeah it’s unfortunate that so much of my brain is wasted on useless musical knowledge.


Well, a lot of it is.  For every interesting thing, there’s a hundred bits of useless trivia I’ll never use just sitting in my brain.  But yeah, I love putting the notes on, and people love the notes.  I get people that come in from the old Noise days and they’re like, ‘Man I still have the records and I put the sleeve on and I still have your note on it,’ and it’s rad to hear that from the people that they appreciate the little notes.

I keep all the packaging from records I buy…

That’s what you’re supposed to do.  And I do use the internet now to get information too, yeah absolutely, it’s great.

Gotta keep up with the times.

It’s an amazing resource.  Back in the old days, we had to have all these…I think I have them still… (Reaches for his books).

The ‘bible’ books?

Yeah, exactly, that’s what I wrote on my very first one was, ‘Dave’s Bible, Don’t Touch.’  They’re all these price guides and there were magazines, and yeah you’d just have old stacks of Goldmine Magazines with the biographies and discographies on artists and what values were, and now you turn on the computer and it’s right there.

What do I want to know?  Type it in, hit return.  Easy as that.

Everything is up there.  It’s pretty good.

When and why did you eventually open Factory Records?

Noise shut down in August of 2006, and it was a few months after that I cleaned up my act.  I got clean and sober in January 2007, and I was unemployed.  I had some money, ‘cause I had to sell my house.  My house was on the verge of foreclosure, so I had enough money to cool my heels for a little bit.  I got clean and sober, and it was funny, right after I did I went out on tour with a Jagermeister-sponsored band, which—I always joke with my friends in recovery—is not a good idea for most people.  For me, it was like the best thing that ever happened.  You know I was tied to this record store for 15 years and I had this opportunity to go out with the band and see the United States as 65 mph.  I was like the designated driver and it was really bitchin’.  I went on a few tours of the United States with them.  You don’t get rich doing that, but it kept me alive for the time.

Rich in experience?

Yeah, it was probably one of the best things that I’ve ever done in my life.  It was amazing.  You know, you make enough to eat and there’s always a roof over your head and there’s always fun stuff to do and you’re seeing different bands all over the place.  I did that for a few years and I worked with them.  The band was called SiX.  They did a lot of little tours and they were really good at getting opening slots for a lot of big metal bands, so we worked a lot of festivals and a lot of fun shows.  I’ve got knowledge on doing merch and stuff like that.  So I did that and a lot of hustle kind of jobs.  I didn’t want to get a real job because if a tour came up, I didn’t want to have to quit.  Through the band, we had a lot of little half-ass jobs that we would do for a month or two that would keep us alive.  They had one of those spirit Halloween stores down the street and the singer for the band became the manager and just hired the whole band.  Normally it’s a bunch of teenage kids doing that, but it was like all these bands guys.  It was fun, we got to do it and we got our paychecks and went out on the road.  Did that, and a whole bunch of other little jobs.  Then it was time to get a real job, so I went over to Second Spin and I got a job over there.  I was working over there with awesome people and was having a blast doing that, and wasn’t even thinking about doing anything else on my own.  When the record store that was previously, he went out of business.  The landlady here is the lady that runs the barbershop right out front.  I’ve known her boyfriend for years and years.  I didn’t know this was her deal here, but she wanted to keep a record store here, so her boyfriend hit me up at Second Spin and was like, ‘Hey, you want to do another record store?’ and I was like, ‘No, I don’t think so, I’m really not into it and that place is really small,’ and blah-blah-blah.   He said, ‘Hey, just come stick your head in and check it out.  So I came over and the minute I walked in the door, it was like I was thinking, ‘Ok, I could do this and put racks on the walls here and do this and that, and I’ve got all this shit in storage.’  So I was like, fuck it, what do I have to lose?  So I jumped in and it’s been amazing ever since.

I remember the buzz going around when people heard you had reopened…

Yeah, I hear that all the time.  It’s cool and it’s nice to hear people saying good things.  Noise Noise Noise was a really influential store and people have been really stoked to have me back—not to toot my own horn.  It’s what I need to be doing.  I need to be in town, selling records.  It’s beneficial to both the customer and myself.  Yeah, it’s a mutual relationship.

What are your feelings on local bands and local venues?

You know what, I’ve gotta admit that I’m definitely new back on the scene.  For years and years, I’d go to see bands all of the time and hit all the local clubs, and once you hit that heroin, it just fucking kills it.  So probably around turn of the century my clubbing ended.  And it’s just been in the past couple of years I’ve been going out again and seeing things.  But I love Detroit (Bar) obviously.  I mean, I was there opening night for Stereolab.  We did the presales for it at Noise, and I’ve watched that place grow.  I love that place, I think it’s amazing.  I get to DJ there for the first time in a couple weeks.  I’m really excited.  Avalon (Bar) obviously I was there on opening night… (To customers)  If you guys need anything feel free to interrupt too.

Customer:  Alright, we will.

James:  Yeah, just butt in.  Yeah Avalon opening night I was there.  I miss Mike, he was a great guy, but I’m glad that the bar is still there.  It’s a great little dive for little bands to get in, because they give bands opportunities to come in.  If you’ve got a PA and a mic, you can come in and do a show.  They’re really open with what they do, and they’ve given me a night to pretty much do whatever I want with.  If I can get a few heads in there to buy some cheap booze, they’re happy with it.  So it’s a lot of fun, and I’ve got a few different things coming up.  I finally got to hear the new sound-system over at The Observatory.  I’m excited to go see some more shows over there too.  I’m going to go check out a couple of shows at The Constellation Room, which is awesome because, every time I went to the Galaxy before, the music there was great for a bunch of has-been bands, and I definitely saw some old fogies over there.  But you know what, it was usually a big empty hollow hall, and to see them really utilizing that space, I’m pretty stoked over there.

There’s more to come at The Observatory from the sounds of it.

Oh I know.  Yeah, I kinda keep my ear to the ground.  I’m really excited because, for me growing up, I never went to the Cuckoo’s Nest ‘cause I was too young.  But growing up hearing about the punk bands at the Cuckoo’s nest, Costa Mesa has always been a city for music and arts.  (To customers) Take care you guys!

Customer:  Thanks, you too.

James:  You guys have a great day.
Dave Noise

Yeah, it’s funny when people claim nothing culturally relevant has happened in Orange County.

Yeah, you gotta look for it and you gotta hunt it down.  There’s a lot of bullshit you gotta dig through to get to it, but it’s absolutely out there.  It’s an amazing, amazing time for Costa Mesa right now.  I’m kind of including The Observatory ‘cause they’re right on the border.  For Orange County itself, things have definitely been shaping up.  I’ve heard there’s some bad blood between Detroit and The Observatory, but I think it’s going to be bitchin’ competition and it’s going to draw radder bands when it comes down to it.

They might end up pushing each other?

Yeah, they’re going to have to work to get killer acts, so I’m excited and I’m totally down for it.  They’ll both do fine, there’s plenty of bands out there.  There’s no need to worry.  Detroit is completely established as an amazing destination, and The Galaxy has morphed into this rad, all-ages Observatory now, so it’s really cool.  It’s a great time.  And there’s lots of other clubs.  People snicker at the Tiki Bar, but I’ve been there a number of times and there’s a ton of great shows over there.  It’s an amazing place.

The new sound-system at Tiki Bar definitely helped it’s status.

They’ve got a good vibe over there, and they just kind of do their own thing.  They were shuttered for a number of years, but they jumped right back into the same groove of what they’re doing.  I’m so stoked to see them back.  I had a friend who was the guy who was going to do the demolition of the place, and I would have been hired on to help knock the place down.  That’s what I was doing in between record stores, I’d help friends out.  One of my buddies does a demo thing and he was like, ‘Yeah, we’re going to do the Tiki Bar,’ and I was like, ‘Oh fuck, for real?’  So it’s really cool to see that it’s doing well.  And there’s even like, when you walk out into the parking lot here, there’s Mesa Music Services, and TONEbUTCHeR over there.  They do, they haven’t done it in a while, but they’ve been doing analog synth shows and stuff.  Those guys are so cutting edge and amazing.  I’ve seen a few of their shows and they’re just unbelievable, so we’re gonna do a show with them in a few weeks and I’m super excited to.

Will the show be at Mesa Music Services?

We’re gonna do it at the Avalon.  We’re gonna do one of the Avalon gigs…

Let me know about that.

I’ll post a thing on your wall.  Yeah, I’m really excited about it.  Those are some guys to look out for.

I’ve been wanting to talk to Todd.  He’s so quiet and modest though.

Oh, he’s cool.  You start talking to him and he’ll open up, and he’s really excited about the stuff over there.  To see that stuff coming out of Costa Mesa, that’s great, I love it.

Tell me more about your experiences as a DJ?

Avalon Bar is like the main one.  My story DJing was that I used to do La Cave over here, and it would be like funk and soul, and lounge funk and cool stuff like that.  There used to be this weird, coked-up hipster club in Newport called The Thunderbird and it was where all the kids would go to do coke and dance to house music.  A few of us friends, we had the entryway and we played like jazz and acid-jazz.  That might have been my first real DJ gig, was doing that every week.  I’ve played at like Memphis, Habana, like all the little places around town.  It’s kind of funny—this is a good story but kinda sad—when I was really fucked up I told Steve Fisch, who was spinning over at the Kitsch Bar and need someone to substitute last minute, so I was like, ‘Dude, I’ll take a crate of records and I’ll go do it.’  I got there and the couple of wires there on the mixer were crossed, so it was like it was all backwards.  I should have just unplugged the wires and fixed it, but I was so fucking high and frustrated, needles were skipping, and this and that, and I pretty much just passed out on the turntables and got thrown out of the club.  That was like 2002 or 2003, and that was the last time I’d been on turntables in front of the public.  Last year Avalon hit me up and said to come on down.  I was like, whatever, it’s cool, I’ll do it.  Went and got some records out of storage and got behind the turntables.  It’s like riding a bike, it just comes right back.  I’m not one of these fancy guys that matches beats, no fancy skills, no scratching, none of that hipster, cool club shit.  But I bring cool records that people want to hear, and I know how to program it in my head so it’s not all scattered all over the place.  I’ve been having fun doing that at Avalon.  I got an invite to play Detroit in a couple weeks.  I started doing it with Mammoth Thunderpower, so it was just dig out the old cool heavy metal and the hard rock, and put a little punk and new wave and psych in there.  It’s all about rock n’ roll, just fun rock n’ roll—and no attitude, that kind of thing, just stuff that will make people dance.  None of that cookie-monster metal shit, but fun hard rock.  I really enjoy doing it again.

How do you feel about the different mediums of sound, like vinyl, tape, and digital?  Obviously you have an affinity for vinyl…

I’m just a vinyl person.  I’ve always been into vinyl.  I love CDs too, I know they’re not cool to like anymore and they’re outdated or whatever, but some days I come in here and I feel like sitting and reading a book out front, it’s nice to put five CDs in the old five-CD-changer and not have to get up for five hours.  So they serve their purpose.  I have a CD player in my truck.  Whatever with all this digital shit.  I don’t know how it works and I wouldn’t know how to put an mp3 into an iPod or any of that.  If I sat and thought about it I could.  I’ve got some little iPodish kind of thing and I used to go on walks.  It took me longer to figure out how to put songs on there than it would to go on my hour-long walk, so it’s like, fuck it I’ll bring my tape-deck and I’ll just go walk around with that.  In the late ‘90s, when Napster and all that shit was out and about, I was telling people that…excuse me a second. (To customer)  You ready to roll or are you still digging around?

Customer:  I’m ready to roll.

James:  Alrighty, you’re all set, see you soon, enjoy!  What was I talking about?  Oh, Napster.  Yeah, in the late ‘90s, I guess that’s when it was, I guess it was Napster that was the main thing and started to take hold.  I said all the time when people would ask, ‘What do you think is gonna happen?’  I would say, ‘No one is gonna get into downloading music.  It’s not gonna fly.  Nobody wants to sit in front of their computer.  People like to go shopping.’  What do I know?  I’m pretty retarded with that.  So, I’ve grown to accept it.  I can’t fight it—what am I going to do?  Fight Steve Jobs or something?  Not going to happen.  I’m just accepting of it and am grateful that there are people who still like to come in and dig and buy records.  People say it’s like a fad and whatever.  It’s not a fad, it’s just there’s certain people that like it and records are gonna remain popular.  There’s always been people down for their vinyl, you just have to size your store to accommodate it.  The mega-stores of way-back-when—there used to be one on every block.  Doesn’t work that way anymore.  There’s been two Towers in this town, a Virgin, there was Licorice Pizza.  Yeah, there’s been all sorts of stores.  Whatever, there’s room for the little ones.  You gotta be a person who doesn’t want to get rich doing it.  If you’re doing this to get rich, it ain’t gonna happen.

It’s about the love.


Tell me about your obsession with vinyl artwork?

It’s like, a vinyl cover is like four CD covers.  It’s just so much bigger.  I don’t know why I love it, but it’s cool to be able to open it up and smell the dust.  The art is just amazing—the photography or the drawings.  It relates to the time.  God I have so many records in storage, but I’ve collected so many records with like Star Wars art on the covers.  I collect covers from the ‘50s and ‘60s and ‘70s just ‘cause they’ve got hot girls on the covers.  I could make coffee table books for days out of the hot-chick record covers.  Jazz record covers, and I’ve got weird spaceship records, just collections.  Sometimes I just get it for the cover.  I’d have to sit and think of what I have.  So many different times I’ll think, ‘That’s a killer cover.  I don’t even know what the music is, but I want it for the cover,’ then take it home.

And then there’s the music inside…

A lot of times the stuff inside doesn’t even hold up to the cover.  Sometimes there’s amazing covers and the music just blows.  But that’s alright, the cover’s look rad.

Do you play music?

Not at all.  I did one single in 1994 before Curt Cobain died when he overdosed on pills in Rome.  He took a bunch of Rohypnol and overdosed.  I was standing in the shower one day, like when all bright ideas come to you, and I started humming The Smiths song, ‘Girlfriend in a Coma,’ but I switched it to Cobain in a Coma, took that idea to some musician friends, and within a week we had recorded a song called ‘Cobain in a Coma.’  We put out a single—just real fast, we cranked out this clear vinyl, silkscreened 7”, sent it to the distributors and they said, ‘Oh this is kinda cool.’  A week after we sent it to the distributors, he killed himself and the single disc is like infamous now.  It’s me singing on it and that’s like the only thing I’ve ever done that’s musical.  I went into the studio and read the lyrics.  It was over at Mike McHugh’s studio.

At the Distillery?

Yeah, he’s an old buddy of mine.  So we just went there one night and just banged it out in a night.  It’s a pretty legendary record.  We made like 1,500 of them and it sold out overnight .

Do you have any copies left?

I have one here somewhere that I keep around to play to people.  I mean, it’s horrible but it’s funny.  It’s like, I can’t sing, but Mike worked it enough to where it’s not killing your ears, and we did a lot of effects and stuff.  It was rad.  Can’t play, but timing was perfect.  I can’t play anything to save my life.  Yeah, no musical skills here.  I’d love to learn how to play bass, but obviously not enough to actually put the time into doing it.  I’d love to be able to just kick back and do that.  If I really wanted to I’d do it, so I guess I’m not that passionate about it.  If it ever strikes me, I’ve got plenty of time here to do it.

 I heard that you and Darren from Vinyl Solution go way back?

I knew him before I opened up Noise.  I used to shop there.  When did he open?  ’89 or ’90 or something and I started shopping there right when he opened.  When I was new at Noise, we used to trade stuff back and forth all the time.  Yeah, he’s an awesome guy.  I’ve got nothing but praise for that guy, he’s an amazing dude.  He knows how to do it over there.  He knows punk rock like you wouldn’t believe.

He’s a wealth of knowledge.

Yeah, he knows his shit for sure.  Maybe not the techno records, but if it’s punk rock and new wave and all that, dude’s like an encyclopedia.

It’s cool that everyone has their own arena.

Yeah, like I have to say that’s I’m pretty well-versed in a shitload of different types of music.  A lot of stores will have their one focus, but I can come in here, and I know enough about different genres to keep the store real eclectic.  I’m pretty stoked on that, but I don’t have an encyclopedic knowledge of bands like a lot of these guys around here do, and I don’t care to.  I’m not interested, but I know the basics of a lot of different things.

I think you’re being a little humble…

No, I’m serious!  Honestly, some people can pull out like a jam record and they’ll know all the different songs on it and who produced it.  I gotta get on Discogs and look, ‘cause people come and are like, ‘Hey, I’m looking for such-a-such song.  What album is it on?’  I’m like, ‘I need the computer.’  I gotta go look in the racks and see, I’m not that good.  Some stuff, yeah.  But even the Beatles records I’ve gottta look up on the computer.  I don’t know what song is on what.

There are quite a few Beatles records.

I can’t keep track of all that.  I’m honest with people though, I don’t know what Led Zeppelin song is on what album.  I gotta go look.

Is it on III or IV…?

It’s all this useless knowledge that’s taking up space.  I can’t remember the little important stuff.  But now it doesn’t matter, the computer is right there.

Obviously the music industry has changed a lot.  What’s your view on more modern music, and the contemporary industry?

Honestly, I don’t even follow it anymore.  I really don’t give a shit anymore.  As long as there are distributors that are selling…I don’t order tons of new stuff anymore, it’s mostly used stuff for what I do, so I don’t really follow the labels anymore.  I’m really happy to see so many independent labels pressing vinyl, and even some of the major labels doing some of this stuff on vinyl, but I don’t give a shit about the music industry as a big whatever anymore.  Yeah, it’s just a big fucking disaster I’m sure, and it can go keep imploding on itself as much as it wants, but there’s always going to be—in my lifetime, at least—a scene of people who care about music for music and not the money.

Now with all the digital technology, it’s so much easier to create and promote globally.

I don’t even care about that kind of stuff anymore.  Every year it just gets lamer and more worse.  The artists that are on the charts are just getting sillier and sillier.  Like people from…what’s that Simon Cowell show?

Uhh, I think there’s a new one…

The old one, what’s the…

American Idol.

American Idol, thank you.  When shitheads from that show are the ones who are on the top of the charts.  There’s just something wrong…Yeah, that’s what it is, it’s horrible.  I don’t even care, it doesn’t affect me anymore, so let them do what they want to do…

And just stay in your bubble and let it decompose.

I guess one of the downsides with the internet and technology, is that there’s so many fuckin’ horrible bands out there—way more than there used to be.  Every time I turn on the computer, I get ‘friend requests’ from people that want me to listen to their new dubstep mp3 or whatever, and it’s like too many people do it now.  I’m not interested in people shoving stuff down my throat.  But it used to be like that, people would bring it in on cassette or whatever.  But now it’s just so easy to flood me with crap, but it’s also easier to delete.  It’s a lot more impersonal too, I don’t have to say no to them in person, I can just delete and be done with it, so that works out well too.

What do you want to see happen in the future of the music scene in Orange County?

I guess right now today, the most exciting thing for me going on locally is with like the Observatory, and I think the scene is really gonna get rad, just with the competition between some of the clubs around here.  I don’t know about the Yost, I haven’t really been following that.  I think that turned into a techno-kind-of-club, or electronica.  I don’t know how much they’re in the mix.  I’m excited to see more of the bands that are going from San Diego to LA.  Detroit’s been doing it for 10 plus years, getting some of these big names to stop.  With the Observatory now, I think we’re going to be more of a destination right in this locale right here.  It’s pretty exciting.  That, and I hope people keep loving vinyl.  It’s what I love to do, and people seem to dig it.
Entrance and Cheapo Bin

Wanna give a scope of what you offer here at Factory?

We definitely have a lot of the pretentious high-end shit up on the wall for the snobs.  We’ve also got, as you can see out front, the world-famous Cheapo Bin, and it’s all $1.99 or less and I constantly keep it stocked with different stuff.  People love it, ‘cause you can come in and for ten bucks—one of my favorite offers is that you can come in and for $20 you can come in and get dollar-tacos and a drink at the bar, and like five new records, and it’s rad.  And we’ve got stuff in between.  We’ve got new release stuff, we’ve got cool reissue stuff, all reasonably priced.  An average record in here is gonna cost between $2.99 and maybe $14.99, so it’s within reason for folks.  But yeah, there’s absolutely something for everybody.  You can come in and get records for like a $1 out front, or if you need an $800 Beatles record, we’ve got it on the wall, so there’s a mix.  Cassette tapes and CDs too.  CDs aren’t dead for me, it’s just a minimal amount of wall-space and I’m happy to have it up there.  We’ve got a little something for everybody.  It’s just a very relaxed place to come into.  There’s no attitude in here.  I’ve been doing this long enough, I’ve seen High Fidelity, and I know about the record store jerks and all that stuff, and there’s none of that in here.  It’s just a cool place to come and hang out and get some good tunes.