“Is your flip-cam ok?” Shepard Fairey asked me on a cloudy afternoon the week before last.
“Yeah, yeah, it’s fine, thanks for askin!” I managed to reply. I had dropped it off of the lift he was working on earlier in the day when my boss sent me to seek the self-made, internationally acclaimed street artist for an off-the-cuff interview.
Shepard and his crew were in town in conjunction with the All Tomorrow’s Parties Festival, which was set to descend on Asbury Park in about a week after his arrival. Over the course of said week, they worked around the clock to install several extremely large murals and one permanent piece on previously blighted walls around town. “Benevolent enhancement” of public space, he calls it.
Kevin Devine has put in his 10,000 hours. Ok, well, he’s actually put in way more than that. For those of you who have not done your required summer reading, socio-psychological pundit and New Yorker contributor Malcolm Gladwell has a theory. Gladwell posits a simple concept, derived from his research on those who unequivocally succeed in their fields. Simply put, if you put in 10,000 hours doing what you love to do, you will be indisputably successful at it.
Since the age of 15, armed with his guitar and a well of courage, aggressiveness, skill and just plain moxie, Devine has worked tirelessly to develop his signature sound. Fighting his way out of anonymity and onto the international touring circuit, Devine has produced a consistent body of work that evokes the best elements of his major influences, essential iconic 90’s acts like Pavement, Nirvna and Elliot Smith. Since his first release, Circle Gets The Square (2002), Devine has released no less than 5 full length albums and a slew of EP’s and live recordings.
Hello Readers! It’s been a while! Since the last time we met, I’ve had a warrant out for me, gotten back on the right side of the law, had many of your boyfriends hit on me when you’re not looking (don’t worry I turn them down and they always go home to you), seen lotsa great shows on the both coasts ( The Thermals are my best friends forever and Mark Lanegan’s still got it!), been interviewed, played a show in Brooklyn…oh yeah and I’ve been big pimpin’ too out here on the AP Boardwalk, almost over my head in the eddying whorl that is the wild world of getting the AP Oceanfront restored to its’ futuristic/former beauty…Whew!
Let me apologize for being out of touch so long! I’m gonna try and keep it on the up and up here in The Vinyl District, so I’ll start off by attempting to redeem myself with a little info on the first of many great events coming at us this week…Overall, though there’s so much going on this season, it’s kind of unbelievable. Old 97′s, They Might Be Giants, Bob Dylan, Fountains Of Wayne, STP, ATP Fest, The Pixies–they’re all slated to be here soon!
When I lived in AP in 2003, you had to be cautious when walking along the boardwalk in the middle of the day in the middle of the summer!
Clarence Clemons was indeed The Big Man. I had the distinct privilege of standing just a few feet away from Mr. Clemons as he shined up his saxophone last December at the Historic Carousel Building right here in Asbury Park, only a quarter mile down the boardwalk from where I’m writing this now. His towering frame was dressed from head to toe in black, and his presence was somehow even bigger than his impressive stature.
That performance, now known as Clemons’ last, was nothing short of surreal. Here I was, some little punk rocker who by the grace of God was milling around members of The E-Street Band (I almost hit Max Weinberg in the face while gesticulating wildly in conversation to a friend), standing a few feet from some of the planet’s most revered talent.
When a vinyl single, recorded from that performance, was released on Record Store Day this past year, of course I got my copy. It’s sitting on my desk next to me right now. Listed on the credits in modest type: “Clarence Clemons: saxophone, percussion, vocals.” I guess none of us knew quite how lucky we were to be there.
Recorded LIVE December 7th, 2010 At The Historic Carousel Building Here In AP
The thing that I remember most about that performance, that struck me the hardest, was the absolutely pure chemistry that group of musicians had. They played off of each other like they were harmonious components in one great machine, operating as a complete body with grace as natural and mysterious as the ebb and flow of the tide.
Climbing out from underneath Trent Reznor must be quite an experience. I have to admit, I’ve wondered what it would be like before. In a markedly different way, Filter’s Richard Patrick actually managed to do just that way back in 1993, when he left Reznor’s iconic act, Nine Inch Nails to pursue being a frontman in his own right. And he’s been garnering quite the following ever since.
After touring with NIN for Pretty Hate Machine, Patrick parted ways with Reznor while Trent was recording The Downward Spiral. While Patrick had been a stellar live guitarist, I’m sure being second to Reznor isn’t an easy thing to do. As a musician and frontperson myself, I’ve always wondered how badly it must ache to have your own leadership and vision come second to someone else’s project that you are a member of.
Patrick was smart. I’m sure his membership in NIN set him up pretty good to get his own project going, and I’m sure he knew that going in. And I’m sure Trent is not exactly easy to work with, if you know what I mean. ( Hell, even Courtney Love couldn’t stand him after a while and had Hole defect from the NIN tour back in ‘95, which says a LOT!) So when founding Filter member Brian Liesegang got in touch with Patrick, it wasn’t long before Filter was born.
If you’re anything like me, you’re still trying to figure out how to make it in a grown up world as a perpetual adolescent. Every artist knows the trick is to work the least for the most pay. Since I can’t bring myself to write terrible songs for lots of money ( and besides, so many other people are doing that so well right now) I’ve got to use my assets and skill sets to beat this thing. Stripping? The Black Market? Maybe Charlie Sheen needs a new goddess?
Oh boyzees, until I figure out this whole work money system and how I’m gonna beat it, I guess I’ll just escape to my favorite nation, the nation of Rock. I have a map, some supplies, and my trusty bandmates along with me, and there’s room for you too if you’re looking for a complete and easy escape to an alternate, parallel universe.
This weekend I will knock out the guards, slip through the bars and run wild until they figure out I’m missing and come catch me and lock me up again. Apparently I’ve got quite the reputation for being dangerous to society. Well I say, society is dangerous to me. Harrupmh.
Yeah, the one thing that me and Axl do have in common is that I get up around 7/ Get out of bed around 9. And while I do love living the dream, I must confess there is a part of me that is being neglected. I’m willing to bet that your intellectual side could use a little stimulation. That’s exactly why you should join me for class this Monday night. Yeah, school, Nightschool to be precise, is back in session, and I couldn’t be more excited.
Nightschool has a fine administration, including Head Mistress Katie Farhat, co-conspirators Billy T., Jo-Jo, DJ Steven, Dusk Till Donnie, the dashing Craig Stewart and bartender extraordinare JoJo, this evening runs the 1st Monday of every month.
The curriculum is designed to keep your booty shakin, something us rock kids forget when we’re busy trying to look like we’re not enjoying the band while we are enjoying the band—i.e. minimal movement, usually limited to the slight bobbing of one’s head and, if you’re feeling especially moved, a few fingers keeping time with the snare drum against one’s skinny jeans pant leg.
I have to admit that when I first took interest in local boys gone (nationally) wild The Parlor Mob , it was for the wrong reasons. A few years back the guys were still rehearsing over at The Hot Dog House in the room next to ours over on Asbury’s main drag, Cookman Avenue.
I am sincerely not trying to piss off any girlfriends, and I mean this in the most flattering, non-coveting way, but man, when it would get hot in the middle of the summer and we’d all be trying to keep cool while roasting away in our respective spaces, the dudes would sometimes take their shirts off to deal with the soaring sauna temperatures, giving the common areas in the building a sort of a locker room feel.
Which was, to say the least, fine by me. Of course I had an appreciation for The Mob’s musical talent as well. I remember back in about 2005ish, my band The Obvious, was sharing a wall with The Parlor Mob, and I’d hear them working out a lot of their material right next door. Their swaggering Southern Rock sensibilities would bleed through the brick and we’d get a tasty earful of both the tunes and the sound at large of the band as the boys hashed it out with steady dedication.
An Example Of What I Was Referring To: Drummer Sam Bey
Dedicated is probably the first adjective that comes to mind when I think of The Mob. They’ve been working hard for years now. I can remember stumbling into the now defunct Harry’s Roadhouse on Cookman Ave and hearing the unforgettable voice of Mark Melicia when the band was in their first incarnation, What About Frank.