Author Archives: Angie Sugrim

How I Interviewed Shepard Fairey, and Other Strange Tales

“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.

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Kevin Devine To
Give A Very Special Performance In AP TONIGHT!

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.

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Bouncing Souls Frontman Greg Attonito To Give An Intimate Performance In AP!

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!

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The Little Town Where It All Started Says Good Bye To The Big Man: Clarence Clemons

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.

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Filter Comes to the Stone Pony, this Saturday in AP

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.

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The Dollyrots/ The Obvious/ I Hope You Die This Sunday In AP!

The Dollyrots

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.

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Get Schooled with Nightschool, this Monday in Asbury Park!

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.

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The Parlor Mob Commits A Crime Of Passion, This Saturday In AP

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.

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TVD Gets The Picture From Area Rocktographer Mike McLaughlin

Mike McLaughlin On Assignment

Rock and Roll may never die, but it is nonetheless temporal. We are pretty lucky here in Asbury Park. Holy rock moments are in good supply. However, they are just that—moments. And while the rest of us are busy losing ourselves in sweaty and joyful abandon, there is someone hard at work capturing the ephemeral—the rock photographer.

My first appreciation for that kind of artist started in the early 90’s (when everything started for me) with the images of Charles Peterson, noted photographer for a little indie label in Washington state known as Sub-Pop. I spent hours pouring over his work, finally able to see what the bands I had been hearing looked like.

Your I Phone Can’t Take This: An Iconic Shot From Charles Peterson

In an age of camera-phones and instant photography, the photographer who actually makes this work into a trade, who passionately composes shots instead of just pressing a button on a phone, is especially valuable to a community worth that attention. That’s why when I saw area photographer and resident Mike McLaughlin’s work up for a show at Asbury’s own Bands On A Budget on Mattison Avenue, I knew I had to find out more.

Mike’s been working closely with nation and area acts for years now, and he’s known throughout the community for his creativity, generosity and just for being a cool dude all around. I had a chance to hang out with Mike at Johnny Mac’s a few weeks back, and I was able to get the full story on Mike and his work, which you probably have already seen.

His care for his subjects, willingness to give himself and the camera over to the moment and what it demands, and signature color composition all combine to make some of the most stunning images ever captured in the Asbury scene.

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Crossing Over To The Dark Side: Come With Me And My Demons

My Secret Soul Brother: Greg Dulli

It’s well known that in American culture we like our heroes to have a dark side. And I am feeling my demons, today boy! Now, I usually spend my musings prosthelytizing about the cheerier or more optimistic side of music, but today I have my trench coat on, I’m walking down lonely streets in the rain and fog, smoking a clipped cigarette and cursing most of what comes into my sights, with a tragically romantic wanderlust and absolutely painful coveting longing aching deep in my heart.

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Catch The Obvious, James Of TGB @ Brighton Bar Sunday

We Are Superheroes & Huge Dorks! The Obvious
Photo Courtesy of Kristen Driscoll Photography

One of my favorite Nirvana interviews is from waaaaay back before the band detonated, shattering the mainstream music industry with their now legendary rock explosion. In it, a 21 year old Dave Grohl offers some advice that I still follow and prescribe to this day. “Hustle on the street… learn to play cards. Peddle the ass that God gave you.”

And that’s what I’m doing with today’s post, folks. I have a pretty fine ass, and I am going to peddle it under the umbrella of the fine rock outfit that I front, The Obvious. If you’re a saint with the heart of a sinner, The Obvious has got your salvation right here. We’ve been on the streets as Dave advised, pushing our signature brand of damned, dirty, gravel-slinging, sing-along Rock through our absolutely frothing live show–a sight that burns with the energy of a tent-revival healing.

They Were Such A Serious Band: Nirvana Gives Good Advice

Now it’s not all judgment day with us. Yeah, we’ve got demons, but we’ve come to love them and, actually we think they’re pretty funny! What you need to know is that we have an impeccable aesthetic, an inexhaustable well of passion, and we know how to artfully rip off the right 70’s punk and 90’s alternative influences, all tied together in a unconventionally pretty package by our own beautifully blurry signature sound.

The Obvious | Doctor Doctor
From The Obvious’ Debut EP, Bringing Wreck

And once you see us play? Baby you’ll be smitten, calling us all hours of the night, cutting off locks of our hair when we’re busy signing autographs, begging us to come away with you, promising us peace and plenty forever and ever. Don’t worry, that’s a normal reaction.

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72 Hours, A Dozen Bands, & Several Gallons Of Alcohol Later: My Weekend In AP


Social D. Soundchecks This Past Saturday At The Stone Pony

Monday, Monday. If you were out rollicking around the City of Asbury Park this past weekend, then you know that, as the Mama’s & The Papa’s had warned, you cannot trust that day. And because no one parties like Asbury parties because Asbury parties don’t stop, I know I’m not the only one who was on a steady diet of music and alcohol for the past three days. (You know who you are! Oh, yeah, and thanks for the shots!)

While I’m laying in bed doing my Descartian reflection, I have been reliving the best moments (that I can remember) of the weekend, and I thought I’d share them with the folks who were unable to join us for what turned out to be an unofficial Summer kick-off for Asbury Park.

If you live here, or if you’ve just been reading up on us, then you know how wicked awesome AP is. Where else would I have been able to bounce around from venue to venue with tons of reasonably priced, choice live performances, all within a few short blocks of each other?

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How Are Things On The West Coast?: From Shore Alternative to Save Alternative

Today’s Subjects, Billy O’ and Laura P, With Yours Truly

If you had the distinct pleasure of going to Howell (get) High School in the mid 90’s, then chances are you probably know a dude named Billy O’ Brien. I met Billy way back then, when we were both just learning how to cut out of class without lockdown school monitor Ms.Coffield catching you as you tried to high tail it out of there on nice days. Our tolerance of the tedium of the suffocating classroom would reach its upper threshold, and the June afternoons would be calling…

Billy was always a super sweet dude. I’d see him in the hallway, around raging at parties–hanging out with pretty much every group of kids. And of course I would see the infamous Billy O’ at shows! It’s funny how things turn out. A few years after school ended, us music kids sort of ended up filtering into the counterculturally cool and then still pretty much up -for-grabs-Wild-East that was Asbury Park of the early 2000’s.

Billy O’ Rocks A Basement Show

I mean, if you’re from Central Jersey and you live for music, you are bound to find yourself washing ashore here. And before he was a driven promoter, Billy was quite the frontman in a few fine bands his own self. Frustrated with the often cumbersome way the artist community and venues were missing out on an opportunity to get this place on the map for a new generation of music, and highly aware of both industry and artist perspectives, Billy decided to step up and bridge the gap that was keeping Asbury from coming into full bloom.

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Give Me Static Gives Me Answers

Give Me Static. Love The Wipers Shirt, Bob!

When I first met Bob Paulous, guitarist/singer/frontman for the 90’s Alt rock inspired power trio Give Me Static, he was actually a drummer. That’s how I to this day still have him saved in my cell phone: Bob Drummer. (Don’t worry, I ain’t Larry David…there ain’t no “Wendy Wheelchairs” in my addy book!)

Bob is an extremely talented musician, and his skill set includes his current position as CEO of his aforementioned brand spankin’ new act. I had the pleasure of playing with Give Me Static at Watermark a few months back, and I was blown away. 

You can hear the hours of craftsmanship this crack team has spent on their sound. Even though they’re amongst the latest of acts in AP, the years of experience under Bob’s proverbial belt, as well as the expertise of drummer Brad Harrison and bassist Nick Bock bore through any chance of doubt that they are anything less than stone killer rock solid.

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Social Distortion Returns To AP At The Stone Pony Summer Stage

Mike Ness has still got it. The quintessential Bad-Ass frontman has been steering the Social Distortion ship for three whole decades now, a feat that barely any band can boast. But this Southern California Rockabilly Punk act is still barrelling through the razed rock landscape, powerful as ever.

Even though the band was formed back in ’78, they started out releasing a few singles between ’80 and ’82, and did not formally release their first LP (that’s Long Play for you non-nerds) entitled Mommy’s Little Monster until 1983. And although I had spend the early 90’s rocking out to singles from the eponymously titled release as well as ‘92’s Between Heaven And Hell, I didn’t fully get on board until ‘96’s good-time-swaggering, whiskey-swilling White Light, White Heat, White Trash.

Social D., The Early Days

It’s a testament to the group’s strong songwriting craft and killer runaway train force that I still know every word to every song I heard on the radio from when I was 15, before I even knew who Mike Ness and his nasty demons were. Ball & Chain, Story Of My Life, Bad Luck—I knew them all and I always turned those songs up when they came on the radio.

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