It’s Black Friday and we’re skipping the malls and spending the day listening to some groovy new stuff from 90’s LA strip-scene band Drive’s Rick Chavez. Drive was one of the many talented bands who had their futures in the big ol’ music business crushed when that whole Seattle thing happened, but he’s a cat who has never stopped making music and it looks like he’ll be re-emerging in the public space with some new stuff starting with Anyway. And with cool music like this, mixing soul, rock and blues in a timeless – yet fresh way – RUST Magazine is definitely hoping there’s more to come. It would seem that Rick Chavez has managed to maintain his creative enthusiasm and has now brought to it wisdom and insight, gained from experience, and he has “doubled down” on crafting stylish, exciting and original music. Check it out!
Thanks to Richard Goodsell of Goodsell Amplifiers for talking to us about his old school construction techniques for his hand-built amplifiers and pedal effects. Recorded on November 24, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia. Audio recorded with Cascade Fat Head II mics and Cloud Microphones CL-2 Cloudlifter.
Hey RUST fans we have a fresh song for you to listen to from Brooklyn-based band The Davenports
featuring a duet with Shirley Simms of The Magnetic Fields. Their new single “Miranda in Her Room” is the latest in a string of singles the band has released since the beginning of the year.
This release comes from the Mother West family and was produced by Charles Newman, who has worked with The Magnetic Fields and The Davenports for over a decade. Together with The Davenports’ Scott Klass, the two had been waiting for the right vocal pairing to bring this song to life and they considered an array of singers until landing Shirley, who was the perfect fit for the track. Shirley fell in love with the song, and Newman set up vocal sessions at Boston’s Q Division with engineer/producer friend Benny Grotto. The rest of the song was recorded in Newman’s home studio in Brooklyn, and the rest – as they say – is history.
So take a minute out of your busy day and take a minute to enjoy this heartfelt, honest and touching music. Perhaps you should take time out of every day for beautiful music like this? We’re just saying…
Hey RUST readers we just got the word on LZ7, a British EDM/HipHop/Pop outfit that’s been making some serious noise, and from the looks of it, they’re about to go global in a big way. Baeble Music just posted their new music video to the song So Good, and it’s so good, we’ve been playing it over and over here in the office. The official drop date for their new album is December 11th but this band is not waiting until then to turn it up, announcing that they have just landed a performing slot at PARADISE LOST FESTIVAL along the side of some of today’s iconic EDM acts as Tiesto, Bassnector, Audien, Felix Jaehn, Aluna George, Big Gigantic, and more. Seriously, LZ7 has that magic combination of coolness, talent, freshness and drive to break out and blow up. Get in on the ground floor of this phenomenon!
I can’t approach this article without telling a personal backstory. RUST Magazine started as my personal music blog while I was DJ’ing around Atlanta doing art gallery shows – exclusively. I only played at art galleries, mostly coinciding with community events and art neighborhood walks. It was my “thing” to only play galleries, and to play the cool music I was getting from my blog. Since then I’ve switched to playing vintage vinyl from thrift stores (you always gotta be ahead of the next dj movement) but the nights rocking the gallery crowds with outrageous artists were some of the most fun I’ve ever had.
It was one of those perfect combinations, cool emerging visual artists mashed up with cool emerging musical artists. The Atlanta arts scene was really taking off and I was able to play the obscure, and have it be appreciated. The pay was lousy but I could play anything I wanted, and the flavors of the night went from the chill Zero 7 and Kruder and Dorfmeister sounds to old school punk and stuff from bands like Cibo Matto, Soul Coughing, Pavement and the Silver Jews. Without a doubt my favorite band to play at these events was The Scenics whose 2012 album Dead Man Walks Down Bayview I saved for the peak of the energy.
The backstory of the band (as I appreciated it at the time) was that they were old school punkers from Toronto who had regrouped to make a new album after – literally – decades of inactivity as a whole band. With such a gap in activity, and the distances in both chronological and national distances, they were a band that had a sense of mystery to them and, with such an excellent album as Dead Man Walks Down Bayview, they were a band that I both dug and wanted people to know about.
So when the party got hot and late, and the office posers had gone home, and real vampires hit the galleries, I would always play Growing Pains, O Boy, or Miami (especially Miami) when it was that magic moment when only the coolest, most indie rock would do. Lots of nights were mostly empty and dull, and some nights not a lot of people came out, but every once in a while, circumstances would align and I would find myself in the middle of hundreds of artists, models, photographers, musicians, dj’s, moviemakers, students, freaks, geeks, junkies and art scenesters at the coolest party in the city. That was the moment to play The Scenics.
So, from my personal sensibilities, this band was “the” band that I held as my final reserve of grooviness. Their music was just so profound, so unique, so passionately made and so free from constraint of genre or classification that it was the most extreme musical statement I could make (as a dj) when the audience was a world-class collection of artists. Most of the time the dj just provides a background vibe for an event, but on rare instances when the energy is right, the dj defines the night with music that’s perfect for the environment, the moment and the people. To do this, I played The Scenics.
People at the parties occasionally would ask me who the band was, but most of the time it was just accepted and appreciated as that elusively super cool indie underground groovy punk music that belonged at the hottest gallery party in the city. Nothing less would do.
Fast-forward a few years to right now and there’s a new album out from The Scenics, and along with the new release there’s a fresh wave of information coming out about the band. The album itself is a collection of remastered tracks from 1977-78 studio sessions, and the early reviews are all decrying the lost opportunity for Ken Badger, Andy Meyers, Brad Cooper and Mark French to have joined artists like XTC and The Talking Heads in success and recognition. Clearly in retrospective, The Scenics should have seen a different path, but they didn’t.
You can decry the lack of justice in the world of rock and roll, but that was then, and this is now. The important thing right now is that this music has been remastered and can now be appreciated. Having been introduced to The Scenics by their 2012 album, and having heard about their history, now that I have been able to listen to the source music that made the legend in the first place, it’s like the years melt away and what’s left are the timeless musical artifacts of some extremely talented song writers and performers.
For me, this is a big deal. I appreciate The Scenics and am delighted that this music is coming out and people can hear them again, and for most, for the first time. And Andy Meyers of the band was kind enough to answer a few questions, so here he is in his own words:
EP: Andy, I’m so glad that people are now hearing your music and talking about it and many more new people are going to hear it. Going back and remastering these tracks, what was the feeling you took away from the process?
AM: When we originally recorded these tracks (in1977) we were so fortunate to stumble on Barry Steinberg. He recorded on 4 track reel to reel in a pretty simple set up, but he got great sounds and we got along well. A lovely man. When we went in to remaster it last year for the current Italian vinyl release (Rave Up Records), Joby Baker did such an incredible job – it’s like he uncovered the original sound of the tape, but more powerful and focused. I recognized a sound I had not heard for decades.
We liked it so much we decided to put it out on digital and CD, to compliment the LP.
EP: Without being completely depressing, what was it like to not make it after getting such critical praise and knowing in your heart you had made some great music. To have it not take you down the paths that your comparative peers went…
AM: Well, at the time we didn’t get a lot of critical praise. Toronto wasn’t like New York or London – it was more like Cleveland, say, where great music was being made in a vacuum. Within that, we were outliers on the local scene, both musically and socially. We had a small army of fans, whose support meant a lot. But there was no sense that someone in Toronto was going to ‘be successful’. The main thing was that Ken Badger and I met and made this music. That’s a one in a million occurrence. It was a potent musical education, it was tons of fun.
In terms of our peers at the time… my life to this point has included lots of music, and there’s every indication that that is continuing and growing. I have a happy home and fabulous kids making their own way in the world. Only the most successful people from my generation had musical success and didn’t pay for it big time in other ways. It’s a hard life. A lot of addiction, deaths. All in all I feel like a lucky man. Blessed.
EP: What did you do after being a young rock and roller, where did the path of life take you?
AM: I met my wife in the last couple of years of the Scenics run. After the band split we started a family… owned record stores for a while, in Toronto and London, Ontario. Then we headed west, took a meandering journey that ended up on a small island off the west coast of Canada. Had a period of 10 years of so where we were very involved in a flourishing local theatre scene, my wife Susheela acting and directing, me composing music. Then I began recording (www.allowedsound.com), and then in 2007 Ken and I started talking more regularly, and the Scenics reboot began.
EP: What’s it been like to return to the music you made that defined your band?
AM: Ken and I were rejoined by vintage Scenics Mark Perkell on drums and Mike Young on bass- that’s the crew who made the Dead Man album and playing with the Scenics again was an invigorating experience. I felt a palpable connection with my early twenties self. The modus operandi for the band is very no-holds barred. Not a lot of talk and planning- just jump in keep your ears wide open, and find out what happens as the song unfolds! It’s a very creative, untrammelled process, and I love it like crazy.
EP: The press has been supportive, has the word been getting out? Are people starting to hear you with new ears now?
AM: Well, a lot of people who hadn’t heard us are hearing us now. With each release we are reaching more people, and the word we are getting back is very positive.
EP: In The Summer is a great album musically, but also – at this point – historically. Are you satisfied that you’ve accomplished a permanence to the original music by going through the production process again?
AM: We always were able to hear that the ‘demos’ we made added up to a hell of an album. Unlike today, in those days you didn’t automatically release stuff… it was expensive, and the infrastructure for getting it to people on an indie level was nothing like today. In retrospect, the relative isolation we worked in was a perfect laboratory that allowed us to focus intensely on our sound. We had a few years of playing together 4-5 nights a week. Now it’s much easier to get stuff out to people, and there are more ears interested in an obscure art punk band from late-70’s Toronto. Ultimately, then was the perfect time and situation to make the music, and it turns out that now is a pretty good time to share it!
EP: Andy, thanks for the talk here. You and I are perhaps about the same age, so I think you’ll relate to this question… is it the years or the miles?
AM: Eric – It’s the moments.
Get more info here http://www.thescenics.com/