Thursday, September 5, 2013

"Static" Reverberates Within The Brotherhood of flanelhed

Novato, California is an unassuming little suburb north of San Francisco. Filled with marshes, oaks and grassy valleys, Novato also displays the occasional cow pasture that is broken up by strip malls and storage facilities.

When one drives on Highway 101 North through the rolling hills of Marin County and passes through Novato, one may not understand nor know that behind the hotels and dead trees, beyond the suburban crawl of look alike housing and day laborers waiting for work in parking lots, there is a seething, rumbling force that is fast being felt among the population of this hamlet.

This fiery force has a powerful hunger for loud amplifiers filled with grungy guitars and flaming vocals, an added throb of drums and bass fueling this fire. The force is a band called flanelhed and it slams itself out of Novato, California and blows the minds of suburbia in order to let loose the power of it’s searing, edgy and wickedly original hard rock & roll....

flanelhed’s history is not unlike other bands. Guitarist John Murphy and vocalist Chris Matthews met well over 25 years ago and established a strong musical connection within their friendship. In 1994 both men created a band called flanelhed. The band gigged, put out albums and changed various members throughout the years but persevered with a lot of hard work, a fine tuning their sound and a refining their chops.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Grass Child: Music Is The "Marinade" Of Life

Cover art Wendy Meyer Britton

Music inspires us. It has the potential to speak louder than words and to convey feelings that help us get a better grasp of our own emotional truth. Sometimes music can be more authentic to us than the reality that surrounds us in our day-to-day existence. Music is feeling, it is poetry and it is the essence of life itself wrapped up in notes, chords and lyrics. It is a marinade that we soak our lives in, creating a tenderness within our souls in which we find solace and sanity.

Napa based groove-folk rockers Grass Child is such a band that use their music to create the sanity and solace many of us are looking for within life itself. Grass Child’s sound is a bit of rock and roll with taste of funky-folk and flavored with a sprinkle of reggae-fusion.

Each member in Grass Child is an accomplished and talented musician and performer. Sarah Madsen’s sweet, powerful and soulful voice lends harmony and breadth and she is a dynamic front woman; Brant Roscoe’s blazing yet gentle guitar adds depth and meaning to the music; then there is heartbeat that is the backbeat of Grass Child with Barry Forsythe keeping the pulse on drums along with the smooth and soothing bass lines that come from Jonathan Tindall.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

When Life Bitch Slaps You, Rock & Roll Will Heal You: The Ballad Of Danny and Erik

It is often said that, “One moment can change the course of our entire lives, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse.” In the blink of an eye, our world can turn on its head due to one event and our path in life is forever altered. 

Going about our daily lives, we strive to keep things simple and easy, but sometimes fate has a different plan for us. We get smacked upside the head by a twist of fate and find ourselves in turmoil and darkness. 

When that darkness hits, there are many ways we can deal with the new reality which we have been dealt.  How we deal with it, positively or negatively, affects the outcome of that twist immensely.

One such fateful night last August, Marin County musicians Danny Uzilevsky (Chrome Johnson, Honeydust) and Erik Smyth (Mo’Fessionals, Kelly Peterson Band) were driving home late after a gig in Sonoma County with their band Elephant Listening Project. The gig went well, probably one of their best and more than likely both men were content and probably rehashing the night’s festivities when fate dealt her ugly blow.  Another driver, sadly driving under the influence of alcohol and unable to understand that he was driving in the wrong direction of the freeway, hit Danny and Erik head on, splintering their reality in a way that forever changed things for them both.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Points North Thumbs A Ride on a “Road Less Traveled”

The Beginning of the Journey:

On a Sunday morning in mid-December many years ago, in a rehearsal space in Rohnert Park, California, 3 men met for the first time to jam and explore if any sort of musical magic could be made. A Craiglists ad posted by Bay Area drummer Kevin Aiello brought guitarist Eric Barnnett and bassist Damian Sisson together, and in a matter of time the band Points North, an all-instrumental, yet super hard-rocking Northern California band was born.

“We got together on a Sunday morning and started playing to a basic song idea that Eric had brought in (rather than playing an endless jam in ‘E’). It all felt good and our main intention was just to get together every couple of weeks and have some fun. Before you knew it we had about 45 minutes worth of working material,” recounted Kevin Aiello.

Guitarist Eric Barnett remembers the beginnings of what would turn out to be a solid musical relationship. “We basically met each week, just writing and jamming and then eventually doing a little home recording that became our first demo.  From there, we decided to book our first gig which turned out to be at Time Out in Concord, Ca. It wasn’t easy, getting a show as an unknown instrumental three piece and if it wasn’t for Damien, who was in about a thousand bands at the time, we probably wouldn’t have gotten one.”