<body><script type="text/javascript"> function setAttributeOnload(object, attribute, val) { if(window.addEventListener) { window.addEventListener('load', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }, false); } else { window.attachEvent('onload', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }); } } </script> <div id="navbar-iframe-container"></div> <script type="text/javascript" src="https://apis.google.com/js/plusone.js"></script> <script type="text/javascript"> gapi.load("gapi.iframes:gapi.iframes.style.bubble", function() { if (gapi.iframes && gapi.iframes.getContext) { gapi.iframes.getContext().openChild({ url: 'https://www.blogger.com/navbar.g?targetBlogID\x3d5962978603182893209\x26blogName\x3dGood+Reads\x26publishMode\x3dPUBLISH_MODE_BLOGSPOT\x26navbarType\x3dSILVER\x26layoutType\x3dCLASSIC\x26searchRoot\x3dhttp://seesaminprint.blogspot.com/search\x26blogLocale\x3den_US\x26v\x3d2\x26homepageUrl\x3dhttp://seesaminprint.blogspot.com/\x26vt\x3d-3370997627696415388', where: document.getElementById("navbar-iframe-container"), id: "navbar-iframe" }); } }); </script>


Friday, September 7, 2007
Thanks for checking out all published work by Samantha Lien.

This is collection of everything (I could find) that has been published in The Front Magazine, a music magazine previously based in Ft. Collins, Colorado - that is no longer in production, as well as a few examples of columns, "how to's" and other articles from short-lived BiAs Magazine - a brainchild of two former Denver Post employees, that sadly enough, was shut down by the same corporation due to its overt edginess. Sad - but fun while it lasted.

I've also included some creative writing/music compositions I had to put together through college, because as you can see in most of my articles, I like descriptives, but I mostly like telling my story through the people involved. While The Front allowed me to publish my works - I only really got to interview very few of the article subjects.

If you'd like to see all articles in one specific category (i.e. Creative Writing or Music: The Front Magazine), please click on the category at the bottom of the post and it will allow you this option.

So enjoy. Please feel free to post your thoughts or contact me directly. I am always open to suggestions, improvements. I'm also big on recipricating links if you are interested. You can find my main page at http://seesamwrite.blogspot.com".

You may also check out my photography portfolio at http://seesamshoot.blogspot.com".

Bias Media

Below, you will find everything (I could find) that was published under my Bias #.

Most are my regular column.
I have also included a Funny "How To," a "Gauntlet" Submission, one feature story for our St. Hookey's Day Celebration (Play hookey and skip work :)) and a short blurb comment on a Q&A.

To view the regular size, please click on the thumbnail photo's below.



Scott, You are the Golden God

Monday, September 3, 2007
This one is about the lead singer of The Reign Kings, a great band out of Phoenix Arizona. I initially met him when they opened up for Michelle Branch in 2002. He was kind enough to take my camera back stage and take photos - and just, kind enough all around, really. Such a sweetheart.

Sept. 15, 2003.

Heavy, white blinds flank the glass windows that line the front wall of Dream Catcher Recordings. Concealed behind them is a small desk with papers shuffled haphazardly across its surface. A small, color poster of The Reign Kings is taped up agains the entry wall and a large dream catcher sways ever-so-gently from the tall ceilings above the studio's work station.

Through a tall archway with no door, there is a recording room; a room where ample time is poured into mixing and editing The Reign Kings' tracks for their upcoming album, Bloom. On a raised platform, a guitar is tucked underneath a tabletop off to the right. Rounding out the enclosed area is a computer, multi-switched soundboards and three comfortable office chairs, mandatory for assisting in the production process.

The band rehearsal room houses a full drum kit and microphones. It is crowded, but still big enough to accommodate a drummer and his toys, three guitarists and Scottie Briggs, lead singer of The Reign Kings.

"I would get you something to drink," says Briggs, "but our refrigerator, sort of... doesn't freeze right now."

His black hair, shaggy, but styled, easily matches his black T-shirt. Briggs is tall in stature. At 6'7", he towers over most, but his openness and friendly demeanor descend him to a height that does not intimidate. His jeans and comfortable adidas shoes prepare him for what life may throw his way this Saturday afternoon.

"I can't even tell you how much work goes into this," says Briggs about The Reign Kings, which he comprised in 2001.

Named after a Counting Crows song, Briggs formed the band name as a twist on Crows' front-man Adam Duritz's song moniker. "The title has a mystery and darkness," says Briggs. "His take on the world is profound and hopeful."

In the fall of 2000, Briggs produced Hope a project he performed and recorded entirely on his own, save a few called-in piano parts. "I knew I was going to be forming a band," said Briggs. "I just had all these songs and wanted to get them out there on recording."

Soon after his solo release, formation of his band started falling into place. In 2001, just before the 9/11 attack, Briggs met Rhonda Wooder, the band bassist. "I distinctly remember [when I met Rhonda] because we had just sent out demos and promotional info to some labels" recalls Briggs. "Because of 9/11, it took awhile for the A&R people to get back to us."

After the air had thinned from the Sept. tragedy, offers began pouring in. The Reign Kings held a showcase in Oct. 2001 where one particular manager convinced them to record with him in Montana. "He had a magic tongue and told us exactly what we wanted to hear," said Briggs.

The band headed to Montana for the winter months of 2001-2002, signing over all of their publishing rights to the label in eager anticipation of the album that would follow.

"We thought this was our big break," said Wooder.

"It took every penny we had, including our instruments to keep the project going," said Briggs. The band not only lost an overwhelming amount of time, money and commitment, but all of their songs, as well.

"To come back to the place of our friends and family with our tail between our legs and say it didn't work was hard," said Wooder. "We had to swallow a lot."

"It was one of the most horrible ordeals of our lives," said Briggs. "But it was a good learning experience."

Both remaining band members kept a positive attitude and began the recruitment process, moving swiftly toward a fresh start with new band members. "We weren't going to let one man ruiin our dream," said Wooder. "We're going to kick 'til we die."

Along came Jim Hornaday, lead guitarist, in the spring of 2002.

"Jim is one of the smartest guys I know," says Briggs. "We call him 'Science.'"

Hornaday has accomplished a masters in music business from Belmont Univesrity in Nashville, Tenn., and is one of the most notable engineers in Phoenix. In addition, Hornaday has owned and operated Dream Catcher Recordings, The Reign Kings' home-base for production, since 1995. Hornaday has also worked under jazz guitarist Chick Corea, and briefly held an intern position on the set of Home Improvement.

"Scott Baio would call for Pamela Anderson," jokes Hornaday. "I would always have to find her on the set and take her phone calls."

Wooder, Briggs and Hornaday quickly formed the core for The Reign Kings' direction and intentions. "We were the ones that molded where we were going with the band," says Briggs. The three remained close, as a revolving door brought musicians in and out of their collaboration. Drummer, Scott Kusmirik entered soon after Hornaday in 2002, but left earlier this year to tour with the Gin Blossoms.

Briggs and Wooder also hooked up with rhythm guitarist Chris Kurtz, but, "Chris just wasn't stepping up," said Briggs of his close friend. "Last January, I had to make one of the hardest decisions in my life and let him go."

Tim Ringgold, formerly of the Phoenix band BLESSEDBETHYNAME, was soon recruited to replace Kurtz, bringing with him a unique sense of charisma.

"Tim would shave all of his body hair before shows," said Briggs of Ringgold before he joined The Reign Kings. "He'd pour liquid latex all over his body before the show and fans would go nuts."

"He's an unbelievable performer," says Briggs. "He has brought the energy up in our band ten fold."

Topping off the roster in mid-summer of 2003, drummer Tim Ernst, formerly of band Traveler, joined shortly before The Reign Kings opened for modern-rock band DaDa in Tempe, Ariz. Ernst is currently a manager for a company in Phoenix and wants very badly to be a traveling musician.

The Reign Kings' chemistry on stage has had time to simmer and advance over the past year.

"We all get along very well," says Wooder of the musicians who are like brothers to her. "We all take care of each other. It's a big unity."

The band currently has management out of Atlanta, Ga., looking into a few markets to see where The Reign Kings' music might catch on first. From there, the band can begin touring reionally.

"I'm well aware of the grueling schedule [of touring]," says Briggs. "And it can't be any harder than what I do now." A landscape and pool contractor by day, Briggs devotes the rest of his time to the band, which leaves little time for sleep.

Three years in the making, The Reign Kings have developed a sound that is appealingto a mass of listeners.

"We were skydiving the other day and I heard Jim say, '... kind of Coldplay meets U2' and I knew right away what he was talking about," said Briggs. "We have a little Counting Crows in there, too, and people have said there's a bit of an '80's pop element to our music. We use a lot of chunk guitar; the Jimmy Eat World kind of sound."

But is it a sound that would fit into a hit soundtrack to a major motion picture?

"I'd like to go with something really profound and different," laughs Briggs. "But I'd probably go for something stupid like a Jim Carrey or Adam Sandler flick: Dumb and Dumber."

The Reign Kings have opened for Counting Crows, Dishwalla, Michelle Branch, and most recently Blues Traveler, where the band and their street team were responsible for one fifth of the ticket sales to the sold out show at the Marquee Theatre in Tempe, Ariz. It is often rare for a local opening act to have such appeal, but their strong promotional skills and building talent proved that Phoenix-area fans are finally coming around.

"When you're the opener, you get pushed around a little," says Briggs. "At the Blues Traveler show, we were in the kitchen for our dressing room."

On Saturday, Oct. 18, The Reign Kings finally step into the spotlight for "The Official Reign Kings CD Release Party" celeberating the release of their long-anticipated album, Bloom at The Static Club in downtown Scottsdale. Tickets are $5 in advance, $7 at the door. Doors open at 8:00 P.M.



Seth Horan:

October 9, 2003:

On a crisp October night at 11 p.m., Seth Horan sits on a curb after his open-mic performance at the Mogollon in downtown Flagstaff. His dark hair is short and unkempt and his light grey t-shirt has grease stains across his left shoulder from the rental car he has been driving for the last week. The side-pockets of his khaki pants are packed full of his album Not Withstanding, which has just been re-released in stores nationall, Sept. 16.

"I only saw him perform two songs and thought he was awesome," said Sara Padilla, 26, a student at Northern Arizona University. "I'm very big on vocals and his range and power are amazing."

In third grade, Horan started piano lessons, but quit after three years, due to his lack of improvement. At the age of 11, Horan wished to be part of his junior high school's band in Buffalo, N.Y.

"I wanted to play and instrument so big that I didn't have to take it home to practice," said Horan. "My teacher was so excited for me to play double bass that he drove me one home that day."

Horan ended up enjoying the instrument and committed numerous hours of his time to rehearsal. By Eigth grade, he had discovered girls and switched to a bass guitar.

"My abrupt manner never worked with girls," said Horan. "I'm still waiting."

Since then, Horan's musical talent, on stage wit and flagrant charisma have charmed audiences from coast to coast. A rarity in the music market, Horan tours solo with just his bass and some effects pedals. Since leaving the glitzy, pop-rock band Vertical Horizon in 1998, Horan has been on the road solo for the past 18 months.

On Mar. 2, 2002, Horan played his first show as 'the solo singer/bass-player guy' to an off-beat crowd in Atlanta, Ga.

"I was fed great food, treated like royalty, and was really expecting a great show," said Horan. "The [headlining] lead singer showed up looking exactly like a young Neil Diamond. When I saw the rhinestone jumpsuit, I knew something was up."

As soon as the Neil Diamond tribute band had finished, Horan meandered out to his car with $100 in hand, only to find that his car was missing.

"It had been towed," said Horan. "It cost $85 to get my van back. It was depressing to know that I made $15 my first show to play for a band that did hard rock versions of Neil Diamond songs."

But Horan's experience on the road has only gone up from there. Living like a nomad, cliaming no ownership to an actual house or apartment, Horan holds a small, 10 feet by 10 feet storage unit to his name in L.A.

"There are pockets in the country where I feel at home," said Horan. "I do sometimes long for the ability to be in one place for an extended period of time, but for now, I'm happy to see as much of the country as I can. When I settle down, I'll never have to wonder."

Horan has already begun to work on his next album, but is still working to establish himself wiht his previous record. Observing popular artists like Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears having to dumb down everything they are to be well-known, Horan has revamped his ideas on what it means to be famous. Horan hopes to reach a level where he can still be himself, but still reach teh widest audience he can.

"Seth's a very empathetic person," says Justin Simison, 26, a Flagstaff local actively involved in the city's music scene. "He's a little abrasive, but once you expect that, he's not so unusual."

Horan has made frequent stops in Flagstaff, performing at Charly's, The Mogollon and The Joint at open mics. Last May, Horan opened for David Wilcox at The Orpheum. Horan will return in December for a two-hour show at the Coffee Bean.

Until then, he will continue his trek across the U.S., stopping at random road-side attractions and off-kilter diners along the way.

"I want to spit on the continental divide and see which way my spit will roll," said Horan. "That sounds pretty stupid, but it's funny when ou have a video camera."




In Flagstaff, Everyone went to Jack in the Box (except me, I think). It was probably the only 24 hour food joint besides Denny to hit up after the bar scene. This was for another class my Senior year to describe the encounter:

2 a.m. Saturday. The busiest spot in town yields itself to the mass of drunkards spilling out of Flagstaff's spirited bar scene. Carpools of people drive into a single-file line and wait to place their order, whether to feed a hungry stomach or to temporarily fix the cotton mouth they are currently experiencing from saliva that has been sucked away by the ounces of alcohol consumption earlier in the evening.

A heavily pounding bass-line echoes through the window of a white Toyota 4Runner. At least one occupant of the vehicle is clearly a fan of rap music. The song title is insignificant. Pick one... they all have the same perpetual thump...thump...thump.

A jack in the Box employee hands a white, crinkled bag to the driver.

"Thank you, Hun" she says. "Ya'all have a good night."

A day-old shade of coffee peaks through the crevice of her chapped lips. Her smile displays the picture of poor dental health, although she appears only to be in be in her mid-forties. She adjusts her glasses, throws her long, dirty-blonde ponytail behind her shoulders and presses the black button on her headphones to take the order of the car awaiting her attention at the menu board.

Cheesecake, Big Texas Cheeseburger, Egg rolls (3), French Toast Sticks (4) (with syrup, up course). How can one fast-food chain offer such a distinguishing array of food 24 hours of the day? What exactly is a Taquito? And what makes a Monster Taco so monstrous?

"It's twice the size of the regular," says Justin Simison, a regular after-hours customer at 'Jack in the Crack.' "You can get two regular-sized tacos for cheaper, but I don't really want those."

He falls into habit and yells his order out the window.

"I'll have a number 11, large, with curly fries and a Coke, low on the ice," he says.

"Anything else, Hun?" replies the feisty employee at the other end of the speaker.
"Yeah...," says Simison. "A monster taco."

The green Civic just ahead is now rocking back and forth. The five girls inside the Honda are dancing vigorously. They are, at least, as bouncy as one can be when crammed tightly into a compact car. The blond driver tips her head back in her seat and squeals with laughter into the crisp October air seeping into her automobile. The crimson brake lights flicker in unison with the song's tempo as the car jerks forward in line.

The sorority-like blond shifts her attention out the car window to the blue pick-up truck stopped one car-length ahead. The mangled tailgate displays an 'f,' 'r,' and 'd' cross its back. The 'o' has been covered up by a black and white smiley-face bumper sticker. The driver is in his early twenties, with dark tousled hair and chocolate brown eyes. He turns his attention back to the blond in the civic and smiles.

The minute that ensues comprises of the following events:

1. The blond flutters her heavily made-up eyelashes and coos words of flirtation at the chocolate-eyed driver who is easily within ear shot.

2. The boy in the Ford truck raises his left eyebrow and blushes as his foot slips off the break pedal. The split second of ignorance causes him to bump ever-so-lightly into the white Toyota Camry in front of him. Clink.

3. The dark-haired boy, startled, turns his awareness to the front of the line to regain his composure. The break lights give off an intense scarlet glow. A girl with messed hair sits up quickly in the front seat and rubs her eyes. She resituates herself against the passenger-side window and falls effortlessly back to sleep.

The light-locked girl in the Civic turns to her friends, who have been eagerly watching the entire incident, and joins them in a cooperative scream that rattles throughout the fast-food parking lot.

"Oh my god," screams a back-seat brunette through her incessant laughter. "Oh my god!"

The baseball-capped driver in the Camry turns around and scowls at the instigator behind him. The brown-eyed boy crooks a sideways smile and offers up a hesitant wave as if to say, 'I'm sorry,' without actually voicing the words.

Irritated and angry, the fair-haired man in the white hat steps out of his vehicle and marches back to have a look at his bumper. His body is stacked with muscle and on his short frame (under 5'7"), his physique looks exceedingly burly and intimidating. The blue Abercrombie T-shirt he is wearing stretches tightly across his arms and shoulders. Although annoyed, he discovers that his bumper remains intact, with no damage done.

The beefcake gives the offender one last dirty look, then swaggers back to his driver door, the frayed ends of his jeans sweeping the dirty cement. The clutch sounds. He races forward in his Toyota to the fast-food window.

"That'll be $8.72," says the woman.

The annoyed driver pays the attendant, snatches his food and speeds off hastily into the night.

Three cars away from the window now, the digital clock placed high on the wall is visable through the thick window containing the kitchen.

Each order is timed, from the moment the car stops at the drive-up window, to the instant the food leaves the establishment. Twenty seconds now. Twenty-five. Twenty-seven. Twenty-eight. Thirty seconds is a long time to wait when there is a vast procession of hungry people sprawled past the parking lot, just short of Milton Avenue.

Finally, at 1:38 on the digital timer, the blue Ford takes off with their food and the clock resets itself to zero. Two more cars to go.

Sixteen seconds. The transaction between the pony-tailed lady and the owner of a black Nizzan just ahead the clown-car full of girls is brief. With the exact change given and just a Coke in tow, the driver takes off swiftly. One more car.

The five girls are a different story.

"Where's my Sprite? I wanted Sprite, not Root Beer," says a pixie-haired blonde in the passenger seat as she carefully assesses the bag's contents. "And where's Michele's cheeseburger?"

The late night/early morning employee switches out their order and the girls leave happily. The clock flips from 2:41 back to zero.

Pulling up to the window, the woman anticipates the oncoming exchange. Eleven "Huns' later, the gas pedal is engaged, a few curly fries are consumed, and the window isrolled up electronically by a black button near the dash. All rap music, laughter, and conversations are silenced by a thin plate of glass. Tomorrow night, the driver's window will be rolled down again; same time, same place, same order.



Gorgeous Beauty Queen.

In my capstone class, we had to do a story on an atypical person. I.e.: someone that you'd look at and pin stereotypes to - and they broke the mold.

I picked my sister-in-law. Here's why:

In a dimly-lit living room, Teresa Gonzalez, a 21-year-old student from the University of South Dakota, sits at a wooden table, hands folded neatly in her lap. She tucker her short, hi-lighted hair behind her ears and flashes a top-of-the-line perma-smile. Reaching for a pair of xylophone sticks on top of the wooden counter, she grasps them in her left hand and then holds the balled-ends to her lips.

"She's beauty and she's grace," says Gonzalez into her pretend microphone. "Seh's Miss USD!"

Her mocking tone and fake expression allude to her past experience in the bright lights of pageant glamour.

"Pageants are like a really bad realationship," says Gonzalez. "You're expected to wake up in the morning with a smile on your face, minty-fresh breat and really obvious eye shadow."

And despite the sarcastic metaphors, Gonzalez still holds a special place in her heart for the life of a beauty queen; albiet one that does not include a never-ending crusade for world peace.

She is not a dim-witted shoe princess, pink poodle in tow. She does not spend an hour every morning carefully masking her dark, brown eyes in blue eye shadow or stiffening her hair to the likeness of stale potato chips with half a can of hair spray. And no, she does not own a jar of Vaseline to glide across her pearly-whites in the early hours of the day.

"Teresa is so down-to-earth," says Erik Shattuck, 22, a United States Marine and friend of Gonzalez. "I always think of pageant girls being ditzy, blondes that have no idea what's going on."

A treasurer for her school's branch of College Republicans, a participant in the Big Buddy, Little Buddy adoption program (much like Big Brothers, Big Sisters) and a double major in public relations and music, Gonzalez seems to do it all, and then some.

"She's the most resourcefully capable person I've ever met," says 22-year-old Oakley Rathbun of his best friend and girlfriend. "I've been doing a lot of great things since I've met her."

Gonzalez is reserved. The third of siz children, she was carted around the early years of her life like a living doll by her twin, older sisters. "I was very overshadowed," says Gonzalez, who finally came out of her shell at the age of 13.

"I fell into the superficial crowd for awhile where the girls were very difficult to trust," says Gonzalez. "Now, large quantities of women make me very shy."

"Teresa really surprises me," says her long-time best friend, Suzy French. "She's such a deep and genuine person, and people miss it because they're so focused on the outside."

Her senior year of high school, Gonzalez was nominated by her St. Thomas Moore classmates to represent their name in the Junior Miss Pageant in Rapid City. A cheerleader, straight-A student and teen-crush of most males at the small, Catholic school, she seemed like a perfect candidate.

"I hated it," says Gonzalez of the week-long event. "I never wanted to go back."

But sophomore year, the itch to sing and perform hooked Gonzalez's interest and two days previous to the Miss Rapid City Pageant, she signed on as a contestant.

"I wasn't prepared at all," said Gonzalez. "It was just after my freshman year and I was feeling a little out of shape. It's hard prance around on stage in a skimpy, little bikini and smile about it."

The drawn-out events and hostile attitudes exemplified backstage in the two contests clued Gonzalez into the pageant's actual meaning; an oversize, counterfeit game.

"Behind the scenes, those women are cutthroat and catty," says Julie Burdge, 34, friend of a former pageant contestant. "No one roots for anyone backstage. It's really back-stabby. The girls with the real talent that were truly wonderful never won."

"The winner is the biggest fake. She's the girl that played the game right," says Gonzalez. "antying that is natural has to be hidden."

Knowing this and needing scholarship money to support herself at school, Gonzalez scrapped her dislike toward the phony competitions and approached the 2002 Miss USD Pageant with a game-plan in mind.

"With the exception of my interview, I payed by the rules," says Gonzalez. "I had to spend three days not being myself."

Gonzalez won first place and spent the year of 2002 representing the University of South Dakota in Vermillion pushing leadership, her chosen platform for the 2002 competition.

"I dressup for school almost every day," says Gonzalez. "I had to ride around in parades and wave with a cheese smile. It was exhausting."

But with the title belonging to Gonzalez, she could do with it whatever she wished for the year of 2002. Gonzalez spent the year singing and performing and leading fundraisers for political campaigns, most notably, for John Thune's (R, SD) senatorial race in the fall of 2002. Gonzalez acted as pole checker, precinct capitain and as an avid supporter for the pro-life decision, teh proud holder of a record for most pro-life turnover calls, which she made during the campaign.

"It was a positive experience that helped me out tremendously with job interviews," recalls Gonazalez. "It's hard to fake who you are when someone's asking you about personal issues. Not it just feels geuniune."

This year, Gonzalez played the part again in a behind-the-scenes spot as producer of the 2003 Miss USD pageant. Tanned, toned and ready, Gonzalez organized the yearly even with big hair, flawless make-up and a glamours dress.

"I do better in positions concerning women where I am the caregiver or nurturer," says Gonzalez. "So naturally, it was much more fun to produce than compete."

January marks another Miss Rapid City competition; one that Gonzalez is seriously considering, although most of her previous experiences have left a bad taste in her mouth.

"It's hard to leave behind, but at least I'll have my [Miss USD] crown forever," says Gonzalez, smiling. "Sometimes when I have ugly days, I put it on and walk around thie house. It always ends up making me feel a lot better."



Carmen a la Vegas Drag Show!

This is a Creative Piece I did for a web class my junior year of college. We focused our entire semester on the story of Carmen and were eventually instructed to write our own version of the French Opera. I chose a "screenplay" in the style of vegas. :)

I had a great teacher that taught from Kingman,Arizona who actually committed suicide midway through the semester. It was very sad, but I got a lot out of the class and wanted to share this:

Carmen, A La Vegas Drag Show!

(Curtain opens, displaying piano lounge lizard and quite the studly Elvis Impersonator; complete with white, jeweled jumpsuit).

Don Jose: Thank you, Thank You Very Much. This is a story (strums guitar) of how I lost my love (chorus comes in with ooo's and aaah's) to the King of Vegas himself; Wayne Newton.

(Elvis breaks into a rendition of Heartbreak Hotel).

(Elaborate Drag Queen enters a la John Leguizamo in "To Wong Fu, Thanks for Everything, Julie Neumar. He, or rather SHE, is wearing a red sequence spagetti strap dress, nylons & Hi-heels. She is adorned with a six Inch high hairsproyed Coif and heavy, caked-on makeup).

Don Jose: Carmen, I love you!
Carmen: Yes, honey, but I am your queen Mango (SNL Reference)! Everyone loves me!
Don Jose: But I love you the most. I need you. I want you, baby (We never said Elvis was a good actor).
Carmen: Honey, you may love me but that don't mean I love you. If I do, then you better watch your ass bedcause I am a whooooooooole lotta woman. MMMMMMhmmmmmm!"

(Carmen Sprawls herself out on a piano and begins to sing Christinia Aguillera's "Genie in a Bottle")

Later... In Act TWO:

Carmen Arrives from above, in the rafters, on an elaborate vine swing. The swing lowers, convieniently between Don Jose (Elvis) and Wayne Newton.

Carment is fascinated by both, and so the two men have a sing off to battle for Carmen's Love.

Elbis sings a bit of Love Me Tender.
Wayne cuts him off with Red Roses for a Blue Lady.
Elvis then chimes in with I want you, I need you, I love you.
Wayne, pulling at the swing, wanting her love sings She's My Saturday Night Special!.

Carmen chooses Wayne because he can offer her roses and true love while Elvis can only offer her a pair of blue suede shoes.

(Carmen walks off set arm in arm with Wayne singing Danke Shoen.

Later, while Wayne is off at another show, Elvis and Carmen bump into each other.

Elvis: Give me one more chance, mama!
Carmen: Mmmmhmmm. Honey, you see this ring!? (She/He Holds out her left hand). This is a 9 karet, $200,000 ring! Sweetie Darling, I'm in LOVE! You can't buy me diamonds, dresses or hair glitter. You're nothing but a poor, pathetic, skinny man in a jumpsuit. (Snaps her fingers).

Elivs is hurt, then says: Yes, but can he give you THIS, baby!?

Elvis starts to swivel his trademark hips uncontrollably and Carmen passes out, then dies of excitement.

Elvis:Oh Baby! Baby!!!! No... What Have i DOoooooone!!!!!!!!

Closes with We'll have a Blue Christmas without You.

Curtain Closes.




Until We Wake

Originally Published in The Front Magazine, Issue 1, October, 2004

Three nights a week, for two-and-a-half hours a rehearsal, the five boys from Until We Wake gather in the lower level of drummer CJ's home to knock out tracks that even its members have a hard time categorizing into one genre.

"We get bored really quickly," said bassist Daytron. "We're really scatter-brained, so our songs don't ever come out the same. We don't ever want to write the same song twice."

Collaborative influences include The Beatles, Faith No More and some of the more recently-developed metal. This progressive band comprises of lead-vocalist Mike, Pye as guitarist/keyboardist/sampler (all on foot pedals), guitarist Jon, self-taught drummer CJ and Daytron. The varied tastes mix uniformly into some very nontraditional song structures, eluding to a darker eclectic sound, which Mike has dubbed, "Post-prog-metal-emo-acid-electro-pop."

"It's ver spinal tap," said Mike, with a thick imitation Britich accent. "Back in the 80s, we were acoustic jazz, and now we're straight-up metal."

But hardcore metal bands wouldn't call these boys heavy metal.

"We're more of a soft-core metal band," said Mike.

Most comparable to At The Drive In, without the jazz or jamming, Unitil We Wake is constantly changing their style to suit their interests.

All five members say it's hard for their band to get booked because promoters are unsure of what to do with their sound. Too heavy for the mellow groups, not p[oppy enough to mesh wiht the electric pop-rock scene and too soft for the harder heavy metal, Until We Wake stands alone in their uniqueness.

"We don't write to fit in," said Jon. "We write to what's comfortable with us in the basement."

"We're more bad-asser that way," said Pye.

This affluent sound has since attracted a very diverse crowd of listeners - from electronic rockers to Emo-pop lovers and metal heads.

"We have a really well-rounded group of listeners," said Mike.

"We're very hardworking and persistent," said guitarist Jon, who, along with the rest of the band, spent every Friday for four months promoting their shows.

"We handed out 4,000 fliers for a show a few months ago and had 75-80 people show up," said Jon.

Along with fliers and word-of-mouth, the band has been in The Blasting Room, a local recording studio owned by Bill Stevenson, drummer of Black Flag, Descendents of All, to create their upcoming release of Europa. This full-length LP "represents a year of growth for a band that set out to write a few good rock tunes and failed, producing instead some of the stranges and most challenging music any of us thought we would ever play."

Check out www.UntilWeWake.com for news, shows and more on the band.



Beck's New Album Guero

Short Blurb on Beck Originally Published in The Front Magazine, Issue 1 October, 2004.

Revered for his musical appropriation of folk, hip-hop and psychedelia, 34-year-old Brazilian pop-rocker Beck has been through some rather life-changing transformations.

With a marriage in April to actor Giovanni Ribisis twin-sister Marissa and anticipation of fatherhood, Beck has been hard at work in the studio. Projecting a more aggressive, guitar-focused album, the new addition is reported to be a complete shift from his more melancholic 2002 release, Sea Changes.

The new album has yet to be titled, but some of the tracks boast talents like the Beastie Boys, Hanson and Jack White of the White Stripes. Beack has Also re-reames with producers The Dust Brothers, who contributed their skills to Beck's 1996 party album Odelay!.

Due out on Interscope Records, the sixth major-label album was expected in late November, but recent news from Beck's official website has the record pushed back for a release in early 2005. With Beck's constant sound eveloution, this one is sure to be startling and fresh.



Dieselboy: Dongeon Master Damian Dominates Stateside

Originally Published in The Front Magazine, Issue 3 December 2004

Once a best kept secret of underground music, drum 'n' bass (dnb) was pushed into America's mainstream awareness by a number of enthusiests, including Damian Higgens, a.k.a. DJ Dieselboy, who paved the way for many other aspiring American drum and bass (dnb) DJs to get their music heard, instead of sitting on the sidelines while the best of Britain pounded out the majority of the genre's material.

A self-proclaimed movie fanatic (he watched four to five films a weeka nd can recite any movie line) and breakdancing aficianado (a junior high school hobby that resulted from watching many episodes of Soul Train), Higgins DJed house parties for his fellow University of Pittsburgh friends. Higgins practiced his beat-matching (a mixing technique that involves shifting recording speeds to match the song played prior to change-up) on air at Carnegie Mellon University's radio station during a weekly hour-long radio show. Learning how to mix on the station's turntables, Higgins started making tapes and distributing them not to local raves and clubs, but via internet chatroom junkies willing to lend their ear to Dieselboy's talents. Listeners welcomed the change of pace and word spready quickly about Higgin's mixes.

It seemed that drum 'n' bass was everythwere; TV commercials, radio ads and background music in a number of box-office hits, for example 1999's Go, Drama/Thriller 15 Minutes and 2002 film The Bourne Identity. This subgenre, also known as jungle music, took listeners by storm and Higgins hadn't missed out by jumping in on the uproar.

Now hailed as one of the Founding Fathers of American Drun 'N' Bass, Dieselboy has compiled quite the impressive resume. A definitive persfectionist, Higgins has been part of the stateside electronic movement from the beginning and has a passion for the DJ genre that he considers not just a gratifying trade, but a serious art form.

He has maintained one of the longest-standing spots in a dnb weekly (Platinum in Philadelphia), was the first dnb DJ to land a single on the Billboard's dance charts and has even hda the privilege of playing Fabric in London. In 2003, BPM Magazine readers nominated Higgins for "Best Breakthrough DJ" as well as "America's Favorite DJ" in the annual American Dancestar Awards. Not too shabby when most of the dnb field is populated by artists customarily in the UK.

Higgins has also contributed a number of albums, including 1997's 97 Octane followed by A Soldier's Story and System Upgrade, both released on Moonshine, the premier American mix lable.

In such an uncompromisingly innovative venue of music, Higgins has been able to reinvent his music, progressing ever-so-nicely, which represents more of a departure from each past album rather than a continuation.

His newest album, Dungeon Master's Guide encompasses the expanse of his musical sensibilities that loyal fans have long-since appreciated, but also offers a dance music educated stronghold for new-comers.

The Fox Theater & Cafe features DJ Dieselboy on Dec. 4. For more info, visit www.djieselboy.com. *



Cross Canadian Ragweed Creates Their Own Alternative Country/Southern Rock Genre

Originally Published in The Front Magazine, Issue 4 in January, 2005

Grab some old records, eight tracks or cassettes spanning from the 1950s to early '90s and you'll find that country music was strictly about a man loosing his car/job/wife. Today, any average Joe is singing about any average thing, and it seems the particular genre has lost touch with it true, rockabilly roots. But Cross Canadian Ragweed (CCR) is trying to bring a little country charm back into the mix.

After eight years together, the laternative country/southern rock quartet of childhood friends from Yukon, Oklahoma have finally made their presence known in the Texas music revolution forefront. Drawing crowds in the thousands, frontman Cody Canada, drummer Randy Ragsdale, rady Cross on rhythm guitar and bassist Jeremy Plato or doing what they do best; making country music fun with a little more rock 'n roll flare.

Check the map for well-known cities renowned fro boasint a hot music scene: Nasvhille, Austin, New Orleans... but Yukon, Oklahoma? Not likely. Although the boys' hometown was not so music friendly, their passion for music never faltered, as the kindergarten friends pursued their goals, and did so at an early age.

Canada started on guitar at a mere eight-years-old, mimcking the southern-fried guitar licks of Stevie Ray Vaghan, Eddie Van Halen and Pete Anderson (of Dwight Yoakam fame). Even at concerts today, Canada wears Ozzy t-shirts and breaks into late '80s rock tunes in the middle of sets.

Fellow band mate Ragsdale wanted to play drums so badly when hew was younger that he dragged an old drum kit from a neighbor's trash bin into his family's cellar so he could practice at will. A year later, his parents started taking him seriously, namely his father, Johnny, who was one notable Yukon local as hehad been known for contributing his guitar talents to Bob Willis and Reba McEntire when she first began her music career. A strong supporter of the kindergarted friends, including his son, Johnny taught the future CCR members a wealth of musical knwledge, as well as encouraged their interests as a band.

Once the quartet had grown a little more into their music, the boys decided to move to nearby Stillwater, Oklahoma, where acts like Jimmy Laface and McClue's Great Divide had been established. The "North Austin/West Nashville (depending on your geographic standing)" location offered up enough of a local scene to really get CCR's music heard, as well as create a stir through word-of-mouth. A bit different from most Americana outfits, fans are surprised when they hear some of the cover songs coming out of the country-western group.

Although the band mates take influence from country greats Steve Earle, Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings and George Straight, fans can expect to hear some hard-core rock 'n roll anthems thrown into their set list. Canada mentions covering the likes of AC/DC, Pearl Jam, Tom Petty and The Heart Breakers and Stone Temple Pilots.

The more CCR practice, the tighter they become. The strong bond is one that Canada says benefits the band greatly when on and off stage.

"Sometimes it doesn't even feel like the crowd is there because we're all so focused on each other - what the next person is going to do," said Canada in one interview. "That's the sould of this band... the friendship between us."

Prior to their recent signing with Universal South, CCR has released four albums independently: 1998's Carney, 1999's Live at the Wormy Dog, Highway 322 in 2001 and 2002's Live at Billy Bob's Texas, nicknamed The Purple Album for Ragsdale's nine-year-old sister Mandi, who was killed in a car accident after a 2001 CCR show.

In late March, 2004, CCR released Soul Gravy, their Universal South debut (fifth album overall), a moniker that came from an in-depth brainstorming session on the tour bus.

Canada declares, "It's fattening music for your ass."

CCR will perform at the Gothic Theater in Denver on Jan. 10, at the Aggie in Ft. Collins on Jan. 11 and in Telluried Jan. 12 at Sheridan Opera House. For more info: www.crosscanadianragweed.com



Kottonmouth Kings Trail of Smokin' Ten Years Deep

Originally Published in The Front Magazine, Issue 3 December 2004.

The self-proclaimed "psychedelic hiphop punk rock" outfit, The Kottonmouth Kings, materialized from Orange County, Cal. in 1994, bringing with them, "an institution in our American subculture; a movement and a lifestyle." For all of the teenage kids smoking pot in their mom's basement, they couldn't have been more right.

With a roster of seven, the Kottonmouth Kings (KMK) base their website, daily routines and music on their heartfelt affection for legalizing marijuana. On the Web: www.kottonmouthkings.com features bong noises and lighter flicks on every click, Jerry Garcia-esque design (tie-dye and bright colors) and a 'trippy' 15-second video on their Nov. 16 release, The Kottonmouth Xperience. KMK even released their last album, Fire It Up with songs like Rip It Up, Bad Habits and Who's The Criminal on April 20, a stoner's holiday nationwide.

"Their message is horrible and most people shouldn't listen to them," said David Friggero, a California native, now in Denver, who owns five of KMK's records. "But I find humor in [their music] somehow..."

Enough to have spent nearly $80 on their albums?

"Apparently," said Friggero. "i'm going to see them back in San Francisco when I go home for Christmas."

The Kings in a nutshell: Ringleader and founder of the group, Daddy X, considers the band a "modern-day Grateful Dead," as he is the organizing force behind KMK and the bands' independent label, Suburban Noize.

Taxman urges fance to fight authority "F-ck you to establishments in a youthful, natural and a-structural way. I'm not a Puppet." His bio offers little else on what he contributes to the band personally, other than the fact that he is the bands' anti-hero.

Bobby B, another member from inception, spins the turntables and has DJ-ed at every major club in LA (Centruy Club, Orbit, Roxbury and Truth) all the while contributin solo albums on the side of KMK band projects.

Hard-core stoner and high-school dropout, Johnny Richter, is a childhood friend of D-Loc (who is, "Realer than real, stronger than stell, tough as nails and dirtier that you... What!!!") attended six different schools and two rehab centers before being shipped off to boarding school at age 16. Lest you forget, he also sings vocals for KMK, has a five-foot iguana and boasts a killer party pad, never without for kegs on tap and two full-sized nitrous tanks in operation at all times.

Pakelika is seldom seen without his white ski mask,. As the bands' "dancing visual assassin," Pakelika has been seen miming in fron of the Hollywood Was Museum and has even worked with Janet Jackson on her Go Deep, and Together Again videos.

Lou Dog, KMK's drummer, while in a stoned-haze in Hollywood, invented his own innovative three-wheel low-rider drum kit. How influenced is Lou Dog by marijuana?

"I smoke everyday. I smoke in traffic... I smoke on stage... I smoke in the sudio... I smoke in clubs. I smoke when I explore the mysteries of the universe... I was smoking when I created the drum-trike," said Dog in his website bio. "I've burned with Tupac, Easy-E, Snoop, B-Real and Sen Dog, RVD, Violent J, Pakelika, D-Loc, Johnny Richter, Bobby B, X, Munchyz and thousands of Kottonmouth Kins and Kweens around the world... I've smoked at the Wheite House, Playboy Mansion, Cannabis Cup and on three continents..."

You get the point. Kidding aside, the boys have actually contributed to some major projects.

One being the Artist Groove Network, a project that both Brad "Daddy" X and Loud Dog are partners. AGN, a concept provided to gear up a solid start for struggling musical artists to make money so that they may pursue their art without having to be constricted to a 9-5 job. Some of AGN's clinetes; Gwen Stefani from No Doubt, Brian Baker of Bad Religion and Yogi from Buck Cherry. AGN's premier DJ, Rob Harris, had also been cinluded in this KMK's line-up, but was tragically killed in a skydiving accident while filming a Mountain Dew commercial.

The Kings have shared the stage with notable groups such as Red Hot Chili Peppers, Offspring, Green Day, NOFX, Jane's Addcition, Eminem and Blink 182. On Dec. 21, KMK will perform at the Ogden Theater in the "10 Years Deep" Winter Tour, also featuring Pepper, Kingspade, OPM and more.


Ok... Can you tell what I thot of this band? hahaha.



The Derailers Croon "Music For Sale"

Originally published in The Front Magazine, Issue 4 - January, 2005

The occasion is rare when a pedal-pushing musician greets an unassuming homeowner. Instead, one endures the over-enthusiastic vacuum seller trying to promote the latest and greatest line of carpet sucker on the market. But self-proclaimed, 'door-to-door honky-tonk salesmen,' The Derailers are making a name for themselves, not only in Austin, but on porch steps the world over.

Following such country greats as Roy Orbison and Buck Owens, lead vocalist Tony Villanueva, lead guitarist Brian Hofeldt, bassist Ed Adkins and Derailers' drummer Scott Matthews are shakin' a honky-tonk outfit that you'd swear had been jetted forward to present-day Texas from half a century ago.

With their old-home country meets Ratpack/1950s' workingman charm, The Derailers are instantly recognizable to dance-hall patrons before they even hit the stage. Suited up like the Wonders from That Thing You Do, their slicked-back hair and sharply tailored suits are an appealing package to the rockabilly and Texas swing that loyal fans have been enjoying at The Derailers' 250+ shows every year since 1994.

Originally from Portland, Oregon, co-founders Villaneuva and Hofeldt both grew up in the Pacific Northwest. Although they came from very different backgrounds, Villaneuva listening to the likes of Johnny Cash, Hank Williams and jazz and opera influenced upon him by his Mexican-American father while Hofeldt loved Elvis and the Beatles, both ended up turning to music as a passion in their teens and found a kindred spirit to each other.

Early '90s near Seattle and Portland promptly brought grunge-rock bands like Nirvana to the airwaves, which had Villanueva tiring of the music scene. Just as The Derailers have always had an up-beat and positive tone as their hallmark, the moody ambiance wasn't doing much for Villanueva's musical aspirations. He packed his bags and headed to Austin. Hofeldt followed shortly after.

The Derailers joined forces, adding Vic Gerard Ziolkowski to the roster soon after the Portland duo had settled in Austin. The boys put out two albums, an LP in 1995 and 1996's Jackpot with a few different drummers until settling on Terry Kirkendall, who became a permanent fixture to the line-up shortly after the Jackpot release.

Reverb Deluxe came two years later in 1997, still rockin' the old-western charm the boys had been reveling in for over six years.

While the core co-founders, Villanueva and Hofeldt stuck to tradition, band members shifted from Ziolkowsky and Kirkendall to Adkins on bass and Matthews on drums. Signing on to Sony's lucky Dog mark shortly after, The Derailers made their label debut with Here Come the Derailers on Sept., 11, 2001. The Derailers did not get thrown off track. The world kept turning, the critics swooned, and the country circuit accepted the major debut warmly.

The new success of the album brought the band numerous opportunities. While keeping up their heavy tour schedule (nearly 300 shows per year), The Derailers also visiting the foreign market (Norway), chipped in on the Texas Music Round up Records' tribute to Buck Owens and even donated a portion of Here Come the Derailers proceeds to the Children's Advocacy Center of Austin, Texas.

In 2003, The Derailers once again presented their inspired blend of country, pop and rock n' roll on and 2003's sophomore album Genuine (pronounced jen-YOU-whitne), astounding critics with their high-energy and slick sound. When so many country bands were falling into the trend of sounding so homogenized, The Derailers stood apart with their Americana Act featuring Roy Orbinson-esque tributes (Alone with You) and hip-shakin' tracks like Leave a Message, Juanita and The Way to My Heart.

Writing the majority of the band's songs, Villaneuva credits the 1960's honky-tonks as some of the biggest heroes.

"They lived out of a small suitcase with a bar of soap, playing great music, said Villaneuva in one interview. "We hope to be even a shadow of the way those great people operated... but not drink as much whisky or take as much speed."

The Derailers will perform at the Bluebird Jan. 8 at 10:30pm. Tickets are $11. For more information on the band, visit http://sonynashville.com/TheDerailers, or www.derailers.com



About me

I'm Sami Jo From Denver, CO, United States Samantha loves to travel, lose herself in a good book, practice yoga at her favorite local studio, The Yoga Mat, and connect with friends, old and new. Her love of working with creative minds extends into her personal endeavors, as well. She and her husband conduct a project called "Songs For Jake," a music collaboration channel designed with the simple mission of getting great songs to one really big music lover. Through her business, Roger Charlie, Samantha focuses on publicity and management, working closely with authors, musicians, and creatives who find value in a more personal approach through communications.
My profile

Web This Blog


Previous Posts