during the pandemic many a musician, much like the res of us, were stuck at home with their RECORDING and TOURING cycles effectively semi-permanently on hold. during that period a number of them initiated PODCASTS and YOUTUBE channels in order to staving off cabin fever, as well as (one would assume) supplement their income during a dry period of seemingly indefinite length as the world came to terms with COVID.
of all these endeavors, JIMMY EAT WORLD's frontman and main SONGWRITER JIM ADKINS created the PODCAST and associated VIDEO SERIES PASS-THROUGH FREQUENCIES (available on his band's YOUTUBE channel) over twenty episodes in 2020 as a means of discussing with other musicians the CREATIVE PROCESS and more specifically his love of SONGWRITING. and it really is very much a deep dive into the MECHANICS, RITUALS, THEORY, COLLABORATIONS, PRODUCTION, SELF-DOUBT, TECHNIQUE, HABITS, INSPIRATION, FRUSTRATION, TECHNOLOGY, HARD-WORK and SPONTANEITY that goes into writing a SONG. notable past guests include KEN ANDREWS (FAILURE), MARK HOPPUS (BLINK-182), MATT PRYOR (THE GET UP KIDS), BETHANY CONSENTINO (BEST COAST), WILLIAM RYAN KEY (YELLOWCARD), BEN GIBBARD (DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE, THE POSTAL SERVICE), TEGAN QUIN (TEGAN & SARA), GERARD WAY (MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE) and FRANK TURNER.
i think what really comes across in these discussions is the level of INTENTION and CRAFTSMANSHIP involved in SONGWRITING. given its EPHEMERAL nature, the experience of listening to music make it seem an almost INVISIBLE ART and PASS-THROUGH FREQUENCIES very much establishes how such is definitely not the case. makes me wonder about what other aspects of modern entertainment is passively consumed with little to no notice for its creation. FOOD, WEB DESIGN, CINEMA, JOURNALISM, GRAPHIC DESIGN and PHOTOGRAPHY (along with aforementioned MUSIC) come immediately to mind. its all a bit of a reminder to be a more MINDFUL consumer of the CREATIVE EFFOTS of others. my biggest takeaway is the role of battling CRIPPLING SELF-DOUBT as a part of the CREATIVE PROCESS. it feels reassuring that most of these accomplished SONGWRITERS who have all created MEMORABLE art over the past few decades first had to overcome their own SELF-CRITICISM and sense of SELF-WORTH to make something worthwhile. makes them feel more HUMAN.
SPOTLIGHT | LIVE AT VINTAGE VINYL
like a lot of people, i was pretty bummed when the INDEPENDENT NEW JERSEY record store VINTAGE VINYL closed abruptly seemingly without warning in the middle of the summer of 2021. i had been going there for years since the early 2000s when i effectively relocated to the area for college after randomly spending my senior year of high school in SACRAMENTO. in fact part of my yearly ritual during my years teaching abroad was a trip to VINTAGE VINYL during my brief stateside vacation. id even argue the experience made me feel connected to a sense of "home."
i remember learning about the FORDS, NEW JERSEY store through a plugged-in classmate and friend of my brother, who were both still in high school at the time. in the early 2000s there was an UNDERGROUND ROCK N ROLL scene that centered around RUTGERS UNIVERSITY in NEW BRUNSWICK that included bands of varying genres (POST-HARDCORE, POP PUNK, HARDCORE and METALCORE) from various relatively nearby northeast cities such as THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN (MORRIS PLAINS), THURSDAY (NEW BRUNSWICK), MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE (NEWARK), MIDTOWN (NEW BRUNSWICK), STREETLIGHT MANIFESTO (NEW BRUNSWICK) as well as more established acts like THE BOUNCING SOULS (BASKING RIDGE) and LIFETIME (NEW BRUNSWICK) among others. interestingly bands like THE GASLIGHT ANTHEM (NEW BRUNSWICK) and THE SCREAMING FEMALES (NEW BRUNSWICK) also came from the embers of this scene years later.
VINTAGE VINYL was only a ten minute drive from the heavily congested streets of the NEW BRUNSWICK campus and proved to be quite the quiet respite during my years as an undergraduate there. i can only imagine what that store meant to musicians from the surrounding area. did i mention the place also put on in-store promotional shows for UNDERGROUND and established bands? i recently came across their YOUTUBE channel which has in-store live performances by the likes of everyone from BAD RELIGION, CAVE-IN, THE USED, MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE, JIMMY EAT WORLD, CIRCA SURVIVE, MXPX, THE GET UP KIDS, THURSDAY, NEW FOUND GLORY and QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE (all embedded below) among many others. if you dig through their channel you will find in-store signings by the likes of OZZY OSBOURNE, DESCENDENTS, KERRY KING (of SLAYER), DARRYL "DMC" MCDANIELS (of RUN-DMC) and ROB ZOMBIE. its all unedited single shot tripod footage with unmixed in-camera audio. in essence its mostly uncompelling, shitty footage, except for the fact that as a cultural artifact these videos are invaluable as markers of a local and national musical culture at a certain place and time.
whats sad is that the hurried manner in which the store closed, at the behest of the owner who wished to move on after 40+ years and had no interest in having it continue under new management, effectively meant that a community had no opportunity to celebrate it. there was no send-off or concert by the local musical community that no doubt had embraced this obscure INDEPENDENT establishment for many years. for me that is the unfortunate legacy of VINTAGE VINYL. it was a private, locally-owned business that was embraced by a culture and in the end the owner did not embrace them back.
in the wake of VINTAGE VINYL there are several local and independently owned and operated record stores (some new, some long established) in NEW JERSEY that i frequent which have largely replaced it, including STATION 1 BOOKS & VINYL (POMPTON LAKES), REVILLA GROOVES & GEAR (MILLTOWN), LOFIDELIC RECORDS (BELMAR), VINYL ADDICTION RECORDS (NORTH ARLINGTON), FACTORY RECORDS SHOP (DOVER), SOUND EXCHANGE (WAYNE), GROOVY GRAVEYARD (ASBURY PARK), JACK'S MUSIC SHOPPE (RED BANK), THE RECORD COLLECTOR (BORDENTOWN) and yes, even the dreaded PRINCETON RECORD EXCHANGE (PRINCETON). id also include the NEW YORK record stores GENERATION RECORDS (GREENWICH VILLAGE), ACADEMY RECORD ANNEX (GREENPOINT) and LOONEY TUNES (WEST BABYLON) as well as the PHILADELPHIA store REPO RECORDS (SOUTH STREET) in the mix as well. unfortunately none of these stores have live in-store performances at the same level of impact as VINTAGE VINYL.
a little over a year later it still feels like a loss.
SPOTLIGHT | PREMIER GUITAR: HOOKED
ever since discovering PREMIER GUITARS' HOOKED series I have been totally enamored with it. the series, mostly shot at home during the pandemic, follows prominent guitarists talking about the song that got them interested in GUITAR-BASED MUSIC as a kid. its a great concept as it lends itself to juxtaposing CLASSIC ARTISTS with MODERN PLAYERS that you normally wouldnt associate with one another (such as JADE PUGET of AFI and his DIRE STRAITS choice). just goes to prove that music in universal.
the series also inevitably makes one self-assess what their choice would have been given the opportunity to participate. in my case the most memorable childhood memory i have of being swept up by a guitar sound was ANDY SUMMERS echoing and reverb-drenched opening guitar riff in "WALKING ON THE MOON." likewise the song that made me want to pick up a guitar in first grade was R.E.M.'s "SHINY HAPPY PEOPLE," which ironically was a mandolin being played by PETER BUCK i believe. at the time he was apparently over guitars in general.
regardless, this is a great concept and such a gift for musicians and fans of GUITAR-BASED MUSIC. i look forward to watching more of them as they are published online.
photo manipulation by nacrowe
TWO MINUTES TO LATE NIGHT (clever IRON MAIDEN reference) was originally an all-METAL parody talk show hosted by GWARSENIO HALL (with MUTOID MAN as the house band!) and filmed at SAINT VITUS BAR in BROOKLYN. however, the show has really come into its own during the past 6 months of this god-awful pandemic era since they began remote producing these really well-mixed BEDROOM COVER videos of various members of the METAL extended family (SLUDGE, DEATH, THRASH, PROG and others), and even some INDIE ROCK distant cousins, covering classic songs by TOM PETTY & THE HEARTBREAKERS, RUSH, WHITE ZOMBIE, AC/DC, GUNS N ROSES, THE REPLACEMENTS & OZZY among others.
it seems safe to say that this sort of thing would never happen under regular conditions as most of these musicians would be buys with conflicting touring/recording schedules. that being said, the BEDROOM COVER lineups themselves are absolutely insane including members of MASTODON, CONVERGE, TOOL, PRIMUS, DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN, HIGH ON FIRE, CAVE IN, POISON THE WELL, UNEARTH, VOLUMES, CLUTCH, HAVOK, FUCKED AND BOUND, POTION, MUTOID MAN, VIO-LENCE and HATEBREED as well as decidedly less METAL-focused acts like TED LEO, PIEBALD, CHELSEA WOLFE, SLEIGH BELLS, MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE, RISE AGAINST, COHEED & CAMBRIA and MAX WEINBERG of the BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN's E-STREET BAND (and former CONAN O'BRIEN cohost!).
what is super cool is that a recent episode had LILY MASTRODIMOS of JERSEY CITY INDIE ROCK band LONG NECK singing backup vocals on a cover of THE REPLACEMENTS "KIDS DON'T FOLLOW." we here at DEER GOD were lucky enough to record LONG NECK as part of our live performance series OFF THE M at TRANS PECOS in QUEENS not that long ago (performance linked HERE). its so cool to see her collaborating with members of RISE AGAINST and CONVERGE. congrats.
i'm sure this series will continue on so definitely keep a look out for it. way more interesting and entertaining then what passes for LATE NIGHT television these days.