This week’s Hippo – Vegas Temper, Lucid

Vegas Temper cashes in on “Money”

Vegas Temper wants the airwaves.

Earlier this summer, the Manchester rockers went into the studio to record a pair of songs. They put the finishing touches on one of them in early September and began shopping it to regional radio, which responded immediately. Stations in Boston and Maine, in addition to Rock 101, added “Money” to their playlists, and the list continues to grow.

Lucid expands its territory

The problem with any local music scene is the circuit’s only so big. Lucid, playing the Shaskeen on Friday, Oct. 15, has a large following in its home city of Plattsburgh, N.Y. The six-piece band’s music melds jazzy rock, blues and straight-up funk into a lively, dance floor-filling concoction. Between the college and townies, along with the many clubs that regularly book them in upstate New York, their schedule stays pretty full.

In Nite Roundup, there’s comedy, country, fright, jamming and dim sum with a side of metal.

 

Focus, focus, focus – Brooks Young makes his move

If desire and discipline were dollars, Brooks Young would be rich. Inspired by his grandfather, he picked up his first guitar at age 11. Two years later, Young heard Eric Clapton’s Unplugged and proceeded to teach himself every note. “I just used to sit in my room and practice that one book,” Young said recently from his home in Franklin. “All my friends thought I was crazy.”

Soon Young, a History Channel buff, was mining Clapton’s roots, exploring B.B. King, Albert King, Muddy Waters and other seminal blues players. “I bought all their records and books to figure out what their story was,” he says. “I think a few of them really stuck with me.”

The other day, Young arranged for Clapton to receive a copy of his first album, Counting Down. “He got it yesterday, and I’m just waiting to get that phone call to see what he says.” It’s not a lofty aspiration considering what the 28-year-old Young has done so far.

Also Nite Roundup

Rocking for a reason – Crüefest fete to help band’s charities

From the Thursday, October 7 Hippo Press:

Tina Jessie is a Mötley Crüe fan; but that
term doesn’t adequately capture her passion
for the band. The self-described “Shouter”
has attended more than 55 shows since the
glam rockers’ 1982 debut, and that doesn’t
count solo gigs. She began logging onto
the band’s website back in the days of dialup,
and her cars sport vanity plates reading
“CRUE 13” and “CRUEZIN” — sadly, no
umlaut was available.
Jessie is also a part-time rock promoter with
a Mötley Crüe focus, the principal organizer
of the New England Crüefest, a fundraiser for
the band’s favorite charities happening Sunday,
Oct. 10, at Milly’s Tavern. Performing
at the benefit are Crüe cover band Shout at
the Devil, local rockers Lords of Audio, the
all-girl metal band Jaded, ’80s cover band
Snakebite, Iron Maiden tribute group Run to
the Hills and the Guns n’ Roses themed Tribute
This!
The event grew out of a 2001 fan gathering
at the Whisky A Go Go in Los Angeles, a
nightclub the band played early in its career.
Explained Jessie in a recent e-mail, “they
decided to celebrate the old days when rock
& roll ruled the L.A. music scene, get some
bands to play, and perhaps raise some money
for the Skylar Neil Memorial Foundation,”
named after band front man Vince Neil’s
daughter, who died of cancer at age four.
“The idea was to bring the fans together
while the band was not touring and help out
their charities as well,” Jessie said. When the
band got back on the road in 2005, the festivals
expanded to Cleveland, Nova Scotia,
Vancouver, Australia, New York City, Orlando,
Chicago, Atlanta and, in 2007, New
Hampshire. In addition to Neil’s charity, the
event raises money causes supported by each
band member. Running Wild in the Night is a
charity run by Covenant House for homeless
and runaway youth sponsored by bassist Nikki
Sixx, while drummer Tommy Lee chose St.
Jude’s Hospital and Mick Mars sponsors the
Spondylitis Association (the guitarist himself
suffers from the spinal/pelvic joint disease).
The first New England Crüefest almost
didn’t happen, when the original venue pulled
out five weeks before the show. “I had to cancel
the bands, give back donations and gave
up,” Jessie said. But she caught a break when
Mad Bob’s Saloon in Manchester offered
to host the show at the last minute. Despite
logistical problems like fans arriving at the
wrong venue and not being redirected to Mad
Bob’s, the event managed to raise a respectable
$2,500.
“We did pretty well considering the window
we had,” Jessie said. “A lot of the bands
had booked other gigs, but some of them
decided to do it for us anyway, which was
rather nice.” But she vowed that the next
time around things would go more smoothly,
and she immediately got busy collecting
raffle items and planning for another show —
which, due to national Crüefest tours, couldn’t
happen in 2008 or 2009.
Now that the New England Crüefest is
finally taking place, Jessie jokes that everyone
who comes will probably leave with a door
prize. Donations include several items signed
by the band: a copy of Nikki Six’s book The
Heroin Diaries (along with a soundtrack CD),
a drumhead signed by Tommy Lee, along
with guitars, ukuleles and other memorabilia
from the band’s management company.
Jesse Acciacca hand-painted a guitar for the
2007 event, which he and Jessie brought to
Vince Neil to be signed. “He was so impressed
that he more or less has been having Jesse
paint all his guitars for the all the tours he’s
been doing since,” Jessie said. “They’re on
display in Las Vegas, and at Vince’s restaurant
in Florida.” Another Acciacca design, originally
done for the 2008 event, will be given
away at the show, with a headstock repainted
with a 2010 date.
The night will be a reunion of sorts for a
few of the bands that either played or were
booked for the first Crüefest. Lords of Audio
guitarist Robby Gagnon’s Project G appeared
in 2007, as did the Hangovers; former member
of that band are in Tribute This! Jaded was
set for the Mad Bob’s show until one of the
members suffered a broken wrist.
Run to the Hills was on the original bill,
but they booked another gig before the new
venue was found; Jessie is excited to have
them on board for this year’s show. “You really
think you’re hearing [Iron Maiden lead
singer] Bruce Dickinson perform,” she said.
“They’ve been together for years and are very
tight.”
Led by a female vocalist, headliners Shout
at the Devil recreate the Mötley Crüe concert
experience of 1983 right down the smallest
detail. The Maine band, said Jessie, “does the
whole show and she looks and sounds just
like Vince Neil.”
Anyone arriving in ’80s attire will be eligible
to win tickets to see Vince Neil at
Maximum Capacity in Chicopee, Mass., on
Oct. 15, or Trixster’s show next month in Sanford,
Maine. “Last time, just about everybody
went home with a little something, even if it
was a T-shirt,” said Jessie.

Crüefest 2010
featuring Shout At The Devil, Run to the
Hills, Lords of Audio, Snakebite, Jaded and
Tribute This!
When: Sunday, Oct. 10, at 7 p.m.
Where: Milly’s Tavern, 500 Commercial
St. in Manchester
Tickets: $10 (21 and up)
Info: www,millystavern.com

This week’s Hippo

Superfrog goes to the moon with new album:

From the first strains of “Fire on the Mountain,” the musical influences of Superfrog were pretty clear. But the rest of their opening set New Boston’s Gravity Tavern last Friday was anything but a rehash of jam band talking points. The band segued into a Latin-tinged original, and then flipped to a revved-up cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition.” A new song, “Round and Round,” was capped with an Eagles-worthy a cappella vocal.

Later, the band wheeled back around to their roots, closing with another Grateful Dead song. But their atypical version of “Shakedown Street” included a streetwise rap and snatches from the 1972 Deodata jazz-pop remake of “Also Sprach Zarathustra.”

Superfrog’s forthcoming album, Call From the Moon, is equally eclectic. There’s pedal-to-the-floor rock (“Astronautical”), barrio funk (“Tequilador”) and jazz-infused rhythm numbers (“Minor Annoyance,” the calypso-flavored “Wish”), drawing from influences as disparate as Rusted Root and early Chicago records.

Putting the muse back into local music:

In fits and starts, an artistic force is asserting itself in Manchester. Folk singers at Boynton’s Taproom, Rocko’s perennial metal scene, and recent renegade one-offs at Jillian’s Billiards and the “Old and Bold” show at Milly’s Tavern are all indicators of a growing trend.

The muse is returning to local music. Most recently, it’s happening at a downtown Manchester pool hall.

And Nite Roundup

This week’s Hippo

Maria Muldaur is no ordinary woman:

In his sweeping new biography, Bob Dylan in America, Princeton historian Sean Wilentz discusses one of Dylan’s key influences, Blind Willie McTell. “He was a sponge … who soaked up every kind of music he heard and then expressed it in his own way,” writes Wilentz — much like Dylan.

It’s also true of Dylan contemporary Maria Muldaur. In junior high school, she led two doo-wop groups and was offered a record contract, which her mother nixed.

“She put an abrupt end to my hopeful little rock and roll career, which in retrospect is probably a good thing,” said Muldaur recently from a tour stop in Fredericton, New Brunswick. “The really cool, hip funky music [was] co-opted … Elvis got drafted and replaced with Pat Boone.

Slutty Pete’s birthday blues:

When Wan-Tu Blues Band harp player Pete Zona first began performing live, he was constantly searching for an open jam session. In 2004, his girlfriend Brenda Cadieux decided to bring the music to the couple’s favorite bar, the Village Trestle in Goffstown. She organized a surprise birthday party and invited the many musicians Zona had sat in with. “Point being they all had to let Peter play with them,” explained Cadieux recently.

On that day, guitarist Tom Bellerini dubbed him Slutty Pete, because, says Cadieux, “he will play with anyone.” When the participants all agreed the experience was so much fun it should be repeated a week later, the gathering also marked the beginning of an enduring Sunday afternoon tradition. But while the weekly Wan-Tu Blues Band session is one of the most popular in the area, nothing draws a crowd like Slutty Pete’s annual Birthday Jam.

plus, the week’s Nite Roundup

This week’s Hippo

Spiritual Rez is all about the groove, mon:

Start with a dose of old-school, Marley-Toots-Tosh reggae and infuse it with everything from Sun Ra Arkestra freak jazz to Steve Vai guitar pyrotechnics. Inventive intersections like these define Spiritual Rez, the Boston-based septet performing at Stone Church in Newmarket on Thursday, Sept. 16.

“It’s a melting pot left and right, a swirling vortex of music that comes together,” says the band’s drummer, Ian Miller.

Lenny Clarke moves on:

Over a career of 30-plus years, Lenny Clarke made movies, had a Boston variety show and starred in his own network sitcom. During the late 1970s and early 1980s, he hosted the open-mike night at the Ding Ho in Cambridge, a weekly event that launched the careers of Steven Wright, Denis Leary and others — “It was Sodom and Gomorrah with a five-dollar cover,” Bob Goldthwaite, who also got his start there, is quoted as having said.

It was a time, Clarke said recently, when comics were “rock stars. It was unbelievable …the best tables, best champagne, women, drugs, you name it. It was the greatest years of my life. It will never be copied.”

But befitting Clarke’s hometown, referred to in the documentary When Standup Stood Out as “a full-fledged metropolis with a first-rate inferiority complex,” the 57-year-old comic never got comfortable with his success. “In my eyes — I’m a working-class background, poor family — I still haven’t made it,” he says. “I’ll be working ’til five minutes before I drop dead.”

And Nite Roundup

Today’s Hippo

Guitar Slinger:

“How the frig am I supposed to play now?”

Well, Chris Beard used a more colorful word than ‘frig’ as he watched Ryan Kelly and Smokestack Lightning leave the stage at the C Note Club in Hull, Mass., after torching the house with their version of Robert Johnson’s “Kind Hearted Woman.” Beard learned from players like Matt “Guitar” Murphy and Buddy Guy; he knew that Ryan was something special.

A few weeks later at the Blues and Brews Festival in Westford, WZLX Sunday Morning Blues host Carter Alan had the same reaction to the 18-year-old guitar slinger. Alan has good ears — in 1981, he was one of the first American DJs to play U2 on the radio — and he made a call that got the band a spot opening for Chris Duarte this weekend at the Bull Run in Shirley.

That’s the way life is these days for Ryan Kelly, who’s barely out of high school but making moves like someone twice his age.

Chad and Jeremy – Yesterday’s never gone:

Hushed, restrained, subtle as the slightest breeze — Chad & Jeremy’s trademark sound wrapped crew-cut college folk around early 1960s pop. The pair rode the British Invasion wave with hit after hit — “Yesterday’s Gone,” “Willow Weep for Me,” “If She Were Mine” and their biggest chart-topper, “A Summer Song.”

The whole thing, says Chad Stuart, was an accident, a combination of primitive studio equipment and producer John Barry’s struggles during the making of the duo’s first single in 1963.

“He was the one who got us to whisper, because he couldn’t figure out how to record our drama student voices,” Stuart said recently from his home in Idaho. “We were overdubbing the vocal to ‘Yesterday’s Gone’ and he said, ‘It sounds like a locker room full of football players!’ In the end, he said, ‘Oh for Christ’s sake, whisper it!’ We did that sotto voce Lettermen thing and we were screwed from then on out. I mean that was it, wasn’t it?”