Hey Mi Gente - hope you are good. There are a ton of new things afoot all over the place, so let's get started right away!! -
First up the TEASE!!
SO, this should be a pretty righteous show!! AND yes, I am being bias - but not really. Let me explain - so I have heard THE EX-OPTIMISTS and they are pretty good. (Click on the bold name for a youtube vid of them.) What I am excited to see is my homie Matt Garcia - who plays in KNIGHTS of the FIRE KINGDOM!! Actually, truth be told, I am an awful friend and should have gone to see him and band play way before this - but I am glad I am going TONITE!! Here on the blog, to get you hyped up to see the show (YOU NEED TO GO!!!), I even got the band to agree to an interview (a first ever on this ratty old blog)!! - So, click on the vid below and then read up on the interview. Then after - read up on them directly from a Houston Press Article.
Enjoy the read!! A big thanks to Matt for puttin' up with my craziness and to Jeff (lead) for answering the questions.
1) How did you guys get started?
Aaron and I played together in a band called Roky Moon and BOLT! that was going to start playing less and less because some of the members moved to Austin, some got new jobs, we lost our practice space--basically life happened and that band was kinda pushed to the back burner. But Aaron and I didn't wanna stop playing together, so we recruited his brother to play drums and got Dave to play bass and just starting jamming for fun. Before too long, BOLT! called it a day and we realized that the new thing could be a real band that could play out and maybe do a record at some point, we had a couple line-up flippity flops and that's pretty much how we came to be as we are now.
2) Where did you get the name?
My daughter came up with it. She was writing a story and the Knights of the Fire Kingdom were side characters in that. I thought it was a really badass name for a badass rock band, so I asked her if she minded if we used it. She said that we could if I have her 15 bucks for the rights, so I did.
3) How many years have you played together? What makes that work?
We've been playing for about a year and a half, almost two years. I think from a musical perspective, it works because we all have fairly similar tastes in music, but they're different enough that they contrast and grate against each other enough to keep things sounding interesting. From a personal perspective, it works because we all really like hanging out. We spend a lot of time with each other, so it's obviously really important to get along. Enjoying being around the people that you're in a band with is way more important than how someone plays guitar or drums or whatever by a long shot.
4) What does a rehearsal for you look like?
We named our practice room "the Fire Kingdom" and we usually text each other silly shit all day long, particularly if it's a day that we're gonna be playing. So once we get up to the Fire Kingdom, we're already all on the same page--it's like an all-day, non-musical warm-up. Someone always brings community beers, so we open a few up, do some free jams to get loose, then run the set, take a break and then run it again for good measure. Lately, though, we've been working on a lot of new stuff and we've got about 6 or 8 new songs that we're fleshing out. And we've been bringing wine instead of beers lately, too, so it's kinda adding a touch of class to things.
5) Best thing about being in a band?
The camaraderie. Getting to hang out with your buds. Plus it's cathartic. Our songs, for me, can serve almost as primal scream therapy. So all the bullshit that may have been building up over a few days gets instantly purged and things are good to go again for awhile.
6) Worst thing about being in a band?
I'm not able to do it all the time.
7-8) Who are your influences? both individually and collectively.
Well, like I was saying earlier, we've got pretty diverse musical tastes and influences, but I think the common thread between all of us is a love for early and mid '90s rock. We're all about 30, give or take a couple years, so we all came into our own in that period right after Nirvana got huge and were kinda shaped by what came out the few years after that. But we're really kind of all over the place. Dave is really into that first wave of emo--before "emo" was a bad word and still applied to bands like Sunny Day Real Estate and No Knife and stuff. Aaron is more into the classics--Queen, Bowie, the Beatles. I think Chris is probably the one of us who's most in touch with what's happening and what's cool and new right now. He's really good at turning us on to new stuff. Matt's sort of the wild card. As long as I've known him, I've only ever heard him listen to jazz records. He's really into the Coltranes, the Miles Davises, the Louis Primas. He told us about this thing that Thelonious Monk used to do when he was writing. Apparently, he'd write chords or notes on little scraps of paper, throw them in a hat, pull them out 4 or 5 at a time and that would be the chord progression that would be the basis of whatever he'd work on next. We tried doing the same thing as an experiment and all of the new songs that we're working on ended up getting written that way. We're pretty happy with them, so I guess the experiment was a success. I'm the alt-rock guy. I still listen to the records I bought from Vinal Edge when I was 15, y'know? Old Rocket from the Crypt and Drive Like Jehu records, the first couple Foo Fighters albums, Nirvana bootlegs, scattered garage and metal records--as long as there are loud guitars and some asshole screaming over it, I'm basically sold. WHen you are not playing music, what do you do? A lot of our time is taken up by day jobs, unfortunately. But we're all able to find time for girlfriends and families and other artistic stuff, too. I like to do a lot of drawing, Aaron is a really great actor and does tons of stage work, Dave likes making hilarious little movies, and Chris & Matt both took up competitive swimming last summer as a way to stay in shape. I wanna try to get out there with them this year, but I'm not sure if I'll have time.
9) If you had to describe yourself and your music in 3 words, what would that be?
"Punitive damages pending."
10) What's next?
On the immediate horizon, we have a show this Friday, March 7 at Fitzgerald's with our friends Holder, Midnight Norma Lane and the Ex-Optimists. Then on the 22nd, we're going out to play at Revolution in College Station, so that should be fun. We've got a full-length album at the presses right now, too, that's gonna be coming out on Little T&A Records probably either in April or May and there will be a release party for that. Beyond that, we've got our sights set on finishing up this new batch of songs, getting them recorded and released. We'll be playing some shows in the summer and fall, too. We really like playing and being in this band, so we'll definitely be around.
if you want any more info - look them up on facebook!! Hopefully, I will see you and these guys tonight!!!
CREATIVE WOMEN, CREATING!!!
So, again, and in amazing fashion, the ladies at Creative Women Unite are putting together an amazing show for this Saturday, March 8th. Event goes on from 6 - 11pm, so show up!!. Here are the details:
We each have a vision of what we hope to accomplish, what we wish to manifest in our lives. The journey to reach our goals is often as rewarding as the prize itself. Resilience becomes our ally, strengthens us, and helps us to become empowered; ultimately allowing us to bloom.
Join Creative Women Unite for our annual International Women's Day & Women's Herstory Month celebration March 8th, 2014 at Midtown Art Center, 3414 La Branch, Houston TX, 77004.
6:00 PM to 7:30 PM Opening Art Reception
8:00 PM to 11:00 PM Variety Show
6:00 PM to 10:00 PM CWU Mercado
$10 adult, $5 students, children under 6 & seniors over 60 FREE
These are the following talented women performing in the variety show this year:
Thay Alaffita, Caelin Boarer, C4 Ceefor Ebrahimi, Holly Charles, Tere Garcia, Anna Garza, Margaret Hope, Deniz Yxayotzin Lopez, Lena Melinger,Jasminne Mendez, Tifani Pust, Stephanie Saint Sanchez w/special guests The Gendermyn & Miranda Villarreal
The following creative visual artists's work has been chosen to exhibit in this year's CWU group show:
Amy Achrysalis, Christine Bongateen Armstrong, Betty Baer, Lee Ann Carrier, Dre Forgotten, Rachel Gonzales, Elizabeth Gruhn Tina Hernandez, Rachael Holliday, Senyase Garcia Jimenez, Linda Simen Kelly, Beverly A. Kemp, Kelly Kielsmeier, Alina Neumann, Mandy Peyrani, Dani Pontus, Alexus Rendon, Lady Jane Shipley, April Sullivan, Georgo Tapley, Saralene Tapley, Isabel Torres, Veronica Vega, Monica Villarreal, Greta Ward, Charisse Weston, Adrienne Wong & Jo Zider
Looking for that one-of-a-kind artisan gift? The following vendors are featured in the CWU Mercado: Bring Them Home, Holly Charles, Farrah Babette Godfrey, La Reina Vegana/Love Waters, Mitra Mostofi, Mama Cruz, 1 Stop Shop, Pleasure Focus, Recycled by Design & Wild Roots Naturals
DJ Erika Payán Zanetti will be spinning at the opening reception!
We would like to thank the following sponsors: East End StudioGallery, Voices Breaking Boundries http://www.vbbarts.org/ and Bright Star Productions http://www.brightstarproductions.com/
FOR MORE INFO ON THE ARTISTS, THE MARKET, and THE EVENT - go to their site
So this just happened:
Poets and artists joined together to create Twenty: In Memoriam--in response to the tragic school shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary, in Newtown, Connecticut, on Dec. 14, 2012. This poetry collection is an offering to the children, parents, families, and teachers of Sandy Hook Elementary School, and to the community of Newtown, Connecticut. Poets and artists from across the U.S. humbly offer this anthology in hopes of providing a literary embrace in the face of tragedy, with works about loss and healing, fear and faith, love and hope—the hope that words have the power to strengthen the ties that unite us as Americans and as human beings with a shared sense of compassion and kindness that help us honor the past and give us the gumption to dare to move forward. Partial proceeds from this project will be donated to consistently verifiable charities and foundations in Connecticut and the U.S. dealing with children, autism, mental health, art, and education. I was lucky enough to be included in this collection. if you can pick up a copy.
Mil Gracias to Ed, Daniel, Jose, and Katherine. Amazing work, mi gente!! -
If you are interested in getting a copy - click on the name below and head over to AMAZON to get yourself one.
And with that, we close - just in enough time for the TEASE: (more details next week!!!)