Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Video: Kazzeo invites the public to help celebrate his 17th anniversary

DJ Kazzeo is getting ready to celebrate his 17th anniversary, and he's asking for your help.
Every year, Kazzeo invites listeners to send in an audio message that he plays for his anniversary shows, scheduled this year on Sept. 15 and 16 on radio station KHDC 90.9 FM.
Basically, Kazzeo is asking the public at large to send in previously recorded audio greetings celebrating his anniversary. He requests said recordings remain real-time ambiguous, meaning you only refer to the show anniversary without giving the date/time (don't say "Happy 17th Anniversary" or "Happy 2010 Anniversary"). Like Large Professor said, don't say the year.
It's been another solid year of Kazzeo's weekly shows, and the community should celebrate with a splash. Cuz Kazzeo is the man.

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Video: MC Lars "This Gigantic Robot Kills"

The latest video from MC Lars, the title track from his album "This Gigantic Robot Kills."
This is probably my favorite song on the album, because it fits Lars perfectly: his delivery and lyrics fit perfectly on a ska song, and when he double times the rhyme, he rides the wave perfectly. Nice animation on the video too. Good job Lars.

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Monday, August 30, 2010

Video: Lujan & The Yard Stylee All-Stars in concert

The homie Mony Lujan has been doing his thing on the reggae scene for a while now. His latest project, Lujan & The Yard Stylee All-Stars, has him front and center as the lead "toaster," which he is more than capable of doing.
Mony's killing it in this video though. It's funny and cool when you turn around and suddenly your boy is a rock star. Props.

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Friday, August 27, 2010

DOWNLOAD: Fashawn "Grizzly City Volume 2"

New mixtape from Fresno's own Fashawn, "Grizzly City Volume 3." I haven't heard it yet, but it's Fashawn, so it's probably dope. Link below.

Download: Fashawn - "Grizzly City Volume 3"

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KOTD - Title Match - TheSaurus vs Arcane

Monterey's own The Saurus battles Arcane during a King of the Dot event. I'll post my comments after the jump so I don't spoil the outcome. Read the rest of the post for my personal analysis.

The Saurus edged out the first round, after Arcane went in with some baseless claims against The Saurus' world title wins. The Saurus finished the round strong, introducing his fiance and addressing the constant jokes that he dates underage girls.
Second round and third belonged to Arcane, because he kept the crowd involved and just seemed to want it more. The Saurus had some nice lines during the final rounds, but Arcane wanted it more, and the crowd knew it.

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tornado Rider storms through Planet Gemini this Friday

Rushad Eggleston has conquered the world with his electric cello and assorted head gear. Friday night, he returns triumphantly to the Peninsula for a pair of shows at Planet Gemini with his band of merry men, Tornado Rider. $10 for each show. All ages show at 7 p.m., 21 and over show at 10:30 p.m. 238-2148, www.tornadoriderband.com.
Flyer after the jump.

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Interview Transcript: Jorge Santana of Malo

Forty years ago, Jorge Santana joined a group of San Francisco teens that would help define the Latin rock genre.
Malo, the Latin rock band featuring Carlos Santana's younger brother, would go on to record one hit single, the lowrider classic "Suavecito," and achieve modest success with four albums recorded between 1970 and 1973, when the band was signed to Warner Bros. Records.
Malo celebrates its 40th anniversary with a concert Saturday at the Fox Theater in Salinas.
Jorge Santana, the band's guitarist, talked to “The Beat ” about the early years with the band and the thrill of reuniting with his high school friends. Transcript below, with more after the jump.

Q: How are you doing?
A: I'm enjoying finally in the Bay Area sunny weather here, because it's just been overcast constantly. I'm doing very well, thank you.

Q: You got a pretty big show lined up in this area, celebrating the 40th anniversary. What's the anniversary marking? Is it the anniversary of Malo?
A: It is of Malo, and it's history, back when Malo became popular. It's definitely not mine (laughs).

Q: How old are you now?
A: I am 59.

Q: Talk about the anniversary. Give me some of your reflections on the bands early years, the formation, and can you take us back to when the band first started and you and Arcelio first hooked up.
A: I was still in high school, at San Francisco Mission High. One of my friends at Mission High School also played guitar, and we each had our own bands. Carlos Gomez was his name. He was the guitar for the band The Malibus, which was led by Richard Bean and Arcelio Garcia. Carlos Gomez approached me to see if I wanted to join The Malibus. So I went in for an audition and I guess I made it because I never left after that.
Soon after I joined the band, it changed from the Malibus, which was a R&B band, to Malo. And Malo was taken to the studio, and soon after we recorded four albums for Warer Brothers.
The first album included “Nena” and of course, “Suavecito,” which I'm very proud to be part of. And Malo recorded its last album in, I think, in 1973. Within about a three year period, we recorded four albums for Warner Brothers.
When I look back to it, young as I was, it was quite an undertaking, and I know I wasn't ready for the impact, both professionally and also with the popularity Malo got. With the fame and with the large band that Malo was composed of, which was pretty large for those days. It was difficult sustaining a band of that magnitude...
(Malo) left, in my opinion, a very strong following and a great musical legacy, and that stopped in 1973. However, thereafter, about the mid-80s, Arcelio regrouped again and has been working the band ever since.

Q: When did you get back involved? Can you talk about your relationship with the band members after you left the band in 1973, and how you guys grew up and evolved as musicians before getting back together?
A: The relationship between the musicians, there were really three I was close with , and it turned out to be the original partners of Malo. It was Arcelio Garcia, the vocalist/writer, It was Pablo Theus (sic), and then it was myself. The rest of the musicians, I remember them well, but the nucleus and the strength of the band, the backbone, was the three of us. And seriously, it happened quite fast, those three years. And then after the band broke up, really we all did not keep in touch. Everybody went their own way. However, about a year after Malo broke up, I went and did a series of high profile shows with Fania All-Stars.
After Fania All-Stars, I went out and did two solo albums. That was late-70s, and then by the mid-80s, Arcelio regrouped with Malo, and I started seeing Malo and hanging out with Malo, I would say about the late-90s. So I've been playing with Malo for a good 10 years. And the way it turned out to be was Malo featuring Jorge Santana.

Q: During this past 10 years, reconnecting with the band, with your audience, what are maybe some of the memories you've taken away? Or some of the things you've rediscovered about the bands following? Or its legacy, in general, the music, the genre of Latin rock you guys helped to establish.
A: My answer to that is not regretting, but only retrospecting. Because... we don't know what it would have been had I continuously played music (with Malo). But having those periods of not playing for the public with Malo, what I've really learned more than anything and appreciate sincerely is not that we forget what an impact the contribution that we made as the band, but now performing that music, and with Malo, for the audience, my god. They were there from the beginning, were just waiting for us when we were apart, and now they show up for all the shows. Simply, I'm grateful that the fans are still there supporting us.
In my place, I have done quite of bit of recording and performance, and I'm not one to remind myself of all my highlights and fame and what have you. And that's what I mean. When you go on stage as we go, one thing that comes to mind for, a long answer to your question, is how honored we should really feel about people taking time to come and see us. For us, it's really what we have started with back since recording the album and “Suavecito.” It's the fans that have really impressed us and more than anything, we're grateful for them supporting us.

Q: Talk to me about the connection you guys have with low rider culture, and Chicano culture, and how you guys being affiliated in that culture has maybe kept you guys relevant through the years and kept your fans loyal to you through the years.
A: The only association would have to be music, through “Suavecito,” and through the songs of Malo. For the low rider culture, I personally am not that active because of my lifestyle, my social lifestyle. However, for one, I do wish Malo and the band performed closer to the events that Chicano producers put together, and two, that Malo would perform on those events that lowriders produce. I know we do some, but the only time we're able to express our Chicano association is when we're on stage. And to be honest with you, I'm not really aware whose really booking the events to make them be more Chicano or more low rider. But I wish we did more of those events.

Q: Going back to the bands early years, during the three years run you guys had, did you ever go on tour with your brother or open for him with Malo?
A: It was only one event that we did that I recall. It was old and a forgettable night. It was probably about 1971, we played a bill (together). The bill was Journey, Malo and Santana. And that was the only event that I remember doing. We didn't stay at the event long because as soon as we got off the stage for performing, we went straight to the airport for another performance that same evening at the Palladium in Los Angeles.
And that's to my knowledge, the only event we did with Carlos.
What I do miss a lot is the family events we used to do, associated with Dolores Huerta, Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers Association. I miss those events and I remember them really, really well. I wish we would do more.

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Friday, August 20, 2010

Video: Kazzeo goes in on the Juggalos

The fearless DJ Kazzeo takes on the Juggalos. This guy says everything I'm thinking.

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Le Vice news: Upcoming show, album re-release, radio domination

“The Beat” has never been shy about our complete adulation for Le Vice, the spunky Bay Area band featuring local spitfire Alex Lee on lead vocals. True to their Peninsula roots, the band is set to perform Sept. 24 @ The Planet in Monterey, in support of a national re-release of their self-titled debut album.
Lee also shared that the band's music has been getting radio play throughout the country, including a No. 1 spot on the hip-hop chart at Tennessee station WTTU, and top spots on radio stations in Virginia and California. The band's music is currently in rotation at 51 radio stations across the country.
For the latest, visit www.levicemusic.com.

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Arcade Fire coming to Big Sur!!!!!

So this is huge. The biggest rock band in the world right now is coming to the Henry Miller Library in Big Sur. I don't know how this is even possible, but it's happening. Details below.

Tuesday Oct 5
(((folkYEAH!))) and Henry Miller Library Present in Big Sur

An evening with Arcade Fire!

doors @ 6:30pm show @ 7:30pm

Tickets on sale Wednesday, August 18th @ High Noon (PDT) - Here on this page.

Only two tickets per person (if you buy more than two then your tickets will become void and not honored and you will be re-funded). All tickets are WILL CALL and the purchaser must be there to claim the tickets (with ID) on the night of the event. Once you get your tickets you must enter the venue. You can not go out and come back in and you must enter when you get your tickets, no exceptions.
More details TBA. Arcade Fire online.

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Monday, August 16, 2010

Interview Transcript: 2MEX

Catching up with 2MEX prior to his performance last week in Monterey. Transcript below.

Q: I guess some time last year, it was announced you reached some sort of an agreement with Strange Famous records. Is that still in place?
A: Yeah, we just turned in a record a couple of months ago. And we're finishing up art work, I think, for a release at the end of the year.
It's on two labels. It's on Strange Famous on the east coast, and then we have an imprint out here out of San Bernardino called Grimm Image, and that's basically our label.

Q: When you say ours, who is included in that?
A: It's various guys. Myself, xololanxinco from OMD. Different people like Existereo of the Shape Shifters.

Q: Is there anything you can tell me about the record at this point.
A: Yeah. The record's called “My Fan Base Will Destroy You. ”It took roughly three years to make. It kept having different incarnations, titles, and names. Basically, we ended up making 37 songs before shooting it down to 15.
Half of it is produced by Busdriver of Project Blowed. And the other half is produced by Deeskee from L.A. to the Bay. He's my roommate and longtime producer. Together they probably made 90 percent of it.
It's coming out. It's really, really good, and we're really proud of it. I've never taken this long to put out a record. It's the first time I've ever taken this much time to put out a record. It's really worth it. It's kind of personal. There's a lot of personal songs on it.

Q: Talk about the wealth of output you've put out in your career and then stopping to make this one record. How big of a shift was it for you creatively?
A: It was big, actually. I'm happy doing things the way we're doing them, where we just keep recording songs with a friend, keep making side groups to work with my friends, whether they come out or not, whether people know about it or not.I'm real happy to this day doing that.
In this particular instance, it was different in the sense that I had got the record funded by this label called Grimm Image. I started getting funded for it. And then we needed distribution, so I went to Sage (Francis, owner of Strange Famous Records). He picked it up, and it became this ongoing thing that took two-and-a- half, three years, where I would make a couple songs, sit on them, and then six months later I'd say “I don't like this collection of songs, lets do some more.”
And some things from three years ago made it to the end, and a lot of things didn't.
It just progressed and progressed, and some point about six months ago, I said “Let's really put this thing together.” And the last six months, we've put together the songs, and it was interesting.
I'm ready to go. I'm waiting for this to come out so I can go back to my schedule of putting out things every month (laughs).
Out of respect for Strange and Grimm, we're waiting to put this out, and then after that, we'll go back to putting out a ton of random groups.
I don't really conform to the way the record industry is. The idea that you're putting out too much stuff. You're clogging the market. I never look at it like that. I just look at it as art, and you just put it out. It's a weird thing when art and having to pay bills crash into each other.

Q: Tell me about the title of the album and your relationship with the fans, because you've been able to cultivate them one at a time and they're so loyal to you and your brand and style.
A: The album is called “My Fan Base Will Destroy You.” It's the belief that, even though the contingency of people that follow me is small, it's strong. And I get funded by our fans. Our fans take care of us.
My fans make me food and bring it to my house. Right now we're doing this thing where I'm doing this festival, and I've made a bunch of t-shirts, and I've told the kids, I will deliver the t-shirts to your house if you live within a 40-minute radius of my house. I have t-shirts in the back of my car, and I just drive around to the fans, rolling up on them, and you know, selling them a shirt or two, you know, invite them to the festival. Talk to them, smoke a bowl with them. I'll have food with them.
If I were to go to the internet and say, “Hey, I'm fucking hungry, bring me a pizza,” then I'd get four pizzas delivered to my house. And we'd hang out. I wouldn't have an attitude like “Thanks for the pizza kid.” I'd be like, “Hey, let's eat this pizza. Let's hang out, watch a Dodgers game.”

Q: I know Low End Theory and Flying Lotus and all those DJ cats have been getting a lot of media attention the last year. What's your take on that scene and how it's influencing L.A. right now?
A: I have a lot of respect for the Low End Theory. I'm a fan of Flying Lotus.
DJ Nobody, who is one of the residents there, me and him are working on a new record. Back in the day, me and him had a group called SunGodSuns. We only ended up doing a 12-inch and some other stuff, but me and him kind of reunited and started working on a record that has that L.A., forward-sounding, Low End Theory sound. We're working on that right now.
But I love Gaslamp Killer and Daedelus and all that stuff. I'm happy L.A. is getting recognition for its producers who have arrived and stuff like that. It's a beautiful thing. L.A. is such a melting pot of electronica, hip-hop, rock, you know, everything.
I think that Low End, I've always been impressed with the sound of it. I like Exile and Free the Robots and all those cats, and I think it's great.
I do everything. I make a song in every style, all the time. So if I hear something that gets my attention, I'll make a song like that. I'll make a song that sounds like 50 Cent, and then the next song sounds like Freestyle Fellowship, and then the next song sounds like Le Tigre, you know what I mean? It's beautiful to be able to do everything and try it. So I try everything, man.

Q: How many shows are you rocking a year or month these days? Are you still as ferocious with your touring schedule as you were in the past?
A: Yeah. We're already in what, the eighth month? I've definitely played 60 shows already this year, and before the year ends, I'm probably going to play another 50. I probably play every four days, year-round. Whether it's a house party or 10,000 people attend. We play house parties, we play bars, we play clubs, we play everything. I'm still active.
My body feels different. I can't run around on stage and rap for an hour and then think I'm gonna hang out for three hours. It doesn't work like that anymore.
I'm 37. After the show, it's straight to the hotel, with some ESPN, and a sandwich, you know what I mean (laughs). A slice of pizza, a little ESPN, and you call the girlfriend up, reassure her you're not cheating on her, and go to bed, man.

Q: How much more of this do you think you have left in you? You say you're 37, and in rap years, thats supposed to be 100, right?
A: Yeah. You know what. It's funny because the older I get, the more I stand behind the shit I say. What I said when I was 19, and what I say right now is just so much different.
I feel like sometimes I was saying non-sense, or I wasn't being as educated on what I'm talking about. Whereas now, everything I say, I stand behind.
I don't know. I've gotten into some other side businesses, as far as like throwing festivals and promoting side things like that. There's still a contingency of people that support me. I don't know, man.
Everyday when I check my email, somebody's like “Hey, you want to play in Greece? Do you want to play in San Francisco? Do you want to play in Tennessee?” I think I'm going to let the people dictate that right now. I'm very happy and humble that I get to do that right now.

Q: A couple of years back, Snoop Dogg shouted you out on the song “My Peoples.” Did you catch that?
A: Yeah. My homeboy called me and told me. I was honored, like, that's Snoop Dogg, you know? You're just like, yeah, that's dope.
I have a part in my routine where I lie and say I did a song with Snoop. I'll be like, "I just did a song with Snoop Dogg/ But I'm hanging right here with you dog." And I think that line always works real good because he shouted me out.
Aesop Rock was like, I think he was more impressed than I was. He was like “Rakim would never shout me out son. That's amazing.” I was like “You know.”
That's why Snoop is Snoop, you know. Because he knows what's up. If he's giving you a shout out, that goes a long way for a Mexican rapper. But I appreciate it.
I met the man once. And all his bodyguards were rushing him along, and I reached out my hand, and he bent over backwards to say whats up. I was like, that's why he's the man. He don't diss the fans. I was like, that's why he's a G. He saw me and took one second out to say hi to a fan. He's pretty dope.

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Friday, August 13, 2010

Interview Transcript: Black Francis

“Black Francis here!”
That's how Pixies front man and influential rock musician Black Francis answered the phone for our interview. The charismatic lead singer of alternative rock pioneers The Pixies, the band that Nirvana once tried to emulate, is relaxed and in good spirits while touring with his old group in Australia.
And why shouldn't he be? With a new album, “NONSTOPEROTIK” and two looming U.S. tours — solo and with the group, Francis has a lot to look forward to these days.
Black Francis performs Aug. 15 at The Henry Miller Library in Big Sur.
He spoke with “The Beat” prior to his performance. Transcript below.

Q: You've come out to Big Sur once before. Can you talk about the performance the last time you were here and anything that sticks out from it?
A: It was really long drive to get there. I was served some fabulous meal of fish that had been caught that day, before the show, by the manager there, Magnus. And I was a little bit overwhelmed by the grand beauty of the place, you know. It's like playing a room with a 1000 mile ceiling. I think I knew it was going to be something special,
which is why I had bought a nortena band suit at a little shop on the way up there. Maybe I'll wear the coat (when I perform). I think it fits me a little better now, I didn't quite fit into it the last time. I've been doing some yoga, so I fit into it a little better now.

Q: What is the set going to consist of? Will it be new stuff from “NONSTOPEROTIC”?
A: Well, that's a good question. I just spoke with the producer of“NONSTOPEROTIC” Eric Feldmen today, and he is going to be playing with me at the gig. We're going to work out some things on the record, and maybe some things from the “Golem” record we made a couple years ago that is sort of coming out now. To be determined what we are going to play.

Q: Is “Golem” the album that is going to be turned into a musical?
A: No, that's a record called “Blue Finger,” which this Houston theater company is doing a production of later in this year.

Q: How involved are you in that?
A: A little bit involved. It's not my production, but the writer has been contacting me and talking to me, and letting me know what's going on and asking me questions. They were even hoping to get me to perform in it, playing myself, because there's this character (on the record) who is me, and I couldn't swing it. I'm kind of disappointed about that. Maybe when they go to Broadway I'll be available.

Q: What was your response to being approached for that project?
A: I mean, that's what it's all about. You make music, you hear music, and if it resonates enough, it starts showing up in other places, whether it be a movie, or a TV commercial, or on the radio, or in a production, or other people doing your music. It means that your music, something is resonating. It's validation as an artist. I appreciate it.

Q: You have the most recent album, and your solo gigs, and then you're going to take a step back by doing “Doolittle.” Going back and forth like that, is it a difficult transition from playing your new stuff to playing your old stuff?
A: There's nothing difficult about it all. It's all music. I'm a musician. I'm a singer. I'm singing, I'm playing. One gig is different from another gig because it's a different repertoire or band or whatever, and that's fine. It doesn't put a number on me. I don't need to transform myself in order to transition. I do what I do whatever outfit I'm in. It's still just music.

Q: When you're going back and playing the songs from “Doolittle,” do any of the memories from the initial recordings of the songs, or the relationships from the band come back? Do you go back tin a time warp to when the band was at its' peak?
A: Nothing poignant. Nothing anecdotal. You remember silly details. You remember what the bedroom was like in the studio you were living at, or your remember that Roy Orbison died while I was making the record, or Joey snored a lot and he decided to sleep in the guitar booth. It's just little stuff like that.
The owner of the studio had a old, early '60s Mustang with a reverb unit in the trunk, an original reverb you used to tune with the AM radio, to make your AM radio more reverb-y. That's what I remember. What does it have to do with “Doolittle?” Well nothing. It's all associative.

Q: Tell me about this string of solo dates. You've got your producer accompanying you for the show to play some of the new stuff, but is there anything you're hoping to play or share with your audience?Are there any songs that you really want to play?
A: I don't think like that. I stopped thinking about touring or playing shows in terms of a particular record that has recently come out, so I'm out campaigning the record, because it never really sort of works anyway.
In other words, just because I made a new record, I don't' need to get it off my chest. The act of making the record gets it off your chest. Then afterward, it goes in the pile with all the rest of them.
In terms of what the playlist on the tour will be, if you're playing songs on the record that just came out in the last year, when you work in cult-ish circles like myself, a lot of the people at your shows don't really know the material that just came out anyway, and it usually takes a few years for that material to really seep into the mass consciousness of people that go to your shows.
Now I play songs at shows that were very unpopular at first, and people are like “Whoo! I love that one.” They didn't do that when the record came out years ago, because they didn't know it.
I'm the same way. When somebody puts out a record, I don't necessarily run down the street or run to my computer like ‘I must download it now, immediately.’ I don't buy music like that. And I don't think there are a lot of people at my shows who buy music like that either, including my own records. Some of them do, but most of the poele at the shows, they're there because they bought some record of yours 10 years ago, and they happen to be someone who says “Oh yeah, I bought a record of his a few years ago. I guess I'll go see him.”
So anyway, as far as campaigning, if I'm going to play my new single form my new album on blaze blah records, does everyone run out of the show and buy the record or download the record? No. It doesn't work like that. At least not in the world that I occupy. And the record company, that's the way that they think, they want to promote, promote.
The reality is that it never works out that way for me. So to come full circle in my answer, I have given up long ago on so called campaigning. Now I just play. I make records, I play concerts, and I don't need to play anything in particular. I just need to put on a good show and I'll draw from my repertoire, whether it's recent records or old records. I'll just play it by ear, you know.

Q: Citizens of the Grand Duchy,your project with your wife, how far along are you guys on the record?
A: Mostly done. My wife is doing some mixing right now on it. But I think it should be totally done in September.

Q: What's it like working on an album with your wife?
A: It was a little rough the first time around. And we kind of got good at it. And now we're just loads less stressful than the first time. We kind of had to learn a lot of things the first time.

Q: Is she out there with you right now?
A: No. She's raising our children.

Q: Anything you want to add here?
A: Just that Eric feldman will be there that night. Looking forward to it and looking forward to the daily catch.


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Interview Transcript: Jay Farrar of Sun Volt/Uncle Tupelo

Indie rock royalty descends upon The Henry Miller Library in Big Sur this weekend with a pair of big shows.
On Saturday, an outdoor dinner, concert and screening will feature the documentary “One Fast Move or I'm Gone: Kerouac's Big Sur,” followed by a concert featuring Jay Farrar of Sun Volt and Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie. Dinner starts at 6:30 p.m.
The documentary examines the events that Kerouac's novel “Big Sur” was based on, using footage shot in Lawrence Ferlinghetti's Big Sur cabin, where Kerouac retreated to for a visit that would eventually become the basis for his novel.
The film features music composed by Farrar, a devoted Kerouac enthusiast, accompanied by Gibbard, who spent time in Big Sur and Ferlinghetti's cabin a few years ago.
Farrar spoke with “The Beat” about Kerouac and working with Ben Gibbard of Death Cab For Cutie fame.

Q: You're a big Kerouac fan. What was it about “Big Sur” that resonated with you?
A: I guess I came across “Big Sur” sort of later on. I had read a lot of Kerouac as a teenager, but “Big Sur” I came across later, and more or less at a similar age that Keroauc was at when he wrote the book.
A lot of stuff Jack is going through — he's kind of beginning to question his ethos and question the philosophy that he wrote about a lot, which is ‘Where is the next thrill coming form and how do we keep this show going.’ I think myself, and maybe anybody that's over 40, begins to question and perhaps take stock of where they're at.
More importantly, Kerouac in general, his method of writing has always been an inspiration to me. The fact that he put across the idea that if there's less preconception and revision, the end result will be a pure, more individualistic form of expression. That philosophy particularly resonates with me.

Q: Are there any other excerpts from the books or passages from the book that really stick out with you while you were recording?
A: I think, looking at it from the perspective of when I was doing the writing, I think there's a song that reflects a particular scene. The song is called “Final Horrors,” and that's dealing with the scene where Jack was really sick at that point, really conscious of the fact that he was sick and just in a bad place. Yet, he's still able to write about it. It's remarkable. Jack was clinically, sort of documenting his whole experience, no matter how harrowing it was.

Q: Talk about the documentary, how you got involved and when you were starting to write some of the songs, what was your general approach in paying homage to this artist you revere so much.
A: I was approached by Jim Sampas to do be involved in this project. Jim ... knew my familiarity with Kerouac, and sort of made me jump at the chance to be able to get inside Kerouac's words, so to speak. It was an element of being a kid let loose in a candy store.
A bit of reservation going into it was the fact that Kerouac was always synonymous with jazz and free form kind of expression, which I can relate to from a lyrical perspective, but maybe not so much from a musical perspective. Throughout the course of reading the book, I discovered Jack did have a certain level of appreciation for folk music, and that's where part of my background is. That gave me the focus to take on the project.
Once I got into it, I got caught up in the spirit of the project, and not consciously, but that's just the way it turned out. I wound up working quickly, which was part of Jack's philosophy of creating.

Q: Talk about getting with Ben Gibbard. I've read a couple of past interviews, and it seems like it started out pretty loose, and you wound up with something more than you initially planned.
A: Ben and I had never met until the night before we started on the project. I was aware of Death Cab and aware of the fact that Ben had done some solo touring.
I think it was the spirit of Kerouac that kind of carried everything through. Our mutual appreciation of the work of Jack Kerouac. Perhaps on the surface, people might say we're coming from different places. But in the end, we're both musicians and we're inspired by a lot of the same stuff.
Ben was great to work with. He possesses a high level of musicianship. He's a great drummer, Good drummers are hard to find. I don't know if you knew that he played drums on the record.

Q: How did that collaborative process work out? Were you writing most of the lyrics? How did you go about laying out the songs.
A: I got involved in the project before Ben did, so I had a substantial head start. I think I had nine or 10 of the songs done at least in a demo form. And then once Ben and I got together, Ben helped change a few things around, flesh some things out. In the end, it was a collaborative process, and the sound that Ben brought to “One Fast Move...” is one of the highlights, in my opinion.

Q: How did you guys settle into your live set? Was it pretty fluid coming from the recording sessions and then taking it to the stage?
A: It was a process. It was ultimately fluid, I guess. But it was a process of putting a band together.
Nick Harmer came in from Death Cab, and Mark Spencer from Sun Volt and the drummer that played in the live band, John Woerster, both Ben and I worked with before. There was a chemistry there that worked, based on the fact that, at least in different sub groups, we had all played together in one form or another.

Q: Playing at henry miller library, what are anticipating. Are you anxious about playing in the redwoods.

A: I heard that the setting is nice. Ben and I are primarily being brought out, because the documentary is being shown at the library, so we're kind of in a supporting role for the documentary.

Q: Any news on Sun Volt?
A: Any news? No. We just came back from a short tour of Italy, so we're just sort of recovering from that and thinking of the next move.

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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Tuesday Throwback: Q&A w/ 2MEX of The Visionaries (2007)

2MEX of the Visionaries is one of the West Coast's most respected and celebrated underground MC's.

He performs Saturday night at Blue Fin in Monterey, along with The Saurus, Projekt S.E.E.R. and Joint Venture.

I interviewed 2MEX in 2007 for "The Beat." He talked about his community outreach work and growing up in Los Angeles during the Crack Cocaine epidemic. You can read the interview at the link below.
Link: Q&A w/ 2MEX (transcript)

The first time I saw 2MEX perform was 11 years ago, at the annual "Farce of July" show in Los Angeles hosted by Aztlan Underground. I was impressed by the large, bearded, sweaty MC just killing it on stage with another then unknown cat by the name of Busdriver. Both would go on to achieve underground respect and recognition throughout the coming decade.
2MEX apparently has some sort of agreement with Strange Famous Records, Sage Francis' record label. You can read the press release/bio after the jump, written by Sage himself.

Providence Phoenix!

Written by Sage Francis

Whether you’re familiar with his catalog or not, it’s safe to say that 2Mex (aka SunGodSuns) is an underground legend.

His long list of contributions and collaborative work is staggering.2Mex pledges allegiance to Visionaries, Of Mexican Descent, Sungodsun, Afterlife, Project Blowed, the Shapeshifters, Look Daggers, The Returners, and now (with his first east coast alliance) he has signed with Strange Famous Records.

This “golden boy of hip-hop” is possibly the most prolific underground rapper ever, with at least 35 CD releases and too many guest appearances to count. Through hard work and determination, while touring the globe many times over, he has built a cult-like following that tries to keep up with his massive output. Therein lies an anxiety problem and it’s one we’re determined to remedy.

My first exposure to 2Mex was in 1996 when my radio station was serviced with the Visionaries 12″s. I played that material almost every show. Since then we have shared many stages together and every single time we crossed paths he would hand over a new homemade CDR. Every…time. I became overwhelmed at one point and said, “Man…this is too much! You have a lot of great stuff but you’re spreading yourself thin (not literally).”

I’m not one to quell productivity, but the truth of the matter is I felt lost in his catalog. At a certain point an artist’s body of work can lose tangibility and become intimidating to newcomers if people don’t know where to start or end. If you think I’m exaggerating then check his discography dating as far back as 1995:http://www.discogs.com/artist/2Mex

Over the years we’ve had many discussions about the industry, life on the road, and the non-stop grind that indie artists shoulder through in order to reach the “next level” while maintaining their integrity. In this case, the “next level” is raising one’s status, exposure, and access to the public. Breaking the ceiling when you need a sun roof.

The topic of having 2Mex on SFR was raised and I thought it was perfect. He’s a road dog, he has a penchant for girl trouble, he’s a husky man with a beard, and he’s a freestyling fool.

There was one unique condition that we tossed into the agreement:

“This has to be the quintessential 2Mex album. The best of the best. It will be the next level record. The ceiling breaker. It will be the only 2Mex album that you release in the year that it comes out.”

He agreed. We celebrated. We’re plugging away at that project right now.

There’s no telling when the album will be done, but in the meantime, you can check out 2Mex’s SFR debut: the digital release of “Break Up Your Make Up” by The Returners, available here right now, and cop the official SFR 2Mex T-Shirt here.

SFRstore.com is also proud to carry 2Mex’s B-Boys In Occupied Mexico album.

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Monday, August 09, 2010

Video: "People" by Cambio, Bocafloja, Hache St. (Quilombo Arte)

Quilombo Arte and the boy wonder Cambio drop another gem on them. "People" is probably my favorite track off of "Or Does It Explode." They shot a very dope video for the single. Download link below.

Download: "People" by Cambio, Bocafloja & Hache St.

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Must See Video!!!: Bubba G. Scotch reflecting on first hip-hop concert on the Central Coast

Can't overstate how important Bubba G. Scotch is to the local hip-hop scene. When I was a kid, his name was synonymous with b-boy culture and everything that was cool and hip on the street. Now, he's a gentleman and certified elder statesman of all things funky.
I've been privileged to get to know him a little and speak with him on a few occasions. Very cool cat.
Here, he gives a quick reflection on the first hip-hop show on the Central Coast with our boy Kazzeo. Listen and learn.
BGS Salute!

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MC Lars Podcast 41: Lars responds to the fans questions

Lars breaks down fact and fiction, from his so-called "beef" with MC Chris (fiction) to his conversion to Christianity (fact) to selling out for Hot Topic (you decide).

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Friday, August 06, 2010

Friend The Herald on Facebook and win free passes for "Scott Pilgrim vs. The World"

Win free passes to opening night for "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World," in theaters Aug. 10!
Ten lucky winners will win a pass that admits two to opening night, Tuesday, Aug. 10, of "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World" at the 7:30 p.m. showing at Century Del Monte Center, 1700 Del Monte Center in Monterey.
Just "Like" or become a friend of the Monterey County Herald, and send us a message with your name, email address and phone number.
Visit The Herald's Facebook Page Here to sign up. Good luck!

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Thursday, August 05, 2010

Throwback Thursday: Mistah FAB, Too $hort, and Keak da Sneak interviews

The Bay Area Bash featuring an all-star lineup of artists comes to The Fox Theater in Salinas Saturday night.
To mark the occasion, I thought I'd share links to past interviews I've done with some of the performers scheduled for the event. Follow the links below.

Mistah FAB

I interviewed Fabby Davis Jr. in January 2007, around the time "Ghost Ride The Whip" was making its impact and Fabby was set to blow. Fun fact: Fabby's manager, Seaside Stretch, is originally from the Peninsula. Link
Link: Mistah FAB Q&A. (transcript)
Link: Mistah FAB Santa Cruz show review.

Too Short

My March 2008 interview with Too $hort was dope because I got to ask him about specific trends he set in his career, like being the first rapper to retire and then un-retire, and using rumors of his death to help market his album. Very insightful. And Short just sounds cool as hell on the phone.

Link: Too Short Q&A (audio and transcript).

Keak Da Sneak:

A really nice interview from May 2008. Keak was up front about his frustrations with recording contracts and his inability to capitalize on the success of "Tell Me When To Go."

Link: Keak da Sneak interview (audio)

Dem Hoodstarz:

One of my first big Q&A interviews from June 2006. Dem Hoodstarz were very fun, sharing a whole lot of energy during this conversation.

Link: Dem Hoodstarz interview (transcript).

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Tuesday, August 03, 2010

New mixes from DJ AJ Bee

Anyone who's ever been to The Mucky Duck in Monterey has been moved to the groove of DJ AJ Bee. The mohawk-sporting DJ is a local favorite, and he has a pair of mixes available for streaming and download at his Facebook page here.
The boy is nice on the decks. Respect!

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School Yard Antics Friday Aug. 6 @ Somos Media

Quiet as kept, Somos Media in Salinas has established itself on the fringe of downtown Salinas as the coolest new brow boutique in town. Friday night, they open their doors to the public for a special art and hip-hop show.
"Schoolyard Antics features artwork from regional artists Epic and BasicLee, who have been putting in a lot of work with e.Sik and the Central Cost Underground movement. Also performing are Joint Venture and Solis Cin. An open mic cypher and live art will also be on display.
The event is free. 422-9200, or visit http://somos831.files.wordpress.com.

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Who deserves 5 Mics?

Earlier this week, The Source announced it was awarding a 5 Mic review for the first time five years (although that's a dubious distinction, since the last album to earn the rating, Lil Kim's "The Naked Truth" was rumored to be a fix).
In an unusual twist, the magazine released a list of albums in line for the honor: The Roots "How I Got Over," Drake "Thank Me Later," Bun B "Trill OG," Big Boi "Sir Luscious Leftfoot: The Son of Chico Dusty," Eminem "Recovery," Rick Ross "Teflon Done," and Fat Joe "The Darkside."
You can read the full listing here.
Out of all those choices, I have not heard Bun and Joe, so I can't say whether either is worth of 5 Mic status.
The ones I have heard, I'm stuck between three: "How I Got Over," "Sir Luscious Leftfoot..." and "Teflon Don."
"HIGO" is a personal favorite, and I feel completely biased in endorsing it because of my devotion to The Roots.
"SLL..." is a solid pick because of Big Boi's pedigree as a 5 Mic alumni (he previously earned the title with Outkast's "Aquemini), plus the album is an absolute winner.
"Teflon Don" is the dark horse. Ross delivered a solid album, short and sweet with killer track after killer track. His current popularity is also a big draw. One thing he lacks is lyrics, which may prevent him from earning 5 Mics.
In the end, I believe Big Boi will earn the distinction, although I'm pulling for The Roots. And I wouldn't be surprised if those two cancel each other out and Ross creeps in there for the win.
What do you think?

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Monday, August 02, 2010

Salinas author JS Waters explores local gang life in new fiction work “The Modern Primitives”

This ought to be interesting.
A new novel, “The Modern Primitives,” by Salinas native and CSU Monterey Bay grad JS Waters, is a fictional story of a Salinas man, a young member of a law enforcement family, who goes vigilante after his brother is murdered by gangsters. It will be published by Draeconis, a Seattle based publishing house.
The press release, which is swiped in full after the jump, mentions Steinbeck and gang bangers and Salinas crime statistics, while the author claims to have moved from the city to escape the violence.
All very... interesting.
I don't know what to make of this, but the book will be released as an e-book Aug. 20, followed by a paperback printing in November.
Full press release after the jump.


August 02, 2010, SEATTLE—Draeconis, a Seattle based publishing house, has announced
today that it will release the debut novel The Modern Primitives by JS Waters. The Modern Primitives is the story of a disillusioned heir to a law enforcement dynasty who forms a vigilante group to seek revenge against the gangsters who murdered his brother.
JS Waters brings the gritty street violence of gangs to life in this fictional tale set in Monterey County. The novel will be released on Friday, August 20, 2010 in e-Book format for Amazon’s Kindle, Apple’s Ibooks and Barnes & Noble’s Nook at $7.99.
A paperback release date has been scheduled for Tuesday, November 16, 2010 for $13.99.
“J.S. Waters continues the work of Steinbeck to observe with sweeping criticism what has become of Salinas” said Sean Manzano y Labrador, the book’s editor. “—no longer tragedy in the fields, but rather tragedy in the streets. The Modern Primitives describes a new kind of killing field. The irony is not lost. The fertile valley soaks in blood.”
Salinas has been plagued by four decades of gang violence. In 2009 the city saw a record- setting 29 homicides, all gang related, ranked fourth in California below Richmond, Oakland and Inglewood, respectively, with 20.1 homicides per 100,000 residents. In 2008, Salinas held the same position at number four in California for large city homicides despite it’s meager population of 148,000. As of August 1, 2010, Salinas has reached 7 gang related homicides.
“I think the escalation of gang violence in Salinas is a look into the future of small town America.” said JS Waters. “It’s time our attention is drawn from foreign threats and we take a long hard look at the urban terrorists who plague our communities on a daily basis. Americans need to stand together and stamp out this epidemic before it infects us all.”

JS Waters was born and raised in Salinas. Surrounded by three generations of law
enforcement. His Grandfather was Hon. Kenneth H. Blohm, a Monterey County Judge and
Supervisor. His father, Raymond Waters, a former motorcycle patrolman for the Salinas Police Department. JS Waters lived in Salinas until 2007, when he moved away due to the gang violence. He currently lives in the suburbs of Portland, Oregon with his wife and three children.
He is the author of three feature length screenplays, “The Nephilim” (optioned 1998 Lizard Tongue Austin), “Keepers of the Dead” and “The Modern Primitives,” which is now adapted into his debut novel. He has a BA in Teledramatic Arts & Technology from CSU Monterey Bay and has been writing professionally for sixteen years.

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e.Sik & Co. present: SHOWS, SHOWS, SHOWS, SHOWS...

e.Sik, local artist/promoter/scene ambassador and friend of "The Beat," is flooding the local market with shows he is either producing or co-producing. Info for all of the shows is available at www.reverbnation.com/projektseer.
First up is Los Angeles word smith 2Mex of The Visionaries performing Aug. 14 @ The Blue Fin in Monterey. Also on the bill are Projekt S.E.E.R, The Joint Venture, Rey REsurreccion and Solic Cin, with special guest The Saurus.

On Aug. 21, e.Sik & Xchange Music present Opio of Hieroglyphics, with DJ Lex, hosted by The Saurus, and featuring Ghambit with IQ and Projekt S.E.E.R.

Finally, Projekt S.E.E.R. and Blue Fin present Z-Man Sept. 4 at Blue Fin in Monterey. Also performing are Elements of Style and Sharkstyliens.
One other note: Z-Man will perform Sept. 3 at Blue Lagoon in Santa Cruz. That show is sponsored by Wolf Fitness Systems.

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NPR 50 Greatest Voices: Notorious B.I.G.

Very cool NPR piece on Biggie, giving some really great insight into his early artistic development and some of the influences that you rarely hear about.
Biggie was a complex artist, and that comes across nicely in this production.
Also nice to see hip-hop represented in this NPR series, which explores the most influential voices in music from across the world. Biggie is mentioned in the same company as Iggy Pop, Roy Orbison, Enrico Caruso and Janis Joplin, as well as his contemporaries Lauryn Hill and Donny Hathaway.

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