Tag Archives: hilton head

Last time in South Carolina primaries

It’s South Carolina primary season! The one quadrennial occasion for the rest of the nation to pay attention to a state with 10 percent unemployment and 51st in the nation education ranking (that’s right, it’s so bad, it’s below the actual number of states we have). All this hoopla reminds me of this classic from the Inverted Soapbox clip file, where John McCain came Hilton Head for a quick campaign stop during the slugfest that was the 2008 nominating process. The event was fast and loose, and the broke underdog felt more like 2000 era McCain in his element rather than the tired 2008 model. And then this happened:

McCain realizes campaigning can sometimes be a real b word.

(Island Packet, Nov. 16, 2007) The question had a cadence and a sharp alliteration that sliced through the yadda-yadda-yadda about Social Security and health care that dominated Sen. John McCain’s campaign stop on Hilton Head Island on Monday.

With news cameras rolling, Wexford resident Linda Burke, prim in a neck scarf and pulled-back hair, leaned forward out of the crowd and asked plainly and emphatically: “How do we beat the bitch?”

That word, henceforth called the “B-Bomb,” referred to Sen. Hillary Clinton, the Democratic front-runner who stirs up vituperative feelings deep in the gut of many Republicans.

It turned into the B-Bomb heard ’round the world.

Hilton Head Island resident Linda Burke asks Sen. John McCain a question that has received national media attention.

Burke’s question — and McCain’s reaction — has caught fire with political wonks across the nation, appearing on cable news and turning into the issue du jour for liberal commentators. The blogosphere, that shadowy zone where even the most minuscule thing a candidate says is recorded, dissected, criticized and resent into the digital ether, is having a field day with it. Continue reading

Actual Occurrences: The punk rock island we once knew and loved

[Here’s the deal with this post: I wrote this more than a year ago with intentions of posting it here, then on a whim sent it off to NY Press, who responded that they would love to run it in the 8 Million Stories section. And, after a few follow up emails of reassurance … they never did. So whatever. But while wandering around the Brooklyn waterfront yesterday, we happened to pass by Ted Leo at the promenade, so in this blog’s grand tradition of letting no unpublishable work go unpublished, I decided to pull it up from the graveyard and post it. NOTE: all time-sensitive elements are related to Nov. 2009, just shy of a year since I first moved to Brooklyn.]

I have found the nexus at which punk rock musicians and struggling journalists who’ve written about them collide, and it is TJ’s.

Yesterday at reg in the midst of the inescapable writhing mass-of-humanity shitshow that is a sunny Sunday afternoon at Brooklyn’s favorite grocer, I was ringing up the purchases of a young, groovy looking couple in refreshingly good spirits considering aforementioned shitshow that often causes much grumbling among other customers (note: YOU ARE HERE ALSO TAKING UP SPACE).

The girl looked at my name tag which lists my hometown as “Hilton Head, S.C.” and asked me how long I’ve been in New York, if I came directly from South Carolina, etc.

The guy turned to her and said, “Oh, that’s where we played that show that they said it was like the ‘first punk show’ ever.”

Strange gears began to come alive and click together in my head as an improbable slide of memory pushed in reminding me that, not only had I heard that comparison before, but — hold on a second — I wrote it.

Turns out the guy was Marty “Violence” Key, the bassist for Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, who I interviewed last year before their head-explodingly nonsensical (but awesomely embraced by the five punksters on Hilton Head, four of whom worked at the newspaper) appearance at Stages on the island.

It included this:

Question. We did a little bit of research, and we think this may be the first punk show in Hilton Head history.

Answer. I used to go out with someone who lived on Hilton Head. I used to actually go down there a lot and visit her and we’d hang out and see shows in Savannah.

But there was one night where some ska band that I actually knew from New York was playing at like some crazy frat bar, and we went. And I remember her being so freaked out, like, ‘God, this is so weird, there’s actually a band that’s not like the String Cheese Incident or Widespread Panic or something that’s playing here.’

Wow, but I would have figured since then, that since there are kind of ‘punk’ shows everywhere, I’m surprised to hear that I’m the first.

Q. How does that feel?

A. It’s exciting. It’s auspicious. I had no idea. Continue reading

Interview: Outgoing Hilton Head Mayor Tom Peeples

I don’t normally post my Hilton Head Monthly stuff here, but I figured I’d make an exception for this interview with Mayor Tom Peeples, who announced this year he’s not running for reelection after serving four terms, making him by far the longest-serving mayor the town has seen in its short history. I covered the guy for four years at The Island Packet, talked to him countless times by phone, usually at least a few times a week, visited his office, and maybe even saw him tipsy a time or two at various island weekend events (odds are I was equally tipsy at such events), so I even ventured a first-person lede here.

Mayor looks back, forward

(Hilton Head Monthly 4/30/2010) The single angriest moment I ever witnessed from Mayor Tom Peeples during four years covering the town happened in a meeting on the contentious debate over limiting the airport’s future runway length in 2007 The meeting drew one of the largest crowds in town history into a standing-room-only council chambers as the public both for and against expansion gathered.
The debate wore on, the crowd grew restive and some skeptics shot jeers and boos at council members on the dais. With a sharp whack of the gavel, Peeples brought the room to silence, lifted his voice to its full-bodied boom and told the crowd they could either quiet down or get out. About half the room picked up and left.

The single most emotional moment I witnessed out of Peeples also came at the same meeting, a few minutes later. With the public comment portion of the hearing closed, council members were left to state their positions on the measure that would prevent the airport from expanding the runway without first getting town permission. As Peeples explained that the town was taking the controversial measure because it defended the core ideals of the island’s founders, his voice began to crack and waver, and it appeared, to those in the audience at least, that a few tears lined his eyes.

“It guarantees that you, the citizens of Hilton Head Island, can come to a public process just like this if there is a need to discuss lengthening the runway,” Peeples told the crowd. “Obviously the fact that so many people are here must (mean) that’s a good idea.”

That broad swing of emotions — transforming from forceful arbiter to spokesman for personal passion — is indicative of the balance Peeples struck over his 15 years as town mayor. Never too much a dyed-in-the-wool politician, Peeples positioned himself as a pragmatist and consensus builder, but wasn’t afraid to let people know when something went against what he saw as the values of Hilton Head that first drew him to the island and local politics many years ago.
Peeples made a surprise announcement in April that he won’t run for reelection this November after serving four terms. It opens up room for an exciting election season, and one that will usher in a new era of leadership for the town that has known the same mayor for more than half its lifetime.

READ THE REST because it’s got all the municipal government fun you can stand!

Interview: Blue October’s seasons of change (or not?)

UPDATE: Yikes. So just a few days after talking with Justin Furstenfeld about how positive he was feeling these days and how excited he was to bring his message to people on this tour, Blue October cancelled the tour because Furstenfeld has been hospitalized to deal with mental health issues. Here’s the release from the band’s web site:


(New York, NY – October 22, 2009) The Pick Up The Phone Tour 2009 has been canceled due to the hospitalization of Justin Furstenfeld, lead singer of the tour’s headlining band Blue October. Furstenfeld, who was also the spokesperson for Pick Up The Phone Tour 2009, is being treated for suffering from an extreme mental anxiety attack. His doctors have ordered that the tour—which was committed to reducing the stigma associated with mental health, depression, and suicide—be canceled to allow for his recovery.

“Mental health diseases are unpredictable,” says Furstenfeld. “And on the eve of this tour in support of a cause that means the world to me, I am in need of time to heal from a setback in my own personal life, which is severe enough for me to seek hospitalization. I hope that my action to seek the strength and safety of treatment will inspire others that are suffering to do the same.”

In other news, Mike Ness is considering cancelling Social Distortion’s appearance on Hilton Head to deal with grief after discovering the pool hall he loved as a kid is now a 7-11.

(The Guide 10/27)  The most unexpected place that Justin Furstenfeld, lead singer of the Houston alt-rock band Blue October, ever heard his hit song “Hate Me” was on the radio while driving through the vast barrenness of rural Kansas.

Furstenfeld was on his way to Nebraska when someone called a local Top 40 radio station and requested the song — even though it had been two years since the 2006 single had its reign near the top of the charts.

The caller said he had hurt his girlfriend and was ashamed of himself, and he wanted to send the song — Furstenfeld’s brutal vocal exorcism of his demons — out to his girlfriend before going into rehab.
“And man, I had to pull the car over,” Furstenfeld said last week. “It really touched me, it really opened my eyes.”

Blue October

When: 9 p.m. Oct. 24

Where: Shoreline Ballroom, Ocean Center, 40 Folly Field Road, Hilton Head Island

Tickets: $10.61

Information: 843-842-0358, www.shorelineballroom.com

Continue reading

Interview: Welcome to moe.’s

(The Guide, 7/17) The band  moe. will forever hold a special place in the hearts of Hilton Head Island music lovers: It was their

mispunctuated presence as one of the first bands to visit the still-nascent Shoreline Ballroom in April of last year that helped give the venue a big-name boost. Since then, the Shoreline has brought a consistent flow of big names the island, from B.B. King to Snoop Dogg to Loretta Lynn to Conor Oberst.

The five members of one of the music scene’s longest-running jam bands — one that will hit its two-decade mark next year — will make their return appearance Tuesday. Lead singer Chuck Garvey talked about how their success came from doing musical “missionary work” and why file sharing may be the only thing that can save the music industry.

Continue reading

Snoop Dogg on Hilton Head this weekend

Snoop is playing Hilton Head on Sunday in a bizarre mash up where the Universe of Highly Implausible Things crosses over with the Universe of Things I WISHED FREAKING HAPPENED DURING ANY OF THE PAST FOUR YEARS I LIVED DOWN THERE AND WAS BORED OUT OF MY MIND.

Last year, we ran four weeks of Ted Leo in advance of his show on Hilton Head in an effort to drum up support and broader interest outside the small hermetic world of a few local newspaper writers. We put together something similar for Snoop, since an interview with him wasn’t going to happen.

To understand this fully, come at it from the perspective of a 75-year-old woman who just picked up her newspaper from her Sun City driveway and wants to read about the upcoming Flag Day festival before her morning golf game. The Guide: The best publication that has absolutely no audience:

The Guide”s Snoopipedia, Week 1: The history of izzle-speak

Izzle-speak is a linguistic trend synonymous with the hip-hop artist and actor Snoop Dogg. While not the creator of izzle-speak, Snoop is given primary credit for injectizzling it into our collective lexicizzle. (His previous contributions to modern language include the phrases “Drop it like it’s hot,” “gang of Tanqueray” and “You don’t love me, you just love my doggy style.”)

A well-researched 2004 “On Language” column from the New York Times attributes the phrase’s origins to Bay Area rappers in the late 1980s. But, the article continues, there’s no doubt Snoop turned izzle-speak into the vernacular commodity that wannabe rappers rely on as much as wannabe intellectuals depend on the prefix “uber.”

And yet, in an interview with MTV earlier in the decade, Snoop also first declared that, forizzle, it was ovizzle, adding “izzle” to anythizzle that comes alizong. When the New York Tizimes is using it in headlizzles and Fran Drescher in Old Nizavy ads, you know it’s jumped the shizzle. See?

Continue reading

Chevelle are ‘doozh’ers

[update: proper credit to Barry Schwartz for the term “doozh”]

Hard-rock outfit Chevelle keeps it simple, with riffs, energy and, of course, doozh

(The Guide, 4/24) The hard-rock band Chevelle has maintained a solid following and steady success over the past decade while other bands of its genre have faded away, and they’ve managed to do so without changing their sound much from album to album. So don’t expect to see, say, any duets with Kanye West.

“Although I wouldn’t be against it if he called me,” lead singer and guitarist Pete Loeffler said in a recent interview. “But I’m not going to be calling him anytime soon.”
Chevelle, 10 Years, Fighting with Wire

When: 8 p.m. April 24

Where: Shoreline Ballroom, Ocean Center, 40 Folly Field Road, Hilton Head Island.

Tickets: $25 at the door, $22.50 in advance

Information: 843-842-0358, www.shorelineballroom.com

That is, in brief, the reason the band has continued to tour, release albums and draw fans even as their peers in the hard-rock resurgence of the ’90s lost momentum (Remember Trapt? No, of course you don’t). The band knew its formula, heard it resonate with radio listeners and stuck to it. They created spacious riff-driven songs, such as hits “The Red” and “Send the Pain Below,” that specialized in sonic resonance best described as “doozh,” which sounds exactly like it’s spelled. The sustained, building strain of Loeffler’s voice stretched across the tracks earned the band comparisons to Tool, the masters of the genre.

“With this band, it’s just a hard-rock band. We don’t go that far off our original idea, which is just to write good hard rock music,” Loeffler said. “Every record has a different vibe. But we’re still doing what we’re doing.”

That means no rap-rock crossovers, no overemotive neo-power ballads, no experimental noise rock.
“We’ve never gone to mainstream radio,” he said. “That’s one thing that could be do or die: You put out a song that could be alienating to some of your fans.”

When the band first started in Chicago in the mid ’90s, they were the ones facing alienation. There were a lot of pop-oriented bands out at the time, but not many from a hard-rock background. The band members came up watching fellow Chicagoans the Smashing Pumpkins hit it big — a band Loeffler fantasized about someday being successful enough to work with.

The band went to Las Vegas to record its last album, 2007’s “Vena Sera,” to feed off the city’s energy. But for the follow-up they’re currently working on, they took the opposite approach, recording in the quiet woods outside Nashville. That process is creating a product that was much more intrinsic, Loeffler said.

“When you’re out in the country and you sort of need to get that excitement, you have to create it from nowhere,” he said.  “There’s nothing around you that you can get hyped up about. I love all our records but this one happened to be a lot more work for me. It was a good thing, a lot more

That album could be ready by June, he said.