Tag Archives: the guide

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we happened to pass by Ted Leo at the promenade, so in this blog’s grand tradition of letting no unpublishable work go unpublished, I decided to pull it up from the graveyard and post it.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

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Interview: Steady as she goes

The Hold Steady in Savannah: “Everybody’s invited to this party”

still holding

(The Guide, 5/20/10) Brooklyn-based rock outfit the Hold Steady has been fitted with the title of “America’s bar band,” thanks mostly to their raucous, salutatory guitar jams, which are evocative both of the epic narrative arcs of Bruce Springsteen and the simple rock fundamentalism of Thin Lizzy.

But the title is slightly inaccurate for several reasons. First, the band these days is too much of a big deal to be stuck playing the grimy pubs evoked by their music. But mostly they just don’t spend that much time in bars anymore, since some of its members, such as guitarist Tad Kubler, now have young children (even if his 5-year-old daughter does like to come on tour occasionally).

The Hold Steady earlier this month released its fifth studio album, “Heaven is Whenever.” It’s a payoff of sorts, one that hits on the themes of reward and struggle — something the band sees firsthand as gets lauded by indie sites like Pitchfork while seeing its albums on the featured rack at Target.

“I think that the one thing that we strive for and really enjoy is to become a bigger band,” Kubler said by phone last week. “I always felt that we’re very inclusive. Everybody’s invited to this party. I think people are quick to write us off as cool kids or hipsters or whatever people refer to people who live in Brooklyn as. That’s the opposite of what we’re about.” Continue reading

Interview: REOHMYGOODNESS

Lives 1-7, expended

REO Speedwagon’s Kevin Cronin: “When we play live, it’s a riot”

(The Guide, 3/12) The upside to being a band that’s persevered for more than three decades is that you can play anywhere from Mexico City to Savannah and draw a lively crowd.

The downside is that styles and trends change quickly, and your fans tend to best remember your early days. REO Speedwagon lead singer Kevin Cronin, for instance, is often asked to sign copies of the band’s 1979 album “Nine Lives,” the cover of which features the group clad in tight black spandex and leather, with tail-wearing vixens hanging on them and a black panther on a chain in the foreground.

“At the time it was considered cool,” Cronin said with a chuckle in a phone interview last week. “It definitely wasn’t who I was, that’s for sure.”

REO Speedwagon, Edwin McCain

When: 8 p.m. March 13

Where: Johnny Mercer Theatre, 301 W. Oglethorpe Ave., Savannah.

Tickets: $45-$55

Information: 912-651-6566, http://www.savannahcivic.com Continue reading

Interview: Keller Williams freeks out

Keller Williams 2.0: The singer has become a ‘Once a Week Freek’

(From The Guide, 3/5/10) Keller Williams’ last local show was his 2008 New Year’s Eve gig at the Shoreline Ballroom on Hilton Head Island. The musician — known as a one-man jam band for his ability to play and loop different instruments — put together a three-pronged show that featured a regular set, an all-request set and a bonus set of “grunge-grass,” his name for bluegrass versions of ’90s hits from Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots and the like.

And even though Williams is of the genus of musicians who treats every show like a unique moment meant to be shared by tapers, you won’t find the Hilton Head appearance in the vast pantheon of his music online.

“I was thinking about releasing it, but got talked out of it due to all the licensing issues that have happened to Pearl Jam and Nirvana,” he said. “They keep that stuff pretty close to the chest. But I might sneak it in in my ‘Once a Week Freek.’ ”

Keller Williams

When: 9 p.m. March 6

Where: Live Wire Music Hall, 307 W. River St., Savannah

Tickets: $20 in advance, $23 at the door

Information: 912-233-1192, www.livewiremusichall.com Continue reading

Album review: REO Speedwagon made a Christmas album, my night miserable

(The Guide, 12/12)

Not so good, either

• REO Speedwagon, “Not So Silent Night”: It’s hard to imagine what is the intended audience for REO Speedwagon’s “Not So Silent Night,” the ’80s soft-rock hitmakers’ attempt to throw yet another gloss of “contemporary” paint on seasonal classics that are already dying of lead poisoning. Do you load the cheddary “Deck The Halls” (with its “Hey, Dad, Santa is downstairs!” intro banter) into your Shuffle along with “Time for Me to Fly?” Or do you slip these songs into the Christmas dinner playlist, only to have Grandma rocketed from her seat by the furious gospel of “Happy Xmas (War is Over),” a decidedly red-state repurposing of the Lennon classic? And can even die-hard Speed Freaks explain the use of auto-tuning and the phrase “funky gentlemen” on the track “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen?” If, for some untold reason, you are an REO Speedwagon completist, they got you good.

I have a copy of this album if you want it. You don’t want it, and I won’t give it to you. Not even a shred of salvageable irony here, kids. Trust me.


Oh, wait, I just got it: NOT so silent. Because of the rocking.

Interview: An Horse riding to a indie success

(The Guide, 10/1) An Horse rose from the obscurity of an Australian record store basement stage to the “Late Show with David Letterman” in a little under two years, which is a head-slapping, needle-scratching-across-the-record fast time frame, even in today’s speedy, blog-amped music scene.

This is how things seem to work for the Australian duo. Just a few months after Kate Cooper and Damon set up a PA in the store and started practicing, they were invited to join Canadian indie-pop twins Tegan and Sara for a major U.S. tour. That led to an opening slot on an Australian tour for Death Cab for Cutie, another U.S. tour with Appleseed Cast and their current tour with Silversun Pickups, which will bring them through Hilton Head Island on Wednesday.

Silversun Pickups, Cage the Elephant, An Horse

When: 8 p.m. Oct. 7

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

Tickets: $25 in advance, $28 at the door

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

Continue reading

(belated) Friday Happy: SC Second Congressional District All-Star Edition

All this Joe Wilson news has sent my nostalgia gears into overdrive! I’ve been wrested out of my always frantic, rainy, gray Brooklyn bubble to remember those long, hot summer and fall days in Beaufort County, South Carolina, where I spent four years working for The Island Packet, sharing an occassional boat ride with our formerly innocuous congressman or dodging the all-too-common bison stampede or raging alligator attack.

I just booked my first flight down to Hilton Head since leaving for the wedding of some good friends from the paper, who also informed me this week that they, along with just about everyone else I knew at the paper, is quitting and going elsewhere, partly due to the terribly depressing situation that is this specific iteration of the industry’s death throes.

So for Friday happy this week (yes, I know it’s way past Friday), I’ve complied an all-star list of Second Congressional District related items, as an homage to the friends, talented writers and unique personalities I encountered down there, and because it’s the only time that district has made national news for a political, non-missing persons-related story in many years.

First, Joe Wilson (real name Addison)! The memories we had together! The days spent on the phone, the thumbs ups he gave to constituents at public meetings, where — make no mistake — the people loved him. His reelection is not in doubt, and, in all likelihood, is even more assured after his outburst (just mire through the comments on this AP story the Packet ran if you need proof)

So here are two of our favorite Joe Wilson pictures of all time. Credit goes to Jay Karr/Island Packet.

shake?

shake?

constituent services

constituent services

Continue reading