Thursday, July 30, 2009

Girl in a Coma Video

Great band from San Antonio, Girl in a Coma is signed to Joan Jett's label Blackheart records.

Here's Girl in a Coma's "Static Mind":

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Girls' Guide to Rocking

When Joan Jett gives your book a blurb for the front cover you know you're doing something right.

Writer and music critic Jessica Hopper has just put out a great book for all aspiring rockergrrrls: The Girls' Guide to Rocking.

The book is practically a life manual for becoming the next rock goddess, covering everything from picking the right instrument to booking shows. Easy to read with practical advice.

I'm thinking about reading this to my 2-year-old daughter before I put her to bed tonight. Much more useful than Good Night Moon.

Hopper is currently in the middle of what looks to be a pretty exhaustive book tour. Here are the dates:
  • 7/13 Portland, OR @ Powells on Hawthorne 7:30 pm
  • 7/14 Seattle, WA @ Vera Project 7:30
  • 7/15 Santa Monica, CA @ Public Library 2 pm (w/Mika Miko)--outdoor show!
  • 7/15 Los Angeles, CA @ Skylight Books 7:30 pm
  • 7/16 Minneapolis, MN @ Magers & Quinn 7:30 (w/ Laurie Lindeen)
  • 7/19 Exton, PA @ Barnes & Noble 2 pm
  • 7/19 Philly PA @ T and P Gallery 6:30 pm (1143 s. 9th)
  • 7/22 New York City @ Barnes & Noble (396 Ave of the Americas at 8th St.)
  • 7/23 Providence RI @ AS220 7 pm
  • 7/30 Chicago, IL @ YouMedia Center @ Harold Washington Library book talk and interactive session 1:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m
  • 8/19 Oak Park, IL @ Oak Park Public Library 7 p.m., reading & concert w/ Katie Stelmanis (all-ages, free)
  • 8/20 Cleveland OH @ Visible Voice (early bookstore event)
  • 8/20 Cleveland, OH @ Happy Dog Bar (5801 Detroit Ave) Katie Stelmanis & Ghost Bees & me DJ-ing (9 p.m., $4, all-ages)
  • 8/21 Pittsburgh @ Garfield Art Works w/ Katie Stelmanis & Ghost Bees (6:30 doors, reading, bands & dance party, all-ages)
  • 8/22 Brooklyn, NY @ Littlefield w/ These Are Powers & Katie Stelmanis & more bands TBA me & DJ's MNDR & L-Train. ($7, 6 pm, 16+)
  • 8/23 Baltimore TBA w/ w/ Katie Stelmanis
  • 8/24 Washington DC @ Comet Pizza w/ Katie Stelmanis & Ghost Bees & more (9pm, all-ages)8/25 Chapel Hill, NC @ Nightlight w/ Katie Stelmanis & Ghost Bees & Curtains of Night (all-ages)
  • 8/26 Nashville, TN @ Grimey's w/Katie Stelmanis (6 pm, all ages, free.)
  • 8/27 Champaign-Urbana, IL @ The Red Herring w/ Katie Stelmanis & Ghost Bees (7 pm, all-ages, $3-5)
  • 8/28 Bloomington, IN @ Boxcar Books & Community Center w/ Katie Stelmanis & Ghost Bees (free, all-ages)
  • 8/29 Chicago @ Hideout w/ Katie Stelmanis & Ghost Bees & Girls Rock Chicago camper bands 1-4 pm ($4 kids, $7 adults)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Left Alone Q&A

There are really only three guys named Elvis worth knowing. There’s the one who died about three decades ago, the one married to that hot blues singer and Elvis Cortez, the founder and front man of Left Alone, the phenomenally catchy punk ska band from Wilmington, CA.

After nearly three years on the road nonstop, Cortez put the band on hold briefly to work on some new songs. The hiatus was thankfully short lived and, with a new bassist and drummer, he reassembled Left Alone and managed to record quite possibly the best record in their already impressive cannon.

With the new album out, Cortez was kind enough to answer a few questions.
What can you tell me about the new record? How does it compare to the first two?

Our new record has a new tighter sound as a band. We moved into the studio (something we had never done) and worked on it there, that changed everything from the process of writing to even mixing the album. We had a lot of time to work on the album with no distractions. The songs are stronger in every way and that pushed the record into a new direction. Every song to me seems to complement each other and the whole album seems to be the most cohesive record we have done. This record, as compared to the last two, seems to be better written both musically and lyrically. I really feel I went out into new directions with both and it worked.

Were you listening to anything in particular when writing this album that may have influenced the sound?

I was just listening to the classics Op Ivy, The Clash, stuff like that. Nothing too crazy that would make us bring out a string orchestra or something like that. I usually don't get influenced by stuff I listen to when working on a record.

Any songs in particular that you're especially proud of?

I think "Bombs Away" because it’s a political song lyrically and that’s something I have never done. It felt good to take a look around and put it down on paper the way I see it.

Any guests on this record?

No. Last record we had Tim Armstrong and Patricia Day of the Horrorpops and that was insane, but this time we kept it in the band. Well, we did have our buddy Pablo Fiasco from Baltimore fly in to do a few organ tracks. He always works on our records.

You guys took some time off before recording this album - do you think that helped with writing the record?

It really helped in a lot of ways. From the time we got signed in ‘05 till Feb. 08 we were on the road and that was rad, but after two records in with Hellcat in what it seems to me in my mind of like a year span, I just had to pull back and take a breather and enjoy it. Plus I got a 1963 Chevy Nova and I wanted to drive it, not just park it and be on tour. The time off also helped me solidify the new lineup.

You also went on tour with The Unseen during the break. How was that?

Yup, about two months after my "break" from touring Mark Unseen called and was like "Yo, you wanna play bass for a few tours?" and before I even asked “where? When? Anything.” I was like Hell yeah! The Unseen dudes are great so I jumped on that one quick. So Left Alone took a break (but) I didn't. I left on tour from March till June. That was so much fun, to only play bass; no business no nothing just play bass and, well, get ripped every night with Pat and Scot.

You mentioned the new line up. You've got a new drummer and bass player. How did you recruit Kiel and Nick? Do they change the band's sound at all?

I Met Nick Danger when we toured Hawaii, his home, and he heard we were looking for a new bass player he hit me up. His other band while he was on tour was breaking up so he started learning our songs while on tour and when he came to Wilmington the first day I knew he was the guy. He plays so great and is down to tour and is a Vegan. His bass playing really fills out our songs like never before. I only play about three chords and it’s really nice to have a bass player who can back ya like that. Cobra Kiel, on the other hand, we just hit up for a Europe tour as a fill in but the tour got cancelled and since he was done with his other band he joined at the perfect time. I have known Kiel for a few years now and have always thought he was a great drummer. With these two new guys to me it seems the pieces I have always been looking for to finish the puzzle have finally come together. I can say the band has never sounded so tight and been so ready!

You released a bunch of EPs and singles before signing to Hellcat. Have most of those songs surfaced on other records or do you plan to re-release them in the future?

They are on Smelvis, my label but eventually I’d like them to be out on Hellcat. A lot is the early years’ stuff which is cool because when I get into the band, the early stuff seems to get my attention. So maybe in the future we will re-release everything on a double CD or something.

You're on the road a lot and play with a bunch of regional bands - any band you've discovered on tour that's worth watching out for?

I’d say China Wife Motors from Japan, Random Hand from the UK. In the states Forty Lashes, the howlers and the Shoplifters.

Anything else you want to add?

Yeah. Thank you for your time and people please support true D.I.Y bands and labels. Right now time are tough for dreamers so we need all the help we can get