Larry Keel and Curtis Burch - The Newgrass Experience

Artist: Larry Keel and Curtis Burch
Title: Larry Keel - Curtis Burch and the Experience
Year: 2002
Label: Little King Records
Style: Bluegrass

This insightful collection of mountain lore and super-charged new-grass is fueled by two living legends of acoustic music. Larry Keel, flat pick guitar champion and founding member of McGraw Gap, joins forces with Curtis Burch the internationally renowned dobro master who has graced the stage with other Bluegrass giants such as Norman Blake, Doc Watson, and Ralph Stanley. This collaboration, which is dedicated in memory to genius Bluegrass singer and songwriter John Hartford, also features a talented supporting acoustic ensemble including Billy Constable (Hypnotic Clambake), Woody Woods (Blue Rags), Jason Krekel (Snake Oil Medicine Show), Mark Schimick and Jenny Keel (Larry Keel Experience).

The first track, ‘In the Plan’, features Curtis Burch on lead vocals and dobro in a sure-footed version of this classic written by The Dillards. The Experience rises next for a high-mountain thrill ride with ‘Carolina Sunshine’ and ‘Never Get On A Train Again’- a newgrass electrified rendition originally performed by the Everly Brothers.

Jason Krekel, on mandolin and lead vocals, heads up a brilliant cover of John Hartford’s classic ‘On the Road’ – A zany musical dissertation of the effects of jet-lag played in hyper-waltz time signature ( I give this version a very hefty A+, which is saying a lot coming from a seasoned Hartford fan!). On track 5 Larry Keel presents a hand-crafted composition entitled ‘The Door’: A bluesy, head-bobbing, number packed with Larry’s raspy vocal musings and greased lightning on the fret board. Then Larry and Curtis gladly throw a habanero into the pot and get down to business with a roof burning rendition of Tut Taylor’s ‘Black Ridge Ramble’.

I’ve always had great joy whenever hearing John Hartford’s ‘First Girl I Loved’ and I am equally impressed with this collaborative version including the haunting guitar and dobro interludes which weave themselves gently between the lyrics of this timeless tale of love past and present. This disc also boasts three other Keel compositions ‘Kite Song’, ‘These Things’, and ‘Smile’ which are impressive displays of Larry’s songwriting talent that make him one of the most important artists in acoustic music today. As an added bonus on this CD we are treated to ‘Pennies In My Pocket’ (written by Curtis Burch, Sam Bush, and Mark Olson) which features a bluegrass knuckle-sandwich of Curtis Burch on dobro and Billy Constable on banjo.

I’m sure that if you are a serious Bluegrass fan that this CD is a no-brainer to add to your collection. Larry and Curtis are two of the most talented and hard-working dudes who have ever played acoustic music. You can really feel the emanations of the great time these two must have had with The Experience rambling through these choice cuts in the studio. Isn’t that what great music is REALLY about? I’m sure John Hartford is looking down from the clouds right now knowing that he is not forgotten and honored that these two friends are playing his songs and having a blast in the process.

Review: S. Remington

CD Review originally appeared on PhreshWater.com in November 2002


Leo Kottke and Mike Gordon - The Biology of a 'Clone'

Its title notwithstanding, CLONE is a wholly original collaboration between acoustic guitar legend Leo Kottke and bassist Mike Gordon of Phish. For Kottke, it is the 25th album (excluding compilations) in a career that dates back to 1968. From the beginning, the Minneapolis-based guitarist has dazzled fans and fellow musicians with his uniquely propulsive fingerpicking and deep, resonant voice. Since 1983, Gordon has established himself as a virtuoso in his own right as bass guitarist and founding member of Phish, the quintessential jam band from Burlington, Vermont.

This recording marks a departure for both musicians. CLONE is the first "band" album Kottke has ever made, in the sense of being a true, fully credited collaboration with another musician. It is also Gordon's first musical project outside of Phish. Shot through with skewed, surreal humor and casually brilliant interplay, Clone is a captivating collaboration between two master musicians.

And to think it all began with the word "eleemosynary."

Eleemosynary is essentially a highfalutin synonym for "charitable." Mike Gordon dropped the word into an essay from his book Mike's Corner, a collection of whimsical short pieces he'd written for Phish's newsletter. Leo Kottke, after being given a copy by longtime fan Gordon, made note of eleemosynary's appearance. The only other time he'd seen it used was in John Fowles' novel The French Lieutenant's Woman. At that moment, before they'd ever played a note together, guitarist Kottke realized that bassist Gordon - who possesses the same sort of disarmingly playful intellect - might make a fruitful collaborator.

"That's what really got my attention," chuckles Kottke. "That and the fact he's easy to talk to. He's one of those people, unlike me, who can walk up and say hello to anybody on earth and be perfectly at ease with it. So I got curious about what he was doing."

Gordon already knew plenty about Kottke, having seen him in concert as far back as 1983. Mike and bandmate Trey Anastasio considered him their favorite acoustic guitarist. So when Kottke came to play Burlington, Vermont, in 1999, Gordon was ready. He had taken one of Kottke's earliest solo instrumentals, "The Driving of the Year Nail," and overdubbed an original bass line. Backstage, he presented Kottke with a tape of the revamped song, as well as a copy of his book and Phish's latest release, The Story of the Ghost.

"I had always been a fan," Gordon recalls, "and it just dawned on me like a flash that I would click with him, both personality-wise and musically."

Some months later, Kottke contacted Gordon to say he liked the bass part Mike had added to "Year Nail." Eager to explore the potential chemistry, they got together a few times to jam. At the end of a daylong session at Trey's Barn studio in Burlington, they improvised a pattern that got them excited. Just as "eleemosynary" had broken the ice, this one riff - which can be heard at the beginning of "June" - cemented their union. "It made us think we should try to write music together," says Gordon.

"I've had the experience of playing with people where things fit really well, you have a lot of fun and pretty much get what you want," says Kottke. "But I've never had the experience of locking in before the notes are happening and finding out that you can do things literally in unison. It really was a shock to me.

"We only had a lick," Kottke continues, "but based on that we committed ourselves to do a record. We jumped in over our heads without a second thought. It could've been disastrous, but it really worked. We found out we could write together, which is really what happened."

Another session, this one in Kottke's hometown of Minneapolis, found them finding a groove on the Kottke-composed "Disco." "I started playing along, and he described it as 'having foot,'" Gordon says with a chuckle. "He said that one would be good for us, 'cause people could stomp their feet to it." At that point, Clone began taking shape.

Between January and June 2002, Kottke and Gordon convened three times at the Burbank, California, garage studio of producer Paul DuGré. A freewheeling spirit of "anything goes" pervaded the sessions, as they challenged each other in ways that were novel for both of them. "Playing with him was pushing my style to a new limit," acknowledges Gordon, "and he claimed it was doing the same thing for him. So it just felt great, and it had foot."

They drew upon a choice set of uniquely slanted songs, among them "Car Carrier Blues," whose narrator worries about driving behind those car-carrying trucks for fear that the rear automobile will fall off, and "From Pizza Towers to Defeat," a surrealistic ditty (written by cult hero Bob "Frizz" Fuller) that makes lyrical references to a train robbery and Richard Nixon in drag.

Of course, Kottke played guitar and Gordon played bass, and both sang. But they also delved into a whole other realm of "found" noises and instruments to spice up the mix. Mike played a "resophonic bass" - a custom-made instrument with the body of a dobro and the neck of a bass - on "Arko" and "With." Kottke played "the Condor," a prototype guitar synthesizer made decades ago. It was so bad, it was good - especially on the bizarrely humorous title track.

"The strings were really rusty and it was dangerous to play," laughs Kottke. "It had this controller with these huge vanilla, barstool-red and turquoise panel buttons on it that said things like 'choo choo train' and 'surf.' It was awful! Half of it didn't work and it made all this noise, but it had something, so the Condor is all over 'Clone.'"

Kottke and Gordon also played percussion on pots and pans from DuGré's kitchen and flew in noises from something called a "lollipop vibrator." In "The Collins Missile," Gordon plays "skull flute" - a plaintive, high-pitched sound made by cupping one's hands and blowing through the thumbs.

"Laughter was important," says Gordon of the sessions, which even had their own mascot: a neighborhood cat.

"Ralph was her name," says Kottke. "This cat was really peculiar. It would run across the street whenever we showed up. And when we brought it in the studio, it played everything: walked on the guitar, on the bass, on the piano, on Paul's control board."

This feline spirit of daring carried over to Kottke and Gordon, who happily followed their collective muse wherever it led them. "There was no strain," says Kottke. "It was the easiest record I've ever made. It was completely unstructured and spontaneous. There wasn't any idea we were trying to express some message or anything. We were just looking for that click."

- Article originally appeared on PhreshWater.com in October 2002


DVD Review: Grateful Dead - The Closing of Winterland

Artist: Grateful Dead
Title: The Closing of Winterland,
December 31, 1978
Label: Monterey Video
Year: 2003

Rating: 4.5 Drops

Winterland, originally built as a boxing venue and then an ice skating arena in San Francisco Ca, became the second home of Rock promoter Bill Graham when the acts he normally sponsored at his Fillmore Auditorium, a few blocks away, became too popular and a larger seating capacity was needed. Bill promoted well over 500 shows at Winterland through its legendary slice of history that saw acts such as the Rolling Stones, the Doors, Stevie Wonder, Cream , James Brown, Jefferson Airplane, the Sex Pistols, and certainly one of the greatest Rock and Roll bands of all time: The Grateful Dead.

After going through several renovations, Bill Graham could no longer manage keeping the crumbling building together and decided to close the doors of Winterland with one final smash evening on December 31, 1978 with opening acts New Riders of the Purple Sage, the Blues Brothers, and the Grateful Dead to headline this sentimental farewell concert. ‘Pete’, according to one of the Winterland management crew, ‘Who is always the first to show up’ made it to his legendary place at the front door three days before the show. Bill Graham’s sister, Esther, set up a soup kitchen outside to feed all the ‘Beautiful Kids’ waiting outside with a healthy menu of soup, rolls, and carrot cake. It had been, according to the obsessed fans banner, “1535 Days Since Last SF Dark Star”. San Francisco public television station KQED and pioneering FM Rock station KSAN were there to capture every moment in video and audio: It was the beginning of a historical evening.

With well over 5000 ‘Heads’ crammed into Winterland, and the opening acts having wowed the crowd, Bill Graham dressed up as ‘Father Time’ and took his midnight ride in his carriage to the stage that was a blazing monster joint that only King Kong could enjoy in one sitting. Once the gigantic doobie hit the stage, with Dan Aykroyd finishing the countdown, a million balloons flooded the audience with uproarious applause as the Dead whipped out the first chords and riffs of Sugar Magnolia. From that moment on, the night belonged to the Grateful Dead and the swarming sea of fans paying their last rites to the place that held 59 Dead shows, nearly 10% of all Grateful Dead performances.

There are so many magical moments on this film that I could spend several more pages or a full essay on the subject without a doubt. Now, this is the best Grateful Dead footage that is in my library and certainly one that will be enjoyed over and over again. With 2 DVDs, a 28 page collectors book, and over 6.5 hours of material, you can get completely immersed in this magical evening. And, you now have the luxury of archiving it right in your own home. Plan on making an all-nighter or an entire weekend out of this DVD the first time out of the box!

By: S. Remington

DVD Review: Allman Brothers Band - Live at the Beacon Theater

Artist: The Allman Brother Band
Title: Live at the Beacon Theatre
Label: Sanctuary
Year: 2003

Rating: 5 Drops

The Allman Brothers Band pulls into New York city every March for an extended string of performances that dedicated fans have come to refer to as 'The Beacon Run'. This DVD puts you not only in the front row for two stellar nights at the Beacon, March 25 & 26, 2003, but nestles you directly in the lap of one of the founding bands of the Jam scene and clearly one of the greatest Rock and Roll bands of all time. The film brings you in through the front door of the famous Beacon Theatre on New York's upper West side and literally suspends you out over the crowd and the stage for a beautiful and blistering 3 hours of Allman Brothers magic.

Over the years I've seen the Allman Brothers Band, through rough times and good times and different line-ups, but I'll tell you right now they have arrived AGAIN! They have never sounded tighter and more full of collective energy and joy and watching this film is nothing short of awe inspiring. Gregg Allman has made a complete transformation and this rekindled fire within himself is a potent fuel for the entire band to feed and explore the improvisational landscapes that set this legendary band apart from the rest and continues to evolve musically today.

This professionally shot film is some of the most electric concert footage that I have ever seen and is enhanced with crystal clear digital audio to transform your home entertainment center and living room into a super charged Allman Brothers experience. The band charges brilliantly through many Allman Brothers classics including 'Ain't Wastin' No More Time', 'Woman Across the River', 'Midnight Rider' with full fledged fervor and ferocity. One of the highlights of the set list was a mind altering collaboration of Derek Trucks and Warren Haynes giving a slide guitar clinic, both trading lead back and forth, in an amazing rendition of 'Rockin' Horse'.

The DVD is also packed full of features, photo gallery, a bonus track with Derek and Warren tearing up an acoustic version of 'Old Friend' in a backstage dressing room rehearsal, and a wonderful interview section with all of the band members as they speak on the roots of the Allman Brothers Band and the stage chemistry they share today. I watched the film from beginning to end and only tagged the pause button long enough for a restroom break and to switch discs. This DVD is definitely a must have for the hardcore Allman Brothers fan young and old alike and its treasures will certainly be explored again and again from my living room for years to come.

By: T. Monroe


Lotus - Transmitting Sounds from the Cosmic Playground

Editors Note: PhreshWater.com prided itself on bringing you the best up and coming talent each and every month in its own featured section called ‘The Gene Pool’. The purpose of The Gene Pool was to thrust this new talent right out onto the home page, in full view for maximum exposure, right along side of already established artists. It grew to be one of most popular sections and the most fun to publish.

Welcome back to The Gene Pool from our last trip across the Atlantic to London. Now we bring you back to Philadelphia which is becoming a hotbed of its own and brimming with talent and volatile sounds without any boundaries of genre. The city of ‘Brotherly Love’ has blessed the live music scene with virtuosity spawning from bands like Revisor, Brothers Past, The Disco Biscuits and now our newest inductee – Lotus.

Lotus formed in 1999 and toured extensively in the Midwest and Colorado before relocating to Philadelphia in 2002. Their sound is self described as ‘Organic Ambient Trance Funk’ and I’m here to tell you that it most definitely transcends these humble definitions. We are in an exciting time for live music and the Jamband scene where musicians with hybridized influences and technical mastery are changing the way we are experiencing and perceiving music as a whole. Lotus, much like Sound Tribe Sector Nine (who Lotus members cite as a major influence) and John McLaughlin and his Mahavishnu Orchestra, has a definite sense of music as spirituality and the instrument is an extension and facilitator of a trance like stasis that comes from seeking oneness with music and the universe simultaneously. In one listen to a live recording or seeing Lotus perform it is apparent that they posses a wealth of talent in every aspect of their intricate and danceable compositions. Now that you have a glimpse into ‘what’ Lotus music is about lets take some time and find ‘who’ is behind the instruments and imaginations of this highly creative band.

SR- Can you tell me about the early days of Lotus and how you formed the band?

Jesse Miller (JM)- The band got it’s first start in the fall of 98’. It was Luke and Mike’s freshman year.... Mike is the guitarist who is no longer with us… Luke and Mike were jamming together with a different percussionist and bass player at that time…I was going to school in Santa Fe and I had come out to visit them over my spring break and we jammed out and things were kind of clicking and seemed like something that we need to do… so in the summer of 99’ me, Luke, Mike Remple and Steve were living out in Denver together and started playing out there and that’s when Lotus officially started. And then I ended up transferring to the school that they were all going to…

SR- What’s the name of the school?

JM- Goshen College…. A real small school in Northern Indiana. We were playing there as a four-piece. We did some gigging there, not a whole lot…

SR- How did you decide that the Bass would be your instrument of choice?

JM- That’s kind of a funny story. In high school Luke, who is my twin brother, we decided to start and band and that would be cool. He played a little guitar and I played a little guitar and we wanted to start a Ska band….and we had a few friends who played horns. We decided to get this together and we found this drummer who was like in Junior High or something but no one played Bass, so I said ‘Ok, I’ll play Bass’.

SR- Do you guys see heading into the studio anytime soon?

JM- We’ve never been into the studio yet….our first album ‘Vibes’ is live release. We did do some things in the studio about three years back but it never got released. But, we are about to start to do some studio work in the next few weeks….

SR- I now that you guys have recently relocated to Philadelphia and was wondering how that has effected Lotus as a band?

JM- It’s just effected Lotus greatly ….especially in the business sense. It opened up a lot of markets that we’ve never been to before…we were just touring in the North and Midwest but now were touring in the South and North East. Where we were before in Indiana the closest market was in Grand Rapids which was a two hour drive and that was our home-base.

SR- I’ve already written an overview of Lotus as a band. And in my overview I make mention that Lotus as a band emulates their music in a spiritual awareness much like Sound Tribe Sector Nine or the Mahavishnu Orchestra. Is this true or am I over- analyzing you guys?

JM- No. That’s definelty how we gear our improvisation. We don’t do a whole lot of ‘Blues’ type of improv where there’s soloing back and forth. It’s more of a group improvisation and I think that type of improv lends itself well with the audience, it’s more an organic type of feel and that really taps into a meditative or spiritual state. That’s something that we definitely focus on….

SR- Luke, I know that you are Jesse’s twin brother…

Luke Miller (LM)- Yeah, that’s how I like to be introduced

SR- Out of curiosity have you guys ever tried to pull a fast one on stage and traded places?

LM- …No. But the crowd gets confused sometimes….

SR- I really enjoy your music and especially the textures that are created with the guitars. Where are you drawing your inspiration from?

LM- I’m not a big fan of guitar music. Most of the music I listen to is non-guitar….I listen to a lot of electronic music like the Orb and Kruder and Dorfmeister….Things that definitely are not typical guitar music….

SR- With your own guitar are you trying to create different sounds that are not normally achieved in traditional guitar playing?

LM- I think if you put too many effects on a guitar it sounds cheesy ….so I use a fairly clean sound…..maybe its more of a ‘mind set’ of electronic music and not drawing from the Rock solo aspect….

SR- When you guys are improvising would you say that the crowd has a direct effect on what’s being played on stage?

LM- For sure. We definitely try to make it an interaction between us on stage and the audience and try to break down that traditional boundary a little bit through improvising….if there’s people out there dancing like crazy that gives us more energy and we want to throw that back out at them….Yeah, I draw a lot of energy from the crowd..

SR- When you guys go on the road what kind of vehicle do you take?

LM- We have a Dodge six-passenger van with a turtle-top and a trailer…the van is from the 80’s and the engine is from the early 70’s …. …not very reliable. Luckily, we haven’t missed any shows but it’s about time for us to buy another one….

SR- What are you reading right now?

LM- I just finished ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’….It was really fun and now I’ve got the whole series..

SR- If you were to take your stage persona and give it a name from one of the characters of the ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide’ what would it be?

LM- ….I think it would be that lost, middle-brain section of Beeblebrox. Who knows what’s there?!?

SR- Chuck, what kind of percussion set-up do you take on the road?

Chuck Morris (CM) – It’s a Roland handsonic with some electric pads, djembe, congas, high hats….basically auxillary percussion and hand drums….

SR- Are there any new instruments that you are playing or experimenting with?

CM- Actually, I’m trying to simplify the set that I’m playing with and trying to move over to a more electronic feel….. I’m starting to get into a lot more things electronically

SR- Do you and Steve get to spend much practice time with just the two of you together?

CM- …That’s something that we just haven’t had much of a chance to do…we both have 40 hour a week jobs and get to practice at night…..

SR- Where in Philadelphia does Lotus consume most of it’s meals?

CM- Definitely in the kitchen! We pretty much cook everything and don’t go out much….except Rizzo’s Pizza every so often….

SR- Who’s the best cook do you think?

CM- That’s a hard one…but it’s between the Miller brothers

SR- What’s the ‘Miller specialty’?

CM- 'Whatever-We-Have'…. anything with potatoes!…

We weren’t able to speak with Steve Clemens, the set drummer, who was in Peru at the time of the interview until the end of March but I feel that this will not be our last conversation with Lotus. As they have mentioned a studio release is in the works and we should get an update from them by mid-spring or early summer and we’ll be sure to pass that information along. If you’ve never heard or seen Lotus please do yourself a favor and have a listen and catch them live; you won’t be disappointed. Also, check out streaming audio that they have provided at the top of the page.

Thanks for joining us in The Gene Pool! Who will be next? Maybe you know already!

By: S. Remington – Article originally appeared in March 2003


Snake Oil Medicine Show - Preaching Galactic Unity

Packed into a van, along stretches of interstates leading to the Northern tip of the United States, sits the members of the wildly unique, Snake Oil Medicine Show. Riding along, singing a song, happy-go-lucky and all that jazz, Snake Oil and their road manager agreed to fill out my survey of playful interrogation so that I, You, We could get to know what makes this “zany, original, enlightening, inspirational, mystical, and colorful” band tick.

Although the band has seen many lineup changes, its core is still the same: George “Geometrognome Warpextor” Pond (bass and guitar) as the band’s founding member, his lovely wife Caroline (fiddle), and his brother Andy (banjo). Also adding to the mix are Sean Foley on keyboards and accordian and Phil Cheney on the canvas. Although MANY things separate Snake Oil from other bands, having a live painter on stage, creating art as the music progresses, catapults SOMS into a league of their own. Billy “Festus” Herring rounds out the rest of the crew, making sure that “galactic unity is being preached” as the voice of a road manager, and below the sextet answers some of music’s craziest questions.

GP: George Pond
CP: Caroline Pond
AP: Andy Pond
PC: Phil Cheney
SF: Sean Foley
BH: Billy 'Festus' Herring

How Did You Join The Band?

GP: Long Interview Process
AP: The band joined me.
SF: Through a Phil Cheney Recommendation

What’s Your Favorite Color?

GP: Chrome
CP: First purple, now red!
AP: Plaid
PC: Rainbow
SF: Clear
BH: Purple

If you weren’t a musician, what would you be doing?

AP: Teaching Children
PC: I’m not a musician, but I like to paint. If I wasn’t a painter, I would probably like to be a musician.
CP: I have a secret desire to be an actress in a movie or a play. I would need to take classes to hone that art though.
GP: Activist/Advocate for awareness, perhaps Peace Corps?
SF: Pimping!
BH: Riding around in a van with SOMS making sure that galactic unity is being preached.

Would you rather play to an audience of 10 diehard fans, or 150 who know none of your songs?

BH: that’s tricky because 150 people would help pay the bills but the 10 diehards(they know who they are) are the reason we can keep doing this beautiful thing.
AP: 150—they will become Diehard
PC: Diehard fans are awesome and we feel the love, but 150 fans helps pay the bills and at this point we need that help.
CP: Although I love both, I especially love playing for family and friends, I dig playing for huge crowds because I feed off the energy of the crowd—and I feel my performance is more animated and fueled.
GP: Happy to do both. I love the family and friends, but I love to spread the word!
SF: Either or, you can’t change the weather!

Does one person usually write the lyrics/melodies, or is it a collaborative effort?

AP: Group contributions of song and melody.
PC: Usually one person does write lyrics to a particular song, although some songs have more than one lyricist. Then the group will help with the music, each adding their own distinct flavour.
CP: Well mostly George is the genius who writes some crazy, whacked-out fun tunes. But we all have dabbled in it. Andy has beautiful compositions with wonderful, melodic ideas. I have been writing maybe two a year.
SF: Everybody does something.

What 3 adjectives would you use to describe what it’s like to be at a SOMS show?

SF: Zany, unpredictable, weird
BH: Mystical, colorful, WIDE-OPEN
AP: Original, fun, energetic
PC: Amazing, enlightening, inspirational
CP: Energetic, original, positive
GP: Happy, colorful, weird.

George, what’s with the funky outfits?

AP: Hey! It’s a show (said like the Fonz)
CP: Yeah Geo, what’s up in the air with your clothing choices?
GP: Haute Couture (Hot Cooter!)

What would you say to people who “just don’t get your music?”

GP: Please try again!
SF: What are you deaf?
CP: Maybe open your mind one more time, or hey, thanks for listening and trying!
BH: It’s not all about the music, it is about audio/visual stimulation to awaken the minds, hearts and spirits of those who partake of Snake Oil.
AP: I know, it IS a little complex.
PC: Well, they either do or they don’t—its art so it’s open to interpretation.

How did Phil join the band?

GP: Long interview process
CP: We had a mutual friend Woosel who introduced us. Phil has been with us for 5 years now and we truly love him and he is part of our family and a huge part of what we do.
SF: Ask Phil
AP: He started coming to gigs.
PC: Woosel bugged me to come see a show and I finally went. After several shows we were invited to paint the first and only festival.

What do you think his artwork brings to the music? Does it reflect in the songs?

PC: I am greatly inspired by the music and grateful to be around such awesome, creative people. They are my family
GP: I love it! Yes, the paintings have theme music and songs have theme paintings.
CP: The artwork of Phil’s brings the music to life! The colors, the comedy and the clearness of it all.
SF: It encompasses the energy and lore that laces all the music.
AP: The art reflects in the songs and the songs reflect in the art. Most art pieces reflect happenstances, situations and fictional eye imagination scenery.
BH: A completeness; Yes

Where did the name, Snake Oil Medicine Show derive?

PC: The name derives from the old-timey Medicine Shows which used to travel around in carts and buggies doing Vaudevillian performances.
GP: We were “The Jaguars” but we changed to SOMS.
CP: From the old covered wagon days. “Step right up and get your cure—all tonic” Snake Oil heals what ails you.
SF: Ask George.
BH: George Pond’s mind.
AP: Old Timey Medicine Show stuff. The Snake Oil is the Ultra Tonic.

What Song do you secretly long to cover?

AP: Any North Indian Raga. Truly the finest most spiritual experience I can imagine.
PC: Anything by the Beatles or Abbott Vaughn Meader.
GP: Princess Papodi has plenty papaya.
CP: “Midnight in the Oasis” Maria Muldaur.
SF: None, maybe old forgotten originals by the other bandmembers.

What 3 cds are in your cd player now?

BH: Red Knuckles and the Trailblazers, Abbott Vanugh Meader and Blue Bunny Express, A Cajun Mix CD
AP: Spike Jones, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Bela Fleck: "Tales from the Acoustic Planet"
PC: Les Primitifs Du Futur, “World Musette,” Hypnotic Clambake “Square Dance Messiah,” Thelonius Monk, “Underground.”

Interview: Bacon

Note: This article was one of the first featured interviews on PhreshWater.com, was written by our first intern writer Bacon, and appeared in the Fall of 2002


Cyro Baptista: Polyrythmic Supragenius - A PhreshWater Interview

I call the number from my Email print-out and my ears are met with indigenous percussion and what sounds like the undulations of a didgeridoo from the Baptista family answering machine. I speak into the phone who I am, prompting his wife to pick up and wish me a good morning. From the second we are speaking to one another there is a sense of ease and relaxation like we are good friends. He asks where I am calling from and I say ‘North Carolina’. He tells me he spent some time here, Wilmington in 1986, to shoot a film with Nick Nolte where he played a ‘Jailed musician’ and we both laugh heartily.

SR- When did you first realize that you would become a performing percussionist?

Cyro- … I was lucky when I was a kid. I had this teacher and she made us invent instruments. Because what they were teaching in the schools was really boring, you know? And she says ‘Lets do a band here. A percussion band. Let’s have everybody do an instrument.’ So one kid does a shaker and mine was a coconut. I cut the coconut in the middle and I sanded it and it had this sound. And it was fun because we started to play together and I realized that this is such a fun thing to do. Coincidentally, the band was kind of successful at that time and we went on to the TV and I guess that this was my first gig.

SR- Do you feel that everyone is a percussionist whether they realize it or not?

Cyro- Definitely….many of the instruments that I play I create or my friends have made them for me. Many years ago I would get really pissed when I would get finished playing people would come up to me and say ‘Wow, man! You played this….this….refrigerator! I can’t do that……’ But then I understood that everyone can do it and that is the message I am passing…it’s any easy thing to do and anybody can do it. That is what music is about in my perception…..I think that no matter if you are a dentist or an insurance salesman playing music is going to make you a better person…

SR- Can you tell me about the tall tower of drums that you were playing with the Trey Anastasio Band? What is it and where did it come from?

Cyro- That’s my ‘Tambourine Machine', that’s what I call it. It comes from Brazil. In Brazil we have these little drums we call ‘Tambourines’. What you call that here is something different. There was an old guy that I met in a remote place in Brazil, he was an inventor he had to show me his invention. It is great, really nice and it works well with the Rock and Roll. It is fun to play too. Percussion, especially in Brazil is for lots of people to play together, they are very easy parts, and then all those little parts make polyrhythm. And you know I’ve got this band called ‘Beat the Donkey’.

SR- What exactly is ‘Beat the Donkey’?

Cyro- …It is like a theater about percussion, my story about percussion since I was kid with my father playing the kitchen table before dinnertime. Like in Brazil percussion is part of your daily life and that’s what I want to show. In Brazil a lot of people play together. That ‘Tambourine Machine’ is like that; Each person plays one thing…there can be 200-300 playing drums….so when I play with Trey I can not bring all those percussionists so I just use that …When we played in Radio City I brought 50 people to the stage with Trey. We closed the show and we did a parade and we danced through the people and into the street, on 52nd street, we stopped the traffic, the police came…it was a big thing! We were in the headlines of the paper the next day!

SR- How did you become involved with Trey Anastasio?

Cyro- …You know this band Medeski, Martin, and Wood? Billy Martin, when he was young, used to be my student. Then many years later I bought this house in New Jersey and he bought a house near me, we are neighbors. I saw him after all these years and I said ‘What are you doing?’ and he says ‘..now I have a band and I’d like to have you sit in…’ I’m involved with a lot of music, you know, like Jazz or Classical and Avant Garde. I didn’t know about this new thing when I went to play with them. At this point I was playing with Herbie Hancock and Billy Martin said that they were playing at the Beacon Theater and for me to play with them….John Medeski who plays the organ is just amazing…the three of them together are just a perfect combination and the kids are going bananas. It was great for me because I was exposing the kids to all this crazy percussion. And it was a success…everything that I do they jump in the seats and I said ‘Whoa, man. These are the type of people that I want to play with. I’m sick and tired of playing with all these old jazz people…’ Then, they invited me to do this whole tour with them…and I said a whole tour I can not do but I will do a few concerts. And at one of the concerts, in Albany, Billy Martin comes up to me and he says .. ‘Cyro, today this guy is going to sit in with us and his name is Trey Anastasio.’ I’d never heard of this guy in my life. So, he comes to the stage and WOW! The people love this guy, they are jumping through the ceiling, you know? It was even crazier than with Sting or Paul Simon, I’ve never seen people go crazy like that. When he did leave the stage he came up to me and said, ‘Cyro, you are going to record on my next album.’……I’m so glad to know Trey. First of all because he is my friend and second the work that these kids are doing is exactly what I view is supposed to be done.

SR- You’ve played with such an impressive list of musicians and I was wondering if there was one in particular that has had the most impact on your music?

Cyro- Many. Every time I go into a situation to play music I think, ‘Why do these people call me?’ But, I need to always be learning. Like with Herbie Hancock. It was amazing when we were playing on his album about Gershwin’s music, we got a Grammy and then I toured with him for 2 years. It’s not just about the music but when you become involved, even as a side-man, it becomes a family thing. Herbie turned into my good friend….then the music comes together in a different way. This is very important when you play music…. You see kids nowadays watching the TV, playing video games, the computers, the Internet; a lot of things that you do alone. And music is something you do with other people together.

SR- Music brings together people in harmony…

Cyro- Yes. When I started to get together ‘Beat the Donkey’ I had this idea and I call this percussionist and I say, ‘I want to have music and dancers all together and do this….’ And he says, ‘Man. Why do we need ten people to do that? Me and you, we can do this with machines…’ In a time like we are passing now we need to do things together …… to see if we can transform the energy…. I wake up now and I see this stupid man who wants to have a stupid war and I think ‘What the fuck…Why?’ This guy is wasting his time…I barely have time to do things during the day like composing, doing this and that, taking care of the kids, and how does this guy have time during the day to make a war? Does he not have anything else to do?

SR- I think he’s very bored

Cyro- Yes! He’s Bored!

SR- Do you think if George W. Bush and Saddam Hussein got together and played some drums that they could work things out?

Cyro- No doubt! Maybe they would find out about themselves a bit. Maybe about sexuality or something…they must have a problem!

SR- I was wondering what is the strangest instrument that you have played before an audience?

Cyro- That is a hard question! I play some weird things…but more so in recording…like the cellophane that comes around the cigarette [pack]? You can use that and make it sound like fire but if you go to the audience its not going to have the same effect….One day I played with a guy from North Carolina, and he was crazy…he put a bird cage on his head and he played this bird cage and made amazing sounds! That was the craziest thing I ever saw but it’s not something I will try to copy! In ‘Beat the Donkey’ we have developed a lot of instruments. Some with PVC pipes and we play some signs- like a Coca-Cola sign – and parts of a refrigerator…When I teach I say to my students, ‘When you go to the store, you find instruments there…’ I think today you need to be more creative and find new sounds. The subway, it has it’s own sound and the lights on the street they have their own rhythm when they go on and off….you need to get your inspiration from other things and other sounds from nature. I have instruments that I made from the branches of trees or seed pods or made of bamboo and other things that I make from recycled material or from the junkyard. I go to the hardware store and I find a lot of things, enough to get an endorsement from Home Depot!

I really enjoy conversations and this is one of the most memorable that I have had to date. As a percussionist and avid music fan it was easy to be in awe of Cyro as a mentor and hero. His brilliance and vitality are present in every thought and delivered with such a great sense of humor. What else will this master of percussion accomplish in his lifetime? I’m sure that it will be plenty and it will always be in the spirit of bringing people together.

By: S. Remington Article originally appeared on PhreshWater.com 01/03


Dark Star Orchestra: The Music Never Stopped

When Jerry Garcia passed away on August 9, 1995, it signified the end of one of the most successful, durable bands in American music history. To the bands fanatical followers or “deadheads” as they have been affectionately called, and music fans alike, this brought a heartbreaking end to the exploratory, improvisational touring musical mecca that was the Grateful Dead. Since ’95, the surviving members of the band have regrouped under different identities attempting to recapture the spirit of the Grateful Dead, which they have in a sense. But gone forever is the band that developed the song, “Dark Star,” into a springboard for some of the most imaginative improvisation during the late 1960s; discovered their musical inventiveness in Europe ‘72; explored uncharted improvisational territory in May of 1977; realized new musical heights at Alpine Valley in 1989. Gone forever, that is, until you listen to the Dark Star Orchestra.

The Dark Star Orchestra may initially appear to be a Dead cover band, playing Grateful Dead songs with similar jams and segues. But upon further examination, one realizes the Dark Star Orchestra (or DSO) is much, much more than a Dead cover band. The band is so familiar and knowledgeable on the Grateful Dead and their structure, styling, and tendencies that on any given night it’s nearly impossible to distinguish their sound from the actual Grateful Dead’s. DSO differs from other bands in that they play entire Grateful Dead concerts from start to finish, copying the setlist song-for-song and vividly reproducing how the Dead sounded on that particular night. One night, fans might be treated to a show from Winterland ’72 and the next night, Hartford Civic Center ‘83. Curiosity and questions about what show the band will play leads fans to speculate before and during the show. But to the veteran fan, there are clues… DSO set’s up their stage and uses similar equipment as to how the Dead did for that particular show. Is Kevin Rosen, DSO’s bass player who plays Phil Lesh’s part, standing far stage left, in what’s commonly referred to as the “philzone?” Phil and Jerry Garcia switched spots onstage on April 2, 1982, now putting Phil on stage left, or the “philzone,” where he remained onstage until 1995. Or is there an extra microphone set up onstage? If so, Lisa Mackey will be performing with DSO as Donna Godchaux, who was with the Dead from 1972-1979. These are only two of many clues fans have in guessing when the Grateful Dead originally performed the show.

The idea of Dark Star Orchestra came while guitarist John Kadlecik was paging through Deadbase, a book that documents Grateful Dead setlists. “I played in different Grateful Dead cover bands, and each had different approaches to Dead songs,” John said in a recent Phreshwater.com interview. “I wanted to play the style the Dead created it in.” Kadlecik’s original interest in the Dead goes back to a friend turning him on to Dead music many years ago. “My first show was Rosemont ’89,” he says. From there, John, who had played guitar since he was a teenager, started playing in various Grateful Dead cover bands. “I had always been interested in jazz,” he claims, which obviously helped in his learning to emulate Jerry Garcia’s guitar style. “The first solo I learned note-for-note was on the Dead’s Europe ’72 version of “China Cat Sunflower.”

Reproducing a Grateful Dead concert musically is no easy task, however, since Grateful Dead concerts varied considerably during the band’s 30-year touring career. There were up to 120 songs at one time in the Dead’s live performing repertoire. Each era of the Dead’s performing career had “different unique terms,” Kadlecik affirmed. When examining Jerry Garcia’s guitar playing throughout Dead’s different “eras,” one notices a vast differentiation in how effects, pedals, midi effects, and developing technology all influenced his playing. Out of all the shows they play, Kadlecik feels he “has the flexability to interpret the late 1980s styling of Jerry’s guitar playing.”

But how does the band choose what show to do and avoid replaying the same show? “Scott Larned (keyboards) does show picking through Deadbase,” Kadlecik states. The band keeps track of shows they have already done. Interestingly, the band also occasionally performs original setlists, which gives them the capacity to try new things like playing songs that normally wouldn’t be played in a particular order or segment of a show. DSO has recently begun performing Jerry Garcia Band concerts. This becomes more challenging for Kadlecik because he must then do all the singing, in addition to the “busier guitar work and more solos,” he said.

In June of 2003, DSO released their debut album, 'Thunder and Lightnin', an original recording from the Oregon County Faire on July 12, 2002. The album was recorded and mixed by Betty Cantor-Jackson, known for her renowned Grateful Dead “Betty-Board” live recordings. 'Thunder and Lightnin’ is a brilliant example of DSO at their creative peak, replicating the Grateful Dead sound through an original setlist, including absolutely stellar versions of “Estimated Prophet", "Terripan Station", “Saint Stephen”, among many others. “The DSO live series is something the band hopes continues,” guitarist John Kadlecik said.

For someone who never was able to attend a Grateful Dead concert, DSO is a fantastic opportunity to witness what the Grateful Dead were capable of in concert. I’ll never forget the first time I saw DSO and heard John Kadlecik singing the Garcia coda during “I Know You Rider.” This brought chills to every bone in my body and a sense of joy in that I was able to experience this music live in person. Dark Star Orchestra will continue to tour, with each performance extraordinarily portraying one of the giants in American musical history, while at the same time adding their own fresh imprint on the music. As Bob Weir proclaims in the Grateful Dead classic, “The music never stopped,” and surely Jerry Garcia is smiling and watching over the Dark Star Orchestra in delight.

By: Peter Kolesari Article originally appeared on PhreshWater.com 09/03


Catching up with Martin Sexton: A PhreshWater Interview

From a hotel room in Kansas, between two phones, I had the great pleasure of speaking with one of the most electrifying performers and songwriters on tour today: Martin Sexton.

S. Remington [SR]: Your lyrics tell such great stories and I was wondering if your writing style was more sporadic or a constant process?

Martin: I’d say my writing is more sporadic…I tend to sit at the kitchen table real late at night, turn on the dicta-phone, and just start playing and stuff comes out. Then, I try to tighten that up later. It’s proven to be good for me. I tend to write more when I feel like it. Some writers write every day from…oh…nine to three and I don’t seem to posses that type of discipline…..I’ve been told it’s like fishing; you can’t catch anything unless your line is in the water. So you can’t catch anything unless your pen is hittin’ the pad or you’re playing your guitar. And I try to do that.

SR: Your vocal style has so much soul and I was curious if you attribute that to your musical influences or mentors and who that might be?

Martin: I attribute it to some of my earlier influences like Stevie Wonder, Otis Redding, and Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin. And I think the soulful style in which I sing comes also largely in part because I tend to mean what I’m singing about; I really mean it. And when I mean something I think it brings on conviction…..I sweat , I shout it. I think that goes hand in hand in soul music when it comes from deep down within somewhere.

SR: I’ve heard you play a lot of swing type tunes like ’13 step Boogie’ and even ‘Beautiful Baby’ and ‘Minnie the Moocher’ and its just so great to hear. I was wondering if jazz is a big part of your musical life too?

Martin: Yeah. Growing up in Syracuse there wasn’t a whole lot of variety on the radio, it tended to be mainly top-40. But the college station used to play only jazz. Not so much old-timey stuff, it was all newer jazz guys like Mel Torme, Harry Connick Jr., Al Jarreau, or Bobby McFerrin. And I used to listen to that quite religiously and I got a lot of bits from that that I use. But any Cab Calloway influence came solely from the Blues Brothers movie.

SR: How did you first become interested in playing the guitar?

Martin: My older brother had ‘ Frampton Comes Alive’ when I was about nine years old. I went up there as a nine year old and put on the headphones, up in the attic….played it, listened to it, heard that crowd…...and the crowd went wild. He started singing and I thought ‘Wow, this is just Bad-Ass!’ Then I discovered Abbey Road in the basement; I got Frampton in the attic and Abbey Road in the Basement…

SR: What motivated you to create your own record label?

Martin: The independent spirit that lies within me…..the unyielding part of myself…

SR: Are there going to be other acts on Kitchen Table besides yourself?

Martin: Not that I know of. I wouldn’t say ‘No’. I just think that its just a great time in the world, in the music business, to be ‘indie’. I definitely took a tip from others like Ani DiFranco who proved that it can be done….some of the best music has left the major labels and the music is still getting to us.

SR: Would you say that doing the independent thing is freeing you of the pressures of dealing with a major label and the influences that they might impose on you?

Martin: Well, I was lucky in that they never tried to force anything on me, I had a pretty good deal with Atlantic with artistic and creative control….When it comes time for marketing or advertising it has to come out of my own little coffers, which I’m happy to do because it all comes back. It’s like a river, its flowing and it comes back.

SR: I understand that you allow taping of your performances. Why is this important to you as an artist?

Martin: I just figured it was another means of spreading the music. A good friend of mine works with Dave Matthews and he was telling me how much of a benefit it was to him early on in his career. People trading tapes and spreading the music back before the radio push and when he was a bit more ‘indie’ himself. And, not to mention that it was an unstoppable thing to try and go out and police 1000 people who have mini-disc recorders…it’s just impossible.

SR: What song do you get the most requests for when you play live?

Martin: It’s funny but, it’s a lot of songs, a whole bunch of them. There’s not just one that everybody requests. I’m kind of happy that there’s not this one ‘Hit’ that everyone is dying to hear…it’s just a bunch of songs that people really want to hear….Every night it’s different and it really depends on the city.

SR: What is the strangest thing that has ever happened to you on the road?

Martin: Boy, that’s…….well…......hmmm…

SR: You were visited by the ghost of Elvis?…

Martin: It WAS ghost-like. In fact, in North Carolina. Oh yeah, This is a good one. Do you know where Black Mountain is?

SR: Oh yeah. Absolutely.

Martin: You know the Monte Vista Hotel?……My favorite hotel; it’s old, family owned and it’s haunted. And I had some experiences there before with my friends when we heard old men talking and there was nobody there….I knew that it was haunted because I felt it myself, I had heard these voices, I talked to the owners and to other people. So, I told my tour manager the next time through about the history of the place and we had rooms right next to one another. The next morning at breakfast, in that wonderful dining hall they have, my tour manager says to me ‘Hey, nice try last night Man.’ And I said ‘What are you talking about?’ and he says ‘Yeah right. Like you don’t know.’ I said, ‘Yeah right, I DON’T know.’ He says to me, ‘Like…that wasn’t you scraping the walls? It sounded like some tool was scraping the walls.’ I said, ‘Dude, that wasn’t me…..’ <> He said he heard someone walking back and forth upstairs with a boot on, like a high-heeled boot, going 1-2-3, turn around and then walk 1-2-3 again the other way like at 4 in the morning. And, there was no one there in that room that night, totally vacant - we checked. Then we looked between both of our rooms and there was this door to a broom closet with tools hanging in it..…it was crazy. I just love that place….there’s just so much vibe, so much energy….

SR: One last question for the ‘readership’. If you could give George W. Bush just three words of advice right now, what would it be?

Martin: Love Your Brother…

SR: Awesome…..

By: S. Remington article originally appeared on PhreshWater.com 09/02


Vinyl: The Groove Ambassadors of Northern California

For decades the soils of Northern California, the Bay Area in particular, have facilitated the growth of the deepest of musical roots and inspired the evolution of some of the most radiant musical souls. Far from the insatiable cries of Hollywood and the smoggy horizon of Southern California, bands that call Nor Cal their home seem to have a different air about them. Vinyl is one of the many emerging acts from this northern creation station, and they embody a unique home-grown blend of spicy grooves, slithering melodies and beats that seem to command the blood in your veins. The seven layers supply a distinctive sound, utilizing every musical genre from reggae, to Latin jazz, and everything in between, and crafting the innovative multi-textured fusion that is their signature jam.

The ground floor houses the big three, guitarist (Billy), bassist (Geoff), and drummer (Alexis), while the higher stories make room for the addition of funk and flare to the foundation. The second story consists of Danny on trumpet, Doug on saxophone, Jonathan on keyboards, and the latest edition, Johnny, presiding over the percussion section. The guest house is left fully stocked for the extended family and appearances by vocalists, a variety of other musicians and producers, and even the occasional celebrity. Whether you are among the enduring fans, the cast of back up stars, or even a Vinyl first-timer, you will feel right at home with the welcoming grooves and affable ambience their live performance provides.

I was fortunate enough to experience them the night before Thanksgiving on their fifth annual Black Wednesday performance. Within the wooden walls of Sweetwater, in their stomping grounds of Mill Valley, I sat down with a few of the guys before the show to tap a little further into the source of their flow. At the moment their average day consists of touring and preparing for the upcoming release of their new album recorded at The Great American Music Hall in San Francisco entitled, “All the Way Live”. They recently added a new percussionist to the gamut, Johnny Durkin, who brings a hint of East Coast flavor into the West Coast zest.

Among the many guest appearances on the new album, one in particular that is quite unique is the accompaniment of Huey Lewis, who plays the harp on one of the songs. For a band that has worked with everyone from Les Claypool to Phil Lesh, and Huey Lewis to Pancho Sanchez, the possibilities are endless for where their collaborative future will lead. Having a song produced by Stuart Copeland, formerly of the Police, or playing with Santana, are a few of the collaborations that dance on the edge of their hopes.

Though they are hesitant to narrow the possibilities of this vast future down to any specific goal, they are open to take their sound to the next level and explore the vocal avenue further. The backbone of Vinyl has been primarily instrumental for so many years, and taking more of a vocal focus would certainly forge a new path for the band. One of their most stunning qualities as an instrumental band is that the listener can create their own interpretation and plant themselves at the heart of the music. However, adding a vocal layer to the mix, aids in expanding the sound and offers a new approach for those music fans that find a solely instrumental group difficult to open up to. One thing is for sure, any vocalist to join the likes of these talented few would have to be as varied and multi-faceted as the musicians, and that may be hard to come by. The imminent future is clear despite the uncertainties of the more distant horizon, and for Vinyl, the focus at the moment is writing new songs, keeping the sound fresh, and most importantly putting themselves out there on stage to the delight of their loyal fans.

By: Kristina Ensminger article originally appeared on PhreshWater.com 12/03


Let It Roll: A Conversation with Paul Barerre of Little Feat

Very few, if any, bands have been able to intermingle such an eclectic variety of musical styles so successfully as Little Feat. Whether it's rockabilly, country, blues, jazz, or any combination thereof, Little Feat has dazzled music fans and musicians alike with their inimitable approach and sound. They are currently in the middle of a lengthy fall tour, playing songs from their new album, "Kickin' at the Barn" as well as old favorites. Phreshwater.com had the chance to catch up with Paul Barerre, the longtime guitarist for Little Feat.

Pete Kolesari [PK]: You are in the midst of another lengthy tour and an upcoming Jamaican fan excursion. What will fans have to look forward to on this tour and will the fan excursion be a yearly event?

Paul Barerre [PB]: The tour will reflect our large catalog of songs, done with a lot of jamming, and we will be including some of our newest songs from the upcoming first release of a studio record for our own Hot Tomato Records called 'Kickin it at the Barn' Also, later in the tour we will be doing some all-acoustic shows where we perform the Little Feat catalog in a slightly different fashion due to the acoustic nature of the instruments. But there will still be a lot of jamming aspects to it! We feel the Jamaica Excursion will continue on a yearly basis, however we may start to check out different places to hold them, like Mexico or Costa Rica perhaps.

PK: I think Featbase is a great resource when tracking down Little Feat set lists throughout the band's history. How many songs are in the Feat live catalog and how are the set lists decided from show to show?

PB: We have over 160 songs in the catalog, including some that are covers that have not been recorded by us. Out of that total, we can probably play at least 60, I would think, with a little prep at a sound check. So what I do when laying out a set list, knowing that most folks feel cheated when we don't play Dixie Chicken, I almost always include that song and then try to change the set list from night to night. If it's a venue we play a lot, I try not to have the same songs from the previous show, even though it might be a year between shows. Then I look at who's singing what song and make up a set that disperses the lead vocals throughout the show. Lastly, I look at the guitar changes that need to be made in a show and try to keep the same guitar for a few songs in a row so the guitar tech isn't always running on stage. However, having said that, the set list can change at any moment in the show depending on how we feel and if a song is requested a lot and such

PK: What is the band's approach to live shows? And how does this approach differ from the studio?

PB: Live is more stretched out, I think. We like to really improvise a lot and in the studio we might do some of that, but not as much. The studio is for capturing moments, and repeating them, in that I mean finding the groove for a new song and then laying into it over and over until it's right, once you have it like you want it. When you do it live, you can really stretch it out.

PK: I think that the full-band acoustic shows are a great thing. What is the your approach to acoustic versus electric shows, and what are the pluses and minuses of each?

PB: Well, the plus is that we can show the songs in a different light with acoustic instruments, those songs that were mainly electric to begin with that is. And it's really a lot of fun having to come up with different solos since there is no real sustain on the acoustic guitars, but the power from the rhythm section remains the same.

PK: Do you prefer festival-type or club shows, and why?

PB: No preference really, they both have their good and bad sides, but mostly good. The large festivals are great cause of the number of people you can draw energy from, while the small club shows are more intimate, and you can share a little more closely with them.

PK: I know you have played with the Big Wu, String Cheese Incident, among many others. Many fans would love to see a live collaboration with Phish on "Sample in a Jar" (a song that Little Feat regularly covers). What are your thoughts on some of the "newer" bands playing and touring, and are their any artists you would like to join forces with in concert or in the studio?

PB: There are a lot of the newer bands that I find wonderful because they are so unique in their styles, the way it used to be really. There was a time in the late 1980s and 1990s that so many bands sounded alike I couldn't tell the difference. Bands like String Cheese Incident, Leftover Salmon, Govt. Mule, Derek Trucks, Sonny Landreth, and on and on. I just got into the Gourds and find them a lot of fun, especially their cover of "Gin and Juice"

PK: Little Feat has a long association with the Grateful Dead, dating back to Lowell George producing the Dead's Shakedown Street album in the late 1970s. Little Feat opened several stadium shows for the Grateful Dead in the 1980s and early 1990s. Bill and Paul went on to join Dead bassist Phil Lesh in his post-Dead outfit, "Phil Lesh and Friends." How did this collaboration come about and how was playing in this setting different from playing with Little Feat?

PB: I got a call from Phil asking me if I was interested in doing Phil and Friends while I was on the road, and it blew me away. I said yes immediately, then he asked me to see if Bill Payne was interested. The Dead's songs are a lot like Feat songs in that they sound so simple until you start to play them and find all the cool bits within, that was really cool. Billy and I had a wonderful time with Phil and Friends, and it really opened our eyes to jamming again. We had been getting a little stagnant with our shows just performing the songs as they were on record. After Phil, we opened up the doors and let all the music in, and out, and it's been really refreshing. It took us back to our old days when we would play instrumentals for 20 minutes like 'Eldorado Slim' and 'Day at the Dog Races.'

PK: You played several Little Feat songs with Phil Lesh. Also, Dead standards "Dark Star" and "Tennessee Jed" are regularly incorporated into Little Feat set lists. Is there any chance of future collaboration with Phil Lesh, or any of the other Dead members?

PB: Ya never know, I would certainly welcome the chance to do it again.

PK: Little Feat has recorded some incredible live albums (Waiting for Columbus, Live at Neon Park, and Down Upon the Suwannee River). The band allows taping at their concerts, which has put a sizeable number of Feat shows available for trade among fans. I think live tapes are a great chance to see how the songs and jams differ from tour-to-tour, even show-to-show. What are your thoughts on taping and trading live shows?

PB: Again, this is something we learned from the Dead and our fans. The tapers are a great bunch of fans, and our fears of bootlegs were really unfounded. In fact I think that tapers will buy the records as well cause they like to see how the songs change from recording to live, and live from night to night.

Many thanks to Paul Barerre from Little Feat for taking the time to speak us. Phreshwater.com encourages everyone to go out and buy the latest Little Feat album, 'Kickin it at the Barn' This vibrant, new release captures the band at their creative peak features nine new songs, all of which are sure to be well received by music fans everywhere and concert staples for years to come.

By: Peter Kolesari - article originally appeared on PhreshWater.com 10/03


Steve Burns: Blues Clue's Meets the Flaming Lips, Literally...

Yes, that Steve Burns, the one who used to consort with a blue puzzle-solving puppy. Yes, that Steve Burns, the one who once sought advice from salt and pepper shakers made of felt. But now allow your brain to handle the fact that this is also the same Steve Burns who colluded with the likes of Steven Drozd of the Flaming Lips and record producer David Fridmann to create a lush, imaginative, off-center album for adventuresome grownups called Songs For Dustmites. Or, as Burns himself describes it, "It's an album of sweet songs about science and love."

You can hear the kind of playful, metaphysical rock Burns and Fridmann and Drozd are after from the album's opening track, "Mighty Little Man," a bouyant, space-rock epic propelled by an overdriven bass line that buzzes somewhere between Ween and Radiohead. "Steve Burns approach to music is so strange that I had to work with him and I'm glad that I did," says Fridmann, who has added his otherworldly touch to albums by the Flaming Lips, Mercury Rev and Mogwai. "Steve is the best ex-children's-show-host-record-making-weirdo I know," he adds. Go deeper into the album and you�'ll uncover Burns' Bowie-like desire to push the boundaries of music. The sweeping "Troposphere," which was written on an airplane pondering the layer of the atmosphere before you hit outer space, builds from a contemplative little ballad to a sweeping rock dynamo flush with strings. A similar orchestral flair comes to light on "Stick Around," with its elegant use of trumpet and cello.

For Steve Burns, the shift from children's TV into the world of rock music isn't much of a leap at all, considering he's had the music bug ever since his dad carved him a toy guitar more than 20 years ago. But growing up, Burns found more opportunities in theater than in music. The acting remained a focus for Burns for years, leading to an audition in 1995 that changed everything. "I auditioned for Blue's Clues in camouflage pants, long hair and earrings. I thought it was a voiceover audition," he says. "When we started it was kinda like being in a punk rock band," he explains. "We had all these crazy ideas no one knew if it would work or if kids were going to talk to the TV screen, but we all really believed in it."

Burns treasures his five years on the show, but eventually, the time was right to make a new start. The music bug was beckoning -- as well as some other bugs. "I literally started writing this album because I was obsessed with a picture someone had shown me of a dustmite fighting with a micro gear," he says. "There are these tiny machines that are so small that dustmites, these microscopic animals, assume they are competing for food sources and do battle with them."

Starting from a single, combative dustmite, the album took on a life of its own according to Burns. "It all happened when I got a decent computer. I used to have a 4-track and now I can have an one hundred and four track. When I was 14 I would get my brother-in-law's bass and beat the hell out of it until I sounded like Fugazi or something. I did the same thing with the computer, having no idea how to use it I just pounded on it until I sounded like Boards Of Canada or Radiohead or whatever."

From those sessions of messing around with loops and noises and ideas, a few songs started to emerge. But what to do with them? "In my wildest dreams I thought 'who are exactly the people I would want to work on this with' and I actually got to work with them," Burns explains. Through a friend, Burns called Fridmann, sheepishly explaining who he was, and how much the Flaming Lips Soft Bulletin (which Fridmann produced) changed his life, to ask if maybe Dave would be interested in listening to a few of his songs. As fate would have it, Fridmann had just thrown a Blue's Clues party for his kids the night before. All of this led to David Fridmann's Tarbox Road Stuidos in upstate New York becoming home for some of the key tracks on Songs For Dustmites. "It's the Mecca for uncommon production value," says Burns. "It's a cabin under 40 feet of snow at all times. It's sort of like The Shining with vintage audio compressors."

With Fridmann¹s help, the album shares much of that cinematic psychedelia the Flaming Lips are known for, with more sonic color and wonder added by the Lips' own Steven Drozd. "When I met Drozd, it took us about 10 minutes before we were sitting on the floor writing fake rock songs like a couple of high school kids," relates Burns. " Drozd can rock out as hard to Zeppelin as he can to Air Supply and that's what makes him a genius." For Drozd, the feeling is mutual, calling Burns the "smartest, funniest, and sweetest man I've met in 10 years."

By: A. Nelson this article originally appeared on PhreshWater.com in 7/03


Starsailor: America Isn't Easy, But They Will Be Soon

Rolling Stone called Starsailor one of the top ten bands to watch in 2001. Early in 2002 however, a majority of the United States had never heard of them, and Rolling Stone declared them a 'miss'

Starsailor is made up of James Walsh (guitar and vocals), James Stelfox (bass), Barry Westhead (piano), and Ben Byrne (drums). Stelfox and Byrne had played together for ten years before inviting Walsh to the group after seeing him perform at a school choir. Westhead joined later on and Starsailor was born.

Love is Here, their debut album sold over a million copies world wide, most of them being in Europe. After a world wide tour, including the U.S., most of the world awaited their second album. Legendary producer Phil Spector came out of a two decade retirement to start the collaboration with the band, however sessions staled, and the band only recorded two tracks with him as producer. They continued on without Spector, and went with engineer Danton Supple as co-producer. The result is an album Music Week says "A huge leap forward from their million-selling debut, this album cements Starsailor's position as one of the most important new bands in Britain."

Silence is Easy, released on January 27, is Starsailor's second album. After the usually pressure to make a second album as good as the first,(the pressure being in Europe) the critics shut up and gave the album amazing remarks. Barney Jameson of Play Music Magazine said "..a record that's going to make them your favorite band. Buy this and play it until your CD player breaks." Powerful comments about a band not many Americans have heard of. The 11 track, 40 minute album has a bit of everything. The lead single and title track, 'Silence is Easy' not only ruled the charts in Europe but is now making its way up the U.S. charts with a powerful beat and strong guitar. The album has stronger touch the whole way through with exceptions to 'Some of Us', 'White Dove', and 'Telling Them'which are the softer songs on the record. However, even the softer songs have a little punch behind them. 'Four to the Floor' is the most powerful song on the album with a solid beat to it along with some great guitar/piano riffs. Songs like 'Shark Food' and 'Music was Saved' are songs that will never be on the radio that could become your favorite songs. The album is a perfect example of CD you could leave in your car and listen to all the way through multiple times without getting sick of it. The album is a must have for everyone that wants to hear something different.

Starsailor recently finished a short 13 show U.S. tour promoting Silence is Easy. The tour ranged across the country from New York to Los Angeles. However, on January 29, they put on a show to remember in Minneapolis at the Fine Line Music Cafe. After a 50 minute set that almost put the crowd to sleep by Matthew Ryan, the crowd was defiantly ready for some excitement. Around 10:20, the lights went down, and 'Shark Food', the sixth track from their new album began to play through the speakers. After a minute and a half of waiting, the band walked on stage, and performed one of the most amazing starts you will ever see by any performer. As the song played in the background, the band got ready, smiled at each other, and picked up at the perfect moment in the song along with the lights (which would rival Dave Matthews Band in my mind). After the song finished, they continued straight into 'Music Was Saved'. The atmosphere was set for the night. As the night went on, the set varied from both Love is Here and Silence is Easy. It included songs 'Alcoholic', 'Poor Misguided Fool', 'Fever', and 'Telling Them'. However, the show was filled with more than just good songs. Three Fourths of the way through the set, the fire alarm went off which gave a scare considering the Fine Line once had a fire which burned most of the building to a crisp. The show was still the most exciting moment of the night including a cover of Neil Young's 'Southern Man' and a great version of their recent single 'Silence is Easy'. The highlights of the evening were 'Four to the Floor', in which James did a little dance with the song, and the finishing song 'Good Souls'. The 80 minute set was one of the best shows I have ever seen. They are a band in which you have to see them live to appreciate their talent.

Q Magazine calls them "Superb". In deed Starsailor is 'Superb' but I would call them more than that, I would call them amazing. Even if you haven't heard a thing about them, if you listen to 'Four to the Floor' on Silence is Easy just once, you will be hooked. Fortunately for everyone, they are planning more tour dates in March for those who missed them. If you have a chance, go see them, you won't be disappointed.

by: Brian Kostek


Larry Keel: The Greatest Musician You've Never Heard Of...

There is a growing legend in music about a man and his guitar and his name is Larry Keel. In Western North Carolina Larry has been elevated to icon status with those who appreciate good, solid, hand crafted music. It seems like everywhere you go and everything you hear in these parts Larry's music is the theme music that's playing in background. If you were to ask anyone on the streets the simple phrase "Local Musician" Larry's name is certain to be at the top of that list. Why Larry Keel is a household name is quite simple. Larry's down-home recipe of Flat Pick style guitar, prolific songwriting, guest appearances, and a honest commitment to his fans, loyal or new, is why he has such a special place in the hearts of music lovers world wide.

Born and raised in the Blue Ridge mountains of Virginia, Larry Keel has traversed the globe bringing Bluegrass, Blues, and Folk music to countless satisfied audiences with his trusty guitar and mind altering fret work. From his first band Magraw Gap (who took the band competition at the Telluride Bluegrass Fest. In 1996, Larry taking the Flat Pick Championship as well that year and in 1994) to appearing with Sam Bush, Acoustic Syndicate and Keller Williams to now making harmonic waves with the Larry Keel Experience, Larry has charted a musical course that most folks can only dream of navigating.

This year will bring some greatly anticipated material from Larry Keel including his latest CD release 'Journey' and a documentary film on Larry and the band called 'Beautiful Thing: A Year In the Life of the Greatest Musician You've Never Heard Of'. Needless to say there are some very excited fans chomping at the bit for these morsels!

Larry Keel is a very humble and honest man and I had the great honor finding that out first hand when we spoke a few days ago. If you are new to the man and his music then you will find Larry's past as intriguing as his bright future. I'll not delay an longer and let Larry tell about himself in his own words.

S. Remington [SR]: Did you grow up listening to more traditional music styles or was this a developed attraction for you?

Larry Keel [LK]: I grew up mainly listening to traditional types of music whether it be old Country music from the forties and fifties or Bluegrass and Old Time. My dad played banjo and guitar.my brother played guitar and accompanied him. So I definitely grew up listening to those styles of music.

SR: Did your family play together in a band, like in the gospel tradition?

LK: Not really, we just played as a family at gatherings or around in the country at cook-outs or down at the fire department or VFW. We'd go down there and play music for them all and just have a good time...and that's how I got my chops...

SR: I was wondering, while you were learning to play guitar if the Flat Pick style was something that you were aiming at or was it something that evolved over time?

LK: When I started playing my brother gave me most of the technique that I started developing with the Flat Pick. I liked different finger-style guitar players like Merle Watson and Merle Travis... ALL the Merle's... [Laughs from both], but I gradually went towards the Flat Pick style, I always loved it...

SR: I understand the early in your career you were contracted to play at Disneyland Tokyo?

LK: Yeah [chuckles] When I was eighteen years old a friend of mine, who was older than me but went to school with my brother, had been living in Florida for two or three years and was reading through a newspaper and saw an ad for musicians wanted. He answered the ad and found out that was Disneyland in Tokyo, Japan. He called me up and asked if I wanted to audition, which I did. They liked what they heard so we went over there for about seven months. It was incredible

SR: I've been listening to your new release 'Journey' and I wasn't expecting electric guitar and was pleasantly surprised as well at all the different influences on the album itself like Reggae, Swing, Ragtime and Blues. Was this intentional experimentation for the Larry Keel Experience?

LK: Well, some of it's new and some of it's been with me from the beginning. I was just like any other kid with a Telecaster, you know. But, eventually, from sticking to my guns with the acoustic thing I wanted to delve into other areas that I've always been into. I just wanted to do some new recordings and see how it all would turn out.

SR: I was curious if you and The Experience took these new experimental sounds for the band out to your audience before the CD release, like a road test?

LK: Oh yeah. We handle it on a night by night basis since The Experience changes a lot. One night we'll have Jason Krekel [Snake Oil Medicine Show] and maybe Big Daddy [Steve McMurry from Acoustic Syndicate], we keep it rotating around.. It's a really true representation of all of our musical influences and inspirations....

SR: Have The Larry Keel Experience just come off of the road recently on a stretch of shows?

LK: Yeah, even though we stay almost continually on tour. We're just really trying to stay established and grounded in the music scene right now which is vast with talent at the present time. We've got a big year coming up as well...

SR: I understand that there is documentary film coming up about you in the near future. Is that true?

LK: Absolutely! It's been produced by Brownpenny Films and it was filmed by a guy named James Ryan Gielen. It is a very life like representation of what it's like throughout the day in our band... the up's and the down's of being a touring band...

SR: So it's definitely away from a personal history of Larry Keel and right directly in the action... what it's like being on tour?

LK: Sure. It's about following us around the country...it took a full year and he took over two or three hundred hours of footage and then edited from there.

SR: Did it feel strange being on camera that often, was it uncomfortable?

LK: It became natural... Ryan really makes you feel comfortable and films in a very easy way that allows you to be yourself.

SR: Will the documentary be submitted to any film festivals?

LK: I think that it's been submitted to like ten festivals across the country. We're real excited that folks are getting a chance to see it.

SR: Do you see a DVD in the Larry Keel Experience future?

LK: I'm currently in the process of putting one together with live performance, interviews, and such. That should be out by next Christmas time [Winter 2004]. That's something to look forward to

SR: Is there anything else that's on the horizon for Larry Keel or the Experience, maybe something that you can give the readers a sneak peak?

LK: My brother and I have been collaborating more over the past few months and there's a Keel Brothers CD that we're getting ready to release. It's very cool, a more traditional take... This will be out in the beginning of March [2004], just in time for festival season

It was great to catch up with Larry Keel and gain insight into one of the greatest musical minds of our generation. Don't forget to check the Upstream below to all sorts of Larry Keel teasers and treats for some of the upcoming excitement revolving around him and the Experience. Make sure to get out and see the documentary film when it comes to your town and we'll do the same.

By: S. Remington
Article originally appeared on PhreshWater.com in 01/04


The Crystal Method: Inside The Legion of Boom

The Crystal Method is the closest thing to a European dance club group that America has to call their own. Their four albums have created a sound like no other. Many call them psychedelic, many call them groovy, but no matter what you call them, their sound has left a mark on the club circuit of America. In fact, it has left such a mark, that their recent release, Legion of Boom, has earned them five nominations from the 2004 DanceStar USA Awards. They include Best Act, Best Album, Best Single, Best Video, and Best Use of Music in a Television Show. I'd say that has left quite the impact.

The Crystal Method formed in Las Vegas where Scott Kirkland and Ken Jordan met. Scott a DJ, Ken a producer, they joined together to form the resurgence of American club music. With a touch of Rock, Hip-Hip, and electronic, the two began to mix beats and record together. After a move to Los Angeles, their careers began to move with their single, 'Now is the Time', which appeared on the City Of Angels soundtrack. Since then, they have had three albums, (Vegas, Tweekend, and Legion of Boom) numerous singles, and enough tours to make them know around the world.

Legion of Boom was released on January 13, 2004. The album has gained much praise by many, including Maxim Magazine saying “Their basic formula, waist-deep in electronica cliches, is nonetheless appealing: one part slinky female vocal loop, one part buzz saw synth riff, and four parts steady, ass-shaking beat's. It also gained respect from retailers, as Best Buy and Target had the album included in their weekly advertisement. Most importantly, the fans, have given it great success already, making it the number 1 album downloaded of itunes the day of its release. The 12 track album has a touch of everything combined from the last three records. 'Born Too Slow', the lead single has a rock feel to it while maintaining the dance club feel. Meanwhile, songs like 'Starting Over', 'True Gift', and 'Bound Too Long' have that true Club feel. Still songs like 'American Way' have the Hip-Hop feel. The variety on this album is unmatched by any other artist in the world and success has shown that through its first week.

I had a chance to talk to Ken recently, and here is what he had to say.

Brian: First of all congratulations on the recent nominations. Do the awards have an impact on how you decide to go about your careers?

Ken: I guess it doesn't effect what we do really, you know, we always try to make the best records for our self and for the fans before we start worry about any awards or anything, but we are real excited, we've been to the last two DanceStar's, the first one we won something, Best Act or something, and last year Scott and I presented last year, and this year we are going to perform live at the show so it should be fun.

Brian: How do you compare the new album Legion of Boom to your past albums?

Ken: You know I think it is a little closer sounding to Vegas, than Tweekend. Tweekend ended up being a little, little darker and heavier than we had wanted and so we went into this wanting to get away from that darker and heavier sound this time and have something a little more familiar closer to Vegas.

Brian: What inspired this album?

Ken: Well that's was one inspiration. We are always looking forward to making records since were done touring to promote the one before. That and things going on in the world and in our lives.

Brian: What are your plans for the next year?

Ken: Our tour starts the end of this month, no end of February. We will be touring through the summer and hopefully we will put out a new mix CD by the end of this year or early next year.

Brian: With the success of your album on itunes, how do you feel about the internet and music?

Ken: We were really excited about that, we beat out a lot of big name people. Yeah, we have always been net users forever, we really like itunes. We both like, we both buy songs off itunes and I think it is really helping artists that were being hurt from all the illegal downloads so we thought that was really great.

Brian: As a whole, what is the main goal for the crystal method in music?

Ken: We just want to keep making good records, records that Scott and I are happy with and that are fans are happy with.

Brian: If you had your choice, would you prefer studio work or live performances?

Ken: We are always going to make new studio albums, and we still really like touring, and we like eating it to, so for right now, we are just going to keep on doing everything.

Brian: With people like Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine and Scott Weilard of Stone Temple Pilots appearing on your records, how do you decide who you want to work with your records on your records and has anybody turned you down?

Ken: We usual pick people based on, first of all what we need for the record or for a song. Also, we want to know the people now and we want to make sure they are into our music and we get along with them. All that is really important to us. I'm trying to think, has anybody every turned us down? I can't think of anyone that has turned us down before.

Brian: Is their anything you would go about differently on any of the albums?

Ken: No, I don't think I would change anything. Everything is a learning process and I think things are going pretty well so I don't have any regrets over any of the music or anything yet.

Brian: Is it hard to tour with Scott when he is married and you aren't?

Ken: No, it doesn't cause any problems.

Brian: How was performing for the first time opening for The Chemical Brothers?

Ken: I remember being so nervous, my hands were shaking. Like there was a spotlight and I could see my hands shaking so much. What I really learned, when your really nervous, drink a lot and you get less nervous.

With the release of Legion of Boom, and the upcoming tour which begins, The Crystal Method has a busy schedule in front of them. However, the busier you are, the most successful you are, so look for Legion of Boom to be a big seller, as well as earn them some respect in the music community. Tour Dates for the upcoming tour will be announced soon, so make sure to check www.TheCrystalMethod.com to see when they will be near you. Finally, expect 'American Way' to be the next single form Legion of Boom

by: Brian Kostek


Welcome Back Phriends!

Since the recent bad news that we had to pull PhreshWater.com off of the Internet as a full service music magazine a few of us have banded back together to bring you great independent music media again!

We will be making a lot of changes here at the blog site, which was in times past our editorial section only, so check back frequently. Here in the next coming days we'll be open again for submitted material and other great stuff for the readers. Also, I plan on posting a wealth of older material that we had previously published that is just too good not to archive, right here, for the world to read like interviews with The Crystal Method, Cyro Baptista, Ras Alan, Larry Keel and many more artists from our well over two years of archived material from PhreshWater.com

Stay tuned as we fine tune the operation!

S. Remington - Editor


Biodegradable Hemp CD Cases

From March 2004, jewel cases manufactured from the hemp plant will be available.

It is clear that the primary benefits will be environmental; hemp’s biodegradable status makes it a far more desirable material for production when compared with the billion or so CD trays currently made that have no environmentally friendly means of disposal.

The hemp plant is a viable alternative resource in many areas such as paper and plastics production; an acre of hemp produces as much pulp as four acres of trees and while it can take twenty years to once again grow trees on the same land, hemp can be grown and harvested in 90 days, twice a year. In our current climate of deforestation and global warming, such sustainability gives hemp a distinct advantage over products in many markets.

While it may until recently have been the preserve of a more classically environmentally conscious consumer, in recent years such things as the free press’ contribution towards a greater awareness of hemp’s manufacturing potential have helped lead it once more to the cusp of being a major industry; amongst others, Giorgio Armani, Mercedes and the Body Shop are just a few who currently use hemp-produced material in several of their products and it is likely that this pattern is to continue in many industries.

As a plant which can be grown and harvested year after year, hemp’s potential as a cash crop is on a scale of industries as vast as those of tea and coffee; such a widespread availability will (in addition to being environmentally desirable) result in hemp being a far more economical way to produce such products as mobile phone cases, computer cases, paper, clothing, jewel cases and so on.

It should also be recognised that hemp products are noted for their strength and durability (in the Second World War American farmers were ordered to grow hemp as part of the war effort where it was used to make parachutes, rope and many other essential materials). Hemp jewel cases have an added advantage over current petro-chemically produced ones in that logos can be embossed on them, providing the ability to further individualise the product in question, whatever it may be.

Now that the stranglehold of big business protecting its own interests is being loosened, hemp is ready to take its place as one of the twenty-first century’s biggest success stories.

More Information:
pictures/ orders/ samples
Paul Benhaim
www.hempplastic.com / paulb@hempplastic.com
02 6684 0066
0421 38 55 33

published with direct permission from the author


PhreshWater Readers and Phriends Worldwide

This is a very sad day for PhreshWater.com.
Staff members have lost their full-time jobs
due to the economic crisis in the USA and the
disrespect of GW Bush for the US Workforce.
After several days of discussing this issue
PhreshWater.com has made the extremely hard
decision to shut down indefinitely.

The past 2 years for us on the web have been
a magnificent journey into music as a whole
as we explored together it's many facets. Please
understand that PhreshWater.com was a labor of
love for music and we generated barely enough
to keep us afloat. The entire site has been
operated by unpaid staff and the best Intern
Staff on the planet.

If anyone has any ideas or knows of ways to
re-launch this endeavor we would love to hear
from you. We will keep the Editorial section
open so we can update everyone from time to time
and maybe, just maybe, you can swim with us again..

Peace and Love,

S. Remington - Editor
Comments or Questions?
Email us HERE


Legal Digital Downloads Earn Big Victory

Legally downloaded music has had its first major victory by outselling cassettes, vinyl, and DVD’s in January 2004. These amazing figures are leading to the great anticipation of the UK’s first Download Chart with the expected launch date coming soon. Read the full story HERE

I hope no one pats the ruthless RIAA thugs on the back or allow them to stick a feather in their own cap for this recent turn of the tide. Hopefully, informative independent media outlets will stand to take some credit for this great news and none given to those who drug middle class high school students into court because they were easy targets.


All Good Music Festival Moves to Summer

Top East Coast music festival to go
‘where those chilly winds don’t blow’

July 9-11 at Marvin’s Mountain in Masontown, WV

JEFFERSON CITY, MD. – Walther Productions is moving its flagship music festival, the All Good, into thick of the summer festival season, where the weather should be just as hot as its reputation as one of the East Coast’s premier campout music festival events.

The newly crowned ALL GOOD SUMMER Festival and Campout, traditionally held the weekend before Memorial Day, will celebrate its ninth annual edition Friday, July 9 through Sunday, July 11 at Marvin’s Mountaintop in Masontown, WV, the site of last year’s event.

The scenic 643-acre site attracted thousands of festival-goers last year to the wooded rolling hills of West Virginia just 15 miles southeast of Morgantown. But this year, promoter Tim Walther promises festival goers that they will not have to battle the cold weather complications that arrived in 2002 and 2003.

“Two years ago, we went from two inches of rain and 40 degrees one day to freezing temps and snow showers the next,” said Walther. “We certainly cannot control the weather, but we can assure you that it will not snow on this year’s All Good summer celebration. So come join us this summer in the luscious green rolling fields nestled high in the West Virginia mountains overlooking Cheat River at Marvin’s Mountaintop. The weather being cooler in the mountains promises to serve as a retreat from summer heat and humidity as opposed to the foundation for another Survivor episode.”

The ALL GOOD SUMMER FESTIVAL AND CAMPOUT will play host to the most spectacular roster of bands ever assembled by Walther Productions, recently voted Best Promoter in the Baltimore-DC region in the Music Monthly 2003 Year-End Readers’ Poll. Performers and ticket information will be announced shortly.

“I can’t figure out if I’m just shamelessly self-promoting or if I have cabin fever,” said Walther, whose winter activities have been confined to programming the all-new Funk Box in Baltimore and promoting at several theaters in the Baltimore-Washington corridor. “But I am real excited about this festival season …it’s gonna be a hot one.”