Well pardners, after almost two years as the Indy's music editor, I'm moving on. Working on a weekly paper is like living in a whirlwind--you're never quite sure what day it is because you're always working on events a week (or two or three) ahead. Time goes by quickly; seasons are those things you notice out your car window on the way to hang with your two best friends every day--your phone and your computer. Not to say it hasn't been worth every minute. Working for a paper like the Indy gives you a great excuse to meet--under the guise of being a reporter--people you never thought you'd lay eyes on, let alone hang out with and get to pester with questions. Examples: having cheeseburgers at the Harley Davidson café in Durham with Sonny Barger, head of the Hell's Angels in the '60s and the guy more-or-less responsible for the hostility at the Stones' Altamont concert; sitting in the living room of original Piedmont Blues artist John Dee Holman (he offered us some home-cooked ribs), and getting to listen to him pick guitar, sing, and talk about his life; touring the Moog synthesizer and theremin factory in Asheville and meeting Bob Moog--a witty, good-humored guy who changed the face of electronic music--the very day he was tweaking the first of his Voyager synth reissues.
This isn't to give local bands and musicians short shrift. While the Triangle isn't a major metro area, you'd never know it by the amount of talent it attracts and nurtures. The number of original music clubs and local releases is astounding for a market our size, and I've always felt that we have--and deserve--a national profile. I hope that, in a small way, I helped contribute to it.
My last issue will be Sept. 11. After that please send your tips, demos and complaints to the editor, Richard Hart, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
See you at the clubs.Funny, I don't remember him as a clothes horse ...
Former local-turned-media-sensation Ryan Adams, not content to simply cavort with the famous (close pals Elton, Alannis, Winona) has agreed to let those savvy folks responsible for GAP ads harness his charisma for their fall campaign, "For Every Generation," which pairs new-breed artists with esteemed vets. Adams joins the red-headed stranger himself, Willie Nelson, for a rendition of Hank's doghouse classic, "Move it On Over." Other musicians tapped for the spots include Tweet, Marianne Faithful, Jakob Dylan and more. Is it all about the music?
After a false start earlier this year, locally owned Garner-based radio station WBZB, 1090 AM, has been broadcasting since July 1 under the banner of being "the only commercial radio station in North Carolina playing 100 percent local music." The station, which operates from sunup to sundown (in accordance with their daytime station FCC license), has three live DJs and 150 artists in their database, as well as doing live interviews with local musicians (Rod Abernathy and Don Dixon stopped by for a recent on-air chat). As for who they've been spinning, WBZB Business Manager Kathy Epperson says that a lot of bands have "walked in off the street" to the Garner station, although you can find instructions on how to submit your CD. (They also accept demos and "whatever the artist brings in," says WBZB DJ/Public Relations guy Ben Alexander.)
"All of us have different musical backgrounds," says Alexander. "We preview everything and decide, based on our expertise, which ones are airable."
Initially there was some skepticism since Steve Bass, the station's general manager and owner, also owns a studio as well as a pro audio company, BME, and works with several area bands that are being played on the station. But Anderson says that only a small percentage of the cuts being played come out of Bass' studio and that the station welcomes all genres and styles, from bluegrass to R&B. The WBZB team also plans to open a store and E-commerce site for artists played on their station, with the station receiving a percentage of the sale.
To submit material you can call the station at 779-9917 or fill out a form online at www.wbzb.com.Basement Update
Despite partner conflicts and scrambling to find PA gear (after the former partners backed up a truck and emptied their equipment out several weeks ago), Avid Video owner and Basement booker Jason Jordan has persevered to keep the live alternative music club going. "We're trying to finish the calendar that I set up," says Jordan, who's cobbled together a sound system using borrowed and rented equipment. He says bands can expect to see some new gear brought in over the next few weeks. Meanwhile, the bar upstairs--"I still refer to it as 'the bar over the Basement,'" says Jordan, when asked its name--is open seven nights a week, with DJs spinning on Fridays and Saturdays. Jordan's booked every weekend through October, with several Thursday and Sunday-night shows along the way. "[We] still have some really strong shows on the calendar: Sankofa on Sept. 6, the Kingsbury Manx the next night ... the following weekend we've got The Ghost of Rock, The Sames and Evil Weiner.
"Everyone's been very understanding," says Jordan of the local music community, especially the Durham scene, which, between the Basement and Ringside, has experienced a live-music renaissance. Jordan is continuing to book acts and the club's future, for now, seems secure. "Bands can definitely call me," he says.Branford Bullish on Durham
With musical credits ranging from collaborations with everyone from Sting to the Grateful Dead, Grammy-winning saxophonist/ composer Branford Marsalis, trumpeter Wynton Marsalis' older brother, bought a home in the Treyburn subdivision. By moving to Durham, he'll join such other jazz luminaries as Grammy-nominated vocalist Nnenna Freelon. Marsalis, along with his wife and son, had reportedly gotten tired of life in New York and decided to try the Bull City.