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I liked all the films especially the one for Superman [“This is Joe”] and the last one which was longer [“ Frontman ”]. I look forward to at...

Monday, December 24, 2012

Parking Lot Grass Gig, Giggling Metal Rockers and Will Rauser Interview Part 2


Yesterday I attended the Parking Lot Grass gig at Choices. It started late. VERY  late. So I only stayed for forty five minutes of the show. However, I was quite impressed with what I saw and heard from this very talented band that is synonymous with “Swahili Rock”.  (I will post a detailed review of the gig before the new year). As is not uncommon in our beloved Kenya, there was a power black out while the amazing lead singer of Parking Lot Grass was in the middle of a particularly spirited version of a popular rock song. That incident reminded me that I was yet to post the second part of the Will Rauser interview where he talks about the best and worst gigs he’s been involved with. Here then is the second part of the interview. 

And regarding the tardiness of Parking Lot Grass, I will just quote what Will Rauser said in the first part of the interview: “Another deal breaker is lack of professionalism: You can be an amateur band and still act like professionals. Be polite to whoever brings your band in, treat other bands with respect (even if they don't deserve it), be ON TIME (that is a huge one)…”

Mildred: So what's the best thing about being in a band? And the worst? Which was your best and worst gig?

Will: Wow...let's see (I feel like I am being interviewed...lol)

Mildred: Ahem. You actually are. Sorry, it's the writer in me lol! *switching off the writer in me*

Will: Oh I love being interviewed...I could talk your ear off...lol.

Mildred: And I must say you are very easy to interview.

Will: The best thing about being in a band? The camaraderie, and, of course, the music. There's nothing like jamming together and sounding powerful and knowing that an audience digs your music. The worst thing about being in a band? I really can't think of a bad thing. I guess any drama that happens would be...but drama happens in all aspects of life, so I really don't count that.

Mildred: Yeah, I love music and I know I could do it as a solo artist but there is just something special about being in a band. What you said, the camaraderie. One of the MANY reasons I love U2 is that it is so obvious that they enjoy performing together. Your worst gig?

Will: The worst gig? You know, I think the worst gig we ever played was when we were a 3 piece band and we played on Fort Bragg at the fair, and it was 96 that day, and my amp blew a fuse right in the middle of the set. I had to get Bob and Jay to stretch while I trouble shooted the amp...and I had to plug my little guitar processor into the PA just to finish the show. The sound stunk, but I finished the gig!

Mildred: lol! At least you finished the gig. Your best one?

Will: Our best gig? I would have to say that we played a little converted mechanic's garage in a little coastal town here in North Carolina (Beulaville, I think) and Bobby (drums) and I visited the site 2 weeks before the show and it really looked horrible. In two weeks, that little youth group cleaned and fixed that place up, and it was awesome! And they were the BEST audience we ever played for. That room is on our video. You know, there was one OTHER BEST gig we had: We ended up playing a local bar (which we rarely do) and THEY treated us better than many of the Christian events we have played. I got great sound from the sound guy (he knew his stuff) and after we were done, the owner of the bar came up to me. I went to shake his hand (he was a HUGE biker guy) and he gave me a big old hug and said we were welcome there any time.

Mildred: (thinking: Awwwwww!) Speaking of youth groups and bars, is your band a "Christian band" or a band that plays Christian music? As a musician do you struggle with playing "secular" music?

Will: That's a difficult question, of which I have a lengthy answer None of us have a personal problem with playing secular music as a profession, or listening (within reason...there's just some stuff that ought to be avoided); BUT, we are a Christian band...meaning that our sole purpose for existence is to herald Jesus Christ to the world...we write our own material, and it is meant to be used for His kingdom and glory.

And with that, I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas! Look out for the final part of the interview before the end of 2012. Meanwhile, enjoy this outtakes video. There’s nothing as funny as metal rockers having an attack of the giggles!



Saturday, December 15, 2012

Will Rauser Interview: Part 1



Yesterday I had the awesome privilege of interviewing Will Rauser, a guitarist who has been playing for thirty years but still considers himself an amateur! He has a lot of great advice for amateur guitarists (and going by Will’s standards, if you’ve been playing for less than thirty years, then consider yourself still an amateur!) and also for baby bands. Check out the first part of the interview:

On playing guitar and guitar heroes:

Mildred Achoch: How's your music coming along?

Will Rauser: I am playing...just not as much personal practice on guitar. Playing bass for a friend's church on Sunday morning, then guitar in my own on Sunday night. My band is taking a holiday break

Mildred: How long have you been playing guitar?

Will: 30 years

Mildred: Wow! Do you ever get bored with it? Or is it a constant learning experience? 

Will:Well, let's see: Do I ever get bored? Yes, sometimes...but when I do, I will either put it down for a short time (never too long), or I force myself to work on something that I just can't do (like a classical technique or a country lick) Yes, it is a constant learning experience.

Mildred: Who are your guitar heroes?

Will: My heroes are mostly rock guys: Edward Van Halen is my #1 guy; followed by Neal Schon, Jake E. Lee, George Lynch, Micheal Schenker, Gary Moore But I also like Phil Keaggy (I have seen him 3 times, met him once)

Mildred: Ever heard of Steve Vai? I don't know much about guitars but I think he's pretty awesome!

Will: Have I ever heard of Steve Vai? LOL...of course...I love his work He IS a genius!

Mildred: he he he. Yeah I knew the chances of you knowing Vai were like 100 percent

Advice for amateur guitarists and baby bands

Mildred: What advice would you give to a baby band in general and to an amateur guitarists in a baby band in particular?

Will: Well, that is two separate things, but they aren't mutually exclusive, but let's see if I can give you something…For the amateur guitarist (of which I am still one, BTW...lol), I would say that you practice what you don't know. In other words, if you can already play something well, don't keep regurgitating it...that's not practice, that's playing. Always work on things you are not good at.
I would also say to practice new skills slowly...worry about speed later...slow and steady win the race. It's much better to be accurate than fast

Think melodically...playing melodies with feel makes you sound faster than you actually are.
And I would say that you should learn chord/scale relationships....my musical knowledge has always made up for a lacking in technique.

Mildred: Eeek! Does that mean learning to read music?!

Will: I don't read music real well...I can decipher notes on a page, but I cannot read just looking at the manuscript paper. However, I CAN read key signatures, and I do understand how to apply scales to chords, and I can solo in just about any key.

Mildred: Wow. Did you consciously seek to learn this or was it a necessity as you continued to improve your playing skills?

Will: I sought to know my instrument as well as I could, because I figured since I didn't have the physical talent, I could make up for in study and practice...it worked. As far as [advice for] a baby band, my advise is play, play, play...gig as much as you are able. Even free gigs...just play. Yes, you WILL have bad gigs...those lead to experiences that you will one day cherish. Don't play bad gigs IF you KNOW they're going to be bad gigs...but I mean, there will always be gigs with bad weather, sound issues, broken promises, and sick band members...play them anyway.

Mildred: Any advice regarding band cohesion/band drama? But how can you tell a gig is going to be bad? Are there any signs?

Will: Well, this is just my opinion, and how our band works is not everyone's cup of tea...but my advise is to find players that you gel with rather than those who have immense talent but are buttholes. Personally, we don't put up with drama...everyone should share the vision or else they can get their own band. Certain personality traits and conditions are okay to deal with (like, say, someone being less humorous than others) and should be respected...but some things are just not an option to deal with.

Mildred: In your opinion what are the deal breakers?

Will: The deal breakers? That can vary, but allowing someone's girlfriend or boyfriend (or spouse) to interfere with the band business. The band members are IN the band, their spouses are not.

Mildred: Ah. The Yoko Ono syndrome. lol! Are there any other deal breakers?

Will: Another deal breaker would be to not learn their parts of the music...if they keep coming in and they have not learned their parts, you are wasting valuable time trying to make up for their lack of discipline. Another deal breaker is lack of professionalism: You can be an amateur band and still act like professionals. Be polite to whoever brings your band in, treat other bands with respect (even if they don't deserve it), be ON TIME (that is a huge one), and never act like you're superior (even if you are)

I would also recommend that "democracy" doesn't always work in a band situation...yes, there is a certain amount of that, but everyone cannot have an equal say...sometimes a leader has to make a call, and others need to submit to that...argue about it later (well, not argue, but discuss)

Mildred: Should each member buy their own instrument or should the band collectively chip in to buy the instruments?

Will: I personally believe each member should have their own personal equipment (like guitars and amps)...HOWEVER, sometimes it is necessary to help a member out when things are tight. But, things like the guitarist having his own guitar is pretty obvious. Our singer uses a wireless microphone...and he always forgets to buy batteries (lol)...we remind him...it's a small thing, but sometimes we have to say, "Hey, man...I buy my own strings and replace them...I have my own picks...I buy my own cords...all you need is batteries..." lol
 
Look out for part two of this interview where Will Rauser will be talking about the best and worst gigs! Meanwhile, watch this !!!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Erykah Badu Coming to Kenya!

Yes, I know that Erykah Badu is not exactly a rock 'n' roll star but as I mentioned one time in the Kenya Rock Fans Facebook page, Erykah Badu and her one time love interest Andre 3000 (who will be starring in the new Jimi Hendrix movie) may not be rock stars but they definitely have the rock 'n' roll spirit! You can see this in Outkast's/Andre 3000's "Hey Ya" and also in one of Erykah Badu's music videos that I watched during the 'Sounds from 2000-2009' session at the December 1st Eye See Sounds Film Festival organized by The Nest. One particular scene from that cleverly done Erykah Badu video greatly resembles the 'Hey ya' concept, although the green color is replaced by pink. I must say this is my favourite part of the video (at around 2:40).

The music video was for the song "Honey" and was directed by Erykah Badu and Chris Robinson. It is set in a record store and various album covers are shown where Erykah Badu portrays the artist or artists on the album covers. One of the album covers is that of The Beatles' "Let it Be" (at around 1:55). The video also spoofs the cover of the January 1981 issue of Rolling Stone magazine which featured Yoko Ono and John Lennon (at around 3:40).

In the last few seconds of the video, the artwork from the 1976 album for the band Boston can be seen on the wall of the record store, just below and to the left of the artwork for Honey.

Not surprisingly, this music video won Best Direction at the 2008 MTV Music Video Awards and was also nominated for Best Editing, Best Cinematography and Best Special Effects.



Erykah Badu coming to Kenya