martes, 23 de agosto de 2016

5 Questions project: Joe Bent















Today is the turn of Joe Bent, the best skateboard-slide-player in the world. No, seriously, this guy is pure gold. He has more heart and skill playing that two-strings-skateboard-bow than a thousand Bonamassas dressed in 40's suits with fedora hats.
And anyway, Joe Bent came up with something fresher in the blues-roots genre. Something that in fact, was in the heart of it: use whatever you've got at hand to make noise and have fun.



GuerrillaRocanrol: I first knew you when you joined Left Lane Cruiser, but later i knew you had a story of bands behind, was always "roots" music or did you try other styles?
knowing that your style of "roots" music is not orthodox which i really like.

Joe Bent:
Rock and roll and punk were always first in my musical category, when I got into the new roots music, it really grabbed my attention because it's just acoustic punk. I really liked that. I've always played blues as well. Cut my teeth at the old guy blues jams in town and started jamming with people.

GuerrillaRocanrol: I have the feeling that roots music now has become the "the new punk" what do you think?


Joe Bent:
I still have faith in punk, but a lot of the old punks are drifting towards the roots scene for sure. It's not surprising, the energy that goes into a roots show is almost identical to a punk show


GuerrillaRocanrol: Yea, what are your plans right now? next gigs, tour?


Joe Bent:
Moving forward. Constantly. Doing what makes me happy, make no money doing it and maybe I can influence someone along the way. That's all I can hope for.







GuerrillaRocanrol: Righteous! apart from music, what other jobs do you have?

Joe Bent:
I am a truck driver.


GuerrillaRocanrol: You sure have run a million miles due to your dayjob and playing shows, what's the average distance you drive between shows?

Joe Bent:
Anywhere from 20 minutes to 16 hours depending on what we have happening.


GuerrillaRocanrol: And how do you book the gigs? is it hard?

Joe Bent:
We have a lot of friends, other bands, promoters that are also friends that we work with, so when we book something it's always easier to work with people we love than go through a company. It usually is more gratifying as well since the people that book us like what we do.


GuerrillaRocanrol: Are bar owners or promoters reluctant to book underground acts, or is there some kind or circuit?

Joe Bent:
It really just depends on the bar, club or venue. Sometimes they won't have anyone that isn't a cover band, so that always is a pain, but as for the bars I deal with, they love the underground so there's no problem.

GuerrillaRocanrol: I wish there was something similar here


Joe Bent:
As for a circuit, yeah there seems to be a large number of clubs that all of the bands in this genre play at. For good reason, great crowds, you are treated well and you can actually get paid! It's a successful show if you make any money.
I love playing Spain!
I miss it so much, oh man, so this one time in Madrid, we played at a huge club, had a blast, then went walking down this area where a whole bunch of prostitutes were all hanging out trying to sell their merchandise, this absolutely gorgeous girl runs over to me, grabs my arm and I had to tell her that I've never paid for sex and I wasn't about to start now haha.

GuerrillaRocanrol: Hahahaha

Joe Bent: She wasn't trying to take no for an answer, so funny.









GuerrillaRocanrol: Was it a festival with other bands?

Joe Bent:
This one wasn't, just a show with us and another band.

GuerrillaRocanrol: What's "making it" in music biz for you?

Joe Bent: I'm going to explain this the best way I can without getting upset...I have seen what needs to be done these days to "make it" and be involved with a larger record label, and I want no part of it.
You have people who don't make music telling you what you should be doing. Constantly.
Down to what your album is going to be called and what the subject matter is going to be. There is nothing you can do about it either, because they own your ass.
If that's what it takes to make it, I'm just fine with being a nobody. I'm never going to change that.

GuerrillaRocanrol:
Not even in a moderate way? like the artists in the Chitlin circuit?

Joe Bent:
It was totally different back then. But even then they had 20 people taking a percentage off the top before they saw any money at all.
I'll most likely never see a dime from the work with LLC because that band is so in debt to the label they'll never get out of that hole.

GuerrillaRocanrol: Pretty fucked up

Joe Bent:
Completely





GuerrillaRocanrol: I have thought about Kerouac, the writer, and his book On the road when we mentioned the miles a musician drive, do you dig that "americana epic" of the beat generation and general weirdos? weird question, i know...

Joe Bent: Yes I do, I'm a huge Kerouac fan. I wish that mentality was as popular as it was in his day.

GuerrillaRocanrol: Yea, i see you in a Cassady style, driving and playing through the country.

Joe Bent: I wish it were that easy haha

GuerrillaRocanrol: Yea, i know...they were a bohemian bunch, drugs fueled, funny types but i guess they left a good "trail of destruction" after them (talking of their personal lives).

Joe Bent: Absolutely


GuerrillaRocanrol: Well, reaching the end, how do you make a song? which comes first, lyrics, riffs...or is it something "above" that?

Joe Bent: Always the riff first, I constantly hear music in my head. So these little snippets of a song will pop in my head, I'll put it to an instrument then later the words come.

GuerrillaRocanrol: And what do you love to sing or growl about?

Joe Bent: Heartbreak, whiskey and things of that nature.

GuerrillaRocanrol: And this space for you to add whatever you like...

Joe Bent: My message I'd like to get across to people is that whatever you do, stay true to yourself. It shouldn't be about becoming a millionaire. It should always be about self expression.



lunes, 22 de agosto de 2016

Just when i was begining to recover "the faith"

I see so many things i deeply hate in the music business. Especially in the underground scene, where things should be more human, funny, daring, fair, etc, etc. Yea, i know that believing that is rather naive.

I can't relate to mainstream acts because of the loads of crap they deliver. Artistically, business-wise, how they deal with fans and even political stuff they support. So i naturally chose the underground and its supposed freedom, openness, weirdness, supposed cooperative effort...day by day more rare to find.

Too many times, underground promoters and "sceneters" are showing themselves as harmful as the "big fishes" out there. If you are a musician, with personal stuff to share, you not only have to work like a bastard. All your work will be useless without a seal of approval: get signed by a "hype" label, be picked as opener by a major band, pay big loads to record in a trendy studio, your music picked for tv, that kinda things.

All this rant is for i've just seen something unbelievable in facebook: some unknown and very underground musician is signed by a "specialist" record label. Inmediately (in the comments below the announcement) the musician gets an invitation to play a fest in Europe next Summer!
Is the promoter crazy? that particular scene is actually a sect? musicians need to be already known to get some exposure? Why the promoter didn't make the offer before the announcement? And remember, we are talking of a very little fest, lost in a rural area of Germany. An event that draws no more than 250 people in the best day. Pure lunacy.

I'm not buying that kinda shits. And you shouldn't buy the hype. 

jueves, 18 de agosto de 2016

5 Questions project: Mark "Porkchop" Holder

Talking today with Mark "Porkchop" Holder, deep blues singer, great dobro player, outstanding street performer that lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee. I heard of him through the Deep Blues festival connection.





GuerrillaRocanrol:
When did you start playing and what made you begin?

Mark Holder:

I started as a singer when I was a child in church. Began to write words and sing them professionally at 22 years of age. Played harmonica and guitar shortly after. First music i was ever exposed to was rural bottleneck/harmonica blues played by my granfather and a negro friend of his who had a farm next door to ours.

GuerrillaRocanrol:
Good! I see that when you don't play at venues or events, you become a street performer, are you playing on a daily basis? ¿any dayjob apart from music?

Mark Holder:
I am playing venues in my region. My 3 piece band is signing a contract with a label that has European and U.S. distribution, so touring will follow shortly.
I always play on the street. It's necessary for my happiness to do that.

Mark playing the dobro


GuerrillaRocanrol:
Touring! that was my next question: how do you book the gigs and is it hard?

Mark Holder:
I book myself. It is hard. Having the Label behind me will make it easier; easier to atrract an agent, and easier to self-book if I have to go that route. Clubs take you more seriuosly with a good label behind you.

GuerrillaRocanrol: Yea, it must be a totally different experience.

Mark Holder: Better. People need to know that the "business" is embracing you. They don't trust their own taste.

GuerrillaRocanrol: Hahahaha, that's the most accurate and to the point explanation i have read.
I reckon many musicians from the States look forward coming to Europe. It seems that the public and opportunities here are kinder and better for them.

Mark Holder: The attitude towards art is more enlightened.

GuerrillaRocanrol: Do you think that's a common thought among the scene?

Mark Holder: Most American musicians have no concept of how much better things are for us in Europe. You can't grasp it. Roots and traditional music is marginalized here and associated with the poor and seen as unsophisticated. Racism is still a big factor.

GuerrillaRocanrol: Yea, i see...and we're finishing! Have you ever thought of quitting music? why?

Mark Holder:
No. I can't. I tried. Ended up playing in the street in Nashville for two years. Paid for a house, car and the things of life with money thrown into my guitar case. It is who I am. How I deal with the pain in my soul.



GuerrillaRocanrol: Whoa! if you don't mind, i´d like to know more about that. Here where i live, you can't even play in the streets. It's impossible to earn money that way.

Mark Holder:
It is tolerated in certain places here. Bar and restaurant districts. We have freedom of speech. Sometimes the police even respect it.

GuerrillaRocanrol: Why did you think of quitting?

Mark Holder: A wife. Also my health was bad. The band i was in was working super hard and i wasn't taking very good care of myself.

GuerrillaRocanrol: Great interview Mark, we're done, thanks a lot!

Mark Holder:
Glad to help.