jueves, 29 de diciembre de 2016

Triunfa como los Chichos en 2017

- Hazte unos videos guapos, en los que salgas guapo/a. Si entonas bien mejor. Si vendes "sex-appeal" seguro que lo consigues. A fin de cuentas la música es secundaria en el "show business".
- Piensa en grande, no te conformes con bolos cutres. Sé elitista. 
- Si vives en España, canta en español...queda hortera cantar en inglés y la gente no te entiende.
- No gastes en un estudio caro. No hagas tus videos con productoras caras. No hace falta trabajar con "famosetes": hay multitud de estudios y productoras con equipo profesional y buenos precios.
- No saques discos en formato físico hasta que tengas publico seguidor. Publicidad? sí, pero muy selectiva. 
- Publica tus cosas con fotos de animalitos.

sábado, 24 de diciembre de 2016

GuerrillaBlues en Cádiz

Estaré tocando por la zona de Cádiz la semana próxima. Blues, rocanrol y juerga. El 29 de diciembre, estaré de vuelta para un concierto especial de navidad en Málaga. Si quieres más info, ponte en contacto (mail en el perfil de blogger, comentario en esta entrada, lo que sea). Felices fiestas, no vayas a oscuras:

lunes, 7 de noviembre de 2016

A la salud de Jack Kerouac

"(...) piensan que tengo veintitantos y paso todo el tiempo en la carretera...cuando la verdad es que tengo cuarenta y estoy aburrido y asqueado" Jack Kerouac, Big Sur.

- Los "te llamo mañana" que nunca suenan.
- Los "tenemos la agenda llena, llama más adelante" que son como el "hoy no fiamos, pregunte mañana"
- El avance de una generación tras otra hacia su zona natural de subducción. Cada vez más alienados y con menos opciones.
- Las cosas superfluas convertidas en "lo normal": lo que te importa es la fantasía de tu disfraz.
- Los contextos. Si dependes de abstracciones, equipos de sonido, marketing, target public, estéticas y equipos de luz, es que tu música no se sostiene sola. Vamos, que es una puta mierda.
- Algunas cosas solo hacen gracia cuando eres joven y te has metido algo. Pretender otra cosa es el summum de lo patético.
- Los que han visto demasiados programas de "buscatesoros" en tv y quieren venderte su mierda más cara que nueva.
- Los que nunca contestan.
- Los que están conectados 24/7 pero "han tenido problemas con el móvil y no han visto tu llamada o mensaje".
- Los que necesitan la aprobación de otro para algo que solo depende de ellos.
- Los que quieren que les den todo mascao.
- Los que necesitan gurús.
- Los que no quieren dormir en el coche.
- Los que no quieren tocar en un antro por poco dinero.
- Los que creen que su mierda debe importarle a alguien.
- Los que no van por fobias personales.
- Los que no van por egocentrismo.
- Los que aún creen que hay interés.
- Los que no se dan cuenta del cambio (de paradigma) socio-cultural.
- Es el paradigma socio-cultural, estúpidos!
- Los que sacan bonitos manifiestos, hojas de ruta, doctrinas, propuestas que sirven para limpiarse el culo.
- Un plan para acabar con todos los planes!
- Los que pretenden ser de Ohio y se esfuerzan tanto que parecen de Bel Air pero son de Lucena y viven en Puertollano.
- Los que cogen la A-66 y no quieren parar a cagar.
- Los mierdas que pasan a 60 en una zona de 20.
- Los que buscan la iluminación y aceptan todo tal como es porque con su pensamiento fantasioso y sus anti-depresivos, verán a Cristo pasar dos veces. Amén.

jueves, 1 de septiembre de 2016

The equation of being a working musician

There's a big gap between playing occasionally as a hobby and try to be an entertainer,
even an amateur one. The later is a job and it needs constant time and effort.
If the entertainer don't get gigs, money or good experiences in return, nobody would
keep on practicing and exerting so hard. 

Fact: There are periods of being down, with zero motivation, not even for playing or writing.
I have gone through them all for years. Learn to deal with that is necessary.

Con:  It's hard when your work depend on people that don't give a shit.

Pro: I sure can do things better, but i'm not getting mad about excellence.

Con: Motivation and patience tends to run out.

Idea: Joining forces with other musicians can be good and productive.

Con: Finding like minded ones have revealed utopic. It's way hard to deal with others that aren't ready for not sleeping, carrying heavy loads, don't eat much and general lunacy.


Next November (2016) will be 25 years since i began playing in bands. I have recalled the date just by chance and it took me aback.
I was thinking of doing an interview for the 5 questions project and thought it was time to ask a spanish musician, someone i really liked, some friend maybe.
And boom, i realized just there and then that i have some acquaintances in the scene, but not closed friends.
Even among my ex-bandmates. No, i definitely wouldn't have beers with the guys i spent more years playing with. Not really because of bad feelings or feuds (there were lots too) but more because of we have grown up in divergent ways. Curious that most of them still play and love music, but we see things way differently and communication is poor.

A bit of regret and sorrow got me: 25 years and i can't say i have a close friend “in the scene”.
Want an instance? being Spanish but writing in English because most of my readers are from abroad. It sums the situation pretty well.
But the regret and sorrow went away soon. I chose the “rational road” and analyzed for some minutes who my mates were, why we took separate ways and what i do recall.

The first years were hard. Does it sound weird to you? Aren't youngsters supposed to have lotta fun playing together? There were good times, hopeful times, but many and assorted frustrations too. The main ones related to my ineptitude with the guitar and singing. It took me many, many years before i began feeling confident or at least comfortable with any of those.

The “middle years” were funny and promising. I went through big dissapointments, quittings and splits and i began not giving a fuck. At the begining of that “era” i got rid of most of my gear, rehearsed in a junk room inhabited by cats, spiders and mice. I made myself a guitar out of particleboard and spare parts. The cables of my amp's speaker were eaten my those gentle mice.
I played lotta crazy gigs in those times. Got frustrated too, but the internet began changing the game and it became easier to get in contact with other musicians and put things up.

Good fun until i tried to “upscale” it: I was playing in three bands at once, playing lotta shows and i didn't want it to fade out.
I really tried and worked hard, but many things happened: partners losing interest, the begining of the recession, the changes in the “leisure culture” and i could have always worked harder and smarter.

That leads me to these recent years. Without doubt, my most productive and creative period. It's curious that i haven't been in a “real band” in the last 4 years. Besides i have only played the odd gig. And i still am frustrated for not playing more, but my perspective have changed a lot.

Many venues haven't endured the crisis and most of the survivors aren't worthy: straight shitholes where no money, public or good manners are to be found. You may thing i'm fabricating, but you gotta know i live in a rural area where rock music is as alien as it is flamenco in the american Midwest.

I've got good advice from wise people, inside and outside the music scene. Some of them said that “upscale” it wasn't a good idea or wasn't possible at all. Others said i must go where the action is, look for better cities of even other countries. Some people is up for, precisely, downscaling it: play non commercial events, outside of the scene.
I have serious doubts about it all. I don't mind working hard and have always been heavy on DIY, it's almost a religion for me. But i see very little public interest for live music around here. Specially if there's cover at the door and the band is local.

Another funny thing i have noticed playing local venues is that there is almost no youngsters, the fellows are getting older. Only the diehards remain. And they get more grumpy and dick every year.
It's funny too how many events have become “family experiences” with kid zones, posh and pricey bars and features like teepees or golf carts for rent. More like Disneyland than a rock'n'roll fest.

Consider that i'm talking of my personal experience and context. I know there are better places and conditions. But i do see similarities all over the scenes.

miércoles, 31 de agosto de 2016

5 Questions project: Daniel Russell aka One hand Dan

Although he's not a bragger, it seems like he has super-powers. Master of the three-necks cigar box, howler of country blues, wrestler of life and bluegrass, Mr Dan "one hand" Russell:


Welcome to the GuerrillaRocanrol blog Dan, let's begin! Do you come from a music family?

Daniel Russell
Yes I do...The Russell's have a pretty long history of being known to play multiple types of instruments. Tammy Wynette is actually a distant cousin, and lived with Russell's when her parents died and they're responsible for teaching her guitar and auto-harp. I actually learned slide guitar from my cousin Maxwell Russell who is a blues and rockabilly player from Muscle Shoals area. His son Kirk Russell plays drums in my band and was a guitar prodigy when he was 4 years old playing Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Frank Zappa. We also have uncles who all picked guitars, banjos, and one uncle who built violins.

That's awesome! so you began playing quite soon, isn't it?

Daniel Russell
Actually, never touched a musical instrument until I was 23 years old. I probably didn't get serious about my playing until about 4 years ago. I just practice allot, and I'm surrounded by friends with insane talent. I also am a very open person to criticism, and listen to whatever a more experienced player says to me.

Talking of getting serious in music, one thing that amazes me it's the commitment you and musicians in the "deep blues scene" have for music; apart from dayjobs, family and what not...that's not so common to see, How do you organize?

Daniel Russell
Some guys are hardcore, and they live off of nothing and sleep in their vans.They eat,breathe, and sleep it. For me, I actually led that kind of life when I worked as a professional wrestler for over 10 years. Now that I'm married and trying to build my family I can't make those kind of sacrifices. I do have a wife and family who supports what I do. The balance...I work Wednesday-Sunday 8:00 am-5:00pm as a cable technician. Most my gigs are after 9:00pm and aren't too far from the house. On festival gigs and all day stuff I use floating holidays, and for tours I use vacation time at work. I practice every night, and work on how to lessons for hill country blues on cigarbox guitars. When I'm riding in my work van I study the music I'm trying to learn. I also make custom pro wrestling costumes for extra cash. So it a nutshell, I don't sleep.


Daniel Russell
I also spent allot of timing working on booking gigs, writing lyrics, and trying to figure out revenue for the band to pay for recording and social media promotions...Anywhere in the day I can fit in the time.

I'm overwhelmed! next one: where did you record your albums and where can people find your music online?

Daniel Russell
I recorded "Self Medication" with my cousins and best friends Alexander (Sweet Baby) Bowling and "Billy Smart in a live recording session at King of The Jungle Recording studio in Birmingham, Alabama.
You can buy it off of CBGITTY.com, iTunes, cd baby. Getting ready to record #2.

I thought you had two albums, my mistake! In the last 10 years or maybe more, i've seen how americana roots music, country blues and folk have been assimilated by young people that probably was brought up on rock, pop or rap. Do you see it that way, and have an idea of why that's happening?

Daniel Russell
I grew up on Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson. I really found my personality in allot of 90s music. I mean I listened to NWA all the way to Better then Ezra. The music industry used to be after the next game changer and the sound you never heard . Now it's more profitable for them to promote bands who spend more time branding a look then learning their instruments. Past couple of years some great music has made its way through, but if the kids don't know about it, how the hell are they going to find it?
When it comes to the roots revival scene we're going through, I think it's the rawness that attracts people. We still have scum suckers trying to market themselves off of it by dressing like its 1902 and playing shitty mandolin on their songs to be "Americana" but when people hear real raw music for the first time in the right light...You can literally see it change their life!! Its totally unpredictable...
The band and I recently played a blues competition in the Muscle Shoals area. The band we competed against was a tight, controlled volume blues band who wore matching shoes and ties and chick singer. We blew their wang dang doodle asses out of the water...I had to talk to almost every person in the room after our set! We played a Junior Kimbrough song, and 2 RL Burnside songs. Most people had no idea what they just heard and was googling those names as we were speaking . They wanted more!!!  But we lost , lol. The judges didn't think we were playing blues..

Whoa! that sums a lotta things about showbiz...great answers dude!

Daniel Russell
Lol, poor young generation... They have s whole lot of "Ooaa Aaa Oooss" in their music

I hate when "theater tricks" as matching clothes, vintage dressing, visual effects and other craps get in the way of real music...

Daniel Russell
My bass player only owns one tiedie shirt, that's the closest to a uniform we can get lol.


I try to find another way around that...most venues and promoters only pick those tricky bands, i think the corporative ideas has done much harm.

Daniel Russell
People want to be famous....It's more glamorous then being cool. In anything, there will always be those who think they can buy themselves shortcuts...Then the game changers will keep being imaginative and keep creating....The posers aren't in it for the long haul, they'll get tired and pretend to do something else.

You won't believe the culture here in Spain, it's so different in basic things! yea, we are feed the same crappy mainstream culture, the workshipping of money and fame and all that shit. But in folk culture, the "normal things" people do, i think the USA has a more healthy people's culture.

Daniel Russell
I'm the 1960s hipsters got tired of Elvis and discovered Robert Johnson...That gave us Clapton, the Stones, and Led Zeppelin...
Our history isn't that old...my elementary school was once an all black high school. I go fishing next to a Indian mound...
I can visit 3 plantations in a 50 mile radius that still has the slave quarters up.
Allot of families still have homemade wine and corn whisky recipes from the 1900's.

I put you an instance: being a pro-wrestler or leading other "different or alternative" lifestyles would be almost impossible here. How did you get involved in the wrestling career?

Daniel Russell
The 1990s was s good time for pro wrestling...I saw a local independent wrestling show when I was 12 and said that's what I want to do. So friends and I built a ring in our backyard. By the time I was 16, I made a fake id and used it to option s Kentucky athletic commission license so I could wrestle in Kentucky. At the time my parents had no idea what I was doing.

You don't seem a guy that can be put down easily, but what grinds your gears of the showbiz?

Daniel Russell
Overly confident musicians, and crowd funding bums...
It's good to be confident. But you're not the best. More then likely you're not even 1,000th best. So why be cocky about those odds? Being cocky won't teach you anything but humbleness when you fail...
I have nothing against crowd funding. If it's for something that can make an impact, help others, or you can give back to the people who give you the money...There is nothing wrong...When you expect your fans should just give you their hard earned money so you can live your dreams, your an asshole...

Great! Please recommend an old musician you workship and a nowadays band you dig.

Daniel Russell
My favorite in the world is Blind Willie McTell...As far as modern , my favorite cd I bought in the longest time is Grandpa Boy by Paul Westerburg.

Can you imagine your life without playing music? What do you wanna be
doing as musician in ten years?

Daniel Russell
Right now I can't imagine not playing music. It's all I think about sometimes. I'm already excited to teach my nieces, nephews, and future children how to play. In ten years I hope to be playing like I'm playing, just better...Lol

Anything you would like to add?

Daniel Russell
Na, lol I'm not a bragger lol.

lunes, 29 de agosto de 2016

The emperor is naked

Long story short: a friend of mine didn't know Bob Dylan. He watched him playing live on tv. He couldn't understand why all the public was crazy about Dylan. My friend thought: "don't they hear what i'm hearing? Dylan sounds very much like Daffy Duck!"

That reminds me pretty much of some spanish underground bands: they get lotta attention by underground media and sceneters, but they sound awful...very much like Daffy Duck. The emperor is naked!

El emperador está desnudo

(Spanish and more detailed version of the upper post)
Una anécdota real que ilustra perfectametne como los gustos se condicionan y lo gregarios y snobs que podemos ser. La podría titular "Bob Dylan y GP":

Tenia un compañero de instituto que no sabía mucho de música. Un día estaba viendo la tele y anunciaron un concierto de Bob Dylan. Le sonaba el nombre pero nunca lo había escuchado así que lo dejó puesto.

Vió un pabellón deportivo, lleno. La gente emocionada anticipando la aparición del músico. Y sale. Aplauden, gritan, una histeria casi contenida.
Bob Dylan empieza con la guitarra, tranquilo. Le sigue el resto del grupo y hacen una pequeña introducción instrumental. Entonces Dylan se acerca al micro, suelta las primeras palabras y la gente aulla. Todos siguen así a partir de ahí...menos mi amigo que ha quedado en shock.
Con la boca abierta sin creer lo que oye ni lo que ve. No entiende nada pero ve un par de canciones más por si acaso.

Unos días más tarde nos encontramos y me lo cuenta (él sabe que soy músico). Su comentario fue éste:
"y veía al público enloquecido y alucinando...y no lo creía. Dudé incluso de que fuera de verdad y no una peli de coña...la gente flipando y yo solo pensaba ¿están escuchando lo mismo que yo? pero si parece el Pato Lucas..."
Yo siento lo mismo con varios grupos supuestamente underground. Grupos que tocan a menudo y tienen seguimiento, reciben elogios automáticos, salen en medios especializados y suenan...como el Pato Lucas. El emperador está desnudo.

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.

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:

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.

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.

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

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.

domingo, 14 de agosto de 2016

Tu también con chaleco y fedora?

Danny Kroha (The Gories, Demolition Doll Rods)
te lo dice claro, tontín:
"Another reason why Kroha was reluctant to be known as a folk musician, to have people hear his renditions of these hoary chestnuts, is largely due to the climate for the genre today. It's as if one has to either dress up in a silly vest and pre-distressed fedora like one of those beyond-hokey Mumford & Sons types, or swallow one's pride and go the gentle old-folk's route, appearing on Garrison Keillor so you can sing your song before swapping Dad jokes about duck calls."


viernes, 12 de agosto de 2016

5 questions project: Brother Max

Talking today with Brother Max, Max Radings; hermit, farmer, rockandroller, buddhist monk, and great guy overall. He played guitar in Brant Bjork's live band some years ago, which was how i got to know him.
He grows food in his garden like he composes songs on his own or with his band Muddy Grande, big sound 70's rock. Check out:

Brother Max:
Alright, i am ready

Ok, what hardships can you relate about being in a band and keeping it going?

Brother Max:
In my experience, the hardest things about being in a band and keeping it going is not the music - that's the easy part - the hard part is an equal mutual commitment to a common goal, making sure everyone puts in enough time, money and effort to not just get the music and performance to be quality, but also keep make the band make sense from a business point of view. Of course everyone has obligations and bills to pay outside of the band, just like any non-musician, but you can't deny it costs money and time to buy and maintain your instruments, invest in merchandise, travel money, etc - all the things needed to keep a band going. You can't expect one guy to take care of all of this; if you all invest then you all feel equally connected and responsible to make the band successful, and whatever level you're on or achieve will be the fruit of your collective effort equally, and this creates a strong foundation and emotional connection to this band entity you've collectively created, and there can be no argument over unequally and ownership later down the line. Music is a labor of love, you've got to all love what you're creating equally and realise there's strength in unity.

Guerrilla Rocanrol:
Good one! next question.
Economically, we could say that live music is a over-available commodity: lots of great musicians out there trying to get attention from the same public and booking gigs at the same spots. Do you agree with that point? Has the amateur music scene been commercialized too?
I mean, under-commercialized

Brother Max:

I feel that's a tough question to answer. As live amateur musicians, we're also competing with DJ's and electronic musicians - who can provide a bar or club owner with a whole night's worth of entertainment for a fraction of the cost of a band, who usually only play for an hour or two, at most.
And as modern bands, we often play music that does not always appeal to as many people and doesn't bring in as many customers as a DJ playing familiar, popular songs.
So from a commercial point of view, amateur music isn't very profitable. Also the band, the audience and the club or bar owner also have different priorities; the band usually wants to have a good time playing music they love, the audience wants music that is familiar enough to have a good time going out to but also new enough to excite them, and the club/bar owner wants to pay his bills and attract as many customers so he doesn't have to struggle to keep his business running.
My experience is that most amateur bands are in general too self indulgent, proud and insecure, and don't put in the work required to really move and captivate a fresh, unfamiliar audience.
It takes a lot of practice, awareness and self-reflection to get a band to a level where it can do that, break the ice so to speak.
While i think artistic expression is important, and loving what you do is a must in any profession, especially music, you have to be aware that if you're playing music comercially, no matter at what level, you're doing business; it's commercial. There's a so-called exchange for value. As with any business, even if i have a great quality product, if i don't market it to the right audience in the right place in the right manner, i'm most likely not going to be successful at my business.

Outstanding explanation! more coming up.
I'm myself a musician. I always tried to put up a scene here where i live. But now i see it differently. Some others advise that if you wanna "make it", you'd better move to where "the action is". What is your take on that?

Brother Max:
I think that while there's value in building a scene and community, there's also truth to the saying: "you can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make him drink" - you can't force something to happen in a community if you're the only one who wants it to happen.
It is always a dialog between the needs and demands of the community and your own vision. It's kind of like if i want to grow sunflowers in the Winter in Siberia; i can make it happen if i put in the money, time and effort to build a greenhouse in the siberian tundra, but most likely i will not have the support of the local community behind me. They'll say: "why do you want to grow sunflowers in Siberia? it's so much trouble!

Why can't you just enjoy the few wildflowers that grow during our short summer?" - so then you can either choose to put in all the work yourself, or move to a warmer place like France where there's whole community of people who love sunflowers and grow them most of the year, where they thrive naturally outdoors, without the need to artificially create an environment to make sunflowers grow. That's kind of the metaphor i like to use.
Again, it's exchange for value; you have to do the math and observation yourself to see how much you want to put in and is it worth what you get out of it. Do you build the greenhouse in Siberia anyway, and hope that after sometime people will appreciate and realise the value of sunflowers, and eventually join you in support of your effort and vision, or do you just go to a place where people naturally grow and love sunflowers?


What's the core of a song for you? How a "simple idea" becomes one of your songs?

Brother Max:
For me, a song starts (and ends) not just as a feeling, but also as a way of being and a state of mind and body. There's a rhythm to everything in life, and there's a tone and frequency of vibration to everything in life.
Several tones spaced apart (rhythm) become or suggest melody.
This is usually the basis for the 'music' of my songs. Finding words to express and describe this feeling/state of mind body usually becomes what you would call 'lyrics'. The process of transforming this nebulous and undefined feeling, sorting out the different 'ingredients' and finding a way to put them together in the right way is a lot like cooking a meal, to use another metaphor. You have to know which ingredients go together to make a certain taste, when to put them in, how long to cook them for, to get the 'dish' you're looking to cook that satisfies the appetite or hunger you had that inspired you to start 'cooking' (writing the song) in the first place.
To me that's the art of turning a simple idea into a song. and it is an art, because just like when you're first learning how to cook, sometimes you burn the dish, sometimes it's undercooked, sometimes you put the wrong ingredients together and it just tastes bad, or sometimes you put the right ingredients together at the wrong time, and there's no harmony and balance between the flavors. Practice makes perfect, and it's a lifelong practice. As you get better you introduce more nuances into your cooking, so that even with simple ingredients you can cook a delicious, nutritious, satisfying meal. The most important thing is first to learn what satisfies your own appetite and nutritional needs, and how to create meals to do so. Not everyone likes or needs the same food, but eventually you'll find people who have the same taste as you, and they'll be delighted if you cook for them.

Muddy Grande, Max on the right

Nicely put! we're near the end.
I'm going to dare with this one...i think you have been "out of the road" for some time, but you seem the kind of guy that's diehard about music. Are you wishing to get back to stages? would you mind playing alone?

Brother Max:
It is true that i haven't toured clubs in quite of number of years, aside from the occasional gig. But i have never stopped playing music, and with the exception of the last year and a half or so, i have always been on the road, traveling, going to different places. having visited many people from different countries, like Mongolia, India, Nepal, China, Eastern Russia, Taiwan, Korea and Japan.
It has given me a different perspective of what music means to people and what it means to 'perform' and play music for people. For example, in the mongolian countryside, everyone can sing.
At the end of a day, people gather together in their tents, cook, drink vodka, and sing songs together. Some are family songs, some are traditional songs, some are pop songs they hear on their little satellite radios, some are songs they came up with themselves riding their horses. Everybody can play music, and it is a huge part of life, but no one considers themselves a musician.
In my experience, to them it's just something people do. Like eating, sleeping, talking, making love, etc. So they would always ask me to sing 'my songs' for them, and they would sing me their songs. It was very touching and made me look at my relationship in a different way. Also a country like china, where they do have popular music but most live music is still in big arenas, or people singing karaoke, people would be so excited to hear i played music. They would call their friends, we would get together at someone's house, have a party, and i would just play songs all night. Kind of like the vibe of the blues juke-joints i visited in the american south.
The fact that i was able to play my own songs, and not copy another artist, was very inspiring to them - to realise you can create something yourself, that doesn't have to meet some 'official' standard. I've had this experience in cities, but it was especially potent in the countryside of these countries, where people had been even less touched by modern music culture. I myself realised at that point, after all those experiences, that music is a natural human expression, and for me "success" in playing music is not per se going on tour and playing in front of hundreds of people every night, supporting or playing with other 'big artists', but to move and touch the hearts of the people that i was spending time with, by sharing songs that i wrote from my own heart. Because the root of that for me is love, and while although there's a million different ways to express that love, music from the heart played with love is a universal language that everyone can understand.

I like this one specially, i didn't know about that way of understanding music. Or maybe i have already forgotten it could be other ways.

Brother Max:

Well mate, i have my 5 questions, but i think it would be righteous that you add whatever crosses your mind.

Brother Max:
Entertain your friends and those who want to listen, those who want to hear something different can go somewhere else, that's fine too. Everyone's got their own family or tribe, but as long as we can all respect each other and leave enough space, there needs to be no problems. To me that's the "guerrilla approach" to rock and roll (and all music); for people, by people, together, with love and respect.

Great! you've put much heart in this little interview, i thank you truly.

domingo, 7 de agosto de 2016

5 Questions project: Jeriah St Cyr, aka Cactus

    This fine young man is known as Cactus and you can find him on facebook by the name Jeriah St Cyr. He plays the deep groove blues, heir of the Mississippi delta and Hill country. And he nails it. This is the kind of music to dance and party, to touch happiness and drink a cold beer.

    This is the first interview of my project about musicians i really dig and respect. The format is easy, quick and to the point: only a few questions, some of them will repeat in each interview. The idea is talking straight and raise a good perspective of the musicians and their crafts.

    GuerrillaRocanrol: Here we go!
    What hardships do you find booking your gigs?

    Jeriah St Cyr
    Being tired from working all day and a low budget to look. Also a decent place to record a decently priced demo to send out because not many places will book you if you dont have anything recorded or online.

    Guerrilla Rocanrol
    What percentage of covers do you play live?

    Jeriah St Cyr
    I'm at a place in music where i'm tired of playing covers so i've slowed down on booking gigs.
    And focusing on writing originals, trying to set a new standard for myself and stopped playing for free.

    What's the average distance you drive between gigs?

    Jeriah St Cyr

    Right now i'm in Denver, so anywhere in the city. Saving to leave here to play anywhere in the country.
    I'm ready to go anywhere in or outside the country at any moment.

    Next question was about "seasons with no gigs" but i think you already answered it;
    i have other better:
    what do you think is a "good demo" for the bars owners or promoters?

    Jeriah St Cyr
    Everybodies perception is different. I feel like a good 12 original song demo is a good start.

    Ok, we're getting there;
    What is more accurate for you:
    1- You need to support your tours with money from other jobs.
    2- You make enough to cover expenses after a tour.
    3- You make enough out of playing to live for parts of the year.
    4- You earn your living playing.

    Jeriah St Cyr
    1 and 3. I'm trying to do music full time but also do work on the side in the cannabis industry.

    GuerrillaRocanrol: great industry!

    Jeriah St Cyr
    Have a legal garden and play music, so i don't have to fully rely on music, takes some of the stress off.

    yea! Well, we have done it! would you like to add anything?

    Jeriah St Cyr
    Have music will travel.
    Lol that's it

    GuerrillaRocanrol: i only needed to see a video of you playing with Stud to know you do it right.

    Jeriah St Cyr
    Thanx man i appreciate it. I'm just tryna get my own sound and relevance and feeling. Slowly but surely.
    I gotta get back to work man. Have a good one.

      sábado, 30 de julio de 2016

      Why i became a musician?

      - When i was a teen, i went mental for rock bands. The power of the sound, the awesome hooks and arrangements. The rebellion against the adult world that is always crappy, boring and will screw you up.
      - Even if it was unlikely and hard, it was all i need: i died for learning to play and compose songs after my favourite bands.

      What i have found as a grown up man and working musician? I'll mention only "anecdotes" of the last month:

      - Other musician asked me to play together, he booked the show but then backed down. I played the show on my own.

      - Same musician, different place offered us a gig. I told the guy, he never responded. Gig lost.

      - Yet again the same dude. After failing to two gigs, the guy greeted me for playing on my own. I told him that if he liked it, he could book me as opening act for his band's next gigs. They had two shows in the following days, but the guy "forgot" to tell me.

      - I was preparing a little tour away from home. I asked a bar owner i know in another town. He put shows up currently. The guy told me they aren't doing shows. I knew the previous show was 10 days before. The guy blamed the regional government, said they didn't allow him to have shows. I know that's responsability of the local council, i told him and then, the guy shut up
      - Another bar away from home. Previous gig was the week before. The bar owner ignored three of my messages. He answered finally saying he "had problems with the permits (remember: the previous gig was the week before) and that "his cellular was working badly" but "he is always looking for bands anyway"...still no date for my gig.

      - Another gig. The venue has PA system. Unfortunately, it broke down days before my gig...but don't you worry, it "came back to life" just after my gig.

      - Only in the last month, i have probably sent two dozen messages to venues and bars. Only got two answers. Nice detail from them.

      In case you wanna judge my music, all playlists recorded this year:



      jueves, 28 de julio de 2016

      La burbuja de festivales en España

      Gran artículo...dan ganas de grapárselo a algunos en la frente. A esos que hablan sin saber, ignorantes atrevidos y que defienden las ideas y conductas explotadoras.
      He tenido la desgracia de tocar con varios de esos.

      sábado, 16 de julio de 2016

      Even when

      i don't intend it as "punk", they say it's punk:
      "punk and blues, good mixing =) as the singer for UK Subs said: "punk, another kind of blues". Music done with feeling by and for the people"

      (Nice comment on my "Mexican" albums)

      domingo, 3 de julio de 2016

      The modern folk

      Ruedas de acordes hipnóticos. Melodías algo rotas. Fuzz en los estribillos. Melodías algo tristes que hacen sentir a gusto, confortable. Imagina a WAVVES en reposado, de resaca. Momentos de Kurt Cobain cagándose en las melodías. Momentos de Kurt Cobain cagándose en el pop. Folk americano de montañas y gente a la que no le importa lo que sea el "folk".
      Grabado muy directamente, quizá en un dormitorio, en un almacen o bajo un puente en Portland.
      Artesanía diy, portadas estampadas con sellos tallados a mano.
      "Pesas lo que posees, todos estamos gordos"

      viernes, 1 de julio de 2016

      La verdad está ahí fuera

      Pero no se anuncia en facebook ni twitter, ni en toda internet.
      No hagas lo que hacen los demás. Los que aburren. Porque parecerás igual que ellos.
      No te creas la moda. Ni la tendencia ni el rumor. Ni la publicidad. No te creas nada. Sal a la calle. Ve dónde no vayan los demás. Los que aburren. Porque parecerás igual que ellos.
      Busca un agujero donde aislarte del ruido. Escúchate. Práctica. Práctica. Graba tus ideas. Apúntalas.
      Échale huevos. Haz lo que no te atreverías porque eso es lo que quieres. Que les den por culo. Que les den por culo. La teoría no es la realidad.


      sábado, 18 de junio de 2016

      Ahora vas y lo cascas


      Grabado con:
      - Una guitarra montada a piezas: mástil partido + cuerpo comprado en internet + pastillas y demás reunido de piezas sobrantes. Coste total: unos 50 euros
      - Una batería de segunda mano con más de 25 años que costó 30000 pesetas (180 euros). Hi-hat: 60 euros. Rider: 50. Crash: regalado por roto.
      - Una grabadora de casete.
      - Una micro regalado.
      - Un viejo pc de segunda mano, regalado por obsoleto.
      - Software gratuito.

      Ahora vas y...

      martes, 31 de mayo de 2016

      Major Destroyer Records Interview

       Estos señores tocan en varios proyectos y grupos, ya sea rock experimental, blues “rasposo” o noise. Tienen un magnífico sello independiente con artistas americanos, uno inglés y ahora uno español. Kyle y Mike tienen un gusto especial por cualquier estilo que sea auténtico y crudo. Como debe ser. Disfruta:

      How and when did you meet? Did you have a band together? did you tour?
      Mike: Kyle and I met way back in 1998, shortly before our high school years in Minnesota.  We met through a mutual friend while skateboarding one day.  I remember Kyle threw on a Ramones album the first time we hung out together.  He had some experience playing guitar, and I had some experience playing drums.  Eventually, at 14 years old, we found an old kit, and Kyle got a guitar and amp, and from there we went.  I wish we could find that old drum kit....

      Kyle: That kit is long gone unfortunately! haha
      Mike: We played a lot of punk and rock music, and whatever else came to mind and experimented with all types of janky recording setups.  We were in a few "bands" together but nothing that we pursued apart from ending up with some obscure recordings.  No touring, just jamming in whatever spaces we could find and pissing people off.  Kyle still has every single cassette that we ever recorded on!

      Kyle: Those tapes mean a lot to me. It's history. I have preserved it all!

      What was your musical background as teens?

      Mike: Well, I can say I definitely grew up during ... one of... the MTV eras.  Having an older sister who was passionate about music, I was exposed to "popular" music at an early age.  I caught the end of the "grunge" era here in the states, listening to bands like Nirvana and Stone Temple Pilots as a young kid. You still had some heavy metal in the mainstream at that time also, Guns n' Roses and the like.   90's Gangster Rap was mixed in there. This led into the "alternative rock" music which sadly then led to the cringe worthy "Nu-metal" era of the late 90's.  This was pre internet mostly so what can I say, unless you were going to underground records stores you were limited to what you heard on TV and radio etc.  Finally; and this leads back to question one, I would say right as I met Kyle we were both just starting to explore lesser known music, both old and new, by paying attention to films and skateboard/snowboard videos. One band that opened my eyes and ears as a teen was Fu Manchu, some of the heaviest, most distorted stuff I had heard up until that point.

      Kyle: I basically piggy back everything Mike said. It's been a melting pot for me musically. But I started to take notice of the music I was into around late middle school/high school. My old man would send me The Clash, Sex Pistols, Buzzcocks, Ramones etc. this stuff was really filling that void for me around the time and then I kept exploring through friends and the interweb THANK YOU NAPSTER!

      What instruments do you play and which ones do you prefer?
      Mike: The only instrument that I would consider myself proficient in is drums and percussion.  My father was a drummer in his younger years, and I had some other family influences in that area.  Sadly, I have not owned a real kit since about 2000. I always enjoy playing when I can sit behind one.  Currently I have an electronic kit that I can sit down at from time to time. I can make noise with just about any other instrument also,  but I would not consider myself to "play" anything else. 

      Kyle: My main focus is drums also but I can play guitar and bass well enough. Really anything that makes noise and sounds pleasant I will find a way to play it. 

      What are the DIY ethics for you? How do you apply them to your music and the label?

      Mike: DIY is very near and dear to our hearts.  Although we are mostly now having our tapes and vinyl professionally manufactured, we will never stray away from doing occasional DIY, self-copied releases and whatnot.  We create the majority of our art, conceptualize, and play a major production roll on all of our releases from start to finish as needed.  It also just goes back to, if you don't get off your ass and do something, nothing is going to happen!  
      Kyle: Mike is right get off your ass! This quote sticks with me, something my dad said "Don't just stand there! Do something, even if it's wrong!" haha it's true though have to keep progressing. I like that fear of starting something and not knowing how it will finish from beginning to end. If your heart was in it fully then that is the reward especially when you DIY.

      How did you come up with the name for the label?

      Mike: The name did not have any type of deep meaning or anything at first.  It was a term that I heard a friend describe someone as when we were drunk as hell one night.  It came up in my head one day when we were trying to think of a label name and that was that. We do like destruction in a certain sense as well.  It's nice to have some clothing that says "Destroy" on it. 

      What's your jobs (apart from music) and why did you choose them?

      Mike: I work in the IT field for a video game company down here in Southern California.  Not a passion of mine, but it pays the bills which I have a lot of right now.  I somewhat do enjoy a conflicting life though, not making money from any of my many passions.  That has been a constant theme my entire life.  
      Kyle: I do video production for a university on the east coast of the states. I originally went to school for audio production, freelanced a bit recording bands, still do from time to time but I landed a job doing basic desktop support and moved into the video field from there. I am kind of a do everything kind of person meaning I like to learn in the field. My mind is constantly searching for another challenge which is how I always end up where I am at that time. 

      How is that you live in different coasts? is it much harder to keep on collaborating?
      did you live near firstly? if so, why did you have to move?

      Mike: I grew up in the area surrounding Minneapolis, MN my entire life.  Kyle grew up on the east coast in Rhode Island.  He moved to MN for a period of time which is when we first met and became friends.  He moved back to the east coast midway through high school.  We have never lost contact since.  I visited Rhode Island and/or Massachusetts just about every year since I was a teen.  Currently, I live in the Los Angeles area and Kyle in Boston, MA.  We both hold down jobs in these places and have somewhat carved a life out for ourselves.   We see it as a positive however.  With my presence in the west, our roots in MN, and Kyle out in New England, we can spread Major Destroyer across the continent!  We'd love to be in closer proximity someday, we'll see what happens. With the internet and traveling, we get work done.  It just takes longer.

      Kyle: It definitely takes longer but it also allows us to sit on creative decisions which in my opinion is a huge benefit. I've lived in a lot of apts throughout my life and it just seems to go that way. haha Mikes hardcore and always makes it down to work on our projects!

      Listening to the Major Destroyer releases, I have the feeling that you fancy live, raw, even harsh recordings than those produced in "more standard ways". Is it accurate? 

      Mike: I would say that is very accurate.  We really don't have a specific genre of music that we promote.  We love it all.  However, there likely is a consistent message in a lot of the music we create and promote.  Destruction, dirty recordings, music that is heavy as fuck.  We are all about it. I can put on a thousand bands that are recorded and mixed exactly the same these days.  Give me some raw passionate music that says "fuck you" and I'm down!  Bands that are essentially doomed to fail solely because of their name or subject content, bring it on. Whether it's expressed through vocals or pure sound, we want to hear a story.  Music that speaks for itself.

      Kyle: hahaha yea he nailed it! The world is not perfect so why should things be made that way? Plus it's easier to listen to the "status quo" recordings and such, which don't get me wrong I can enjoy but it is a lot harder to listen to raw, aggressive and disruptive music etc. makes you listen a lot closer and use your imagination!

      And the bands you publish don't play mainstream music. There are noise, experimental, hardcore punk, doom. Are you open to other styles?
      We are absolutely open to any and all styles.  Kyle and I are both probably some of the most schizophrenic music listeners out there.  We love raw, heavy stuff and tend to stick within those means with our releases but there are no boundaries with Major Destroyer.  If music speaks to us that we love, we will get it out there if possible.

      Kyle: Yes schizophrenic indeed!

      What are the points you seek in bands? is there a certain attitude?

      Mike: We simply look for passionate, original music.  In most cases, it's really simple to hear honesty in music.  We are interested in that stuff.  We don't give a fuck about what a band/artist looks like, how they dress, what they are singing about.  We don't give a fuck about whether they want to do the typical band activities, taking promo shots, marketing, and making their product blend in with everything else out there. We just want great music. We want to promote shit that could be in cult films, skate videos, etc.  Timeless stuff.  We don't negotiate contracts or make any money, we just want the opportunity to create.  Among a vast sea of material out there, if you open your ears you will find jewels that need be packaged up in physical form and available in record stores!

      Kyle: If it speaks we hear it.

      Check their releases here: