TANYA TUCKER: STRONG ENOUGH TO BEND

OPENS NOVEMBER 14 AT

COUNTRY MUSIC HALL OF FAME® AND MUSEUM

photo courtesy Tanya Tucker

photo courtesy Tanya Tucker

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (October 16, 2014) – The Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum will explore the career of superstar Tanya Tucker with the exhibition Tanya Tucker: Strong Enough to Bend, which opens November 14, 2014, and runs through May 2015.

Tanya Tucker’s talent blossomed early, despite being born into poverty in Texas and raised in ramshackle apartments and trailers in Arizona, Utah, and Nevada. She began performing on local shows at age six, and within years was a regular on a Phoenix TV program. A Las Vegas agent sent a demo recording to Billy Sherrill, who quickly signed Tucker to Columbia Records. She was thirteen years old.

At the time, few child performers had achieved success in country music. But the singer’s husky voice and audacious confidence made her seem more grown-up. She proved as much when she walked into a Nashville studio, in March 1972, and announced to Sherrill and the veteran musicians, “Well, I know my part, boys. Do you know yours?” She proceeded to belt out “Delta Dawn” like a seasoned pro, and by summer the song was a hit.

Tucker assured her success by releasing six consecutive Top Ten hits—including the #1s “What’s Your Mama’s Name,” “Blood Red and Goin’ Down,” and “Would You Lay With Me (in a Field of Stone)”—in two years, all produced by Sherrill. The narrative songs told daring stories that courted controversy, and Tucker’s mature-beyond-her-years vocal style brought out the drama and emotion in each.

Tanya Tucker on the cover of the Rolling Stone

Tanya Tucker on the cover of the Rolling Stone

Two years into her singing career, Tucker appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine—a rare national media spotlight for a country star in 1974. To her parents, Beau and Juanita Tucker, such recognition signified that their teen daughter had crossover potential that could take her beyond the country audience.

On October 10, 1974—Tucker’s sixteenth birthday—she signed a $1.4 million contract with MCA Records, a deal brokered by her ambitious father. Her seven years on MCA yielded the #1 hits “Lizzie and the Rainman.” “San Antonio Stroll,” and “Here’s Some Love.” In 1978, she recorded the rock-influenced album T.N.T. in Los Angeles.

In California, Tucker began dating singer Glen Campbell, twenty-two years her senior; their fiery, tabloid-filled relationship ended in acrimony. After a stint with Arista Records, Tucker signed with Capitol Records and reunited with producer Jerry Crutchfield, with whom she had worked at MCA.

TANYA TUCKER ©2009 photograph by Alan Messer

TANYA TUCKER
©2009 photograph by Alan Messer

Tucker’s 1986 album, Girl Like Me, featured four Top Ten hits, including the #1 “Just Another Love.” She enjoyed a long run of success on Capitol (and sister label Liberty), with a string of Top Ten hits through 1997, including three consecutive #1s, “I Won’t Take Less Than Your Love,” “If It Don’t Come Easy,” and “Strong Enough to Bend.”

Tanya Tucker heard her name called as the 1991 CMA Female Vocalist of the Year while lying in a hospital bed, watching the awards show on TV. Earlier the same day, she had delivered her second child, Beau.

Her first child, daughter Presley, was born in July 1989—a year after Tucker had checked herself into the Betty Ford Center over issues with substance abuse. Her third child, Layla, arrived in 1999.

For Tucker, the CMA award came at a time when some radio stations refused to play her music while criticizing her choice to be a single mother. The CMA award, the first of her career, proved that the country music industry at large continued to support her. The national media cited Tucker’s win, and her eighteen Top Ten hits between 1988 and 1994, as signs that country music reflected the evolving roles of women in American society.

Tucker detailed her colorful life story in her 1997 autobiography, Nickel Dreams: My Life. The singer also starred in her own reality show, Tuckerville, on cable network TLC. “Every one of us has good and bad times in our lives,” Tucker wrote in Nickel Dreams. “In my case, they have been to extremes.”

TANYA TUCKER ©2009 photograph by Alan Messer

TANYA TUCKER
©2009 photograph by Alan Messer

Modern Ozark Mountain Daredevils Bring Forth Loaded Baked Potatoes From Americana Dirt

pawns_or_kings_press_picture“The process of finishing this album was the hardest experience of our life. With equipment failure, the original album files being erased and three years of struggling with nothing to show, we can finally give you the album you guys deserve.”

“We offer this piece of us in hopes that it would pick you up when you are down or be there to celebrate the good times alongside you. Every second of every track was an independent effort by members of this band. We truly and humbly hope you enjoy it.”- Pawns Or Kings

Hailing from the Ozark area of Southern Missouri, Pawns or Kings have a unique take on the popular folk revival that is sweeping the world.

“Without the Ozark Mountains… there would simply be no Pawns or Kings” said Stengel during a recent interview. Members of the band grew up playing music together ever since junior high and have been shaped by a variety of influences from classic rock like Led Zeppelin to bluegrass legends like Ricky Skaggs.

Pomme De Terrre puts Pawns Or Kings in a realm inhabited by the likes of Mumford & Sons, The Avett Brothers and The Decemberists.

Preview Pawns Or Kings Pomme De Terre Here

pawns or kings pomme_de_terre

 

The End proudly presents Balance and Composure this Wednesday night along with Seahaven and Creepoid.

photo courtesy Balance and Composure

photo courtesy Balance and Composure

The band’s latest record The Things We Think We’re Missing debuted at #51 on Billboard’s Top 200 Chart and has been very well received in the media, garnering coverage from Pitchfork, Spin, Stereogum, MTV and Rolling Stone.

Balance and Composure rides the line between noise pop like Sonic Youth and the reflective inner sanctum of Nirvana.

Frontman Jon Simmons likes to deliver visual stories with the tone of Dennis Wilson and the mindset of a wave riding Billy Corgan on a dark beach set endless six footer drifting to the right.

The intervweaving guitars set the tone for this Pennsylvania quartet.

Their videos are always well executed,

balance and composure album cover-          Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN     thenashvillebridgeathotmaildotcom

 

 

SAMMY KERSHAW GOES VINTAGE VINYL WITH

GEORGE JONES TRIBUTE ALBUM

 Vinyl Edition of Kershaw’s ‘Do You Know Me? – A Tribute to George Jones’ Available Now

 

photo courtesy Sammy Kershaw

photo courtesy Sammy Kershaw

Nashville, Tenn. (September 11, 2014) – As critics continue to rave about SAMMY KERSHAWs new George Jones tribute album, Do You Know Me?, the country music star is now making the album available in vinyl form.  The vinyl edition contains two LPs and is available now in select record stores and online at Amazon.com. “I decided to make this album available on vinyl because it seemed appropriate,” says Kershaw.  “Jones released all of his early records on vinyl because there wasn’t any other way to do it.  Vinyl gave his records that vintage sound that can’t be replicated so on my tribute to him, I wanted to do the same thing.” Kershaw tackles some of Jones’ biggest career songs on the 14-track album. The tribute includes Kershaw’s renditions of “White Lightning,” “Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes,” “The Grand Tour,” “He Stopped Loving Her Today” and “The Race Is On,” among others. Two all new songs, inspired by Jones, are also included and Kershaw recruited the “Possum’s” daughter Georgette Jones for the classic duet, “Near You.” 

Do You Know Me? was released on July 22 and debuted at #37 on the Billboard Top Country Music Albums Chart, landing Kershaw his first Billboard Top 40 album in more than a decade.

The tribute to Jones is produced by Kershaw and available through his label, Big Hit Records.

 

For additional information on Sammy Kershaw, visit www.sammykershaw.com or his official Facebook Page.

 

Dead Fingers 2014 Interview

Dead Fingers, photo Courtesy Pipe and Gun

Dead Fingers, photo Courtesy Pipe and Gun

Taylor Hollingsworth and Kate Taylor better known as Birmingham, Alabama’s Dead Fingers took a few minutes to reflect on their adventures that took about two years and resulted in their sophomore release Big Black Dog on Birmingham’s Communicating Vessels .

Taylor and Kate took a much needed break when they became first time parents and found themselves with new material at a crossroads in the music business that is affecting even smaller regional labels.

After much reflection and at a point where they felt like they were ready to get out on the road, they ended up working with Birmingham, Alabama’s Communicating Vessels which has had national success with The Great Book Of John as well as regional favorites like The Grenadines.

The album was recorded in Mississippi with Bruce Watson [Fat Possum/ Big Legal Mess] long before the release date and label decisions were made and finally released with Bruce’s blessing right in Taylor and Kate’s own backyard.

Brad Hardisty / The Nashville Bridge: I have been listening to this album and it seems to be more organized then the first release in the sense that it is not as random as the other album. Does that make sense?

Taylor Hollingsworth / Dead Fingers: Yeah, I could see that for sure, yeah. We tried to have a direction, you know, in the recording. We tried to have, like a cohesive sound.

TNB: There are more concentration on the harmonies and also more of a focus on the country sound.

TH: I decided I am just a country musician you know. I’m like psychedelic country.

TNB: It works. I liked how you put “Big Black Dog” on the front end because that was kind of like the most off-beat and different from the rest. It looks like the first push is with “Free Tonight.”

TH: Yeah.

TNB: You’ve been around for at least a decade now. As a solo artist, you were with Brash Music out of Georgia. You worked with Conor Oberst and The Mystic Valley Band . You’ve been with Big Legal Mess / Fat Possum out of Mississippi and now you are working with Communicating Vessels out of Birmingham. I guess it makes it a little bit easier to work with distribution and all of that.

TH: Not necessarily on the distribution, but it makes it easier for like, I don’t know, I thought it was making it easier until the last couple of days. No, I’m just kidding, I mean , it’s like easier when we can go to the office and actually discuss things face to face rather than by e-mail or just a phone call. I can bug them more frequently and make sure things are like getting done, I guess.

TNB: Communicating Vessels has pretty decent distribution. I remember seeing The Great Book of John and some of their other releases here in Nashville. They also concentrate on doing some vinyl, don’t they?

TH: Yeah, they are definitely doing vinyl. They are really cool people that do the label. I have really been excited about doing it. I hope that they can survive in this day and age in the music business. Obviously, it’s like a f*****n’ s**t show out there.

TNB: It’s weird. Jack White made an album that had three speeds on it to create more interest and it ended up being number 1 on Billboard. Lazaretto sold like 40,000 copies the first week. But, it’s like a piece of art.

TH: Well, he’s on a whole ‘nother plane.

TNB: When you guys tour are you going out with any other Alabama bands or just going out by yourselves?

Dead Fingers, Taylor Hollingsworth and Kate Taylor, photo courtesy Jonathan Purvis

Dead Fingers, Taylor Hollingsworth and Kate Taylor, photo courtesy Jonathan Purvis

TH: We just have this one tour booked as of right now and that’s just us by ourselves with local support in all the cities. I think that is usually good, you know, because you get local bands that help you with the draw.

TNB: Are you doing recording pretty much the way you used to, like, are you pretty much taking control of your work?

TH: This new album we did over at the Fat Possum studio at the same place as we did the first Dead Fingers album with Bruce Watson. We both kind of, you know, produced it like I come up with a lot of ideas of arrangement type stuff and instrumentation. Like adding certain things to make it sound a certain way, but I really don’t have anything to do with, like, what mic we are going to use or what stuff like that. Bruce is on top of that because I’ll just grab any kind of mic there is and just put’em on shit to record, but he knows which mic to use and to do it the proper way.

TNB: Well, he’s worked on a lot of stuff. My favorite Black Keys album was Chulahoma, the Junior Kimbrough stuff. That was awesome.

TH: Yeah man, Bruce has got his name on some cool records.

TNB: Ok, so you did it over there, was it originally going to be on his label, or?

TH: Yeah. The music business is eating them alive like he is losing money on a lot of records. He lost money on our first record. So, he was kind of thinking we would just release this record just digitally then I said there is a Birmingham label. I told him about Communicating Vessels. I was like, what if we got them to do the vinyl and you do the digital, but it kind of got to be like nobody is going to want to spend all this money on vinyl and not have the digital release so, we just decided to go with Communicating Vessels. We thought about it and they kind of offered us to do the vinyl and offered to help us with some of the core stuff. We also liked the idea of them just being down the street from us. I mean they are literally like a two minute drive so, we talked to Bruce and he was totally cool with the whole thing. I mean he was like I would love to say I could give you enough money to do all that but he just can’t.

TNB: It is kind of weird how Birmingham had evolved into where there were a lot of great bands that came out at a certain period of time. Like beitthemeans, Model Citizen, Universal Joint and your band The Spider Eaters. I can think of at least a dozen bands; Through The Sparks has made it through that whole thing. But, now Birmingham has its own label and other things going on so they can promote their own scene, which is kind of cool.

TH: Yes, it’s really cool, you know, I hope that they can expand beyond Birmingham. They certainly are trying real hard. They are goin’ through the motions. They are living and learning. They are hiring all kinds of publicists and radio people and I mean they are doing it.

TNB: Are they trying to get over to England?

TH: Yeah. They are actually hiring print over in England.

TNB: I was thinking, how say like The Drive By Truckers broke over there as well as Kings of Leon.

TH: Yeah, we went to Europe last year. On our last record, we had a European label as well as the Stateside label and we did a European tour which went over really well for us on our level. But, the label we were on, over there, went under. They lost their ass on every one of their records and now we don’t have a label over there. Labels are just going under right and left.

TNB: Jack White’s Third Man Records can sell a lot of his own records but he has recorded a lot of other people that don’t do much like even the Neil Young record he did is way down on the charts so it’s maybe selling like a couple of thousand.

TH: Bruce just told me they released the Iggy & The Stooges new album and didn’t even sell 10,000 copies. Iggy & the f*****g Stooges! That is insane and they spent a fortune on that record.

TNB: I know Infinity Cat put their label right behind the United Record Pressing plant here in town.

TH: Yeah, that is where we pressed our last record.

TNB: They have got things going on where they do limited runs on everything and they keep changing it up whether it is the type of vinyl or the sleeve. They change it up every tour because they have core buyers. They have guys that will buy three different versions of the same record to just get the different covers of a Jeff The Brotherhood release.

TH: Well the truth is the reason we are not on Bruce’s label is what really happened on the business end and that his distribution was losing so much money on all these small records that weren’t selling enough numbers and they were getting shipped back from stores. They had to change their way, so their new approach in order to distribute your record is to have you buy a package plan and it was four grand for just the cheapest package. That was just to get your record into the store and that added four grand to our cost which used to not be a cost at all. They made money per record off a percentage but now they don’t take a percentage they charge a flat fee because those records weren’t even selling enough for them to make a percentage. You know what I mean? Not making anything, losing money.

TNB: It’s kind of the trend right now that they are putting everything back on the artist. I was talking to Ryan Hurtgen [former Nashvillian in Rene Breton]of Perfect Beings and he said out there in California, the pluggers are charging the bands and you don’t know if they are out plugging your music or not. They are trying to suck the musicians dry…Hey Kate, are you there?

Kate Taylor / Dead Fingers: I’m here.

TNB: You kind of have your own thing, but it fits more with Folk Alliance or the Americana Music Festival here in Nashville for promoting, you know what I mean? I didn’t know if you were going to try to get into some of those things. The Americana Music Festival here in town is huge. People are flying in from all over the world.

TH: Is that where I played with The Dexateens last year?

TNB: You probably did. I know the Dexateens are pretty solid. I didn’t go last year.

TH: Yeah. I would love to do that.

TNB: Is the new album stuff you worked on a while back or is at all new?

TH: I don’t think we had it written during the last album but it is now like two years old though. I mean, most of the songs I wrote before our daughter was born. Kate, your songs are probably before she was born too?

Dead Fingers, photo courtesy Jonathan Purvis

Dead Fingers, photo courtesy Jonathan Purvis

Kate: Yeah, we were probably working on that album just as we just finished the tour of the first album. We had just come out from there and I was pregnant. So, when we finished the tour we just went straight back into the studio. Knowing you’re pregnant you are anticipating the lull. I mean, we obviously had to take a little time off from touring and not be able to work as much. So, even when we were on tour we went back and forth to Mississippi every other weekend while I was still pregnant and then we finished it. I think Taylor ended up going one or maybe two times after she was born. I mean she was just teeny tiny like three weeks old or something. We went back a couple of times to finish everything up. But, then there was the switching of labels and all that kind of stuff and that ended up taking much longer than we had anticipated.

TNB: So you are like ready to record again, probably?

TH: Yeah, we haven’t written any songs.

Kate: Yeah, we had the baby and stuff.

TH: I was going through my notebook last night and I realized I probably have an albums worth of stuff written. Old songs from back then.

Kate: We are just getting to the point where we can record again. You know, our daughter is getting to be not quite two actually, she will be in November. Just like little things, you know, even right now. She is usually not a night owl. We don’t have to wait until forever and ever, at bedtime she goes to bed.

Taylor: That just now started.

TNB: Life kind of changes when you got kids, that’s for sure.

Kate: So, we are just getting to a point where we can get the things out in front and start working again. Like at first, we were not writing anymore and not playing anymore.

TH: I’m about ready to start playing full time, just like locally you know.

TNB: What are you doing locally nowadays? Are doing like acoustic gigs somewhere? Or kicking it with a band?

TH: I have a cover band that I am playing with and stuff and then I work. I’ll do some acoustic gigs like, I do every second Friday at Parkside Cafe in the back bar up there. It’s like the cool bar now in Birmingham. All of our friends are hanging there. Lauren, from The Grenadines, tends bar at Parkside. It’s a bunch of cool folks. I think I am going to put together kind of like my own songs but then a bunch of country songs, cover songs that I can just play at bars to make a living. Make enough to get by without working the road. That is what I hope for.

TNB: Sounds good. It is a challenge. It’s kind of weird because it’s like when you released Tragic City, you were right on the edge of when the whole music business was goin’ down. I remember Tower Records was getting behind that album and then they went bankrupt.

TH: Yeah, they had a lot at Tower Records and like I remember it was like in Best Buy and shit like that. It was really getting pushed out there, but it was all right there at the end. I didn’t have a business minded head on my shoulder whatsoever anyway.

TNB: You were pushing everything at 100%.

TH: I just didn’t have the team behind me.

TNB: I definitely promote Birmingham when I get the chance.

TH: Yeah, I know you do.

TNB: Dude, good to hear that you guys are still pressing on. I was going to tell you that one of the highlights for me in Birmingham, probably 2006. You were playing with the Spider Eaters and Matt Patton from Model Citizen…

TH: Oh yeah Matt.

TNB: Yeah, he got up on stage and you guys did Ramones’ “Commando.” That was cool. It was good talking to you. Wish you the best man.

Taylor: Alright man, always good to talk to you.

Kate: Thank you so much.

Dead Fingers, photo courtesy Pipe and Gun

Dead Fingers, photo courtesy Pipe and Gun

-          Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN     thenashvillebridgeathotmaildotcom

 

NAMM is almost upon us!

Brad Hardisty with The Starlite Desperation, 2005, Pittsburg, PA, opening for The Donnas

Brad Hardisty with The Starlite Desperation, 2005, Pittsburg, PA, opening for The Donnas

If you haven’t noticed, changes have been the norm this year. Performer Magazine has changed their format and no longer carry the local “scene” page every month like they used to. I had been writing the Nashville page almost every consecutive month for nearly three years. Performer is doing a monthly online edition but with the realities of today’s readership, is only publishing a physical edition bi-monthly.

Brad Hardisty with Allison Robertson, The Donnas, Desert Moon event at Pappy & Harriets, Joshua Tree, CA, 2005

Brad Hardisty with Allison Robertson, The Donnas, Desert Moon event at Pappy & Harriets, Joshua Tree, CA, 2005

My interview with The Black Lips was featured on the cover just a couple of months ago. Performer has improved every year and has increased its national relevancy year after year. It is a first rate publication for the gigging and recording musician, especially for the artist that is trying to break out and can look behind the curtains at what other bands and artists are doing to get their message out.

Brad Hardisty, stage debut, tap dancing at age 5, San Jose, CA. The Beach Boys were scheduled at the same venue the following night.

Brad Hardisty, stage debut, tap dancing at age 5, San Jose, CA. The Beach Boys were scheduled at the same venue the following night.

Performer magazine Editor Benjamin Ricci, has been a great person to work with over the last three years and I hope to be involved albeit on a more limited basis in the future.

Brad Hardisty with Joe Buck, The Jackalope, Salt Lake City, UT, 2009

Brad Hardisty with Joe Buck, The Jackalope, Salt Lake City, UT, 2009

Due to several commitments, my goal will be to post at least one great interview per month as well as photos, occasional reviews and some editorial pundit talk on the state of all things music.

I still get great information via email from bands and publicists and hope to get current information out regarding Nashville and regionals artists.

Brad Hardisty, Tootsies, Nashville, TN, with Violet Moon's Guitar Strap- On custom guitar strap.

Brad Hardisty, Tootsies, Nashville, TN, with Violet Moon’s Guitar Strap- On custom guitar strap.

NAMM is next month and I will have some friends involved in the music business visiting from the music business, one of which is my friend Dana Marie from Violet Moon’s Guitar Strap Ons who will be in town for NAMM for the second time in three years. She designed an incredible guitar strap that I have been using for the past four years. She has designed straps for artists ranging from James Williamson [The Stooges] to J.R. Blackmore [son of Ritchie Blackmore] and is able to do incredible work right down to intricate detail as requested by the musician.

Still to come are pictures from Record Store Day!

-          Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN     thenashvillebridgeathotmaildotcom

The Ryan Hurtgen Interview via The West Coast

Photo courtesy Perfect Beings

Photo courtesy Perfect Beings

Perfect Beings [My Sonic Temple]brings together elements that are well reminiscent of GenesisThe Lamb Lies Down On Broadway /  YesGoing For The One era Prog Rock with a new twist to a new era of sound with the spontaneous yet well thought out instrumentation recorded almost completely live with  strong vocals plotting out a rock opera for the modern chip ready times.

While Perfect Beings played it safe at first by posting the more ballad oriented “Walkabout” to YouTube, this only eludes to the multi-textured beast of greatness that goes from “Helicopter” with its “Going For The One” modern arena prog rock that could touch a lot of fans of the genre in the sweet spot of the ears that has been missing in music for thirty plus years to the 2112/Neil Peart style of ideas within the mammoth “Removal of The Identity Chip”  which could be a modern take on “Watcher Of The Skies”.

Johannes Luley during recording session. Photo courtesy Perfect Beings.

Johannes Luley during recording session. Photo courtesy Perfect Beings.

Founded upon the nucleus of guitarist, Johannes Luley [Moth Vellum] and vocalist / songwriter,  Ryan Hurtgen [Rene Breton], Perfect Beings does not disappoint on their freshmen release with like minded musicians, Dicki Fliszar [Bruce Dickinson] on drums, Jesse Nason  on keys while Chris Tristram [Slash, Marjorie Fair] manages some Chris Squire – Rickenbacker Bass squawk on some lines.

Although it is easy to reference some of the original prog era giants, Perfect Beings manages to hit some touchstones without sounding retro. It sounds fresh in 2014 and has been reviewed all over the web with very favorable quotes and every review, so far, on Amazon has given the album five stars.

To be honest, this will be the greatest prog album this year not only because they will make happy ears among die hard adherents, but, in fact, this is a great performance album that can sit on the top shelf with the above mentioned works as well as maybe Pink FloydWish You Were Here and it’s “Welcome To The Machine” motif.

Vocalist, Ryan Hurtgen is well known in East Nashville circles from a couple of years ago with his Rene Breton project. He made the move to California and in the end it has proven to be a really productive time.  Maybe it’s because he gets to surf quite often, or maybe it’s the So Cal attitude that works well. In any case, Ryan caught up with The Nashville Bridge to talk about this latest project and the meaning of music in these tumultuous unknown times in the music business.

Brad Hardisty / The Nashville Bridge: How did you get involved in this project?

Ryan Hurtgen during Perfect Beings session. Photo courtesy Perfect Beings.

Ryan Hurtgen during Perfect Beings session. Photo courtesy Perfect Beings.

Ryan Hurtgen / Perfect Beings: Johannes had two others guys that he had on a prog rock project that he wanted me to come in and sing on. I said yes but, I never even met those two other guys. They dropped out.  The other two guys that he was going to start the band with dropped out and they couldn’t do it anymore. They had kids so, Johannes was like, “why don’t you and I start our own project?”

TNB: So, you were in from the beginning of this project?

RH: Yeah, we found the other band members through the web and started the band.

TNB: Was the prerequisite that they had to have a feel for doing the prog thing?

RH: Oh yeah. It just happened to be that the drummer, Dicki, who has played with Bruce Dickinson, has a daughter that goes to school with Johannes’s son here in L.A. and they met at a school function and they were talking about it. Johannes said, “why don’t you come jam with us?” Dicki came and we got the concept and so then there were three of us and then he knew Jesse from when he was in another band and he was totally into Prog keyboard things and decided to join the band too. So, we needed a bass player.We tried probably ten bass players and we found Chris Tristram on YouTube playing along to a Yes song and he had like a 100,000 views and it was just sick!  Johannes was like this is the guy that replied to one of our craigslist adds and that is how we found him.

TNB: I noticed that Chris sounds like, right off the bat, half way through the first song “Canyon Hill” like a little bit of Chris Squire.

RH: Exactly. That was exactly the style we were going for and he uses a Rickenbacker bass. So, we were going to go with this other guy just because we had to get the project going and then he contacted us and we were like, sure. Automatically

TNB: A lot of the ideas are like sci-fi but they are real like “Removal of The Indentity Chip.” That is physically something that could happen ten years from now. Did you guys kind of look at it that way?

Perfect Beings cover art. Courtesy of Perfect Beings.

Perfect Beings cover art. Courtesy of Perfect Beings.

RH: It’s based off the 2013 book by Suhail Rafidi, TJ and Tosc that was based on the future and it is fairly possible you know? In twenty years. We understand what is going to happen, you know how globally with the international concern how they use the tool for future ideas. Asia kind of understands this so, things are based on darkness and light and the idea would make it easy for us to communicate through.

TNB: Tell me about some of the other ideas, like “Program Kid” and things like that.

RH: Well, it’s an Opera that revolves around TJ and Tosc. So, it’s a story from the beginning and  I wanted to keep the idea of maybe dying like the portal from life to death.

TNB: Have you guys been gigging out in LA yet or?

RH: We have been opening shows out here.

TNB: Are some of the established bands aware of what you are doing?

RH: Well, we are number one on the Prog Archives. We are definitely getting a lot of really good recognition.

TNB: The thing is it fits that style but it is not a regression to the 70’s, it’s like a modern take on it really.

RH: I think it’s pretty unique, I think there are melodies with production skills, I can break it apart and then build it back up. We didn’t want to make Pop songs. We wanted to make an operatic piece of music.  I almost think that the Rock community needs to get out of the past a little bit and kind of see what is happening in the future and see places in the future. I feel like they’re really stuck in the 70’s like nothing is ever going to get as good as the golden age. You know what I’m saying? Progressive has a lot to offer like Dream Theater

TNB: I think of what like King Crimson did. Twenty years later, they sounded totally different then when they started, in other words, they are always looking at a new approach.

RH:  It’s kind of funny because, we are like mining the past in order to tell a story about the future, but it’s time to be in the present.

TNB: You are one of the most interesting people I have met. I thoroughly enjoy your progression of what you are doing and the different things that you are trying to do.

Dick Fliszar, Drums, Perfect Beings in session. Photo courtesy Perfect Beings.

Dick Fliszar, Drums, Perfect Beings in session. Photo courtesy Perfect Beings.

RH: In this day and age, as far as a label, it’s like everything I’ve done is just like because I was interested in going in a certain direction. Johannes and I have encouraged them to do a drum solo and play just as hard and as fast as you can in a certain section and we are going to embrace the feeling of the day. We are just trying to have fun with it so then let’s make it as complicated as we can, you know. We are not thinking like “we need to have a radio single”. We are thinking, no, we don’t need to have to have a radio single.

TNB: It was the same thing as with Rush on 2112 when they were told by the label that they need something commercial  and they went totally the opposite.

RH: I remember that. It was a different culture back then. It would have been interesting to be a part of, you know. You’d have to dog your manager. I don’t know if that’s smart but, you know, artists really know what they are doing. I mean, the music industry  had these old cigar smoking guys trying to figure out what was going, so they just trusted the artist to know what was popular and what was good so you know, they got a lot of good music out at the time. Nowadays, it’s like the A&R people and the label think they know what people like and they have taken it away from artistic integrity, you know.

TNB: Yes. I think it is even more so with Engineers and Producers because of what you can do with Pro Tools.

RH: Right.

TNB: Imagine if they had “quantized” Exile On Main Street or if they had pitch-corrected Billy Holiday?

RH: Right, yeah totally.

TNB: I saw the clip on you tube about how you guys recorded and I assume you recorded live.

RH: It was a live recording, right. There is no manipulation. We did overdub but…

TNB: I know you have excellent pitch and I don’t know if you tweeked it a little but, if you did, it was a minor change because there is no metallic sheen on your voice other than a special effect on your voice on the one song.

RH: We wanted the effect of a machine so you can hear that effect but, those other songs, I sang those.

TNB:  Any ideas about touring or doing any gigs around California?

RH: We have to get some people involved first. We don’t have any kind of management or booking so everything has just been done by us. All of the recording process. We are doing all of our own booking. We all have jobs. Some of us have jobs that would make it pretty hard to be out on the road right now.

TNB: That can be difficult.

RH: Yeah. I don’t know what is going to happen.  It is going to take some time to make it happen. If it does, it will be mainly in Europe. We are getting a publicist.

TNB: Europe, that would be cool.

RH: I want to play but there are a lot of things that we need to do before we are out there touring.

TNB: All you need is money.

RH:  Why isn’t creativity, why aren’t real artists honored with money now? Why can’t artists make money now with the internet? Information is free and there is a plethora of noise you know.

Photo art courtesy of Perfect Beings.

Photo art courtesy of Perfect Beings.

TNB: It’s a scary thought. One guy is releasing his album on a satellite and Wu Tang Clan is doing only one vinyl pressing and they are going to take it around on tour and then they are going to sell it for a million dollars to recoup their cost. It’s just bizarre. In a perfect world you guys would be on Atlantic Records working with some A&R guy who is into Yes who would be calling every FM radio station to get you guys on the air. There would be stacks of records at Tower Records when the release comes out.

RH: Yeah, totally. You are right. It feels really strange to me because we just released it and like we have just gotten incredible five star reviews around the board. I think it’s a masterpiece of music.

TNB: I think it’s sits with the best symphonic rock albums.

RH: I haven’t gotten any call from any labels. I can’t get people to call me back in the industry. People who have got it and listen to it, have given us incredible praise. I have been doing this music thing for a while now. I haven’t really asked for much, I have recorded on my own, I have toured on my own, I have put out records thinking that at some point I will make something really good and I am going to get better and better and then eventually it is going to be recognized and I am going to have a career.

TNB: The only real way now to make money is selling your music to commercials or like ESPN like this local band MODOC did.

RH: Yeah, this record is a Progressive Science Fiction Rock Opera, like let’s go out and sell a Pepsi.

TNB: It’s right in there with masterpieces like The Wall.

RH: Yeah, our culture needs stuff like that.

TNB: It’s like you have to find satisfaction in what you do for yourself.

RH:  All I can say is as an artist I am going to continue making more music that is more challenging and that is why I wanted to do a Prog Rock project, because it was challenging. I don’t want to play into that mainstream system based around commercialism.

TNB: Hopefully it pays off.  There should be a double gatefold copy of Perfect Beings around.

Jesse Nason, Keyboards, Perfect Beings. During recording of the new album. Photo courtesy Perfect Beings.

Jesse Nason, Keyboards, Perfect Beings. During recording of the new album. Photo courtesy Perfect Beings.

RH: I guess at this point in life I can say whatever I want and just say who cares. It’s not like I’m mad anymore. It’s almost a shame  because of what’s happening with the internet and illegal down loading, record companies have shut down, but, it’s not just record companies, a bunch  of artists have lost money. A lot of studios have closed down. Not only that, but it is people in hometowns in record stores. There’s no Blockbuster video anymore. There is no local record store. You know, those were jobs for local kids. Those businesses employed local kids in small towns all across America. They worked at a record store and not only did they work at a record store but they perpetuated good music to other kids in that community. There was a place in that community for people to hang out and I think it is interesting that we wrote this record and that is has all of these dystopian concepts in it and yet you see it happening now even with art itself.

TNB: It’s almost like half of the people that buy records now are musicians themselves.

RH: Musicians have become the commodity. Now, photographers and everything, it’s like, now I have a licensing company, pay me so many dollars a month and I’ll pitch your song, but there is no guarantee you’ll get anything. So, it’s like you have predatory music companies that have popped up all around and for good reason because everybody has Garage Band [software] and everybody can make their own record now in their own room with beats and whatever. It’s like, “I made a record and I’m going to be on a TV show.” They will never get a placement but they are paying a $100 per month and these guys are making money off of them. I don’t mean to be all negative. I am happy that we were able to make this record and there are people into this and there is absolutely a lot of beauty in the world.

TNB: We really need a product that is going to save the music business whether it is music or whatever.

Chris Tristram, Perfect Beings during recording session, photo courtesy Perfect Beings

Chris Tristram, Perfect Beings during recording session, photo courtesy Perfect Beings

RH: Well, Neil Young is coming out with PONO now.  The PONO thing is a cool thing and how cool is it that we are getting away from MP3’s? I mean, talk about saving the music industry. It really makes music sound good again. The listening experience is really important to people now and people are really excited about listening to vinyl with really good speakers and having listening parties and shit. Until people change the concept of, “I can listen to this on my iphone!” and just plug it in and have MP3’s then it won’t improve.

TNB: It’s like, I have been collecting a lot of vinyl over the last couple of years. I will pull out Bob Marley and people say it sounds like “full spectrum”. I will do a side-by-side of “Is This Love” on a CD remaster and the original vinyl and you can see the bits of Bob Marley’s voice that are missing on the digital copy.

RH: That’s vinyl, man.

-          Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN    thenashvillebridgeathotmaildotcom

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