Archives for category: Black Sabbath

 West Nashville’s The One Through Tens  (1-10’s) shine their Alabama and Carolina roots with a savory mix on their recent self-released Fighting For a Golden Age. Although there seems to be a heavy Seattle influence, that Southeast soulful groove underlies the upfront guitar pyrotechnics of Adam Louis.

Run From Your Master goes through a very Blind Melon style funk groove and word play with guitars shifting the change ups to ask the all important question, “Why do you? Why do you run from your master?”  I guess a different way of saying “Who’s your Daddy?”

Track two, “Dyin’ Blues” starts out with a funky Bass line from Ben Lowry and Adam’s Tom Morello infected groove with Will Floyd’s vocal somewhere between a lower range Shannon Hoon and a more garage band version of The Yardbirds’ Keith Relf.

“Religious Fervor” is a slow burning slide guitar dervish mix reminiscent of Black Sabbath’s “Sweet Leaf” and The Black Keys’ Junior Kimbrough- Chullahoma period at Fat Possum.

Adam shows he is not a one style or tone player, shifting from a clean Coldplay meets Blind Melon sing along of “Eye For An Eye” to the dry track strong funk of “So Damn Sad”. If you like guitar, he is a Sorcerer’s Apprentice somewhere between Kim Thayil, Tom Morello and The Blind Melon team lost somewhere in Texas.

A Jazzy blue train sax line snakes through “Liars and Thieves” adding to the strong heady brew of a band that delivers live with the strong rhythm section of Abby Hairston on Drums and Ben solid on the Bass-meets- kick- drum lock that allows Adam to show his mutli-attack chops while Will delivers the strong on word play thought provoking message.

The Production work of Andy and Nathan Roy really holds up while the Gorillaz urban city in trouble animation cover with Police Helicopters in search of somebody as Big Brother oversees the murky existence the band appears to be fine just observing in homegrown warrior apparel at the cities edge.

Will owns This Bar in West Nashville where the band performs as well as hitting regional clubs building on their base. The One Through Tens are not to be missed if you enjoy strong dynamics with a Rock and Roll delivery. This may be closer to Birmingham’s Beitthemeans then other Nashville scene bands right now.

Just remember the keys are lying on the ground between the leaves in the dirt.

The 1-10's Live at The Rutledge April 29th, 2011

– Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN

I first got turned onto Black Mountain in 2006 when my drummer, Daniel of “Waiting for Daniel” fame said you got to check this out as we hung out back of the practice space, The HotEL Birmingham in his Volkswagen Jetta with the music cranked.

I was like the “what tha?” It was twin vocals kind of “Grace Slick and Marty Balin- Jefferson Airplane style” over music that veered from the mysterious realms of Jethro Tull to heavy Black Sabbath riffs. Although it was electric it was really organic sounding, like heavy Rock being neither Stoner Rock or Heavy Metal.

The first cover of black on black mountains, like flying over the Rockies in the winter at night was ominous like the sound. I started looking forward to the next release. In the Future was again very heavy and kept this brigade of late 60’s romantics cooking. The cover again with the cubist art was like retro-future with how 1960’s culture viewed itself. We had to look toward the future.

Black Mountain / photo/ Ryan Walter Wagner

This is Black Mountain‘s fourth outing and still no picture of the band on the cover. If you want to see the band, you’ll need to go to YouTube or go see them live. They seem even more focused and the artwork is no less compelling with a reflection of a great white shark in a mirrored office building coming out of the clouds, it’s like nature itself is pissed off.

Wilderness Heart kicks off with almost a Led Zep-Kashmir quality and keeps the retro stew going with “Old Fangs” coming out of the speakers like a Martin Birch engineered track off Deep Purple’s Fireball.

Amber Webber is a key element that keeps things from getting formulaic with her counter vocals, Stephen McBean and Amber still remind me of a modern day Marty Balin-Grace Slick team or if you want to get punk, Exene Cervenka-John Doe team. This type of work could not be auto tuned, there is some room for synthesizers but they will remind you of the synth work in Zeppelin or Sabbath.

The sound still stays organic and sounds as if they are still recording on big Ampex Analog 16 track machines. They are at the forefront of something that bridges the late 60’s haunting post hippie scene with lyrics that will stir the Syd Barrett in everybody. In fact, there is even a reference to Piper at the Gates of Dawn, but I’ll let you find that yourself like discovering the hidden meanings on The Beatles’ White Album .

This groups possible believers may not even be listening yet. Black Mountain bridges the gap between the kids that find the music of the late 60’s and early 70’s had something that music doesn’t have now and the fifty somethings that listened to the music in the first place. Wilderness Heart could sit comfortable between Jethro Tull’s Aqualung and Deep Purple’s Fireball in any relic’s record collection.

 The Psychedelic Vancouver, Canada band will roll into Nashville on November 11th at the The Mercy Lounge/Cannery Balllroom. You can get tickets at Grimeys, this is 9 on a 10 scale kick back in your room music.

– Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN

American Bang at The Nick, Birmingham

It’s no wonder that the major labels are in a quandery and end up making bad calls like an investor who rode his stocks all the way to the beginning of 2009 instead of selling in mid 2007. First off, if a label like Maverick or Reprise feels the need to change a bands name they should have pushed the release date way to the front of the line.

American Bang, who cut their teeth in the Nashville scene as Bang Bang Bang back in 2006-2007, were a part of a thread of bands from American Minor (who got “Jive”d) to my band Furthermore doing our Humble Pie-est in Birmingham.  A major could have exploited a scene quickly the way they used to during the L.A. and Seattle things while it was fresh and make it roll out across the airwaves.

American Minor/photo-Josh Victor Rothstein

But no, let’s wait till all things change as they do in a three year period and quietly release product while College Radio is playing Fleet Foxes and Vampire Weekend.  American Bang is a great band with a great album.  A great write up in the local Metromix was a prelude to their CD Release party at Mercy Lounge last Thursday.  Rolling Stone or whatever  is nowhere to be seen.

A quick glance around town at the generics,  Borders and FYE find no copies of a great local band finally getting their day. No doubt, Grimeys will do their best. If you can’t find the CD locally what does that mean nationally? It appears that now that the product is available it’s back to the road.

Major labels need to move a little faster and get back to making rock and roll records. If I had to take a guess, American Bang will get a big welcome in England. England seems to get what we aren’t spoon fed here. The Ramones went there in 1976 and started a revolution. The Stray Cats left New York and did what Robert Gordon couldn’t do by staying here.  The Drive-By Truckers are The Rolling Stones in England. England has been building a caudre of I guess one could call Hard Rock Roots bands for several years that get featured along the original genre heroes such as Thin Lizzy and Uriah Heep in Classic Rock magazines. England has the scene.

The best examples of getting it out while its hot right now are labels like Bloodshot Records that have released a great album the last three years by Justin Townes Earle, along with some real gems in their catalog.

Real Rock and Roll is not Rocket Science. A Neve Console, An Ampex 2 inch 16 Track Reel to Reel and a pile of Neumann and Shure Microphones. Write songs on the road and get it recorded well and quickly with few over dubs, then put it out every 8-12 months. I guess I didn’t mention Pro Tools and for good reason. That is how you build a Rock Bands history. The releases keep the momentum building while a band is on the road.

Van Halen, Texas Jam, 1979

Van Halen, The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Black Sabbath and just about every band did that when Rock was fresh. Gee, a 3 year development deal with an album every 2-3 years doesn’t seem to work. No kidding. Is anybody listening at Warner Brothers or Sony? I didn’t think so. Go buy American Bang.

– Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN


Don Rich on Tele with The Buckaroos

Eileen Sisk, in her recent biography of Buck Owens disclosed a good amount of information on how much The Buckaroos made working for the King of Bakersfield. It gave a lot of insight into the sacrifices that were made to be a Buckaroo.

Don Rich made $75 per week when he started to play with Buck. In addition to that, he was to turn over any money he made from outside jobs. Don and the other Buckaroos could make extra money by making a commission on concession sales. Don won many awards as a guitarist; in fact he won awards before Buck was recognized by Country Music associations. Don could have played on many sessions but opted to stay by Buck’s side even though the money was not that great. Buck and Don were a team much like  Tom Petty and Mike Campbell, but, only Buck saw the real money. He was really an employer. 

1960's Merle

In 1963, Merle Haggard was persuaded to take a cut in pay and play bass for Buck. Merle was making $150 per week playing Bakersfield Honky Tonks. Buck hired him to play Bass in his band for $75 per week.  Merle only lasted 2-3 weeks depending on who you talk to before quitting Buck’s band. During those three weeks Merle nicknamed the band The Buckaroos. Merle came up with the name for Buck’s band.

Even though the money was not that good, it was hard to turn down a chance to play in Buck’s band who at the time were considered probably the best in Country Music. Many sidemen today only earn about $200-$400 per week for dates at fairs or other steady venues.

It can be worse for an Indie Rock band. I recently went to a show at The Nick in Birmingham where a band I knew had traveled playing several Southern clubs got their share for the night, $34 after splitting the door with three other bands and the club Sound Engineer.

Early Ozzy, Black Sabbath Days

Ozzy, in his recent autobiography, tells how he never really saw money during his days in Black Sabbath. Black Sabbath was selling records and selling out shows yet rarely saw money. He learned from other members of the band that he could contact management and request a car like a Rolls Royce or something and it would be at the front door the next day. The car could then be sold and converted to cash in his pocket to use as he wished. Essentially, he was living as many bands did back then and that was on the management credit card, both literally and figuratively.

Even Elvis, who commanded big money, was at the mercy of his Manager Col. Tom Parker. At times, he would discuss getting out of his contract or not wanting to do certain concert dates or whatever only to be reminded how deeply in debt he was. In the early days, accounting and taxes were known to be above the heads of many artists and the business knowledge had by Management and Label Executives enabled them to use scare tactics to keep their roster in line.

Semisonic  drummer, Jacob Slichter, wrote a great autobiography from the journals that he kept during his fifteen minutes of fame called “So You Wanna Be A Rock & Roll Star”. He not only went through how the music business worked in the 90’s but talked about how much money it took to have a number one record.  It took close to a million dollars when all was said and done in promotion to get the song “Closing Time” to number one. All the money it takes in promoting a band as well as the cost of touring including a bus that costs several thousand dollars each week eat into profits. In the end, most bands don’t see much unless things really hit big.

During the early days of  Van Halen things were kept lean to put money back into their show and work on becoming headliners. Eddie Van Halen was still living at home with his parents when he married Valerie Bertinelli according to her own book, “Losing It: and Gaining my Life Back One Pound at a Time”.  Even though he could have probably bought a house by the third album when he was dating Valerie it made life easier to keep a room at home with the parents.

When I was 16 I had the opportunity to meet Thin Lizzy on the “Johnny the Fox” tour. The song “The Boys are Back in Town” was a hit on the radio and they were out on tour opening for Queen who had a big album with “A Night at The Opera”. By the time they came to Fresno, California, Freddie Mercury was sick and Queen cancelled. Thin Lizzy became the headliner with Sammy Hagar brought in to open the show.

Hey Scott, so how much you make?

I was at sound check at Selland Arena and had the chance to hang and talk to guitarist, Scott Gorham. We talked about guitarists that he knew such as Ritchie Blackmore and how I was surprised he was from L.A. when I had expected an Irish or British accent. I had one big question since I was a guitar player that wanted to be in a twin lead rock band like Thin Lizzy, but, only played the occasional dances or talent shows with my garage band. How much did he make probably for the year? You know, he knew I was sincere and he was honest with me. He estimated about $24,000 per year. Back in 1976, that would be about $50,000 or so in today’s dollars. It was okay, but, I was expecting $100,000 or something.

In reality, the big payoff for some well-known names in the business did not happen until after years of solid work and paying lots of taxes.

Alex Chilton, Big Star days

What does that mean today especially for an indie act where you don’t want to look too big or be a sell out in the music business? It may mean adjusting one’s lifestyle in order to accommodate the need to create. At one time,   Alex Chilton , the cult hero behind The Box Tops and Big Star  was living in a tent on a friend’s property outside Memphis. He did find a home in New Orleans, but, after a lifetime worth of work he made enough to keep a modest lifestyle.

The music business may be whatever you are able to do yourself. The big labels don’t touch anything that doesn’t want to be developed by a Manager for the masses such as Kesha or Katy Perry. It’s entertainment, but, is it talent? Is it originality or is it a play developed for the artist to walk into? Most musician/songwriters don’t want to even go there as they write and record their music.

It remains to be seen how many musicians will be able to consider what they do as a career after free downloading has taken much of their livelihood. It is estimated that Nashville has lost about 60% of its songwriters due to illegal downloading. The Music Industry has lost jobs in the tens of thousands.

In a way, the clock has turned back to where a new “ Sun” records or other regional could end up making a big impression with innovation. A band, a cooperative or an entrepreneur with deep pockets and web know how could end up being the next big player. Ultimately, the music has to be interesting enough to get the listener to go look for it on the web.

– Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN