Archives for category: Rock

Amy Winehouse put it this way, “I don’t ever want to do anything mediocre. I hear the music in the charts and I don’t mean to be rude, but those people have no soul. Learning from music is like eating a meal… you have to pace yourself. You can’t take everything from it all at once. I want to be different, definitely. I’m not a one trick pony. I’m at least a five-trick pony.”

It was difficult to hear about Amy Winehouse’s passing. I was driving down to Birmingham going through the channels on Sirius when I got a read out on the screen, AMY WINEHOUSE RIP with an 800 number to get in on the conversation.

Modern technology, getting news on my car’s entertainment read out, a little stunned, while driving 75 miles per hour, dialing through my car’s Bluetooth capability, hands free and sitting on hold for twenty minutes to share my thoughts on Sirius Radio.


I knew exactly what I was going to talk about. It was the conversation I had with my sister a few months after the release of Back To Black. “She’s such a mess, what do people see in her?” was the basic question. I said, “Have you really listened to the album?” “Well, I’ve heard “Rehab”, it’s not bad”.

We took off in my car with the decent stereo back in 2007, going through track by track. She really got into it.  She really enjoyed the record.

It is a masterpiece, not only the vocal stylist of our time, much the way Billie Holiday and Patsy Cline were in their day. In fact, Amy worked with Producer, Mark Ronson, who was a perfect foil to develop soulful nirvana, using the fabulous Dap Kings out of Brooklyn, New York for the basic tracks before adding lush strings with a mix of Motown, Spector, Soul and stuff that would fit the Rat Pack.


What a gold mine, this was a Jazz voice, original in tone and texture with an obvious lineage. I couldn’t wait for the follow up. From what I can tell there was at least one aborted record and possibly another. Hopefully they will be released post-humously.  There have been a lot of so-called authentic voices put on a pedestal over the last decade, but she was “The Voice, Voce Divina”.

So what do you make of erratic, dramatic behavior and all the mess with drugs? Well, I can’t make any excuses. All I can say, is I have had this conversation more than once over the years.  Singers, Musicians, Actors, Comics, okay Entertainers in general; in fact most of the ones that I know that are really part of that world, like I was, come from difficult situations.

Divorce, broken homes, death of parents at a young age, many things can trigger a deep interest in music and the need to express one’s deep feelings through that gift. Musicians feel deeply and tend to self medicate in order to deal with that depth of emotion.

I won’t make any excuses about drug abuse, but, we need to look at things in a real way. Most of us, if not all, have family or friends dealing with addiction. It really only takes an addictive personality to cross paths with drugs to cause real havoc. It does show the importance of the choices we make, because some of the choices we make can end up being an addiction that begins to make choices for us.

I can’t judge her situation. I have too many friends with the same elephant in the middle of the road. There are many icons that dealt with the same issues under the radar before modern technomania. I feel real genius is difficult to deal with.

The interesting thing, although being self-destructive was her calling card, she really did care and put others in front of her. At a time when it should be full speed ahead, she put her Goddaughter, Dionne Bromfield in the studio and on wax, in a way, a legacy started for her own short lived career, “I know I’m talented, but I wasn’t put here to sing. I was put here to be a wife and a mum and look after my family. I love what I do, but it’s not where it begins and ends.”

When she received awards for Back To Black, Amy would not talk about what a great job she did, but instead would say that it proved that England was legitimate, that England had a real scene. Amy put it on the table not only for her but to encourage the other Artists back home.

“I only write about stuff that’s happened to me… stuff I can’t get past personally. Luckily, I’m quite self-destructive.”

“As an artist the key things you have to do is prove yourself in a live scene, prove yourself in a writing scene, and prove yourself doing covers. They’re as important as each other.”






Let the music speak for itself. She will be missed.










– Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN


Sometimes you gotta wait till the right moment, let things simmer a bit, unwind at an Indie film about Lee “Scratch” Perry at the Belcourt Theater, listen to some bands you never heard at the Grimey’s listening station before turning to the obvious. Such was the case since I have known about Jeff the Brotherhood’s Infinity Cat Records release We Are The Champions for a while.

It really is a trip when you think that The White Stripes ended up down here with Third Man Records before a final break up, and then The Black Keys announced they were making their new home in Music City and all this time, at least for the last few years, we got Jeff the Brotherhood; our own homegrown Two Man band.

Jeff the Brotherhood were the show to see during Next Big Nashville last fall at Third Man with the live set being released on Third Man vinyl within a few days. In fact, the twelve inch can still be found in the Third Man Records shop any day of the business week.

Then came Bonnaroo. Jeff the Brotherhood started their own mania when they were supported by the first 30 people making up most of their audience being other local bands. How cool is that? Other local bands stirring up so much dust that another 200 people stop to see what all the fuss is about?

Nashville could not be in a better place right now. We have our own labels, our own scene, make that multiple scenes with a ton of bands that don’t sound the same. For me, that is exciting. It has been an interesting path between the gulch and the backside of the mission to where things are right now.

Jeff the Brotherhood and PUJOL are on lists in Rolling Stone Magazine and other national publications. They are on lists that really matter. Maybe they don’t have albums blazing up the charts, but, it is a grass roots thing, you gotta search them out or maybe your friend tells you about their live show. The difference is Jeff the Brotherhood are bad, they’re nationwide.

We Are The Champions is stacked and capped mixing up tones that fit the song, like stripped down, complicated garage rock, this was not thrown together, it’s like a stack of seven inch records to do some downhill skateboarding by or shut down Seattle and Portland. Okay, maybe not shut down but turn a few heads, sell a few records and rock the house.

photo - Pooneh Ghana

In a way, the title can be a laugh, using a standard rock term, like you thought you made it up yourself while everybody around you is thinking; don’t they know Queen Live at Wembley with 100,000 Brits singing along? But, in fact, this is Nashville’s time. It may be a metaphor for what it means to be accepted among your peers, the other bands in Nashville.

Back in CBGB’s time, Television played for The Ramones, The Ramones played for Blondie and The Dictators saved Rock and Roll. It is now Nashville’s time to leave their mark. It says a lot when bands show up to support one another and buy each others’ records. It says a lot more when Infinity Cat Records ran by the band and their father, Robert Ellis Orrall, goes nationwide.

Jeff the Brotherhood have a solid set here. Listen up.

– Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN

Photo – Brad Hood

When Parrish Hultquist started playing out at age 15, Utah had no idea what they were in store for.

After first tracking at Bonneville Studios for a band called Equinox, he developed his songwriting with Adrian Scott and Brad Hardisty in Roxx. Within a few short years, he was out performing originals with Moviescreen who released their first album in 1984.


By the time Moviescreen started playing at The Generation Gap, Parrish’s lightning speed and interesting chord changes set him apart from what was available at the time in Utah. Parrish was learning from just about every imaginable influence from early Ritchie Blackmore, Eddie Van Halen, Randy Rhoads to even Jazz artists like Al Di Meola and Allan Holdsworth. If he heard it, he could play it.

Wolfgang at Rafters-photo-Brad Hood

During the early 80’s he challenged himself to study classical nylon guitar only to find out that his teacher from the University of Utah had taught him everything he knew in six months. Anything that he would challenge himself to do on the guitar he could accomplish. He was a guitarists’ guitarist.

Parrish excelled in his abilities and quickly became bored or disinterested if the band he was in was not up to pushing as fast as things should be, reached a plateau or could not see his vision. Most of the time Parrish was the only guitarist in the band, but, those that were fortunate enough to share the stage with him found it to be an exhilarating experience.

Megattack Raw Delivery 1986

Parrish took guitar seriously and was not up for sharing the stage with somebody he would consider subpar.  Probably, the most successful band that Parrish performed with was Megattack with the dual guitar attack of Parrish Hultquist and Jay Gough. They played regional shows from Salt Lake City to Boise, Idaho with crowds of a 1000 or more. Megattack’s first album Raw Delivery took off in Europe just as the band broke up.

Wolfgang, Parrish,2nd in White pants

Parrish played in numerous projects in the late 80’s, such as Terra’s album Flames of Passion (out of print) featuring brothers Dana and Kevin Freebairn and early 90’s, most notably Wolfgang who played regularly in Salt Lake City and played tour dates opening for bands such as Extreme and Tesla. Wolfgang recorded several unreleased tracks and a few videos that can be found on YouTube nowadays.

Megattack , Raw Delivery era, Bryan Sorenson, Jake Oslo, Rick Jackson, Parrish Hultquist, Patrick Carter, photo courtesy The Bryan Sorenson Family

Megattack , Raw Delivery era, Bryan Sorenson, Jake Oslo, Rick Jackson, Parrish Hultquist, Patrick Carter, photo courtesy The Bryan Sorenson Family

Parrish created a lot of buzz as a guitarist and garnered compliments from other contemporaries such as Michael Schenker and George Lynch. He started to appear on Metal Fanzine covers as the next big thing or the Intermountain Music Scene secret weapon.  It would be a fact that Parrish would not have a problem tangling with any guitarist on stage doing anything from Metal to Jazz to Classical Music. He was an accomplished musician who studied everything he could get his hands on.

Megattack, photo courtesy The Bryan Sorenson Family

Megattack, photo courtesy The Bryan Sorenson Family

Parrish began to have medical issues, a very rare seizure problem in the mid 90’s that began to slow down his ability to perform. He took whatever energy he did have to creating demos off all of his song ideas in his home studio and took opportunities to record with friends.

Megattack in 2006, Jay, Richard, Rick, Parrish and Bryan

In 2005, the opportunity came to record with the original Megattack line up and a follow up to Raw Delivery called Save The Nations was recorded. The album was professionally mastered at Airshow in Colorado.  Parrish put as much as he could into his songwriting and playing. He was constantly dealing with seizures although he was grateful to have the opportunity to record again and perform on stage in Salt Lake City. Although medical issues would keep him in Spokane, W A., where his family lived and where he had medical attention, he was grateful to perform saying finally his daughter, Taylor, was able to see him perform with the band that garnered so much success in the 80’s.

One time he was riffing away at a visit to Guitar Center in West Valley later in years when a Salesman was blown away and asked if he had ever heard of Parrish Hultquist, that his Dad use to hang with him and he was considered the best guitarist to ever come out of Salt Lake City.  He finally busted up a little and explained that he was Parrish.

Travis, Shawn and Parrish

If Parrish respected you as a musician or as a person he was a lifelong friend. While he had a hard time with people that were not what he considered real, judgmental or dishonest he was ready to include those that he could tell were on the fringes whether they were shy, handicapped or otherwise feeling left out. He had a sense of humor and a personality that would light up the room or the face of a girl working as a Checker at the Grocery store. If he wanted to engage you in conversation or merriment there was no stopping him.

Back row, Parrish, Rome, Shelly, front, Stacy, Tracy, Ronnie, Shawn and Travis

Parrish never made the natural choice to go out to the LA scene in the 80’s. He loved Utah, Idaho and Washington State. He never wanted to be too far from family. He was the oldest brother of eight children.  The last several years with his health problems he was never far from his sisters and his Parents in Spokane, Washington.

Parrish was preceded in death by his younger brother, Shawn Hultquist, who had heart problems and while waiting for a heart donor died in 1998. His mother Gay Lynn Saunders also passed away a few years ago.  The surviving family, his father Ron, Stepmother Jacque, Travis, Rome, Shelly, Stacy, Ronnie, Tracy as well as Cory and Billy are gathering for a Memorial in Spokane, Washington over the next few days. His engaging personality and talent will be sorely missed but warmly remembered.

– Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN

A year in Exile

If there was any kind of recurrent theme this year, The Rolling Stones kept popping up on the radar. It started when I bought the Deadstring Brothers album Sao Paulo an obvious well done Stones influenced work of art. It would be in my Top Ten if it had come out in 2010 but it actually was released in 2009. It is a great album and when I saw them live at The Basement it came across really well.

It didn’t stop there; Exile on Main Street had been remastered with bonus tracks where The Stones actually brought in Mick Taylor to play his parts on some unfinished tracks. The Rolling Stones released a new single “Plundered My Soul” from the found tracks and released several versions of the album.

Grimey’s did a midnight screening of the Documentary Stones in Exile that took photographs, film, new interviews with the band as well as Bobby Keyes and others about recording Exile on Main Street in the south of France way back when at The Belcourt Theatre. “Exile” is now considered a pivotal record but at the time “Tumbling Dice” was considered a difficult single on a rather un-commercial record.

During the Americana Conference the Long Players augmented with Stones Sax Player Bobby Keyes, Dan Baird and several singers like Mike Farris, Grace Potter and others did the entire album live at The Cannery Ballroom. 

The Theatre release Ladies and Gentlemen The Rolling Stones which was filmed during the Exile promotional tour in the States was remastered and released on DVD in the fall. The set featured many of the songs from Exile that are not played much by latter day Stones such as “Sweet Virginia”. The sound and film looked phenomenal and it was good to see Mick Taylor at his best, an integral part of The Stones during that period and in truth is really missed nowadays.

Finally, to finish off the year of The Stones, Keith Richard’s Autobiography Life was released in November along with a compilation of his X-Pensive Winos recordings from the late Eighties.  The Rolling Stones managed to keep in the music news almost as much as Taylor Swift.

Original cover for Straight Up

It also seemed to be the year for catalog re-releases as Apple Records remastered most of the Apple back catalog of non-Beatles recordings by Badfinger, Mary Hopkins, James Taylor and released all of them at the same time.

FnA Records continued to not only re-release 80’s metal catalog but also unearthed several recordings that were set to release but never were by labels such as A&M and Geffen when the Seattle scene took over.  There were several recordings by different artists from The Thirteenth Floor Elevators 45’s to Carnival Season vinyl that saw their material released on CD for the first time.

Janie Hendrix continues exquisite releases of all things Jimi Hendrix with the release of West Coast Seattle Boy that not only has yet another Bob Dylan song done by Hendrix but goes back to the background of what he was doing before going to England with expanded packages that include a disc full of Isley Brothers and other nuggets, pre-Experience as well as a DVD Voodoo Child that even talks about his Nashville days.

Country continues to sell big, but real, traditional or Texas Country has been swallowed up by the Americana scene. At least it has found a home. As far as innovation in current pop country the last leap forward was Miranda Lambert’s Revolution and that was released last year.

Here are few honorable no less worthy than the list:

Ratt – Infestation

Merle Haggard – I Am What I Am

Kort – Invariable Heartache

Charlie Louvin – The Battles Rage On

Marty Stuart – Ghost Train

Jim Lauderdale – Patchwork River

Crazy Heart – (Soundtrack) Various Artists

Okay, now for my Top Ten. In making my choices, I not only looked at material, but innovation and game changers, records that made things interesting.

10- Carnival Season / Misguided Promises / ARRCO

This represents not only a re-issue on CD for the first time of regional Birmingham band Carnival Season that features local legend Tim Boykin, but, painstakingly includes every recording the band made during their short time together as well as extensive liner notes that tell the whole story of the late 80’s rockers. It sits well on the shelf with bands like Redd Kross as well as The Replacements. The band has been doing occasional reunion gigs playing not only this set but some new stuff as well over the last couple of years. This was one of the first alternative rock bands out of Birmingham, Alabama.

Featured tracks: “Misguided Promises”, “Please Don’t Send me to Heaven”

9- Robert Plant / Band of Joy / Rounder –Esparanza

Robert was in the middle of recording the follow up to Raising Sand with Allison Krauss when he pulled the plug when he felt the magic wasn’t there. He retreated to Nashville and entrusted Buddy Miller to put together a band that features Darrell Scott, Byron House, Marco Giovino and Patty Griffin and secluded into Woodland Studio to see what they would come up with. The result is obscure covers as well as a Plant-Page piece from Walking into Clarksdale that shows some Zeppelin flavor with uncharted Americana territory which sonically could have only happened with Nashville session players in such a short time. The band gelled in the studio and continues to roll across Europe and Stateside. This is probably Buddy Miller’s best Production effort yet.

Featured tracks:  “Angel Dance”, “You Can’t Buy My Love”, “House of Cards”

8 – Ryan Bingham and The Dead Horses / Junky Star / Lost Highway

Ryan tends to write like a modern day Dylan but his voice is more like John Kay from Steppenwolf. Ryan who comes from the red dirt scene of West Texas and now lives in so-L.A. got national notice with the Grammy winning “The Weary Kind” from the Crazy Heart soundtrack defiantly writes about a drifter leaving behind a dead end life to go to California only to end up sleeping on the Santa Monica pier.

Featured tracks: “The Wandering”, “Junky Star”

7- Sweet Apple / Love & Desperation / Tee Pee

Put together by members of Dinosaur Jr. and Witch, this little known defiantly Hard Rock and other worldly idea collection of songs with its Roxy Music rip off style album cover is actually closer to something between an early Alice Cooper (when they were a band) and Ziggy Stardust era Bowie. The album kicks off like a Raspberries send off with Guidedbyvoices production and then the desperation begins with some morbid love lost desperation with a chugging Alice Cooper band style with lyrics like ”Looking out the window, watching people fall, how I wish I could fall to death”. It’s a rock and roll gem this year.

Featured tracks: “Do You Remember”, “I’ve Got a Feeling (That Won’t Change)”

6 – Preservation Hall Jazz Band / Preservation / Preservation Hall Recordings

What a fantastic album. A collection of well-known New Orleans Ragtime with this important Horn based band where the tuba still carries much of the bass part, mashes PHJB with an all-star cast of vocalists such as Andrew Bird, Pete Seeger, Ani DiFranco, Ritchie Havens, Steve Earle as well as the sultry vocals of Memphis’ Amy LaVere.  The band ended up on tour with Maroon 5 this year.

Featured tracks: “Blue Skies”, “Baby Won’t You Please Come Home”

5- John Mellencamp / No Better Than This / Rounder

Recorded for the most part at Sun Studios with one RCA 44 ribbon mic into vintage Ampex Analog gear, John not only sounds like the old Sun recordings, this sounds like old tape that had to be baked in a microwave to finally put it on digital media. It was not only a great idea with equal parts Cash country, Rockabilly and blues but probably his best album since Scarecrow. The T Bone Burnett produced masterpiece even got airtime on WSM.

Featured tracks: “No Better Than This”, “Coming Down the Road”

4- Justin Townes Earle / Harlem River Blues / Bloodshot

If you missed it, Justin just rolled a third strike in three years. Every album has been decidedly Justin with marked differences and excellent songwriting. This would be his “Ode to New York City” where he now calls his second home.  Jason Isbell (Drive by Truckers, The 400 Unit) puts in guitar duties and gives this more of an edgy guitar feel as well as some straight up Rockabilly. It really would be cool to see a pure Rockabilly album in the future.

Featured tracks: “Move Over Mama”, “Workin’ for the MTA”, “Christchurch Woman”

3- Black Mountain / Wilderness Heart / Jagjaguwar

This album sometimes feels like Led Zep III and Deep Purple Fireball at the same time. The duality vocals of Stephen and Amber still remind me of a haunting Jefferson Airplane with the production sounding very early 70’s analog, sometimes acoustic but when they rock it’s got Jon Lord style Hammond B3 all over the place. Although the first album by this Vancouver band may have been a defining moment this is the one that makes me wants to crank the stereo full blast on road trips.

Featured tracks:  “The Hair Song”, “Old Fangs”, “Let Spirits Ride”

2- Mike Farris and The Cumberland Saints / The Night The Cumberland Came Alive / Entertainment One

Recorded in just six hours just two weeks after the Nashville Flood in a downtown Nashville church just blocks from the flooding, Mike shows that his bluesy/gospel voice can sound fantastic over anywhere he wants to go. Mike has been everywhere from Indie Rock, Blues, Gospel, working with Double Trouble to now this pre-war Gospel Blues style gem working with The McCrary Sisters, Sam Bush, Byron House and members of The Old Crow Medicine Show, his originals mesh well with the rare covers. He showcased the album at Cannery Ballroom during the Americana Music Festival and it was electrifying.

Featured tracks: “Wrapped Up, Tangled Up”, “Down on Me”

1-She & Him /Volume Two / Merge

Zooey Deschannel & M. Ward are some kind of modern Indie Captain and Tennille and somehow it works. Zooey has a sunny California breeze running through her muse that translates into a digital era take on The Beach Boys versus Phil Spector. Even though the material is fresh it makes me daydream of being back on the beach in Santa Cruz when I was six with my Mom and little sister.

Featured tracks: “In The Sun”, “Don’t Look Back”,”Lingering Still”

– Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN

The Beatles / Ed Sullivan Show / 1964

This Saturday at Noon, 3rd and Lindsley plays host to The Nashville Beatles Kids Concert  which will  feature 15  students of Suzahn Fiering who is a guest instructor at The Liverpool Institute for The Performing Arts (LIPA) a University founded by Sir Paul McCartney and Sir George Martin.

The students are between the ages of 7 and 16. Suzahn states” The Beatles catalog is a great way to tune kids onto popular music, good lyric writing, cool harmonic structure and lots of chords and harmonies.  The songs speak for themselves whether they are played simply (as they are with the younger students) or with complicated arrangements.  The Beatles catalog offers such a wide variety of challenges ranging from easy to difficult.”

Suzahn Fiering

The Beatles song catalog is so diverse and is a great way to raise the bar for young musicians. “There couldn’t be a better educational tool for pop songwriters, singers and instrumentalists. My students get the confidence they need playing these songs and that makes it easier for me to teach them how to read and write music and make the transition into Classical and Jazz music as well. “

The students will be joined by Fred Lawrence (former pianist for Waylon Jennings and also the father of student Eric Lawrence) and local session drummer Larry Murov. It will be a great opportunity for some of Nashville’s youngest future musicians and songwriters to showcase at one of Nashville’s finest clubs.

Suzahn Fiering will be returning to Britain in March 2010 to teach Songwriting at LIPA’s Paul McCartney Auditorium.  This performance coincides with the announcement that the entire Beatles catalog will now be available on I Tunes. The Beatles music continues to inspire future generations by transitioning into new current music delivery formats.

– Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN

courtesy Brian Cade Photgraphy

November 19th, mark it on your calendar, will be a big night for Rock City Angels performing live with a forward march and a look back to the storyteller past, where they will be celebrating the release of Midnight Confessions on FnA Records, a collection of songs recorded from Memphis to England with Brian Robertson of Thin Lizzy fame on what would have been their second Geffen Records release.

Bobby Durango  talked about Midnight Confessions;  a collection of songs spanning three years after the release of their first Geffen album Young Man’s Blues. “We had the same A&R as Guns n Roses at Geffen and that is where they put their money and promotion”.  

The label didn’t give them an idea of when they would drop the second record, “The A&R guy just kept saying “This stuff is great but I don’t hear THAT SONG” it was almost like Geffen was saying we are not going to put money into this”.

Rock City Angels went through several lineup changes that even included Brian Robertson of Thin Lizzy featured on “Heart and Soul” between 1989 and 1992 before they were sold a bad idea. “Bands are much more savvy now. I just wanted to be a musician, not a businessman. Our lawyer was in collusion with the label. He was the one who sold us on the idea of declaring Bankruptcy.”

Rock City Angels were told at the time by their own Lawyer that when it was done Geffen  Records would sign them again, when in actuality it was a way to wash their hands of the band without having to buy them out of their contract. The tracks that make up Midnight Confessions are works in progress that would have eventually made up their second Geffen release.

Bobby isn’t bitter, “If you listen to the record (Young Man’s Blues) it still holds up, a lot of bands can’t say the same thing.” Bobby hates being lumped in with the hair band scene, “We were more like The Stones. It’s time to clear the record. For the most part our fans know the difference”.

Rock City Angels has been busy this last year after the release of their newest material “Use Once and Destroy” a straight ahead rocker, “We were never about going after that elusive hit. We were after an overall theme like Aerosmith Rocks:  A great album. Use Once and Destroy is what would be an official follow up to their first album.

They will feature at least two gems from Midnight Confessions, ““Sweet Ambition” sounds killer and we have never done it live. We have an updated arrangement of “Shattered Shake””. Neither song has ever been performed live and will make their debut on November 19th at The Muse in Nashville.

They will perform songs from all of their releases, making sure to mix crowd favorites with newer material and diamonds from the past.  It will be a night that kicks off renewed interest in the band especially in Europe. “We just had a five page article come out in Popular One in Spain. We hope to get over to Europe; we have a lot of fans over there.”

There is still a lot of unreleased music as well as new stuff to the forefront. “Geffen spent a lot of money on the first album. We actually recorded it once with Producer Jim Dickinson (The Replacements, Big Star, Mudhoney, Mojo Nixon) and Geffen decided we had to re-record it and the second recording became Young Man’s Blues. I still have that first recording”. Okay, it’s time for Geffen to consider a re-release with both mixes.

The current lineup of Bobby Durango, Pagan Raygun, Jorge Hernandez, Mark Binko and Adam Keller is primed and ready for a killer show. “We have a great future ahead of us, so… fuck ‘em”. Enough said.

Rock City Angels - Midnight Confessions

–          Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN

Sitting in/Band Practice/Cabimas, Venezuela, 1983

I left for Venezuela for almost two years in April 1982, leaving behind all my sold dream rock guitar gear, The Dean ML, Gibson White Double neck, Marshall MKII 100 Watt stack and the van to carry it all in, a 1972 yellowish Chevy van. I figured if I was meant to get back into music, the right gear would come back into my life.

My Venezuelan Cuatro and Laud

After about a month in Barquisimeto, Venezuela, I went down to the shopping district to buy a Cuatro, kind of a Venezuelan oversized ukulele, A Tenor Uke of sorts, used to play traditional Venezuelan Folk Music. The cassette recorder I had to record my voice and send home began to be my portable studio, developing Caribbean flavored non sensical flavored blues a Van Halen.

I played some stuff for the locals and it left them totally confused. That Cuatro became my free day muse until months later when I found a Spanish Laud, a twelve string short scale in the flea market in Maracaibo for about $100.  I was able to do almost Classical Acoustic Guitar pieces on that thing and by the time I was living in Cabimas, Venezuela, I would enlist the closest person in the house to help make up songs like “Junkyard Dog” and “U.S. Girls”. For a period of 16 months, these were the only stringed instruments I had.

Moviescreen, 1983

When I got back to Salt Lake City at the end of 1983, I got a crash course in the current Metal scene going to a band practice with Parrish Hultquist and his band Moviescreen. Parrish handed me one of his Charvel Star guitars and I nearly blead to death riffing some of the old riffs I wrote two years prior. It felt good just to be playing through a Marshall before the band got practicing. It had been nearly two years since my last encounter with an Electric through a Marshall rage.

Wally in doorway,me in yellow/blue,Snow College 1980

I went to College in Provo, Utah in the winter of 1984 and my old band mate, Wally Gerrard from Karma would stop by my place at Raintree Apartments on the weekends and ended up letting me borrow some kind of no name half stack and a Japanese lawsuit Black Les Paul to practice some guitar. I ended up jamming with a group called the True Detectives with that rig in Provo, a bunch of Orange County, California semi punks playing “Breathless” X style and a few other punk gems. It was a little mismatch to my still metal ways but it was fun.

Mosrite 12 String

The summer of 1984 I was off to work in Southern California with the intention of returning to school but it never happened.  Parrish had loaned me a guitar he had borrowed from Dana Freebairn, a vintage Mosrite Ventures 12 string with a vibrato bridge. I strung it as a six string, bought a Tom Scholz Rockman and spent the summer jamming in the sand at Newport Beach, California for the summer.

Eventually, I pulled some cash together and purchased a Gallien-Krueger twin 12 similar to the stuff that Alex Lifeson was using at the time. I thought the cool thing was that it had a built in Chorus circuit and had kind of that post punk sound, like Warren Cuccurullo licks.  Living in Orange County, I was getting pulled all different ways, I was still listening to Randy Rhoads but got tuned into bands like U2, The Cult, Souxsie and The Banshees, The Fixx, Missing Persons.  It was Orange County and even if Leatherwolf was hanging at the house where I was staying in Costa Mesa, Metal was kind of an inland music; the beach had punk and related music going on.

Kramer DMZ1000

Near the end of summer, Parrish sent out some copies of the Moviescreen Cassette and wanted me to come back up to Utah and play second guitar. I was having a good time in Orange County but I heeded the call and went back up with my Duran Duran style hair, Gallien Krueger and ended up picking up an aluminum neck Kramer DMZ 1000 at a pawn shop in Provo to get more of the heavy rhythm sound he needed. The problem was the Gallien Kruger didn’t sound like a Marshall and at that point in 1984 it was all about the Marshall. We were supposed to open for a band called Exciter at The Salt Palace when Brian Sorenson, the drummer, got hit by a drunk driver and his hand was busted. I ended up taking him to physical therapy several times a week and within two months I had moved back down to Orange County, California.

I had the exact same White Kramer/1985

When I moved back to Orange County at one time I pawned the guitar and amp to pay for a ring for a girl I was serious about.  That relationship ended and made me re-think, don’t ever sell gear for a girl. I went and bought a cheap white Kramer van halen style guitar at Guitar Center when it was still in Santa Ana with the Floyd Rose vibrato on it. It was the budget model but still did the dive bombs.

I started to settle into the Huntington Beach, California scene where it was almost open warfare between the kids from Downey and Anaheim coming down in black leather listening to KNAC and the surf punks listening to KROQ. In fact, I lived above Jack’s Surf Shop at the corner of Main and PCH Highway and one night when it was still old town with bars, small stores and surf shops there was a full scale riot going on.

I watched from my bedroom window as the KNAC Metalheads numbering about 100 and the surf punks who were into surf clothes, The Ramones, The Toy Dolls and looking the part actually got into a full out fight on Main Street at about midnight in about 1985. I would just rock riffs with the White Kramer/ Floyd Rose/ Van Halen type setup through my friends Fender Deluxe with a distortion pedal.  Finally, somebody got thrown through a plate glass window store front and the cops were coming and everybody scrambled. I could crank that guitar any time of day and nobody cared down by the beach.

Halloween 1986,me in smoking jacket, Derrick Lee-Glam Rocker

Derrick and I put together a group and called them The True Detectives after the band that both of us had jammed with at one time or another. We practiced in the apartment above Jack’s Surfboard Shop and in south Orange County.  We were doing covers like “Dancin’ With Myself”’867-5309”and other party favorites around 1986. When my Aunt died and I left for a funeral and didn’t make a gig I never got called for band practice anymore. What can you say?

I wasn’t satisfied with the Kramer and wanted a more serious guitar. I was into jazz guitarist John Schofield after catching a video from the album “So Warm” on an L.A. afternoon rock video show. He was playing an Ibanez AS 200 semi-hollow burst guitar and I went in search of one and found one used and traded the Kramer for the Ibanez. I had studied jazz in college but this was the first time I had tried to start incorporating jazz inspirations into my own playing.

Ibanez AS200-my jazz period and beyond

I was kind of on my own, playing my John Schofield-Pat Metheney inspired chord patterns. My friends in Orange County were still into a kind of post punk thing while L.A. strip bands were getting signed left and right and touring the Midwest. I would keep that Ibanez for nearly 20 years and it would survive the rise and fall of a couple of bands, several amps and an upstairs recording studio that is all now part of the past. In an interesting twist, although I had practiced with Moviescreen and The True Detectives, I never did end up playing live; in fact I had not played in front of an audience since Karma back at Snow College. It was like I spent the rest of the 80’s figuring out what I wanted to do with my music while I was busy dating girls and going on with my life.

Snow College -Me,the Tall one next to Professor, Wally dead center on sax

 – Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN

Bobby Lee Morgan, 45, Musician and Songwriter of the Nashville, Tennessee late 80’s-early 90’s rock band Badd Attitude passed away on Oct. 29th just weeks after a Rock and Roll showcase that saw the reunion of what was the “Hometown Hero Hair Band”  waiting to be signed back in 1990 before the onslaught of the grunge scene. 

 Bobby Lee wrote well crafted, melodic, catchy rock songs about girls, parties and love that set Badd Attitude apart from the rest of the local Metal scene.  The Badd Attitude album never saw the light of day in 1990 and sat collecting dust until being released this past July by FNA Records. After the CD release there was talk of more shows as well as the opening of a nightclub in Printers Alley that Bobby Lee had been working on for some time.  Bobby Lee was well loved among the Nashville Rock Scene and was in the middle of one of the most successful periods of his life.

 Bobby Lee is preceded in death by his Grandmother and Mother who he had thanked in the CD liner notes for their support and love. On Nov. 7th a benefit Concert will be held at Nashville Center Stage. FNA Records is donating Five Dollars towards funeral expenses for every Badd Attitude CD purchased before Nov. 30th.  The charitable balance will benefit his niece and nephews.  

Badd Attitude, 1990


–          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

Future of Saturday Morning TV

In what may be a mindbender on an unsuspecting audience, Peelander-Z from Japan unleashed the craziest show to ever roll into Exit/In if not the Next Big Nashville 2010 Conference. Equal parts Aquabats Super Heroes and Flaming Lips larger than life costume changes, they made their entrance marching like 80’s band Toy Dolls with Peelander Yellow acting as ringmaster for all the kids on the playground.

I was forewarned if not recommended by Kyle Bowen of Modoc when I asked what band to check out this year. He said you got to check out Give Me Smile from Japan. I looked through the scheduled appearances and had no idea what he was talking about. On Friday night while exiting Third Man Records after the Heavy Cream set I ran into these two Japanese Guys in Yellow and Red and asked if they had heard of Give Me Smile. They just smiled exclaiming “oh! Oh!” and handed me a CD with what looked like a band named Peelander-Z?

Peelander-Z at Exit/In

I threw it in the car and was met with a barrage of The Banana Splits meets Motorhead. This was a Japanese band not even trying to fake their way through the English language, they were downright mangling words like “Ugly”. I almost had to pull over from laughing to tears while driving my car.

Finally, the words come on “Welcome to our show, next time bring Mom and Dad…give me smile, give me smile, give me smile”. Oh man, it’s the “Give me Smile” guys. Okay I had to check this one out. Luckily enough it was at Exit/In where I wanted to go check out Cheer up Charlie Daniels and Heypenny already.

Crowd Surfing Bassist

No one could have prepared you for this band live. It was tight Motorhead speed with twists and turns that occasionally stopped for audience participation in bowling games or a bunny hop style line of follow the leader behind bassist Peelander Red. Dressed in primary colors of Red, Yellow and Green on drums, they took as much from The Ramones as the Aquabats. If Peelander Yellow was the ringmaster who was equal parts Lemmy and Pat Morita from Karate Kid, Peelander Red was the instigator jumping into the audience at random, a flying Ninja jumping off a full Ampeg SVT cabinet up at least 10 feet in the air before landing onstage.

We were encouraged to sing along to unforgettable classics like “E-I-O” and “Medium Rare “with the crowd yelling like a frenzied table at Benihanas before taking all of us back to that response to “Rock and Roll High School”, with “Ninja High School”. Nashvillians were in a frenzy beating on what looked like hubcaps passed out by a magical Peelander Pink who would appear out of nowhere sometimes onstage or in the rafters.


Peelander Black added a little lead guitar and mysterious vibe to the mix. Peelander-Z would at a moment throw on bigger than life bowling pin outfits or Mad Tiger headgear for very special songs about Mad Tiger and Bowling.  One guy jumped on stage and thought he was going to just groove with the band when they all stopped and stared at him. Peelander Yellow kissed him on the cheek and he quietly faked a stage dive off the front sans music. That had everybody laughing.

At the end, they pulled people up and replaced the entire band with audience members on drums, guitar and bass while they were in the audience skipping rope or whatever. They finally worked back up on stage and finished out the last song.

Peelander Pink Cheerleader

If somebody was trying to find something serious about this stuff they came to the wrong set. This was all about a good time and to me was the high point of the Conference. There will be plenty of time for more structured thoughtful music but for now it was “Schoolhouse Rock” singing about steak and watching Superhero Japanese Anime in primary colors run amuck.

Even Lucas who was in town from Denver to see Widespread Panic at the Ryman said “I have to admit that was the first time I ever saw a full on Redneck moshing!”  Peelander-Z wore out the audience with full participation! This was a primary color and primary rock and roll extravaganza!

– Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN

Peelander-Z at actual Velocity!