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Posts Tagged ‘San Diego’

We here at SKOM are huge fans of Beta Lion. If you are still unfamiliar with them check out our review of Written In Sand here and our interview with them here.

They are hoping to get a video done for their new song, Dynasty, but in the meantime enjoy it in these fine audio formats and locations!

Streaming:
http://villainshavefeelings.bandcamp.com/track/dynasty

.WAV file:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/7oyx714015k95hh/Dynasty.wav?dl=0

.mp3 file:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/7udfmpcbvmyw87b/01%20Dynasty.mp3?dl=0

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Today I am pleased to bring you the very talented and very thoughtful Anna Horvitz. The way Anna and I got connected is actually a Facebook success story. It turns out Anna was friends with my late niece, Selene, when they were young. Anna saw my sister’s name and then mine and then she reached out to me. I am so glad she did. It has been great to get to know someone who was a friend of Selene. Additionally, she has a great voice and a beautiful mind (she’s not imaginary, really).


Copy of pelicangirlE compressedWhen did you first start singing?

It was somewhere between the time I was born and the time I learned how to speak. I grew up with a very musical family, and I have some great memories of singing old ballads and children’s songs with my dad around the piano when I was barely tall enough to see the keys. I was a very sensitive kid, too. I used to cry at the sad songs. I think I remember at one point we decided we weren’t going to do “On Top of Old Smokey” anymore because it was too sad.

What made you feel like you wanted to pursue music as more than a hobby?

It’s kind of weird how it happened. I guess you could say music pursued me. When I was a kid my mom signed me up for sax lessons. I was really good at it, but it was hell trying to get me to practice. I did the whole middle school band thing, but playing sax didn’t seem as cool as wearing dark eyeliner and dressing up and getting busted for smoking cigarettes outside of high school, so I stopped for a bit. In my early 20s I picked up the sax again and almost instantly landed myself in a Latin rock band called Cabeza de Vaca. I wasn’t even looking for a band at the time. But it was my first experience actually jamming out in a group, and the connection, the musical telepathic experience, was incredible. When that project ended, it was a big loss in my life. I didn’t have the leadership skills at the time to form my own band, so I wound up writing songs to the guitar with my self-taught finger-picking skills. It was like it took over. I would stay up so late with the music some nights and go in to work the next day totally exhausted and sometimes a little hung over. But I just couldn’t be responsible about it. It was just too important a part of my life to ignore. And it was about then that I came to the realization that music was going to be a part of my life forever.

Who or what inspires you most, music or otherwise?

Pain. When it comes to creativity, I mean. Good pain and bad pain, like love and loss. That sharp and amazing gasping pain when you realize you’re alive and the sun is bouncing off the leaves as they rustle in the wind. The magical aching pain of falling in love, and the end-of-the-world pain when you fall out. The pain-in-the-ass pain of being alive and trying to feed yourself and pay your bills and still have enough money left over to drown your miseries and successes at the bar. The immense emotional pain of being a living animal in the controlled environment often referred to as civilization. Music and the other arts are a very therapeutic way of dealing with all of this pain. I’m not a masochist or even a pessimist, in fact, I love life dearly, which may be why I make an effort to turn its intensities into beauty.

Tell me about Mojave Wild. 

Mojave Wild was born out of the songs that kept me up late and made me function poorly at work the next day. Once I had enough songs I began to perform at open mics at a local dive in La Mesa, California, a seedy bar called Joe ‘N’ Andy’s that no longer exists. From there I began to gather interested musicians to form a band, but it took a long time to build up a solid group of core members. A couple of years, in fact. Took a long time to figure out a name, too. The project started as Milk Duck and finally made its way over to Mojave Wild as we outgrew the ten thousand other names I had come up with. Once we were solid we started playing out. We got good responses from the crowd, but it’s really hard to build a following, especially in San Diego, what with the way the venues book local bands. But I had a great time nonetheless. I loved performing, and it was an empowering feeling to have such great musicians backing me in the music I had written. A couple of the members were really good with odd time signatures, too, which I love, and which allowed us to explore different styles and step outside the traditional singer/songwriter-turned-rock genre.

What is the future of Mojave Wild?

Mojave Wild is currently on sabbatical in the Mojave Desert for the next year or so while I do my best to straighten out my new life up here in Portland. Back in San Diego, the bass player had left the group, and it was around this time that the drummer (Salvatore, who was/is also my boyfriend) and I decided we were ready to move up north. I have been involved with some other wonderful projects since I got here, and I’m still writing songs, but MW requires a big investment of time that I just don’t have right now, and I wouldn’t want to scrimp on something that means so much to me. I’m working on that time thing, though, and by June of 2015 I’ll be out scrounging around for new members again. Sure wish my old guitar player would move up here!

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What do you hope to do next?

I’m currently singing in an eccentric group that we have temporarily dubbed “The Monday Night Band,” for lack of an official name. We’re just getting it started, but it feels promising. It’s a variety of musical styles that work around the West African djembe and dunun drums. Lots of deep and sensual vocals. When we’re ready to take on more members and start playing out, we can also promise belly dancers at our performances. It’s gonna be a pretty showy affair. I’m really excited about it, because it’s my first project that will incorporate some theatrics into my stage presence. Sal’s in it, too. And our keyboardist, Mike, is also a San Diego refugee, ironically.

I’m also considering getting back into the solo performances, but that might be a tough one, since I’m currently going to school and working. But I miss it. I love that damn stage.

Hmmmm, what else? Maybe get some of my artwork up in a local gallery in the next year.

What has been your favorite performance of yours?

I gotta say, singing live with Gerald Collier on Seattle’s KEXP was pretty fucking magical. It’s really something, to be performing in a little sparkly room with just a few people around, and knowing your voices are being carried out to thousands of ears. I feel very blessed that I got a chance to work with Gerald. That there is one talented, good-hearted guy.

 

What has been your experience in the San Diego music scene compared to the Portland scene?

I feel like the Portland audience is much more receptive to its local bands. But I’ve noticed that the general plight of the local band is pretty much the same everywhere. Venues don’t book bands to entertain, anymore. They book bands that bring their friends. It’s not quite the pay-to-play situation, but your friends are paying for you to play. So there’s no opportunity for exposure from a few gigs, especially when they book you on a Monday night, late.

Aside from my complaining, though, this city has some awesome musicians in it. I’ve seen some amazing bands for just ten bucks at Goodfoot, and a couple for FREE at Laurelthirst happy hour. I’m also impressed just by the people I meet randomly who say they are musicians, primarily because they actually ARE, not like the half-assed guitar players I met so many of in San Diego. Sal and I have surmised that it’s because during the winter there’s not much else to do but get drunk and practice. And there are no winters in San Diego.

Who, dead or alive, would you love to perform with most and why?

Eddie Vedder, but I’d rather he was alive and not dead when I sang with him. I’ve been singing harmonies with him since my teenage days, but he doesn’t know it. Ever since he started his solo career I’ve heard so many possibilities for collaboration in his songs. It’s actually a goal of mine, to one day sing with him, as far-fetched and dreamy as it may sound. But I don’t think it’s an impossible dream. I know I’ve got the pipes, so it’s just a matter of getting him to know I exist.

Favorite TV show ever?

It’s either Frasier or Deep Space Nine. During one season of Frasier a bunch of cast members from DS9 kept randomly appearing on the show. I felt like a five-year-old with a brand new Tonka truck.

God I’m so 90s.

 

Enjoy Anna at these fine locations:

 

 

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beta_lion_written_in_sandBeta Lion’s Written In Sand invites the listener to be a part of an audience. The first sounds are those of a small crowd in a venue. Big organ sounds and anthemic, militaristic drums follow. The first track, $15 Ladies, seems to depart from the organ intro and yet some of the same drum and organ elements do appear in the song. From the very beginning Written In Sand feels like a larger effort than it’s five tracks would seem to imply. Beta Lion are creating an experience that feels like a mini concept album. Each song is linked to the other and carries the listener throughout.

Written In Sand is reminiscent of many of the great alternative albums of the 80’s. When alternative music was still just labelled “college radio.” The album, however, does not sound like a band wearing its influences on its sleeve. This is not an homage to great music of the past. Beta Lion are extremely authentic in their song writing. The EP is sort of like all the best scenes from the best 80’s teen movies. Everything that needed to be resolved has been resolved, the camera holds on one of the main characters as he/she looks on with an expression of compassion, acceptance, and wisdom. The journey has been worth it. Friendships have been lost, new friendships have been made, and the characters are stronger, wiser, and better for all the hardships and good times experienced in their coming of age story. And so are we, the listeners, better off for having listened to Written In Sand.

Even though this EP is a collection of songs written over a period of years it feels like a complete album. I don’t really want to give you a track by track rundown because this does feel like something that should be experienced as a whole. But, I will give you this quote from Mark Fulinara of Beta Lion that adds incredible perspective to the project:

 The fifth and title track of the EP, “Written In Sand,” is a newer song about how we never released an entire catalogue of old songs; and it’s lyrics are made of up lyrics from some of our more ‘popular’ old songs.  It’s like an easter egg hunt for the people who have followed us for so long.  I consider this EP to be the prequel to our 2012 demo “I Believe In Beta Lion.”  With this EP completed, we’re ready to keep the momentum going with a full length album of our latest and greatest material.

Keep your eye on these guys and if you are lucky enough to see them live do it!

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In the interest of full disclosure I did once play bass with Ed and Eric of Uniform Victor, but it was a long time ago and I can’t remember the name of the band…..
Anyway, Eric, Ed, Paul and Lia….Lia?….hmmm I think I’ve seen her on Some Kind Of Muffin before

Where was I? Oh yes, Uniform Victor. Great band with an amazing sound; so many layers and they work great together. They recently finished recording three new songs with Drew B. Mountain

Also, don’t tell anyone, but there’s a video after the interview. Shhhh


How did UV form and how long have you been together?

Ed Loza: We formed because Eric blew The Horn of Change from a misty mountain top. The great sound summoned us together. Uniform Victor’s first show was in 2010 sometime, I’m not sure. Eric and I have always played music together even when we were not in a band. Lia and I have been playing music together for a few years now. We all knew Paul from the band Monsters from Mars. Lia had played with Monsters from Mars so we also had that connection.

Eric Blocker: UV formed at the end November of 2010. We’ve been together since 1822.
Ed and I have been playing in bands together since high school. We got a band together in early 2010 or late 2009 with a different bass player and drummer. The drummer and bass player moved out of town and Lia had been jamming with Ed and I casually at parties etc. So we asked Lia to play bass. I had been stalking Paul for a long time. He was a drummer for a surf rock band. I thought, “That’s the guy I want! He’s my drummer!” Much to my surprise, when we asked him to play, he said yes right away.

Paul Naylor: I have been friends with Lia for years and she played cello a few times in my other band Monsters from Mars on a cover we did. She asked if I would like to jam with her other band in the beginning of 2011 and we really clicked during the first practice, I loved the music. It was pretty easy to become a part of the band, we really clicked.

Lia Dearborn: Edward and Eric had already been in a few bands together, so when their bass player Matthew Concha moved to San Francisco, I stepped up to the plate. We also got a new drummer, so we decided to start fresh with a whole new name.

What does your name mean?

Ed Loza

EL: Lia and Eric came up with the name. The general idea seemed to be that we should have a name that does not get in the way of the music. A little mystery is always good for the kidneys.

PN: I like to think that Uniform Victor is a little man out there that wears different outfits everyday.

LD: Eric and I were looking at a book for Semaphore and we thought we could find a cool name by mixing some of the symbols. Uniform Victor was our favorite combination, so we went with it.

EB: Our name is taken from international ship signal flags-semaphore and is an abbreviation for UV or Ultra Violet.

How has the band been received?

LD: Very well.

EB: I think we have been received quite well. I think we still have a lot to show people. The word is still getting around. There are some bands that catch fire right away and there are some that get ignored. I think we are right in the middle. We don’t have any gimmicks or just one sound. Our songs are eclectic so I think it will take people time to get their heads around what we are all about.

PN: I’ve been really pleased and happy with how well it has been received, we’ve played some really cool shows and gotten some radio play. Eric has been great at getting our name out there. I think the band is very motivated and has some great potential.

EL: We are mostly a top but if you get us drunk enough we are playful receivers. We are too much for some but most are very satisfied.

Eric Blocker

What is your song writing process?

EL: The bulk of songs we currently play are formed out of ideas and full songs Eric brings to practice. Paul, Lia and I start with those ideas and find our parts as we go along in practice. The newer music we have been working on has come more from full band ideas. Our practice sessions are all about new music these days.

EB: So far, I’ll start with a song idea and show it to the band. Everyone adds their parts. Then the song belongs to the band. We all take part in the changes from there.

PN: I just have been laying down the beats once Eric shows me the riff(s) he has in mind. We like to discuss ideas for what kind of drum part would sound best, and I always like playing it through a lot, taking a break, and then coming back to it. That fresh set of ears helps you come up with the most appropriate part. I’ve also been writing some songs on guitar and bass, all of us have, so we might try to expand on the song-writing process.

What has been your favorite live show?

LD: Our show at the Tin Can Ale House with The New Kinetics and 21st Century. The crowd was crazy that night.

EL: Our last show at the Tin Can Ale house was my favorite. One of the first times we played there we played with a fellow San Diego band the New Kinetics. We fell in love with their music instantly! Sharing the stage with the New Kinetics again was pure synergy. That night was also special because we also played with the 21st Century who were on tour out of San Francisco. That was a just a particularly fun show.

EB: So far, I think it was the House of Blues. It was packed to the front of the stage. Although, there have been one or two where the energy in the room was electric. People were flying through the air!

PN: I really had a great time playing at the beer festival they had at the House of Blues. We played on one of the side stages to a great crowd, and only a few songs. I also always love playing the Tin Can Alehouse.

What are your plans for the future?

Lia Dearborn

EL: We are finishing the recording of the songs we have for our first album. Once the recording is done we can start trying the new songs out live. Live shows are a good place to see if a song is working before recording.

EB: We are set to record a new EP in about two weeks. Then we’ll just see what happens. It would be nice to have management and some support in other ways. We just have to prove we are not going away.

PN: We really want to get more into a sort of group song-writing process, and spend more time jamming and not focusing on specific songs. Just get loose, I guess. Recording is definitely high on all our lists, too.

LD: Just keep playing shows and learning new songs.

Can you tell me a little about the recording process and if you plan to release a CD?

PN: We would really love to, we have recorded at Black Box studio in South Park and it has been amazing, Mario is the best. I’m up for recording as much as we can.

EL: We recorded at Black Box Studios in San Diego with Mario Quintero at the helm. So far we have 3 songs done and they are online now. The process was pretty quick; we did those 3 songs in one marathon day. Then I think there were 2 shorter days of mix downs after that. For me recording was very different from what I would do live. At times I had 3 different guitars and 2 amps in one song. Parts were recorded out of order sometimes. It was all fun but a little disorienting.

EB: So far we have been recording songs as they are ready. We record what sounds best. We can do that since everything is digital now. We are totally independent so we can do what we want. The next EP will have about five songs. Maybe more.

LD: We’re planning on recording 3 more this month with Electric Orange Studio.

Paul Naylor

If you could only eat one type of food for the rest of your life what would it be?

EL: Sushi.

EB: Japanese/Mexican. My wife and I found a place that serves a mix of Japanese and Mexican food. I thought I had died and gone to heaven!

PN: Nachos are always my standby, and I think that would work well for this because you have a variety of food groups represented. You would also only live for about 6 months with that diet, so eat up!

LD: Definitely Mexican. No wait, Japanese. Can’t I have both?

 


Photos courtesy of Dominick Valentic

Keep up with all your Uniform Victor needs:

https://www.facebook.com/uniformvictor

http://uniformvictor.bandcamp.com/

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Beta Lion. Mark Fulinara, Opie Tran, Dean Fulinara, JR Fulinara. That’s a whole lot of Fulinara!!! I wonder if they are related (hint: maybe).

You have a long history together and haven’t always played as Beta Lion. How did you all come together?

Mark:  It started with a high school video project for our friend and original bassist, Joel (whoop whoop!).  Dean was one of the only drummers he knew in the neighborhood, and I was the only A/V nerd he knew to videotape it.  They had a mic setup, but nobody wanted to sing, so I ended up singing for fun and we eventually become a band.

Opie:  We were actually originally called p.o.p. (part of the problem). The line up had already been established of Dean (drums), Joel (bass), Mark (singer), and our friend Ryan that played guitar (JR had not joined yet). I had met Joel through high school gym class and Mark was always in the same friend circle but we never really hung out. All I remember was walking to my class one day and Dean approaching me asking if I wanted to jam with them after school and so I did.  We played  random talent shows, house parties, and punk shows anywhere we got the chance to.  As years passed, Joel left so Mark took up bass guitar along with vocals, then Ryan left and we knew we wanted to keep the band chemistry tight as possible.  Back then, JR really dug the band and came out to all the shows. We figured he knew all the songs already and he’s a Fulinara so we asked him to join. He agreed and here we are almost ten years later still playing songs together.

JR:  Since childhood, Mark and Dean have been the closest of family to me.  Every time our families would get together, we would sit around and play guitar and they would teach me their songs as I was a fan of the music.  Naturally when their friend left the band, I was the best choice to fill the gap or so I’d like to think!  Since Opie was practically part of our family, the chemistry worked out well.

What’s your song writing process?

Mark:  I constantly record these really crappy demos into my laptop.  They’re just pieces of songs, a verse here, a chorus there, maybe the occasional guitar riff.  Over time, I’ll piece them together into rough skeletons, then I hand them over to the boys and they put meat on the bones make them sound like real songs.  I feel really lucky to work with the rest of the guys, I always hear these crazy horror stories about other people’s experiences playing in bands.  Beta Lion is a fun band to be in.  We’re all split between Los Angeles and San Diego, so we’ll go for long periods of time without practicing, then when we do, we’ll do these crazy 8-hour practices with little or no breaks in-between.  But even if we haven’t been practicing, we all hang out pretty often, so we’re pretty good about communicating ideas to each other which I think is also super important.

JR:  It’s a bit vague but it really does vary from song to song.  Usually Mark and Dean will create rough demos of ideas they’ve been working on.  Most of the time they are small like a beat in a different timing, a chorus or guitar lead.  Sometimes it’s just a description of a feeling we want the listener to have.  Once we start to flesh it out, Opie will really start to hammer out the guitar leads based on ideas he’s been wanting to try.  I’m usually trying to complement what everyone else is doing to really drive their parts as much as I can. Little by little, we keep sculpting until it makes sense.  That’s when angels are born.

You all have “day jobs.” What do you get from performing in Beta Lion?

Mark:  I like that I get to cut loose and dance around like I’ve lost my mind for a bit.  Sometimes I feel like Hansel from Zoolander where he falls into a trance right before he miraculously pulls off his underwear to win the walk off.  It was definitely never about picking up girls, I think the band-angle never worked for me anyway.

Opie:  When I’m onstage, I’m the exaggerated alternate version of my normal everyday self.  Performing in Beta Lion is probably one of the greatest things to ever happen to me.  Since I was a child I’ve always had a need to perform and express myself.  Being able to have music as my medium and three other solid dudes to play it with is something I’ll always be grateful for.

JR:  An escape.  It’s sort of like watching a movie.  For that brief moment, you escape reality.  Dean jokingly once said, “Last night, we were gods!”, as he pretended to tuck himself into bed.

What inspires you most?

Mark:  Fortune cookies, Snapple bottle caps, and motivational posters.  No, but really, I’m a big nerd about movies, comic books, martial arts, and mythology so all sorts of pop-culture finds its way into our music.  For example, our song “Faces & Heels” is about this pro-wrestler from the 50’s named Gorgeous George that I was obsessed with for a while.

JR:  Movies and TV Shows.  They inspire me in many ways.  After an hour, I could be researching cases hoping to solve medical puzzles to fighting crime in downtown LA.  Most of the time I end up going to sleep with a package of Chips Ahoy on the nightstand.

Tell me about your latest CD.

Mark:  Well, we’ve been trying to keep up the momentum of releasing our demo earlier this year by following up with a 5-song EP.  It’s gonna be more ambitious than anything we’ve ever done.  Do you remember back in the 90’s when hip-hop and pop punk albums would have little mini-skits in-between songs?  Hopefully we can pull something like that off.

JR:  “I believe in Beta Lion” was a huge accomplishment for us.  We’ve been a band for quite some time but never had something tangible that truly represented us so this was something we’ve been proud of.  It’s a taste of things to come.

Why should someone see you live?

Mark:  Even though we’re a new band to a lot of people, we’ve been playing live shows together for over a decade.  I think experience, onstage chemistry, and basically growing up together is a pretty hard to beat combination.  If done correctly, NO CAN DEFEND.

Opie:  I always tell people when you see Beta Lion live it’s not so much the music you go to see, but the bond between four guys that you want to be a part of.  Don’t get me wrong we have great songs and play them well but its the overall vibe and show that makes us a worthy act.  We’ve played so many shows we are so comfortable with being on stage and its a lot of fun for us.

JR:  I think we bring something unique to the scene and genuinely, without motive, try to put on the best show we possibly can.  We also give out free kisses?

Why keyboards?

Mark:  Since we don’t quite have the budget for a real string section, a pipe organ, or laser guns, keyboards will have to do for now.  Dean also writes a lot of music on the piano, so it’s natural that a lot of it ends up in the final product.

Opie:  Opens up a world of new sounds which leads to new songs. Fills in the sonic spaces so other instruments can do more interesting things.

JR:  A lot of the music we write translates well on a piano. I feel it creates a fuller, bigger sound that we couldn’t accomplish without one.

Plans for the future?

Mark:  Hopefully to end off our biggest year ever with a bang, then following up with an even bigger one next year.

Opie:  Write and record more songs. Put out some EPs and tour more.

JR:  Where we’re going, we don’t need plans!

How did you all get into Muay Thai Kickboxing?

Mark:  JCVD and lots of nerdiness.  When I was a teenager, there was nothing I wanted more in life than to be a Muay Thai champion.

Opie:  I actually was the last one to get into it. Back in the days during practice we would take breaks and the guys would work pads in the street and I would hangout in the garage playing guitar.  It wasn’t till I was laid off from my job that I had a lot of time on my hands so I got really into cycling. I thought that Muay Thai would be a good compliment to cycling so I signed up for a fight gym and have been a hooked ever since. Every so often you can find us “warming up” wailing on the pads before shows.

JR:  One day I was outside fetching some water when a fly landed on the trunk of a banana tree.  I disliked flies. I punched at it several times.  I got in close and threw elbows and knees, kicking the trunk as hard as I could.  I killed the fly.  Not satisfied with its squashed remains, I kept kicking until its body disintegrated.  The tree fell down and that’s when I created Muay Thai.

If you could be one type of building or structure what would it be?

Mark:  The Deathstar or Castle Greyskull.

Opie:  Batcave

JR:  Something that birds will never take a dump on.  Maybe that huge tower from Lord of the Rings with my eye on top. I would love to see a bird try and drop a deuce on that!


Big thanks to Beta Lion. You can keep up with them at the following links:

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 Lia, Ramona, Paul, Tyler. Mittens! Yes, Mittens. What do you need to know about them aside from what is in the interview? That they are awesome and if you don’t like them and fall instantly in love you are dead inside and I hate you.


How did Mittens form and how long have you been together?

Lia: Ramona and I had been playing together for a long time, trying to get our songs together and find members that were a good fit. After a while of searching Ramona decided to look on Craig’s List where she found Paul. We spent a little time as a trio learning each other’s songs till we felt comfortable enough to begin auditioning drummers. Ramona went back on Craig’s List where she found Tyler. And finally Mittens was born. We’ve officially been together since around February or March of 2012.

What’s the meaning behind your name?

Lia: 42 1

How has the band been received?

Ramona: In the short time that we have been playing live, we have had a really positive response! We assumed our fans, at least in the short-term, would mainly consist of our friends and our mascot (Paul’s cat), Butters. So, we were pretty stoked to have other bands and venues contact us to book more shows so shortly after we began playing live. We’ve also received some positive emails from a few fans around the states. We’re happy if our music makes people smile. 🙂

What is your song writing process like?

Paul: What’s our songwriting process anyway? One person comes up with song, tells people, hey, here’s a new song, or hey, Ramona, finish my song?

Ramona: What’s really neat is we have three song writers in the band. Paul, Lia, and I each have a unique flavor in our song writing, which helps keep our music on its toes. Basically, one of us will introduce a song and together the four of us will Mittenize it.

What has been your favorite live show so far?

Lia: I think our favorite show was at the Tin Can Ale House with the Red Starts. The Tin Can is always a fun venue and the crowd was really great that night.

One of the things that stands out for me is your gear. I noticed you use Daisy Rock and the Hello Kitty guitar. Was that an aesthetic choice or a budgetary one?

Paul: Daisy Rock builds guitars for people with smaller builds and hands, and Ramona and myself certainly fall in that category, and the sparkles don’t hurt. Most of our instruments, such as the Mustang Bass and the Hello Kitty, are undersized. While our Hello Kitty guitars are at least part stage prop, they are personalized and modified and have made it to our recordings. My first guitar was a Hello Kitty Strat; I love those things.

What are your plans for the future?

Lia: We’d like to keep playing around, getting a bigger audience is always going to be a goal. I think our main plan is just to keep writing songs and becoming better musicians. Practice Practice.

I know you have recorded some songs. Can you tell me a little about that process and if you plan to release a CD?

Paul: We’ve mostly done recordings in my garage, getting as much as possible recorded in one take, so as to minimize overdubs and time requirements. It’s been a good way to get the first few songs recorded, but we will probably spend a bit more time and do more multi-tracking on our demos from now on.

As for releasing anything, I think it’s best for us to wait on it for now. Although I think we sound pretty good together right now, I’m still somewhat new at guitar and vocals and feel that I still have much progress to make, and I think some of my fellow Mittens also feel a little green at their craft as well. So while we want to continue to do recordings, I think we’re content for them to be demos for now. As we get more live appearances and rehearsal time under our belts, we will start feeling more and more confident about making a release that’s truly compelling.

Why should people come to see you live?

Paul: Well, we smile and harmonize. Most bands don’t bother.

If you could become any non-human animal, what would it be?

Lia: Unicorn

Tyler: Velociraptor/Platypus!

Ramona: Duh, Butters. haha

Paul: Meow


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Or even heard of, until this post. Psychotic Waltz was one of the best progressive metal bands of the 80s and 90s. The band formed in San Diego in 1986. Originally they had gone under the name of Aslan, yes that Aslan, but had to change their name as there was already an Aslan, and that Aslan was punk. Hmmm, punk….Aslan, hmmmm. The name Psychotic Waltz came from a song of theirs by the same name which features a wonderful rant from a band members crazy relative. The rumor is they actually went to visit him at a mental health facility and asked him to expound on the term psychotic waltz. Anyway, Psychotic Waltz had an amazing sound. They were not afraid to push the limits, at least not in the beginning, but more on that later.

The original lineup Was as follows: Buddy Lackey-vocals; Dan Rock-guitar; Brian McAlpin-guitar; Norm Leggio-drums; Ward Evans-Bass. This was, in my opinion the best and only real PW lineup. Leggio and Evans had a wonderful rhythm section interplay were sometimes they were synchronized and sometimes offset. The guitar team of McAlpin and Rock was unbelievable. Amazing, intricate rhythms and soaring, blistering, emotional harmonized leads.

PW’s debut album A Social Grace is a wonderful mix of everything the band had to offer. You get the Ballad I Remember and the creepy sounding Spiral Tower. Lyrically Lackey has always worn his influences on his sleeve. From the name of the album (nod to Jethro Tull) to track 3 Another Prophet Song (Nod to Queen).Psychotic Waltz peaked rather early artistically and it is my opinion that their second effort, 1992’s Into the Everflow is the best PW album. The opening is ethereal and engaging and fades right on into a full blown mental and emotional experience that carries the listener on through to the last track Butterfly in which Lackey gives lyrical nods to almost everyone whoever influenced him musically.

The following two albums, Mosquito and Bleeding, are solid efforts and would be impressive from any other progressive metal or rock band. As follow ups to Into the Everflow, however, they fall a little flat. By the time of Mosquito Psychotic Waltz had seen their chance for major success come and go and slightly watered down their approach to be more accessible and yes, they were kind of selling out. Even with this Mosquito and Bleeding are enjoyable and PW does stretch itself a little with the psychedelic regae number Mindsong.

Ward Evans left the band prior to Mosquito and Brian McAlpin had to leave prior to the tour in support of Bleeding. PW also faced legal matters due to a blinded crew member on the video shoot for Faded. Pile all of this on top of increasingly disparate musical tastes and you get the end of Psychotic Waltz by 1996. Buddy Lackey had released a solo album around the time of Into the Everflow and continues to make music to this day, though now under the moniker of Devon Graves with his band Dead Soul Tribe, a rock/metal act and lives in Austria (Yes PW WAS huge in Germany). Dan Rock had the band Darkstar for awhile which served up progressive instrumental rock. Norm Leggio appears to be in the heavy metal band Cage, but I was unable to find more info on Ward Evans or Brian McAlpin. Whatever they are doing now, for a short time, the members of Psychotic Waltz made some of the best progressive metal around and inspired me personally to push myself musically.

I was lucky enough to see Psychotic Waltz live many times and even briefly took vocal lessons from Buddy Lackey. You can actually find them and the various side and post projects on Amazon.com. I highly recommend them for any metal, progressive, or rock fans.

Video for Faded


 

 

 

 

Psychotic Waltz (Demo) (1988)
1. …And the Dev
il Cried
2. Sucessor
3. Halo of Thorns
4. I of the Storm

 
 

 

 
 

 

 

A Social Grace (1990)
1. …And the Devil Cried
2. Halo of Thorns
3. Another Prophet’s Song
4. Sucessor
5. In this Place
6. I Remember
7. Sleeping Dogs
8. I of the Storm
9. A Psychotic Waltz
10. Only in a Dream
11. Spiral Tower
12. Strange
13. Nothing


 

 

 
 

 

 
Into the Everflow (1992)
1. Ashes
2. Out of Mind
3. Tiny Streams
4. Into the Everflow
5. Little People
6. Hanging on a String
7. Freakshow
8. Butterfly
9. Disturbing the Priest (Bonus Track)


 
 

 

 

 

 
Mosquito (1994)
1. Mosquito
2. Lovestone Blind
3. Haze One
4. Shattered Sky
5. Cold
6. All the Voices
7. Dancing in the Ashes
8. Only Time
9. Locked Down
10. Mindsong
(Hidden Track: Darkness)

 
 

 

 
 

 

 

Bleeding (1996)
1. Faded
2. Locust
3. Morbid
4. Bleeding
5. Need
6. Drift
7. Northern Lights
8. Sleep
9. My Grave
10. Skeleton
11. Freedom?

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