Wednesday, February 3, 2016

First/Last - Jim Donovan


"Connect. Empower. Inspire.
Drum Circle Leadership is a step-by-step system created by Jim Donovan M.Ed. designed to show you how to create and lead your own transformational drum circles. To create a world of connection, peace and purpose by teaching people how to create their own transformational rhythmic events."

Jim Donovan is a drummer but looking at his resume, he is so much more than that. Mostly known as being a former member of Pittsburgh rock legends Rusted Root, Jim is also a faculty member of St. Francis University, a master facilitator, inspirational trainer and author of Drum Circle Leadership program. His latest album is called Sun King Warriors and I expected his music to have a heavy tribal sound but was pleasantly surprised with the catchy pop and hints of heavy rock hooks throughout the record. You can catch Jim and his band The Sun King Warriors perform a set this Sunday (2/7) at WYEP's 16th Annual Alternative Souper Bowl at Carnegie Library in Oakland and at the official album release bash on March 12. I want to thank Jim for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.



The first album you ever bought?
My very first album I bought in 1981 was the Rolling Stones Tattoo You at Jamesway in Somerset, PA. I remember taking it home, holding the album and staring at it every day wishing I could listen to it. Unfortunately, those were lean years and I had no turntable for the first four months I had the record. Luckily, my parents bought me a small record player for Christmas that year.


Your last album bought?
I bought a Modest Mouse double vinyl album for my daughter Tupelo. She and her friends have discovered the joy of sitting and listening to record albums which gives me a lot of hope for the next generation.


Favorite album of all time?
I have to go with Sly and the Family Stone’s, Dance to the Music. This is the first music I remember hearing as a child and remember asking my mother to play it over and over and over. I still listen to it that way sometimes.


Least favorite/most disappointing album?
I am a big AC/DC fan and remember being wildly excited about Flick of the Switch hoping it would be another Back in Black.
Unfortunately, that turned out not to be the case.


First concert attended?
I am glad to say that Eric Clapton was my first show, ‘Behind the Sun Tour’ 1985, Graham Parker and the Shot opened the night. I somehow convinced my mother to let me take my first girlfriend Sue down to Merriweather Post Pavilion near DC to see the show. That amphitheater was always one of my favorite places to play with Rusted Root. I remember several great shows opening for Santana and The Allman Brothers.


Last concert?
I just had a great time seeing The Clarks right around Christmas time. I love those guys.


Favorite concert ever?
I would have to say watching Robert Plant and Jimmy page from the audience after just having opened for them at the Civic Arena in 1995 was an epic experience. Robert Plant told the whole Pittsburgh crowd how he thought we were the best new band in America. Then he dedicated “The Song Remains the Same” to us at which point I had tears streaming down my face. At the end of the show, Jimmy page came out in a Rusted Root T-shirt for the encore. Yeah, I’d have to pick that one.


Least favorite concert?
My least favorite show was one that I played in the first cover band I was in. It was a party for a guy who is going to the Air Force and it devolved into a serious brawl. It was one of those Iron City beer bottles breaking over people’s heads kind of brawl. Needless to say, I couldn't wait to get out of there.


Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
Pittsburgh has always been my home, even when I've been away from it. The thing I love the most are the people. By and large, I've met so many friendly and helpful people in all my years here. Through the years, Pittsburghers have been a resilient lot and have figured out how to make things work, even when times are tough. It is so satisfying to see the city beginning to bloom after so many years of challenge. My guess is that in the next 10 years, the city will be even more of a destination for people to move to because of the combination of high quality arts, good jobs, amazing food, proximity to nature, and good people.

Thanks, Jim. Love the records, man and I think you win the 'Favorite Concert Ever' title with that story. Very cool.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

First/Last - Seafair


"Consisting of 6 musicians with backgrounds ranging from quick punk rock to classically trained, Seafair has been turning heads all over Ohio since their inception in late 2012. The sharp heavy hitting drumming of Ryan Kelly, the finesse and intensity of guitar and bass player’s Michael Flaherty and Joshua Riehl, the absolute beauty and precision of the cellist and violinist Tara Hanish and Andrea Belding, and the powerful voice, presence and words of frontwoman Chayla Hope makes the Seafair live show a force to reckon with."

Seafair is a chamber-rock band from Cleveland who are diligently working on their soon to be released follow up to the excellent 2015 album The Querencia. They head on down to Pittsburgh on Friday (1/29) for a killer bill at Howlers with local faves Grand Bell and Lone Wolf Club. This is a show you do not want to miss. I want to thank Chayla Hope (Keys/Vocals) for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.



The first album you ever bought?
I actually purchased two on the same day! One was Squrrel Nut Zippers, and the other was Mighty Mighty Bosstones.

Your last album bought?
Shakey Graves And
The War Came
.

Favorite album of all time?
This is a tricky one! I'd have to go with Frightened Rabbit Midnight Organ Fight.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
Barry Von Luxxury (not that I expected it to be great). It's just hard for me to listen to.

First concert attended?
I have to laugh. I was only 9 and with my mom. Melissa Etheridge.

Last concert?
The Sword. It was fantastic!

Favorite concert ever?
The Tallest Man On Earth at the House Of Blues.

Least favorite concert?
Beck did a show at Bonnaroo. He came out with an acoustic guitar, covered 3 1/2 songs then broke the guitar and left. I don't know what happened to make him do that, but I definitely lost respect for him.


Any thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
I LOVE the people and the support we get when we play in Pittsburgh. The last time we played out there, I ended up dancing to the other bands with four people I had never met before, but we felt like old friends. It was a stellar time, and I can never wait to play there. I'm grinning just thinking about it!

Thanks, Chayla. Seriously, this is the show of the week in Pittsburgh! Love this lineup. You should be getting ready to dance for sure!

Monday, January 25, 2016

First/Last - Katie Hate



"Katie Hate is a three piece "Punkternative" band who plays a lot bigger then their
numbers would suggest. Their energy and stage presence are becoming legendary already
for such a young band. Katie Hate's music is a combination of musical influences that are mixed in a secret brew of notes, chords, knock out lyrics, and social satire. Their ability to tell a story and keep you moshing is a rarity. This places them in a Genre of their own, thus the term "Punkternative," is born!"

Katie Hate is an up and coming alt-rock band from Pittsburgh who's debut Let's Pretend Again can be heard here. They have a scheduled show at Altar Bar in a few weeks and be sure go out and support these guys. I want to thank Max Theofilis (Guitar/Vocals), Bobby Fello (Bass/Vocals) and Jake Saltzman (Drums) for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.





 The first album you ever bought?
Max Theofilis: I can't remember.
Bobby Fello: The White Album by The Beatles.
Jake Saltzman: Green Day Nimrod.

Your last album bought?
Max: Magical Mystery Tour The Beatles.
Bobby: V by Wavves.
Jake: L.A. Women by The Doors.

Favorite album of all time?
Max: Thank You, Happy Birthday Cage the Elephant.
Bobby: Love, Lust, Faith and Dreams by 30 Seconds to Mars.
Jake: Green Day American Idiot.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
Max: Anything by a shitty artist. Examples: however many seconds of summer, etc.
Jake: Anything by Iggy Azalea.

First concert attended?
Max: Long Time Divided.
Bobby: Green Day.
Jake: Green Day ‘American Idiot Tour’, 2005.

Last concert?
All: Wavves.

Favorite concert ever?
Max & Jake: Sum 41.

Least favorite concert?
Max: Katie Hate, Verona Fair.
Bobby: Never had a bad concert experience, they were all good.
Jake: Got stuck at a country concert it was horrible… Kenny Chesney.


Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
Max: Going to sporting events, especially when I was little, and just being in the city. It's a great, unique and inspiring city, which makes it a very creative and artistic place. Unique historically, geographically, economically and even technologically. It's an old place going through a great renaissance and I'm happy to be here for it.
Bobby: The Pittsburgh music scene was very welcoming and I feel as though everyone in the scene is like my extended family.
Jake: Looking at the city on Mt. Washington at night. We truly have the coolest city.


Thank, fellas. Cool sounds you got going. Looking forward to much more in the years to come.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

First/Last - Charlie Hustle & the Grifters


"Charlie Hustle & the Grifters brings together four Pittsburgh musicians under the banner of heady musical synergy. Its members include guitarist Peter Flynn and upright bassist Trish Imbrogno of The Grifters, drummer Dave Varasse from one of Pittsburgh's premier funk bands, the Old E Allstars, and guitarist Patrick Varine. The quartet comes together and forms like Voltron! ... if Voltron consisted of two guitars, upright bass, drums and a fond desire to blend rock, folk and the blues into a gritty, tasty stew."

Charlie Hustle & the Grifters are a jam/blues band from Pittsburgh who are part of a cool event coming up on Saturday (1/23). at The Oaks Theater in Oakmont. Get on your dancin' shoes and find out all the info here. I want to thank Patrick Varine (Guitar/Vocals) for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.



The first album you ever bought?
For me, this goes all the way back to cassette tapes, and I'm honestly not sure. I remember the first compact disc I bought with my own money: the edited version of Cypress Hill's 1993 Black Sunday album, which was not only missing "A to the K," but changed the title of "When the Sh*t Goes Down" to "When the Ship Goes Down"!

Your last album bought?
Run the Jewels 2, by Run the Jewels (El-P & Killer Mike).

Favorite album of all time?
Probably a three-way tie between the Grateful Dead's Europe '72, The Allman Brothers' Live at the Fillmore East and Redman's Dare iz a Darkside.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
After loving the first Moby Grape LP and reading about their leader singer Skip Spence, I bought his solo album, Oar... not good.

First concert attended?
I'm loathe to even admit this, but my parents dragged me to a Brooks & Dunn concert at Star Lake Amphitheatre when I was in middle school. And thus began my lifelong hatred of all post-1981 country music.

Last concert?
Kyle Lawson Band, Jan. 2015 at Thunderbird Cafe (now that I have a 3-year-old, the wife and I don't get to nearly as many shows as we'd like!)

Favorite concert ever?
Phil Lesh & Friends, April 2001, at the Palumbo Center. That version of P&F (Lesh, Rob Baracco, Warren Haynes, Jimmy Herring and John Molo) was the most ass-kicking band I've ever seen. They could do anything.

Least favorite concert?
Brooks & Dunn (see "first concert").


Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
Most of my favorite Pittsburgh experiences involve the arts and culture scene: running from one exhibit to the next at the museums as a kid; wandering around the Three Rivers Arts Festival taking in all the sights, sounds and smells; going to plays and musicals with my parents at Pittsburgh Public Theater... the depth of creativity in this city never fails to impress me.

Thanks, Patrick. Saturday sounds real fun, man. I can't imagine anyone sitting at their table for too long!