Friday, January 27, 2012

First/Last-The Kalob Griffin Band

 Photo courtesy Stella Wiki

The Kalob Griffin Band
Saturday, February 4, 2012

I consider myself so lucky to be in the very dubious position I am in to be on the receiving end of publicists, record labels, or musician's email lists. I get a ton of requests to showcase a band that's coming through Pittsburgh to maybe preview, shoot or mention the gig. I don't think I have ever been publicly jaded about it. Frankly, I never appreciated other people moaning about a influx of demos, or badly worded bios, or worse, bad music sent their way. For me, it's an honor and a pleasure to flirt with the possibility of helping out a band I never heard of and in return...well, we'll see.
That said, The Kalob Griffin Band is playing Club Cafe next Friday. They hail from Philly. Oh, and I found out that I actually like them! Not settling for Kalob himself to be answering alone, they have been kind enough to participate in this extensive edition of First/Last.

The Kalob Griffin Band
Kalob Griffin (lead vocals/rhythm guitar)
Nick Salcido (Electric/Upright bass)
John Hildenbrand: (keyboards/backup vocals)
Eric Lawry (drums/backup vocals)
Rob Dwyer: Lead guitar/mandolin/banjo

The first album you ever bought?
Kalob (lead vocals): Rage Against the Machine, Battle of Los Angeles. It was explicit.

Nick (bassist):  When I was twelve, my mother gave me fifteen dollars to “start” a CD collection and I chose Californication by the Red Hot Chili Peppers as my first album, because I knew they cursed on the record and it didn’t have one of those Parental Advisory stickers.

John (keys): Oh wow, I actually had to look this up to get the album name right, but it was the great album from 1994, Live's Throwing Copper. I was in second or third grade and this album rocked when i heard some of it on the radio, so I thought a trip to the Wall would garner this purchase with many to come afterwards.

Your last album bought?
Kalob: Paul Kelly's greatest hits, Songs From the South. His storytelling is so captivating.

Nick:  Well...Spotify has kinda given me an excuse to stop buying new music, but I still buy records, and the last one I bought was this great old Impluse! jazz compilation.  It has lots of great rare cuts by greats like Coltrane, McCoy Tyner, and Shirley Scott.

John:It is funny because there are so many of these listening sites and YouTube is one of them I go to frequently. I’ve been listening to King Crimson albums from cover to cover the last few days. Man, they are so british, scary, and epic. I love it. The last album I purchased was The Lake Bottom LP by The Chapin Sisters. I heard their set on Mountain Jam and liked what I heard. Their next album Two is even better.

Rob(lead guitar/mandolin/banjo): The Dave Brubeck Quartet "Time Further Out". After getting into their prequel "Time Out," I had to listen to more, especially Paul Desmond’s saxophone tone. It's got such an airy quality to it.

Eric (drummer): Head and the Heart self-titled. I bought it because of “Lost In My Mind,” stayed for the rest. Solid album through and through. I’ve also been Spotified, but I try to buy a new album at an independent store down the street every few weeks. I fail more than succeed.

Favorite album of all time?
Kalob: John Prine's self-titled debut album. Those songs never get old to me.

Nick:  Hands down Voodoo by D’Angelo.  I know I’m young but I still think it’s one of the best engineered albums you’ll ever hear regardless of genre.  An absolutely classic lineup of R&B, hip hop, and jazz musicians perform on it as well.

John: This is a tough one because I could go all over the place. My favorite has to go to The Beatles' Rubber Soul. This album I can always return too if need be and the reassurance is always there. This album did a lot for that time and quite frankly still is doing a lot for music. My parents raised me on the Beatles and their catalogue is great because you see the way they changed from Please Please Me all the way to Let It Be.

Rob: Cake  - Comfort Eagle. While being one of the hardest questions ever asked, I had to judge my answer based on my how I enjoy listening to music. Some people dig the concept or only the lyrics while I think of the many hours, blasting the CD, whether it be in a car or my headphones, knowing each note and lyric a second before it comes out, and not getting tired of it.

Eric: Want One by Rufus Wainwright. My all time favorite has changed probably four times in the past six years, but I’ve had this one since high school (Avonworth) and I still listen cover to cover at least once a month. It gets an extreme emotional response from me, and I learn new things every time I hear it. Certain songs seem more influential given my state of mind, and I like that it can do that. Reach out and find something to grab onto no matter what I’m going through. By the time it’s done, I feel like I’ve lived an entire day. The first song is the sunrise, and the last song is sunset, and I’ve done a hell of a lot between the two. 

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
Kalob: Now 23.
Nick:  Hmm...if I didn’t like it that much I probably just blocked it out of my memory.
Eric: Agreed with Nick, I don’t like what I don’t like and I try to avoid it. If something I usually love disappointed me I can’t find it right now.

First concert attended?
Kalob:  I was twelve when my dad took me to see John Prine live and in person.

John: I was in 8th grade I believe because I really don’t think I went to a concert before this. I went to see Dave Matthews Band at Old Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia. I was so far away I had no idea what was going on. Ben Harper opened that night as well. I remember getting separated from my one friend in the concourse and then they opened with “Ant's Marching” and at that point I got even more separated from my friend. The end result was me finding my friend and getting back to the show. I definitely had my 8th grade thoughts and dance moves in the wise year of 2000.

Rob: Willie Nelson, just a couple of months after he was busted for tax fraud. My dad’s friend (wealthy, may I add) had a huge party with literally 2,000 people. Willie Nelson played because he needed cash fast. I wish I paid as much as attention as my dad and uncle did but I could have cared less. 

Last concert?
Kalob: Ryan Adams at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia.

Nick:  Trombone Shorty at the 9:30 Club in D.C..  Great show, one of those shows where the band has more energy than you!

John: The last concert I attended was Steely Dan, yes you heard me right. Our whole band was there. We just played a set at Musikfest in Bethlehem and after our set we had the privilege to see them perform, and it was a mighty show to say the least. They are tight as hell and put on a fantastic show.

Eric: Tally Hall, a band from Ann Arbor, Michigan that I’ve been obsessing over for about four years. It was my fourth show of theirs, downtown in Philly at Johhny Brenda’s. Great little venue, sorta in the same vein as Mr. Smalls if we’re comparing to a Pittsburgh venue, where they also played on that tour.

Favorite concert ever?
Kalob: A group of friends and I saw The Mars Volta open for The Red Hot Chili Peppers
on Halloween night in 2007. Everyone was dressed for the occasion and the atmosphere was perfect.
Nick:  Erykah Badu.  Best $100 I’ll ever spend.  Her creativity is unmatched by other major label artists, and her band’s bassist made me rethink everything I knew about improvising.  I spent the whole summer studying how that guy laid it down!

John: Their have been some fantastic Phish shows I have seen over the years. Some great Phil Lesh and Bob Weir shows I have seen. But in the summer of 2009 I got a chance to see Nine Inch Nails live and I was completely blown away. My friend won tickets on the radio and asked me to go. It was face melting rock with incredible visuals all done by Trent Reznor. Incredible performance and energy. That ended up being their last tour. Now he just wins Oscar awards.

Rob:2/25/03 Phish at The Spectrum. In the beginning of my musical exploration, I got this ticket and was pumped to experience my first Phish show. Being so young, I was not into the stereotypical drug scene but that doesn’t mean I didn't feel like I was transported to another dimension. It is because of that night that I went on to see them 23 more times to date. 

Least favorite concert?
Nick:  George Clinton - not because the music was bad, but touring is the only way George can make money these days because of some horrendous business deals that he got himself into during the peak of his career that leave him with no publishing royalties.  It’s really disheartening to see your idols running themselves into the ground for chump change because they weren’t informed about the business side of the industry.

Rob: Slightly was stupid.

Eric: Same with album, I try to avoid shows that I won’t enjoy. But I’m going to have to go with Bob Dylan. It was actually in Pittsburgh during the New American Music Festival in the South Side. There were a sold out 15,000 people in the audience when The Raconteurs left the stage to uproarious applause. I love The Raconteurs and waited all day to get a good spot so I was one of them. By the time we left about half way through Dylan’s show, there were probably 6,000 left. I said with my friends as we left, “At least we can say we saw Bob Dylan.” But I’ve never been so compelled to leave a show I paid for half way through. 

Any thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
John: Being born and raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia, we (except for Eric) didn't know too much about Pittsburgh. I went to Penn State and met a lot of good people from there with whom I still keep in touch with. I've been to Pittsburgh a few times and liked all my visits. We played a show there last year at the Rex Theater and that was such a great experience. It is a very cool looking city as well. The bridges give the city a lot of charm. At Fort Pitt, George Washington decided that this area must become a city, henceforth it became Pittsburgh. I cannot wait to get back there to play and to visit again.

Eric: Born and raised here, grew up along the Ohio River Boulevard, and froze in my tracks when I once saw Malkin at my local Giant Eagle. I wear my Crosby jersey to pick up take-out food, and go to the closest Steelers bar every Sunday to watch with kindred spirits amongst the overwhelming masses of E A G L E S chants and Claude Giroux is better than Crosby nonsense that flies around Philly. I love living in Philadelphia, but there’s not another place in the world I would want to call my home tahn.

Rob: Nice people, weird sandwiches, lots of bridges

Thanks for the contact fellas. Been really diggin' your music.

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