Red Top Wolverine, The HasBeens, Pink Lightnin' | Buzz Blog

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Red Top Wolverine, The HasBeens, Pink Lightnin'

Posted By on August 20, 2008, 1:07 PM

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This past Friday I got back into the swing of things by heading over to the still open Urban Lounge. 

--- After a fine tour of the polished up floor, the new non-smoking rules and the recently cleaned up bathroom, it was about time for the show to begin.  And I was not disappointed at all.  The night consisted of the jugband-rock of Red Top Wolverine Show, the old-school punk sound of The HasBeens, and the punk-blues stylings of Pink Lightnin’!  I grabbed some pictures during the show and got interviews with all three bands.

Red Top Wolverine (James, Frisco, Jailbait and Brad)

http://www.myspace.com/redtopwolverineshow

Gavin: Hey guys, first off, tell us who you are and a little about yourselves.

Brad: I am a caring and insightful, but ultimately bitter and sarcastic person. I play guitar and sing. I moved to Utah almost four years ago. I grew up in Western Tennessee and Eastern Arkansas. I do my best to take credit for everything we do because I deserve it.

Frisco: Fuck you, Brad.

James: I play guitar and bass occasionally. I moved to Utah from Memphis twenty-something years in search of a happenin’ music scene… and better liquor laws.

Gavin: How did you all get together and decide form Red Top Wolverine?

Frisco: I’ll take this one. Yeah, Brad wanted to have a country band. Basically we’ve been doing our best to steer him away from that. Despite all our efforts, I’m still somewhat embarrassed to be part of this project.

Brad: Country BLUES, asshole.

James: Brad broke into Jason’s basement when he and I were making some ground-breaking fresh new sounds to let us know he had a guitar too. We never really recovered – he pretty much ruined our career.

Gavin: Your music hits an alternative note, but the live performance has more of a jug-band feel and sound. Where did the idea come from to play that style of music?

Brad: It was my idea.

James: See above.

Frisco: You should have seen us like, two years ago. There were buckets and garbage cans and shit on the stage. It was ridiculous. The washtub is the only piece of junk left now.

Gavin: Who were some of your favorite acts and musical influences growing up?

Brad: Well, growing up I remember listening to a lot of great country music courtesy of my old man - George Jones, the Statler Brothers, etc. Since I’ve developed my own tastes, I’ve grown to love the rougher country blues style, like Son House and some of the Fat Possum records guys, in addition to a ton of Pixies and pre-Sex Pistols punk-type rock n roll music, but I really like most of the music out there… These guys like poofy-haired, spandex wearing, bare sweaty man-shoulder touching metal.

Jailbait: True.

Gavin: Putting you on the spot a little, if you had to make a top five list, who would you say are the top acts in our scene now?

Brad: My favorites at the moment are: Pink Lightnin’, the Cobras, Kate Le Deuce, the Rubes, and Fat Soul.

James: Pink Mutha F’n Lightnin’, Purr Bats, The Cobras, Utah County Swillers. What happened to Books About UFOs? Those guys were badass.

Frisco: The HasBeens put on a solid punk rock review, but you can’t really dance to that sort of music, now can you?

Gavin: What are your thoughts on the local music scene, both good and bad?

Brad: Most of the negatives are inherent to every local scene – it’s hard to gain recognition and credibility, it’s cliquey, people can seem mean, blah, blah, blah – but Salt Lake has several problems that are unique. Here is the biggest in my mind. There is no area in town where you can go and see one show, decide you don’t like it, and go see a different one without getting in a car. The closest we have is on State Street between 6th and 8th South. It would be feasible to hit Burt’s, Bar Deluxe, the Bayou, and the Woodshed in one night but it would cost $20-$30 in private club fees alone. There’s no district where you could bar hop to see a variety of live music, and even if there were, the private club laws would make such an endeavor a ridiculous hassle. However, I think the goods far outweigh the bads.

Gavin: Is there anything you believe could be done to make it better?

Frisco: This gets back to what I was saying about you not being able to dance. I swear you look like a dead girl riding a pony. I mean, it’s cool that people come out and pay money to go to these dives and see shows, but try a little less hard to be cool once you get in the door. Get off your ass and get your fucking money’s worth. Maybe we need to play earlier, before people start falling asleep on the bar. We need to give out pitchers of Rockstar 21 or something.

Brad: Uh, maybe some of the laws could change that restrict some of the live music venues. Public transportation could extend its hours so that people wouldn’t have to risk a DUI to get home from a show. The government here could be a lot friendlier to the music scene.  And Salt Lake could end it’s addiction to bad 90’s rock.

Gavin: A little on the industry, tell us what your thoughts are on it in general and the current state it's in?

Brad: The CD is dying. Vinyl is coming back. The big record companies are losing their grip on a market that they have monopolized since the 1930’s. Anyone who wants a major label deal can’t see the big picture. Those poor idiots on American Idol and Nashville Star – they seem like they are just ignorant to what’s happening.  Right now “the industry” is in total upheaval.

Gavin: What do you think of the current trends in music that are getting radio play today?

Frisco: I don’t listen to the radio. I also don’t read books.

Brad: I don’t think it’s very real.

Gavin: What's your opinion on file sharing and how it affects you as a musician?

Frisco: I fuckin’ love America, man. I love free trade. I love how capitalism/consumerism/credit enables us to get the newest shit. It works great for goods, but not so great for the arts. The arts and probably science and some other areas too. Capitalism is holding the human race back in these areas because what happens is - people need to survive or are greedy or whatever - so if there’s no money in an endeavor, it doesn’t get done. We need to have a separate, socialist system exclusively for artists where you just get a fat check every month as long as you keep putting shit out. See, this would incent citizens to work in the arts and science instead of being dirtbag house flippers and slumlords and shit. Fuck, man, if Red Top didn’t have to work for a living, we’d have like 10 albums out by now. I’m sure Brad has something a little more realistic to say.

Brad: I think it’s great. It doesn’t seem logical to make it harder for your potential audience to get your music.

Gavin: You’ve had an album out for nearly two years. How has it done since its release?

Brad: We’re huge in Holland and France, but we can’t tour there because Frisco has to wear this ankle bracelet that calls the cops if he leaves this area code.

Gavin: Are you working on a new album yet or just playing gigs for now?

Brad: We’re finishing up a new album, tentatively titled “Wolverine Machine.” That hot shit will drop before the New Year. Look for it in you’re Christmas stocking and at the nearest DI.

Gavin: Is there anything you'd like to promote or plug?

Brad: Salt Lake Recording Service - “Finest Sound Available Anywhere”!


The Hasbeens (Herc, Aldine Strychnine, Dan Blisters and Bax Turbine)

http://www.myspace.com/hasbeenspunk

Gavin:
Hey guys, first off, tell us who you are and a little about yourselves.

Bax: I'm Bax. I sing, write lyrics, and do all the artwork for HasBeens. I've been in the punk scene in Salt Lake since the late 70's. I've been in a number of bands Including Victims Willing, Hair Farm, Anger Overload, Knowitall, and now HasBeens. I've written for fanzines, done a radio show, and run my own record label called Flatline Records. Punk Rock has been the biggest constant in my life. I guess I've never grown out of it. I'm proud to be 43 and still rockin.

Gavin: How did you all get together and decide form The HasBeens?

Bax: That is Aldines thing. He put the band together and when they had a bunch of music written I was invited to join to write lyrics and sing.

Gavin: Your music is played at a faster speed, but comes off more alternative than punk. Do you view yourself in any specific genre, or just play what you feel like?

Bax: Definitely a punk band. We just take our sound and style from early punk bands like Dead Boys or The Damned. We are not like the "new" punk. You have to look a bit into the past to see where we are coming from.

Gavin: Who were some of your favorite acts and musical influences growing up?

Bax: Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper, Boomtown Rats, The Damned, Generation X, Sex Pistols, Dead Kennedys, Black Flag, Circle Jerks, Adolescents, X, Minor Threat and about a million other groups.

Gavin: Putting you on the spot a little, if you had to make list, who would you say are the top acts in our scene now?

Bax: In no particular order… Danger Hailstorm, Azon, Thunderfist, Tough Tittie, and HasBeens.

Gavin: What are your thoughts on the local music scene, both good and bad?

Bax: The bands and fans are damned good. The clubs and promoters sometimes leave a little to be desired.

Gavin: Is there anything you believe could be done to make it better?

Bax: I think it is what it is. I can think of a million things that could make it better, but nothing is going to change. Clubs will always think they are doing bands all the favors. But really it's the bands who do all the hard work and bring people in to drink and spend money. Sometimes I feel a little more appreciation is in order.

Gavin: A little on the industry, tell us what your thoughts are on it in general and the current state it's in?

Bax: I think it's getting just what it deserves. A good screwing just like they have been giving to bands and fans for years. Hooray for independent D.I.Y. thinking. Give the music back to the fans and the bands

Gavin: What do you think of the current trends in music that are getting radio play today?

Bax: Like any time, there are the innovators and the copiers. I think there are a handful of super good bands out there and a whole slew of shitty clones that you won't hear anything about in six months.

Gavin: What's your opinion on file sharing and how it affects you as a musician?

Bax: I love it. I want to give our music away for free. I know other members of the band feel differently, but I say give the music away. If you’re worth a shit people will listen to the songs, come see you play live and spend money on shirts and stickers and such. You can make money without charging for the music. You just have to work hard and write good tunes.

Gavin: Are you guys working on an album or just doing your own thing at the moment?

Bax: We just finished a six song EP it will be available soon.

Gavin: Is there anything you'd like to promote or plug?

Bax: I will be showing my artwork at Highland Perk Coffee in October. Watch my MySpace page for details. Also go to Pop Sweatshop and download two of our songs for free. It doesn't get any cheaper than that.


Pink Lightnin’ (Eli Morrison, Bad Brad Wheeler, Aldine Strychnine and Jawsh Belka) 

http://www.myspace.com/pinklightnin

Gavin:
Hey guys, tell us who you are and a little about yourselves.

Brad: My name is Bad Brad Wheeler, I’m a Bluesman & part time preacher. I’m also the afternoon DJ for KRCL 90.9 FM, all the radio you need!

Aldine: I’m Aldine I’ve been playing music around SLC since 1981.

Eli:  I’m Eli, I play guitar and sing for the group.

Gavin: How did you all get together and decide form Pink Lightnin’?

Brad: Eli and I had talked about wanting to collaborate on a project together for awhile. Finally one day we were asked to come up with a band for an opening slot gig for BOB LOG III. It was enough of a challenge for us to get it together. I’d known Josh for years, I gave him a call right after Eli and I decided it was time, and asked if he would play for us and he said yes. After about six months we decided we needed some extra low end to the sound. Al had been showing up to a lot of our gigs- we asked him if he would be willing to play bass and he said yes.

Eli: Brad had done some side-work for another band I'm in, The Wolfs. We had sort of hit it off, so putting the group together was sort of the next logical step.

Aldine: I was asked to join this band about five months ago. They wanted me to play guitar. As they were a three piece, with no bass player, I suggested I play bass. The rest is history.

Gavin: Where did the influence come from to do a more blues style of music?

Brad: All American music comes from the Blues, just like you can’t make soup without water; you can’t make any American music without some elements of the blues. I’m a Bluesman and I enjoy taking the genre and stretching it out, and showing folks the connections all genres have with the blues. We are a Punk Blues Band, at least in my heart we are.

Eli: My personal listening diet is pretty erratic and eccentric. I like all kinds of stuff as long as it's weird. Brad is more your prototypical "Blues Man". We're helping each other along.

Aldine:  As far as the Blues go this is something that's ingrained in your soul and really second nature.

Gavin: You're all involved in multiple projects with other bands. Do you think of PL more as a side project for a certain style of music, or as a full time band that gives the others a run for their money?

Eli: We all have day jobs now, so we're not a "professional" group in that sense, but we all put a lot of heart and soul into what we do, and for us, yeah, it's a big deal.

Aldine:  I think any band you’re in is a full time project.

Brad: I think of it as an incredible opportunity to spend some time with three other guys who all have my respect and who all play in bands in which I’ve been a huge fan of. I don’t ever join a band thinking they're a side project. I take everything I do seriously. Hell yes I hope Pink Lightnin’ does give other a run for their money.

Gavin: Who were some of your favorite acts and musical influences growing up?

Eli:  I like a lot of creaky old punk and industrial music, 60's psych, east coast no-wave stuff, tons and tons of 45's, the Shaggs, etc. I could really geek out on this question.

Brad: John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, Howlin Wolf, John Mayall, RL Burnside, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, 20 Miles, White Stripes, AC/DC, Rolling Stones. Junior Kimbrough, Charlie Feathers, Hasil Adkins, Bob Log

Gavin: What are your thoughts on the local music scene, both good and bad?

Brad: Great musicians, that’s the good. I’ve seen a lot of incredible bands come and go - I’ve also seen a lot of great venues go by the wayside as well. The worst part of any scene is apathy or the apathetic. For a community to be vibrant and for music, art and culture to thrive it’s got to have the support of its community. While there is a large group of folks who do spend a lot of time, energy and money supporting the local music scene- we could still use more support. So many folks discredit the talent that we have because they're just LOCAL. Well that should never be a deterrent for supporting community talent, whether it be visual, performing, or musical.

Eli:  I really like the local scene. We have lots of cool bands and everyone seems to work together really well. Salt Lake is a great city to live and play in.

Gavin: Is there anything you believe could be done to make it better?

Eli:  I wouldn't mind seeing more fresh blood on the stage now and again.

Brad: Well the media does have a lot of sway in influencing people. I think their could be more coverage of local bands- I also think that the Gallivan centers Twilight Concert Series as well as any other festival or musical event held in SLC should be including local talent. We’ve got some serious talent around here that could really make some of these out of town bands actually earn their money.

Gavin: If you had to make a top five list, who would you say are the top acts in our scene now?

Brad: I enjoy seeing - The Wolfs, The Rubes, Black Hole, Mad Max & the Wildones, and can't forget the legendary Mr. Joe McQueen!

Eli: Andale just came out with a killer record; I like Eagle Twin and The Rubes as well. On the stranger side, I'm into Night Terror and Tenants of Balthazar's Castle.

Gavin: A little on the industry, tell us what your thoughts are on it in general and the current state it's in?

Eli: I think everybody's pretty aware at this point that things are really screwed up in "the business". Since I issue my material directly through the bands, or through a handful of small labels, the shake up hasn't really affected us much in terms of what we do on a day-to-day basis. I bought an iPod, but found it boring and never really used it. I still like vinyl records; I buy and play them all the time.

Brad: It sucks- and it seems to be in a state of paranoia.

Gavin: What do you think of the current trends in music that are getting radio play today?

Brad: I work at a radio station where we go out of our way to avoid trends and work even harder to keep radio real.

Eli: If I have to sit through even one more track with that inane pitch-shifty vocoder thing, I swear I'll hurt somebody.

Gavin: What's your opinion on file sharing and how it affects you as a musician?

Brad: I always thought of albums as a way to drive folks to your gigs. I’m not a musician who ever dreamed of making it big by selling records- I’m more addicted to the conversation of instruments as well as the moment in which music is made. I haven’t had it affect me yet.

Eli: File sharing is basically the same thing as cassette tape. Further, if your buddy makes you a tape and you like it, maybe you'll go buy the record!

Gavin: You've had your self titled album out for almost a year, how has it done since its release?

Brad: It sold out!

Eli: The album has been sold out for awhile now. We didn't make very many. We plan to record our next one with Mike Sasich. We're writing right now, the album is about half done.

Gavin: Are you working on a new material, or just letting your current one ride for a while?

Brad: We're working on new material- Pink Lightnin' is a really enjoyable outlet for me, its not something I think of putting on the back burner or letting it rest on its laurels its something I look forward to working on and moving forward.

Gavin: Is there anything you'd like to promote or plug?

Brad: Hang in there folks, the new album coming soon!

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