Trainwreck’d Society’s Person of 2011: Steve Sessions [Exclusive]

Steve Sessions may very well be the greatest indie horror filmmaker that you have probably never heard of.  Despite having an immense track record including writing and directing  and music work for over a dozen of his own feature films, a plethora of shorts, working with some of today’s hottest horror stars (Jeff Dylan Graham, Suzi Lorraine, Debbie Rochon just to name drop a few), and much more miscellaneous projects with other filmmakers.  Steve’s work is undeniably well crafted, as well as well conceived.  His embodiment of the indie world is absolutely amazing.  His work isn’t even low-budget.  It’s “no budget”.  He makes movies for “less than the cost of an average funeral”, as he has been quoted as saying.  Somehow, through the magic of innovation and raw natural talent, he pulls off brilliant indie masterpieces on less than a shoe string budget.

2011 proved another amazing year for Mr. Sessions.  He shot and released his latest masterpiece, Shriek of the Sasquatch, as well as releasing the quintessential “Sessions-esque” thriller, Sinister.  The man has been at it for quite a while.  And his love for cinema is his one true drive (especially since he makes an average of zero dollars per film).

I have been a fan of this man’s work for a lot of years, and he has been one of the greatest friends you could ask for since we first corresponded via e-mail about 6 years ago. I was on my first tour of Iraq and decided to e-mail Steve to let him know how much I loved his film Malefic, which we found at the PX on our (sort of) desolate FOB in central Iraq. And in his kind manner we all have learned to love, he sent me (and my dear friend Wiggy) even more of his films to enjoy. Since this time, I have had the pleasure of heading down to Biloxi and meeting Steve in person whilst touring the beautiful cemeteries and waxing political America at a Waffle House. Quite an honor to say the least.  But, I have to admit, I don’t know the man like most do.  Therefore I called upon the people who would understand his genius even greater than I.  The actors, actresses, friends of this legendary man.  And I was not surprised by their responses.  Here’s what some of them had to say about Trainwreck’d Society’s Person of 2011:

“Steve and I have grown to know each other to the level where he does not have to “direct” me. I know what he expects of a character and i do my best to meet his expectations before he asks me to do something in particular. Steve is so accommodating and appreciative of his actors that he doesn’t ask as much as he should from them, so working with him is a little confusing until you understand that his role of director surpasses just “directing” an individual, but is more of allowing the actor to express himself or herself in the role he envisioned. Steve is very open to allowing the actor to interpret the role as they see fit and portray the roles in a manner that befits their personality; this type of directing makes the experience much more relaxing and fun and tends to make actors want to return to be a part of multiple Steve Sessions’ productions………Fate led me to my introduction to and interactions with Steve Sessions, beginning with stumbling upon a local news story about his first feature film, “Cremains”, and on to our chance meeting in an online chat room in which he was casting for his second feature, “Malefic”. Without our interactions and creative collaborations, i would never have had the inspiration and confidence to pursue my own goals of writing and directing feature length films. Steve showed me that one can achieve such a goal with perseverance and creativity when financial instability and the instability of unpaid actors can present difficulties and frustrations. If one wants to accomplish their creative goals, that person can definitely do so. That is what i have learned through my interactions with Steve Sessions. I have accomplished many of my dreams in just assisting Steve in his movie projects, and also gained experience that allowed me to venture further out into creating my own movies. Being a part of Steve’s movies has taught me much in the ways of casting, production, and filming with little to no budget for actors, locations, and props. A dream is enough to fuel the fires of film making! ”

Lucien Eisenach (Torment, Shriek of The Sasquatch, Southern Gothic, At The House of Madness, Malefic)

“Awful. He’s really mean.  Seriously, it was a blast. We were working long hours, but we were having so much fun and laughs, it honestly didn’t feel like work! As a director, he’s really easy going, and open to the actor’s interpretation of the role. He provides great feedback and direction, while still allowing the actor to spread their wings and improv a bit too.  Steve is a prime example of a filmmaker who shows it is possible to make a really fun (and scary) film on a low budget. He’s a really talented writer too, and I think a lot of his strengths lie in this. I would gladly work with him again! You hear that, Steve?”

Suzi Lorraine (Torment)

“Working with Steve is always great! First of all, he has great stories and great atmosphere, so it’s awesome for an actor to work on his movies. You know they will turn out good! His vision is just terrific.  Steve is always doing great movies and does his 100% to deliver the best!! It’s not only a joy to work with him, it’s a privilege!”

Luc Bernier (At The House of Madness, H8, Southern Gothic, Torment, Sinister, Dead Ink, Shriek of the Sasquatch, Contagio)

“Weirdly, sometimes “life imitates art” — as soon as I arrived in Biloxi, the weather turned for the worst.  It quickly

became apparent that we couldn’t possibly shoot outdoors on such a stormy day.  Brilliantly, Steve salvaged the script by re-locating my scenes inside my own hotel room…….  I was so impressed by Steve’s incredible “grace under pressure”…  how he make it all work out, in spite of unforeseen obstacles (like a hurricane!).  Later, when I watched “Dead Clowns”, I was stuck by his amazingly artistic vision… he’s so good at capturing beautiful visual images, like a true artist.  And besides all that, Steve is a wonderfully gracious host and a genuinely nice guy.”

Charlene Brinke Stevens (Dead Clowns)

“Steve is such a genuine sweetheart. When he picked me up at the airport the week of the shoot, we had some extra time, and he showed me around his hometown of Biloxi, MS.  Steve knew I loved cemeteries, so he took me to this really awesome one right off the Gulf of Mexico. It was so serene! We took time and walked through it together, taking pictures, and getting to know each other more, it was a blast! The whole shoot was fun. Steve is all about getting the job done, yet having fun while doing what we needed to do. He’s a very easy going, genuine director who obviously loves what he does or he wouldn’t be here doing it.”

Sarah French (Shriek Of The Sasquatch)

“[On working on Shriek of The Sasquatch]……It was a fun time and hope to do it again in the future. Steve’s a great guy and fun to work with!”

Michelle Trasatti (Shriek of The Sasquatch)

“I’ve always had a blast working with Mr. Sessions and hope to return soon.  He’s always treated his cast/crew members with the utmost respect.  There’s something very nice and peaceful about filming in and around Biloxi, MS.  The folks are really welcoming.  Nice weather, too.  I don’t think it ever snows down there……..Steve has been a tremendously great friend for over a decade now.  He’s offered me some great advice and encouragement on my own filmmaking career.  I hope his work gets more recognition in the future.”

Eric Spudic (Dead Clowns, Psycho Santa, Cache)

“Had a great and easy going shoot with Steve. Will always work for him when he wants me.   Steve is an easy going director and knows what he wants in a scene.”

Ted Alderman (Torment, Shriek of The Sasquatch, Blood of the Spider)

“Working for Steve was a very fun and memorable experience. I had always wanted to be an actor in a horror film, and Steve gave me my first chance. I shot only a few hours on both films, but it was a very relaxed environment. He allowed me to just go with the flow during my death scenes, and I liked that. Overall, I have only great things to say about acting for Steve……Steve, you are a great director and a true talent. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to have been a part of your films.”

Jade Michael LaFonte (Wolfika, Torment)

“Steve was great, he has a unique way of filming and he always turns out good work, he allows the actors to create and run with each scene which was awesome.  I admire Steve for his persistence and ability to get the job done, he thinks outside of the box and makes films in ways most people would think is not possible but yet he does it time and time again, I’d work with him again in a heartbeat.”

Deanna Meske (A Night At The House of Madness, Shriek of the Sasquatch)

” I absolutely love working with Steve. He is a mad genius on a shoestring budget and ALWAYS makes it work. I hope to have the pleasure of collaborating with him again in the near future.”

Laura Aust Danner (Dead Ink, Shriek of the Sasquatch)

“He is a sweetheart, very creative and fun to work with.  He deserves mucho credit for all the heart and soul he puts into his projects.”

Mona Duvera (Shriek of the Sasquatch)

‘I’ve had very good relations with Steve. I’ve found him to be honest and straight forward, which I also found is not common when it comes to independent films.  I think Steve is a very talented film producer and would love to work with him in the future.”

Gore De Vol (Horror Host Hall of Fame legend)

“Steve is a wonderful director to work with on projects. He easily leads you as an actor toward the vision he has for the film and still gives you the freedom to expand on the character. There’s no limits to Steve’s creativity whether it involves props or issues with lighting. He always finds a way to bring what he envisions to print. There’s not alot of indie directors who are able to accomplish that…….There’s alot of people you meet in this business that come and go from set to set. Some people you work with and will never see again; they don’t have a lasting impact on your life or career. Steve doesn’t fall into this category or anywhere near it. Not only is he a talented director, producer, actor, as well as composer, he’s a truly great guy. Really genuine….what you see is what you get. In Steve’s case, you get a really good-hearted man who’ll be one of the best friends you could ever get.”

Lanee Landry (Shriek of the Sasquatch, Luc Bernieer’s H8)
“Steve Sessions is one of the most talented film makers I have ever known. It was an honor and a pleasure to be able to work for him and with him. He has a true vision of horror that is just spine chilling on so many levels. If I had never had the supreme honor to work with him I would have still wanted to buy and watch all of his films!  I did not just think of Steve Sessions as a visionary and a fantastic director I also was proud to call him my friend.  I just want to say THANKS STEVE and many many blessings to you in all that you endeavor to do!”

Kimberly Lynn Cole (Cremains, Dead Clowns, Deadfall, Have You Seen Me?)

View Steve Session’s complete works at IMDB.

Easter Egg

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Bradley Wik & The Charlatans: Burn What You Can, Bury The Rest [Album]

Full fledged and unapologetic Rock & Roll seems to have gone to the way side.  That down home feeling that used to thrive with success in days passed has pretty much subsided.  Don’t get me wrong, I love “indie” music for all it is worth.  And there are still several amazing folk oriented artists out there.  But, what if I want an upgrade of the old Tom Petty and Springstein records my father would subject me to in my youth?  Well, it turns out, there is a cure for such nostalgia for organic, purebred rock and roll.  And it comes in the form of Bradley Wik & The Charlatans.  Or shall we say, Bradley the savior.

Bradley Wik & The Charlatan’s 2012 release, Burn What You Can, Bury The Rest is, simply put, just an amazing record filled with so many full fledged emotions and inspirational outlooks on the struggle and striving process of life and the ambiguties that tend to follow.  You can have the time of your life with this man and his friends with a track like “Friday Night Is For Drinkers”, or you can go on a rock and roll odyssey through time and pain and love in the 8 minute long opus “Just Like Jon Fickles”, which is an amazing story that just isn’t long enough even at it’s current length.

Anyone who listens to Bradley Wik, especially lowly music critics, will instantly put a tag on him as the new generation’s version of The Boss.  And this may be very well deserved.  But, why?  Comparissons can only rationally be drawn because Wik, like The Boss, is doing everything the right way.  His way!  What is the result of yearning to tell a lovely story in the most sincere and organic fashion.  Exactly what you should expect:  One of the finest albums you will hear in 2012.  That’s a fact.

The album is available now through your usual sources, and more information can be found at BradleyWik.com

And if you find yourself reading this in the Portland area, be sure to make it out to the record release show March 17th at the Secret Society Ballroom.  You will not want to miss this!

Sophia Meets Mr. Marshmallow Face -or- An Afternoon With Newt Gingrich

The last time I attended anything at Spokane’s famed Bing Crosby Theatre, I wasn’t wearing a shirt for a brief period of time.  Allow me to explain.  It was the 90’s.  And where that might actually explain everything right there, I also happened to be 14 and “skanking” away to the then renowned ska punk band Reel Big Fish with hormones on fire and bowl cut hair.  On that very night, had you told me what the next event I would be attending there would be….I probably would have told you to lay off the pint stashed in your Jnco mammoth pants.

13 years later, I sat only about 10 feet from where I once danced frantically.  But, back then it was simply known as The Opera House, not after the cities most famous former resident.  The crowd is a bit different as well.  Instead of rowdy teenagers and twenty somethings, I see old men and women everywhere.  Stern faces, agendas clearly visible in the eyes of angered upper-middle class white people.  Shiny bald heads poke out above sleek Northface jackets, and usually accompanied by a pair of eye glasses resting on a fading nose.  There are old women dressed in layered sweat suits and New Balance running shoes, or their finest evening attire (although it was 2 o’clock in the afternoon) strapped with a gaudy set of pearls probably passed down from generation to generation.  Each lovely white bead just a bit larger than the next, and more than likely picked by folks with a skin color that does not seem to be anywhere in sight today.  Yes, this is a slightly different crowd.  Aside from the ridiculous youngsters who thought it would probably be “just so cool” to rock their Obama branded t-shirts, all the while snapping pictures between giggles, there is literally no comparison to events passed.  And instead of a scattered selection of band equipment and wires slinking across the wood floor, there is a single podium, and a selection of American flags and Washington State flags.

Another major difference is the girl sitting next to me asking to take my cell phone for a while.  She wants to play Angry Birds, of course.  She is my 4 year old daughter Sophia.  And she wants to see the man I have informed her as being known as, “Mr. Marshmallow Face”.

I had the idea to bring Sophia to the rally when I heard ole Newt was coming to town in part because she didn’t have anywhere to be and quality time is always good.  But in all honesty, she was my diversion.  I know I reek of liberalism and open mindedness in such a way that the whole event could have become extremely awkward, extremely quickly.  Faster than I dropped my dirty Converse onto the lobby floor, I was definitely going to be flagged as a damn dirty intruder.  The buttons on my shabby sweatshirt didn’t read “Newt-er Obama Care” as many others did.  Actually they were simply some swag from the indie band Axemunkee, and a logo button for Silver Sprocket Bicycle Club from my dear friends with Bobby Joe Ebola and The Children Macnuggits.  But, as far as these old conservatives were concerned they might as well have been pictures of aborted fetuses and border hopping immigrants raping their teenage daughters.  Yes, it was absolutely imperative that I had a distraction.  And let me tell you folks….Sophia is adorable.

Of course, it didn’t entirely work.  I could still feel the eyes upon me.  I was displaced from the half a dozen “rowdy kids” hiding out at the very top of the balcony, consistently interrogated by Newt’s security and Spokane’s finest.  But, they knew I was one of them in some way shape or form.  My age alone made me a target amongst these Reagan enthusists, probably all old enough to have even voted for him.  But, I did have the kid with me.  She even had pig tails.  This could work.

Two o’clock rolled around, and Sophia is continuing to pull on my sleeve asking when the Marshmallow Man was coming.  I tell her to be patient:

Easter Egg

“What are all the flags for, Daddy?”

“Well, Mr. Marshmallow Face wants to be president of our country, so he made people put our country’s flag behind him so he looks important?”

“I don’t think a marshmallow should be president.”

“Me neither sweetheart.  Me neither.”
A random woman walks out on stage with about half the theatre applauding.  She announces how proud she is to be able to introduce their honored guest for the evening.  She’s the top dog Republican in this area (whose name you can Google if you really give a damn) and she seems to be rather excited for her fellow brethren of rich folks in attendance.  She excitedly yet calmly introduces the “potential first lady of the United States”, Calista Gingrich.  Applause roars throughout the ancient building as Newt’s latest fling known as his wife (should she not get cancer anytime soon) struts across the stage with an enormous fake smile (which she will continue to have the whole damn time, sort of impressive) and a blond bun tied so damn tight it appears as though her eyes have been implanted onto her forehead.

“She’s not a marshmallow.”

“No, she’s Mr. Marshmallow Face’s wife.”

(Giggles ensue) “She married a marshmallow!”

“Yep, lots of people have married Mr. Marshmallow Face.”

“They’re silly!!”

Newt comes out on stage in a slow manner.  And it was at this moment that you truly found out who was there for Newt and who was, well, just there.  I remained sitting, with the excuse that Sophia was now on my lap when she wanted a better glance at Mrs. Marshmallow Face.  But, I was pleased to learn that the two old men sitting next to us, who didn’t seem so bitter actually weren’t.  They faced the forceful eyes like the evil little shits in the back rows when they refused to stand up and applaud for a man that represents an immense amount of conservative ignorance.  Arguably, he may be the worst of the bunch.

Gingrich had nothing new to say for anyone who has been following the circus that has been the GOP Primary.  He muttered off the laundry list of things he was going to do “on my first day in office”.  He named dropped Reagan a fair amount.  It was interesting to hear his thoughts on the president’s apology to the Harmid Karzai about recent Koran burning by Americans in Afghanistan.  Somehow Karzai is suppose to be to blame for one of his Afghan troops turning his back on its own people, and killing two Marines in the process.  His opinion….take a guess.  No matter, his rhetoric was all the same.  And depending on what side of the cable news pendulum you decide to swing, it was all good.  Or bad.  I might go with bad.

Most importantly, Sophia didn’t seem to be too impressed.  She was quickly back to her game of Angry Birds before she made the only relevant comment I heard in twenty minutes.

“Daddy, I need to go potty.”

6 words that I feel pretty much summed up the entire event, campaign, even the primary.  After a quick bathroom break, I decided we have come to a good stopping point in which we could leave while still having some sort of impression.  Well, I guess that sort of happened before we even showed up.  I decided we could go on a high note.

We stepped out through the lobby, amongst even more spiteful eyes upon the sinning trash that were walking out on the conservative messiah.  Outside were greeted by a quaint (3 people) group of Ron Paul supporters.  Their attitudes were almost polar opposite from the cold stares and dead eyes of the American dream that sat within those doors.  The tattooed young lady with a smile for days was quite the relief.  Her and her entourage (the other two) was exactly what I needed after this ridiculous event.  I may not agree with them by any means.  But, I’ll be damned if they aren’t, well, nice (at least). 

I’m not a Ron Paul supporter by any means.  I can understand Libertarianism a bit more than I conservatism.  But I can’t support the idea as a whole.  But, I’ll be damned if I wasn’t ecstatic so see Sophia smile at the first positive attitude she had seen in a while.  This was a good moment.

Sophia did soon realize that Mr. Marshmallow Face was just a man.  A man “with a really big head” she would later proclaim.  I seriously cannot thank this kid enough for bringing the most absolute clarity to the debacle and obscene world of American politics.  It’s all just one really big, silly potty break.

Bill Carter [Interview]

If there were only one problem with this world (although we know there are many), a dire issue would be that there aren’t more people like Bill Carter around.  Of course this would take away from the magnitude and honorable reverence of the man himself, but damn we would be some do-gooding fools in a great state of being.

If you aren’t aware of Bill Carter, you’re going to want to be.  In 1993, Bill Carter made the equivalent of having “We Are The World” played on YouTube to impoverished Eskimos in Antarctica.  He occupied before it was a movement.  He sprung into action before revolutions were started in 130 characters or less.  And through it all, he came clean as an unsung hero to so many, with little to no credit given in his own name.

Carter became a figure of historical importance during the Bosnian war when he selflessly went upon a journey into a war-torn society that was particularly of very little interest to western society.  And through a strategic attempts, and a little help from some friends in both Sarajevo and Irish rock star land (i.e. U2…yes, that U2), Carter organized a series of satellite feeds (i.e. Skype, in the 90’s) that broadcasted the horror that they people he spent so much time with in hell to hundreds of thousands of concert goers.  In turn he managed to bring a new light to a region of the land that needed attention in a terrible way.  He documents the entire story in his beautifully written memoir, Fools Rush In as well in his intriguing and heart string pulling documentary Miss Sarajevo.  Bill Carter has, without a single strand of doubt, created one of the most important books of the last twenty years with Fools Rush In.

And the adventures don’t stop there!  Carter’s second memoir, Red Summer, documents his days in the commercial fishing world of Alaska (again, BEFORE we were fascinated by the “deadliest catch”) and even more importantly, the plight of American industry, especially in the world of fishing.  Basically, there really isn’t much this man can’t do, and has done.  He remains as charitable as ever, and as awe striking as you could ever imagine.  I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to exchange a few words with this overall incredible human being in one of the best interviews I think I will ever release.  Check it out as we discuss death, love, salmon fishing, and how awesome Bono really can be.

How often do people read “Fools Rush In” and say to you, “What the hell were you thinking!?”, and what do you say to them?

Some people have that reaction, but I know that is in the context of them just finishing an epic journey, one that is hard to imagine.  For me, while I was living it, never thought of it like that. I was doing what I was doing. I was just living my life. Somehow it all made sense for me to be there during that period. In retrospect, sure it sounds crazy to live in Sarajevo during the longest siege in human history,but it seemed like exactly the right thing to do at the time.

How has your experience in war shaped your views of mankind?

Strangely enough it has had a slightly polarizing effect. On one hand, the evil we do to one another seems to have no bounds. What neighbors did to their neighbors in Bosnia. What husbands did to their wives. This was a genocide perpetrated on the most intimate level. This is evil. On the other hand what I experienced in Bosnia was also what I consider the pinnacle of mankind. The kindness, the compassion, the grace of so many people living in such extraordinary conditions was overwhelming. Not a day goes by where I am not reminded on small incident where a human gave all he had to another. It reminds me of Kris Kristofferson’s song, “Here Comes That Rainbow Again.”

In your experienced opinion, is there any similarities with Syria and the former Yugoslavia?

Sure. Enclaves of Syria are under full siege. They are cut off, there are no medical supplies. Soon, food, water, and sewer will become a problem. Also it is the government that is doing it. Killing their own people. That is the same. The only thing that is different is the ability of technology to give us a small window to the inside of that siege.  Sarajevians were completely cut off from the outside world. The other difference is time. The full assault in Syria has been going on for only a month. Sarajevo went on four years.

You have witnessed so much death and destruction first hand.  What are your spiritual beliefs and/or thoughts after seeing death so close? 

I believe in humanity. I believe in love. I believe that is what we must give energy to in order to survive. I believe in telling the story. I believe in the power of story, music, love. In the connection between people. I believe there is so much magic in life, if we take the time to see it.

It’s safe to say that you were at least kind of driven by the loss of love.  If you could be guaranteed to have never suffered such a loss, would you trade in everything you have experienced and the esteem you have been given as a journalist, writer, filmmaker? 

Yes. And no. Yes, I would never have traded that loss for that experience. Never. Love is what matters most. But, now I have a new love, my wife and two daughters. To say I would do it differently means I have to image never having them in my life. Perhaps this is why we are given choices in life, but not the ability to rewind.

You seem to be in a much better state than in the 90’s.  What drives you these days?

My kids, my family, my desire to share stories. I enjoy life very much. I like to run in the forest, spend evenings with close friends and drink wine. I enjoy strangers and the thought tomorrow I will experience something I never knew or thought of.

Tell us a bit about Red Summer, if you will.

Red Summer is about hard work, nature verse man, and people that live very close to rawness of being alive. It was a fantastic time of my life. I met the most amazing people. My love for Alaska and the wild that it means for the world stuns me.

Can you tell us a bit about your work in helping to save the wild salmon in Bristol Bay?

Pebble Mine is a project that will be located 14 miles from the largest incubator for sockeye salmon on earth. The fishing industry in Bristol Bay brings in $500 million a year and employs over 10,000 people. And all we have to do is be there for the fish. We don’t have to anything but do what man has been doing for thousands of years. Fish. Our job, our responsibility is to not screw it up. That is all. Just be good stewards and reap the rewards. Why threaten that?

Alaska or Bosnia.  Which do you prefer?  

Both.

Is Bono as cool in person as he tends to be on stage?

Much cooler off stage. The thing about Bono that is so alluring and attractive off stage is that he is just a good person. A friend, a mentor. He is never in a hurry and listens. He has four kids and is saving the world but always finds a way to be funny and humble, or at least self-deprecating at the same time. I met him almost 20 years ago in Verona, on a crazy night that is well documented in Fools Rush In and other books. It has been wonderful to watch him thrive ever since.

When can we expect another book?  And what will it be about?

I  just completed my third book: Boom, Bust, Boom: A Story of Copper, the Metal That Runs the World. Both Pebble mine and living in a copper mining town made me want to learn more about copper and what it means to the world and to us, as residents who live near mines. While we need copper to run our modern society, we also must realize we are responsible for making choices on how that metal is mined and processed.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

Putting my two-year old to bed tonight. She whispered “Daddy I love you.”

For anyone fortunate enough to be in the Pacific Northwest in the coming week, you can easily run into Bill Carter at a few events in the region.  Bill will be appearing at the 15th Annual Fisher Poets Gathering in Astoria, Oregon at Clemente’s  Restaurant.  This event is geared to spread awareness on the dangers of the proposed Pebble Mine planned to be erected, and how the fishing industry will suffer.  Bill goes on at 9 p.m. on February 25th.

On February 27th, you can catch Bill at Clarke College where he will be screening Miss Sarajevo at 11 a.m.  And catch him later on that evening as part of the Whitely Lecture series at Pacific University for another screening at 7 p.m.

For more information on these events, check out the details at The Neo Com Group website.  Also check out Bill’s own website for other events, how to pick up copies of his books and films you desperately need to have.

Pick up copies of the book as well at indiebound.com (Fools Rush In & Red Summer).

President’s Day….the Indie Way! (w/Electric Needle Room)

It’s President’s Day.  Sort of a BS holiday if you ask me.  Unless you happen to be a presidential enthusiast/middle school history teacher/indie rokker!!!  Then it’s probably a bit like Christmas two months later!  And for the immensely light-hearted and multi instrumentalist Matt Beat (a.k.a. Electric Needle Room) he is giving the best present you could give on this “holiday”.  I present to you, The Presidents of the United Of America (Volume 2).

Last year (on President’s Day obviously) Electric Needle Room released the first 15 track album, featuring songs about the first 15 presidents.  That’s George Washington right through to James Buchanan (I’m sure you know all of them already, right?).  What was created was an extremely playful and insightful disc of wonderful tracks.  I had a review for it at Fensepost.

And right on schedule, Volume 2 is out (Abraham Lincoln through Herbert Hoover….but you already knew that, right?).  Here we learn even more crazy fun facts about our past leaders.  Example:  Did you know that Woodrow Wilson is the only president to have a PHD?  Facts and more facts!  And some downright fun and incredible songs as well.  What better way could you think of to celebrate our forefathers?

 

You can download both albums at a name your price….price.  Find it at Electric Needle Room’s bandcamp.

Rags & Ribbons: The Glass Masses [Album]

Rags and Ribbons is one of the classic oriented, 90’s influenced collective works sort of groups that shows greater group orientation and organization of sound than a a 9 piece metal band.  It’s actually almost unfathomable to know that this is a the work of just three people.  Three amazing people, sure, but the amount of sound crammed into one album is absolutely phenomenal.

The Glass Masses is an album that could very well make your heart bleed with envious emotions.  The ability to convey such amazing feelings and introspective ideals in anyway (a song in this case) is a trait that everyone should, and probably does, wish they could obtain but probably never will.  But, not these guys.  They have it.  No track proves this solid theory that their beloved single, and kick off track to the album, “Even Matter”.  The vocals are feel like Elton John on LSD, the keyboards flare in a Narnia like fashion, and the emotional tidal waves of trying to differentiate the dream world from the modern existence that can sometimes be far less entertaining.  But, as amazing as this singular track is, it is the entire album that should be praised.  Although, personal emphasis seems to be on the entirely eccentric cut “The Minds” is most definitely a stand out as well.

Needless to say, for you will hear it when you buy this album immediately after reading this, but Rags and Ribbons is one of the most interesting groups out there today, and The Glass Masses is definitely a wonderful piece of work to kick off the new year.

Learn more about Rags and Ribbons on their Facebook Page.  Also check out their Bandcamp page for even more wonderful tunes.