Sunday, April 17, 2011

It’s a Whole Nuther Thing
Music with No Boundaries

Featuring… John Krogman, Jim Davenport and Scott Causley

Rustbucket is a collaboration of crusty old men who are as cantankerous and unpredictable as a Michigan spring. And just when you think they are down for the count, they dust themselves off, get up on their feet and keep on rocking. Despite an illustrious past of great songs and mass popularity, these touch of grey dudes had their share the missed opportunities, busts, burnouts and barroom brawls. Krogman and his band mates just won’t go away and bask in past glories. Sure it would be so much easier if they would just know their place - sit down in the old rocking chair, goof with the grandkids, look at old black & white photos and grouse about the old times. Instead they are filled up with an unlikely drive and zest for playing rock & roll in clubs – way past their bedtime. They are creating some incredibly hot music that needs to be heard. Rock & roll may be dead but it continues to flourish in the vision and craft of artists like Krogman, Davenport and Causley. It seems like fate intervened to create just the right conditions and circumstances for the phoenix to rise from the ashes and spread its brilliant multi-colored day-glo wings one more time. Johnny Boomer and the Burden twins earned their stripes in one of the many renaissance eras of old town Saginaw. A recent archeological excavation on the former site of Daniel’s Den uncovered the original rust bucket in which Dick Wagner bequeathed his ancient oversized genius to future generations of rockers, So the torch has passed. Sure Rustbucket may be grizzly, wizened and enlarged in all the wrong places; but protest and rebellion are the key components of their passion to create original music and not settle for the ennui of cover band hell. This band is still able to stand up and dish out some the best rock & roll music in mid-Michigan. Below is an interview with John Krogman.

Why did you form a new band?

I did a solo house gig out in Frankenmuth for about 4 years. When that was done, I was ready to rock with a band again. All through my career, I have switched between solo and bands out of necessity really.
Jim Davenport and I have been friends for a long time. We hooked up through “social media” and kicked around the idea of doing something together. Jim is a great songwriter and I had wanted to work with him when we were younger, and we did have a band together. It was birth of Johnny and the Boomers. Jim was playing drums. Anyway when we reconnected last year we decided to start a band. Scott Causley was interested along with John van Benschoten we started playing and it’s going great.

Weren't the Boomers and The Burdons ruling the scene at the same time

The Burdons were around right before the Flies broke up. Johnny and the Boomers came later, but our paths never crossed during those years so I think it was like they had their scene and we had ours.

What is it like to write music and create songs with a new set of partners?

It’s great! Jim and Scott and I are like minded so we work well together.
Scott Causley is a great engineer and has a 24 track recorder and is able to record
live drums, we can lay the basic rhythm tracks down and then add on from there.
Jim and Scott are also good singers and recognize the importance of harmony, and they both have a great work ethic and the sense of being a team. All that together makes our songs better. Another thing is I have my good friend John van Benschoten playing guitar also, and we work well together as he was one of the guys that taught me how to play back in high school

How did you come up with the name Rustbucket?

I was playing in Fayetteville, North Carolina and staying with my friend Rob Anderson. I did a radio show at WFSS 99.9 in Fayetteville and met some awesome musicians who made me one of their own. He had a house in the woods and there was an old abandoned falling apart red barn wood house on some property nearby. I went over to take some photos and I found this old rusty bucket. That is the inspiration for the name and I brought the bucket home with me. Plus it’s a tip of the hat to Neil Young.

Listening to some of your demos, I'm struck at how adept you are at shifting into different styles and genres. How were you able to incorporate various influences and still be totally original?

I like many different genres. Because I write songs, when I get and idea, I don’t listen to any thing else until I’m done working on a particular piece. If I am going to the studio I only listen to what I’m going to be working on that day. This stops the “oh it sound like this or that song” which can be a big obstacle because when you write with an acoustic guitar, at first it’s bound to sound like something else until I present it to the band . I don’t dictate to them what to play. I just let them feel it and play what they play.

I love your new song Carolina Moon - It has a folky Harvest Moon vibe with Workingman Dead harmonies but doesn't sound like Neil Young or The Grateful Dead. It seems to capture the essence of your own unique vision without borrowing too much from those other artists. What do you think?

Carolina Moon was inspired by exactly that, when I was in North Carolina.
Many great songs are 3 or 4 chord songs. Some come out of nowhere, like a gift from God. The song usually will lead me where I need to go.

How would you characterize your music?

Good question. Rock, blues, old country, rockabilly, ska. No boundaries.
My music is my music, I do it because I like to write songs, so as long as I’m happy with it that’s all that matters. Songs just happen and it’s not the same every time. Sometimes I will head in a certain direction, and other times I just work with what comes out.

I really enjoyed the nursery rhymes you set to music on the demos. I believe you made them for your grandchildren. This Old Man has incredible charm. Is it something you might keep in your shows or on a future CD.

The nursery rhymes are for a new company in Redlands, California, DND English Learners, Consultants and Coaches. They are language professionals and Rustbucket is recording nursery rhymes and original material to help young children (ages 5 to 10) from different foreign countries to learn English.

You reworked the incredible Follow Me Down with Rustbucket and it is even better than the original version. Your guitar work is excellent, probably your best ever, You were up and down the neck from the E string to the bass strings. Is this one of your shining moments on record?

I was in the studio working on something else and just tried it on big distorted electric guitar and it worked. Yea, probably the best lead work for me. This song has taken on a whole new life.

I enjoyed your socio-political themes on Kandahar Is Falling. Is this a new stance for you?

When we went into Afghanistan, the reporters just kept on saying Kandahar is falling, so the whole song is built around that phrase. As far as my stance…no comment.

Do you have plans on recording a Rustbucket CD

Yes, we are doing that right now, and we have a lot of music to record.

You have an upcoming show with legendary Michigan poet John Sinclair. Do you have any special plans for that show?

No special plans except to put on one hell of a show for our part. We are very excited to meet John. We will play mostly original material. I can’t wait for that show!

How did you hook up with Bob Goodman and his radio Show Whole ‘Nuther Thing?

When I was in North Carolina, I received an email from Bob that said if I would send him a copy of Live without Love he would play it on his show. I think he stumbled upon my website and listened to the song there first.. Since then I’ve been on 7 times, the latest being April 2, 2011. If you haven’t listened to Bob Goodman’s webcast Whole ‘Nuther Thing, it’s on every Saturday 6:00pm till 9:00pm out of Mission Viejo, California. All the webcast are archived. Check it out it’s a great show. There is a link on my homepage to the show.

Any last comments?

Yes, thanks to you and all the rest of the people who have shown me their support over the years! Rock till you drop!

Bob Goodman
A Whole ‘Nuther Thing

Bob Goodman is a true believer in the power of music. He is a DJ who creates moods with music as a painter would create on canvas. He has a wealth of experience dating back to the sixties and the age of Top Forty radio. He is New York City born and bred and was able to witness the creative spark of Greenwich Village and the East Village that led to a cultural re-vitalization amongst musicians, poets, sculptors, and actors. This was a golden age of creativity and experimentation. The sounds of NYC were brimming with a glorious diversity from Salsa to folk, country and jazz to rock and roll. Goodman was a radio freak from the time he could toddle over to mom’s transistor and change the station. He was the General Manager of Hunter College in New York and was one of the founders of City University Radio Network. His first professional gig was with WRCN/WHRF in Long Island. He also landed gigs in Los Angeles, Northern California, and Philadelphia before he got a “real job” with Consumer Electronics. But in the twilight of his career, he retired and enrolled in Saddleback College in Mission Viejo to take Communications and Broadcast related Courses. In January 2001, he returned to radio and developed the “Whole ‘Nuther Thing” concept, playing a mosaic of obscure as well as famous artists. Listeners responded so well to the format that Goodman began to dig deeper than the greatest hits and began playing the more obscure and forgotten material. He now has a worldwide audience for his weekly program on KSBR FM 88.5 or online @ each Saturday from 3-6pm PDT

How did you come to form A Whole Nuther Thing?

KSBR is primarily a Jazz Station and I'd been doing a show on KSBR for 10 years. Part of my show was an hour feature called The Whole Thing which featured one entire CD. I thought the concept was limiting and asked if I could change the format to feature an Artist not a CD and Whole "Nuther Thing was born. After year 4 I moved to Saturdays where we begin our weekend specialty shows. I had a little more freedom to play music from other genres and I inserted music that was not Jazz but blended well with our format. In 2007 The GM of our station allowed me to create a "Free Form" show where I selected all the material without any boundaries except "good taste".

What is your vision or intent in producing this radio show?

It's kind of like "Paying It Forward", I was inspired and educated in modern music by the DJ's of my youth and living in NYC I developed a "Melting Pot" mentality with regard to music. As a matter of fact my show begins every week with the track "Melting Pot" by Booker T & The MG's. Many of my listeners remark that I have turned them on to music they either missed or ignored.

Greg Shaw founder of Who Put the Bomp magazine and Bomp Records told me about 20 years ago or so that rock & roll was no longer the most popular genre in music but rock, blues , jazz etc would continue to flourish in small pockets around the globe. Do you agree? Do you see yourself as preservationist?

Preservationist? No, not really because the music doesn't need preserving as much as it needs exposing. In the last 40 - 50 years music has really blurred the lines and you can still hear influences dating back to the early days of R&B which is the genesis of Rock and Roll yet R&B borrowed heavily from the Jazz cats.

Do you have ties to the music industry?

I have quite a few who friends who are musicians and I worked for many years at JBL who is the choice of most concert venues and musicians for sound reinforcement. I worked in commercial radio in NYC, LA and Philadelphia when I finished college.

How did you become acquainted with Saginaw native John Krogman?

My wife Es Goodman, also a lover of music, created a Facebook page - Facebook Musicians Registry and John signed on and saw my posts requesting music from independent artists. I listened to his material, enjoyed it and notified him that I would play a few cuts on my show.

Why did you incorporate his songs with those of major artists?

I always try to frame certain tunes, what I mean is I try to surround them with similar tunes from artists that will complement the particular song and bring attention to it.

Are you collaborating with Krogman for future projects?
He will be sending me his new material with his new band Rustbucket.

In your view what are the chances for an independent artist like Krogman to make a living in the music biz?

I know many musicians like John that are making a living but it's not easy and they work unbelievable schedules with a lot of travel.

How many listeners do you have on your Saturday shows?

Since we are a non commercial station we fall under the radar of rating services and have no official gauge. My archived shows get downloaded 400 or 500 times a week from my website.

Do you have a particular memory of a favorite show...a surprise guest or celebrity call-in?

I try and make each one special but having one of my favorite musicians, John Batdorf debut his brand new CD on my show in 2009. Also, from time to time the legendary Music Producer and Writer Shadow Morton calls in to remind me he's listening. But most of alI receiving a phone call or e-mail from a listener that gets it, validates my efforts.

Do you have any plans to take your show on the road?

With our streaming on the internet we're already worldwide.
As Duke Ellington once remarked "There Are Only Two Kinds of Music, Good Music and Bad Music. Well, I choose the former.


The Process Release a New CD of Power and Beauty

The Process
Meets Ghetto Priest
The Lion of Judah Hath Prevailed

I’ve always liked The Process and the incredible full body blast sound that heats you up like a nuclear meltdown. The Process has never strayed too far from their unique vision of reggae music and their molten embrace of social consciousness and spirituality. They have a tenacious grasp on a perspective that music can be more than just another silly diversion. This is all good and true but our airways and information highways are clogged with the stuff that keeps the public isolated, uninformed, and preoccupied with meaningless spectacles such as sports, instant celebrity, and mass produced disposable culture. It seems that the more we are plugged in, the more we are tuned out. So unplug your X-Box , I-Pod, DirecTV and Notebook and listen to the real thing. The Process creates astonishingly complex and beautiful music with layers of sounds and rhythms and a voice that speaks an uncompromising truth. This is the thinking man’s soul music - warm, passionate and political. Even if you don’t ascribe to Rasta principles and practices or the deification of Haile Selassie, you will still be able to dig the music. If you are Rasta, well. You are there.

The Lion of Judah CD is a seven track gem that was three years in the making. It was a painstaking labor of love featuring an international cast of characters including Ghetto Priest aka Squids from London’s eclectic music scene, Skip McDonald from Sugarhill Records house band, seminal techno wizard David Harrow, Adrian Sherwood from the UK Reggae scene, Congo Natty aka Rebel MC and, of course, the members of The Process including Seth Peyton.

The CD was recorded in London, Los Angeles, and Michigan. It was worth the wait. This is one of the most thematically rich and concise bodies of music to emerge since Good Morning Magpie by Murder by Death or John Mellencamp’s No Better Than This. The Process are motor city metal madmen that will take it to you like a full body slam and then pick you up, dust you off and punch you in the face - musically speaking. You may not realize what just happened but you will beg for more even though your face is bloody and your body is bruised and aching…ooh it hurts so good. This is a modern spiritual music. Listen to the gospel

The disc is inspired by story of Haile Selassie’s life and his belief that God’s spirit would prevail over the forces of evil. This is heavy karma in this day and age of never ending war. In Rasta culture, the Lion of Judah represents Emperor Haile Salassie of Ethiopia. Rastas hold that Selassie is a direct descendant of the Israelite Tribe of Judah through the lineage of King David and Solomon and that he is the Lion of Judah mentioned in the Book of Revelation. (Revelations 5:5). The EP contains all four of the original mixes of The Lion of Judah – Little Axe Mix, Adrian Sherwood mix, Congo Natty’s well toasted mix, Adrian Sherwood’s Mix plus a bonus Dub-Step version by David Harrow. There is a bonus track entitled Ghetto Life by Ghetto Priest from his upcoming CD Sacred Ground.

The disc opens with the original mix of The Lion of Judah Hath Prevailed with Asher and Ghetto Priest switching off on vocals. The sound is pristine with just enough echo and the vocals mixed up front. There is a solid interplay of instruments with the rhythm section, bass and percussion mixed back and echoed guitar.

Version two is a Chilled Mix worked out by Little Axe. This mix has a softer sound with an emphasis on mixing the sweet harmonies up front in the mix, The drum machine is less effective but never interferes with the message or overall sound. Skip McDonald’s guitar work is splendidly understated. He riffs in an economical melodic style that gives this mix an emotional grit.

Adrian Sherwood is the featured producer on the next three mixes. This one features Congo Natty on vocals with Asher. The rhythm section is used to greater effect on this mix. Drum/percussion and Bass lines are more prominent. Natty has a raspy rapping style that drives the power of the message. Sherwood’s “Toasted” mix brings Congo Natty back to free-form rap the gospel and praise His name. This is the only version that strays from the original lyrics written S.G. Townsend, David Asher and Garrick Owen. There is more of a electronic/synthesized vibe to this mix. It sounds great and Congo Natty’s inspired vocals elevates this version to an almost perfect mix. Sherwood’s final effort - the “Dub” mix - is primarily an instrumental workout that experiments with empty spaces, echo, electronic and synthesized surges of sound and fury

David Harrow mixed the sixth and final version of the Lion of Judah. It is slowed down and has abrupt stops and starts with some wah wah guitar mixed with synthesized squibbles, blurts and conga beats. At time the vocals are accapella and echoed giving this version a minimalist edge

Bonus Track
: Ghetto Life by Ghetto Priest from the forthcoming Ghetto Priest CD Sacred Ground
Ghetto life has a sparse arrangement to an unobtrusive reggae beat with occasional electronic doodlings. The musical backdrop includes a somber keyboard riff that weaves in and out of the mix. The vibe is laid back but the lyrics tell a tale about the horror of poverty, violence and exploitation. The contrast is powerful. Ghetto Priest sings in a distinctive tenor that is reminiscent of Sting during the heady days of The Police.

The Lyrics
It is essential to the overall experience of the CD to know the words that support the music. The lyrics are repeated in each of the six mixes with some degree of variation.

The Lion Of Judah Hath Prevailed

Standing like patience on a monument, smiling at grief
Blood sweat and tears for the sake of peace
He sits upon the highest regions, overlooking all
the harder they came is the harder they fall

When I see the lightning and I hear the thunder
I know man and woman have made a blunder
Jah makes the winds His messengers, flaming fire His ministers
At his word the mountains rose and the valleys sank down

The Lion Of Judah hath prevailed
Hail The King Of Kings praise His Name
The Lion Of Judah hath prevailed
The footsteps of His Majesty is not in Vain
The Lion Of Judah hath prevailed
Hail The King Of Kings praise His Name
The Lion Of Judah hath prevailed
The footsteps of His Majesty is not in Vain

The rich fall into temptation and foolish hurtful lust
Greed envy and craving for power, drowns men in destruction
Propaganda is only a tool, just a tool of the foolish
Take heed, and beware of jealousy
life is not in the abundance of possessions

1892 a child is born, in an ancient land called
Ethiopia, in the province of Harar
Lij Tafari he is named, a divine personality.
Crowned the King of Kings, Lord of Lords,
The Lily of the Valley

He causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth
He makes lightings for the rain and brings forth the wind yeah
He gathers the wind in His hands and wraps the waters in His garment
He has established all the ends of the earth
By His name RastafarI

The Lion Of Judah hath prevailed
Hail The King Of Kings praise His Name
The Lion Of Judah hath prevailed
The footsteps of His Majesty is not in Vain
The Lion Of Judah hath prevailed
Hail The King Of Kings praise His Name
The Lion Of Judah hath prevailed
The footsteps of His Majesty is not in Vain
(© 2011 Steven Townsend, David Asher, Garrick Owen).