Sunday, August 23, 2015

SOS - Support Our Scene Music Festival



Support Our Scene

Music Festival


Carl Abila is a believer in the power of music to soothe pain, evoke passion and instill the spirit of love. From his spectacular rise with Silverspork to Black Flower Blossom, Abila has always landed with his feet on the ground. He seems to have a gift for developing great bands, unstoppable juggernauts filled up with talent and heat. Abila is a rock solid guardian of the flame, an eternal promise of better things to come. It is in this spirit of giving that Abila has found the eight fold path and brought hope to so many vets, regular folks who’ve led extraordinary lives.



Tell me about the project you have going.


That would be the music festival Bay City, Michigan, Saturday, August 29, 2015 which is a veteran’s drive, and all the proceeds are going to the VA Hospital of Saginaw.


Do you have a connection to the veterans?


I do have family that have served in the military. We’ve committed in Bay City to try to do this once a year. We’re going to see how the first year goes. We’d like to make it grow. So yeah, it’s something that we feel strongly about.


I think we all do. Will this include money that may go to helping vets with PTSD or other physical ailments, problems?


It’s going to help the wounded that are less fortunate essentially around our own area. We want to give back, to try to help, especially the vets that are homeless. I just don’t think it is right that veterans who serve our country are homeless and without medical care. It’s shame. It should never happen. These people have sacrificed so much for our country. I can’t express it enough. I do have some family in the service, and it’s a non-stop battle, even at home which is very unfortunate, especially when you get done with battle, you have to battle on your own stomping grounds, so to speak.


So in this event, music is the food of love. It can heal, and so you’re going to have a lot of music at this event. Can you tell us about that?


Well it kind of goes hand-in-hand with the term SOS. Mid-Michigan and the whole area for that matter has a lot of talent over the years music has always been the most important part of my life. I want to keep it going somehow. What I want to do is make a bigger, better scene, if at all possible.


You’ve been part of that through Silverspork and Black Flower Blossom. You’ve even had your own venue in Bay City so you’re one of the true believers. Do you see it that way?


Absolutely. I don’t think there’s any success without failure. I don’t think there’s any success without trial. I think you get up again and keep on doing it until you get it right. Everybody does. That’s just part of life. You can’t let it beat you down too much to where you don’t want to try at all. I have gotten to that point at times, but’s music actually that keeps me going.


You continue to flourish with Black Flower Blossom. They must be an integral part of the event. Could you talk about the current status of the band?


We’ve had some recent member changes so we’re trying to make that project grow as well. There’s a lot of bands I’ve worked with that have been around for a while, they’ve been around the block and have really great music to offer. Jay Burk is now on bass. I play guitar, Carl’s on drums and Melissa May from the former Thunder Chickens group on vocals


 Can you give us the line-up?

At this point we are the headliners. The rest of the lineup includes;

Filter International Outlier Fields of August, Pencilhead, Everyday Ghost, H&R Rustic out of Detroit and the Kincaids. These are bands that have been around a long time. I want to have these guys back for one great show, and this is a great time to doit. We have the opportunity for everybody to get back together and just have us a good rock show.


Where is it taking place?

WenonahPark in Bay City. Now there’s going to be a band shell there, bands, vendors with food and memorabilia, Hunter’s, Groovy Tattoo out of Bay City will be attending, Brooklyn Boyz Pizza. There’ll be all kinds of food and goodies, all kinds of merchandise for fans.


What groups of servicemen did you contact in order to get this together? 


Well initially we were going to somewhat surprise the VA Hospital, you know, walk over and give them our proceeds, but it was Vincent Christensen out of the Saginaw VA Hospital that, you know, we were starting to work together on this. I think that we would like to do it every day. He was our main contact to, you know, get something rolling.


You care, and when you say what you’re going to do something, you do it. You’re able to say things plainly and lay it out there and be succinct and elegant at the same time.


Yeah, I try. Like I said, sometimes it’s scary but you adapt to risks after a while and all you can do is try and you can only go up and if you’ve got to crawl up, that’s the only way you can go. If I can give back to our community somehow doing music, that’s plenty for me. For our first year we’re going to concentrate on music. But we will have Brooklyn Boyz Pizza, Steve’s BBQ, and we’ll probably have elephant ears and cotton candy and that type of thing as well.There will be alcohol, 21 with ID obviously, and we’ll have sodas and water and that kind of stuff.



What time of day does it start, and when does it end?

The show starts at 4:00, and it will probably go on until 11:30.

It will be outside and there’ll be two stages inside

We haveads that have already started running on Z93, you can look us up on Facebook on We have an official website, and we’re also on Twitter. Indie Spot is one of our sponsors and they’ll be recording the event.



Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the gate.



Sunday, August 2, 2015

Michigan Record Club - For the Love of Vinyl

Bill Young

Michigan Record Club

Bill Young was born in 1958 and grew up in Sanford. He had four older sisters and they all liked to listen to music. His parents had a small collection of older country music. This led to a lifelong love for music and his eventual sojourn into record collecting.

 Bill recalls, “I was young when the Beatles made their impact on our radio stations. I also remember their impact on my sisters. I found it interesting and quite amusing that the girls were so smitten by the Beatles. They were also fond of Elvis and his style of rock & roll. I thought he was great. I made it a point to watch all of his movies at the local Drive-in Theatre.”

As he approached his teenage years, one of the biggest problems was that he didn’t have any good radio stations to. “So if we wanted to listen to the new rock and roll music, we had to buy the records. I started out listening to my sisters 45’s but in my opinion they were already out dated. At the age of twelve I was buying my own music.”

 In the early seventies Bill found that his musical tastes leaned more toward the Rolling Stones than the Beatles. “The first album I bought was “Let It Bleed” by the Rolling Stones, using my paper route money and my lawn mowing money, I was able to buy several records. But not just records. I also started buying Creem magazine which I shared with my friends. This was how we kept pace with the rest of the music world.”

By the time Bill reached the age of sixteen his collection consisted of all types of rock music. As he got older, the rock got harder. “We did not take good care of our vinyl as teenagers, said Bill, quite often I would leave my records at my friends homes never to see them again. Once I started driving, I bought 8-track tapes and soon after that cassette tapes. These were great because it was so much easier to take your music with you. No matter where I was, I could hear the loud sound of music. My vinyl collection became a distant memory.”

When Bill was in the military, his desire for vinyl returned with a vengeance. “I had my own place off base and the first thing I bought was new stereo system, of course this included a turntable. I bought some of my old vinyl favorites and many new artists too. This was during the early 1980’s. I didn’t keep many of the records I bought during this period because we simply played them to death!

 Bill has grown older. After working twenty-seven years as a chemical operator, he’s retired due to heart problems but his love for vinyl has grown so much in recent years that he decided to use the new technology on the internet to form a Record Club.

 “My thoughts were that if so many interest groups were gathering on Facebook, then why not try to find other people that have the same love of records that I have. That’s how the Michigan Record Club was conceived. For several years, there seemed to be a big decline in vinyl record sales. It became so bad that most all artists and music producers gave up on vinyl. Nearly every yard sale had a box of old records that people were selling so cheap that they were almost giving them away. I started buying when people were selling but I didn’t get too carried away. The record club began to build slowly. I thought we were a dying breed. The only store that sold records was a place called “Records and Tapes Galore.”

Bill soon noticed that more and more people were becoming friends to his Facebook page. “I had over 2000 friends (including this writer). Then Facebook shut down the page. Without any notice, I was told that the record club needed to be in a different format. I was dejected. I had to start the club all over again following a new format called a group. I was thrilled to see the people coming back to the club. I was also excited to see that vinyl record sales were making a comeback. It doesn’t surprise me at all that vinyl is returning.”

Like so many purists of great analog sound, Bill bemoans the rise of disposable music. “ As the format of music evolved from vinyl to tape, to compact disks and finally to digital MP3 and streaming, we lost that personal connection that we had with our love of music. People will still continue to stream music as they are traveling and working but when you are home relaxing, what better way to kick back and listen to your favorite band than to put on an album, read the back of the album cover and enjoy the rich analog sound of vinyl!”

Michigan Record Club does not have any real formal meetings. “We don’t have dues to pay and most anyone is free to join. I have removed people that didn’t follow the simple rule of being kind and thoughtful. Many of the club members now actually are friends and we all buy, sell and swap records with each other. I get phone calls from people that think we are a “Brick and Mortar” store. They ask if I have records for sale or even if we fix turntables. I explain what the Club is and then I give them guidance to get whatever they need. I have never run a regular record store but I have bought the entire content of a record store. I would much rather help run record shows. The Club supports and helps sponsor a local show in Bay City twice a year. We also are in close contact with many other record show promoters in the state. Record shows are my favorite place to pick up records. They have a large selection of records and it is the best place to find the hard to get records. I still like yard sales and looking for people that are will to sell their collections too!

If you would like to join the Michigan Record Club contact Bill Young through his Facebook page or call him @ 1-989-839-5709


The Resurgence of Vinyl


 Warm Analog Grooves


 The Resurgence of Vinyl


I’ve been a vinyl freak for most of my life. It all started when my older brother brought home groovy 45’s like Take A Look (My Friend) by the Bossmen, East Side Story by Bob Seger & the Last Heard and 96 Tears by Question Mark & the Mysterians. I liked Question Mark the best because he lived on the 800 block of Howard Street next door to my cousin Sally Rork.  She arranged a meeting between my idol and my brother and me. It was a prophecy and a promise for better things to come. Question Mark told us to buy all his 45’s so we did. We bought “I Need Somebody” “Can’t Get Enough of You Baby”,” Girl (You Captivate Me),” and  “Do Something To Me.” I then turned my attention to The Bossmen (On The Road, Baby Boy), Terry Knight & the Pack (Mister, You’re A Better Man Than I), the Excels (California on My Mind) and Bob Seger’s Heavy Music, salacious boner rock & roll. I was coming of age. The first albums I bought were “The Beatles 65 and the “Beach Boys Today.” They were Christmas gifts for my mother. She seemed really delighted my largesse. As I continued my quest for everything vinyl I bought albums by the Frost, The Beatles, Bob Seger System, the Dave Clark 5, the Tremeloes and the Beatles…loved those fabulous harmonies and that insistent big beat. I had it bad and though the seventies, eighties and the new millennium I collected thousands of albums from record stores, mail order catalogs, and garage sales. I bought so many albums from Who Put the Bomp, a mail order magazine that I had a first name relationship with the owner Greg Shaw. He was a true believer and so was I. But then I would get the itch and I would sell all that beautiful vinyl and start all over again, only to repeat this agony like a modern Sisyphus pushing the boulder up the mountain. I continued this pattern of behavior many times until I settled into a comfortable relationship with eBay for the long haul, purchasing back my last big collection until I was suitably embarrassed. My story is not dissimilar to anyone who loves music. To this day I do not regret a single moment in my quest for vinyl. It’s a hunger that cannot be quenched.



Fred Reif has been in the trenches and witnessed the guerilla warfare of the record collecting industry. He had his own store in Saginaw before he moved over to Ann Arbor to run Schoolkids records. He has bought and sold countless record collections in his time and he’s pretty savvy about how this industry appeals to teenagers as well as aging baby boomers. He scratches his head about the new age collectors buying habits. Recently Fred watched it happen in Frankenmuth where teenagers would buy albums by Kiss, Neil Diamond, Barbara Streisand, Willie Nelson as well as the Beatles and Jefferson Airplane. The younger generation is building their own collections, buying the easy ones first before diving into the more expensive collectable albums (and 45’s). At this stage in their collecting hobby they are primarily picking up the hits. The aging baby boomers are getting rid of the records, rock & roll became rock! Fred realizes that vinyl gets only a small percentage of the sales something like 2% to 6%. In the past few months Jazz recordings are so stalled out those classical recordings are doing better. The 55 and 65 year old demographic is still buying vinyl, but they are not playing the records. Fred listens primarily to Caribbean music but he sells lots of Rock & Roll and Blues 78’s. He sells on eBay but it’s a mixed bag, “It’s harder to sell on eBay because they raised their fees. I used to get 50 free ads a month, now it’s only 20 free ads, plus I’m charged 10% for the sale and 10%for the charge on shipping.” To Fred eBay is trying to get rid of the smaller dealer and Record Store Day promotes vinyl, it’s a free ad for record stores – like Sweetest Day. “I buy obscure stuff and I go to thrift stores everyday, says Fred, I buy collections, most are junk but if I’m lucky I’ll get my money back. I like 45’s the most, that’s all we needed to have, travelling bands would come into town the popularity of one song, like Incense & Peppermints.”

A long time connoisseur of vinyl requested anonymity. But his voice is heard loud and clear. “This is an energizing time period in the last three years, 50% of my sales are high school and college kids. In the 90’s Jack White pushed vinyl and it promoted interest in other records.”  By 2000 eBay changed this for the next 5-10 years.  Now people want to buy things. “Stores are seeing teens buy regular LPs like Hall & Oates and John Mellencamp. The classic stuff by the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and Rush are gone, you can hardly find them anywhere (for a reasonable price). Young collectors want the original package. They want to hear the pops and clicks in the music.” In the last 15 years vinyl has been dumped, destroyed and thrown away. Millions of records ended up in the landfills. However on the other side of that equation were the grandparents of the new age collectors are giving their collections to their grandchildren or they would take their parents records and the parents didn’t care. Vinyl became HOT again! Now you see stores pop up from Flint and Frankenmuth to Detroit, New York, Los Angeles and even Brazil. For my anonymous connoisseur the lust for vinyl is growing, “kids buy vinyl, they have to take care of it, clean it and put it on the turntable,  it’s a whole vinyl experience, vinyl is something that you physically own but once it’s gone, it cannot be replaced. Music is a personal thing. Preserve your vinyl!”

I contacted Jordan Pries from Electric Kitsch to get his view on the resurgence of vinyl. “Vinyl …it’s almost new again. Their parents got rid of their collections so their children grew up with CD’s and downloads. So it’s almost a new format again.” Pries cites the White Stripes and the Black Keys who were total vinyl heads, to the resurgence of record collecting. “Young people liked those bands and the bands pushed vinyl, it’s like a new way of approaching music. It’s not like reading a great book which is a different media, with the ascendance of the internet music became a something you download, not something you hold and place on a turntable. They could release one song at almost no cost for a physical format. For Pries there is more than music at stake, art work, credits and cool liner notes would be lost. Pries sees younger people buying newer records that aren’t cheap. “They will pay $15-30 dollars and it’s mostly newer music from artists like Arctic Monkeys, Black Keys, Amy Winehouse and Lana Delray. Some teens and adults will buy a record a week.” Reissues and Box sets have been very popular lately especially with classic rockers like Led Zeppelin, Beatles and Pink Floyd.  Jordan recalls his early days of collecting. “Tuesdays were usually the release date. We used to get in line at midnight to get the latest releases such as The Battle of Los Angeles by Rage Against the Machine or Pantera’s The Great southern Trend Kill.” Pries cites industry sales figures for vinyl – 3 million last year; 9.6 million this year so far and should reach 16 million! It should double production.   United Pressing is pressing hundreds of thousands of discs. A buyer from Wichita Kansas found 13 record pressing machines. He will now have capacity to produce huge quantities of vinyl LPs. For Jordan Pries record collecting is personal, “My dad was a record collector and he gave me his collection of classic rock & roll albums that included Del Shannon, The Byrds, The Beatles and Pentangle. My dad was also a musician; he played the organ and was in a popular band called the Coachmen. They released two 45’s on the Target label out of Wisconsin, Girl in the Wind and Hey Bulldog.” Pries cites Jack White and his Third Man Records for bringing some sanity to record collecting. “He wants record stores to survive. They will sell to stores like mine so I can sell LPs cheaper.”


In December of 1974 Bill and Judy Wegner opened Records & Tapes Galore. At that time the industry sold vinyl albums and 8 track tapes and cassettes were starting to gain a following. Bill Wegner explains, “We sold a lot of albums, several thousands. We had a one stop distributer who would get all the labels like Capitol, CBS, Warner Brothers and RCA. For a small store we did really well. They pushed hard and always had promos to give away. A particular rack jobber had an old beat up car, he was a bit frumpy and looked like Peter Falk.” Bill had an open invitation to take anything the man offered even if it was the latest, hot off the presses LPs from major artists like Deep Purple or Joe Walsh. The idea was that Bill would play the freebies in the store to promote sales. Bill’s business was booming though the seventies and eighties but it slowed down in the nineties. “CDs came out in 1984, Bill recalls, and it just exploded. RCA promoted CDs as the perfect sound forever…but it was actually the imperfect sound forever.” This led to a mass exodus of from vinyl, people got junked their turntables and bought CD players. Bill recalls, “At one point the industry jettisoned vinyl altogether. By the 1990’s very few albums were being produced and in the mid-nineties LPs ceased production except for a few boutique labels. In 2015 album sales have exploded again and companies are having difficulty keeping up with the demand. It is a marriage of technology and art.”

Bill admits that he sold a ton of CDs during a brief renaissance that emerged in 2010/11. “It is a tribute to several movies that had prominent roles for DJ’s and kids got interested and the DJ became a focal point. He would play the music loudly and use two turntables that could allow the DJ to mix one song into another. Discotheques were prominent and the DJ was the hero. Vinyl was featured in those films, it took the place of the record shop.” Bill has his pulse on the action, he knows that kids have MP3’s but highs and lows are chopped off . Bill says, “Its music but not all of the music.” There is no doubt that kids got into their father’s vinyl collection. It was like tasting forbidden fruit. The kids learned by watching dad dust off the vinyl, hold it  carefully on the edges and set the needle down on the grooves…heaven! Bill is knows that people from one era have an affinity for music from their time, makes sense. Bill reports that older folks are energized by the resurgence. “The LPs that are coming out now are 2/3 new releases and 1/3 reissues,” says Bill, “Is it a fad or will it sustain and grow. It’s hard to tell.”

“I love music and records do have power for me, it involves me more and compels me to drop my newspaper and listen intently to those beautiful sounds”

Peace & Love

Bo White