Sonic Boom II- Short Interviews

Published July 3, 2003 in issue #0226 of the Hook

Name: Civil War Reenactors

Members of group: Mike Johnson (drums) Jeff Melkerson (vox, gtr)

Type of music: Angular spazz with love (The Hook: Pavement meets Talking Heads indie-rock)

When formed: 2001. First show was early summer 2001 at Rockcreek Road basement with For All Time and Ted Stryker's Drinking Problem.

Favorite local band not your own: Undergrave (Gopal Metro-vox, Mike Johnson, drums, Tony Lemanski, guitar, Jen Snead [ex-Unit F, ex-Screams], bass)

Musical beginnings: [Buck Winfield] invited me (Melkerson)to come watch [his band] Phathead practice. After the last song, Buck asked the rest of the group if I could sing since practice was over and it was goof-off time. I requested the song they had just played, as I had secretly written lyrics on the spot for it on a napkin that was lying around. I had been itching to sing because sitting around at a band practice is boring. Eventually I became the singer full-time, and after a few lineup changes, the band was re-named the Counselors. All of this happened in 1996 at the Belmont practice spaces.

Where do you play: Tokyo Rose and basements.

Biggest show: Try to play every year at Tokyo Rose on my birthday, August 29– this year I turn 30, and so does Mike.

Most recent album: An Oath Against Modernity nine-song EP will be ready for the August 29 show.

Plans: Lots of kissing

Recite the Quadratic Formula: In lieu, I'd like to proffer my SAT scores.



Name: Ted Stryker's Drinking Problem

Members of group: Max Fritz (guitar/vocals), Jay Purdy (keyboard/vocals), Mike Johnson (drums), Jon Hampton (bass)

Type of music: New Wave Geek Rock

When formed: January of 2002

Favorite local band not your own: Undergrave

Musical beginnings: It all started when Max saw Journey live at the Electric Banana in 1982. Jon was being brutally beaten by Steve Perry (102 pounds of grits and grussle) until Max saved him with a most triumphant smashing of a bottle over Steve-0's head. Thus they "touched and went their separate ways." Actually, they didn't go separate ways. They shared a taxi on the way home, and, while Jon was popping his jaw back into place, Max was chatting away with the cab driver. It turns out the cab driver was over 500 years old, although he looked only 20 or so– he was a vampire... [continues like this for a page]

Where do you play: Earf 'yo, muhfuckin' Earf (The Hook: Tokyo Rose, Mudhouse).

Biggest show: 1986 Canadian Tour (the Saskatoon Chilli Fest, to be specific)

Most recent album: Brass Tacks: The EP

Plans: Stop going to work.

Recite the Quadratic Formula: A quadratic equation is a second-order polynomial equation in a single variable x Because it is a second-order polynomial equation, the fundamental theorem of algebra guarantees that it has two solutions.



Name: Chris Knight aka DJ Xiane aka promoter for The Dawning (goth/industrial club night)

Members of group: As a promoter, me. As a DJ, me. As [the vocalist for] The Violet Dawning, two– me and Tank Talbott.

Type of music: Gothic and Industrial– SwirlyGoth

When formed: Uh... Me, 36 years ago. The Dawning, about five-ish years ago, and taken into my loving hands two years ago. The Violet Dawning, five years ago.

Favorite local band not your own: Oh, hell, there are so many. Terminal Ready, and, of course, Bella Morte.

Musical beginnings: I've loved music since the dawn of time, been collecting it and singing at the top of my lungs since I could talk. Tank and I formed The Violet Dawning in a fit of boredom and needing to make music. That held me for awhile, playing shows live [mostly at The Dawning]... then a while back, Andy and Gopal [of Bella Morte] came to me and asked me if I wanted to take over caring for The Dawning, The DJ-ing just came naturally, as I have all this music, and I'm there all the time...

Where do you play: Tokyo Rose. Atsushi Miura is my hero.

Biggest show: They're all big.

Most recent album: N/A

Plans: Try to take over the world.

Recite the Quadratic Formula: Whoa, math rock isn't my thing.



Name: The Hackensaw Boys (Interview with Che Stratos, the group's Den Mother)

Members of group: PeePaw, Shiner, Mahlon, Dante J, The Kooky Eyed Fox, Smoky Fontaine, Salvage

Type of music: Americana Stringband (The Hook: Bluegrass mayhem)

When formed: 1999

Favorite local band not your own: no answer

Musical beginnings: The four core members came from diverse backgrounds, and were in a wide variety of bands. King Sour, Chigger, Route 11 Boys, Fried Moose, Supertanker, and Beau Pre, to name a few. They got together in 1999, and started playing on the Downtown Mall. In the early days, they grew to as many as 12 members. It got cold, so they started playing at the Blue Moon Diner. They recorded Get Some in a friend's parlor in July 2000.

Where do you play: Clubs, theaters and festivals nationwide

Biggest show: The Telluride Bluegrass Festival or Bonnaroo.

Most recent album: Keep It Simple is the last release. We're working on mastering and editing an album now, with John McCrea producing.

Plans: To build a Hackensaw nation one show at a time, and then conquer the world.

Recite the Quadratic Formula: Ok, I am a mother of two, the Den Mother to seven Hackensaw Boys, and at the end of the day can barely remember my own name, much less a math formula.



Name: The Jan Smith Band

Members of group: Jan Smith (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Jeff Vogelgesang (mandolin, resonator guitar, harmony vocals), Tom Proutt (lead guitar, harmony vocals), Gerald Soriano (upright bass).

Type of music: You can call it roots/Americana, I guess.

When formed: 2000

Favorite local band not your own: The Virginia Cutups (traditional bluegrass)

Musical beginnings: I met both Tom Proutt and Jeff Vogelgesang at Tom's birthday party back in January 2000. Tom was a friend of friends I was staying with in Scottsville at the time. A bunch of pickers were there at Tom's party, and later in the evening they all started to play. A few months later, those guys were coming over to my friend's house in Scottsville to do a little recording. Just for kicks, my friend thought we could all lay down a quick take of my song Gorham Mountain, which I had written a couple weeks before. That tune was probably the starting point. We got together at Jeff's house and played a few times; then a gig trickled in here and there. We're still developing our style and sound as a group.

Where do you play: The Gravity Lounge, Rapunzel's, Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar (usually as a duet), Baja Bean (Staunton), The Little Grill (Harrisonburg), Dave's Taverna (Harrisonburg), Oddfella's (Floyd), The Coffee Pot (Roanoke), local outdoor events such as Nelson County Summer Festival, and private events.

Biggest show: The CD release show for my debut album, Tin Heart, which took place at Starr Hill Music Hall.

Most recent album: Tin Heart. That's my first and only one so far.

Plans: This summer I plan to finish writing and recording an album for families. The working title is "You Can't Play Ball in a Party Dress: Songs for Kids and Grownups. It will be a collection of original tunes that I wrote during the past two seasons of WTJU's children's storytelling show, Tell Us a Tale. In terms of performance, I hope to continue to play with the band around town. We'll be playing just about every Thursday night at this new space on the Downtown Mall, the Gravity Lounge. We also hope to begin covering new territory and booking gigs elsewhere in the Southeast. And then maybe Belgium. I keep getting emails from Belgium.

Recite the Quadratic Formula: You know, I really enjoyed Algebra in high school. Of course, I've forgotten most all of it now. Was the quadratic formula something like, a(x) + b(y) = c?



Name: Man Mountain Jr.

Members of group: Tucker Rogers (guitar, vocals), Willie White (guitar, vocals), BJ Pendleton (bass, vocals), Dave Page (keys, vocals), Ryan McClellan (percussion), Justin Billcheck (drums)

Type of music: Funk-Rock

When formed: At William & Mary in the Fall of '96

Favorite local band not your own: The Beetnix & XPS.

Where do you play: Orbit and Starr Hill (Charlottesville), Lion's Den (NYC), Cary St. Café (Richmond), and various other venues from North Carolina to NYC

Biggest show: Four Dave Matthews Band side stage shows last summer and four this upcoming summer

Most recent album: We just recorded a live album at Orbit Billiards on June 6.

Plans: Completing the Live Album and touring in support of it in the Fall. We're also currently seeking a management and/or booking agent deal.

Recite the Quadratic Formula: Music + Corporate Sponsors/Merger Acquisitions * Image Consultants = The state of Music as we know it today



Name: Bella Morte

Members of group: Andy Deane(vocals), Gopal Metro(bass), Tony Lechmanski(guitar), Micah Consylman(keyboards)

Type of music: Dark rock (The Hook: Goth/Industrial)

When formed: 1997

Favorite local band not your own: The Elderly

Musical beginnings: Their 2000 album Where Shadows Lie on Cleopatra Records, included the club hits, "The Rain Within Her Hands" as well as the title track. They also headlined the 25,000-attendance DragonCon 2002.

Where do you play: We've done several US tours and will tour Canada later this year. Then it's off to Europe... Oh yeah, can't go without mentioning the world's greatest venue, Tokyo Rose!

Biggest show: Maybe Convergence 8 in Montreal or Dragoncon in Atlanta. Both were big conventions... Or if you look at "biggest" from a different standpoint, a horror convention we're headlining in New Jersey later this year called Monster Mania...

Most recent album? The Quiet on Metropolis Records

Plans: We're working on our next CD here in town at Crystalphonic. Then we're shooting for Europe and yet another full US tour.

Recite the Quadratic Formula: Not with all these chicks watching



Name: Paul Curreri

Members of group: solo

Type of music: Country blues / folk

When formed: January 28, 1976

Favorite local band not your own: Hogwaller Ramblers

Musical beginnings: Began writing songs at age 10, for the girls girls girls, piano and cello pieces, and picked up the guitar at 18. Passed round a $5 demo sucker upon arriving in town in late 2000. Released From Long Gones to Hawkmoth in May, 2002, and Songs for Devon Sproule in May 2003.

Where do you play: When in town, Rapunzel's, Starr Hill, Live Arts, and Gravity Lounge

Biggest show: Hasn't happened quite yet.

Most recent album: Songs for Devon Sproule

 Plans: Winston-Salem this evening, unpack the new house tomorrow.

Recite the Quadratic Formula: X equals the opposite of b, plus or minus the squAAaaare roooot... of b squared, minus 4ac, alllll over 2aaay... learned it in song format from my 7th grade math teacher, Ms. Betty Bachman.