I still remember it well. My friends and I would quickly eat our lunches in the middle school cafeteria. I would gobble down my PB&J and slug my juice box while my buddies polished off their square pizza slices, milk cartons, and tater tots. We were growing boys, so we had to eat fast, but we had other things in mind than our development. As soon as we were finished, we would start banging out a rhythm with our empty food containers and trays, including a “boom, boom, slap” with our hands on the top of the rollaway lunch tables. We were trying to get the same feel we got when we blasted our music at home after school and on the weekends. Little did we know that we were just continuing a musical tradition that has gone on for centuries and perhaps eons.
Turning everyday objects into musical instruments was actually the trigger behind most of the American musical styles that emerged in the 20th century. In poor black communities, especially, West African musical traditions paired with segregated schools barring musical education or the availability of instruments made people go for the DIY route instead. This is certainly not something unique to West African cultures. It’s clear that humans all over the world are at least three things: social, cultural, and musical. Bluegrass would never exist if not for the Scots-Irish.
Many of us were able to locate, save up, and buy the many instruments that we enjoy playing. We also have the ability to learn most musical styles fairly easily and cheaply. This was not the case, however, for the musicians in poor black communities during the 20th century. Little did they know that they would be starting a set of American musical styles that have gone on to dominate music worldwide. Continue reading Invention… the Mother of Music
I have a memory like a steel trap. OK, so maybe I forget to buy dog food or milk, but when it comes to life events, I remember them as if it was yesterday. Its like I have a reel in my head that decides to play my life back to me in the strangest times.
It’s both a blessing and a curse. I can remember the way my girlfriend smelled four years ago when we snuck around Western Kentucky University’s campus drawing on the buildings with sidewalk chalk on our first date. But on the flip side, it also makes me nostalgic for times that honestly weren’t that great.
Ten years ago, I was a 17-year-old emo kid. I had shaggy hair and dressed like Chris Carraba from Dashboard’s unplugged DVD. I was a complete jackass. I used to go to Brothers Pizza in Owensboro, KY every weekend to watch local bands play. That is where I saw Why They Came and Stellar Kin play for the first time. I fell in love with local indie music.
I have probably seen Why They Came play 15-20 times. My shitty high school band opened for Stellar Kin once. We were terrible and loose; they were tight and terrific. No one was there. It was one of my favorite shows I have ever played. Ten years later, I spent a week in a van with Brandon Miles from Stellar Kin and Andy Barnett from Why They Came. We went on a Songwriters Tour (see pictures on Twitter and Instagram), just to see if it was a viable option for artists of our (non-existent) caliber. For the most part, it was. Continue reading Small Town Lifers
Contributed by Jon Gore (frontman for Re-Education Camp). Their latest release, PsyOp’s Boombox, is available on iTunes. Watch their music video for “Lesson Four: Five Enemies” at the bottom of the page!
Something old, something new, something true… It’s a little strange being the only representative of a genre on a record label. In many ways, I feel surrounded by my contemporaries and friends, who are singer-songwriters, indie rock and folk artists. In other ways, it’s a bit of a “black sheep” identity to call myself the hip hop artist of Bad Apple Records. This is mostly because hip hop is definitely not recognized as well as the aforementioned genres as a respectable art form, or even “real music” at all. Luckily, I have not encountered this sentiment by anyone at Bad Apple. Maybe because we’re all misfits in our own way, hence the name of the label, right?
Instead of hostility or disgust, there’s been more of a cautious curiosity with what Zack and I bring with Re-Education Camp, and it’s understandable. As the most popular genre on the planet, hip hop takes a variety of forms and they aren’t always creative or well done. When someone tells me they “rap” or “do hip hop,” I’m cautiously curious, too. Sometimes I’m very pleasantly surprised and sometimes I’m horrified. It’s difficult to know who will represent the genre well, so let Doc clear up a few things to help you categorize some of the things you hear from me and others. Continue reading Being True School
David Bowie wasn’t rock’s first showman, but he may have been its first shaman. Unfettered by genre conventions, he didn’t just explore outer space; he created it. Bowie told listeners, “It’s okay. I’m weird, too. Don’t fit in in your universe? You can be a part of mine.” Without Bowie, there is no glam rock, no space rock, and no Lady Gaga, but he was much more than that. He was the style and the substance that personified the rock n’ roll frontman and the pop genius. Continue reading Goodbye David Bowie (Rock’s First Shaman)
Contributed by Josiah Murphy (guitarist for Why They Came). Their latest release, The Scarecrow EP, is available on iTunes. Watch their Star Wars themed music video for “Echo Three to Echo 7” at the bottom of the page!
I’ve had Star Wars in my life since before I could retain memories. I can’t recall the first time the saga was shown to me… It’s just always been there. I grew up pretending that I was a hero fighting along side my heroes. Luke, Leia, Han, Chewie, R2, and 3PO were my friends who I could always go to another world with no matter what I had going on in real life. I’ve incorporated Star Wars into every aspect of my life. (Just ask my closest family, friends, and band mates… it’s kind of a problem!)
Anyway, I’m the guy who waves his hands in front of automatic opening doors and has enough Star Wars clothing to wear something different for weeks at a time. I have Star Wars tattoos, and I collect toys that I never open. Not a day goes by that I can’t find a way to reference Star Wars to something I’m dealing with. I think you’ve got the picture.
When I was ten, maybe eleven, I discovered that there was more to the story than just A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi. Way more! There were novels that sent my heroes to worlds I’d never heard of, people I’d never seen, and adventures I’d never dreamed of. There was an Expanded Universe.
Flash forward to the year 2015, going into what is now 2016. Disney/Lucasfilm have taken those stories that I have been reading for years and de-canonized, re-branded, and re-marketed them as Legends. We now have a whole new timeline of stories being spearheaded by what will probably be the highest grossing film of all time, The Force Awakens. Continue reading Star Wars: The Force Awakens vs. Expanded Universe
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Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Greatest Hits was my first album purchased with my own money (with Flood by They Might Be Giants). Every song was a classic. There will never be another. #RIP #Damn #Legend