Guitarists: Finding the sound to fit your style

” So you want to be a rock ‘n’ roll star?
Well listen now, hear what I say
Just get an electric guitar
Take some time
And learn how to play

The Byrds
photo: AWelding

” So you want to be a rock ‘n’ roll star?
Well listen now, hear what I say
Just get an electric guitar
Take some time
And learn how to play
“- The Byrds

Admit it. You’ve daydreamed of being on that stage with a guitar slung low, rocking out. If you were anything like myself, you even used a tennis racket as a kid in front of that mirror blasting some Led Zep and thinking you could be Jimmy Page. Ah, and then reality sits in!

Re-watching the documentary It Might Get Loud and The Edge’s crazy soundscapes inspired this article in that The Edge was really not so different in his raw playing than Page or White, but it was his use of effects that made him stand apart, yet he is no less of a musician.  If you at least understand the basics, then you can progress to finding elements that give you the tone and sound of certain players.  While it may give you the sound though there is no ignoring that skill cannot be replaced by effects.  There is an old story of how Ted Nugent picked up Eddie Van Halen’s guitar and thought he would “sound” like Eddie and his ‘brown sound’.  Let’s just say it didn’t work in the least.  Your style is your style, but try to find the sound that fits your style and you may have a winning formula.

Let’s stick to the economic decisions for the purpose of this article then.  Pedals offer a myriad of different sounds to make your tone more like Hendrix or even more like Denver if that’s your goal.  The faves of electric axe players seem to be distortion, overdrive, fuzz, and wah to start with.  Each offers a learning curve and you want to do your research.  But, don’t just look up pedals on Google, your best bet is to go to a particular company with a great reputation like Aclam Guitars or the like.  Acoustic players should not ignore the ability to toy around as well, some of the best live acoustic performers I’ve witnessed these days like Howie Day and Ed Sheeran can command a crowd by themselves due to their use of pedals.  Check out a looper, delay, or drum machine to have some real fun and if you want to play live definitely invest in a chromatic tuner.  And if you are running multiple pedals and do not want to look like a chump then you certainly want to invest in a quality custom pedalboard.

But if pedals are elementary to you or you are more into the studio thing then you definitely want to get into mods and maybe even a rack if you are super serious about playing live.  To see how pedals and a rack work together you should check out the aforementioned film, It Might Get Loud, or YouTube to get a true feel.  But be aware that when it comes to modulation and effects racks, you pay for what you get.  Good is never cheap and cheap is never good.

BELZEBUBS (THE BOOK) Out March 19th via Top Shelf Productions

As editor in chief of Pittsburgh Music Magazine, a lot of emails, IG and Facebook messages, and personal requests come across my radar. As hard as it is to sort through and give attention to everything it is amazing at how much stuff there is out there to keep a music nerd entertained these days. A few years ago I got turned on to Belzebubs, a cartoon on IG that captured my interest primarily for the fact that its characters were all in death metal corpse paint. I was pretty pumped when I heard about the release of a Belzebubs book in America. After just watching the sad tale of Mayhem in the movie Lords of Chaos last night, it was with welcome arms that I sat down to read some black metal humor! The new book from artist JP Ahonen is dare I say, brilliant. It is funny, irreverent, tongue in cheek, and an excellent gift for your darkest friend to brighten them up a bit.

Belzebubs is a “trve kvlt mockumentary” focusing on the everyday challenges of family life: raising kids, running a small business, and making time for worship. Except the kids are named Lilith and Leviathan, the business is a black-metal band, and the worship… isn’t exactly aimed upstairs.
In a few short years, what started out as improvised social-media doodles has now become a wildly successful webcomic with hundreds of thousands of fans. The irresistible cartooning of JP Ahonen (Sing No Evil) combines relatable slice-of-life humor with over-the-top occult antics and references from metal music to Lovecraftian horror, makingBelzebubs a devil of a good time.
This hilarious hardcover is available now via Top Shelf Productions. The book is available for pre-order from AmazonBarnes & NobleIndiebound, directly from the publisher, or anywhere books are sold.


More about the Author:JP Ahonen is the author of two Sunday newspaper comic strips (Villimpi Pohjola and Puskaradio) published weekly in his native Finland. He also appeared in volumes 4-8 of the beloved Flight anthology series. His debut graphic novel Sing No Evil, co-written with KP Alare, gathered international critical acclaim, and he was the guest of honor for the 2018 Helsinki Comics Festival.
After spending his teenage years immersed in making music and comics, Ahonen studied graphic design at the University of Lapland. Today, he works as a full-time comic book artist and teaches classes in schools & universities. JP lives in Tampere, Finland with his family.

“The only thing funnier than Belzebubs is how much black metal elitists will complain about it being ‘false’ on message boards.”-Loudwire-
“Guaranteed To Turn Your Corpse-Painted Frown Upside Down!”-The Grim Tower-
“Belzebubs is a fun read if you like metal music, especially if you grew up on comic strips like Calvin and Hobbes.”-The Metal Crypt-
“Strikes that delicate balance between adorable and totally f***ing metal.”  -Talking Comics-
“Belzebubs takes the blueprint of the modern nuclear family and gleefully twists it into a counter-culture extravaganza that would make Charles Addams throw the horns high… one of the funniest, most instantly relatable and charming books it has been my pleasure to read in many a year.”-Mass Movement-
“A visual sonic boom.”-The Village Voice-

PLUS: Watch for the official Belzebubs album, coming in April 2019 from Century Media!

Pittsburgh Warped Tour 2017 Wrap Up

Each summer, Vans Warped Tour makes its rounds throughout the country as the largest travelling music festival and attracts millions of rockers and music enthusiasts. This year, Warped Tour made its annual stop to the KeyBank Pavilion in Burgettstown on Friday, July 14th.

warped
Image courtesy of Vans Warped Tour.

Continue reading “Pittsburgh Warped Tour 2017 Wrap Up”

Review: All Time Low’s “Last Young Renegade”/@StageAE July 25

by Stephanie Connell

All Time Low is a pop-punk band from the Baltimore area.  They have been making music since the mid-2000’s, and have spent most of their career on-and-off with Hopeless Records.  The band has been in the studio and announced a new album, an international tour, and a new record label.  All Time Low officially signed with Fueled by Ramen earlier this year, a label who has signed well-known musicians like Fall Out Boy, Panic! At The Disco, and Twenty-one Pilots.  All Time Low is scheduled to release the new album, Last Young Renegade, on June 2nd.  So far, the band has released two singles with accompanying music videos from the new album, the second being “Last Young Renegade” at the end of March.

After “Dirty Laundry,” I wasn’t sure what to expect from the rest of the album.  It had more of an Alt-Pop sound, and it was quiet for most of the song.  It didn’t have the usual All Time Low angsty, gritty, Pop Punk sound.  I was curious as to how the band would change now that they had signed with FBR.  Would their sound change in the way it did during the Dirty Work era?  As the band ages (All four members are now close to 30 years old) will their music mature?  I held my breath at 2 in the morning as I pressed play.  What came next was pleasantly surprising.

The music video itself was a continuation of “Dirty Laundry” (If you listen closely at the beginning, you will notice that “Last Young Renegade” is playing in the background at the laundromat).  It follows the story of a couple with a broken-down car.  They are pushing their way across the city, all the while flashing back to All Time Low (playing as The Young Renegades in the music video) playing at a small venue.  At the end of the video, the couple arrives at the venue just as The Young Renegades finish their first song.  Alex sees them come in and proceeds to say, “We are The Young Renegades, and for those of you just joining us, this next song goes out to you guys.”  It then cuts to a TV screen in a bar (or a diner, maybe?).  Another song can be heard in the background.

The snippet of music at the end isn’t the only teaser we get in the second music video.  If you look closely, as The Young Renegades are leaving the lounge in the back, the camera zooms in on Cheetos, Corona, Rockstar, and a piece of paper.  Pause the video, and take a closer look:  two of those titles will look familiar.  Could this be the track list for the album?  If it is, you’ll also notice that the last song is covered up.  What surprises do All Time Low have in store for its fans?

Overall, the storyline of the music video was simple, but it fit well with the nostalgic feel of the song.  Listening to “Last Young Renegade,” I had flashbacks of listening to “Six Feet Under the Stars” at fourteen years old.  I would soon be starting high school and enjoying (and suffering through) everything that comes with the later teenage years.  When I heard that song, I thought of adventure, and youth, and taking on what the world had to offer.  Now, hearing “Last Young Renegade,” I feel as if I’m looking back at my teenage years, and reminiscing everything, and everyone, that brought me to where I am.  It is almost as if the band is remembering that as well.  Now, they have evolved and matured.

This sounded more like All Time Low’s style than “Dirty Laundry,” but it had still definitely matured from their past releases.  With the release of the album just two months away, fans are dying to know what will come next.

Watch All Time Low’s music video for “Last Young Renegade” here, and watch the music video for their single “Dirty Laundry” hereAll Time Low will be at Stage AE in Pittsburgh on July 25.

 

Holiday gifts for the rock n’ rollers in your life

We are not always the easiest animal to please some say, but really we are as simple to figure out as microwave popcorn.  The rock n’ rollers in your life consume all things that have anything to do with music and the lifestyle.  The hardest thing about us is that we usually go out and get what we want so fast you never have a chance to get it for us.  So, unless you are going to creep on our Amazon Wishlist and hope we don’t snap up some of those goodies before the Holidays hit, may Pittsburgh Music Magazine suggest some easy as one, two, three gifts that the music maniac in your life didn’t know that they wanted but will absolutely love:

1.  Off the beaten path box sets:

I love quirky box sets that not only have cool tunes, but some extras thrown in that a consumer would not expect.  Jack White’s Third Man Record’s is offering The Paramount Records Wonder Cabinet Available at thirdmanstore.com.  ‘The Rise and Fall of Paramount Records 1917-1932,’ “an epic, two-volume omnibus of art, words and music housed in a limited-edition, hand-sculpted cabinet-of-wonder” features 800 newly-remastered digital tracks, representing 172 artists, 200+ fully-restored original 1920s ads and images, 6x 180g vinyl LPs pressed on burled chestnut colored vinyl w/ hand-engraved, blind-embossed gold-leaf labels, housed in a laser-etched white birch LP folio, 250 page deluxe large-format clothbound hardcover art book , 360 page encyclopedia-style softcover field guide containing artist portraits and full Paramount discography, a handcrafted quarter-sawn oak cabinet with lush sage velvet upholstery and custom-forged metal hardware, and a first-of-its-kind music and image player app, allowing user mgmt of all tracks and ads, housed on custom-designed USB drive.  Cool stuff, but It’s a bit pricey at $400.  If you have a metalhead in the fam, like yours truly, head on over to The Metal Blade Store and check out the amazing prices they have on box sets up to 60% of As I Lay Dying, Amon Amarth, Behemoth, Cannibal Corpse, and much more.

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2.  Alcohol…need I say more

Now unless your rocker has had to swear off (no shame in that my friends), a sure fire way to many a bleeding rebels heart is through his or her throat.  You could go the boring route and buy the case of beer you know they like or the bottle of liquor they always drink or you could go high class.  Recently, one of my best friend turned me onto Tequila.  I’m not talking about ‘To-Kill-Ya’ that we all have had some ‘nights best left forgotten’ drinking.  These are high quality tequilas that taste and go down like nothing you have ever had before.  Let me recommend the best-o-the best: Dobel Tequila is a blend of Reposado, Anejo and Extra Anejo tequilas which have been gently filtered and give the tequila an incredible Diamond Clarity and crispness that is unlike anything that has crossed my palate.  It’s the purity combined with the complexity derived from the aged tequilas makes Reserva del Maestro Dobel a completely unique experience.  I would have never believed it had it not been for my buddie’s Tequila Bar in his establishment and a unique taste test experience.  This is a small batch tequila that is hand crafted, aged in oak casks, and then get this…hand labeled and numbered.  We wrote the company and they were kind enough to offer our readers a FREE recipe book at this link.  Trust me on this one it’s a sure fire winner…and make sure they crack it open with you!

Maestro_Dobel_Tequila_BottleL

3. Something from “their band”

We all have our favorite bands.  Some of us have one and some of us have so many we can’t count.  The thing is whomever you are into, these days there a plethora of off the wall memorabilia and collector items that can be found relatively easily all depending on how much you want to search.  Luckily the internet is truly your friend here.  First, check the band’s website because they often have the cool stuff right under your nose.  Also, check Amazon because they have some pretty cool stuff as well.  But pages like Etsy, EBay, Rockabilia, and Rock N Roll Action Figures to name a few have some hidden gems within them that are sure to please.

Regardless, Happy Holiday, be safe, and I hope my wife is reading this (hints, hints!!!)

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PGH Music Mag’s Holiday Gift Guide 2012

We hear it all the time, “I just have no idea what to get them…”. Everybody and their mother has an opinion on what to get and every publication has products that they are pushing this year. Pittsburgh Music Magazine is no exception, but we would like to take a somewhat different approach. We will try to pigeonhole some of your loved ones into categories and maybe you will find something that is unique and just happens to fit that special someone on your list:

The Classic Rocker:
Being into music ourselves, we always appreciate music oriented gifts. If you have a collector on your list, a real cool place to head to is PopMarket. 28c24a3b0804a3dbfbfc3eea11567279 Popmarket is “the ultimate shopping club for music fans offering its members limited-time private sales on the world’s coolest music”. Membership is free. Wolfgang’s Vault always has some very unique stuff on the memorabilia end (although it can be quite pricey). 2006-05-01-Hemispheres-02 They typically carry a lot of items from the classic rock genre. Pete Townsend and Peter Criss and Jimmy Page came out with very interesting books recently that will keep any music lover glued to the pagespage book.

The Metal Maniac:
We would be remiss in pointing out that a permanent gift is always a great choice, and while we don’t reccommend any names on the skin, ink in the skin has a special meaning for many of us metalheads. If you are in the Pittsburgh tri-state area we have to point you to the best Human Production. tumblr_lwkymgK7SS1qzm60ro1_500 The award winning artists Ben, Mark, and Jesse do nothing but custom tattoo work to ensure that your loved one has something truly unique blended with a safe and super clean environment. For the metal historian, a great read is Precious Metal: Decibel Presents the Stories Behind 25 Metal Masterpieces. music_string6Precious Metal gathers pieces from Decibel’s most popular feature, the monthly “Hall of Fame” which documents the making of landmark metal albums via candid, hilarious, and fascinating interviews with every participating band member. Of course if you have a budding metalaller at home, a great intro to learning about where the genre came from is Sound of the Beast: The Complete Headbanging History of Heavy Metal by Ian CristieIan_Christe_-_Sound_of_the_Beast. Some other cool spots to hit up some bundles that include a t-shirt, cd, and sometimes poster, or DVDs would be from some of the coolest labels like metal-blade-records-logo_09Metal Blade or 250px-VictoryRecordsVictory Records which have great stores and awesome deals. One of the coolest tours to look forward to will be Between the Buried and Me with Coheed and Cambria and Russian Circlesbetween-the-buried-and-me-coheed-and-cambria-tour-2013. They will be hitting Pittsburgh February 7 at Stage AE and a pair of tickets to see them would provide memeories for a lifetime.

The Pittsburgh Fanatic:
It’s easy to pick up a Steeler shirt almost anywhere, but how abou something more uniquely Pittsburgh? Check out 3 Rivers Clothing that has quite a few great pieces including sweatshirts, tees, and our very own Pittsburgh Music Magazine teebads. They also run Brand 216 ClothingLine_GJfor those family members in Cleveland you don’t talk about while in SouthSide. LiveNow Streetwear has come out with their Pixburgh Realers Crewneck Image 1that is super cool (check out their new video here). And while we are on the clothing kick, we love Brandon’s stuff over at Pittsburgh based company Dead Bury Dead. The feel of a lived in tee with great designs, Dead Bury Dead deadburyhas a great story and awesome products.

The Style Conscious:
The hottest trend today seems to be the monthly sample box from various companies. One of the coolest and also most economical to come out is BirchBox for Men, Women, and now Home. birchbox-man-home-600x358-3You can get 3, 6, or 12 month subscriptions and they will receive a box filled with samples of all sorts of goodies according to the types of products that most interest them. To really indulge someone check out Pittsburgh based Fluhme. TiffanyFluhme-aFluhme is a premiere cosmetics company dedicated to skin care.

The Impossible:
We all have that person on our list who is just impossible. Gift certificates seem to always please these unpleasable creatures, but to where? We would highly reccommend the Amazon gift certificate, Etsy Gift cards, and EBay has gift certificates. These sites seem to have something to please even those who have everything. For those a bit more adventurous try Design Tuscano The-Contortionist-Skeleton-Side-Tablefor the home, Uncommon Goods has some very unique and unusual stuffuncommon-goods, and last but not least you can always get them a gift to just mess with their fickleness such as the jellyfish_moodlamp (1)LED Jellyfish Mood Lamp!

The Activist:

For some people a gift for them is just not appropriate, they would much rather you consider their activism for others. If you are not exactly sure, and not comfortable enough to ask, here are some suggestions:
The Human Rights Campaign, HumanRightsCampaignseeks to improve the lives of LGBT Americans by advocating for equal rights and benefits in the workplace, ensuring families are treated equally under the law and increasing public support among all Americans. They have some awesome giftwear as well as memberships that will show someones support for equality for all people. For the animal lover The ASPCA 5882378does so much for all animals that a contribution really does make a difference. They also have giftwear and collectibles besides membership. For those concerned with the environment, check out Conservation International 1195729_300who partners with governments on local, regional, and national levels around the world to deal with high priority areas of concern. From Brazil to China, from the U.S. to Liberia, they engage nations in a common goal — to preserve natural resources for the benefit of all life on Earth.

The Dog or Cat Lover:

For the dog lover in your life there is a membership box that they can receive holding goodies and toys according to the size of their fur babies. Bark Box bboxis a welcome addition to the monthly box competition for your furry friends or your friends with dog kids. For those with cats in the mix Bestfriendboxbox has something for both dogs and cats.

We hope that you got at least one or two ideas from our list, or at least some entertainment. Good luck with your holiday shopping and when you are not burning through your credit and debit cards Pittsburgh Music Magazine will be here to keep you up on the latest and greatest in music.

Twin Guns are Dealing Western Devils Out of Brooklyn

The double-edged sword of contemporary, ubiquitous music releases on the Internet is that bands like Twin Guns are out there and you haven’t heard them yet. While a reviewer might use this line for many albums by bands recently discovered, “Scene Of The Crime” by Twin Guns, released in March 2011,  is the one that inspired it.

The Twin Guns are extremely generous with the devil’s chord in the opening tracks of Scene Of The Crime, taking on a rockabilly-Black Sabbath tone that is almost too easy to get into… like a contract with the son-of-the-morning himself. Twangy guitar and corrugated sheet-metal roof thumping drums are continuous through the dusty tracks that Andrea Sicco and “Jungle” Jim Chandler laydown on their range, making spurs jingle-jangle through a backdrop of urban chaos that evokes a backroom punk show at Gooski’s (for Pittsburghers who know that effect from experience).

Vocals come through big, like old-timey tunes… listen for wailing and lamentation, as well as coyote calls. At first it is a bit off-putting, as the instrumentals are so pounding and jarring the ear looks for a clean line in the lyrics. However, by not finding a clearer tonic from the sound engineering of the voices the sound of Twin Guns has a consistency of grit and tormented musical structure that is satisfyingly unsettled (perhaps extending the theme of buttering up the listener for an unholy commitment to a deal with the devil). It also goes a long way toward selling the lonesome cowboy emotion that seems to drive the wagon onward. This trend comes to an apex, in well managed order, with track 4, “Safe,” when pedal effects on both vocals and guitars take you over a canyon cliff somewhere out in the unpopulated vastness of the west Rocky Mountains.

Instrumentally the album doesn’t stop inventing. For example, use of essential piano tones, coming over where the mind’s ear envisions rhythm guitar laying on top of the lead. Confessing a slight aversion to the overdrive effects of synthesizer and soundboard background sounds through the first four tracks, it all comes together for resolution in track 5, “Druggy and Suicidal,” which is every bit the homage to rock n’ roll stars burning out like meteors that the title suggests. This is immediately justified by track 6 (“One More Night Of Sin”) opening with a church bell beat that sets up a lead guitar packed with glissando & crescendo. Listen for super-subtle alt-surf guitar and arching vocal deliveries on what balances out as a mellower song compared to the first half of the album. This mellowness seems to groove-on into the remainder of the album… for moments, but then the moments are gone.

The whammy bar gets just ridiculous, in the best of ways, on the latter tracks. What’s more, there is a surprising operatic coolness to track 8 (“She Cried”), where a neo-Quadrophenia sound of the ocean waves opening and another lonesome, wild-west yodel ride out on another set of silky and surfy guitar waves. Some spoken word aspects accent the song with a sort of hipster-Meatloaf result that does more to make the listener replay the track than to cast doubt on the, at this point of the album “signature,” sound qualities that it has just condensed through the cochlea.

The album might be best for the big finish of the final track. Using a recording of a subway car taking off, and singing about the same, it seals the listener’s fate with a guilty pleasure-inducing familiarity that forces the question… is that a Kink’s song? …the Clash? …funky early, Peter Gabriel-era Genesis? …nope, it’s Twin Guns.

Scene Of The Crime by Twin Guns is out on reverbnation.com and many of your friendly Internet music peddlers.

Is Billy Joe’s Rehab Real? Green Day Cancel and Postpone Dates

In the wake of Billie Joe’s send off to rehab (for substance abuse or commercial rock abuse?) it looks like all 2012 dates are off and 2013 are postponed. Green Day appears to have woken up in a media nightmare and they can’t wake up. One must ask if Billy Joe is really having that big of a substance abuse problem or this is a spin in order to placate the corporate rock gods who control Green Day’s livelihood? Far be it from this writer to second guess anyone’s abuse problems or make them seem trivial…that is not my intention. The big elephant in the room that no one seems to be discussing is how all this went down when Billy Joe did the most true punk thing he has ever done, which is tell off I Heart Radio. Is this how GD gets back in with the bigs by sucking up and spinning a tale around Billie’s rant as though it were ‘the drugs’ talking and not all the corporate bullshit that bands at that level have to put up with to stay at that level? I won’t scream sell out because Green Day did that eons ago, and who can blame them really. Most of us would give anything to be in a successful rock band, and faced with famine or famous, just be honest with yourself. I wish the best for Billie Joe and Green Day including a speedy recovery if it is actually true. But if it is not, in the long run, as usual, it’s the fans who are getting screwed. Just think about it…

The preceding is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Pittsburgh Music Magazine

Green Day Canceled 2012 Tour Dates
11/26 — Seattle, Wash. — Paramount Theatre
11/27 — Kennewick, Wash. — Toyota Center
11/29 — Salem, Ore. — Salem Armory Auditorium
12/1 — Sacramento, Calif. — Memorial Auditorium
12/2 — Reno, Nev. — Grand Sierra Resort
12/4 — Santa Cruz, Calif. — Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium
12/10 — Tempe, Ariz. — Marquee Theatre

Green Day Postponed 2013 Tour Dates
1/7 — Green Bay, Wis. — Resch Center
1/8 — Rosemont, Ill. — Allstate Arena
1/10 — Wilkes-Barra, Pa. — Mohegan Sun
1/11 — University Park, Pa. — Bryce Jordan Center
1/13 — Rochester, N.Y. — Blue Cross Arena
1/14 — Pittsburgh, Pa. — Consol Energy Center
1/16 — Brooklyn, N.Y. — Barclays Center
1/18 — Manchester, N.H. — Verizon Wireless Arena
1/19 — Uncasville, Ct. — Mohegan Sun Arena
1/21 — Fairfax, Va. — Patriot Center
1/22 — Philadelphia, Pa. — Liacouras Center
1/24 — Providence, R.I. — Dunkin Donuts Center
1/25 — Portland, Maine — Cumberland County Civic Center
1/27 — Quebec City, Quebec — Colisee Pepsi
1/29 — Toronto, Ontario — Air Canada Centre
1/30 — Cleveland, Ohio — Wolstein Center
2/1 — Moline, Ill. — i Wireless Center
2/2 — Madison, Wis. — Alliant Energy Center
2/4 — Omaha, Neb. — CenturyLink Center
2/6 — Broomfield, Colo. — 1st Bank Center
2/8 — Las Vegas, Nev. — MGM Grand Garden Arena

Expression of Life: The Rupa Marya Interview

Pittsburgh Music Magazine had the enlightening opportunity to catch up with the incomparable Rupa Marya, front woman and pilot of the expedition that is Rupa & The April Fishes. But, as if to exeplify the humanism she espouses, Rupa is far more than simply a star musician. The San Francisco band has built a major following and an impressive song book that they have been playing out to crowds internationally – from free street side performances in barrios in India, to music festivals in the Bay Area.  Rupa is currently on tour with The April Fishes and their newest album “BUILD.” This Wednesday they are headed for Pittsburgh to play Thunderbird Cafe (9:00PM/$12), we spoke Saturday morning as they were at the Shakori Hills Grass Roots Festival in Pittsboro, North Carolina.

PMM: Bon Jour, Buenos Dias, and Good Morning! An immediately obvious feature of your music is that you are multilingual in your composition. In many cases this matches up closely with the style of the music itself and you’ve also said that you intentionally write music in a variety of languages as a means of creating an accessible, open forum for a diverse audience to participate in, can you share some more about the decisions that guide your choices about language in your songs?

Rupa: Well, it’s mostly where I am and who I’m around, and what I’m trying to say, that dictates the language I write in, and you know, the groove, what the groove is asking for – most of my songs start with a groove, and it sort of goes from there. I do feel that having a palette of languages and sounds recreates how I see the world and what I’m trying to pay attention to. So, like any environment you go to, here even, driving in North Carolina, in this hotel, if you sit an listen and pay attention to who is around you, immediately you’ll find at least two or three different languages being spoken – but our image of the world being, or even just this country being, English only is just not representational of what is actually happening. And to me there is a beauty in that, in the cacophony of sounds.

PMM: And I know that for you, being from the Mission [San Francisco]…

Rupa: Yeah, the Mission, I love it. It’s an interesting place of contradiction, and change, and you know, many different cultures up against each other, which is always a cool fertile ground for creativity and expression. It’s beautiful, it’s a very cool spot!

PMM: Nice! Yeah, can I ask you actually, I saw a documentary where you were talking about the murals [in the Mission] making you want to create music. Do you have any specific examples of a song born out of one particular one, or is there anything about that process you can share?

Rupa: Umm… there’s a mural down in Cochabamba, Bolivia that was painted by a muralist who’s from San Francisco, and her relating her story of painting that mural and what’s in the mural, and why she went down there, ended up on our next album…

PMM: Now, is that Mona Caron?

Rupa: Yes, that’s Mona Caron and the song is Cochabamba, and it’s about the privatization of the waterways in Cochabamba in 2000. And so, Mona went down there in 2010 for the ten year anniversary of the Water Wars, to celebrate the fact that the people of Cochabamba and the surrounding areas have resisted the attempted privatization of their water. And that… that was significant… you know, mural, music, moment, journey!

PMM: Wow, yeah… that’s really bringing it all together. I also read that you are planning to start a project to travel together with her to create public visual art with sound compositions. Can you speak to that a little bit?

Rupa: Well one thing that Mona has been doing is drawing, painting, giant plants, weeds, around on streets, just on raw buildings, and then filming them and then I’ll be setting those to music. And she did travel with us to Athens and to India last year to paint, and that was an amazing thing. I’m looking forward to that collaboration. So right now we are touring with this album, but that is something I am excited about. Mona does these really beautiful, greater-than-life plants and vegetables, and she takes something that is cast aside from our attention and just blows it up in the most beautiful way on a wall. It’s just this simple, beautiful, quietly revolutionary act of training our attention to something we have neglected or purposefully eradicated.

PMM: Absolutely, in a simple aesthetic way…

Rupa: Yes.

PMM: How would you say, musically, that goes with your process with The April Fishes?

Rupa: Well it’s definitely inspiring and our art is definitely in conversation with each other. For me, I’ve been very interested in invisible things as well, in particular people… people who in our society are trying to be invisible from being in a place where they’re “not supposed to be” as we have with a lot of the undocumented migration that is going on around the world – this is a forced migration, an economic migration, most often, if you look at Mexico for example, with the privatization of lands that was used for subsistence farming by poor people, in the 1990s with NAFTA, there has been a huge influx of people coming here, to farm and get work. And they don’t want to be here, but they don’t have an option economically in their home countries. So having economic systems that create and recreate poverty in certain nations in the global South drives these mass migrations of people up here.

So for me, in my work, I am learning how to notice that and to pay attention, and to speak to that and honor that and also try to create a bridge… usually when we hear about when we hear about the immigration issue, it’s couched in these political terms that remove the humanity from the situation, and takes away our ability to be compassionate… what we are talking about are people’s lives… and if people just spend more time around one another we will find we have more in common than we do have different. So that is part of my music, is to try to get that vibe in our midst.

PMM: That’s fantastic, and I’m really putting it together in my mind with The Grapes of Wrath, and what we can do in a contemporary sense to recognize the realities of the world we are living in.

Rupa: Steinbeck was an amazing, an amazing, documenter of what was happening in California… and I would like to do more around farming in California in particular, in the legacy of what John Steinbeck did he wrote these amazing essays on the Gypsy Harvest,  these huge groups of people coming from different lands – they were Punjabi, or they were Chinese, or they were Mexican, or they were Irish, there were just these waves of people coming through to do the work that other people didn’t want to do… this essential work so that people can eat. And it’s been a very vulnerable group of people in California, working in our valleys.

PMM: I’m also a big fan of Pablo Neruda, so I obviously recognize and gravitate to your song “Neruda” on Este Mundo.

Rupa: Neruda is… I call him my “original love,” my first love. He is just so powerful in how he articulates beauty in life and struggle and just these tiny, tiny moments. I love his sense of humor, I love his… the insistence with which he lived his life. I remember there’s one line from his poetry, “They’ll have to really scrub me from the chalkboard, I lived sooo intensely.” That, that feels great.

He was also a poet who did a lot of travel and was very aware of the power dynamic in his niche. For me power dynamic is a very interesting thing, politics feels like a theater of distraction, like the presidential debate with Obama and Romney …we are choosing two different versions of the same kind of policies, it’s not going to be that different, truly it’s not going to be that different. It feels like an element of distraction while… um, where’s all the money going? And so to me that is really less interesting than the power dynamics between people. Who’s really holding the power and how’s it being wielded? How is it being shaped in our midst?

And the album [BUILD] deals with this… just a call to find that power inside of ourselves, and inside of our communities, and between ourselves – the more we divide ourselves with these ideas the less we are going to be able put in our effort and build bridges, and grow what we actually need and want; in our cities, in our communities, and in our own midst. And I think it is much easier to get lost in the emotional trappings of politics.

PMM: I really appreciate your point there about distraction, because it is creating the primary focus for us, but totally taking our minds off of all of the things we could actually do as opposed to being stuck there watching it happen. Yeah…

Rupa: Yeah, there is a very strange type of mute-ism that is going on in our society and when people do have the courage to speak out, what happens? And how do we return to this mute state? We’ve seen the banks in the last five years, gamble and lose peoples money, students racked with debt they’ll never be able to pay back… and there is very little sounding out against this. To me it’s kind of interesting… we’re watching, as gas prices go up over $4 a gallon, almost to $5 a gallon, I’m wondering how it never quite gets to $5 a gallon. It’s like the people aren’t ready for that, cause that’s when they’ll really get out in the streets. But it’s just an interesting economic time that we live in and for me to listen to the mute nature of people… speaks to me as the fact that people do not feel empowered to demand what they want… and to ask for what they want.

And we get stuck on these lesser issues, to me… they’re important issues, but they become like these little wedge issues that drive people apart from each other. I mean we could spend all day arguing about… abortion… between two people… you could spend your whole life arguing these things, meanwhile people don’t get healthcare, people don’t get quality education, teachers are being laid of, and banks are cleaning us all out.

PMM: And all of the things that could be preventative to the issues we are stuck on are never dealt with because we are stuck on these issues.

Rupa: Exactly.

PMM: I read that you studied Post-War Political Theater, I can feel a lot of that coming through on top of this notion, not only of what politics are, but how we experience them and what is the audience doing while these things are going on…

Rupa: It’s an interesting time to be an artist for sure. On the one hand you just want to bring people into a really good vibe, you know, to create a space where they can resonate with each other, where they can feel hope and awaken, and that to me is the primary substance of music. Awaken, enliven, and get us sort of vibrating together, and then there’s these things, like how do you use your art to articulate some of these things. How is the form of the art articulated? How is the content of the art articulated? For me it’s still an ongoing experiment.

PMM: Um… Wow. So you are a step ahead of me, because I was going to ask about that fact that you are a doctor and that you’ve been a professor of Internal Medicine at UCSF Medical Center, really… your polymath abilities are pretty staggering. I was going to ask you how you balance the passions of music and medicine, and politics, and yet… correct me if I’m wrong, but it sounds like you don’t think of them as different things, so much as different aspects of the same thing.

Rupa: Yeah, for sure, and I appreciate you calling them both passions because they are. For me they are an expression of life, and being a doctor allows a certain proximity to witnessing life, which is really inspiring and exciting for music and other things. But it is a balancing act, and I’m still learning how to do it. This year, on music, I’ve been traveling with the band and trying to make my living on the music because when I return to town I will be working at an immigrant free clinic for people in San Francisco,for people who don’t have papers…

PMM: People who otherwise would be afraid to try to get help.

Rupa: Exactly. And so it is an interesting to try to separate my practice of medicine from my economic need, because it creates some space to think about “What does it meant to be a doctor?” “What does it mean to make your income off of people’s suffering?” When people suffer, there’s a gain that’s involved, and I feel that that mathematical equation has not listened to the problems that we face with health insurance companies and the privatization of the healthcare sector in the United States. Yeah, it’s tricky. It’s a tricky thing.

If you ask the question, should a healthcare insurance executive… I met a couple folks the other day who bought their second home for $8 million in Hawaii, their first home is in Rhode Island, and I asked them what they both did and they said, “We’re healthcare insurance financial officers.” And I thought “Wow! OK, so now we know how the money is being allocated.” Would you even want to live in a world where $8 million can be extracted from the health insurance sector to provide for a second home for an executive? Or would you want that money to be available for people who are being refused for their MRIs, and their surgeries, and their procedures? And it’s not “right” or “wrong,” it’s just “What kind of world do we want to live in?”

And that’s what I mean about the distraction. The distraction around Obamacare was, you know, Democrat v. Republican. When the real issue is, I feel, why are we further entrenching… why are we mandating now that everyone has to pay for private insurance, that is a federally mandated thing. So the people who bought that $8 million dollar home are ensured an increase in their income. More money is going to be funneled into the private sector off of healthcare and I don’t really want to profit off of my patients, I want to take care of them, I want to take good care of them.

I want to be supported by taking care of them, I want to able to afford to live in the community where I work, so that I can see my patients walking around on the streets and get a sense of what it means to live and work in that group of people. But, I don’t need to make an extra buck off of every colonoscopy. So it’s an interesting question… are there things we should not be making profits off of? It’s just a question.

PMM: And that example brings us kind of full circle, because when we talk about Hawaii there is another indigenous people, who are off the radar for most people, in terms of what’s happened to their land and their access to food, water, and healthy environments.

Rupa: Yeah, and Hawaii is very interesting because that indigenous population that is very much alive and kicking… unlike many of the indigenous populations, which are still alive, but even more invisible on the mainlands of the United States. Hawaii is a very interesting place to examine “How do we want to relate to groups of people who have been marginalized or pushed off to the side?” I would hope for greater dialogue, greater compassion and an ability to heal some of those wounds that happened before we all arrived here, and not in a way that punishes, but in a way that gives respect and accountability for people’s voices.

PMM: What are some of your favorite songs on the new album… do you love them all?

Rupa: I really do love them. I really love [the title track] Build, the way we started it and the way we ended up. It is a very strong song for me to sing and every time I sing it I am confronted with the words and how it is asking me to have faith in my own self, and asking people to have faith in themselves. In our creative capacity, in witnessing the world in upheaval in the last two years… there is a choice we have to all make between our creative capacity and our anti-creative capacity. We can choose to become violent and rageful or we can choose to take that energy and really invest in creating a new paradigm… in a paradigm that will make this old one obsolete, because it is simply better, more intuitive, more intelligent. And that’s a harder road, it is easier to rail, it’s easier to rage…

PMM: …and to participate in the distraction theater.

Rupa: Yeah, cause there you expend energy and people feel more powerful, but that’s not going to help. What we actually need right now is creating new economies, new modes of economy, new dynamics between people, new relationships to the land and farming, new relationships to health, new relationships to education, and to awaken a population that has fallen asleep at the wheel. When you live in a representational democracy there is this false sense that you can just relegate the job to someone else and they’ll get it done, they know what’s what. In the meantime look at where all of our resources are going. And we have to demand what we want as a population… and if this is the best we can do… I don’t think it is. And so I think it has to happen at a small level and it’s great to be in a place like San Francisco, where there are lots of activated people and dialogue.

PMM: And the dialogue is alive. So, when you come to Pittsburgh, the venue you are going to be playing is kind of boutique-y in a sense. I know that you play a variety of venues, do you have an audience size that you love for your music? Do you get a lot out of different ones?

Rupa: I love the variety. So today we are playing a big festival, and we are going to play what we call the “power set,” and rock… finding the nicht. When we are in a smaller place it’s nice because you can talk to the audience and develop a rapport. So it’s just different, every show is different. We played in Pittsburgh once before, years ago, so people don’t really know about it… so we’re hoping to get the word out and share our evening.

Rupa & The April Fishes play Thunderbird Cafe, Wednesday, October 10, 2012 @ 9:00PM

BUILD by Rupa & The April Fishes is out from INGROOVES Records and available on Amazon and iTunes.

To Write Love On Her Arms is Tackling Today’s Most Serious Youth Issues

Depression, eating disorders, addiction, self-injury, sucicide…these are some our most pressing issues regarding today’s youth. We can no longer push these issues under the carpet and pretend they do not exist or will just go away. We need to speak honestly, openly, and progressively to combat one of the biggest problems facing our youth.

First the facts:
121 million people worldwide suffer from depression. (World Health Organization)
18 million of these cases are happening in the United States. (The National Institute of Mental Health)
Between 20% and 50% of children and teens struggling with depression have a family history of this struggle and the offspring of depressed parents are more than three times as likely to suffer from depression. (U.S. Surgeon General’s Survey, 1999)
Depression often co-occurs with anxiety disorders and substance abuse, with 30% of teens with depression also developing a substance abuse problem. (NIMH)
2/3 of those suffering from depression never seek treatment.
Untreated depression is the number one cause of suicide, and suicide is the third leading cause of death among teenagers. (NIMH)

Last week during the Warped Tour, PMM and myself were lucky enough to sit down with Jason who is a representative for To Write Love On Her Arms. To Write Love on Her Arms is a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide. TWLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire as well as to invest directly into treatment and recovery (TWLOHA website).
We spoke with Jason at length regarding the mission of TWLOHA and what ways people can get involved to combat thiese serious social issues (please see below for entire audio interview). As a high school teacher who has dealt with depression and anxiety on a personal level all my life, as well as having experienced students very close to me struggle with these issues, the work of TWLOHA is a blessing. I have unfortunately lost a few students to suicide and directly see the critical need for organizations such as TWLOHA.

PMM’s Alan Welding interviews Jason of TWLOHA at their Vans Warped Tour tent

TWLOHA is working very aggressively at speaking about these issues where they most often lie: amongst high school and college age students. TWLOHA launched The Storytellers High School Campaign in October 2011 as an initiative to change these numbers and open a conversation in high schools that discusses mental health and community. They are also creating University Chapters across the country to help college students know where the resources are for help and educate. The Storytellers is a two-month campaign where a student organizer works with a faculty advisor on behalf of their high school to create awareness about mental health issues, bring the TWLOHA message to their school, and foster community on their campus, while also raising funds for TWLOHA. The program is completely free and of no cost to the student or school involved. There are a variety of incentives for participating, including the opportunity for a TWLOHA event. Their hope and goal is that by reaching high school students in their everyday environment, and by engaging the student body as a whole, we can change the numbers (TWLOHA website).

Please think about ways that you can help. To explore some options that TWLOHA offers check out their website:
http://www.twloha.com/

For our full interview with Jason click here: TWLOHA

Photos from Warped Tour courtesy of MPAP Photo

Black Sabbath- Bill Ward=Major Disappointment


Bill Ward, original drummer from Black Sabbath, recently posted a letter on his website discussing his regrets with what will now be a record and tour without his presence. Having seen Sabbath with and without Ward, I would have to say this is a major disappointment- enough so that purchasing a ticket or the CD will only be done with trepidation. Ward is a drummer with a very personal style and a key element to Black Sabbath’s best recordings. Check out this video of Sabbath in Paris 1970. I think this proves my point.
Here is Bill’s letter from his website:
“Dear Sabbath Fans and Fellow Musicians,

“I sincerely regret to inform you that after a final effort to participate in the upcoming Sabbath shows a failure to agree has continued. At this time I have to inform you that I won’t be playing with Black Sabbath at the Birmingham gig dated May 19th, 2012, nor will I be playing at Download on June 10th, 2012. Further, I will not be playing at Lollapalooza on August 3, 2012.

“It is with a very sad heart that I bring you this news. I am sincerely passionate in my desire to play with the band, and I’m very, very sorry that it’s fallen to this. This statement is even more painstaking to write, as I was particularly excited to play alongside Tony Iommi after the recent treatments he underwent. I wanted that to become a reality.

“To express my thoughts about you, the Sabbath fans, I’m going to speak to you all through an experience my brother James had recently. My brother Jimmy lives in the U.K. When speaking with him a couple of days ago, he told me that an acquaintance had stopped him on the street and confronted him, ‘is your brother playing Birmingham? What’s going on? I waited in line with my son and paid x amount for the concert tickets.’

“The man’s son is a young drummer. He’s going to see Sabbath, and he wants to see Bill Ward play drums. Upon hearing this news, I felt horrible. I couldn’t help feeling some resentment towards the failure to reach an agreement, the failure to remember where we came from, the failure to be as brothers, as we once were. To be clear, I’m not blaming the other guys or finding any faults with them. I would think it can’t be easy for them either, but this situation is just really sad. It’s sad that it’s come to this. ‘This’” will surely leave a mark and be unwelcome to the memory. Hopefully ‘this’ will heal and pass in time.

“My heart sank when Jimmy told me about this young boy. I know this boy is going to be disappointed, and I don’t know how to amend it, other than to put my arms around the boy and tell him I love him. Sabbath fans have a voice and a face, to me you’re human, you have families and despair. You have ferocity and emotions and graciousness, and at this moment as far as I’m concerned you are also that young boy in England. I don’t know how to amend my part in these failings other than to put my arms around you and say I love you and let you know I’m very, very sorry.

“Throughout this process, which began over a year ago, I have had to stand up for myself time and time again. I have had to stand up for myself and in doing so realize my actions indirectly, although unintentionally, are upsetting and hurting a lot of you. I know in my heart I couldn’t have done these concerts by agreeing the terms suggested. I made a solemn vow after the last European and Ozzfest concerts that I would never again enter into what was, in my opinion, a totally unsatisfactory contract. I have to stand for something, and as painful as it is, I’m doing it.

“Earlier in April 2012, I’d been asked to participate ‘minimally’ in the Download festival. I believe I’d been offered no more than three songs to play while another drummer presumably played the rest of the show with Black Sabbath. I was not willing to participate in that offer. I was not prepared to watch another drummer play a Sabbath set, while I was to play only three songs.

“I found out about the Birmingham gig on Monday, April 30 through the Internet ad. I was taken aback somewhat by the date, and the fact it was Birmingham. Knowing the “signable” contract negotiations were at best in shreds, I was upset by the idea that the band was going to play Birmingham and play it assumedly without me. I had no prior knowledge of the date and location, and I felt totally excluded. We contacted the representative for Black Sabbath to see if something could be worked out. In the meantime my drum crew and I, along with our US endorsers, finished all the necessary planning for a swift departure to the UK. There wasn’t a whole lot to complete; we’d all been on standby more or less since mid-January 2012. The remaining work in the UK was confirmed done by our European and UK endorsers and we were good to go by Friday, May 4 2012. There were two stress points: firstly, getting an agreement in place, and secondly, getting to England in a timely manner. Jetlag time was taken into account as well as drum practice, a drum practice room in the heart of Birmingham, accommodation, and travel arrangements were all in place to meet with any band rehearsals that may have transpired before the Birmingham show. So far everything that had been arranged was on my dime, but we didn’t move ahead without a realistic confirmation.

“Communications between the representative and my lawyer continued through the weekend of May 5 finalizing on Wednesday, May 9. The offer we received on May 9 was, ‘come to the UK, play for free and see how the first show goes.’ I was tempted. Playing for free would not have been a problem for me, but “seeing how the first show goes” left an element of risk which could have affected Download. My ideal thought was to play in full the Birmingham show, in full Download, and in full Lollapalooza.

“I had notified the representative that May 10 was my cutoff day in order to have good lead-in time for England. On the night of May 9 I asked for a brief letter to be sent to the representative asking to find out if we were at an end. On the morning of Thursday, May 10, I received a reply in the affirmative. After consulting with my advisors and crew a decision was made to let go and stop.

“I can’t prioritize the Sabbath fans making one show more important than the other. I can’t do that. All of you are important. It’s all the gigs or none at all. I can’t come to Birmingham and ‘see what happens’ knowing there is a risk of not being able to play Download or Lollapalooza. Again, for me, it’s all or nothing. I had to say “no” to Birmingham on the principle of wanting to play all the shows. Saying no to Birmingham is very difficult for me. My family grew up in Birmingham. Black Sabbath grew up in Birmingham. It’s still my hometown and I resent having to arrive at such a difficult choice.

“Although the statement was made that, “the door is always open” for me, as explained above, walking through that door is not always as easy as it sounds. There are many complicated issues and unseen and unspoken agendas on hand. I can assure you, my criteria for a ‘signable’ contract is based in mindful principles, respectability, and acknowledgement of my history within the band.

“I hold no malice or resentment towards the other band members. I love them; I’m tolerant of them; I’m frustrated with them, as they may be with me. My fight has never been with them. I’ll love them forever. In my opinion, nobody wins this time; the band doesn’t win; the fans for an original lineup don’t win. Nobody wins, nobody. Even the ones who thought they did.

“I didn’t want to make this decision, but I have to be honest and transparent. This is the statement I didn’t want to write; it’s the last thing I wanted to do. But, I have written it, and now it can go into the universe.

“Since Spring of 2011, I’ve waited patiently and hopefully for a signable contract, you know the rest. I stand for the boy in the U.K., for the coming drum student, for all the drummers, who write their parts out and get stiffed on the publishing, I stand with the Sabbath fans chanting ‘Bill Ward’ and asking ‘why?’ and I stand with Tony and Geezer and Ozzy.

“On a final note, even though I’m at an end with the upcoming announced concerts, I will remain with an open mind and a position of willingness to negotiate ‘signable’ terms with Sabbath’s representatives in the future.

“Stay strong.
Stay safe.
With all my heart and strength, I love you,
Bill Ward”

Merchandising Madness: What’s Cool and What’s Tool

Recently, an article from Metal Insider regarding strange merchandise from legendary band Slayer, piqued interest.  Some of the choices were depicted as bizarre and others possibly just intriguing.  It begs the question, “When is the band just pocketing money and when is it actually providing for the fans?”.  Much of this would depend on the individual, thus making for an opinionated debate.

The ultimate gods of merchandising of course are KISS.  It is well known that Simmons and Stanley typically put their names on anything, from coffins to potato heads.  One of our favorites, actually here in the office, just happens to be the Gruntz Dressed to Kill KISS collectibles (shown below).  Still, what makes these collectible over a potato head, or the ultimate collectible, a coffin?

KISS Gruntz Dressed to Kill figures in the PMM office

A plethora of wines have been produced lately with mainly classic rock groups as the benefactor.  The Rolling Stones, The Grateful Dead, even AC/DC have signed on to wine their wares.  Vince Neil is no stranger to lending his name to liquor, having a tequila brand and wine label.  Of course, Sammy Hagar made a small mint when selling off his Cabo Wabo Tequila and Maynard from Tool has a very legit wine orchard in Arizona (enough to have a whole documentary about it).

Other oddities include: Durex  marketing their condoms using bands from JLS to Slayer. Rammstein apparently has their own lines of sex toys.  Having seen them in concert numerous times, this actually makes a lot of sense.  Bill Wyman of the Stones endorses a metal detector.  Mastadon have a “horn” to drink from and Motorhead has a beach ball (We must confess this is in the office also- when we think Lemmy we think beach!).

Perfumes, pasta sauces, sodas, energy drinks, if the money is there the bands will come.  The line of action figure type replicas are very collectible and can increase in value rather quickly.  Motley Crue, Lemmy, Slash, Iggy Pop, Ozzy, Hendrix, Morrison, and Metallica are just a few who have been immortalized in plastic.  The bobblehead industry is booming too.  Just “head” on over to Amazon or any number of websites to check out the various bands that are represented.

Jerry Only-Misfits bobblehead in the PMM office

The bottom line is that consumers want these products.  If they did not no one would be putting the money into manufacturing the trinkets and toys and who knows what.  Let the consumer beware and judge.  If someone loves KISS so much they want to be buried in a KISS coffin, so be it.  As rock n’ roll collectors ourselves, the variety beyond the usual tees and posters is exciting and also an opportunity to laugh.  With the market for song distribution so confusing these days let the bands make the money where and when they can.  And let us put the debate to bed.  Hey, where are my Misfits slippers anyhow?