Showing posts with label guest blogger. Show all posts
Showing posts with label guest blogger. Show all posts

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Perfect Life After Death: The Psychobilly Zombie by Kim Kattari


If you're not aware of the current obsession with zombies, you've not been watching TV or don't ever go to the movies. What is it about the zombie that is so appealing?

There are even people out there who believe that the zombie apocalypse is upon us. I kid you not. You'd think that this stuff is tongue and cheek, but some of it is very serious.

My friend and former-classmate Kim Kattari is finishing up her PhD in Ethnomusicology at The University of Texas in Austin and she's published her dissertation chapter about zombies on Examiner.com. Kim was a Halloween guest blogger for Always More To Hear in 2009.

I describe psychobilly as rockabilly colliding head on into punk. The music is fast, bass players play upright basses and like to perform fancy tricks with them, and the thematic content covers everything from pissed off relationships to zombies. The aesthetic includes tattoos, 50s inspired clothing, Bettie Page, pompadours and old cars.

Kim has been studying the Psychobilly culture in Texas and California and I've been to check out some of this music with her, it's some pretty fun people watching.

The zombie theme is so prevalent that Kim has a whole chapter on it. She also loves zombies :)

So check it out:

SECTION A - Zombies Are Back

SECTION B - Zombie Definitions

SECTION C - Zombies Correspond to our Fears

SECTION D - Catharsis of Zombie-Killing

SECTION E - Psychobilly's Zombie Narrative

SECTION F - Zombie Minstrelsy

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

I was a guest blogger for Girls Rock Camp Austin for South by Southwest: Those Darlins and Girl in a Coma, supporting bands who support the community

Girl in a Coma will play Girl's Rock Camp's Showcase at SXSW

Rock Camp has been around long enough that it is not just about the girls anymore. While the girl campers who sign up for Rock Camp all around the country (and the world) are the fire that keep it all going, Camp is just as much about the adult woman who support it: whether it be the staff, volunteers or the bands who play.

Girl in a Coma and Those Darlins are two bands that I have become a fan of due to their involvement in Rock Camp. It’s a musical symbiotic relationship. Women have a history of solidarity and this is no exception. BUT, and hear me on this, it takes GOOD music to hold my attention as a fan, it doesn’t matter who makes it.

Girl in a Coma played the Girls Rock Camp 2009 SXSW Showcase and I have been a supporter since. READ MORE ON THE ROCK CAMP BLOG HERE.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Music Never Left You: a repost from Kirk Hamilton's Murfins and Burglars

Reposted from SF musician and friend Kirk Hamilton's blog Murfins and Burglars. I know you're out there fellow musical friends and former classmates.

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Things kind of suck right now, don’t they? It has become difficult, especially over these past few weeks, to shake the feeling that we are lying in the basin of some vast, vague ditch of malaise, frustration and crappiness – nationally, globally, but also individually. Everyone seems depressed, and not just because it’s January.

We’ll see if Mr. Obama can get up there tonight for his first State of the Union and make us feel better about things. I imagine that at the very least he’ll make those of us who support him feel a bit better about him, which should in turn make us feel a bit better about “things.” I doubt, however, that it’ll be the spiritual salve that I, at least, am craving.

But I think I know something that could be. I was browsing the Facebook statuses of my friends and fellow musicians when I saw a post by a San Francisco saxophonist I know, Bari Sax-man extraordinaire Doug Rowan, who shared the following:
Everyone that ever played a musical instrument and quit playing for some reason or another should pick it back up again and see what happens.
To which I say: YES. Doug, I love this. “Pick it back up again and see what happens.” Yes. Yes.

Right after seeing that (but unrelated to it), a singer friend of mine shared on my wall that she’d picked up her alto sax again after several years of not playing, and was loving it. And I realized: that’s it! We should go for it, we should turn that thought into some sort of unofficial national initiative.

People of the world!

Ex-band geeks, garage rockers! Dorm room strummers and lapsed fifth-grade recorder virtuosos!

Hear me, and heed the call! It is time to pick up your instruments once more!

Seriously, I am talking to YOU. Perhaps you played an instrument in your high school band, or banged on the bass in a garage punk group in college? Maybe you sang in the madrigals or were a marching band nerd? Did you rent-to-own a euphonium, or spend days learning scales on the xylophone? Is there an accordion moldering in a closet somewhere in your house?

If so, go dig that accordion up, dust of those drum cases, re-string that bass, have your folks ship out your old Squire. Find your old instrument and see if it still works, because I’ll bet it does. And more to the point, I’ll bet that you can still work it. Just place your hands on it and see what they remember. You just might surprise yourself.

And sure, you might be utter rubbish, you might give your cat a nervous breakdown. Playing again may remind you why the lip pain, sore fingers, and frustrating metronome bleeps made you stop in the first place. But maybe, just maybe, you’ll realize how much you loved music, how much you miss it, and you might start to play again. Find a teacher. Learn some new songs you like. Join a band.

I know this won’t solve anything tangible. It won’t get back any bailout money, or fix the California state budget, or re-hire all the amazing teachers who are going to be let go this year, to say nothing of what it won’t do for the suffering multitudes of the world.

But what it will do is something less quantifiable, perhaps smaller but no less grand – it might allow you to rediscover a part of yourself that you’d forgotten was even there.

You don’t have to sound “good.”

You don’t have to sound like anything at all.

Just give it a try. See what happens.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

T.R. Knight stars in "Parade": a sobering reminder of Red/Blue State politics, racism and anti-semtism. Jamie's Dad reports

T.R. Knight stars as Leo Frank in "Parade"

This blog entry was written my my Dad, Jeff. Every so often I ask him to write a review of a show he's seen in Los Angeles. Check out his review of "Howling Blues & Dity Dogs."

Who was Leo Frank? No, he was not Ann Frank’s father. And, while he was also a Jew, he was an American and not a German. And no, he did not die at the hands of the Nazis. He was lynched by Georgia whites in 1917 for a murder he may not have committed and after the Georgia Governor had reduced his sentence from death by hanging to life imprisonment.

Why are we talking about Leo Frank? It’s because the play with music Parade is currently being performed at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles . Fresh from runs in New York and London, where, respectively, it won a Tony award and was nominated for an Olivier award, an ensemble of about two dozen talented men and women deliver a powerful performance of this “musical” about a subject which, although almost 100 years old, still has relevance today in our “red state vs. blue state” reality.

Here’s a quick summary of the story...

READ MORE OF JEFF'S REVIEW HERE

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Guest Halloween blogger Kim Kattari: Prepare yourself for a fiendishly freaky time with The Creepshow

Awesome Gilman poster just in time for Halloween

My good friend and ethnomusicologist Kim Kattari is writing her dissertation on psychobilly music for a Ph.D. at The University of Texas Austin, where I got my Master's degree. She's coming up to the Bay Area this weekend to see this show so I asked her if she wanted to be a guest blogger. I worked my magic to get her an interview with the band and this is the cool piece she sent me just in time for Halloween! Read more about Kim below.

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Ghouls, demon lovers, zombies, the devil – just some of the characters found in the horrifically fun songs of The Creepshow. The group boasts four talented musicians: the cute but tough bombshell Sarah “Sin” Blackwood rocks on guitar and lead vocals, Sean “Sick Boy” McNab slaps away on a stand-up bass topped with a skull, Kristian “The Reverend McGinty” Rowles delivers dark-sounding sermons and creepy organ sounds à la J.S. Bach’s Toccata and Fugue, and Matt “Pomade” Gee keeps it all together with solid rhythms on drums. To get the hard-driving hybrid sound that makes this Canadian band unique and exciting, take a little Johnny Cash, mix in some Dead Kennedys and the Damned, throw in the zombie love child of Wanda Jackson and Elvis Presley, and add a dash each of skate punk, haunted house organ, 1980s goth, and 1950s/1960s vocal group harmonies. So whether you want to call it “horrorbilly,” “psychobilly,” “horror punk,” “punk-a-billy,” “hellbilly” or whatever other term people have come up with to describe the “rockabilly meets punk meets horror movie” style, the band prefers to simply call it “Rock n Roll.”

The Creepshow is currently touring to promote their second album, Run For Your Life, a record that ranges from angry tales of heartbreak and revenge in “You’ll Come Crawlin’” to boot-stomping anthems like “Buried Alive.” Then there are the peppier pop songs “Rock ‘n’ Roll Sweetheart” and “Demon Lover” featuring back-up vocal harmonies so infectious and irresistibly catchy that you’ll find yourself singing “ooh ooh ooh” along with the band in no time.

You’ll quickly fall under the spell of Sarah “Sin” Blackwood’s sultry, country-tinged sexiness. I asked her what it’s like to be a woman in a mostly male-dominated music scene. After joking about dealing with “the smell of dudes all the time,” she commented on the double standard that women face:

“Even if I am trying to tough it out [when I’m not feeling 100%], it still makes me seem wimpy if I complain, because I am a girl and that automatically puts me in a “diva” category. Like if the guys all ask for no tomato on their burgers and their fries not to touch their ketchup, it’s all good, but if I ask for that (which I f--king wouldn’t), then people think I am demanding and bitchy.”

READ MORE OF KIM'S ARTICLE HERE



About the guest author: Kim Kattari is a doctoral candidate in ethnomusicology at the University of Texas at Austin. She's currently residing in California, doing research for her dissertation on psychobilly music, entitled: "Bridging the Decades through “Mutant Rockabilly”: The Performance of a Working-Class Nostalgic Fantasy in the Psychobilly Community." She loves going to shows, doing her hair up, and hearing that thump-thump of the upright bass. If you'd like to contact Kim, email her at kattari@mail.utexas.edu.