Listening Party: Queen Anne’s Revenge, Kareem Abdul Guitar and Silvergun Superman

Starting off this week’s Listening Party, we have local old-time and roots-music band The Queen Anne’s Revenge. Taking their name from Blackbeard’s infamous pirate ship, the group seems to have a clear grasp on their musical inspirations, proudly claiming “roundpeak style old-time music, deep-South old-time, country blues, hokum, maritime music, a dash of Cape Breton and a pinch of archaic early country” as their own. But, the fundamental question is still unanswered: Are they any good? That’s where you come in. We suggest starting with their version of the song “Poor Ellen Smith,” one of the few tunes on their MySpace page with vocals.

Next, we have a local act that couldn’t possibly be more different than the Queen Anne’s Revenge if they tried. Kareem Abdul Guitar is a thunderingly powerful metal act, but not one without occasional (if rare) touches of subtlety. Their self-proclaimed mission? To “destroy the jam band scene.” While most of the band’s recordings are somewhat raw in quality, they don’t seem to suffer much for it. We suggest starting with “McAss Kicker,” which gets right to the point.

Closing out this week’s Listening Party, we have a suggestion from our ongoing Xpress forum discussion. Taking their name from a Stone Temple Pilots song, Silvergun Superman is a four-piece rock group that, not surprisingly, takes quite a bit of inspiration from the ‘90s grunge movement. We suggest starting with the song “Rx,” which will be featured on the group’s upcoming album (currently being recorded at Giraffe Studios).

Now, it’s your turn. Tell us your thoughts on these performers by posting into the comment fields below. This is your chance to be the music reviewer, so praise and pan as you see fit.

Also, if you’d like to suggest a band for Listening Party, or have questions about the column, visit this thread on our Mountainx.com forums.

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41 thoughts on “Listening Party: Queen Anne’s Revenge, Kareem Abdul Guitar and Silvergun Superman

  1. Travis

    Silvergun Superman is a phenomenal band! These guys really rock it hard, and I’m looking very forward to the Wolf Ridge show in March!

    Rx is a wicked song but don’t skip over the other two on their myspace page. There is some great variety in those three songs.

  2. I really enjoy doing this listening party each week now…….. I feel like it’s a cool thing for us to do after we have been featured ourselves.

    First for me is Silvergun Superman, mostly because I’ve been meaning to catch up on their work since we made a connection on myspace. I agree with Steve’s entry point about the overtones of some post-glam, confessional, call-it-grunge-if-you-must rock. But like the best of that genre then, there is something about these tunes that resonates on a real, intense level unlike much of the neo-rock I see featured on VH1 and the like. I particularly like the tonality of the singer’s voice….. these songs do not rely on cascading jazz riffs like the kind of stuff I usually listen to…. they don’t need them. Listening to these guitars waft around, together, it’s just chilling me out to a point where you finally get a 16 of something everyone can catch onto. It’s good stuff….. I like how your music moves melodically speaking as well. I hope we get to share a show someday.

    more to come…

  3. Travis

    Jason, nicely put! I find the vocalist fits that 90s grunge rock sound but with enough originality and melody to make it interesting and not cliché. This is currently one of my favorite groups, hands down. Aside from the great vocals, there are solid bass lines, killer drums, and guitar riffs and effects like I’ve never heard before. All around these guys are just GOOD.

    I did listen to the other bands. Queen Anne’s revenge was very good, though really not my kind of music. I can appreciate their talent in that genre, but I can’t really get into it unless I’m hearing it in a live setting.

    I thought Kareem Abdul Guitar sounded good also, but it’s hard to feel the music without professionally mixed tracks (would love to hear some of these out of a studio.) It does remind me quite a bit of Kings of Prussia whose music I do like. I will say, I’m a fan of a good vocalist when it comes to rock, so instrumental-only rock doesn’t usually hold my attention for long.

    I keep coming back to Silvergun Superman because their music is rocking, but their recording is tight. Giraffe Studios has really done a fantastic job mixing these tracks as far as I’m concerned, and it really does make all the difference in the world. More radio time for these guys!

  4. Kevin

    Silvergun Superman… I’ve seen a couple of their shows and I anm always amazed by the live energy… RX is my fav, but after the Oarnge Peel x-mas jam I think one of their new songs might take over.. I will def be at the Wolf Ridge big air comp march 3rd…
    To the mountain, if I heard RX @say 3:40 on my way to work, I would call and go woooo wooooooooo, then pull over and wipe myself.

  5. Liz

    I’m a sucker for old timey music done by not so old timey folks so I really dig the sound of Queen Anne’s Revenge. The name is completely kick ass. I’m not the biggest fan of female vocalists, but the instrumentals are beautiful.

    On the other hand, I do enjoy a vocalist, and without one, Kareem Abdul Guitar just can’t grab me. I might dig it if it was in the background in a dark bar, but I probably wouldn’t get caught up in a live show.

    Silvergun Superman is doing a great job rocking. They don’t have as many songs up as the other guys, but I look forward to hearing more.

    Steve, This Listening Party is a great idea!

  6. mclovin

    QAR is old time at its finest. i have seen most of the bands members working with other projects and they never fail to impress me.

    silvergun superman…..damn its god to hear some rock and roll!!!

  7. “it’s hard to feel the music without professionally mixed tracks”

    That’s absurd. So, it’s not about the songs themselves, it’s about the sound quality? Again, absurd.

  8. First off, as the vocalist for Silvergun Superman, I’d like to thank everyone for their positive feedback. Please, don’t shy from being critical; that is the point of this forum, correct?

    I love this forum for the fact that although Asheville is not starving for rock/hard rock bands, it is lacking in recognition of these acts; this forum makes it possible for bands of all genres and styles to receive recognition and critiques, and is something the music scene in Asheville has seriously lacked. Kudos to the XPress, sites like The Asheville Music Scene (Don Talley rocks!!!) and Asheville Bands for helping all the talent Asheville has to offer.

    And now, I shall pull on my oversized critic boots and attempt the intricate dance of critiquing while still expressing that I thoroughly enjoyed the other two acts this week…

    Queen Anne’s Revenge has the sweetest band name of all time! I wish I’d thought of that one… Now, I am not well-versed in the comings and goings of folk/bluegrass music; in fact, I usually steer clear of it. Mark Twain once said that the definition of a true gentleman was one who knows how to play the banjo, and doesn’t. :) However, melody is melody and phrasing is phrasing, and I enjoyed this band as much as I would any band of it’s style. I loved the dichotomy between the fiddle and banjo on the tune “Cutting at the Point”. Great melodies that weave in and out of each other on the two instruments. I like the tonality of the singers voice on all the tracks she is on; she has the right sound for their band. One aspect of their genre I’ve always loved is the somber lyrics of death (as in Poor Ellen Smith) juxtaposed to the phrasing and melodies in the tunes. I’m not sure if this is their song, or a rendition of a standard, but it speaks to me regardless! It is that aspect of this genre that has always made “Gallow’s Pole” by Zep one of my favorites.

    Kareem Abdul Guitar is also a sweet band name; these two bands make me feel as stale as a Starbuck’s pastry when it comes to creativity in names! As for my thoughts on their music, I find that they have great, powerful riffs (War Stompin grabs my no-no-happy-place with that gigantic first note and doesn’t let go!) and some great sonic effects (Briefcase Full of Outer Space is such an appropriate name for that tune). My only critique comes from the angle of a vocalist; anytime I approach an instrumental outfit such as KAG (one that is vocal-ready), I listen for what I would do as the vocalist. In that regard, I find myself longing for changes that don’t occur (i.e. a stronger, more prevalent “chorus” or a bridge between parts, etc…)and a strong hook in songs that really flirt with one. I am highly anticipating a full lineup for this band (if that is their wish, of course) because I think great solid rock could come from them.

    As for sound quality issue from above:

    From my own personal experience, anytime Silvergun records practice with a single condenser set up in a small room to CAPTURE a song, I know I still can’t WAIT until we can get into Giraffe Studios and cut the track to really FEEL the song. This doesn’t mean that one cannot tell a great song from a recording that utilized a mono tape deck outfitted with a radio shack special microphone, it just means that better quality recording makes better sound. And sometimes (there are exceptions), that makes for a better representation of a song. I think this axiom, if you will, holds fairly true for genres such as ours, and will hold true to KAG. I hope they don’t mind that I made an acronym of their band name; I kind of like it! :)

  9. Travis

    “That’s absurd. So, it’s not about the songs themselves, it’s about the sound quality? Again, absurd.”

    Flux,

    I wasn’t trashing on Kareem Abdul Guitar’s music; however, looking back, I realize I didn’t say much good about them and I apologize. I DO think their music is very good, and I do like it. I would just rather hear it live or cleanly mixed in a studio. They are a talented band and if I ever get a chance to hear them live I’m sure I will enjoy it. I should have made that more clear, but I did write the review in a bit of a hurry.

    Thanks for pointing out the bias in what I said–at times I can be a bit too subjective when writing a review of something. ;)

    All in all regarding talent, I’m very impressed with these three bands and I’ll certainly be on the lookout for upcoming live shows:

    Silvergun Superman at Wolf Ridge on March 2nd (!!!) and Kareem Abdul Guitar at Joli Rouge on February 8th. I didn’t happen to notice any live venues upcoming for Queen Anne’s Revenge but I’ll keep watch. If anyone has any information on shows, could they post it?

  10. that guy

    That’s cool that you rely on multiple opinions on this thing to let folks spout off about local music. Kudos to Kareem Abdul Guitar for trying to destroy the jam band scene in Asheville. It’s long overdue though Kareem should also remember that those hippies with all their expendable income sadly have swayed record companies, clubs and festivals to cater to their awful tastes. Yeah, the world really wants to hear your 15 minute guitar solo using just those white boy funk I-IV chords. “Killer, bra, he’s going off on the guitar!” Is there a band in town willing to destroy the local “Americana” scene too? I’d love to see bits of broken mandolin and glass slides for acoustic guitars littering the streets of Asheville. I found it interesting that Corey in his review clearly read that The Queen Anne’s Revenge plays old time music yet referred to it as folk/bluegrass? He should listen to Leadbelly’s version of “Gallows Pole” (sorry Zep didn’t write it- its a bit older than that) No, Virginia, there isn’t a Santa Claus and yes there is a difference between old time and bluegrass. Old time is pre-bluegrass and dance music first. Old time relies on rythymic elements and the structure of the chord changes to move a song. The stuff you dance to at Warren Wilson by the way is not old time music in the Southern tradition- it’s called contra music and they play it in New England. Bluegrass was the first commercial country music developed in the late 1930s to cater to crowds who treated it as listening music that you heard on the radio. Nowadays bluegrass (like country music) has been absorbed by Nashville into the realm of sickeningly sweet pretty little solos with no drive, a homogenous sound containing trite cliche themes of Momma, home, cornbread and leans more to the Christian Right politically vs. old time. There are but a handful of bands in town playing bluegrass with a snarl. Oh yeah, if it’s got drums or electric bass, it ain’t bluegrass either. I didn’t listen to the third band as I personally am glad grunge rock died in the late 1990s though I wish them luck in their endeavors.

  11. My apologies. I’ve never been able to keep my genres straight. From now on, please don’t refer to our sound as grunge, but as post non-screamo screamo traditional hardcore hard prog rock.

    If it has a banjo, acoustic guitar, fiddle, and a vocalist singing about the gallows pole, its gonna be bluegrass to me. I might even call it folk. Oh yeah, I already did. Somebody should stop me before I pigeon-hole the band… I do hope that my careless use of genre names doesn’t persuade someone from listening to a very good “Old Time” band like Queen Anne’s Revenge. I meant no harm in my ignorance…

    Leadbelly’s song is great. I actually heard it before I ever heard Zep’s version. I just refered to Zep’s because it relates well to my comment that “old time” music is not my expertise (if anything is), yet I can appreciate certain reoccurring thematics that are prevalent in the old time pre-commercial bluegrass noncontra genre, and have crossed over into genres closer to my own (which, if you’ve forgot, is now post non-screamo screamo traditional hardcore hard prog rock).

    By the way, my name has no “e” in it. You can refer to the spelling that is directly below my picture in the future to avoid any errors. :)

  12. Travies

    That Guy, you seem to know a lot about music, but do you even LIKE music? I imagine perhaps bluegrass, if it has a snarl. I don’t know what that means but it sounds hot.

    Since Cory has redefined Silvergun Superman as a post non-screamo screamo traditional hardcore hard prog rock (i.e. – no longer a grunge band) you should really stop by to check them out!

  13. PS: Leadbelly’s tune “Gallis Pole” in derived from the traditional “The Maid Freed From the Gallows” which dates back to the 18th century. Did you know he wrote his arrangement in jail while being charged with murder? Just FYI.

  14. I would like to briefly comment that many of us love good jam music, and indeed there have been many players over the years who I would love to hear solo for 15 minutes, or more, over even a single “chord”…. or even better, over the absence of any at all. Being able to communicate a unique, liquid, godly thought in real time via improvisation may be the most un-‘white-boy’ thing there is; ever listen to Miles? The only thing I don’t like about the Kareem Abdul Guitar thing on this week’s trio is that ridiculous statement about jambands. Some people would define any non-lyrical music as “jam”……

    As for to the pseudonymer above, your horrific imagery of shattered mandolins et.al. I just say, you might want to concentrate on your own “scene”, whatever that may be rather than hating on those who are different from you. There’s plenty of airwaves out there for whatever…. jam, prog, post screamo et. al. from above, pop…. bluegrass. Some people love folk, and some, electrogothic spacerock.

    PS) Silvergun is growing on me even more after a few days…….

  15. that guy

    Hell yeah, I love the alias Cory (no “e”) used in place of grunge. It has a certain ring to it. Obviously in a town with as many diverse forms of music as Asheville it is rather difficult to put bands in a box according to their style and who would really want to? I guess you can drone on and on about differences between bluegrass and old time but some will still equate any acoustic instrument with “Oh Brother Where Art Thou” and deny the rich history of musical talent that existed here well before Asheville was on “the map” as a music hub. Comments about “Gallis Pole” are on the money too as Leadbelly didn’t write it but it was one of his more widely known covers. I still love comments from Kareem about destroying the jam band scene. Metal is supposed to be rebellious and angry at the world so it might seem silly to adopt an “I love everybody” mentality when they trash other music. Wasn’t metal (kind of like punk music) a response to the bland poppy radio fare that preceded it in the mid 1970’s? There I go sermonizing again. My own “scene” is yet to be decided as I enjoy all kinds of music and wouldn’t even mention Miles Davis in the same sentence as the word “jam band” as Miles’ had ideas that were light years ahead of his time. To me “scene” = “clique” as I notice tendencies within musical circles that resemble more of a middle school cafeteria. Kudos still to the Xpress for starting this as I look forward to the comments that folks make here about local music. I personally enjoy music a lot too as it keeps me from having to talk to my other cell mates here.

  16. Jam is such a funny thing to me; you could never catch me in a record store buying a jam artist’s album. Hell, I won’t even download it for free! But there is something to be said for improv, and I appreciate listening to a jam band member play an intricate solo live, in small doses. The “jam band” incorporates the expression of the jazz improv, but to me sacrifices the song overall because of it. Players like Miles Davis, John Coltrane, even crazy bassists like Charles Mingus never lose the song to me, even when they are at their peak of abstact composition. They never sacrifice the song’s integrity (which, to me, is the most important part of songwriting) to show of their chops.

    And I have to agree, Miles in particular was light years ahead of anyone, even today.

    Different strokes for different folks. I’d much rather listen to someone strum three chords and sing a song than listen to the Dead play one song for 20 minutes. I may get impaled in this town for saying that and no one will ever come listen to my band again, but then again, Dead-heads probably don’t like my band anyways. ;)

  17. The DowdyLama

    I didn’t listen to Queen Anne’s Revenge because “Old Time Music” died a long time ago, thank god.

  18. The DowdyLama

    The above comment was intended as a snarky retort to That Guy – it was not intended as derogatory towards Queen Anne’s Revenge in any way.

  19. fanomaly

    I love the fact that the lead singer for my favorite local band can express himself on paper in such an articulate fashion. When you come out to see Silvergun Superman live and have your socks rocked off you can be sure that there is an astonishing amount of creative work by some very bright young guys in every delicious song. I’ve heard some of the new stuff that is getting ready to burst forth from the studio and would encourage you to keep checking back onto the website. Some real treats are in store!

  20. Englewood Jack

    After his last performance ever at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1991, Miles Davis got a big hug from Quincy Jones, who’d convinced him to come out for the gig. Davis had played music he hadn’t performed in decades.

    “That was beautiful, man,” said Quincy, embracing the trumpet player.

    “F*ck you,” said Miles.

    See, Miles Davis did the hard work. He learned, respected, and understood tradition, all under the repressive norms of segregation and racism. Eventually – being a singularly talented artist – he took it in his own direction. And not always to critical acclaim. He took risks, and suffered for them. He kicked heroin and picked up painting. And bought a Ferrari.

    Comparing the jam-band aesthetic with the work of a seminal artist like Miles Davis is not only silly, but also ignorant self-indulgence, swathed in that typical feel-good haze of “it’s all good, brah.”

    But it’s not all good, brah. And that’s ultimately why jam-band music will always suck.

    Because jam-band is easy. It’s self-involved liquid love, directly handed down from a zeitgeist of spoiled, mostly white, middle-class baby boomers who somehow convinced themselves they were special. Jam-band is also fun, but due to its inherent permissiveness is only that: mindless fun. It lacks gravitas.

    It’s not enough to master an instrument. Truly great music acknowledges tradition – not just influence and inspiration. It’s a long road riddled with discipline, toil, frustration, and disappointment. The hard work.

    And when executed well, it’s a heckuva lot more than rolling around on a stage floor, twiddling effect knobs.

  21. that guy

    That’s what I’m talking about! Differences of musical opinions! Asheville is now offically not “all one ” and it’s in print! Hell yeah! I liked the Miles/jam band comments as they relate to Kareem’s original comment. True that! I also like the fact that not everybody on this specific blog is a friend of the bands who write in stuff like “They’re sooooo good! I love them! They rock!” That tells me nothing except they’re friends of the band. As for The Dowdy Llama’s comment, that’s cool how he/she can slam an entire genre of music for being “dead” though it’s still being performed worldwide while not claiming to mean offense to the old time band playing it. I went back and listened to Silvergun Superman’s stuff and now that I did I enjoyed it for what it is but still feel grunge is dead too. That’s ok, other music du jour will fill the radio vacuum. Other dead forms of music include metal, disco, The Grateful Dead, big band, Dixieland, bebop, vaudeville, Gregorian chants, Aborginal didjeredoo (spelling?), West African drumming,Tin Pan Alley, (remember the Afro-Celt craze on WNCW of the mid 1990’s? How about every folk band featuring a cello during the mid-late 1990’s too?) etc. Edison’s original intent for developing the phonograph was to catalogue and document dying forms of culture (specifically Southwestern American Indian languages and musical/religious ceremonies). Last I checked Latin is a dead language too but if it really is there are a lot of scientists and doctors wasting their time learning it. I’ll personally remember old time music is dead every time someone claps after a song, enjoys themselves or dances to it. I’ll remind myself that it’s dead this summer at numerous festivals that feature old time music played till dawn while the bluegrassers in white golf belts or jamgrassers in dreads and polypro are asleep after playing “Rocky Top” or “I Know You Rider” one last time. Finally, I’ll remember it’s dead every time I visit a myspace page that local bands maintain that claim old time as one of their influences. It makes me want to spend my money listening to music considered dead on my stereo and in person at clubs. It does make me seriosuly wonder about popularity/critical acclaim vs. delivering a musical message in Asheville. They don’t always walk hand in hand. Miles I suppose could tell you that. The coolest thing about this new Listening is that you can read all the goofy comments from people and then go listen to the music yourself and thus eliminate the need or relevance of a middle man (a music critic). Then you can decide whether you like it or not. It’s like getting a free sample of food from a local restaurant then making up your own mind instead of taking a food critic’s word for it. I can’t wait for more reviews through the Xpress and the myriad of comments that will follow.

  22. “Jam-band is also fun, but due to its inherent permissiveness is only that: mindless fun. It lacks gravitas.”

    Jack, you nailed it.

  23. Me

    Old Time is not dead. I’ll add that I wish Jam was dead. Jack was pretty right on with his description of Jam band followers.

    And That Guy? Congratulations on picking the most apropos nom-de-plume.

    I’m not sure it is helping anyone to make up all these genres and sub-genres of music. I realize everyone wants to feel special, but what the crap is Shoe-gaze? I like to describe a band by using two or more predecessors. For instance, Puscifer sounds like Trent Reznor and Rob Zombie’s streams of consciousness dictated through Maynard’s typewriter. See how fun that was? Now you may not agree with my interpretation, but we had some fun and you’re not left going, What is Neo-minimalist turntablism?

  24. I think a lot of music writers tend to use that tactic.

    My band’s singer and I recently spent an evening writing a press bio for our band. It was only then that I realized how hard it is to write about music without sounding like an idiot. So I’m always impressed when someone does it well.

    However, I think that the current lack what I see as original material in music is tied up in the way we talk and write about it. The “something-meets-something crossed with a little something” style really doesn’t leave a lot of room for originality, does it?

  25. Well, I’m sure I’m not the only one in Asheville who sees the connection between legends of jazz like Miles and Coltrane, and legends of jam like Jerry Garcia and Trey Anastasio, and legends of rock like Dylan and the Beatles, and legends of hip-hop like Jay-Z and Snoop Dogg, and legends of country like Hank Williams and Hank Williams Jr., and legends of pop like Michael Jackson and Prince, and legends of bluegrass like Flatt and Scruggs and Earl Monroe…….etc. etc. etc.

    Sure is cool when all the girls at the show are dancing. That about sums it all up.

  26. Englewood Jack

    Well that’s all kind of rainbows-and-unicorns warm-feeling, Jason, but what exactly is that connection? Can you be more specific? Would you care to elucidate? Make it *sparkle* for me, babe.

    Have you ever tried to play a Coltrane riff? *Can* you play a Coltrane riff? Probably not. Does it matter? Absolutely.

    The “girls at the show are dancing” argument is ultimately specious and immature – an attitude that betrays a yearning for validation. Which is kind of sad. Maybe that explains why jam music often seems to be an exclusively masturbatory exercise.

    You might as well try playing a Zappa record while making love. Show me a woman who’ll put up with that and I’ll show you a sure-fire candidate for my abuse farm…

    Apparently there is a wide chasm between enjoying music and understanding it. I reject your notions of aesthetic equivalence. Primarily because you don’t have the slightest idea of what you’re talking about, and therefore I can’t take your opinion – or your music – seriously.

    But keep on jammin’ man. You were MADE for it!

  27. I love how you’d love to have a personal argument with me. Seems like trying to convince me to adopt your attitude about music is your attempt at self-validation to me.

    The connection between the legends I listed to me is clear: they are the greats in their own craft…

    I love that you call me specious and immature in your post. Really, that is because I am defending a particular genre of music which I love and which you do not. Therefore I guess all people who disagree with you about matters of aesthetics are specious and immature? Of course it’s easy for you to throw barbs at me….I’m making myself the martyr for a whole genre that it seems is becoming a chic thing to diss…..okay. I’ll take the cross of jam music to the mountain…. and you can nail me to it. I won’t argue.

    Maybe if you’d like to make personal attacks, you’d like to post them under your true name, like I do. Then you could be equally exposed. Or, rather, you could get your credit for giving me the smack down verbally here!

    I would like to take this opportunity to explain the sheer joy of Britney Spears to anyone still reading this. You see, unlike some other apparently angry subscribers to this board, I think that tightly produced dance music is great, particularly throwaway pop songs like those given to Britney Spears and her counterparts during the late 90’s and early 00’s. The way she danced and entertained her way through those songs, it was magical. And sadly, now it’s over. But make no mistake, Britney was one of the seminal artists of this era….not one of the seminal musicians of course, but she was a seminal talent in my view.

    So come on and roast away all you sad people who have to hate on the jam scene! Now I’m really given you bullets.

    Perhaps you’d like to hear my thoughts on why Michael Jackson is fundamentally in the same category as Miles Davis?

    Or maybe you just want to come hear some of my original JAM MUSIC on my myspace! Then you can be enlightened!!!

    I’m going to go learn a Coltrane riff so this unnamed critic can be appeased. Nah…. I think it’d be more fun to writhe around on the floor playing “Hit Me Baby One More Time”…..those knobs sure need tweedling!

  28. cgo

    Nice Jason, I was wondering though, can Engelwood play a Coltrane riff? On any instrument? Somebody that good here in Asheville? Most jazz musicians, especially no name ones, are instrumental masturbators. Play me a song that melts me. Moves me. I get bored real quick with over indulgent jock instrumentalist. Been there and done it myself.

  29. I thought about this little series of comments all day today as I baked cakes and made icing and washed dishes, you know, that good soul clearing menial labor thing that many artists (and literature majors, but that was another forum) do, and….

    I thought of an interesting point about jam music to make to our Anonymous friend above.

    Who are Miles Davis’ collaborators who have continued to develop most since their time in his ensembles? I think that John Scofield and Herbie Hancock might arguably be the most acclaimed.

    And John Scofield continues to record and tour with Medeski Martin & Wood;

    And Herbie Hancock was the artist in residence at Bonnaroo not so long ago, where as I recall the greatest moment was his hour-plus collaboration with Widespread Panic during the festival’s final throes.

    Who’s to say what Miles himself might be doin, were this his era? He certainly made some recordings with Prince during his time.

  30. that guy

    1) Not using one’s name here is not a sign of cowardice. Instead of using this forum for cheap publicity (that’s myspace’s job), Englewood and myself prefer to let our music speak for ourselves. Englewood is a trumpet player and multi-instrumentalist by the way and most likely could play a Miles Riff. I play in 5 non-jam bands within the WNC area that make little to no money due to the fact that jam bands will undercut other music and play anywhere and anytime just to see their name in lights (clubs, festivals and benefits are only all to happy to let you play for art’s sake by the way- a word to the wise).

    2) Who, praytell is Earl Monroe? I know of a Bill Monroe and an Earl Scruggs, and neither one of them “jammed” . Their songs had clear themes, demonstrated a knowledge of roots music that preceded it (old time fiddle/banjo tunes, black string band music, gospel, hot jazz) and their songs didn’t last for 20 minutes. Most of the jam band music forced down my throat via our darling of a local music station demonstrates the abillity to noodle around on the I and IV chord if one is lucky. To the casual listener that means you’re bored and heading to the fridge for a beer because the solo content plays off of two chords.

    3)Jason, I have heard your music (as has Englewood) on numerous occasions at local watering holes and while I don’t hate it, I don’t attach enough importance to it to consider you a martyr. You’ve got a long way to go before you earn that title, my friend. In the strict definition, it means you have to die for a cause (I’m not asking you to do that.

    Do consider however Ray Charles’ decision to refuse to play gigs in Georgia during the 1960’s as a protest against segragation. That’s standing up for a cause you believe in. What does jam band music stand for? (insert phrases here such as “it’s all good, namaste, 420, are you kind”?, etc.)

    4) While artists mentioned above who used to play with Miles do indeed play with other artists at Bonaroo, most would agree they sadly out-class the jam bands they sit in with. See, they sit in with them for some $ in between making records and touring. Ouch, there’s that ugly truth of the music biz again.

    I was suckered into buying a Grateful Dead album in college called “Live Without a Net” and it featured Branford Marsalis. I had just seen him perform live (with his trio- not the Dead) and was blown away but not so much with his work with the Dead. Branford was only going through the motions (and making some cash). Branford later went on to push musical boundaries on the David Letterman show playing cover songs before commercial breaks I believe.

    5) For God’s sake, don’t anybody feel that they should be scared off or stop posting here. We can all get along even though jam band music sucks the big one. Slurrrrrrrp.

  31. Maybe I am using this board for cheap publicity then. Or maybe I’m networking (so far I would say there are 3 solid musician/artist friends I’ve made as a result of these dialogues….each of which seemed to enjoy my work a lot more than ‘That Guy’). What I started off doing was trying to respond to the request to review some music.

    Jam music stands for the same thing as jazz. It’s about freedom, and communion with an audience. It’s about throwing caution to the wind, and allowing for unforeseen, beautiful results…at the risk of it not being euphoric or going anywhere interesting. It’s like falling in love in that way, the unknown. Will it all work out? That’s why the great jazzers want to go to the big festivals and collaborate with the jamband community, not just to make money like you said. It’s because they crave that free net to leap into provided by an admirating, respectful audience.

    Of course we can agree to disagree about this music. But the argument about how anyone who likes it is not as musical, scholarly, rational, serious or whatever as those who don’t is silly.

    As for who gets paid what to play where, it would seem to me that the band able to draw the largest crowd for whatever reason is the one that will have the power when it comes to booking. There’s no way to undercut the music scene in that way: if you can build a following, and have them turn out consistently, then you will be in demand. And that cuts across any genre or aesthetic. And so that goes to how to build a following?

    For some it may be to try playing some music that people enjoy! That does make them want to dance. That does create a festive place to be for both the performer and the audience! And so whether that comes from a rapper, a country act, a jazz icon, or a jamband, I’ll celebrate it and applaud it–always! And that is something to stand for, to die for, like you said….the shared experience of excellent art and the human condition.

    Thanks for correcting me about Bill Monroe. My point in mentioning him was to point out that bluegrass has its greats, just like jazz, and just like jam music.

    The following is excerpted from the Berklee College of Music’s page, from the article entitled ‘The Renaissance Man: Branford Marsalis provides laughs and lessons while reflecting on his long career’ dated March 22,2002:

    “There were two bands. There was the Grateful Dead and then there was the Dreadful Greats,” Marsalis said. “It just depended on the night. When they were the Grateful Dead, they were a joy. When I was playing with Sting, I couldn’t play anything jazz-like because it wouldn’t work within the structure of the music. But with the Dead, I could play anything I wanted because they were so open and loose. When they were clicking it was great.”

    Marsalis always pulled out a bit of wisdom about music or the music profession from his stories. As he continued to talk about the Dead, he contrasted the way they played with what he hears in current rock music.

    “They were really an improvisational rock band,” he said. “It was something that was relatively common in the ’60s and early ’70s and something that is completely nonexistent now. Electronic rock music has a tendency to be rigid, all the parts are meticulous, like a machine, and there’s not much deviation. It was nice to be in a band that had that much sway to it. It was hip.”

  32. that guy

    Wow, I notice this thread about jam band’s relative worth has generated quite a few comments. Sadly they’re all from about 3 or 4 people. Strange that I haven’t heard any of the many jam bands around our town jumping to its defense. Hmmmmmm.

    Strangely enough the original thread had to do with a local band and their desire to destroy the jam band scene. Kudos to them.

    More power to them I still say as the jam band scene (despite Mr. Ross Martin’s comments otherwise) does cater to a very specific socio-economic niche. Early 20 somethings with more expendable income than other age groups will throw money around to tilt the scales such that jam band music will be prominently featured over other forms of music.

    Festivals exist first to make $, and musical entertainment comes second. Not a revolutionary idea by any means. I am very much ok with this idea and don’t feel any regret or “sour grapes” feelings as I play music for people who prefer other forms of music. I kind of like that.

    What’s so repulsive about acknowledging this idea? When one is out and about and sees a surf rock or Golden Oldies type band playing, guess who the audience is mainly composed of? That’s right, folks in their 50’s and 60’s who want to hear the music of their youth. When a large Slavic community in a big city wants music, they tend to go for Bavarian style polka type bands. When Latino communities want music they book salsa, mariachi or similar bands. Cajuns and Creole communities tend to prefer Cajun and Zydeco music. They don’t book jam bands. Haters.

    Sadly, I must burst the bubble again that Mr. Martin builds around himself that it’s all about the art and love and passion for music that drives anyone to book certain musical acts for any city (not just Asheville).

    This week’s MountianX article about The Secret Lives of the Freemasons stated this in a very articulate way by pointing out that most Asheville area clubs want beer sales first and entertainment second. Kudos, boys, I salute you.

    It’s a sad fact but true. Assertions that (modern) jazz artists seek out jam bands to play with for their musical prowess and message seems a bit naive as most jam band goers most likely never have heard of most of the artists who sit in with their jam band favorites. Did Branford Marsalis, Herbie Hancock, John Scofield or Bruce Hornsby have a solid career and musical message to deliver before they sat in with jam bands? Uh, yes. Does playing with a jam band at a festival validate their playing? Uh, no. It’s just a gig at a festival that features jam bands.

    I find it strange that comments from a guy who defends Britney Spears’music that he is also throwing around names that have little to no connection to jam band music. The collective moaning sound the reader may hear when these comments are posted are the ghosts of various artists screaming in agony from the afterlife after being lumped into the jam band niche.

    The most glaring example might be the allusion to Mr. Monroe’s music. Did we ever establish who Earl Monroe was from one of your earlier posts? You thanked me for pointing out your error but Bill Monroe (not Earl Monroe) and Earl Scruggs kept very much to certain rigid structures within music even when they were creating a new hybrid form of string band music during the late 1930’s. Yes, they had rules and they stuck to them. The result was a specific style.

    Pop quiz time, Jason. What instruments did Bill Monroe and Earl Scruggs play? No fair Googling it or asking your friends either. Bill Monroe was asked during a late 1960’s festival what he thought of another string band playing at a festival who was delving into what we now call hippy jam grass.

    His answer? “That ain’t no part of nothin’.” Later he asked if they had mopped the stage after said jam grass performers were finished playing before he was to perform. Say what you will about that comment but performing certain styles of music takes attention to detail and a discpline in mainting certain standards of playing, and free-form soloing over a musical message is not an idea espoused by everyone.

    Mr. Martin (sorry to keep picking on you buddy but your comments do make you such an easy target) claims I don’t enjoy his work. This is true. I don’t hate it, but I won’t be at your shows and that’s ok. It shows that I have specific musical tastes and once again it’s not all good brah. I also don’t like advocados but you don’t see every food critic and restaurant employee insinuating that I’m a close minded hater.

    I have however constructed a cross in my back yard for you to carry as a symbol of your martyrdom which you seem to want to be labeled as. Again, strange that jam band fans don’t take the time to step up to the plate to defend their sacred art form that is just like falling in love (to paraphrase you). That’s ok, they’re probably busy. Kudos again to Englewood Jack’s comments about the self-absorbed sense of smugness that jam banders and the Baby Boomer generation seem to ooze from their very pores.

    But, just in case I’m just full of doo doo, I would finally issue a challenge to Mr. Ross Martin. I would ask that he contact bands within the WNC area that play specific styles of jazz (from Scott Joplin era ragtime to Dixieland to big band to cool jazz to be-bop and beyond) and ask if he could sit in with them at their next shows.

    Please post on your myspace page where you will be sitting in with said bands Jason, and I will go see them perform. Be sure to inform them prior to taking the stage that you will be free-form improvising over such gems as “Stardust”, the music from “Porgy and Bess”, “Take the A Train”, “Niama” and “Minnie the Moocher” as ability, knowledge and familiarity of the music and changes really don’t matter anyway and its more about the passion of playing. Tell them your playing of said tunes will resemble falling in love or bathing in melted chocolate if it helps. Be sure to warn the audiences too by the way as you might blow their minds and change their whole musical paridigm.

    Lengthy digressions aside, if I am lucky enough to catch Kareem Abdul Guitar’s next show in Asheville, know that they all have a round of beer coming their way on my dime for their comments and sticking to their guns.

    I will continue to speak with my instruments, voice and most importantly my entertainment dollar in terms of what forms of art I support. Yes, it’s still a form of art once the business aspect is considered too. I still look forward to these reviews of local bands as they do expose me to new forms of music.

    Until the next review of 3 local bands, if you need to find me I will be practicing the hippy dance in my mirror in my bathroom.

    I want to be able to feel the true sense of freedom and artisitic expression only afforded by jam bands as somehow going out to see these rigid, sterile forms of other music that I previously thought I enjoyed just don’t have the true depth of emotion and passion that I once thought they had. Sigh.

  33. I don’t think the happy people at my shows would have had much to say to you anyway, so you won’t be missed.

    If you scroll back to the beginning, before you started venting your miserable life on me with your rants, you’ll see my original comment about Kareem Abdul Guitar:

    “The only thing I don’t like about the Kareem Abdul Guitar thing on this week’s trio is that ridiculous statement about jambands. Some people would define any non-lyrical music as “jam”……”

    It’s okay that you don’t like my art. I have made it the potential punchline for anything you want to say by posting here as myself, as I will continue to do. Be careful though when you see my page, there’s nice comments there.

    As for sitting in with local jazz acts….that’s not a bad idea; although, that would be the antithesis of what you’re trying to prove by ‘challenging’ me. What is probably more likely is that if I can find a certain level of success, I might invite some great jazz riffers I know to ‘jam’ with me! Oh yeah, that’s already happened……….Derek from Ahleuchatistas….the Asheville Horns from the Booty Band…..TJ Tesh from the Asheville Symphony……

    Good luck in all your future endeavors ‘that guy’. Or maybe I should just say, you have failed to rattle me, and it’s all good brah. I appreciate the help here on this particular page in promoting my act. Depending on how long this strand stays in the ether, this might prove to be more infamous than my time in the chicken suit!

  34. that guy

    Ohhhh, the horror of my miserable life that I force upon Mr. Martin with my rants. I am honestly soooo ashamed of it all and retract everything I stated previously in favor of taking your opinions as gospel.

    Congrats, my friend, you have managed to pigeon hole me. I don’t like any music and I’m all talk and no walk. Never mind that the “challenge” you allude to simply was a reminder that many forms of jazz music (as with most other forms of music) have a clear structure and all those songs from the past do not necessarily scream out for free-form improv. You do have one valid point though (that non-lyrical music is often confused as “jam band” music).

    Way to go with the dropping names thing though. Way to go also with not adressing the major points I made earlier about dead musicians being lumped into the category of jam music just because they were a bit innovative. Same goes for not having much to say about festivals booking music to make $ first and savoring the intrinsic beauty second.

    I suppose the art of debate is dead as we now live in a society that any differing view is equated with un-PC hate speech. Differing opinions tend to ruffle our feathers here (no pun intended) wouldn’t you say?

    As much as our opinions do differ here and even with the tremendous amount of music coming from Asheville, I can safely say that I don’t think our paths will cross such that we have to share a stage together. In that way I doubt that you will ever have to be in the same room with differing musical opinions as you imply that your audience is comprised of happy people exclusively.

    I tell myself that for all the information afforded us at our fingertips here online, deep down the need still exists to be different (just like everyone else).

    When it’s boiled down, there are only three bands per week reviewed here out the many bands that call Asheville home, and I still do look forward to hearing them for the first time. Thankfully, not many jam bands have been reviewed here so that leaves room to review bands that present some sort of message that potential listeners may find appealing.

    Again I apologize for not buying in to the mentality that its all good brah. As we speak, I am about to burn every CD I own of music that isn’t completely free of those pesky forms and themes that certain styles of music demand. Can I at least keep my copy of Bel Biv Devoe? No? Darn, where are those razor blades..Goodbye cruel world!

  35. well geez guys! cant we all just get along?
    I mean jam, jazz, rap, soul, reggae…who cares? it’s ALL good.
    but i do wonder how long it would take some of you to be able to spit some of those big pun verses that he wrote and recorded in one studio session ;)
    coltrane, hendrix, garcia…. yeah there all good.
    in my opinion good music entertains people (bottom line). i mean some people compare usher to michael jackson which i think is blantenly disrespecting the king of pop. but some people do compare the 2.some people dont like the beatles. are they retarted? yes
    i dont understand blantently disrespecting a whole ganre of music.
    to many people these days try to form a musical identity on putting down another style of music and building a fan base off that then just soley depending on their musical ability. and no i am not personally attacking anyone hear i just read like 2 spots up at the top and saw someone talking about a co0ltrane riff and then read some more and decided i would add a completly new voice in. since some people are hogging this descussion.

    nameste
    and many blessings
    love you all
    much respect
    keep it real!

    doug

  36. PS big pun got so fat he couldnt even walk up stairs and was using breath control that was so crazy i couldnt imagin’ being able to do and i am 150 pounds.

    PS
    come to temptations on 5 biltmore in downtown asheville every first sunday of the month at 7 pm for a poetry SLAM/poetry open mic in the red room
    21 and over

  37. You know, I almost started to write a thousand words or so about how important Widespread Panic are in the context of Western civilization. Almost. Nice try Doug. Next time you’re over here, I’ll show you how great of a poet John Bell is; if he was a spoken word artist you’d have him featured on your page.

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