Stephen Gaskin and the Farm Band: A Missing Piece of San Francisco's Musical Counterculture

Categories: Farewells

The Farm Band
Stephen Gaskin, pioneering San Francisco hippie and founder of the celebrated Tennessee commune the Farm, died this week at the age of 79. And though Gaskin's life story includes hosting Monday Night Classes in San Francisco, leading a caravan of school buses across the country to found the Farm, and spending time in jail for marijuana cultivation, few obituaries have mentioned the Farm Band.

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Folk-Rocker Mark Matos Announces Final Show as an S.F. Resident

Karen Knoller
Mark Matos is moving to the desert.
Add this name to the list of S.F. musicians who are departing our fair city for points south: Mark Matos. The longtime Os Beaches leader, Mission folk-rock singer-songwriter, residency-holder, and occasional film critic is leaving town, moving to Joshua Tree in the Mojave Desert with his partner after seven years in S.F. Before he goes, though, Matos and his musician pals are throwing one last big show, Friday, March 28 at Rickshaw Stop. Dubbed "Last Waltz in Little China," the show will include a special lineup of Os Beaches, plus support from locals Love Dimension and Mexico City's Risin' Sun, along with some celebrated light projections and unnamed special guests.

Here's Matos' statement on leaving S.F.:

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The Mallard Plays a Blistering Farewell Show at the Knockout, 4/18/13

The Mallard played its farewell show at the Knockout last week. Photos by Amelia Sechman.
The Mallard
Synthetic ID
Pure Bliss
The Knockout
Thursday, April 18, 2013

Better than: Savages' savagery at the Independent?

Thursday night at the Knockout, Mallard leader Greer McGettrick took stage and asked the sound engineer, "Can you make it sound like I'm in a cave?" He did, but the Mallard's final performance achieved that effect itself. The urgent and clamorous set drew heavily from the Mallard's forthcoming sophomore album, but the group is now broken up and won't perform to support its release. The Mallard retreated too deeply into its cave and expired. Deprived of light and indulging darkness with dissonance and cataclysm, the band's final show affirmed the Mallard's evolution into a savage live outfit that will be dearly missed.

See also:
* S.F. Rockers the Mallard Break-Up, Announce Second Album
* The Mallard Prepares for Takeoff
* Noise Pop: The Mallard Eschews Usual Songs, Covers Throbbing Gristle Instead, 2/28/13

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INXS Breaks Up, World Asks, "Wait -- INXS Was Still Going?"

Categories: Farewells

As you may have heard, INXS broke up earlier this week, stunning music fans everywhere -- because music fans everywhere had no idea that INXS was still performing. In a statement announcing the "news," INXS went on to demonstrate their own inability to understand irony as a concept by saying things like: "We understand that this must come as a blow to everybody, but all things must eventually come to an end..."

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Why Do Artists' Sales Increase So Much After They Die?

Categories: Farewells

This week, Whitney Houston became the first female artist to have three albums in the top 10 of the Billboard 200 album chart at one time. In the two and a half weeks following her death, Whitney sold 2.7 million songs and 668,000 albums -- a massive increase. There's no doubt that if she were still with us, Whitney would have always sold records. But like this? It's extremely doubtful. So what is it that compels people to rush out and buy the music of recently deceased artists? Why is there always a sudden spike in sales? 

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Distortion 2 Static's Top Five Celebrity Guests

During its 10-year run, the Distortion 2 Static hip-hop TV show graduated from profiling local upcoming artists to chatting it up with rap superstars. Started by Prince Aries, Ariel Nuñez and DJ Haylow, the show signed off on its broadcast run back in September; a farewell shindig will be going down at Mighty tonight. (Read this week's print feature about the show.) Before the big end, we snagged Prince Aries and DJ Haylow to reminisce about their favorite guests from Distortion 2 Static's vast interview vault.

Prince Paul
5. Prince Paul
Prince Aries: "I actually get my name from Prince Paul -- that's why I called myself Prince Aries. I think we sat down for almost two hours; I was still new to interviewing and wasn't good at cutting it short, but I asked him [about] everything, from what equipment he used to Stetsasonic and De La Soul and Gravediggaz. He was a good sport about it and it felt like we were just kicking it. It was at the Hotel Triton in San Francisco.

"One thing that stood out from the interview was that I was asking him about the gear he was using to make beats. To me, coming up listening to Prince Paul, he's very innovative, so I thought he'd be kind of a techie and up on the new gear. But he wasn't! I think he said he had an MPC and a sequencing machine. But anything beyond that he didn't care or know anything about!"

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Saturday: Broken Social Scene Brings Out Issac Brock and Stars for an Epic "Final" Show at the Fillmore

Matt Smith
Stars' Amy Millan and Broken Social Scene's Kevin Drew at the Fillmore Saturday night.

Broken Social Scene
Oct. 1, 2011
The Fillmore

Better than: All but a handful of other '00s-era indie rock bands.

It was billed as the last Broken Social Scene show for a long while -- maybe forever, as this populous Toronto rock collective plans to go on indefinite hiatus after a handful of live dates in South America. Whether it ends up being The Last North American Broken Social Scene Show or not, Saturday's nearly three-hour, sold-out performance at the Fillmore, following the band's afternoon set at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, had all the makings of a heroic rock band's grand exit.

There were famous guests, including Modest Mouse's Isaac Brock, and Amy Millan and Evan Cranley from the BSS-related indie-pop band Stars. There were many impeccable performances and a few unscripted bits of chaos, including a Brock-led version of Modest Mouse's "The Good Times Are Killing Me" that barely came together after three false starts. There was lots of emotional commentary, mostly from figurehead Kevin Drew. And there were a few good-natured jokes about whether this time Broken Social Scene would actually fulfill its long-threatened plan to go on hiatus.

Mostly, though, there were excellent songs -- 25 of them in the end -- played with the kind of desperate, heartfelt energy that happens when everyone believes this might be it.

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R.I.P. Billy Taylor, Bobby Farrell, and Agathe von Trapp, Musicians Who Died in the Last Days of 2010

Categories: Farewells, R.I.P.

Nothing gets you in the mood to start fresh in a new calendar year like a few last crappy things happening in the last one. Also, bad things come in threes. (Feel free to suggest any relevant truisms I've missed in the comments section.) Anyway, three more musical notables joined the ranks of Guru, Captain Beefheart, and Ronnie James Dio last week.

The biggest newsmaker is jazz pianist and prolific award-winner Billy Taylor, who died Dec. 28 at 89. Here he is explaining jazz improvisation on the television show The Subject Is Jazz, then giving a lovely example:

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Coda Owner Bruce Hanson Says the Recession Killed His Mission Jazz Venue

Categories: Bummer, Farewells
Coda, the upscale Mission music venue and restaurant that's played host to the likes of Stevie Wonder, Liz Phair, and some of the city's best jazz musicians, will close its doors Dec. 31, a victim of the tough economic times.

Coda replaced Levende Lounge at 1710 Mission St., opening its doors on August 1, 2009. Owner Bruce Hanson says he knew when he opened that the recession would make it hard to succeed, but that he wasn't expecting the troubles to last this long.

"We knew it was going to be difficult," Hanson says. "No one knew that this was going to be the worst economic time since the 1930s. Had this been a normal recession, we would have come out of it."

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Coda Jazz Supper Club to Close Jan. 1

Categories: Farewells, News
It's official folks: Coda Jazz Supper Club at Mission and Duboce is closing for good on Jan. 1, 2011.

This sad news follows our report last week that the Triple Crown, a DJ-friendly bar at Market and Octavia, will also shut down operations after its New Year's Eve party.

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