Ringworm on Van Troubles and New Album, Hammer of the Witch

Categories: Interview, Metal

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Scott Schumacher
Ringworm play Thee Parkside on Sunday, April 13.

After 23 years, Ringworm has retained its credibility as a genre-defining powerhouse of hardcore metal through a simple formula: the perverse onslaught of listeners' ears. The Cleveland outfit clobbers through speed-picked, palm-muted riffs -- following in the steps of thrash gods Kreator -- and conjures half-time breakdowns that elicit the hellion mosher in hardcore fans. Vocalist James "Human Furnace" Bulloch spews offensive lyrics like his blood is boiling. Touring behind its latest full-length, Hammer of the Witch, Ringworm is expected to aggravate the audience with tracks like "Bleed" and "Psychic Vampire," along with such classics as "Justice Replaced by Revenge." Ringworm, along with supporting acts Death Before Dishonor, Relentless, and Let It Burn, play Thee Parkside this Sunday, April 13 at 8 p.m. for $10. Bulloch took a break while on the road to speak with SF Weekly about the hardships of touring after 20-plus years in the scene, the new album Hammer of the Witch, and the transition to Relapse Records. Check out their album while you read.

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A Fat Wreck Director Shaun Colón on His Fat Wreck Chords Documentary and How He Tripled His $7,500 Indiegogo Goal

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A Fat Wreck

Within 24 hours of launching an Indiegogo campaign for A Fat Wreck: The Punk-u-mentary, a documentary on San Francisco-based Fat Wreck Chords, filmmaker Shaun Colón, surpassed his $7,500 goal with cash to spare. Now, two weeks later, Colón has tripled his initial goal. The Indiegogo campaign launched Tuesday, March 25, and is live for 21 more days ending April 30.

Each week, for the next three weeks, Colón and his team plan to launch new perks in hopes of attracting fresh interest in the campaign so that they can up the production value of their film and provide better perks to donators. For instance, this week saw the announcement of an A Fat Wreck skateboard made in collaboration with Say-10 Records.

The film explores the 20 year history of Fat Wreck Chords, the influential punk label home to NOFX, Propaghandi, and Good Riddance. Colón, who plays punk music himself, works as a marketing development director for the talent development school The Septien Group, and he also runs Dang!Records. Colón took the time to speak with SF Weekly about the ethos that inspired the film, his plans to shoot at the Fat Wreck Chords offices in San Francisco, and why 40-year-old punks still go to shows.

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Watch: S.F. Folk-Rockers Owl Paws on Making Their First Album

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Adrian Rodriguez
Owl Paws
San Francisco folk-rock trio Owl Paws contrasts acoustic tones with a punk rock presence. When the band opens the three-act show tonight at the Chapel, you'll hear a sound that hints at early-'00s indie-emo acts like Brand New, but rounds off with the modern folk elements of artists such as the Milk Carton Kids. A song like "The Fields" showcases Owl Paws' melodic dynamics and skilled musicianship. Singer-guitarist Derek Schultz croons aching melodies, while bassist Tim Vickers articulates complex, finger-picked phrases on a upright bass. And as for drummer Lucas Siobal, his unpredictable rim shots and bell strikes add an unforgettable color to the rhythm section. The end product resonates pure heart.


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Gary Numan on the Attraction of Synthesizers, Going Industrial, and Living in the USA

Categories: Interview

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Gary Numan plays at the Fillmore on Sunday.

One of the pioneering figures in synth-driven rock, Gary Numan laid the groundwork for new wave, electro-pop, and industrial music with his chilly, futuristic sound. His original band Tubeway Army offered an edgy mix of distorted guitars and pulsing synthesizers on its 1978 debut, but Numan would embrace electronics completely on the group's breakthrough album Replicas and his subsequent solo effort The Pleasure Principle, which featured the massive international hit "Cars."

While huge sales and lavish live spectacles maintained Numan's stardom in the UK well into the '80s, later forays into electro-funk and dance wouldn't find the same success. After years at sea, Numan reinvented himself in the '90s by delving into the grinding guitars and heavier beats of industrial music. Since then, Numan has enjoyed a career renaissance. His influence has been celebrated by the likes of the Foo Fighters, Trent Reznor, and Marilyn Manson, and his classic songs have been sampled by the likes of J. Dilla, GZA, Basement Jaxx, and Armand Van Helden. Last week, Numan took the time to answer a few questions ahead of this Sunday's show at the Fillmore in promotion of Splinter (Songs From a Broken Mind), his latest album.

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Rocket From The Crypt's John Reis: "I Listen to Records Because They Sound Worse"

Categories: Interview

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Rocket From The Crypt performs at the Independent on Friday.
San Diego's Rocket From The Crypt treated its fans wonderfully, and they responded with feverish devotion. Many even endured permanent, ink-laden scars in the shape of the band's logo. In Rocket From The Crypt, and later Hot Snakes, the Sultans, and Night Marchers, bandleader John Reis obliged fans' wishes for athletic performances, raucous live antics, voluble recorded output and a slightly camp persona. When Rocket From The Crypt disbanded in 2005, he adopted all of the music industry roles that fans gravitate toward as professions: venue owner at Bar Pink, radio DJ on the Swami Sound System, and owner of Swami Records. Ahead of Rocket from the Crypt's reunion stop in S.F. this Friday, March 28, we spoke to Reis about vinyl being the best for sounding the worst, brightening the lives of unhappy RFTC fans, and invading listeners' space. Rocket from the Crypt plays with Dan Sartain on Friday, March 28, at the Independent.


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Truckfighters on How to Make Desert Psych-Rock in Snowy Sweden

Categories: Interview

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Truckfighters perform Thursday, March 20, at DNA Lounge for their first S.F. show.
The fuzzed-out, down-tuned sounds of stoner rock acts like Kyuss and Fu Manchu have always inspired a similar style of amplifier worship from European bands, but perhaps nowhere more than Sweden. Back in the early '90s, Nordic desert-rock disciples like Dozer, Lowrider, and Spiritual Beggars proved Joshua trees and dry heat weren't required to create compelling, psychedelic stoner grooves.

Fellow Swedish outfit Truckfighters didn't form until 2001, but over the past decade, the band has established itself as one of the genre's most tuneful purveyors of thunderous, psychedelic heavy rock. Championed by American imprint MetorCity Records (who put out the band's full-length debut, Gravity X, in 2005), Truckfighters deliver a compelling combination of guitar heft and spacious jams that never skimps on memorable melodies.


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The Ataris on Their Quick Rise, Making So Long, Astoria, and Getting Away With Murder On Tour

Categories: Interview

The Ataris play Bottom of the Hill March 8 and 9.
When it comes to pop-punk, bassist Mike Davenport says he's a lifer. Davenport went from playing in local Santa Barbara bands in the early '90s to joining The Ataris, to touring the world and then on to form his current project, alt-punk band Versus the World.

After 10 years, Davenport will reunite with singer-guitarist Kris Roe, drummer Chris Knapp, and guitarist John Collura -- The Ataris' classic lineup -- for one tour only to perform their platinum-selling album, So Long, Astoria. That major-label debut featured fan favorites, "The Saddest Song," "In This Diary," and the band's pop-punk update of Don Henley's "Boys of Summer." The Ataris hit the road of nostalgia with punk veterans Authority Zero, Drag the River, Versus the World, and Gasoline Heart, and come to Bottom of the Hill for two nights, this Saturday and Sunday, March 8 and 9. Davenport took some time in between rehearsals to discuss the "aha moments" of being a musician, transitioning from an indie to major record label, and getting away with murder on tour.


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Creative Adult on the Crookedness of the Music Industry and Playing By Other People's Rules

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Sara Davis
The band name Creative Adult is an inside joke, but Michael Bingham, the Santa Rosa rock band's vocalist and guitarist, does have a lot of thoughts on growing up. Creative Adult's four twentysomethings spent their musical lives until now in hardcore bands, which, to Bingham, meant booking his own tours and eschewing regular publicity. But Creative Adult is a different endeavor, one that includes using the larger music industry to his benefit. The burly guitar riffs and savage percussion on Creative Adult's discordant debut, Psychic Mess, owe a great deal to hardcore, though the players' musical goals seem to have evolved like their those of their career: toward something outside the scope of punk. Bingham attributes this new outlook to his developing prefrontal cortex, but Creative Adult is just taking up the common battle to run a band "like a business" and retain artistic integrity. We spoke with Bingham about being untouchable, ethical quandaries, and why the album title Psychic Mess will change his life.

Creative Adult opens a Noise Pop showcase with No Age, Hindu Pirates, and Dune Rats this Friday, Feb. 28, at Bottom of the Hill. It also performs Saturday, March 1, at Hemlock Tavern with Buffalo Tooth, The Vibrating Antennas, and Culture Abuse.


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Mother Falcon on Orchestral Rock, Making it, and Touring For Love, Not Money

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That is a lot of Mother Falcon people.
"Chamber rock" just doesn't seem like an adequate description of what sprawling Austin outfit Mother Falcon does. Sure, the band uses strings and brass -- and guitars and drums and vocals -- in its cinematic, fiery, sublime compositions. And the group does structure songs into choruses and verses, the way a rock band might. But, well, you'd need a rather big chamber to fit all 21 or 23 official members of Mother Falcon. And "rock' feels limiting here -- given all those players and their instruments, Mother Falcon's sonic textures reach ethereal and mighty places rock bands can only go when they hire an orchestra. So: Orchestral rock? Chamber pop? But then who cares? Mother Falcon is just interesting, which explains a sharp upward trajectory of late, propelled by NPR discovering the group last year at South By Southwest. The group headlines the Chapel this Thursday, Feb. 27, with Foxtails Brigade for a Noise Pop show. Ahead of that, we spoke with tenor sax player Andrew Fontenot about touring with more than a dozen musicians, what "success" means, and what to expect at the Chapel this week.


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Marty Balin on Jefferson Airplane, Painting, and a Professional Farter

Categories: Arts, Interview

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Marty Balin
By ALEX HORVATH

A musical riddle: What do Johnny Mathis, San Francisco's beatnik jazz scene, eastern religion, a notorious 19th century flatulist and painting have in common?

Answer: They are brush strokes in the story that make up local rock legend Marty Balin.

Balin founded the Jefferson Airplane in 1965, doing the writing and lead vocals on songs like "It's No Secret" and "Volunteers" (the latter co-written with Paul Kantner). Balin wrote and sang many hits with Jefferson Starship in the mid-1970s before embarking on a solo career. He's well known as a writer of romantic love songs such as "Miracles," "Count on Me," and "Hearts." But these days, when he's not touring, Balin can be found pursuing another lifelong passion -- painting. He specializes in portraits of the many musicians he has known and worked with, including Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Jerry Garcia, B.B. King, Otis Redding, Jerry Lee Lewis, Al Green, and KISS.

His repertoire also includes a sentimental portrait of one-time manager and friend Bill Graham, and several renditions of the French flatulence artist, Le Pétomane, for whom Balin professes a special interest. His paintings are on permanent display at a gallery near where he lives in St. Augustine, Florida. But Balin is taking his artwork on the road in a tour titled "Marty Balin -- Music of My Life." Before the tour comes to Throckmorton Theatre in Mill Valley, this Saturday, Feb. 22, we spoke with Balin about starting the Airplane, the inspiration for his works, and painting a famous 19th-Century Frenchman who actually sang through his asshole.


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