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6| DEC <strong>RAG</strong> MAGAZINE


PUBLISHERSean McCloskeysean.mccloskey@<strong>RAG</strong>magazine.comEDITOR IN CHIEFCrystal Clarkcrystal.clark@<strong>RAG</strong>magazine.comMANAGING EDITORMonica Cadymonica.cady@<strong>RAG</strong>magazine.comSENIOR EDITORJoseph Vilanejoseph.vilane@<strong>RAG</strong>magazine.comSENIOR EDITORMarc Suriolmarc.suriol@<strong>RAG</strong>magazine.comCONTRIBUTORSMonica CadyTrey CadyCrystal ClarkTom CraigLogan FazioCraig MandellTodd McFlikerJeff NollerSam OsbornMatt PashalianNatalia RealTanya van KampenJoseph Vilane<strong>RAG</strong> <strong>Magazine</strong>8930 State Road 84 #322Fort Lauderdale, FL 33324954-234-2888general info:info@ragmagazine.comadvertising info:advertising@ragmagazine.comwww.ragmagazine.com<strong>RAG</strong> MAGAZINE is published monthly by <strong>RAG</strong> <strong>Magazine</strong> Inc. inDavie , Florida. All contents are copyright 20<strong>07</strong> and may not bereproduced without written permission of the publisher. Opinionsexpressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of the editors,publishers, advertisers or distributers. <strong>RAG</strong> reserves the right toedit or reject advertising which may result in legal action or is inpoor taste. Liability for typographical error is limited to reprintingthat part which is in error.P. 32<strong>RAG</strong> MAGAZINE - MARCH 20<strong>07</strong> - ISSUE # 83CONTENTS8. GEAR HEAD9. BANDS YOU NEED TO KNOW12. CD REVIEWS16. CONCERT REVIEWS20. PHOTO PASS26. 5TH GEAR27. PEPPER28. SILVERSUN PICKUPS32. THE CURE38. SHINY TOY GUNS40. MIGUEL MIGS41. STEPHEN MARLEY44. MACHINE HEAD46. SHADOWS FALL42. FILM52. CLASSIFIEDSwww.<strong>RAG</strong>magazine.com | 7


SILVERSUN PICKUPSJoe LesterControl Synthesizer: Yamaha CS1xSynthesizer: MS2000 - Polyphony Virtual Analog“That’s more for like the low-end bass-y stuff.”Keyboard: Roland Fantom“This is to play all the samples of everything.”Roland FantomSHINY TOY GUNSJeremy DawsonKeyboards: RolandSynthesizers: Roland V-Synth XPV-Synth GTJV 1000 workstation8| DEC <strong>RAG</strong> MAGAZINE


BANDS YOU NEED TO KNOW, A-Z- Craig MandellSo, you think you’re hip...You’ve got your subscription to the NME, Puma sneakers, jeans so tight they can’t come off (really, someone get help), an extensive vintage T-shirtcollection, you’ve seen all the Jim Jarmusch films that exist (and even some that “don’t”), and you won’t listen to anything once it’s been “discovered”by the mainstream. Well, Mr. or Ms. Garofalo, you ain’t seen nothing yet. With each new issue, we’ll be bringing you a monthly list of a few more bandsyou need to know if you want to be at the forefront of the next musical revolution. And it’s all alphabetical! Just grab your overpriced coffee and i-tunespassword and listen up, you might even learn something. You guessed it, it’s <strong>RAG</strong> <strong>Magazine</strong>’s BANDS YOU NEED TO KNOW, A-ZA Permanent Holiday.Even though your dad’s been on a “permanent holiday” ever since Dell beganoutsourcing jobs to strange guys in New Delhi with fake American names, itdoesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a little permanent holiday of your own. As in, APermanent Holiday, the new project featuring members of Lit, Mest, and Bleedthe Dream. They, of course, are not to be confused with Permanent Holiday, acompletely different band that has no “A” at the beginning of their name. Frankly,we’re already confused and we’re the ones writing this. Maybe one of them canjust change their name to “Emo-y stuff.”Peter, Bjorn, and John.In the ’60s, there was Peter, Paul and Mary, the legendary folk outfit responsiblefor such timeless classics as the subtly marijuana-referencing “Puff the MagicDragon.” And now, years later, there’s Peter, Bjorn and John, who, as far as weknow, have no association with them whatsoever. According to their bio, “Peterand Bjorn met as teenagers and in 1999 they met John. Since then it’s beenhundreds of gigs, two albums, many ep’s & singles, lots of love and lots offussing and fighting.” Sounds to us like a classic Swedish love triangle! (Note:we don’t really know whether they’re gay, straight, or even Swedish for thatmatter.) Probably two of the three though.People in Planes.This much-hyped British alt-rock band’s MySpace page explains that the groupmembers have released records in the past under different names. And to behonest, it’s bugging us. Just who are these guys? Ex-members of A-ha? KidN Play? Is that Kip Winger with a new haircut? Hmmm… we’re on to youWinger. You thought you could hide, but no dice - we found you just like wesaid we would. Now where’s that 20 bucks you owe us?Pilot Speed.Pwww.<strong>RAG</strong>magazine.com | 9This great under the radar band is on Wind-Up records, just like People inPlanes. But as far we can tell, they’re not ex-eighties rockers trying to trickus. Then again, it does say they were formerly known as Pilate. Why wouldthey change their name? Seems kind of odd doesn’t it? Odd as in, oh, I don’tknow - maybe they didn’t want to pay a certain Florida Music <strong>Magazine</strong> the 20bucks they owe them!! That’s right, we’ve been watching Law and Order. ListenWinger, it’s time to pay up, and we’re not messing around this time!


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<strong>RAG</strong>’s CD REVIEWScounterfeit excitement that The Drawn and Quartered EP hasrecreated for you. – Logan Lenz○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○SoulfoundFor the Sake of TryingIndie ReleaseIt is truly rare to see such ayoung independently drivenband assuming the position asone of the top unsigned bandsnot only in Florida, but the entirenation. Hailing from Clearwater,Florida, these four young menhave quickly built a country widefollowing with their mature songstructures and hectic tourschedules. Having already given birth to three self-released CDs, theband seems to have more accomplishments under their belt than theydo combined years of living on Earth. Their most recent release entitledFor the Sake of Trying is a collection of five well developed songsstrategically laced with powerful palpitations and catchy hooks.The opening track “Under the Silent Spell” jump starts the record withdynamic vocals and a guitar melody worth noting. The stand out track,however, titled “Fire!” purely defines Soulfound’s style and dignifiestheir potential future position on modern rock radio. “Fire!” is definitelya song that you could picture hearing right between Fall Out Boy andMy Chemical Romance on your local rock radio station.With all of Soulfound’s recent achievements and triumphs, it is veryapparent that they are only going to continue to soar to stardom.Although their latest effort For the Sake of Trying features a meagerfive songs, it is definitely still something worth adding to everybody’sCD collection. At the very least, you will be able to brag to your friendsthat you liked this band way before they made it big. Jump on theSoulfound bandwagon before it is too late. – Logan LenzFair to MidlandThe Drawn and QuarteredEPSerjical Strike RecordsIn anticipation of their forthcomingfull-length album due out on June12 th , Fair to Midland has exorcisedtheir (lack of) creative demons byreleasing The Drawn andQuartered EP, whichdisappointedly only features twooriginal demo tracks, two livesongs, and an uninspiring twelveminute video.○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○Sadly, there is not much to offer Fair to Midland fans on this disc.Anybody that would like to hear an older and less polished version ofthe tracks “Orphan Anthem ‘86” and “Kyla Cries Cologne” may believethat this CD is a necessary commodity for them. Anyone in the rightmindset, however, can simply pick up their copy of 2004’s Inter FundaStifle and listen to what the song is supposed to sound like.Aside from the demos, fans have the distinct pleasure of listening toFair to Midland’s attempt to play their popular tunes “A Seafarer’s Knot”and “Abigail” live. Once again, these tracks seem to fail miserably incomparison to their prior studio recording.If you are not an absolute die-hard Fair to Midland fan, I wouldsuggest waiting for their next full-length studio album to come out inJune. Otherwise, you will spend the coming months cringing in thePain of SalvationScarsickInside Out RecordsIs it possible for a progressivemetal band to sell out to their fans,while still maintaining their originalsound? Being one of the best actsin the genre for the last ten years,Pain of Salvation has somewhatnarrowed their imaginativethinking on their latest releaseScarsick.The opening title track will certainly dishearten their fans as they heara not so exciting rap/chant during the initial song’s verses. Fans willalso be disappointed to notice that the band’s intellectual lyrics ofphilosophy and theology have become absent or just lost within thealbum’s messy song structures.Do not get me wrong, Scarsick, still shines with its occasional moments.There is no way anyone could ever deny their musical abilities. Thetrack “Spitfall” will appear to be very reminiscent of the Pain of Salvationthat has built an underground cult following over the years. Someother tracks worth noting on their valiant efforts are “Kingdom of Loss,”“Disco Queen,” and “Flame to the Moth.” These songs at least displaythe band as still having a noticeable pulse amongst a dying genre ofmusic. Band mastermind Daniel Gildenlow may disagree, but Pain ofSalvation will have to return with a vengeance on their next offering inorder to win back all of their fans that they may have lossed this timearound. – Logan Lenz○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○The Old CeremonyOur One MistakeSonablast RecordsA modern band that utilizesclassical musical elements (i.e.tuxedos, violins, and cellos) isdefinitely a rare breed thesedays. Some may mistake the OldCeremony as being an “old”sounding band. Yes, there maybe pinches of jazz and pop-noirin the mix, but listeners are simply mistaking the bands unique andmature style for music that sounds like it’s missed its appropriatedecade.The track “Poison Pen” exploits the group’s musical advantage ofhaving a large number of orchestral instruments. Songs like “Get toLove” and “Believer” could even be compared to a more symphonicversion of Cake. Every note on this record is played with perfectprecision. It is apparent that everyone in this group can play theirindividual instruments superbly.The most impressive of tracks on the album is the track “Papers inOrder.” This tune genuinely sounds like the perfect backing track toany commercial. The talented lead vocalist, Django Haskins, takesthe track to a higher level with his enchanting smoky voice.All in all, Our Own Mistake is definitely a collection of songs thatcould appeal to everybody in many different ways. Your grandmamay identify with the group’s Rat-Pack influences, while your littlesister may want to dance to the record’s more energetic tunes. Thisalbum certainly offers a little bit of everything for everybody. –Logan Lenz12| DEC <strong>RAG</strong> MAGAZINE


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<strong>RAG</strong>’s CD REVIEWSThe ColourBetween Earth & SkyEMIThe Colour, despite the Britishvariant of their name, areactually from Los Angeles.Instead of taking music to aforward-minded place on theirdebut album, they choose torehash everything notable fromretro rock (Led Zeppelin, theRolling Stones, Billy Idol, U2)and once-hipsters the VonBondies. Vocalist Wyatt Hull has the soulful, urgent longing ofRobert Plant doing his best juice-runs-down-my-leg bit, and thebig-ups respect that Jason Stollsteimer gives to early rock whenhe’s plowing through a lyrical jog. Hull gets bigger than thesound with burning confidence à la Billy Idol et Bono. Sure,these are audacious comparisons, but so, too, are the blatantlyderivative sounds that the Colour serves up for our ears. “Saltthe Earth” gets forceful with its Jim-Hendrix guitar rhythms andChris-Isaak revival lyrics: “Yeah, don’t cha cry for me no more!”“Save Yourself” and “Kill the Lights” are songs that a Bono-Isaakspawn would produce. As if inspired by some wedding-daysuperstition, this foursome radiate something old, something new,something borrowed, and uh, well, an album cover that featuresan image of hands holding dirt. – Monica Cady○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○Machine HeadThe BlackeningRoadrunner RecordsFor about a year now MachineHead frontman Robb Flynn hasbeen shooting off at the mouthabout the songs on the band’snew album, The Blackening.This of course has caused alot of skeptics, but has alsomade it one of the mostanticipated metal albums of theyear. After finally getting tohear this album, I have to say that my faith in Machine Head isnow through the roof as the band created an album that I canonly describe as Master Of Puppets and Vulgar Display Of Powerhaving a kid called The Blackening.Like Master..., The Blackening opens with a classical guitarintro, followed by beautifully harmonized guitars before the fasthanded, double picked and double bass rhythms of “ClenchingThe Fist Of Dissent” truly begins. The shortest song on the albumat just under five minutes, “Beautiful Morning,” has a perfectcombination of the band’s brutality, and melodicism as evidencedby the songs chorus. The Band gets epic on “Aesthetics ofHate” as far as the progressions are concerned with twists andturns in every direction from the dual harmonized solo’s with coaxeman Phil Demmel, to the transitions from your standard versesto choruses which are anything but when cemented by the doublebass provided by Dave McClain.Of all of the tracks on The Blackening, “Slanderous” and “Halo”are really the only tracks that still have a bit of the band’s feelfrom their earlier albums Burn My Eyes and The More ThingsChange. Lyrically, Flynn attacks personal issues, love, hate,politics, war, and the always popular subject in rock in general,14| DEC <strong>RAG</strong> MAGAZINEself-loathing with the chorus line, “I Love You, Why Do I Hate MyFather, I Hate You, Why Do I Hate Myself.”MachineEXPERTSHead emergedIN...in the mid ’90s showing that they had asound all there own with their first two albums. They showedthey could fuse more melodicism with the commercially viableThe Burning Red and Supercharger. With Through The Ashes ofEmpires and now The Blackening, Machine Head have proventhemselves as heavy hitters that aren’t going away any timesoon and have proven themselves as masterful musicians forthere genre. -Matthew Pashalian○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○Fu ManchuWe Must ObeyLiquor and PokerRecordsHave you ever listened tostoner or desert rock? Anyidea what that is? Well here’s aquick introduction for you. Takethe monstrously heavy dirge ofBlack Sabbath, the energy of oldschool skate punk, and the coollaid back feel of a slow burnedjam and you have a goodsynopsis of what Fu Manchu’s sound is all about. Fu Manchu’s 10 thfull-length album, We Must Obey, is in my opinion the band’s bestwork since 1999’s King Of The Road album.We Must Obey opens up sounding like the closing of a show andbreaks into a sludgy guitar riff fuzz fest before going into adriving drum and bass driven verse that will give you the feel ofactually being at the show. Like much of Fu Manchu’s music, youmay at first listen mistake some of it musically as rehashedSabbath. Such is the case with “Knew It All Along,” and “Let MeOut,” two very energetic songs that will make you want to headfor the pit. Be warned when hitting track 4, the first single off ofWe Must Obey, “Hung Out To Dry,” as you may be tempted to bebrought to your feet with it’s highly danceable and catchy chorus.Sounding like it may come straight off of the soundtrack fromDazed and Confused, “Shake It Loose” becomes very hypnoticwith it’s over reverberated “Shake (Shake) It (It) Loose (Loose)”chorus which will swirl around your head. Fu Manchu has ahistory of picking odd covers and making it there own, We MustObey is no exception with a cover of The Cars “Moving In Stereo”which you probably won’t even recognize with the band’ssignature sound stamped for approval on it. We Must Obeycloses with “Sensei Vs. Sensei,” probably one of the best songson the album starting out with what sounds like an acid jambefore breaking into signature Fu Manchu doom and gloompounding heaviness.One of the great things about Fu Manchu is that they consistentlystick with the “If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It Approach,” so whenyou buy a Fu Manchu album, you know what to expect-a greatstoner rock discs. So sit down with your buds (no pun intended)and listen to the call of We Must Obey. -Matthew Pashalianwww.ragmagazine.com


CONCERT LISTINGSMarch 1Airiel Down – Club MBruce in the USA - RevolutionJorge Drexler – North Beach BandshellVan Gloria + Sir Majesty +Jesse Jackson – Studio AMarch 2Riverwalk Blues & Music Festival - RevolutionTinsley Ellis – The BackroomMarch 3Riverwalk Blues & Music Festival - RevolutionHot Buttered Rum – Culture RoomThe Roly O Trio - ChurchillsMarch 4Albert Castiglia – Alligator AlleyClutch, Dub Trio, Five Horse Johnson – Culture RoomEngelbert Humperdinck - Hard Rock LiveMarch 5Killswitch Engage, Chimaira – RevolutionDan Serro Vinyl Jazz - ChurchillsMarch 6Empyreon – ChurchillsGaia - ChurchillsMarch 7Big House Pete - ChurchillsMarch 8Mana – American Airlines ArenaPlain Jane Automobile – Studio AGreen Lemon – Tobacco RoadMarch 9Langerado Music Festival – Markham ParkThe Used, 30 Second to Mars, Saosin – Bank United CenterThe Early November, The Rocket Summer, Melee - RevolutionThe Agency, Sunday Driver – Studio AJacobs Ladder – Scrap BarMarch 10Langerado Music Festival – Markham ParkSuddenly – 3 in 1 StudiosMarch 11The Static Age – Studio ALangerado Music Festival – Markham ParkBlack Label Society - RevolutionMarch 12ZZ Top – Mizner Park Amph.Dan Serro Vinyl Jazz - ChurchillsChicago - Hard Rock LiveMarch 13Mushroomhead, The Human Abstract – Culture RoomMarch 14Oh Sanders, Zombies Organize, Timb - ChurchillsMarch 15Faded Sound, Jody Raffou - ChurchillsMarch 16Madelyn, Crimson Vera – Culture RoomThe Cryptkeeper, Faded Sound, Mister Pink - ChurchillsMarch 17Aterciopelados – North Beach BandshellOut re Violette – Billabong PubNastie Punk Festival - ChurchillsMarch 18Nickelback, Three Days Grace, Breaking Benjamin – BankAtlanticMarch 19Snow Patrol, OK Go, Silversun Pickups – Bank United CenterTony Danza – Center For The ArtsMarch 20John Diweed / MSTRKRFT – The Pawn Shop LoungeLily Allen – Culture RoomGoldie, Fabio, Grooverider – Studio AMarch 21DJ Craze, ZTrip, A-Trak – Studio AKatharsis – Uncle Sam’s (FTL)March 22Booka Shade, M.A.N.D.Y. – Studio AIko-Iko – Tobacco RoadDatarock, Drop the Lime – Circa 28March 23Ultra Music Festival – Bicentennial ParkSebastian, Justice – Studio AAgony’s Arrow – The Scene Sound and StageDJ Miguel Migs - ShineMarch 24Ultra Music Festival – Bicentennial ParkDavid Guetta – Cameo TheaterAgainst All Authority, Rory, Whole Wheat Bread – Culture RoomJet – Miami Motor SpeedwayAnoushka Shankar – Carnival CenterPier Bucci, Dinky – Studio ALindsay Bell – Billabong PubPitch Black Radio – Uncle Sam’s (FTL)March 25Ellen Allien – The Pawn Shop LoungeGoatwhore, Averse Sefira – Culture RoomMarch 26The Who – Hard Rock LiveMarch 27Aaron Lewis – Hard Rock LiveMarch 29G3 Tour – Pompano Beach Amph.Anberlin, Bayside - RevolutionMarch 30Of Montreal, Loney Dear – Studio AJoey Gilmore – The Back RoomGilberto Gil – Carnival CenterMarch 31Deadstar Assembly – Culture RoomAll Life ends, Hatchetface, Fall Of Olympus - Churchillswww.<strong>RAG</strong>magazine.com | 15


<strong>RAG</strong>’s CONCERT REVIEWSRED HOT CHILI PEPPERSJANUARY 31, 20<strong>07</strong>BANK ATLANTIC CENTERThe Red Hot Chili Peppers were phenomenal. Since 1983, the crew outof Los Angeles has been crossing genres and reinventing punk withan explosive stage show. Having sold more than 50 million records intheir impressive career, the fellas’ latest work, a double-CD StadiumArcadium, debuted at Number One on the Billboard Top 40 Albumschart. During the summer, the album moved 1.7 million copies, andbecome the third best-seller of the year. Confirming the Chili Pepper’smighty stature, Stadium Arcadium also won Best Album, and secondplace behind the Stones for Best Tour in Rolling Stone’s 2006 ReadersPoll. On January 31, the Chili Peppers blew away South Floridians forover two hours in the Sunrise Bank Atlantic Center.Following the opening act, Gnarls Barkley, the Chili Peppers kicked offwith “Can’t Stop,” the fast jingle off of 2002’s By The Way. Front manAnthony Kiedis portrayed aerobic dances at every corner of the stagein his black vest, white wife-beater, and long black shorts. Meanwhile,the world-renowned Flea gave his consistent seizure style to thebass. The iconic bass-player in pink pants and no shirt announced,“I’m not afraid of an alligator,while the entire arena was stillbouncing on its feet. Theyripped into the new record’s“Dani California,” and JohnFrusciante delivered a meansolo in brown pants, a plaidbutton-down, and a scruffybeard. The underratedguitarist stole the show, as hepushes the tubes in hisMarshall Stacks into cleanharmonic glory, avoiding theheavily distorted tones whichdefine most of today’s modernrock. Of course, Frusciantedoesn’t steer clear of usingeffects. He merely blendsthem tastefully, constructingorganized textures andatmospheres to create aspacey bed for Flea anddrummer Chad Smith to rest on.a little something by the Ramones,” Anthony announced, and begansinging “Little Havana.” The Chili Peppers are known for their classiccovers onstage, including timeless numbers from Zeppelin, the AllmanBrothers, Simon and Garfunkel, and Nirvana. Later, John stepped tothe mic for an acoustic version of Pink Floyd’s “See Emily Play.” Hearingthe Syd Barrett single from 1967 was a personal highlight of the evening.Flea even sang the Monkees’ theme-song, changing the lyrics a tad;“Hey, Hey, We’re the Chili Peppers.”During “21 st Century,” Flea and John stood center stage, facing oneanother, exchanging impressive licks during an extended conclusion,and Anthony did a hand-stand in the middle of “Californication’s”psychedelic rhythms. Just prior to the familiar “By The Way,” Fleaannounced, “You are a beautiful bunch of human beings. Such awarm and hospitable welcome, it’s really fucking unbelievable.”Stadium Arcadium’s “Snow (Hey Oh),” was well received, butgreeted with less enthusiasm than their roaring sing-alongs fromprevious years, such as the adrenalin-pumping “Give It Away” and“Blood Sugar Sex Magik.”After trekking through Europe and North America with a volcanic forcesince April, the Red Hot Chili Peppers will be busy performing untilMarch, when they’ll be winding down the intense tour at San Antonio’sAT&T Center. Complimenting each other’s immeasurable talents whileplaying for over two hours without losing any steam, the Red HotChili Peppers are unquestionably one of the most vivacious andsatisfying acts on today’s touring circuit. – Todd McFliker • Photo:Logan Fazio“Scar Tissue” was performed,and a fifth musician sportingan enormous afro beganbanging bongos during thenew cut, “Charlie.” “And nowMORE CONCERT REVIEWS AND PICS...Winger - Page 17Dir En Grey - Page 17Huey Lewis - Page 20Billy Joel - Page 20Beddy Ford - Page 21Stevie Nicks - Page 21The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus - Page 22Steve Azar - Page 2316| DEC <strong>RAG</strong> MAGAZINE


DIR EN GREYFEBRUARY 1, 20<strong>07</strong>REVOLUTIONNormally, when you put together in the same sentence the words “Japan”and “Heavy Metal,” you think of bands from either the U.S. or Europe thatare “Big in Japan.” You don’t generally see it the other way around as isthe case with Dir en Grey that have made a loud impact here in the statessince they toured with Korn and Deftones on the Family Values tour lastyear. Since their 2006 release, Withering to Death, became availabledomestically last May, the quintet blew the doors open to an Americanmarket that wasn’t prepared for the sound that is part gothic and bombast.The band (Kyo (vocals), Karoru (guitar), Die (guitar), Toshiya (bass), andShinya (drums)) kicked off their first headlining tour at Revolution in FortLauderdale at the beginning of last month to a crowd that had beenwaiting for their arrival. To this journalist, I hadn’t even heard of them untila week prior to their performance. I hadn’t seen or heard any bands from the Far East that delivered a sound that would make people over hereenvious. I sure didn’t expect the screaming response when the lights went down for their entrance onto the stage.Kicking off the first night of their tour in support of their newly released album, Marrow of the Bone, Dir en Grey was electric. Kyo belted outstrong vocals behind the double guitar attack of Karoru and Die. The crowd in the pit as well as around it on the first and second level walkwaysmoved in unison as the band played songs both from the aforementioned Marrow of the Bone as well as from Withering to Death.Songs such as “Clever Sleazoid,” “The Final,” and “Ryoujoku No Ame” had the crowd jumping. Musically, they are melodically intense with astinging fire that’s infectious and memorable. Behind the rhythm section of Toshiya and Shinya, Dir En Grey is a machine, and a reason whythey’ve become an international phenomenon.That Thursday night in Fort Lauderdale, the quintet from Japan made a stunning headlining debut to a packed crowd at Revolution. Given theirresponse since they started storming the states, this appears to be only the beginning. – Jeff Noller • Photos: Logan FazioWINGERFEBRUARY 10, 20<strong>07</strong>CULTURE ROOM“She’s only Seventeen,” well by now she’s only 35 years old. Those are the famous words recited from Winger’s 80s metal classic “Seventeen,” nearlytwenty years later and there was no performance anxiety when Winger played live in Ft Lauderdale. Winger have returned to grace the stage with moreprecision, fine musicianship but without the spandex and teased up hair. The music still solidifies Winger’s place in rock history, the fine instrumentation ofbassist Kip Winger surely grabbed my attention on this very night. Minus the Jethro Tull like maneuvers, ballet moves in between solos, Winger were dressedin casual clothes: ripped jeans and T-shirts. It was the music that held its ground tonight, where the audiences main focus was the sounds and not theanticipation of a shock valued performance.The maturity in Winger’s sound was clearly shown, as they belted through classics such as “Rainbow In The Rose” and “Easy Come Easy Go.” Guitarist RebBeach has never sounded better and more importantly more relaxed. His signature virtuoso guitar solos were still evident, every solo was played note fornote, exactly they way we remembered it back in the 80s. You could tell that Beach still favors that 80’s style, yet he has progressed with more of analternative essence. Midway through the show, Beach was given the chance to show what he could do as he attacked the audience with a full one manmusical assault. Watching Beach grace the stage with his meticulous technique, it reminds us that there are still some musicians who approach the guitarto explore the many possibilities.Drummer Rod Morgenstein was ecstatic through the night, his facial expressions spoke volumes as he went to work. Voted best percussionist inModern Drummer magazine consecutively on numerous occasions, it’s no surprise by the guys from Winger once again recruited this fine musicianwhen deciding to hit the road once again. Morgenstein’s style is fierce and unlike no other, surely a force to inspire generations of young drummersabroad. And let’s not forget the vocals of Kip Winger, having trained with a vocal coach incessantly throughout the past 15 years, his voice has onlygotten better, and louder. Kip’s voice resonated throughout the venue as he let out a raging scream before the guitar solo on “The Great Escape,”a new track from their latest offering WINGER IV.The audience never thought about heading for the exit, not until the show was complete. “Headed For A Heartbreak,” one of Winger’s mostmemorable compositional rock songs captivated the crowd, they were astounded by their performance, chanting for more! Finally Wingeranswered the audiences request with “Seventeen,” as I’m sure Kip reminiscences back to the days when Seventeen year old girls were fawningover his every movement, and yet perhaps those days aren’t too far behind. Kip Winger, although much older now, he still possesses thatcharismatic flair that can command an audiences attention.Being a fan of Winger from the late 80’s, I was just a little kid. Back then; unable to attend a Winger show, as I grew older I never thought I would have theopportunity to see them since their departure from the music world. But you know what they say, “good things come to those who wait.” I can’t begin toimagine what attending a Winger show would have been like twenty years ago, but I’m glad I was able to see Winger at their best on this night. It didn’t matterthat there were no fire works, or stylistic wardrobe, what truly mattered tonight was the music. Winger is a true musicians band, not focused on creatinga spectacle based on image, these guys showed us what it takes to put on a good show with music at their main driving force. Maybe it was just for onenight, or maybe there are many others like myself that were inspired to greatness on this very special occasion. -Joseph Vilanewww.<strong>RAG</strong>magazine.com | 17


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HUEY LEWIS AND THE NEWSHARD ROCK LIVEPHOTO: SEAN MCCLOSKEYBILLY JOELAMERICAN AIRLINES ARENAPHOTO: SEAN MCCLOSKEY20| DEC <strong>RAG</strong> MAGAZINE


BEDDY FORDTHE DUBLINERPHOTO: TODD MCFLIKERPanic! at the DiscoRevolutionPhoto: Sean McCloskeySoulicideSTEVIE NICKSParadiseHARD@ROCKHard RockLIVEPhoto: Todd McFlikerPHOTO: SEAN MCCLOSKEYwww.<strong>RAG</strong>magazine.com | 21


PAUL STANLEYREVOLUTIONPhoto: Logan FazioTHE RED JUMPSUIT APPARATUSREVOLUTIONPHOTO: TREY CADY22| DEC <strong>RAG</strong> MAGAZINE


STEVE AZARHARD ROCK LIVEPHOTO: SEAN MCCLOSKEYwww.<strong>RAG</strong>magazine.com | 23


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LOCAL MUSICStory: Todd McFliker5th Gear is steadily building both a local and an internationalfollowing as they perform all over the area just about every nightof the week. Since 2004, 5th Gear has been executing theirsouthern rock throughout the state. Jason Snider sings thevocals, while handling a Gibson Les Paul Custom, a Fender LoneStar Strat or a Fender ’72 Telecaster Reissue guitar. Rhett Gordonleads on a ’98 Fender US FAT Telecaster guitar. They both havecustom built pedal-boards with an assortment of overdrive andmodulation effects to create an array of tonal textures. ClintDenny supplies the percussion on Premier drums and Sabiancymbals, while Al Gavett fingers either an Ibanez SRX700 or anSRX 500 bass. Each musician was once part of another popularband and brings his own diverse experience to local stagesthroughout South Florida.5th Gear’s resume includes airplay on 1<strong>03</strong>.1 “the Buzz,” as wellas a seat at the annual Buzz Bake Sale’s Battle of the Bands.The crew finished in the top 4 of over eighty bands competing.They have been packing ‘em everywhere from the Red Lion inBoynton Beach to Miami’s oldest venue, Tobacco Road. In26| DEC <strong>RAG</strong> MAGAZINEJanuary, they played at the South Florida BBQ Festival. “Festivalsgive you a unique opportunity to share the bill with national actsand share your music with people that would otherwise not getto hear you” Rhett explained. This month, 5th Gear will beentertaining every Wednesday night at the Clevelander in SouthBeach, Delray’s Boston’s, and the Dubliner in Palm BeachGardens. It’s quite evident that they have been busy earning alocal grassroots fan base commonly referred to as “Gear Heads.”Preferring live gigs to the studio, 5th Gear often plays coversranging from Bob Marley to the mighty Zeppelin. But their originalsare just as powerful. In fact, their first full length CD, Waitingfor a Sign, is now available. “It has been a long time coming forus and we’re really proud of the outcome,” explained Rhett.As far as the future goes for 5th Gear, they’re now focusing onlanding gigs with new venues across the country, and hopefullyopening for some giant acts later this year. The local talent iscertainly worthy of the national recognition.


take pictures, and sign autographs for every individualfollower,” expressed Yesod. “We appreciate our fans, andgive them the personal attention they deserve.”Pepperwill bespreading theircasual spirit of aloha at theLangerado Music Festival in Sunrise.Currently working a national tour with theMad Kennedys to support October’s release, NoShame, Pepper’s drummer, Yesod Williams spent a fewminutes on the phone with me from Southern California to sharesome thoughts about his “dream come true” job as a rock star.Pepper moved to the mainland from Hawaii when their bandformed in 1999. Since the voyage, they have been successfulin delivering a very spontaneous show, combining dancehall,reggae, punk, hip-hop, and pop. Pepper is all about the highenergy being released from the crowd. “We never make a setlist. It’s more of a party,” Yesod said. “We don’t separateourselves from our audience.”Story: Todd McFlikerYesod’s Pork Pie drums with a custom silver sparkle and argylefinish supply the necessary beats for the bare-chested Fenderbass player, Bret Bollinger. The two artists are led by the boyishlookingsinger and Stratocaster guitar player, Kaleo Wassman.Each of the fellas has a laid-back approach to his work. Theirchill attitude stems from the tight community in their homeland ofKona. As a direct result, Pepper attempts to have sincererelationships with each and every fan. “We try to take our time,Pepper first started selling out concerts in the fiftieth state,followed by Southern California. “In fact, South Floridawas one of the first markets that accepted us. We’regood boys at the Culture Room in Fort Lauderdale, wherewe’ve played a couple of times,” Yesod said. Each of themusicians in his late twenties grew up on grunge, spending histime and money on names like Sublime, Nirvana, and Pearl Jam.While the Police is one of the biggest influences on Pepper, theClash, Steel Pulse, and Faith No More can all be recognized ashaving direct effects on the crew. Meanwhile, Wassman’s voiceand constant energy onstage are almost synonymous with ofthe Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Anthony Kiedis. On top of theadrenaline, another fantastic element found at every Peppershow is the three jokers goofing off onstage, just having fun asthey interact with their audience. “Comedy is a huge influencefor us,” explained Yesod. “In fact, our name came from an early1990s skit on Saturday Night Live. Dana Carvey and Adam Sandlerare employees in an Italian restaurant, and Carvey is busyexplaining the importance of pepper in meals.Following their appearance at this month’s Langerado festival,Pepper will be trekking through Europe for the first time thisspring. But they’ll be back on time to take part in the 20<strong>07</strong> WarpedTour. The enormous music and extreme sports festival isscheduled for July 21 st in Miami. Yesod summed up the crew’soverall message being passed onto concertgoers; “We prideourselves on being live band, and bringing a fantastic time for allparticipants from all walks of life.” You see how the Pepperworks? The people, they want the Pepper. You’ll like-a thePepper.www.<strong>RAG</strong>magazine.com | 27


“We just sound like us,” Lester says quickly, when asked to interpret thesonic deliveries. Thirty-year-old Lester joined the band over three yearsago, but claims that describing his band’s music is still “sticky business.”He trips over his thoughts for a moment and then declares, “[Our music]is just an amalgamation of stuff that we’ve all listened to since we werekids, and we’re just trying to do something that we think is good andinteresting, and not like everything else that’s out.”As soon as Carnavas kicks into play mode, it’s a reflex to jump tocomparisons like the ethereal parts of My Bloody Valentine, the digitalcommotion of Múm and the quirky chaos of Neu!, but the album possessesbright, aggressive uproars of its own. Lyrically, Carnavas tears througha celebrated stream of repetitive, semi-indecipherable choruses. Theemphasis is on vocal delivery, which ranges from melodious to vociferous,rather than the subjective content of the songs.Even though Lester thinks his band produces solid music, when asked ifhe’d ever play a Silversun Pickup CD when he’s hanging out at home, hisresponse is, “Oh God, no!” This comment leads to another confession.“I haven’t actually listened to the whole record probably since we masteredit, when we actually had to listen to it,” he says.Lester hastily tries to vindicate what he means. “You’re never exactlyhappy [with your own record]. I mean, I’m really proud of the record, andI think it’s as good a record as we could make. It was the record that wereally wanted to make,” he says. “At the same time, it’s like, every oncein a while you think, ‘Oh, I should have done this.’ So it’s better to just letother people listen to it and make their own decision.”SILVERSUNPICKUPSStory: Monica CadyYour cousin was totally wrong. Los Angeles’ Silversun Pickupswere not named after a gang of West Coast pickup truck drivers.They were, however, named in honor of a liquor store in SouthernCalifornia.In 2005, they released a six-song EP, Pikul, but this quintet (BrianAubert, Nikki Monninger, Christopher Guanlao, Joe Lester) cameinto the spotlight most recently with their hit “Lazy Eye,” from theirfirst full-length record Carnavas. “Lazy Eye” is defined by a persistentguitar backbeat swirled around an easy-seated Smashing Pumpkinsflow that gets crunchy in a soft-loud-soft ’90s garage way.Keyboardist Joe Lester says that Silversun Pickups’ newfoundsuccess has come as a surprise to all the band members. He thinkstheir popularity has a lot to do with the support they received earlyon from radio stations. “It’s sort of weird because the record cameout and it was doing pretty well. A lot of radio stations were playingit,” he says. “People just seemed to like it, and it started beingplayed more. It’s funny. I don’t think any of us really realize howgreat it is to get radio airplay. People do actually still listen to theradio,” he says.The remaining 10 tracks of Carnavas stray into territory that isn’toften heard in chart-topping new releases. The tracks get roughand dreamy like good grunge songs should, adding a kind ofRadiohead circa-2000 electronic oddity. Unlike much of the newindie-minded rock, Carnavas brings hazy-headed emotion andmassive-shifting volume levels to the forefront with a heavy foot onthe distortion pedal.28| DEC <strong>RAG</strong> MAGAZINEA lot of the layered ruckus on the record is due, in part, to the tinkering ofLester, who was a bassist before taking on keyboards with SilversunPickups. “I’m not a trained piano player or anything. It’s just been anexperimentation process. There aren’t a lot of straight-up keyboard lineson the record. It’s more like trying to find interesting ways to take upspace sonically, and add textures,” he says.Lester’s general approach to playing keyboard is for the final outcome tonot sound too much like a keyboard or a guitar. Instead, it’s a sampledrivensound. “I’ll sample guitar feedback and I’ll sample all three of the[members] singing a note and run it though a bunch of filters, and justmake strange textural stuff,” says Lester. “Our main goal with [Carnavas]was to get the energy of our live show onto CD,” he adds.Silversun Pickups have toured with such established artists as BrendanBenson, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Wolfmother and Dead Meadow.This month, they hit the road with Snow Patrol. Lester admits that whenthe band first received the offer, they didn’t see any artistic relevance inhaving the two bands tour together.“Musically, when it first came up, I was like, ‘I don’t know if that’s aperfect fit,’” he says. The union came about because a friend of SilversunPickups was working for Snow Patrol. “[Snow Patrol] heard [our CD]and really liked it. So they actually requested us to do the tour with them.That’s pretty awesome to know that it’s not some manger doing someoneelse’s manager a favor,” Lester says. “All the venues [on this tour] arefucking enormous. It will totally be a new experience, which will be fun,”he adds with enthusiasm.“We’re always stoked to get back on the road and play live shows.That’s where we all have the most fun, I think,” he says. “Florida shouldbe interesting because we’ve never been there before.”When performing live, Lester says “goofy technical” things go throughhis mind. “[It’s stuff like], ‘I hope that’s loud enough,’” he says, laughing.“I used to get super, super nervous. Now, it’s like I just get antsy becauseI want to get up there and play. It’s not so much nervous; it’s more likeanxious energy. We know what we’re doing. I think it’s just like, ‘Let’sget up there and do it.’”Story: Joseph VilaneSilversun Pickups open for Snow Patrol on March 19 th at theBank United Center.


ALICE IN CHAINSREVOLUTIONPhoto Logan Faziowww.<strong>RAG</strong>magazine.com | 29


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Story: Monica CadyRemember that time in high school when yourgirlfriend of six months (a very serious relationship,indeed) got drunk at the big party (you didn’t evenwant to go) and made out with that dude from thetrack team in front of everyone? Then she broke up with youover the phone two days later (that bitch!). Your best friendsoffered golden words of sympathy; profound things like, “Thatsucks, man.” But then, your older sister gave you a Cure album.There was Robert Smith. He had stuff to say like, “Found myselfalone, alone, alone above a raging sea that stole the only girl Iloved, and drowned her deep inside of me.” You thought, “Yeah,this guy gets me.” You went on to date another girl, and proudlyblasted “Boys Don’t Cry” from the tape deck of your ’88 Camaro– and life was good again.So maybe everyone’s introduction to the Cure isn’t the same.But you can bet it has something to do with them experiencingan extreme emotion – be it isolation, sadness, love or unbridledglee. It is also impressive how the songs – old and current –are still relevant to every generation, regardless of when theyfirst embraced the Cure or whether they paint their fingernailsblack.The Cure is distinctive in sound and style. Smith’s spidery hairand MAC-lipsticked mouth have become just as iconic as hishypersensitive vocals that squeal, whisper and croon abouteverything from images of lime green and tangerine snakes totortured contemplations on love. The Cure’s new-wave, Gothrocksound established a blueprint that influenced countlessbands for years to come.Since 1976, the Cure has accumulated a discography of some96 releases including albums, singles, EPs, videos andcompilation works. Smith, 47, has been occupied for severalmonths with “Festival 2005,” a DVD featuring 30 songs fromperformances captured by fans, crew and big-screen-cameras.He and the band (Jason Cooper, Simon Gallup, Porl Thompson)are now focusing on completing their next album. At themoment, it includes 33 tracks that they began recording lastsummer. Miami’s Ultra Music Festival is indirectly playing apart in the completion process.“I thought that if we set our sights on playing Miami in March, itwould give me kind of a deadline that I had to stick to becausewe have to be ready to play. We have to finish the new songs. Ifthere is no deadline, I could see myself going into this summerand picking up a couple of projects along the way, and neverreally quite finishing [the album],” he says.Smith also chose to play Ultra, out of the many performanceoffers the band receives, because of its focus on dance music.“Just the idea of playing specifically a dance festival is somethingthat we’ve never done before, and I like the band to experiencenew things – they are few and far between,” he adds.The band just started discussing the set list for the show.“There’s been a bit of conflict – actually, just within the last 48hours – in the band as to how dancey we should go,” he says,thoughtfully. “We have become part of that [dance] culturebecause of what we do, and I suspect if we try too hard to dowhat they (DJs, dance music producers) do, then we’ll kind ofmiss the point. It’s almost like we’re approaching it, in thatwe’re choosing a set list of songs that we think sums up whythe Cure appeals to the dance community. But we’re not reallygonna go all out and try and put on a dance show. So, it’s a finebalance.”Smith is calling <strong>RAG</strong> <strong>Magazine</strong> from his home in the U.K. to talkabout Ultra, the new album and other ramblings. He isunassuming, kind and jovial. “It’s been a strange period, really,”he says. “This is the first interview I’ve done in ages. I wasthinking that, as I was dialing the number. Normally, you kind ofget into a groove with these sort of things, and sort of fieldquestions. I’ve been doing it long enough that I know how to doit. But I haven’t really thought about what we do in terms ofsumming it up in an interview sense. It’s quite weird to do itwww.<strong>RAG</strong>magazine.com | 33


on the fly.” Here’s what Smith had to say off-the-cuff and onthe-record.<strong>RAG</strong>: What can you tell me about the new music? What’sgotten harder and what’s gotten easier with regard towriting songs over the years?Robert Smith: Well, it’s always the words [that] are the hardestpart for me. The music, we could probably record 100 songs ayear, I should think; if we put our minds to it. The music isn’treally a problem. It is a lot harder for me to focus this album, orhas been, because of the return of Porl on guitar. He’scontributing such a different kind of musicality to the group. Andbecause we are all putting songs in the pot and saying, youknow, “What does this sound like?” We’re trying lots of differentthings. We’ve actually got such a breadth of different stuff. Imean, stylistically it’s kind of reminiscent of the Kiss Me album,because there are so many different things going on.At one point, I was thinking maybe [this could be] a double albumwith some instrumentals, and being really, really artsy. But afterI talked it through with the rest of the band, and primarily therecord company (laughs), they weren’t very thrilled about adouble album. [The label] think[s] it’s conceptually sound, but inthe current climate, probably not commercially viable. So, I’mthinking we’ll probably do the album in two stages. We’ll haveone [released], which is, in and of itself, a thing. Then we’llprobably have like another kind of album, which will be adownload album, and will complement the main album. That’s mythinking at the moment.So I think the [songs on the] main album will probably be moreconnected. It’s really, really difficult talking about new music.Because it does sound like us, but it doesn’t sound like us at anyparticular time. You can definitely tell that Porl is back in theband, so it kind of reminds me of the period of Kiss Me,Disintegration and Wish – just because the mood within theband [shows that] Porl’s character has come back.We have got a keyboard in the studio, but it’s been used very,very sparingly. There are little touches of piano, and little bits ofnoise here and there. But generally, it’s just a four-piece band.It’s bass, two guitars and drums. And it’s quite stripped down.There’s a lot more space in what we’re doing, but it’s really a lotmore powerful, in a funny way. Because we’ve only been backin the studio for two weeks, it seems like a long time ago that weplayed these songs. It’s almost as though they’re old songsbecause I’ve been listening to them since last July. It’s amazingthat they haven’t leaked. It’s scary isn’t it?Yeah.That’s because I’m the only person in the world that’s got a set.(laughs)Do you write lyrics every day?Since we released the last album, which was mid-2004, I’ve got– I don’t know how many pages – a box full of words. I write justas a matter of course. I just write thoughts. But I’ve never mademyself kind of think, “Now I’m writing. This could be something.”Because I think that would take away [from it]. It’s almost liketrying too hard to remember your dreams. It becomes somehowa little bit too intellectualized. I’ll often read back on what I wrote34| DEC <strong>RAG</strong> MAGAZINE


and just think, “Rubbish!” and tear it up and throw it away. But at the time I’mwriting, I know it doesn’t have to be good, and so therefore, it’s a release. It’slike playing guitar when you’re drunk. It always sounds bad the next day.(laughs)But when we start doing a project, I look through this box of words, and I starttrying to match up words to music, and sometimes it’s very easy. Other times,it’s not so easy – particularly after all this time. I’m kind of 300 songs in [at thispoint in my career]. It’s difficult to try and be genuinely excited about what I’mtrying to say. I don’t see any point, really, in writing words so that we can makea record. It’s never made any sense. It was much easier when I was in my 20s,and I had only done like three or four albums. This is like the 13 th album along.But I’m not worried about it.I think I did do an interview in the last six months, and the interviewer took whatI was saying [and made it seem like] I was suffering from writer’s block. And Ithought, “This is so wide off the mark.” I’ve never understood the concept ofwriter’s block because if you haven’t got anything to say, then you haven’t gotanything to say. It has absolutely nothing to do with trying to write.I’ve got so many words. But it’s one thing to have sheets and sheets of wordsin front of you, and it’s quite another thing putting it together in a song. Unlessyou try it, I don’t think writers – that’s basically journalists – struggle to see thedifference in just like writing a few words and actually imagining yourself infront of a microphone, performing those words and singing them. It’s a totallydifferent thing.I’ve got an ongoing book, that’s been going on for years, of things that I think arequite good that I’ve written, but I would never sing. I couldn’t dream of singing[them] because the words are wrong. They would sound ridiculous if I sangthem. But on paper, and when I read them to myself in my head, I think theywork quite well. So at some point, I’ll make that into a thing that will be totallyseparate. It’ll probably be about 600 pages long. (laughs) The stories of writer’sblock will be knocked firmly on the head.When you write lyrics do you always write as yourself, or do you everwrite through the eyes of other characters?No, well, if I was really honest, I think the best songs that I’ve written are mesinging, because I feel better. They feel right. Probably some of the biggersongs, or the most popular songs, aren’t really me singing. I don’t limit myself tomy own experiences. I try to write from other people’s point of view. I try towrite from an imaginary point of view. But often, I’ll just come back to somethingmuch simpler, and something I’ve written in that particular time when I wasfeeling strongly about something. And they’re usually the songs that meansomething to me.I think it’s the difference between writing a song that has a lot of emotionalcontent and writing a song that’s just a good song. The trick, I suppose, ismaking that good song connect with people, and that’s really hard. I think anysinger who kind of means what they sing – who doesn’t just read the words offa piece of paper – is trying to get inside the character. Writing it is one thing; butactually trying to inhabit the character when you perform it, is another. Thereare things that we do, where I’m singing things that in my real life I wouldn’tdream of saying or singing about; but they’re more, kind of, performance things.They sometimes are the songs – when I listen back at our albums, which isn’tthat often, but when we do the remasters – I think, that I meant, and I can think,that one I don’t think I was too sure about.On the Kiss Me album, that was kind the first time I tried to write from anotherperspective. I think before then, everything I had written was from my point ofview. I think the Kiss Me album, in a lot of ways, was me trying out differentthings and the band tried different styles. I tried different ways of singing anddifferent ways of writing. But with Disintegration, I went back to my own pointof view. And then I tried a different thing again with the Wish album. So, Isometimes incorporate it, but I would prefer it if I could write all the songs froma kind of more heartfelt position because I just think they work there – or theylast longer, I think.IN STORES NOW!To what do you attribute your longevity, andeven your influence on so many new,younger bands?It’s partly what we were just talking about. I mean,I’ve met and gotten to know a few of the youngergenerations of bands. I think that the one thingthey all had in common with regard to the Curewas that they enjoy the fact that we’ve kind ofhung around, and we’ve done what we wantedto do, and we’ve been successful but we haven’tcourted that success. We’ve kind of just forcedour own path, and we’ve meant it. I think it’s thatthe perception is that we have done what wewanted to do, and even if it had gone wrong, wewouldn’t have changed what we did. I think it’sthat any young band that’s any good has to aspireto that – anything else is just worthless. If yousucceed on someone else’s turns, it might be greatat that moment, but I suspect it’s pretty short lived.I mean the idea of being proud of what you do –whatever you do – is far more important than theend result. The experience of doing it is worthmore than the end result, to be honest. [It’s] all ofthose things.It is difficult to resist the temptation just to becomerubbish. So many bands as they grow a bit older,they just get worse. It’s a struggle, and, youknow, life has a tendency to take over. It’s aterrible thing to resist [regular life] entirely. Youcan’t just like keep being in a band. I mean thereare a couple of older bands who sort of think allwe need to do is be in a band, whereas I like thewww.<strong>RAG</strong>magazine.com | 35


idea of sort of balancing playing music with other people and integratinginto a more kind of rounded life as you get older. I mean it would be awfulfor me to feel as alienated and disturbed as I did when I was in my 20s, atthis stage in my life. I mean, I would be dead if I felt like that. So, at the sametime, when the Cure does do something, I get so immersed in it, I feel like Ifelt when we did the very first album. So nothing’s really changed.Do you think people have this misconception that you are sadand gloomy all the time because some of your songs aremelancholy?Um, I think there was a misconception for a long time. I don’t think it’sprobably as bad now because when we’re (pauses) – that’s a tricky one.(laughs) The Cure still makes some pretty dark music. I mean there aresongs on this [next] album, which are among the darkest that we’ve everdone. They reflect a part of my character that’s still there, that will nevergo away. I still am subject to incredible bouts of depression, I suppose.But it’s in the same way as pretty much everyone I know who thinks aboutwhat’s going on, is subject to those kind of dark thoughts and dark moments.I’ve always tried to work [my emotions] out and into songs as music.Sometimes they work so well that other people kind of feel that they’reabout themselves. It’s great when that happens because I think that’s thereason why I’m doing it. You know, if I was doing it for just myself, Iwouldn’t bother recording the vocals. So, it’s a wonderful thing when thathappens.But, I suppose if there ever is a downside, it’s that then this perceptionstarts to grow that that’s who I am. But I’ve always maintained that I’m justnot very good at writing happy songs. (laughs) It’s really honestly assimple as that. Occasionally I come up with a really good happy song like“Mint Car” or something, and then I shock myself. I think, “I’m genuinelyhappy in this song.” But most of the time when [the band is chatting, they]will say, “Let’s do something a little more upbeat,” and I try it, and it justsounds awful. (laughs) It sounds really insincere.Last summer, when we recorded, it was the best time that I’ve ever had inthe studio - ever - like my whole life. It was just such good fun. And yet,at the end of the day, we would listen back to what we had done, and itwould be incredibly doom-laden. So it’s a weird sort of dichotomy. Thehappier we get as a band, kind of the gloomier the music gets. I think it’sone of those things where if we were really unhappy with what we weredoing, we would try and (pauses) – it’s kind of what they say aboutcomedians being really tragic, you know, I suppose we must be prettyhappy. That’s why we make miserable music.But, all jokes aside, I think the reason that perception has sort of dissolveda little bit or gone away is because the Cure’s work is now seen in aslightly different way. [Especially with the remasters] it’s kind of saying,“Well hang on. We do songs like ‘Mint Car’ and all those pop singles.” It’skind of like the Miami show. We’re being asked to do that primarily becauseof the singles, not because of the permanent epics, but that’s a side of theband that I really enjoy.There are so many different sides to the Cure that it’s very hard for us tothink that everyone thinks, “Ah there’s that miserable bloke.” There are toomany instances where I’m not that miserable bloke. It doesn’t really work.I think without that really dark side, I don’t think the Cure would be a veryinteresting group.Do you still wear MAC Ruby Woo?You know, that’s a good question. I have no idea. I still wear MAC becausethey gave me a huge box of stuff. (laughs) I have no reason to change. Itdoesn’t run on stage, which is what I really care about. I’m not wearingmake-up at the moment.You do your own makeup before you go onstage, right? Youdon’t have someone do it for you.No, I always do it. I hate people touching my face. It drives me mad.Tell me about your experience with South Park. Do you keep intouch with Matt Stone and Trey Parker?Yeah, I saw them on the Curiosa tour. We don’t hang out. (laughs) It’s kindof hard living on the other side of the world. I still watch South Park. I stillthink it’s one of the best things on television actually. It’s excellent howthey keeping pushing. I mean I think they’ve been trying to get themselvestaken off the air for the last three years. They just haven’t managed it yet.(laughs) It’s refreshing. They deal with subjects in their own way, whicha lot of people are kind of reluctant to touch. I think underlying South Park,amidst all the idiot humor, there’s always the part where they say, “Whathave we learned? I’ve learned something today.” I share my enjoyment ofit with my nephews and nieces. It’s one of those bonding things. Everyonekind of sits around and rolls with laughter. When I was in [the South Parkepisode], it was a career high for me.The story continues… Robert Smith discusses theworld’s MySpace fixation, his latest interest inastronomy, and more at www.myspace.com/ragmagazine.Story: Todd McFliker


shiny toy gunsStory: Tanya van KampenWho said hard work doesn’t pay? They need to get a clue – ortake a lesson from DIY pros Shiny Toy Guns. The L.A. basedquartet has built an enormous following with their diligent workethic, complete creative control, and a “hands-on” mentality. Andthe buzz surrounding the Shiny Toy Guns shows no signs ofstopping.The band is currently finishing a European tour and will returnstateside for, undoubtedly, more relentless touring in support oftheir major label debut We Are Pilots. I spoke to Shiny Toy Gun’sco-founder Jeremy Dawson (keyboards, bass) via telephonejust prior to their European departure. Dawson is incrediblyarticulate and thorough with his words. He is an exemplary modelof what it is to be a knowledgeable and informed professionalmusician. Dawson and company make it their business to becompletely aware of anything and everything Shiny Toy Guns.More power to ‘em.<strong>RAG</strong>: Your music has a sort of magical ethereal essence –where is the inspiration drawn from?Jeremy Dawson: We’re really into capturing a moment. Thesame moment we would feel going to see a certain kind of moviethat rips your heart out of your body and puts it back three dayslater. A lot of that feeling comes from the soundtrack going on inthat movie. Or sometimes you hear a song that reminds you ofeverything you’ve ever done in your life, people that are living,people that are non-living, and we wanted to take all of that andtry to capture that in music. And we want to try to becomemoments so that other people can hear them and then be thatmoment in their life.How do you account for the band’s steadily growing fanbase?We attribute it to our very important natural focus on peer-topeersocial networking. We’re very centered on responding todirect questions, statements, comments, opinions from the peoplethat matter the most to us, which are the people who listen ourmusic. The other half of the marriage of the person who makesthe music is the person who listens to the music when it’sfinished being made. We hold that in such a high regard thatwe’ve developed actual relationships with our fans and friends.We’re able to communicate with them through web-based socialnetworking sites and software. Things like Bebo, Isound,Myspace, Purevolume, - we utilize all of those simultaneously tocreate a cleaner Story: and open Jeff conversation Noller based relationship withthe people who listen to our music. And that’s a lot more powerfulthan corporate marketing and it always will be.How difficult was it to set yourselves apart from all theother bands that come out of L.A.?38| DEC <strong>RAG</strong> MAGAZINE


I don’t think it was difficult at all because none of us are actuallyfrom L.A. It’s funny because nobody in L.A. is actually from L.A.We came there – Chad and I are from a small town in Oklahoma– and we moved to Los Angeles 4 or 5 years ago and put theband together 3 years ago and the other members of the bandare from Ventura County northwest of L.A. And we brought withus who we were stylistically in songwriting ability wise andstyle wise. That’s just who we are and weren’t immediately ordirectly tainted or influenced by a west coast sound or a culturaltainting or modeling of bands that are from the scene of L.A. orthe sound of L.A. And actually we were just really beingourselves and said this is what we sound like.Are there hang-ups or reservations you have about themusic industry that made weary of becoming aprofessional musician?Yeah. So many that the model that the Shiny Toy Guns is basedaround is one simple idea and that was to pretend that therewas a big war, a big accident and everyone in the music industryis gone. And the only way we could do anything is if we do itourselves - which we still follow completely along those lines.We started at zero and worked our way to where we are nowand where we’re hoping to get to - using our own fuel and ourown engine. We’re not dependent upon anyone or anything atanytime at all because you can’t depend on things that haveulterior motives or utilize what you’re doing for their ownselfishness.What are you thinking about when you’re performing on stage?I try not to because if you think too much then you’re gonna try tohard and you’ll either make a mistake or you’ll lose the collectiveenergy that’s up there. What matters at that moment, at that timeis those people…those kids. And we have to get up there and beprofessional and put on the best show that we possible can, sowhen people go home and they get in their car and they stare outthe window, they don’t turn the radio on. They think about “Wowthat was really cool. I really had fun and I can’t till they comeback.” That’s the goal anyway, that’s what we try to do.What are you discovering to be the most difficult thing tocope with when being out on tour for long extendedperiods of time?The most difficult thing is time – its always time. Because apoorly or difficulty billed tour will knock all your time out. Timemeaning time to work on marketing, concepts, fan mail, developingnew ideas, songwriting, resting, sleeping, going to a movie, doingthings that are more therapeutic – you lose all of that whenhaving to sit in a vehicle. You lose time and without time you gocrazy. And after weeks and months of that it’s really aggravating.Is there a particular place in the world you are excited to see?Yeah. We’re making a documentary on places in the northernhalf of the world that people really don’t tour. We’re going to thesouthern port cities of Greenland and then giving a five or sixshow tour in Iceland. We’re coming back to Alaska to do 3½weeks up there and then we’re gonna do a couple of spots inSiberia. And we’ve never been to Siberia, Iceland or Greenland.And to be able to tour up there and perform and meet all thosepeople and their culture is something very fascinating to us andwe’re really excited about the opportunity.Will you be getting any time to sightsee while you’retouring in Europe?No. Our UK tour is six weeks and not a single day off. We cansightsee from the bus window.What’s been the biggest change in your life since therelease of We Are Pilots?I don’t know. It’s a myth that when you sign a record or releasean album with major distribution that suddenly you wake up andyou’re in bed and you have a crown on and there’s a womanIN STORES NOWstanding under a palm tree. Those things aren’t real. The workmultiplies times 50, suddenly your supposed to be in five differentplaces in the next five minutes. And if you don’t, you get12 screamed at by giant people. Probably the most immediate changein my life is that if I wanted to go out and stay out all night withfriends of mine on tour, I can’t because I have a conference callat 7:30 in the morning. And all of your free time is completelyfucked away. We’ve spent a total of 2½ weeks in the city of LosAngeles in the past 23 months. You miss family, friends, yoursisters, brothers, birthdays passing; you come home and yourlittle sister is a teenage girl dating boys and you flip out andchase her around the room. You lose all of those things that youcomplained about, you suddenly look back at them fondly.Are there any other artists or bands you would like towork with in the future?U2. That’s a very regarded goal of mine since I was 12 yearsold.What would like to see in the future of Shiny Toy Guns?I’d like to see us spread out more on a global level – countries likeTurkey, Israel, Jordan, Egypt that very interested in touring in. Iwanna make sure that we cover most of South Africa, Australia,New Zealand. We’re going to Tokyo next week and them movingon from Japan to some of the smaller Asian communities. Idefinitely want to be the first band to break in China. China,aside from having a jillion people, China has the worst pirated CDproblem in the world as far as physical product but no one inChina steals a single song on the Internet because the Communistregulatory situation there Web wise prevents them from illegallydownloading things. So there’s a world of success waiting inChina through a Chinese I-tunes which is being developed rightnow and I would love for us to get on the cusp of that and get inthere and get shows and go into that world – there’s a lot ofpeople there more than anywhere else.How would you sum up Shiny Toy Guns in one word?Here.www.<strong>RAG</strong>magazine.com | 39


DJ Miguel MigsStory: Monica CadyAlmost nothing sounds more fitting for the South Beachelectronic music scene than the house beats by producerMiguel Migs. But before you assume these are just someplayed-out club tunes, think twice. San Francisco-basedMigs, a multi-instrumentalist and founder of Salted Music,doesn’t focus on just making music to dance by. His musicworks for a lot of things: lounging, chilling, conversing,working out and, well, yeah, head bobbing and sweatyshaking-it-on the-dance-floor action.Migs’ sophomore release, Those Things, hits stores thismonth. The 13 tracks are inspired by old soul, funk, reggaeand hip hop, and fuse electronic elements with liveinstrumentations. The album features trumpet, congas,saxophone, guitar, bass and an array of guest vocalists,including Lisa Shaw, Sadat X, Tim Fuller, Fred Ross andJunior Reid. These well-blended sounds would make senseat a happening poolside hotel party, velvet-roped nightclubor even a quaint living room cocktail gathering.A key factor in the making of Those Things was Migs’knack for impulsiveness. “I would go into the studio andspontaneously write music and start writing lyrics andsongs,” he says. Some of the songs were written in a fewhours, while others took longer. “There are different levelsto all this,” he explains.All of the tracks on Those Things were written within thepast year while Migs was simultaneously fulfilling a busytour schedule. “I just wrote and recorded when I could,” hesays. “When I felt I had enough material for the album, I justfigured it was a good time to be finished with this particularproject and put it out.”Though they were all written in the same time period, the tracks weren’t allrecorded in the same way. For some, Migs would write and recordeverything himself. Other times, a vocalist might join him in the studio, andthe two would collaborate on an entire piece. “There are different storiesto each song,” he says. “When you’re writing, it’s definitely a form of selfexpression.A lot of it is based on emotion and mood.”A self-starting, on-the-go guy, Migs embraces all aspects of his profession.“[Touring and working in the studio] are both very inspiring and creative indifferent ways. The two go pretty nicely hand-in-hand, just like whenyou’re in a band and you’re writing songs, and you go on the road andperform those songs,” says Migs. “Definitely, I’d have to say my mainpassion and true love is writing and creating music. It’s extremely importantfor me to have that outlet in my life.”Migs views house music as a limitless medium to showcase his ingenuity.“There are really no rules to it. There’s no exact formula. House musicincorporates a range of sound elements like electronic synthesizers and livemusic. You can get inspiration from Latin music, rock, hip-hop or dub music.You can do instrumental stuff. You can do full songs with vocals. I just love thefact that you can be so creative with it,” he explains with vigor.Another bonus of working with house music is that Migs doesn’t have theburden of agreeing upon an artistic vision experienced by bands. “Youcan do it all in the studio yourself and record spontaneously, rather thanwaiting to get a whole group of guys together before you’re able to writeand finish, and record your songs. There’s a real spontaneity to it that’sattractive to me,” he says.For Migs, making music is not an option; it’s practically survival. “It’s noteven my choice. I don’t try to get inspired. Music’s always just runningthrough my head and I am always getting ideas and inspiration fromtraveling, from people, from all different kinds of music. No matter whatkind of music it is, it’s always running through my mind. I am always havingso many creative ideas that I have to get into the studio to release theseideas,” he says, enthusiastically.A self-taught artist, Migs’ first musical experience was playing in a reggaedub band as a teenager. In the mid-’90s, he picked up a keyboard andstarted experimenting with electronic sounds. Although he hasn’t heardabout the trendy new DJ schools that are popping up in South Beach, Migshas a positive opinion about this formal training option. “Like anything, youhave to put time and creative energy into it. I think it’s great if people wantto go take a course, and if people want to do any kind of musical art. Iimagine it’s got to be a positive thing,” he says.Even if you’re an expert in the electronic music realm, it’s refreshing tohear from someone like Migs, that the genre has some intricacies that makeit a bit intimidating. “[The electronic music scene] has definitely grown andbecome a widespread, global type of music. I think there are so many subgenresand so many categories that it’s sort of overwhelming and becomeshard to keep up with. There are so many underground electronic music artistsand labels. You really have to search and dig to find a lot of stuff that’s out therebecause there’s so much of it across the world,” he says.As an international performer, Migs gets to see a plethora of music scenes.Right now, Asia and South America seem to be the new hot spots. “Thoseare definitely two areas of the world where the type of electronic musicthat I make is starting to grow,” he says.Miguel Migs performs at Miami’s Winter Music Conference onMarch 23 rd at Shine.40| DEC <strong>RAG</strong> MAGAZINE


Stephen MarleyStory: Todd McFlikerContinuing in the legacy of spreading a humanitarian message to the masses, the14th Annual Caribbean Festival in Miami’s Bayfront Park on Saturday, March 3 rd willbe one full day of music, arts and crafts honoring the life and philosophy of BobMarley. In the tradition of each prior celebration, donations of four canned goodsare required in addition to the $30 general admission ticket price. Proceeds fromthe event will benefit programs to help the homeless in both South Florida andJamaica. To date, the Bob Marley Movement has collected 1.5 million cans fordistribution to those in need. The Festival will feature both national and local acts,including headliners Stephen, Julian and Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley performingtogether. “The reason we’ll all be there is special,” explained Stephen. “We arecelebrating the life and music of our father, everyone comes together to celebrate.”At the Festival, Stephen Marley will be debuting material from his highly anticipatedsolo effort, Mind Control, which will hit stores on March 20 th . The CD represents anevolution for the 34-year-old, as he is stepping to center stage for the first time inhis 27 year career. A veteran to the business, Stephen and his 3-feet of dreadlockshave earned five Grammys as both an artist and as a producer. The man has takenhome more Grammy awards than any other reggae artist in history. Mind Control isa blend of reggae, R&B, and rap beneath his soulful voice.THE BOB MARLEYMOVEMENT OF JAH PEOPLE PRESENTS14th ANNUAL CARIBBEAN FEST!MIAMI’S BAYFRONT PARK AMPHITHEATRESATURDAY, MARCH 3, 20<strong>07</strong>FEATURING: Stephen “Ragga” MarleyDamian “Jr. Gong”Marley, Julian Marley,with Special Guests: Capleton, Sizzla &much more!“Miami knows what to expect. Every year, it only getsbetter,” claimed Stephen. “We are all ready for the Festival,and we are bringing the fire to the music.”The cut is an autobiographical work. “My joy and my pain, this is me,” Stephenstated in a press release. “It’s a page from my book. Every page tells a story, butat the same time is a continuation of the page before it or the page to come. Thisis just one page.” In the track “Iron Bars,” Stephen discusses the persecution andincarceration of marijuana smokers. Featuring his brother, Julian, it was inspiredby the few hours that the two spent in a horrific Tallahassee jail in 2002 for merepossession. “What was I doing in jail for a plant” Stephen asked me. “It is part ofmy culture.”The anarchist track, “Chase Dem,” discusses crooked politicians, tapping intothe disillusionment triggered by elected leaders in both the U.S. and Jamaicangovernments. “Here in Jamaica, politics is a plague,” he stated in our interview.On the opposite spectrum, the hypnotic “Lonely Avenue” is the artist’s sweetballad. It is actually an organ-soaked cover of the Ray Charles classic.Being a long-time fan of the performer, Stephen remembers feeling theicon’s pain when he blended his contemporary sounds with classicroots vibes. “It’s soulfulness,” he said. “I didn’t necessary feel his pain,but I felt for him. That’s what I love about it.”The closing track on Mind Control, “Inna Di Red,” featuring an ancientAfrican drum, along with Ben Harper, is a thoughtful, shaker-dustedmeditation on inner peace. “I met Ben Harper in Jamaica at the BobMarley Tribute in 1999,” Stephen said. “Damien was on tour withhim, and one thing led to another for my record”Alongside older siblings Ziggy and Cedella, Stephen was dancingand singing in the spotlight with his father and The Wailers’ liveshows decades ago. At age seven, he began learning guitar on anylon-stringed acoustic and was determined to follow in his dad’sfootsteps. Stephen, his brother and sister made their official debut in1979, known collectively as The Melody Makers. They became hugewith their peaceful messages about love and unity. In the 1990s, Stephenemerged as a force in record producing. “I also played a guitar solowith Eric Clayton in New York,” Stephen said. “It was good vibes as justjammed through the song. He is a legend.”For Stephen, the past year has been a coming-out party of sorts. Hescored his fifth Grammy award for Welcome To Jamrock, earning himthe most Grammy awards of than any other Reggae artist in history.The man also embarked on two U.S. concert tours this year, includingthe acclaimed “Bob Marley Roots Rock Reggae Festival,” alongside Ziggy.To this day, Stephen continues to work on new music for other talents,including all of his brothers.www.<strong>RAG</strong>magazine.com | 41


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MACHINE HEADStory: Matt PashalianSince 1994, Oakland, California’s Bay Area Metal band Machine Headhas been charging forward in there genre proving themselves witheach release as a band to be reckoned with. Receiving critical acclaimfirst in Europe before making a splash in the states, everywhere theband played, new fans were sure to be won over in throngs.Machine Head started to make waves in the United States with theirsophomore effort, The More Things Change... which pushed newfans to check out the band’s debut, Burn My Eyes.Rob: It just kind of happened, I mean we never wanted to make thesame record twice. We’ve always wanted every record to standon it own. With this one, with all the success that we had withThrough The Ashes... The one thing that we all didn’t want to dowas play it safe and stick with the Through The Ashes... formula.Right off the bat, we started writing these really long songs, whenit was four seven minute songs in a row it was like whoa! Hold on,what’s going on. There was actually some talk about trimming themdown, and in the end, you know we tried to, but it just felt wrong,you know. It just didn’t have that fun rollercoaster of a ride. We justsaid fuck it, the songs feel good,and if they’re longer, than so be it.As long as it’s not getting boringand not turning into a hippie spacejam, droney or repetitive. As longas it still sounds like a song, in theclassic sense, like a pop song, ithas a thread of consistency, thanit’s like, let’s do this, because it’sreally cool.When the band headed into thestudio in August last year,what was the collectivesongwriting process like?Initially, we started writing about ayear before that, around August of2005. The first four songs wewrote I don’t even think ended upon the record, we ended up writingabout 26 songs. Of those songs,we narrowed it down to eight,which are now on the album.Proving that the band was very different musically, and lyricallyfrom the rest of the hard musical landscape with songs like“Davidian,” “Old,” “A Nation On Fire,” and “Ten Ton Hammer,” MachineHead seemed poised to take it to the next level after major tours ofEurope, and the Ozzfest tour when lead guitarist Logan Mader leftthe fold. Replaced with Ahrue Luster, Machine Head moved forwardwith the commercially successful The Burning Red spawning singles“From This Day,” “Silver,” and live favorite, “The Blood, The Sweat,The Tears.”After much touring, two more albums, a live disc and DVD, a newguitar player, work on a tribute to Metallica album, and a TwentyfifthAnniversary album to the band’s label Roadrunner Records,we’re at the present where the band is ready to unleash the albumof their career, The Blackening.<strong>RAG</strong>: The band makes really huge progressions from onealbum to the next, you could definitely however see whichdirection the music was going in from Through The Ashes ofEmpires to The Blackening. Was that direction one that theband was planning on heading into anyways, or was itunconscious?You guys have been prettybusy the past year and a half,between Sounds of TheUnderground, The Kerrang!<strong>Magazine</strong> disc, the Roadrunner United album, and TheBlackening. Does the band ever pull any of these trackslike the one’s from Kerrang! Or the Roadrunner United in alive setting or are those kind of songs strictly done oneshot?We did “Dagger” at the Road Runner United party, and KillswitchEngage will be supporting Machine Head over in Europe, and weactually have talked about jamming it at some of the shows, so we’llsee if that happens. With “Battery” from the Kerrang! Disc, I knowthat they’re planning on putting it on the European Digipak’s, whichthey don’t do over here in America as much, I don’t know why. I thinkit’s pretty lame that they don’t because all of the fans have to go andbuy the import for twice as much money. I think they should releasethem simultaneously; in America, in Europe, in Japan, etc. Plus youget the cooler package. They just don’t do those in America forsome reason. But “Battery” is coming out along with a B-Side thatdidn’t make The Blackening.Lyrically, the subject matter of The Blackening is somewhatreminiscent of Burn My Eyes, emphasizing society andpolitics more, was this due to the current state of what’sbeen going on in the world the past few years?44| DEC <strong>RAG</strong> MAGAZINE


There was some of it on Through The Ashes. “In The Presence OfMy Enemies” was very much about the very beginning of the war.With this though, kind of having learned everything that we’velearned since the war began and just kind of seeing the change forthe worse that things have taken. It wasn’t like, hey, let’s writeabout this stuff now, it’s just what started pouring out. Now to saythat this is a political record, because I don’t even consider us apolitical band. There’s just more social commentary, and at the sametime, there’s still some personal stuff on there. Songs like “BeautifulMourning,” “Now I Lay Thee Down,” and “Slanderous,” they’re allvery personal songs that are addressed in a more raw manner.When I go to write lyrics, it’s not really; I’m not going to sit here andtell you I have this vision...; but it’s not like that. I’m kind of like RainMan, I just spit out a bunch of different shit, trying a bunch ofdifferent lyrics and different vibes, and just try to match what thevibe of the song is.One of the album’s standout tracks I think is “Slanderous,”which you just mentioned is one of the more personalsongs.In a broader scope, it’s addressing judgmental prejudice, racism,which is still prevalent in America, and I’m telling it through everysingle name that I’ve ever been called in my life, from “nigga” to“faget” to “pussy,” and then asking the question in the chorus,“Why do I hate my brother?” It’s weird, and as personal as saying Ilove you. For the first two weeks that I sang it, I was like this is tooweird. The way I looked at it was like, I’m definitely out of the safetyzone here, stick with it, see if it works, because my first instinctwas like, ok, it’s gotta go. In the end though, it seemed to be thething that tied everything together.In a sense, Machine head has kind of Spinal Tapped, insteadwith guitar players, from Logan Mader, to Ahrue Luster,and now Phil Demmel whom you used to play with inViolence 15 years ago. Was Phil an obvious choice as areplacement?Phil was actually going to retire from music. He had some things goon in his life, was disillusioned, and he came to us after Ahrue leftand we were getting ready to do these festivals over in Europe andwe did need a guitar player for it and he was like hey I’m gettingready to retire, it would be cool to kind of get this last hurrah. Himand I grew up together, played guitar together, so it was like yeathis could be awesome you know, no strings attached. We weren’teven looking for a new guitar player at the time, we were going towrite the next album as a three-piece, but he came in and it wasalmost instant. We were like, wow, this is fuckin killer. It was onlyfor two weeks and then the tour ended, Phil was like, well, I guessI’m going to retire. We continued writing for the next nine months,and we wrote a huge chunk of Through The Ashes as a threepiece,and then things changed in Phil’s life, and I would see him atshows, or at a mutual friends house and he would be like, so, youknow, when am I going to be in the band, and I was like, “I don’tknow motherfucker, you tell me you’re the one who’s retired!”Eventually he came in, and after those dates, we weren’t interestedin getting anyone else, he was the guy. We weren’t going to evenlook for anyone before the record came out anyways. Phil’s great,he’s an awesome guitar player, brings a great vibe, great attitude,awesome lead player.You can definitely hear Phil’s influence a bit on Through TheAshes..., but more so on The Blackening. What did Phil bringto the band’s plate?He was there for around half of Through The Ashes..., so he hadsome influence on there as well. Dave McClean and I still write amajority of the music. I wrote about 65 percent of The Blackening,and a good 80 percent of the lyrics. It’s more of the detail, andhaving the ability to bounce stuff back and fourth to each other.Back in August, you were rooting this album to be the Masterof Puppets for this generation, and upon first listen of thealbum, I think it’s actually a fair assumption to make aIN STORES MARCH 27THstatement like that. Did that have some play as in why youmade that statement?Our goal was to write the Master Of Puppets for this generation.When I said that, just to be clear, I didn’t mean like, we want to be thenext Metallica, or we’re going to write the record that they should bewriting because it’s very much a Machine Head record. Our goalwas to write a record that had the power and epic grandeur andtimelessness of that record. To me, I put on Master... today, and itkicks about 95 percent of every metal band’s records ass. It’s 20years old at this point. We knew that it was a very lofty goal, andmaybe even a bit arrogant as a goal. But we were going to shoot forthe stars and even if we got halfway, at least we tried it, to make agenre, or career defining record. So that’s really where thatstatement came from. Whether we achieved that or not, I don’t know,that’s for the world to decide. But I know we’re very proud of thisrecord and the response so far has been unbelievable.It’s been said now for a good ten years that rock and metal isdead. What do you think of the current state of Rock and Metal?I think it’s great how metal is on an upswing again. Obviously, peopleat the Grammy’s who don’t know anything about metal nominateSlayer and Lamb of God, and have probably never listened to it buthave kids that listen to it who are like, yea, that’s cool. In that senseit’s awesome. When Machine Head came out with Burn My Eyes, itwas pretty much uncool to be a metal band as any time I have everremembered in my life. No one wanted to call themselves metal,even Metallica was calling themselves a rock band. It’s great to seeit all come back around. I walk down the street now by my houseand I see 14 year old skater kids with the tight pants, big whiteshoes and a Testament shirt and it’s killer. So, in that perspective it’sa good thing. In another sense though, I think with the popularity ofmetal heads there’s also a lot of crappy metal bands are scooped upand touted as this great thing. I think for me the most annoying trendin metal is just that every single heavy band has to have pretty muchan entire albums worth of lyrics about there girlfriend. It’s like, witheverything that’s going on in the world today, that’s the only topicthat you can find to write about ... your girlfriend leaving you. Take alook outside man.www.<strong>RAG</strong>magazine.com | 45


Story: Joseph VilaneFrom the blackness behind automatics moves a deeper blackness; ashadow within a shadow that dissipates into the night. Atlantic Records isproud to form a partnership with Shadows Fall with the release of theirdebut major label record Threads Of Life. Shadows Fall (Vocalist BrianFair, drumer Jason Bittner, Bassist Paul Romanko, guitarists John Donaisand Matt Bachand) have enjoyed some commercial success through hardwork and perseverance. Having been in the top 20 on the Billboard top 200charts; as well as receiving a Grammy Nomination last year, this band hasworked long and hard to gain a strong reputation as one of the moretraditional metal acts today! One of the main acts on the Jagermeister MusicTour featuring the likes of Stone Sour and Lacuna Coil, Shadows Fall havereached the big time and they aren’t about to slow down the pace!Threads Of Life shows this band kicking it up a notch and taking theirsound to the next level. The old school Metallica style guitar riffage is stillevident, yet they have grown more versatile. Shadows Fall reveal a morevulnerable side on the new record with a touching ballad written by frontman Brian Fair; a song dedicated to his cousin, a soldier, who lost his lifefighting in Iraq. But the heavy metal mayhem is still prevalent, as theythrow caution to the wind with songs like “Venomous” and “Redemption.”I spoke with Brian as he acknowledged that he’s been doing a whole lotmore than just playing video games and drinking beer during the bandstime off, Shadows Fall have been working tirelessly on their major labeldebut which surely holds much promise.<strong>RAG</strong>: How is the music atmosphere from this state differentfrom many other areas?Brian: You know when we were first coming up, it was a very small butclose knit scene of great bands bringing in a lot of different influences andreally supporting each other. It’s been amazing to watch how so manyhave been successful, whether it’s been Killswitch Engage or Unearthand bands that have gone out now that we’ve played basements with arenow touring the world together. And we’ve all stayed friends and havesupported each other through it, which is pretty rare as well.You guys have toured throughout the United States and beyond, butwhere have you gotten the most powerful reaction from?We’ve been lucky that we’ve had some great experiences in a lot ofdifferent parts of the country. Texas has always been amazing just formetal in general, I love playing in NY City and LA, the big cities like that.We’ve also had some amazing shows in the middle of nowhere it really alldepends man. We’ve been lucky that we’ve been touring almost nonstopfor almost ten years so we’ve really build up a huge crowd and met a lotof amazing people, and then outside the united states my few favoriteplaces would have to be Japan and Australia, not only for the experienceplaying the music but also just getting to Japan and Australia.And the food is not too bad either.(Laughs) exactly!And aside from exotic choices in food, Shadows Fall have been on a rollercoaster ride so to speak these past ten years. Working through indielabels, the band has had much time perfect their style and to maintainenough integrity while waiting for the perfect major label deal to arise. WithAtlantic Records and producer Nick Raskulinecz (Foo Fighters, Rush,Stone Sour) on hand, the band is ready to take on the world. Singer BrianFair adamantly states that although some changes may occur, one thing isfor sure, Shadows Fall will never lose their heavy metal reputation. “We’realways gonna be a metal band,” asserts Brian, “and we know that, weknow what we do well, the five of us together, and that’s playing just rockinfluenced metal. But we did want to take it to another level on this one,and Nick was definitely a huge part in helping us do that.”The new album sounds really great, it’s a little bit different fromyour previous work but it still has that same signature stylefrom Shadows Fall. From your perspective, is making the bestalbum possible your number one priority?Yeah definitely, we wanted to step everything up another notch, fromsongwriting to actual performances, to the production, everything. Eachalbum we see as a chance to take another step forward and we neverwant to repeat ourselves either, so we really went into this with our goalsset to make the best record we could at that moment and time, and kind ofget the closest to the sound we always envisioned this band having. Toget those voices out of your heads and onto the tape, so I think we got itas close as we could this time around and I hope that our next recordwe’re gonna try again, but for now we could be more excited as to howit turned out.And you know this being your first major label debut album,what was it like working with Nick Raskulinecz, the sameproducer responsible for bands like The Foo Fighters andStone Sour?It was pretty amazing, we’ve gotten to know Nick through the last littlewhile, he kind of contacted us about potentially doing stuff in the future,and we were really excited that it worked out because for us he was kindof the perfect balance of the two worlds we’ve always been into, a totalold school metal head but has worked with amazing rock bands . So for uswe’ve always been a metal band with a huge rock influence, so he wasable to capture the full dynamics of our sound as well as pushing us,because he had never worked with us before he didn’t really know ourlimitations or have any expectations so he really pushed us to things thatwe may not have even known we were capable of. It was great to havethat kind of independent set of ears, and that outside influence that canreally make you look at things with a different perspective. He has reallyworked with a lot of incredible bands so we really had a lot of confidenceas to what he was going to be able to get out of us.Lets talk about the new record Threads Of Life, what the fanshave to expect and what you feel personally the noticeabledifferences will be from their immediate reaction at first listen.I think we’ve captured everything we’ve always done as a band from thereal technical side of things to the more melodic side of things that we’vealways touched on, but I think we really pushed them into a new level andreally took some chances as well. We didn’t want it to sound like all of46| DEC <strong>RAG</strong> MAGAZINE


these other records that are out now, we really wanted it to stand on it’sown and for us that meant having a really natural sound, not relying on somuch pro tools editing to take out that human element, that kind of pulse thatI feel is missing from a lot of metal records these days. And also to reallyfocus on great songs. Some are short and to the point, some are sevenminute epics, but we wanted every part to really hold its own and fit. Wedidn’t just want it to be a million riffs thrown together, we wanted eachsong to kind of stand on its own cohesively and then fit into the framework of the album. I just think we’ve pushed ourselves and our songwritingto another level, fans will be able to hear everything we’ve done in thepast with a total nod for the future as well.Additionally, “Redemption,” I feel this song really sets the tone forthe entire album, what’s it all about?The reason it opens the album is because we felt the same way, we felt likethis was a real kind of preview of everything that was going to happen in thenext 40 minutes. It encapsulates everything we were trying to accomplishwith the record, it’s got great metal riffs, a huge chorus, some of thattechnical playing in the middle and a total blazing guitar solo and we reallyjust thought it was a really great way to start the album, a preview for whatwas to come. And for me lyrically, it was just a song about the real potentialand power of the human voice as just such an incredible instrument ofchange. And to realize regardless of what you think people may think ofwhat you have to say, if you don’t express yourself you’re never going to beable to experience life to its fullest. It’s that call to arms to really stand up foryourself and main an individual regardless of the powers around you.There are actually a lot of personal tracks off the record from whatI can tell, especially “Another Lost Hero” which was written froma personal perspective indeed. Tell me about your approach towriting a song like this and how it differentiates from your previoussongwriting methods.I’ve always tended to write more philosophically or just from that perspective,this was definitely the most personal song I’ve ever written. It was a prettytime in my life, losing as family member is never easy, but losing someoneyou grew up with that you knew would never see their young family again.He was a father of a young child, he had a new wife and he was nevergonna make it home from Iraq and for me it really hit me hard, and the lyricsjust came out all in one night which has never happened to me before. Therewas no trying to find words they just came out, even the performance in thestudio, I gave very littlethought as to how I wasgonna sing it, we just htrecord and i just let it allcome out. I probably havenever sang thatvulnerably before so forme , it was definitely amoment to really open upto the audience and reallygive a perspective onwhere my heart and myhead was at. That canbe a really scaryexperience at times toreally allow suchpersonal feelings tobecome public, but I alsofelt it was a real tributeto his life as well as away for maybe peoplewho have experiencedsomething similar in thesepast few years to kindof relate to. It helped mecome to terms withthings, it always keepshis memory in my mindevery time we play, andto be that was my goal tonot let his memorydisappear and to kind of just help myself get through a difficult time.Shadows Fall have been nominated for Grammy awards inthe past, how does it feel to be respected by your peersespecially in an ever changing music industry?That was probably the most unexpected and crazy thing that hashappened to us, we’ve been very fortunate throughout career tohave some amazing experiences and opportunities, but we neverthought it would get to the Grammy level, we really never did. soto get that kind of respect from an industry that we thought hadkind of overlooked these bands on independent labels and whatnot,to kind of get that nod was reakly inspiring. It showed us that youcan do things on your own terms and still demand that sort ofattention. And also just getting to go and being surrounded bysome serious musical icons was pretty overwhelming, The onlything i need to say is that the Grammy need to learn to throw abetter party, because they didn’t serve beer ore food at the actualceremony, this is rock n roll man, give me a budweiser! You seeknow we know, that’s if we ever go back get drunk early so itlasts throughout the ceremony.Two years ago, Shadows Fall broke-out of the metal undergroundwith The War Within, and then by releasing Fallout From TheWar, Shadows Fall are officially letting go of Century Media andmoving on to greener pastures. Threads of Life is highlighted bysome good, very melodic singing on behalf of Brian Fair, still hangingonto his metal roots; he offers you a different side of his energeticpersonality. Threads Of Life, the new album by Shadows Fall, is abracing blast of extreme heavy metal, a heady brew of old-schoolsensibilities and cutting-edge hard rock delivered with passion,precision and a refreshing lack of pretension.I really look forward to the next tour, and since you’vementioned being at home for a long time, what’s betterthe Xbox 360 or Playstation 3?I’m an Xbox 360 kind of guy, I haven’t really spent a lot of time withthe Playstation 3, but to me The Xbox with Call Of Duty 3 that’s allI need, I lost about a month of my life because of that stupid game, but It’s amazing. I still can’t believe how far games have come,it’s scary.www.<strong>RAG</strong>magazine.com | 47


The Number 23Cast: Jim Carrey, Virginia Madsen, Danny HustonDirector: Joel SchumacherPsychological thrillers are a tough gig. You need an ending. The buildup,the suspense, the rising action, all that squirmy paranoia, it’s easyenough to build. It’s the ending that’s the tricky part. Films like Mementodo it right; films like Fight Club, too. Their twist, the unraveled knot ofanxiety that splays out in explanation and relief, comes with anotherbulge of knots; it leaves you breathless and troubled, disturbed if you’relucky. But without the ending, without the final flick in the nose andpunch in the gut, a psycho-thriller is just a bunch of untied shoelaces.FILMonce a whisper, is now a screech, and he worries for the safety of hisown family.Stop there. Just stop the film, put down your popcorn and walk away.Because that’s as good as The Number 23 will get. The bouncy humor,the family drama, the rise in paranoia, the fascination in 23, it all worksup until here. But it’s as if Screenwriter Fernley Phillips lost the thread.It was unraveling with speed and machismo, promising to towerupwards in a great final disturbance. But instead it turned inward andricocheted blindly backwards. Instead of opening up the throttle andletting the number have real meaning and significance, Phillips turnsthe plot inward and shells up the climax with a muffled grunt. - SamuelOsbornThis is the affliction born to The Number 23. It’s a finetwo-act movie. But that third act…with the climax allflaccid and the end a noiseless wheeze, it leaves uswith that let-down feeling of something promising turnedinstantly to a sham. I won’t give the ending away, butsuffice it to say that it’s summed up by the word “typical.”Commonplace is the ending. And commonplace issomewhere The Number 23 has no business being.The rest of the film is a good one; a fine looking few rollsof celluloid, in fact. Jim Carrey plays the lead, stillrounding off the sharper edges of his comedy andreminding us happily of Tom Hanks’ move from comedyto drama. He’s a hopelessly likeable actor pairedgracefully with Virginia Madsen, who plays Carrey’swife and mother to his teenage son. The family livescomfortably under Agatha’s (Madsen) cake shop andWalter’s (Carrey) job as an animal control officer. Theparanoia enters like a whisper, as feckless andunassuming as director Joel Schumacher can stand.The famously melodramatic director is often thought ofas the second-string choice for any theatrical filmmaking,just behind the dramatic grandmaster Baz Luhrmann(Moulin Rouge!). Schumacher revels in colors andcamera tricks, over-saturating and under-saturating hisimages until they’re hardly recognizable. The effect hereis controlled, but not empty of pizzazz.The book Agatha finds (or does it find her?) when waitingfor Walter outside a used bookshop is “The Number 23”by Topsy Kretts. Walter opens the novel on his day off,gorging himself on the minutiae of its hardboiled detectivehero and fantasizing himself in the lead role. Schumacherindulges Walter further, fancying “The Number 23’s”Detective Fingerling as a slippery-haired Mr. Carrey in acheap suit and a dry growl. Much of the story is actuallytold within the novel itself, with Fingerling getting lost in thenumerology surrounding the number 23 and slippingtowards the inevitability of murder. Back in reality, Walter isfinding uncanny resemblances between Fingerling andhimself. It’s as if, he once mentions, the author knows himbetter than he does. Agatha writes it off as an effect ofgood literature, but reconsiders when she finds scribblednumerology on Walter’s arm one morning with the underlinedwords “Kill Her.” He’s begun to see the number everywhere.It’s in his name, his social security number, his birth date,and even the day he and Agatha first met. His paranoia,


Reno 911!: MiamiReleased in theatres on February 23 rd , Reno 911! Miami ishilarious. The mission to Miami is not unlike the Reno911! television program reflecting a parody of COPS.Utilizing the same ridiculous humor, a camera followsaround members of the Reno Sheriff’s Departmentthroughout their work days. A camera is always around atthe most inconvenient times to catch the force displayingracism, unrequited attractions, promiscuity, passiveaggressivefeuds, sexuality, and other dysfunctionaltroubles.“Twentieth Century Fox duped us into signing these papers,allowing them to follow us with cameras 24-hours a day,”said Lieutenant Jim Dangle. “Our attorney is looking into it.We signed (the contract while) under the influence of MillerHigh Life.”several guest stars, such as The 40-Year-Old Virgin’s Paul Rudd.Much of the film’s memorable lines were improvised on theset, similar to the TV series. Each of the actors appreciatedtheir new found freedom to use any language on the bigscreen without getting beeped. Reno 911!: Miami featuresA police convention in Miami brings the Reno Sheriff’s Department to fun in the Florida sun. On their first night in town, each member of the motleycrew hits South Beach, driving down the middle of Lincoln Road between the cafes. Wearing a bulletproof vest on the outside of his shirt, DeputyTravis Junior gets tazered when talking to hottie in their motel. Later that evening, they each wind up highly intoxicated and masturbating in theirhotel rooms with the window shades open. The next morning, Junior concocts his own hangover remedy for an upset stomach, headache, andthe hair of the dog. “It’s a knock off of Pepto-Bismol called Dr. Peppy,” he explained. “Then take two Alka-Seltzers and a shot of tequila.”Terrorists launch a biochemical attack on the convention, and the entire Miami PD gets trapped in building. Reno’s eight visiting patrolmen andwomen are left in charge of taking back the city from a Cuban drug-runnercleverly named “Pacino,” wearing a white suit and loud shirt, recreating theinfamous Tony Montana. The antagonist rants about “cock-a-roaches” insome infectious dialogue, including “Say hello to my little friend.”The team manages to get in a handful of fender-benders during the vacationout East. “When you watch the movie it looks like these nimrods crash a carevery time they drive it. No absolutely not,” said Junior. “It’s more like onethird.”The gang accidentally solves the crime, saving the day. “I actually feellike a hero,” he explained during our interview.The Reno 911!: Miami script was written by the series’ co-creators and actors,Robert Ben Garant, Thomas Lennon and Kerri Kenney. I had the goldenopportunity to speak with all three talents last month while the Reno troopwere in South Florida for their first big screen presentation.As I questioned Dangle about my hometown, he raved about Miami. “It’s thegreatest city on Earth. I love Miami. It’s numero uno,” he reported. “I’ve seensome of the tightest banana hammocks here that I’ve ever viewed in my entirelife. It makes me feel free.” The lieutenant went on poking fun at Nevada andits residents. And when I questioned the officer about the numerous beerbottles seen falling out of the police car when the unit arrived at the screening,“No, absolutely not,” he retorted. “They were cans.”Dangle was proud to announce that he makes his extremely short shortshimself. And usually in the nude, as moviegoers will see for themselves.“These are not regulation shorts, I had to get permission,” said the selfproclaimedsex-symbol. “I wear the shorts because they are tactical. I canrun like a cheetah.” Of course, if Dangle were to lose his job as a cop, hewould be delighted to work as a “restaurant hostess,” or as the cruise directoron a casino boat, if not starring in a musical production of some sort.When asked what advice he would you give young folks interested in joininglaw enforcement, Junior quickly replied “Don’t do it.” “Crime doesn’t play, andneither does being a cop. There are lots of other openings now, such asamateur porn” Dangle explained. And in closing, the team’s final message forSouth Floridians is simple; “Buy your drugs from Canada.” –by Todd McFliker


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Smokin’ AcesCast: Ryan Reynolds, Ray Liotta, Alicia Keys,Director: Joe CarnahanThe eleven-year old boy inside of me, the one that glues glow-in-thedarkstars to his ceiling and watches Saturday morning cartoons,adores Joe Carnahan’s new picture Smokin’ Aces. It’s a directorialrelease; an indulgence of the gag reflex, satisfying all the itchingtwitches of any filmmaker working in the action genre. It’s riddled withcontrivance and clichés from other, better pictures, but Smokin’ Acesimitates with ingenuity and cunning. It’s strong and dark in its humor,even managing to rend some authentic tears from its players. Mr.Carnahan lashes out with this picture, bloodying his resume with awork of style and violence and the colorful upchuck of the iconichitman character through all its iterations.The film works a little like Snatch—or any of Guy Ritchie’s pictures forthat matter—but Snatch diagnosed with violent psychosis: about adozen contract killers, none of whom are colorless, are hired to killBuddy “Aces” Israel. The first to do so receives $1,000,000. Thespecifics of the deal are fuzzy, mumbled fast and spitfire like an episodeof “24” with the volume down, but the basics find Aces (Jeremy Piven)mixed up with the wrong mob boss and an upcoming testimony. Workingto protect Aces are Agent Carruthers and Agent Messner (Ray Liottaand Ryan Reynolds), woven into a red-tape FBI bureaucracy by StanleyLocke (Andy Garcia), their boss. Anyway, word about the hit goingdown on Buddy Aces Israel gets around quick and soon more flavorsof hitman than a Baskin Robbins ice cream shop are running around, alllooking to remove Israel’s heart (one of the conditions of the contract).And so the title is more clever and synoptic than we might’ve originallyrealized: the film really is just about smokin’ Aces.It’s too easy to rest on elitist laurels with a low-level January releaselike Smokin’ Aces and write it off as cheap imitation. Any goof can seehints of Tarantino and Rodriguez, a sprinkling of Natural Born Killers, adusting of The Usual Suspects, whispers of grindhouse projects fromthe seventies, and a fullhelping of Snatch. But howmany space crusades orotherworldly enrapturescan be deemed unique andbearing no resemblance toStar Wars and Lord of theRings? Filmmaking isimitation; be it an imitationof reality or of the unrealityof an action flick. Smokin’Aces is an imitation of thesnaps, bangs, and bulletwoundsof the actiongenre, sometimes evendoubling back on itself inrealization of its shamelessfuror. The fun lies in itspersistence. With all itscharacters and neat tricksfor piling up body bags, youcan’t help but imagine Mr.Carnahan running slackjawedthrough a toy store,plucking ideas and scenesfrom the shelves of earlierstorylines, glomming themtogether into this furiousamalgam.which is the big, mean ball-hog of the court. But as he proved withhis earlier film, Narc (a much quieter, reserved cop picture), Carnahanhas a thickened grasp of the medium. Without diving too deep intoshop-talk here, he doesn’t rely on the close-up or long-shot, doesn’tcolorize and over-saturate to annoyance, and essentially handleshis camera like a sensible, dynamic filmmaker. The film’s style isinstead a product of the characters, drawing Hitler mustaches ontotheir faces with Sharpies, blasting off .50 caliber bullets betweenresort hotels, and fending off kung-fu crazed, backwateradolescents (just…don’t ask). Problems arise when, in between allthe satisfying nonsense, Carnahan drops neatly wrapped packagesof storyline. Convoluted and unnecessarily complicated, the storyloops about near the end and almost loses us in the backlash.Even more unnerving, however, are the affectations the charactershave weaseled into us by the film’s end. More than a dozen charactersenter the resort Buddy Aces Israel is holed up in, but scant fewmanage to make it out. Their deaths are sometimes comical (onecharacter has trouble wielding his chainsaw and ends up using itas an impromptu chair, for instance), but other times their deathsare troubling. Carnahan’s script works best in its scenes of dialogue,which trickle almost to a halt as the bullets start flying through theextended climax; scenes with Jason Batemen as a self-deprecatinglawyer, Taraji Henson as the lesbian assassin swooning over AliciaKeys, Ben Affleck and his band of reluctant barfly cronies, andJeremy Piven spinning cards and pleading to his partner, Common.Smokin’ Aces works like magic—original, unique magic—when it’snot running guns blazing. And when the characters start dropping,and when Ray Liotta and Ryan Reynolds take spotlight, the toneturns from a blood-toothed grin to heavy-eyed sorrow. It’smelodrama, and it’s solemn enough to make some of the audiencelaugh in repulsion. But it’s an intelligent step away from theexploitation material (genuinely satisfying as it is) that the restof the film flings at us; and its end result is affecting and bizarrelyhuman. And to make any character from Smokin’ Aces seemhuman, if only for a scene or two, is something worth mentioningindeed. - Sam OsbornAnyway, the methodworks, if inconsistently. Asin Snatch, story playssecond fiddle to style,52| DEC <strong>RAG</strong> MAGAZINE


NorbitCast: Eddie Murphy,Thandie Newton,Cuba Gooding Jr.Director: BrianRobbinsYOU JUSTGOTTA SEE...Norbit plays the same asany other multi-role vehiclethat Eddie Murphy hauls intotheatres every few years.Its general mediocrity is itscharm; never askinganything of us as long aswe don’t ask much from it.Occasionally the movie willsurprise us, mounting aparticularly outlandish featof slapstick antics or maybeopening the throttle on itsvillain to hurl repulsivehilarity at the sadprotagonist. But mostlyNorbit isn’t more than ahappy distraction. We giveMr. Murphy ten dollars andhe’ll dress up in sillycostumes and play sillycharacters for ninetyminutes. It’s a fine deal; onethat isn’t especiallysatisfying, but notespecially offensive either.The set-up is simpleenough: awkward, skinnyNorbit (Eddie Murphy) loves his childhood sweetheart Kate (Thandie Newton), but is tiedby the wedding band to the mountainously large revulsion-cum-wife Rasputia (also playedby Murphy). The set-up, however, gets muddied by impatient screenwriting, throwing in acomplicated con-game to trip up the characters when it’s least necessary. This involvesCuba Gooding Jr. as Kate’s two-faced fiancée and Rasputia’s head-busting brothers ledby Terry Crews.Simple, high-concept premises work when they’re kept to their own quaint devices. Norbitdoesn’t need a half-baked struggle to gain ownership of an orphanage. Such contrivancesare included because of the screenwriters’ distrust in their principle characters. Thethinking follows that if a screenwriter makes more characters and complicates the plotfurther than absolute necessity, the complexity will translate into quality. But they forgetthat beauty is often simple, and that Norbit, Kate, and Rasputia are all entertaining anddimensional enough to fill the frame themselves.But Murphy of course is there to entertain us throughout. And he certainly gives it his all.Norbit’s servile goodness is awkwardly loveable, and his wife, Rasputia, succeeds inbecoming the most repugnant object since vomit. And as in any comedy, extreme versionsof stereotypes work best when there’s a sad truth behind them. We’ve seen lesser versionsof Norbits and Rasputias in every one of our neighborhoods. And Director Brian Robbinsplays on this truthfulness by making Norbit’s town a place of sunny neutrality. There’s notitle or season to it; just sun, green grass, the town and the suburbs. We laugh at Rasputiabecause it’s mean to laugh at the real-life versions of her walking their dogs past ourmailboxes. And when it comes to slapstick, she works like a tube of lit dynamite. When shebarrels into a picnic table, it explodes into a shower of splinters. At one point she plowsthrough the mailman. He returns several scenes later with a broken arm, a concussion anda bruised stomach. In Iraq, Rasputia would be called a weapon of mass destruction.She’s a villain that’s fun to hate and Thandie Newton is an easy figure to love. Norbitdelights as the bumbling fulcrum that pivots the two back and forth. The film works fine thisway, despite its thick contrivances, and succeeds in its own blandly outrageous decency.- Sam Osbornwww.<strong>RAG</strong>magazine.com | 53


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MUSICIANS WANTEDTired of bands that all sound the same? Me too. Guitarist,harp-blower and vocalist seeks to form dynamic blues-rockcountryband with stable, mature musicians who can’t quittheir day jobs, but want to jam, have fun, put together a killerset list, and eventually play out on a regular basis, also possiblycompose and record. The idea is to have an eclectic list ofmusical styles that can appeal to a wide audience range. Nosmoke, drugs, egos, or baggage, please. Contact 561-451-2822 or bluesdoc@aol.com.Experienced drummer seeking musicians ages 14-19years old for country / rock band. Palm Beach, Call Evan561-635-5<strong>07</strong>3Auditions for professional Keyboardists(need Hammond)/Bassists/Tenors/ Guitarists w/ extensive backrounds in jazz,r&b, soul, funk and latin grooves for upcoming live shows.Road Warriors welcome. All interested call 754-244-9395.Original project looking for drummer. Call Dany 3053053065or Jhonny 305-491-5204 We have drums.New band seeks bassist. Must have gear, transportation. Noegos, no losers, nobody under 21, prefer 25+. Influences: Wallsof Jerico, Lacuna Coil, etc. Visit myspace.com/ margotsmalaiseor email msnyder1978@yahoo.comKISS TRIBUTE BAND: Early, hard & heavy. WANTED: RhythmGuitarist Lead Vocalist (Paul Stanley) Seeking serious & dedicated.Lead, Bass and Drums are tight Auditions Call 954-258-2825 email zeroed4x@hotmail.Rock & Roll original / cover band is looking for the lead vocals /front man to complete the band. We will be recording, touring.We have logs of originals but need a strong vocalist with a lot offront man experience. If interested call Mike 954-292-9597 or Art954-684-73<strong>03</strong>Female bass player looking for girls who wanna rock neededlead vocalist-drummer-lead and rhythm guitar this is for a hotconcept band no guys please!!! No slackers must be semi pro’sstef 561-255-9551 or email bizman25@bellsouth.netMUSICIANS AVAILABLEMusician: Keys (L.H. Bass), sing, guitar & more. Available forestablished national act, major label experience. Prefer pre-2000 songs. No bar bands or “start-ups” 954-720-8249Drummer available - 33+ years experience. Blues, Jazz, Top 40,R&B, Classic Rock. I sing lead and harmonize. Looking to joinband. Call Duke 954-351-9828Excellent guitar player, vocal experience, any style, for duos/band,no drugs/alcohol/ego, serious musician only,www.myspace.com/dannygarciamusic magicfinguers@hotmail.com, Danny Garcia 954-6001874CD DEMO PACKAGE - $3958 Hours of Studio Time Includes:Recording, Editing, Mixing, MasteringCD Master + 100 printed copies.CD & DVD DUPLICATIONCD Packages: 100 for $150, 300 for $399, 500 for $599DVD Packages: 100 for $250, 300 for $699, 500 for $999Includes: Duplication, Layout, color printing on disc, & white sleeve.Jewel cases and full retail packages also available.56| DEC <strong>RAG</strong> MAGAZINE


If you like Ink-oink-ock-a-moo-moo or Dorky-dorky, rock on!!!! I likepretty much everything on Sirius/Jam-on and most the bands atLangerado. Open minded drummer it is. Lead or harmonize vocals Ican. Some keys & rhythm guitar come with this package. All jokingaside I want to play festivals right now!!! So hurry up!! 561-891-9192Drummer, 46, no gear, bad attitude – Lots of professional andrecording experience – seeks forming / working band for Jams,gigs, fill-ins and recording – prefer classic rock, jazz, alternative,some new rock. Will travel. Call Mark 561-702-4604DRUMMER available-play for fun!, Boca area, 60’s-present-Rock,Jazz,Pop,willing to learn & play with any level band/no band.Call 561 445 6946 or 954 491 7886. DRGE@aol.comDrummer available with lead/ backup vocals looking for localquality rock band. I live in Boynton. Very experienced, serious,dependable, fully equipped, 46 years young. Call 561-965-2927or email omans5@juno.com.EQUIPMENT FOR SALESunn 4-10” Bass cabinet used very little – church gigged 3x.Rest – home practice – 100% mint $250Marshall Amp: JCM 2000-DSL 401 All Tube – 1 12” speaker$700 954-962-6757Pearl (new) Sensitone snare pearl, birch, red 13x10, 16x16 toms.Pearl 18x22 masters custom bass. New heads. Zildgian 17”crash. 13” hi hats. All or will separate. 305-829-1553LESSONSBass Guitar Lessons: All ages & Styles. Student will learnmusic theory as well as notation and any music he/she wantsto learn. Call David at (305)270-3950. miapolitics@aol.comWorld touring drummer Patrick Johansson offers private lessonsat his drum studio or at your place. For more info on PatrickJohansson’s credibility visitWWW.PATRICKJOHANSSON.COM or WWW.MYSPACE.COM/PATRICKDRUMMER. Patrick Johansson has more than 20years of touring/recording experience and is currently an activeartist who can offer many different techniques and has knowledgeabout being on the road and recording in the studio. Toschedule a lesson please call (561) 644-6835Drum Lessons now being offered. All levels at your home. Worldclass lesson plan designed to get you noticed. Limited enrollment.Call 954-916-9309EQUIPMENT REPAIRAll model speakers repaired JBL, EV, RCF, Cerwin Vega,Celestion, Emenence & more! 35 years experience – factorytrained. Call 561-790-5262 – ask for Dave or leave message.Price Quote, pick-up and delivery that can be arranged.GUITAR REPAIRwww.<strong>RAG</strong>magazine.com | 57


Acclaimed Luthier, Larry Lashbrook is back in town! Mr.Lashbrook is renowned in all phases of Luthiery; he is particularlyadept in setting up your guitar to play the way younever dreamed possible. If you are unfamiliar with Mr.Lashbrook’s work, you may ask to see some of the guitars hehas made over the last 40+ years & to read what numerousother noted musicians have written about him. Call Larry in Ft.Lauderdale at 954-767-2155 – SEE OUR AD ON THE BACK COVER!D Guitars Miami. Full-service repair and manufacturing shopsince 1988. No job too big or small. Electronics, fretwork,finishes, broken headstocks rebuilt, custom crafted instruments,etc. D Guitars Miami can do it all, acoustic, electric,guitar or bass. Authorized service center for Fender, Jackson/Charvel,Taylor, and more. 305-682-3689 or 305-896-1811.www.myspace.com/dguitarsmiamiDRUM REPAIRResurrection Drums is the only authorized service center forevery major drum manufacturer in the SE USA. Repairs, Recoveries,Vintage restoration, and Custom Drum Building. All workGuaranteed! 954-457-9020CD DUPLICATIONCD Duplication: Call Danny 561-616-8716GIGSSouth Florida promoter now booking Ps14, Churchills and thedowntown Tiki Bar. We also book major festivals and specialevents. Call 786-444-8647RECORDING / REHEARSALNew rehearsal studio located in Pompano Beach. New drums,bass and guitar amps and PA, “Free recording of nights performanceon CD” We match any price! 1350 D.C. STUDIOS: 954-383-0284INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIESRecording Studio & 3/2 single family home in Broward County,Fl. For sale. Studio is sound proofed and internally wired withprivate entrance. Drum, vocal & mix rooms. Studio is attachedto a fully updated 3/2 move in condition home. Too much to listplease call or E-mail.754 244 10<strong>07</strong> or drobaina@bellsouth.netOpportunity to invest in the ultimate guitar is available now. If youare interested please contact me at 954-767-2155<strong>RAG</strong> <strong>Magazine</strong> is expanding! How would you like to run yourown region? Port St. Lucie/Stuart, Gainesville, Tallahassee,Pensacola, Jacksonville & Naples/Ft. Meyers regions areavailable? info@ragmagazine.com or call 954-234-2888 formore info.58| DEC <strong>RAG</strong> MAGAZINE


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