Welcome to another version of Analyze This. Normally, when I do these posts, I analyze a once-popular song line by line to show the absurdity of it. In this version, I’m only going to look at one line from “Ramblin’ Man” by The Allman Brothers Band. I have heard this song countless times – and I think it’s a great song – but this post occurred to me as we listened to the copy of Brothers and Sisters that my four-year-old son got for Christmas (yes, you read that correctly).
“When it’s time for leavin’, I hope you’ll understand that I was born a ramblin’ man.” I realize that ramblin’ is a popular theme in music (Hank Williams sang about it long before the Allmans), so it’s not unique. But here’s the thing: when did this approach ever work on anyone? Just think about what he’s saying there. “Baby, I’m splittin’. No hard feelings, it’s just how I am.” I know that the 70s were a different time, but what woman would have ever been OK with that? Think about what would happen if you laid that line on your ol’ lady. You’d probably be lucky to come away from that with just a concussion from the blunt object she launched at your head. More likely, you’d end up driving yourself to the emergency room with a steak knife stuck between your ribs. Now, I’m not saying it’s impossible that a woman would go along with this and give the dude his walking papers. However, I have to imagine that if any woman ever did go along with it, she would probably be more likely to say “Good riddance!” than, “Yeah, you’re a rambler. I get it. Go ahead.” Seriously, if it were that easy to leave a woman, I imagine lots of guys would take out the trash, hop in the car, go somewhere far away and then send a postcard saying, “Hey baby. In case you haven’t noticed, I left. It’s just my wandering spirit. Hope you’re not mad.”
Our Winter 2014 issue is now available for sale on our Current Issue page. Here is a little taste of what’s inside the issue – an excerpt of our interview with Ian Cook (guitar, vocals) of Larry and His Flask.
It’s an impressive list of artists you’ve played with. What have you learned from playing with Wanda Jackson and other artists?
It’s an eye-opening experience. It taught us about getting our stuff together. At first, we were kind of all over the place and we didn’t know what we were doing. We learned a lot from acts that have become a production. It’s an organized situation for shows. You have to get everything together. It was an eye-opener for us to see how some bands run their show. It’s an interesting aspect. Some people don’t realize how much there is behind the scenes at every show and how many people worked to make it happen. A lot of times, it’s a well-oiled machine. Playing a show with a legend like Wanda Jackson keeps you doing it.
What’s the best advice you can give to bands about being on the road?
We’ve been doing this for a while. We went on our first tour as Larry and His Flask 10 years ago. After doing it for a while, I think the key is maintaining your sanity and not burning yourself out. It happens. We did that for years and years. We still tour a lot, but lately we’ve been making sure we have one day off every week. It’s easy to lose sight of why you do this in the first place. Doing things to maintain your sanity and morale within the band is a really important thing while you’re on tour.
The flip side of that is if you don’t know where to start, just get on the road and go. It’s kind of contradictory to what I just said, but you really have to hit it hard until it picks up a little momentum.
If you’ve ever read this blog at all, you know that I am a sucker for funk and soul. Needless to say, I didn’t need any convincing to give The Pepper Pots a listen. In listening to this album, I was particularly smitten with “You’ve Got the Future.” It is a great song in general, but it is especially good for Feel-Good Friday.
This song has the kind of message that you frequently hear in inspirational quotes: namely that the only person who holds your future is you. Of course what sets this apart from some inspirational quote is that it is set to a soulful melody that will get your toes tapping. But in the midst of that catchy tune is a message that encourages you to start your future now. Indeed. That is advice we would all do well to follow. Enjoy your Feel-Good Friday, everyone, and heed the wisdom of The Pepper Pots.
Ain’t that America: a beautiful woman, a PBR, and an El Camino
The first quarterly issue will be released by the end of the week. Here is just a little taste of what you’ll see: our lovely model Kitana Cross poses next to an El Camino while holding a PBR. Photo by George Swar
I’m not going to sit here and criticize publicists. After all, a lot of them contact me regularly and send me lots of good music I may not hear otherwise. Ultimately, what that means is I see enough press releases to know a good one from a not so good one. With that in mind, here are some tips for publicists (and bands who do everything themselves) to make their press releases as good as possible.
- Lay off the cliches – This is true regardless of what you’re writing. If you overload your writing with cliches, then whatever you write tends to lose its meaning. Why? Because the reader spends so much time sifting through the cliches, that he loses the sense of the message.
- Have someone proofread your stuff – Again, this is true no matter what you write. No matter how good a writer you are, you might have some spelling or grammatical errors in it. The last thing you want to do is leave some doubt about your abilities with something as basic as spelling and grammar.
- Have someone read your stuff (part 2) – Maybe you are a really good creative writer, and there is a place for creativity in press releases. It can be part of what catches the attention of whomever is reading it. But here’s the thing. A press release is not a novel. Whoever is in your audience is not expecting to read the next great American novelist. Your audience wants to learn about the music you’re promoting. So that’s what your press release should be: a straightforward description of the music you’re promoting. To quote Arthur Schopenhauer, “One should use common words to say uncommon things.” Yes, you can mix some humor in there, but have someone else read your press release to see if it makes sense to someone other than you. Your initial audience will help you know what is effective and what misses.
Oh, and if you need help writing in a clear and straightforward way, contact me. I can help you write a press release that will not have the reader rolling his or her eyes, and my rates are very reasonable.
I know this is a lot different than the music we normally cover here at Incognito HQ, but the fact that we are featuring Steph (aka Steph the Lyricist) is proof what a good intro can do. This young lady introduced herself to us in an e-mail explaining that she recently graduated high school. Let’s face it: high school can be a rough time for lots of people, and Steph knows that as well as anyone.
Without broadcasting her entire email to you, allow me to say that Steph’s goal – with her music and in general – is to help people that are dealing with suicidal thoughts. That noble goal is what leads me to feature her here today. Sometimes you just have to go beyond the ordinary to present a bigger picture of things that are more important than music. After all, if we do nothing to help people in whatever way, then we are abject failures as failures as human beings. And let’s face it: music can be a powerful tooI, particularly for lifting the spirits of people. I don’t feel like I need to say anything more. I will just invite you to listen to Steph’s song “Her” (it’s a beautiful song) and to let her know that you support what she’s doing.
I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating. A lot of Spanish bands sure are doing garage rock right. Maybe Farfisas are dirt cheap in Spain. I don’t really know how to explain it, but I’m sure not complaining. Bluesfuckers steps right into line with some of the other great Spanish garage bands that we’ve featured here.
I should say that I don’t really understand any of the lyrics of this band…except for the word zombie in “Festa Zombie.” But then I don’t have to. Who needs to understand lyrics when you can hear fuzzy guitar, primal rhythms, and a Farfisa that transports you back to 1963?
Granted, any one of the songs on this EP are a good example of the trashy sound we love. But if you want a song that encapsulates what Trashy Tuesday is all about, check out “Quant de Fill de Puta.” (OK, so puta is another word I understand.) The guitar sound in this song is about as lowdown and fuzzy as you can get, and you will probably feel it somewhere deep in your gut. Just give it a listen and tell me if I’m wrong.
The band finishes the EP with another wonderfully trashy song made even trashier by the harmonica. Seriously, this is a call to all rock n roll bands out there…I don’t need more cowbell, but I sure could go for more harmonica. It is such a simple enhancement to rock n roll.
If you like some of the other Spanish garage bands we’ve featured here (Wau y Los Arrrghs!!!, Duo Divergente, etc.), you’ll like Bluesfuckers.
I’ve had some pretty good success recently searching the term fuzz rock on Bandcamp. that streak continued when I found A Day As Wolves from Calgary. Yeah, so it’s only three songs, but it’s good stuff. This certainly fits the fuzz rock category, but it also has a classic-rock sound to it. “Killing Time” reminds me a lot of Cream. No, I’m not kidding. It’s a mixture of fuzz, blues, and psychedelia that will get you grooving.
“Broken Heart City” is more of the same. If anything, it’s more psychedelic than “Killing Time” – and possibly more fuzzy. This tune also has a bass line that you’ll feel rumbling in your gut.
The self-titled EP from A Day As Wolves is available now on Bandcamp. If you like classic fuzz rock, this band will fit right into your collection.
Recently, we’ve had some good luck with new followers on Twitter. It almost seems that bands are doing a little homework and following us because they have seen what we do and they fit the profile.
Knocksville is a band that certainly fits the profile of bands we like, and it only took about three seconds for me to figure it out. I went to ReverbNation, and the first song I heard from this band was “Wait and See.” This song begins with a guitar riff that would make John Lee Hooker and Billy Gibbons proud. The rhythm section provides a boogie groove that would definitely get people moving on a dance floor.
Since this is ‘Billy Monday, this obviously is not just a blues-rock band. This band some pretty serious rockabilly and psychobilly influence too. Think Reverend Horton Heat…only trashier. The rockabilly sound is especially apparent in “Work It Out” and “Baby Stop.” When you hear “Baby Stop,” it’s pretty easy to imagine a scene of guys with pompadours swing dancing with beautiful rockabetties in dresses. The psychobilly sound really comes through in “Forever Young,” a song that reminds me quite a bit of Tiger Army.
If you’re a regular reader of our ‘Billy Monday posts, Knocksville is a band you should check out. It will sound great as you drive around in your primer-gray El Camino.
And bands out, use Knocksville as an example. Follow us on Twitter (@incognitomag). We may just like your stuff as much as we like Knocksville, which means that you could be featured here sometime in the near future.