And now for something completely different…

Yes, I know this website is mainly about “roots” music, but it still is MY website, so I can write about whatever the fuck I want. Deal with it! I’m going to be writing about pop music, yes, you’ve read that correctly, POP music… But not the kind of pop music you’ll hear on the radio or see in the charts. This is Satanic Pop Music! I can see you scratching your head, it was a new term for me also when I first heard it. And then again, this album has nothing to do with popular music… It’s a thing on it’s own…

About two years ago Nathan Gray, former singer for BoySetsFire, released his first self entitled ep, containing an eclectic mix of songs going from the dark electro powerhouse “Wolves” to “Corson – An Ode to Vital Existence”, the emotional up-call for taking your life by it’s core and making it yours! Now there is “Untill The Darkness Takes Us”, an epic journey into the past and present life of Nathan Gray.

Together with this album Nathan also released a book with the same title, I suggest you buy both to fully understand this album and feel its power. The record opens with “Heathen Blood” and as with “Wolves” from the first ep, this song grabs you by the balls and doesn’t let go until you get the message. A venomous testament against organized religion and oppression by those institutions. A very powerful opener and a tone-setter for the rest of the ride.

As there are 13 songs on this album and I know some of you still have shit to do, I’m not going to go in detail on all of them (they are worth it). I’m going to bundle some and elaborate on others. One of the songs I will elaborate on is “Skin”, I hated the song the first time I heard it, it was the only one on the album I did not like, but the more I listen to it, the more I appreciate it. At first it has this very euro-pop vibe, think Covenant and Apoptygma Bezerk, bands I used to love dancing on but got so sick off hearing. For some strange reason this song gets in your brain and it stays there, it’s catchy as fuck! “Desire” is another song that has this euro-pop/dark wave influence with it’s uptempo dance beats and sing-a-long mid-sections.

Let’s continue… The piano songs, as I like to call them… “Damascus” and “Anthemic Hearts”. Two beautiful songs drivin by, you guessed it… Piano… Sigh… Do I need to explain everything? C’mon guys, get with the program… Serious now, both these songs deal with the same theme, and if you read the book you will truly understand them and appreciate them even more. Empowering…

Let’s descend into darkness… Follow me please, don’t touch the walls…  “At War”, Nathan unleashes his demons and takes no prisoners. We can hear a glimpse of his hardcore past, but mostly we hear an industrial battle anthem, and fuck yeah, I’m standing erect, ready to kill! FORWARD!!!

Now RISE up, feel the New Dawn, taste the fruits of your struggle and live your life freely! “Remains” and “Memento Mori”, both testimonies of how a person can take his own life back and start living again, one more electronic then the other… “Remains” could be a piano song, but because of the chorus, which is pure punk-rock in nature,  I did not include it.

“Until The Darkness Takes Us”… A slow moving song, a homecoming,  powerful lyrics… Again, read the book and you will understand… “Jettison” is a full on modern pop-rock song, a perfect combination of guitar and electronics. But so much more honest and fierce then the crap you hear on the radio.

“Lusus Naturae”, the second song on the album. I know it’s a little weird to talk about the second song at the end of the review, but this song holds special meaning to me. It’s one of the most “rocking” songs on the album and absolutely essential on this album, and if you want to know that special meaning…  Come see me…

This still is a site about roots music, but I hope you guys are openminded and will give this album a listen. Nathan will be on tour in Europe, starting early april. Check the tour dates on his website and go see him. Read the book and enjoy the record!

https://www.nathangraycollective.com/

East Cameron Folkcore from Austin, Texas are on a two week tour in Europe. I first got to see them at Muddy Roots last year and their performance was so incredible that there was no way I would miss them playing in Europe. There was no date in Belgium, but lucky for me there was one in Aachen, which is only an hour drive from where I live.

I got there early, so I got to hang out with them, talk life, have a drink and do an interview. They played a great show which you can see below. Last year they released “Kingdom of Fear” and for me this is one of the best “indie” albums ever made! Make sure you get your copy…

For more info on the band check out:

So after going through my hard-drive today I found some video’s that for some reason never made it online… I have no idea why or how. What ever… Here they are!

Steering Ships With Empty Bottles
Our good friends Cris and Henry will be back in Europe in april and they will play our official pre-party for Pirate Farm Fest. This one was shot in our back yard last year.

Jumpin’ Jim
Jim aka Jo Leinders is the singer for Belgian Psycho-Roots rockers Black Cat Bone Squad. I shot this video to get him away from his house so his girlfriend could plan his birthday party together with all our friends later that day. We got some great shots and he got a kick-ass party later that day.

The Freeborn Brothers
Just before their tour with Sean Wheeler and Zander Schloss our friends from Poland came over to record these songs in our livingroom. We had a blast!

It’s time again to promote some bands I got to know over the past months or that I know for years that I think you should give a try. We got a great response from the bands the first time, and from our readers. So I hope you will enjoy this list as much as I did making it.

Wicklow Atwater and the Fallen Flame (usa)
My friend Anni from The Kountry Kittens posted a video of these guys playing their set at Farmageddon Fest 2015. I was in awe… Hailing from Atwater Village, Los Angeles, California these five childhood friends create some fine Americana tunes that I want to experience live real soon. I hope we run into them one day.

Ando Ehlers (usa)
I think it was my co-worker Kevin that first turned me on to Ando. “Hey Tom, here’s some weird polka dude I think you will like…” Yeah sure Kev, polka… I love polka, dumbass… Hahaha, boy was I wrong! I loved it! And now Ando is in Europe and playing an Old Style Music Nights show this week. Enjoy the weird and wonderful world of Ando Ehlers!

Tim Vantol (hol)
Hailing from Holland this punk rock troubadour brings us some fine tunes with or without the support of his back-up band. He toured Europe opening for Chuck Ragan a couple of years ago and released two very good albums. I’ve seen him play a couple of times with a band and solo. With his charisma alone he can hold up a show. Great guy, great musician, great singer…

Toxic Shock (bel)
Aaaarrrgggg THRASH!!!! Remember back in the eighties/early nineties when metal and punk where still dangerous and fun? These guys from Antwerp will give you that feeling again. Pissed off, hardcore thrash metal the way it’s supposed to be played! Enjoy!

 

WE’REWOLVES (bel)
Dude… Another Belgian band? Hell Yeah! For such a small country we sure have a bunch of crazy ass bands. This is one of them. These guys are from my hometown, so fuck you! This video has it all, pizza, skateboards, beer and a whole lotta fun!

Harley Poe (usa)
You like your music with a little twist? Some dark fun? Some horror? Some sarcasm? Oh to hell with it! Enjoy Harley Poe! They killed it at Muddy Roots this year and I hope they will be back soon…

Okkultokrati (nor)
From Oslo, Norway comes Okkultokrati. If you like the old Hellhammer sound mixed with a hardcore vibe, you will love these guys. How I got to know these guys? I was at a record fair a few weeks ago and the cover of their “No Light For mass” album just intrigued me. I had no idea who or what this band was. I just bought the album… I’m glad I did!

Seuora (fin)
This could be to much for some of you, but I really like this band. They where on tour with Black Claw from Canada last month and they sucked me into their weird and dark songs from the first note. If you like Them Poor Bastards you will love this…

Nathan Gray (usa)
And now for something completely different… Nathan Gray, singer for “BOYSETSFIRE” and “I am Heresy” has released his first solo ep and I don’t think anybody had seen this one coming. A great mix between neo-folk, industrial, pop music and amazing song writing. Enjoy this statement of a song, that’s what it is… For me personally it’s the most exciting song lyrically that I have heard in years.

 

I woke up with a smile on my face in our cabin after a perfect first day and night. My troops were in good spirit, they survived day one of what is the emotional rollercoaster, called Muddy Roots! Kim (the little city girl) slept in the car because we had an eight legged uninvited guest. She made our rental KIA her nightly home for the rest of the festival… Kickboxing skills don’t kill spiders! After a shower and a “healthy” breakfast we were ready for day two. My list of bands to shoot was huge, but I should have known better. I have this weird habit of talking and drinking with people I like and love. And Muddy Roots is packed with people that I like and/or love… Damn you all to hell for being so awesome! Thank you!

Thinking back I feel like such a fool for missing out on the opportunity, but I did see every band I wanted to see. My camera wasn’t always near and by the time the sun went down I just put it away. I know myself, and I know that I like to party, camera’s and parties don’t mix. But what we got is priceless. The energy, the love, the musicianship, the passion. I would kill for just a little piece of the talent that these guys have. I just point the camera and press record… Enjoy folks… One day this will all be over, all good things come to an end. Let’s just hope we will be there when the fat lady sings! Don’t worry, the fat lady is still a skinny girl, we have years of mischief in Cookeville coming to us!

Lou Shields
I love Lou! I love him as a person and as a musician. What he does is so different then what anybody else does. His weird rhythms, his voice, the way he uses his feet… It’s a package of pure joy to watch! I was bummed out when I learned that Lou was playing at the same time, James Hunnicutt was, I didn’t really understand why, but hey… who am I to judge? But the folks at Muddy Roots have a good taste in music and Lou had a fair amount of people dancing to his tunes. I sure was one of them. Maybe that’s why I only shot two video’s?
Make sure to check Lou’s website and order some of his albums, you will not be disappointed.

James Hunnicutt
After catching me some Lou Shields to start the day it was of to James on the main stage. I prefer to see James play at a smaller stage because it feels more intimate, but the man deserves to be on the biggest stage in the world! I see no point in writing about his show. Just check the video, and the interview we did some months before the festival at our house in Belgium. (I think James’ aura is to big because the camera had trouble focusing on him…)
One more thing, I’m always amazed how good of a singer Geoff Firebaugh is. I mean, he’s a kick-ass bass-player, I just never see him as a singer, and every time he gets behind a microphone I’m blown away! Here’s to you Geoff!

Whiskey Shivers
“Oh boy, Oh boy, Oh boy” I was very excited to see these guys play! I heard some of their songs before but never had the chance to see them on stage. And from what I’ve heard, this was going to be one hell of a party, and it sure was. Another reason I wanted to see them was because this band is the biggest FUCK OFF to racism in the “roots” scene! They maybe don’t sing about it, but just being on that stage all together says enough to every idiot that ever made a claim that this movement is a “white” thing, and I know there’s a bunch of them out there. Fuck you, WE LIKE TO PARTY!!!

Hopeless Jack
You know what’s so fun about Muddy Roots? I’ll tell ya… Walking past a stage and thinking, “DAMN, this sounds good, who are these guys?”. That’s how I got to know Austin from The Hangdog Hearts, and that’s how I got to know Jack Beisel. We where looking for a place to sit and have another drink, and what do I hear coming out of the Cracker Swamp tent? This raw sounding blues, “blasting girls panties off” primitive energy… Holy Crow, these are just two guys having a bunch of fun and this is the result? I haven’t had fun in a long time I guess… And you know what’s the best part of this? Jack is such a nice guy! If they play in your town, go see them, even if you don’t really like blues, it’s so much more. You can bring your dad, but don’t bring your girlfriend, she may not come home with you…

Joseph Huber
Ex-.357Stringband, master song-smith Joseph Huber… What more can you say about him? Just enjoy the songs.

East Cameron Folkcore out of Austin, Texas left me speechless after their performance at this years Muddy Roots Festival just a couple of weeks ago. In a euphoric haze I picked up what I thought was their new album, it was not… it was their 2013 release called “For Sale”. An amazing album as well, but I don’t see the point in reviewing an older album when the band just released, what I can call, one of the best albums of 2015. So I turned to spotify to do this review, but that ended abruptly when after two songs Justin Bieber started talking to me about his new album… A lesser evil was the answer, iTunes. You can buy the cd or double LP via the links below. My order is in!

This was by far the hardest review to date. This album is so complex and versatile, it’s not just the songwriting, the lyrics or the blend of genres… This album takes you on an emotional ride with a message that is very universal. It is true that our world is changing and not for the better, they may sing about America or their own city, but on this day that the Belgian government decided that equality is no longer a right for everyone I feel their anger, fear and disgust. We are mere puppets that can be pushed around or at least that is what they want us to think, untill we can take no more, and when that day comes… WE DO FUCKING NOTHING!

I still have no idea what to call the style of music these guys play, they blend indie-folk(?) with hardcore like out-bursts, layered with strings and vocal harmonies. Now what makes this album so intense? All songs flow into each other in such a brilliant way like you’re listening to a story or watching a movie and what ever happens, you want to know what’s coming up next, it grabs you by the neck and seldom loses it’s grip.

The album is made up in four parts, Canto I: The grand illusion, Canto II: Through the Looking Glass, Canto III: The People Speak and Canto IV: Ship of Fools.

Canto I opens with “What the Thunder Said”, a spoken word piece with underlaying “ambient” sounds, strings and horns, telling us what our world today is all about. It’s not pretty, but damn… If you think about the words, they are all painfully true… The tittle track “Kingdom of Fear” follows and with this first real song the band shows you what great songs writers they are and also present you the level on which the lyrics have been written. If by now it wasn’t clear, this is not you average drinking, loving, losing and fighting album. This is a statement, a protest, maybe even a stand against todays world.

The more you listen to the album, and you have to really listen, the more you get pulled in and discover new sounds, new layers and new (hidden) messages. The footsteps at the beginning of “The Greater Fool” being one of these little things. The vocal harmonies on this song are of such a high standard and the layers just keep unfolding untill the end. This is a song of great beauty!
“Fracking Boomtown” is one of the songs that doesn’t asks it’s listener to think about it, it clear and simple. Fracking sucks! It hurts people and should not be legal! Period!

“When we get Home” with it’s almost classical like orchestration gives us the story of a soldier dreaming of coming home, and in this time of age we all know someone who was in a war that didn’t make sense, and maybe this song will help us understand their fear and uncertain thoughts on what to expect when the day comes…
I know a bunch of punk bands that wish they would have written “Protest Hero”. This song gave me goosebumps in the beginning and I had my fist up in the air at the end. It took me straight back to 1999 when we where on the street fighting police and nazi scum, raising our voice against racism and intolerance. It also remembered me of the feeling I got afterwards… “What was the fucking point? What did we gain with this, are we making a difference, are we not the same?”

Coming home to the city you grew up in or lived your whole life, seeing it all changed can be hard, and you wonder, “why?, is this what it became?” I think that when we grow older we think back and remember a false past, but that doesn’t make it less hard. “Our City” is a song that feeds this feeling, and this feeling of injustice only gets bigger when we realise we had a hand in it ourself. Absolutely one of the best songs on the album!
The more I listen to the record, the more I realise we lost our innocence a long time ago. The phrase in “Newspeak”, “Back when Orwell was sci-fi” makes it all so real…
“Into Hells Sea” picks up where “Newspeak” ended with the words “I hope you can swim” and takes us to our almost final ride filled with despair, lost love, fear and regrets… No this is not a happy record…

East Cameron Folkcore is one of those bands that deserves to be huge, but maybe never will. It will not be their fault, in a day of age where everything is cut into small pieces and fed to the masses without a critical thought needed, I hope they will never give up. There are people out there that need this music, this message to hold on, to feed and grow stronger and then rise up and say, “FUCK NO! NO MORE!” I hope this day comes soon…

https://eastcameronfolkcore.bandcamp.com/album/kingdom-of-fear
http://eastcameronfolkcore.com/folkstore.html
http://www.ghvc-shop.de/detail/east-cameron-folkcore-kingdom-of-fear

Muddy Roots Music Festival 2015… Number four for Inny and me. It’s becoming “normal” you would think, but every time we drive up there, a feeling of coming home takes over. This was number four in Cookeville, we did them all in Belgium, but this time it was extra special. We brought close friends with us and hoped they would have the same experience we had those three previous years. A feeling of freedom, friendship, honesty and pure joy (unless monday morning…) that’s what we where hoping they would feel. I’m damn sure they did.

Sophie, the rebel, doing her own thing, getting on my nerves, buying moonshine, handing out gifts and beer. I tried to take care of her, but I knew better, she’ll be alright where ever she is. Jo, my brother from an other mother (I know it’s cheesy, but it’s true), a wild-man if he wants to be, a caretaker if needed, a great songwriter and a friend for life. Kim, the little loud city girl, a heart of gold, a head full of lovely chaos and the temper of a furious cat (unless she encounters a spider…). And last but not least, Inny, my wife for eight years, my soul-mate for 15. My rock, my know it all head-buster, my Goddess. This was my troop, these where my travelers, these where my fellow pilgrims on the road to mud… We survived… These are our stories…

Mikey Classic and his Lonesome Spur
Muddy Roots without The Goddamn Gallows? HELL NO! Well yeah… but don’t worry, Mikey took on the heavy burden and we all knew he would deliver the goods… Check out his solo album. Is it Gallows Light? I’m not sure, some folks think it is, but for me it’s just Mikey doing his thing and doing it good! I had the chance to do merch for them at some of their European shows earlier this year and they welcomed me as an old friend. I love Mikey and the rest of them crazy idiots, even Avery…

The Barnyard Stompers
Casey and Megan… First time we ran into these guys, they where playing the open mic stage a few years ago. Casey was drunk as fuck and still being one hell of a frontman, while Megan kept the rhythm going on her drums like an army general pushing his troops into battle. The Barnyard Stompers do what they do, they don’t take shit from nobody, follow no trends and get shit done! I love it. They have songs that I wish ANTiSEEN would play, and they should!

East Cameron Folkcore
One of the bands on this years line-up that I never heard of. I gave them a quick listen while making preparations. They made it to my “must watch list”. And boy was I glad I went to see them and even more glad I filmed them. I shot more than just this, but for some reason the camera fucked up two other songs. But for the rest of their set I was dancing my ass off. They gave me a “Refused goes bluegrass” feeling. I know it doesn’t do them justice, but I think you know what I’m talking about.

The Urban Pioneers
Is there life after The Broken Band? Sure there is! Jayke is doing his thing, James always did it and Liz and Jarred are proving everyone wrong as well. What started as an in between project became a solid band playing all over the world. If you got talent, you got talent, it’s that simple.

Carrie Nation and the Speakeasy
“It’s my party and cry if I want to”, that’s the song that pops into my head every time the boys from Kansas come on stage. I don’t think they ever played this song, I’m sure they hate this song. But the fact is, that when they are playing, it’s going to be a party, and if you’re not feeling it… YOU SUCK! In this “scene”, I hate the word, these guys are on the same level as The Goddamn Gallows, and people may not yet know this, but I’m sure that they will make their mark and I wish them all the good things coming to them. TETTE BLOEWET!

The Calamity Cubes!
I know there where people at the festival only to see Dr. Ralph Stanley, I also know that some people came only because these guys where playing. Can you blame them? The Cubes are that good and anyone that says otherwise is a dick… Simple as that! They are responsible for some of the best songs going around our little ball of dinosaur shit and you better learn to live with it…

Sean and Zander
The Legendary Duo! That’s all… Enjoy!

After the Sean and Zander show I put my camera away, it was rum o’clock…

While on our trip in the USA we met up with our friends in the Kountry Kittens at the Lazy Z resort in Sonora. What a beautiful place… We shared a cabin with the most wonderful folks, Jayke, Anna and Michael James. Jo got him a cheap ass guitar at a pawn shop in Seattle… Jayke and Jo played some songs and this is what we got… Second song in the video is an original by Jo (Jumpin’ Jim) Enjoy!

Thank you Anni and the rest of the Kittens, we love you girls to dead!

After releasing the split-album with Belgium’s Black Cat Bone Squad earlier this year the boys from Milwaukee are back with a new full album. And what an album it is… This must be their best release up to this date, opening with the haunting “Sharpen up the meat cleaver”. This slow-moving song with the chilling sharpening sound in the back sets the sound for the rest of the album. It’s going to be a dark and unsettling journey through a land of misery, filled with thugs, bad woman and alcohol…

In “One last gasp” Henry has met his match and goes all the way to the bitter end. Love can be a bitch, ey matey… What really struck me while listening to this album is how perfect the mix of the instruments is. With lots of albums the washboard is somewhere in the back or way up front, but on this one it’s just in there. Lacking a drummer and relying on just Cris as the rhythm section it still sounds fantastic. Here’s to you Brother! CHEERS!!!

With “If we ever wake” and “Smoke in the eye” it becomes crystal clear that this album is not about having a good time and drinking with your buddies. You can feel the despise for certain people, not only for who they are but for their actions. But then again it never goes to tacky name calling, it’s cryptic and I guess I love how Henry plays with words.

With “2 devils” the guys wrote another great sing-a-long (as they have done in the past) that will be a hit at future live shows. It’s catchy as hell! If you are ever in need for words to break up a relationship, listen to “A thousand ways”. If after that you still don’t know how to break the news, you’re an idiot! For the first 30 seconds of this song, going by the tittle, you would think it’s going to be a ballad or corny love song, boy was I wrong… Haha, I’m pretty sure it was their intention. Thanks for the chuckling boys…

There’s one more thing I really like about S.S. WEB’s way of writing songs. While the music is up-tempo or there is a bunch of snare picking going on, Henry’s singing is at a whole different pace and this brings a sort of calm over the songs.

While the album goes on we come to another highlight in the form of “Bring me home”. A desperate call for the end that could bring doubt to the happiest person on this planet. I guess I’ll take another feel-good pill now, thanks again guys… Sigh…

We come to a close with two extremely dark sounding and slow songs, and I love them both. “Do they” seems to be a complaint against the hypocrisy of religion (I could be wrong). While “You can’t run forever” is a straight forward murder song. It takes balls to end your album with these two, because they leave the listener in a bit of a haze and pressing the repeat button to feel more depressed it not something most people would do. (I did…)

You can buy the record at live shows and it will be for sale online soon I was told. The i-tunes date is not set yet. But make sure you get your hands on this. It’s so damn good!

On the Belgian national holiday there where many places to go, but if you love some good old live music played by some amazing people, there was only one place to be! The first edition of Roots in het Park! It was a free festival with such a great line-up. Fishgutzzz, Philip Bradatsch, James Hunnicutt, S.S. WEB and to top it of, Carrie Nation and the Speakeasy! For most of the artists it was the last show of their tour, so they played their very best and had a great time hanging out with friends and family, old and new.

Thanks to Kurt from Rootstown Bookings and all the people helping out!

Enjoy the video’s we made, and we hope there will be more of this the coming years…

By now most of you have heard the news about Owen’s passing… I woke up to this at 5 in the morning to get to work and the news felt like a fist to the gut.

The first time I met Owen was last year at Muddy Roots in Cookeville, I think it was Lou Shields that introduced us to each other. He gave me a firm handshake and made a sarcastic joke about Belgium. I knew from that moment on he was a great guy. I had seen him play in 2012 and loved his songs from the first note. In a scene where most bands are  playing with dirty punk sound or attitude, Owen went the traditional path and I admired him for that.

From time to time we talked a little on facebook and he was always so thankful even if I couldn’t help, he was grateful that I tried. That’s a quality I miss in folks these days, you can’t always have what you want, but be thankful for people trying… Owen was like that, he was honest, straight forward, in your face and funny as hell!

It seems like last week, but Muddy Roots Europe is already a month away and that’s where I got to know more about Owen. He hung out at our camp every night, he sang songs to us while we shared drinks, burgers and stories. Owen was an amazing storyteller. People would gather around him and listen to him tell one of his crazy adventures, when the story was over he took a big sip of rum and played another song. He would then pass the guitar and let somebody else play and he would listen, really listen. He cared about that, people playing their songs…  Every time he walked up to our camp you could see smiles on people’s faces, and the biggest one was his. He was so happy being in Europe, playing songs, telling stories or teaching people how to play a better banjo. He was teaching Stefan from Black Cat Bone Squad how to play clawhammer. Stefan who is ten years older took it all in as a little kid, looking at Owen like he was god… It was beautiful…

If you look at what’s happening on facebook you know that Owen touched many hearts, he sure touched mine. We where making plans to do an interview and a (non)Beagle Session in Cookeville in September and I was so looking forward to it. I guess it’s never gonna happen… The news of his passing makes me so damn sad, but I try to think about that one weekend, just a month ago, and that puts a smile on my face. I hope you can do the same. Remember him as he was, one hell of a good guy!

Here’s to you Owen! You will never be forgotten! CHEERS!

Sunday, June 28th we had the pleasure of having them Carrie Nation boys over at our place. We did an interview and they played 3 songs in our back yard. Later that day they played a show at the Irish pub in Diest. After the show they crashed at our place, the Beagles sure loved it…

 

 

Waking up sunday morning was hard… Real hard… All this fun, drinking, and goofing of with old and new friends was getting to me. I’m only 34, but I’m sure as hell not 16 anymore. But hey, the show has to go on! Due to the fact I was having a hard time getting trough the day there is not as much video as I wanted. My sincere apologies for this.

Viva Le Vox kicked of the party at 1 PM, but for me personally,  they deserved a spot way higher on the schedule. I mean, this is party music, and 1 PM is to early to party… I’m not saying that there where bands that had to be lower on the schedule, it’s just… Aaarrgghhh fuck it! Viva le Vox kicks ass, that’s all.

Our buddy and good friend Lou Shields was up next and he always puts a smile on my face, on and of stage. There’s just something about him. He has a new album coming up, so keep your eyes open for that one! Oh and enjoy the dancing skills Cris from S.S. WEB is demonstrating next to the stage…

Sunday was going to be a little more traditional musical wise then the previous days and with Owen Mays, Jason booked the perfect guy to serve us some old school country and Honky Tonk tunes. We had been hanging out with Owen, well Owen had been hanging out with us at our camp, and he played us some songs the days before together with Jo from Black Cat Bone Squad during a late night jam session, so we made sure not to miss his set! I remember him walking up to camp on sunday morning with a smile from ear to ear with the great news that Liz Sloan would be joining him and his boys on stage for the entire set. And what a set it was…

The Hooten Hallers!!! The FUCKING HOOTEN HALLERS!!!! Holy Crow!!! Most folks had no idea who they where, but did they make new fans and friends, yes SIR! With John on guitar, Andy on drums and Kellie on bass sax they put down a totally original sound that grabs you by the balls and makes you dance. Could we describe them as Morphine on swamp gas? Maybe we can, but there is no need to compare them to any other band, these are The Hooten Hallers, and The Hooten Hallers are The Hooten Hallers… Hooten Hallers, I just love to say Hooten Hallers…

After this I was done filming, I was tired, I needed to relax my shoulders and my back. I did get to see some more good shows. But most of the time I used sunday to hang with friends and family. We hope to see you all again next year, and some of you in a two months in the states!

We did an interview with James Hunnicutt at our place two days ago after he played a radio show here in Belgium. It’s uncut, just two people talking… Enjoy!

Day two started with a hangover. But be honest, what did you expect? Carrie Nation dropped a bomb on us and the party didn’t stop after Beatman ended his set. We went back to camp to find a bunch of drinking buddies, artists and friends all hanging out together. So Saturday had a slow start… But after a good breakfast, some personal care taking and a first beer we where ready for round two!

S.S. WEB played their first official European show and damn… I’ve seen a bunch of guys hit a washboard, but Cris Bissell is something else! Together with Henry Berger (who we’ve seen on tour with The hangdog Hearts)  he makes a dynamic duo to which Batman and Robin look like a bunch of pussies… And thank you Uriah for saying hello to us European folks (we still love you…)

The Freeborn Brothers from Poland played their second show at Muddy Roots Europe. And they just get better and better, hobo blues trash grass? Who cares, it’s all about the party… They’ll play Muddy Roots in Cookeville this year, and let me tell you this my American friends: “Get ready, get dirty, get hot, The Freeborn Brothers will clean your soul!”

No James Hunnicutt, No Muddy Roots! Simple as that! So James was here… Who cares? WE ALL DO!!! He had some tricks up his sleeve this year. Just watch the video…

The Urban Pioneers where up next and I have to say that their sound and songs got so much more powerful now they play as a four piece band. I loved them as a duo, I loved them as a trio, but now they got that extra punch that takes their songs to a higher level. This also leaves more room for some fun on stage without losing the flow of the song. And before I forget, STAGGER IS THE MAN!!!

What to say about the Goddamn Gallows? They are a bunch of stinky, sweet, kind-hearted fellows that love to have a good time on and of stage. They are a bunch of guys that I’m proud of to know personally. Not because they are the Gallows, but because they are honest and in your face and well… They have a few good songs… 😉

Muddy Roots Europe is over for yet another year… But don’t feel sad about it, next year is not far away. And you can always come to Cookeville! If you can’t wait for any of this, most bands are still playing all over Europe as we speak…

For now you’ll have to be happy with these video’s. We start with Them Old Crap. These guys came all the way from Brazil to have a party with us. I don’t think there ever was an opening act at Muddy Roots on a friday with such a big crowd. ENJOY!

For us Dylan Walshe was up next. We missed some bands because we had friends to hug, people to talk to and have some drinks. But I’m sure you’ll like this footage of Dylan. He’s an awesome guy with a voice that can make demons cry…

Bruno Esposito a.k.a. Lone Wolf OMB, party animal, international rock star, friend and most of all a damn good musician! We have been hanging out the last couple of weeks and this guy is a handful and that’s why we love him. “Can’t talk Bruno… I’m to drunk…”

On this first day of the festival there was one band everyone was talking about. Carrie Nation and the Speakeasy, expectations where high as fuck and the boys knew. What happened next was nothing less then a huge dance party. People where dancing their ass off!!! It was beautiful… I shot the first 5 minutes from the pit, so it’s a little shaky…

Some time ago I bumped into Darren Deicide while surfing the web. He instantly grabbed my attention with his music and, while looking further into him, also as a person. “This guy, now that’s something we don’t see everyday in this “roots” scene”, was what I was thinking. I got in contact with him and from one thing came the other…

Some weeks later I got his EP “Bomb This Joint” in my mailbox. This little slap of vinyl has been doing rounds on my turntable for a while now, and it gets better every time I play it. The title track is a wild footstomping piece of rhythm and blues punk that will make you wanna dance like you’re possessed by the devil himself. It sounds simple and repetitive at first, but it’s so effective. And when those hand claps come in… they just hit the spot! On the B-side we find “Hudson River Hangover” A slow-moving song with a deep impact. Darren only plays the most essential strings on this and it gives the song a dark and minimal feel. It has a certain threat coming towards you, a feeling something bad is going to happen soon… This ep, as all other ep’s, is way too short and leaves you hungry for more. So I suggest you all go to Darren’s website and order his music. You can also find him on Spotify, but please buy directly from him, we all know why…

Now enjoy the interview.
1. First things first, please tell our readers who you are, where you’re from, what you do in daily life…
I’m Darren Deicide. I reside in Jersey City, New Jersey though I’m originally from Chicago. I guess you could say that I’m a devotee of a certain thread of music tradition, that which comes from the tradition of diabolical Americana. Its influence has spanned decades and been in a constant state of evolution, and it has been great to be a part of it in any way, whether it’s playing my music, archiving music from the past, getting people to swing, or anything in-between.

2. Darren you play as a solo artist now, did you play in other bands before? Who was it, what did you play? Or have you always been a lone wolf?
I actually grew up playing piano, though I never did any public performances beyond recitals. I then picked up guitar. Like any good rebellious teen, I’ve played guitar in a slew of mediocre punk bands that mostly aren’t worth mentioning. I’ve also dabbled with other musicians, but musicians are a notoriously flakey group of people. It’s very rare when one finds a deeply creative individual who isn’t a mental basketcase, or conversely a competent, sane person who isn’t completely conventional in their approach to music. For whatever reason, the parts of a human brain where organization and expression are strongest don’t seem to wire together often. I may not be an exception to that either. So, yes, I’ve been mostly a lone wolf, however I’m starting to work more with other musicians. For example, I recently wrote a song with Nathan Gray, the lead singer of Boysetsfire, called “My Star-Spangled Banner” and I think it’s great. My crystal ball tells me that more of these types of collaborations are in the future.

3. While your 2006 album “Temptation and the Taboo, part 1” had a more “atmospheric” sound you now play a more lo-fi, primitive form of, let’s call it, “blues”. Why is this? Did you want a more head-on, confrontational sound? More like your live shows, raw and in your face?
I actually did a demo before “Temptation and the Taboo, Part 1” that was probably the most raw thing I’ve ever done, and it was pretty under-developed in retrospect. But those are the breaks when you’re exploring a musical voice. “Temptation and the Taboo, Part 1” was an early experiment in conceptualism, but I never thought it was particularly far off from my live sound. It has been a guiding ethos of mine to keep my music rather organic. Part of me, indeed, wants to replicate what I do live. There’s nothing more annoying than seeing an artist live, wanting to take their music home, and then finding out the recording is a fictionalization of what they do. It can make you feel like you bought a goose egg, and I consider it a type of false advertising. But it’s also what people who understand my music want. I hear it a lot. People come up to me and say, “Make sure you keep that rawness that you have. That’s what I like about what you’re doing. It’s real.” And while “real”, in most contexts, doesn’t mean anything, I know what they’re getting at. Double-tracked, auto-tuned vocals with ridiculously reverbed snare drum and synthetic violins seems to be the order of the day, and a lot of people are sick of the overproduction and lack of subtlety. Some people are really yearning for the physical again. They want to reacquaint themselves with fleshly experiences and their primal selves, so a lot of them are looking for more ways to unplug from this hyper-connected world. A lot of psychologists and sociologists are just starting to measure the evidence about what this constant exposure to connectivity does to our brains. Many people can’t focus or be present, they feel atomized and isolated, and then they wonder why they feel so miserable. It has been quite stark to witness, especially with younger people who come to my shows. Many have no idea what it’s like to grow up without an instant connection to the social hivemind or what it’s like to be totally immersed in the present environment of a music aesthetic without the option of outside distractions. Some are simply addicted to their phones and have no social skills. I think something about roots music is a breath of fresh air to many, and the rawness is just reflective of that.

4. If it were up to you, whom of todays artists, would you like to record a song/album with?
There is so much bubbling right now that I’m constantly surprised by something I’ve never heard before. I’m not going to presumptuously assume I’d creatively mesh with anybody. One of my favorite artists is Edgefield C. Johnston over in St. Louis. He’s an amazing poet and truly one-of-a-kind. I re-wrote an old demo song I’ve been holding on to named “Static”, and he does this great segue during it. It’ll be on the future album.

5. Is there a new full album on its way? And if so, what can we expect? Just you, or are you going to work with other people?
Yes, there is! I don’t want to burst too many bubbles yet, but let’s just say that I’ve been doing a lot of behind-the-scenes work to lay the foundation for it, including talking to record labels, producers, and lots of people in-between. I think every artist thinks their most recent work is their best, just because they’re more currently attached to it, but I have to say, I really think this is my best music yet. I’ve been playing a lot of these songs live, some for over a year now, but I just haven’t put them to a recording. There have been a lot of setbacks between “The Jersey Devil is Here” and today, including a serious injury I had to deal with. But I’ll be in the studio and I’ll have more news by the end of the summer.

5. Is it fair to call you a “nerd” on American music? Not being disrespectful, but you really love the history of American music don’t you?
It isn’t exactly unfair. It is true that there is nothing that moves me more than Americana. America is an inspiration. Sure, it has issues. Human beings are nasty creatures, so their foibles will always taint any society. But in some respect, a culture is a reflection of a society’s ideals, and the American revolution established many incredibly admirable ideals. Well, its culture has reflected that promise, along with the honesty and joy that is so unique to American sensibilities, whether it’s in the indulgent horn section of a swing band, the surreal landscape of the blues guitar, or the bleak tragedies of country romanticism. And the list goes on. Americana is so influential that we see other countries taking those traditions and tossing them back at us in new variations. I welcome the ante up!

6. Can I label you as a neo-traditionalist? I’m not talking about “rockabilly guys that wish they where teenagers or in their early 20’s in the 50’s, but can’t live without their Iphone”. I get the feeling you are person that takes pride in being a gentleman, somebody that takes pride in who they are, where they come from and what they are doing. Somebody that loves doing things hands on, not wait around and hopes things will “work out”… A person that takes on life as it comes and makes the best, without crying about the things that could have been.
I’ll let others be the judge of that. I’m not one to easily slap labels on myself.

7. As the host for Agent Provocateur, your online radio show, you take on everything that’s going wrong in this world. you don’t take a political stand, but you give your opinion. You say what you think and what you want. How big is the shit storm that hits you when you take on these items?
It really depends on the issue. Take for instance my analysis of Zionism. By far, out of any subject I tackled, that produced the most feedback, for and against. But the people who disagreed came out like roaches and boy, were they persistent. I titled that episode “Zionism’s Free Pass Gets Revoked”. It pointed out what a fundamentalist movement Zionism actually is and pointed out how, like any fundamentalist movement, once it gains state power, it sprouts into a totalitarian, criminal political power. That’s nothing particularly controversial. The UN and most people outside of the American-centric worldview wouldn’t be shocked. But I was bombarded with e-mails from people, and, surprise, surprise, many had personal ties with Israeli special interest. Now, take a look at the episode archive and you’ll see that some episodes later I did another entitled “Saudi Arabia’s Free Pass Gets Revoked”. Again, what I said wasn’t particularly controversial to anyone who has been paying at least a moderate amount of attention to the world beyond their navel. The structure of the analysis was essentially the same as the episode on Zionism, but instead I dissected Wahhabism, Saudi Arabia, and America’s close relationship to it. The difference in response was dramatic. I heard nothing, not a peep. Seriously, I didn’t even receive a single email or comment. Americans have deeply internalized double-standards that most aren’t questioning, with favoritism towards Zionism being an obvious one.

All moral systems are derived from political power. In that sense, might makes right. A major point of “Agent Provocateur”, besides indulging in my humorous side, is to question the legitimacy of some of those systems. This is a Satanist here, someone who has entirely rejected the notion of divine authority, the presumably greatest authority of all. Bowing to irrational pities or just accepting the face value of common narratives is not something I do easily, especially when it’s a matter of unquestioned and overly simplistic views on the world. Stupidity and hypocrisy works well for others, especially religionists and their allies, but I’ll pass.

8. You are a member, Warlock and spokesman for the Church of Satan, if so, how does this reflect on your music?
And how does this affect your personal life?
My music is a reflection of my thoughts and emotions which come from my experiences. My experiences are dictated by my life choices, and my life choices come from my approach to the world. My approach to the world comes from my ethos, which can best be described as Satanic. I assume it would work that way for any Satanist who creates art.

9. Does the fact that you are open about your affiliation with the CoS hold back your musical career in any way? And what are your feelings about this matter?
If my affiliation is something that would steer some away from my music, then Satanism is doing exactly what I want it to do, and that just tickles my underbelly. Scholarship suggests that a lot of the blues pioneers were accused of being in league with the devil during the nascent days of the blues. Most took the approach of being defensive, insisting that they were God-fearing people. A smaller minority, like Robert Johnson or Tommy Johnson, took the opposite approach and associated themselves and their art more deeply with diabolism. Count me amongst the latter.

10. Do you consider music, and more important, your music, to be a “magical” thing? (lesser or greater)
Absolutely. Just come to my show, and we’ll see if my spells have any effect on you.

11. You make your own beer I have learned, tell us more about this. Remember, we are from Belgium and have a great beer history, we are very proud of this, but I have to say, while traveling the USA the last 3 years, I did get to drink some great American micro-brewery beers. So shoot!
First, let me say that I am a huge fan of Belgium’s beer culture, and though I have never been to Belgium, I have a life-goal to eventually play there, preferably surrounded by a crew of naughty, beer-drinking Belgians. I cannot disagree with you, Belgium. Your beer is absolutely fantastic.

I’ve been brewing beer for years, long before it recently became respectable in America. It’s a passion of mine, and I’ve entered home brews in international competitions, with really great scores. It’s gotten to the point where I just brew all my beer and rarely buy beer from a store. I make exactly what I like, often with harvested ingredients from my own garden. Why settle for anything less than what you want?

A lot of art forms have overlapping aesthetic judgments. Whether it’s music informing dance, dance informing fashion, or fashion informing sound, it all cross-pollinates to create total environments. Well, I’ve always found Americana interesting in that I feel that booze and Americana have had a unique relationship. I honestly think that some songs sound like or compliment a particular libation. It’s not something that gets talked about a lot, so this theory might sound strange. I’ll give you an example. I bet any fan of Americana can tell me what the sound of moonshine is. They probably wouldn’t jump to say the Chick Webb Orchestra. That’s more of a dry martini kind of band. Even a smooth blues man like Josh White sounds a bit more like a very nicely aged bourbon. But an Appalachian bluegrass artist? Pass the jar and light the fire pit! I like to explore that overlap when I make beer or write music.

12. Can we get an exclusive? Or just some last words…
Sure. Give into temptation. It’s only your freedom.

Photo credit will be added when we get it from Darren.

http://www.darrendeicide.com

We teamed up again with The Pirate Farm Radio. As always this was a fun evening. It was good to see Lou and Bruno, hang out, listen to their music and ask them some questions.

This is what came out of it with Lou. We hope you enjoy it.

This was the first time we used two camera’s, so the editing is not great, but we’re learning more each time we try new things.

Lou and Bruno are on tour in Europe, so go see them!

Last saturday we had some friends over for dinner and a show afterwards… But before dinner and the show we did a little interview and made one of them play some songs for us and the rest of our guests… We had fun, and are gratefull for having awesome friends!

The 2015 edition of the Groezrock Festival promised to be a good one, not only for the line-up of amazing bands playing this year, but also because we know that the people running this festival take care of their visitors, fans and bands alike. Just before we went on our way I went out to get gas and the car just shut down on me at the gas station. This was not a good way to start our day! After some calls I got a tow truck too where I was stranded and guess what… The batterycable came lose… I felt like such an idiot. Whatever… We got there! We checked ourself in for our press passes and dropped our gear in one of the lockers at the press tent. We are at a festival, so we set our priorities, before we do anything, “let’s have a beer!”  While sitting our ass down in the sun we noticed the dude sitting next to us, this day was going to be good, Mister Nick Oliveri was thinking the same thing we where, priorities, remember…

Groezrock-14 Toxic Shock was the first band we went to see, and that was not a bad choice. These guys from Antwerp play fast trashcore, oldschool style. After beating cancer Wally is back on the frontline to tell you how your life sucks. Jobs you don’t want to do, kids you love but don’t want to spend time with and how growing up suck… DEAL WITH IT. They played the Back to Basics stage, wich means no front, no security… A paradise for stagedivers. Maybe it was the early hour, maybe it was the fact that I have only seen them in small venue’s but the crowd was a little méh… They played their hearts out, Wally was even climbing 10 meters up in the stagesetup… Except for the people in the front the crowd did not really respond, I don’t get it, it was a great show! Their song “Monday is cancelled” got me all fired up and I was ready for a weekend of mayhem and destruction (only thing I destroyed was my liver and my wallet…)

When The Dwarves play a festival it’s always a risk, are these guys gonna fuck it all up or is it going to be great? Who remembers the 20 minute show they played in Aarschot some years ago? Nick Oliveri walked on stage full monty and the crowd loved it before they even played a note. Blag was in a great mood and was ready for a party. Did The Dwarves invent rock n roll? No! Do they play it and make it sound so much better? YES! It’s always fun to see a band interact with their fans and when Blag got into the crowd he won the hearts of all there, he did lose his mic, but that’s not his problem. I did see some girls looking at Nick, wondering and hoping if he was going to follow Blag’s example… Don’t blame them for dreaming, besides being a great bassist he got something else pretty great to the dislike of many male fans in the crowd… I mentioned this before in a previous post, but if you want your punkrock PC, stay far away from The Dwarves. But if you just want to party, get drunk and have an awesome time this is your band! If you missed them, make sure it doesn’t happen again!

After The Dwarves it was time to hang out a little, meet up with friends, have a few beers and just enjoy the atmosphere. Groezrock is one of those festivals that are great to just be there, hang, drink wander around… Getting a beer mostly ends up in a chat with a stranger, even for a few seconds… We all understand why we’re here…

Groezrock-31I HATE AUSSIES!!! They think they are the best people in the world, they think they have the prettiest girls in the world, they think they have the best BBQ in the world and they even think they have the best beer in the world! Fuck ’em! My ex-boss was one and he’s a dickhead! (I’m just kidding, I love you Mike, and most aussies…) The Smith Street Band are according to the world-wide web a folkpunk band. I did not hear any folk… What I did hear was an indie punk band that knows how to write a song. This show was pure fun, for the people in the crowd, it was a big crowd, and for the band on stage. If they got payed for every smile they had on their face they would have been millionaires. One thing did bother me, if you’re playing at the Back to Basics stage, you know there will be people on stage diving and trying to sing along in the microphone. Don’t push them away, don’t get upset about it, they buy your records and merch. Be glad they want to be there with you and make this show what it is. I really loved this show, but for some reason, the image of the singer pushing away the girl who just wanted to sing along stuck with me.

Groezrock-67The next stop was Iron Reagan from Richmond, Virginia. Oh my god, what a party this was. Trash is back, that’s for sure. Hardcore kids going crazy on trash metal? Not when I was a kid. The mood was set right from the start, stagedivers everywhere and moshpits all around. I could see Nick Oliveri standing on the side of the stage approving it all with a big grin on his face. If there is one thing I like it’s an open mind and this band is the living proof that taste is a genre crossing thing. Nobody cares if you like punk, metal or hardcore, or should not care… Iron Reagan grabbed the crowd by the back of their neck and pulled them into a hurricane of noise and chaos. It was marvelous!

Groezrock-83We had no plans to go see Broilers, but I was a little curious about how a these guys would do. I was also convinced that the only reason they got booked for the festival was to get more Germans to the festival. But while Inny was shooting pictures frontstage, I got hooked on their sound. Catchy punk’n’roll, that you just want to dance to. I loved it! If these guys where not singing in German they would be huge world-wide!

Groezrock-104If there was one band I needed to see on this first day it was Social Distortion. The hours went by and my anticipation grew stronger by the minute. Was I expecting to much? Where they going to be a big disappointment? While my adrenalin went up, the temperature dropped, it was getting really cold in the field and the folks not willing to embark on this adventure with me started to turn home or to their tents in search of some warmth. I kissed Inny goodbye for her epic journey into the frontstage to shoot pictures of Mister Mike Ness… When I was a kid I didn’t like Social D, it was not hard enough for me, but with age comes wisdom and all of a sudden it spoke to me. These are just good songs! It took them some time to start and I was not getting drunk, but when they walked on stage and those first notes got played I got an instant high. A big smile on my face and I felt like I was the only one there. It was this good. Mike’s voice sounds better with age and the sound was spot on. They played as tight as a nun’s asshole and for a moment I was king of the world… 3 songs in I had to come down because I knew Inny was going to get kicked out of the frontstage with the rest of the photographers and finding one another in this crowd sucks. She came out frozen and in pain from taking pictures all day, and as Mike I’m a gentleman so I decided it was time to head home for the night.

The dogs where waiting to keep us warm and day two was just a few hours away…