Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Windsor Rock Wall: A Tribute To Our City’s Musical History

Posted: March 11, 2012 by Windsor Zene in News

For the last four days Tom Lucier, the proprietor of Phog Lounge, has been working tirelessly at SB Contemporary Art (1017 Church St.) completing a project started months ago in the front entrance of his bar.

The idea is to show how interconnected the music community in the city is, by connecting musicians to every band they’ve ever played a live show with. The project outgrew it’s space at Phog, which is why it moved to the gallery this week, where it could be expanded further as people brought in their lists to add.

Tracing the actual lines proves difficult at times, the interconnectivity so dense that it might as well just be scribbles. But that just helps to reflect even more what this project

is all about; the music scene in our city is a huge entity, made up of all these bands, not
commanded by one or two. Take a step back and everything blurs together, it becomes difficult to discern one form the next, because in essence, it is all the same. Just people playing music for the love of it.  It seems like lately there are those forgetting what the underlying purpose is behind the bands, but hopefully projects like this help them to remember.

Sarah Beveridge of SB Contemporary Art and Tom Lucier of Phog Lounge

Tom Lucier of Phog Lounge

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YOU CAN’T WIN, IF YOU DON’T PLAY (The Game)

Posted: February 20, 2012 by Windsor Zene in News

AL "THE YETI" BONES

Last night I was laying in bed, my mind racing like Nascar, thinking truly about everything under the sun. When going to bed, I usually have peace and quiet with enough time to reflect on what got done today, how I did things yesterday, and what needs to be tackled tomorrow. It’s also why I get up so early everyday too. How can I sleep in, when I know deep down, most of my goals haven’t been met yet? How am I expected to advance my career in music, when i know that someone out there, is getting up even earlier than me, and doing more than most to get what they want in life?

It’s like Basketball. Growing up wanting to be in the N.B.A, even as a kid, you realize from the times of “Pistol” Pete Maravich, to the generation of the “Big Three” (Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and Michael Jordan) all the way to present day, with guys like Kobe, Lebron and Wade; you don’t get there without putting in the time honing your craft.

Music doesn’t exactly work like sports, but the idea and principles behind accomplishing goals are pretty universal I think. They transcend sports, music, education, and life.

Being in a real band is more then just practicing in the basement and thinking how awesome you are!

Rule #1: Your band is NEVER as good as you think it is. Plain and simple. If you think your band is the shit, chances are you live inside a bubble that’s even smaller then Windsor, and the population is: “You bro!”

I think because of the internet, and how readily available music is now, bands just seem to think, “if I keep putting music out there, eventually people will hear how awesome we are, and we’ll get signed and make millions!” –This thinking is not only the furthest thing from the truth, but it’s also the furthest thing from sanity. Oh sure…your band is so amazing, and nothing needs to change, you’re perfect exactly the way you are. Yea right.

Truth is, no industry in the world works that way, why would the music industry be any different?
There are plenty of ways to get what you want out of your musical ambitions, but you have to be willing to do a few things first. Work really fucking hard at, honing your craft in songwriting, learn the music business, and play the game. You must play the game. there are a few things to keep in mind when playing the game, and I’ve decided to let people know what the game is, and how it’s played if you want your band to gain the respect of your peers.

-NETWORKING IS KEY. Should I say that again? Or did you hear me the first time.
There is no audience if there is no network. I have a mailing list of over 3000 people I’ve come in contact with over the last 10 years of touring North America. That requires my time and attention to be placed on internet networking, as well as face to face and cultivating those relations. (ie… going out to shows, bring your cd with you, talk to people in the other bands, talk to them about their band, and your band, and how we should all trade off shows.)–this also gets very important when playing with out of town acts, you should always befriend them, and if you have a place for them to crash you should ALWAYS suggest it to them, as a gracious hospitality move, that will TOTALLY COME BACK FULL CIRCLE, because guess what? While you were so busy opening the show, and packing up all your shit and running it back to your practice space and then decided to have a little introvert gathering with your band and your girlfriends, or while you were so busy having cigarettes outside talking to your “friends” about how awesome you were, I was partying with the out of town band at the show, and then at my house, making sure they left our city knowing who the fuck I was, and what I want from them in the coming weeks. The more contacts/friends you make, the band will benefit from them. If you know how to work it of course, a.k.a “playing the game”.

Its’ always important to note* NOT to be the guys that are introverted and sit and hang out with their girlfriends at a table and don’t mingle with the guests. The people that come to see you, are there to not just see a show, but be apart of the overall scene. I personally come to shows to support certain bands, and see my friends perform, but I am also cognizant of the fact that I am also present because we are representing a scene. This is important when touring, because if you don’t make contact with people at the show, you’re forking out $100 for the hotel each night, instead of sleeping on a floor somewhere, making relations with people in each city. With regards to our city, people go out to drink, and they like to see shows. People in Windsor also have a pretty good “bullshit meter”. In my mind, if you have an ego about your band, you better have done shit to back it up! If I see the same band every weekend perform at the same club, you are not going to be seeing me there very often. How much better could a band actually get within a span of 7 days? How do you expect to build a fan base when you are just on auto pilot every weekend? Sometimes it happens so fast, no one even knows you’re playing again. When you are at shows, it’s important to network with people, otherwise what is the point of playing shows other than basically jerking off in front of everyone? That doesn’t mean to be introverted, or even overly extroverted for that matter, just cordial and cool. You see, there are these unwritten rules, that really apply in smaller cities like Windsor, one of them being, if you show up to someone else’s gig and let them know you are from “insert band name” and you came to see them. I SWEAR TO GOD, they will all be at your next show. The one’s who don’t. Can all go to hell. Seriously…

Another one is, stay till the last band, and be one of the bands’ that make it be known that you stayed. hit the band up on facebook the next day (make individual relations with other band members), hit them up and tell them “i saw your set, it was awesome, let’s do it again some time.” Anything, to let them know you are involved and engaged with the scene.

If you make friends with certain other members of different bands, invite them out to the Coach, or Pogo‘s or something, (YOU MUST hang out where the scene is taking place) to go drinking, and get to know each other. Sounds cheesy, but I can’t tell you when the last time I actually played in a band with “friends” i know or grew up with. I only play in bands now with people I’ve met through the scene, and have become tight with over the years, because of these infamous drinking sessions we embarked on. At this point, I’m in two bands, one being Gypsy Chief Goliath, where we all live in separate cities across Ontario because these are musicians I either toured, played, or recorded with at one time, or another and I felt close enough to them and wanted them to be in a band with me. The other band I play in is called The Mighty Nimbus, which is a band from Minnesota. (Whom all were apart of 2 of my favorite bands before they formed this one.) I was lucky to have been apart of it. Explore your options, and expand your horizons.

Start a side project with other dudes in other bands, this is a small enough scene and city that your name will spread quicker if we all work together.

A lot of time, bands booking TOO MANY shows in the same city each month can also turn people off. You may think you are conquering the world, but in fact you are playing at the same place every weekend in Windsor Ontario Canada.
Hit the road, go out of town, time to have your dues paid back to you, from housing all those out of town bands that played with you in Windsor!

Impressions mean a lot so to give off a good one, you have to be supportive of others, and find bands in the scene you feel compliment each other well when billed on the same show, and slowly try and build. Those bands fan’s will eventually become your fans, and vice versa.

Each member in the band should take a bit of the responsibility. Everything should NEVER be on one guy, (although I cant tell you how many times this occurs.) It’s just sad. But at the end of the day, if you are the guy that is doing all the business, and you are networking and being the “face” of the band when you are out at night, then you will be the one ultimately associated with that “branding” of your band. Which is never a bad thing. Because you will earn the respect you deserve. But the guys might wonder why you’re the one everyone knows. I got the name Al Bones, because everyone used to just call me, Mr. Bones. Well, Mister Bones used to be a band in this city. We weren’t one guy. We were a band. And now we’ve all gone off to sprout new bands in the last decade.

It’s important to be aware of what’s going on in our scene and just be apart of it, by simply “being there.” the more you put in though, the more noticed you become which is great. If you wonder why “OUR” music scene sucks, chances are, you are not in it, and you are simply watching the scene from the outside-looking-in. It doesn’t require you to be apart of it by doing push-ups in the Coach & Horses bathroom until the next gig, but you should be able to stray from home once maybe twice a month and pay back those people in bands that came to see your show. It’s the decent thing to do.

Setting up shows and asking other bands to play with YOU instead of always waiting to be asked, is also good. Not promoting just yourself, but others is a good move too.
If everyone promotes only their own band, then you get that whole debaucle where people come to see YOU but then leave for the rest of the show, or they only come in to see your set and then leave. It happens a lot in this city, and it has something to do usually with, not having an idea of who’s fanbase is there, and why aren’t they integrated.

For instance, I can walk into the Coach N’ Horses building and tell you the names of every bouncer, bartender, server, manager, owner, past employees etc.. (that goes for the entire building) and the reason I know this is, I party with these people as well, because they are in my network. I consider them colleagues of mine in the greater business of the music scene here in Windsor, and I’m proud to say I consider most of them to be my friends.

Instead of sitting at home on a Saturday night, because your band isn’t playing downtown, you should go out once a month for example, and check out a few shows in a night, and let them know who you are and that you came to see them. Like I said, they will all return the favor.

Remember, the easiest thing to do, is to stay at home and chill. That won’t help your band any. But if you are looking for something easy that can help your band grow, come out to other people’s shows. I swear to God, they will return the favor. If you bitch about the scene, and wonder why it sucks, like I said, come out to some shows, we’ll bitch about the scene together!!! But at least we’ll be networking and advancing our bands in the process.

I manage bands so I know and am aware of the scenarios each band may have in their lives that prohibit them from doing the things I’ve mentioned. I know, that time is an issue, work and all the excuses in the world right…? but the point is, the band is a gang, and that gang needs to be known, if it is not, nobody knows you are in a gang, and that’s the opposite of being in a gang.

Worth His Weight In Gold

Posted: December 23, 2011 by Windsor Zene in Band/Artist, News, Profiles

1980-2011

In Memory of David Gold

By Al “Yeti Bones” Petrovich

When I woke up this morning, I did my usual routine, like all of us. When I looked at my phone and saw texts upon texts I just ignored them. I checked my facebook and saw the most devastating news ever. A dear friend of mine had passed on to the other side. It feels like a sick and horrible joke, but I knew it had to be real.

Dave Gold was the single hardest working musician in Canada bar none. I couldn’t even begin to compete with this guy. Right before Woods of Ypres officially began, Dave was our drummer in Mister Bones. This is going back to 2001. He left Mister Bones to begin a black metal band called Woods Of Ypres. At the time, none of us had any idea how big it would be. Dave did.

I remember being on tour and Dave saying to me in a little diner in London Ontario, at 3am, “I think we should take Bones into another direction. Not kill off the stoner rock aspect but bring in a new aspect! We could be the first band to do stoner music with blast beats and a bit of black metal here and there, in bursts!”  Now I thought he was crazy, and I just couldn’t understand what he was saying to me. It sounded crazy right? His ideas were not being met in Bones, and we parted ways when we got home to Windsor. Within that year, Dave began Woods Of Ypres.

Fast forward 7 years later, I had this idea to do a heavy metal outfit that included all of my influences and inspirations throughout the years which included many bands that had been doing what Dave had been talking about previously with Bones. I knew that it would take some time to develop this band, and find the right members to do this. So I called Dave, and asked him to meet me in a rehearsal space back down in Windsor. He drove from Toronto that weekend, and we ripped through a 45 minute cassette of riffs and ideas. We traded riffs back and forth and just looked at each other and said, “Holy fuck, this is going to be pure evil!” That band I was forming, was The Georgian Skull.

We used to sit on the phone at night once in awhile, and I mean, like once every 8 months to a year and get drunk and talk about music for hours, talked about a certain side project we were planning on putting together with Morgan Lander from Kittie included in there. It was going to be an amazingly super heavy album simply called WINTERBEARD.  Now it breaks my heart that I will never see my friend again, and be able to get closure with him musically. He did an interview with someone from Germany a few years ago, and they asked him, “What was it like to work with Al the Yeti Bones?” And he replied, “Al is like me, and two people that are that similar shouldn’t work together.” The interviewer went on to say, “People have been quoted as calling The Yeti a Nazi or a dictator in his bands.” Dave agreed with him and simply said, “It takes one to know one.” Of course they both meant it in jest. The same magazine interviewed me again, later the following year (and previously to this encounter I had spoken to Dave and he told me all about his interview with the guy and that he had an idea.) He said we should openly bash each other in interviews so that when we release WINTERBEARD the world can fall on their ass and say, “What the fuck? I thought these guys hated each other?”   If anyone knows my history in the music scene and if they knew how much I loved controversy and stirring up shit, they would know that I thought this was just brilliant.
He used to always say, “Why don’t you just go back to being Mister Bones?  You’ve branded yourself as that for so many years that people will get confused if you keep changing band names.” I would tell him, “Dave, I’m the Yeti, I’m not Mister Bones. Like Woods, Bones had a million band members and I felt as though with each wave of Mister Bones, I was losing a bit of myself.” I needed to do it my way, as Frank Sinatra said. But with Dave, as members came and then went, it was like Woods Of Ypres was shedding skin, and becoming new all over again. It was just another chapter in the life and times of David Gold.

I remember Dave saying that he bought the Georgian Skull album when it came out on Entertainment ONE, and wanted to congratulate me on how “awesomely crushing it was!” He said it reminded him of a raw underground Pantera, and he loved it. I didn’t have the balls to tell him how honored I was to hear him say that, because of all the successes he had been receiving worldwide with Woods at the time.

Dave had a vision that he polarized through his music, and slowly I became aware of the deep and emotional connection he had to this earth, to the people on it, and his ideas of penning them down on paper, and eventually on an album.

"Dave had a clear-cut vision of what he wanted. Most people have no idea what they want, but he did. And he knew how to get it."

I understood Dave pretty well, I think. If anyone knows the stories behind him and I working together in music, they know we were extremely similar. Deep down, we both knew it too. We couldn’t be in the same band, because we were both visionaries and had two very different visions in mind. We’ve known each other for a long time, and I’ve gone through a lot of the same shit he has. What I can say is this, Dave had a clear-cut vision of what he wanted. Most people have no idea what they want, but he did. And he knew how to get it. Always had. When the vision starts to shift or differ slightly it was up to Dave to bring it back on track. No one else. This onus had always been on him. I related to that very much. It was Dave’s vision being seen through, as it should be. (Please forgive me, as I’m writing this, I’m finding it terribly hard to write my opinions and thoughts in past tense.) Afterall, it was the vision that had been seen from the beginning, and it was OBVIOUSLY working.
Dave had a lot of success backing him, and no doubt in my mind Woods Of Ypres was going to blow up soon. Just this past year he had been signed to Earache Records, and on January 31st they will release his latest masterpiece, and ultimately the final installment of Woods Of Ypres.

The thing that many people don’t understand about touring is that to be out there for us was normal. It is normal to me, and it was normal to Dave. What wasn’t normal was being back at home, waking up at 6am, going to work at a job you hated, and living the same life everyone else was. Why? Because to a musician, everyday life was standing between us and our goals and that’s not living. It’s dying, slowly. Most bands don’t get to do what we do, because they have locked themselves inside the death chamber of life, which unravels a very slow death. Dave was living his life. He was taken too soon, and this was a brother, not just of mine, but of every musician and person he came in contact with. I owe Dave a lot. Like, I owe the guy so much. Big time.

"He will be missed, and his music, I'm PROUD to say, will live on forever."

No words could ever describe how sorry I am for his family and how sorry I am for anyone that had the pleasure of knowing him. I am deeply sorry to his past and present band mates, including one of my dearest friends Aaron Palmer who was the bassist for Woods of Ypres during its conception. This is very surreal for me, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t in tears as I write this. The world has lost an extremely talented individual that was wise beyond his years. The man may have been living in a 31-year-old body, but I believe he has died of old age. He was far more wise than his age portrayed him. Life will be different without him. As the year of the “apocalypse” approaches I suppose it’s fitting that God takes away one of the greats. Too sudden. Man, way too fucking sudden. All life really is, is a chance for us to do amazing things while we’re here. Dave Gold can honestly without a doubt stand at the gates of Heaven and say to St. Peter, “I fucking did amazing things in life, now let me in.” Life is just a portal from birth to death, and Dave was taken before he got to see what his labour of love achieved in this life. He will be missed, and his music, I’m PROUD to say, will live on forever.

Cheers.  This drink is on me my friend.  I love you, and will miss you.
AL THE YETI BONES
(a.k.a Alex Petrovich)

 

On Thursday August 18th, Windsor’s music scene lost one of it’s own. Bradford Rex Helner, one of the city’s most versatile and prolific drummers, passed away due to complications from a heart arrhythmia. He was just 39 years old.

Second from right, in a photo of one of his early Michigan bands, Velvis.

Bradford, like many musicians and community folk alike, was not originally from our city of roses. From Dearborn, this Michigan Yankee in King Harper’s Court fell into our city’s lap over a decade ago, marrying a local girl. While the marriage didn’t last, his relationship with the city – in particular, it’s various musically inclined inhabitants – flourished. Already a respected drummer from Michigan’s rockabilly ruffians The Twistin’ Tarantulas, the list of acts Bradford touched, inspired and played with is nearly as comprehensive as a list of

Bradford, far right, with Mr. Chill & The Witnesses

every act who’s played in the last few years – you could almost play the Kevin Bacon game with him instead and touch upon nearly every musician in town. While perhaps his most beloved project was the original incarnation of jazz-funk jam band Huladog (and the first year or so residency at The FM Lounge), he’s capably handled the skins (either full time, part time, or for special events) with Mr. Chill & The Witnesses, Thornetta Davis, The Hung Jury/FourJury, The Eric Welton Band, an early incarnation of The Golden Hands Before God, Train 45, The Rockafellas, The Eric Arner Project, Dennis Cantagallo (of Ten Indians), Ray’s Right Fender, NOT_Digital, (wh)y.m.e.(??), Star Trek: The Band, FourLetterWord, The Last Jazz Trio, Surdaster, The Locusts Have No King, The Greg Cox Roots Combo, The Monday Milkmen, Whoa Nelly, Vice Aerial…the list could go on for days. Not to mention the amount of acts he’s sat in with for one-offs, appearances in live theatre (such as Hedwig & The Angry Inch) and working with both the Detroit and Windsor Symphony Orchestra. There was no gig too big or too small for his love of music. It was his oxygen and he made everything sound better.

Second from left, leading the original line-up of Huladogeverything sound better.

Far right, jamming electronica with (wh)y.m.e.(??)

But despite his staggering musical resume, it was his person that left the most indelible mark on our community. He was open to jam with anyone and often encouraged musicians that others wouldn’t even acknowledge. He was a tireless encouragement to many musicians who were on the brink of retirement, pushing them to keep playing when others were telling them to stop. He couldn’t stand seeing anyone else down in the dumps and he always had a story to tell to make you feel better, about yourself, your situation or simply to take your mind off whatever it was that was bringing you down – in fact, many of his fabled tales would inevitably splinter into so many sub-stories that the original beginning story would never reach its own climax (“Tangents out of tangents” was how one friend recalled them). But he could make you listen and no matter how you entered the room and encountered him, you always left his presence with a warm feeling in your gut (although that could also be attributed to the Jagermeister shot you would always end up doing with him).

Back in the 90's, behind the kit for The Twistin' Tarantulas

His passion for life and music was equaled only by his love for cars and when he wasn’t telling tales or playing music, he was working on some sort of automobile. He had just secured a new job in an upscale auto-shop in Royal Oak weeks before his death.

Most recently, he drummed for roots rockers The FourJury

Bradford lived life like one of those classic American muscle cars. He lived it hard and he lived it fast, but he lived it. He’d patch up the wholes when they arose and throw some paint on the body, but ultimately, the engine just couldn’t keep up to the way it was driven. But, as Bradford was oft known to say, “it’s not about the years, it’s about the mileage”.

Bradford Rex Helner got a lot of mileage out of those 39 years. And we loved every mile.

At his request, Bradford was cremated. Funeral arrangements will take place in Dearborn, Michigan under supervision from his family. Details will be released as they are known. A memorial service will be held both in Dearborn and Windsor, and some sort of tribute show is being discussed.

Sitting in with The Locusts Have No King

He was one of the area's most sought after session drummers

To many, Jim Meloche is the voice of Orphan Choir, one of Windor’s finest musical exports of the past half decade. But Jim is a lot more than that. He was also instrumental in the burgeoning hardcore scene a decade ago as part of the influential searchingforchin as well as Tragicomedy Records.

But he is also a die hard enthusiast when it comes to Windsor’s music community and as it turns out, somewhat of an archivist.

He has turned that passion into perhaps one of the most important local music blogs on the internet. Approximately a year ago, he launched the website Windsor DIY, a blog that reviewed – and made available for download for FREE – an extensive back catalogue of past (and no longer available) releases from Windsor musical projects no longer around, such as Sewing With Nancie (who became national recording stars The Reason), Big Daddy A & The Merves (whose members went on to form bands such as The Unsettlers and The Vaudevillianaires), Prehistoric Cave Strokers, BloemfonteinLager Lads, Soyl, Village Idiot and many more out of print demos and releases, including his own searchingforchin.

It’s a great way for people to check out music that influenced generations of Windsor musicians – many of which came from original indie released cassette tapes – and shaped the Windsor music scene into what it was today.

Thanks for this, Jim.