Jermaine Bollinger: Yes, They’re Listening!

Who: Jermaine Bollinger
What: CD release party (original country-rock)
When: 2017-07-07
Jermaine Bollinger will release his latest inspirational album, Is Anybody Listening?, Friday, July
Chris Wissmann
Video Comentary

Jermaine Bollinger will release his latest inspirational album, Is Anybody Listening?, Friday, July 7 at Elkville First Baptist Church.

The title is a marketing gimmick, Bollinger tells Nightlife. The longtime local multi-instrumentalist— Bollinger plays guitar, bass, drums, keyboards, and sings; over the years he’s graced popular local nightclub groups like Mathien and Murphy500 funkster forerunners Under the Radar— quit his day job as a praise minister about ten months ago to become a full-time musician. And as the album title implies, Bollinger worried if enough people would buy his records and come to his gigs to financially support him.

So far, he says, so good. Shows are keeping him busy— on the day he spoke with Nightlife, Bollinger was on the way to Indiana to play at a Christian summer camp, then heading to Decatur for a few rehearsals before the release party. Music is pouring out of him— he says he’s already recorded six songs for the next album, which he hopes to release in 2018. Incredible musicians like Shadi Frick are supporting him in the studio, and he’s collected an excellent band (Keenan Wilcott on bass, Kristin Hiser on vocals and keyboards, Josh Morrison on guitar, and Bollinger’s wife Mallory on vocals and synthesizer) to back him on the road. And a luthier, Moniker Custom Guitars, has sponsored Bollinger and provided him with an instrument that allows him unique flexibility on the fretboard.

Thus, as it turns out, Bollinger’s greater concern is less with whether people are listening than what they’re hearing when they do.

“I feel like the content of my songs is important,” he says. The world is incredibly divided, he adds, but “I want to look past all that....

“I feel like it’s either going to be chaos or community, and I want to push the agenda for community,” Bollinger adds. “Even though we have all these divisions, we can still love each other.”

This, Bollinger says, is something he sees every time he plays— music has the power to bring people together.

“I feel like my audience is extremely versatile,” he says. “You don’t have to be a Christian to like my music. My mission was to build a bridge between contemporary Christian music and [secular pop music]. There doesn’t need to be a gap between them.”

Nor, he feels, do politics, age, or race need to divide people. He played the same songs for a more elderly audience on Sunday that he performed on Wednesday for teenagers, for example, and received the same positive response.

“If you have vision and a message,” he says, “you can play to any audience.”

For more information and to preview Is Anybody Listening?, visit <http://www.JermaineBollinger.com>.

who: Jermaine Bollinger

what: CD release party

where: Elkville First Baptist Church


when: Friday, July 7

Eric Howell’s King Mixer at the Sunset Concerts: Starring Again at Turley Park

Venues & Businesses
Sunset Concerts

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Kiko Villamizar: Aquas Frias at the Sunset Concerts

Who: Eric Howell’s King Mixer
What: Sunset Concert Series (progressive guitar pop)
When: 2017-07-06
The next Sunset Concert marks a homecoming for Eric Howell, whose band, King Mixer, will play Thursd
Chris Wissmann
Video Comentary

words by Chris Wissmann

pictures by Vincent Svandra Photography

The next Sunset Concert marks a homecoming for Eric Howell, whose band, King Mixer, will play Thursday, July 6 at the Turley Park Gazebo.

Howell’s Carbondale group, the Reform (which included drummer LeRoy Jones, guitarist John Riley, and bassist Mike Waggoner; Brian Waggoner later replaced Riley, and all members contributed exemplary original songs), is still the best band this writer has ever seen. Equally inspired by the Beatles and loud alternative rockers like the Replacements, the Reform wrote lyrics that beautifully captured the angst, alienation, and anxiety of SIU students in the late 1980s. But the band married those lyrics to hard-edged, guitar-based pop songs with creative vocal harmonies and unforgettable melodic hooks. They went down like honey.

And with their electrifying performances, the Reform became one of the most popular local groups during an incredibly rich era in Carbondale music. With an appeal that ranged from punks to greeks, they would pack the Hangar or Gatsby’s (the current location of Traxx) on consecutive weekend nights.

They were the obvious choice to grace the cover of the first edition of Nightlife in March 1990. In fact, it’s hard to imagine Nightlife taking off in the first without the Reform inspiring such devotion, which spread out to local music in general.

“One of our first gigs in the Reform was at Turley, up in the gazebo,” Howell tells Nightlife. “That was a long time ago. This upcoming show isn’t about any kind of reunion show or anything— we’re very much rooted in the now. But it is not lost on me that I’ll be back in that same gazebo in Turley Park, some thirty years later. The mind boggles.”

After the Reform broke up in May 1990, Howell returned to Chicago. There he’s led a series of bands, produced hilarious Beatles and Chicago baseball parodies for WXRT (Howell is a flawless mimic), and labored endlessly on intricate but potent solo recordings.

The first of them didn’t come out until 2007, but Greatest Hitch Volume I was an amazing tour de force. The CD came with a feature-length documentary DVD, Beneath the Music, which gave a somewhat fictionalized account of Howell’s life in music. (Full disclosure: This writer was an interview subject in the film and shot some of its footage.)

The film shows that the Reform’s immense local popularity didn’t come close to vaulting the band out of poverty. That and other issues with which Howell struggled made his Carbondale years less than idyllic.

Looking back, however, “I feel great about it,” Howell says. “My time in Carbondale was pretty challenging, but context and time are a funny thing. I was just beginning back then and learning a lot— a student not of SIU, like my contemporaries, but I was attending the University of Hard Knocks for sure.”

Many songs on Greatest Hitch and 2016’s stupendous Hang On continue to take their inspiration from depression and unhappiness. (But with fierce, sweet melodies, they still go down like honey.) Howell says that’s just rock ‘n’ roll tradition and human predisposition, however.

“[I]n the rare moments when we’re feeling true joy, who wants to risk breaking the spell by putting pen to paper?” Howell says. “It’s such a good buzz, but a short-lived one, that breaking open Pro Tools to get it down feels a bit like trying to describe a great dream you just had. The more you talk about it, the more you can feel it slipping away.”

Howell’s writing, then, isn’t necessarily an indication of his mood, which he says is pretty good these days. And not all of his songs refract the sunshine away from the lyrics. Howell buoys Hang On with “Forty-five,” a joyous song that by all rights should light up summer radio waves across the nation. Using the little records with the big holes as a metaphor for how life spins ever faster with age, Howell belts out an exultant survivor’s tale: “I can’t believe I’m still alive/I can’t believe I’m forty-five.”

“There’s a lot of ‘there but for the grace of God’ in King Mixer music these days,” Howell says. “Mind you, there are definitely a lot of things worth getting one’s ire up nowadays, certainly on a national and planetary level. But, you know, personally, day-to-day, it takes a lot more to rankle me at this stage. So the line is long and loud first thing in the morning at Starbuck’s. Relish it. I wake up every morning thinking, ‘I made it!’ That is literally the first thought in my mind every day: ‘I made it another day.’ This is not guaranteed to any of us.”

The King Mixer band that will rock the Sunset Concerts will include drummer Colin Rambert, bassist Justin Loftus, and a horn section. “I also hope to bring a special guest or two to Turley as well,” Howell teases. “Time will tell if everything lines up in that regard, but I’m hopeful.”

As did his idols the Beatles, Howell definitely uses the studio as an instrument, painsakingly layering instruments, vocal harmonies, and effects on his songs. That, of course, begs the question: Can King Mixer capture all of those subtleties when they play live, or do they need to work around them somehow?

“That is a question that can only be answered from the vantage point of a gazebo,” Howell says. Then he quotes one of his other idols, Paul Westerberg of the Replacements: “Can’t hardly wait.”

Meanwhile, check out <http://KingMixerMusic.com>.

who: Eric Howell’s King Mixer

what: Sunset Concert Series (progressive guitar pop)

where: Turley Park Gazebo

when: Thursday, July 6

WEB EXCLUSIVE: Here’s a long response Howell gave to a question about songwriting. Dave Schultz, to whom Howell refers, was a member of the great 1980s Carbondale band October’s Child.

You don’t feel as if you need to be in a bad place emotionally to write great lyrics?

Regardless, no, I don’t think one needs to be in a bad place emotionally to write great lyrics. Not at all. But where that notion might arise is that what happens is you need to be tuned into “where you are” and really be in touch with sensations, colors, detail, and how you are feeling in order to accurately reflect your “truth.”

Generally when we’re in a bad place, you know it. You’re living it day in and day out, and you can’t escape yourself or get away from it (“wherever you go, there you are” kinda thing). And with that comes a certain understanding that can typically only come from an acute awareness that you are not all right or that things are not playing out as you would like them to. Your inner reality does not match the outer reality. That creates conflict within— and often manifests itself into the outside world in damaging ways, unless you can turn your pain into art. So yeah, I’ve been there in my own songs, sure. And I’ve used music as my outlet to save my own life.

But as a very wise and brilliant songwriter named Dave Schultz once told me, “Songwriting is not therapy. Don’t tell someone how to feel in your music.... Make them feel what you’re feeling by paying attention to what you’re describing. Focus on the sensations.”

Brilliant. And true.

All the best songwriters do this. It’s why you can hear a Bob Dylan song at a certain period of your life and suddenly the lyrics resonate so clearly you’d swear the song is without question about you. And then, years later, having moved on with your life, you reconnect with that song, thinking “God, I haven’t heard this in years...” and as you listen again in your new, modern life, you realize that the song is still about you, in your new world. As a writer, that’s quite a trick if you can pull it off.

But to address the converse: Can you write great lyrics when you’re in a good place? Absolutely. Or, if not lyrical, you can certainly tap a vibe and capture it on record. All the best rock ‘n’ roll songs are less about lyrics and more about vibe. “Tutti Frutti” can, at times, have just as much relevance as “Like a Rolling Stone.” But the ratio may be lopsided in favor of darkness equals great lyrics, because in the rare moments when we’re feeling true joy, who wants to risk breaking the spell by putting pen to paper? It’s such a good buzz, but a short lived one, that breaking open Pro Tools to get it down feels a bit like trying to describe a great dream you just had— the more you talk about it, the more you can feel it slipping away.

So there’s that angle. But the truth is, neither extremes are necessary to write great lyrics. Again, listen to Schultz on this one. It’s about “how brilliantly can you describe an experience?” And I’m still working on that one! My strength has always been an apparently innate ability to nail the vibe, both music and words working together to create a mood, which luckily for me, people seem to instantly understand. Typically, music or hook [comes] first, followed soon after by whatever lyrics I’m sounding out as I work on the song. Sometimes it’s instant, but in more recent years, it’s been music first. I have tons of demos of just melodies— it’s ridiculous. I’m waiting for a filmmaker to approach me for rock-inspired instrumental beds.

But in general, King Mixer’s appeal seems to be that my music is familiar to you without being specific or too gratuitous in reference, whatever the vibe may be. There’s a mashup of influences at work, sometimes multiple genres within the same song, certainly within the same album. You know when you see a movie and you can tell where the plot is heading but you don’t mind? You’re not rolling your eyes, you actually see where it’s leading and you enjoy it. Hopefully, King Mixer is the musical equivalent, I suppose. There’s layers both in vibe and lyrically. A lot of my best work makes for terrible poetry if you just put the words out on paper. But that’s why there’s proper poetry versus rock ‘n’ roll. Rock ‘n’ roll can be poetry, but it’s hardly a requirement, right?

“Shama Lama Ding Dong” is poetry to me. “You put the ooh-mow-mow (uh oh, uh oh) back into my smile, child/That is why (that is why) that is why, you are my shoody doody do (yeah!)”


That is deep.

Crooked Vines: Bringing N’Awlins Funk to Little Egypt

Venues & Businesses
Tres Hombres

Who: Crooked Vines
What: funk, pop, soul
When: 2016-08-20
Bust out the dancing shoes— the Crooked Vines will perform Saturday, August 20 at Tres Hombres.
Brett Haynes
Video Comentary

Bust out the dancing shoes— the Crooked Vines will perform Saturday, August 20 at Tres Hombres.

The Crooked Vines are a New Orleans, Louisiana-based funk-pop-soul-rock band whose music carries a hefty, positive, infectious vibe. The band consists of Mikayla Braun on vocals and keys, Stephen Bohnstengel on bass, Woody Hill on drums, James Keene (originally from nearby Pinckneyville) on trombone, Lori LaPatka on alto sax, and Steven Schwartz on tenor sax and keys.

Two years on the scene and one album into the game, they came out of the gates strong and keep pushing. Check out their self-titled independent album on their website at <http://www.TheCrookedVines.com>. The band will crowdfund their sophomore album.

It’s not all smiles and sunshine in the music of the Crooked Vines, however. There is a diversity in theme, an emotional dynamic that many party-funk-rock bands lack. Check out the track “Kill Me Now” for a taste of this.

Nightlife caught up with Keene and Schwartz for the following interview.

You guys have a very positive vibe. If you had to pick one message for your music, what is it?

Keene: That life is worth living. There are a lot of terrible things that happen all around us that I’ve always found very hard to comprehend. Music has always been my sanctuary in which I can not only find ways to process my feelings about these occurrences, but also rejuvenate myself in a way that gives me a refreshed outlook. If our music can open even one person’s eyes to the overwhelming amount of beautiful things that are also happening all around us, music in general being one of them, then I think we’ve accomplished what we’ve set out to do.

How is the scene in New Orleans? Tell us a bit about it.

Keene: The scene in New Orleans is great, especially for an up-and-coming act like us. Lots of people talk about New Orleans as an incubator for bands, and we’ve all experienced that firsthand. When this project started, about four years, four band names, and seven members ago, it was just a cover band that was trying to make some extra dough. Now, after many personnel changes and some terrible band names, we’ve landed on something that is really clicking, and I think the city of New Orleans played a huge part in that. There are very few places in the world where you can go through such fluctuation and still gig through it, all the while developing who you are as an individual musician as well as who you are as a collective.

What is your favorite venue you have ever played?

Keene: I think that we would all agree that Tipitina’s in New Orleans is our favorite spot. The artists that have graced that stage with their presence is literally obscene. The fact that we’ve been able to play that stage three times already, starting on one of their infamous Homegrown Nights and then being able to open for our friend and colleague John Gros, formerly of Papa Grows Funk, two more times, has really been a blessing. We’ll be making our fourth appearance there as part of this tour, opening up for Big Sam’s Funky Nation.

Where did the inspiration for “Kill Me Now” come from?

Schwartz: It was a melding of different points in my life. The chorus lyrics and music came many years ago, but the verse section came later. The ending was just a neat progression that I liked. The actual content of the lyrics came from my frustration that friends of mine kept dying from overdoses or other reasons that caused deaths in people who were too young.

The Tim in the song really did overdose and die, although he represented more than just himself. The words “Kill Me Now” aren’t actually asking someone to kill me now, it’s more sardonic in the sense that I’m frustrated and don’t know what to say— “Oh, just kill me now, dammit.”

Why do you play music?

Keene: To have a platform that I can use to create positive change. I think that’s my goal in life in its entirety. I’ve always thought of myself as a catalyst for positive change, and I think with the right platform, we as a band could change a lot of people’s outlook on life for the better.

If your music was an eighties movie, what movie would it be and why?

Schwartz: The mentality and soundtrack of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off meets the soundtrack of Weird Science. The idea that everyday should be lived to its fullest and that we are given gifts to enjoy but twisted by Oingo Boingo and Danny Elfman to be weird. That being said, Back to School with Rodney Dangerfield may sum that up.

What’s next?

Keene: To be super cliché, world domination. But really, though, I think we’d love to continue in the same direction that we’re going. Recording this next record, promoting it, releasing it, touring on it, and just seeing where that takes us. We’ve kinda found out that pretty much any plans you make are pretty useless, because the world doesn’t really give a shit about your plans. We’re going to keep dong what we’re doing and doing our best to hit the pitches that come our way.

What has been the most fulfilling moment in your music career?

Keene: This past carnival season, Mardi Gras, we played a show at Tipitina’s opening up for a supergroup that included George Porter Jr., Cyril Neville, John Gros, Eric Krasno, and some other awesome players for an event called Karnival Kickoff. This was our second time playing the venue. After we played our set, we went back up to the green room and were hanging out and George and Cyril walk out of the other green room on their way to the stage and George says something along the lines of, “Hey guys, really dig your sound. Can’t want to see where you all end up,” and Cyril just nods his head with his sunglasses on. All I remember thinking for the rest of the night was “Damn, the dude that helped write ‘Cissy Strut,’ arguably the most covered instrumental song ever, said he dug my band’s music, and I’m pretty sure one of the Neville Brothers agreed with him.” If I wouldn’t have been sitting there, I wouldn’t have believed it.

What are you looking forwards to as an artist in 2016?

Keene: Frank Ocean’s new record! Come on, dude, release the thing already! But seriously, I’m looking forward to putting out what I would say is the best music that I’ve ever been involved in creating on record. I really think this record we’re about to record could change some people’s lives, and that’s really exciting.

Do you remember what about music inspired you to start pursuing it?

Keene: I remember sitting in my room blasting the music of the day and feeling things and thinking about things that I had never experienced before, and just always knew that I wanted to do that. I wanted to give someone insight on a situation that they were dealing with, or a way to cope with something that they otherwise couldn’t, just like all those bands used to do for me. There’s something really intimate and special about taking an emotion and translating it into words. I started writing what I called poetry at about age eleven. By thirteen or fourteen I realized they were song lyrics, and I was in my first band by fifteen. I’ve been going strong ever since.

Anything you want to promote or say?

Keene: If you support us, or any band or artist for that matter, buy their record/product! I believe that art should be accessible to everyone, but I also believe that artists should be able to pay their rent. If they can’t, there won’t be any more art to support, and that will be a dark day.

who: Crooked Vines

what: funk-pop-soul-rock

where:        Tres Hombres


when:         Saturday, August 20

Dana DeStefano and Dollparts: Taking on the World One Indie-pop Song at a Time

Venues & Businesses

Who: Dana DeStefano and Dollparts
What: indie pop
When: 2014-07-24
“I love the line in that song that goes, ‘I wanna be the girl with the most cake,’” Dana DeStefano t
Leah Williams
Video Comentary

“I love the line in that song that goes, ‘I wanna be the girl with the most cake,’” Dana DeStefano told the Band Aid Records blog in 2011. “I think that’s something every girl wants, to be perfect and have it all.”

A native of the Chicago suburbs, singer and guitarist DeStefano and her indie-pop band Dollparts will play Thursday, June 24 at PK’s. The band’s influences include Exploding Hearts, the Beach Boys, Hole, and the Muffs.

Gerald Rienton, bass player for the band, told Critical Mass in 2012 that figuring out what to say in the band’s music is a collaborative effort. Rienton told the blog that he and DeStefano had always played music together, and a two-week recording project with producer Jimmy Messer (Kelly Clarkson, Michael Franti, Foreigner) was the catalyst for getting a group together.

In March 2013, DeStefano and Dollparts released a self-titled debut album, which includes three songs produced by Salim Nourallah (Hit Parade) in Dallas.

A standout track among the songs recorded with Messer name-checks Chicago suburb (and the band’s hometown) “Naperville,” and also shows how DeStefano is driven to do more than just become a small-town girl. The song gets a charge, too, with her fast-paced delivery as she takes down what society may want for her and how she plans to get what she wants for herself (“I’m more than just a girl who dreams of wedding gowns and pearls / Or going out on Friday night and giving in to Mister Right / I wanna move away from here / Away from convention and fear”).

DeStefano has said the song reflects her past as well as her future.

“I’ve lived in the suburbs all my life,” DeStefano told Band Aid Records. “In junior high, I had a really hard time. Every single girl shopped at Hollister and Abercrombie, and they would all show up to school in, literally, the same outfit. If you didn’t have pants that say Pink on your butt, or a Coach purse, or play a sport, you don’t register as a person in their eyes. I was judged a lot for going against all of that superficial. I was a shy, quiet girl, but I loved punk fashion. I’d wear combat boots and plaid skirts and all kinds of stuff that confused everyone else at that school.”

But by the time of that interview, she was ready to embrace those differences.

“I figured I was just weird and wouldn’t fit in anywhere,” she told Band Aid Records. “ I wanted to be myself, but nobody there could understand that. Counselors and teachers would try to help me, but there was nothing wrong with me except for that they were wrongly judging me and assuming I had problems I never had. It was a struggle, but I didn’t want to be dishonest and pretend to like the things they like when I didn’t.”

For more information about DeStefano and Dollparts, log on to <http://www.DanaDeStefano.com>.

who: Dana DeStefano and Dollparts

what: indie pop

where: PK’s

when: Thursday, July 24

Dinner and a Suit: Dressing up and Eating Well at the 2014 Sunset Concerts

Nashville pop band Dinner and a Suit will perform as part of the Sunset Concert series Thursday, Jul
Brian Wilson
Video Comentary


Nashville pop band Dinner and a Suit will perform as part of the Sunset Concert series Thursday, July 10 at the Lot 89A Hillside on the SIU campus.

The group was formed in 2008 in Moorestown, New Jersey, by cousins Jonathan Capeci and Joey Baretta. The two began writing songs together and conceptualizing the band before they had any other members, but soon added Anthony Genca on bass and used a variety of drummers before settling on Drew Scheur.

“It kind of began for us in college,” Capeci says. “We played for a few years, but we didn’t really leave the basement for a couple of years. We’d play out every now and then. Once we got Anthony to join, we decided to move to Nashville and give it a go. It started with just us jamming together, but we had known each other for a while, so it was a pretty natural transition.”

The name of the group came from a memory of Capeci and Baretta’s great grandmother, who during the Great Depression worked as a seamstress and would fix clothing and cook dinner for people who were down on our luck.

“Kind of a way for us to pay tribute to her,” Capeci says.

The group’s members all came to music of their own accord, since it wasn’t something that ran in the their families.

“No one pursued music more than just kind of a playing-it-for-fun kind of thing,” Capeci says. “My dad played bass and a little guitar, but he knows a few Doobie Brothers songs and that’s about it. Not like anything too serious. So I don’t think there’s a huge musical thing in our family. It’s kind of happened in our generation.”

Dinner and a Suit has two full-length albums, Light and Lungs (2008) and Since Our Departure (2012), and an EP, Safe to Say (2009). They are currently working on a new full-length record.

“Some of our previous recordings have been in a format where we’re building a song track by track, but live we do try to play everything that we can,” Capeci says. “There’s definitely more of a live-energy feel when we’re performing versus everything being made more clean. But I know that’s one thing that we’re working on in our new record right now, and we’re tracking it live as opposed to before where we would kind of layer stuff....

“There are a lot of electronic samples that are part of the drums, and our drummer plays with a pad to get those sounds,” he adds. “But yeah, we try our best to make it sound as good if not better live.”

For more information about the band, visit <http://www.DinnerAndASuit.com>.

No pets, glass containers, kegs, or underage drinking are allowed at the concerts. For more information, visit the Student Programming Council at <http://www.spc4fun.com>.

who: Dinner and a Suit

what: Sunset Concerts (rock, pop)

where: Lot 89A Hillside

when: Thursday, July 10


Paul Collins and the Beat: Classic, Pounding Power-pop, from Punk’s Cradle to Caddyshack



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Venues & Businesses
Hangar 9

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Copyrights' Trademark Punk Rock
Copyrights: Stranded on North Sentinel Island

Who: Paul Collins Beat / Parasite Diet / Copyrights
What: punk showcase
When: 2014-01-11
The music industry can be a fickle beast, picking off talent before some musicians reach their prime
Leah Williams
Video Comentary


The music industry can be a fickle beast, picking off talent before some musicians reach their prime. A few, however, adapt to this tumultuous tango and find a way to stay ahead of their time.

This is the case for the incomparable Paul Collins, founder of the Beat, who now spends his stage time as a surrogate figure for the next great generation of musicians.

“I kind of feel like the grandpa of the group,” Collins joked in a Nightlife interview. “I am like the wise old guy who can give them a point or two.”

The Paul Collins Beat rocks Saturday, January 11 at the Hangar 9 along with Parasite Diet and the Copyrights.

Collins, who spent his preteen years living in Greece and Vietnam before settling down in New York, studied music at the prestigious Juilliard School. But it was not until he set his sights for San Francisco that he met songwriter Jack Lee and bass player Peter Case to form the Nerves in 1974. The Nerves went on to become pioneers of the American punk-rock scene. The band broke up in 1977, but their place in history was felt for years to come— a short year later, new-wave band Blondie turned “Hanging on the Telephone” into a hit single from the Parallel Lines album. Many other bands have since covered the tune.

Once the Nerves broke up and after a short stint with the Breakaways, Collins headed for Los Angeles for his next venture. The Beat— not to be confused with ska group the English Beat—formed with bassist Steve Huff, drummer Mike Ruiz, and lead guitarist Larry Whitman while Collins performed as singer and rhythm guitarist.

Through a recommendation by friend Eddie Money, the band was introduced to legendary concert promoter Bill Graham, and the Beat was on the rise, touring with the Police, the Jam, and Joe Jackson. Bruce Botnick, who had also produced the Doors, produced the Beat’s self-titled debut album, which featured many Beatles- and Byrds-influenced guitar licks and catchy choruses. The album helped define the skinny-tied power-pop sound that took bands like the Knack and the Romantics to the top of the charts.

In the eighties, the Paul Collins Beat appeared on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand, and their song “There She Goes” wound up on the Caddyshack soundtrack.

The nineties proved to be a lull, but Collins continued to write, record, and tour with other musicians, both with versions of the Beat and as a solo artist. Along the way, Collins has worked to stay ahead of the curve. One semi-recent example made its way to Broadway in 2011 when Green Day launched the American Idiot production, which featured Collins’s song “Walking out on Love.”

Social media, where Collins can connect with local bands and set up gigs at their local hangouts, has helped his mentoring endeavors.

“It’s really great,” Collins said. “I get to meet and play with these incredible musicians day in and day out.”

The opportunity to work with other bands in their hometowns has proven rewarding for both mentor and mentees, and Collins said that passing along advice after such a long career is met with appreciation.

“There’s some real respect there, mutual respect and appreciation for the pop rock genre and for each other, and also for the music itself,” Collins said. “It’s great to see that.”

In addition to touring and meeting new friends and fellow musicians, Collins also said he has started thinking about recording a new album.

“I hemmed and hawed and wondered what I should do,” he said. “Finally I decided to just go for it.”

The health and strength of local-music scenes contributes to Collins’s ability to cross genres and keep ahead, and he added that he was excited to see what Southern Illinois is all about.

“It’s a real testament to the venues and the fans out there,” he said. “If they weren’t here, then we wouldn’t be here.”

For more information about the Paul Collins Beat and to hear songs from the band, check out the official website at <http://www.ThePaulCollinsBeat.com>.

who: Paul Collins Beat / Parasite Diet / Copyrights

what: punk showcase

where: Hangar 9

when: Saturday, January 11



Marshall Crenshaw: A Pop Legend at the CarbondaleRocks Revival

Venues & Businesses
Varsity Center

Who: Marshall Crenshaw
What: CarbondaleRocks Revival festival (pop)
When: 2013-09-07
On Saturday, September 7, the one and only Marshall Crenshaw will make his way to Southern Illinois
Brett Haynes
Video Comentary

On Saturday, September 7, the one and only Marshall Crenshaw will make his way to Southern Illinois to perform at the Varsity Center for the Arts as part of the CarbondaleRocks Revival festival.

Detroit native Crenshaw is a veteran of the American pop-music scene. He has performed since the mid-1970s. In the early eighties, a couple of Crenshaw’s original songs reached the top one-hundred on the Billboard pop charts, even breaking the top-forty mark. He also cowrote the Gin Blossoms’ hit “Till I Hear It From You,” which anyone who was alive in the nineties probably knows. That track reached number eleven.

Oh, and guess what? He was on the Nickelodeon television show The Adventures of Pete and Pete. He also performed as a guest guitarist with a reunited MC5, which is really quite rad for those who know rock ‘n’ roll history.

Though Crenshaw’s music can certainly be described as pop, it is sensibly poppy. Think if Weezer had musical babies with Burt Bacharach, or maybe a modernish Buddy Holly. (Crenshaw even played the latter in the Ritchie Valens bio-pic La Bamba.) Crenshaw’s music and songwriting manages to avoid much of the shallow, formulated, tastelessness of today’s pop music. It is pop music without losing depth of artistry, consciousness, and lyricism.

Crenshaw’s songwriting has won numerous awards, and his ten studio LPs are certainly praiseworthy. His last studio LP, Jaggedland, was released in 2009. Crenshaw has also released a couple of live albums, as well the EPs “I Don’t See You Laughing Now” and “Stranger and Stranger,” which came out during the last two years. These EPs represent a culmination of the depth and breadth of Crenshaw’s tasteful pop sensibility and experienced songwriting.

“I Don’t See You Laughing Now” and “Stranger and Stranger” were released through a subscription service that Crenshaw launched through the fundraising website Kickstarter. Those who subscribed to these EPs got them delivered on vinyl.

Check out Crenshaw at <http://www.MarshallCrenshaw.com> as well as at the Varsity.

who: Marshall Crenshaw

what: CarbondaleRocks Revival

where: Varsity Center for the Arts

when: Saturday, September 7

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