My first introduction to Mario Miner, Jr. is when I was on a bill with his blues duo As The Crow Flies at The Cottonwood Club in Bozeman during one of the Bring Your Own Art shows. I had never heard of them and I wondered what I had in store for me as I watched him and drummer Nick Hamilton setting up their equipment along with two towering light boxes. Read more
During the Friday and Saturday before Valentine’s day I followed my singing telegramist friend Joe Eason around Casper, WY with a camera while he serenaded individuals with his less than perfect acappella renditions of popular love songs ranging from artists like Nat King Cole to Aerosmith, all while dressed as a singing guerilla or a half naked Cupid.
Watching people squirm with embarrassment in the middle of a crowded restaurant while a tattooed Cupid loudly directed the other patrons toward them was hilarious to be sure, but as I experienced a day in the life of Joe Eason it became clear that there was more to the story.
Joe holds down four jobs plus is a dedicated single part time dad, devoted to his role to the point of retiring from being a metal drummer in order to clear more time to spend with his best friend, his eight year old son, Caleb.
What unfolded was a hilarious, yet heartwarming story of a prankster who found a job that suits his talent for mischief and a community that supports his eccentricities. Enjoy the movie!!!
I was living in Wyoming when I started seeing Whistle Pig Korean pop up on my radar. Friends in bands would post photos and videos from shows that were happening in a Korean restaurant after hours. I didn’t really know what that meant but over time the frequency of shows and the bands that were playing there grabbed my attention and soon I was actively following the venue online.
I finally got an opportunity to see what was happening for myself when I was put on a bill as part of a comedy show. I was blown away by the turnout and the feel of the room, as well as the diversity of the audience, both in age and in styles represented. Whistle Pig Music as a venue was legit.
The stage/nickname “The Squirrel Murphey” explains a lot about Illinois native and Montana Folk Legend, Matt Ward (not to be confused with M. Ward, a different folk legend). It comes from the name of a character in the 80’s ski romp “Hot Dog – The Movie!” that exemplifies the hardcore party lifestyle of shredding the pow by day and chasing ski bunnies while putting away the sauce at night.
“He’s been on the world ski tour for four years, made $392, and been laid twice” is how The Squirrel Murphey is described in the movie. Matt Ward has managed to blur the line between art and life by picking up where the role left off and the rest is soon to be internet history. Read more
Symbols of the West are a dream pop duo in the deepest sense of the term. While their synth driven sound is at home along side dream pop acts like Beach House or XX, SOTW evoke a deeper, more psychedelic vibe that taps into the world of the collective unconscious where information and time are molded together with existential truths, experience, and emotion that allow humanity to communicate with itself in the most basic way. In other words, they sound something akin to Joseph Campbell if he were writing lyrics for a modern synth pop band. Read more
One of the things that always strikes me about Montana is that it always seems like there is the potential for any moment to be special. Whether it be an amazing view or a perfect temperature on a summer evening, Montana seems like it is full of possibilities and this potential is never more evident than in the people that are wandering around these mountains and valleys. At any given time it would not seem at all out of place to bump into a movie star, a world class skier, a famous author, the head of a transnational corporation (well, maybe not the last one), or just some cool people from Pennsylvania at a local watering hole or restaurant. The possibilities for connections are vast for such a small piece of the earth, but it’s true and many lives have been changed by chance meetings in Montana. Take improvisational bass clarinetist and recording artist, Jason Stein, for example. Read more
Chances are you’ve heard Adam Platt play the piano without knowing it. If you’ve ever watched the FX series “Louie” then you’ve heard Adam and a musical collective known as Sweetpro hard at work laying down original compositions and improvised solos over a myriad of styles ranging from traditional jazz and classical to afro-cuban and rock. The music is a key element in the show and sets the comedic and emotional tone of the scenes. Outside of the theme song “Brother Louie”, the majority of the music is original and recorded specifically for the program. The soundtrack is elegant yet playful and represents an original approach in modern tv comedies. People are usually surprised to learn that what sounds like somebody’s collection of rare jazz records from the 50’s and 60’s is actually a modern group of working studio musicians. The piano is a significant aspect of the musical identity of “Louie” and that sound is courtesy of Montana native, Adam Platt. Read more
Being in a cover band is a hard gig for a musician. You don’t always get a lot of respect from other people in original bands. People think your job is to be a live version of a jukebox and your worth as a band is determined by the bar sales for the night and possibly by how well you connected with the audience. Timid bar owners want to bet on the sure thing and many take the view that their customers will only dance to music that they already know and if the patrons ain’t dancing, then they ain’t buying drinks. As a result, original bands get pushed out to into the few venues that will pay them from the door sales based on their own drawing power. Most of the guaranteed money gets split amongst the cover bands and the competition for gigs is tough due to the over-saturation of the market, coming from both the professionals and part timers.
As the market became crowded the more industrious bands took it upon themselves to start specializing their material in order to stand out. Some played top 40 hits, while others only played rockabilly and so on. People were getting more specific in the range of songs their band would play. Inevitably this led to playing only the music of a single band, thus paying tribute to their greatness and the concept of the tribute band was born. Read more
There are people who are content to work a job, come home and watch TV every night. Then there are people who work a job, create works of art, produce their own radio shows, prepare amazing food, screen print shirts and accessories, and become active members of their communities. And by people I mean a guy who goes by the name of “Big Rob” Parker.
Rob’s family lived in Montana when he was a kid and after graduating he move back to The Treasure State and it was in Bozeman that he discovered the joys of being a radio DJ at KGLT and the trials of being a bartender at the legendary Zebra Above. Those who know him refer to him as “Hardcorps (pronounced hardcore) Rob” due to his love of hardcore and metal music, which he displayed in his radio show “Hard Corps 101” on KGLT, the local college station. He was active in booking metal and hardcore shows and always seemed to be booked to cater various events in the Gallatin Valley. The guy was in demand. Read more