Tag Archives: Musicians

The Tektites at The Riot Room

The members of The Tektites played their first show on Friday, February 7, 2014, at The Riot Room in Kansas City, Missouri. Enjoy!

The Riot Room, Kansas City’s premiere Live Music Venue and Beer Emporium. Follow The Tektites on Facebook.

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Filed under Kansas, Kansas City, Music

Asleep at the Wheel

"Asleep at the Wheel," an Austin,Texas, based-band, performed in the Olathe, Kansas, Free Summer Concert series on June 11, 2010.

One of my old favorite bands came to town on Friday, June 11, 2010,  — “Asleep at the Wheel” (With a headline like “Asleep at the Wheel,” you might have thought this would be a political post!)  The band performed in the Olathe (Kansas) Free Concert Series.  Fortunately, great friends got us great seats up front, because I got delayed walking the lovely but labor intensive dog, Loki.  (More about Loki in a future post…)

One of the music lovers at the concert sports a tattoo featuring a guitar and a harmonica.

Years ago, my husband and I heard “Asleep at the Wheel” in Kansas City in another free concert series on another humid summer night, and the band was just as awesome last night.  Sounds like we’re a pair of real cheapskates with a hankering for Texas swing! 

Ray Benson, the founder of "Asleep at the Wheel."

Under the direction of founder and lead singer Ray Benson, “Asleep at the Wheel” is in its fortieth year.  Some of the band members are barely even half that age. The band has undergone a lot of changes in membership, but still maintains that polished yet over-the-top Texas sound. Ye Haw!  

“Asleep at the Wheel” has won nine Grammys.  The “Wheel” has performed and recorded with many outstanding entertainers, such as Willie Nelson and The Dixie Chicks. (See Barack Obama sing with Asleep at the Wheel in a 2008 video below. Someone should have loaned the future prez a cowboy hat!)   In 2005, “Asleep at the Wheel” debuted its tribute play to Bob Wills, the king of Western Swing.  Check out the websites below for more information.

Jason Roberts and Elizabeth McQueen of the Texas Swing band "Asleep at the Wheel" in Olathe, Kansas, on June 11, 2010.

“Asleep at the Wheel” playing their iconic “Route 66.”

Barack Obama joins in with “Asleep at the Wheel.”

Listen to”Asleep at the Wheel” on their MySpace page.

“Asleep at the Wheel” official website.

“Asleep at the Wheel” entry on Wikipedia.

“A Ride With Bob” website.

Olathe Free Summer Concert Series.

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Filed under Entertainment, Kansas City, Life, Music, Personal

Spiritual Rez

Spiritual Rez performed at the Bottleneck in Lawrence, Kansas, July 21, 2009.

Spiritual Rez performed at the Bottleneck in Lawrence, Kansas, July 21, 2009.

I could hardly hear my daughter on the phone over the music.

She was at a concert, listening to friends in a touring reggae band.  Finally I made out what she was repeating.  “Can the band spend the night at your house?”

I swallowed hard.   “Uh, uh.  Sure.”  Where would we put them? We’d just had some rooms remodeled in the basement, and everything was messier and junkier than usual.  The band members were friends of my daughter and her boyfriend from their alma mater, the Berklee College of Music.  Had I been thinking ahead, I would have known they’d be sleeping in our basement.  Another touring band — friends of theirs — crashed in our basement earlier in the summer.  (Do people still use the word crash for camping out in someone’s house at the last minute?) 

Spiritual Rez and friends.

Spiritual Rez and friends.

I made my daughter promise they’d be quiet. My husband and I are old fogies, and we need our beauty rest.  I never heard a thing, and in the morning I wondered whether they’d even come.  I looked out the front window and saw a van and equipment trailer parked out front.  Later, I found out that they’d played music on the driveway, and I’d slept through that.

I got out the boxes of cereal, bowls and made coffee, and one by one they appeared.   They introduced themselves and settled in, happy, they said, to be in an actual home rather than a hotel or a motel, some of which weren’t the homiest of places.

Ian “Meat” Miller,  who is the band’s manager, its drummer and one of the two van’s two drivers, fired up his laptop to look for the next places to stay as they continued on the road.  He uses priceline.com, which sometimes produced great places at reasonable rates.  (This isn’t a paid product placement, ha, ha.) The band has a lot of expenses.  It’s not cheap fueling a van pulling a trailer and feeding and housing six people across the country.  The bandmembers describe themselves as “a reggae horn funk dance party energetically touring the country.”

Spiritual Rez at the Bottleneck, Lawrence, Kansas, on July 21, 2009.

Spiritual Rez at the Bottleneck, Lawrence, Kansas, on July 21, 2009.

   

They were such a cheerful, fun crew, that my husband and I invited them to return after their show that night in Kearney, Nebraska, about a five-hour drive north.  They’d stay the night in Kearney and return to Kansas City before their next stop in Lawrence, Kansas.   

When they returned on Sunday, they greeted me with “Hi, Mom.”  I did want to adopt them all.  They were full of stories about their evening in Kearney, where they played in a bar. A fight broke out.  As bystanders but too close for comfort, they dodged punches.  The police came. Kind of like the old west. 

As they talked, I thought about what it would be like to always be on the road, performing in new places all of the time.  They seemed to love it.  They were different personalities, but somehow made it work.  They read a lot and talked about some of the books they were reading.  One said he was reading “Dante’s Inferno,” which he said was written as a poem. I confess I never read it myself.  Coincidentally, a question about Dante was the Final Jeopardy question that afternoon.  Would I have gotten the answer without Spiritual Rez’ guidance?

Miller and Toft Willingham, the lead singer, recognized Mt. Cook in one of my New Zealand photographs, which both had seen on a tour of New Zealand visiting Willingham’s brother James who was working at Peter Jackson’s WETA Digital on James Cameron’s “Avatar”.  They made the trip on their annual winter break, when they stop touring for a short while.

More Spiritual Rez.

More Spiritual Rez.

The band was happy that Lawrence was barely an hour away.  They set out on a Monday on a rare day off, which they spent exploring the city and the University of Kansas campus, they said.  Their concert was on Tuesday night (July 21) at the Bottleneck.  Willingham told the crowd that Kansas was the 32nd state they’d performed in.

They really were an energetic reggae horn funk dance party.  It was a beautiful night.  Even my old creaky bones were moving.

After Lawrence, they set out for Colorado.  Miller said he loved watching the Rocky Mountains rise out of the plains.  At this writing, they’re in New York state. They post their activities and schedule on MySpace and facebook, for those who want to find out when they’ll be in your neighborhood.   

The band was formed in 2003 at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, where the band is based, although the core members come from Hawaii, Rhode Island, Chicago and Florida. Others have joined the group on and off.   The band members we saw: Toft Willingham – Vocals; Van Gordon Martin – Lead Guitar; Jesse Shaternick – Bass; Ian “Meat” Miller – Drums; Bryan House – Trombone; Nick Romer – Trumpet.

You can buy and hear more music on their website Spiritual Rez and MySpace.com/SpiritualRez.  You can also find their music on archive.org, which is a great site.  Below is a slide show I made of their performance at the Bottleneck in Lawrence, including their jam session with the Rubblebucket Orchestra.  The music ran out out before the photographs.  Oops!  It’s my first time adding music.  I don’t have the audio editing talent in the family. That belongs to my awesome daughter.  So listen and prepare to get up and dance!  Check out the dozens of videos of Spiritual Rez videos on You Tube.

 

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Filed under Entertainment, Music

Generation Tattoo

 

 

Sinizen, a reggae band, is featured on the cover of "Rock n Tattoo" magazine in April 2010. The link to the magazine and the band's website is at the bottom of this post.

Sinizen Grass Roots Culture.

 

Go to FREE DOWNLOAD of Sinizen’s new album (at left) by clicking on Grass Roots Culture.

When I was growing up, the only “person” I knew with a tattoo was Popeye the Sailor Man.  Now, I can’t go anywhere without seeing one or more tattoos on one or more people. 

It won’t be long until at least half of the population has a tattoo. The Pew Research Center reports that 36 percent of people age 18 to 25, and 40 percent of those age 26 to 40 have at least one tattoo.  Like in many trends, rock  and rap musicians led the way with tattoos.

One of the hazards of getting a tattoo is that you might change your mind.  Angelina Jolie has had a few tattoos removed or covered over. Here she's had the geographical coordinates from the locations where her children entered her life.  This tattoo imperfectly covers an old tattoo of Billy Bob's name and a dragon, which now looks like a bruise. There are probably a few more coordinates on her arm by now.

One of the hazards of getting a tattoo is that you might change your mind. Angelina Jolie has had a few tattoos removed or covered over. Here her children's geographical coordinates cover Billy Bob's name and a dragon, which is still partly visible.

Soon the public won’t see tattoos as shocking and cutting edge, but as mundane.  My father, an aviation engineer, said that when engineers start doing something “wild,” then it’s just about to go out of style. So let an engineer with a tattoo be your barometer for the end of the tattoo trend.  Clear skin will then be the rage for rebels.  (Well, maybe not.)  

Tattoo trends themselves go in and out of fashion.  Neck and hand tattoos are more popular, but the “tramp stamp,” the tattoo on a woman’s lower back, is becoming passe, the local newspaper recently reported. 

At my hair salon a while ago, a manicurist asked me about my daughter’s first solo trip to visit friends in California.  I told her: “She had a great time.  Best of all, no piercings and no tattoos.” 

Ryan is a member of the band Sinizen. He's also an artist. The link to his website on redbubble is in my blogroll at the right under Shameless Promotion.

I hadn’t gotten the word that this woman was now the proud new bearer of a “tramp stamp.” I just assumed she’d agree that “no tattoos” was a good thing.  I also didn’t know that my daughter had, in fact, gotten not just one but two tattoos in California.  Two tiny stars on one foot, one matching a star on her best friend’s ankle. Not only am I not on the cutting edge, I’m also out of the loop.

I don’t care. No tattoos for me, thanks.  I don’t like my freckles. Why would I want more marks?  And once it’s inked, it’s permanent! (Although tattoo removal is a growing industry!)  That first girlfriend you’d love to the end of time?  Now, you have to ink over her name with a giant dragon.  Did you and your BFF get matching roses on your shoulders?  Now, you find out she’s a skunk. About those Japanese characters that were supposed to say “Love and Peace”?  They actually say “I’m a stupid tourist.”  That dolphin on your belly?  Now it’s a whale.

With a dozen or so tattoos, Angelina Jolie is more inked than most people her age, but almost 40 percent of Americans ages 26 to 40 have at least one tattoo, according to Pew Research Center.

In our society, we may see tattoos as marks of rebellion or outsider status, but there was a surge of tattoos in the Victorian Era, led by two English princes, including George, who later became King George V.  Read about it in the Victorian Era. Tattoos hold different meanings in different societies. In some, tattoos are signs of status or membership in a group, club, clan or criminal syndicate. Some tattoos are meant to frighten or even to attract. 

“Hey, gorgeous, I’m crazy about those blue lines on your chin.”

Maori man.

Maori man.

Tattoos could be useful, too.  Tattooed sailors could be identified when they washed ashore. Tattoos also had more sinister uses when they marked prisoners.

Tattoo is a Polynesian word, and some of the most elaborate tattoos were created in New Zealand and Borneo.  In the early 19th century, a Maori named Hongi was introduced to King George IV, who admired his tattoos.

Whatever else you might think about tattoos, you might agree that many tattoos are incredibly beautiful as art.

Sinizen’s website.

Tattoo n Rock Magazine.

You can read about the history of tattoos at The Tattoo Museum.  An article about tattoos in the New York Times can be read here: Tattoos Gain Even More Visibility

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Filed under Art, Entertainment, Family, History, Humor, Life, Personal, Random, Uncategorized