By Nicholas McDermott
Taken at Sleeping Giant
“I wanted to go out and explore; I found this rock way off the beaten path. It thought it was a very unique find,” McDermott said.Tweet
By Nicholas McDermott
Taken at Sleeping Giant
“I wanted to go out and explore; I found this rock way off the beaten path. It thought it was a very unique find,” McDermott said.Tweet
As a graduating senior, I’ve found myself reminiscing more often than I’d like to admit. Thinking about college memories, yearning for every throwback Thursday…you could imagine my surprise when I was contacted by a band that asked the quintessential question of all our childhoods: who let the dogs out?
I had the chance this past week to talk to Dyson Knight, one of the current singers of the Baha Men about their sound, its roots and how the band has evolved over the years.
The band is very proud of their Bahamian roots and it shines through their music, which is classified under the genre junkanoo. Knight explained, “We [the Bahamian people] inherited that from Africa, its African drum work. It’s the drum patterns that we use for celebration. We use the junkanoo music for a time, around the Christmas season, when back in slavery days, the slaves were allowed to be north of the capital, what they called over the hill, and be allowed to be free, barter gifts, interact with one another, socialize in an area that slaves weren’t allowed to be. This would happen twice per year, Boxing Day which is the day after Christmas and New Year’s. They would have a celebration that would start at midnight, 1 a.m. and go straight until sun up. It would be a parade of people dancing in the street; they would use the goat skin drums and cow bells and whistles just to have a wonderful celebration and that’s the birth of junkanoo music. That’s why it has the energy it does. It’s about celebration, it’s about being thankful, and it’s about being free.”
This fast and upbeat music has an infectious quality that has taken them all over the world. What’s most surprising is that the band’s biggest following comes from Japan. “Asia on the whole, they like that happy music. I shouldn’t say happy that makes it sound very bubble gum, upbeat music. They like high energy music that moves them even if they may not want to move. Especially in more structured societies, in Japan they’re very structured so to hear music that’s explosive, that’s full of life they wrap around it. That’s why we did so well in Japan, we have such a high energy show.”
Their high energy show is one of the things that has kept them a crowd favorite for 35 years now. Having an “older band” Dyson feels is more of a strength to the band than a weakness.
“The band is older, and the band is known for high energy performances but like myself there are new members mainly the members that would be expected to have the most energy. For example, our drummer, he is new, I’m new, and so we still put on a real rocking show. I would say the number of years we have, only season the band further being able to interact with a wider audience. There’s a lot of experience behind the band now.”
With 30 years of music, it’s hard to believe some may only know them from their smash hit, “Who Let the Dogs Out.” However the Baha Men don’t believe in that one hit wonder stigma.
“Rik Carey he had a phase when he wanted to lash out and fight against the whole ‘Okay we’re tired of Who Let the Dogs Out’ but I think everyone understands and accepts now. 15 years later “Who Let the Dogs Out” is still being licensed, still playing in big arenas, still playing at shows and there are songs like that. The money song for example (cue Donald Trump), it’s just timeless, “Just Got Paid”, they’re just timeless epic songs and “Who Let the Dogs Out” is one of those songs. When you have a song like that, people only remember that song. We don’t try to stop the fact that it’s one of our biggest songs.” If you’d like to know who in fact let the dogs out, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment, “The answer’s usually ‘I don’t know’ or ‘It’s top secret’ something very finicky and cliché and sassy.” However if you’d like to know, Knight believes that if he had a dollar for every reporter who asked them that question, “Well I’d be able to fly to any part of the world with that kind of money, be able to pick up a few islands along the way, purchase a few mansions, probably start my own civilization, I could do a lot with that kind of money for sure. “
The Band has a new album out called Ride with Me which ranges. A really good example of this is the single “Night and Day;” there’s a video on YouTube for it that you can check out and it was featured on the Fifa world cup album. They’re also rebooting their social media presence so you can check them out on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
Give their new record a spin and cruise into summer feeling like you’re down in the Bahamas.Tweet
Last week, I had the chance of interviewing an awesome up and coming band called the Como Brothers Band. The Como Brothers are a rock/pop/blues band from Long Island consisting of brothers Matt (bass/vocals) and Andrew Como (guitar/vocals). I actually wrote an article introducing the Como Brothers last semester, but I asked them to come on my radio show on WNHU last week and here’s a bit of what we talked about:
Glenn: For the people that don’t know you, why don’t you talk a little bit about yourself and how the band got started?
Andrew: We started in high school playing in cover bands and things like that, then we were in a Beatles tribute band with our dad, and it just kind of naturally went to writing our own songs.
G: So what influenced your songwriting styles?
Matt: Well the Beatles were huge for us; we really took a lot from their songwriting. We take a lot from guys like John Mayer and blues guys like B.B. King and Stevie Ray Vaughn. We kind of meld that all into our own sound.
A: We’re always trying to get “poppier” and become more relatable.
G: Through the creative process is it more like you guys coming up with the same ideas or conflicting ideas and working off of that?
A: A lot of the time he’ll bring me an idea and I’ll judge that for good or for worse and same when I bring him an idea and he’ll be judging me. But we’ve learned to accept that judgment for what it is.
G: So you’ve been working on an EP recently as well as playing a lot of live shows, what do you like about each setting?
A: The live thing is cool because you have a full finished product. The thing I like about the live show is you get an immediate satisfaction from people’s reaction.
M: In the studio there’s a reference of what the song should be and then live you can go off of what it should be and then go off of what you’re feeling at the moment so there’s fun in both for us.
G: So I heard you did a John Mayer cover on your EP with Steve Jordan, tell us what that was like.
A: Well he played on our latest EP, which is coming out June 2015, and for those of you who don’t know he played drums on a bunch of John Mayer albums. At the end of the session I asked if we could play one more song and I just went into it and he played along and it was pretty sick.
M: It was “Bold as Love,” the song that we played and its on YouTube and it was a lot of fun.
G: What’s been you’re best experience on the road playing a new area?
M: We went to Virginia a few weeks ago and that was a lot of fun. There were so many people that came up to us afterward and that want us to come back. We’ve been to Philadelphia, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Boston, we’re actually playing a show here at The Space in Hamden, CT on June 17th.
A: We also want to announce that our EP release show is going to be on June 19 and that’s at 89 North in Patchogue, New York.
M: One thing I like about what we do is that nothing is set in stone; I don’t have to play the same bass ling every time. I know what’s coming next but I don’t know what I’m going to do next and that’s cool though. As many times as I’ve played that song “Good Enough For Me” I don’t think I’ve played it the same way twice.
During the interview, the Como Brothers played two of their new songs off of their EP Imagination, “Good Enough For Me” and “Tell You I’m Fine,” as well as one of their most popular songs, “Straight Face.” You can find the Como Brothers on Twitter/Instagram @comobrosband as well as on Facebook, SoundCloud, Tumblr and Reverbnation.
Alan Gerber: The pinnacle of my portfolio is the song I’ve yet to write
Hailing from Chicago, Alan Gerber has been a component of the music industry since the early 1960’s. Starting as a member of the Elektra Records-based band, Rhinoceros, he continued to have a fruitful solo career, passing his multi-instrumental talents onto two of his children, Eli and Hannah.
“They have been playing and singing from day one,” Gerber explained. “They would be sitting at the piano with my wife, Robin, or me, joyously banging away, until one day they were really playing. Robin gave them classical training until they were proficient enough to assume their own directions.
When Eli was eight and Hannah was five, they would get up on stage with me at festivals to play a six-handed piano boogie. Eli started to play the guitar at the age of 12 and by the time he was 13 he was doing shows with me and really wowing audiences. By the age of ten, Hannah sang with me at The Montreal Jazz Festival on a big stage for about 14,000 people. They both write music, play piano, guitar and sing. On my CD, ‘Queen Of Hearts‘, Hannah made her recording debut at the age of 12, singing a duet with me on “Engagement Song” and Eli played all the electric guitars on “The Pain And The Wine.” On my CD after that, the latest, The Grand And The Small, Hannah sings almost every song with me and Eli plays most of the lead guitar. It all evolved quite naturally and, for me, there has never been a musical experience more satisfying than playing music and sharing the stage with my children.”
Gerber has been a musician and singer/songwriter from the time he was very young and it seems that his children are following in his musical footsteps.
“I knew that music would be my career at the age of 15, when I already had many original compositions and heard my first recording, ‘It’s You I’m Thinkin’ Of,’ being played on WLS Radio in Chicago.”
With such a musically-diverse background, having experienced all ends of the artistic spectrum, I wondered the major differences that Gerber experienced being a part of a super group in the 1960’s verses holding a solo career in today’s industry. “When I was a member of Rhinoceros we were put together – taken care of in a business sense – and creatively ‘guided’ by Elektra Records. There were seven strong individuals and our musical direction was not always crystal clear,” Gerber revealed. “As a solo artist the creative direction is all in my hands but the business, which has certainly changed in the last few years, is something I always have to juggle. I have to be the songwriter, artist, producer, booker, social media person, [ect.].”
The bottom line is that the industry today, while growing and evolving at continuous speed due to technological advances, is a thousand times more complicated than it used to be. While the idea of becoming an independent artist is much more tangible at this time, it also makes things more difficult when you don’t have a label to rely on. Credit has to be given where it is due to artists like Gerber who take time out of their on-going creative processes to handle the business aspects of their career – like doing interviews with college journalists!
“My biggest musical inspiration came from playing four-handed boogie/blues with my two uncles in Chicago. Neither of them were professional musicians – one was a corporate lawyer, the other was the president of The Esquire Corporation – but they had serious keyboard skills and I was captivated by the way they shone while playing,” Gerber painted. “For sure, the person who personally inspired me the most in my life is my wife, Robin.”
Gerber truly inspired me with his next response when I asked about his songwriting talents, and the song he considers to be the pinnacle of his career thus far. “Being a songwriter to me is both a gift and a privilege. To create songs that move me, then to perform them and move others is what gives me strength in my life, fills my sails with a positive wind. I have a catalogue of many songs that I love but the pinnacle of my portfolio will always be the one I have yet to write.”
There has been a common debate threading itself throughout the industry today, from university classrooms to listening rooms in the halls of music publishing company. The debate between the importance of lyrics verses melody and which evokes more emotion from the listener.
“For me, on one hand, nothing can be sweeter than listening while reading the lyrics, to someone like Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell or John Lennon, to name a few. On the other hand the music, funky rhythm and melodies of people like Ray Charles, Ottis Redding, Sam Cook, Smokey Robinson, Aretha Franklin and Etta James (along with many others) is just plain irresistible! I’d have to say that the ultimate best is a combination of both.”
Gerber explains his takeaway from this debate naming influences that personally enhanced my own musical personality while growing up and I couldn’t agree more with his outlook on the combination of the two.
The University of New Haven is a great place to go to school, and they truly uphold their music industry program – constantly seeking new ways to grow and offer experiential opportunities to their students. That being said, I wanted to provide the students of UNH’s music program with a moral to the story from this article – words of wisdom from a key figure who has experienced just about everything the industry has to offer.
“The music business today has changed so much, it is so difficult to make a living that one definitely needs another source of income to get by, at least in the first stages,” Gerber honestly admitted.
May 7: Fabolous
May 8: Marky Ramone’s Blitzkrieg with Andrew WK on Vocals
May 9: Postmodern Jukebox
May 11: IM5 with Austin Jones, Bailey McConnell, The Weekend Riot and The House on the Cliff
May 7: Mac Miller
May 9: Brit Floyd
May 12: Falling In Reverse with Ghost Town
May 8: The Miths with The Island of Doubt and November Party
May 9: Soupstock Battle of the Bands
May 13: BRONCHO with Strange Faces and Furnsss
By WILLIAM SAKMANN
In the world of unnecessary sequels to average family comedy films, Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 stands out – not in a positive way.
Usually in these kinds of films, the plot is light but the script is full of laughs and fan service to keep fans of the first film happy. However, Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 does none of this.
In the opening minutes of the film, Glee star and romantic interest of the first film, Jayma Mays, is written out, as is Blart’s mother, who is unceremoniously killed by a milk truck, which is neither funny nor necessary.
The film’s exposition is also the only time we see the film take place in a mall, which is odd considering its title. Perhaps the departure from the first film is necessary, right? The majority of this sequel takes place in a Las Vegas resort, where Blart is invited to appear at a cop convention. Blart brings along his daughter, Maya, played by Raini Rodriguez, who is one of the film’s only likable characters.
Here, Mall Cop 2 struggles to find its identity. Is it a goofy comedy? Is it a father-daughter vacation movie? Even elements of cop drama and suspense sneak in at times. But the film never sticks to one theme for very long, and ultimately suffers as a result.
Even as a comedy, the film falls on its face, much like Blart does throughout the film through use of slapstick comedy. The slapstick is probably enough to keep some kids entertained, but none of the written jokes had adults or kids laughing at any point during the grueling hour and a half.
Additionally, Kevin James portrayal of the titular character is just as bad. In the first film, Blart’s character was goofy, yet down-to-earth and likable. Now, his cockiness comes off as straight arrogance, and his unexcited response to his daughter getting accepted to UCLA as well as his often over the top attempts at humor make his character rather unlikable.
Former Wizards of Waverly Place star David Henrie makes an appearance as Maya’s “romantic interest,” but is rather a friendly interest. While it was refreshing to see the former Disney star on the big screen, his character is incredibly bland, both in character development and spoken lines.
Comedy sequels are often light on plot and focus on cashing in on laughs and satisfying more of the same. Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 is so bad that it doesn’t even come close to that and is borderline unwatchable.Tweet
In the last issue of The Charger Bulletin before Winter Break, I compiled a list of films to catch over break, based off trailers and general facts about the movies. While I missed the mark on some of them, (Exodus: Gods and Kings), here are some films coming out in the summer that should serve as a great way to spend a hot summer night in a cold dark room.
Pitch Perfect 2 (May 15): After everyone loved the 2012 musical Pitch Perfect, many fans are excited for the upcoming sequel. While it looks like it will hit many of the same notes (pun intended), Pitch Perfect 2 is sure to have fans flocking to see the Bellas sing once more.
Tomorrowland (May 22): Based on the Disney theme park ride, Tomorrowland looks to be a very inventive sci-fi film that deviates from the dystopian, bleak future and portrays a science wonderland in an alternate dimension. Starring George Clooney, Tomorrowland is directed by The Incredibles director, Brad Bird.
Poltergeist (May 22): Typically not a fan of horror films, I have a special place in my heart for the 1982 classic Poltergeist. This new remake, starring Sam Rockwell, seems to update the original while keeping the creepy yet over the top feel of the first one. So, Poltergeist will surely be a welcome horror film in the summertime.
Terminator Genysis (July 1): While the Terminator films have been hit or miss, the first film is still and always will be a sci-fi classic. This new film, subtitled Genysis, will serve as a reboot to the franchise rather than a sequel, but will still have Arnold return to play the cyborg, similar to the Star Trek reboot in 2009. Genysis will be a fun 90’s style action flick based off of the action scenes.
Jurassic World (June 12): A welcome return to Isla Nublar, where John Hammond’s vision of a fully operating Jurassic Park is finally realized. Starring Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard, Jurassic World introduces genetic engineering to create a super dinosaur to attract more park visitors. The effects look nothing short of incredible, and the trailers seem to indicate that Jurassic World will get back to the deeper themes of the first film. Spielberg himself says this is the Jurassic Park movie he always wanted to see, and that’s a good enough reason for me to buy a ticket.
Ant-Man (July 16) : The next installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Ant-Man stars Paul Rudd as Scott Lang, an ex-convict who must fight villains at a microscopic level using the Ant-Man suit, which enables its user to shrink to ant size. Honestly, the Marvel label alone is enough to get me into the theater for Ant-Man.
Fantastic Four (August 1) : A reboot to the Marvel comic book, Fantastic Four comes after two disappointing films from the early 2000s. Starring Whiplash’s Miles Teller, Fantastic Four will return to the sci-fi horror themes of the comic book that the previous films failed to capture. Again, any Marvel film is worth a shot at this point.Tweet
A new photo of Jared Leto as the Joker has surfaced. Looking more like the classic joker from the comics, the joker is set to appear in 2016’s Suicide Squad. The popular mobile game Five Nights at Freddy’s is set to have a cinematic rendering, produced by Warner Bother’s studios. Kevin Fiege, the head of Marvel Studios, has confirmed that the new Spiderman will “be young, 15-16, and will not have an origin story.” Also announced was Furious 8, sequel to Furious 7. Furious 8 will come out April 14, 2017. This is no shocker, as Furious 7 has made over $1.2 billion dollars and counting. Another sequel will to come in 2017 is Transformers 5. Again, after Transformers 4 made over $1 billion dollars, this is a no brainer. Finally, Michelle Maclaren has left Wonderwoman, so the female superhero film shall have to find a new director before its release in 2017.Tweet