Maylene and the Sons of Disaster

June 27, 2007
Interview with Dallas Taylor from Maylene and the Sons of Disaster

I heard the name of the band came from a 1930’s mob boss, is there a story behind that?
When we were thinking of the band name we wanted to go back to our roots. When you’re growing up you hate the things your parents get you into. I’ve seen so many country artists and I used to hate them but the older I’m getting the more I like them. When I was younger I used to go to re-enactments, she was gunned down in my hometown and I would be sittin’ there eating cotton candy watching her get shot up. The story of her life told a story how people like Hitler end up justifying what they’re doing even though it isn’t right. And she was a Bible thumper and she thought she was raisin’ her kids in the ways of God but every one of her kids was shot and killed. When we started this band we wanted to tell this story of playing the role of her sons and just telling people that what you do in life is going to come back around to haunt you.

How did you end up in Alabama?
I knew so many people… I just moved there for a girl.

Many sources credit you with starting a new genre of music, what are your thoughts on that?
I guess it’s weird because it doesn’t feel new for us. When you do something you don’t ever think about how your music sounds you just do it. It’s cool people think we’re doing our own thing. I don’t think we were doing something different as a whole but we were doing something different individually. When we first started people thought it was the stupidest thing ever. I think people expected us to sound like our old bands.

Did you intentionally put the two (Southern rock and metal) together or did it sort of just happen?
We practiced two guitar riffs and said ‘this is just too typical.’ Then when we started writing this other style we started getting into it. We were like, “man, people are going to hate us for this.” We all loved it.

Your new album seems like you take on the personality of the characters in the story. Was that your intention?
The first album was the story of the family. We wanted it to be a concept album but when we were putting the album together this concept developed. A lot of the songs I wrote were nothing to do with the concept at all.
What concept?
The story of Ma Barker or our take on the story. There’s three or four songs about that but the others are about personal stuff I go through. But it kind of ties into that because the story of Mother Maylene is the story of any individual where some go through certain things. It relates to any family or any body.

Now that all the family is dead what are you going to do for your next album?
There’s so many takes you can make on it. Maybe like the sons are talking form the grave like a lot of old country writers used to do. Or we can go back in time to when we were kids and look at what made them go wrong. It’s a lot of fun when it’s time to do the layouts or figure out the album concept.

How have you grown and changed since your first album and how does your new album reflect that?
When we did the first record we had just started playing not even a year. All the songs we’d written were on that album. We hadn’t grown as a band or done a lot of touring. We’ve matured a lot as a band and gotten used to playing with each other.

What’s your take on being labeled as a Christian band?
We didn’t get boxed into the Christian category. We’re pretty blatant with what we believe but we don’t ram it down other people’s throat. With the album concept it’s a weird take on a Christain belief where they’re paying for their sins. A couple of the sons are aware of what they’ve done and are accepting of their sins and are ready to die despite that and there’s the other sons who wished they would have changed their life around but haven’t.
We just try to level with people and let them know that we love them and Jesus loves them and hopefully they can respect that. I think anybody who is happy with who they are can respect what other people believe.

What are your favorite Christian bands?
I don’t listen to much Christian music. A band I used to make fun of and joke about all the time we just played a festival with them like a week ago and the best live show I’ve ever seen was this band called The Newsboys. I’ve never seen a live show like that.

What are you favorite country artists?
George Jones The Possum, Willie Nelson, Wayland Jennings, huge John Anderson fan, Charlie Daniels.

Influences and inspirations?
My biggest influence on lyrics I think would be Tori Amos. I like how she writes her lyrics, she writes from her heart. Inspirations include a lot of the people back home that never change. I like that.

What’s in the future for Maylene?
Touring a bunch. We’re pretty open dudes. The reason we do this isn’t to try and get big but maybe help people if they’re going through some of the stuff we’ve gone through or whatever. So a lot of touring and making a lot more friends and just lovin’ on people.

Ransom Apparel by Jim Wilcox of Authority Zero

bravura_102707_blue

Interview with Jim Wilcox, former drummer of Authority Zero, on his clothing line Ransom Apparel.
Dated September 25, 2007

You started out designing merchandise for Authority Zero, what inspired you to start you own line?
Really it was doing Authority Zero stuff. I had a lot of designs that I was sitting on that wouldn’t work for Authority Zero style-wise. When I met Adam he wanted to invest. So I said instead of investing, why don’t we do this together and a month later it was up and running.

Who is your favorite brand or designer?
I’ve always loved Volcom’s style because they always use such off the wall artists that most people would just look at and go “What Kind of crap is that?” I’m really into a lot of the Obey stuff and Affliction. Most of the guys I like that design stuff are tattoo artists or graffiti artists.

What sets your clothing apart from everyone else and makes you unique?
I was pretty anal retentive about not getting your average Fruit of the Loom t-shirt. I was willing to spend the extra money to get American Apparel, Alternative Apparel. My design style is a little bit different.

bravura_102707_coupleblack

Can we expect to see some of your clothing available in stores or is it just online?
Right now it’s available at all of the Club Tattoo locations and at RansomApparel.com

Are you sticking to just shirts or are you going to expand?
I want to get into hats and belts, like actually leather belts. My major goal is to design suits for the underground kids. That’s kind of the ultimate goal.

Is Phoenix your main inspiration and what are your other inspirations?
We came up with the theme nocturnal, anything that flies at night. It came up when I was sketching a picture of the Virgin Mary with wings almost looking like the night time Virgin. The Phoenix just kind of came out of the flight idea. Inspiration just comes from anything.

bravura_102707_purple

All photography provided by Janet Zhou-Wilt
Models: Christina Campion and Tyler Carlblom

Gwaaaaaar

DSC_0019 copy

Interview with Oderus Urungus (Dave Brockie) of GWAR on August 5, 2007 at Mesa Amphitheater
All photos by Ryan Clyde
Bravura Magazine: So, since you guys apparently hail from outer space and came here many years ago, is there any connection between you and the incident in Roswell, NM in the 1940’s?

Oderus Urungus: No, nothing to do with us whatsoever. Those are pussified aliens. We’re badass barbarian monsters. Those grey aliens are the gay aliens. That’s actually what they’re called in outer space. They’re really the shame of the galaxy. It really doesn’t surprise me that they came to this planet to ream, rape, male bondage, and gay bondage bars to hang out in; gay alien bondage bars.

BM: What was going through your head when Phallus in Wonderland was nominated for a Grammy in 1993?

OU: I believe a combination of crack and spear. I was high on crack and I had a spear through my head. I was freaked out too.

BM: Its been said that GWAR is an acronym for a million different things…

OU: LIES! All lies! GWAR  means nothing and everything. It is a word with no meaning that you are allowed to make up your own meaning to. That is why so many people have decided that it is an acronym: Gay Women Against Rape, Gay Weird Animal Reprobate, Great White Aryan Race, God What A Racquet, and its all lies! Of course they’re all true as well.

BM: I heard you guys were working on an alternative fuel to gasoline called sangrifetathyl consisting of fresh blood and fetuses. How is that playing out for you?

OU: I don’t know what you’re talking about but it sounds like you could be a GWAR slave easily.

BM: So what’s your take on the current crop of Republican presidential candidates?

OU: There’s so many of them! It’s going to be difficult to get them all on stage and kill them all at once. I guess I’ll just have to attack a convention. GWAR drinks Gatorade!

BM: Is there any truth to the rumor that GWAR is secretly raising an army of mutant dwarves sired by Martha Stewart to usher in the apocalypse?

OU: No, but I think that’s a wonderful idea! You’re just full of great ideas aren’t you, my dear? Put her in e holding tank! Can we borrow your brain after the show is over? We’ll put it back of course. It might not be your brain, but you’ll get a brain back.

BM: Sure! Lastly, there’s been a rash of botched exorcisms lately. Is this perhaps related to Pope Benedict’s recent edict of the 11th commandment: ” Thou shalt not enjoy GWAR?”

OU: It’s actually been more due to my confusing website “Oderus’ Guide to Botching and Exorcism.” Check it out! Sign the guestbook.

DSC_0024 copy
Discussing children’s fanart with Oderus

 

Portugal. The Man

Portugal

Published July 2007 in Bravura Magazine

Hailing from a small town nestled in the forested mountains of Alaska Portugal the Man emerges as and intriguing experience of fantastical music and wild imagery, fusing musical experimentation with 70’s rock rhythms. Their unique sound reflects the unique environment in which the members grew up.

Portugal’s vocalist, John Baldwin Gourley, is no newbie to the music industry. Having remixed many songs on the re-release of The Sound of Animals Fighting’s album, Tiger and the Duke, and formerly acting as the frontman for Anatomy of a Ghost, Gourley has experience in creating music. Despite his many years spent touring and playing he found it difficult to make much progress in Alaska because they “didn’t know how to book shows up there.” Gourley exemplifies, “When we were up there we played two hip-hop clubs in Anchorage.”

Although booking shows in Alaska proved a difficult task they managed to draw crowds ad impressed the musically limited onlookers with their entertaining live performances and distinctive sound. Showing true hometown loyalty Gourley states, “The Alaska Crowd is the best audience. They’re very excited about the music.”

After limited success in Alaska the band decided to move their hub to Portland where they exponentially expanded their fan base and began touring.

Portugal. The Man’s new album, Church Mouth, is an inventive album flourishing with creative melodies and riveting lyrics. When asked why he named the album Church Mouth Gourley replied, “I was watching tv with Zach and someone said something about gay marriage (The whole gay battle is so frustrating. It’s just equal rights.) and they kept talking about the Bible the whole time and I called someone a “church mouth” and we laughed for about ten minutes and we decided at that time to name the album Church Mouth. I was happy about naming the album that far in advance.”

Portugal. The Man will be back in the studio this winter to work on a EP due out next spring. So, keep your eyes peeled for it and, in the meantime, pick up a copy of Church Mouth if you haven’t already.

portugal__50183_zoom

UPDATE: Shortly after this, Portugal left Fearless Records and signed with Equal Vision and finally Atlantic Records. They have since released 6 albums. Their latest Evil Friends, produced by Danger Mouse, was just released June 4 of this year. the band is currently on tour in support of their album, which includes dates at the famed Bonnaroo Festival.

Drew Alexander: Play Your Heart Out

Article written by Shawnnah Chaney

Published May 2007 in Bravura Magazine

DrewAlexander1

Graduating from Saguaro High School and hailing from Scottsdale, Drew Alexander is already a well-known artist in Arizona. He is a songwriter, self-taught vocalist, and self-taught pianist. “I began playing piano about seven years ago. I just sat down at the piano that was at our house and began writing little pieces, mostly classical and pop pieces and that grew into a love of writing music. Singing came along about four years ago and I intertwined them and started writing pop songs. I had a band every once in a while,” he says. “I did take about two years of [piano] lessons and I was in a soprano boy’s choir from fourth to sixth grade, but other than that I sing in the shower and the car.”

Even the piano teacher realized Alexander’s talent. “The teacher was like, ‘I need to stop teaching you jazz because you’re a pop artist and there’s a future in it for you.’” Alexander, prior to getting signed to Geffen, recorded music at his “very homemade” studio at his house with his brother. His song “Shake,” being one of his homemade recordings, took him four months to write and record. Alexander’s journey began when his current manager, Ron Fair, found him on Myspace. Fair flew Alexander to Los Angeles, recorded the three songs that were originally on Myspace (The Romance Movie Hero, Shake, Addictions), and then Fair at Geffen “took a personal interest in it and signed [him] ‘site unseen’” (without having met him or heard him play in person). “I played for him later at the studio and he was really impressed because most the artists that he deals with my age tend to have to lip synch,” Alexander muses.

His inspirations for his songs include but are not limited to ex-girlfriends, his personal experiences, and turns of phrases. Alexander makes sure to point out that his songs are not autobiographical. “They are works of semi-fiction [that are] inspired by true stories.” Electronic parts of his songs are inspired by The Postal Service and there has even been talk of a possible collaboration with Rivers Cuomo, Weezer’s vocalist, from Geffen manager Ron Fair himself. Expect new songs from Drew Alexander to come out soon, due to his hard work. “Oh! Yes. I’ve been writing one song a day.”

UPDATE: Although no longer associated with Geffen Records, Drew Alexander is still producing music. It retains its endearing pop melodies and distinguishable vocals however it is evident that Alexander has grown and matured in his music. Check out his newer stuff here.

Rotten Youth

One look at the boys of Rotten Youth and you’d probably think they’re just like every other punk band and in many ways they are. However, they have one thing that sets them apart: They’re from the fiery hells of Arizona. It’s the unbearable heat that seems to drive their furious, heavy punk vocals and scathing guitar riffs. Their name tells you exactly what you’re going to get when you attend one of their shows, the rebelliousness of angsty, dissatisfied adolescence strewn together with all your typical dirty anarcho-punk mosh pits. They can be best defined as “drunken Arizona street punks,” which I believe says it all.

Despite their musical chaos, the guys of Rotten Youth like to keep things simple and take it easy when not playing a show or partying. The day before I interviewed them they lost their singer, having to replace him last minute for their Phoenix show. Nick says of the change, “You can’t stop changing… if things happen you can’t control it. You go with the flow. Keep the music playing.”

Rotten Youth is still playing music in the Valley of the Sun and have a show coming up this Friday, October 7.

Published June 2007 in Bravura Magazine

UPDATE: Some of the original members of Rotten Youth are still together under the same name and enjoying moderate success in the underground punk scene.

Bravura is Back

Hello again everyone! I want to begin by saying thank you to all the people who consistently asked me about Bravura Magazine, even after it was long dead. It is your persistence and a few blatant signs that have inspired me to give Bravura another go. I want to thank everyone who worked on the original magazine, especially Tyler Carlblom, Janet Zhou, Ryan Clyde, Shawna Cheney, Shannon O’Connor, Alicia Collinge and Christina Campion. I also want to thank the many bands who gave me interviews and all their publicists who were so kind and so helpful. Anyone who liked the magazine or gave me advice I also thank you and I hope you enjoy this new incarnation of Bravura.

I hope for Bravura to be as well-rounded, if not more, than the original. I intend to include not just music reviews and interviews, but also to incorporate alternative fashion for both men and women, guest articles, opinion pieces, industry inside looks, music news, and whatever the hell else I feel like throwing in there. The topics will probably be a bit jumpy in the beginning until I find my rhythm again so I ask you to please be patient.

If you have any suggestions for bands you enjoy, articles you’d like to see, various ideas for articles please feel free to leave me a comment.

Thank you all!