Written by Jeremy Copp.
Ask any musician, and I’m sure they’ll agree… Rockstars and beautiful women were meant to go together. Like chocolate and peanut butter, or bacon and just about anything, the pairing of rock musicians and models just makes sense. On Saturday, November 23, the two got together for a rather noble cause, The Sweethearts Salute/Wounded Warrior Project Benefit hosted by Groove International at House of Blues in San Diego.
Sweethearts Salute is a non-profit organization founded with the sole purpose of giving back to our nation’s veterans. Started in 2011 by photographer Victoria Ortega-Allen, the pinup project sells calendars, skateboards and iPhone cases featuring pictures of their models, all of whom donate their time and energy to the cause. T-shirts, tank tops and hats with the Sweethearts Salute logo are also available for purchase. All proceeds go to the Wounded Warrior Project. Victoria and her husband Marc, who is currently serving in the Navy, fund this endeavor completely out of their pockets.
From the soulful, bluesy alt-rock of De Novo Blvd to the crunching, in-your-face metal of No Name Gang, there was a little something for everyone in the rock-n-roll genre. No Name Gang is a San Diego band to keep an eye on. Formed in 2012, their crunching riffs and energetic live shows are starting to build quite the following for the band. And of course, they are not far removed from the underlying theme of the night, as vocalist Justin Hendrick is currently serving in the Navy.
At its heart, San Diego is still a military town. As they continue to host shows at the House of Blues in San Diego, it is easy to see how the people of Groove International would continuously work with either current or former members of the military. The stage manager for the night was a former Marine. One of the models of the evening, Erin Fischer, was very adamant about being a part of the event. Her mother suffers from PTSD after two tours in Iraq and helped set up a division of Wounded Warrior at Camp Pendleton. Erin lamented the lack of awareness of PTSD and Wounded Warrior Project. Groove International founder Jon Avila agrees, noting that they have already hosted two such events this year and plan to host several more next year.
For one night, Groove International proved that musicians and models are capable of getting together to promote ideals more worthwhile than sex, drugs and rock and roll. With such dedication from those putting their time and energy into the cause, you better believe that it will continue in the future.
Editor’s Note: Upon leaving a Groove International event with our staff in Downtown Long Beach, we couldn’t help but notice something strange. A man. Dancing like no one was watching. Outside of a club. Here’s our story.
Dear Long Beach Pine Avenue Shuffler,
This is what I have decided to call you, considering that neither my staff nor I know your name. We don’t know your story, where you are from, or the method to your madness we saw on that incredible Saturday night in Downtown Long Beach.
All we know is that you were ENTHUSIASTICALLY dancing in an alleyway outside of an unknown club in Downtown Long Beach. You were moving with every ounce of energy in your body, and you never stopped dancing or smiling. And the best part of it all, you had the ENTIRE crowd on the other side of the window dancing with you.
I would like to think that you were kicked out of that club for some unfortunate misunderstanding. My guess is that you were there to celebrate a friend’s birthday, and the bouncer gave you a hard time for wearing jeans as opposed to slacks. Or perhaps the club didn’t allow baseball hats and never gave you the chance to put yours in your car before entering the club.
Regardless of what happened, I would like to think that you left the club peacefully, walked around the corner, went up to the window where all of your friends were partying, and stopped as if to say, “F*ck this. I want to dance.”
And dance you did. I was simply walking one of our models to her car, and as I approached the alleyway, all I could see was a sea of people inside of the club dancing to the smiling guy outside of the club. The more you moved, the more they moved, and the more you smiled, the more they cheered.
Bravo sir. Regardless of who you really are or what you were really doing, you have inspired me. Don’t stop shuffling and don’t stop moving the crowd. Remember that regardless of how big and powerful other people may be, they will never be able to take our smiles or cries away. Those belong to us and us alone.
You are the light. Best regards,
Written by Jason Nauman.
Playing in a band is a lot like gambling: you can make the right moves at the right time, but if luck doesn’t come your way on a given day, then it‘s usually a sign to cut your losses and walk away. Had Anaheim, California’s New Years Day called it quits five years ago, I don’t think anyone would have blamed them. The band’s former label, TVT records, went belly up in 2008, prompting their then debut album My Dear to be left under promoted. An album that should have taken the band to the next level in the rock stratosphere instead ended in the band imploding, losing multiple original members and putting their musical future in jeopardy. It seemed as if the deck were stacked against New Years Day.
Lesser bands would have collapsed under the weight of that setback, but the remaining members of New Years Day stuck together and continued writing new material. The resulting album, the appropriately titled Victim to Villain, shows the band taking advantage of a fresh start to create a new direction for themselves.
Stylistically on Victim to Villain, the group keeps their pop sensibilities intact from My Dear and layers in alt metal riffs and haunting choruses. The resulting sound is something that’s equal parts catchy and rocking. It’s a balance that serves the band well, giving equal room for singer Ashley Costello’s voice to soar and the well executed hard rock to be fleshed out from band members Russell Dixon (drums), Jake Jones (guitar), Nikki Misery (guitar), and Anthony Barro (bass).
Whatever momentum was lost in the TVT records debacle seems to have been regained with their new single “Angel Eyes” and its accompanying video. Chris Motionless, from the band Motionless in White, lends his vocal talents to the track, diversifying the song during the breakdown portion. “When it came time to need a guy to guest vocal on the album, there was no better fit than Chris,” says Costello. “I always really liked what he and his band stood for. It felt very similar to myself and I felt I could relate to it.” The choice of guest vocalist was a good one, As the polished song benefits from his inclusion and the transition to his vocals seems natural.
“I’ve been out to prove something since the day I was born – revenge,” Costello says, and it certainly shows over the X amount of tracks laced with anger and passion. Victim to Villain shows the band planting their flag in the rock and roll landscape, triumphantly announcing their return and getting their long sought after revenge.
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Written by Jeremy Copp
Do you know how to “Metal?” Be honest now. Do you TRULY know how to Metal? Well, Super Quest is a band that is here to help you. Hailing from Peterborough, Ontario, these guys have been making a series of videos to help you, the metal novice, grasp the finer points of the genre! From dealing with power-outages to drumming without pants, these guys will teach you everything you need to know in order to live and breathe Metal.
The latest installment in the video series, “How to Metal: Death Metal Lesson with Super Quest,” went viral. And by that we mean, almost a million views in five days type of viral. When asked if this was expected of the tutorial, 24-year-old vocalist/ guitarist and star of the video Jawn Whitten exclaimed, “Oh God, no!” But shortly after posting the video to Reddit, and barely 12 hours later, over 42,000 people had witnessed its awesomeness.
“All of the sudden there were all sorts of news media sites talking about my video and giving the most hilarious descriptions about me,” said Jawn with a laugh.
There is a mild dose of irony in Super Quest getting a huge boost in notoriety from giving a Death Metal guitar lesson. Their sound is nowhere near Death Metal. Instead, you will hear influences ranging from Classic Rock artists like Led Zeppelin and AC/DC to 80’s Metal groups like Def Leppard and Kix.
When Jawn met drummer Roger Sage in 2010, they bonded immediately over a shared love of Quiet Riot’s cover of “Come on Feel the Noise.” Along with band mates Alex Donchak (guitar) and Tyler McIntyre (bass), they’ve created a classic rock sound with a modern edge. They played their first show on Canada Day (August 1) in 2011 and haven’t looked back since.
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