Wednesday, July 31, 2013


"We'll keep each other warm and we don't cover up our scars..." -The Getters 

I've only seen The Getters once. I've seen the members, Chris and Jake, do a million other things - hundreds of times. I've lived with both of them, gone on long walks, shotgunned beers by the truckload, and attempted to save our hometown from floodwaters. I've played music with both of them and watched them in other projects. What struck me most about seeing them perform was how much sense it made for two of the most sincere people I've ever met to try to save themselves - and anyone who would listen - with songs. It's absurd. It's beautiful. It's folk-rap-goofball-punk. It's endearing and heartwarming and, sometimes, heartwrenching. It's inspiring. They also live all of it. It's hard to find that kind of commitment. They were all of these things before they had a band; the band is really, really good - the members are great.

Who are you and what do you do? 
We're Jake Flaten and Chris Brown. Jake Flaten plays bass more than he plays guitar while simultaneously maintaining caustic screenprinting machinery and doing some really rad theater. Chris Brown makes guitar pedals and electromances and rocks your world in ways that you're not even aware of yet. He's also a lapsed vegetarian, but if you want to get in an argument about it, he'll win. For the record, these are our descriptions of each other.

What are you getting? 
Tired. Tacos. Tattoos. Tinnitus. Terrified, Oil.

What's weird is Chris plays banjo and Jake plays a bongo.
What’s in your Pokeball? 

Better living situation: trailer, duplex, or parent’s basement? 
Trailer. for sure.

Have you ever been threatened to get got? 
Nope. but we have been told to get lost. Or fucked. Or drunk. or Stupid (the last two have been told to us by pop radio, so we can't say that it was a personal critique on our particular brand of art).

Chris- would you mind talking about your business? 
I've been experimenting with DIY electronics since I was pretty young in one facet or another. Now I'm just trying to turn what has always been my second (or third or fourth) job into my primary means of getting by. I build, modify, and repair, audio electronics. The bulk of the work has been guitar effects and amp repair, but I'm working on some vacuum tube studio gear right now and working on a few amplifier designs. It's been a lot of fun. I try to keep things really affordable and accessible; I have no interest in becoming a "boutique" builder or anything.
...And I almost forgot - the name is Midwest Modulation; I have a Facebook and a website ( and a Tumblr ( That's a lot of URLs.

What is on your current playlist? Does that reflect what The Getters do at all?
Jake: Brook Pridemore's Gory Details, Rosa- I mississippi you, Fall Out Boy- Save Rock and Roll, Vampire Weekend- Moden Vampires in the City (or whatever), P.O.S.-We don't even live here, Tokyo Police Club- Champ, Bombadil- Metrics of Affection.
Chris: The sound of screaming children at the North Dakota State Fair, A whole bunch of podcasts, Brickmower - My Hateable Face, The Taxpayers - To Risk So Much for One Damn Meal, Al Scorch & The Country Soul Ensemble - Tired Ghostly Town, Aesop Rock - Bazooka Tooth, Pat the Bunny - The Mark Inside, Tim Bary - 28th and Stonewall.
I would say what we listen to has a pretty huge influence on the music we make. Even more importantly, the musicians we are surrounded by and who travel through Minot have an even more significant influence on our music making. On the personal interests front, we both listen to a pretty weird mishmash of shit that varies pretty wildly day to day. Jake probably listens to more pop music than I (Chris) do, but I probably listen to more signal generators than he does.

If your band had a slogan, it would be: 
Take it or leave it. 

Synonyms offer hope; Orwellian Newspeak has yet to win the day. Community is family and sometimes family is community. It took nine people, including the band, to provide you with this intro, interview, and conclusion - that I know of. This number is no doubt wrong. How many people are responsible for Richard Dreyfest? I can't be sure; I'm writing this from eight-hundred miles away, and I've never met the villagers that raised this party-child. I know that those people are important and that they should be celebrated; Chris and Jake know it too. Heart, soul, and passion pair extraordinarily well with responsibility. Nothing I've ever seen these two accomplish lacked heart. I mean it: you should hear Jake's jokes! There's commitment in each one! Ask him to tell a few after their set, because you'll be there and The Getters will be one of the best bands you'll ever see; sometimes exaggeration and fact are the same thing. 

I'd like to thank Stro, Alex, Charlie, and Daniel for helping me out with that quote above. I don't have any recordings. Someone fix this.

And we at Richard Dreyfest would like to thank Billy Luetzen for the guest write-up on The Getters. You're a goddamned gem, sir!

See you at Dreyfest!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013


The Legal Aliens. The Bullpen. The Rhodies. These were all terrible band names that I was certain were amazingly badass. Then I went to the eighth grade and thought band names like, "The Cliches" and "Us Kids Know" were amazingly badass. I hope at some point I'll actually think of fitting, cool sounding band names.

Fortunately, Missoula's Grunt has done this for me. Whether you think of "Grunt" in the form of a primal vocal release, or a lowly worker, or maybe those annoying dog/alien things in Halo, it's a very appropriate moniker for these formerly Great Falls now Missoula based dudes. If I were to describe Grunt's sound to someone who was not familiar with their work, I would say that it is punk. As fuck. Does that make sense? If not, then you probably won't like them. And that's fine by them, since, as I said, they are in fact, punk. As fuck. Punk as fuck. Right.

If you want some merch.... com'en get it.

Who are you?!?
And who is you're daddy? We are a couple of fucking assholes who play terrible country funk rock which is influenced by grindcore and sludgy duck billed platypussies.
Guttural "grunt" or laborer "grunt"?
If giving labor means grunting out turds on daily basis, then we are a laborer grunt. Guttural grunt, what the fuck does that even mean. Is that some sort of mixture of a gutter punk turd and a rural midwife? 
Grunt started playing together in Great Falls, MT. What prompted the band to move to Missoula? How're y'all liking it there?
We actually started outside of a tasty freeze restaurant back in the mid dark eras, in the Renaissance festival wars of the baroque. We actually like Missoula, only because the women out here are total hipster slutbags, but besides that, its just another shithole city in which we are struggling to live. 
How many grunts does it take to write a song?
1/2 a grunt. If it took more than 1/2 a grunt then we would probably sound alot like Avenged Sevenfold, and those guys are a bunch of fucking pricks.
Brett - When I saw Grunt play, you were drumming and singing at the same time. I've always been impressed by drummers who can do that. For how many years have you been drumming?
1 year. I'm not actually a drummer, and i really don't like it. So if you know a drummer that wants to play with us, let me know, because i'm fucking ready to retire from this bullshit position.
"Hey man, we're trying to swim here! Get outta here!"

Do your songs have a specific overarching theme? If so, what is it?
Well, they do... the overarching theme to all of our songs is to laugh your ass off. People always think that when they hear they kind of shitty music we play is all about rape.
Which one of you is the cuddliest Grunt?
Wyatt, but we had to kick him out of the band, because he was obnoxiously fucking gay. One day at practice he said he had a new guitar solo for one of our songs, but instead he just dropped his pants and had a raging hardcore boner, and he shook it at us, and then fingered his asshole on the way out when we told his faggot ass to leave. But i guess that is why he is the cuddliest.
Who were your greatest musical influences as kids?
Flaming Lips. The Ozark Mountain Daredevils, Billy Ocean, Simply Red, Billy Ray Cyrus, Grunt, Daryll Duke and the Dirty Drawers, Dangling to the Side, Dr. Dre, Skrewdriver, AND THATS IT!!!!!
Finish the joke! "Grunt walks into a bar . . . . ."
AND EVERYONE LEAVES PUKING ON ONE ANOTHER. Then the best part is yet to come, when we see you at the motherfucking bar, cause you got another thing comin!!!!
....Are you nervous yet? Well, you should be, because things are gonna get wild during Grunt's stay in the Magic City. Check them out at 6 o'clock on Saturday at the Yellowstone Art Museum. They're actually on exhibit for a while there. I think they're playing a set at some point as well. 
See you at Dreyfest!


Dreyfest is just 3 days away and it’s about damn time we made a few announcements!

Firstly, to anyone who is wondering:
Wristbands will be available at the doors of all 6 venues. You buy one wristband for $10 and it’s good for entry to all Richard Dreyfest shows. Yep- all venues, BOTH DAYS.

If you only want to see one show in particular or don’t have time to make it to all of them, you can get entry to any single show for $6. Obviously, the wristband is the best deal, but it’s up to you... 

Which brings us to our third announcement: 
There’s one show where the $6 at the door thing doesn’t apply. The Yellowstone Valley Brewing Company show is FREE. You heard right, suckas! One of the 6 shows that is a part of Richard Dreyfest is absolutely, no-foolin’, 100% FREE. Here’s the flyer for that show, specifically, that you can view as proof positive that we are not trying to pull one over on ya!
Thanks to Nolee Anderson for the truly excellent American Graffiti-styled flyer!

As for additional activities that are Dreyfest-related:

On Saturday, shake off the grogginess from the night before and come out to Pioneer Park at 12:30pm for a POTLUCK! That’s right- we are feeding the bands AND the attendees. It costs nothing, but, of course, it would be really cool if you wanted to bring some food to share. Any and all food is welcome, and vegan-friendly food will be available.

After the potluck, stick around and burn off all the carbs you just ingested with some KICKBALL and ULTIMATE FRISBEE! We’re thinking it will start around 1pm-ish so we have enough time for a game or two before everyone heads down to the show at Harper & Madison at 3pm. Not into athletics? The park has a ton of shade so you can always just hang out with friends, too.

"huff huff...too...huff...many...puff...mashed...huff...potatoes."

Is this still not enough radness for you?! Then maybe you should know about the raffle we’re holding. RAFFLE TICKETS will be sold at all shows (on the cheap!) and will culminate in a drawing on Saturday night after The Budgets set at Tumbleweed (around 9:30pm). The big winner receives a TON of donated band merch from all the great artists you’ve been watching all weekend!

Lastly, every venue will have free programs that list all of this info as well as the schedules and a map to all the venues for any out-of-towners. 

Join us this Friday and Saturday for Richard Dreyfest 2013. 

See you at Dreyfest!

Sunday, July 28, 2013


If you asked someone on the street in Billings, Montana who the "resident musician" of Billings was, they'd probably say, "Uhhh... You got a quarter?" Then if you asked the next person you saw, they'd probably say something like, "Hey bro, you got a dollar?" So, in order to save you some money, we'll spare you the trouble of asking strangers. Spare? Yeah? Anyone? No? Ok.
Alex Nauman could be considered one of the more prolific and visible musicians in town. There's always a flyer of his promoting an upcoming show in town, generally with his "Organ Trio", comprised of other equally talented musicians. Whether you see him after a show, shooting pool, or, as I first met him, in the Taco Bell drive thru (I was the employee, not him) he always has a smile on his face. I think his general pleasant demeanor is reflected in his music, which blends jazz and pop to create a very fun and exciting atmosphere, as well as make you proud (or at least less embarrassed) to live in a city that he calls home as well. You can pick up his semi-newly released LP "Too Damn Tight!" At Discontent Billings, his website:, and other stores around town.

Who you are, what you do:
Alex Nauman - Guitar 
Erik Olson - Hammond B3 organ, keyboards 
Brad Edwards - Drums

What brought you to/keeps you in Billings, MT?
Mongolian Grill on Central.

You have a song called “Last Call at the Bow”, which I assume is about Billings downtown drinking institution The Rainbow. Would you suggest that Dreyfest attendees/bands from out of town stop by the bar?
Correct! Our drummer Brad is a celebrity at the Rainbow. He’s practically a mascot. For out of town bands it should be the #1 priority.

Where else would you recommend they spend some time?
The Monte Carlo, Andy’s Bar, Club 90, the Squire, Buck’s Bar, Mongolian Grill.

I see on your bio that you went to UNC. A few current students from your alma mater will be coming up from Colorado (members of the band Duchovny, who are also playing). What would you suggest they do while in school? How’s about after graduating?
The best thing to do in Greeley is max out on dank Mexican food. After graduating I suggest they start a Big City Burrito delivery service that comes from Colorado straight to my house here in Billings.

We asked for fan photos. This one was sent in by
someone named "The Predator". Huh.
Cartoons: Disney, Warner Brothers, or Hanna Barbera?
Gonna have to go with Hanna Barbera. Only because of Space Ghost Coast to Coast which featured all music composed by legendary free jazz guitarist Sonny Sharrock!

Please tell us something about your band by composing a limerick.

In this band we drink while we play, We will till we’re old and grey.
Cheap beer, tequila, whiskey, and wine, but most of all IPA.

In improper promotion of Dreyfest, I thought it would be funny if I told people that your song Papa Shark is about the shark in Jaws, which featured Richard Dreyfuss. ...Then I felt bad for having considered lying. Would you have minded?
Actually, Yeah. Papa Shark is our drummer Brad’s nickname. It was partially inspired by the immortal album Frank Zappa & the Mothers Live at the Fillmore East 1971.

Is there anything you’re excited about coming up in the group’s near future?
We are keeping pretty busy this summer. After Dreyfest we are playing the Sweet Pea Festival up in Bozeman and Magic City Blues Festival here in town. We’ve also been working on mixing a series of live recordings for possible future release.

Do you have any last words?
Seriously, Duchovny, I will pay you to bring me a bag full of Big City Potato Burritos. Salsa tortillas, with the onions. Also, a case of 90 Shilling.

We'd like to thank Alex for his time. He plays at Yellowstone Valley Brewing Company at 7:00. Oh, and that other store I couldn't think of that's selling his record? Pretty sure it's Mongolian Grill on Central. 

See you at Dreyfest!

Saturday, July 27, 2013


Katy Kemmick is a young singer/guitarist known to play well-attended shows both as a solo artist and with the all-female indie band she’s a member of (Maxie Ford). What’s cool is that it wouldn’t be strange for her to play a large city-sponsored event that would appeal to families or folks in their 50s one night and a garage show featuring grubby metal dudes and stinky punks the next. Seemingly on the move, she received our questions and answered them via smartphone, possibly between coffee shop and bar room appearances or even an acting gig. ...You damn kids and your damn itexts!

What's been going on with you (musically) lately?
I've been playing a lot with Maxie Ford, a band I sing and play guitar for, but recently have been getting my solo act back up to par. I'm moving to Nashville in September to pursue a music degree at Belmont University after a year off spent there!

It's known around town that your pops is a music guy as well. Is your extended family also musical?
My dad is a total baller. My extended family is not musical. My uncle is but that's about it.

Do you think music is "in the blood" or is it more of a nurtured/learned thing?
I have absolutely no idea. I was raised around it but it was also in my blood. Almost anyone can learn so it's probably a combination of both I suppose!

Do you have a favorite song of yours to play live (and why)?
My newest favorite song to play is "Clementine" by Sarah Jafee. I really enjoy it because the catch line is, "I wish my, I wish my, I wish name, was Clementine." It's a fabulous hook and I totally wish my name was Clementine as well.

"Crap, man...I thought I had a great shot of the curtain, but I
didn't even notice this musician in the bottom corner!"

Why is the sky blue? 
The sky is blue because of science and stuff.

Do you have a favorite hangout? 
Favorite hangout is probably my basement. It's a fab nap time area and is accommodated with a TV that I can watch Scrubs or Seinfeld on.

Is there any style of music that you'd like to try your hand at that you haven't yet?
I would really love to be a blues singer. I grew up being in musical theatre so I was taught how to belt so dammit all if I can sing some Blues!

What can people expect if they watch your set at Dreyfest?
My set will be full of mostly sad, thoughtful songs with a couple of cheery songs. See you there!!

Thanks to Katy for the quick response time and to you folks who keep reading this blog. Watch Katy’s Dreyfest set at the YAM (Yellowstone Art Museum) at 4:30pm on Saturday, August 3rd.

See you at Dreyfest!

Friday, July 26, 2013


"This means something..." 
Last night, Richard Dreyfuss visited me in a dream. He was floating above me as I lay down in a dewey meadow (I may have wet the bed. More on that later.). He told me that I needed to post the last of the information about the extra-curricular activities for Dreyfest. Also, that I needed to take a dry cloth to the meadow, 'cause something was seriously unpleasant about where I was laying. I told him, "Okay- you're definitely right. We just have to get two more things locked down before the announcements can happen. ...It might not be 'til Tuesday though!" Richard rolled his eyes and said something about how much he disliked Aimee Mann's songwriting...Dreams get fuzzy, I don't really remember. The next thing I can recall, Richard was floating upwards toward a giant ship in the sky that kept playing some musical scales that had the same timbre as the opening to CBS News Sunday Morning. I remember being very bored by it. Before he disappeared into the saucer, he called down to me, "And interview that touring band from New Mexico, slacker!" As someone who believes in signs, after I woke up, I did just that.

What’s the band’s hometown of Messilla, NM like?
Mesilla is pretty small (about 3,000). Billy the Kid and Pancho Villa visited Mesilla regularly. The jail that Billy the Kid was in before he was to be hung is right on the plaza. The Gadsden Purchase was negotiated there. And the plaza was Mexican territory until 1930. You might here us call Las Cruces home, but it's all the same place. Beautiful sunsets, wide open spaces, and a slow pace of life.

Can you bring us some green chiles?
Unfortunately, we cannot bring green chile. The famous Hatch Green Chile are grown through out the Mesilla Valley, but it's not quiet harvest time. Plus, we'll have been on tour for twelve weeks by the time we get to Richard Dreyfest and won't be home to re-up. If we look like we are jonesin', it's because we haven't had green chile in a while. So if you can get us some...

Have any of you been through MT before? What are you expecting from the Montana leg of your tour?
We played in Bozeman at the Pour House on July 3. It was a quick six hour stay. We had to leave as soon as the show was over. We are looking forward to going through again and getting to see the beautiful scenery during the day. We're also expecting some awesome rock 'n roll at this pretty cool music festival in Billings.

Where else will this particular tour take you? And how has it been so far?
This is our first tour. We are all representatives of other bands from Las Cruces/Mesilla. We put together the Doña Ana Music Night Union (DAMN Union) in October. Doña Ana is the county Las Cruces is in. Music Night is a weekly musical happening that is hosted at The Farm (the house we live in when we aren't living in our van, Ol' Tom Young, with 700,000+ miles). We're the brave souls that could take the time to adventure for six months. Some of us have been going out in our other bands for the last decade. This tour has been great! The reception every where has been really good. We're just having fun with it.

I read that the band works a vehicle for several singer-songwriters to utilize each other as band members and play each other’s songs. ...Are you the new Eagles?!
I hope we are not the NEW Eagles. We have a lot more grit and diy/punk rock ethic than the Eagles. I would prefer The Band meets Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, but even then it is something different. The DAMN Union is not just the people on this tour. It is interchangeable. There is a core group, but we leave room to invite anyone to be a part of the Union. We've added hundreds of members on this tour, while still defining what the DAMN Union really is. We want to be able to be anyone's backing band and still have enough of our own original material to play for hours.

Favorite Richard Dreyfuss picture:
I don't have any pictures of Richard Dreyfest yet, but if you want some from our favorites of us, two are attached. (see one of the pictures below -the editor)


Can you recommend any other bands from your area?
The bands we all represent... The Rawdogs, Alma y La Tierra Muerta, Sean Lucy and Family, Beans and Crackers, Lillis Urban, Everett Howl and The Wolves, Blue Gramas, The Supersonic Bogies, and Squeaky Wheel. There is also... Low Cuture, Bourbon Legend, Time Squares, Far Corners, Oryx, Hypatia, and Katy Neely. But that doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of talent in Las Cruces.

Anything you’d like to leave us with? 
We'd like to leave you with one hell of a good time, but we might take a helping or two for ourselves.

(Questions answered and opinions of "I" by Tucker)

You're welcome to them, sir, and thanks in advance for helping to provide a good time for the rest of us! Also, thank you for taking part in the interview and being a good sport, Tucker. 
For folks who haven't heard them yet, the DAMN Union's bandcamp page has an album of theirs you can stream or buy here: 

Oh, and about the "wet the bed" thing: I found out a couple hours later that I didn't actually wet the bed, but that my dog had gone number 1 on me. DISGUSTING! The worst part of it is, it wasn't even because he had to go and couldn't hold it. He was trying to impress his canine buddies by messing with the first guy to pass out. ...I also had Sharpie phrases like, "Cat stroker" and "My nose can't detect shit!" all over me.

Until next time, friends.

See you at Dreyfest!


Having only caught a set of theirs once, I didn’t know too much about Shangri-La when we began the interview, but I quickly learned that they are music lovers. Not in the sense that all people in bands are music lovers, but in the sense that they seem like the sorts of dudes who don’t try to get too caught up in drawing lines around what they enjoy and don’t. They sound like they’re welcoming of change and musical differences and into exploring and poking their heads in the next room to see who the hell is playing that weird theremin-sounding thing (turns out it’s just my little brother going “woooOOOoOOoOoO” into the oscillating fan...I wish my dad had enough money for toys). Here’s an interview with Shangri-La:

Forgive me, but I don't know how long you've been around. Are you guys named after the Shangri-La Spa and Sauna in our hometown of Billings, which was busted for hosting a prostitution ring in the not-so-distant past?
Well... no. It was rather a hilarious coincidence. We did in fact use to promote our shows there, Hail the Rub and Tug! We are actually named after the lyric in the song "Kashmir" by Led Zeppelin ('My Shangri-La beneath the summer moon.').

I know that you guys have described the band history as being "fucked up", or something along those lines. Can you give us a brief band history...or is it a really involved story?
Fuck no, it’s not involved at all we're just really lazy. We began, shit happened, we rocked some shit, more shit happened, hiatus for a year... beer happened. We came back, more shit happened, more pot and beer happened, line up change (many have happened.) and we're very satisfied with the current line up/songs. (Bacon.)

Shangri-La. I'm Down with this band. heh. See? ...'Cause the shirt...
so...pretty clever, right? ...Somebody make the pain go away.

You're a metal band, but are there any genres of metal you don't really care for?
Well first off we don't know what we really are... and all us listen to a broad spectrum of metal music that have influenced us in our writing. But fuck dem perrty boyz.

Conversely, are there any genres of music that you don't play but really like?
No. And if we haven't we will be in the near future.

Would you know my name if I saw you in heaven?
What are YOU doing in heaven? Faggot.

Which other bands would you recommend that folks watch at Dreyfest?
Ando Ehlers (Seattle, WA)
The DAMN Union (Mesilla, NM)
Noise Noise Noise (Billings, MT)
Duffy and the Beer Slayers (Minot, ND)
Poetic Intelligence (Billings, MT)
Systems Victims (Bismarck, ND)
Mr. Dad (Minot, ND)
Posture (Seattle, WA)
Weather-Control (Cody, WY/Boise, ID)
Alex Nauman Organ Trio (Billings, MT)
The Helligans (Great Falls, MT)
Farley Moore (Billings, MT)
AssNynE (Billings, MT)
Deadnecks (Billings, MT)
Armaund Hammer (Missoula, MT)
No Cigar (Billings, MT)
Friends of Cesar Romero (Phoenix, AZ)
Tribe (Billings, MT)
Shramana (Missoula, MT)
Tales From Ghost Town (Bozeman, MT)
The Budgets (Billings, MT)
Too Many Teeth (Fort Collins, CO)
The Michael Character (New Jersey)
Idaho Green (Billings, MT)
Duchovny (Greeley, CO)
KaNcErUs (Billings, MT)
Bedlam Saints (Billings, MT)
Show For Nobody (Billings, MT)
Oxen Free (Fort Collins, CO)
Australis (Billings, MT)
Jamz Dean and Legacy (Billings, MT)
Part Time Ninjas (Billings, MT)
Medicine Bow (Laramie, WY)
Greater Apes (Billings, MT)
Shangri-La (Billings, MT) - fuck these guys.
Buddy Jackson (Missoula, MT)
Stranded By Choice (Billings, MT)
Vibe Technicians (Billings, MT)
Reid Perry (Billings, MT)
Katy Kemmick (Billings, MT)
PD Lear (Missoula, MT)
Halfway Killed (Billings, MT/San Francisco, CA)
Grunt (Missoula, MT)
Into Orbit (Billings, MT)

If you had to change your band's name (forced by a threatened lawsuit or something), what do you think you might change it to?
The Third Nipple.

What do you do when not rocking?
Mostly, we dwell upon the path of spirituality and immerse ourselves in knowledge - plus some fun on the side which reflects upon our music.

What will you be doing, band-wise, in the upcoming months?
Well, drinking beer and writing music. Dreyfest (Woooo!) then some upcoming shows at the newly opened Cine7 (Aug 23rd or 24th.) We are releasing a 3 song EP with the great fellows from Tribe and AssNynE called '...lets fucking call it Bacon.' Then after that, we are recording our first album (possibly two?!) To be continued...

Shangri-La. I have no idea how they knew that I’m gay when they weren’t even sure who the interviewer was. Unless they were attempting to call me a cigarette. Which is possible because my last name does sound very similar to a common cigarette brand. That’s right, my last name is Matural American Spirit. Watch Shangri-La rock hard at 4pm at Harper & Madison on Saturday, August 3rd. And don’t forget that they have a track up on this here sampler:

See you at Dreyfest!

Thursday, July 25, 2013


Amos Helvey rocks hard when he plays with his friends in Weather-Control (also performing at Dreyfest), but like all the members of that Cody, Wyoming rock band, he does other creative things on the side. For instance, I hear he’s quite the liver chiseler. Or at least, that’s what I gathered from hanging out with him while he was blasted. Plus he wrote a bunch of songs about beer. Speaking of which, here’s an interview with him about the project he wrote those songs for. It’s called Oxen Free.

Who is Oxen Free and what is it you do?
Oxen Free is a band. The only consistent member is me and sometimes it's just me.

I’m assuming you have access to a decent studio, given that you went to college for music in Powell, WY, but you recorded your first release with an iphone. Obviously that was a conscious choice. Why did you do that?
I wasn't a tech student this last year so the only way I would have been able to use the studio was to work with someone who was,but the interim tech teacher was some dickhead charlatan who couldn't teach so no one was good at using the studio. The iPhone album was just a fun project after I got an iPhone. The second demo was recorded in my buddy Coleman's (Too Many Teeth, Weather-Control) living room on GarageBand.

How has the reaction been to your country-tinged songs about beer?
Pretty positive, I don't play live much so I don't get a chance to see people's reactions. Everyone says they like them though.

You told me before that half of Oxen Free's tunes are fun songs about drinking and the other half are sad songs. What's the reaction like to the sad ones?
I've only played those live a few times too. I don't really know.

What direction (if any) are you planning on taking in the future, in regards to songwriting?
As a whole I will probably move out of playing super honky tonk sounding things a bit. At least for a while.

Program for Amos's recent classical recital:
Capricho Arabe, Albeniz's Iberia, Banquet Beer (I'm Alone Again)

Are there any other acts that you’re excited to see on Dreyfest?
I thought Mr Dad sounded super rad on the comp. I've heard that there's some band called Nose Nose Nose that everyone hates cuz they suck. I’ll be skipping that band for sure.

What keeps you up at night?
I bought two 40's, I can't waste the second one.

Who shot the deputy?
George Zimmerman probably.

Cody or Powell?
Don't live here if you want to try to play music that isn't Skynyrd.

I’d like to close by having you leave us with some sage advice/words of wisdom:
If it's hard, don't do it.

...What? Having you leave us with some sage advice? ...Does anyone else find that kind of confusing?

...Actually, I’m having a hard time coming up with a better ending to this interview, so I’m going to go ahead and take that advice and stop this now. ....Woah! Amos, you're a genius!

See you at Dreyf-


Some of you reading this blog might have cocked your heads slightly when you heard the name of the fest. 
“Richard Dreyfuss? Isn’t that they guy from Sideways?” 
No, that’s Paul Giamatti...I realize they both inhabit persnickety characters very well, but he’s more- 
“OH! Wait- the dude who makes the salad dressings?!”, you’re thinking Paul, not him. Richard Dreyf- 
“Oooohhh- you’re talking like the guy who was Nancy’s math teacher on Weeds!” 
Yeah! That’s him. 
Well, that’s a lot like how I know about Armaund Hammer. I see their name on Facebook occasionally. I know they’re from Missoula. They seem to play house shows a bit. A couple of my friends said they went to school with the singer/guitarist. Sorry, man- it’s not really ringing any bells, but I’m sure I know who you’re talking about. 
“I think your buddy Reg plays with his band sometimes too. Either that or the guy plays with Reg's band sometimes.”
Oh yeah?? Huh...I still don’t really...was he the other guy in The Forestry?
“ might be thinking of Adam.”
Oh...Wait, you’re not talking about the same Sam from Cut Cut Paste, are you??
Well, shit. 
...Does he make salad dressings?

Maybe asking them some questions will shed some light on the subject:

I'm gonna be honest with you- I really hope this is
a photo of the right band.

Armaund Hammer are ______________ and ________________.
John Samuel Brown and Brian J.(Jay) Gardner.

Also, they are ________________ and _________________.

Johnny Spiderbags/guitarist/cook, and Jonathan Livingston Wingnut.

How long has the band been around and what has the response to your music been like, so far?

BJG: Quite some time, but I'm new.

JSB: We've been around about a month in this current configuration.

What other creative pursuits take up your time outside of the band?

JSB: I make sure people don't swear at the college radio station. That requires a lot of creativity.

BJG: I Dabble with my acoustic guitar, read, and like to hike.

I see on bandcamp that you have a couple songs that are downloadable. Do you have plans to record more in the near future?

JSB: that sounds like an offer. We will record for you, but only for 40 Canadian Treasury Bonds, Die Hard style.

BJG: What he said...

Are you named after Winklevoss portrayer Armie Hammer?

JSB: No, we're kind of like his weird younger brothers, you know, like Dawn in the 6th season of "Buffy," except male and without magical powers. We're still kleptomaniacs though.

BJG: This is JSB's band, I just beat on shit and have a good time.

Does Armaund Hammer have any brothers?

JSB: Armie Hammer

BJG: Nope, otherwise he'd be drumming.

If so, can I refer to you as “The Hammer Bros.”?

JSB: only if Armie Hammer responds to our request to join the band. We've sent him, like, 10 facebook messages already

BJG: Only if JSB shaves his beard into a mustache and dresses like Mario, unfortunately I cannot grow a mustache. I'll be Bowser. We'll end each set with JSB tripping and I'll take shots of fireball... Get where I'm going? It might be a castle.

When you’re about to get buck wild, do you announce it by proclaiming that it is “Hammer Time”?

JSB: no, but I do have to announce my alternate persona, Johnny Spiderbags. It's the gregarious, loving side of myself that can only be unleashed with alcohol, it's sole purpose being to ruin everyone with love and happiness.

BJG: If 'hammer time' is ever slurred out of my mouth it's time to take me to the hospital, I've had to much to drink.

Favorite baking soda brand:

JSB: Clabber Girl

BJG: Bah ha ha... I cannot answer this question to maintain my street credentials. It's like wearing your band shirt to your show.

Favorite television detective with the first name “Mike”:

JSB: Michael Garibaldi

BJG: No tv for me, not for at least three years

Favorite implement for driving nails into wooden surfaces:

JSB: I have a nice rock that was contoured to my hand.

BJG: Headbanging

What can Dreyfest attendees expect if they watch your set?

JSB: Bryan literally rocking the set apart, and me just kinda sweating on people as I crawl around and swing a guitar.

BJG: JSB making jokes that most of the crowd will not understand. Madness music with a drummer that cannot make eye contact with the crowd, no tomatoes please, I'm already fragile.

So, there you have it. I still have no idea who the hell I’m speaking with. (but their Green Goddess is pretty sick!!) Also, when attending Dreyfest, please ask these guys lots of questions where the most predictable answer is “Hammer”...they love it!!!

See you at Dreyfest!