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Apr 28th
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Features

Uninhibited

Uninhibited

Genre-bending guitarist Bill Frisell plays by his own rules

When the Monterey Jazz Festival commissioned legendary guitarist Bill Frisell to record an album that would premiere at the 2012 event, they wisely did not put any limitations on him.

“There weren’t any rules, really, they just asked me what I wanted to do,” Frisell says. “It was very wide open.”

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Love Your Local Band

The Beekeepers

The Beekeepers

For Elena Rossman and Olivia Radovich, music is anything but an insular experience, even if the songs they write tend to be autobiographical. Take, for example, their experience with Kickstarter, which they used to help fund The Beekeepers’ debut EP, a folk/alt-country effort called Hot Air. “The culture of the music industry is changing because of social media,” says Rossman (guitar/vocals).

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Features

Westward Bound

Westward Bound

Jon Foreman on new Switchfoot documentary, forthcoming album

Jon Foreman never could have imagined that Switchfoot would last for 17 years, much less be as popular as they are today, having won Grammy Awards, released platinum-selling records and consistently charted high on Christian and mainstream rock charts.

“No way, not at all,” laughs Foreman, the band’s lead singer, guitarist and songwriter. “I’ve been in bands my whole life and I expected to play music my whole life, but to think that we’d still be a band, actually touring, filming and making songs we believe in? This is our ninth album. That’s just mind-blowing for me.”

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Love Your Local Band

Fall Forward

Fall Forward

Jay Ward is not looking to become a big rock star who is all about “the cult of me.” For him, music is far too important for such shallow goals. “Music, to me, is the easiest way of expressing things that words alone can’t say,” says the 17-year-old singer, songwriter, and guitarist. “When I listen to a really good song or play a song I like, I feel like the world makes sense and I’m seeing it from a new perspective. That’s something I haven’t found anywhere else.”

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Features

Hell’s Angel

Hell’s Angel

For an accused Devil worshipper, AFI’s Davey Havok is a damned nice guy

Of all the Halloween-themed tattoos that adorn Davey Havok’s arms—ghosts, witches, jack-o’-lanterns, bats, a black cat—the one that represents him best is the image of The Nightmare Before Christmas’ Jack Skellington. Like that character, Havok has a somewhat macabre exterior that belies his goodhearted nature. As the singer for the alternative rock band AFI, he spins darkly poetic tales of death, despair and betrayal, but offstage, he’s a polite, approachable guy who doesn’t consume animal products, drugs or booze.

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Love Your Local Band

Noise Clinic

Noise Clinic

Nothing beats the sound of buzzing guitar feedback and pounding drums, pulsating bass and reverberating electric violin. Enter Noise Clinic, a band whose members have deep roots in Santa Cruz’s punk rock past. Vocalist/guitarist Tait Reed led Junk Sick Dawn in the ’90s. Bassist Joe Gabent was with Exploding Crustaceans and is now with SA90. Drummer Trevor McClain plays with local metal bands Grievance and Fiends at Feast. And Sayaka Yabuki adds electric violin, vocals and synths to the mix.

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Features

In the Loop

In the Loop

The 13th annual Loopfest features headliners who think about guitar in new, innovative ways

Though electricity is an integral part of the instrument, the electric guitar isn't generally associated with electronic music. In the popular imagination, EDM producers employ an array of drum machines and synthesizers to create sounds—manipulating them with an assortment of processors.

That's not so different from what Andre LaFosse does, only he uses a guitar to produce tones—both percussive and musical—and stompboxes to process the signal. LaFosse is a looper. He uses his guitar and a looping pedal to create entire songs, live, on the spot, and he is one of four solo guitarists headlining Y2K13 Loopfest, a local celebration of the art of live looping.

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Love Your Local Band

Murphy’s Wagon

Murphy’s Wagon

For Vanessa MacDowell, music is a godsend. “I lost my mom when I was 13, and my youngest brother passed away in 2009, so I’ve dealt with a lot of loss and tragedy,” she says. “The only thing that has kept me from doing drugs or drinking too much or all the self-destructive behavior that a lot of people use to cope with tragedy, is music.” Despite the pain she has experienced, with fun-loving local Irish punk band Murphy’s Wagon, MacDowell has found solace.

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Features

Time of the Season

Time of the Season

With the arrival of Tim Kasher’s sophomore solo album, ‘Adult Film,’ it finally feels like autumn

For some, October means Halloween. For baseball fans, it’s playoff season. And for fans of the band The Good Life, October is the month of Tim Kasher.

The band’s introspective hit “October Leaves,” featuring Kasher’s gorgeous lyrics—“The days when we made it, the world was green / Now autumn has fallen, everything's changed”—has come to define the fall season for indie rock enthusiasts.

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Features

The Tao of Steve

The Tao of Steve

Pondering the paradox of the rock virtuoso with guitar legend Steve Vai

Funny thing about rock guitarists: the more skill they have, the less seriously some people take them. While violinists, drummers and pianists are applauded for their technical proficiency, virtuosos of the electric guitar are often seen as the musical equivalent of overly musclebound bodybuilders.

As one of the fastest, flashiest axe-slingers alive, Steve Vai has learned to take the flak with the flattery. “What one individual sees as moving and inspiring in one performer, another may see as a form of total wankery,” offers Vai, who was aptly billed as a “stunt guitarist” during his days as a member of Frank Zappa’s band. “I’ve been the subject of it all, from ‘America’s best-kept secret musical genius’ to ‘His parents should have been neutered.’ After a while you just stop paying attention, and while critics are trying to figure it out, you just keep creating.”

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Love Your Local Band

Spurs

Spurs

Sometimes the best things come to those who wait. In 2012—a decade after they met—co-vocalists David Stockhausen and Terry McCants formed the folk band Spurs. Initially calling themselves Silver Spurs and performing country covers, the pair eventually made the switch to folk music at McCants’ urging. “The band started to shift when we saw an equally great, if not greater, response to our own music at shows,” says Stockhausen, who also writes the band’s songs.

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Features

A New Maestro in Town

A New Maestro in Town

Daniel Stewart takes the reigns of the Santa Cruz County Symphony

For Daniel Stewart, being selected as the new maestro for the Santa Cruz County Symphony is akin to hitting the vocational jackpot.

“The Greater Bay Area is my favorite place in the world,” says Stewart, who was born in San Francisco. “It’s a dream come true and a real joy to be back in the Bay Area. Music is like a passport: it can take you anywhere in the world. I’ve been lucky, it’s taken me to over 40 countries, but it’s really a special thing to wind up in a place where you really would like to be.”

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We Can Rebuild You

A look back at how downtown Santa Cruz recovered from the 1989 earthquake

 

International Earth Day—Mother Earth Day

Every April 22, humanity celebrates International Mother Earth Day and Earth Day. As more than a billion people participate in Earth Day activities every year, Earth Day has become the world’s largest civic observance. The massive concern to build right relations between humanity and the living being we call Earth is evidence of humanity’s love of the Mother. In 2009, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed April 22 International Mother Earth Day, with a significant resolution affirming “the interdependence existing among human beings, other living species (the kingdoms—mineral, plant, animal and human) and the planet itself, the Earth which we all inhabit.” The Earth is our home. Celebrating Earth Day helps us define new emerging processes (economic, social, political) focused on the well-being of the kingdoms. Through these, humanity seeks to raise the quality of life, foster equality and begin to establish right relations with the Earth. We dedicate ourselves to bringing forth balance and a relationship of harmony with all of nature. Learn about planting a billion trees (the Canopy Project); participate in 1.5 billion acts of green. Disassociation (toward Earth) is no longer viable. We lose our connection to life itself. Participation is viable—an anchor, refuge and service for all of life on Earth. Visit earthday.org; harmonywithnatureun.org; and un.org/en/events/motherearthday for more information. From Farmers Almanac, “On Earth Day, enjoy the tonic of fresh air, contact with the soil, companionship with nature! Go barefooted. Walk through woods, find wildflowers and green moss. Remain outside, no matter the weather!” Nature, Earth’s most balanced kingdom, heals us. The New Group of World Servers is preparing for the May 3 Wesak Buddha Taurus solar festival. We prepare through asking for and offering forgiveness. Forgiveness purifies and like nature, heals.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Dark Magic

40 years on the movie beat in Santa Cruz
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Oral Fixations

Blown away by a Tuesday night dinner at Oswald

 

If you could live in Santa Cruz in any era besides now, which would you choose?

Probably the ’70s, because Santa Cruz is such a fly-your-freak-flag place. That was when free love and hippiness was in vogue. Shane Reber, Santa Cruz, Caretaker

 

Sarah’s Vineyard

Sarah’s Vineyard of Gilroy is known for crafting fine wines—and one of my all-time favorites is its Chardonnay. But this time, its Viognier has my vote.

 

Munch

East Coast meets West Coast in new meat lover’s paradise