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Music - 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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Music - 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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Music - 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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Music - 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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Music - 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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Music - 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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Mercury Enters Libra

It’s the week of Burning Man, the temporary, intentional, alternative, art-filled community on the playas of Nevada. Mercury, messenger of the Sun, enters Libra this week. Libra is the equalizer, a sign of balance and right human relations. Sometimes with Libra, we can be indecisive and confused while learning how to make balanced and right choices. Sometimes to keep the peace we communicate only what others want to hear. Eventually, we learn how to speak from the heart.

 

Final Cut

Cedar Street Video to close after 10 years at downtown location

 

Banter and Spark

Engaging actors, wry script distinguish lightweight rom-com ‘What If’

 

Back to Silicon Beach

With a new wave of startups, the future of Santa Cruz tech looks more promising than ever
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Himalayan Kitchen

Chef Purna Regmi on the secrets of Nepalese cooking

 

What’s the nicest thing you’ve done for someone this week?

Germany  |  Beekeeper

 

Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

 

A Cab To Be Coveted

I first tasted Villa del Monte’s 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon at a Fourth of July party, where the hosts had bought a case of it because they love it and didn’t want to run out. It’s one of those wines that will grab you—in the best way—with its full body and rich fruit characteristics.