Santa Cruz Good Times

Wednesday
Oct 01st
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Black and Blue

music_JesseSykesRegardless of life’s punches, Jesse Sykes stays committed to the music
For Jesse Sykes, a Sunday morning in Seattle is a walk in the park—more like the woods, actually. Once she returns home though, reality sets in for the 44-year-old vocalist/guitarist, and she’s faced with the question that has plagued her for the last three years: “How can you understand life, if you haven’t addressed death?”

The question stems from both the blissful and detrimental events that have come to define her Seattle-based band, Jesse Sykes and The Sweet Hereafter, during the extended recording period of their fourth LP, Marble Son, which began in September 2009. “We took our time because we didn’t even know if there would be an outcome,” says Sykes.

Not only were she and guitarist Phil Wandscher coping with the end of their 10-year relationship, but Sykes became happily engaged to her fiancé Mike, bassist Bill Herzog had a baby (27-year-old Trevor Hadley is currently substituting on bass, as a result), and Wandscher’s father died of cancer—see the band’s sorrowful, lyric-less track, entitled “Weight of Cancer.”

Sykes describes the period as, “a really intense time, with lots of anxiety in terms of my internal world.” She adds, “I was caught in a strange place because I didn’t know for sure if Phil and I would survive it, yet I was in bliss because I was so in love. It took me until I was 40 to find the love of my life, and I’m so f*cking grateful—ultimately, I love the idea of being reverent to the notion of how much you love someone.”

Through the good times and bad, Sykes has been able to consistently rely on music for strength, since she received her first electric guitar as a teenager. “Music always got under my skin—always moved by it,” says Sykes, recalling the days when no other girl her age was interested in instruments. In fact, “music is the one vehicle in which I seem to best be able to wrangle my internal world and create some semblance of grace and beauty out of the chaos,” she says.

Marble Son—an 11-track psychedelic rock album loaded with heavy guitar and Sykes’ haunting and captivating voice—was finally self-released on Aug. 2, under their label, Station Grey. The band’s tribulations seep from the shadowy sky on the cover of the album to its lyrical themes. “I feel like the cover sort of mimics the darkness of ‘Hushed by Devotion’—the first and longest track—and it fits into the cyclone of clouds because of how there’s always that darkness underneath everything,” she says.

The album’s somewhat sinister intensity can also be attributed to Sykes’ recent collaboration with several experimental groups, including fellow Seattle-based band Sunn O))) and Japanese rockers Boris, the latter of which, Sykes confesses, “has a huge body of work and are my idols when it comes to artistry.”

In fact, “[Boris] and Swedish singer/songwriter, Nicolai Dunger, are who I’m obsessed with, and are always in my pile of what I need to have on me at all times,” says Sykes. Friend Marissa Nadler, whom Sykes categorizes as both “Mazzy Star-ish and a really good songwriter,” is also on her most recently played list.

This month, the band joins other friends, Canadian indie-rock quartet The Sadies, on a small west coast tour, stopping by The Crepe Place Wednesday. For Sykes, concerts are “less like performing and more like I’m testifying.” She elaborates, “It feels like a non-denominational church for me—to elevate people on an emotional level. I feel grateful when I’m up there, and people are reverent and really listening.”


Jesse Sykes and The Sweet Hereafter play at 9 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 10, at The Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $13/adv, $15/door. Call 429-6994.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Reflecting Glass

Composer Philip Glass’ first trip to Big Sur was by motorcycle; little did he know that he’d establish a music festival there six decades later.

 

Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, occurs this year during Libra, the sign of creating right relations with all aspects life and with earth’s kingdoms. We contemplate (the Libra meditation) forgiveness, which means, “to give for another.” Forgiveness is not pardon. It’s a sacrifice (fire in the heart, giving from the heart). Forgiveness is giving up for the good of the other. This is the law of evolution (the path of return).

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of September 26

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Wurst Case Scenario

Venus Spirits releases agave spirit, Renee Shepherd on planting garlic, Sausagefest 2014, and wine harvest in full swing

 

Do you think you are addicted to technology?

Santa Cruz  |  Unemployed

 

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

 

Apricot Wine for Dessert

Thomas Kruse Winery, a participant in the new Santa Clara Wine Trail, has been around for a long time—since 1971, to be exact. When our little group arrived to try some wine at the Kruses’ low-key tasting room, Thomas Kruse and his wife Karen were there to greet us. Theirs is a small operation, and they’re proud to offer quality wine at affordable prices. “Because we are small and low-tech, it’s easy to relate to the whole winemaking process,” says Karen—and the Kruses take pride in making wine “just like it has been made for centuries.”