Photo by Nora Torppey
Am I a Shred Head now? Is that what we’re called? Regardless of monikers, good ol’ Grateful Shred music has been steadily growing a following since they first got together in 2016. You might assume this is just another Grateful Dead cover band. But you’d be *dead* wrong.
The music of the Grateful Dead is having a renaissance at the moment. You don’t have to be a Deadhead or a music writer to notice, it’s everywhere— four original band members still tour regularly, though not all together. Martin Scorsese just made a documentary about the band and their history. These days it’s not uncommon to see a celebrity pictured in a stealie on Page 6. Tie dyes and GD apparel, that used to be made in someone’s basement and sold on lot, now fill the shelves of Walmart and Target. For several hundred dollars more you can purchase similar styles at Barney's and Free People. For better or worse, the Dead has gone from counter-culture to popular-culture. I suspect there are more GD cover bands now than ever before. Every town or city has one, with...
Neal asked for an epic party and he got one. The crowd was encouraged to arrive at the Capitol Theatre in Port Chester NY early Wednesday at 6:45pm for There’s a Reward: a celebration of the life and music of Neal Casal. An early start by scene standards. By 6:30 pm small crowds were making their way towards the marquee.
I love patterns. In art and life, I’m always looking for them. A beautiful pattern has emerged from my recent conversations with artists. It has nothing to do with artistic style or the shared music from which they draw inspiration for their work. It’s simple, really.
They’re good people, and they all attribute their success in large part to the help, encouragement, and guidance of their fellow artists and peers. In a world where most people are focused on #1, reaching the top no matter who you might have to climb over or leave behind, this community of artists is different. In fact, it was a phone call from another friend and artist-- telling Caleb Williamson it was time to really put his work out there-- that things took off.
Spafford, September 2017.
Block printing, in its most basic form, is similar to a making a stamp—designs are carved in rubber or wood, such that you can reproduce your design, as many times as you want, on multiple surfaces. With each color of the artist’s vision, there is a layer to carve. It’s a technique that is centuries old but there are gifted artists who continue to apply this technique in fresh and interesting ways. Jon Rose is one of these artists, breathing new life into the art form today. I always like the idea of taking something traditional and flipping it on its head. And in a way, I feel like that’s what Jon Rose does with his block prints. He is the primary artist for the band Spafford. It’s no surprise, vibrant colors and bold details jump off the paper, Jon’s work perfectly illustrates the spirit of the band’s transformative tunes.
It’s not just Jon’s work but his character and reputation that has earned him the love and respect of Spafford’s fans, affectionately known as SpaffNerds. It’s more...
I’m lying on the floor of an empty corner office, high above midtown Manhattan. It’s not just for the lack of furniture. It is the only way I can settle my nerves, stop my limbs from twitching. This abandoned space on the 18th floor is mine for now, renovations are moving from floor to floor, I should be able to come here for a while yet. Looking down at the city I am my 9 year old self, assessing and assembling my legos, “this one will fit well … right here”. Tiny pieces, and colors and shapes….some alive and moving. I love this room. It feels special and I need a special room. Each time I pick up the phone in this room it will be to call someone whose work I admire, whose work is special.
I hit call, place the phone down on speaker, “try not to sound so nervous”, I tell myself. Then Brian Bojo answers. I hear birds singing, it even sounds warm. Brian tells me he’s decided to take a walk for our call because it’s so nice outside in South Carolina. Although we’re just now introducing ourselves his voice is familiar, I feel like I’m talking to an old friend. My own voice start...