Le Beat

Well hello there, Bellingham music scene. How are ya doing? You look good, have you lost weight? Your hair looks fabulous.

Before I write about you, the musician and fan, I want to touch base about a subject I’ve been meaning to talk about. I sometimes forget that many of you haven’t been reading the magazine for years and years, as I’ve been writing le beat for years and years. This came up recently when I talked to a local band about the importance of touring – I assumed they had read one of my many diatribes about the importance of the road, which they hadn’t, because they’d only been in town a couple of years. What’s my point? My point is, if yer in a band and you want to really go somewhere with it, you need to tour. I’ve been watching Bellingham bands for almost 20 years now and the ones that tour are consistently the bands that end up being really badass. Can you not tour and end up great? Yes, but it rarely is sustained. Bands that tour, I’ve seen, are the ones that really make their mark and grow musically (and that is beyond important). They learn how to play in front of people and their music becomes more second nature. Imagine practicing in front of people every day for 30 days – you’ll be tight and a better musician afterwards. Think of the bands you know of in Bellingham’s past – Federation X, Death Cab for Cutie, Idiot Pilot – they all toured. Look at bands nowadays – Acorn Project, tour all over and when they play here, they sell out. Same with Keaton Collective (who also had their song Fallin’ Asleep as one of KEXP’s songs of the day). Dog Shredder tours, their album gets reviewed on Pitchfork. This isn’t an accident – these bands work hard, tour all over, put all they can into their music and it shows. Plus, you build a connection with your band mate that is vital to creating music. If yer in a band, maybe yer just starting out, maybe you’ve been doing it for a year or two or five – whatever. Hit the road, do whatever it takes to make it happen. I know people have jobs, family, whatever… And if you don’t tour because of commitments like that, it’s cool. BUT, if you want to be amazing, you’ve gotta put in the time and the way you put in the time is you tour.

OK, that’s that. Just so we’re on the same page.

On a side note, we’re on a family road trip for July. As I write this, we’re still undecided as to where we’re going, other than we’re headed east and won’t stop until we hit good weather. So, if you call or email us and we don’t get back to you quickly, that’s why. We have little Internet hubs that’ll help us work on the road, but we’ll most likely land in places that don’t have cell/internet coverage (OH MY GOD, HOW WILL I SURVIVE). Really stoked to get out on the road… last month I wrote about my 20-year anniversary in Whatcom County, which I’ll be spending not in Whatcom County. Oh the irony.

To the music scene.

As many of you know, Lucas Hicks, the awesome musician and friend, is battling cancer. He had a growth that has been a part of his body for a decade, but a new, different type of cancer has formed. This one is more aggressive, but can be potentially treated with chemo and surgery. After his second bout with chemo, Lucas developed complications that sent him to the hospital for nine days. He is recovering now, but his body isn’t taking the chemo well and they’ve decided to stop treatment until after he has surgery (this month) when doctors will (hopefully) remove the second tumor. Following this and recovery time, Lucas will undergo more chemo.

Lucas is doing this with the strength and grace you’d expect from him, but he also needs our help – both financially and spiritually. First, spiritually – if you know of someone who has battled cancer and survived, please tell Lucas their story… you can find him on facebook. Those stories give him hope and strength. And even if you don’t know someone who has battled cancer, just send him well wishes and love. The more love he feels, the more prayers and good thoughts that go his way, the better his chance of beating this thing. This is the real deal, as serious as things get – this is life and death. If Lucas or his music has ever touched you, please do whatever you can do to send him love. On the other side, Lucas needs some help financially – music is his job and he can’t do it nearly as often as he’s been aggressively battling cancer. He is unable to teach and perform often, so he literally has very little money coming in. There will be a benefit for him at The Shakedown on July 18 with Bar Tabac, Lone bird, Dirty birds and The Provocateurs already confirmed and more to follow. A few months ago $6,000 was raised at a benefit so he could see a specialist in NY. I hope we can do that again. Lucas is one of those people who has made this community his home and made it a better place because he is here. As a community – not just the music community, but the community at large – I hope we all come together and help Lucas pull through.

Comings and Goings

I got a lot of great feedback about last month’s cover, which was done by Sabbath Tattoo’s Phil Freytag. I know it was one of my all time favorites. Well, we’re going to be making the design into black and white t-shirts; hopefully they’ll be ready to go in August. We’re also going to be bringing back the famous Play Anything What’s Up! t-shirts (with John Cusack holding the What’s Up! logo). You’ll be able to find the shirts (along with the current astronaut design) at Merch Bot and at our online store. What’s Up! merch… awesome.

It should be noted that Phil recently moved his shop to Grand Avenue, right by the Grand Ave Alehouse, Unknown Board Shop and The Black Drop. SWEET.

Speaking of Unknown, on July 17 they’re having Skate Park Appreciation Day. Basically, the shop with help from the City of Bellingham will be spending part of the day at the park, picking up trash, painting over the tags, and whatever else needs to be done. The day is sanctioned by the city and the Parks Department and is being sponsored by Pepsi, Black Drop, Sabbath, Disidual Clothing, and Vans. Get out there and get the park looking good.

You can find a cool video of the Palisades online via our new web show Bellingham Soundcheck. Each month we’re going to take a band out somewhere in nature and record them playing a few songs and do a quick interview. Think the first episode turned out really well – it was Toby and Luke from the Palisades on acoustic guitar, sitting on a log at the mud flats. Thanks to Alex Ferrin for the interview and Matt Eschbach and crew for the video. Next up is Keaton Collective.

Torero and Beat To Fucking Death have both called it a day with their last show’s being at The Shakedown (which also featured the last shows for Devilry and tearamanapart). Four of Bellingham’s best metal/rock bands called it a day on the same day. I can only hope they each go start a new band, there’s a dozen new ones…

The Road

So, yeah… Josh Holland is playing bass for Hyro Da Hero and out on the Vans Warped Tour right now. Fan of the tour or not, that’s f’in awesome.

The Tea Seas Trio, DJ Clint Westwood, The Endorphins, The Movie among others are headed on a Bellingham to Baja tour at the end of August. They plan to head through the deserts and mountains, playing shows at night and busking at farmer’s markets during the day for money and food. The idea is for the shows to be a full night of music with DJ and bands, all done in an ecoconscious way. Watch for more details in the next issue.

Will “Don’t cry for me Argentina” Glazier is headed out on the road with Monophonics for 10 days including the Vancouver International Jazz Festival. See above why I think that’s awesome.

Also out on the road as a hired gun is Joel Ricci who is out this summer with Oregone. Part of their tour includes Bonnaroo, where video shows the band killing it, including the amazing Mr. Ricci. Again, see above why I think this is awesome.

Shows

The Longhorn is Edison has begun doing music on Saturday nights as well, which is pretty cool for such a small town. Tom from The Daffodils has been workin’ hard getting good music to the saloon and I guess it’s paying off. God knows I love cool small towns.

In case you didn’t realize, Jinx art space is now officially called Make.Shift Art Space. The space, run in part by the hard working Cat Sieh, continues to make improvements and to everything from the spaces to the gallery. It’s looooookkkkiiin’ awesome. Of course, these things take funds, so the group is doing one hell of a fundraiser – ablock party on July 28. Details are still being hammered out, but you can expect a dozen bands, the first annual 3-on-3 band vs. band basketball tourney, Bellebrity dunk tank (including yours truly), adult slip ‘n slide, local food vendors, kid’s games, raffle, a 21+ PABST beer garden, a skate jam by Unknown Board Shop, miniature pony rides by Sabbath Tattoo, live screen printing by INNATE, and a photobooth? It’ll all be held on Flora, and promises to be one best days of the summer.

New Music

Bunch of bands releasing new material this summer, including a favorite The Palisades, who will be putting out their debut full length in July. Rookery, The Slacks and Porch Party (Teo Crider’s solo work) also are seeing the light of day – lots of good music to get your pretty little hands on.

Specters are a two-piece featuring Stephen Steen (guitar) and Sterling Laws, both formerly of the Violins. They have some demos on their bandcamps page and will be recording their debut EP with Trevor Spencer this summer.

Sean McKee (ex-Narrows, Moons and Goochers), Beau Boyd (ex-Zorbatron, Federation X) and Matt McIntyre(ex-Narrows) have a new band called Forteana. Once again, the name Disco Vietnam goes unused. Either way, ya know this band is gonna be amazing. Watch for shows.

Horse Knot is the kind of band I dig. They’ve just started and have already toured (see tales from the road). I mean, they just recorded their first demo, played their first show and toured – all in the last two months. Oh yeah, they’re a three piece with Robin McGarrity on bass, Allie McFarland on drums and vocals, and Alex Minshall on vocals and guitar and they play punk rock. Sweet, sweet punk rock.

Congratulations

Congratulations go out to Chris Ritchie and Nora Hughes (poke) who gave birth to Rowan Scott Ritchie on June 17. Family is doing well and the baby is cuuuuuuutttttteee. Love it when good folks have babies. Lots and lots of babies.

Welp, that’s about it for this month. Wish us luck on our adventure – it’s the longest I’ll have been gone from Whatcom County in eight years… really looking forward to hitting the road and seeing ya’ll at the end of the month!

Hugs and kisses, Brent