Friday, July 18, 2014

Independent Music Out and About

The Hay Girls Show were out this past week listening to some independent bands.  We enjoyed ourselves, and heard some great music!  More to come!
The Hay Girls, Song River and Carol Pacey are the hosts of the show, and we are always looking for a variety of music to be submitted.  We ask that they be high quality mp.3's.

We cover a broad-range under the umbrella of Americana music.  If you feel your band fits with this somewhere from blues, R&B, Punk, Grass, Folk, Alt-Country, Reggae, or a mixture contact us on FB.

Our show is brought to you live via The WOD Newspaper & Webzine, at, and if you're in the Phoenix, Az area we broadcast live from The Ice House Tavern Phx!  Where you can stay cool, watch some hockey practice and enjoy supporting independent musicians.

If you're looking for a photographer to cover your performances, need portraits done for your EP's, Cd's, Bio promo packs contact: CowGirlZen Photography for pricing.

Carol Pacey & the Honey Shakers are available for shows in the greater Arizona area.

The WOD brings to you by webzine, newspaper, and radio popculture news, interviews,  film, and more. Follow the on FB and keep in tune with up and coming releases.

Vintage Note Records creates the sound coming over the airwaves each month for The Hay Girls Show.

Video and Voice Promo's are from Devin James, and Chris Marz. Along with live video captures of the bands by Jeff Jones.

Catch all of you listening to Independent MUSIC!  As we support the independent artists the world over!- Song River- Peace and Keep on Rock'n the Free World!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

the WOD :: Home

the WOD :: Home

Over Come

It took me a year to climb the delapitated observation deck. Nails jutting out, boards juxtaposed, cracks, broken through, and a splintered shard piercing my left foot, but I did it! Something isn't it how moments of triumph manifest themselves? I've spent a lifetime feeling devalued, a demon I struggle with daily. Then due to not being accepted as a girl during childhood, I sought acceptance through the eyes of others, which led me into consequences that carry remorse. You see our lives are filled with mountains to climb, valleys to trudge through, wild rivers to cross, and vast oceans to swim... But in reality we all carry very similar wakeful nights of self doubt, and the feelings of being alone. And we all deal with them either in a constructive manner, or destructive manner. Letting go of regrets, and forgiving yourself is most difficult when we witness the consequences of our actions daily, but maybe another way of viewing our repetitive consequences is to let them stand as a reminder that we no longer will repeat them again. With each new dawn God sings hope. I am not the disappointment of being female to my dad, I am the glory of being Gods Witness to value, sharing, compassion, and love. #forgiveness #sunrise #dawn #value #humanity #hope #God #faith #splinter #pain #sleep #earth #heaven #love #compassion #contentment #grace 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Starbucks American Dischord

#Starbucks needs a new drink named after comic illustrator/writer of American Dischord! '94 new series by #shelbyrobertson #comiccon #comic #drink #coffee #powerup #cosplay #icedcoffee #starbucksaddict #starbucksfan #cowgirlzenphotography 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Amazing is Only the Beginning! Interview with Jimmy Jay of Amazing Comic Con

Amazing Comic Con
Interview with Jimmy JayCompanyComics

with Song River

Song River: Jimmy, thank you for taking time to chat a bit with me today about the Comic Con industry, and your part in creating an organically charged enterprise.  For those who may not be familiar with your background share with us a little bit about your beginnings and how they've come together to create Amazing Comic Con.

Jimmy Jay: Song, I really appreciate being invited to talk about the AMAZING COMIC CON, and our events in LAS VEGAS, HOUSTON, and of course Arizona too.  Here's a bit of background- I have been a hardcore comic fan since the age of 12.  My mom walked me up to the front doors of the 1986 San Diego Comic Con, gave me a $20 bill and told me to make it last.  Well, it's nearly 30 years since, and I'm still trying to make every bit of it as fun and exciting!

20 years ago, I started, along with my brother Bill and our mom.  We grew our family retail business to the largest convention dealership of modern age comics in the North American comic con circuit.  Along the way we have worked with a number of talented creators and publishers on exclusive covers and collectibles, and I even published a line of books under the ARCADE COMICS imprint.  It was here that I worked with folks like Rob Liefeld, Mark Millar, and Robert Kirkman.

Basically, what we did was, we took all these various aspects of our multiple jobs in the comics industry, and 4 years ago we started our own "Brand" of Comic Conventions.  This was the very origin of the Amazing Comic Con.  Our first event was in Mesa, Arizona, and it was a huge success. The enthusiasm led us to move  AMAZING ARIZONA COMIC CON to the Phoenix Convention Center, located in downtown Phoenix.  Since that time, we have created annual events at the AMAZING LAS VEGAS COMIC CON in June, and will be launching the AMAZING HOUSTON COMIC CON later this year. 

Along the way we've launched the very first Image Comic Expo in Northern California, and have been hired as show runners to other events.

Song: How tough is the comic con industry?

Jimmy: The Comic Convention industry is extremely tough, but on the other hand it is highly rewarding.   Even though internet reports state at length that there is a massive increase in comic con culture and the proliferation of fan driven events, we decided that chasing trends was not what our brand was about.  I see many events pop up that attempt to book nostalgia actors, wrestlers, bay watch models, and dub their events as a "comic con.”

So, instead of chasing trends, at Amazing Comic Conventions we wanted to return to the concept of a COMIC CON  back to its roots.  We want our events to be about the CREATORS.  These are the architects of pop culture, and I think they should be the highlight of our events, not a footnote.

In addition, while I outlined some of the challenges of navigating through trends, it is extremely rewarding working with creators that you admire, and to ultimately share your love with 20,000- 30,000 plus fans!

Song: The word 'organic' has been a word I've heard used to describe Amazing Comic Con. Is it a system that you've tried to build that fits together in a certain pattern or order?

 Jimmy: It's interesting that you use the word organic to describe the Amazing Comic Con events- we have a very simple philosophy to showcase-creators and comics first and foremost.  This applies to our biggest headline talent, to the featured guests, and should also be an attraction for the indie, pro/am artists who populate the artist alley.

Amazing Comic Conventions START with the creators and the comics, our events are all encompassing- there is something for everyone here at our shows.  For example, at last year's AMAZING LAS VEGAS COMIC CON, our event launched in June, the same weekend as the “Man of Steel” movie was released in multiplex.  Our top guest was world famous artist Jim Lee, who was releasing the Superman Unchained #1 that same week.  We try to create a synergy of pop culture- blending a major film release, with a super star creator, with the biggest comic of the year launching.  We have utilized a similar approach when the Deadpool video game was released, promoting Deadpool creator Rob Liefeld.  Of course this is our approach when we have promoted events with Robert Kirkman, the creator of Walking Dead comic book and executive producer of the hit AMC TV series, as well.

To this extent, everything begins with comics and those who make them, and of course it returns there too.  This cycle is most certainly organic.

Song:  Is the concept of organic  a difficult idea to take hold of and keep?

Jimmy: This organic approach to Pop Culture and Amazing Comic Conventions is far from difficult for us in that it has been our goal and sensibilities from the very start of our convention planning.  I think you will be able to see this approach absolutely with the AMAZING LAS VEGAS COMIC CON, June 20-21-22 at the South Point.  This event is in prime time summer blockbuster season.  It is positioned on the calendar immediately after the Marvel Captain America movie in the spring, and placed between the X-Men movie, and the Guardians of the Galaxy. 

For these reasons you will see the guest list for the Amazing Las Vegas Comic Con filled with the best selling Captain America artists such as Rob Liefeld and Steve Epting; X-Men creators such as Wolverine creators Len Wein and Herb Trimpe and fan favorite Adam Kubert. In addition, you will also see a ton of the classic Marvel Cosmic creators like headliners: George Perez, Jim Valentino, Andy Lanning, Gerry Duggan, and more.  

 Song: How do you work at trying to transmit this way of working with others to your staff and as well to your fans?

Jimmy: Another goal of Amazing Comic Conventions is that our staff is highly accessible to the fans, vendors, and guests on the show floor.  We are super hands on with our approach and quite literally roll up our sleeves. Whether this is from greeting each fan with a smile as they walk through the doors, or  making sure we are available to solve any issues or questions that may arise.

I believe our fans, guests, and vendors see how much we truly love the spirit of the event.  We make it a point for our entire staff and myself included, to be on the front lines and accessible the entire convention weekend.  We are certainly all in this together, celebrating comics and pop culture!

As part of this accessibility, we integrate ourselves in the communities which we have our events.  Our approach is not like the circus where we pitch a tent, do our high wire act, and then get on the road; but instead be visible and active all year around.  We want to meet and hang out with locals at pre-convention get meet-ups; such as Drink & Draw bar nights, or during the shows with our Pint & Print After Parties, Bowling Nights, and more.

We also can be reached through social media on our twitter page @AmazingComicCon or on Facebook as well.

The bottom line is that we are far from a faceless organization- we are accessible, and want to address all feedback in a real time matter, as real people.  We want AMAZING COMIC CONVENTIONS to be about sharing and celebrating our passions and fandoms.  I'm so very grateful to everyone who comes out and spends their weekends with us!

Song: There are numerous comic cons nationwide year around- some gauge their shows to a particular genre, while others contain so much that it would take a five day Disney pass just to make it through half of the events.  Where does Amazing fit in on size?

Jimmy: I think the AMAZING COMIC CONVENTIONS are sized accordingly.  Our events in Las Vegas, Arizona, and soon to be Houston are very much like the early San Diego Comic Cons we attended as teenagers.  We try to pack enough guests and fun activities to run the entire 3-day weekend.  We had great success expanding our programming tracks, and the number of featured creators to ensure this.  On the flip side, I think our events are intimate enough where you can have conversations with the talented folks who headline the marquee, and not feel like you are waiting in line after line at a cattle call.

For a fan you can spend time relaxing and enjoying our three day events. Whether you're hunting through sizable and diverse vendor halls, getting your books signed, discovering new talent in the artist alley, checking out some interactive panels, chatting with your favorite creators, or enjoying one of our after hours events…. I think you get the point!

Song: How do you market to each comic con location?

Jimmy: We try to bring our core values of Creators and Comics to launch our shows.  We can assure this in Las Vegas, Houston, and Arizona.  From there, the show may take certain turns depending on the individual communities and local flavors.  We don't believe in a cookie cutter one size fits all approach that other companies may employ.  Each community express their fandoms uniquely.

To use an example- 
COSPLAY is huge in Phoenix, with its year around weather and rich history of conventions, so we gladly have increased events each year to mirror this at the Amazing Arizona Comic Con.  We were unsure of the extent and level of CosPlay going into our first year in Las Vegas, and was pleasantly surprised with the great craftsmanship at our opening show.  This year we are ramping up activities such as Prop building and more for this location too, expanding on this demand.

As well, because Amazing Las Vegas Comic Con is in the heart of Summer convention season, we will be introducing more- BREAKING INTO COMICS- type of programming, with Andy Schmidt and our partners at Comics Experience.  In this case, the timing of our event, will shape some of the panels and scheduling.
We will gauge the response on these workshops, and see if this is viable and transferable in the other markets. 

Houston will be interesting because it is more of a blank slate, so we will see what the convention community .

Song:When Amazing Comic Con began, why was Arizona chosen first?  Was the logical progression to Vegas from there, and then tell us your decision about Amazing Houston Comic Con over labor day weekend?

 Jimmy: AMAZING ARIZONA COMIC CON was our first event.  While we had a background into a number of areas in the comic industry with a strong Rolodex, we saw a need for a convention early part of the year- there was a dearth of such events on the calendar.  The selection of Arizona was simple in that we retailed at local Phoenix shows from the very start of our company.  One of the first conventions we traveled to was a CHAOS FAN FEST, which oddly enough was the first out of state convention of the late, great Michael Turner.  We went to the various incarnations of Phoenix Con with the Cactus Cons in Mesa, and even booked their talent for several years.  Arizona was just a natural progression.

As for planning the AMAZING LAS VEGAS COMIC CON- Our director of Operations- Holly Jensen lives in town, and urged us to consider the location. Las Vegas has one of the strongest cores of direct market stores, but the city lacked a full fledged "comic con.”  After reviewing a number of properties, we found the SOUTH POINT Hotel & Casino, which turned out to be perhaps the best fit of any convention that we have gone to- as a fan and as an exhibitor.  The hotel is a short walk down the corridor to the main hall, and there are dozens of great dining options available from Steak & Shake, to a Vegas style buffet, with multiple gastronomic options  including Italian, Mexican, Asian, and a New York deli and more.  For locals, ample parking is free, and access to the South Point is easy.  Again, this is an ideal location.

For AMAZING HOUSTON COMIC CON, we selected George R Brown Center, based on its central location in the heart of the downtown district.  Houston is the 4th largest population center in the US, and while a number of other conventions take place in town, none feature comic books and the creators as their primary focus. 

Song: Why should we go to Amazing Las Vegas Comic Con?

 Jimmy: One fan recently described AMAZING LAS VEGAS COMIC CON as his favorite show ever- and this guy is a complete convention warrior attending SDCC for over a decade, going to all the SoCal events like Wondercon, Long Beach, and Comikaze Expo too. I was blown away by that- but his reasoning was simple.  He was able to go to a convention with great guests during the day.  He could take a break from being on his feet all day and go to the movie theater. When his family joined him the next day, they all could go to bowling and pizza for the evening, before meeting up with his friends to play the tables. All of this is one place, SOUTH POINT Hotel & Casino. 

Activities are so diverse at the South Point itself-  Amazing Las Vegas Comic Con allows you to partake in the "whatever happens in Las Vegas" hoopla, or just relax with your family at the event, and have a ton of things to do IN ADDITION to the convention.  With all this said, AMAZING LAS VEGAS COMIC CON is a great venue to start your summer vacation.

Individuals, friends, families, groups, and fans are all looking to be a part of something- to feel a sense of belonging. Amazing Comic Con has created this atmosphere that brings about an intimacy the public has been longing for.  Within an industry that is full of color, imagination, hopes and dreams. Where everyone can build long lasting memories for years to come. Always remembering what works- accessibility, great times, and lasting relationship building. 

Come meet your favorite artists, spend time talking to them, watching them create live, visit some of your favorite panels, shake hands with some of your favorite creators all within a world of great imagination- Amazing Comic Con- Arizona, Las Vegas and Houston.

For further information visit:

Twitter @ Amazing Comic Con:

Facebook @:

Websites @:


First if you want to grow, plant your seed. 
Then water, give sunshine, pray, wait, tend, share what you have, include the elements around you (after all growth never occurs when we are selfish). 

Then one day while you're busy doing all the aforementioned something happens...
Your efforts have spread their roots deep into a solid foundation, your branches have extended themselves to support not only yourself, but others as well, your leaves are offering shelter to others in need, and you're bearing fruit from which another seed will be planted. 

It is not magic, it is not luck- it is all the above. 

Successful individuals work in the collective- none of us ever arrive alone.- Song River 

Friday, May 16, 2014


Everything has a flow.  Sometimes, it's a drizzle, other times a torrent coming down, but however life comes if we move like water through it's uniqueness we gain so much more than we ever imagined.

Late last night I had posted this on Facebook:

"Sometimes the wisest thing to do is nothing.
You've placed and organized all you are...
Now, it's time to do nothing, and allow something to blossom.

Our passions are liken to a flower seed: we sow, water, tend, and root takes hold, growth begins... A bud forms. Then one day when nothing comes- a bud becomes a bloom, and the sweet fragrance of faith, hard-work, patience, prayer... Become our fulfillment. It will happen, I guarantee it- so I am doing nothing."

Then the next day, I was honored to spend the morning with my good friend, and brother- Chris Wood, as he helped work with me, the real me, to develop my story in a form of tattoo art.  Before he began Chris explained that to each person he creates a work of art on- they become a part of his tattoo family. 

With sharpie's in hand he began to create... and the flow was soothing, easy, in-depth, revealing, and he drew from my mind... the quote I had placed just a few hours before.  

This is the central core which we began today, we will colour, shade, tone next time- then his pen will draw the next parts of who I am into BigChrisInk's world of spiritual guided art.

Love you my gentle brother, a friend to so many, a heart that trust's completely, and a man who lives what he believes.- Chris Wood

Song River

On Facebook for INK: 

On Facebook for Artwork:

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Settle in for a little shot of Black Mountain Moonshine

Interview with  Art C De Baca III- Drummer and Percussionist for Black Mountain Moonshine

With Song River

It was around midnight a couple of months ago I had my first taste of Black Mountain Moonshine, it was during the Americana Music Fest- and to say the least they knocked us all off our feet.  A group of racacous gents able to deliver a blessed infusion of Punk, Folk, and Bluegrass without missing a sip of “Mountain Dew.” 

Song: Tolleson, AZ. gave birth to Black Mountain Moonshine... tell us, where did you all come from, what is your background in music, musical tastes, and experiences that brought you all together to form BMM?

Art: We all grew up in the greater Phoenix Metro Area; we are all huge fans of Punk Rock... and Folk music as well, some more than others. Also, we all share a strong interest in consuming alcoholic beverages (laughs). Thus the name "Black Mountain Moonshine". Individually, we have all been playing music for 5-10 years. Art & Alec have been friends for about a decade, and the same goes for Ethan & Eric who went to high school together, which is where they met Luz. So in a way it was like two groups of friends joined to become one.

Song: Music changes follow many times our economics, and cultural societal motions- how did this formation occur of mixing Country-Folk, Bluegrass, and Punk together?
Art: That is a very tough question to answer. I don't really think it had anything to do with any Cultural or Societal changes that gave us the drive to start BMM. We just wanted to play music that we thought was fun and enjoyable. However, some our lyrics are about politics and other societal topics, but we try our hardest not to be too serious about any one thing.

Song: Does BMM fit under the umbrella would you say of Americana Music?
Art: Yeah, (pauses) we  think that we do. Sure, we are a little "heavier" or "faster" than most other bands in the category, but aesthetically we would say that we do. 

Song: Are you the original founding members?
Art: Yes, we sure are. For the record, Luz came up with the name of the band. (Just wanted to throw that out there)

Song: Did you all ever play under different band names or styles?
Art: No, the five of us have never played under any other names collectively. However, Art & and Alec were in a punk band called "ST8 48", and Eric & Ethan were in a Folk Duo called "Darth Mcgarvey" prior to starting BMM. As far as others styles, only time will tell if we incorporate other styles. We do not want to limit ourselves, so it is very possible that we branch out musically in the future.

Song: How has the Phoenix area received your sound? Your look?
Art: The Phoenix area has been great to us, we are truly lucky to have received such an awesome response from the valley thus far. We can't express how thankful we are for all the support. A look?... We are just five below average dudes that wear band shirts and torn pants, not very original in that respect, but it’s who we are (Laughs).

Song: What is the reception been outside of Phoenix to your sound?
Art: We have not actually toured outside of the general Phoenix Metro area. However, we have been played frequently on Radio Stations inside and outside of Arizona, such as Sick Boys Radio from Southern California and Loud Fast & Shitty Radio from St. Petersburg, Florida and have received a lot of support from those markets as well.

Song: Are you finding more influences musically, culturally outside of BMM the deeper you go into creating your own signature sound?
Art: Not quite sure if it is happening subconsciously or not, but yes we have noticed influences from places or artists that we may not have been influenced by before.

Song: As a collective BMM really hasn't been playing that long. How did you all come about finding one another? Was it the sound of what you already were listening to that solidified the group?
Art: Art & Alec have been playing music together for about 10 years, and played in numerous bands prior to BMM. Alec had been friends with Ethan, Eric & Luz for a few years and introduced Art to them a few months before the initial idea for the band came about. One day we decided to get together, have a few beers and jam. We have all been fans of Punk Rock since we were in high school or before, and we all enjoyed certain aspects of Folk music as well. So we thought that merging the two styles would be a fresh and cool idea. As they say, the rest is history.

Song River: Does BMM follow the old punk standards of rebellion against the rule of law (IE Sex Pistols, Ramones, etc) or does the side of folding in bluegrass and the temperance of folk soften the edges to create the aspect of 'moonshine?'
Art: This is a great question, yes in many ways we stay true to the standards of Punk, by doing what we want to do when we want to do it, whether it is accepted by the majority or not. One of the things we hear a lot is that we are not "Punk" because we have a folk twang to our sound. In our opinion we are punk to our roots, and by playing a style that mixes genres kinda sets us a part from many bands, hinting toward the punk counter culture. It is also apparent in some of our song lyrics (i.e. "Downfall', "Snake Eyes", "Hollow", etc.)  

Song River: What is it BMM wants to say to their fans, and to those who they want to introduce themselves to?
Art: First, we would like to thank all of our fans for their constant support, everything from attending shows, buying merch, showing us love on the social media sites and sharing our music with people they think will enjoy it. We truly appreciate each and every one of them for that. 
We introduce ourselves to new people as five misfits who enjoy playing a mixture of Punk Rock & Folk and like to drink a little bit too (laughs).

Song: Explain the writing process for BMM. Where do the ideas come from, is a collective formatting or is the writing of words, then instruments all divided?
Art: Ethan & Luz handle most of the writing, "Lyrics" anyway. In that respect the instrumentation & lyrics are somewhat divided, but the usual process contains us sitting in a room together with a general idea or "riff", drinking beer and tossing ideas back and forth until we find something that clicks 

Song: What part does BMM wanting to have over the art and music scene?
Art: We just enjoy playing music, and like being a part of something fun and larger than any one person or band. We have no real expectations of what we should be or what kind of respect we should receive, we just want to play music, have fun, party & make new friends.

Song: New EP or CD in the works? Release date projected?
Art: We released our debut effort in October of 2013 titled "100 Proof" it is a 4 song EP. It is available for free download to anyone on our Band Camp Website. Here is the link
To answer your question, yes we are working on our 1st full length album, but have no release date set in stone.

Song: Art you've just found out you've won the super bowl... what do you want to do now?
Art:  First, I'd thank baby Jesus, then Tom Cruise, my family, friends & all my loved ones. I would head straight to the nearest pawn shop, trade in that ridiculously large ring and never work another day in my life. (laughs) I honestly don't know, but my previous statement sounds like a good plan.  
  We would like to thank Song River for taking the time to interview us, we truly appreciated all the support we have received in the short time that we have been a band. We are excited about our future and hope to continue doing what we do for many more years.
If you are interested in Black Mountain Moonshine and would like to find out more about the band, stay up to date on our concert schedule or to receive updates on the band please check out these links:

Black Mountain Moonshine is a five piece band of misfits from Tolleson, AZ. Their sound is an eclectic combination of Punk Rock and Folk with a taste of Bluegrass. The band was formed in mid-2013 and are heavily influenced by the likes of Punk/Folk bands; Social Distortion, Flogging Molly, Tiger Army and Against Me! as well as some Country-Folk and Bluegrass influences such as Johnny Cash, Dan Tyminski and Ron Block.

BMM Line-Up:

Ethan Minney- Mandolin/Vox
Luz Gamino- Rhythm Guitar/Vox
Eric Dent- Lead Guitar
Alec Rodriguez- Bass/Vox
Art C De Baca III- Drums/Percussion

Interview with Mill's End

Interview with Jeff Bump, lead singer and guitarist of Mill's End

with Song River

Independent music is continuing to grow world-wide, those who don't fit, nor do they want to fit the in the top 40 playlist are just fine being who they are. The freedom to create what is pleasing to self, rather than to a corporate mongrel

 keeps this extremely large base of artistic creatives growing on a daily basis.

The term “alt country” began being used in the '90s to describe those outside the mainstream of country music, and this style is continuing to grow among the hardworking class and spinning of variants that link themselves to this genre.

Mill's End lead vox and guitarist Jeff Bump recently discussed this style of music with me. Jeff relayed how their band, along with their enormous number of growing fans, have been spinning this infusion to meet the musical needs of an overgrowing population that relates to hard work, a beer, some friends, and a week night out to relax.

It's only Rock 'n' Roll... (but I like it.)”- Rolling Stones 1974

Song: When I think of American Alt-country I recall bands such as The Marshall Tucker Band, and the song by Pure Prairie League... “Amy what you want to do...” but when I read your bio it sounds as if you've pulling more in description from the '97s era? Can you help my confusion?

That description really is about the alt-country bands that influenced us early on, the 90’s alt country scene like Whiskeytown, Wilco, Jayhawks and Old 97’s were big influences on our early stuff but certainly the bands you mentioned along with Gram Parsons, Neil Young, Allman Brothers, The Band, etc. really started it all.

Song: How is it Jeff that when we create music we feel the need to label it with an infusion name? Or just even a label? How do you feel about giving a definition to your music?

Like a lot of musicians I really don’t like labels but when you are marketing yourself the first thing people ask is to describe your sound and using other artists and labels gives people some kind of reference but we just think of ourselves as a rock band, we really want to try different styles and bring them in to what we do, it just makes things more interesting. The only definition or description that really matters to me is “is it honest and real”.

Song: Where did you grow up as a young child? Teen? Young Adult?

I grew up in Upper Michigan and moved to AZ in '92 when I was 21.

Song: At times when listening to your CD I'd pick up nuances of early REM and even WILCO... What are some of your early influences musically?

Those two are definitely influences, I can honestly say my musical tastes are all over the map, writing wise I would credit lots and lots of late 60’s early 70’s rock, Floyd, Beatles, Who, Stones, Allman Brothers, Jim Croce, Neil Young, Bob Seger, Queen, Rush and the list goes on and on. There is also a significant 90’s influence by people like Pearl Jam, Wilco, Elliot Smith, Ryan Adams, Jayhawks, Smashing Pumpkins, I listen to a lot of stuff.

Song: Could you as a musician personally ever play, or record something out of your norm of chosen style? Lets say... write, and perform a hip-hop song or some other genre outside of where you are now.

Absolutely, I could easily see a project that was heavier like Queens of the Stoneage, more Americana like Avett Brothers, R and B would be really fun to do, even EDM. Always fun to try new things.

Song: What other fields of the arts are you involved in?

I do video editing, graphic design and motion graphics.

Song: Do the other fields you're involved in- cross over into your music?

Yes, I do a lot of our flyers, website and edited all our videos.

Song: When it comes to song writing for Mills End is it a collaborative effort?

Very much so, Keith and I will bring in basic structure but everyone adds his input and parts to the final result. The more we write the more collaborative it is becoming.

Song: The Phoenix valley has demonstrated that musically we've a huge market. Not only great musicians, but supportive fans. What have been some the nuances you've witnessed that have changed here over the years?

The biggest change I have seen is pure growth, pick any musical style or type of band and there is a significant scene to represent it. Also there is such a wide range in age it’s not just 20 somethings it’s 30 and 40 somethings who have a desire to create. It can be a bit overwhelming at times but I think overall it’s a positive thing.

Song: Do you see the music here in Phoenix influencing bands outside of this state? What influences do you see coming in from other places?

I think overall our scene is still pretty influenced by other areas but I do see some bands that may change that. The big influence from other places is really how they do business; bands here are looking at the big picture and learning how these out of state touring bands are making enough money to sustain themselves without a huge record label.

Song: Tell us a bit how the gig came about with the Phoenix Metro system?

We heard they were looking for local bands for a campaign so we sent over a demo, they liked it and asked us to record a demo about a given topic for the Light Rail. They liked what we did and got us into the studio to record “Just One Pass”.

Song: Overall what did you all think of the experience, and would you do it again?

It was great, we would do it again in a heartbeat, the money basically paid for our last CD and the press and exposure was amazing. The Valley Metro People were really fun to work with.

Song: Down to earth creations... is that a measure of grass roots that speaks to who you are as a person? Jeff?

I guess so, it’s really just a matter of practicality, I usually write with an acoustic so it’s really just about starting with a basic structure that has a strong melody. Keeping it simple allows everyone to add as much or as little to it but no matter what you have a good structure at the center. Hopefully that answers the question.

Song: How much of your beliefs, and life givings enter into your music?

All of it, it’s all personal experience or personal observation so it’s all in there.

Song: When you’re playing... on your own, with your band, or live- are there three separate things that take place in your connection to the music created or are you connected to your music, as in engaged, the same no matter where you are playing?

I think when I play live I’m more connected to the song and getting into it, at practice. I’m getting into the song but also listening to make sure my part works and listening to what everyone is doing to make necessary changes.

Song: Mill's End- how did the name come about? And what year were you formed?

We formed in 2008, Mark and I started jamming, then we added a guitarist and Geoff joined shortly afterwards. In the early days, the original guitarist and I would meet at a coffee shop called “Mill’s End” at the end of Mill Ave. We got offered a gig and needed a name and the coffee shop name seemed to fit. It has closed since then FYI.

Song: If you had to choose one song off of your current CD, that you could play everyday, what song would that be, and why?

Probably “Believe” it’s a positive song, I think we play it well and I think because there is a long jam at the end we play it different every time which keeps it interesting.

Song: What would you like to see happen in the music scene, something that you think would be very beneficial?

I think more high-end venues would help, Sail Inn just closed and there is a pretty big waiting list for venues downtown. I think the scene is in pretty good shape but we need to remember to stick together, promote and attend each others shows when possible and really try to respect everyone regardless of style. Metal or Hip Hop may not be your style but that doesn’t mean the bands aren’t as dedicated and professional as everyone else.

Song: I understand a new CD is being slated for production and or release this fall? Please share what you can.

We will take a break this summer because my wife and I are expecting but, around August we will start rehearsing what we want to record and hit the studio in September. The goal is an early fall EP release.

Song: Appreciation is a two way street, sometimes it can be a multiple interchanging freeway in this life too. What have been some special things that have taken place between the band and your fans over the years? 

Our supporters are our friends so we are close to them and their support is always appreciated and we try to support them any way we can.
Personally it’s really cool when people you respect like what you do but the coolest thing is when your young son plays your stuff on the iPad and says, “that’s daddy playing guitar and singing.”

For more information on Mill's End, Tour dates, CD releases/purchases:

The lovelost July Issue of L3 Magazine

The lovelost

There is nothing 'Foreign' in the music of The lovelost
Interview with Frank Ippolito and Ixchel Del Castillo
May Issue of L3 Magazine

By: Song River

The imagery of musical fusion- Rock, Latin, and Indie- is always so inviting. As I listened to The lovelost I am taken away to a warm summer's evening under the stars, and a gentle breeze just kissing the slightly glistening skin gently... leaving an opening for passion to be found.
Such is the tantalizing sounds The lovelost lead singer Ixchel illuminates the presence with an intoxicating breath, as an invitation to share just who The lovelost is.

Song River: Frank and Ixchel, thank you both for sharing your music with us. I know from the first time I listened to your music I was taken in o a story about who you were, and who The lovelost is. I look forward to sharing your enthusiasm and scintillating music with many others.

Song: Frank, what were you involved with musically, and non musically? What influences were surrounding you in Chicago musically? Did you begin with a ukulele or another instrument? Paint us a picture if you would regarding those early days and your interest in music.

Frank: Although I was born in Chicago, my family moved to Arizona during my formative teenage years, (thanks mom and dad), so I wasn’t necessarily influenced by the “Chicago” sound – although I did teach myself the guitar on my father’s electric hollow body Epiphone. I was however very influenced by Rush. I loved the idea of one guitar making so much music – the tones and the way they used pedals and delays was and is something I try to achieve and is prevalent in our music.

Song: Ixchel, as I understand you were a DJ living in Mexico City prior to coming to Arizona, correct? What musical influences surround you growing up in Mexico? Is music a predominant part of your central family? What was it like to DJ alternative music, and what style did it encompass in Mexico?

Ixchel: I was a radio DJ in Cuernavaca for about 9 years. (pauses) I started as a full time DJ for Factor 100, a local rock independent station that featured both English and Spanish rock and independent music from all sorts of genres. Later, I moved with most of the same great team to 106.9 FM Alterna, a public radio station that played classic, jazz, world music, independent rock and more – I hosted the alternative/independent rock show. It was a lot of fun to be surrounded by people who loved music regardless of labeled genres. Everyone simply loved music and that influenced the sounds in my head.

Growing up in Mexico, there was always music at my house. No one really played an instrument, but you would hear 50s rock and roll – and we were always dancing – The Beatles, mariachi, ballads and some Son Jarocho all in a couple of hours, (smiling). My parents still have music playing all the time, although you will never know what the next song will be.

In the late 80s and early 90s, a plethora of Mexican rock bands became a movement, along with grunge and alternative rock and I joined as a happy listener, always wishing I could play too. So I decided to learn.

Song: Frank and Ixchel, what brought both of you to Arizona and why the Phoenix area, or were there other stops along the way prior to Phoenix?

Frank: For me, it was either living on the streets in the suburbs of Chicago or moving out here with my family, (laughs). So, yes, I consider myself a native of Arizona.

Ixchel: I moved here from Mexico about 9 years ago. I said I would stay in Phoenix just for a bit (yeah, right). Although Phoenix wasn’t my destination, it has become home. For now… (yeah, right).

Song: Where and what was going on when you both met? Did you both just say, “Hey...let's play some music...” or how was this passion and decision reached that gave birth to you not only becoming a couple, but also to perform together.

Frank: Funny story, we met on our first day of work – we both are in advertising. It was Halloween – and the entire office was dressed up in costumes – and if I remember correctly, there was a girl dancing for the office in an Arabian/Jasmine outfit. Kinda awkward.

And since we were the new guy and girl, we started hanging out and discovered we both were musicians – both loved to write – in fact, the park was our first rehearsal studio. The couple thing came much later – but it was always in the back of my mind..., (sly impish look and laughs) , I’m a guy, duh, and look at her!

Ixchel: We met at work and were sitting next to each other. I always had my headphones on, feeling not cool enough for the advertising crowd. One day Frank asked me what I was listening to – I can’t remember what it was, but I am sure I was listening to something awesome. We started talking music and decided on an acoustic duo who played guitars on Steele Indian School Park, with homeless folks always sitting with us bouncing to our broken rhythm.

Years later, we were forming bands, and eventually took the step to become a duo outside music.

 Song: How does living and working with music work for you both?

Frank: Let me tell you, it is a lot harder than people understand. I mean, it is a balancing act because on one hand you’re couple, right, and there’s all that stuff going on – the relationship, the stress of work and life – you know, normal stuff, then throw in creating music, and it sometimes can get a little feisty. But I think we handle it pretty well. I’ve had a lot of other musicians note that it’s amazing we’re still together.

Ixchel: It is fun and rough at times. We were music partners before being a couple and that changes the dynamics of our interactions. I am so OCD (some call it bossy, I call it dedication) is not even funny, but as music partners that seemed to work. Then we got together and balancing our personal relationship with our music relationship was tougher. But we have managed to work it out and to separate both aspects of our lives (sometimes it happens naturally, sometimes someone has to be the reminder of where we are)

Song: When the connection was made, and you decided it was time to take your passion for music a band was formed... what was the style of this first band? Band name? What influenced it to disband?

Frank: After our rehearsal sessions in the park, we had a handful of songs, and yes, we decided to take it to the next level. Amazingly enough it was the first band experience for me. And I had no idea of what I was getting into. But it was terrific fun. And we had a great run – we played like 80-some shows in less than two years. And actually got to open for some big performers like Michelle Branch and Sophie B. Hawkins. Our style was a lot more folk-y than it is now – especially since we featured a violin. And the people in the band were awesome – still are. Why we disbanded? Why does any band disband? No one really knows that answer, do they?

Ixchel: We had a “storage room” band that lasted 6 months (maybe) and then met some random people at a bar on 7th St. and at a music shop. There! We have a band! We had lots of fun, developed relationships and even made a few bucks (spent more than that, but hey, who’s counting?). We were all new at friendship and playing together but being married to 4 people is hard. Style-wise, I have no idea how to describe it. Eclectic indie (all over the place?) but we had fun. And we think people who saw us perform did, too. And then it was time for us to move on and find what worked for each of us.

Song: A reformation occurs, and reinventing is always a growth period that brings about many times the true heart of what something really is meant to be. Talk to us about this reinvention, its direction, why it was chosen, how has it been received?

Frank: After “the break-up” we took a break – to recollect ourselves. It was pretty hard on both of us, you know? I mean, you put yourself out there and then one day it isn’t there, that’s tough. So we worked on totally reinventing our sound. And started working on the new album, “Foreign”. We also decided to concentrate on songs in Spanish. With Ixchel being a native of Mexico, it’s a natural fit – and quite frankly, broadens our audience tremendously. And instead of having a “band” we recruited some of our talented friends to play on the record. The response has been better than we could have expected. People are really digging the new sound and our shows are well attended. And it’s a very personal record for the both of us because it’s just us now, you know, so when the music is received like it has been, it’s pretty gratifying.

Ixchel: I was not in a good place after the previous band broke up, so I really needed a break. I was happy writing and playing music, as long as it was at my house, for myself. But the music bug always creeps in and I stopped being a baby and took a risk. I was petrified at fronting a band. I was very comfortable with playing bass, signing harmonies and being lead on a song here and there. Becoming The lovelost was a big step for me. I had to wear my big girl pants and I have always been better at being on the side of the stage, not worrying about anything. I still struggle with it, but enjoy every second of making music, performing and being myself while doing so. It is a blast (and I think I am getting a decent hang of it)

Song: With the style of music you create, how hard is it to 'pigeon hole' yourselves? Is that a good or a bad thing? Does it limit your audience, and where you play?

Frank: We’ve always tried to stay true to ourselves and obviously we are influenced by our favorite bands. But, when I talk to people after our shows, they always say that the style is something that isn’t always heard and in my opinion is an awesome thing.
 I think the style broadens our audience, because of the 'melodic-sens', (laughs) is that a word? And our writing style that hinges on dynamics, it’s an easy listen for people. Thank goodness it’s not easy listening.
 We play at all the usual haunts – you know? My favorite is the Rogue Bar.

Ixchel: Like I said, I grew up around all sorts of music, and although I do have favorite genres, I am not sure I can place myself in just one of them, as my influences are all over the place. So we decided we play what we like. English, darker, happier… whatever suits the day and the tune. It can be hard to do that, but it is rewarding and somehow people seem to like it. I guess most of us like more than one musical style, and others seem to respond positively to what we do. We might not have “one” genre, but it appears most people don’t either (or so I hope)

 Song: How has developing this sound mix of instrumentation and Spanish influenced your worlds?

Frank: It forces us to be conscious of other sounds and we try to bring in as many different instruments as possible like the accordion, African drums, and the like. The challenge with that is recreating that sound live.

Ixchel: I wish I could play many more instruments (like the accordion, a cello or a trumpet). When I hear a song in my head, I also hear the instruments and their melodies. Being able to have talented musicians bring that to life is amazing (and each time they sound way better than the tune in my head).

As for the language, it is an interesting dynamic for me. My writing and singing varies based on language and it impacts phrasing, wording and even themes for a song. Both Frank and I write lyrics in English, but it gets really interesting when I interpret what Frank has written (sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t). It gets even better when we speak to each other outside music and the words do not translate, (laughs).

 Song: According to your bio, the main crux of the lovelost are the three of you, with Nick Kizer keeping the beat, yet there are multiple other instrumental influences and suggested musicians given. Who are some of the others you bring in? Describe the choosing of the bands name.

Frank: Like I said before, we are very fortunate to have such wildly talented musician friends – and Nick really has helped define the sound –I mean, we wanted the drums to be its own instrument rather than this beat machine and he brings it. Niki Kizer, Nick’s wife plays lead guitar on the record. David Cosme plays trumpet, Chris Fiscus plays percussion, Robin Vinning played accordion, and for our shows, Chad Eisinger sits in on drums when Nick is busy and Lawrence Ross plays keyboards. So you can see, trying to get all those people together for a show, heck rehearsal, when they have they own gigs going, is crazy difficult.

The name “The lovelost” simply a description for life. You love, you lose. Or, you’re simply lost or looking for something – and you can hear the struggle and journey of that idea in our words and in our music.

 Song: What made you decide not to play live as often? Is the band driven to develop itself into a commercial market or is it more of a 'hobby' enjoyed as part of your musical persona?
Frank: Playing live, a lot, is great for some bands, but you know, we try to make our shows an event – no one, and I know I wouldn’t want to hear the same set from any band. And honestly, we know we aren’t going to be famous, I mean, we have day jobs – so playing out is quite fun for us but we do take our music seriously.
Ixchel: We love performing, and many times, we have to pull ourselves back not to over do it. We don’t have 4 hours of material – yet – so playing every weekend and keep the show fresh as a relatively new band can be challenging.

Song: When the times come and you both are in that moment, who is writing the lyrics, the notes? Is what you create a draw from you both or sometimes is it coming from just one of you? Do any disagreements arise during writing and if so, how to you resolve them?

Frank: We have different writing styles, to be sure. I’m more of a “this happened, and then this happened, and then this is what happened”. Ixchel has this amazing talent to break that process down and turn it into more of an emotional story. Both styles have worked well for us and the record bears that out.

With day jobs, writing sessions are very infrequent. So basically, I’ll come up with a hook on the guitar or ukulele, jot a few lyrics down and play it for Ixchel. From there it becomes a very collaborative process – exchanging ideas about verse and chorus, and structure of the songs.

Ixchel: Both Frank and I write lyrics. He will come with a hook and lyrics, and then I might keep them or change them. Or tell him I have a “wonderful” phrase I have been thinking about so we need to start all over again. Sometimes it works great, sometimes it doesn’t. The main thing we need to remember is that this is a band, not a solo project. Unless one of us in the band has a strong feeling about this or that, let’s give it a shot. You never know what will come out of a rehearsal if you didn’t hear your partners’ ideas.

Song: What early influences politically, socially, culturally continue to influence you both musically?

Frank: We really don’t delve into that heavy stuff with our music – we’re not Rage Against the Machine, or anything – and frankly, I think people have had enough that, we concentrate on the human condition, relationships and personal struggle. In that way, everyone can relate.

Ixchel: I write mostly from the heart and mind and I think lots of environment impact the lyrics, at least for me. However, I am not one that can write things directly, but write metaphors or stories around the issue that is in my head. I think the closest I have gotten to directly express those issues is with “Foreign”. I was made fun of for having an accent during a work conference call a few years back. It pissed me off, especially because I was making an important point yet giggling came in the way. All I could think of is “Really? You are going to laugh at my accent and the Spanish words I use, in front of the client, who is a Spanish speaker?” I had to say something. And I didn’t. So I wrote a song about being foreign, not as in immigrant, but more as in different.

Song: Art leaves an indelible imprint on the time-line of humanities travels... what are you both wanting to leave?

Frank: For me, it’s not about leaving a legacy, it’s about creating.
 Ixchel: Leaving an imprint on others would be amazing, but I am not sure I am leaving anything, except form my words and soul into something I love. Not sure they are good, but I had the nerve to put them down. I hardly doubt that they will make an imprint on anyone but me, and I am OK with that.

Song: What other artistic endeavors are you both involved in collectively and separately?

Frank: I’m a writer for a local music blog here in Phoenix and work on a few short films here and there, but mostly, it’s about the music.

Ixchel: I don’t really have another art outlet, per se, if anything, I am proud to support other local artists, not only bands, but actors, painters and the like.

Photo Credits:

Photo credit:

EBT: E. Brian Thompson

OTHERS: Brian Klein
Twitter: @thelovelostband