Thursday, November 20, 2014

Elvis Brought His CarniMetal and Gave it to the Prophet

St. Madness's Interview with Prophet

To proclaim... in the name of CarniMETAL

by Song River

Prophet to say the least, “You’ve come along way baby.” You and I, here and now are music legends in our own minds (LOL). We’ve both in the business to some degree on opposing sides- you the entertainer and me the writer/photographer- for a long time. I am sure we have stories to tell. We both had our time at the Whiskey-A-Go-Go, things we smile back and remember, times maybe we’d change… and then say…nah. Music it’s the heart beat and soul of the world. Without her, death is imminent.

Song: Recall your earlier days, back when the ideas were ideal in your mind. What did this world look like to you? Sound like? Feel like? Taste like?  

PROPHET:  When I was growing up, my family moved every 1 to 3 years so I got to see a lot of cool things and experience other cultures.  We lived all over California, on 2 islands in Hawaii (Maui and Oahu), Holland, Kansas, Missouri and Arizona.  I grew up a very proud American who loves God, my Family and my Country.  I always wanted to become a pro soccer player -- that is until I started singing and performing onstage while I was still in high school.  
 For some reason the death of Elvis Presley had a deep and profound effect on me. It changed my life and my plans forever.  After he died, I read every book and magazine about him that I could get my hands on, I bought every album of his that I could find and started singing in my bedroom pretty much every night to his records. 
I joined choir at my high school and one day, the guy sitting next to me in the bass section told the choir director that “he needed to listen to ‘Flannery’ sing cause he sounds like Elvis.”  The choir director (in the middle of class) called me down to the front and asked me if I knew the song, "Blue Christmas"?  I told him that I did so he said "I'm going to play it and I want you to sing along."  After 2 or 3 measures, he stopped and asked me to see him after class.  His name was Donald Bowers and he told me how much I sounded like Elvis and asked me to sing "Blue Christmas" as a duet with one of the girls at the upcoming school Christmas concert. I had never sung for anyone outside of family and friends who would come over to the house.  

After doing Elvis, I went straight into Rock N Roll/Heavy Metal ‘cause I loved singing to powerful music.”- St. Madness

Me and a young lady from our choir did the duet for about 200 people who were in the auditorium that night.  I actually signed my first autographs after that performance.  When springtime came around, our choir director had me cut my hair a bit and dress up like young Elvis and I did a sort of imitation of The King, and my life instantly changed.  The Spring Concert was on a Friday night that year, and when I went to school on Monday people would see me and say, "Hey Elvis!"  I suddenly had more friends and girlfriends.  I also realized, ‘soccer never got me laid,’ so I stopped playing all sports and went full bore into music.  After a year or so of doing Elvis, I knew if I was going to stay in music I needed to have my own band and write my own songs.  Since that day, I have given my life to music and have had an amazing ride.  After doing Elvis, I went straight into Rock N Roll/Heavy Metal ‘cause I loved singing to powerful music. 
That is what it "Sounded", "Tasted" and "Felt" like to me \m/  

Song: You came into the 90’s, and Nirvana filled the air, 80’s hairband music were brushing their locks, hardcore metal from the 70’s was still the devil’s music… and somewhere Black Sabbath ’68, Anthrax ’80, Metallica ’80, Motorhead ’75- never gave up. Who were your metal demi-gods?  

PROPHET:  Alice Cooper, Judas Priest, Kiss, Black Sabbath, Motorhead, Pantera, Slayer, Van Halen, Ted Nugent, Scorpions, Venom, Metallica, Megadeth, Led Zepplin, King Diamond - to name a few. 

SONG: What was it about metal that drew and kept you?  


Song: Do you really consider yourself to be ‘shock metal?’ If so, how do you define it? 

PROPHET:  Yes I would consider us ‘Shock Metal’ for sure, but what we call what we do is "CARNIMETAL".  We are basically "Carnies” (or Carnival people) who happen to play Metal Music.  We go from town to town, put up our show, and entertain people.  You can't be a "Shock Metal" band unless you "SHOCK" people, so we almost always have crazy stuff going on during our concerts. 

The music of STMADNESS is about, being human and the Good and very Bad choices that we as humans make throughout our lifetimes." - St. Madness

Song: As I listen to your best-of, dual disc CD release in 2013, ‘Carnimetal’ I hear one of the most beautifully passionate melodic works of art from over your years of creation, and guess what Patrick? I am not a metal head! I now find myself popping in your Cd quite often though my friend. I am drawn to the measures of old school metal, but with a sound that allows a message via head banging occur, St. Madness has kept the rotation fresh, and wanton for the 21st century metal junkie fix. My fifteen year old steals it from me often. How do your compare your style and vision to some of the current ‘metal’ newcomers (metal has a huge umbrella)?  

PROPHET:  First of all THANK YOU for your very kind words.  That is an excellent question and YES, metal has an enormous umbrella.  I really have no idea if we are better or worse than all the other bands out there that are making Metal but it is important to us that people know what our songs are about.  I write lyrics with hooks etc cause I want people to enjoy singing along with the songs.  There is nothing cooler for me when we do a concert than to hear the crowd singing along.  Many artists have no interest in relaying a message to its following, which is great for them.  
The music of STMADNESS is about "being human and the Good and very Bad choices that we as humans make throughout our lifetimes."  

Our logo has a scull on one side with a halo over its head, and another scull on the other side with devil horns.  This symbolizes that humans are capable of doing great good and horrific evil - the choice is all ours.  
I am the lyricist for the band and have been since day one, so I look out into the world and process it inside and then reflect what I see going on through my lyrics.  Some of our songs are about complete fantasy, but others are totally serious and it's up to the listener to figure out which is which.  I am (as a lyricist) a man on a mission.  Our musical message speaks to different people in different ways.  Hopefully our music touches people in a good way one way or another. 

Song: I was talking with a musician friend the other day, and they mentioned how it doesn't seem the kids now-a-days have their own music. Their own set of rebellion that makes a clear distinction from their parents. What do you think? Do you have any favorite old/new metal bands? What is it about them that you like? Any you would like to play with? 

PROPHET:  There are so many bad ass new and old bands out there.  I really love what's going on in the Metal World at this time ‘cause it's a mix of everything. 

Again, what we do is really different in the sense that we are not "rock stars," we are only interested in being "entertainers.”  Our job is to serve the fans of Metal the music that they love, and it is our job to do our best to ensure that the audience has a good time.  Being in show business is being in the "Service Industry." 

We are willing to share the stage with any band if they want to share the stage with us.  I am not going to name bands here because it's better to ask the young people to name the new bands that they prefer.  I have my favorite older bands, and I named a few at the beginning of this interview. 
In STMADNESS we just do what we do and have a great time doing it.  I consider it an honor to be up onstage performing for people and to me the stage is a very sacred place.

 Song: The wheel of time turns for all of us Patrick, but we still are passionate for what we believe in, and enjoy. You paint your face, dress the part, call it shock rock, and take it to the world. What have you really been trying to tell your public, or yourself, all these years?  

PROPHET:  I have been warning our fans through my lyrics that evil still exists in our world and it isn't a joke.  Excess of anything good or bad is bad.  My message is, "Be your own best friend and take care of yourself.  Allow yourself to enjoy life.  Don't let anyone destroy your dreams - you have the right to make a choice to be happy so count your blessings and GO FOR IT!!! 

 Song: What is it you want to leave this time slot?  

PROPHET: Track 2 of disc # 1 - is the song, "METAL TO THE DEATH AND BEYOND or better known as MDB" - This is a song that talks about giving my entire life to Metal Music how I don't really regret a thing. 
Track 15 of disc # 1 - is "BLOOD, GUTS AND GLORY" - This (lyrically) is a song in tribute to anyone and everyone who has ever given their lives to being in a Metal band. 
Both of these compositions kinda go together (message wise).  

Song: Lastly, you and your wife have worked together and have shared something you are connected with for a long time… has music been that scarlet thread that has held your marriage together through all the ups and downs of this industry, and for that matter in this journey?  

PROPHET: Marge and I have lived together for 19 years and we have fought about almost everything, but we have made the choice to stay together no matter what.  The music business is a tough place to be in and it isn't for pussies.  Marge and I strengthen each other and love each other way beyond just the flesh.  We are soul mates, and we have a deep spiritual connection.  We have been there for (and with) each other through the thick and thin and we still love being together.  We fight sometimes yes, but I can't picture my life without her.  She is a tough manager who we all refer to as "BOSS LADY."
She is my angel from Heaven. 

Song: Thank you Prophet very much for your music passion, your take on entertaining the masses, and your originality that is uniquely yours.

PROPHET: Thank you for allowing me this time to share a bit about STMADNESS with you!!!  


Photo Credits: Great Pics Photography and SicPics 

More Info on St. Madness:

Morning Humor

"Btw I'm a photographer, writer, at times smart mouthed, tenacious, and a self-starter, with the propensity to look at life by hanging upside down whilst reflecting off a funhouse mirror.
However, I'm for hire and can cover multiple subjects as my abilities are diverse. Music, Politics, Social/Cultural delusions, Journalistic, OpEds, Satirical, and I've never meet a stranger.
Contact my agent, myself duh, and offer lots of money. I'm worth it.

Btw I don't have an ego- I just wear the same basic tshirt and jeans everyday. You know like Steve Jobs did.

Song River
Aka: Allyson Jaynes"

"Last night I had a dream that Albert Schweitzer had come for a visit. It was so odd... he told me it was okay to get out of the boat and walk to him upon the water.
Of course I tried, but he spoke to me in German and what he meant to say was he was looking for the nearest der Wienerschnitzel.
Of course, I woke up soaking wet."- Song River

"You've heard of that song, You Can Ring My Bell el el el ring my bell, right?
Well, you can't mine. Actually you can but it kind of makes me want to smack you upside the head when you do it and wake me up or disturb me eating, or even just breathing... Especially when I worked late last night, got up super early, then decided to go back to catch a few zzzzz's! If you're on fire- there's is a solution to bell ringing her name is Jenny and she can be reached at 867-5309... You got it?"- Song River

"When I can't have sex, I have satire. No commitment.
(And when autocorrect interrupts my massive brain flow God gave me edit post)"- Song River

"Question: what flavor would liberalism be? How about conservatism? Fascism? Communism? Socialism? Libertarianism? Totalitarianism? Anarchy?
Wow, did you just notice only one hasn't an 'ism?'"- Song River

"The only way to approach satire is by dishing out the observers truth, without being smug. Otherwise, the west coast will hate you."- Song River 

"I just received this email. It began with, "Local Rotarians Encourage Learning with Dictionaries."

Puzzled, so beyond my comprehension,  I emailed them back and asked, "How does a dictionary help us learn how to prevent pregnancy?"'- Song River

Monday, November 17, 2014


Because most of living is undetermined, but there a few things we can determine. I'm not completely ready to reveal my inner thoughts, as we all go through various stages in our processes. 

Today, today I kept sorting, reading, thinking, sleeping... Different messages would pop up from other photographers, writers, and friends from around the world- this one for some reason stood out and maybe it's because it deals with perspective. 

I said goodbye to a dear long time friend, a friend that for only God knows why has put up with me, loved me for over 26 years! They loved me unconditionally more than even my own family has at times. And no matter how often Id question them as to why in the hell would you... They'd just smile, and bounce their happy little bounce. 

Eight years, eight years of knowing this day was going to arrive. To prepare. Prepare for what is enviably going to happen to anything living. 

Departure. I'm not sure how to feel. I wasn't sure how to feel when my oldest brother died unexpectedly either. I wasn't sure at 14 how to feel when my grandpa died, at 28 when grandma died, at 35 when mamo died, or at 11 when our dog died. 

Death is not for the dead, but for the living... And for some reason I'm still here to accomplish whatever it is God wants me to, and frankly so are you if you're reading this. 

I may get up tomorrow and wash my hair, get out of my sweats, wash my face, brush my teeth, and get some work done- but not today. Today was my friends and that is okay. 

I've work that I love dearly to do, and one of my goals is to document education globally by photo journalistic presentation to help the people here in the United States understand life through others eyes and connect us in a weave of compassion. 

After all this is what she would have told me I needed to do. 

Tibet, is on my list. 

Peace until other thoughts come bursting out of my brain and are no longer contained.-Song 

 Death certainly gives clarity to those who wish to see. I can't wish for those any longer who do not want to see who and what and why anymore. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

An Accidental Process

Inteview with Comic Artist and Writer Benjamin Glendenning

by Song River

Song: Some of the busiest and most talented people are often those working the hardest in the background doing so much to help others. Benjamin Glendenning is one of the most giving and talented comic illustrators today. His passion began sometime around three years old when he found a pencil placed to paper could create a bat-mobile in his unique signature style! From that point, and with his father's comic book passions, his destiny unfolded... Why SkullJammer?

Is there a feeling of power behind taking a blank sheet, an idea from the mind, and bringing a character to life?

Benjamin: I’m not sure I would classify it as a sense of “power” more like a sense of Freedom, with two older brothers and living in the middle of farmland Michigan, comics and art became my vehicle to escape and have fun on my own terms.

Song: How difficult is creating for you? Do you find it comes easy, and natural? Has it always?

Benjamin: I think I got lucky as a kid, I had people ask the simple questions “have you made your own characters?” and “Are you going to draw a comic book?” believe it or not those simple questions to a kid opens the floodgates of possibilities. For me those simple questions at key moments made me come to the epiphany that I can indeed create my own worlds, and to some degree served as a direct challenge for me to do so. I’ve never had to wait for an idea, in fact it’s just the opposite, I have a stockpile of ideas I hope to one day bring to life.

Song: Some artists only replicate what has already been done, that is their passion. Do you enjoy creating new characters?

Benjamin: I do love creating new characters, but I also love to write and the world of serialized comic book writing is a perfect place to write stories that change and evolve characters, and that can be even more gratifying than creating all new ones.

Song: Do you have a favorite that is an established character to draw?

Benjamin: Hmm… I have a lot of favorites, I guess it depends on my mood. One that I started drawing VERY early on was Etrigan the Demon, My dad had the first issue and Jack Kirby art just blew me away as a kid.

Song: You are also a writer I understand. What comes first usually the character or the writing?

Benjamin: In the early days I had an accidental process, I would doodle on anything and at all times (school detention record to prove it) and through the freedom of visual experimentation I would kind of create stories and ideas about the weird things I doodled and then piece those together into stories. As I matured however I became fascinated with larger concepts and particular styles of storytelling and I would then create characters to fit those styles and concepts.

Song: Your list of projects is extensive, it isn’t something your boast about though. Do you prefer as a writer/artist to stay 'freelance' in your work or would you like to be assigned to a particular comic company and produce?

Benjamin: Ooooh this is a tough one. Let me start by saying I don’t boast because it’s not in my nature and I want my work to speak for itself. For the second part of this question, it’s complicated, I love comics and I love the industry but it’s one of those things where it’s easy to lose yourself to greed/fame and for me it’s all about creating things that are new and different and that I personally want to read, but being all about the art also leads to being very poor and not putting food on the table and so I strive to have a balance without losing my passion for the art. I would LOVE to work for DC or Marvel or draw TMNT for IDW (wink wink) on a contract for a period of time, and hopefully that happens eventually, in the meantime I’m going to continue to create and have fun.

I guess it’s just the way I was raised, my parents are the most generous people in existence and I strive to be like them. With the HERO Initiative it just makes sense...”- Benjamin Glendenning

Song: List some of the projects you've been involved with or created yourself.

Benjamin: Well I started self-publishing comics back in high school, the first of which was called Skulljammer, other books I self-published over the years are R.I.F.T Rats , Doctor Dedhed, Superworld Presents and Tin Star Tex. Along the way I have contributed on many comics such as Image comics Shadowhawk, Hack/Slash and Dynamo five. And on many comics with my friend Tim Seeley such as the Toxic Avenger and other Tromatic tales, Loaded Bible and Colt Noble. Along with the HERO Initiative I have also contributed many covers to some of my favorite properties like Weapon X: Wolverine, Fantastic Four, the New Avengers, Uncanny X-men and the Walking Dead. In 2007 I fell into doing trading card art on the Marvel Masterpiece series and have since worked on Hundreds of well-known properties like Adventure Time, Lady Death, the Walking Dead, Guardians of the Galaxy, Greatest American Hero, Josie and the pussycats, Voltron and I even participated on the birth of some new properties like Zombies versus Cheerleaders (Which I also drew the comic that spun off from the cards).

Song: Who have been some your writer/artist heroes?

Benjamin: Tom Grummett (Superboy), Stan Sakai (Usagi Yojimbo), Dan Aykroyd (Ghostbusters), Keith Giffen (Lobo, Legion of Super-heroes), Mike Parobeck (Justice Society of America) and the most influential would have to be Joe Staton (Green Lantern corps), Jack Kirby (Fourth world, Mister Miracle, the Demon) and Dan Jurgens (Booster Gold, Superman)

Song: Do you prefer participating in larger events (comic cons), or smaller events (in stores, etc)?

Benjamin: I kinda dig both, smaller events tend to be celebrating geekdom with fellow fans whereas larger events seem to be the opportunity to introduce our world to potential fans thirsty to discover new things. Both are fun in my book.

Song: Many people aren't aware of all the fund raising projects you're involved with. Wake Up and Draw, and Team Trinity are two recent ones. Why, why get involved using your talents?

Benjamin: I guess it’s just the way I was raised, my parents are the most generous people in existence and I strive to be like them. With the HERO Initiative it just makes sense, I want to grow old making comics but comic Artist/creators even in today’s market see little to nothing for their efforts, I give today so that maybe Karma will bless me with a long career that can be sustainable financially. As for Trinity, well she is a super sweet kid that’s had it rough and is she is just super tough, I want to be half as tough as she is, And since the only thing I’m passably good at is art, well then I’m going to use that to help.

Song: What draws you to helping others?

Benjamin: Ah I see what you did there “draws”… The only thing I’m passably good at is art and I have a blast drawing (it’s not work if you love it) and again I strive to be as generous as my parents.

Song: Jim Valentino is involved with the Hero Initiative, and you just participated in Wake Up and Draw in August. What got you involved in this project?

Benjamin: I had heard of the HERO Initiative from its inception, I thought it sounded great but I do like to thoroughly research the charities I contribute to. In the mid 2000’s I had met Josh Medors through my friend Tim Seeley, Josh had just been diagnosed with Spinal cancer and the HERO Initiative was immediately helping, and then I heard about Gene Colan’s HERO story and I actively looked into the organization and discovered that my friends Brian Pulido (Lady Death creator/writer), Michael Malve (Owner of Atomic Comics at the time, owner of Captured Planet media) and Jim Valentino (shadowhawk, Guardians of the Galaxy) were all board members, I then sought out Mike Malve to see if I could contribute and he immediately put me onto the Project 100 covers and since then I have befriended Jim McLauchlin and all the HI guys. About 3 years ago I heard about the first “Wake up & Draw” from my friend Tim Seeley and I jumped on it.

Song: Why are you a part of it, and what are you looking to do with the Arizona division of this in 2015?

Benjamin: Well the “Wake up & Draw” event is not only a great way to raise funds for the HERO Initiative but with Kirby4Heroes (the Kirby family) involved it’s a great way for industry guys to pay homage to one of the all-time greats, Jack Kirby, as well as spread awareness of Jack Kirby’s contribution to the foundation of the Comic book industry. The HERO Initiative would like to take August 28th (Jack Kirby’s b-day) and turn it into a nationwide event celebrated much like Free Comic Book Day. Arizona has the cream of the crop comic talent, an incredibly generous and supportive community which gives me high hopes that we can be the center of something very special.

Song: What is your favorite music to listen to while creating?

Benjamin: I listen to a lot of different things, but Metal is my preferred choice of tunes \m/

Song: Have any of your kids picked up the drawing/writing bug?

Benjamin: I only have one Daughter, and while she hasn’t expressed an interest in comics, she still is in the arts, she has devoted herself to Special effects make-up and Make-up effects for film… she’s my little Tom Savini.

Song: How has this passion become a joint family gathering?

Benjamin: My wife and Daughter help me very much, especially with conventions (this guy is not much of a multi-tasker) but also all of my colleagues like Jeff Pina, Val Brazier, Joseph Baker, Tony Parker, John Derrick West and all of my con-going, comic-making friends are to me, an extension of family…a big ole’ nerdy family ;)

Song: Finally, where do you want to take what you love to do? Goals for 2015 and beyond?

Benjamin: Like anyone, I would like for my comics and works to get into more people’s hands, I create stuff I would like to read and art I want to see, I just want to entertain and kick-start people’s imaginations. And the same goes for my charitable contributions, I would love to make a larger difference in a positive way.

To find out more and follow Benjamin's work and his charity work:


Laying it Down Blues Style- Let the Record Play

Interview with MJ Brown of The Delta Fifths

By: Song River 

Some of the greatest blues music comes from the heart-felt souls of women. Recently, MJ Brown lead vox, and guitarist of, The Delta Fifths, sat down with me and shared where her passion comes from.

Song River: It's a pleasure to be able to talk to you today, MJ, and get to know another formidable powerhouse- female front of a band. There's something quite involved, and even notably sexy when a strong personality kicks it out in the realm of rock and rhythm.

MJ, I've always been intrigued as to how bands select their names, your band chose, The Delta Fifths. I am sure it isn't this complicated, but I am curious, as I read delta is a Greek word, and it is also used in coding applications.

MJ Brown: This is probably the most interesting take I’ve heard yet on the band’s name. When I came up with the band name I was thinking about music historically. I have a ton of old blues LP’s and “Delta Blues” is written on many of the covers. There's so much musical history from that part of the country – the delta. As we know before TV and the radio, people made their own entertainment. Gathering on the front porch for a musical performance was common. So the word “Delta” is about symbolization. I wanted our name to pay tribute to the heart-felt music played on the front porches of the past.

I’ll probably disappoint you with how I came up with the “Fifths” as it has no deep meaning what-so-ever. A fifth is a measurement for alcohol. We are a rock band and in a rebellious, yet covert way I decided using a drinking reference was a good twist to the name.

Song: Your sound has been described as, “music played and shared on front porch steps across America.” Today that can mean so many different things. As cultures now have rap, metal, pop, and hip-hop blaring from their front stoops... what does, “front porch steps across America,” mean to you?

MJ: The Fifths sound is defiantly influenced by the music played on the front porches of the past; blues, folk, and country. Each of us have our own reasons for being in this band, but for me personally, playing music at the end of the day is what gives me peace. So, whether I’m on my own front porch, the studio, or playing a show, I’m at peace if I have my guitar in hand.

Song: The band is quite a mixture of various genres, many influences coming together, do those assorted determinants ever work their way into the mix of music produced?

MJ: I think what makes us unique is we have gritty blues-tone all the way to an alt-country finesse. Different versions, and mixes of these sounds are the backbone of the fifths.

Song: What brought you into the music scene? Did you just wake up one morning and decide you could sing so you called up a few friends and said, “Hey, lets start a band!”

MJ: I think I have slowly eased my way into the Phoenix music scene. A little secret about me is that I have major stage fright. Due to this, I spent many years on the sidelines. I’d go out and watch bands play, and wish that I was in a band, but I was too afraid to actually start one. When I was twenty-seven I finally decided to jump. My progression didn’t happen over night and there have been struggles. My first lead guitarist was, RJ Naylor. RJ gave me confidence. He pushed me to believe in myself and I’m grateful for that. I look back at those days and I know I’ve come a long way. I’ll always be very honored to be a part of the scene here.

Song: When you sing, MJ, or even write do you ever feel you are channeling a singer you've always admired?

MJ: When I sing, I focus on one thing- and that’s being honest and sincere. When I write a song and then sing it to an audience I try to be vulnerable and genuine. Audiences are smart and can sense when you are being fake. I want those who listen or come to a show to feel a connection, and be apart of what The Delta Fifths are.

Song: As the principal song writer for the band, do you have a favorite time of day you like to write, or a place that helps you let the words flow?

MJ: Ha! Most of my best stuff comes out at night and over a bottle of red wine.
As far as my musical space, it's in my home, next to my vinyl records, and turn table.

Song: How many songs in the last three years would you say you've written? Are there any that you've set aside, because they were just too hard to finish or the complete thoughts wouldn’t come?

MJ: Honestly, I can’t say how many songs I’ve written in three years. I know I’ve written a lot. Yes, there are some songs that are not finished, but that’s because that magical moment where the music and words become one hasn’t happen yet. The title track off the EP, Let the Record Play I wrote in about three minutes… it just flowed out of me. Adam Klawonn and I wrote Coochie Smith together in a matter of minutes as well. Songs that come effortlessly always seem to be the strongest.

Song: Did you write lyrics growing up? Were there any authors or writers that inspired you to become a song writer? Who were some of your favorites?

MJ: Oh yeah, I have a teenage angst lyric steno-pad. Lets hope no one ever finds it!! As far as authors, I love James Joyce, Hemingway, E.E Cummings, Poe, the classics. I don’t think I can say they inspired me to write songs, but they definitely inspired me to dig deep from within.

Song: Would you consider yourself to be a modern day blues singer?

MJ: Ha no! I just sing and hope it comes out good and this is the truth! I’m not joking!!

Song: How have you seen music progress over the last few years? Are you liking it or still waiting?

MJ: I am a fan of all types of music. I think music is constantly changing. Do I like everything that’s out there?, no, but I respect it and I regard the artists who create it. As musicians and song writers we all have the option to support one another, and that’s what’s so promising about the Phoenix scene here. Not long ago we played the Monte Vista in Flagstaff and a local jazz band, the Phoenician Four made the trip to support us. So overall, yeah I like what I see!

As far as the future, I’ll always be waiting for another song to blow me away.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Carol Pacey and the Honey Shakers CD Review: Yeah Yeah Yeah

Carol Pacey and the Honey Shakers
CD Review: Yeah Yeah Yeah

Americana Whip with a splash of beer”

by: Song River

Carol Pacey leads the posse known as, Carol Pacey and the Honey Shakers, an all original Americana, pull your boot straps up roots band, with a smattering of hard rock roped in with sticks of dynamite attached.

This is Carol Pacey and the Honey Shakers first album release, Yeah Yeah Yeah . CPHS are a massive explosion of Americana Whip with a splash of beer, vocally charmed in a duly noted woman driving her own caravan as her band mates strengthen the bolts and boards to carry this four wheeled buckboard up and over every hill. Nothing can stop this energetic led band as they have taken the Phoenix Valley by storm. CPHS is currently being spun around the airwaves all over the Valley and most recently internationally on The Lopsided World of L with well renown radio DJ- Jonathan L.

Their new album opens up and lets the honey begin to shake with their song, Do You Think Someday, which begs that old question... “do you think someday you'll care to know the new me... maybe someday?” Leading us into The Knitting Song as we unchain our hearts, and skip over to feeling our way to the next track knowing what a “good-for-nothing lying Fool” is. Epic Love Fail leaps from the grooves with wisdom, “You never find the love you want if you don't know what kind you're looking for.” CPHS's, Yeah Yeah Yeah, gives us a Happy Little Tune, and tell us that Rock and Roll Saves, and yes we all sing along in unison. Never short on determination and life's outlook their debut album rounds out with Roll My Way, asking even when things go wrong, “I'll try to appease and let some good times roll my way.” Carol Pacey and the Honey Shakers entry album, opens a whole new hive of music in a sweet, and tasty treat for all your musical senses. A throng of sweetness, and energizing droplets of Americana ReCharge!

The original line-up for their first CD release: Carol Pacey Lead Vox and acoustic, Andy Borunda Electric Guitar, Conrad Padilla (former bassist), Ben DeLuca with help from their friends: Jeff Quinonez on keyboards, Danny Torgersen on trumpet, and James Pope with Joseph Asselin on percussion.

CPHS's album, Yeah Yeah Yeah is a culmination that needs to not only slide into your play-list, but is something you must experience live. The explosive capacity of Lead vocalist, Carol Pacey, flirtatious in her jeans, cowgirl boots, and boho country charm, belts out her vocals as she constantly connects with her audience. Carol creates a relationship with each fan letting them know with her wicked smile upon her lips and sparkle in her eyes, that each person dancing and listening is a part of their rock n roll wagon!

Matching her is the powerhouse guitar work of Andy Borunda who brings any room into complete submission with each solo riff, as he transforms himself and his audience into becoming one with his masterful guitar work. Dante Fiorenza thumps his bass, and sets the course of each song as he drives in the mood hard, sweetly, and seductively with each pluck measured forth, and always keeping the beat with a passionate- let's have a good time strike- is their impeccable drummer, Ben DeLuca, who honestly shines in his pure love and enjoyment for what CPHS is creating together. And together they are Americana Power Pop or as I like to call their style Americana Crack an explosion of good times, groovy feelings and great country rock! Ready to set your mood off into the land of friends/family, Friday nights, music, and letting all your cares fall away.

*Carol Pacey and the Honey Shakers will be appearing September 26th on the Local KWSS stage for the Summer Ends Music Festival, at the Tempe Beach Park. For more information and to purchase your tickets visit:

We were honored and really excited when they asked us to play the Summer Ends Music Festival. Truth, I had already bought a three day pass before I knew we were playing; I was going regardless if we were playing or not! But then when we were asked to perform, I just couldn't believe it! Our band sharing such a huge festival with all of the other great local bands, most of whom we haven't played with yet locally, and then all of the national acts...mind blown!- Carol Pacey of Carol Pacey and the Honey Shakers.

Social Media:

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Interview with Author and Illustrator: Travis Hanson creator of the web-comic, The Bean.

Interview with Author and Illustrator:
Travis Hanson creator of the web-comic, The Bean.

By: Song River

Life is a whole new adventure”- I believe would be Author and Illustrator, Travis Hanson's, mantra. Travis recently began the process of coloring his long time dishwasher's adventure web-comic, The Bean, and I asked him to share with us the process and legacy of this regular 'Joe' turned hero.

Song River: Travis share with us a little background about The Bean, this dishwashers journey to self-discovery...

Travis Hanson: The Bean is the story of a young dishwasher who lives in an inn called the Silver Dagger. The Bean is not happy with his lot in life; as he was abandoned by his father to the owner of the inn, a mean ogre named, Gort.

One day, when he was sent on an errand to find some mushrooms, he was kidnapped by a crazy old troll who needed the boy to find a weapon of incredible power. The weapon, a broken sword, eventually ends up in the hands of Bean, who is given a charge to heal the sword.

It's a story about not always being in control of what happens to you, but learning to be in control of how you react to it. Bean finds out that even a dishwasher has the potential for being the hero.

Can a dishwasher really be a hero? 
The Bean shows us we certainly can!

Song: What were some of the nuances you were thinking of when you created this story?

Travis: My disdain for washing dishes. (laughs)

Actually, I am a strong believer that you might not be able to control a situation - yet you can control your reaction to that situation. Which in the end allows you to control your future.

I also watch my own children as they grow-up and observe how they deal with choices and situations. Sometimes, not everyone you meet can be trusted, while other times you meet people that look scary or intimidating, and they turn out to be your closest allies. That's basically what The Bean is about.

Taking old stereotypes and tossing them out the window.

Song: Did you draw from any personal experiences in its creation?

Travis: I did. I took from my love of day dreaming and eating in dinners, while listening to the conversations around me when I was little.

You learn that the world is a much bigger place than you thought.

I also took the story from other experiences. When I wrote the refugee scene… I spent many hours talking to a friend who was a soldier and Chaplains' Aide. He had served in Africa, and had seen some pretty rough stuff. It helped me add a level of realism to my tale.

When dealing with wounds, I asked my cousin who studied to be a trauma surgeon on how one would deal with taking care of injuries on the battlefield, and also symptoms of fevers etc.. I love doing research.

Song: What year did you begin Bean?

Travis: 2002 really, but I did not put it into the current format that you see today, until 2009.

Song: Why did you originally begin in black and white, and were your intentions to keep it in this format?

Travis: I wanted to keep the story going. The story is an epic and I struggled with balancing a job/family/faith and the comic. To color it was way too taxing in the beginning, so I took the, “Jeff Smith Model”, and went for b/w with the intent to color it later. It allowed the story to continue and keep it going - there are many web-comics that start in color, and quit because they cannot keep up with the demand a comic creates. Plus, there is little money at the moment in web-comics, so most creators need to have other jobs to keep the bills paid.

Song: What made you decide to begin this coloring process? Do you think it will enhance the story?

Travis: Because as much as I love black and white- color is what sells. I found that a lot of doors were closed because it's b/w, so I decided to go back and start the coloring process. I had too. I want this story to be told the way I see and though I am still updating in b/w it has always been my dream to do it in color.

Song: You chose Patreon as your instrument to use to take your passion for this story to its full glory. Why did you choose this particular venue to reach your goals?

Travis: I chose Patreon, because Jason Brubaker, reminded (pause), encouraged me to. I found it to be a nice model that allowed fans to help finance a project. It is allowing me to speed up the process. This is important, because Patreon is making it possible for creators to spend time on their own dreams and projects, with the help of others.

It's like the renaissance where patrons helped artists be what they were good at, and that was being an artist. Also, I like Patreon because you can control how much you choose to donate. Most people donate just a $1 per color update, about $8 per month. That's it, and you can cap it. So you control how much you donate. It's very, very cool.

There's no time limit either, there is a reward system, and for me to color 600 + pages I needed a way to ease the burden of a free web-comic - which will still be free.

Song: How can those who want to support The Bean, get involved, and read how it works find your information?

Travis: Here is my link:

Patreon allows people to donate money to help fund creators projects. Since my project is intense and big (600+ pages and constant b/w updates) Patreon allows people to lift the financial burden that a project like this creates. Especially when it is a labor of love. Some rewards included are; Free art, mentoring, secret blog, etc… The other thing is a patron can control how much they choose to donate. It could be just a $1 each month or it could be more. It is all up to the patron.

The main thing is this opens a way for indy creators to produce some incredible projects, and do some wonderful things, while rewarding fans in a way that they have never done before. It is opening doors.

Travis Hanson is an Eisner nominated fantasy illustrator with a huge imagination. His works include comics, children's art, fantasy and just fun illustrations that encourages the need for people to be creative.

For more information on Trav's works, rates and ideas, just send a note to