Saturday, March 28, 2009

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I am still mentally reliving the experience that was arrogance @ 40. Those who missed it missed one great show. The sound was good. The venue was great... although I don't think they understand indie rock shows. The crowd was well behaved.... partially because we're old! But we can still rock when we want too. The performers certainly proved that!

Backstage a quick conversation or two popped up about doing a "Comboland" show. Scott Davison mentioned it to me as an idea. To do a show featuring some of the bands from the 70's and 80's would be fun. A lot of the musicians are still playing. Maybe some of those who aren't, or who only come out every 7 years or so (Debra) could be coaxed on-stage for an event like this.

So who would you like to see? I'm not going to give any suggestions... but I will say there are a handful of bands that I always get questions about so I do know of a few that would be a good draw. But.... who would YOU like to see on-stage?

If you were at the arrogance @ 40 show I know you will have an opinion. Don't be shy. Give me a group or two. I make no promises about a future show. But I will push the right people who CAN make one happen!

On the new music front Hammer No More The Fingers has a new CD coming out April 7th. This was one of the first new bands I added to the station. Cuts from the upcoming CD are on their MySpace page. GOOD STUFF. Listen for it soon on Comboland Radio, and pre-order the CD now.

And if you STILL have not heard tunes from The OAK Team's CD "National Champions" you don't know what you're missing. Go get it at Doublenaught Records. Hear cuts on Comboland Radio!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

arrogance @ 40 Re-Cap

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Those reviewing music are supposed to be impartial. It's difficult to do that when the band you are going to see are old friends, and were one of your favorite bands before they were your friends! Of course if they sucked really bad, like Led Zeppelin did in '77 at the Greensboro Coliseum, I guess I could write some nasty stuff. But on their WORST night arrogance has never sounded that bad. On Saturday night at the Carolina Theater the guys turned in one of their best performances in years! It was a interesting show, which commemorated the band's formation in 1969 and featured a bunch of special guests. Each guest has made an impact to the Comboland Music Scene, and a few have had an even greater impact.

Up first was Debra DeMilo. She stole the damn show right up front!! That girl can still sing, and can still work the crowd!! Little Queenie and Mick Jagger tribute had that old theater jumpin'. Then she came out later to join arrogance in the Dogbreath portion of the show. Awesome. I, and others, wished she had done and old Knobs tune... but what the hell. Just seeing her on stage was good enough. I, and those others (of which there are many!) wish she would get on stage more often.

Dave Adams was next and played the Glass Moon songs "She's On" and "On A Carousel". you may remember that Rod Abernethy played with Dave for a bit in Glass Moon so it was cool to see those guys playing together.

Parthenon Huxley was up next. Originally known as Rick Miller his band "The Blazers" put out a fine LP called "How To Rock" and from that he and the guys from arrogance played "Country Girl", followed by an early solo effort, "Buddha Buddha" from his "Rick Rock" days. Both are killer songs and it was great to hear them performed. P. Hux is a damn fine guitar player and you got a taste of his playing in those two song, and again later in the free-for-all that closed the show. More on that later.

arrogance is my favorite Comboland band, I think that is obvious. In close second are the dB's. So a chance to see any member of the band perform is a real treat. To get Peter Holsapple and Chris Stamey on the stage together, even if it is for only 2 songs (well 3 technically since one was a bit of a medley) would be reason enough for me to attend this show. They did a new song from a collaboration they are working on which was great! I was anticipating this new release anyway but now REALLY want them to get it done and out so I can play it on Comboland Radio.

Mitch and Shalini were on next. They used Scott on drums from arrogance as they had bassist Jon Heames (who rocked!), Mitch and Shalini on guitars (later joined by Chris Stamey) and Dixon on keyboard. Mitch has always been on of my favorite guitarists. He can truly play just about any type of music imaginable yet always gets stereotyped as this "jangle-pop" player. This is another artist who just doesn't play that many gigs these days so it was a real treat to see him on stage. Man... he rocked it during the free-for-all... but more on that later.

Next was a real treat for long-time arrogance fans as the original arrogance members, Dixon, Robert, Mike Greer and Jimmy Glasgow played their first single to close out the first portion of the show. Superb performance!! Mike and Jimmy sounded great! It looked like they were enjoying themselves too.

After a short break it was time for arrogance. No guests. Just arrogance. They nailed it! Many of those in attendance have seen them what seems like a million times. I mean this is the band that just won't go away. We don't want them to... they don't really want to. Before every show I can hear a few of the folks I hang with saying something like "why are we going to see them again?" "We just saw them in August for god's sake!" Then they start playing and it's like "oh yeah... this is why". Plus... Saturday night's performance was one of their best, musically, in years. Man they were on it!

Then the aforementioned free-for-all. After Debra got the crowd up outta their seats during the Dogbreath tunes Mitch and P. Hux joined in the fun for a few tunes.

It struck me that with Rod Abernethy, Mitch Easter and Rick/Parthenon you had three of Comboland's Best/Most Tasteful guitarists on stage together just wailing! Mike Greer and Jimmy Glasgow later joined in and it was loud, fun, still musical and definitely rockin'.

This was such a fun show. I really couldn't say anything bad about any of it. I am also not impartial where these musicians are concerned, it should be noted. Some are old friends and acquaintances. All of their songs are among my favorites. And with this particular show their musicianship was mostly spot on. You really can't ask for much more.

What Is Comboland Radio?

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You have stumbled upon an internet radio station that features the music of Comboland! You may be asking yourself "what the heck is a Comboland? You may be asking "where is it"? "Didn't I see a sign for it between Creedmoor and Berea?" Comboland is somewhat geographic in nature, but musical as well.

I, like many others, had the good fortune to be in central North Carolina during the golden age of clubs, bars, bands and music. It lasted from the early 70's through about 1985. There were so many groups and plenty of places to play. More importantly there were also plenty of people; mainly college aged folks, to support these musicians. I was also fortunate enough to become friends with several of these bands and their members, and even work with a few of them at a recording studio. It was a great time to be involved in the music scene!

I would later get back into radio, and at about the same time the drinking laws changed. Fewer people were going to these clubs, the number of bands dwindled down and the scene began to dry up. I moved out of the area in 1994 and lost touch with the most of the folks in the music scene.

Several of those folks I had known since childhood and we did maintain friendships. But…. you know how it goes. It might be months, or a year or two between conversations. One of those folks, former artist manager Harry Simmons, sent me an email in December of 2007 saying that Fabulous Knobs/Woods co-founder David Enloe had died. I could not believe what I was reading! I then found my way to David's band mate and best friend Terry Anderson's blog. It was touching and yet very sad.

After I cried a little bit I decided to dig out my old albums and tapes to reminisce about the old Carolina music scene. I got on the internet and Googled "North Carolina Music Scene". I saw Steve Boyle's great "Return To Comboland" website full of old videos and the new documentaries he was producing. I found a few other blogs and discovered that fans were still passionate about this music but except for a few websites there is NO outlet for it at all. I also discovered that beyond Don Dixon and Terry Anderson (whose CD's I already had) there was still some rockin' music coming out of the Carolinas. So I digitized a bunch of albums (and a few 45's) and did a bit of restoration to eliminate scratches and rumble, ripped a bunch of CD's, built a database and started generating playlist to listen to around the house. I was really surprised at how good the old and new stuff all sounded together.

I thought that maybe you could build a radio station built around the music of the "North Carolina Music Scene". I then refreshed myself on the rules and regulations for streaming audio and quickly realized I would need more artists, and more music post 1987 to make an internet radio station work.

Back to the web and I found some regional bands on CD Baby and through Terry Anderson and Jack Cornell's Doublenaught Records. I also saw the Spongetones had a new CD, Mitch Easter also had a recent release and the Jump Rabbits had one coming out (it is out now). I searched out music from the post Comboland era bands, COC, Superchunk, etc. Still not enough so I expanded out a bit more, hopefully without diluting the sound. I ran in test mode for awhile using my friends, my wife, and some of the musicians I was about to feature. Suggestions were made, then tweaks were made, music added, music subtracted, and got Comboland Radio up and rolling.

The station was launched publicly on August 1st, 2008 via Live365. I have since heard from a number of people and have more music to track down and add! The initial response has been incredible! People are literally listening from all over the world, but primarily from North Carolina, which makes total sense.

The name is borrowed from a project spearheaded by Godfrey Cheshire and "The Spectator" magazine in 1985. You may remember the LP "Welcome To Comboland" 27 different artists/bands submitted 2 to 3 songs each for the initial project. Twelve of them ended up on the record that was finally released on the "Making Waves" label. It was this project that put "Comboland" on the map and gave a catchy name to the "North Carolina Music Scene".

The Comboland project was an effort to expose the great music coming out of the Carolinas (and Virginia too) and help these artists find some success. The internet radio station I have started is an effort to continue that tradition by providing an outlet to the artists that are STILL cranking out an enormous amount of great music from Comboland! Please listen and tell all of your friends to do so too. If you are a band in the North or South Carolina or Virginia I would love to hear from you so I can consider adding your music to the ever expanding playlist of Comboland Radio.