18.1.13 / 19.1.13

The Schlockmeisters at the Illawarra Folk Festival

Schlockmeisters original lineup : Jen Saunders on guitar and vocals,

Suzi Krawczykowa on Madolin, vocals and accordion,

Peg Ryan on clarinet, saxophone and vocals,

Malcolm Noshow on bass and vocals,

Mighty Ash on drums and percussion

This was a fantastic couple of days!

We headed down to the campsite and set up, braving some pretty insane weather.

Anyone there will remember the heat waves followed by ferocious winds that tore some peoples tents from the ground.

But nothing could kill the vibe of this event, a great time was had.

We played the first day on the stage were all the drummers and dancers were performing,

a little bit far from the crowd for my liking but great all the same.

I have grown accustomed to playing right in front of the audience so large stages are still a challenge for me.

We did a few covers and all our original material, then partied on into the night.

The second day we played on the train, this was an interesting experience.

Because a lot of people were coming down from Sydney they had set up special trains for the audience.

Each carriage of the south bound train was a genre. So you had a country carriage, a blues carriage, a folk carriage etc.

We took over the Gypsy carriage.

We travelled north on a bus to head of the train at one of its first stops.

Looking back the bus trip was a great time too. We had all these musicians with all acoustic instruments piled in together and we all played and sang along in a huge group.

The jam carried on to the station were we continued playing and taking turns singing or as a huge chorus on the platform while we waited for the train.

It was almost sad having to break up again to get in our respective carriages.

We started by walking through the carriage playing and sat ourselves at the far end of the with the open seats.

By then everyone had gotten up and followed us and we had all the passengers singing along until we got to

Thirroul train station.

We continued playing on the platform as people found their way to the festival.

I remember a guy following us with s video camera, I'm pretty sure there is some footage out there.

Our second stage show was in sort of a barn or stable, it was during the day and incredibly hot,

but we played through and had a lot of fun with it.

Our final show was at one of the main stages up on the hill.

A lot of our friends had travelled both south and north and I felt this show was a huge hit.

I was really happy with the relationship between instruments and after playing all weekend I reckon

we nailed our songs better than ever.

There were so many fantastic bands on over the festival and we met and played music with a huge amount of really interesting and talented people.

I remember being in the cloak room where they lock up the instruments and the lady who minds the door was playing a mandolin and singing and

we all gathered around her table and joined in on the chorus.

It’s a warmth and loveliness you can only get from a festival.

I honestly think festival gigs shit on venues only because you have hundreds of people and performers all gathering around wherever they meet and making moments.

I caught as many shows as I could and travelled home on the final night.

Great start to the year.

25.1.13

Played at Barcode in Wollongong as a solo act for the Knohow Music Collective show called Sounds Bangin'.

It was the first heat of the open mic’ freestyle competition as well as a headline show for the local band Mass Effect.

A lot of people were in the building including Elemont, Lady G, DJ ODZ

and of course the guy that puts it all together Kut Bizy.

I played with my mate Helix as a stand in DJ as none of my regular DJ’s were available.

He did a really good job even though we hadn't rehearsed together and I was really pleased with how it all came together.

I played some old songs like Mcquarrie Concept

(a reference to the artist who did the original Star Wars concept art back in 1977)

and Bada as well as some new stuff I had never played before like Mr Buzz and FMMFA

which if you don't know stands for Full Metal Motherfucking Alchemist,

a dedication to one of my favourite animes and mangas.

It was a really cool night at a really cool venue. Felt like I gave it my all.

2.2.13

FunkHouse and The Leisure Coasters at Tomerong Hall.

This was a fantastic night in Tomerong. I’m sure we had the place at capacity.

FunkHouse opened up first while the guys form The Leisure Coasters did our sound and then they went

on second while we did their sound.

This was one of the gigs with our good friend Roy Du Cord on guitar and John Gwilliam on bass.

As usual we had Eric Zarrella on keys, John Kenny on lead vocals, Grant Merinuk on sax,

Aaron Strickland on drums and myself doing the Hip Hop and backing thing.

The Leisure Coasters are a fantastic band and like us have a large group of different instruments,

so it really suits both bands to be sharing shows like this.

This is the second time we have done a double header like this and I really think it works.

The Leisure Coasters have a great album out and I’m sure if you looked them up you could find a copy.

They play soulful grooves and upbeat reggae rude boy styles with a touch of south coast sunshine and sand.

Tomerong shows always go off, people are willing to travel for these shows and because it’s in the middle

of nowhere everyone stays all night.

Usually by the end we are standing around that small fire out the side.

If you’ve been there you know what I’m talking about.

 

17.2.13

The Schlockmeisters at Mezzadellas, Berry.

Mezzadellas is a new wood fired pizza place in Berry. They dug up the old car park and put in a

huge courtyard with grass and fountains and seating 

and have started putting on live shows on a Sunday afternoon.

My band The Schlockmeisters went down and played a few sets. 

This band incorporates a few elements form our band Venn with the gypsy styling's of Peg and Suzi.

Jen sings and plays guitar, Brad was playing bass, Peg plays clarinet, saxophone and sings, Suzie plays mandolin, accordion and sings while I play drums.

Its so fun to play such old style music like this, reminds me a bit of the old Django Reinhardt albums I used to listen to with a touch of folk and old school Hip Hop with a sneaking in of some early eighties alternative music.

Great venues and fabulous crowd.

 

10.3.13

I just started a new band and I wanted to talk about our first show 

at The Bottlerocket Bar in Nowra, NSW.

This was to support the band Caravana Sun.

Now first of all Caravana Sun played an amazing show. They are a very very tight band.

They play with a clarity of sound that I have never heard from a live band.

Anyway they asked if I had someone to play support and in comes Jen Saunders.

Jen Saunders is a visual artist and singer/songwriter from Broughton Creek.

We play in two bands together, the first being the acoustic duet and occasional trio called Venn,

the second being my gypsy band The Schlockmeisters.

But for this gig we decided to add our good friend Malcolm Noshow to the mix as a bass player and supporting singer.

I stepped up to play drums and Jen took the lead vocal and guitar.

What we ended up with was like a cross between the acoustic style stuff we do and a sort of old school heavier rockier

more 'bandy' sound.

We all thought it was great and have decided to make it an official band.

We don't have a name yet but as we are playing quite a few originals by Jen and she is the lead vocal I believe

we should be called Jen Saunders and the (something).

More news to come on that one, off to Woonona next... much love A.S.H

16.3.13

Played a gig in Woonona with my band FunkHouse.

It was an all ages gig in a kooky little hall in a small town. Lots of kids on push bikes and skateboards.

We shared the bill with some of our old mates 'Tommy M and the Mastersounds' and 'Le Tour De Funk'.

Young dudes in both bands and great players all around.

The highlight of the evening for me was after the band 'Swing Booty' had finished and everyone had gone out for a smoke and a chat while we set up.

We where ready to go but we didn't want to start until everyone was back inside.

So the band started playing our song 'Heard The News' and I gave my wireless mic to John Kenny our lead singer.

He walked across the dance floor and outside and sang to everyone out on the street and then brought them all back inside with him still singing and he came up onto the stage in time to sing his verse

"We've come to your town, we're here to make you shake your body down."

A great start to a show. John is a fantastic showman, a real inspiration to me.

Off to Sydney next. A.S.H

23.3.13 / 24.3.13

Played a mad show, Saturday arvo gig at The Valve Bar in Tempe.

This was FunkHouse supporting our mates Le Tour De Funk at their first ever Sydney gig.

They had some albums for sale there so now I know they are available I reccomend you hit them up on

their facebook page.

The sound was excellent as usual.

The Valve Bar has always come through with a great sound for our band and me and John Kenny spent most of the gig singing from down in the audience.

John Gwilliam (FunkHouse bass player) put together a great set for us over hot dogs at the milk bar next door,

and I cruised back home with Roy Du Chord in his van.

Then on Sunday I played at Mezzadellas with my gypsy band The Schlockmeisters.

This is the second time we have played there and this time we shared the bill with a flamenco troupe.

I cant remember if my six year old son has been to many of my gigs before but the show at Mezzadellas is very child friendly so I brought him along and he was so proud.

Running around telling every one 'My dad's band is playing in half an hour.'

What a little legend.

Great shows, feels like I did it all in one weekend... Sydney to Berry... What more could you want?

Now FunkHouse is taking a short holiday to work on our recording and song writing,

so I will also be taking this time to finish mixing my solo album.

Back in the lab, peace. A.S.H

14.4.13

Jen Saunders played a solo spot at Mezzadellas today.

I was up the back drinking coffee with Eric Zarrella from FunkHouse and playing with my son.

I jumped up and played a couple of songs on guitar while Jen sang.

We did 'The Hour That The Ship Comes In' by Bob Dylan, we did 'Blues In The Night',

I'm not sure who wrote that but I based it on the version by Van Morrison,

and of course we played 'Blind Willie Mctell' because we alllllllways play that one.

Jen has a wonderful custom guitar someone built for her which I got to play, it sounds fantastic!

Suzi and Peg from The Schlockmeisters where there... I snuck off before the end because my son was tired and there where just way too many people to say goodbye to.

Still mixing my album,

havent stopped for a second and I don't intend to until the very last minute I hand it over to be printed.

Going over to Roy Du Cord's studio this week to give it a test run. (Guitarist from FunkHouse)

Also having a jam with Eric Zarrella this week and a recording session with FunkHouse, I think John Gwilliams has

written some new songs for us to work on...

Also got a meeting coming up regarding a short film Aaaron Strickland is making,

but that's another story right there. Chow. A.S.H

10.5.13

Played a gig with FunkHouse at the Culburra Beach Festival. Biggest crowd we have ever had at Culburra, the place was packed from the front door to the dance floor and all the outside area.

We came in and watched Tommy M and The Master Sounds rip the stage up.

We where all standing back stage just blowing out at their changes and riffs.

(I also noticed they have a cd out so check that out when you get a chance.)

So we are back stage getting the gear together and then it's time to go on but I am in the back of the van wearing my suede shoes and there is a few meters of damp grass between us and the back door.

There is no way I am walking on damp grass in these shoes.

So Roy Du Cord comes over and I jump on his back and he piggy backs me up to the stage.

The stage manager is standing there and he has no idea about the shoe situation, he just sees me being carried on stage so he's like "What the fuck is this?"

So I turned to him and said "It's because I'm the singer." 

We hit the stage in full suits with sunglasses and over coats and hats and shit, then we launch into 'Church Of The Funk' which is like a little intro that changes from gig to gig.

Then we played 'Funk Yeah' which is an old favourite we used to always play early at shows

because its good to warm up to. 

Then we played a version of a Brand New Heavies song called 'Good Times'.

Then we played 'Gotta Get It' which is one of our more recent songs, its got this great key change I wrote where it goes down a fifth and there's a sax solo and then it jumps back up. Real power house funk.

Next we did 'Rhymes' which we play as a cross between the Al Green version and the version our singer John Kenny used to play in his band The Rockmelons.

In fact I'm pretty sure they released that as a single back in the eighties.

Then we move into the reggae section of the evening which is based on a song called 'Happiness'.

Then we got Sharron up to sing 'Heard The News' with us.

We like to get her up for that song because she actually sang on the original demo for that track here at The Lab.

If you go to our Facebook page you may find that demo if it's still up, her vocal is most prominent in the last two chorus' and she's doing some freestyle backing vocals through the yeah yeah's and around the sax solo.

(On a side note the 'background' and 'crowd noise' in that recording is actually myself, Toothy Snake from Ninja Vanish, Feargus and my friend Josh here at The Lab having a poker night.)

Anyway, next we played 'Shake It Up' which is a song we wrote over a year ago but have found some really cool new things to do with.

John Kenny has completely rewritten his lyrics and we have worked on some three part vocal harmonies that Eric Zarrella sings with us while he plays the main riff on keyboards and Roy Du Cord follows my vocal with his guitar,

it's really fun.

Anyway this is when we have already had the 'last song' call from the mc but we snuck in a version of 'Thank You'

which I think is a Sly Stone song.

I had actually already walked off stage and was talking to Ben Fowler who was playing next but as I had a cordless mic I started joining in the chorus and then ended up running back on stage and doing a rap verse and then we all said goodnight and moved off.

Our drummer Aaron Strickland stayed on and played Ben Fowler's set with him.

I watched from the back and chatted to Chris, who gave us the gig after I promised I'd get my girly to bake him

some cookies.

Actually that's another thing, because we started talking about the cookies during the show too.

I was all like 'FunkHouse brings our own cookies man" ...

and then Chris was talking about them after the show on our web page and I was wondering how it all sounded to people who may have thought we meant hash cookies, but no we meant actual cookies, funny.

The whole merch' area was about cookies that night, and they had this giant thong,

like a five foot rubber shoe that everyone was signing.

After the show I hung out with the guys from Tommy M and The Master Sounds in the car park and then we went back to Eric Zarrella's house.

The rest is a bit of a blur but I know I didn't get home until 6:45pm the next evening.

So between the after party, then breakfast and a photo shoot at Bab's cafe 'Socrates Table', then another after party and then back to John Kenny's studio to write a nice soul song, I ended up having a 24 hour outing.

So yeah, pretty grateful for that.

Definitely going back to play the festival next year, as long as we are still in the country because to be honest we would really like to be in Europe by then, fingers crossed.

Anyway yay for Culburra, don't think we have anything else to do but rehearse until my album launch in June.

Peace.

 

5.6.13

John Kenny and myself drove down to Batemans Bay to do an interview on the air with our good friends Vanessa and Michael for their show THE SLAM.

We took them a few copies of the new album and had a little bit of a chat about what we had been up to both production and performance wise.

Then we did a few tracks live in the studio.

I have always enjoyed doing radio and especially local radio because the DJ's and listeners are all people who

know us and follow what we do.

Vanessa and Michael have always been heaps supportive of our work and are always a joy to work with.

A lot of people tuned in and I was swamped wth texts and facebook messages, cheers for that.

The main focus of the show was to let people know that we will be launching the album In Wollongong on the 7th.

Should be great. Peace!