Jam Double-Bill: Twiddle + The Werks = Twerk Tour, Fri, Oct 10. at Ram’s Head Live
w/ Special Guests Second Self
$18 / $20 / Doors 8pm / Show 9pm / ALL AGES (Twiddle closes)
After an amazing festival season, Twiddle and The Werks are back for the amazing double-billed Twerk Tour! Playing at Bonnaroo, Electric Forest, Wakarusa, Summer Camp and many more of this summer’s most exciting events, these two bands are ready to keep the party going well into the fall with a string of shows.
Twiddle spins tall tales over an intricate soundscape of hi-def shred. Their fresh multi-genre approach conjures up jazz, classical, and bluegrass, but above all, masterfully blends reggae and funk. Obliterating laws of improvisation, their complex arrangements never fail to leave crowds lusting for more. With sage songwriting and unmatched variety, Twiddle’s thrilling infancy continues to exceed all expectation.
Twiddle is Mihali Savoulidis (guitar, vocals), Ryan Dempsey (keyboards, vocals), Brook Jordan (drums, vocals), Zdenek Gubb (bass, vocals).
The Werks produce a dance party that can be appreciated by a majority of musical tastes. Known for fusing psychedelic shredding guitar, wailing organ of jam and classic rock with funk slap bass, synthesizers, and modern dance beats, The Werks create their own style of music. Their unique style of performing is affected and manipulated by the energy of the audience, guaranteeing that each show will be different and memorable.
The Werks is Rob Chafin (drums, vocals, samples), Dino Dimitrouleas (bass, vocals), Chris Houser (guitar, vocals), Dan Shaw (keyboards, vocals).
Party at Ground Zero
Lockn’ Music Festival
September 11-13, 2015
By Jim McWalters
As Fishbone noted, it was “Party at Ground Zero” at the Lockn’ Music Festival this past weekend. Nostalgia was in full force with history being made throughout the weekend featuring some of the most prolific acts in rock and roll. Returning headliners such as Widespread Panic, The String Cheese Incident, Phil Lesh and Friends, and The Tedeski Trucks Band, helped bridge the gap between the classic rock of yesterday and today. With Thursday’s performances canceled due to the wicked weather that wreaked havoc on preparations, organizers scrambled to re-arrange the lineup. As a result, several artists were left on the short end including, Rockn’ to Lockn’ winners Moogatu, as well as Little Feat, Soulive, and a personal favorite Strangefolk. Friday morning arrival was as expected, a bit chaotic as 30,000 fans ascended the grounds at once. Despite the delays, the day was sunny and warm and memories of long lines and the day that wasn’t, quickly faded to musical bliss.
The music opened with the Doobie Incident with The String Cheese Incident sharing the stage with classic rock stalwart’s, the Doobie Brothers. The set included a tasty cheesy treat of greatest hits including “Rockin’ Down the Highway,” “Takin’ It to the Streets,” “Black Water,” “China Grove,” “Black Water,” Jesus is Just Alright,” and “Listen to the Music,” along with the Cheese’s own, “Sometimes a River.”
Moonalice Photo Photo by Josh Brick
A fine set of psychedelic jams by Moonalice; followed another Rockn’ to Lockn’ winner, Seth Stainback & Roosterfoot. The party really started to take off during North Mississippi AllStars set of delta blues featuring Sharde Thomas on cane fife, Ron Johnson on bass, and brothers Cody (drums) and Luther Dickinson (guitar). The performance included “Sitting on Top of the World,” “Shake ‘Em on Down, and “Mean Ol’ Wind Died Down” before concluding with Cody and Luther taking their drums into the crowd. The Deep South theme continued with Anders Osborne playing some of the finest swampy rock and blues this side of New Orleans with guest sit-ins by John Kadlecik and Scott Metzger. Steve Earle’s eye opening performance threw in the kitchen sink playing everything from Celtic rock to Jimi’ Hendrix’s “Hey Joe.”
Anders Osbourne Photo By Josh Brick
With all the great music on the bill this weekend, The String Cheese Incident set was almost an afterthought. However, the opener “Come As You Are,” a funky rock/calypso number, reminded me why I love the Cheese so much. The performance was a whirling mix of rock, funk, jazz, and country jammin’ that only SCI could pull off. It was the perfect elixir for the evening sunset, which also featured “Rosie” and the joyful “Colorado Bluebird Skies” from the band’s latest record.
In addition to Lesh, the Lockn’ 2015 version of Phil and Friends starred, Neal Cassel (Guitar), Chris Robinson (Vocals), Adam MacDougall (Keyboard), Eric Krasno (Guitar) and Tony Leone (Drums). The set included some of the most beloved Dead tunes such as “Promised Land”, “Shakedown Street,” “Brown Eyed Woman”, “Bertha”, “Playing in the Band”, “Bird”, “Going Down the Road”, and a rare take on “I’m a Hog for You.” A rousing version of “Gimmie Shelter” was followed by “Morning Dew,” and the classic favorite “I Know You Rider”.
As if it couldn’t get any better, the 50th anniversary version of the Jefferson Airplane took the stage. The lineup included original members Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Cassidy as well as Rachael Price (Lake Street Dive), GE Smith, Jeff Pehrson, Justin Guip, Larry Campbell and Teresa Williams (Levon Helm Band) . The band ripped through a soulful epitome of nostalgic rock classics including opener, ”3/5 Of A Mile in 10 Seconds, “Good Shepard,” “White Rabbit,” and “Plastic Fantastic.” The psychedelic sixties trip continued with an absolutely flawless cover of “Somebody to Love,” featuring Teresa Williams’ stunning vocals. Bill Kreutzman joined the band on “Come Back Baby,” and stayed on board for closers “Volunteers,” and “Feel So Good,” both of which were highlighted by gleeful drum and bass riffs between Kreutzman and Cassidy.
TTB Mad Dogs & The Englishmen Photo By Josh brick
The Tedeschi Truck Band doing “Mad Dogs and Englishmen” was one of the most anticipated sets of the weekend and it did not disappoint. Originally it was discussed as a project that potentially Joe Cocker would do with the band, before his untimely passing last December. In honor of Joe, the group included many of the alumni from that infamous tour including: Leon Russell, Chris Stainton, Rita Coolidge, Claudia Lennear, Pamela Polland, Matthew Moore, Daniel Moore, Bobby Jones, Chuck Blackwell and Bobby Torres. Opening number “The Letter” set the house on fire with Susan Tedeschi’s booming vocals. The rest of the evening was a delicious entrée of highlights including “The Weight” and “I’ve been Loving You Too Long,” and the Beatles “Something.” Claudia Lennear tore through “Cry Me A River,” before ceding vocal duties to Rita Coolidge on “Superstar.” Leon Russell delighted the packed infield with Bob Dylan’s “North Country Girl” before John Bell (Widespread Panic) appeared for a superb version of “Delta Lady.” Guest musicians were in abundance as Warren Haynes appeared for “She Came in Through the Open Window” with contributions from Anders Osborne and Doyle Bramhall II. The legendary Dave Mason also appeared for “Feeling Alright.” A Chris Robinson and Susan Tedeschi duet proved why they may have the best chops in the business, with an outer-worldly cover of “Space Captain.” The set concluded with Russell’s solo take on “Mad Dogs and Englishmen” with the band closing the evening out with ripping version of “A Little Help From My Friends” with Derrek Trucks evoking Duane Allman. To be honest, the performance may well have been one of those uniquely memorable moments in rock and roll history. I’m sure if Joe was looking down tonight, he could not have been more pleased.
Brendan Bayliss Of Umphreys McGee Photo By Josh Brick
Before turning in for the night I was able to catch Umphrey’s McGee grungy prog rock set on the Blue Ridge stage. The set was so hot even the onset of rain couldn’t quench the fire and energy of the performance. Late night performances also included the Deep Rhythm Experience of Steve Kimock, Mickey Hart and EOTO.
The Southern Belles w/ Jim McWalters from CVL Photo by Josh Brick
The skies started to clear Saturday morning after a good dowsing overnight and I headed over to meet up with another Rockin’ to Lockn’ winner, The Southern Belles of Richmond Virginia. I spoke with guitar and vocalist Adrian Ciucci as well as newest member, bassist Andrew Carper (Keyboardist Tommy Booker would join later). As their name implies, the band is very proud of their Richmond roots. Ciucci was keen to make a point about the burgeoning music scene in the city much like the scene at Haight-Ashbury during San Francisco’s hippie heyday where people really come out to support live music such as the bands own electric Friday shows at The Camel in Richmond. The band also spoke about their first release Sharp as a Knife and their latest record, Close to Sunrise and the evolution of their sound and production. As Ciucci explained, the new release was produced with more emphasis on the structure and development of the songs, with more care as to how the material was presented. Producer Bryan Walthal who was instrumental in helping out with both releases, was always quick to let the band know when he felt like he didn’t like something or if it didn’t fit. This also helped to make the band hone their craft even more during live performances so that they can maintain the same level of quality and sound of the record.
Lockn’ organizes a competition that pits bands from around the State of Virginia for one of the four slots available to play the festival. It’s a great way for Lockn’ to support the local music scene. Naturally I had to ask the band how they were picked to play Lockn’ 2015. Turns out the band had sent in their application the year prior only to hear their application had been lost. At that point, it was too late to resubmit. (Fellow Richmond band, The Peoples Blues of Richmond ended up winning.) Not to be discouraged, the band turned in their 2015 application only once again told that they would need to resubmit. Luckily for Ciucci, neighbor Jared Stone who he didn’t know lived down the street, worked for Flat Fly Productions and organizes the Rockn’ to Lockn’ events. Stone was able to cut through the snafu and, lucky for us, as we get to see the band play Lockn’!
The Southern Belles will be appearing Tuesday September 22 with The American Babies at Gypsy Sally’s in Washington D.C. as well Mantrabash in Ferguson, NC on September 25th.
Local Nelson County natives “Lord Nelson,” opened the music Saturday with a fine set of southern rock. Just over the hills at Lockn’, home town Charlottesville heroes Love Cannon next took the early afternoon stage. Led by guitarist Jesse Harper, the band consists of banjo player Adam Larrabee, Darrell Muller on bass, Andy Thacker on mandolin & Jay Starling on resonator guitar. All you need to know is that they are an 80’s cover band that plays kick ass bluegrass. The playful set was a great way to start the afternoon with a set that included the Vapers cover “Turning Japanese” as well as something you would not expect to hear at Lockn’, a cover of Olivia Newton-John’s “Physical!”
Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe was next on deck with guest keyboardist Chuck Leavell. The band played a wonderful mix of funk, jazz and rock opening up with “When I Get Home” and a scrumptious cover of “Tumblin’ Dice”. “My Baby Likes to Boogaloo” closed out the set to a heavy dose of boogie woogie. Returning to Lockn’ again this year on the main stage Hot Tuna gave the crowd double dose of Kaukonen’s beautiful finger picking and Cassidy’s slick bass. The duo played through a host of fan favorites including: “I See the Light,” “Hesitation Blues,” “Barbeque King,” the Reverend Davis tune “Light of the World,” “Good Shepard” and closers “I Know You Rider,” and “Watersong.” Towards the end of the set, Jorma paused and looked appreciatively to the crowd, perhaps reflecting another memorable festival, of which he’s seen some good ones; “It’s great to be here, but it’s great to be anywhere at our age.”
Bob Weir & Derek Trucks Photo by Josh Brick
As dinner time approached, one of rock’s hottest tickets, The Tedeski Trucks Band once again graced the stage. After last night’s Mad Dogs and The Englishmen performance it was hard to know what could top that. Bob Weir sat in with the band for “Key to the Highway’” and “Walking Blues,” exchanging riffs between Susan and Derrek. The set also featured one of TTB fans most beloved song, the beautiful “Midnight in Harlem.” Next up, Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters played for the first of two Lockn’ performances. Plant seemed very comfortable and relaxed throughout the set dipping into an array of Zeppelin Tunes such as opener, “Trampled Under Foot,” fan favorite, “Black Dog, plus the immortal “Dazed and Confused.” The band played several songs from their new album Lullaby and…The Ceaseless Roar, including the Ralph Stanley’s “Little Maggie” and the snappy “Rainbow.” A spacey afro-Celtic version of Howlin’ Wolf’s “No Place to Go,” was a treat as was the bands interpretation of the “Lemon Song.” “Whole Lotta Love” and encore “Rock and Roll” closed out a superb set done in a totally unique way but with that same old rock and roll punch.
Trampled Under Foot, Black Dog, Turn it up, Black Country Woman, Spoonful, The Rain Song, No Place to Go/Dazed and Confused, The Lemon Song, Little Maggie, Crawling King Snake, I Just Want to Make Love to You>Whole Lotta Love/Mona
As night drew near, there was no better way to begin a Widespread Panic show then with a “Tall Boy!” The band started with several originals including “Chainsaw City” and “Surprise Valley.” Chuck Leavell joined the band early to help out with a delightful Van Morrison cover of “And It Stoned Me.” Jimmy Cliff would soon join the stage to launch into a string of hits including “Sitting Here in Limbo,” “The Harder They Come,” “You Can Get it if You Really Want It,” “Many Rivers to Flow,” and “I Can See Clearly Now,”
The fun times just kept on rolling along as Billy & the Kids with special guest Bob Weir took the evening stage. Despite setbacks that kept Weir from last year’s Lockn’ festival, Weir looked in top form with a set full of great Dead songs that included: “Peggy-O,” an extended version of “Dancing in the Streets,” “Fly Away,” “Throwing Stones,” “One More Saturday Night,” and “Not Fade Away,” to close out the set.
Phil Lesh & Friends Photo By Josh Brick
Phil and Friends would shortly pick up “Not Fade Away” on the Ridge Stage before transitioning to “Scarlett Begonia’s.” This night, the band included Warren Haynes, Carlos Santana, and Barry Sless (Moonalice). The trio of guitar greats took control of the evening early, with a blistering set that included “Hard to Handle,” “Black Peter,” the Gov’t Mule song “Guardian Angel,” “The Other One,” ‘Fire on the Mountain,” “Good Morning Little Schoolgirl,” “New Speedway Boogie,” and ”Death Don’t Have No Mercy.” The set concluded with Carlos Santana exemplifying why he’s one of the greatest guitarists alive, with a Jimi-like version of “All Along the Watchtower.” “Dark Star” completed the extended set that included a “West LA Fade Away” tease, before the band drifted back to close the evening once again with “Not Fade Away.”
Gov’t Mule was the late night band. Since the Phil and Friends set lasted longer than expected, the Mule didn’t start until late, but ended up playing well into the early Sunday morning. The set included a great version of “Dear Mr. Fantasy,” the Allman Brother’s “Dreams,” as well as Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition.”
Despite the late evening, Sunday morning saw a packed field for the Grateful Gospel set with Keller Williams. With guitarist John Kadlecik (DSO, Furthur) and help from Keller’s Band ‘ More Than a Little’ the group play a slew of good time folk, bluegrass, gospel Dead tunes: The set included: “Eyes of the World,” “Promised Land” “The Wheel,” “Feel Like a Stranger,” “Sampson and Delilah,” “Bid You Goodnight” “Ripple” “My Brothers and Sisters,” “Ride Mighty High,” and “Babe in a Manger.”
The Southern Belles were schedule for the early slot at the main Oak Ridge stage, so I hurried over after the Grateful Gospel to catch the bands psychedelic set. People who were fortunate enough to catch the early set were treated to a stellar performance. I was blown away by the bands refined countrified, psychedelic funk sound showing every bit why they deserved to be playing at Lockn’. I see big things for the ‘Belles’ in the years to come, perhaps even a return trip to Lockn’?
Ass-kicking, down and dirty ska-punk kings Fishbone took the stage next. Throughout the bands lengthy 35 year career, Fishbone’s music has pushed the boundaries or musical genres. The funk/punk/ska set included songs from their new album Intrinsically Intertwined including the quirky “Whipper Snapper.” The set concluded with the bands trademark hit “Party At Ground Zero.” St. Paul and the Broken Bones from Birmingham Alabama saw lead singer Paul Janeway echoing Otis Redding and soul rock revival with a fun filled soulful dance party highlighted by a jaw dropping version of the Beatle’s “I Want You” (She’s So Heavy). The set with Slightly Stoopid (San Diego, CA) featuring Karl Denson on sax and Ian Neville on guitar. It was another crazy fun set of modern Reggae, rock and punk. The band would be joined later in the set by Reggae giant, Don Carlos (Black Uhuru).
Gov't Mule w/ Jimmy Herring Photo By Josh Brick
After Trombone Shorty’s trip to New Orleans funk and jazz, Gov’t Mule took to the stage again having presumably recovered from their epic performance the night before. The band played several Mule/Warren songs including “Thorazine Shuffle, “Soulshine,” before Jimmy Herring joined the band for Billy Cobham’s “Stratus.” Warren Haynes would later return the favor to join Widespread Panic for “Ribs and Whiskey,” and “Tail Dragger.” Much to the dismay of everyone, the weekend was coming to an end. Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters would close out the festival with one more beautiful flashback providing lasting memories of Lockn’ 2015.
Robert Plant Photo By Josh Brick
The Wanton Song, Tin Pan Alley, Black Dog, Rainbow, Custard Pie, Spoonful, Going To California, The Enchanter, Babe, I’m Going to Leave You, Little Maggie, Fixin’ to Die, Smokestack Lighting, Whole Lotta Love/Mona.
All in all it was one hell of a weekend. When I reflect back over Lockn’ 2015 I’ll remember the parade of great music and the old and new friends I met. So much to take in over such a short period I’m exhausted just writing about it. I’m certain I can speak for others who attended, that this year’s Lockn’ won’t soon be forgotten. I feel lucky to have been able to be part of such a joyous celebration of music with the all the great artists living and dead who created it.
Lockn' Photo Galleries By Josh Brick Graphics
Camp Barefoot 9
Camp Hidden Meadow Bartow WV
Review by Joe Cariola
Well, it’s that time of year again, and Camp Barefoot continues to shock and amaze. The festival was hosted again at Camp Hidden Meadow in the beautiful mountains of Bartow, WV with a Pre-Party on August 19th and the main event from August 20-22, 2015. The grounds at Camp Barefoot have a certain energy and magic that will leave you feeling like you’ve come back home. In my humble opinion, this is THE perfect sized festival, capped at around 3,000 attendees and four stages. Scott McClain and his band of merry pranksters really know how to throw a party. From Giggles>, “This festival comes from love. It’s great to see people enjoy the effort and hard work that goes into all this, especially when you guys love it as much as we do.” This is truly a festival thrown by people who have a passion for making sure it gets done right! That passion is felt by the attendees, too, as you will share random high fives, hugs and smiles with people you only see in passing or a friendly band versus band basketball game. It’s for these very reasons that I will continue to attend Camp Barefoot. With so much music, it was impossible to catch each and every act but I hope you enjoy my slice of the weekend. Again, there wasn’t a single set that was short of excellent and far too many to list them here or you would be reading a book instead of an article.
I arrived Wednesday for the Pre-Party and set up camp with relative ease. One of my favorite things about this festival was meeting my neighbors. I camped next to RastaMiles and they really were a great bunch of guys. Literally, every group that camped around me became new friends with whom I exchanged information. This isn’t something you find at every festival. From the three years I’ve been in attendance, I’ve learned that your neighbors are usually family you just hadn’t met yet. Wednesday night’s lineup got the weekend off on a grooving start at the BSC Boro Woods Stage. Righteous Dub warmed up the crowd, paving the way for That One Guy and “The Magic Pipe.” I can’t begin to figure out how he makes such unique sounds out of his homemade instrument but he knows how to get the people dancing. Speaking of a one man act, Zach Deputy played his first of two sets of the weekend afterwards. He’s always a crowd, and personal, favorite. I love hearing him build his jams. My hips are usually swaying before I even know what song he’s about to bust into. Big Daddy Love played between sets of Ricochet Red. I’ve never heard of Big Daddy Love and when they opened with a high energy Scarlet Begonias>Fire On The Mountain, I was hooked.
The festival got into full swing on Thursday. I thought the fields were relatively full on Wednesday but I was wrong. Tents and canopies packed into every nook and cranny around the grounds. I camped near the Heady Entertainment Car Camping Stage (previously the parking lot stage) so we were fortunate enough to catch a lot of music without much effort. Our neighbors, RastaMiles, opened up The Broadberry Main Stage and set us up with some excellent reggae. Moogatu drew people out of their camps and setup the remainder of the evening in the main concert bowl. We ventured back to camp at some point and were drawn in by the funky sounds and the sax of B-Side Shuffle. They’re local to me and I’ll definitely catch them again soon. We made it back in time to hear Zack Deputy play his second set on The Camel stage. He busted out Sharky, a song only played in West Virginia, and the crowd erupted! He was almost a natural segway into Dumpstaphunk, the headliner of the night. Ivan Neville is a legend, and he showed us why with some power house funky keys that had the entire field bumping. I caught a view from the side of the stage and it was an ocean of dancing bodies, LEDs and laughter. They didn’t even stop for his set break, they just powered through with epic doses of funk! Truly, this evening was a taste of what was to come!
The rain on Thursday gave us blue skies and sunny weather on Friday! I was making regular treks between the two main stages and the BSC Boro Woods Stage. Moogatu gave a real taste of what Camp Barefoot is all about by inviting The Hornitz, Bon Lozaga of Tiny Boxes, as well as Mario D’Ambrosio of Yellow Dubmarine, to join them on the BSC Boro Woods Stage. Sit-ins by various musicians will keep you guessing and wondering about what’s to come. We walked back down to the main area to hear Tauk bring an intensity that is difficult to match! Big Gigantic brought the heat and took us on a journey through time from the very beginning to new material that I had never heard! It was pretty cold outside, by this point, but they kept me dancing for the entirety of their set. Big G paved the way for Twiddle late night. I had to sit for their set as my mind was all about the music, but my body was rebelling against me! Fortunately, I was able to hear ELM closing out the night from my camp site and had a small dance party with my new found friends.
Sergio Rios Of Orgone
Saturday proved to be the best weather of the weekend. The highlight of the Heady Entertainment Car Camping Stage was the Saturday evening set by The Hornitz. Their incredibly fast paced, catchy set left me with “You should dance with anyone, if their body groove enough” stuck in my head. After The Fritz, ELM closed out the Car Camping Stage on Saturday night with their special blend of derder music. A special shout-out goes to Moon Hooch for throwing down a sonically intense set on Saturday night. I first heard them in 2012 and I’m more than pleased with how their sound has evolved through the years. The Floozies kept up the energy and boxed wine was flowing! I tried to save my energy for the night’s headliner, The Greyboy All Stars, but The Floozies funky, electronic sound kept me on my feet! They Greyboy All Stars brought two furious sets of their funky, soulful jazz. Before that night, I had only heard what I could find online and it was fantastic. Catching them live will melt your face right off your head, yet, there was still more to come! Kung Fu started whispering and jamming to the crowd, as if they didn’t want to disturb us. It didn’t last long because if you know Kung Fu, you know they’re here for you! I had to jump mid-set to catch Turbo Suit on the BSC Boro Woods Stage at the strong recommendation of many strangers in the crowd and friends. You better build your endurance for this fest, especially if you come for the Wednesday Pre-Party. There is so much excellent music everywhere; you will be bouncing between stages. Again, this is the perfect sized festival. The walk between all four stages is minimal but you can hear music throughout the grounds and no sound bleeds during overlapping sets.
Karl Denson Of The Greyboy Allstars
I said last year, and I will say it again this year, if you missed Camp Barefoot, you missed a seriously good time. I cannot urge you enough to go. Come, join us and see what the fuss is about.
On behalf of Cosmic Vibes Live I would like to thank Scott, TJ, Meghan, Giggles and the entire Camp Barefoot family for having us back again and making us part of the family. I will be a lifetime attendee, and truly, I hope to see everyone at Camp again next year for the 10th annual. This was honestly the festival of the summer! You won’t find this vibe anywhere else and I’ll be waiting with baited breath until next year.
Check out our full Photo galleries by Josh Brick Graphics
Interview with Rockn To Lockn Band Winners Moogatu
By Jim McWalters
Cosmic Vibes Live is extremely excited about covering this years’ edition of the Lockn’ Music Festival. This year’s lineup looks epic, and we can’t wait for the music to start! As part of our pre-festival “Rockn’ to Lockn” coverage, we are reaching out to several of the artists who are performing at this year’s festival. We are thrilled to speak with guitarist Chris Lee and bassist Brian Zupruk of the psychedelic-progressive jamband, Moogatu; who will be kicking things off at the festival.
CVL: Wow, what a thrill it must be to open things up at Lockn’. Are you guys pumped or what?
BZ - USA! USA!
CL: I'm still processing it myself. It was quite the shock getting on the bill.
CVL: How did you get selected to play at Lockn’?
CL: We entered and won a contest called Rockn To Lockn. Virginia bands fill out a submission form, and the selected bands compete in a "battle of the bands" style show. The band really had to rally the troops and get all our friends and family out. It was amazing to see that many people show up and we're really thankful to know such great people.
BZ - Thanks to massive support from our fans, friends and family for helping to put us on the big stage via the Rockn' to Lockn' competition.
CVL: What’s the largest festival the band has performed at prior to this one?
CL: A lot of festivals we play are usually have an attendance below 2,000. We've never played a festival this large and it'll be quite an experience playing at such a large event.
BZ - Maybe Lunar Bay 2013 or Family Roots Fest in Ohio?... not sure about this one
CVL: Do you plan to break out anything special during the set?
CL: We're just going to play as well as we can, like we normally do. I wouldn't want to ruin any surprises either!
BZ - If you mean will Evan strip on stage again? Maybe.
CVL: Will Ron Holloway be joining you guys for the set?
CL: We haven't really talked about it, but you never know who's around, or what we have planned. Like I said, we wouldn't want to ruin anything.
BZ - The Ron is wise.
CVL: Assuming you’ll be staying at the festival for a few days, what other acts are you all looking forward to seeing at Lockn’ the most?
BZ - Soulive, Umphreys, Mule, Robert Plant, TTB, String Cheese, Karl Denson, Trombone Shorty, that Santana guy
CL - All of them. But Mule, TTB, Santana, Umphrey's to name a few.
CVL: What’s the bands future plans? Are you planning to do more recording soon?
BZ - We've got some tracks in the hopper right now, and are working on more new material to test live and put on tape.
CVL: Any plans to record the set for your fans?
BZ - That's our intent. Hopefully we can make it work!
Interview With Chuck Leavell Keyboard Player Of The Rolling Stones
By Jim McWalters
Those lucky enough to be attending the 2015 edition of the Lockn’ Music Festival, you are in store for some epic music. If you go, be sure to catch Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe whose set will include the legendary keyboardist Chuck Leavell. In addition to his longtime gig as a member of the Rolling Stones. Chuck Leavell has played with some of the most notable names in the history of rock and roll. Cosmic Vibes recently caught up with Chuck to ask him a few questions about his time with the Stone’s and his upcoming performance at the Lockn’ Music Festival in Arrington, VA September 10-13.
CVL: Did you and Karl Denson ever play together before the recent Rolling Stones tour?
CL: Karl came into the Stones on our Australian tour last year, October-November of 2014. Bobby Keys had become very sick, and the decision was to let him rest up and take Karl with us, thinking that Bobby would recover. But as we know, he didn’t, and passed away in early December after we returned. Karl had done well with us and fit in nicely, so it was the logical choice to keep him on board. Karl and I became friends….he’s such a great guy… and he invited me to be a guest artist with him at a gig in New York at the Brooklyn Bowl in February of this year. It was a great gig, and we had lots of fun together. So during the recent US tour with the Stones, Karl and his manager, Erik Newsome, invited me to do the Lockn’ festival and one more show just before Lockin’…The Capitol Theater in Port Chester, NY. Gonna be fun!
CVL: Considering that Karl Denson is now a member of the Rolling Stones, and given your history, as well as the fact that KDTU covered Sticky Fingers during their 2012 tour; should we expect an all Rolling Stones set, or will you dip into some Sea Level, or perhaps some Allman Brother’s songs at Lockn’?
CL: We’ll do a variety of things. But this is Karl’s show, and I am just happy to tag along. I’ll do a few tunes as a featured artist…we haven’t decided on the final set yet, but I think you’ll hear some fun music. I will probably sit in on a few tunes that Karl’s band will do as well.
CVL: You’ve played with some iconic musicians over the years but what’s it been like playing in the Rolling Stones? Surely that’s got to be the zenith for a rock and roll musician?
CL: Zenith, indeed. It is such an incredible gig. I often pinch myself when I look across the stage and see Jagger working the crowd; Keith passionately stabbing out chords on his guitar; Charlie driving the band on drums and my neighbor on stage, Ronnie Wood, ripping out solos. And of course with the other folks on stage…Darryl on bass; Lisa and Bernard singing; Karl and Tim Ries on horns. And of course I had the pleasure to have played when Bill Wyman was in the band…and so many years with Bobby Keys up there. It’s been 33 years for me now. Someone pointed out to me recently that I’ve been with the Stones longer than Bill Wyman was. That was a bit of a shock to me. And I have to say that honestly, the band has never sounded better than it does now. The energy is still all there, and there is a consistency that has emerged over the years. It is a tight, lean and mean machine, and I’m so grateful to have been a part of it all these years.
But you are also right that I have been blessed to have worked with some other great artists…The Allman Brothers Band back in the early to mid 70’s; Eric Clapton for a couple of years in the early 90s during the “Unplugged” era; George Harrison on his last tour; The Black Crowes’ first record and more recently with John Mayer on his last two records. There have been many others, and it is truly a blessing and honor to have worked with all of them. And doing my own records and shows when in-between other gigs give me a chance to do my own thing. And of course these gigs with Karl are yet another great opportunity.
CVL: I understand that you’re the “unofficial music director” for the Rolling Stones and that it’s your job to keep Mick, Keith, Charlie and Ronnie all happy. How do you do that?
CL: Well, sometimes it ain’t easy!! I guess I just do the best I can to help keep things moving along…especially during the rehearsals. I usually write up the song selection for the day, of course working with Mick and all the guys on that, but I do the draft and set it up. Then during the process, help with any arrangement issues, getting the tempos right and such. I have all the recordings the band has done on my computer, and if we need to reference anything, I can call it up quickly for all of us to listen to. Then during the tours, I do the set list draft prior to the shows and consult with Mick and Keith to finalize. If we have a guest artist on the show, I work with them and Mick to help find a good song for them to do with us, and then rehearse them with Mick in his dressing room prior to rehearsing with the full band on the sound check. Sometimes if we have a special gig that will be recorded or videoed, I work with the band to select the songs for it, etc. During the shows I set the pace on some songs, calling out the tempos and counting them off. I do a bit of directing on some songs for when certain changes are coming, conduct some endings and such. It’s these kinds of duties that I love performing for the band.
CVL: I see that you and your wife (Rose Lane White) are involved with tree conservation and that your most recent book “Growing a Better America: Smart, Strong, Sustainable” is about “smart” growth. If there was one message you could tell people, especially young people, about conservation and saving the environment what might that be?
CL: Be aware of the frailties of our planet and do all you can to be kind to it. Climate change is real…it is undeniable. We have to address it now…and I think the younger generation gets it…probably better than our own generation. Renewable energies are a big deal…solar, wind, biomass all need to play a part and we should be doing all we can to improve the technologies associated with them. But there are other things we can do, most of which I try to put forth in “Growing….”.
CVL: Finally, are there any other surprises or (surprise guests) we should expect during your set with KDTU? Do you know if you’ll be sitting in on any of the other performances as a “guest” musician?
CL: I can just say that I can’t wait to play with Karl again on these shows. He has a top notch band and we’re going to have a great time putting it all together. I have several other gigs of my own coming up…with the Randall Bramblett Band backing me up. The most notable is Chastain Park in Atlanta on Oct. 16. I’ll also be starting a new recording project before the year is out. Then we’ll see what’s in store for 2016.
Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe with special guest Chuck Leavell, are scheduled to perform on Saturday September 12 at Oak Ridge Farm in Arrington, VA as well as September 11, at the Capitol Theater in Port Chester, NY.