The Sault's Prog Rock Scene???

Posted: Saturday, November 20, 2010 by •»¶hê ƒRëq»•-)•–––– in

First, what is Prog Rock?  Well, it's short for "progressive rock" and quite simply it's music that in most cases incorporates songs with odd time signatures, technical structures with many parts, extended lyrical story lines, extended instrumentation just for starters.  Of course, that is not always the case and there are prog songs that are short.  Some prog rock music is based on concepts like for example Rush's 2112, or Queensryches Operation Mind Crimes.  Bands that you may or may not know as prog rock are "Yes, Rush, Saga, The Jelly Jam, Platypus, Marillion, Dream Theater and many more.  My favourite band Porcupine Tree has introduced prog rock to a new generation and is amazingly popular at this point in time.

So, what does the Sault have to offer in prog rock music?  Well, to be quite honest, not much, HOWEVER, there are a few bands that have ventured into the prog rock arena locally.  Recently I came across the band  "Machines Dream" that will be making their live debut November 27 at Lop Lops. The members of this band are as follows, Keith Conway: Guitar, Vocals, Ken Coulter: Drums Brian Holmes: Keyboards, Bass, Craig West: Bass, Guitar, Vocals.  Machines Dream has invaded Facebook and here is a bio snippet from their site.

 "Three of the four members had played together before, in 2008 at a one-off Christmas show, performing a bunch of covers by bands such as Roxy Music, Pink Floyd, Gary Numan, and others.

In early 2009, bass player and vocalist, Craig West recruited the other band members to work on a nice little solo album.
Craig, along with drummer Ken Coulter, keyboard player and bassist Brian Holmes, and guitarist Keith Conway began free-jamming, writing material together, and having a rather fun time in doing so. They put out an EP as Craig West Band. But it wasn't prog enough!  So screw the solo album! They renamed the band 'Machines Dream', feeling that it reflected both their sound, and their collaborative process. The group perform songs they have written, in addition to dedicating time in each performance for pure improv, creating new prog as they go."

On their Facebook site they have a song preview for a song called "Mad For All Seasons" from what appears to be an EP they have set to release.  The problem folks is that Facebook does not allow linking to videos and some music audio files you post on it so promoting these types of media are useless with Facebook.  So, I can't post a preview of the song here.  I have sent a message to one of the band members about a possible link to the song from another source.  With that said, always consider the option like Youtube for video and audio in addition to Facebook or better yet, just use MySpace for your bands main page.  It allows everything to be linked.   The song posted is quite good and the sound is also on the money.  Style wise, there is a flavour of Porcupine Tree but only a taste.  They have PT as an influence which is how I became interested in this local band.  Here's a link to their Facebook page but if you're not a member, you won't be able to view much.  Actually, there isn't much to see on their site yet anyways. Facebook is very limited at this point in time.
Another prog rock band is the duo of Mike Cliffe and yours truly, ME!  I won't go into a long bio of the band but I will simply say that Mike and I have a common love for technical music and we always like thinking outside the box of mainstream music.   Our song "Dog's Breakfast" (preview video below) has odd time signatures and a little over the top musical expression with a little edge thrown in for good measure.  Cliff and I and a few others will be involved in a project in the near future that involves a Disney connection. ;-)  No details yet but when things are set to go, you can be sure I'll post about it here.   In the meantime, Mike and I have another song called "Evil Tuba" that will be released to the public soon.  As always, free for your hearing consumption.

For me progressive rock, jazz and jazz fusion have always influenced my own playing and musical tastes. I will be honest in saying that basic rock, metal and country, although enjoyable to listen to, is not what I want to do creativity wise or playing wise on drums.  It bores me in a lot of ways.  Prog rock stretches your imagination and most of this type of music has a depth that modern radio friendly music just doesn't have.  My own solo music also has a prog vibe to it just because it's what I grew up listening to.  It kind of gets in your blood. :-)  When writing prog music the challenge is merging the parts to make it sound smooth and somewhat seemless.  Progressive rock kinda died in the late 70's because some bands just started to stick whatever parts they could together to make these epic songs
and it just failed.   The idea of prog rock in my opinion is to take you on a journey but there has to be some type of depth.  In my own case, I like to throw a little humour in for good measure.

My own songs "The Drones" has that sarcastic humour.  An instrumental tune I wrote called "Crab Apple Orchard" was also written with prog intent.

    Mike Cliffe & Glen Thomas - Dog's Breakfast (Video)

I'm just touching the surface of the local progressive rock underground scene.  If you have any info on prog rock bands hiding in Sault Ste. Marie, drop me a line.  I'd love to hear about you and your music.

Attack of the Garage Bands "Riverin"

Posted: Thursday, November 18, 2010 by •»¶hê ƒRëq»•-)•–––– in

Yes kids, we have yet another installment of the "Attack of the Garage Bands" series. The purpose of this topic is to touch base with local bands that do their own home recording and the tools of the trade they use. It also gives people a chance to hear music from local musicians and support their efforts.

"Riverin" is a two piece band featuring Matt Hicks and Matthew
Clement. Matt and Matthew record their music in their own basement recording studio known as "QuarterTone Studios". The music of Riverin is what I call experimental but you can definitely hear influences of Nine Inch Nails in their songs. The production on their music is quite good and we will discuss what they used to obtain this quality along with their writing process for their material.

After a few messages back and foth between the band, here is what the band uses for gear but also the procedure they use to create their unique brand of music.

Matthew: "Well Matt and I both write the music. We start with an idea (either big or small and on any instrument we use) and just keep bouncing other ideas back and forth until we have a song.
     As for gear in the studio, we use M-Audio BX5a Deluxe monitors, M-Audio Keyrig 49 MIDI Controller, M-Audio Fast Track MKII Audio Interface, Apex usb mic (soon to be replaced with the M-Audio Lunna II), Sony MDR-V150 Studio Monitor Series Headphones, Epiphone SG Special, Fender Squire P-Bass, Fender Squire Strat, Rotosound strings, and Ernie Ball Super Slinkies. Westbury 5 piece (Matt's drums), with Sabian B8s (14" hats, 14 & 16" crashes, 10" splash, 20" ride, 18" china, and an Ice Bell). With the hardware in my studio (QuarterTone Studios), I use a 2.6GHz processor, 160 gig 17" iMac with 3 gig memory, and a 13" MacBook Pro with 160 gig hard drive, 2.53 GHz processor,an 4 gigs of memory as a mobile studio. For software I use Apple's Logic Pro 8 Studio on both Macs. I also use FXpansion BFD2. First thing we do when recording, are the drums, then guitars in that order. I have been using BFD2 a lot recently because of the different plug-ins available instead of Logic. After that Matt and I go through our other tracks, consisting of bass, piano, synths, and strings. We spend the majority of our time working on synths, and keys coming up with as many different textures as we can. Then the very last thing we record, is vocals. I do my mixing, adding of plug ins and other effects. Then I go to WaveBurner (a part of Logic Studio) and do the mastering."

The guys tell me they are looking to expand to a full basement recording studio in the near future.  This is always a good thing since it gives you full control over bigger and better projects.  Many bands are investing in their own studios and registering their own personal "Indie" record labels.  I know in my own case, my label is "Barking Eye Productions" but their are other local ones like "Murderous Butterfly Music" and Wishtunes.  The new breed of garage bands want full control and that goes from the writing and recording right down to doing their own graphics and promotions.  That's what makes the garage band scene so great in my opinion.  These musicians achieve full creative control and their music actually gets noticed.

Here is a short bio of the band Riverin:

Formed in 2009, in Sault Ste. Marie Ontario, Riverin consists of two former members of Dirty Virgin. Matt Clement and Matt Hicks met in 2006 when Hicks joined Dirty Virgin. After
a few years off and on with Dirty Virgin, Clement left while Hicks stayed in the band for a
while later. Hicks and Clement remained in contact and decided to start a project together.
They wanted to make an original sound, with an original feel. Putting together elements
from their heroes, Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson, Motley Crue, Guns and Roses, among
others they formed Riverin. The music contains elements of the standard instruments such as
drums, bass, and guitars and others like piano, synthesizers, orchestral pieces, and other
various instruments that the guys wanted to put together to create an original sound. The
bands EP RIVERIN, which was recorded at Hicks’ QuarterTone Recording Studio in Sault Ste.
Marie, is almost finished, and will be released soon. The band is looking for members to
fill out the roster and get the band on stage.

Please support this local band by visiting their official Myspace Website below.

Now, for a chance to listen to the "Riverin" brand of music, check it out below.

Blackmeat Powder

Posted: Saturday, November 13, 2010 by •»¶hê ƒRëq»•-)•–––– in

Blackmeat Powder is a heavy rock metal band based out of Peterborough Ontario Canada featuring
Blain Konkle - Vocals --- Sully McMahon - Bass --- Brad Davidson - Drums --
- Rob Bowler - Lead and Rhythm Guitars --- Paul Tikkanen - Lead and Rhythm Guitars.
(Paul Tikkanen is not in the photo above) 

Here is a brief bio from their website:

"After a failed attempt to resurrect another band and not wanting to lose momentum or the musical bond they had formed, Sully McMahon, Blain Konkle, and Rob Bowler walked away from the project, and started their own band. since that time, they've been recording in rob's apartment, affectionately known as the argyle abyss, losing things, relaxing, drinking beer, and laughing. they started looking for a drummer and finally found one in Brad Davidson, an old friend of the guys. last, but not least, they brought in another guitarist, Paul Tikkanen, to bring the edge to the band, that final piece of the Blackmeat Powder puzzle. hopefully by Christmas 2010 they will stumble thru the empties with the first Blackmeat Powder cd for all to hear!!! "

Paul Tikkanen is a local Saultite that left the city years ago to follow his musical dreams in original music.  He had his own band "Tikkanen" for a number of years and released a very solid debut album with that band.  After that, he was in numerous projects before taking a 13 year hiatus.  He returns in
this new band "Blackmeat Powder" that have been rehearsing for roughly a year and are working on both original songs and covers.  They recently posted videos on Facebook but unfortunately, those vids can't be linked to news blogs like this.  They are reportedly doing a show soon and hopefully, I'll have vids from it to post them on The Barking Eye In the meantime, you can visit their official Myspace page at the link below to get a taste of the band. 
The band definitely has roots in classic rock and metal.

Here are song samples from the band.  One song is called "Mulletboy"and it reminds me of Rush's "I Think I'm Going Bald".  It's also got a little humour in it which reminds me of the writing style of the band Max Webster. Listen to it and other tunes at the link below.
Music by Blackmeat Powder

Paul and I spent some time in our youth writing music in a band called "Thansis Colle".  At the time, no one wanted to hear original material and I remember doing a gig where we actually had the plug pulled on us because they hated what we were doing but honestly, that band was a highlight to my career and to this day I love the music we created.  Paul is a very talented guitarist and definitely has a style that is unique.  At the time we were together, no one sounded like him and that really got me interested in playing drums in his band. 

Stay tuned for vids of "Blackmeat Powder" as soon as I get them. ;-)


Posted: Monday, November 8, 2010 by •»¶hê ƒRëq»•-)•–––– in

Dale Corcoran on the left - Tim Harrington on the right (band-"Vandl")

I have a solid installment for Part 2 of the Flashback Attack series brought to you by The Barking Eye Blog.   One of the most talented musicians locally in the past few decades has been bass player Tim Harrington.  Most these days may have heard his name but have no idea of what Tim has done.  I'll give you just a brief history.  Locally, Tim became well known as the the bass player for the band "Riggy Zomba" that featured local singer Dale Corcoran, guitarist Chris Lloyd, keyboardist Howard Bertolo and drummer Augustino DeMartinis.  This band would later become the well known touring act Vandl with a few member changes along the way.  Tim would later play bass for Lee Aaron, Aldo Nova, The Works and a band that should have made it but didn't called "Wall of Silence".  

"Wall of Silence" put out one album called "Shock to the System".  The album is quite good and production is killer but unfortunately it was released in the doom year 1992 when grunge rock sent many melodic rock bands to their early graves.   "Wall of Silence" was one of them.  The album is worth a listen if you can find it but today is your lucky day because some sweet lovable music lover has posted most of the album on Youtube so sit back and enjoy a few tracks from the album that includes the solid bass playing of local artist Tim Harrington.   Other band members include Brian Malone lead vocals, Jim Huff guitar, Stuart Zaltz keyboards and Scott Lucas drums.

As a special bonus for all those doubting the old Freq about Tim being with Aldo Nova, I've added 2 videos that include not only one local Sault musician named Tim Harrington but a second local talent in videos with Aldo Nova.  The other being keyboardist Howard Bertolo who played with Tim in the band the Works and Vandl. Now if that wasn't enough I've added some ultra rare 1991 live footage of an Aldo Nova show featuring Tim Harrington along with Phil X. 

Here is the track listing for the Wall of Silence Album - "Shock to the System"

1. Shock to the System

2. Edge of a Heartbreak
3. It's Only Love
4. Last Nite
5. Blood Is Thicker Than Water
6. Addicted
7. Prove Your Love
8. Skin and Bones
9. Stop the Rain
10. Nobody's Hero

And now, a few songs for your listening pleasure.

Wall of Silence - Shock To the System

Wall of Silence - Addicted

Aldo Nova - Medicine Man

Aldo Nova - Blood On The Bricks

LIVE FOOTAGE of Aldo Nova with Tim Harrington and Phil X on guitar 1991

New Videos from 4 Local Artists

Posted: Sunday, November 7, 2010 by •»¶hê ƒRëq»•-)•–––– in

The first batch of videos are from the local band called "Cherry Crush"  featuring musicians;
Taryn Bugyra - Vocals
Jules Cote - Vocals, Guitar
John Amendola - Bass, Vocals
Justin Marandola - Drums

  The band has more of a dance music style than a rock one which is what I thought they were going to be but none the less, the band is good.  I'm sure they'll be quite popular once they have a few more gigs under their belts.   Here is a taste of the band via videos from their Youtube group.  The vids really show how strong Cherry Crush is vocally with Jules and Taryn sharing lead.

Cherry Crush Youtube Videos

   Next, we have a new video by Sonny Boy Mick.  Sonny Boy Mick is local singer/ guitarist and former Saultite, Steve McPhail.  The song is called "Nobody's Better Than You" and it can be viewed at this link. "Nobody's Better Than You Video".  The song and video are well produced and the music has a very folk rock flavour to it.   I did a write up on Steve a while back so you might want to check the archives on the Barking Eye for that.

From Sault Ste. Marie Michigan we have a few live videos from the band "The Hixx" featuring the merging of members of the old band "Mama's Boys" and "Hogan's Goat".   The band plays classic rock with a taste of country thrown in.   Local guitar great and owner of Grooves Music, Gary Hatch plays lead guitar in this band and some lead vocals on the second video. The band has been playing steady over the river.   Check out a video of "the Hixx" doing the Cars song "Let's Go" here >>   "The Hixx - Let's Go Video" and also the band doing the classic C.C.R song "Born on a Bayou"

Last, we have a video by Mike Cliffe, local guitarist and songwriter. This is a video Mike created for the song "Dog's Breakfast" that he and I recorded a little while ago.   The song is an instrumental experimental tune in the style of 70's Prog rock.  View the video at this link.
Dog's Breakfast Video by Mike Cliffe


Glen "The Freq"

There Were Four

Posted: Tuesday, November 2, 2010 by •»¶hê ƒRëq»•-)•–––– in

Local singer/ musician Dale Corcoran, who now lives in the U.K. has a new project in the works and it is called "There Were Four".   This is a Beatles Tribute act but one that showcases the Beatles solo work and also a renunion that never happened to the real band.  "There Were Four" are currently rehearsing and recording demos for their promotional ads and will hopefully be touring soon.  The band apears to be managed and promoted by Accent Entertainment based out of the United Kingdom.

The lineup of the band is as follows:

Dale Corcoran as Paul McCartney

Shaun Friedrich as John Lennon
                                                                                                                         Glen Knowler as George Harrison
Max Frudd as Ringo Starr

Here is a small description of the project from information found on their official Facebook site.

"Just to let you know a bit about what we at "There Were Four" are all about. We are not your typical "Beatles Tribute" band, we are a large scale production show, featuring the solo careers of each of the Beatles, culminating in a "reunion that never was". It is shaping up to be one of the most unique and professional shows on the theatre circuit. We are looking forward to bringing some joy and happiness, as well as "Beatle memories" to as many people around the world as we can.

Peace and Love

From The Cast of "There Were Four"
I've heard a few of their demos that are posted on their Facebook page and they sound pretty good and Beatle-ish.  Hopefully the will have a complete website done soon with video and audio samples.   The samples available on their Facebook site cannot be linked to this site so for now, you all have to suffer to hear them OR you can become a fan on their site and get a taste. :-)
Glen "the Freq".