Hey, San Francisco! We know you love good music and a good cause, and with Dangermaker‘s upcoming benefit concert at The Milk Bar, you can combine your two loves into one awesome night. Hosted by Breakup Records, the concert will also feature performances from Sea Dramas, Sweetwater Black, and Margaret The King, with all proceeds going towards the 27th annual Haight-Ashbury Street Fair this June. You can find more information here, and view a flyer below. (more…)
Don’t worry, this one has a happy ending. Last week while doing a story on illegal dumping, a reporter from KRON-TV in San Francisco ran into former Santana Blues Band percussionist Marcus “The Magnificent” Malone. Springing into action, reporter Stanley Roberts then reunited Malone and Santana.
Speaking to Santana, Malone said “You don’t know how afraid I am to let you see me.” The former percussionist is said to have been an important influence on Santana’s Afro-Latin sound, and played congas on the band’s first album, before leaving in 1969. “We cherish you.” Santana said. “It’s an honor to be in your presence.” Santana has also promised to bring Malone a new set of congas and help get him on his feet.
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In the latest innovation from personal genomics company 23andMe, consumers can not only see their genetic code; they can hear it. The California company is now offering a feature that allows users to convert the information from their DNA into a unique melody. In addition to a complete report on a customer’s personal genetic makeup, the company’s new lab transforms each aspect of a person’s DNA into a musical parameter. The algorithm, developed by San Francisco composer Mark Ackerly, derives musical characteristics from personal attributes, such as height or eye color, and then combines the separate musical facets to create a short, cohesive composition. Each compositional aspect, including rhythm, pitch, and note length, corresponds to a particular portion of the user’s genotype. Hear Ackerly’s example DNA melody below. While this is certainly a really cool technology, we’re looking forward to a time when our personal DNA melodies will sound more like a Led Zeppelin tune than a four“year“old trying unsuccessfully to play “Chopsticks” for the first time.
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For many people, The Grateful Dead have always been a love-it-or-hate-it proposition. The band’s slavishly devoted army of Deadheads (which still exists today, turning up to see Furthur, the band that includes erstwhile GD singer/guitarist Bob Weir and bassist Phil Lesh) connects to the jazzy fluidity of the band’s instrumental improv, the killer catalog of classic songs penned by Jerry Garcia, lyricist Robert Hunter, and company, as well as the slightly stoned sense of bonhomie that has always emanated from the psychedelic warriors’ core. The Dead’s detractors, on the other hand, deem the band’s jams overlong and sleep-inducing, abhor the hippie aesthetic the group always embodied, and take issue with their hit-and-miss approach to vocal intonation. Apart from those who have never heard them, almost everyone has a strong opinion about The Grateful Dead, winding up either in the love or hate camp sooner or later.
So if someone’s going to write a critically-balanced book about the band, who better than one of the few music fans”and certainly one of the only rock critics”who has found himself on both sides of the fence at various points? Granted, veteran music journalist Gene Sculatti (author of 1982’s seminal Catalog of Cool and 1985’s San Francisco Nights: The Psychedelic Music Trip, among others) isn’t exactly objective when it comes to the subject, but among rock writers, he’s in a unique position to discourse on the Dead”he was there from the start. I always get caught in the middle, says Sculatti, whose new Rhino eBook bears the self-explanatory title Dark Stars & Anti-Matter: 40 Years of Loving, Leavin, and Making Up With the Music of The Grateful Dead. Because I saw them in the beginning, and most of the records I still evaluate in terms of, ˜Does this resemble the way it was then, live?’
Sculatti first saw the band at San Francisco’s famed psychedelic-era venue The Avalon Ballroom in the spring of 1966, about a year in advance of the first Grateful Dead album. That’s one of the greatest gifts anyone ever gave to me, says Sculatti, to be there then and see that. You’re 18 or 19 years old¦this brand new thing that’s never been before is springing up and you happen to be there a couple of feet from it. It’s just incredible to read in the paper about some group with a crazy name like Big Brother & The Holding Company or something and go to this place where it was and see it with light shows and everything that accompanied it. And that’s when I started writing, because there was a little paper there in Frisco. That was my impetus too for writing about the Dead this time”there were things I hadn’t said about seeing them at that time.
In October, Tulsa, Oklahoma pop-rockers Stars Go Dim won the Grand Prize in the Subway Fresh Artists Competition with their song Get Over It, which awarded the band the incredible opportunity to open for The Goo Goo Dolls at the Star 103.3 Jingle Ball in San Francisco, CA on December 10, 2010. In addition to the to the performance, SGD will also receive $1,000 cash and a songwriting session with professional songwriter Evan Bogart, famous for writing hits for artists the likes of Beyoncé, Britney Spears and Adam Lambert! The guys in the band got the incredible opportunity to meet the members of the Goo Goo Dolls, as well as share the bill with Hedley and former American Idol winner Kris Allen. Leading up to the show, the band was featured and interviewed on Tulsa’s rock radio station KMOD, which also broadcast their winning single Get Over It to thousands of listeners. The band later performed at a local Subway in their hometown, drawing a crowd of dedicated local followers. We caught up with Michael Wittig, bassist for Stars Go Dim, after the show to hear all about their experience.
OS: How did your performance go? What kind of increased buzz have you guys seen up to and after the show?
MW: Our performance at the Star 101.3 Jingle Ball with the Goo Goo Dolls and Kris Allen went awesome. We’ve been told we played very well. I don’t know about the other guys, but I rocked the bass that night, ha.
OS: How did the audience respond to your set?
MW: The crowd was very receptive and showed it spending their hard earned money on us after the show. I was surprised by the amount of CDs/shirts we sold. We took pictures with some of them after the show and have kept in touch with some via Facebook since the show.
OS: How did it feel to have the opportunity to open for the Goo Goo Dolls? Did you get to meet them?
MW: We were very excited about the whole thing. The Goo Goo Dolls have had so many hits and great songs. We did get to meet them. They set up a private meeting for us with them and had a photoshoot. The guys were very friendly and encouraging. John even gave us a shout out on stage during their set.
OS: How did you get your fans to come and judge in the competition?
MW: We asked them very nicely 🙂 Many of our fans have become good friends of ours. We made sure that a handful of them were able to attend the show on us. And when that doesn’t work blackmailing sometimes helps get those extra votes.
OS: What do you think is the most important way to market yourself as a band?
MW: Be personable with fans and give them your time. You just might get their time in return and win huge contests like this. Oh, having good quality music helps too!
OS: How do you plan to use this opportunity to further your career?
MW: Every time something great like this happens, it just helps build our story. Not many independent artists can say they’ve played with John Mayer, Chris Daughtry, Jason DeRülo and now the Goo Goo Dolls. Being able to add this to our history just makes it easier to land new opportunities. Being a part of events like this opens doors.
OS: What has been the most exciting aspect of this whole experience?
MW: Being recognized by Clear Channel and the Goo Goo Dolls out of so many other great artists. Also, getting to meet and watch the Goo Goo Dolls perform. It was pretty cool to watch them play Name and their other hits live. We travel so much we don’t really get a chance to “attend” concerts for fun. We definitely look up to them and their songwriting.
Stars Go Dim is scheduled to be interviewed by local radio stations in and around their hometown in the coming weeks, and their story has been picked up by a local paper who will cover their entire experience in the Subway “Fresh Artists” Competition from start to finish. Stay tuned to the airwaves for word from this up-and-coming band. Click below to check out the video of the band’s meet and greet with the Goo Goo Dolls.