Photos of Honda Civic Tour now up on Flickr

You can view the photos here of RANCID, MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE AND BLINK 182 at the following link:

Concert review and My Chemical Romance’s set list posted tomorrow!  Check back then.

Jade Sperry

Free Legal Music from Vancouver’s Thorny Bleeder

Get Thorny 3 – Double CD sampler

Release Date: January 23, 2011

Released by: Thorny Bleeder

by Jade Sperry


Thorny Bleeder in Vancouver BC have released a free legal download sampler of some of the fine talent that they have. Besides the bands listed below in the official press release, some of the other bands that are outstanding on this CD include Dead Eyes Open (who reside in British Columbia and were in the Top 20 of the CFOX Seeds in 2010), Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (a Vancouver BC hard rock band who are playing at The Media Club on Monday February 21), The Order Of Good Cheer (a Toronto ON band who started their career in early 2010 with the recording of their debut album “Tanto Manta, Manta Tanto”), The Post War (from Vancouver BC who are a really good kick ass band), Static In The Stars (a stellar band from Vancouver who rock out hard and fast), Venice Queen (another killer live show band from Vancouver who can and will rock out harder than any mainstream band ever will) and finally Western Medicine, a Vancouver band that I personally love as they have a sound that crosses Rage Against The Machine with post-punk melodies that just kill.

One of the best things about this sampler is that it was immediately posted to torrent sites on the net and is downloaded by thousands of people everyday in countries that normally would not hear this music EVER. Giving exposure to these bands in countries over the globe is one of the most important resources we have here in Canada. There is an explosion of talent here in Canada that is not being tapped into by the Mainstream except in forms of Arcade Fire and Broken Social Scene. Although these are good bands, they are a bit on the “safe” side as far as the “music” goes. Most of the bands on Thorny Bleeder 3 CD 1 (Side EH?) are a bit on the mellow side for those folks who are into contemporary music or into singer/songwriters, while CD 2 (Side BE) has the not so safe music that is on the heavier and harder side by metal or post-punk metal bands. So whatever your tastes are in music, there is something here for everyone.

You can download the sampler right here off the Thorny Bleeder’s FREE LEGAL MUSIC page, and while you are there, check out the awesomeness that is Thorny Bleeder.

Below is the original announcement from Brian Thompson, one of Thorny Bleeder’s Managing Partners:


JANUARY 19, 2011 – Vancouver, BC

Enterprising independent record label and artist management company, Thorny Bleeder Records, has roared into 2011 with some exciting new developments.

The all new Thorny Bleeder has re-branded itself with a new look, a new website, a new line of clothing, a new free music download, Get Thorny 3, and a free industry newsletter called The DIY Daily, delivering digital music news, social media tips, DIY marketing advice, and inspirational thoughts for entrepreneurs.

The just-released Get Thorny 3 features twenty four songs from twenty four different artists. Get Thorny 3 is a free & legal download from, with no strings attached (requires no email sign-up or registration).

Thorny Bleeder also released additional free album downloads from Billy the Kid, Billy and The Lost Boys, Black Hat Villain, Burning Borders, Columbia, Quartered, The Rebellion, Ross Neilsen & The Sufferin’ Bastards, Scott Valentine, and TV Heart Attack.

All albums are available on the Free Music page with no strings attached.

Thorny Bleeder has only one request with all of the free music they’re giving away: “Sharing is caring. Please share the music with at least one friend.”

Sounds fair.

About Thorny Bleeder Records:

Thorny Bleeder is a record label, an artist management company, a music blog, and an artist development community. We provide free & legal mp3’s, music news, industry commentary, marketing tips, and DIY advice for musicians.

For information, contact:

Brian Thompson

Managing Partner, Thorny Bleeder Records

Phone: 604.787.1493


2010 in review

Amazing!  I’d like to thank every single person who has visited this site since I put it up.  I’ve just gotten the stats from WordPress, and I’m sharing them with you all since there would be no stats if it were not for all of you awesome music fans!  Thank you very much.  More to come this year so keep on checking back for more amazing music and artists!


Jade Sperry


The stats helper monkeys at mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,400 times in 2010. That’s about 3 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 48 new posts, not bad for the first year! There were 85 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 25mb. That’s about 2 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was November 19th with 43 views. The most popular post that day was CD Review – My Chemical Romance – Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were,,,, and

Some visitors came searching, mostly for menew take them one by one, menew, take them one by one menew, my chemical romance danger days review, and my chemical romance danger days cd cover.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


CD Review – My Chemical Romance – Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys November 2010


CD Review – MENEW – Take Them One By One March 2010


CD review and interview with…David Vertesi October 2010


CD Review – The Electric Demons – Rip Your Heart Out April 2010


CD review – Henry and the Nightcrawlers – 100 Blows November 2010

David Vertesi Show Review – The Media Club Vancouver BC

Show Review – David Vertesi

The Media Club, Vancouver BC

Friday October 15, 2010

by Jade Sperry


It was a cool night here in Vancouver as my friend Denis and I made our way to The Media Club to check out 3 Canadian bands – David Vertesi of the brilliant indie band Hey Ocean! whose debut solo CD Cardiography is set to be released on October 26, Vancouver band Run River and Edmonton artist Northcote (formerly of Means and The Emerson Letters) who debut EP Borrowed Chords, Tired Eyes has done well in Canada.

I was there specifically to cover David Vertesi’s show and although we arrived a bit late, the club was in fine form with many people there for David’s show. Shortly after getting a beer and drinking that down, David started his 45 minute set with “Gentlemen Say” which is the second song on his upcoming CD. As I began taking photos of him onstage, I noticed that the 100+ people were really into his songs from the first notes he strummed on his acoustic guitar. About 50 people began approaching the stage and sat down on the floor to enjoy themselves and listen to some fine music.


David Vertesi (left) and David Joseph (right). Photo by Jade Sperry


To start with, David is very musically inclined and really knows how to tell a story within a song. At times, the crowd clapped and got into the songs, but at all times people were listening to the songs. That is a high compliment from any crowd. He was joined onstage with a keytar and David Joseph (from By Divine Right) to accompany him with his songs. Every song was performed well and these two guys played flawlessly together. David’s storytelling within a song really reminded me of three artists whose elements I find in David’s music, especially live – Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits and Sid Barrett (of the early incarnation of Pink Floyd). With his deep baritone voice, David could mesmerize anyone. He sang “Mountainside” and “Jolene” with the raw emotions of pain and confusion and powerful vocals mixed into the songs. David ended his set with the song “All Night All Night All Night” which got a loud round of applause, whistles and shouting from the crowd. I managed to capture that final song on video which turned out very well. With that brilliant start to the night by David, the stage was set for the other two bands performing.


The crowd at The Media Club enjoy David's show. Photo by Jade Sperry.


Vancouver band Run River came onstage afterwards. I wasn’t familiar with their music, but I really enjoyed their songs and how they performed generally speaking. In many of their melodies and some chord structures, they remind me of Radiohead but with their own stamp on it. I did manage to get up and dance a bit and had some fun.

Northcote was the last and headlining artist on the bill and although I’m not familiar with Americana Folk/Roots music, I totally enjoyed his full sound with other musicians backing him from the previous band Run River. I thought they all played well together, and for this writer, I enjoyed the fact that different band members played with other musicians on the same bill. That is the spirit of the independent music in a vibrant scene such as Vancouver.

As I left the venue, I had and still have the vague feeling that something is brewing out here in the city of Vancouver, musically speaking. And I will wait and see if that feeling comes to fruition in the near future.

Interview with singer/songwriter Jeremy Allingham of Like A Martyr

Like A Martyr
Interview with singer/songwriter Jeremy Allingham

by Jade Sperry/JadedPhotography

On a bright Friday morning, I met up with Jeremy at an East Vancouver location that I used to live nearby. I had forgotten how good the sweet East Indian coffees are in this place. Jeremy was the only customer in the place at the time I arrived, but as we talked about the album that Jeremy’s band Like A Martyr has just released, As Long As You Don’t Get Caught, the place was full of customers in no time.

Here is how the interview went in a question and answer format:

Jade: How did the song “Calloused Hand By Calloused Hand” come about?

Jeremy: This song was written with one of our old drummers in a jam space called Alley Cat Music on Clark Street. Ben (Henthorne, lead guitar) came in with the opening riff idea and that was it. We knew it was going to be solid pretty quickly and within 20 minutes the music was done. We built it off that one riff. Strong melody, good chorus, and the insistent drum beat. Kind of a dark song but it has the juxtaposition of that uplifting chorus. That’s why I like it.

Jade: What about the song “Rock and Roll Made Me Do It”, who came up with the groove for that?

Jeremy: I actually wrote this. When I write a riff, I feel like I have a bit of leeway to go further with the arrangement because I do write most of the melodies and the lyrics. This song was pretty much fully done except for the backing vocals. Matt (Denny-Keys, bass) and Ben are absolute ace singers – technically better than me. They just know what the harmony is and how to vocally pull it out. We had all the lyrics and the riff and once that drum beat and the pickup with the vocal were added, it just cooked. And then the three part harmony and the chorus came, what a gearshift! Based on jamming this song, we really liked it.

Jade: In the last year, what personal goals has the band as a whole achieved?

Jeremy: Well, with being in a “DIY” band as it’s called now, just to be able to make a record is a herculean effort. It’s so much work on everyone’s part. As a person who drives the band in a large way from some clerical/administrative work (with the record label folks) to recording the vinyl, pressing it and getting it out there – this was our goal; to make a really good rock and roll record that people enjoy. And being able to talk about it with people such as yourself makes it a reality. We’ve also done a couple of mini tours up in the interior of BC. We definitely want to tour more. We were also in the CFOX Seeds competition with a goal to play live for the CFOX folks because our music isn’t really geared for FM or any radio play the way it is in Vancouver. We have a really big live feel to our music which can be lost in compressing the songs for radio play. We recorded As Long As You Don’t Get Caught live off the floor. Most bands can’t do that in this day and age of ultra pre and post production. Our engineer/mixer Marcel (Rambo at K&M Studios) went for a Glynn Johns/ACDC feel to it and I think it worked out really well. Four dudes in a room giving it all they’ve got.


Ben Henthorne, lead guitars. Photo by Jade Sperry.

Jade: Having discussed past goals over the last year that the band has achieved, what goals are the band setting now to work towards over the upcoming year?


Jeremy: One crucial thing that we do need right now is a good manager. We’re good at what we do, we have great support from our indie label (Fantasy Ranch Records) and other people who support us, but, we lack connections. An agent and/or manager would be a huge and welcome help to us in where we see ourselves going. We would love to get great reviews, tour more regularly and to be better known as the band we are here in the Vancouver scene as well as anywhere else. We want to play live for everyone. We just released this album but we have enough material now to do another record which is costly! (lots of laughter) Just to be playing to people who are enjoying the music.

Jade: As a band, what has been the BEST thing that has happened, and what has been the WORST thing that has happened?

Jeremy: Okay, two best things that have happened were The Georgia Straight review which said “we were resurrecting rock”. I was shocked and thought they were joking. I had to read it twice just to make sure they were serious. Very humbling and awesome. The writer had listened to our first album The North on vinyl and then came to see a show and based the review on that. And the second thing was the day the vinyl came in for As Long As You Don’t Get Caught. I was flying so high when they arrived! We were all so excited…..we rehearsed, got the vinyls and went to a bar in Gastown called The Diamond which is right across from our jam space. We had one of the happiest band times just saying to ourselves “wow look at what we did”. A lot of arguments, disagreements and strife that went into that album just dissipated with that shiny piece of vinyl.
And the worst thing would be our recent struggles with finding a drummer. We had a drummer named Dom Coletta who is a terrific drummer but we just didn’t gel. On the whole, our music is positive and fun and he wasn’t having fun. It needed to end and it wasn’t bitter at all. We thought we had finally found our drummer but then he got hired to tour with Hail The Villain for 7 months. So we tried to find a “band member” rather than a hired gun. But it just didn’t work out. And in the end we found Alex Glassford who came through a friend of mine and he seems to fit in well.


Alex Glassford (drums) and Jeremy Allingham (rhythm guitar). Photo by Jade Sperry.

Jade: How does the band see the Corporate Music Industry as it is today?


Jeremy: Well, every one keeps talking about this “transition” period … isn’t that done yet? I do find it frustrating because there are still aspects of the old guard in the music industry that completely control access to the market now. We give away albums and give away free downloads to get people interested in our music, our sound, to come to a show, buy merch and drink some beers and tell their friends what that they had a great time. For us, we can’t apply for many of the Factor grants because our band doesn’t have a distribution deal. That to me is so ass backwards because in a way, distribution doesn’t mean anything anymore apart from a marketing presence in record stores. A good example of this is on CD Baby. We sold a copy of each one of our albums to a guy in Denmark. Does this not count as distribution? People around the globe can buy this record. That is distribution. In that realm, there can be too many contradictions and it is confusing.

Jade: How do you as a band feel that you have control over how your music reaches the fans?

Jeremy: As far as control, I think you have to let it go at this point in the game. If it reaches anyone that is a success. It doesn’t matter how it gets to a fan. The music is your leaping point for sales. This prompts fans to come and see you play, buy the vinyl, talk about your band to their friends…I don’t care how it gets there as long as it does.

Jade: How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard the music before?

Jeremy: We play rock and roll with no sub-genres. No emo, screamo, grunge – nothing like that. Straight ahead dirty sweaty rock and roll. Our influences are ACDC, T-Rex, Thin Lizzy, The White Stripes….we listen to bands like My Morning Jacket, The Faces, CCR, The Kinks…..and it goes on. Mostly classic bands with some modern bands sprinkled in.

Jade: What is it about these bands that have inspired you to do the classic feel to the music?

Jeremy: We all love the classic, raw powerful rock music sound … we love every second of it. Also, in some small way our music is a reaction to what is out there that we don’t like. Like backing tracks behind the live show. We play honest rock and roll without any of that shit behind us. Our album has very few overdubs and no massive post production at all. I would like bands to just be honest about who they are, especially live. If you’re in the audience watching a band mimic playing their instruments and singing, are you going to know that? Maybe not.

Jade: Who are the primary songwriters in the band? Do you collectively write the songs?

Jeremy: The two people who write the riffs are myself and my cousin Ben. I write most of the melodies and the lyrics. Sometimes Ben comes in with a melody and we work off that. We also write melodies collectively on a vague idea and in 15 minutes we have a song that is killer. On one of the last tunes we wrote, Ben was taking a leak and Matt and I just start playing a riff and Ben walks back in and we have a solid song in 5 minutes. Matt has some great ideas that will be on the next record as well. If it’s a good idea, it doesn’t matter where it comes from.


Ben Henthorne and Jeremy Allingham. Photo by Jade Sperry.

Jade: How did you all come up with the band name Like A Martyr?


Jeremy: We struggled with this for a long time. We had some really shitty names. I really like Buck 65 and I’m a big fan…you might even call it a bit of a man crush. I’ve toned it down though. He is the best Canadian lyricist. He has a song on the Talkin’ Honky Blues LP called “463” and in the second verse he says “like a martyr / I drove myself harder and harder”. And I really fell for that name and passed it on to Ben who really liked it as well. I think in the end, the music affects how people respond to the name, so making that initial choice isn’t quite as dire as it feels right at the beginning.

Jade: What is your opinion of the Vancouver music scene?

Jeremy: If we were where we were five years ago now, it would be really tough because you have to play shows to get good. We were really awful when we first started out. Terrible. But over the last four to five years we’ve practiced endlessly, writing songs, etc., and I think now we’re pretty darn good. With a lot of the live venues shutting down, it isn’t too too bad for us because we have connections in certain clubs and venues. When the Bourbon becomes a country bar, Richards gets torn down for condos, it’s sad. It would be nice to see a real commitment to live music in the city, but at the same time, I haven’t seen these clubs’ balance sheets. They could be hemorrhaging money for all I know.

Jade: In reading over a bio sent to me on your band, there was a reference to a “Gallagher-esque relationship” (between Ben and Jeremy) which intrigued me. What does this mean?

Jeremy: It refers to the tumultuous nature of our relationship. Neither of us has a brother, we’re 5 months apart in age and we are maternal cousins. We’re like brothers; very tight and very close. With that level of comfort comes a level of animosity and of not being afraid to say “shut the fuck up” or “fuck off”. A lot of people around us get very uncomfortable when this happens. We also have extremely stubborn attitudes about how the music should sound. We’re not shy about vocalizing it to each other. It’s really intense and it can become dangerously unbalanced. We get through it and the music is better for it. It adds to the tension to the music.

Jade: That definitely comes through in the recording and adds an element to the music, a layer that is emotionally hard to get across to the listener.

Jeremy: Exactly.

Jade: How did you like the whole recording process at Factory Studios with Marcel Rambo?

Jeremy: Marcel Rambo engineered and mixed it. He was outstanding, I really enjoyed working with him. You always knew where you stood with him at all times. He was calm, meticulous, patient, detailed, organized … and honestly he fed into my OCD need for detail-oriented work. He was very technically sound. I would work with him again in a heartbeat. The live room is awesome. We were only in there for 5 days, because of cost, but I could have spent 2 months in there…..drinking, writing, drinking, writing…. JJ Golden mastered the record on the recommendation of some of our friends. But initially he compressed it. And we panicked. I finally got him on the phone and told him that we wanted that live sound for vinyl and he understood what we meant and got it on the third try. So it was all a good experience and we learned a lot throughout the process.

At this point, Jeremy and I talked about a few other things, but I want to move on to the show review.

On Friday October 1, my friend Denis and I went to The Media Club to check out Like A Martyr live. I have to say I was excited about hearing the music live in person.

As we arrived in the club, it was half full and The Best Revenge had just started. A 3 piece band that was definitely loud and passionate about their music. Anarchist music was how the frontman described it. They played for about 40 minutes, and then a duo by the name of War Child took the stage to a fairly full club. After one song, the guitarist wanted some technical help. After a few minutes, they went right back into it. The drummer was the rhythm while the guitarist was flavoring the drums. They played tight, well rehearsed songs, and at the end, the guitarist went into the drum kit softly like Kurt Cobain did many years ago in that famous Bleach photograph.

This leads up to Like A Martyr. They took the stage and started with “As Long As You Don’t Get Caught”. I wanted to immediately put my camera down and start dancing. However, I overcame that urge and started taking pictures. Matt on bass was really working every single note with some stellar riffs that weren’t necessarily on the record. From the get-go, I could tell that this band practices a lot and are very tight. New drummer Alex Glassford is a gifted drummer who was playing his first show with this band. He made very minor mistakes that I’m sure no one heard but me. He really added that missing element that Jeremy talked about in our interview. Through the course of the hour plus set, they played every song from their album As Long As You Don’t Get Caught, did a killer version of Bob Seger’s “Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man” and just had fun giving it 100% sweaty rock and roll. The entire time the band was onstage they had high energy and were in total control musically. A few things that stood out for this writer is “Let’s Ride” which was performed straight up rock and roll played at high volume and was as fast as bottled moonshine takes to hit your brain. The ballad “7th and Main” was truly awesome and a slow break in the show which just killed the audience. The last song they did was this writer’s favorite song “Worker 684” which was played right on the money – tight and fast with Jeremy’s red smoking hot vocals that by now were raw, emotional and manic. Jeremy and Matt’s guitar and bass work flowed really well with what Ben and Alex were doing. I saw the birth of a new phase in the band Like A Martyr, and I know it won’t be the last. The sweat flew, girls were dancing and guys were drinking. I finally put the camera down at some point and just let the music take over. A truly awesome show that left me wanting more.


Jeremy Allingham and Matt Denny-Keys. Photo by Jade Sperry.

You can find the band at their MYSPACE page which gives you links and information on the band.









Album Review – Like A Martyr – As Long As You Don’t Get Caught

Album Review

Like A Martyr – As A Long As You Don’t Get Caught

by Jade Sperry

Album cover for Like A Martyr's "As Long As You Don't Get Caught".

Vancouver band Like A Martyr serve up some mighty tasty tunes that will have you and your friends rocking out in no time. With influences such as ACDC, The White Stripes and My Morning Jacket, the album’s standout song for this writer is “Pistol”, a funky, uptempo song with powerful raw vocals and jazzed out guitars. And it only gets better from there. Every song on this album is outstanding in its own right. With lyrics like “rock and roll / don’t you want to feel it?” and “i’ve been screwed by the law / why don’t you give us some more”, you just know this band is going places. Jeremy Allingham and Ben Henthorne, who are cousins and have that rare love/hate relationship similar to Noel and Liam Gallagher, really know how to write lyrics that everyone can relate to. The standout songs are “As Long As You Don’t Get Caught”, “Rock and Roll Made Me Do It” and “Worker 684”, this is straight out rock and roll at its best. Most songs on the album are 2 or 3 minutes long with one ballad (7th and Main) that has some awesome acoustic guitar work behind the soulful vocals. Matt Denny-Keys plays some of the funkiest bass lines this writer has heard in a long time. And one brilliant song that has some great lyrics is “You Selling Snake Oil”. This album is now in local record stores in the Vancouver area and I highly recommend it to anyone who likes powerful rock and roll.

Like A Martyr’s album release party is this Friday October 1 at The Media Club with special guests The Best Revenge and War Baby. Cover charge of $15 at the door gets you in as well as a copy of the CD. Vinyl is also available.

You can also check out the band at their various links through their website here.

Black Hat Villain interview – Thorny Bleeder Series Part I

Thorny Bleeder Series

Part One

by Jade Sperry

Black Hat Villian doing the dirty and dangerous rock and roll. Photo by Jade Sperry.

On Saturday June 5 at the Shark Club in Vancouver, I had the pleasure of starting a project that will feature great talent that is just beginning to see the light of day. I am doing a feature on Thorny Bleeder; this is a new age music industry company that has many different facets to its system. They are a Record Label, management company, social media development and they already have an impressive roster. In 2009, I met one of Thorny Bleeders’ promising young band, Columbia, and I have taken many photos of them as well as done several interviews. I decided that I would like to do a feature on bands that have ties to Thorny Bleeder. And, with managing partner Brian Thompson onboard, I’m starting with a promising band from Victoria called Black Hat Villain.

This is part one of a three part series. Part two will be live photos and an interview with Special Ops, a heavy band from Montreal, and Part three will feature the young Vancouver band Quartered, who have just completed work on their newest offering and have a new single out.

I interviewed Scotty Tuesday (vocals) and Sam Edmunson (vocals, guitars) with some input by Manager Brian Thompson of Thorny Bleeder and Black Hat Villain drummer Tim Sweeting before the show on June 5, and this is how it went down……


Which goals have you achieved in the past year as a band?

Scotty: We have definitely achieved our short term goals – we have a website, our music is accessible and we have more of a presence online now. The big thing was getting money together to record our six song EP. BHV has been a band now for a few years but we needed to have music that reflected where we are now with this lineup. We worked with producer Adam Sutherland (formerly of The Armchair Cynics) and got word from Brian (Thompson, Managing BHV) that Mike Fraser would be interested in mixing it so we had to come up with some more funds for that. Once we knew that Mike was on board, we had the confidence in ourselves because if an international persona in the industry was interested in our music we knew we were onto something. When people hear you, they’re going to think “something”. We wanted to tap into that something which is our dirty and dangerous rock and roll vibe.

Sam: We all sat down and wrote out a list – record a CD, get online with our music and start playing shows, that kind of thing. It’s been executed quite nicely. We were also working on our merchandise (art work and logos) at the same time we were recording our EP. We needed to have it all come together at the same time which in the end it did.

What other goals are you setting for yourselves now for the future?

Sam: We have to make it grow. Basically, it’s getting the EP heard by as many people as possible. We need to play more shows and tour more and do more interviews.

Scotty: You know, the greatest asset we have right now is Brian Thompson (Managing partner with Thorny Bleeder who is BHV’s manager) who really understands the new age music industry and new mindset. It’s not like it used to be. Indie is the key now. But with that comes a lot of work and responsibility – being on Twitter and tweeting, on Facebook leaving messages to our fans, blogging, pictures, uploading video and interacting with them in those ways. We’ve built a fan base who are also our friends just from that interaction and by giving them access to us as individuals. That is a huge social tool. For older guys in bands it’s a reality you have to face and understand that your fans want that interaction with you. Let’s face it – they can get the music any way so stop worrying about selling them the record and start worrying about involving them and having them participate and be a part of something. This is why we started “The Black Hat Nation”. It’s also a give and take relationship – we give them something but in turn they give us back something that is now building its own momentum. We found that this year and we hope that this momentum can push us and take us into next year.

Sam: Things are starting to generate. We have people talking about us to each other so that is really cool. And it takes the pressure off us to some extent – we say something to you and you go to your friends and talk about us to them and it just keeps going. After you talk to a few hundred people it becomes impossible to actually discuss everything as a one on one. So it’s great when the word starts spreading on its own.

Scotty: So our hardline goals – we’re in the CFOX SEEDS competition this year – and we hope to make the Top 50 (which they did are are now in the Top 20). We have a passionate fanbase. We’re small fish in a small pond and we’d like to be big fish in a big pond so to speak. We’d like to move into Vancouver and play bigger venues with bigger bands with their fan base and from there it’ll grow. We’d love to have CFOX onboard too. We’re hoping that happens. We want to rock their faces off from there.

As a band, what has been the best thing and the worst thing that has happened?

Sam: The best thing is the first time we all played together with this current line up. Especially live. It was kind of magical. It’s really cool. All of us that have been doing this for a while, so it was and is very special. There are times that we scream at each other but we make up the next day. We have our rough moments but we are a family so we make it through.

Scotty: We have perspective now and have gone through the stages of wanting to be a rock star and having egos. We totally support each other now and we aren’t as obsessed with fame and fortune. Although that would be nice. Our biggest frustration is the financial side of it. We can’t do it ourselves. We have families and children, and those responsibilities and realities are not with the younger bands….but I think that those responsibilities come through as experience in our music. We just want to continue with the current wave that we’ve created. And see where that takes us.

Scotty Tuesday and Sam Edmunson in action. Photo by Jade Sperry.

What would be your advice to bands that are DIY and are coming up behind you?

Scotty: Just do it and be fearless. When I was younger, I would get to a certain point but I just couldn’t push it over the edge. I was too afraid and that is the biggest regret I have. I missed out on being in a small touring band, getting drunk every night and that kind of thing. I never took that risk. I wish I had done that but now I’m just too old now. (laughter)

Brian: You just need to start earlier in the day. (more laughter)

Sam: Yeah you need to be realistic about this because most of it sucks. That’s the reality. It’s like any other job. It’s hard work and you have to be at it constantly. People think you’re famous just because you’re in a band. Which is totally wrong. Sometimes you don’t get paid, or you’re playing to just the bar staff because no one showed up.

Scotty: To DIY bands….all the technology is now there and so it’s more cost effective than ever before. Self promotion is there with all the tools; you need to participate online, networking, understanding who your fans are and what they want, and engage them online by asking questions……you’ll get more by that in theory than if you just showed and played a show and then leave the venue without speaking to any fans. You may see people in the crowd, and react with or to them, and then the next day you’ll see that same person commenting on your fan page on Facebook. And by commenting back to them by saying “Yeah I saw you in the crowd” will have a far more reaching effect than by just playing the show.

Do you feel that you have control over how your music reaches the fans?

Sam: Yes, but it does bring a responsibility with it. You have to become accountable for the words of the songs.

Scotty: Right now we do have the power. You want to fight for as long as you can for the indie/DIY spirit. But at some point as you become more popular, it’s inevitable that the sharks come from the big pond to pluck us from where we are now. But if you do the work now and you have legs to stand on without that major label help, in the long run you’ll be better for it.

What were some of the reasons why you decided to go with Thorny Bleeder/Brian Thompson?

Sam: Brian sold himself on his own merit. I’m a pretty good judge of character and I really thought it would be a good thing. I liked him and trusted him enough to do it.

Scotty: We have a management deal with Brian. For myself, I had done a solo album which didn’t do anything. I hadn’t met the other guys in BHV yet. Brian contacted me through a mutual friend. He had a really clear idea on how to help me. I was inspired by the fact that Brian had ideas for my stuff. That was flattering and encouraging. Once I started to build this relationship with Brian, I began to see that his experiences and his viewpoint were fresh and were going in a new direction. Branding yourself, giving the fans what they want and that kind of thing, I was appreciative about his honesty.

Brian: It’s all about teaching the “pups” and “seniors” new tricks (laughing).

Scotty: (laughing) Well, Brian has contacts, strategies, etc., and it has been a bit of a trek. Brian has a really good eye for talent and combined with the fact that Johnny, Greg and Brian have built a good solid philosophy of the label/management….the pull that Thorny Bleeder has…’s effective and it’s because Brian social networks all day every day.

How has Brian/Thorny Bleeder changed your band for the better?

Scotty and Sam: The social networking aspect.

Sam: The only other avenues we have to promote ourselves is the music and live shows. No one had ever said to us before that “oh you should try this or write that way”……which Brian did. If your music is not promoted well you just don’t go anywhere. Brian showed us how to do that.

Scotty: And also getting us hooked up with Mike Fraser. That was great! And to have a guy in your corner out there working on your behalf is awesome. Brian believes in our songs, in ourselves and in our vision. That is where the relationship really works.

What was the inspiration behind the song “All of My Friends are Dead” as it’s my favorite song……

Sam: Really? That’s interesting.

Scott: Are you sure you want to know?

Sam: It’s about having a core group of friends that you’ve known forever and figure you’ll know to the day you die. It’s essentially about me in another band. This band was my social circle. And I left the band, and literally, these people died. I’ve never seen them since. It was sad but a good learning experience. I did think that it would all just be the same but it was the opposite. Almost like cutting the umbilical cord…painful but….all of our songs are very real and personal.

Who are the principal songwriters?

Sam: Tim and I write songs. Everyone has a contribution to every song. It’s a group thing. It’s about feeling and emotion as well.

Scotty: We have to have a starting point. Four of the songs (on the 6 song EP) were written before I got there. But, I did put my stamp on them and they turned out great!

Sam: You can hear Scotty’s stamp on all the songs, for sure.

Where did the name Black Hat Villain come from? What are the origins of the band name?

Scotty: Okay I want to tell this story…..(laughter)….we were asked this question once before and Tim gave a completely different answer than what the truth of it is. I was like “hang on, that is not the story you told me when I joined”…so (laughing) this is the true story. Tim was at one time married. And it didn’t work out. Lawyers became involved at some point and her lawyer wore a black hat the very first time Tim saw her. So that lawyer became the black hat villain.

(Tim came by and shrugged about the whole story which prompts more laughter)

How did the video for “One Way Street” come about?

Scotty: It does look like “Grand Theft Auto” doesn’t it? I’m a visual person and I had great visions for this song as I contributed a few lines to the song. I had heard of this video game, a movie making video game. I read about it, bought it and started messing about with it. Basically, you start in an empty lot in like 1930, and your goal is to build it up in whatever way you see fit through the decades. You can build custom scenes and that kind of thing. I built avatars of us all. I found a concept, and in fooling around, I came up with a decent idea and I decided that I would create scenes from all angles. It took me about 2 months to do this. So for a $60 videogame, I ended up making a video. I kept it PG-rated with hockey sticks as the weapons instead of chainsaws (we are family men after all), and in the end, I got my soul back with the help of Abe, my bandmates and friends. The firey gates of hell were concurred by the Black Hat Villains.

And finally, what is the “Black Hat Nation” and how can people join?

Scotty: The BHN is a community based on…

Brian: Devil worshiping. (laughter).

Scotty: Yes – thank you Brian…you’re fired…(laughter)…just kidding. It’s based on a tribal notion actually. When we all met for the first time, we all got along well and there was “chemistry” between us all. Our families all get along very well. Our social lives are interconnected. We all help each other out in ways that work for everyone. Our friends, family, fans….its a base that has ownership for everyone. We all own the nation. You can sign up through our Facebook page and join our street team. Click the MY BAND which is our Reverb Nation page. We keep on top of it so that we connect with our fans.

Sam: Scotty pretty much said it all. He talks a lot doesn’t he? But he says it well.


Black Hat Villain are in the Top 20 of CFOX Seeds competition and will be playing a free show at the Bourbon in Vancouver on Thursday July 1. The band should be on at about 10pm. And did I mention that its a FREE show?

Here are some links to the bands various sites, as well as concert listings where the band is playing:

MySpace Page:

Black Hat Villain Official Website:

Twitter page:

Facebook Page: Page:

Reverbnation Page:

CFOX Seeds shortlist:

Concert listings for Black Hat Villain:

Thorny Bleeder Website:

Q & A with City of Glass

Q & A with Vancouver’s City Of Glass

by Jade Sperry


Michael Champion and David Phu are City of Glass. Photo courtesy of the band.

Jade: What was it like to work with Winston and Shawn Cole? How would you describe the process that resulted in the EP Equations?

City of Glass: Overall, a fantastic experience. The reason we initially contacted Winston to produce the record was for his pop writing and producing, and we figured we could get him to fight with us and help focus some of our more “geek-out” musical moments. We did fight a lot and that was great because we’re very happy with the end product; by halfway through the recording we were all on the same page and having a great time. Shawn is the greatest. I don’t know anyone who’s met him that doesn’t love that guy; a real pleasure to work with and very skilled at engineering and mixing. We consider both of those guys good friends of ours now.

Jade: In 2008 when you decided to put City Of Glass in motion, made the demo, and had it quietly take on college radio in 3 countries/continents, how did that encourage you to find your way in the digital age? What has that demo done for you both personally for your careers?

City of Glass: It is an interesting time to be making music. There’s really no exact model of how to get your music out there so that was definitely encouraging to hear it popping up in some unexpected places. That was also the first time we realized we might be able to actually do this for real, to have people get on board with the music who have no connection to us personally. We work very hard at all aspects of City of Glass, so when good things happen there’s sort of a dual reaction of, “Really? Wow!” but at the same time, “Let’s keep this going, what’s next?” It’s stressful but fun and exciting. Overall, the feedback has encouraged us to continue on the same path and constantly research and develop all the best ways to get our music out there (digitally and physically).

Jade: You currently have toured twice – in September 2009 and this past March 2010 – what venues were your favs based on crowd reactions to your music? What venues (or city) did you personally like the best, and why?

City of Glass: Some of the shows that really stand out in hindsight aren’t necessarily the ones I thought would. On the last show of our most recent tour in Ontario we played in the basement of this cool old mansion called the London Music Club. Now they usually book an opener before the touring band to get more of a crowd but they couldn’t find a band for that night, and the one band usually watches the door while the other is playing. So, we played this show for two guys with no cover and we ended up having a great time, partly because it was really funny and awkward to play to just two people, and partly because those guys were awesome and it was really rare to put on a private show, ha ha. I think and hope that will be the last show with those attendance numbers, but we will always remember that one.

Jade: How did you write the songs for the EP Equations, and how does the writing process generally come about? Is there something you’ve been working on presently for a future release?

City of Glass: Our writing process is strange. We build songs like puzzles, sometimes we’ll start with a drum idea or a bass loop, whatever springs to mind, then we sit down at the computer and build from there. Sometimes we’ll end up building and rebuilding a song enough that we end up with none of the parts we started with. So to answer your question, there really isn’t a set writing process. We have around 150 demos right now, ranging from indistinguishable blobs of sound to fully written songs, and we’re going to continue tweaking and writing more until we have a really strong catalog to pull from for our first full-length album. We’re really happy with the way Equations turned out. It was a mix of songs we played live and a couple that were completed in studio, but, to have the opportunity to road test a whole bunch of songs before we next sit down to record is exciting.

Jade: What inspires you to write music? Do you write about personal experiences or do you write about others’ experiences in life?

City of Glass: I’d say they’re fairly personal songs, not biographical but personal. We really try and take the most intense things we’re feeling, whether it’s frustrations with things in life we can’t change or that overwhelm us, or even love and relationships and the positive things that come from that, and then distill it down to music without spelling out what we’re trying to say. It really appeals to us to make songs that have a bittersweet feeling to them because life isn’t a wholly negative or positive experience. There are sad and happy times but there is always an underlying context. And that is definitely a challenge to try and make that come through in a three and a half minute pop song so we can drive ourselves a little crazy at times.

Jade: What is your view on the Vancouver club scene in general, and how does that hinder or help City Of Glass?

City of Glass: Vancouver is a really interesting place right now. On one hand there is quite a volume of exceptionally talented artists coming out of the city, and they’re making some intelligent and accessible music that we find really impressive and inspiring. But on the other hand part of the nature of this city seems to be quite introspective and isolating, and there isn’t the same sort of interest in going out to shows you might find in some other large centers. But that does seem to be changing a little bit with the recent focus on local musicians, so I guess we’ll see if it’s it a momentary thing or the beginning of a sea of change. But we love this city very much. Vancouver is a big influence on the writing, I think some of that isolated feeling spreads into the music and is a part of why we buried our heads in music in the first place. Vancouver is a very new city and that comes with its challenges and opportunities across all the arts industries.

Jade: And how do you feel about the new “digital” age of the Music Industry? What do you like and dislike about the innovation of the bands being able to “DIY”?

City of Glass: It is an interesting time to be a musician. The old model is gone, the labels don’t have nearly the same money or clout as they used to, and everyone’s still trying to figure out what exactly is the best way to go about making names for themselves. Part of that is really exciting because there are no rules, but for that exact reason it can be a little intimidating and overwhelming. I think what you’re seeing is a lot more intelligent and business-minded artists start to stand out from the pack, and because they’re able to do this cheaply and from home there’s substantially more specialization. The value of music and information in general has changed substantially because of the Internet; people are looking to get something a little different out of their music-buying experience now, something a little more personal. I think it’s great, it probably makes it a little more difficult to make large amounts of money in the industry, but there is room for more artists having careers. It’s definitely an exciting time.

You can find the band on their MYSPACE page. And they are playing a show tonight in Vancouver at the Bourbon. Doors are at 8pm and showtime is 9pm.

The Electric Demons CD for sale

On April 17, I posted a CD review for the Vancouver band The Electric Demons for their debut CD Rip Your Heart Out!. You can buy the CD at CDBABY and you can read CD notes online at this link.

And here is a video for the song “Queen of Rock and Roll”:

The Pack a.d. Interview with photos

The Pack A.D. – Interview

by Jade Sperry

Becky belts it out to a packed crowd at The Biltmore Cabaret in Vancouver. Photo by Jade Sperry.

Becky Black and Maya Miller are The Pack A.D. and they are a FORCE to be reckoned with. But not from Star Wars. Playing to their hometown crowd in Vancouver BC at The Biltmore Cabaret, I attended their show on Friday April 23, and it was INSANE. The Angry Dragons from Manitoba opened the show and they were a good warm up to the next band, Vancouver’s Sex With Strangers. Although Sex With Strangers have completely different music than the other 2 bands, they fit in well because of the intensity of their live show. They were in fine form for this show and Hatch, frontman for Sex With Strangers, told of a funny story of being in Texas a few months back and getting the girls from The Pack completely drunk before their shows at SXSW, and of seeing beaver dams in Louisiana. After that crazy show, you could feel the energy from the crowd rising to a peak when The Pack took the stage and killed everyone and everything. I must admit that I have never seen Becky and Maya live, and I loved every second of their show. Opening with “Cobra Matte” from their newest offering we kill computers, they whipped the crowd into a full blown frenzy in less than 10 seconds. Headbanging, screaming, pounding drums, slide guitar, moshing, stage diving and intense playing on Becky and Maya’s part, this show had it all. The Pack played for just over 90 minutes and Maya let us know that this was their longest set ever. The crowd went insane for that bit of news, and in the final moments of the show, Becky took her guitar and lept into the crowd for a bit of surfing on the hands of the people while Maya beat the hell out of her kit. All songs were played well, in time and in tune. They had all the new tunes as well as most of their material from their past releases.

Out of all the shows that I’ve seen in the last 10 years, this show is my 2nd favorite right behind Pearl Jam (in 1998 Pearl Jam played 2 shows in Seattle over a weekend that blew my mind.) The energy and music that Becky and Maya deliver in a performance is amazing, and because they know each others’ playing style so well, it looked effortless but was in fact a physically demanding show.

Becky sings her lungs out. Photo by Jade Sperry.

The Pack A.D. are currently in the midst of touring, but Becky and Maya were kind enough to take time out to answer some questions about the new CD, we kill computers, the current tour and playing their hometown of Vancouver after a short break in the schedule. This interview is done in a Q&A format.

Jade: On your current tour, you’ve been playing the new songs from we kill computers and I’m just wondering what are you personal favorites to play live, and what songs have been crowd favorites ?

Becky: My favorite songs we play live generally are the ones the audience digs the most. Obviously it’s much more fun to play a song the crowd is into than one that bombs. Right now I’d have to say “Deer” and “Cobra Matte” usually go over pretty well.

Maya: I’m gonna have to agree with Becky on this one. Any song we play is ultimately only as enjoyable as the audience makes it. On that note, I agree that “Deer” and “Cobra Matte” go over well as does “Raise Her”, “1880” and “Catch”.

Jade: What was the best part of making the songs for the new CD? Any memories you’d care to share with the fans?

Becky: The best part was ordering Indian takeout on the last day of mixing at the studio. Ha! We like food….Another good part was discovering that Maya can’t tambo for shit so I did all the tambourine in the recordings. I can’t play the drums but I can shake a ring with metal discs like nobody’s business.

Maya: The best part was finally admitting that I can’t tambo for shit. And it felt so good to just admit it, you know? I also enjoyed drinking endless cups of coffee, writing lyrics and making comments on the days where I didn’t have to physically do anything. Good times!

Maya raises her drumsticks in triumph at The Biltmore Cabaret Vancouver. Photo by Jade Sperry.

Jade: What’s the best venue you’ve played on your current tour in terms of the new songs, crowd reactions and the sound in that particular venue?

Becky: It actually seems, more often than not, that the shows at really nice venues with good sound have the worst tunout, and the shows we play at dive bars where we set up on the floor are the ones that are packed, rowdy and crazy! Our last shows in Missoula MT at Badlanders and in Spokane WA at the Sunset Junction were my favorites – based purely on the energy of the crowd on both those nights.

Maya: Yeah, sometimes the sound for the audience can be amazing but the sound is really not good for us on the stage – like the monitors aren’t balanced out right or the room just sucks everything away from us so the venue can be quite deceiving. We also had great shows in London ON at Moon Over Marin and at Phog Lounge in Windsor ON. I have a personal favorite show that we played in Richmond VA – we played on the floor and the people are always nuts there and I spilled all my drinks which is usually a good sign.

Jade: Is there any differences on this tour in terms of production than the last two tours?

Becky: Not so much. Same old, same old.

Maya: Well, we did have those lavish can-can girl outfits that went over super well in Texas! Other than that…..

Jade: Because you’ve toured in Canada, the US and in Europe and the UK, what differences do you find in the audiences that come to see your shows? Are they any differences that you see when you’re onstage?

Becky: I wouldn’t say there’s much difference playing shows in any one country or continent other than the occasional language barriers at soundcheck. The audiences usually differ depending on the types of bands on the bill.

Maya: Hmm, yeah, see, at first I was agreeing with Becky and finding I had nothing to say but then I thought about it and I would point out unabashed enthusiasm levels. I think that does go up and down depending on the cities and countries. In some places the crowds are through the roof like we’re Metallica or something….I say Metallica because Metal Is huge in Bogota and we’ve played in Bogota and so….Bogota is on my mind.

Jade: Were you writing songs for we kill computers while you were on tour in 2009 or did the songs come about in that two week period locked away in a rehearsal space in East Vancouver?

Becky: We write some lyrics in our van on tour but all of the songs for the album were essentially “written” at our practice space before we went into recording. And I say “written” because we don’t technically write out any sheet music or tabs or such things for our songs – we just play them and hopefully remember them. Sometimes we write sections of the song down on a piece of paper with a sharpie (pen) like “verse, gah!, boom part, verse, chorus” etc. There’s a little hint of that in the we kill computers album artwork….

Maya: Wow, so this is what happens when Becky gets to the questions first – hot damn, she’s stealing all the best answers! I’ve heard tales of bands creating whole albums in their vans while on tour and I don’t even know how they do that….oh wait, they must write things down….see I can’t even get started here. Becky covered that. Well, so yeah, I write lyrics away from the bandspace. Well at least I think I had one new thing to say. Glarp!

Jade: What drives the two of you to tour extensively every year?

Becky: We decided to quit our day jobs and play music full time which basically means when we’re not on tour we’re losing money. So we tour every single chance we get. The only time we take extensive breaks from touring is when the weather conditions are too poor to drive in.

Maya: PASSION. Maya and Becky are passionate people. They cannot begin to stop themselves from the playing of the music….PASSIONATELY.

Jade: You’re in the middle of this current tour and you’ve got a break before your show on April 23 (@ the Biltmore Cabaret with guests Sex With Strangers and The Angry Dragons) here in your hometown of Vancouver. Are you excited to play your hometown knowing your CD will soon arrive in the shops? Anything special you’re planning in terms of the show itself?

Becky: For our upcoming show in Vancovuer, we’ve both made a pact to remain mostly sober until after we’ve played. For some reason we end up….boozing a lot more during hometown shows which means by the time we’re on stage we’re like “durrr…..hic…” The idea of being able to play a solid show in town is exciting. I think it’s been a while and hopefully some people will come out.

Maya: Special wise, we have the new CD and LP (being released on Gatefold!) and two new T-Shirt designs and a Tour Zine. The CD is on for a low price that one night only. In terms of the show itself, I’m agreeing with Becky. I don’t know if “nervous” is the right word but playing our hometown is definitely different.

Jade: What bands have opened for you on this tour that you’ve really liked? And why? Are there any funny stories with other bands that you’d like to share?

Becky: For the second time in a row, our New York show has been with Cherie Lilly. She wears a body suit and sings about aerobics. It’s actually pretty amazing. And a nice change of pace.

Maya: We also played with a band called Belt of Vapor in Spokane WA. One of the best bands I’ve seen in a while and they barely ever tour which is bizarre. We also got to play again with Grand Analog while we were at SXSW – what a charmer!

Jade: When you’re on a break from the tour and come home to Vancouver, what do you find yourselves doing to relax from the road?

Becky: I like to shut myself away in a room and put on some records and just lie on my bed for a while. My bed is heaven after weeks of crappy motels and van sleeps.

Maya: I like to watch crappy action movies and eat triscuits. Though on this break, I managed to set up my stereo, and now I’m addicted to listening to Samuel Locke-Ward (from Iowa and amazing), Thee Oh Sees and Anti-Pop Consortium while playing Spider Solitaire on the computer and drinking coffee. I read a lot on tour so I’ve made a bargain with myself to not read anything longer than a paragraph during my break.

Jade: Is there anything else you’d like to share on the new CD that you’d like people to know that I haven’t asked?

Becky: The LP is coming out on Gatefold. I pushed for it because Gatefold is sweet! That’s all I can think of right now.

Maya: The center piece on the album is scratch and sniff, dill pickle. Okay, it’s not. But maybe it is…..

*Author note: this is also a featured spotlight story on NXEW!

Maya and Becky open the show with "Cobra Matte". Photo by Jade Sperry.