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Reviews and Suggestions Rock on Film

Rock on Film: The Wrecking Crew – A Documentary by Denny Tedesco

Rock on Film
Movie Review: The Wrecking Crew
Documentary Film Directed by Denny Tedesco
Now Playing: Limited Film Festivals and special engagements
Website: www.wreckingcrew.tv

Okay, I know this strays off the indie path a bit, but that’s what makes this indie film about some of the most popular pop music (isn’t that redundant?) ever so significant. Before synthesizers, drum machines and Pro Tools there was analog recording equipment and a group of Los Angeles session musicians, who later came to be known as The Wrecking Crew. On any given day they played for the Beach Boys or the Mamas and the Papas or were the bricks in Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound-they played anything and everything. Most were jazz players with serious chops, but played studio dates to pay the bills. If you don’t know the names Tommy Tedesco (guitar), Hal Blaine (drums), Carol Kaye (bass), Earl Palmer (drums) Don Randi (piano) or Joe Osborne (bass) to name a few, shame on you, but you’re not alone (homework assignment: Google all their names), but if you’re reading this, I know you’ve heard their music. The first three are quite possibly-no probably-the most recorded in history on their respective instruments, with Palmer a close second to Blaine. Some became names you do know: Glen Campbell, Leon Russell.

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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: The Studiofix Will Change Your Life

album cover

Artist: The Studiofix

Genre: Power Trio Rock

Label: Avebury Records

Available at: CDBaby, iTunes (or at shows for a deep discount)

This is the first release from the Orange County, California trio. I came across this band while checking out the Santa Fe Café (also known as the

Fullerton
train station) where new bands trying to get some stage time and maybe some tip money can play for their closest friends & family and folks waiting for the next Amtrak to

Oceanside. Seeing them perform live I got a good sense of what their musical style was, but the lead singer’s vocals were drowning in the sound setup. However, on the CD the vocal punch provided by Nicole “Paco” De

Leon
adds another dimension to their sound.

The band, whose myspace page says they sound like everyone and everything you’ve ever heard is kind of right, but in a good way. It’s the stuff you like hearing. Throughout the album, I detected flecks of Hendrix, No Doubt and even Joe Jackson, but couldn’t quite put a single description on them. While each of them does their thing well, especially notable are the Mitch Mitchell-esque fills of drummer, Jacqueline Pablo. And don’t be too distracted by bassist Jenna Eyrich’s trademark galoshes to notice she’s pretty damn good on bass.

Album highlights: Pity the Fool and Magical Michael open up the CD with a solid, in-your-face rock grooves, just when you think you’ve got their sound pegged, they shift gears to something more thought provoking in The Latter Years, then back to the rock stuff. C’est La Vie shifts again; I hate you Studiofix, this song got to me and I was reduced to tears. But…all is forgiven with the final song Robots (which along with 1,2,3,4, Stop) is so much delicious, head-banging, non-sensical goodness.

Not bad for a first release from a band who just stared playing together recently. Yes, they’re all girls, but don’t get caught up labeling them a “girl” band, they are a “rock” band.

After their set, I asked to do a quick interview. They gave me the exclusive (okay, I was the only one there, but they were kind enough to oblige, and fun to interview, so here you go):

Studiofix_20054481_1
LG
: Names and job duties, please.

SF: Niclole De Leon (aka Paco)-Lead Guitar, Vocals

Jacqueline Pablo-Drums

Jenna Eyrich-Bass

LG: How did the band get together?

SF: We all went to the same high school

Paco: I Thought it would be fun to start a band. I bought a crappy $40 bass from a guy in

L.A.
, gave it to Jenna and asked her if she could learn how to play it.

Jenna: I played piano, so I figured I could.

Paco: We needed someone who had access to drums. Jacqueline’s brother had drums so we asked her. Actually, we asked her sister who was in our class first and she declined, so then we asked Jacqueline.

LG: Is the band a serious career pursuit or just a hobby?

SF: Both

Paco: We’re all college students, but working on the band too.

LG: Where, What Year, What are you studying?

SF:

Paco-Cal

State

Fullerton
, Junior, Pre-Law

Jenna-USC-Junior-Pre-Law

Jacqueline-Fullerton

Colleg, Freshman, Economics

LG: Who are your musical influences?

SF: The

Jackson
5, The Beatles, The Kinks, James Brown, Queen, Oingo Boingo,

LG: Where and when was your first gig?

SF: Jenna: I’m really glad you asked that question. I would like to follow that up with a piece of advice…if someone you meet over the internet asks you to play at his house, take heed. You could get killed.

Paco: Not that we were harmed or anything, but in retrospect, it seemed unsafe. We were asked to play at a party at some guy’s house in

L.A.
in February 2005

LG:How long had you been together before that gig?

SF: Paco: 2 months

Jacquesline: Seriouly? Oh yeah.

LG: Finish this sentence: In five years, the Studiofix will be…

SF: Paco: On the cover of US weekly, shmoosing with Mariska Hargetay of Law & Order

Jacqueline:…and Donnie Osmond

Jenna: On welfare.

I seriously doubt that. For more info on The Studiofix and shows, go to www.myspace.com/thestudiofix. They have several dates around L.A./O.C. in the next months. There’s also some video up on youtube, but the qualitiy is marginal.

Lisa

album cover THE STUDIOFIX: Will Change Your LifeNot old enough to buy a drink, but old enough to combine the urgent angst of Eddie Cochran with the funk of James Brown and melodies of The Beatles. Garage without being ’60s. ’60s without being retro. Feminine without being girly.
Power trio rock ‘n’ ro

Buy the CD

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Reviews and Suggestions

Record review: Abby Travis’ GLITTER MOUTH- (As indie as it gets!)

Title: GLITTER MOUTH

Artist: Abby Travis

Genre: Nope-doesn’t fit any of the traditional terms

Lable: ? This is so indie, its not printed on the cd or packaging

Available at: CD Baby, I tunes, amazon, abbytravis.com, Virgin Records-Hollywood

album cover

Abby Travis is about as indie as it gets. Never mind how to categorize her sound in the rock spectum, though I’ll entertain a brief discussion here just for the hell of it: In traditional terms, its somewhere in the glam/goth/alt rock neighborhood-OK ,enough on that. Whatever you call it, get this album and a year or so from now when everyone is talking about Abby, you can whip out your well-worn copy of GLITTER MOUTH and prove just how money your musical tastes and instincts are.

This record offers 10 full-length tracks from the songstress with an underground following. Her ultra sophisticated sound and often cerebral lyrics set Travis apart from other singing/songwriting contemporaries. Her work is as refreshingly different as rocky road ice cream in a freezer full of vanilla. Really, who else writes rock songs in 6/8 time these days? While her songwriting and vocals are the attraction for this album, her bass playing along with keyboards by Kristian Hoffman and David Bongiovanni on guitar solidify her unique sound. Other notables on the album are Donita Sparks (L7) on guitar and Monique Powell (Save Ferris) helping out with vocals on Hunger. Beastie Boy, Alfredo Ortiz plays drums on three tracks, which also happen to be three of my top picks. Coincidence? Probably not, his solid chops and versatility are noticeably evident on those songs and send them over the top in terms of the final product.

Travis and company have produced an album of soulful, sexy, melodic songs, that will take you for an emotional ride. Favorite picks: Blythe: beautifully melodic, painfully reminiscent, Hunger: high energy romp, sinfully good as Travis bass lines and Ortiz’s drumming provide the rhythm section for what might be the best song on the album. La Petite Mort: super-funky smoky-toned, caution or celebration of such consuming relationships I’m not sure, but if you’ve ever been there, you don’t really care. Past, Present, Future: this tongue-in-cheek narrative is the only song on the album not written/co-written by Travis. It’s a cover of the Shangri-La’s song, which could be called a cover of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata with lyrics added. GLITTER MOUTH trivia notes: The first run printed the titles and lyrics to songs 8 & 9 out of order and may be corrected in future runs. (That’s how early fans will be separated from the johnny-come-lately’s). There is also a track 11-which has nothing on it; and a track 12, which is 34 seconds long, and I believe when played backwards confirms “Abby is Queen, Abby is Queen”. (That’s just a joke-please don’t anyone post comments to tell me it doesn’t say that-unless you really do play it backwards and it says something else)

Abby Travis has California tour dates in October to support the release, including shows at the House of Blues-Anaheim (10/24) and HOB-San Diego (10/26) For more dates or artist information, go to www.abbytravis.com

Lisa