Features: The Willowz

(photo by Olivia Malone)

The Willowz: Driving Rock Music That Makes an Impression

By David Chiu

How resonant is the music of California rock band the Willowz?  A fan, who recently attended a Willowz gig in Los Angeles, had the lyrics of their song, “Making Certain,” tattooed on his chest!

“I was in shock,” says Willowz singer, guitarist and co-founder Richie James Follin. “It was a large tattoo.”

Adds fellow Willowz bassist and co-founder Jessica Reynoza: “I met that dude. Pretty awesome. It reminded me of that Slayer album where ‘slayer’ is carved into someone’s arm. I got a friend who has the word ‘poop’ tattooed on her butt, so I wasn’t shocked if that is what your asking.”

That fan’s unusual but touching gesture confirms the effect that the group’s music has on him and perhaps others. You can hear that on their latest album, Everyone, which pays homage to rock’s past: the Rolling Stones, Iggy and the Stooges, and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers are some examples. It’s traditional rock in one sense and yet it also has some contemporary credibility that will appeal to indie music fans. Follin’s emotive vocals and an arsenal of bombastic drums, urgent bass and shimmering guitar mark the bold sound. (Also, the entire album clocks just less than 30 minutes). Continue reading “Features: The Willowz”

News: 2010 Record Store Day

(photo by David Chiu)

Record Store Day has now come and passed. This year’s event on Apr. 17 seemed more memorable compared to last year’s as far as special items and rarities were concerned, from a numbered 45 single of the Rolling Stones’ “Plundered My Soul” to the Flaming Lips’ tribute to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon.

So taking a page from my Microphone Memory Emotion coverage of the event from last year, I returned back to the two places participating on Record Store Day. First I waited on line at City Hall’s J&R Music World a half-hour before the store’s open behind 10 other people who were already there. I was glad to arrive early since the Village’s Other Music wasn’t going to open until 11 a.m. Continue reading “News: 2010 Record Store Day”

Features: An interview with Steve Wynn

(photo from http://www.stevewynn.net)

NewBeats turns 11 this month. So from our archives, here is an interview with former Dream Syndicate singer circa 2003:

Steve Wynn: Music for Troubled Souls
By David Chiu

“I wanted to have written a novel more than I want to write a novel,” said veteran singer/songwriter Steve Wynn. “I think I will someday. It’s a whole different discipline.” Given his knack for writing introspective moody songs in a journalistic fashion, it would only make sense that he would write a book. If he ever decides to do that, Wynn certainly would have enough material given his 20-plus years of experiences in music career.

In fact, any survey of alternative music in the last two decades would be incomplete without mentioning Steve Wynn. He had established his name in modern rock as the founder of the Dream Syndicate, the Los Angeles band that was synonymous with the Paisley Underground movement of the early ’80s. The band that was heavily influenced by the Velvet Underground in time would inspire another generation of garage rockers in the ’90s. While the Dream Syndicate has been somewhat of a distant memory since its break up in 1990, Wynn continued to plug away, first with the super group Gutterball, and later as a solo artist. Continue reading “Features: An interview with Steve Wynn”