HAMILTON MUSIC NOTES
December 5-11, 2002
It wasnâ€™t long ago that Ripped Emotions were colouring the local landscape with their brash brand of gothic punk rock. Since 1994, various incarnations revolving around bassist/guitarist/vocalist Sandi Olender and guitarist Moody have taken shape. In 1998, they recruited fullâ€“time drummer Jamie Ferraro; this year, they streamlined the name, tweaked the sound a smidge and landed themselves a new recording contract.
Rippedâ€™s Sextant/EMI debut, Bloodshot, was recorded with producers Mike Hanson (Glass Tiger) and Jamie Stewart (The Cult) and recently hit racks around the country. The resulting attention with this increased exposure hasnâ€™t changed the grassroots nature of the band.
â€œWeâ€™re modern rock with a little metal, a little punk and a little pop,â€ Moody maintains. Itâ€™s a sound not too far removed from label mates like Robin Black and The Intergalactic Rock Stars, but Rippedâ€™s haunting delivery and rocked up rhythms have garnered them as much attention as their visual presentation.
A recent Canadian independent full-length feature filmed by producer/director Nigel Hartwell entitled Shivers showcases three songs (The â€œHauntingâ€, â€œMiseryâ€, â€œCall Meâ€). Rippedâ€™s sinister lyrical twist and shadowy music seems a natural fit for the horror/ghost story genre and itâ€™s a theme they capitalize on in their own videos as well. With clips from the film, you can either catch Ripped in rotation on Edge TV on cable or right here in town when Ripped returns to The Staircase this Friday night for their first local show in over four years. Virgin Pornstar is also on the bill. Cover is $5.
A recent Rock And Roll Hall Of Famer gets a tribute thanks to a couple of guys influential on the Hamilton scene for the last couple of decades. As part of The Dave Rave Conspiracy, Gary â€˜Pigâ€™ Gold has helped personally create a portion of the music some call Hamiltonia â€”and thatâ€™s aside from being a â€™zine editor and, more recently, a record company mogul. His NYCâ€“based imprint To Mâ€™Lou Music (run with Shane Faubert) recently put out a tribute album to Gene Pitney to rave international reviews and one of the stellar tracks is from local musician Rick Andrew.
â€œEver since first hearing The Shakers back in my Pig Paper days,â€ explains Gold, â€œIâ€™ve been such a fan of Rickâ€™s voice, his bass, and now his home studio too (where I had the pleasure of doing a session with Dave Rave earlier this year). So when Lisa Mychols [of Los Angelesâ€™ The Masticators] first approached me about the idea of helping find artists by which to pay tribute to The Man Called Pitney, I immediately thought of Rick, and he immediately thought of one of his most treasured childhood B-sides, â€œDonna Means Heartbreak.â€
â€œAfter reviewing all the great Pitney songs I knew,â€ Andrew clarifies, â€œI started working out arrangements for one of his famous jazzâ€“type tunes. I considered this jazz tune â€™cause I know so many great Hamilton jazz musicians that I had previously not had an opportunity to work with. It was about the time I had the arrangement and which musicians worked out in my head that I received an email telling me what songs were already being done. Thus the end of my first selection.â€
Luckily, Andrew had inherited his older brotherâ€™s 45 collection when his sibling left home.
â€œOne of these 45s was a Pitney record with â€˜True Love Never Runs Smoothâ€™ backed with â€˜Donna Means Heartbreakâ€™. I played these discs over and over as a kid and enjoyed them all. I decided to do â€˜Donna Means Heartbreakâ€™. Not wanting to clone the Pitney arrangement, I tried to use a slightly different rhythm with harmonica fills instead of Geneâ€™s classical Spanish guitar licks. I added a blistering guitar solo for contrast after a sweet harmonica solo. I had a great time doing the vocal and the musicians, a few of Hamiltonâ€™s greatest, were amazing.â€
â€œOf course he cut a great version,â€ beams Gold about the recording. â€œMost atmospheric and windswept indeed (Rick always did know how to capture perfectly Southern Ontarioâ€™s â€œtobacco belt soundâ€), and his employment of Hamiltonâ€™s very own young Neil, Doug Feaver, only further helped Lisa and I decide our album just couldnâ€™t be complete without this track.â€
The album has a hearty mix of potentially unlikely partners including Gordon Waller of Peter and Gordon fame, Al Kooper, Billy Cowsill of the Cowsills, Sleeping Giant and The Sparkle Jets; geographically, it covers almost half of the United States, Australia, United Kingdom, Austria â€” and Ancaster, Ontario.
Two dozen artists from around the world pay homage to one of rock and rollâ€™s pioneers on Heâ€™s A Rebel: The Gene Pitney Story ...Retold. The disc is currently available through the To Mâ€™Lou website: www.tomlou.com
â€œI understand Phil Spector heard it on an L.A. radio station and immediately ordered a bunch of copies,â€ laughs Andrew. World-class music emanates from the area and in particular out of Andrewâ€™s Valley View Studios.
The facilities are becoming a haven for upâ€“andâ€“coming area bands throughout the year, but the holiday season has become even more special for Andrew and his son Jamie.
For the last couple of years, Valley View Studios has unofficially released a compilation album featuring great talent performing spontaneous takes of some heralding Christmas music. But the catch is, the project has eluded any real commercial nature and acted more like an honest expression of seasonal sentiment (or, at worst, a stopâ€“gap result of giftâ€“getting frustration).
â€œThe first Valley View Xmas compilation was in 2000,â€ explains producer Jamie Andrew, â€œand I came up with the idea for it exactly one week before Christmas.â€
More of a family project for the studio and their friends the compilation offered seven mainly acoustic takes by the likes of Doug Feaver, Ray Materick, Tally Hum Orchestra and other artists working with Andrew at the time.
â€œThe tracks were quickly produced and recorded during that week. I made about 50 copies through the night of the twenty-third and dropped off at about 35 to peopleâ€™s houses the next morning.â€
â€œIt was mainly intended to be a gift for friends and family, but it turned out to be a good promotion for the studio as well.â€
The second edition helped make the compilation more of a tradition and its release was a tad more organized.
â€œI think it was planned about three or four weeks in advance,â€ recounts Andrew. â€œIt has 16 songs and features Trickbag, Little Red Blues Band, Jesse Oâ€™Brien, Sheanderthals, Linda Duemo, Ray Materick and Doug Feaver. This compilation had a lot more distribution, [and] I think we made over a hundred CDs.â€
With the third installment upon us and the increased activity of late at Valley View, thoughts of the new compilation may come to mind but Andrew likes the urgency involved in the previous recordings, a facet he likes to foster in his own band, The Battleship, Ethel.
â€œI think the hasty production of these Christmas projects captures the spirit amazingly well. The closer you get to Christmas the more it actually feels like Christmas. I think my approach to it is very similar to the way I approach The Battleship, Ethel. Spontaneity is key. Itâ€™s fun, itâ€™s free, and it brings together many musicians who wouldnâ€™t otherwise be involved in projects together.
â€œI havenâ€™t given this yearâ€™s compilation too much thought yet. I canâ€™t really speculate whoâ€™s going to be on it, but Iâ€™m hoping to at least have Mark Brenzil record â€œFeliz Navidadâ€. Some of the musicians from last yearâ€™s compilation have expressed interest as well but Iâ€™m not too concerned about making a giant production out of it. Thereâ€™s no money involved; everyoneâ€™s time is donated and the CDs have all been free.â€
Globetrotting singer Scarlett Antaloczy has been getting back to her roots and to her dogs recently. The singer is probably more popular in the U.S. or England for her vigorous vocals and sensual songs but Antaloczy still calls Hamilton home and she returns for her first area performance in eight months.
â€œIâ€™ve been practicing and my dogs are singing in the same pitch now, not just howling,â€ she laughs. â€œI might be thinking of incorporating them in the show!â€
Perhaps better known locally as the woman who helps heal people with their own voice (www.lifesoundz.com), Scarlett is incorporating her musical and medicinal sides more and more every day.
â€œIâ€™m really excited. My first Canadian tour is set to begin in late spring. The show will be bigger â€” more effects, screens, multi-media â€” in bigger venues. But I have one year to go on my Doctorate in Traditional Chinese medicine and I have a company called Music and Medicine International. My goal is to integrate the two.â€
Antaloczy begins recording her new album next year, but should be debuting some of her new globalâ€“trance-flavoured tunes as well as recounting some previous jazz and pop classics as her one woman extravaganza returns to Hamilton this weekend.
Scarlett Antaloczy performs Sunday, December 8 at the Studio Theatre. Doors open at 7:30 and tickets are available at Copps Coliseum box office and all Ticketmaster locations, online at www.ticketsmaster.ca or charge by phone 905.527.7666.
MAKE THE CUT: To be elegible for consideration in HMN, e-mail Ric Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org or drop a package off to View's offices no later than 5 p.m. the Thursday before publication.
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