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the flog

Punk Rock Face-Off

On Wednesday night, a tsunami will engulf Jacksonville Beach. The screaming guitars of legendary punk band T.S.O.L. will clash with local hellraisers Concrete Criminals and Palatka adrenaline junkies FFN. at Surfer the Bar. Slap on your best pair of shredded jeans and put Homeland Security on full alert, because the beaches are going to set it off.

 

T.S.O.L. (True Sounds of Liberty) has been through more changes than Charlie Sheen has been through hookers. The band was founded in Southern California in the late 1970s, like fellow standard-bearers Black Flag and the Circle Jerks. T.S.O.L.’s debut EP, released in 1981, shared the aggressive rhythms, distorted guitars and political themes that distinguished many SoCal punk records. The band was against private property, the military, the government and, of course, Ronald Reagan.

 

Their 1983 full-length Beneath the Shadows, found the erstwhile punks embracing a new-wave sound and goth-rock aesthetic. The move from loud guitars to pianos and keyboards didn’t sit well with paint-by-numbers punks, though. Founding vocalist Jack Grisham didn’t care. He believed playing punk music meant you didn’t have to follow any script, so he didn’t.

 

Grisham left T.S.O.L. shortly thereafter. His next act: dressing in drag and performing what he termed “lounge music” in a new band, Cathedral of Tears. He was rebelling against everything he had become. The effort was as admirable as the music was lame, with cheesy keyboards and blowing whistles that sounded more like the Village People than the Ramones.

 

Without Grisham, T.S.O.L. went in a totally different direction. They ingratiated themselves with the L.A. hair-metal scene and toured with Guns N’ Roses.

 

By 1990, there were no remaining original members. Legal struggles ensued, and in 1999, Grisham reunited the one and true T.S.O.L. They’ve been writing, recording and …   More

the flog

The Total Package

Losing a band member is never an easy thing, and it cuts even deeper when the group in question is young, tight and on the rise: a band of brothers. On Dec. 30, the eve of New Year’s Eve, Jacksonville metal group Yashira lost their drummer, 24-year-old Seth Howard, in a car accident. Now Howard’s bandmates—bassist Luke Barber and guitarists Connor Anderson and Dylan Mikos—are putting on a benefit show to celebrate his life and help the Howard family cover medical and memorial costs.

Friends and family alike attest that Howard was not only an amazing drummer but an all-around a great guy. He was a student, a brother and a friend to anyone that needed him. Artistically, his role in Yashira was central. According to his bandmates, Howard was a writer and visionary.

“He was definitely the focal point of the band,” Barber told Folio Weekly, “and I can’t underestimate his genius. He had the ultimate vision of where our songs should go.”

Howard was also a natural performer—a rock ‘n’ roll animal, to borrow Lou Reed’s expression.

“He was the total package,” Barber continued. “He was handsome, much more handsome than any of us, I think. He would get on stage, take off his shirt, and he had all these cool tattoos, and everybody would be looking at him.”

Outside of music, Howard was passionate about anything and everything that he set his mind to.

“Even if he was reading an article on the internet and he had a feeling about it, he would let you know,” said Barber.

Howard had been pursuing an electrical engineering degree at the University of Florida before deciding to put his academic career on the back burner and give Yashira a proper go. After honing the craft for three years, the band recorded their debut album for New Jersey metalcore label Good Fight Music. Shrine was released in April 2018 to encouraging reviews nationwide.

This …   More

the flog

Cream of the Crop

The formal arrival of All Elite Wrestling on Jan. 8 was heralded as one of the most momentous dates in the long and complicated history of professional wrestling. The Sunshine State was once one of the world’s leading territorial promotions, often headlined by “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes. Now, his son, “The American Nightmare” Cody Rhodes, returns to his dad’s old stomping grounds, and he's bringing with him a new organization that represents the first significant challenge to industry leader WWE since the late 1990s.

The website WrestlingData.com, the authoritative resource for hard numbers on old-school territory wrestling, currently lists an all-time total of 1,135 events held in Jacksonville, dating as far back as Feb. 17, 1883. Of these, 777 were held at the old Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The first event there drew 3,792 people on Saturday night, Jan. 7, 1961. On Jan. 8, 2019, 58 years (and one day) later, over a thousand marks, rubes and other assorted fans gathered in Parking Lot J of TIAA Bank Field to observe the birth of AEW. And like any proper delivery, there were plenty of towels, bearing the AEW logo in black, white and gold. The color scheme reflects AEW’s intrinsic link to the Jacksonville Jaguars via owners Shad and Tony Khan. Jackson De Ville himself was in attendance, as were the Roar, who gave out free merch and posed for photographs. The first batch of AEW t-shirts came in Jaguar colors, and a number of the stars in attendance wore their own gear bearing the same color scheme.

The energy was like a really good tailgate session, with broad diversity in age, gender and racial background. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re from, everyone loves a good hustle, and that’s what pro wrestling does better than anything else.

The rally, hosted by Conrad Thompson (Ric Flair’s son-in-law) and Bryan Alvarez, was designed to introduce AEW's roster, wrestlers like …   More

the flog

Beeps & Boops

People love to claim that they gravitate toward the weird, but rarely do they really take things to the next level. Most are content to kick back, drink a couple of cool, Coors 16-ouncers, and enjoy an evening of television in which a famous singer dons a mask and we plebs have the pleasure of guessing his/her identity. (While this description may sound weird, the show itself is banal.)

Fortunately, Sun-Ray Cinema does weird right. And, to prove it, they've invited Mark Hosler of the celebrated San Francisco avant-noise collective Negativland, along with the legendary zine author and cartoonist Dame Darcy to liven up what would be an otherwise dull Thursday evening.

Hosler has been making strange music for many years. He helped found Negativland in 1979 and, throughout the years, Mark and his culture-jamming comrades have worked hard to change the way people think of music and media. They are most famous for lampooning advertisements (as heard on their 1997 album, Dispepsi), giving the FUs to the big boys (read more about the infamous U2 incident), and challenging the laws regarding copyrights (see/hear their 2005 album, No Business is a great start). While the group has lost founding members Richard Lyons and Don Joyce over the last decade, they are still going strong.

But this isn't a Negativland show. No, this is something completely different. For his recent performances, Hosler has been using Boopers to create musical soundscapes. Spawned from the tinkering of fellow Negativland member David Willis, the Booper is an electronic noise-making device that creates unstable feedback using multiple transistors and an FM radio receiver. The resulting sounds are different each time they are played but are sure to excite the ears and engage the mind.

Dame Darcy doesn't boop, but you are sure to enjoy her performance as well. This incredible artist has a long list of credits to her name. She has worked as an alternative cartoonist, musician, filmmaker and …   More

the flog

Veteran Presence

DJ Maseo has spun thousands of sets over the course of his four decades in the music business, but like the saying goes, you never forget your first.

“It was always about the sound system, so wherever the people were dancing, that’s where the speakers were,” he says. “The DJ was always in another room, so you couldn’t see who it was.”

It was his mother’s housewarming party in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, and he was 11 years old, subbing briefly for the actual DJ. It was a trial by fire.

“It was, like, either rock the party or get your ass kicked, because I wasn’t supposed to be up anyway.”

DJ Maseo was born Vincent Lamont Mason, Jr. in Brooklyn on March 24, 1970, and he currently lives in Florida. He joined with childhood friends Kelvin Mercer (aka “Posdnuos”) and David Jude Jolicoeur (aka “Trugoy the Dove”) to form De La Soul in 1987. Within a year, their first single, “Plug Tunin’,” had caught the ear of the legendary Prince Paul, who helped get them signed to Tommy Boy that year (and remains a close collaborator to this day).

The group’s debut album, 3 Feet High and Rising, dropped in 1989. To call it an instant classic would be an understatement. It is one of the essential hip hop recordings of all-time, a cultural signpost and a key document of what everyone acknowledges as that genre’s golden age. The track “Potholes In My Lawn” converted an entire generation of fans. De La Soul were linked with fellow alt-rap icons A Tribe Called Quest and Jungle Brothers. Together they were known as the “Native Tongues Posse,” and they flew the flag of social awareness, positivity and the proverbial good, clean fun as rap music began taking on more nihilistic overtones.

In an era when masterpieces were being dropped on an almost weekly basis for several years, De La Soul managed to not only stand out among …   More

the flog

Punk Rock Rasta

It’s been many years now since HR first took leave of the sound and the fury that characterized his groundbreaking work as the frontman of Bad Brains. Having immersed himself in the Rastafari faith since the early ‘80s, he chose to put the past behind him and reboot his style under the rubric of reggae. Hardcore fans thought it was just a phase, a side-hustle employed between stints with the band that made him famous. But now, two decades later, it’s clear that his interest is sincere.

HR brings his mature sound to Surfer the Bar on Wednesday night, Dec. 19, backed by the band he’s toured with for the last four years: Ezekiel Zagar on guitar, Joshua Freshy on bass, Wesely Raust on drums. The most important players, however, will be the audience themselves. Their energy has buoyed the leader through a rough spell that included brain surgery. Now back in good health, HR his appy to be back on stage. “Oh man, it feels great”, he says. “The kids have a lot to do with my feeling great.”

Just like fellow Rastafari Bob Marley, HR is a dread and an Aquarius who entered this world in the month of Joseph. Born Paul Hudson in Liverpool in 1956, he's one of that city’s many major contributions to music history. Hudson and younger brother Earl were both Air Force kids with an American dad and Jamaican mom. The family eventually moved to Washington, D.C., where the brothers (with Earl on drums) joined bassist Daryl Jenifer and legendary guitarist Dr. Know to form a band called Mind Power in 1976. They were rechristened Bad Brains a year later. The name comes from a Ramones song, and the phrase “Mind Power” would return 41 years later as the title of their 11th album. HR and his friends represented the point of precise intersection between punk rock, hardcore and reggae, the latter being the prime directive for most of his career.

The four founders long ago launched successful solo careers, and a new …   More

the flog

Goodnight, Sweet Duke

Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens has lost one of its best-loved residents. Duke, the 21-year-old bull giraffe, had been living at the facility since 2003. He was distinguished for his natural beauty—his stature and dark coloring set him apart from the herd—as well as his outgoing personality.

Giraffe keepers and animal health experts had been treating Duke for degenerative arthritis for years.  He received regular pain relief and was kept on an exercise regimen that encouraged joint strengthening.

Early Tuesday morning, keepers found Duke incapacitated. After testing and deliberation, zoo authorities decided the most humane course of action was euthanasia.

”Unlike a person with extremely acute arthritis,” said deputy zoo director Dan Maloney in a press release, “an immobile giraffe is unable to utilize braces, canes or other mechanized assistance. Once a giraffe goes down, their prospects are bleak at best. Saying goodbye is always hard and understandably, staff are sad, but thankful his ordeal was brief.”

Duke’s herd was nearby and his trusted keepers were present when he passed. A full exam will follow to determine underlying causes and advance the study of arthritis in mature giraffes.

Besides his role as a successful animal ambassador, Duke was a linchpin of the Giraffe Species Survival Plan (SSP), a cooperative breeding program among accredited zoos. He sired 18 offspring, three of whom still reside at Jacksonville Zoo.

Duke's human friends are grieving the loss.

“We were lucky to have had the opportunity to get to know and work with such a special giraffe,” said mammal supervisor Corey Neatrour, who worked with Duke for a full decade. “If he had lived another 100 years, it would not have been enough time with him.”   More

the flog

Sounds of the Season

The holidays are here, and with them comes the annual procession of specialty events that showcase the best of local music across the board, more of which you’ll be reading about here in the days ahead. This applies especially to Northeast Florida’s jazz scene, whose most prolific organizations have things planned for the month of December. Among these artists, of course, are the more than two dozen members of the Crescendo Amelia Big Band, who’ll be working theaters in Jacksonville and Fernandina Beach with their show, “How the Big Band Stole Christmas.” (They’ll also be part of the New Year’s Eve festivities at Alhambra.)

This is their fifth year doing this particular show, which presents holiday-themed standards in a broad-based, classic theatrical setting. The show includes classics such as “All I Want for Christmas,” “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” “Santa Baby” and the all-time hit “White Christmas.” Some of these songs can be heard in studio form on their album Crescendo Amelia Christmas Vol. 1, which was released earlier this year. “The best part about the holidays is bringing the community together,” says trumpeter Dennis Negrin, who helps run the group, “and one of the things I’m most excited for now that we’re in our fourth year producing the show is seeing everyone come together this season, and music has a pretty magical way of doing that.”

Produced by Negrin and drummer/founder Frank Basile, the show features the entire big band, which was formed as “Frankie and Friends” in January 2013 and rechristened Crescendo Amelia a year later. Its 23 members are augmented by a retinue of singers, including Reed Meyer, Marah Lovequist, Jennifer Burns, Linzy Lauren, Kim Reteguiz, Johnathan Leonard, Jay Fowler and the singers in the local music group Off the Record. The show is punctuated by elements of jazz, swing dance …   More

the flog

Stepping Up

The Young Step have come out of hibernation just in time for winter (such as it is here in Florida). It's been a full two years since the local indie-rock trio splashed onto the scene with their debut album, El Clàsico. Last week they dropped new single "Ghost Town" on digital platforms Bandcamp, Soundcloud and Spotify—and it's not a faux pas.

The eponymous "Ghost Town" is none other than St. Augustine, the group's adopted home base. Band members Ben Whitson (vocals, guitar), Micah Gilliam (guitar, keys, vocals) and Lauren Gilliam (bass, vocals, guitar) originally hail from the Midwest. Their description of life in the quaint, seaside village reads like a NEFla version of Death in Venice.

"It's about what it's like living in a beach town," they explain in a press release. "How you have to be really conscious about doing something with yourself here, instead of getting sucked into the status quo of the beach-town life."

Where said press release cites the likes of Devo, Talking Heads and Iggy Pop, we hear echoes of Iva Davies and Icehouse, not to mention early Chris Isaak. Groove-wise, "Ghost Town" feels like the California crooner's "Dancin'"—although its guitar hook might have been borrowed from New Radicals' "You Get What You Give."

What's the next step? It's unclear. We trust there's some grand marketing strategy in play but, for the moment, The Young Step are treading lightly. No live performances are scheduled, nor has a follow-up album been announced.   More

The Flog

Advocate for Artists

After a months-long search that included lots of art community input, the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville has hired Joy Young to head up the organization, in the role of executive director. Young arrives from the South Carolina Arts Commission in Columbia, South Carolina, where she was the director of administration, human resources and operations.

An artist herself, Young earned a Bachelor of Arts in music, studied Voice Performance at Manhattan School of Music and completed a Master of Arts. She seems to be one of the extraordinary creative people who can fuse passion and intellectual rigor. She has also received certification in human resources employee relations law and mediation. If that's not enough, she attained candidacy for a Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership.

Young is an advocate for artists. In 2017 she conceived and implemented a program for The South Carolina Arts Commission, which (according to the Upstate Business Journal), launched the pilot of ArtsGrow SC. The program allowed qualifying artists or creative ventures to have access to a matched savings program, or Individual Development Accounts (IDA) For Artists, as well as micro-loans, business venture loans, grants, personalized coaching and workshops.

In 2018 she was one of several presenters at South Carolina African American Heritage Commission’s “Teacher Institute.” The mission of the institute was to help teachers in SC better understand the state’s African American heritage. Additionally, her work included a cultural tourism grant program that returned $2.1 million dollars in economic impact.

Ann Carey, CCGJ board chair and member of the search committee said, “Joy is a strong communicator with deep leadership capabilities. When we interviewed her, it was clear that she brings the energy, passion and expertise that we need at this critical moment in the organization’s history.”

Young seems to be poised to place artists at or …   More