As I was driving back into town yesterday, I tuned into NPR’s “All Things Considered,” which is one of my not-so-guilty pleasures, and was highly amused and intrigued by the focus of their segment: Breakfast at Sulimay’s.
Breakfast at Sulimay’s: The backbooth at Sulimay’s (a Fishtown diner in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) is where three senior citizen diner regulars – (Bill Able, Ann Bailey and Joe Walker) turned-music critics blurt out what comes to their heads while listening to new music. From their videos I see that they’ve “reviewed” Ghostface Killah, Animal Collective, Yo La Tengo, Raphael Saadiq, Coldwar Kids, Common, The Ting Tings, Kings of Leon, Young Jeezy, etc.
It appears they’ve been at it for at least most of this year, with over 25 YouTube episodes under their belt. Aside from that NPR segment, they’ve been featured on Pitchfork, Philadelphia Weekly, Stereogum, etc.
Some of the stuff they blurt out reminds me of the stuff my parents used to say about some of the music my brother and I used to play around the house, “How can you even understand what they’re saying?!“
You know, with as many music aficionados that I’m surrounded by I could definitely see some of them as this trio personified in their old age.
If you have time to kill, you should definitely check this out. Click here for a little more background on the trio and the show.
The Randies are:
Sienna DeGovia: vocals, bass
Laurita Guaico: vocals, guitar
Laura Cataldo: vocals, guitar
Tosha Jones: drums
At the Friendship Motor Inn
Saw the Light
To be released: Bye Bye Beautiful
This whole month you’ve been listening to featured Band the Randies on some of the various TRAffIK segments and now we wrap it up with a Q&A with Sienna and Laura.
TRAffIK: How did you come together?
Sienna: Laura and I met at Mr. T’s Bowl in Highland Park where we were both playing with other bands. Her friend was screwing my boyfriend at the
time and Laura witnessed me throw many a drink on that lovely little
ladies’ head. We started a band, recorded an album with a couple of
ill fitting bandmates who quit right after the album came out. Then
we met Laurita at the awesome Kiss or Kill shows where we we’re all
playing and hanging out on a regular basis. We recorded another album
toured our asses off and went of a major quest for the perfect drummer
who we FINALLY FINALLY FINALLY found in Miss Tosha Jones from Indiana.
TRAffIK: Length of time as a band?
Sienna: a billion years! no just kidding….about three years in our current
TRAffIK: Have you always been LA based? If not where were you previously?
Sienna:Yup we’re LA through and through…(the
good-east-of-highland-no-fake-titties kind of LA)
TRAffIK: Where does your name come from?
Sienna: Oh god, from the part of someone’s brain that is full of bad ideas.
TRAffIK: When you aren’t playing music what else can we find you doing?
Sienna: Eating mostly. Or playing with food.
TRAffIK: How would you describe your sound?
Sienna: guitar driven, vocal heavy, pop rock with killer harmonies.
TRAffIK:What is the song writing process like for your band?
Sienna: Someone wiill come in with the structure of a song, or the basic
melody or lyrics. Then we will work on it as a group until we all
like it. Sometimes we even finish lyrics for each other. It’s a very
TRAffIK: What is the recording process like for you?
Sienna: We like to record everything live and then go back in for guitar
tweaks and vocals. Right now the recording process has been
slooooooooow and frustrating because we depend on the kindness of
talented engineers and producers to donate their valuble abilities.
As times get tougher in the music biz and the world in general, free
studio time seems to get more scarce.
TRAffIK: Rumor has it you’ve been working on a new CD when will that be available
to your audience?
Sienna: We are hoping to release it in the next couple of months, so Spring 09.
TRAffIK: Has the making of that CD been any different than your previous ones?
Sienna:We’ve had more time to work out all the songs and to play them live in
front of an audience because we toured a lot before recording. Our
other two albums were very very rushed in that we were finishing the
songs in the studio and had never even played some of them live.
TRAffIK:What has been your most fun show to play so far? Why?
Sienna: All of the Warped Tour shows have been fun in that rock n roll summer
camp way. It’s just an indescribable feeling to be on tour with a
giant group of like minded people. You can begin to feel really crazy
for pursuing a life in music as the years creep by, bt then you do
something like the Warped Tour and you realize there are a lot of
freaky music junkies just like you out there . We also played a
great show in Missouri with a band called Ludo on our last tour. The
crowd was awesome and we are all friends so that was really
fun…..Some of my favorite shows of all time were the Kiss or Kill
shows when that scene was really tightly knit. There was always a
really fun and light hearted feel to the night. Everyone was there to
have a good time and support local music. No attitude, just good
(Since we at TRAffIK love Makeovers check out as the Randies restyle Ludo during last years Warped Tour)
TRAffIK: Worst Show?
Sienna: Too many to mention!!! I have stage fright that will rear it’s ugly
head for no reason at any given moment. I’ve played so many shows
just completely paralyzed with fear. ugh, it’s the worst.
TRAffIK: What is your favorite place to play in LA? Outside of LA?
Sienna: In LA I still like playing at Mr. T’s though I heard they may not be
doing live music there anymore…..We’ve played at the House of Blues
a couple of times and of course that is amazing. When we’re on tour
my absolute favorite place to play is The Melody Inn in Indianapolis,
Indiana. They put on a night called Punk Rock Night and there is
still a great big scene of rowdy music fans. I love it.
TRAffIK: Do you feel it is harder to develop a following in Los Angeles as opposed
to other cities? Why or why not?
Sienna: Yes, definitely. There are just too many bands in LA. You can throw
a rock without hitting a musician in my neighborhood and there is a
general “too cool for school” attitude that pervades every club in LA.
In other cities, people are basically happy and grateful that you
drove all that way to come out and play for them.
TRAffIK: What is the audience like in other cities? What areas have the best audiences?
Laura: Sometimes its the suburbs and the areas of the states that have absolutely nothing going on for the kids. As an indie artist it is better! They are genuinely so excited to see live music and we aren’t competing with a gazillion other events going on the same night.
TRAffIK: What are some of the elements that you feel make a great show?
Sienna:I think it’s all about energy. If the band is relaxed and having a great time that really comes across to the crowd. Some of our best shows have happened right after a nasty band fight too. As long as the band is really feeling something (even if it’s just rage at each other!) and not just phoning it in you’re gonna have a great show.
TRAffIK: What do you wish there was more of in Los Angeles music wise (i.e.
supportive fans, better bookers, more venues, more support, etc.)?
Sienna: How about all of the above! It’s really a sad time for LA and the
music scene because Indie 103.1 just went off the air. When Indie was
around there was at least ONE other option besides main stream
corporate crap radio, but now there is nothing but the internet. I’m
also hoping that kids will want to start rocking out again. I’m
really really tired of people being into bands that don’t know how to
sing in tune or play their instruments, let alone write a good song.
It’s gotten to the point where all you need is your grandma’s grey
high heels, a pair of mens socks, skinny arms, a snare drum that you
play with two cucumbers and you too can be the next indie-rock
darling! I don’t want to sound bitter, but it took me a lot of years
and a million shows to get to the point where I can say (with
confidence ) that I am in a great band. It burns a little to see a
newbie with quirky fashion sense and absolutely no talent getting all
the attention. But whatever.
TRAffIK:How often do you play shows?
Sienna: We have slowed down since we got back from the Warped Tour last summer
(trying to finish this next album at long last) but anywhere from 3-8
per month if we’re in LA, to one every night if we’re on tour.
TRAffIK: How many tours have you gone on now and what areas have you covered?
Sienna:I think we’ve traversed the US about 8 times now. We’ve done the warped tour 3 times and we have also done a bunch of mini weekend dates up to the bay area or out to Arizona.
TRAffIK:What are some of the misconceptions that you think bands that have never
toured have about touring (if any)?
Sienna: That it’s always fun. It can get really boring and really lonely and
really fattening. Or that people will be at every show you play. We
have literally played to zero people before. It’s so weird. You can
play a packed club one night and the next night just a few hundred
miles away there is no one at the show.
TRAffIK: What was your experience with booking shows/working with bookers and how
were the shows different if any?
Sienna: A lot of bookers don’t know how to work with smaller bands. They will
put a touring band on last after all the local bands at midnight on a
tuesday. That is just a recipe for disaster. Laurita has gotten
really good at fighting for what we need to have a great show as a
touring band. It sucks to have to push all the time, but that’s the
nature of the beast.
TRAffIK: Many bands used to (and may still have) the mentality that playing a
festival like Warped Tour would be their big break and officially put them
on the map. What was your experience with playing the Warped Tour stage?
Sienna: It’s always a great experience to be a part of the Warped Tour, but it
does not a star make. There are so many bands playing all at the same
time that it’s really a daily struggle for the little bands to get
noticed. You have to promote, promote, promote every day. It’s like
boot camp for bands. If you are a small band, you are driving
hundreds of miles every night, loading in tons of gear over hot
pavement every morning at 8 am, passing out flyers and hanging up
posters until you get your thirty minute set, playing, packing up and
then doing it all again. Every day for weeks on end. It’s very
physically grueling but artistically rewarding to be part of such an
awesome traveling group of crazy musicians.
TRAffIK: How did the opportunity to play come about?
Sienna: A friend of a friend of a friend recommended us to Kevin Lyman and he
put us on the Kevin Says Stage for three California dates. The next
year we asked him if we could do more dates and he said yes. The NEXT
year we asked again and he said yes AGAIN! Kevin Lyman has been
incredibly supportive to us over the years. I think he appreciates
that we do everything ourselves with no label support. We will be
forever grateful to him for everything he’s done to help us out.
TRAffIK: What is the lifestyle of a touring band? What sacrifices do you have to
make as a person?
Sienna: Basically you have to be willing to give up every human comfort and
security. Everything most people take for granted is put in jeopardy
by the touring lifestyle. Financial security, family relationships,
romantic relationships, education and physical and mental health are
all put under incredible strain while touring in a band regularly.
There were a couple of years where we were gone at least 6 months out
of the year, living out of our van. I had to sublet my apartment,
give up my day jobs, and try to hold together some semblance of a
social life while I was in and out of town. That was the worst,
because even when I came back to LA I had no place that was my own.
To tour a lot is hard. To tour a lot as an DIY band with no tour
support is nearly impossible. I don’t know how we’ve kept it up for
as long as we have.
TRAffIK: Do you feel bands from other cities have a different mentality than LA
based bands? If so how so?
Sienna: In general I would say there is a more welcoming feeling from bands in
other cities. Usually, just like the audience, the bands tend to
appreciate that you came all that way to play.
TRAffIK: Do you feel there is more of a support system for bands in other cities?
Sienna: Every town is different. Indianapolis has a strong supportive scene.
We’ve never really made a connection in Chicago….The smaller
college towns seem to have tighter knit music communities. New York
is just like LA; everyone is cooler than you and nobody cares.
TRAffIK: Is there anything that you know now that you wish you had known before setting out on your first tour?
Sienna: I wish we had focused more on the west coast first before setting out
on some of our bigger more ambitious tours. It was awesome to see the
country like that, but as a result we have some of our strongest fan
bases in cities that are 2000 miles away. It makes it really hard to
pop in for a quick couple of shows.
TRAffIK: What music do the Randies listen to on the road?
Sienna: Every one listens to different stuff. Laurita, Laura and Tosha are way more with it musically than I am. I tend to stick to the classics and not try anything new. Eventually you get so bored though that anything goes and you’ve run the gamut from Celine Dion to Megadeth.
TRAffIK: What are you listening to these days?
Sienna: I’m listening to early David Bowie. Laura: I’ve been listening to a lot of old Jazz & Blues Standards to Radiohead(can never seem to kick them)
TRAffIK: What are some of your band member’s (or band as a whole) influences (musical or otherwise)?
Laura: We have a vast array of influences, I know Sienna loves old pop and musicals, Laurita and I share similar PJ Harvey, Metal, Rock N’Roll, to Radiohead. For the most part I think we all share our influences dating back to the first time we heard a Beatles record.
TRAffIK:What are some bands that you think did things right…or that you look up to?
Laura: I have always admired Sonic Youth…Fugazi, Nirvana. Um, Katy Perry for having her face wrapped around her tour bus last summer. You gotta be pretty strong to live through that one. People that werern’t afraid to go against the grain.
TRAffIK: Are there any local (or other independent) bands that you are really into?
Laura: Haven’t really been able to get out much…but I have seen a few M.Ward shows and I really love his songwriting.
TRAffIK: What do you feel are some of the current challenges of being an independent band/artist?
Laura:Its a lot harder to get your music out there without the security blanket of advertisement, airplay, and the ability to be on the road 2-300 days outta the year to travel the world and get your music heard.
TRAffIK: How do you feel about the current condition of the music industry?
Laura: It’s losing ground in this economy. Also the way technology is changing so rapidly between digital downloads and CD’s. What’s going to come after downloads?? maybe music will be up at some satellite somewhere and it can literally be transmitted to “soundtracks” in our heads.
TRAffIK:Your first video for “Thought I Could Change” earned you the spot of a Featured Video for a month on FuseTV, how did that come about?
Laura: We won a contest on Sonic Bids, its a website that helps Indie artists submit their epks to different festivals, and opportunities out there for artists.
TRAffIK: What was the experience making that video?
Laura: It was the best time EVER! We were all so excited to be there that day. It always helps when you have an amazing Director (Jesse Grce) and crew.
TRAffIK: How did the idea for it come about?
Laura: Jesse actually came up with the concept and shot it.
TRAffIK: What was the experience like shooting your video for “Freezerburn?”
Laura: FREEZING cold! That is real ice on the walls and we are in real running freezers. Our friend Robbie Stauder is a “documentary” film maker- his idea to shoot this video was to literally put us barely dressed into an ice box in Deer Park on Long Island. It was pretty cool,the behind the scenes experience was almost like being on an episode of the Soprano’s and what its like to be in a real “meat market”.
Here is The Randie’s video for “Freezer Burn“
TRAffIK: What are the Randies listening to right now?
Death Cab for Cutie - “Transatlanticism”
M.Ward - “Never Had Nobody Like You”
Radiohead - “Nude”
Kings of Leon - “Charmer”
Faith No More - “Epic”
Smashing Pumpkins - “The Beginning is the End is the Beginning”
Eagles of Death Metal - “WannaBe in L.A”
Fugazi - “Blueprint”
And You Will Know us By The Trail of the Dead - “Mistakes and Regrets”
the Bronx - “White Guilt”
Loretta Lynn - “Van Lear Rose”
Queens of the Stoneage - “Another Love Song”
Yeah Yeah Yeah’s - “Maps” (just really love this song)
The Randies - “Bye Bye Beautiful”
Let us all let out a collective sigh of relief now that we know Jack Johnson will not be headlining any of the three big festivals of the 1st half of 2009. That Hawaiian-ass clown ruled the festival set in 2008 and single handedly caused ticket sales to spike downward for his specific headlining days. As terrible as he was (is) at least the concert go-er could be thankful for not having to be pressed into picking between two kick ass artists who were playing at or around the same time. (ACL 07: Muse and The Arcade Fire). JJ could have been matched up against The Bret Michaels Band and I’d still choose not to see him. At least with the BMB I’d get the chance to catch a glimpse of his Rock of Love skanks. (I <3 you Brittanya).
This year the organizers of the big three (Coachella, Sasquatch, and Bonnaroo) have really stepped it up. Sadly, “in this economy”, not everyone can go to all three. That’s why I’m here. Right off the bat I can tell you Crystal Castles, The Knux, TV on the Radio, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Girl Talk are playing all three festivals so they will have no impact on the decision making process. That said, KICK ASS! Three chances to see five badass artists.
Indio, CA – 04/17-04/19
(for your listening pleasure listen to the Deltron3030 Coachella Mix via the player above featuring some of the artists playing this years Coachella Music Festival)
Sure it would be cool to see one of the Beatles play live. Can we get a zombie John or a spirit George? I can’t stomach the idea of watching a 66 year old man, who wasn’t smart enough to sign a pre-nup to an evil one legged woman, belt out his hits and his misses. Can you guarantee that I’m going to hear songs more like “A Day in the Life” and less like “Say.Say.Say.” Who am I kidding that’s an awesome song. I’ve changed gears on this and I’m now willing to admit seeing Sir Paul would be worth the cost. Plus seeing the reclusive Leonard Cohen would be pretty awesome and the rest of Friday is jam packed with great acts: Beirut, Crystal Castles, Los Campesinos!, The Hold Steady, The Knux, and The Ting Tings. The problem with it though is most people (present company excluded) will be working on Friday and will miss all of the lower level acts thanks to work and the world renowned LA post work traffic. I suppose everyone could take Friday off, but one shouldn’t spend too much time in the meth lab capital of California. Jesus lasted 30 days in the desert with the devil; I’m thinking three full days is too much of a test for the people of the Coachella festival. It’s definitely way too long for Amy Winehouse. They better line up a replacement act for her ASAP. I’m sure Jack Johnson is available.
You can get a three day pass for $269 or single day passes for $99, plus an extra dollar “donation” fee. So for $300, before Tickmaster fees, you can sweat your ass off in Indio on their “polo fields”, and if you’re lucky, bump into Paris Hilton, Shwayze, or the cast from “The Hills”…who will surely be plunking down the $55 a head camping fee.
Non headlining Line up highlights: Leonard Cohen, Beirut, Peanut Butter Wolf, The Hold Steady, Band of Horses, Friendly Fires, No Age, Okkervil River, Los Campesinos!, MSTRKRFT., My Bloody Valentine, Silversun Pickups
“Really?” - I’m told “Throbbing Gristle” is a huge get for Coachella.. I’m listening to them now and let’s just say I’ll leave the judgment up to you.
Manchester, TN – 06/11-06/14
(for your listening pleasure listen to the Deltron3030 Bonnaroo Mix via the player above featuring some of the artists playing this years Bonnaroo Music Festival)
Bonnaroo has a pretty solid mix of acts and actual big time headliners (yes that is thinly veiled shot at Coachella’s Saturday night headliner: The Killers). This is both a pro and a con. Last year Bonnaroo drew about 70,000 people. That’s a pretty big group of sweaty ass people. This year Phish will be headlining two nights. You do the math. You don’t want to? Allow me: 70,000 people + all the phish fans that got locked out of getting their Phish only tix will be flooding Bonnaroo like unkempt locusts. The smell at these shows is bad enough, now you’re looking at waves of people who haven’t showered for days BEFORE the concert has even started. That coupled with the brutally sticky Tennessee June days has me thinking that this will not end well. The pricing is fairly accommodating, escalating from $224 to $249.50 as the dates creeps closer. Remember that’s four days compared to Coachella’s three and parking/camping is included, unless you have an RV. If that’s the case you’re looking at an additional fee of $125. I won’t bother offering up single day prices. If you’re traveling to Bonnaroo you’re committed to embracing the whole thing. It would be impossible to pick and choose dates at this point anyway because the slackers at Bonnaroo have yet to announce a day by day lineup. I was told by someone whose word I greatly trust that it was the worst festival experience of her live and that the mosquito and flowing urine river combo made camping unbearable. Personally I don’t look forward to the Phish nights simply because I’m jaded. I spent too many days of my youth hearing rich kids, as they got out of their Eddie Bauer limited edition Jeep Cherokees, say “Come on man, I need a miracle!” when I was trying to scalp tickets. Nothing is worse than a privileged hippie.
You have been warned.
Non headlining Line up highlights: Animal Collective, Of Montreal, Raphael Saadiq, Okkervil River, Wilco, Mars Volta, Band of Horses, The Decemberists, Bon Iver, Santigold, Jenny Lewis
“Really?” - Paul Oakenfold. Shouldn’t you be at Coachella?
Sasquatch Music Festival
George, WA – 05/23-05/25
(for your listening pleasure listen to the Deltron3030 Sasquatch Mix via the player above featuring some of the artists playing this years Sasquatch Music Festival)
Ready for the hard sell? The fact that the festival is on Memorial Day Weekend makes it the instant favorite. It’s like when your douchebag friend and his equally dickish wife decide to have their wedding on Memorial Day Weekend thus ruining hundreds of peoples three day weekend. It’s like that, but the complete opposite. This allows the festival to start on Saturday which in turn enables people to take their sweet time to get there. Even better the camping still opens on Friday (at noon). If you want to get there early be our guest. If you want to get there on Saturday at the last minute, that’s fine too. Simple logic would make me think this has to help combat traffic. Camping is reasonably priced at $95 for a car of four people. If you have an RV it will run you $160, I.E. $50 less than you’d spend if you were camping at Coachella sans RV. Sure I’m not factoring in the plane ticket costs but hear me out. Last year, Coachella, in the sweltering heat of the meth land dirtball Indio fields, had 60,000+ concert go-ers. Bonnaroo, in the dredges of Tennessee, had 70,000+ and that was with out the “phishheads!”. The Trip to Seattle and then to Gorge is more than worth it. Sasquatch last year had no more than 25,000 people and it’s held at the Gorge, the most visually impressive venue not named Red Rocks. According to Sasquatch’s website The Gorge is a nine time winner of Pollstar Magazine’s award for Best Outdoor Music Venue. If that didn’t sell you than how about the weather that is not too cold and not too hot. It is the goldilocks of festivals. The idea that at 10pm I’ll need a hoodie instead of passing out from a heat stroke is a reassuring thought. If anything I can go jump in the Columbia River if things get too dodgy or if I need a bath.
Sold yet? No? Ok let me go to the ticket prices. The pricing started at $56.50 per day and has since then escalated to its current price of $66.50 per day and on the week of the festival (beginning Monday, May 18th) tickets are $76.50 per day if still available. That means even if you bought tickets the day of the show they will still be cheaper than Coachella’s current price (which will most likely escalate as well). If you’re still not sold what if I told you Trent Reznor announced that this would be the last ever Nine Inch Nails show. That’s got to count for something right? How about a fully reunited Jane’s Addiction (not some lame Porno for Pyros bucocky). Truth be told outside of the less than spectacular Ben Harper headlining choice for Monday I’d have to say that Sasquatch has the most balanced, well rounded lineup of all three festivals. The lineup is a Deltron dream with such Sasquatch exclusive acts as Explosions in the Sky, M83, and Kings of Leon. Along with other kickass bands that are highlighted below Sasquatch also offers up the comedy tent that will be home to Zach Galinakis, the Tim and Erik Awesome Show, Great Job! and Aziz Anari. Aziz is a god among men! There I said it.
Non headlining Line up highlights: Chromeo, Calexico, The Wrens, The Walkmen, Silversun Pickups, The Decemberists, Animal Collective, Of Montreal, Bon Iver, M83, Explosions in the Sky, and Santigold.
“Really?” - Mt St Helens Vietnam Band, What 27 yr old wouldn’t want to play in a band with their 14 yr old adopted brother drummer? This is a “really?” of the good variety.
Recap: I’m not sure if you were paying attention but we have quite a few repeat artists from Coachella and Bonnaroo that are playing Sasquatch. These overlaps coupled with the fact that, as I mentioned earlier, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Girl Talk, TV on the Radio, Crystal Castles, and the Knux are all playing all three make it even easier for you to pick just one festival this season. The choice is yours. Don’t blow it.Note: all three festivals are offering up ticket payment plans. Yep, it’s that bad, people.
FULL SASQUATCH BAND LINEUP