Oklahoma, “Do You Realize?”

The song is amazing.  I think about my wife when I hear this song because let’s face it, I love her to death and think she is the most beautiful person in the world.  Beautiful song to listen to while thinking about a beautiful girl….  awwww…  I’m a sweetheart.

Recently Oklamhoma nominated the Flaming Lips as a contender for the official rock song for the state of Oklahoma.  Nine other finalists also have the opportunity to have their song declared the official Oklahoma rock song.  Artists who were nominated all have history in Oklahoma be it they were born there or someone from the pan handle state had something to do with a rock song that became a hit.

From September 1 to November 15 the public will vote to decide the Official State of Oklahoma Rock Song. The winning song will be presented to the State Legislature in 2009 to make it official.  Votes will be taken via their website that was created called OklahomaRockSong.Org.

I think it is a great idea to give a band the opportunity to hold the title of having a song be the state song, but I have a question…

Oklahoma people who nominated The Flaming Lips…have you actually read into the song?   Beautiful and deep, talking about happiness through the reality of knowing death…a little depressing to me.  Still, I hope they get it.

The Lyrics:

Do You Realize – that you have the most beautiful face
Do You Realize – we’re floating in space
Do You Realize – that happiness makes you cry
Do You Realize – that everyone you know someday will die

And instead of saying all of your goodbyes – let them know
You realize that life goes fast
It’s hard to make the good things last
You realize the sun doesn’t go down
It’s just an illusion caused by the world spinning round

Do You Realize – Oh – Oh – Oh
Do You Realize – that everyone you know
Someday will die –

And instead of saying all of your goodbyes – let them know
You realize that life goes fast
It’s hard to make the good things last
You realize the sun doesn’t go down
It’s just an illusion caused by the world spinning round

Do You Realize – that you have the most beautiful face
Do You Realize

For more info check out Yahoo Music!

Interview: Derek Hess

One of my goals this year was to have an article I did featured in a magazine.  I achieved that goal earlier this year with help from Cleveland artist Derek Hess.  He was kind enough to answer some questions and the article first appeared on DeviantNation.com (NSFW 18+).  To my surprise I submitted the article to a music magazine and it appeared in a June 2008 issue of Hails And Horns.  I was thrilled to have the article take up three pages of a metal magazine that was in color.  The issue is now a back issue now but I am sure you can grab a copy on Interpunk.com.

I thought I would post it here for anyone interested:

Derek Hess print "Burnt Out"
Derek Hess "Burned Out"

Derek Hess is one hell of an artist.  Throughout the years, this pro-Cleveland resident has created some memorable works of drawings, CD cover art, and even concert fliers that have art collectors going mad.  His work is commonly known through the music and tattoo scene and is even featured at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as well as the Louvre in Paris.

The easiest way to describe his art is to see it for yourself with help from the Derek Hess website.  His art is a little dark and a little ingenious.  Some works are dark lines morphed into faceless humans holding bleeding hearts while others show more empathy and detail.

Many bands have had the privilege to have Derek Hess’ art grace the covers of their CDs.  His  art showcases have traveled the globe entertaining many.  There really is not anyone quite like him.

Not only has he has great success with his drawing abilities but Derek Hess also launched the successful clothing line Sthress Clothing and even helped formulate the Sthress Fest music festival.

Recently I had the opportunity to chat with Derek Hess.  He was more than kind to answer some questions I have been pondering over for quite some time.


Derek Hess "Noose Proof"
Derek Hess "Noose Halo"

First and foremost, I am just curious how you got your start as an artist.

I booked a club here in Cleveland [called] the Euclid tavern from 1989 through 1995.  At the same time I was studying printmaking at the Cleveland Institute of Art.  Since the shows were my responsibility, I started making fliers to promote them, which then became prints.  The two came together beautifully, the union of two of my favorite things, music and art.

Do you have any artist influences that helped motivate you?

My father, Heinrich Kley, and Gil Kane all were big influences on my art.

What kind of music did you listen to growing up?  Were you into the music scene as a kid in Cleveland?

Metal.  I was born in 1964, so when I turned 13 it was the big three: Kiss, Queen, and Aerosmith  (only up to draw the line), which then lead to Thin Lizzy, Black Sabbath, UFO, Judas Priest, AC/DC, [Led] Zeppelin, etc…  I was into the scene here when I got a little older, mostly the metal scene, then in the mid-eighties there was an awesome crossover scene where the metal kids and the hardcore kids would attend both shows.  One night I might be at a Voivod or Raven show, and then the next night Circle Jerks or the Dead Kennedy’s.

I remember when I was a kid seeing your concert flyers of your work posted all over the concert venues and coffee shops (Arabica coffee house in Coventry).  Most notably Cop Shoot Cop and Helmet stick out the most to me when I think back.  How were you able to create these posters for these now classic artists?

Those were shows I booked at the euc [Euclid Tavern].

When did the concert flyers become less of an advertisement and more of an art?  How did this come to be?

It [fliers] happened in the 60’s with the psychedelic posters.  The counter culture at the time was just that, counter the culture, so they made the poster works of art to go against the gain of strict graphics.

You seemed to have kept a low key for a while and soon your artwork exploded all over the music and art scene.  Can you tell me a particular piece you drew that possibly gained you a lot of attention?

I guess there were several things, a story in Newsweek in the early 90’s, the Louvre [in France] requesting a body of my work around the same time, the grand opening concert for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame poster, and the two Converge CD cover[s] are a few that come to mind.

Speaking of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Louvre in Paris, some of your artwork is showcased at both locations.  How does it feel to have your work on display at these two impressive museums?

Well, very honored and lucky.

Seriously, what has kept you in Cleveland all these years?  Seems to me when people get big in this area they usually pack up and leave.

I’m pro Cleveland.  The people here are real, most tours stop here, and the Browns have no logo on their helmets.  They play on natural turf in an open air stadium on the shores of Lake Erie in the elements as it should be.  I’ve been to many places, but nowhere else I’d like to live, except Germany, Switzerland, Detroit, and Omaha.

Derek Hess "Hemorrhage"
Derek Hess "Hemorrhage"

One thing I have always admired about you is your prices for your work seem to be affordable.  I have been to recent shows and have purchased posters for a mere $15.  Friends of mine have gotten actual prints for less than $300.   Not that I am complaining, but why do you sell your work for so cheap?

I feel art should be available to the masses.  Not everyone has the money to purchase big ticket items but they still want a piece of art.  Prints only cost so much to produce and artist that charge huge prices for prints and posters are being unfair to the buyer.

Your art has also become a staple in the tattoo community.  How does it feel to have your artwork become a permanent piece on someone’s body?

Extremely flattering.

Speaking of flattering, you were voted one of Cleveland’s sexiest men of 2007.  Any thoughts on that?

Yeah, must have been slim pickings last year.

Your clothing line Strhess is amazing and I see a lot of people including myself sporting it.  How did the idea for a clothing line come about?  How does it feel to run into someone on the street wearing your art?

We realized not everyone could afford $200 for a print or even $50 for a print so we wanted to develop something that was in a price range that everyone could afford.  It always feels good to see someone wearing Strhess [clothing], but at the same time I can’t… like… it’s a little weird…ha ha.

You helped illustrate some comic books in the past.  Can you give me a little incite of how that came to be?

I’ve only done three covers for Captain America which was a huge honor since he’s been my all time favorite [super hero].  They [Marvel] came to me about the job which was really cool.  Apparently one of the Marvel guys saw an interview I did in a tattoo magazine and they showed one of my cap [Captain America] tattoos, so he hit me up.

Aside from creating prints and shirts you also have drawn out CD covers for bands.  What are some of your favorites?  I myself dig the Converge cover you did.

Yeah, I like that Converge one too.  The first Murder Your Darlings from 2005 [is another].  I’m pretty happy with the In Flames one too.

Derek Hess Flyer
Derek Hess "Clutch Flyer"

Do you still do artwork for any bands?  Can you tell me who you may have recently worked with?

Yeah, but I really haven’t been doing posters much anymore.  I’m working on a CD cover right now for Since Yesterday, they’re a hardcore band from Turkey.

You actually had some of your artwork banned by Wal-Mart.  I believe it was the Methods Of Mayhem CD cover art?  How was it working with Tommy Lee?

It was very cool, and Tommy was the easiest client to work for.   Everything I sent him he was all about [with] no changes.  They [Tommy and crew] were “off the hook, go with it”.

You seem to surround yourself around the emo, hardcore, indie scene.  What is it about those genres of music you like so much?

Well, it’s fresh (or was when it started).   The content of the music is solid, as is the presentation.

What was it like to be on LA Ink?  Did you see more people checking out your website after that episode premiered?

It was cool.  I was a little weirded out having my shirt off for the country to see….maybe I’ll get some modeling jobs out of it 😉  The web site did get a ton of hits the night it aired and the MySpace page got like 600 new friend requests.  TV is good.

Photo by
Photo by Eric Mull for ClevelandMagazine.Com

You have a lot of art shows worldwide these days at various galleries, where was your first overseas show and how did it turn out?


May of 1999 in Hamburg, and it was great.  I’ve always done well in Germany.  You can check out all shows, past, present, and future in chronological order in my exhibits page (off of my news page) on www.derekhess.com.

What is next for Derek Hess?

We have several books in the works, and [will] continue to do the gallery shows.

If someone has never heard of you, Derek Hess before, how would you describe your artwork to them?

Overrated.

For more info on Derek Hess visit www.derekhess.com

For more info on the new Derek Hess book or to order it visit StrhessPress.Com

Are You Effin’ Serious Lars Ul-RICH????

So I am sure many of you know the new Metallica album Death Magnetic was leaked on the internet.  It is almost impossible these days for a release to not be leaked.  Someone somewhere out there gets the glory of having an advance copy of something…and promptly uploads it on the internet for millions of filesharing people to obtain.

Metallica with members of Foo Fighters
Metallica with members of Foo Fighters (Dave Grohl & Taylor Hawkins)

I am sure everyone remembers what Napster used to be.  If not, get your head out of the clouds…  Napster was one of the first publicly recognized music sharing program sites out there that helped music fans get what tunes they wanted for free all while violating copyright law.  In time it was shut down and then bought out and molded into what it is now but I know I remember Lars Ulrich, drummer for Metallica, not being too happy about the situation.  After all their demo of a song for the Mission: Impossible II soundtrack called “I Disappear” was found circulating on Napster by Metallica before it was even released.

In fact they along with a few other musicians stood up together around 2000 to try and stop digital music sharing (piracy). They might have had better luck saving rain forests.  Lawsuits, bogus charges, and many years later they changed their mind and allowed digital downloads of their albums and then finally in 2006 their catalog appeared on iTunes.

Anyways, I came across a quote from Lars today on www.punknews.org and I almost lost it.

Here is his quote:

If this thing leaks all over the world today or tomorrow, happy days. It’s 2008 and it’s part of how it is these days.

Seriously Lars?  Happy days?  I am glad you finally have come to terms with it.  Me thinks Rick Rubin put some sense into you guys, thankfully.

The CD is good.  Not that I have heard it from a recently downloaded copy (cough*cough).

Dead Kennedys Announce Indefinite Touring Hiatus

I really missed out on the 80’s punk rock movement.  I was just a kid.  I still wish I was a little bit older at the time so I could have attended some of the most memorable punk acts of that time.  One of the acts specifically would be the Dead Kennedys.  How I wish I could have seen them in their prime.

Dead Kennedys
Dead Kennedys

The hardcore punk act seemed to e a little too extreme for many therefore they never tasted success.  With their over the edge look on America and witty humor they were handed ridiculous lawsuits for various situations including distributing harmful matter to minors.  The band eventually split up, and not in good terms with one another.  For more info on their ups and downs check out their Wikipedia page.

By the time I started to appreciate the Dead Kennedys it was too late for me to see them live as they disbanded in 1986.  Regrouping in 2001 did not mean anything to be because Jello Biafra was not a part.  To me “regrouping” is when the entire band decides to get together and play out (unless of course in the case of a band like Alice In Chains where one member passed away).

Last March some of the members of Dead Kennedys announced that they would be touring in support of Milking The Sacred Cow, a greatest hits compilation originally released in October of 2007.  After touring overseas at select venues and starting in California the band had to call it quits.  Not because they felt bad going on without Jello Biafra but because of health.

Original bassist Klaus Flouride has been having health issues, unknown at this time, that has prevented him from touring as planned.  Announced in late August, the Dead Kennedys will no longer tour.  Klaus will still collaborate with other members of the band, but only locally.  It’s sad to hear when age prevents musicians from going forward with their talent.  I am glad to hear he has not completely hung up his bass.  I’ll be looking for side projects with him in the near future.  Looks as it this time Dead Kennedys is done…

The good thing though is that the band was finally recognized.

In May of 2008 Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death was certified gold in the US and UK.  In addition In God We Trust, Inc., was certified gold in the UK.

They may not be a band anymore but I still love putting on a classic Dead Kennedys albums and enjoying their left-wing satire and humor.

Hawthorne Heights – Fragile Future – CD Review

Hawthorne Heights
Hawthorne Heights

A lot has been going on for Ohio’s screamo act Hawthorne Heights since their last release.  Having said goodbye to a friend and band mate as well as dropping a lawsuit with Victory Records, the band continues to cope and mature throughout.  Not letting the past affect them in a downward way, the band proves they refuse to stop with Fragile Future, their third release on Victory Records.

On November 27, 2007 Hawthorne Heights guitarist/screamer Casey Calvert was found dead on the band’s tour bus just prior to their sound check at a Washington D.C. music club.  The cause of death was determined to be a possible drug interaction but according to the band’s drummer Eron Bucciarelli it was not a result of hardcore partying but an accident as Casey Calvert was taking other medicines from a recent root canal.

With the death of a loved one the band stated they would continue to go on and never add another guitarist/screamer to their band.  After taking some time to themselves and writing new material the band hopes to once again achieve success with Fragile Future even though this time they are one man down.

Of course, the first thing that stands out on this release is the omitted vicious screaming.  It would appear that Hawthorne Heights did not even wish to replicate their lost friend’s talent and that, to me, is respectable.  Also dropping the lawsuit with Victory Records and patching up past decisions proved the band is on the rise.

When “The Business Of Paper Stars” started I was waiting for the well known screaming backing up lead singer J.T. Woodruff but instead imagined it in my head.  There is plenty of opportunity in the song for screaming but the band strays away from that and is now more emo. 

Their healed sound continues in “Until The Judgment Day” with memorable lyrics of being “battered and broken” as well as “don’t look back, don’t you ever look back until the judgment day”.  Looks as if the band put down the boom box to win the girl attitude and started to see there are more things in life out there.

“Four Became One” was the track I was looking for on this CD, knowing how they lost Casey Calvert.  The song really is about the band’s closure with the difficult situation they were subject to.  It’s an ode to their friend for the entire world to hear.  Having lost friends in my past, I felt their pain in this song.

“321” is the closest song on the CD that shows aggression with a mild screaming dwelling behind the singing.  The guitar playing is likable and heavier than the other tracks making for one of my choice cuts.  “Come Back Home (Reprise)” was another track that held on to the the old style, especially with borrowed lyrics from “This Is Who We Are” off their sophomore album If Only You Were Lonely.

Fans of Hawthorne Heights will be happy the band continued on and with their change of style and I can see some new folk becoming fans.  It is a change, especially if you put this CD in hoping to hear the screamo. This is not their strongest album to date but the fact that they did not let the past hold them back makes them a tough band now.  Hawthorn Heights defines the emo genre now that they have experienced true sorrow.  Mature and structured, I expect much more from this band in years to come.

Check out their lastest video for the song “Rescue Me”: