Greek Fire Release Video For “If This is the End (The Sound of Belief)” To Raise Awareness

Growing up, one of my best friend’s little sister was diagnosed with Leukemia.  I don’t need to get into exact detail, but I will say she recovered and is living a good life.  She was young when she had to go through all the horror of finding out what she had and kept strong while going through treatment.  It was an event I will never forget for as long as I live.

St. Louis act Greek Fire is pretty much experiencing the same thing I did years ago.  Their drummer, Johnny Venus, was diagnosed with Leukemia.  At this moment, he is still fighting to overcome it.

Greek Fire was formed in 2008 by members from Story of the Year and  Maybe Today.  If I had to describe their sound, I would have to say they resemble Muse and Thirty Seconds to Mars.

Once the band found out their drummer was diagnosed, they stepped up as any family would and devised a way to help pay for the treatment.  Recently, the band made a video for their song “If This is the End (The Sound of Belief)” with all proceeds from the track going directly to Johnny’s medical bills.  The song is full of hope and not only was created to help fund treatment, but to raise awareness to all who view it.

Over the past four years, Greek Fire has built a wide fan base through word of mouth that has been spreading rapidly in the past few months.  The band recently kicked off a tour, with Story of the Year singer Dan Marsala filling in drums for Johnny, to support their  album Deus Ex Machina.

From Greek Fire (as found on Johnny’s Tumblr page):

In February 2012, shortly after an amazing tour of Japan, GREEK FIRE drummer and longtime STORY OF THE YEAR drum tech Johnny Venus was diagnosed with Leukemia. As anyone can imagine, this devastating news came as a complete shock and rocked the entire camp to the core. Johnny is fighting the battle of his life, and even in these darkest of times his incredible courage and strength inspired Johnny’s fellow band mates to write a song about this profoundly difficult and emotional journey.

The song, “If this is the End (The Sound of Belief) was utilized for a video GREEK FIRE released via YouTube on May 15th, 2012. The video was made for zero dollars by a group of amazing and selfless individuals that donated their time and talents with no thought of reward or payment, and the result is a heartfelt and emotional offering of hope and support for anyone, anywhere who has experience with cancer. Greek Fire is releasing this video in hopes that it can help people find the courage and strength to fight with all of their heart, and that there are people everywhere in the world fighting with them. That is the mission: HOPE. Please share this video with as many people as you can. Nothing will make Johnny Venus and the band more proud than if it can help someone, somewhere, in some way.

Take a moment to watch the video about the song that surrounds the idea of believing. The ending is sad as hell, but is so real. Trust me on that.  Share it too if you so desire.

If you would like to follow Johnny’s progress or end find out how to help, head over to his Tumblr page.

I hope Johnny’s is able to kick this illness and get back behind the drums to continue his dreams.

Stream the new Greek Fire album below:

Greek Fire – Deus Ex Machina by SecretServicePublicity3

Emily Barker & The Red Clay Halo – “Fields of June” featuring Frank Turner

Once upon a time some guy named Frank Turner met songwriter Emily Barker.  They just so happened to share a stage in 2006 and soon became great friends.  The two musicians soon toured together in the UK after Turner asked Barker to join him.  On that tour, Turner and Barker first performed the amazing duet “Fields Of June.”  I know I was not there to see it and honestly, I never knew who Emily Barker was until today when I heard “Fields Of June” for the first time and fell in love with it.

I am thrilled they decided to do this.  This was the surprise song of the day for this music lover.

I am not sure I have heard such a great duet since I was a little kid.  Turner and Barker both take on strong roles on the song that really is a heart-breaker to absorb.  Seriously, this is no love song.

As an added bonus, a silent movie inspired music video was made for the song.  Check it out:

Emily Barker & The Red Clay Halo are an amazing act to listen to and I am shocked I have been left in the dark about them for so long.  I will be looking to check them out in serious detail.  This song is available for download and on a 7″ through Xtra Mile Recordings.  I am so tempted to order this vinyl as I know it will not be available for much longer.

Interview: Jeff & Loren of Signals Midwest

It’s no lie.  I miss Cleveland.  I miss Akron.  I miss you Ohio.

I can not tell you how excited I was last night once my Cleveland homies Signals Midwest dropped by for a quick visit.

The boys had a night off of their current tour and I told them they could crash at my pad if they wanted.  They took me up on my offer and decided that we should all go see that new Batman movie too.

I was more than fine with that.

After the movie (amazing btw) and many beers later I felt like interviewing them for kicks and giggles.  Jeff and Loren were the troopers of the night and not only stayed up late, but were all about a drunken impromptu interview.

BHP:  So, what did you think about the movie?

Jeff Russell:  There was about 7 scenes that was tied to to my favorite and they all included Anne Hathaway and I was all like me likey likey.

Loren Shumaker-Chupp: Oh Batman… I don’t know.  The Restorations flasks were pulling it up.  John Blake was getting promoted to detective was epic.  I hit a certain point in the movie where I didn’t know what was going on.  Bruce Wayne making it out of the pit was it.

BHP: Bane was a little heavy on the Vader.

JR:  Ummmmm….I think as a trilogy it ended perfectly and I loved how Christopher Nolan had an all-star cast.  If he was a basketball coach, he would have had a dream team.  But LeBron James would have been in the new Spiderman movie.

LS: The pit that Wayne was stuck in was easy to get to get out of  in New Jersey.

JR:  Commissioner Gordon moved to Cleveland.

BHP:  Ha ha, and I moved away.  Do you feel the movie lacked in anything?

JR:  I would have loved to see Mr. Freeze and what he would have brought to the table.  I would have loved to have seen his take on global warning.  What if Al Gore played Mr. Freeze?

LS: I just think that I have a better memory of Danny DeVito carrying around that umbrella.  I just say that because you can’t use the Penguin anymore because he killed it.  Jack Nicholson killed it.  He warned Heath Ledger to not play the Joker.

BHP:  How’s the tour going?

LS:  Going great.  Played a lot of shows we did not know what we were getting into but had a good turnout.  We like playing new places not knowing what were were going into and having a good reaction.

JR:  The people that travel to see us is mind-blowing.  It sounds conceded, but we made some solid friends in cities that we could  not have played in due to cramming in so many shows as possible in a month and not going to as many cities as we wanted to.

LS:  This tour is great as we get to see a lot of cities, but not as many as we wanted to.  It is great to see so many people thought.

JR:  I will say it’s crazy being 2 weeks being Luther and 4 days ahead of Hold Tight!.  Having kids still come out to our shows is pretty awesome.  It’s tour season.

BHP:  What is next for you guys?

JR: We start a week long tour with French Exit.

LS:  We will be out with them for 6 days and have the cost.

JR:  We ge tho play at our favorite venue called VLHS. Does anybody need a beer?

BHP:  Yes.

LS:  Vince Lombardi high school. Yeah.

JR:  Also stoked to see Sleeping Weather, cause that band shreds.  I think they are just a three piece.

BHP:  What do you guys think of Las Cruces?

JR:  It is not that hot.

LS:  I heard some coyotes earlier.

JR:  No scorpions.  We went and saw Dark Night Crisis with our home girl Brian.

LS:  Las Cruces is awesome because you can buy liquor at Walgreens.  In Cleveland you have go to a liquor store.  Wave Falls, what is that Wallgreens beer?

And that was it.  The interview ended and we all went to bed.  It was well past 3am and we were all exhausted and maybe a little drunk too.  Even though Max and Steve passed out early (Steve, I hope you are feeling better man), it was still great to see the guys.  I only wish it could have lasted a little longer.  Sadly I had to go to work…really hungover, but I made it and wet on with my good self while Village Inn made breakfast for Signals Midwest.  Man I was jealous about that…

Happy touring fellas. Thanks for the great hang.

Album Review: Teenage Bottlerocket – Freak Out!

Small town pop punk heroes Teenage Bottlerocket have done it again…

You know what?  Why make you all wait to read this entire review to find out what I think, Freak Out is nothing short of what I would ever have expected from this Wyoming foursome.  Full of hilarious, catchy, and memorable pop-punk tracks, Teenage Bottlerocket has released one of their best albums to date.

There, review done.  Go buy it.

Ok, for the sake of those who might want to know a little more, I suppose I can talk about Freak Out a little more.  After all, what else do I have to do right now?

Formed in 2001 in Laramie, WY, Teenage Bottlerocket started small and soon got noticed the old fashioned way.  With no gimmicks and hard work the band was not only picked up by Red Scare Records, but also grabbed the attention of the Groovie Ghoulies who had them play their stage at a Warped Tour.  In 2009, Teenage Bottlerocket signed to Fat Wreck Cords and dropped They Came From The Shadows, an impressive release that immediately grabbed this listener’s attention.  It’s had to believe that it’s been 3 years since that album dropped; I still listen to it regularly.

Freak Out is the band’s fifth release and immediately started off where They Came From The Shadows dropped off.  The 39-second title track screamed Ramones in a good good way.  I loved the “1, 2, 3, 4” count in the background.  Following the opening track was “Headbanger”, and it straight up ruled.  There is nothing quite like a punk rock song glorifying an 80s metal party and especially one that rocked out from start to finish.  I loved the fact that said headbanger got a concussion from whipping around his hair and the band noting “that shit can’t be good for your brain.”

“Necrocomicon” was brilliant.  The song revolved around “the comic book of the dead” in San Diego.  Fun lyrics with Yoda and Captain Kirk aiming to attack thanks to an evil curse.  Seriously, I totally expected Teenage Bottlerocket to write something like that.  “Maverick” continued as a catchy ass track talking about the other guy in Top Gun that did not go on to have a flourishing career making movies while battling to stay in the closet.

Not all jokes and tributes to movies, “Done With Love” was more serious about anti-love surrounded by riffs and hooks that made for one of my favorite tracks on the album.  “Punk House Of Horror” was another track I really got a kick out of that had Teenage Bottlerocket just producing fun pop-punk music.  “Never Going To Tell You” followed in the lines of something Screeching Weasel might have written without ripping them off one bit.

At my current age, it was nice to find out that “In The Pit” actually made fun of mosh pits rather than glorify them.  Once upon a time my dumb ass ran around in circles and probably pissed off tons of people.  That was then, and this is now and I appreciated that song a lot and apologize for my mindless actions as a confused youth in the 90s.

“Summertime” screamed to be the anthem for the rest of my summer.  Singing of being sick of the cold and snow and going to where it is “hot as Mexico”, I am sure some of you can sense why I liked this song so much.  Beyond that, it was a punk rock love song I am sure many of my Ohio friends can relate to.

“Go With The Flow” ended the album on a rather personal level about growing up and moving on.  I liked how the song circled back around enough to show different levels of hurt from each side.  The music that played with it was a tad different over the other songs in the sense that there was what sounded like a keyboard in there.   Seeing two sides of the departure made the song that much more interesting to listen to.

The album is a quick but lasting listen with 14 tracks carrying just below a half hour.  Freak Out is one of those albums that easily can be listened to over and over without getting sick of it, trust me on that.  Teenage Bottlerocket easily has dropped their best release to date and intend to take their talent to the road for all to hear.

Fans of the Ramones and Screeching Weasel (even early Green Day) probably already know who Teenage Bottlerocket is and what they are all about: pop punk with fun, easy to sing along to lyrics.  Nothing more, nothing less.  It’s hard to not like this band, especially for the fact that they have not really changed up their style much and still drop excellent releases.  It’s nice to see a level of consistency for a 10-year-old band not because they have not gone anywhere, but because they choose to stick to what they do best.  As they are just starting to get heavily noticed, I hope to hell they keep their sound for 10 more years.  It’s perfect.

Fun Fun Fun Fest 2012 Lineup Announced!

Since 2006, Fun Fun Fun Fest has been nothing short of fun x 3.  Every year, the music/art/food festival seems to turn it up a notch, so much, that last year I actually decided enough is enough and headed to Austin, TX, to check it out.  The result, minus Danzig acting like a little bitch, was a killer weekend with friends fueled by amazing bands.  In other words, I had fun.  A ton of fun.

The festival was well organized, and all three days of music was well worth the $200 or so bucks I dropped on a wristband.  By the want of the fest last year, I told myself and my friends I wanted to return the following year.

This year, the good people at FFF Fest have outdone themselves.  Not only did they get RUN-DMC to reform, but they also had put together almost a dream lineup for this music lover.  Refused, De La Soul, Seaweed, The Promise Ring, Bob Mould, Lucero, Lagwagon, Braid, OFF!, Against Me!, F’d Up, Superchunk, Minus The Bear…I can keep going…P.I.L., Explosions In The Sky, X, Turbonegro…

Seriously, check out all who will be playing this year:

This does not even include the FFFEST Nites, the nightly free (with wristband) concerts around the city.

I am planning on returning to Auditorium Shores in November to take in this festival.  Since I have moved, I have not seen one live band due to a lack of venues, but this festival will make up for it.  Not to mention Austin is one of my favorite cities and I am now only a 6 hour drive away…

For more info, visit FUNFUNFUNFEST.COM