January was a month full of news and adventures and it was really hard to keep them limited to just a few highlights of the month.
Some of the occurrences were a validation of my “Six Degrees of Separation” theory regarding the music scene loop in L.A.
I made the trek to an art show opening reception at Angel City Brewery in Downtown Los Angles Art District in order to see work by two of my favoritestreet artists: TEACHR and WRDSMTH. Lucky for NoHo Arts District’s LA Music Scene, their pieces were about and inspired by music. Not just any music, but rap music. Granted, rap music is not within LA Music Scene’s realm of music maveness, but none the less I can tell you what I liked and what is good.
The good news is that both TEACHR and WRDSMTH chose music that I can get behind.
TEACHR chose to represent Biggie Smalls in the piece that he had on exhibit and acknowledged him as a major influence during his early years as an artist and found solace in the music and lyrics. Upon further exploration of Biggie’s music, it isn’t hard to get why TEACHR found inspiration in him. Biggie’s brand of rap is a double-edged sword in a manner of speaking, as he has music that ranges from smooth as silk to edgy, all of which translates into a cool street-smart and hood -wise sound.
“I grew up listening to rock n’ roll and struggling with depression and fitting in. Doing art became my therapy, and I realized the music I was listening to wasn’t helping so I started listening to rap. Biggie was one of the first rappers whose music really helped me stay up,” TEACHR wrote on a dedication that rests next to his tribute piece which features a head shot of “Biggie” wearing a crown. For those that do not know who Biggie is, perhaps a few of his songs will help to give you a reference: “Notorious Thugs,” “Who Shot Ya?”, “Mo Problems,” “Nasty Girl” which is a collaborative effort with the likes of Usher and Pharrell and “Hypnotize” with P. Diddy collaboration. Other tributes that TEACHR has done include notables such as Bob Dylan, Prince and Tom Petty, which can be viewed on his Instagram account @teachr1.
TEACHR has his eye on the future as big things are coming his way in June. TEACHR’s wife, writer and director Daniela Amavia, is set to film a movie in Berlin, Brussels and Cologne. The working title of the film is “Get Lost” and TEACHR plans on accompanying Amavia for the shoot. Biggie’s music is on the short list for the soundtrack.
The piece that WRDSMTH has on display is titled “Lose Yourself,” which features a typewriter with a red spill and “Mom’s Spaghetti” on it. This piece is a collaborative effort with ALEXINC and is a tribute to the well-known rapper Eminem or as I like to call him “Slim Shady.” In researching this one, I discovered that a major put down in the film “8 Mile” during a “rap-off,” and is the ending to the film, is calling someone a “Vanilla Ice.” Vanilla Ice is mostly known for his David Bowie opening “Under Pressure” rip off titled “Ice Ice Baby.” “Lose Yourself” is from the Eminem film “8 Mile.”
WRDSMTH said that he likes to inspire others to dream bigger and also confessed that he never expected his work to take off the way it did.
WRDSMTH’s work can be seen on a commercial for Ford Escape in the background on a brick wall which states: “Aspire to Inspire others and the universe will take notice.” WRDSMTH stated that “It was accidental and never expected it to take off. It encapsulates what this whole thing is about.” LA Music Scene feels that having a piece featured on a commercial allows for much more exposure than having a piece on a TV show because the commercial is going to run over and over in a short span of time while a TV show will run once and then later on down the road it might be rerun. WRDSMTH’s work can be viewed on his Instagram account @WRDSMTH.
There is a newcomer to the street art scene that has chosen wheat paste as the medium to express his creativity and was very interested in what TEACHR had to say about technique. His tag is “Decisions and Review.” He had put up a wheatpaste on the Traction Street side of Angel City Brewery that could be seen on my way out. He is an enterprising entrepreneur when it comes to supporting his art and is planning an art show on the streets of New York for the future. His Instagram is @decisionsandreview.
I decided to attend this year’s Night On Broadway with my friend and fellow walker Jack Witt and went to see the bands that were playing at “The Orpheum” as Dead Meadow were headlining and I really wanted to see them play live. There was a stellar line-up of other bands on the bill that really delivered the goods and totally surprised this music lover. Keeping in mind that I used to run and book a nightclub in the past, it can be said that it is not always easy to have a bill of all stellar bands. The majority of the bands in this line up were great. Frankie and The Witch Fingers, JJUU JJUU and of course Dead Meadow kept the night interesting and were quite impressive for their psychedelic genre. In fact, JJUU JJUU has a sound and jamming style that plunged me back to my psychedelic days of dancing to such jams. This band is really turned onto and tuned into the psychedelic sounds from the tripping days of Timothy Leary with an interesting light show that harkens back to the light shows that I used to enjoy and a particular one from an Iron Butterfly concert.
YouTuber Daniel Kirby was kind enough to tell me more about JJUU JJUU and their involvement in a music festival staged at Joshua Tree, CA yearly. JJUU JJUU confirmed that they founded, organize and book the famous music and art festival known as Desert Daze. The October 2017 line-up of Desert Daze included the talents of Iggy Pop and Palm Desert residents Eagles of Death Metal known for their being caught in an ISIS attack at the Bataclan nightclub in Paris, France where they were performing. LA Music Scene wrote a story about EODM in Paris when it occurred.
In 2018 it will be the ninth anniversary for the Desert Daze Festival. JJUU JJUU exemplifies my contention of a six degrees of separation of people in the local music scene as I found out that their 2017 festival was a collaborative effort with Spaceland Presents which sponsors the Rock N’ Roll Flea Market at the Regent Theater in Skid Row near Main Street and 5th Street AKA The Nickel and promotes shows at The Echo and the Echoplex. Small world, small loop.
JJUU JJUU are slated to tour with Primus and Mastodon May 6, 2018 to July 7, 2018 which includes a gig at the Greek Theater on July 5, 2018.
Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better for January, on the 29th the Arctic Monkeys announced a tour in Europe and an appearance at the Firefly Music Festival in Dover, Delaware June 14-17. Other notable acts slated for this festival are Eminem, Portugal, The Man, Foster The People, Lil Wayne and The Killers. This USA appearance and European tour are the first live dates since 2014 when they were touring in support of the album “AM” which was recorded in the desert and is when they put in an appearance at Pappy and Harriet’s.
As if the news couldn’t be better, the Arctic Monkeys also announced that there will be a new body of work which is slated for a release later this year. Congrats to these Sheffield, England musicians for getting it together and treating the world to Alex Turner’s sexy voice and their excellent musicianship which is showcased on their hit song “Do I Really Wanna Know.” Itgets plenty of play on my iPod. I don’t know if one can wear out a download on an iPod, but we should be finding out soon.