Troika Music Festival

Durham, as usual, has not let me down in terms of live music this past weekend. I was able to catch a blistering set by Caltrop at the Pinhook, followed by Hammer No More The Fingers, Rat Jackson, The Moaners, Gentleman Jesse, and a whole bunch more bands who’s names have already been forgotten by me. The D-Town Brass kicked off Saturday night’s festivities at Duke Coffee House and the crowd seemed pleased to see us.



Iconoclast remain one of my favorite bands of all times. I have been listening to the same three songs by them for almost 25 years. I still know next to nothing about the band. I ordered their ep from Flipside after hearing their standout tune on the (still unbelievable) P.E.A.C.E. Compilation. They embody everything I love about hardcore music: receiving the record was like receiving a weapon. It was murky, angry, grimy, spraypainted hardcore with radical politics and mysterious origins. Just look at this video… who the hell are these guys?!?

One thing is for sure, they knew what they were doing with their no-name equipment. I remember blowing up the dove logo with the broken bomb on a photocopier and then creating a stencil cut out of a record sleeve and painted it on one of my dad’s old army shirts to wear to a protest after the United States bombed Libya. I remember that I called in sick to work after school to go to that protest. The next day, one of my co-workers said they saw me on the news afterwards, so I learned early on that being a true anarchist involves getting into trouble a lot.

Years later, the record surfaced out of my collection when I traded it for a rare volume of photographs by Art Shay documenting the Chicago neighborhood where I was living at the time. The guy had worked for Art Shay and he had two copies. The record was then traded to a collector in Japan who had been lusting after it for his whole life, probably. I still have the book. It is a collaborative tour of Wicker Park from the 40’s to the 60’s led by Nelson Algren, who had lived with Simone de Beauvoir right up the street from my apartment. When I look at the photographs, I see the exact same neighborhood where I lived. The memories are distant, gritty and urban. I feel like I am the same as everyone in that book. It is the feeling of anonymity swallowed up by time.


The Bootlegs – Bull City Soul Revue


Carphone and I have successfully auditioned as the singer and bass player of the Bootlegs, a Durham-based soul band. Rehearsals begin tomorrow featuring songs by Aretha, Ike and Tina, and the JB’s. For this outing, I have rebuilt my bass with a 1975 Fender Precision maple neck and electronics, an 80’s tortoise shell pickguard, a heavy brass Fender Precision Special bridge, and a richly scuffed and patina’d black body of indeterminate vintage. The Ampeg SVT-350 powers the whole thing.


The D-Town Brass has arrived

d-town flyer #1

It was exciting to see so many people at the debut performance of the D-Town Brass at Pinhook here in Durham. Many people have asked when our next performance is going to be and it looks like we are dropping the funky mayhem on a house party in a couple of weeks so keep your eyes peeled for details as they emerge.

For the uninitiated, the D-Town Brass is a collaboration of local talent led by Andy Magowan featuring four sax players, two trumpets, a trombonist, vibes, marimba, keyboards, a bass guitarist and a three piece percussion section. These songs were recorded during live sessions held after-hours at Piedmont. They have been posted to our website for your listening pleasure/preparation of dance moves. Please press play below.