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The Hip Hop Guide To Success

By David Goe
Friday, October 30, 2015

Pimpin' ain't easy... unless you're Jay-Z


Surf the web long enough and you’ll inevitably land on a click-bait link too irresistible to ignore.

“Eleven High School Classes That Should Exist Right Meow.”

“Twenty Six Truly Incredible Things To Do With Ice Cream.”

“Seventeen Things You Should Know Before Trying to Get A Bigger Butt.”

As you’re well aware, just about anything passes for online journalism these days, and while I am very interested in what I could do with ice-cream other than, you know, eat it, articles such as these offer little beyond causal entertainment.

Most annoyingly are the lists of habits of highly successful people. Have you seen these?

“Morning habits of successful people.”

“Weekend habits of successful people.”

“Productive habits of very wealthy people.”

“Habits of exceptionally successful people,”

Beside offering no-brainer tips such as “eat breakfast” and “go to bed early,” all these lists have three things in common.

1) They present broad generalizations as if they were life-changing facts.

2) They fail to point out that successful people don’t waste time reading or articles. They work really, really hard.

3) They are all written by unpaid interns and 20-somethings with little life experience.

I’m all for self improvement, however trying to glean information from an article purely designed to drive web traffic is not the way to go about it.

Having said that, I actually did find one “success” article from interesting: “10 Start Up Tips From Hip-Hop Lyrics.”

Using lyrics from the likes of Drake, T.I. and Nas, the article offered more than surface-level amusement.

Take someone such as Dr. Dre. Born into one of the worst neighborhoods in America, Andre Romelle Young used music as an escape route to greener pastures.

Along with being a hip-hop pioneer and super producer, Dre made savvy business decisions with his partner and fellow record producer Jimmy Iovine, and has become one of the most successful modern businessmen in recent history. After selling his headphone company Beats by Dre to Apple for $3 billion, Dre’s estimated net worth sits right around $700 million.

If you want to learn how to be successful, listen to his classic album “The Chronic.”

While you’re at it, pop in Jay-Z’s “Vol. 3 ... Life & Times of S. Carter” or 50 Cent’s “Get Rich Or Die Tryin’.”

Both Jay-Z (estimated worth, $550 million) and 50 Cent (estimated worth, $155 million) are self-identified street hustlers turned businessmen. Both rap moguls grew up in New York City boroughs peddling drugs. While that activity is illegal and not an advised means to a successful end, what can by admired and mirrored is their insatiable hustle and drive to build something from nothing.

An entrepreneurial spirit has allowed both men to reap massive financial rewards. From owning minority stakes in Vitamin Water (50 Cent) to owning part of the Brooklyn Nets professional basketball team (Jay-Z), both are beyond successful and have albums full of lyrics more thoughtful and insightful than anything you’d find in a Lifehack article.

Hip-hop lays out a blueprint for going from rags to riches better than many “success” lists. Listen to the lyrics and glean what you can from these titans of the game, because not one of those lists will tell you what you really need to know.

There are no shortcuts or magic tricks to financial successful. Work hard, keep your hustle tight, and pad your roll.


Weekend Shows Dominated by Local Musicians

By David Goe
Friday, September 4, 2015

In the almost four years I’ve written this column, I’ve noticed considerable change in our music community.

Once reserved for a smaller, fringe audience, local music has spread into the general population.

Our little music scene now travels well beyond the four-block radius of downtown Grand Junction. On any given night, it’s not unusual to find shows at any corner of the Grand Valley. From Cruisers Bar on Horizon Drive to Barons on Colorado Avenue and from the Palisade Brewing Co. to The Hot Tomato in Fruita, there are more options than ever to see live music.

Outside of traditional bar venues, places such as Colorado Mesa University have grown to include local music. The Point, the university’s new coffee shop and pub, is wise to the musicians playing around town. Hosting everything from open mic nights to live request club nights, The Point is another option for college students and the public to see live music.

The campus radio station, KMSA, has changed formats and now pumps local music out over its airwaves.

The same goes for KAFM. As the only community radio station in the valley, KAFM is still dedicated to providing local musicians access to a local audience.

From our agriculture, restaurants, mountain bike trails and now to our music scene, Grand Junction has put an emphasis on local.

Once the dominion of weekends, local music has expanded to weeknights. Local performers have kept the Thursday Downtown Farmers Market lively all summer. Touring groups, such as the country and roots band Carson McHone, are finding weeknight homes at places like Cruisers, which is a sneaky good venue bringing in a wide variety of national acts.

This weekend, Sept. 4–6, is a perfect sampling of what our music community has evolved into. There are shows across the valley in a wide variety of genres, offering a little something for everyone.

The talk of the town has been New York City Cops, a local music supergroup comprised of members from Wavebaby and Mount Orchid. (Full disclosure: I play guitar for New York City Cops.)

Playing a note-for-note cover of The Strokes’ classic first album “Is This It,” New York City Cops brings its raucous act to The Hot Tomato in Fruita at 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 5.

After packing out Sabrosa during its first show, don’t be surprised if it is standing room only at The Hot Tomato. Get there early and stake out a spot, for modern rock fans or fans of the Strokes, New York City Cops is worth the wait.

Playing at 10 p.m. Friday night, Sept. 4, at Barons are local funk heroes Tight Thump and the Denver band Branded Bandits.

Brought to you by Skylark Productions, Branded Bandits fits right in with past Skylark shows. If you liked In the Whale or the Yawpers, then you’ll most likely be into Branded Bandits.

Prepare for a blitzkrieg of hoots and hollers as this guy/girl power trio channels the likes of early Black Sabbath, Jack White’s Dead Weather and Queens of the Stone Age. (This show is 18 and up.)

Also playing Friday night at The Local are guitarist Tim Jennings and percussionist Richard Crespin, who teamed up for a new project called — you guessed it — Tim+Richard. The duo plan to record the entire performance.

With Will Whalen playing the First Friday Art Opening at The Art Center and Chris Epic holding down his usual Saturday night DJ spot at Sabrosa, this weekend again proves that there is more going on in Grand Junction than we give it credit for. 


Will Whalen’s One Man Band

By David Goe
Friday, August 21, 2015

photo by Mike Muench

One of the more exciting developments in the Grand Junction music scene is the trend of new artists creating original music.

Just over the past year, there has been a flood of new releases. From old favorites such as Zolopht, Jack+Jill and We Speak Imaginese to newer bands such as Mount Orchid, original music from local musicians is easier to find than ever.

With KMSA and KAFM pumping local music over the airwaves and venues such as Sabrosa and The Local filling their schedules with local performers, it finally seems like the area is receptive to new, original voices.

One such voice is singer/songwriter Will Whalen. As a multi-instrumentalist solo artist, Whalen has performed around the area for the last five years.

Once strictly a cover artist, Whalen has spent the past year writing and recording an album that is fully his own. “Right Away,” his new modern rock album, features 11 tracks about a variety of topics from girls to social activism.

“The ideas for some songs had been complete for a long time, others needed polishing, and a few didn’t even exist yet,” Whalen said. “For instance, ‘Sense’ was written about a girl I admired several years back, while ‘Cross Your Fingers’ was largely inspired by the August 2014 Ferguson protests. I liked being all over the map like that, because it keeps me interested and engaged.”

Listening through the album, you can hear Whalen’s wide range of influences. From bluesy indie rock to electronic drum patterns, Whalen meticulously has pieced together a variety of modern rock sounds that, in the wrong hands, could easily have been interpreted into a jumbled mess. Instead, “Right Away” gives you a complete picture of who Whalen is: a complex musician with an appreciation for all types of music.

On “My Full Attention,” Whalen delivers lines with the sass and attitude of an agitated Jack White. The influence of the former White Stripes front man is all over this album. The guitar tones on “Supernatural Blues” sound like White Stripes outtakes. Whalen also goes as far to cover “The Denial Twist” from the White Stripes 2005 album “Get Behind Me Satan.”

“Stray Season,” on the other hand, is influenced by the complex electronic drumming patterns from Radiohead’s latter albums such as “Hail To the Thief.”

Whalen wrote, played, recorded, mastered and promoted the entire album by himself, partially because he is still pinning down his style. Working solo on “Right Away” not only helped Whalen develop his sound, it also has given him valuable insight into the business side of being a musician.

“I saw each step of the process, like learning another instrument. Mixing and mastering audio isn’t just a skill, but a talent. The same goes for promotions, graphic design, booking and social media maintenance. I feel like if I know the complexities and difficulties of each job, I can hand over the reigns to someone on a professional level and truly appreciate their talent in the future,” Whalen said.

An industrious self-starter, Whalen is taking “Right Away” on the road, and is booked out through October. Starting with Friday night’s, Aug. 21, show at our very own hidden beach oasis, Volley’s (a bar, volleyball and barbecue joint off of North Third Street), Whalen will play 16 shows across the entire western slope.

Touring on an album that has been a year in the works, Whalen has added another valuable voice to our local music scene, and is proving that it is a good time to be a songwriter in Grand Junction.


New York City Cops Debut Tonight

By David Goe
Friday, August 14, 2015

New York City Cops, a new band made up of members from Wavebaby and Mout Orchid, debut tonight at Sabrosa. A Strokes cover band, New York City Cops will playing a note for note cover of the band's classic first album "Is This It." 

Originally released overseas on July 30, 2001, "Is This It" featured the naked thigh/black glove album cover and included the song "New York City Cops." After 9/11, the album was altered before the US release. "New York City Cops" was removed and replaced with "Hard To Explain." The cover art was also changed from the naked thigh/black glove picture to the colorful, psychedelic image that adorns the album to this day. New York City Cops will play both songs.

Tonight's show will also feature an opening set from Wavebaby and DJ sets from Selector Trev and Denim Party. There is no cover but it is a 21 and up show. 


From Concert Trips to Finding True Love, Music Always There

By David Goe
Friday, July 24, 2015

Avett Brothers + Sturgill Simpson, Red Rocks Amphitheatre, July 11, 2015

All the important memories in my life, or at least a majority of them, are tied to music. In somehow, someway, my most cherished moments seem to be connected with a song, concert, or a band.

Cooking for my parents with the omnipresent George Harrison playing in the background, driving overnight through the Utah desert with my best friend for a Dave Matthews Band concert, sharing a beer with Wilco at the Rockslide, my first performance with Dreamboat at Tenacious Brothers — the list goes on and on.

Music has meant so much more to me then I can describe here. Yes, it’s been the soundtrack of my life but it’s also been the gateway to so many great relationships. From melancholy and joy to heartbreak and romance, I would simply not be the man I am today without harmony and melody.

For the average music fan there’s nothing particularly special or memorable about the Parlours, a mildly successful indie band from Iowa. Yet for me, they are one of the most important bands of my life. At their Mesa Theater and Club lounge show, Saturday night, August 25, 2012, I met the love of my life.

Even today, as the opening synth chords fade into my favorite Parlours song “Dreamers,” time stops, and no matter my surroundings, I’m reminded of when I met Jamie.

I see the tiny giraffes on her patterned blue dress. I see her long, loose curls lightly falling on her grey cardigan sweater, and her warm, heart-melting gaze like it was yesterday.

I also see the terrible outfit I was wearing, ragged cut-off jean shorts and one of my dad’s old plaid button up shirts, and wonder why she ever gave me the time of day.

I can’t tell you if it was love at first sight, but seeing her and realizing that the rest of the lounge had vanished around us, the connection I felt, and continue to feel today, was undeniable. Truth be told I can’t recall anything about the night, other than the moments spent in effortless conversation with her.

Almost a week later we meet again at another concert, Jack + Jill with opening support from Dreamboat, the band I was playing bass with at the time. Feeling unusually confident, perhaps the result of the full blue moon hanging overhead, I asked her out after our set. She said yes.

Since those late August nights we’ve made countless memories together. We spent our second anniversary at Red Rocks Amphitheatre, weathering a torrential downpour to see the Arctic Monkeys. We went to the Postal Service reunion show and “Motown: The Musical” together. We’ve spent date nights at our friend’s band and DJ shows. We’ve dressed up as zombie Ewok and zombie Hunter S. Thompson for Zombie Prom.

When I play an Avett Brothers song on guitar I think about our annual pilgrimage to Red Rocks to see them live. I think about filling our house with their music and the promise I’ve made to learn banjo because that’s what Scott Avett, her favorite Avett, plays.

The past three years have been the best of my life, filed with great music, yes, but more importantly, priceless memories. Jamie’s made my ordinary life extraordinary and I can’t help but wonder, if it wasn’t for the Parlours, or Dreamboat, or the Avett Brothers, would we still have found each other?

Coincidentally next Friday, July 31, is the first blue moon since August 2012. It is also our wedding day. I love her today, tomorrow, and for the rest of our lives, and feel lucky to store yet another treasured memory with this perfect girl.

Page 7 of 57


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