By David Goe
Friday, September 6, 2013
In many respects, tonight marks the end of an era and the beginning of another for the Grand Junction local music scene.
This evening at the Mesa Theater and Lounge aloha means goodbye.
It’s time for us to say farewell to the Pineapple Crackers, perhaps the most popular and beloved band the area has ever known.
The man who put the pineapple in Pineapple Crackers, ukulele strumming lead singer Benson Broyles, is headed home to Hawaii. His departure marks the end of the Hawaiian reggae vibes that dominated area PA systems for nearly a decade.
Virtually everyone I know has seen the band play. Personally, checking out Pineapple Crackers shows were some of my first bar experiences as a newly minted 21-year-old. Chilling with “Big” and “Slim,” aka my Mesa State College bookstore hommies Marcus and Ike, we ended up at its shows whether we intended to or not. Pineapple Crackers played everywhere, and we were there in the beginning when original guitarist and the “Cracker” Paul Roach was with the band.
We saw them at the Rockslide, always at the Rockslide. They’d be there at the Mesa Theater, likely playing with fellow reggae group Lion Vibes. I think we even ran into them at the Rose, now Club Infinity, in some battle of the bands contest for a spot at one of the first Rock Jams.
Pineapple Crackers played anywhere and everywhere and outside of a few lineup changes, little has changed since its beginning. The band’s constant gigging and easy sound earned them thousands of Facebook likes, headlining shows at any local venue, and slots at local festivals such as the inaugural WestCO Music Festival last May.
Regardless of how you feel about the band and its music, they have been the most consistent performing group and the consensus safe pick for anyone booking live music for their event. With Pineapple Crackers now officially calling it quits it begs the question, who is going to step up and take its place as Grand Junction’s go-to band?
Look no farther than the Friday, Sept. 6, night show opener Zolopht and the Destroyers.
For some inexplicable reason, Colorado loves reggae music. It’s a statewide affliction.
From my experience in the local music scene, reggae bands always have been the biggest draws.
In Grand Junction, though there seems to be a bit of a Rastafari Highlander situation going on. There can be only one reggae band, mon.
The reggae torch has passed down from Lion Vibes to the Pineapple Crackers, and now to Zolopht and the Destroyers.
Zolopht is primed for a break-out year. The band has spread its smooth jams and positivity vibe for quite some time and steadily grown a loyal fan base. This fall, look for them to take a big step forward.
Besides opening Friday night (sure to be one of the bigger local shows of the year), Zolopht also will headline two upcoming local music festivals.
First, off Zolopht will headline “Localpalooza,” a four band local showcase at the Mesa Theater on Sept. 20.
Second, they are one of the key headliners of the most ambitious local music project I’ve heard about, Cody Jacob’s two-day, two-stage outdoors event, the “Localeyez” Music and Arts Festival on Oct. 12–13.
Zolopht has that rare quality among local bands: It enjoys cross over success while maintaining artistic credibility. Its members play music they love and write their own originals. It’s an appealing mix.
While it may be sad to think about Friday’s farewell show as the end of an era, I prefer to think about it as the start of a new chapter. Pineapple Crackers will be missed, but the band taking its place is more than worthy.
By David Goe
Saturday, August 31, 2013
Downtown Grand Junction is full of energy with the Grand Junction Epic Rides bike event. Along with today's 30 mile mountain bike race there is music all day long on Main Street. Four bands play throughout the day including headliner Cracker, who take the 4th and Main stage at 6 p.m. Cracker are best known for their 1993 gold album "Kerosene Hat" and the single "Low."
Today's shows are free and open to the public.
By David Goe
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Hide your stash because Method Man and Redman are headed for Grand Junction. That's right, the legendary East Coast rappers will be blazing the Mesa Theater on Sunday, September 22. I'll have more details soon. In the mean time here is a link to the greatest episode of MTV's Cribs ever, featuring Red's de la casa. Enjoy.
By David Goe
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Following the trail blazed by last May's WestCO Music Fest come two new local only music events.
The first event coming your way is Localpalooza at the Mesa Theater and Club on September 20. Localpalooza features four bands, Zolopht and the Destroyers, Shotgun Hodown, Dirtylektric, and Jack and Jill. Dusty Thunders will also be there spinning his mix of deep house and nu disco. The second event is infinitely more ambitious and will feature over 30 local performers from all genres.
Cody Jacob's Localeyez Music and Arts Festival is a two-day, two-stage camping event at the Renascence Fair property off of 29 Road. Localeyez features many of the same performers as Localpalooza. Localeyez however is more representative of the current local Grand Junction scene and features performers in all genres. Announced so far are: Zolopht and the Destroyers, Chris Epic, Bronco Country, Chamber Bot, Shotgun Hodown, DJ Strangefellow, Dirtylektric, Zionexx, and Wavebaby. The second wave announcement is coming soon.
If you've been following my column you know how I feel about local music and how we need a good festival to sustain the local music scene. In fact, I've written a number of articles about it. I'll be following this story closely as it develops.
By David Goe
Friday, August 23, 2013
Heading out to Mack on Friday night, Aug. 23, to live like a rock star at Colorado’s premier debauched end of summer slam fest?
Boozing it up with thousands of distorted rock zombies just like you did in 1991 when Headbangers Ball was still in heavy rotation on MTV instead of Teen Mom 3?
Good for you. Go full throttle this weekend. Rock Jam wouldn’t have it any other way.
Yep, the unofficial experience Rock Jam sells you is the glamorized version of rock ‘n’ roll. The careless, live free and die for today version of rock ‘n’ roll recounted in Keith Richards’ biography, “Life” (aptly titled as that’s approximately how long it takes to finish).
Heck, the $425, two-day VIP package comes with complimentary Budweiser products all day and night and complimentary cocktails after 5 p.m. each day. The booze is right there, waiting to be slammed down your gullet.
Sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll. That’s what it’s all about, at least for the next 48 hours.
Ironically, the way you are expected to act at Rock Jam is the same as the lifestyle choice that nearly destroyed a majority of the bands playing at this year’s festival. Top to bottom, Rock Jam is the cliché rock ‘n’ roll story. Sell a bunch of albums, develop an addiction, fade from the limelight…
It’s the story lived out by countless bands on “Behind the Music,” and the story festival headliner Korn knows all too well.
After an amazingly successful run, two founding members of Korn were kicked out of the band for substance abuse. Born again Christian, guitarist Brian “Head” Welch admitted to his addiction to alcohol, methamphetamine, Xanax, and sleeping pills after leaving the group.
Welch’s signature hair braids and nu metal guitar work helped Korn sell more than 35 million albums, yet the rock lifestyle temporarily cost Welch a spot in one of the most successful metal bands ever. Now that Welch has straightened out, Korn has welcomed him back. The same cannot be said for original drummer David Silveria whose drug problem resulted in a permanent split with the band.
Adam Gontier, former lead singer and lead guitarist of Three Days Grace, was forced to leave the band because of “health reasons,” code for drugs, specifically OxyContin. Gontier’s addiction and recovery was detailed in the documentary film “Behind the Pain,” which ends with him sobering up but forever separated from the band he helped found.
Lead singer, guitarist and founder of Seether, Shaun Morgan, entered rehab for alcoholism. Hinder frontman Austin Winkler is on temporary leave from the band, currently back in rehab for the second time for issues related to Vicodin abuse.
Then there’s the gold standard: Lynyrd Skynyrd.
During their 1970s heyday, the band had a legendary appetite for destruction. Individually, Gary Rossington, the only original member still performing with the Skynyrd, inspired one of the group’s most popular songs with his drug-related exploits.
Rossington, driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol, crashed his new Ford Torino into an oak tree, an incident that resulted in the cautionary drug tale “That Smell” (see song lyrics).
Just a year later Rossington was one of six Skynyrd members to survive the most infamous plane crash in rock history. Rossington broke both arms and wrists, both legs and ankles, and pelvis in the October 20, 1977, Gillsburg, Miss., crash. The subsequent recovery period only exacerbated Rossington’s drug addiction, having to depend daily on heavy pain medications.
It’s no secret that rock stars drink and do drugs, but it’s shocking to see the very real impact abuse had on the small number of bands playing this year’s Rock Jam. Extrapolate that out to the larger music community and you can fill out the rest.
Yes, go out, party, and make the most of this weekend. Just don’t forget your Skynyrd: “ooh that smell / the smell of death surrounds you.”