8.29.2017 - The fine folks at PROMARK (D'Addario) sent me some of their new FIREGRAIN sticks to demo, and I finally put them to use during The Golden Boyz recent outing at House of Independents in Asbury Park, NJ.
Evidently the flame tempering process these sticks undergo is similar to that of baseball bats and axe handles - done to hickory wood to increase durability. It seems to really accomplish this, averting dents/chips/etc much longer than standard hickory sticks. It also gives the wood a slightly more dense and rigid feel - and obviously the wood grain itself is enhanced quite severely for a unique visual aesthetic. I'm not really a fan of gear gimmicks, but #Promark may be on to something with this concept - thanks again for sending some my way to demo & keep the cool new stuff coming...For more info about #Firegrain sticks, go to Promark's website HERE
6.30.2016 - The online series of spotlight videos I have been working on for the Eagleton Instititute of Politics has been selected by The Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts to receive a 2016 Communicator Award of Distinction! I do the camera/audio work and editing for the series. Here's a shot of the trophy we received - to see the videos and subscribe to the Eagleton Institute YouTube channel, go HERE
9.14.2016 - Wrapped up final edit of the "Ties Us Up Inside" music video this week. The song is from Erik Sanko's new full length solo album: Puppet Boy.
Sanko asked me to create visual accompaniment to any song from his new 10 song album, and gave me creative control over content and theme. I shot the video over the course of several memorably warm days this summer - perfect for eating ice cream, but not so great for filming it - (ended up eating more melting ice cream cones than I care to recount). The scenes are simulatneously micro and macro views of sparse and dreamlike imagery - attempting a match with the enchanting sounds of Erik's lyrics and instrumentation.
Everything was shot digitally (Canon DSLRs), adjusted and corrected in Premiere Pro, then played back and recorded onto a badly damaged old VHS tape, and finally re-captured to digital for final edits. My favorite moment in the finished piece is the "vermillion hue" that appears at the very end - a practical effect glowing around the edges in the image.
Pick up the entire Puppet Boy album from Erik Sanko HERE - and watch the "Ties Us Up Inside" music videoHERE
10.31.2015 - A happy, weird, and wild Halloween this year at The Strand Theater in Lakewood, NJ - Remember Jones, a burgeoning New Jersey frontman and soul-savory vocalist, assembled a 40 piece cast and orchestra to perform the R. Kelly rap opera/oddity known as "Trapped in the Closet" (view more pics of the performance HERE).
The original concept, written and produced by R. Kelly, consists of 33 chapters and was originally released from 2005 to 2012 (each chapter can be viewed on Kelly's VEVO channel). I was unfamiliar with it until Jones contacted me with an invitation to play trombone in his 20 piece backing band for a one-night-only first-time-ever live performance of the entire thing (or at least the first 12 chapters of it - which may be the maximum an audience should be asked to enjoy in one sitting). The "Trapped in the Closet" concept is perhaps best described by its Wikipedia page: "...the series tells a story of a one-night stand which sets off a chain of events, gradually revealing a greater web of lies, sex, and deceit. The music follows a distinct E major pattern, and most chapters of the story feature the same melodic theme." It's perhaps brilliant in its blatant lack of brilliance, and underscored by its thematic redundancy. Remember Jones took to the task of performing all of the vocals impressively (no small feat thanks to R. Kelly's incredible vocal range and control) while a full cast of actors played out the story on stage and lip synced their parts in time with Jones' vocals.
6.13.2015 - Bigthanks to the Jersey Access Group for awarding "Mr. Socks Rocks!" best in the Children/Youth category (2014 JAM Video Awards)!
I was brought on to help develop and direct the children's music based cable TV show - in cooperation with HTTV and physical education teacher, Paul Fessock. With only a program title and partial concept, Paul (as children's entertainer "Mr. Socks") and The Golden Boyz (backing session band) acted out several minutes of improv music and activities with a handful of Paul's elementary school students at the HTTV Studio in Summit, NJ. To fill out the rest of the episode I wrote, directed, and filmed a number of additional sketches and composed the main theme song along with several other original tunes for use in the show. After months of production and editing, "Mr. Socks Rocks!" aired April 2014, and that first episode has been awarded best in the Children/Youth category for 2014 by the J.A.G. (a collective of NJ cable access television stations) - Thanks again!!
We finished and aired 2 episodes of "Mr. Socks Rocks!", which HTTV continued to rerun on Verizon and Comcast stations in NJ through October 2015, but we have since termintated our colaboration on the show under the "Mr. Socks Rocks!" name, and Fessock has gone on to recreate the show alone - with a slightly different title, and an air-brushed vest.
1.30.2014 - Viva Les Bois! Looks like it's official - Haggis will be doing a reunion show for Treefort Music Fest 2014. Evidently we've only played twice since 1997 (the last outing finished in grand fashion - with a trip to the emergency room for our bassist Mark). We'll be part of the History of Boise Rock Showcase - playing alongside other Boise faves: Caustic Resin, Graveltruck, El Dopamine, M.C. Shake, The Melting, and (my personal favorite from the list) Splinter. The show is happening at the El Korah Shrine - admission is covered for wristband holders. If it ain't filled to capacity, there will be $10 tickets available at the door, but the Treefort folks recommend gettin' wristbands, and showing up early if you wanna get in...tickets/info/etc: HERE
10.18.2013 - Played a fun and unusual showcase this week: a live band karaoke performance - in a museum - in a decommissioned subway station - in Brooklyn. Yep. The New York Transit Museum reached out to The Golden Boyz, and had us entertain museum goers while they perused the new exhibit: "Album Tracks" - a showcase of LP artwork with subways and trains on the album covers. The museum is in an actual underground subway station, and there were cameras and props for folks to pose in the retired subway cars to create their own "album covers".
We had a blast, and the event ended up getting coverage from News 12 Brooklyn (video clip HERE), and NPR's Soundcheck (HERE). New York MTA photographer Marc Hermann was on hand - his pics from the night are HERE, and a very cool Untapped Cities writeup is HERE. If you haven't been to the New York Transit Museum, check it out some time - the "Album Tracks" exhibit will be up through Jan 2014.
3.15.2013 - Rounding up tuxedos and flight arrangements for another outing with Skeleton Key. We'll be doing live music and sound design once again for 69°S - an epic human dance and marionette puppet multimedia rendering of Ernest Shackleton's voyage to Antarctica and back. The production was co-conceived by The Phantom Limb Company and The Kronos Quartet, and our live music/noise making will accompany a pre-recorded original score performed by The Kronos Quartet (composed by our own Erik Sanko). An excellent sampling of the performance and soundtrack can (and should!) be viewed in a short video HERE.
Set up and rehearsals run the first week of April, but there will only 2 public performances: April 5th and 6th at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts in Urbana, Illinois - tickets and info HERE(photo credit: Pavel Antonov)
3.14.2013 - Over the last several weeks I've been working on an original score & sound design for Brooklyn film director Michael Marfione's production - Hüzün. The filming took place at Çemberlitaş Hamamı, a 16th century bathhouse, during Marfione's four month stay in Istanbul. I produced and recorded the original score and complete sound design from my home studio, with contributions from Danny Wacker, Mike Noordzy, and my son, Rayden Clapp. A few select sounds were taken from direct audio recordings within the bathhouse.
The finished work is featured in an exhibition called Sublime Porte: Art and Contemporary Turkey that opens today at the Dr. M. T. Geoffrey Yeh Art Gallery (St. John's University, Queens, NY) - come check it out at the opening reception, March 15 4:30-6:30pm, or any time up till May 2, 2013. Info on the exhibit and gallery HERE
12.23.2012 - ABC News has released: "The Year in Review: The 50 Best Albums of 2012". You can see the list HERE and read reviews of new albums by Smashing Pumpkins, Norah Jones, Jimmy Cliff and even Redd Kross. But best of all, ABC News music critic Allan Raible puts our Skeleton Key album Gravity Is The Enemy at #4 of the 50 best Albums of 2012...saying, "with “Gravity Is the Enemy,” Skeleton Key has created its masterpiece."
5.25.2012 - Along with great reviews and press from US and European media, Condé Nast fashion mag: W Magazine has listed our new Skeleton Key album Gravity Is The Enemy as "Most Wanted" in their June issue. You can pick up a copy at your local newsstand, or subscribe and get fashionable HERE.
You can also read a Christopher Weingarteninterview with Erik Sanko in NYC's Village VoiceHERE. They discuss the history of Skeleton Key and music from the new album. There's also a free download of a song from the new album: "Little Monster" Enjoy!
3.2.2012 - NEW MUSIC!! The hands, minds, and hearts involved in this new Skeleton Key album are almost too numerous to count. I hope you take a moment to check it out, and enjoy our brand new full length album: Gravity Is The Enemy. You can preorder the album (which is available on limited white vinyl LP, as well as CD and MP3) from Arctic Rodeo RecordingsHERE. The official release date is March 23rd, and this is when the album becomes available for download from iTunes (HERE)
11.9.2011 - Here's a snapshot (by Pavel Antonov) of my 69°S percussion setup at BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) during our 5 (sold out) show run as part of the 2011 Next Wave Festival. As part of this extraordinary Phantom Limb production, we're twisting our Skeleton Key noise into the Kronos Quartet backing soundtracks (composed by Erik Sanko), while dancers and marionettes (operated by those same performers... on stilts!) tell the story of Earnest Shackleton's antarctic shipwreck and survivial. As you can see, in my box there's plenty of garbage for the playing, and a white tuxedo for the wearing. Next 69°S performance run for us: Emerson College (Boston) in February.
6.14.2011 - FINALLY! The long awaited BAPTIZED BY FIRE album is available for download! Get it on iTunesHERE or on AmazonHERE. This is a self-released album, which means a self-promoted album...so feel free to help spread the word, throw down some positive feedback, and connect to BAPTIZED BY FIRE on FacebookHERE and on TwitterHERE. Thanks to everyone that contributed to this 12 song album that chronicles the majority of the bands 2 year history!
5.6.2011 - The new album from Skeleton Key is cruising through its final stages. The recording and mixing has been wrapped, guided by the prowess of Bryce Goggin, and now the graphic and packaging preparations are underway - which may turn out to be the most impressive part. Stefan Sagmeister (friend of the band and winner of multiple Grammy Awards) is taking care of all things visual for us.
We decided to put an extra day in at Trout Recording Studio and track some extra sounds on the Kronos Quartet music for Erik Sanko's production of 69° South (info about this amazing theater conglomeration is HERE) This will be performed world-wide starting later this year; some engagements will feature us making noise live in person on garbage cans, guitars, and air-conditioning ducts. Shown to the left is a rendering of the stage set up, and a pic of me adding a wonderous chain and bucket soundscape to the tracks layed by the Grammy Award winning strings of the Kronos Quartet.
4.25.2011 - Thanks to the fellas from ZO2, we're putting the Jesse Blaze Snider show back on stage for one night in NYC. It's part of the "Rock Asylum" concert series that ZO2 is hosting, and a benefit for the kindergartners and 1st graders of P.S. 52 in Brooklyn, NY (essentially funding a live music showcase for the students.)
I'll be doing the live show with Jesse Blaze Snider on Friday 5.6.2011 at Gramercy Theater (NYC). We'll be doing up some of Jesse's new solo material, some classic Baptized By Fire songs, and even one song with the legendary Dee Snider himself. This will be a true red-carpet, glamtastic send-off...get tickets HERE
2.13.2011 - Every week I get together with Danny Wacker from BAPTIZED BY FIRE, and Mike Noordzy from MOTHGUTS, and we do some whiskey soaked live band karaoke in New Brunswick...as the GOLDEN BOYZ. This week, we were paid a visit by members of STOMP (the musical), and their politely rhythmic buckets + kegs. But the highlight of the night was when our friend, SNL/Comedy Central star: Jim Breuer stopped in and sang some JUDAS PREIST and AC/DC with us! Here's a pic of me and Breuer, you can see more pics from the night HERE
2.11.2011 - After 8 years in the making, we are finally ready to unleash a new full length SKELETON KEY album! We are in the final stages of production, and need a little help financing it into fruition. Take a moment to watch the video, hear some song samples, and contribute what you can to our KICKSTARTER.COM project account (located HERE) ...and you'll even receive gifts in return! Thanks!!
2.9.2011 - Good greatness! Our Knitting Factory Brooklyn show was as savory as they come, and it was great to see so many long lost pals show up! Not only JESSE BLAZE SNIDER and his wife Patty, but Damien from my favorite rock and roll outfit: THE GIRAFFES, and the legendary Benny V. of SUBURBAN VERMIN fame! Make sure you check out some amazing photography by ROBOT MOJO of the SKELETON KEY performance HERE
1.21.2011 - If yer in near the city of New York tonight, do yourself a favor and come enjoy the funking metal meltdown - I'm doing dirty trombone deeds with WHITE TRASH at Trash Bar in Brooklyn (also playing are THE THREADS, DIE PRETTY, BETA PLUS EMBRYO, THE PANDEMICS). We are incidentally now working with COALLIER ENTERTAINMENT, alongside LITA FORD and FOREIGNER...see for yourself the all star roster HERE - and be on the lookout for new and exciting adventures in WHITE TRASH concert appearances at a location near you...
1.14.2011 - Got a number of very cool things on the horizon this year - first of which is a rare and collectable live performance from SKELETON KEY on 2/4/2011 at the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn (w/ CHRON TURBINE, ELKS and MOTHGUTS). Guaranteed to be an extremely satisfying night of music - buy advance tickets HERE and Facebook RSVP HERE...
12.14.2010 - Today, Nacht Records is releasing the 2 volume drum + percussion frenzy: Speak Softly and Carry a Big Stick. Drumaholic Steve Honoshowsky created the concept: he put drummers into the studio to record a piece of music, give him the files to listen to once, and record his improvised accompaniment. Along with the song Steve and I did, the project features music from Chris Pennie (Dillinger Escape Plan, Coheed and Cambria), and other percussion all stars. Check out the tracks HERE
9.1.2010 - Looks like JESSE BLAZE SNIDER is finally back in the saddle and looking to perform live once again. Just got word that we'll be doing it up with him at Sweeney's Saloon - one of our old haunts in Philadelphia on November 20th. The band lineup will most likely be the same as the past few outings - but the songs on the set list will most likely be all new. Stay tuned...
8.16.2010 - Another round of Gem State indulgence, doing the hockey farmcore shuffle with GORDIE HOWE TRIO UNIT at the Red Room in downtown Boise. Special thanks to the other band on the bill: SLEEPWALKER (aka FELL VOICES) for 1) rockin my head off, 2) using the internet to promote their distaste for promoting on the internet, and 3) being super nice guys and loaning me half their drumset! Was really a fantastic night, and great to see so many friendly faces. There's a pic of us on the left for those of you that missed out. 2 nights later I had the pleasure of sitting in on guitar with space rockers, THE UNIVERSAL over at Neurolux. Truly a pleasant surprise, and they even gave me a frisbee!
7.11.2010 - Dropped into Asbury Park yet again (seemingly the twelfth weekend in a row?) to check into a swingin party hosted by the gang at Bull Dog Clip Productions (check em out HERE). This weekend officially launched the grand opening of their new studio/gallery. The place is surpisingly huge and it looks like they've got a lot of good things in the works, slinging film and photography. Here's a snapshot of me at opening night hanging with Mario Frasca from EVINCE (left), Bumblefoot from GUNS N' ROSES (right), and legendary photographer, Mark Weiss (center).
Speaking of Mark Weiss, the new Bull Dog Clip studio is showcasing an amazing collection of his portraits and live performance photography. You can check out and purchase images from his library at the "Weissguy" Gallery HERE. Meanwhile, Mark is in the process of relaunching the 70's and 80's cult favorite music magazine, Rock Scene. Check out the beginnings of its rebirth HERE. The current issue of Rock Scene is Mark's tribute to Ronnie James Dio - all kinds of photographs of Ronnie at home, on stage, and in his final memorial. Mark is accepting submissions from writers/photographers who want to contribute to the Rock Scene presence and represent the music + scenes from other regions. Hit him up if yer interested and tell him I sent ya.
7.9.2010 - I'm officially signed up to play ball in the 2010 Asbury Rock Stars Charity Softball Tournament! The tournament will be held on August 28th from 10am to 6pm in Neptune, NJ. For more info on the game and how to donate, check the site HERE. Or email me if you want to donate to our team, The Brighton Bombers directly.
7.7.2010 - New live music footage is up! Our performance of "Prisoner of Society" with JESSE BLAZE SNIDER at Highline Ballroom NYC was filmed/produced by Break'n Through. The video is HERE on my videos page, or on YouTube HERE. And yes that's our friend Kevin Christiana jammin in the front row...
6.27.2010 - Went down to Asbury Park to watch Weird Al Yankovic perform at the legendary Paramount Theater, and had the opportunity to hang out after the show with his drummer, Jon Bermuda Schwartz. Bermuda is on every Weird Al album, video, concert, and television performance. (their first national television performance together back in 1981 is HERE) That's 30 years of playing together - truly impressive. I've always loved that Al's band has remained the same right from his epic first album.
Needless to say the concert was fantastic (we had great seats in the front row) and Jim's drumming was as solid as ever, covering every style of music the way only a Weird Al concert can. Was great to finally meet the drummer behind the artist I have listened and laughed to nearly my whole life! Jim and I both endorse the renowned PRO1-V kick drum pedal made by TRICK DRUMS so we talked the good, bad, and the ugly about drums, hardware, and venues of the Northeast. Thanks again to Jim for hooking us up, and thanks to Weird Al for hangin after the show and autographing my underwear!!
6.13.2010 - The SIXGUN REPUBLIC bus made 4 more concert stops in the Northeast to perform and film music video footage for "Last Chance". Our friend, Andy Heikkela was on board to run cameras, direct action, and contribute to the chaos. Great events all around from these east coast concert promoters, especially the Rockabilly Psychosis party in NYhosted by REBEL ANGEL.
5.30.2010 - We drove from NYC to North Carolina, in a Cadillac Brougham - 3 of us in the front seat, and the upright bass guitar sticking out the window. After 14 hours on the road, we arrived at the Uwharrie May Jam to fire off an unrehearsed set of SIX GUN REPUBLIC songs, and watch the mud and rubber fly. The off-road competition was wild, and the moonshine was flowin freely. Thanks again to our Wilson Off Road for another great outing...
5.27.2010 - A true smorgasbord of talent came together for a good cause at New York's Grammercy Theater. My four song performance with JESSE BLAZE SNIDER went as planned - only 9 hours after our 10 minute sound check. The folks at BREAK'N THROUGH put together an absolute monster of an event, and crammed as much into it as possible. They created a true challenge for the venue's crew, and all acts involved - but in the end, raised $30,000 and presented it to VH-1 SAVE THE MUSIC FOUNDATION. Then they left the oversized check behind, and I took it home. Yep.
Tune in to SIRIUS SATELLITE RADIO - RAW DOG COMEDY (104) this Friday, April 16th at 4pm, to hear my metal tribute to Saturday Night Live comedian, JIM BREUER. I played everything in the studio (with engineering help from Boise's own RL Davis), and chopped in samples of some of Breuer's best known stand-up bits. The song will be featured in the first hour of this Friday's show, "Friday's with Breuer" - a good time romp with Jim and friends that airs every Friday. For those of you without SIRIUS RADIO, here's the song on YouTube, with pictures of my SIRIUS studio sesion in 2008 with Jim Breuer himself, Danny Wacker, and PFESS...enjoy!
1.18.2010 - LADY GAGA auditions were held at Alvin Ailey Dance Theater NYC. They led us in to bust out 2 pieces each: 1) any beat - drummers choice, and 2) a LADY GAGA song of the producers choice. Naturally they hit me with a song I wasn't familiar with, "Money Honey". Was great to be amongst so much talent - not so great getting back to my car to collect my $115 parking ticket.
1.17.2010 - I trekked down to the tip top of the Jersey Shore to do some drum tracking at Seabreeze Studios for Six Gun Republic on Sunday. This is my second time putting drums on the same tune, this time doing timpani drum rolls on oversized floor toms (in contrast to the hi-hat and sock-foot on guitar case routine they had me doing last time around) Can't wait to hear the finished product from these guys - a band thats members are spread from NYC to Finland.
1.16.2010 - From way behind the scenes, my pal Brett informs me that LADY GAGA will be holding auditions in New York for backup singers and musicians. It's not an open call audition, so he put me in touch with the casting director, and it's on...in less than 48 hours... Unfortunately I'm not all that familiar with LADY GAGA, (other than the Jameson soaked rendition of "Just Dance" the GOLDEN BOYZ attempted at Court Tavern a couple weeks ago) so I'll be downloading the hits to my brain immediately...
12.2.2009 - Performed with JESSE BLAZE SNIDER at TWISTED CHRISTMAS at Keswick Theater in Glenside, PA. (behind the scenes clip HERE) Our bassist Dan Carlisle had a family emergency and wasn't able to play, so we hired Mike Noordzy, with less than 24 hours to learn our set. Similarly, TWISTED SISTER had to enlist former SMF guitarist, Dan Mccafferty as sub for Eddie Ojeda, who was checked into a hospital for back surgery. All things considered, the night was fairly smooth, and a lot of fun. I believe we had a grand total of 6 minutes to be entirely set up and sound checked. Anyhow, another great launch to the holiday season. Thanks again to Rob out on Long Island for the Mapex kit, sounding sweet as ever (gettin a swift tuning job in the pic). Positive vibes to Eddie Ojeda, and all of the Carlisle Family, and Happy Holidays to the rest of y'all...
11.16.2009 - The Fillmore New York at Irving Plaza... SKELETON KEY did a one night stand with the one and only, THE JESUS LIZARD. The room has sounded great every time I've played there, and for this rare event, it was actually sold out. Check out some footage from our set HERE and some great photographs by Justina Villanueva of the entire night HERE. Was great to see Duane Denison, whom we toured with in 2007, playing in U.S.S.A. Chalk up yet another night of successfully throwing chains and buckets and broken cymbals all around Duane's unprotected guitar set-up without damaging any of it. He treated our dressing room to a private show of his best Chet Atkins licks, before joining David Yow et al. for a violently fun show.
11.10.2009 - We unofficially launched JESSE BLAZE SNIDER as a solo artist, at an event called: Break'n Through - All Things Rock (a benefit for VH-1 Save The Music). We performed as headliner of the event - not included in the competition the other bands were part of. Highline Ballroom was styled out with red carpet photo ops and open flow of free Bong Spirit vodka. THE ROOTS were scheduled to perform a late show, and already had their backline setup, so I ended up using Questlove's drumkit for the night. To round out the night, we wandered up 9th Ave to find a few more drinks, and caught a ride in a stretch limo, from a confused driver that didn't charge us a dime...thanks!
9.5.2009 - I woke up alone in Fayetteville, NC to the hospitality of September heat and humidity. The RV I slept in was locked in the back lot of Wilson Off Road (our gracious host) by 12 foot barbed wire chain-link fencing. I climbed the fence, and walked a mile or so to the first sign of food - a hot dog stand that crafted the delicious pile of slop pictured here. (More satisfying than any of the whiskey, guns, motorcycles, and line dancing we enjoyed all weekend!)