brooklyn

Throwback Thursday: Performing Max Romeo’s “I Chase the Devil” with The Hard Times

As a social media manager and blogger, Thursdays are a gift. There’s a widely known theme and I have no problem playing into it. In managing my band’s Facebook page, I have to be a bit creative as the band is only a couple years old, so we don’t have a treasure trove of photos and video for “throwbacks.” I’ve taken to posting video and photos of the band members’ previous bands and gigs. This week I dug up a photo of my old band The Hard Times performing in Brooklyn. The nostalgia struck deep. I hadn’t thought about how cool these parties were and how great the audience was in quite a while. (more…)

Brooklyn Rocksteady Documentary: A Story About My Scene

brooklyn rocksteady logo

I moved to New York City in 2008. By early 2009, I had found my way into a few bands. One of those bands was the instrumental reggae band The Hard Times. By 2010, we were a part of a really great scene. How did that happen? (more…)

My Friends Write Cool Things [Links and Things I Say You Should See]

Per my last link round-up post, I sporadically feel the need to share a series of things. Today, those things were all things created by people I know. You should know them, too.

  • Office neighbor, nearest daytime spiritual advisor, Director of Initiatives for Boys and Men at Moving Traditions, and Donkey Kong enthusiast, Rabbi Daniel Brenner asks whether men will stand up against the sex slave trade in Israel. This is what they call a “must read.” I appreciate being called out for all those times I breeze over a serious issue problem. [Moving Traditions, Huffington Post]

Solo Performance Band Aid: Ripped Off

Sort of. I overuse the metaphor of ripping off a band aid anytime I have to do anything remotely painful, difficult, or just plain annoying. It usually results in me going into something somewhat unprepared, as gung ho as possible, while somewhat bracing myself.

Tonight I attended what will likely be the first of a monthly salon hosted by Matt Healy and Cozy Josie, the folks also behind The Spoon and Trowel. The food is always out of control good at their functions so I never pass up an invite. Here was their email pitch:

We want to take our creative pursuits seriously, and having an audience helps to do that. Nothing adds fuel to the creative fire like having to show what you’re doing to other people and hearing what they have to say about it. Put more simply: having a thing to make something for is easier than making it for no reason. This is a thing your thing can be for.

(more…)

The Hard Times Release Debut EP on Whatevski

Releases? Release? “The Hard Times” is a single unit, but it’s more than one person, but… whatever.

With not a lot of fanfare, my reggae project The Hard Times released our first 3 song EP “Two Bucks For Bob” on Whatevski, a boutique online store that specializes in b-sides, live songs, rarities, and side projects from the world of NYC ska/reggae band The Slackers. So how did we get in? I’ll start at the beginning but I’ll jump around. (more…)

The Summer Gig and Show Post Part II

Since I first wrote my first post about summer gigs, I’ve played a few shows, been to a few shows, and booked a few more.

I still can’t get over how much fun I had with The Hard Times when we played a set of blues covers and classic ska/punk tunes with Vic Ruggiero of the Slackers (videos and more excitement here). I caught Common in Ft. Greene at a festival. It was great to finally see him, but he played a very short set, half of which was a cool (yet, too long) medley of classic hip-hop tunes. The opening acts were also pretty lame and I missed Soulive entirely, who I was there to see in the first place. I caught The Aggrolites with The Have Nots at Highline Ballroom, one of the few all ages venues in Manhattan where you can see bands that aren’t big enough to fill Irving Plaza and the like. The Have Nots killed it and A.G.G.R.O. played a great set, though I felt like the whole night was a little bit better a year ago, when I saw the same two bands and one more at the Mercury Lounge. It’s a smaller, more intimate venue, though not all ages. A few nights later, I caught half a set at the pizza place near me (Two Boots Brooklyn, nothing like Two Boots in Manhattan, go right now) from a new project called Grand Concourse, featuring Kevin Batchelor of The Skatalites, Rhianna, Batchelor Party, the list goes on, Johnny Meyers of The Stingers ATX, Gideon from Westbound Train, and Eddie Ocampo of The Stubborn All-Stars and The Jammyland All-stars, as well as some other amazing musicians I know I’ve seen before. They KILLED it.

(more…)

NYC Hearts JWM (And Vice Versa)

Check out this lo-fi clip of The Hard Times, me on riddim guitar, playing the rock ‘n’ roll classic “Kansas City” with Vic Ruggiero, lead singer/songwriter and keyboard player for The Slackers. He also played keys for Rancid and countless others.

Only in NYC and Brooklyn would something this crazy happen. I can’t tell you how cool of an experience this was given how many times I’ve seen him play with The Slackers (and solo for that matter) and at so many different venues. But here in NYC, these things just seem to happen to me. Ageny Jay (guitarist for The Slackers) was spinning all night which just added to it.

I’ve had the chance to play with members of The NY Ska-Jazz Ensemble, King Django, Victor Rice (playing songs like “Simmer Down” and “Drum Song”), The Scofflaws, to name a few, just because I’ve hung around late enough at the Knitting Factory. WTF?

It’s gonna take a lot to ever get me out of this town. More clips below the jump.

(more…)