The Occupation of Wall Street… day eight marked by violence, arrests

I’m sick as a fucking dog, and don’t have the strength in me to write anything even remotely interesting, let alone meaningful, on the subject, but I wanted to remind people that the occupation of Wall Street is now in its eighth day. According to what I’m reading, approximately 100 of the protesters were hauled away by police today. Today was also notable because it was the first day that the venerable New York Times took notice. (Most news outlets have still to recognize the peaceful protests in New York’s Financial District.) The NYT article, entitled Gunning for Wall Street, With Faulty Aim, does an admirable job, if nothing else, of putting forward what I’ll call the “naive hippie” narrative. Here’s a clip:

…The group’s lack of cohesion and its apparent wish to pantomime progressivism rather than practice it knowledgably is unsettling in the face of the challenges so many of its generation face — finding work, repaying student loans, figuring out ways to finish college when money has run out. But what were the chances that its members were going to receive the attention they so richly deserve carrying signs like “Even if the World Were to End Tomorrow I’d Still Plant a Tree Today”?…

Looking at the photos, it’s easy to be dismissive. I suspect, however, that will change. These are just the early adopters. They’ll be followed shortly by the debt-ridden college grads who can’t find jobs, and the people who are being forced out of their jobs at Bank of America, is spite of the company’s profitability. No, this isn’t going to stop anytime soon. The rock is just starting to crack, and the magma is just starting to flow. If you thought the Tea Party was a force to be reckoned with, just wait. Soon, the smart people are going to be taking to the street.

Here’s video footage of seemingly peaceful women being corralled on a public sidewalk by orange construction fencing, and then sprayed in the eyes with pepper spray by police.

[The photo above was taken by Peter Harris.]

Posted in Civil Liberties, Economics, Observations, Other, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

R.E.M. and the legacy of that perfect circle of acquaintances and friends

I wasn’t going to post anything here about the recent news that R.E.M. was breaking up, until, at the gym this morning, I heard two network morning show talking heads going back and forth about how they’d only started appreciating the band in recent years. I suppose they could have meant that they were really into Poison and Starship in the mid 80’s, and they’re just now realizing how stupid they’d been. But, the sense that I got was that they didn’t start appreciating the band until the foursome from Athens, Georgia started churning out top 40 hits. Well, for whatever reason, it got to me. I can see people saying that R.E.M. became less relevant with time, but it really bothered me to hear people articulate the belief that the band found its creative voice with Losing My Religion. At any rate, that motivated me to come home and start typing.

R.E.M. was an incredibly important band for me in the early to mid-80’s. It not only gave me something to dance around and drink to while showering, but it pointed me in the direction of a lot of a lot of other things that would become hugely influential in my life. (For some reason, I showered a lot in the mid-80’s. At least, I have a lot of memories of drinking rum and Cokes in the shower, and screaming along with R.E.M. records. It was kind of a weekend ritual for me, like watching episodes of Degrassi Junior High wile eating tunafish on Ritz crackers, which would happen immediately beforehand. It’s still kind of amazing to me that I didn’t slip in the tub while dancing along to Murmur and kill myself.)

I know this will sound odd to a lot of you, but it was different back then, when you fell in love with a band. Before the internet, you had to actually talk with people in record stores, read zines, and do geeky stuff, like join fan clubs that would send you real, honest-to-goodness letters. I can’t remember when I first heard R.E.M.. It may have been in October 1983, when they appeared on Letterman. I don’t think, however, that I was watching Letterman every night until I was a little older. It’s more likely that my friend Andrew told me about them. I seem to recall him telling me that they visited his New Jersey college in ’83. (The early R.E.M., fueled by speed, toured like crazy.) Michael Stipe, if I remember correctly, had shaved his head like a monk prior to that show, and proceeded to lather up the remaining ring of hair with mustard and other condiments. At least that’s how I remember the story being related to me. And, at some point after that, Andrew made me a cassette with a bunch of bootlegs from their early days in Athens, back when they hosted parties in the church on Oconee Street. Or maybe I heard something about them at Country Pie, the local record store in Newton, New Jersey where I’d go to spend my hardware store money on cassettes. I can’t remember which came first. Whatever it was, though, it made a powerful imprint on my young mind.

Not only did I love those first records, and seek out every opportunity possible to see the band, but I also started digging into their roots, trying to find out everything I could about the scene in Athens around that same time. I’d already been into the B52s, but, thanks to R.E.M., I found out about Pylon, and, through Pylon, I found out about the label DB Recs. New doors kept opening up, and I kept running though them, happy to have something to feel passionate about at long last. Then, in 1987, the documentary Athens, GA. Inside/Out came to a tiny art theater not too far from where I lived at the time in Washington, D.C.. I’d go and see it, by myself, on three consecutive nights, in hopes of committing it all to memory. And the rest was history. Not too long after that, I’d decide to form my first band.

I’d taken similar journeys with the Velvet Underground and Warhol, and the CBGB’s scene that spawned the Ramones and their contemporaries in New York, but this exploration of Athens may have been the last real time that dove in and really tried to apply the techniques of historic archeology to a cultural scene in hopes of figuring out who was ultimately responsible, and what all the contributing factors were. As much as I loved the music, it was always more about the attitude with me – this idea that arose in Athens at the time that anyone could make art, regardless of whether or not they could play instruments. I know I’ve talked about it here before, but there’s great scene in Athens, Ga: Inside/Out in which Michael from Pylon, a painter by training, explains how he just decided to buy a cheap bass and start making music, irregardless of the fact that he had no idea how. It was incredibly liberating.

Linette just walked up behind me, saw what I was writing about, and said something like, “Every boy I knew went through a stage where they loved R.E.M., only to eventually turn their backs them.” And, as much as I’d like to think that I’m special, I guess that’s what happened with me. At some point, I just stopped buying records. The last one I bought was Green in 1988. I’m not sure what happened. When I’d hear their stuff on the radio, I’d like it, but it just didn’t grab me in the same way. Maybe it’s part of growing up. Maybe, sooner or later, you have to turn against those whom you most admire, in order to carve out some kind of identity of your own. Or, maybe, their music just wasn’t as compelling. Either way, I just wanted to put it down on the record that, a long time ago, they meant a hell of a lot to me. And, more importantly, they led the way to people like Howard Finster and Vanessa from Pylon who I’d actually become friends with in the real world…. It’s certainly weird how things unfold in life.

And, here, if you haven’t heard it in a while, is Radio Free Europe:

Posted in Art and Culture, Mark's Life, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 35 Comments

Ypsi/Arbor Exit Interview: Stephen Jolley

Remember how, a little while ago, I told you that Hollis Knight Coats, the mastermind behind the Ypsi band Manhole, left for Portland? Well, he didn’t leave alone. The following exit interview is with Stephen Jollie, the man who aided him in his escape.

MARK: What’s your name?

STEPHEN: Stephen Jolley. Close friends often refer to me as, ‘The Jols’. Sometimes people call just call me, ‘Jols’ not realizing that calling me that is very annoying and rude.

MARK: Who’s your daddy?

STEPHEN: My daddy is Mark Jolley. He is an extremely successful accountant who spends his free time flying planes, sailing and vacationing. Fairly soon he will be spending all of free time on just his hobbies (piloting and vacationing/traveling as well as other things he hasn’t yet pinpointed as one of his goals). He achieved his goals by making a lot of money, reading and not being afraid of trying new things. It’s actually a pretty good plan because he’s 51 years old and soon he will be doing whatever he wants for the rest of his life which will probably be another 50 years. If he gets heart-disease or lung cancer or something he’ll probably just be able to buy some poor person’s organs.

MARK: I was going to ask if, “he’s rich, like me,” but I think you’ve answered that. (I’m not, “fly to Mexico and buy a black market liver” rich. I’m more, “walk to Beezy’s and buy a cup of cheesy bacon soup” rich.) Before we move on, I have one more question about your dad… Has he taken any time, to show you what you need to live?

STEPHEN: He has gone to great lengths to be an excellent father and teach me what I need to know not only what I need to live but also what it takes to be a good person, how to be successful and how to make dreams come true. All of my failures are in no way a reflection of his parenting. He is an incredible person.

MARK: So, Hollis introduced you as the guy who does “the guitar solo” in Manhole? Is there really only one guitar solo in Manhole? And is that a full time gig? Or do you do other stuff, when you’re not playing the guitar solo, and waiting for your inheritance?

STEPHEN: It’s kind of a joke. I think when Manhole played shows there were enough other guitar players in the group to the point where I never got to stand out except when I was doing guitar solos. I never sang in the group because I’m an awful vocalist. Even though guitar solos often seem ridiculous to me, I was grateful Hollis gave me solo spots on about half of the tunes. As Hollis once said, ‘Guitar Solos are what reminds people that they are listening to music’.

MARK: Did you grow up in Michigan?

STEPHEN: My residence has been in Michigan up until about a month ago. I was born in Trenton, moved to Brighton when I was 12 and then to Ypsi when I was 18. The past 8 years I have been bouncing back and forth mostly between Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor.

MARK: What originally brought you to Ypsi?

STEPHEN: Eastern Michigan University. I stayed because the seediness never bothered me and I liked the people there. It’s funny, I’m a skinny white kid that looks like Harry Potter and about eight years younger-looking than I actually am but I would walk around Ypsi late at night and NEVER get fucked with. It was novel to have crackheads and thugs walking around and not feel intimidated by them. It was empowering and sort of made me feel like a demi-god…. kind of like Harry Potter.

MARK: And you moved to Portland with Hollis?

STEPHEN: Yeah I moved with Hollis. He said he was going to move sometime around January and I jumped on board right away. I have a lot of musician friends here who are extremely talented and great people. Those friends who already moved from Michigan to Oregon and for years tried to convince me to as well. Once Hollis said he was going to move it honestly didn’t even seem like an option not to. Even though I grew up in Michigan, I have more close friends who live here in Portland than any other town or city. It’s a total chain reaction and people are what’s most important to me in life… not so much trees, birds, food, sport teams, amount of bars/restaurants and stuff like that. It totally baffles me that people move to places based on what the area looks like. I just don’t get it. You want to see something pretty just look up at the sky every once in a while.

MARK: Are you’re involved in the quest of Hollis’s to find an young African American woman who looks like Logan to play in the newly reconstituted Manhole?

STEPHEN: Hah! I have been keeping my eyes peeled. Not really though. I LOVE Logan and he is irreplaceable. He is one of best of people I have ever met. He is a crazy guy who to some people might seem almost out of control but to me he is actually an inspiration. He might understand life more than anyone I know. He has a very warm heart and deeply cares about his friends, is unselfish and might be the happiest person I have ever met!!! To me that pretty much covers everything that is good about being human. He is one of the best looking people I’ve come across.

MARK: What are the first five things to come to mind when you think about Ypsilanti?

STEPHEN: Patrick Elkins, hard drugs, shitty jobs, Ugly Mug (my favorite business in Ypsilanti) and stereotypical hipsters.

MARK: Tell me about these hipsters.

STEPHEN: I have to be really careful answering this one. First off I’ll say that at first I thought I wasn’t a hipster or a hippie but it turns out I’m both. I would say I’m about 30% hipster, 30% hippie, 30% nerd and 10% goth. I’ll break down the positives and negative stereotypes of a ypsi hipster starting with the negative—> a Ypsilanti hipster often is someone who likes to dress silly, wear cheap sunglasses, act sure of themselves while at the same time mocking non-hipsters as if only hipsters are in-the-know as to the best way to live life. Hipster artists/musicians like to poke fun at non-hipster artists/musicians’ work to make up for their lack of motivation and technical abilities. Hipsters that read this will want to defend themselves on the comment section of your blog but they won’t because they definitely won’t want to identify themselves as a hipsters. The good things—> Ypsilanti hipsters seem to be open minded to new ideas. Unlike hippies, hipsters seem to appreciate the past while looking to the future. Because of this, stereotypical hipsters seem to be more creative and funnier than other types of stereotypes like goth, hippie, mod and so on. Hipsters are flat out funnier than the rest and having a sense of humor is totally clutch for reaching level-4 happiness.

MARK: And what are you doing in Portland when you’re not playing with New Manhole? Are there other projects? Are you looking for a job?

STEPHEN: Hollis and I have actually been somewhat lazy about the whole Manhole thing. Part of it may be due to not being able to imagine what the band will be like without some of the other members who didn’t feel like moving with us. Maybe we miss them a bit too much to take the jump and start finding new members but I think we will get to it at some point. Hollis and I have been spending time working on the first real Manhole record which still has yet to be released but I promise will be a spectacular piece of art. Something truly unique and amazing. I won’t say anything more about it!

Another reason I moved to Portland was to reunite with my band, Inkblot which has actually been together for about 4 years now on and off. This is really exciting to me. Everyone in the band is a dear, dear friend of mine and being able to play with them again is a wonderful feeling.

I have been looking for a job. I have actually found two jobs, quit one and will probably start the other which is ‘Pizza Delivery Guy’ pretty soon. I honestly have been terribly depressed about not being able to find work I like while at the same time being broke. I have asked for work and shown my face at many music shops and studios with no luck. I had an awesome job in Ann Arbor working at The State Theater but never found music related work there either so I don’t really think not being able to find good work here is strictly a ‘Portland Thing’.

I also spent a bit of time trying to make this really dumb music video with my friends go viral. I co-wrote the song with Brian Tucker who in my opinion is the best singer in all of Ypsi/Arbor period. By the way I think he plays in one band now but if any group is looking for a good singer hit him up. That lazy fucker has time to be doing more music than he is right now. I was hoping to make that video go viral by sending e-mails to people I knew and telling them to watch it and spread it around. I’m going to continue this process by using your blog as a forum to try to spread my bullshit art. Here is it:

Benjamin Rosenau directed it. He also directed Our Brother the Native’s video, ‘rhythm hymns‘, which is actually great art as opposed to what we came up with, which is totally disposable pop garbage that will surely be out of date in a few months. I really believe Benjamin will have directed movies people have heard of some day. I don’t know how three talented people managed to make such a bullshit song and video. Having said that all of you reading should check out that video. My production chops are getting crazy out of control good…. especially considering how little equipment I have. It makes me wonder why are these bullshit people working at studios in Portland, with their stupid asymmetrical haircuts won’t give me any work. There are so many hacks here and it seems like they don’t want to give smart and talented people work. It’s possible I might need to start getting tattoos and an even more asymmetrical ‘hip’ hair-cut to land a good job. Portland might be the land of giving people cools jobs who don’t deserve cool jobs.

MARK: Did you listen to the interview I did with Hollis? What did you think of it?

STEPHEN: I watched/listened to Hollis’s interview. It caused a bit of stir on this blog because Hollis said something like, ‘Ypsi is a place where good ideas go to die’. I actually think he was tired or something and was just talking without thinking too much but in a lot of ways I agree with that statement. I would change it to this though, ‘Ypsi is a place where good ideas go to die for some people who deserve there ideas to be heard or seen’. Of course this really only applies on a person to person basis. For myself and Hollis I think this is true. I believe Ypsi is simply just too small of a place for us to flourish with our music and other art things we do. People are making great art there but it seems that Ypsi is not a great place for exposure. If you are an aspiring Musician that lives in Ypsi and are wondering why you aren’t becoming successful with your art, I would suggest that you either keep living in Ypsi and start touring or move to a bigger city. If you stick around a small town playing to the same people I would think you will have a tough time growing a fan-base and maybe even artistically after a while.

Here is an example–> my favorite local group of Ypsi/Arbor became The Rainbow Family Vomit Band within the last month I was in the area. Ypsi can’t support them forever though! They need more than just the fans of a small town with the same circle of friends seeing the band over and over. Bands and artists that hail from Ypsi simply deserve more than that sometimes. They need to be exposed to people all over the world to all sorts of different people!!! Not just people who dress and act like them. It took me forever to get the courage to do it but if you are an artist and believe in yourself and want more stuff coming your way in terms of fans, money and other good stuff, you just got to get out there and try other things like moving other places and seeing if people will love you more in other places!

I don’t know if things will be better for me here in Portland in terms of music but if it doesn’t get better in a couple years I’ll probably move somewhere else and I’ll repeat that process until I die if I have to.

MARK: Does your dad drop you and Hollis crates of food from his airplane?

STEPHEN: He doesn’t, but that would be nice. Hollis and I are way too skinny and it isn’t because we don’t like food.

MARK: Would you agree with Hollis that, statistically speaking, there are more “immoral” and “mean” people in Ypsilanti, per capita, than there are in any other town on five continents?

STEPHEN: No, I don’t agree with that, but personal experience presents interactions with different types of people. When I spent time in Ypsi I spent it with friends or inside a quiet offices so I mostly saw good sides of people. Hollis worked at a liquor store so he dealt with a lot of idiots and alcohol addicted people so he had a totally different perspective on Ypsi people. I felt there were more immoral people in Ann Arbor because many of the U of M students were brats who have had everything handed to them by there parents. Many of those people acted like they were elite and their lives were shaped by circumstances that were not in there control or of their own doing. Something about that seems more evil than stabbing someone in the back of the head for a baggy of ice/crack and just don’t know why. Ann Arbor also is home of many what I call ’21st century hippies’ who secretly live off checks and money orders from their wealthy mommies and daddies while at the same time pretend to be ‘green’ while supporting whack jam-bands (who don’t have real jobs and also secretly live off of mommy and daddy but pretend to be rockstars) who litter the streets with thousands of flyers for there shows. Then those quasi-hippies follow the same bands around the country in shitty vehicles and still continue to preach to people about being ‘green’. If that isn’t immoral I don’t know what is. I bet there is a lot of dark shit going on in Ypsi that I just haven’t gotten to witness it. I stayed away of the shady side of it and just have trouble relating to it because I never really came across much of that side of Ypsi. To me Ypsi is just trees, Ugly Mug and cool people.

Posted in Art and Culture, Michigan, Ypsilanti | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Cornel West: “Escalating Civil Disobedience Is Necessary To Wake The Country Up!”

Speaking of civil disobedience, here’s a quick quote from one of the people leading the occupation of Wall Street which is now in its sixth day:

On September 22nd, 2011, sixteen cities from around the country and the world stood in solidarity with us, protesting the disparity of power and wealth that exists in our society. In Liberty Square, no such disparity exists. Everyone’s needs are taken care for, food, medicine, water. The only need, the only right, that we cannot take care of is shelter, though this is not our choice. Mayor Bloomberg said that he would give us a space to protest but at every moment he attempts to erode us. He uses absurd police tactics – arresting protesters for using chalk on sidewalks, for wearing masks on the back of their heads in violation of a law that is a century and a half old, for… what, exactly? He uses the tactics of media suppression only available to a billionaire with a media empire. It has not worked. It will not work. We are growing. Each day more cities join us. Each day our movement grows. We demand real change. We will see it….

Posted in Observations, Other, Politics | Tagged , , , , , | 16 Comments

Anthony Gentile on YpsiFest

I had the occasion a few days ago to chat with Anthony Gentile, the organizer of YpsiFest, which is scheduled to take place at Woodruff’s October 12 – 15. Here’s what he had to say…

MARK: When was the first YpsiFest?

ANTHONY: Well, YpsiFest started in 2003, back when Leighton Mann was booking at the Elbow Room. I was playing in a band called Rome for a Day and, in addition to booking shows for my own band, I had started working at getting other bands I liked into the Elbow Room. As you probably know, Leighton’s a pretty good guy to work with and he helped me out a lot with RFAD and with getting other bands I liked into the Elbow on decent bills. Eventually the idea of having a little fest of our own in Ypsilanti came up, and it seemed like a good idea at the time. Maybe I’m wrong, and forgetting history, but there weren’t as many fests back then as there are now, so we didn’t feel like we were beating a dead horse.

Anyway, YpsiFest was going to be a celebration of Rock and Roll. The idea was to bring bands that supported Ypsilanti, and bands that we loved that hadn’t played Ypsilanti, together for a weekend of rock and roll madness. The first one was held Sept 26 and 27, 2003, at the Elbow Room. The lineup included 19 bands over two days, bringing together local rock, punk and metal bands like Few and Far Between, Charlevoix, Anchorage, Inside Five Minutes, Leaving Rouge, Glori5, Spit for Athena, Human Wick Effect and more. It was a great weekend, we raised money for a local dog shelter, and we decided we would do it again in 2004.

MARK: And, from what I understand, the format has evolved a bit since then, right?

ANTHONY: In 2004, we made it three nights and had eight bands each night for a total of 24 bands. Several bands from 2003 returned, but we also added some heavy hitters like Easy Action, Bang! Bang!, Chapstik, Heads Will Roll and The Holy Fire. The weekend was a huge success and we raised over $1000 that we donated to the music program at a local high school in Ypsilanti.

In 2005, Rome for a Day was no longer a band. The only live music I was playing was either solo/acoustic or in a project I was calling the Free Noise Project. Free Noise Project was an event where local musicians would sign up to play and I would take all the people who wanted to play and semi-randomly mix them up into groups with people they didn’t know. Each “group” would get 25 minutes to play whatever noise they wanted. It was a lot of fun and we had some amazing musicians come out to make some amazing noise. So in 2005 I decided to include the Free Noise Project with YpsiFest and for some reason I got the idea that I would move away from a fest that was mostly Rock/Punk/Metal and try to include all types of bands from the area. That lineup, in November 2005, included Rootstand, Heads Will Roll, Nathan Montgomery, Leaving Rouge, Ragbirds, Free Noise Project (just one grouping of the guys who came most often to the wednesday night deals), Coke Dick Motorcycle Awesome, Chapstik, Fred Thomas, Paradise and Anchorage. Cracks me up to think that I ever thought it was a good idea to put Heads Will Roll and Rootstand back to back, but we did. It was a decent event, we raised money for the SOS Community Services in Ypsilanti, and everything went pretty well considering.

In 2006 Leighton Mann was no longer at the Elbow Room and there was a new booker who didn’t want to have a large weekend festival “because it ate up too many headliners” and “nobody comes till later in the night anyway”… Both of which were false but whatever. That’s the way it was. I was told I had to break the nights up (not have them on the same weekend) and that I could only have 5 bands per night. My current band, Jehovah’s Witness Protection Program played our first show opening YpsiFest in December 2006, and although we still brought in some great bands that year and in 2007, the original vibe of YpsiFest was gone and it didn’t make sense to carry on any longer. So after 5 years of YpsiFest, I hung up my hat.

MARK: But then you brought it back…

ANTHONY: In 2010, a new opportunity arose when I started getting to know Andy Garris a little better. The booker who didn’t want us to do the fest was gone, and Andy and the Elbow Room gang were really supportive of JWPP and the bands we were bringing with us to the bar. So the idea started milling around in my head again, and when Andy and Co moved a block away to the much larger Savoy, I decided to ask him if we could resurrect the dinosaur that was YpsiFest. Andy was immediately in. In fact, I think he said, “You can have whatever kind of **** fest you want, brother!” So the deal was made and we made it into the biggest YpsiFest yet. Savoy allowed us to have two stages, and that made it possible to have 8 bands each night without having to start before 8:00.

YpsiFest 2010 was a huge success, we combined some of the more prominent Ypsi/Arbor area musicians like The Boys Themselves, Chris Bathgate (Wrathgate’s only appearance I believe), Blue Snaggletooth and Sisters of Your Sunshine Vapor with Detroit area bands like The Muggs, The Beggars, Lettercamp, Silverghost and more. Doug Coombe helped me a bunch with the lineup last year, and we celebrated his birthday on Thursday as well. All the bands got paid, the bar was packed for three nights, and I think I hurt myself a little more than necessary.

MARK: And that brings us to now… What do you have lined up this time around?

ANTHONY: This year I am planning to bring the best consecutive four days of rock and roll possible to our new home at Woodruff’s in Depot Town. In some ways we have moved back towards being more of a rock and roll fest, but that’s less by design and more because JWPP has been playing primarily with heavier bands these days and when I started thinking about the fest it was just automatic for me to start by asking some of the bands that I have really enjoyed playing with in the last year.

So I’m super excited that this year marks the return of my original co-conspirator Leighton Mann, who’s band Chapstik will be headlining the final night of the fest on Saturday Oct 15 and will also be releasing a 7″ on Loco Gnosis at the fest. We also have Easy Action back again, and they will be headlining on Friday Oct 14, which again is the celebration of Doug Coombe’s birthday. Because it was his birthday celebration, Doug picked half of the bands on Friday night, which was great because I like every one of the bands he picked, and it is also going to be the official release of JWPP’s new full length record for Loco Gnosis, “The Glass is Half Full” on vinyl. Wednesday we have three amazing Detroit area bands (Ahsleys, Phantasmagoria and Kickstand Band) sandwiched by a bunch of great Ypsilanti based bands 2194, S.N.A.F.U., Graders, Sisters of Your Sunshine Vapor and headlining will be Lawless Carver (who by chance played their first live show as an opener on YpsiFest last year). Thursday the beautiful Lettercamp will headline a night that is sure to explode with rock, punk, rap and whatever it is that the amazing Pat Elkins decides to bring us this year. It’s going to be a swell weekend. We are going to celebrate Ypsilanti and rock and roll for another year!

MARK: So, how much is it to get in? And, speaking of money, will you be paying bands, or will the money be going to a local non-profit?

ANTHONY: The cost for the kickoff party on Wednesday Oct 12 will be $5, and each night after that is $8. We will have wristbands (good for each night of the event) for $24 that are available on Wednesday night only.

We used to try to ride the fence between being a benefit and paying the bands. And while I think it’s a great idea to support a local cause and always like the opportunity to do so as a band, I also sometimes feel like it’s good to support local musicians and the work they put into their craft. Making records and keeping gear in decent shape can cost a lot, and I feel pretty good being able to put on an event like this and then actually be able to pay the bands a little bit of money so it doesn’t cost them to come play for us. Last year we paid every band at least enough for gas and some expenses, and I expect to be able to do the same again this year.

MARK: Now for the interesting questions…. Have I heard correctly that you’ve been going around town saying that YpsiFest better than Mittenfest?

ANTHONY: It’s not better than Mittenfest… unless you are ONLY into heavier rock and roll and you don’t want to hear a single acoustic guitar… and then it might be better. For me, as a music fan, I know it’s not better. I couldn’t touch what they do year after year, and I really would never try.

MARK: Is it true that you’ve challenged Brandon Zwagerman to an 8-day Battle of the Festivals next year, where both festivals will go head-to-head in competition?

ANTHONY: Last year I challenged Brandon Zwagerman to several things that included the use of hands. He turned me down every time. Plus, I think he’s smarter than me, so I try not to challenge him too often.

MARK: Why are you always at Woodruff’s?

ANTHONY: My family hates me. Plus, most people don’t know this but I get paid just to be there. Andy calls it “Mascot Services” on my paycheck, but I don’t really know what that means.

MARK: If we can’t have bands perform in Hasan’s bedroom, could we maybe make the stage up to look like Hasan’s bedroom for the duration of the festival, with Hasan serving drinks from bed for the duration?

ANTHONY: That would be awesome. I will be doing a few acoustic performances in Hasan’s room over the 4 days of YpsiFest. Mostly serenades to his girlfriend… but I forget her name. I’ll bet Dave and Kurt from Elbow Deep could do a great job with the “Hasan’s Room” theme. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

MARK: Anything else people need to know?

ANTHONY: People should just know that this is going to be a great time from beginning to end. We have some of the best bands from southeast Michigan playing. We also have an amazingly comfortable venue with a great staff that always aim to please their guests. There is a huge bar with a great beer menu and they now also serve great food at a low cost all night long. We have an awesome community in Ypsilanti, and we’re super fortunate to have the opportunity to do this. I just hope everybody is ready for a good time.

MARK: One last question…. Did you want to play in a four-piece, but could only find one other guy that looked like you?

He never responded to that last question…

That’s Anthony, by the way, on the left in that photo up above. The guy on the right isn’t him, even though they look alike. My guess is it’s a Genesis and Lady Jaye kind of thing.

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