Posts Tagged ‘Turf Club’

I would first like to drop a quick note and say that I loved the jennefit. It was a heck of a time. I was able to take care of a few things that I had been meaning to check off my list for some time now.

The first was to cover a Morrissey/Smiths song. Most who know me (even a little bit), know that I am a Morrissey fanatic. It’s pretty sick, but it could be worse. I have always had a healthy fear of covering Moz’s stuff. However, after some thought on it, I decided that now would be the time. I’m not getting any younger.

The second was to have my old friend Jeremy Ylvisaker on my stage. You see, I had spent a considerable amount of time in my late teens and early 20’s working as a tech for Jeremy and have remained in constant admiration of his guitar playing and catch him whenever possible. When they were throwing together the sets for the jennefit, it was suggested that Jeremy come play with us. I was honored that he said yes.

So, to kill a few birds in one set, here is Jeremy Ylvisaker sitting in with us covering “Death of a Disco Dancer” by The Smiths:

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Coming up on Friday(March 26) of this week is the “Jennefit“. Cute name, right? I’ll spit some specifics and then get into my thoughts on the show. Proceeds from the show will be given to photographer, Jenn Barnett, to buy a new camera so she may begin anew her undeniably indispensable job of documenting the Minneapolis music scene.

When? March 26th, 2010
Where? The Turf Club in St. Paul, MN

How Much? $10 (advance tix available via Indietickets)

I know Jenn pretty well at this point. It didn’t take me long to develop a relationship with her because she was everywhere I went on a weekend. I think Rebecca Lang from the Star Tribune put it best with: “Minneapolis has its share of photo pit junkies who manage to post galleries of the previous night’s shows on Flickr before the rest of us have had our coffee. One of them (being) Jenn Barnett.”

Music mastermind, Ed Ackerson, said,  “Jenn is golden, a huge asset for our community as a whole.”

I find it so cool that Ed used the word “community“.

We live in a world that is gasping for air in our current economic climate. It seems that every single industry (including the music industry) is asking the same question: how will we survive today? I’ve sat by and watched as dreams of Motley Crüe limousines have turned to aspirations to make rent. Many have argued that the shift has been one that has been good for the industry. In theory, I agree. However, the shift is not as temperate as one would like to believe.

Instead of leveling the income playing field for musicians, this economy simply has those who made more, making a little less. It has those who were making some, making none.

I will acknowledge that our enterprise does not have a measurable imprint on those who are pinched by the recession. We don’t offer goods or services that will keep  roofs over heads or food in the bellies. No matter how much we want to play ourselves off as “artists”, the fact of the matter is that we work in the entertainment industry. When budgets get snug, the first belt-tightening goes around the waist of our craft.

Lately, one hears pep talks and Presidential addresses telling us to “pull together” in order to triumph (or even make it through a fiscal quarter). When I hear phrases like “pull together”, I almost automatically think of a community.

The word “community” has become a bit of a buzz anthem, but I don’t believe the concept has lost all meaning. However, it’s NOT a gathering of a few people who get along reasonably well and have the same ideals. Communities give life to the whole body. A community contains people of all different sizes, races, colors, talents, drives, etc. With all of these differences, the group can work together far better than one alone. I have often dreamed of an artist/musician community, not just here in Minneapolis, but around the world.

It’s easy to mention artist/musician comradeship, but is a bit of a challenge to plan and implement. There are so many steps and not one of them can happen overnight. But I have a few ideas on how to start…

Who am I?
I think the first step to moving into an artist/music community is to know yourself. It’s important to know your own strengths and weaknesses. If someone approached me asking me to play on a punk record, or to sub at a punk show, my immediate response would be to pass it off to a member of the community who specializes in that genre. That may be an easy example, but if I add that this particular punk gig was high paying, then maybe I would have you thinking twice. (I am aware of the irony of this example. There is no such thing as a high paying punk gig.)

My hope with passing on the punk gig would be that if he/she were approached with an indie or alt country opportunity, that it would be passed on to me. The funny thing is that once I became aware of areas where I am lacking, it became easier for me to plug areas where I am effective.

Give first – Take last
It is witnessed over and over again that when an organization like The Red Cross offers relief to an impoverished area, the concern of the starving civilians starts with their neighbors instead of themselves. When a small portion of food is given to a famished and malnourished victim of poverty, the first thing they do is turn around and give the ENTIRE food package to another member of their community. Can we learn something from this?

How about this: In order to join most co-ops, unions, or other social affiliations, one must pay some kind of entry fee. These funds go into a pot that will benefit the entire outfit. Upon paying our ante, we know that for us to succeed, the entire group must succeed. Jerry Greenfield (Ben & Jerry’s) once said “If your support the community, they will support you.” This can/does relate to the musical community.

It has always interested me to watch the ways that musicians support one another. Our greatest tool for giving is our mouths*. In a world of social media, this should also be the easiest way for us to contribute to the overall community. A few months ago I went to see Chris Koza and The Honeydogs. At one point in the show I became overwhelmed by Peter Sieve’s (Chris Koza) guitar playing. My first reaction was to tell everyone I knew via twitter about my appreciation for his playing. My hope was to catch the attention of someone who may not have heard Chris’ music.

In January of 2010, I was given the opportunity to give Metro Magazine my top 5 local and national records of 2009. That was a thrill for me as I am always telling anyone who will listen about my appreciation for some of our talented Minneapolis musicians. Some are friends. Some I have never met. It doesn’t matter.

*I once saw a band finish a set in Brooklyn and were handing flyers out to people after they had torn down their gear. I asked their guitar player if they were plugging friends of theirs. He said, “Never met em. Love their EP though. We printed these at Kinko’s ourselves. You should go.”

Inclusive vs. Exclusive
Last summer, I sat with a musician who has gold records hanging on the wall in his studio. He’s written songs that have won awards I will most likely never touch. He had just gotten off the phone with a talent buyer at a local venue and was (understandably) miffed. The more he processed his frustrations verbally, he said “Do you know that Austin has nearly the same demographic as Minneapolis? They have SXSW. We have Ribfest.”

This musician went on to voice his love for the inclusive music communities all over the USA and being heart-broken by the exclusive scene here in Minneapolis. I wrote him off as being a little dramatic, but started to take notice around the city. He was partly right. We have locked ourselves into our genres and friend groups. We’ll support those who participate in our tiny “labels”, but only if they support us back. Because, on a Saturday night, we’re “in it for ourselves”.

I can’t count the green rooms I have been in where I have seen bands hurriedly thumbing through calendars in publications looking for their “competition” on the evening. Competition? Are you serious?

It doesn’t have to be that way. The Jennefit is a prime example.

Speaking of competition…
If I were to pick out an industry in Minneapolis that is “competitive”, I would easily point at the photographers of our city. Like Rebecca noted (above), there are tons of them at every venue shooting every show. When I was contacted about playing the Jennefit, I was shocked to find that another local photographer, elli rader, was the driving force behind it. In a cut-throat business, elli wants nothing more than for Jenn to get her camera fixed so she can jump back into business and potentially take customers from her. Does that blow your mind? If it doesn’t, you might need to read it again.

Our models…
elli rader is a classic example of “Give first – Take last” as she has spent a great deal of time and energy on the Jennefit. Musicians who are out night after night, paying door covers, and supporting local musicians are good illustrations. Local musicians who walk straight to the “local” section of record shops are the ones who show me how this is done. Artists and musicians, plugging one another, working together, giving first and taking last.

I’d like to claim that I practice all of these principles day in and out, but I don’t. I am still learning and growing. I have good prototypes to follow (people like elli rader). Younger musicians and artists watch all of you who have been creating successfully for years. Don’t think an eye is taken off of you for a second.

If this type of living is something that interests you, get to a show, a record store, or maybe even the Jennefit. And if you hear something you like, tell everyone you know!

Ryan Paul

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I didn’t really take much of an opportunity to mention the most visible of changes to THE ARDENT. If you showed up to the February 4th show at the Turf Club, you probably noticed this:

Cory Eischen joins Ryan Paul & THE ARDENT by elli rader

On the synthesizer, we have Cory Eischen. Cory is an amazing player and friend. He currently plays with Mayda, ELnO, and a whole crapload of other bands in this city.

After a powerful year, I looked back on the accomplishments of RPTA and didn’t feel like I saw as much of myself in the reflection (musically) as I would like to. As mentioned in my interview with the Minneapolis AV Club, the Americana was more of a “hurdle” than it was an aspiration. I simply looked at the genre as something I had not done before. I feel like THE ARDENT and I tackled that genre well and are now finished with it.

It was a struggle as I wrote and wrote and wrote and only pulled 1/8 of the songs (easily translated to Americana) to use with the band. After months of deliberation with friends, band members and management, I feel like I reached a solution to my musical “identity crisis”. The answer to my obstacle was in a word that Invisible Button Entertainment uses to describe our band: “honest”.

I decided to drop back to the idea of playing whatever comes from my head and heart. The result was/is something that falls outside of the Americana frame.

THE ARDENT and I tossed ideas around and decided that it was time to hit the studio again. We also spoke about the lineup and decided that we needed something else to help implement the ideas that were flowing. We found Cory Eischen to fill in.

Cory is an excellent player with a style that I have been fond of for quite some time. He writes layers and parts that make the rest of the musicians in the room play better. Even in our first show, he challenged me to new ideas. We’re looking forward to future shows with him and also to have him on the new EP, “Cute Souvenirs” (More info on that to come).

Ryan Paul

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Just announced, Ryan Paul & THE ARDENT will be joining Backyard Tire Fire and John Swardson on Feb 18, 2010 at the Turf Club. Pre-sale tickets are available via the First Ave box office.

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Just a quick heads up about an event being held in March…

I’m not going to tell you about Jenn Barnett. Either you already know, or you can read the posting below. I will tell you that Jenn is a close personal friend and I am delighted that elli rader has put this together and asked @RPandTA to be a part of it. So mark your calendars!

*p.s. isn’t that a rad picture of Chris Morrissey? That was a cool show. Bill Mike CD Release at the Cedar. Lotsa lights. Lotsa notes.

Ryan Paul

From Minneapolis Metblogs: http://minneapolis.metblogs.com/2010/02/03/the-jennefit-for-jenn-barnett/

Image by jennbarnett

Speaking of photography Paperlily is hosting a benefit to help local photog Jenn Barnett replace some gear.

Elli writes,

jenn has done *so* much for local musicians and helping to promote them, both through creating amazing images of their bands and telling people about their music . . . surely some of them would rally to help her replace her camera. and they would! they are! the bands i approached immediately embraced the idea of donating their time to help.

so i contacted the turf club and got a date for a benefit, and i started contacting bands. as of yesterday, we have the final lineup – although i’m certain that any of the bands on the bill would be willing to work in a cameo if anyone else wanted to get in on this. i started calling it the Jennefit (because i’m hilarious) even though that’s basically painful in it’s dorkiness. it’s super fun to say! say it out loud. do it! jennefit.

here’s what we are going to do, and i TOTALLY need your help, if you are reading this. we are going to the turf club on march 26th and we are going to watch these kick ass bands play until they make us all go home:

the honeydogs
molly maher
erik koskinen
ryan paul & the ardent
the mad ripple
(jim walsh)

Sounds like a pretty great line up, for more great pics check out JENN BARNETT PHOTOS

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Ryan Paul sat down with The Onion to discuss some of what can be expected from the band in 2010… “Ryan Paul Switches It Up”

Ryan Paul Plewacki may be best known for his long stint in Minneapolis jam band God Johnson, but he’s since left to try out less patchouli-scented sounds. While Ryan Paul & The Ardent’s debut album, 2009’s La Vita Nuova, was pure neo-Americana, don’t expect a repeat performance on the follow-up. The group, which will take the stage at the Turf Club Feb. 4, is currently working on its yet-untitled sophomore album—and the new material sounds suspiciously like power-pop. The A.V. Club got in touch with Plewacki to talk about the shift in style, why it’s cool that his dad is in the band, and how the world’s biggest Cracker fan made his time in Buffalo, N.Y., a little more bearable.

The A.V. Club: What was the thought process behind your change in sound?

Ryan Paul Plewacki:
Americana was uncomfortable when I went at it. I had never done it before. For me, it was new territory. I was totally satisfied with it at the time and scared by it. When Jaim Zuber started playing steel guitar for us, I was floored and practically peeing my pants at the same time. I had never seen one of those that close before. But now I’m done with that. So I am pushing to go wherever this head goes. Every single time I sit down to play, I have no idea what is going to come out. I record it. If it’s trash, I file it away and possibly pull it out later because maybe it wasn’t trash. Maybe I wasn’t ready, but it has to be uncomfortable. It’s not possible for me to progress if I’m comfortable and I’m not spending time on a spinning planet while I’m sitting still.

AVC: Are your albums going to be all over the map like, say, Ween, or is this a more natural progression?

RP: As much as I love Ween, I can’t quite go that far out. I have no idea how Zappa sang songs like “Catholic Girls” with a straight face. There is obviously an element of humor in what Zappa did, and Dean and Gene do. I, on the other hand, am very serious about what I write. These songs are about relationships. These songs are about expectations. These songs are about struggles, triumphs, losses. I understand that Zappa’s “Why Does It Hurt When I Pee?” was very epic in its own right and is certainly a real-life issue that people deal with on a daily basis, but I am looking a little deeper.

AVC: How did your dad come to be in the band?

Well, The Ardent was just supposed to be one gig. I just had to get it out of my system. So I picked the best musicians I know. You know, like an end-of-the-world party. From a practical angle, Pops is one of my favorite guitar players. From a mushier angle, Pops is my hero. No matter how much I didn’t want to admit it, I always wanted to be just like him. He taught me how to play, off and on—I wasn’t the easiest student. We dropped off because of my life decisions. He couldn’t stand by and watch me doing what I was doing. I called Pops in the middle of the night from Buffalo, begging for a plane ticket back home. He not only flew me back, he flew me back first-class! When that kind of thing happens, there is a weird bond that solidifies and becomes nearly unbreakable.

AVC: You were in a lot of trouble with drugs, right?

Huge! I mean, it wasn’t really drugs as much as it was drinking. I was throwing up due to nerves before a gig at Five Corners, which is now The Nomad, and one of the other guys said, “You’re supposed to do that after.” When I explained I wasn’t drunk, he said, “You know, there are ways to calm that down.” It happened really, really quickly after that. I didn’t sit with the beer for very long, I went almost immediately to whiskey. It got to the point where I was drinking all day. I’d get to the venue to do sound-check, finish, go find another bar, drink myself stupid, and come back and pass out. The only thing that can wake you up from that is cocaine. It became “Well, this will wake me up [for the show], and then I can drink for even longer afterwards.” I went to rehab and I drank the day that I got out. Then I started running. New York was the bulk of it, which was awesome—hanging out on people’s couches until they started asking for rent, then I’d move on. The final place I ended up was Buffalo, New York. My idea was that I was going to go up there and dry out. All people do up there is dip food in bleu cheese dressing and drink. That’s it, there’s no industry, nothing. It was the absolute worst place for me. I couldn’t leave my apartment because there was, like, 45 feet of snow outside. I got to a point where I was going three weeks without a shower and not leaving the house to do anything.

AVC: Does Buffalo have any redeeming qualities?

There is only one thing I can think of: There is this bar called The Old Pink. That’s what people call it. It doesn’t have a name on the building. For whatever reason, you can totally smoke in there. There is a bartender named Drew. He will tell you anything you ever wanted to know about Cracker. I’m serious—anything. He will spin Cracker bootlegs his entire shift. It’s amazing! I’m a pretty mediocre Cracker fan, but I am a fountain of Cracker knowledge after bellying up to Drew’s bar.

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Hi there. Hey there. Ho there.

We have announced some February and March dates. There will be plenty more to come. The first is Feb 4 @ The Turf Club in St. Paul. We love that venue and absolutely love the bands we are playing with. Check HERE for all of our announced dates!


Ryan Paul & THE ARDENT, Al Church & State, Sam Keenan at Turf Club

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