Friday, May 24, 2013

Kaz: Rockin' Brownie Mary to Jericho Theory

Jericho Theory from the band's Facebook page

Steve "Kaz" Kaczynski Sr. became a guitar man back in his Fox Chapel HS days (he still lives in Cheswick). The only problem was that he couldn't land a gig for any of the school ensembles because he was a second banana behind a couple of other Fox axeman. So he went with the flow, took up drums and joined the school band. He must of been pretty good at pounding the skins. Around graduation time, he landed his first regular date when he toured with Al Latta (formerly of the Duprees).

Kaz first made his mark in the City in the nineties. He was Brownie Mary's original drummer, and that 'Burgh group was hot - they recorded, were club headliners and opened for local performances by the Smithereens & Hootie and the Blowfish, and were the big thing in the region for fifteen minutes before spinning their separate ways.

He was part of their debut 1994 "That's Me" album, writing a handful of the songs. The cover photo of the CD was a picture of Kaz's tyke Aaron. But Mary drifted from rock toward pop, and Steve, along with bassist Mike Marks, left the band to form the hard driving group PUSH. They won the 1997 Grafitti Rock Challenge and released a couple of CDs. After a three year run, he joined forces with 11th Hour. Originally, they had the Clarks open for them, but it wasn't long before those roles were reversed.

After that, it was a series of gigs with area acts like Carny Stomp, Vern's Winnebago, Cloud, Heartbeat, Tempis Fugit, The Strangers, In Time, LoFiDELUX, Shari Richards Group, Ron Obvious, The Abominable Honkies, and 13/thirteen.

Kaz never took to the touring, full-time band life; he had a day job and family. But he teamed with son Aaron a couple of years ago to form the metal/punk band Jericho Theory, with the self description of a "prog rock bassist, a metal guitarist, and a punk rock singer, stirred up by whomever we can get to play drums for us on a given night." Don't expect Brownie Mary stuff; try thinking along the lines of the Code Orange Kids.

The members are: Lead Vocals/Guitar/Writer- Aaron Kaczynski (who also plays with Meth Quarry); Guitars/Vocals - Steve Kaczynski Sr.; Bass Guitar - Ken Walzer; Drums - Randy Thomson/Steve Kaczynski Jr./Joshua Kane Hobaugh were/are the usual suspects. Asa and Ira Kaczynski also contribute with vids and editing. The band mostly plays original stuff, with a cover or two of their favs.

They still aren't touring or regular gig guys; sometimes JT has trouble finding bodies to fill a weekend date. But they've done a lap of the club circuit, performing at Diesel, Hambone's, the 31st Street Pub, Smiling Moose, Inn-Termission Lounge, Kopecs, Bloomfield Bridge Cafe and The Hideout. They've done street shows for Little Italy Days in Bloomfield, Art All Night in Lawrenceville, and Live on Liberty, with a live jam on WPTS.

If you're looking for some nineties metal with a punkish snarl, Jericho Theory is your band.

Jericho Theory performs one of its quieter songs, a live cover of the Plimsoll's "A Million Miles Away."

Monday, May 20, 2013

Free Summer Concerts

Citiparks Market Square Summer Concert Series

Got some time to spare, but not the change? No worries. Rock, pop, blues, indie, americana, jazz, classical, broadway - the City, County and some civic groups have put together a summer-wide schedule of free musical events to please just about every ear, and they're beginning to crank up the amps now:

May 23: Y108's 8-Man Jam (7 - River's Casino Amphitheater)
May 23: Joel Lindsey (11:30 - Market Square)
May 24: Almost Journey & Rockin the Paradise (7 - River's Casino Amphitheater)
May 25: Green River Band & Who Are You (7 - River's Casino Amphitheater)
May 26: New York Disco Review & Abba Girlz (7 - River's Casino Amphitheater)
May 30: Nick Marzock (11:30 - Market Square)
May 31: Pittsburgh CLO "A Gleeful Evening" (7:30 - South Park Amphitheater)

June 1: Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra Junior (2 - South Hills Village)
June 1: Max Leake w/Maureen Budway (2 - Ross Mall)
June 1: Thomas Wendt (2 - Robinson Mall)
June 1: Dennis Garner Band (2 - Monroeville Mall)
June 2: Pittsburgh Opera (7:30 - Hartwood Acres)
June 6: Andy's Jazz (11:30 - Market Square)
June 6: Finally Free (6 - South Side Works Amphitheater)
June 7: Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros (7:30 - Point State Park - Arts Festival)
June 7: Pittsburgh Jazz Crawl (5:30-9, Cultural District - Pgh. Jazz Live)
June 7: Italian Night w/ We Three, Vito DiSalvo & Giorgia Fumanti (7:30 - South Park Amphitheater)
June 8: Ralph Stanley w/Allegheny Drifters, Mon River Ramblers & Great American Taxi (7:30 - Point State Park - Arts Festival)
June 8: Orrin Evans (1:15 - Penn Ave Stage 2 - Pgh Jazz Live)
June 8: Sarah Elizabeth Quartet (1:45 - 9th St Stage - Pgh Jazz Live)
June 8: Rudresh Mahanthappa Gamak (3 - Penn Ave Stage 2 - Pgh Live Jazz)
June 8: Gerald Clayton (4:15 - Penn Ave Stage 1 - Pgh Jazz Live)
June 8: Pat Martino Trio (5:30 - Penn Ave Stage 2 - Pgh Jazz Live)
June 8: Charles Wallace Band (7 - Riverview Park)
June 9: Cello Fury w/ Joy Ike and Scott Blasey (7:30 - Point State Park - Arts Festival)
June 9: Sean Jones Quartet (1:15 - Penn Ave Stage 2 - Pgh Jazz Live)
June 9: Gregory Porter (3 - Penn Ave Stage 2 - Pgh Jazz Live)
June 9: Marcus Miller (4 - Penn Ave Stage 1 - Pgh Jazz Live)
June 9: Roger Humphries & RH Factor (4:45 - Penn Ave Stage 2 - Pgh Jazz Live)
June 9: Allison Miller & Boom Tic Boom (4:45 - 9th St Stage - Pgh Jazz Live)
June 9: Ralph Peterson Sextet (5:30 - Penn Ave Stage 2 - Pgh Jazz Live)
June 9: Bob Mould (7:30 - Hartwood Acres)
June 10: Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (7:30 - Point State Park - Arts Festival)
June 11: Grupo Fantasma (7:30 - Point State Park - Arts Festival)
June 12: Glen Hansard (7:30 - Point State Park - Arts Festival)
June 12: Jeff Bush (7- Flagstaff Hill followed by movie)
June 13: Lucius (7:30 - Point State Park - Arts Festival)
June 14: Red Baraat (7:30 - Point State Park - Arts Festival)
June 14: Tommy Castro & the Painkillers (7:30 - South Park Amphitheater)
June 14: Shotgun Blues Brotherhood (2 - Ford City Community Park)
June 15: The Airborne Toxic Event (7:30 - Point State Park - Arts Festival)
June 15: Mark Lucas (7 - Riverview Park)
June 16: Blind Boys of Alabama (7:30 - Point State Park - Arts Festival)
June 16: The Pittsburgh Philharmonic (10:30 - Mellon Park)
June 16: The Vogues (7:30 - Hartwood Acres)
June 19: L'Lamint (7- Flagstaff Hill followed by movie)
June 20: Second Empire (noon - Mellon Square)
June 20: Gregory Macklin (11:30 - Market Square)
June 21: The Wailers (7:30 - South Park Amphitheater)
June 22: Colter Harper (7 - Riverview Park)
June 23: River City Brass (10:30 - Mellon Park)
June 23: Langhorne Slim & the Law (7:30 - Hartwood Acres)
June 26: Patti Spadaro Band (7- Flagstaff Hill followed by movie)
June 27: Lyndsey Smith & Soul Distribution (noon - Mellon Square)
June 27: Joey Molland of Badfinger (6:30 - Bessemer Court, Station Square)
June 28: Anders Osborne, Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit, Jesse Dee, Neighbours (6 - Schenley Plaza/WYEP Summer Music Festival) 
June 28: BNY Mellon Jazz presents Monty Alexander (7:30 - South Park Amphitheater)
June 28: Leanne Regalla & the Lost Marbles (St. Joesph's Festival, Coraopolis)
June 29: Dancing Queen/Kelsey Friday (7- Walnut Street)
June 29: Roger Humphries (7 - Riverview Park)
June 30: Pittsburgh Civic Orchestra (10:30 - Mellon Park)
June 30: Sara Watkins (7:30 - Hartwood Acres)

July 2: Decoldest3 (4 - Point State Park - Regatta)
July 2: Dancing Queen (6 - Point State Park - Regatta)
July 2: Jersey Four (8 - Point State Park - Regatta)
July 3: Decoldest 3 (4 - Point State Park - Regatta)
July 3: The Chain (6 - Point State Park - Regatta)
July 3: Kenny Blake (7 - Point State Park - Regatta)
July 3: Paul Kantner & Jefferson Starship (8 - Point State Park - Regatta)
July 3: Beatlemania Magic (7 - River's Casino Amphitheater)
July 3: Muddy Kreek Blues Band (7- Flagstaff Hill followed by movie)
July 4: Holiday (noon - Mellon Square)
July 4: Decoldest 3 (4 - Point State Park - Regatta)
July 4: The Chain (7 - Point State Park - Regatta)
July 4: 4th of July (Heinz Field - 5: Sydney Hutchen; 6:30 The Stickers; 8:15 Florida-Georgia Line)
July 4: Air National Guard Band  (8 - Point State Park - Regatta)
July 4: Rich Larrimore (7 - River's Casino Amphitheater)

July 6: Eric Johnson (7 - Riverview Park)
July 6: Deutschtown Music Festival (Foreland & Middle -  2 Ishtar; 3 autobahn; 4 Chet Vincent & the Big Bend; 5 Locks & Dams; 6 Round Black Ghosts; 7 Bastard Bearded Irishmen)
July 6: Deutschtown Music Festival (Bistro To Go 415 E Ohio - 2:30 Tyree Morgan; 3 Ike Mississippi; 3:45 Dan Pritchard; 4:30 Faithful Sinners; 5:15 Blue X Baxter; 6 The Wreckids)
July 6: Deutschtown Music Festival (Elks 400 Cedar - 8 Sleep Experiments; 9:15 The Harlan Twins; 10:30 MOIP)
July 6: Deutschtown Music Festival (James Street 422 Moreland - 8 Dave O'Brien Trio; 9 Brewers Row; 10 The Red Western; 11 Big Gypsy; midnite Grand Piano)
July 6: Deutschtown Music Festival (Max's Allegheny Tavern 537 Suisman - 8 Lonesome Bob & the Socially Inept; 9 The FED; 10 Legs Like Tree Trunks; 11 Sun Ray Shining Light; midnite Triggers)
July 6: Deutschtown Music Festival (Stedeford Record 517 E Ohio - 8 Gene Stovall; 9 Nerve Ending; 10 Neighbours; 11 Nic Lawless & His Young Criminales)
July 6: Deutschtown Music Festival (AIR 518 Foreland - 8 DJ Harry Lurker; 9:30 Chrome Baby Jesus; 10 DJ Three; 11;15 Tracksploitation/Mega Def)
July 6: Deutschtown Music Festival (Key West 719 East - 8 The Dressed Frets; 9 Adadsdad; 10 Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo; 11 Blue Redshift)
July 6: Deutschtown Music Festival (Penutz - 8 Household Stories; 9 Western Pennsylvania) 
July 6: Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (8:15 - South Park Amphitheater)
July 7: Allegheny Brass Band (10:30 - Mellon Park)
July 7: Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (8 - Hartwood Acres)
July 10: Swing Nova (7- Flagstaff Hill followed by movie)
July 11: English Beat  (6:30 - Bessemer Court, Station Square)
July 11: Ben Shannon (noon - Mellon Square)
July 13: Jeff Grubbs (7 - Riverview Park)
July 14: Aeolian Winds of Pittsburgh (10:30 - Mellon Park)
July 14: Great Big Sea (7:30 - Hartwood Acres)
July 17: Hot Metal Bridge (7- Flagstaff Hill followed by movie)
July 18: Mark Ferrari (noon - Mellon Square)
July 19: The Stickers (7:30 - South Park Amphitheater)
July 20: Chris Higbee w/Abacus Jones (7 - River's Casino Amphitheater)
July 20: Maddi George (6 - South Side Works Amphitheater)
July 20: Spanky Wilson (7 - Riverview Park)
July 21: West Hills Symphonic Band (10:30 - Mellon Park)
July 24: theFIVE6 (7- Flagstaff Hill followed by movie)
July 25: Joe Grushecky  (6:30 - Bessemer Court, Station Square)
July 25: The Loose Play Connection (6 - Penn Ave.Parklet, Wilkinsburg)
July 25: Andy's Jazz (11:30 - Market Square)
July 25: Big Fat Jazz (7 - Cranberry Community Park)
July 25: Random Play (noon - Mellon Square) 
July 26: Maddi George (6 - South Side Works)
July 26: Sixpence None the Richer (7:30 - South Park Amphitheater)
July 26: Guggenheim Grotto (7 - St. Clair Park Amphitheater)
July 26: Chris Vipond & the Stanley Street Band (6 - Sweetwater Center, Sewickley)
July 27: Pure Gold (7 - River's Casino Amphitheater)
July 27: Radio Tokyo/Donora (7- Walnut Street)
July 27: Chelsea Baratz (7 - Riverview Park)
July 27: Any Way You Want It (6 - South Side Works)
July 27: Ras (4 - Waterfront)
July 28: Cello Fury (10:30 - Mellon Park)
July 28: Wally Gingers Orchestra (4 - Cedar Creek Park)
July 28: Clarks (6:30 -  Irwin Park Amphitheater)
July 28: Joy Ike w/ Johnny Miller (7:30 - Hartwood Acres)
July 28: Ron D'Amico (4 - CCAC Boyce Auditorium)
July 28: Powerplay (3 - Twin Lakes Park)
July 28: Penn-Trafford Community Band (7 - Ligonier Town Square)
July 29 : Nina Sainato (Noon - Market Square)
July 30: Nick Marzock (Noon - Schenley Plaza)
July 30: Salsamba (5 - Katz Plaza)
July 31: Dan Bubien (Noon - Market Square)
July 31: Shinizyn (7- Flagstaff Hill followed by movie)
July 31: Mark Dingham (12:15 - Allegheny Square)

Aug. 1: Mia Z (noon - Mellon Square)
Aug. 1: Jill West and the Blues Attack  (6:30 - Bessemer Court, Station Square)
Aug. 2: The August Wilson Dance Ensemble (7:30 - South Park)
Aug. 3: Kevin Howard (7 - Riverview Park)
Aug. 4: Kenia (5 - Highland Park)
Aug. 4: Cincopation (10:30 - Mellon Park)
Aug. 4: BNY Mellon Jazz presents The Yellowjackets (7:30 - Hartwood Acres)
Aug. 7: Bobby Short Band (7- Flagstaff Hill followed by movie)
Aug. 8: The East Enders (noon - Mellon Square)
Aug. 8: Broadway at the Overlook (6 - West End Overlook Amphitheater)
Aug. 9: Finally Free (6 - South Side Works Amphitheater)
Aug. 9: Broadway at the Overlook (6 - West End Overlook Amphitheater)
Aug. 9: Los Amigos Invisibles (7:30 - South Park Amphitheater)
Aug. 10: Elevations (7 - Riverview Park)
Aug. 10: Broadway at the Overlook (6 - West End Overlook Amphitheater)
Aug. 11: Joe Negri (5 - Highland Park)
Aug. 11: East Winds Symphonic Band (10:30 - Mellon Park)
Aug. 11: Galactic (7:30 - Hartwood Acres)
Aug. 14: Bridgette Perdue (7- Flagstaff Hill followed by movie)
Aug. 15: Hugo Down (noon - Mellon Square)
Aug. 15 - Jeff Jimerson and Airborne  (6:30 - Bessemer Court, Station Square)
Aug. 16: Broadway at the Overlook (6 - West End Overlook Amphitheater)
Aug. 16: James Hunter (7:30 - South Park)
Aug. 17: Leanne Regalla & the Lost Marbles (6 - South Side Works Amphitheater)
Aug. 17: Chris Higbee/Abacus Jones (7- Walnut Street)
Aug. 17: Marty Ashby Quartet (7 - Riverview Park)
Aug. 17: Broadway at the Overlook (6 - West End Overlook Amphitheater)
Aug. 18: Flexure (5 - Highland Park)
Aug. 18: Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre (7:30 - Hartwood Acres)
Aug. 21: The Grid (7- Flagstaff Hill followed by movie)
Aug. 22: The Williams Band (noon - Mellon Square)
Aug. 23: Duquesne Tamburitzans (7:30 - South Park Amphitheater)
Aug. 24: Beach Bums & Beach Party Boys (7 - River's Casino Amphitheater)
Aug. 24: Salsamba (7 - Riverview Park)
Aug. 25: Michele Bensen (5 - Highland Park)
Aug. 25: Rickie Lee Jones (7:30 - Hartwood Acres)
Aug. 28: Daniels & McClain (7- Flagstaff Hill followed by movie)
Aug. 29: Highway 4 (noon - Mellon Square)
Aug. 29: Starship  (6:30 - Bessemer Court, Station Square)
Aug. 30: Hometown Music Fest w/ JD Eicher, Caleb Lovely & Danielle Barbe (7:30 - South Park)
Aug. 31: Kenny Blake (7 - Riverview Park)

Sept. 1: Shining Star & Beat It (7 - River's Casino Amphitheater)

Spanky Wilson will be at Riverview on July 20th.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Stosh: Music From Madison To Greenfield...

Stosh Jonjak from his personal collection

Stosh Jonjak moved from the hipster haven of Madison, Wisconsin to its Pittsburgh counterpart, Greenfield - yah, we're comin' after you, Larryville - and has moved on from his bassist days with the popular and hard traveling Midwestern band Clovis Mann to becoming a complete musical entity unto himself - band, producer, promoter and distributor.

Jonjak, a native Wisconsinite, played for the blues and power rock trio for six years. In his paraphrased words "...we saw a lot of asphalt together, hanging out in a van, and subsisting on beef jerky and Dio sing-alongs at 4 in the morning after playing another roadside attraction. We averaged 60-100 shows a year around the Midwest, and did everything from hour-long showcases in college towns to playing roadhouses in the middle of nowhere."

"If you’re at some bar at the edge of civilization, you need to be able to play everything, whether it be outlaw country, classic rock, or even a polka or two, so that definitely stretched me as a player, and taught me a lot about arrangement and songcraft (not that I plan on writing any polkas anytime soon)."

He's effusive in his praise of old bandmates Ethan Noordyk and Dan Walkner, and Clovis Mann, still going strong, recorded a couple of albums with enough material for another.  Stosh learned about more than just laying down a bass line with Clovis, and began putting that business-end knowledge to good use here.

Jonjak came to Pittsburgh three years ago because of career opportunities for both his wife, a Pittsburgh native, and himself. He's a dad and has a day job to pay the bills. As for the music scene, he thinks Pittsburgh " the ideal size, big enough to support the local legends of the area yet small enough to be inclusive of newer talent. There are great media outlets, a host of blogs and good coverage in the press. And there are some really strong venues for every slice of the musical pie."

It's also where he found a chance to indulge his Euterpe. He explains "I spend too much time in my basement in front of flickering computer screens while recording and engineering away on Pro Tools. Assuredly, I’ve melted my mind, but that’s a small price to pay because, of all aspects of music, I’ve found I am most excited about writing and recording."

He writes his songs by notebook jots and records by structuring a lead vocal with live guitar riffs, throwing in a beat with a drum machine, overlaying the whole thing and adding the background vocals, a process that makes him "an army of Stoshes."

The result is his album Stosh. "This album is for people interested in sitting down and exploring 55 minutes of music straight," Jonjak said. "Unintentionally, in creating the songs, there happened to be a theme (each song is about a close friend or a family member) that ran through the whole album, so it made sense to put it all together and hope that people listen to the thing all the way through." (Just click on either this Broadjam or Stoshsounds link). It's definitely an olio of rock genres, described as "psychedelia, grunty, sludgy rock, and catchy electronic space sounds."

So any chance of getting Stosh out of the basement and on the stage? Probably not for awhile, anyway. "I’m not sure I’m ready to play laptop live just yet, which brings up the larger umbrella topic of what is the most effective way of promoting music?" Jonjak's take is "Playing thirty minute showcases was essentially the only game in town twenty years ago and I won’t disparage the value of a live show, but so much of the musical landscape has changed. Once you have a product you now have the potential to reach an unprecedented number of people via electronic promotion."

"With just a little legwork and at basically no cost you can upload your album to streaming services, submit your album to multiple, high-traffic marketplaces, and reach everyone you know via social media. It’s an exciting time for small, indie bands or musicians because of this access."

Give "Stosh" a listen; Old Mon played the album through while writing the post and it does work well as a unified piece even with the mash of styles. And you can't beat the inspiration.

The song “Life Intervenes” is about driving around with his bandmate buddies. For "Black Coffee" Stosh wonders if you've ever downed so much joe that you feel like your heart is going to explode? "See You In The Yucatan" is the tale of Evel Knievel meeting Metallica. "The End of the World" is based on an exchange held after the apocalypse. The tune "Grand Ambition" is a more traditional theme written after his daughter was born.

So hit one of the links above and let the rock roll.