Posted by: Necci – Aug 07, 2012
This past week our neighbor Randy Blythe of Lamb of God was finally freed from the Czech prison and made his way back to his favorite coffee shop here in Richmond. Richmond really came together in spirit for Randy during his incarceration, and that just further shows how solid this gritty little city can be.
This week's musician spotlight is Crushed Purple, a psych-rock jamband. Husband and wife team Mark Hines and Lauren Hines are the core of the band, with the rest of the lineup somewhat ever-changing.
How did your band meet/form/get together?
Mark: That is kind of a tricky question to answer at the moment because we are currently without a permanent lineup. Lauren and I had previously been in a band called The In and Outs which we started with our longtime friend, Geoff Hummel, over a bottle of peppermint schnapps one cold Christmas evening. Once he moved out to the San Francisco area in 2009 we decided to start a new band with a new name. Crushed Purple was born at that time and has had a rotating cast of members ever since. At the moment we are playing with the original CP drummer, Nick Ward, and a couple of our friends from The Mystery Ship, Louis Reichbauer on guitar and Michael Van Malssen on bass.
Are you all from Richmond?
Mark: I think we would all consider ourselves Richmonders, whether we were born here or not.
Lauren: Mark and I were both born and raised here and I can't imagine living anywhere else.
Mark: I often imagine leaving... but this may not be the right time to start a vineyard/goat farm in Spain...
What are some of your musical influences?
Lauren: I would say early B-52's definitely had some influence, especially on my organ part for our song "Brown Cabbage." Bands like Shocking Blue and Jefferson Airplane. Especially the singers, Mariska Veres and Grace Slick. I'm not claiming to have the vocals that they do but I prefer to sing in a lower range. I would also say some newer bands like Wooden Shjips and Black Angels. Pretty much anything with a droney organ or crazy synth noise. Cream, T. Rex, Bowie...
Mark: It is hard to separate "what we like" from what really has an influence on us musically. Pink Floyd, The Doors, The Velvet Underground, Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, The 13th Floor Elevators, Del Shannon, Otis Redding, The Animals, Love, Donovan, Rodriguez, TheZombies, Black Sabbath, The Stooges, Elliott Smith, a healthy dose of classic blues artists like Robert Johnson, Lead Belly, and Son House and a million other things have all made their stamp on the music we create in some way.
What's next for Crushed Purple?
Lauren: Finally getting an album recorded and hopefully finding a permanent bassist and drummer. I want to go on tour again so we need permanent fixtures.
Mark: We've been working on some recordings while we search for new members and we continue to play shows when we can... and there are always more songs to write.
Mark, will you describe your songwriting process?
Mark: Most of the songs that I write just kind of happen. Sometimes a word or image will randomly come to me. Sometimes a phrase stands out in conversation or from something that I read. When I get that little seed of an idea that strikes me I try to stop and work it out at that time but if I'm too busy to do that I'll jot it down and come back to it. In most cases I write the lyrics all at once in a matter of a few minutes and don't do much editing. My writing comes in waves though... sometimes I'll write songs every day for months followed by several weeks of nothing. Music is almost always added after the lyrics are complete and I generally try to find the tune or pattern that I had in my head when I wrote the words. Most of my lyrics never become anything. I just write too much to use. It is good to have words in reserve though. I write everything in little bound journals and if I later happen on a chord progression I like or if we find an interesting jam in practice I'll go searching for lyrics that will work with it.
What are you doing this weekend (8/3-8/5)?
Mark: This weekend is a little bit up in the air. We should be catching up on housework since we were out of town last weekend playing a festival in South Carolina. But we might just end up having some people over to make music and hang out.
Lauren: Eatin', drinkin' and listenin' to music on Sunday at The Watermelon Festival.
Will this be the first time playing at On the Rox?
Lauren: Yes. It's always exciting to play a venue for the first time and we have a really great couple of bands playing with us so it should be an awesome show.
Mark: One of the bands that will be playing is The Awful Waffles, who we met last summer in Pittsburgh when we were on tour. We're looking forward to catching up with them again, and it's always fun to play with The Mystery Ship.
What have you been listening to lately?
Mark: For me this week it has been mostly The Edgar Broughton Band, The Olivia Tremor Control, and Nilsson.
Lauren: I've kind of been all over the place lately. I've been listening to Serge Gainsbourg, Seu Jorge, Bowie, Magik Markers, T-Rex, She & Him, Leonard Cohen, Smokey Robinson...
Do you have a favorite festival you've played at or gone to?
Mark: I can't really think of a favourite. Festivals are always fun to play but a little frustrating at the same time. It is difficult to really get our sound across in an open-air show. We belong in the darkened corners.
Lauren: I really love playing The Halfmoon Festival in Virginia Beach. It's a smaller scale festival and everyone involved is incredibly nice and really into the music. It doesn't hurt that it is right by the beach either.
Mark: We didn't actually play Halfmoon this spring but we went anyways to hang out with our part-time percussionist, Jim Noonan, and some other friends. That was a lovely and somewhat frightening experience... we should probably leave it at that.
Lauren: Yeah... I learned a lot from my sandwich that day... The Ulu'Katu Festival in South Carolina that we played last weekend is now one of my favorites. We have some great memories from last summer and we made some amazing friends. (Shout out to Signs of Iris!)
Describe your ideal gig, playing with your ideal musical collaborator(s).
Mark: It may sound pretty basic but just finding a driven group of people who share our vision musically and can play on a regular basis would be great. It's hard to find the right combination of pieces that will form a tight band. Tight in both performance and in the bonds between members. Once you have that in place every gig is ideal.
What is so great about/needs some work in the Richmond music scene?
Mark: There are some great bands in Richmond and some great people in those bands. I won't start dropping names because there are just too many that we have become friends (or at least friendly) with over the years, but it is exciting to be a part of a scene with so much talent coming from so many down-to-earth people. I think if Richmond and the surrounding areas were to have an increase in the number of stable venues with consistent booking agents it would go a long way towards growing the music scene and making it even stronger. It is hard for local music fans to support us if they don't know where to find us. But, at the same time, I do understand that it is not easy for the small venues to stay afloat and we are grateful for every opportunity that they can afford us. I still miss The Triple and Artist Underground.
Here is the song "Brown Cabbage" with a bunch of footage from their 2011 summer tour.
by Janessa Lola Ashopenance
This next section is especially for the die-hards. This video of GWAR from 1985 has surfaced, and it's apparently the earliest known video of the band. The sound isn't that good and the costumes are pretty improvised and rudimentary. But it does offer a look at something that hasn't changed: you can't beat venues in RVA, no matter the time period. Here is Pubes in Phallusland:
Don't miss out on the Gwar-B-Que on 8/18 @ Hadad's with a buncha other metal bands.
Kam Komissioner has just released a pretty righteous set of samples called Digital Crates EP. He takes amazing jazz, soul, classical, etc. from the 1960s and takes it up to today. Check out "Apprehend" with the loud upright bass in your face. Hella DJ Shadow.
Lightjars is popping back up on the scene with the new video, "Passenger Side." Singer/songwriter Evan Z. Hoffman was a philosophy and religion major at JMU, but he hasn't made a facebook band account.
Singer/songwriter Pete Curry has released a few sweet tunes called Summer of Songs. The piano performance major at VCU is also the accompaniest for the Children Choir of Richmond. While the lo-fi acoustic sounds are light and refreshing, the vocals are a little too pitchy for continuous listening.
By Sarah Moore Lindsey (soundsofrva.tumblr.com)