Monday, March 31, 2014

New Music Monday “Homegrown in the 831”, Carolyn Sills Combo

New Music Monday “Homegrown in the 831”, Carolyn Sills Combo

This weeks edition of New Music Monday is part of our “Homegrown in the 831” series, and an interview with Carolyn Sills of the Carolyn Sills Combo.  We have an upcoming 831 Presents show with the Carolyn Sills Combo at Cibo on Friday April 25th, so whet your appetite a bit and get to know the Carolyn Sills Combo.

● What is the name of your band? Tell us the brief history of your band and what inspired you to make music together? ●

We are The Carolyn Sills Combo.

My name is Carolyn Sills, and I have a combo. I sing and play bass, with Gerard Egan on vocals and guitars, Charlie Joe Wallace on steel guitar, Jimmy Norris on drums and Sunshine Jackson on harmony vocals. Amazing people and musicians, I am lucky to have met up with them all when Gerard and I moved out here four years ago... we just finished recording our first album, which now available for sale on our website, CD Baby and iTunes.

● What genre of music do you consider your work to be? Who are your major influences?●

We play country western music. Our writing and playing styles are influenced by western swing, classic country, rockabilly and 50s rock and roll... Bob Wills, Patsy Cline, Merle Travis, Sun Records...

● Who writes your songs? What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs? ●

Gerard and I write the music together... I primarily write the lyrics. We like to write songs for spaghetti western movies that don't exist, and stories about people we have been before. We want to create a mood for our audience that transports them for the evening.

● Can you tell us about the instruments you play? How did you decide to play that particular instrument and what do you love about it? ●

We love talking guitars. Gerard built his two acoustics, a dreadnought and a parlor size, through his job at Santa Cruz Guitar Company... his main electric guitar is his Gretsch 6120 and he moonlights on his Danelectro baritone. Charlie plays a vintage Fender Custom Triple 8 steel guitar and an ancient National Tricone on the album, but also plays a variety of non-pedal steel guitars for live shows. I play a Fender 1962 re-issue Jazz Bass.

● What are your favorite and least favorite venues to play and why? ●

Our favorite venues are those with people in it. We appreciate a good PA, competent sound men and a generous bar tab... but as long as there are people to play for, we will have ourselves a time. We always assumed the west coast would be the perfect setting for our style of music, and so far we're thrilled with the rooms we've played and the people we've played for.

●  What are your favorite songs to play, why? Do you play covers? ●

We simply love to play. Nothing's more satisfying than writing a song that people can connect to, either through the lyrics or on the dance floor. The musicians I play with are some of the finest in the area.. seeing them live is like stepping into a 1940s honky tonk. They are the real deal with the real sound, and it's an honor to call them my combo. We do a variety of western swing, classic country, instrumentals and jazz covers.. stuff that might be lesser known, but fits right in with our original material. There's so much good music out there that shouldn't be forgotten.

● Where do you find your inspiration? Who or what inspires you? ●

We're heavily influenced by our vinyl record collection. We've been buying records for years, and its introduced us to whole genres of music that we would never have found otherwise. And vinyl demands your attention... you have to stick around, press play, flip it over... it can't just be put on and relegated to background music. We love researching the influences of artists we admire.. it always takes you back to the real gems. Through Junior Brown we found Red Simpson, through Marty Robbins we found The Sons of the Pioneers.

● Could you briefly describe your music ­making process? ●

Gerard and I like to play for our dog in our living room, usually with me on upright bass and him on acoustic. We just mess around and have some fun... usually a song finds its way out of that. I also like giving myself an assignment, like 'write a song about a broken record' and see what comes of it.

● How has your music evolved since you first began playing music together? ●

Gerard and I have been playing music together for many, many years. How you evolve as a musician, in my opinion, is totally dependent on how you evolve as a person. As you mature, so does your music.. when you learn to breath more, to let your guard down... when you realize that nothing is a big deal, you play with more ease.. and that's when you find the space in the songs to open up and have some fun.

● What has been your biggest challenge as a band? Have you been able to overcome that challenge? If so, how? ●

We are lucky, this band has been anything but challenging. These guys are pros, and always bring it to every show. We look forward to trying out new songs at the Santa Cruz Rehearsal Studio where we practice... our songs truly come together once everyone puts their individual stamp on it. Charlie and Jimmy respect 'the song' and come up parts that do it the most justice. Sunshine can pull harmonies out of thin air, and totally gets my vocal style and phrasing. Have I mentioned I love playing with these folks?

I should play harder to get...

● What is your most memorable experience as a band? ● How would you define the word “success”? ●

Recording our new album last year was a phenomenal experience. Spending a full week with these guys in a barn up in the Redwoods was the perfect setting for recording these songs. We couldn't be happier with how it all came out, and, to me, being completely proud to hand someone your album is a success.

● What are your goals and dreams, where do you see yourselves in 10 years? ●

I want to play with this group for as long as possible, exploring new songs and hopefully traveling a bit in support of our recordings. In my dreams, Gerard and I establish a weekly residency at an out-of-the-way honky tonk. We play every Taco Tuesday, and bands traveling through sit in with us. Then we spontaneously combust at 103.

●  What advice do you have for other bands? ●

Trust yourself, trust your instincts. Stay humble and learn from others. Don't write songs to please other people, please yourself. But of course the only way to truly learn all this is to do everything wrong first, and with gusto. We've followed our own trail, done what's felt most natural, and it hasn't let us down.

● Where can you be found? Last words...●

We can be found at and on www.facebook/thecarolynsillscombo and We have a lot of local shows coming up this spring and summer in support of the new record, and hope to see a lot of new faces. We want to thank everyone in Santa Cruz and the Monterey Bay area for being so supportive of local music, and hope you take a listen.

Much love to our friends at SkyHaus Studios in Sunny Carmel Valley for making New Music Monday possible.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

New Music White Chocolate Funk

New Music Monday (on Tues!) White Chocolate Funk

White Chocolate Funk is a powerhouse of musical greatness and fun.  Dressed in theme costume they deliver a heavy duty funk experience.  With a newly released album fresh under their belt, White Chocolate Funk melts the dance floor.  Their musical influences range from P-Funk , Led Zeppelin, JJ Cale, Frank Zappa, Jimi Hendrix to The Temptations, Parliament, Funkadelic, James Brown, Sly and the Family Stone, Lettuce, Soulive, Jimi Hendrix. Based out of Santa Cruz, we are excited to be bringing White Chocolate Funk to Monterey this week for Funkalicious Friday at Cibo.  

Each band member has their own unique story to tell, and you can find those below.  

White Chocolate Funk is:

Ike McQuade- Heavy duty booty bass and sexy lead vocals
Mason Dixon- Gnar gnar rad face melty guitar and also sexy vocals
Shogun Jackson- Skin slappin toe tappin Drummer boy and not so sexy vocals
Ivory Johnson- Bringer of vibes, Keyboard battleship noises.

Mason Dickson
Guitarist and vocals for White Chocolate Funk.
Mason was raised in the backwoods of the Carolinas by a band of musical moonshiners. At night, around the campfire, Mason would play the jaw harp and was considered one of the best jug blowers on the mountain. As a young man he began bottling his own hooch called “Lickin Dickson” and was successfully bootlegging booze throughout the Appalachians. Unfortunately this caught the attention of the Dixie Mafia and they moved in for a cut of the action. The Mafia suggested Mason give up 90% of his profits. When he refused, he was pummeled with bricks, put on a hit list and everything he owned was destroyed. With no other choice, Mason set out on the hillbilly highway. He was forced to survive on a diet of opossum, RC cola and antifreeze. In one point of desperation, Mason broke into a pawn shop and stole 14 porn VHS tapes (just for the cover art), a case of whippits, a speculum, a book on the band Moby Grape and a Fender guitar. Later in his travels, he ran across Ike McQuade at a Pizza Hut in Winterset, Iowa. After a friendly competition at the Bear Claw machine, the fires of White Chocolate Funk were forged.

Little known fact; Mason held the original patent rights to the line of Chuck Norris satirical factoids.

Ike McQuade
Ike McQuade is the bassist and vocalist for White Chocolate Funk.
Ike was born the only son of a noble Norseman. At the time of his birth, Ike’s family had been targeted by a group of rebels wanting to overturn the current empire. In order to protect the baby and hopefully carry on the noble lineage, Ike’s birth was kept quiet. Under the cloak of darkness, a hired midwife secretly set off to North Eastern Ireland with Ike. In route, Ike’s caretaker was fatally mauled by a gang of ravenous, wild squirrels. Miraculously a farmer and his wife found the unharmed baby in a tree. Unfortunately on their way home, they were accosted by a renegade herd of sheep but managed to cast Ike off in a small raft down the nearby stream. Ike was later found at the mouth of the river and pulled aboard a ship. He grew up as an international vagabond, picking up jobs when and where he could. Although not confirmed, Ike was said to be in over 100 movies as a “stunt chin”. Eventually Ike made it to the States and found steady work as a cattleman in the Midwest. Ike had no formal musical training but learned to sing and pluck bass on a broken 4 string guitar as he rode his favorite steer around the farm.

Little known fact; Ike was eliminated in the first round of season 4 Dancing With the Stars.

Ivory Johnson
Ivory is the Keyboardist and supporting vocals for White Chocolate.
Ivory was born in Kralove'hradecky Czech Republic as Oleg Krushnutski. His family comprised of five long generations of piano makers. When Oleg was a young boy, the piano factory shut down and his family immigrated to Las Vegas, Nevada to become traveling circus performers. During this time he befriended a very old Elephant named Johnson. Oleg slept cradled in Johnson’s tusks for years, even when the elephant became fatally ill. When Johnson finally died, his huge body was discarded from the convoy. Trusty Oleg would not part from his pachyderm partner and was left behind as the circus traveled on. Weeks went by and finally a VW bus following the Grateful Dead found Oleg clinging to his fallen comrade’s tusks. The hippies took him in, and began calling him Ivory. Ivory enjoyed touring with the Deadheads but desperately wanted to better the quality of drum circles being constantly played. He began sharing his knowledge of music and teaching psychedelic recorder jams after all the shows. Eventually the bus broke down and Ivory made a home in Santa Cruz, CA where he later joined White Chocolate Funk.

Little known fact; Ivory was originally cast as the fourth, older, illegitimate Brady son on the TV show “The Brady Bunch”. He was the result of a scandalous affair between Alice and Mike, but his character was only in the pilot and never seen on the show again

Shogun Jackson
Shogun is the Drummer and percussionist for White Chocolate Funk.
Shogun is the adopted son of a recluse Japanese-American father who is a restaurant mogul and founder of Benihaha Restaurants. His mother is a Gypsy from the bayou of southern Louisiana and former women’s basketball standout. Shogun was an ambitious but heavily scarred child. He frequently mimicked the knife-juggling chefs he watched at his parent’s place of business. Shogun showed great promise as a potential percussionist when a bus boy gave him over sized chopsticks to replace the sharp knives. That bus boy turned out to be the 3rd cousin (removed) of Meters drummer Zigaboo Modeliste. As a teenager, Shogun began sneaking out of the house to perform on Bourbon Street. To protect his identity, Shogun went by the street performer handle of “Slinky”. He would attract large crowds by beating on garbage cans, discarded gumbo bowls and cat carcasses. This explains the facial expressions he still exhibits when playing a dirty groove. A tourist posted a video of Shogun and the combination of his natural drumming skills and funky flair made him a You Tube sensation. The viral video caught the attention of Mason and Ike. After an impressive, ear deafening try out, the rhythm section of White Chocolate Funk was solidified.

Little known fact; Shogun holds the Guinness Book World Record for handing out Mardi Gras beads
 Big thanx to SkyHause Studios in sunny Carmel Valley for making New Music Monday's possible.

Monday, March 17, 2014

New Music Monday, Rian Basilio and The Roosters

Meet Rian Basilio and The Roosters.

Rian Basilio and The Roosters a.k.a The Roostafarian Dub Clan is a group of 11 talented musicians based in Los Angeles. With an eclectic musical taste and background, this group is taking reggae to a new and unique place, basing their style on the foundations of several different styles of reggae, blending them together harmoniously to create their own unique sound.

With their second album almost complete, with a tentative release date set in July, Rian Basilio and The Roosters next album will take you on a reggae journey.  From roots, to ska, Lovers rock, to dancehall and far beyond, they are poised to make their mark.  Their goal is to promote conscious, positive music and facilitate the growth of the genre by showcasing the diversity of sound reggae has to offer.

Their next single set to be released is “Sweet Mary” which features Marlon “Ganja Farmer” Asher. This band is 100% Irie. Their single "Long Road to Zion" is one of my favorites.

"And me don't know where you're going but if you come with me
I promise that this love I have it gon set you free
And if you ever get lost this love gon guide your way
And if you ever need help this love gon save your day
And when Babylon them coming down on you
I promise that this love I have it gon get you through
And when you lose all the will to go on
I promise that this love I have it gon keep you strong"

Summer will be busy for The Roosters as they hit the road on their Southwest Tour.  Starting in San Diego, and then on to AZ, NM, CO, UT, and Nevada.  This month alone they have played in San Diego, Sacramento, Laguna Beach, LA and by the end of the month will be visiting Oregon and Santa Cruz with a show right here in the 831 at The Reef bar and Restaurant on the 22nd.  

Recently, The Roosters guitar player, Josh, released a remix of our single "Girl From Hilo" mashed up with "Could You Be Loved" (you can find that video below). One of my favorite things about this band is their musical diversity, which is evident in each song.  Band members range in their individual projects in everything from EDM to Country.

The Live show however, is the heart and soul of The Roosters music.  “We strive to create a big sound and show.  We want to make an impact, we want people to leave with a feeling of wanting to go out into the world and live life to fullest, spread love, peace and unity.  We aim to spark a revolution.  The Roostafarian Revolution.”

99% of The Roosters music is downloadable for free on
Follow the link to view the single "Long Road to Zion":
Here is a link to the Remix of "Could you be loved"/"Girl from Hilo":

A big shout out and THANK YOU to our friends at SkyHaus Studios in sunny Carmel Valley for making New Music Monday's possible!

831 Promotions • SkyHaus Studios • McWilliams Media & Design

Monday, March 10, 2014

New Music Monday with True Press

With the burgeoning SoCal reggae scene blossoming, True Press is emerging from a plethora of talented bands.  With these new, hard working, regularly touring bands hitting the scene hard, standing out is a task in itself.  True Press makes me weak in the knees with their sounds. Full of talented creative musicians with conscious lyrics that focus on positive world change, love and self betterment.  Through songs such as  ‘Lovely Situation’, ‘Wake Up Cry’, ‘Anything is Possible’, ‘Soul Rebel’ and ‘Real Eyes, Realize, Real Lies’ True Press gently reminds us that “Anything is Possible”, especially when its done with “love, sweet love”.

I love the horn section and the solid rhythm, backing Pedros soulful vocals.  My favorite song on the album is “Wake up Cry”, it has a great little guitar riff at the beginning and I love the melody.  It gets stuck in my head all day. “Consider this your wakeup call, to all, consider this your wake up cry, its time.”  ‘Lovely Situation’, ‘Anything is Possible’, ‘Soul Rebel’ and ‘Real Eyes, Realize, Real Lies’ all are right behind in the favorites category.

Mellow and with just enough energy backing them up that you can't help but groove and want to get up and dance, True Press is music you can't get enough of.  For me, its the perfect music first thing in the morning.  Gets me amped and ready for the day on a positive note, booty shakin’ while I drink my coffee but not so upbeat I want to throw my stereo through the window.  For me this is absolutely one of the best albums I have heard so far in 2014.  Im excited to see where True Press is a year from now.

Interested in hearing more for yourself?  You can currently catch them on tour with Fortunate Youth and be sure to check out their brand new album “Anything is Possible”.  They will be at The Catalyst Atrium with the gusy from Fortunate Youth on their “It’s all a Jam” Spring Tour on May 3rd, and then back for CaliRoots Sat., May 24th.

True Press is:

Pedro [Guitar/Vox]
Johnny [Bass]
K.P. [Drums/Percussion/Vox]
Gyl [Guitar]
Dan [Keys/Vox]
Chris [Keys]

You can find True Press in the following places:

To listen to music, download some free tunes and learn more, follow this link:

Much love to our New Music Monday sponsors over at Sky Haus Studios in beautiful Carmel Valley!!

“No more time to waste, and theres no more time to hate, oh its been so full upon your plate, you think theres no time left, but its never too late.  So its time to rise and shine, its time to put your past behind, so consider this your wake up call, to all, consider this your wake up cry, its time.  Time to make your dreams a reality.  No ones gonna make a move for you.”  
~Wake Up Cry