Slightly Stoopid: Everything Is Awesome 2015 Tour Review

“I hope you weren’t planning on taking any drug tests soon, because you sure as hell won’t pass!”

*This was taken last year. Jeff Schad was busy falling of his bike in the Swiss Alps and couldn't make it this year. He said, "What other band besides Stoopid lets you get so close, and is so cool to work with in every way?

Slightly Stoopid Review Concert Pier Six

The setting for our show, Pier Six Pavilion located in the Inner Harbor.

On Thursday, July 16th, I was able to see Slightly Stoopid with the Dirty Heads play at the Pier Six Pavilion in Baltimore, Maryland. Continuing my efforts towards catching big local shows, something that was on a tiny bit of a break, I was very excited to see my first, real, big venue surf reggae show, and it paid off. Playing at the Pier Six Pavilion across the Inner Harbor from the Aquarium, I don’t think there could be any better venues for a show like this, save a California beach that each one of these groups is all too familiar with.

Before I physically got into the concert, I was notified by the beneficiary who was able to get me the tickets that I should be on the lookout for a very awesome energy. Slightly Stoopid and the Dirty Heads, despite the slightly similar geographic influence and paths to stardom, have never toured together. This was the first time that most, if not everyone in the area would have been able to see both bands playing together on the same bill. It was apparent from my first steps in that the energy my boss spoke about was already rising. One could even argue that the energy was… high.

Pier Six Slightly Stoopid Review

A candid scene as the show starts.

The first thing I noticed getting in was how pretty the physical backdrop of the concert was. A beautiful day on the Inner Harbor set the scene for youthful festivity. It seemed hard to believe that this same city, beaming in the summer sun, was tearing itself apart at the seams and burning itself to the ground only a few months ago. Everything felt safe. Security guards joined in with the elevated fun that swept over the crowd like a haze. The overwhelming presence of youth at this concert, with the majority of audience members looking like they be anywhere from high school to college aged, was another very different energy that I had never felt before on such a wide scale.

While the absence of locally brewed National Bohemian was apparent and missed, the setup for the night was fine. Crowds on the lawn and in the seated areas with two easy access points made the trip in a walk in the park, all the while being able to look out and enjoy your time on the water.

Slightly Stoopid Pier Six Review

The concert progresses and more people fill in.

Kicking the night off was The Expendables, based out of Santa Cruz, California. Considered a reggae rock band, I was able to hear more influences than just basic reggae and rock. Noted, it was classic surf reggae, but the heavier based distortion coming through the guitars and out the amplifiers made for a very special tone that accompanied the rhythmic beats. While too much being tied together could give anyone a headache, The Expendables were able to put it together. Playing hits such as “Down Down Down”, “Sacrifice”, and “Bowl for Two”, a definite crowd favorite, The Expendables were able to kick off the night with high energy. Almost too high. For the time of day with the sun shining down, pretty much ruining any chance at stage lighting, this band was seriously ready to amp it up. And I personally do not think that the crowd was ready be so amped up quite that much.

Combining the efforts of two guitars, a bass, and drum kit, this high octane set was not willing to let any sound go unnoticed, from what seemed to be heavy metal shredding to an island jam. This kind of “island shredding” was technically very cool. But, the surrounding atmosphere may not have been the best for it. If you are into party rock, I would highly advise to check out some of their work around the internet. But this group definitely seemed much more primed to play a darker, closer to night time, arena, or even big bar gig. While their music was not bad at all, I think that some liberties could have been taken by the group to play more in the mood. I am not defending having different sounding opening acts by any means. For example, without Van Halen completely blowing Black Sabbath off the stage every night they opened for them back in the late 70’s, would they have been so big, so quickly? While that discussion may be for another article, I definitely think that keeping up with the reggae hits that The Expendables did so well to begin with, as well as being able to keep the crowd going with, would have made for an even better opening than the one they had.

Pier Six Slightly Stoopid

Once it got dark, the party really started.

The second group of the night was none other than The Dirty Heads. Another reggae – rock fusion band coming from Huntington Beach, with the current line up being active members since 2003, there is not much to say other than these guys absolutely killed it. With the sun beginning to set to allow the light show to kick in as well as even more people filling in to begin the festivities, this was definitely a notable point in the night in which the music matched the mood masterfully. Playing songs like “Lay Me Down” and my new personal favorite for the night, “Medusa”, The Dirty Heads were able to pump some amazing jams and blow the collective minds of the audience. With a great crowd energy, I can safely say that I will be catching these guys if they come around again. Big venue, small venue, they put on a great show.

Dirty Heads, from a previous show at Pier 6. Our photographer was out of town. Sorry.

At this point in time, I feel it is only appropriate to talk about one of the most memorable observations I was able to take away from this specific show.

I have never seen so much weed being smoked in one place, at one time, as I did that night.

Sweet lord.

There must have been a piece of something for every four or five people that were in attendance, all of which had to have been snuck in. And that absolutely did not go unnoticed by the performers on stage. It’s like the bands were amping all of the herbal based debauchery up, making people go even crazier than they would already. I think I should probably be pleading the fifth on this whole topic, but it is just too good not to bring up. It was clear that for every four or five people attending, there was something to go around. Even some security guards were getting in on the action. I thought that the guy vomiting at the Skynyrd show I saw earlier in the summer was funny, but the security guard trying to hit something way too aggressively while crouched in the middle of a circle of people? Easily topped that sight.

Pier Six Slightly Stoopid

You think I was J.J. Abrams or something with all of this lens flare. I blame Siri.

By the end of The Dirty Heads’ set, as the sun was setting into darkness, the haze that had spread over the crowd meant everyone was ready for one thing – for the highest (get it?) billed group to begin their performance. Pre gaming the crowd with 90’s hip hop accompanied with a modern bass, presumably from one of the musicians in the band, it was very clear that people, including myself, were ready to party. I don’t think anyone could have come up with anything better than playing early rap, such as 2Pac’s “California Love”, to get the final leg of the party started. With a great crowd energy and who knows how many musicians, from guitarists, bassists, singers, percussionists, keyboard players, and most importantly the horn section, coming on and off, joining the jam, Slightly Stoopid, the top billed performers of the night, played a great set. With every song’s melodic and rhythmic structure blending in almost feeling like one big jam, the waves of music pouring over the crowd made for a great Thursday night concert on the water.

Slightly Stoopid, also from a previous show at Pier 6. Damn photographer was falling off his bike in Switzerland.

Based out of Ocean Beach in San Diego, Slightly Stoopid, along with the rest of the groups for that matter, were able to bring the California state of mind to the East Coast. From the use of reggae, to rock, to ska, and anything else in between, the combination of party music and the youthful atmosphere for a nice night. It’s no secret that I want to end up in that area before I die. I talk about it all the time. The seemingly biggest center of industry for hard rock and surf reggae alike and everything in between, the West Coast seems like one of the places to be right now. Gigs like this are instrumental into bringing that California soul out of the one place where it comes from, and the one place that is incidentally, running out of water.

Pier Six Slightly Stoopid

Boaters catching the show on the water. Pretty nice set up.

All in all, another great night. I consider myself a pretty lucky guy, but being able to go to events like these, party to great music, and meeting awesome people, is making this summer one I will remember. Personal quips aside, anyone looking for a great time with big time surf reggae music this summer is doing a disservice to themselves by not catching this tour. Seeing big concerts like this is always a pleasure, and with the tour only going until September, the opportunities to catch the one band second only to the progenitors of this whole genre, Sublime, accompanied by other hands down, amazing acts, is going quickly.

Coincidentally, the show they play in Colorado is already completely sold out. One could only imagine why.

Local Waves, Episode Five: Karlie Bartholomew

Karlie Bartholomew Local Waves

Our local wave to catch this week, Karlie Bartholomew.

This week on Local Waves, I decided to take yet another different route towards covering local artists who might not get as much of an opportunity to be heard as much as some of the big guns. Suggested by a Montauk Music follower, I found myself not only in contact with our latest local wave, but impressed by her story. With hard work comes success, and it is clear that this young artist is putting in her dues now in order to further herself as much as possible for the future.

Karlie Bartholomew, a Baltimore local, has been doing what she loves from a very young age. After realizing the desire to turn in into a full time career, Ms. Bartholomew left what could be a comfortable position to some, to a path towards her dreams. While she may not be able to drop some of the big names that other, more experienced local waves have shared, her story sheds a light on a just as important topic that anyone in the industry can relate to: the very beginning. It is, after all, a very good place to start.

Karlie Bartholomew Local Waves

A candid, performance shot. Photo Credit, Dennis Woo.

Henry Pazaryna: So I have been doing interviews of local artists and their experiences around the area. Would you mind telling me a little bit about yourself, and what you are doing?

Karlie Bartholomew: Sure! I’m a singer – songwriter based primarily out of the Baltimore area, but I play shows in various other areas such as Annapolis and Frederick. I have been writing songs and singing from a very young age, but began to take it seriously about three years ago. My first year of college, I attended Hood College in Frederick with plans on majoring in journalism. While I was there, I was in every single one of the music groups I could possibly be in. Somewhere along the line I realized that I didn’t want to major in journalism and wanted to do music for the rest of my life. After that, I spent the next year at home going to community college, playing shows at venues, like Rams Head Live, Soundstage, and Ottobar, and planning on transferring to Berklee College of Music in Boston. So this past year was my first year there and I’ve been working on developing my own style of music and learning music theory for the first time in my life. I’m just trying everything out there and playing with different people and it’s really given me a whole new perspective of music. Aside from working on my own music, I joined a band called Shah with some friends and play the banjo-guitar. Now I’m home for the summer and I’m trying to play out as much as I can, whether it be an open mic or a paying gig, because I really just want to meet people

HP: Most of the people I have interviewed are a little more established within the music community. As a student and the interviewee closest to my age, what is playing at all of the open mics like? What goes through your mind?

KB: It was honestly a little scary for me at first because I’m normally one of the youngest people at these open mics and a lot of people have been playing at them for awhile so everyone kind of knows each other. I’ve met so many great people just doing open mics, though. My dad always goes with me to them and afterwards we kind of talk through my performance and things I’ve could’ve done better, etc. It’s a great way to become comfortable, practice performing, and learn how to work an audience and determine what songs they like and don’t like. I think of it as practice for the real thing.

HP: Totally understandable. You are also the first girl I have interviewed, and I am happy I am getting the chance to do so. Do you feel any kind of pressure regarding gender in the industry that you have experienced so far?

KB: Most definitely. I feel a lot of pressure to be your typical pop star. I had a private audition for the show the Voice about two years ago and I went in wearing a plain t-shirt and old boots and I played the “A-Team” by Ed Sheeran. The producer said he really liked me, but he wanted me to play more pop-style songs and dress more according to the style. Well, a couple months later they invited me to audition again for them. This time I went in wearing huge red high heels and played a popular song I hated and completely messed up the audition because it just didn’t feel right at all. It just wasn’t who I am. I want to be authentic and I want the same thing for my music.

Karlie Bartholomew Local Waves

Karlie playing an event at the 9:30 Club.

HP: I don’t think I could ever fully comprehend the scope of something like that, to that extent. And not just with women, but with minorities too. Good for you for sticking to your guns. It does seem so much harder for a female artist to try to make it on the scene. So you said you wanted to go to Berklee. Is that happening? What is going on with that?

KB: It can be pretty frustrating at times. Yes! I just finished up my first year there. I should be graduating this next year, but some things got weird with transferring so I’ll be there with another two years. It’s absolutely incredible. There is a like-mindedness there that I have never experienced before. The teachers there are so inspiring and will go out of their way to help you. A lot of them want to get to know you on a personal level as well. The whole Berklee community is incredible. Over spring break, I took a trip with Berklee to Nashville and met so many different alumni who just want to help you as much as they can.

HP: Great to hear. As a transfer student who had a pretty smooth transition myself, it sucks that all of that happened. The connection making is really important, and it sounds like you are killing it on that front. While this may be a short time away, what are your aspirations, post college? Will you stay in the northeast, or try to hit Nashville or LA, or even stay local?

KB: I really want to move to Nashville. I absolutely love the city and I think my music would do well there. I’m still trying to figure everything out, but I really want to perform and eventually tour. I also want to work as a recording artist.

HP: I have heard a lot of great things about Nashville. Seems like a really happening spot. Do you feel like your genre would fit well there? Speaking of which, what would you consider your style to be? Would you be willing to expand on that?

KB: Yes, I think it would. There’s a lot of country there, but there are tons of other music happening as well. My style is more of an acoustic sound so I think that’s why it would fit well. My music has tons of different influences such as R&B, jazz, folk, and pop. I normally just say pop because that genre isn’t really just one specific sound. I have a lot of influence from artists like Tori Kelly, Ingrid Michaelson, Colbie Caillat, Kina Grannis, Ed Sheeran and Ella Fitzgerald (to name a few) and I feel like you can definitely hear that in my music.

HP: So finishing up: where are some places we can hear more from you? Do you have anything on the internet or any kind of set performance schedule?

KB: My main website is www.karliemusic.com, but you can search Karlie Bartholomew on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and find me there. My next shows are August 20th at Peace and a Cup of Joe in Baltimore at 9pm and August 21st at Frederick Coffee Company in Frederick at 7pm.

Karlie Bartholomew

Photo credit, GB Imaging.

SurfRhythm wants to thank Karlie one more time for the effort she put in towards catching up with us. Find out more about Karlie online through her website and various forms of social media, all links shown above and below. If you are around, definitely show some support to a local artist at the end of August, and be sure to check back in soon for the next installment of Local Waves. Catch you soon.

Website: www.karliemusic.com

Social Media – search for: Karlie Bartholomew

Local Waves, Episode Four: Charles Kavoossi

Kavoossi Local Waves Open Mic

Moni's Open Mic, brought to you by Charles Kavoossi of Kavoossi Music.

Since I started riding the local waves, I have been able to meet and talk to many different musicians in the town of Annapolis. From the venues they play, to the work they put in the studio, and the time they take enjoying the city itself, it is truly interesting to be able to discover and document the different stories of the people living in my backyard. While did enjoy poking around, and will be coming back around soon enough, I wanted to expand my horizons to other artists outside of the Annapolis wake. This time, I had the pleasure of hanging out with singer, songwriter, and instrumentalist, Charles Kavoossi of Kavoossi music.

A native of Bowie, Charles has an interesting story that takes us away from some of the more heavily, Annapolis based groups that we have looked at in our other interviews. From moving up the ranks locally throughout his development as a musician and producer, as well as moving across the country and back, Charles has carved a place for himself and his art. Anyone in the market for all around, good, local music should look no further than the man of the hour himself and this week’s local wave.

Charles Kavoossi Local Waves

Charles the Performer...

Henry Pazaryna: So I have been doing a bunch of interviews with local musicians, talking about their experiences in the area. I started out in Annapolis because that’s where I am from, but I am looking to kind of branch out. Would you mind talking about yourself, taking about what you do, and talking about the experiences you have had?

Charles Kavoossi: Sure. I started off playing music actually in Bowie, with a couple of friends of mine that I grew up with in a three-piece punk band after I learned guitar for a few months. I got into a punk band, learned a little bit about songwriting and the whole being in a band, and then started playing shows, like house parties and stuff in Bowie and Crofton, and then moved into Severna Park, Annapolis area as far as gigs went. We got a little bit bigger, we started a new band in high school, and then kind of reached into the Baltimore scene. We would always kind of come back to Annapolis too, I guess you might have heard that from other people too. The Bowie scene for me was always like house parties and a more do it yourself kind of thing, which was cool in it’s own right. You don’t see that everywhere. Then, you get into Anne Arundel county cities like Severna Park, Pasadena, and all those. You start having more of almost like a hybrid between bars and do it yourself. We had this thing called Manhattan Beach Club that a friend of ours, Laura McKay, would run, and that was in Severna Park.

HP: I know Manhattan Beach Club. I know a bunch of kids that played there. Did you play there as well?

CK: Yeah. We played there a lot, actually. That was with my band called Think. The first band was called Common Addiction.

HP: So what year was Common Addiction, and what year was Think?

CK: Common Addiction was 2001 to 2004 or 2005, and from 2005 on to maybe 2009 was Think. It was like middle school into high school, and then high school into college, were the two. We did a lot, like Manhattan Beach Club was one of those things that we started off getting into, but then the more our band developed, we would do the Ottobar and… what else was out in Baltimore? We never played the Sidebar. We played the Recher a little bit. Just some of those go to venues out there. It was fun. It was a whole different crowd though. A whole different world of real promoting. You have to go out there and learn a little bit about demographics, and where you are going with flyers and posters, but then MySpace came out. And MySpace coming out was like the change of the industry, because all of a sudden, you promote online, easily. You can make little flyers, I had Photoshop, and figure out how to make flyers and put them on different people’s pages, searching people through zip codes and adding them as music and friends and all that. As far as the area, Annapolis has always been a home base as far as having something. The Whiskey, which has come and gone, that was a cool venue. That was some of our best shows. We had our Think reunion show there. We packed that place. But, now it’s the Metropolitan.

Charles Kavoossi Local Waves

...and the man behind the scenes, Charles the Producer.

HP: So right now, because I have seen posters of you doing acoustic sets by yourself, could you describe your style? And what is going on right here?

CK: Sure. The acoustic stuff you have seen; I moved away a couple of times. I moved to Boston, and then I moved to Portland, Oregon. When I came back from Portland, Oregon, actually, backtracking a second, all of Boston and Portland, and the time in between, was a lot of me getting into cooking. I got really into that. I moved back from Portland and I got back into music, and kind of abruptly got out of the kitchen thing. I quit my job unexpectedly and I had to make some money in the time being. I had some friends who were offering up some spots during their longer sets at restaurants, and they said I could make a few bucks. Eventually, I worked my way into that actual scene. And I do that professionally, and my style would be like acoustic, looping, pop covers. Anything from Johnny Cash and Jim Croce to The Strokes, and the Gorillaz, and Coldplay, and everything in between. What you are seeing here, at Moni’s, is an open mic that they actually came to me and asked me about doing six or eight months ago now. It’s kind of grown its own legs and become its own thing. It’s really cool, because there is also another open mic down in Bowie, the Old Bowie Town Grille, and between those two, in Bowie alone, or Crofton, I guess you could say, you really see a lot of awesome musicians in suburban towns that you would not realize exist if we did not have these open mics going on. It’s a lot of really cool discovery of being able to record this and putting the recordings online for their friends and families to see. It has really become something awesome.

HP: Have you thought about the future and what you want to try to do in the next couple of years, or are you just taking it day by day?

CK: A little bit of both. I do have plans, vaguely. One, I have a studio album coming out of my own stuff. I just put a band together to support that, and that comes out at the end of July. We will be doing a CD release show at an undetermined time, probably the end of summerThat band is called Kavoossi. It’s just my last name. From then on, we are going to try to do little bursts and go to Philly, and Boston, and back. Then maybe Pittsburgh, go to Nashville, you know, do little mini tours like that. But in the meantime, with this, I have been getting together and gaining a lot of equipment just from doing this, running the open mic. I have been running my own little entertainment business through playing acoustic. I have my own PA system and equipment, so the more I get into doing that, the more I get into promoting these things, the more that I am learning that I like production. I like live production, like putting together events. That is fun for me. That is one direction that I would like to take it into also.

HP: So do you have website or a Facebook page that people can add you, if they like what they see?

CK: Yes. Kavoossi Music. If you do that on major media, like Facebook, or KavoossiMusic.com, Soundcloud.com/KavoossiMusic, you can find all of my individual stuff there. The open mic I am running is at Moni’s, and the same thing happens with that, Facebook.com/MonisOpenMic, but Kavoossi music is the name I am rolling with these days.

HP: I have heard a little bit about some influences, coming from punk all the way to pop. Who do you have as your biggest influences? Could you talk about that?

CK: Definitely. The first influences I had for the punk world were The Misfits, I love The Misfits, and obviously a little bit of the Ramones. Anti Flag was another big one for me. They were more poppy, but still that fast power chord punk. Sublime also fit in there, which is not surprising for most people. With Sublime, they tied a lot of melody to punk by the way of reggae, which is kind of cool. Growing up a little bit, I got into Weezer, and Weezer is a big one for me. They are one of the definitions of pop rock. As much as people have called them emo or indie, they are a pop rock band. I learned a lot of songwriting from them, and singing. Growing up further, it was The Gorillaz, The Strokes, and Cake. They are my three big guys that I really look to now for influence.

Kavoossi Music Local Waves

 

We at SurfRhythm want to thank Charles for taking some time to sit and catch up with us. You can find the link to Kavoossi Music for updates on his performance schedule and the link to his newest single, “Out of Time” from his album, Repent To Karma, below. If you are trying to catch Charles play and produce, Moni’s Place Open Mic Night is every Wednesday at 8 P.M., located on 1641 MD Route 3, in Crofton, Maryland. Come back for the next edition of Local Waves, and as always, one last thanks to our readers who ride out with us. Catch you on the flip side.

Kavoossi Music link:  https://www.facebook.com/kavoossimusic?fref=ts

Single: https://kavoossimusic.bandcamp.com/album/repent-to-karma

Local Waves, Episode Three: Brandon Hardesty

Brandon Hardesty,

Brandon and his soon to be wife, Sophia. Photo Credit, Sophia Tobin (Facebook).

On Friday, June 19th, I had an opportunity to continue my search for learning about the history of popular music in Annapolis and the experiences that the musicians share. This local wave proved incredibly radical, giving me new insight into the experiences of a more recent and extremely popular local group, Bumpin’ Uglies. On the night of their new CD release party, I was able to sit down with their lead singer and guitarist, and our local wave being featured today: Brandon Hardesty.

Another big time local player, Brandon has been working tirelessly for years both by himself and with his band to promote themselves as a huge part of the Annapolis music scene. And it has definitely paid off. While somewhat of a new convert to surf music, every time I see the Uglies, I enjoy their work more and more, thanks to the effort put in by Brandon, as well as musicians Dave Wolf on bass, and TJ Haslett on drums. If you are in the area, you should not miss this group.

Like always, the views expressed by the artist are only those of the experiences that they have been through. Any younger readers, who happened to stumbled upon this, now would be the time to talk to mom and dad if you can’t handle expletives. Otherwise, sit back, and get ready to ride.

Brandon Hardesty Eastport A Rockin

Brandon performing with his band, Bumpin' Uglies at Eastport A Rockin', 2015. Photo Credit, Matt Frye (Facebook).

 

Henry Pazaryna: So recently, I have been doing some interviews talking to local musicians and their experiences in Annapolis. Do you mind talking about your first music experiences, starting off with Bumpin’ Uglies, and then go from there?

Brandon Hardesty: Yeah man. I started playing guitar when I was seventeen and me and my friend who I initially started the band with, back in the day, before there was even a thought of the band, we were seventeen and would just go down to the harbor and he played djembe and I would play acoustic guitar. We would jam, just like busking, before I even knew what that word meant. We would just go out and play for tips and shit. We would just play until we made enough money to get a thirty pack, and we would go to the liquor store and get one of the dudes out front to buy us a thirty pack, and then that would be the end of that. Then we would go to a party, or whatever, and rinse, wash, and repeat. But instead of tips, we were looking for girls. I did that for a while and kind of lost it for a minute, but then I turned twenty one and I started doing open mics. There used to be an open mic at Acme that Jimi Haha ran, and I would hit that. That and Stan and Joes were both on Mondays, and the Whiskey did one on Tuesdays, and I would just do that, over and over and over again. I was like, “Man, I really like doing this.” I really liked doing this, you know? I put the band together and started doing it. Then it was all downhill from there (chuckles).

HP: So what year was this around?

BH: It was 2008.

HP: How old are you now?

BH: I just turned twenty nine in April.

HP: You’re twenty nine? Man, you look like you are twenty two.

BH: I just shaved, so… (laughing).

HP: It must be a surfer mentality or something.

BH: It’s funny. My little brother just had his twenty eighth birthday, and he was giving me shit. He said, “You know, everyone thinks I’m older!” And I said, “Dude, all right.” That’s not a compliment any more, but I’ll take it (laughs).

HP: That’s funny. So this is 2008. At that point, what was the band’s first venue?

BH: The Whiskey, man. The Metro didn’t even exist.

HP: So you must have been pretty bummed when they destroyed the Whiskey.

BH: Dude, I cried my eyes out. It was one of… I could count on one hand the number of times I have cried post puberty. That was one of them. I lost it. I was there on the last night. It sucked. It was just awful. I put my band together at that place. Like I said, initially it was just me and my friend Zach, and I would do that open mic. My first drummer was a guy I went to high school with who I hadn’t seen in years, and I just ran into him. And I was like, “Dude, I play guitar now and I do this thing.” And he said, “I play drums. Do you have a band?” And I said, “No. Let’s jam.” My bass player, Wolfie, that I have played with for five years now, he was in a band called The Cheaters that played there all the time, and he used to just hang out there. Every Tuesday night was like a thing at the Whiskey, back in the day. It was the shit. Everyone was there. At one point I had a six piece band. I played acoustic guitar, had an electric guitar player, I had a saxophone player, Zach played congas and shit. All that shit. Every Tuesday, we would do the Whiskey open mic. That was just the shit. Our first three album releases were at the Whiskey. When they tore that down, it sucked. It was a dagger to my heart.

HP: So now that it’s gone, and I know that you guys have done some touring, locally, where are the biggest places that you play? Nationally later, but locally in Annapolis: what are the best venues that you guys enjoy doing?

BH: The Metropolitan is the spot, now. That’s a good show. Ram’s Head is cool, but it’s not our kind of venue. It’s sit down and dinner crowd. Our shows are kind of rambunctious. Armadillo’s is a lot of fun, but it’s kind of weird right now with what they are doing, but I have always really liked playing Armadillos because it’s kind of like punk rock. It’s really tight, sweaty, and drunk. It’s fun. I like playing there a lot.

HP: Every time I have been to Armadillo’s, there has always been a DJ there. I guess I have just never been around on the days the bands play.

BH: Dude, back in the day, back when I was sneaking into bars and shit, they didn’t even have DJ’s or whatever. It was live music. Bands every weekend, and it was like this awesome environment of all the musicians. They would all hang out there. It was like what the Whiskey became, kind of. And then, they started doing DJ’s. Even then, it sucked. It was all downhill from there. Even when they have been doing DJ’s, they still would have shows upstairs every once in a while. They did it as much as every weekend for a while, and it was awesome. It was just crazy and wild.

HP: Would you be willing to talk about your experiences seeing Annapolis as it’s changed over the last couple of years? As a local guy, I have definitely noticed how, not “yuppy – fied” its become, but it’s definitely different than what it was.

BH: Yeah, I guess. It’s grown. I’ve lived in Annapolis my whole life and a running joke, a running shtick of mine is “I’ve lived here my whole life, and I’m going to live here as long as I can afford to.” I truly believe. I love this city. I will live here as long as I can. And it’s grown, a lot. It was a town at one point, and it’s a city now. I remember being a kid and walking into the Market House. You could smell the fried chicken.

HP: Dude, I miss that Market House. Getting cups of Cream of Crab soup? I would demolish those.

BH: Yeah, man. I have waited tables for years at Middleton’s. You would walk over and get a donut before your shift. It was awesome. I feel like that was really the first nail in the coffin of the town that was Annapolis. Now it’s a city. And it is what it is. It’s not a bad thing necessarily, because it’s preserved its integrity and the character that makes it what it is. It’s just more people, you know? It’s good for the economy. You get your chains that come in and the crazy yuppie shit, but there is a lot of character. There is a huge art district here. I have been all over the country and I swear to god that Annapolis has one of the best music scenes I have ever seen. And I don’t just say that because I am a part of it. I couldn’t give a fuck less. It doesn’t matter. I don’t need to justify what I’m doing. But it truly does have the most talented and diverse music scenes. Part of that is because there are so many bars here that have live music. I can speak from personal experience – you can be a musician, and be a working musician around here. You’re not going to have a lot of luck, unless you are like… like Pressing Strings. Jordan Sokel and Pressing Strings kill it playing his own work every night, because he is the fucking man. I personally play six or seven nights a week a lot of times, and I do a lot of cover stuff during the week, but it’s awesome. I don’t mind it, because it’s work. It’s better than waiting tables. It’s better than fucking not making money doing something that’s not music. There are a lot of cities, most cities, you would have a hard time finding an atmosphere and businesses that allow you to be a working musician. That is something that is great. And I think Annapolis has always been like that, but it got better with the growing economy. It kinda sucks, because it has lost a lot of the character. Like I said, I have waited tables here since I was eighteen, and one of the things – it’s like a double edged sword. Every summer, it’s the busy season, but it’s tourist season, and it’s just dumb. Getting crab cakes and tipping ten percent. Whatever. But it keeps me alive. It could go the way of Detroit and totally collapse upon itself. It’s very important to our city.

HP: So aside from Annapolis, where are the most favorite places that you guys have been to, nationally? And even internationally – have you done that yet?

BH: As far as international, they only thing we did was the British Virgin Islands. We did fly to get there, so that was cool.

HP: So nationally.

BH: Nationally. I love St. Augustine and I love San Diego. Specifically Ocean Beach. If I had to move somewhere, those are some of the places I would move. It’s cool. Good environment, same vibe, good music scene. Laid back. St. Augustine, way more so. It’s very small and has a beach vibe to it. Small town vibe. It’s actually, St. Augustine is going through what Annapolis went through probably ten or fifteen years ago, where it’s like people are finding out about it, and they are just invading. But, you know, whatever, it’s good for their economy.

HP: Listening to your music: what kind of influences did you draw from when you were writing? Is there anything that you can compare yourself to, or are you just trying to do your own work?

BH: Musically, like melodies, guitar chords, and rhythm patterns and shit, Sublime is what I am trying to do.

HP: That’s a big inspiration for you?

BH: Yeah. I’m not really a good musician at all. I’m a songwriter and a singer. Not a great guitar player. I have never claimed to be a great guitar player. But I love Sublime. When I started this band, that’s what I wanted to do. It’s what I enjoyed playing at the time. And it’s working. There is a lot to be said for branding. That’s what this band does. We do the ska – punk, reggae dub thing, and I love playing that. I grew up listening to Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash, Neil Young, storytellers. The Avett Brothers is one of my favorite bands. I love Bright Eyes. Lyrically, that’s what I try to do for Bumpin’ Uglies. I try to take the Sublime grooves and the dub reggae ska punk shit and make these songs that have stories. Real stories that I have gone through, and my friends have gone through, or stuff that I have seen or something I think is clever. Either way, I want it to be clever. 90’s Hip Hop too, that was a big influence of mine, lyrically. Eminem, Big L, Tupac.

HP: Finishing up. In the next couple years, you said you will stay here until you can’t afford it. Do you see yourself going anywhere else, or jut bopping around?

BH: Hell no. Dude, if I go anywhere else, it’s going to be Arnold or Edgewater (laughs). I’m getting married in a few months. We are looking at houses right now. I have been saving since I was eighteen to buy a house, and my girl is pretty good with money. She is better than I am with money, honestly. We are trying to buy a house, and we have saved up a decent amount. We really want to get something in Hillsmere. It seems like the community is great, and the property value isn’t crazy expensive. Even if we don’t do that, we will still stay a hop, skip and a jump away. I’m not leaving. Unless I have to.

Once again, very special thanks go out to Brandon for sitting down and talking with us at SurfRhythm. I would very highly recommend catching Brandon as a solo artist or Bumpin’ Uglies as a band. If you are looking for a great time, check out the information below and look no further. As always, thanks again for reading, and catch you soon for the next installment of Local Waves.

Bumpin Uglies tour SurfRhythm Music

Bumpin' Uglies newest release, "Freakout Hell Bus" tour dates.

Bumpin’ Uglies website: http://bumpinugliesmusic.com/