Tag Archives: David Heath

Kung Fu & Twiddle: A Dirty Dozen Interview

DSC00040Backstage at the Rex Theatre in Pittsburgh, PA following sound check, members of Kung Fu, keyboardist Todd Stoops and bassist Chris DeAngelis, and Twiddle, drummer Brook Jordan and guitarist Mihali Savoulidis sat down with Honest Tune to talk about their highly-successful joint Dirty Dozen Tour, which finds both bands collaborating throughout each show with a series of “Super Jams.”

The interview was much like one of the nightly Super Jams.  The guys were talking, joking, and riffing with each other seamlessly and forgetting at times about the interview.  Much like a runaway jam on stage, it was wise to not try and stop the positive energy that seemed to be building up in the room, and instead just allow the room full of musicians to do like they do on stage, improvise and create.

 

Honest Tune:  What brought Kung Fu and Twiddle together for the Dirty Dozen Tour?

DSC09126Brook Jordan:  We’ve had respect for these guys [Kung Fu] for a long time. Hopefully we gained their respect.

Todd Stoops:  We don’t hang with bros we don’t respect!

BJ:  It was an idea that we talked about for a long time. We enjoy each other’s music.  Also we enjoy each other as people.  It just made sense.  We knew it would be fun and that our fans would enjoy it.

 

Mihali Savoulidis:  We have been wanting to do a tour together for a while.  Then it was how do we make it not like what two bands normally do.  I think it started with let’s not tell anyone who is playing first or second.

TS:  What Mahali said.  We were talking about this idea of not wanting to tell anybody what band was going first.  Then it just evolved into the idea of both the bands playing together multiple times through the night.  Each band has people sitting in with each other.  Instead of two bands showing up and playing a show, it’s turning into an event.  We’re creating stuff on the spot, where each little section -drums, bass, keys, and guitar – is having their moments.  The end result is a much more creative product. Me, if I wasn’t playing in the band, I would pay to see this show.  I would probably come multiple nights. Some of the Twiddle fans, who are a little younger than the average Kung Fu fans, have been on tour for a week and a half.  They’ve seen every show and it blows me away.  Something really cool is going on.

BJ:  We start every night with a Super Jam and end every night with a Super Jam.  We start with me and Adrian [Tramontano, Kung Fu’s drummer] on drums and each set of instruments come out together.

 

DSC09387HT:  Chris, you and Todd, have all been in other bands and projects over the years.  How have those projects shaped your sound now?  Do you feel that the band you’re in now is where you have always wanted to be?

Chris DeAngelis:  Whatever project you are in at the moment is a culmination of where you come from.   I’m happy with the music I’m playing.  It’s an outlet for me to write and express myself.  Also, I get to play with a bunch of monsters that I’m used to playing with.  That makes it a very comfortable situation. We can stretch out.  There are a lot of liberties that can be taken.  All the other projects strengthen what you’ve got going on.

 

 

MS:  From an outsider’s point of view, we’re all musicians.  I watched Stoops in RAQ.  I saw these guys in The Breakfast.  I don’t know if this is the band they have always strived for, but as musicians, these guys are playing some serious music.  It’s not to be messed around with.  I mean every musician I have ever been with at a festival while these guys are on stage; their jaws are dropped and everyone is like, “What the hell are they doing.”

DSC00178TS:  To append what Mihali was saying, the Twiddle guys have gained so much respect from other musicians in the past few years.  Not that they didn’t have it before but with their song writing, stage presence, and the way they control a crowd, it blows me away.  I have been doing this a long time, I’m not going to say how long, and when I watch a Twiddle crowd and the front row is crying, singing the songs.  It gives me goose bumps.  The whole crowd, a thousand people in New York City the other night singing along.  Brings a tear to my eyes and is fucking awesome.   It’s a pleasure to know these guys and if I didn’t know them I would be a fan of theirs. This tour has been fantastic.

 

DSC08475-EditHT:  Mihali and Brooks, you used Kickstarter to help fund your new album Plump. Can you explain why you went that route to ask for your fans support and how that may have influenced the album?

MS:  The Kickstarter ended before we went into the studio.  We had a plan going in.  We hope our fans are happy with the final product.  It may have put a little more pressure on us to get it right but we’re sticklers for that already.  We want it to be a very good product for them to enjoy.

 

BJ:  I think that if we had done the Kickstarter before the music was written it may have been different but the music was ready to go.  It blew us away how quickly it happened.  It’s like a double edge sword at the same time.  We got a lot of backlash from people that don’t understand what Kickstarter is.  They were claiming that the band was asking for money from our fans and then selling the CD back to them. And that is completely wrong.  Everything we did with Kickstarter has incentives.  It’s the amount of money you want to pay.  Like, if you pay twenty bucks you get the CD.  So, it’s more like your just pre-ordering the CD months in advance.  Some people were saying, “Why don’t you just go play a weekend of shows to make the $20,000 you need. Why are they asking their fans for money?”  I was like, “Oh My God.”

CD:  Some people don’t understand how much money goes into making an album.  Like everything we make touring is a 100% profit.

DSC00161TS:  You know I personally harpooned that guy (a negative comment guy).  I messaged that guy and said to him, “What about the fifteen years it takes to make the band?  The half million we have spent on failed relationships, careers, and everything that has gone into it.”  I laid into him about that comment. He private messaged me back and said that he was sorry for his comments and didn’t mean to come off like that.  Some people just don’t understand the big picture sometimes and what all goes into what we do.

BJ:  Kickstarter was amazing but it breeds stuff like that.  People don’t understand.  If they just took time to look at it they would get it.  We tried to make it as cool as possible.  Depending on what you donate you could get your name on the album, CD, and the craziest one was if you gave $3,000 you would get merchandise for life.  Everything we have now, shirts, CDs, posters, stickers and everything we ever make in the future; which we had one person do who is an old friend of ours.  I talked to him on the phone about it.  He said he didn’t want any of the merchandise and just wanted to help make the album. He came in after we already reached our goal and still gave anyways.

CD:  That’s just a testament to their incredible fans.

TS:  Like I said they have an amazing fan base.

 

HT:  Twiddle, you’re with Madison House. What went into your decision to join with them and how has Madison been for you?

DSC09927BJ:  At about the same time we were contacted by Madison House and another agency.  At the time we felt that we could go with a smaller agency and be a big fish in a smaller pond or we could go with Madison House and be a smaller fish in a bigger pond.  So the thing that changed my mind was when we did the interviews.  (With) Madison, when we were talking with them, we didn’t have to ask a question. They told us what they were thinking, how they felt about us.  Just very on point about how things would go.  When we talked to the other agency, I was asking all of the questions and they didn’t have the answers we were looking for.  So, we went back and talked to Madison House.  We told them that we didn’t want to be a band that’s over looked since they have some big, big acts.  They said that they wouldn’t be contacting us if they didn’t believe in what we’re doing.  That won us over and it’s been great ever since.

MS:  We love Madison House!

 

HT:  So I see a small cargo van out front that Kung Fu came in and a real nice travel RV on the side that brought Twiddle. How does that work out?

MS:  [With a huge smile and a large dose of sarcasm] We are a bunch of prima donna fucks!

DSC09947TS:  That thing [the RV] cost a lot of money and we are willing to sacrifice our comfort to get paid more at the end of the tour.  We’d rather dog it out. So these guys [Twiddle] are sort of like Divas.  Brooks also has his salon quality hair and needs room for his products to be all set up.

{BJ to TS as he points at his hair}:  You have the products!

BJ:  I can sum it up in one word; Kids.  That’s literally the bottom line. Only one of us in Twiddle is married.

TS:  Kung Fu has ten children.

BJ:  We have some dogs.  That’s about it.

DSC09089TS:  We have been doing this a long time.  We’ve done the bus thing and right now we’d rather save on that and be able to get hotel rooms to have more space and relax more.

BJ:  For us it just makes sense right now.  It’s a lot of strain to always have someone that is rested and sober to drive to the next city.  The extra money is worth it so that we can have fun and still make it to the next city and be ready for load in.

MS:  There is a big trade off to having a nice hotel room every night.  We want to live on a bus with several smelly dudes and only be able to shower at venues.  Are we on time at every show? Yes.

TS:  The way Kung Fu does it is that we like to have nice rooms.  I like to sleep in a bed with 1000 count Egyptian cotton sheets.  I like to use a bidet.  I like crab meat on top of my filet in a restaurant. When you stay in a van it is fast food.

 

HT:  What show or festivals are each of you most looking forward to playing or being a part of this summer?

BJ and MS:  We’re super pumped for Red Rocks.  Bonnaroo is huge and of course and The Friendly Gatherings in Vermont.  I mean we’re doing everything we love too, like Catskill Chill, Gathering of the Vibes, Wakarusa, and All Good.

DSC08987TS:  Honestly if you play Red Rocks you can just quit music.  I feel there is Madison Square Garden, Red Rocks and something else.

MS:  The Gorge!

TS:  We on the other hand are playing a few good festivals, The U.S.S Chowder Pot III festival, The Boston Baked Beans Festival, Pizza Fest that’s in Milwaukee. We’ve decided to go into the whole food festival thing.

Tim Palmieri:  Don’t forget Garlic Fest.

CD:  Soup Stock…Obviously we are very excited for Gathering of the Vibes because that is in our home town.  We love the Vibes.  We have been doing it for the last six or seven years.  We did a main stage set last year and are back on it this year.  We are also doing Summer Camp too.

Widespread Panic – Washington D.C.

Widespread Panic

Warner Theatre

Washington D.C.

4/21/15

 

Set 1: Pleas > Weight of the World, You Got Yours, Bears Gone Fishin’ > Little Lilly > Jamais Vu > Dear Mr Fantasy, Junior, Greta > Henry Parson’s Died

Set 2: A of D, Papa Legba, Driving Song > Disco > Hatfield > Honky Red > Jam > Drums > Drums & Bass > Stop Go > Driving Song, Thought Sausage, Action Man

Encore: Contentment Blues, Holden Oversoul

 

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Primus & the Chocolate Factory – Pittsburgh, PA

Primus and the Chocolate Factory with The Fungi Ensemble

Stage AE

Pittsburgh, PA

April 14, 2015

Set 1: Those Damned Blue-Collar Tweekers, Groundhog’s Day, American Life, Over the Falls, Lee Van Cleef, The Toys go Winding Down, My Name is Mud, Jerry Was a Race Car Driver

Set 2: Primus and the Chocolate Factory with the Fungi Ensemble
Hello Wonkites, The Candy Man Can*, Cheer Up Charlie*, Golden Ticket, Lermaninoff, Pure Imagination*, Oompa Augustus, Semi-Wondrous Boat Ride, Oompa Violet, I Want It Now*, Oopa Veruca, Wonkamobile Wankavision*, Oompa TV, Farewell Wonkites,

Encore: Wyona’s Big Brown Beaver, Southbound Pachydrerm, Here Come the Bastards

*Leslie Bricusse & Anthony Newley cover

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Twiddle & Kung Fu – Pittsburgh, PA

Twidde and Kung Fu “Dirty Dozen Tour”
Rex Theater
Pittsburgh, PA
April 10, 2015

 

Setlist: 

Superjam* > Subconscious Prelude^, Brick Of Barley^ >Beehop^ > Son’s Gonna Rise^ > Beehop^ > The Joker^ > Beehop^,  Brown Chicken^, Brown Cow^, Ghostbusters*, Gung Ho**, Tsar Bomba**, Standing On the Verge of Getting It On**, Chin Music**, Steppin’ It In**, You Haven’t Done Nothin’**, Hollywood Kisses*, Helter Skelter*, Scarlet Begonias*

*Twiddle & Kung Fu

^ Twiddle

**Kung Fu

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Umphrey’s McGee – Pittsburgh, PA

Umphrey’s McGee

Stage AE

Pittsburgh, PA

10/24/14

Set I: Bathing Digits > Mulche’s Odyssey, Intentions Clear, Cut the Cable, Syncopated Strangers > Out of Order > Syncopated Strangers, No Diablo, Der Bluten Kat > Last Train Home > Der Bluten Kat

Set II: Bad Friday, 1348 > The Floor, Tribute to Spinal Shaft > Immigrant Song, August > Resolution > 1348

Encore: Wizard Burial Ground

For more of David Heath’s photos from Umphrey’s McGee’s show at Stage AE stop by Honest Tune’s Facebook page:

Honest Tune Facebook – Umphrey’s McGee at Stage AE

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Sound Tribe Sector 9 – Pittsburgh, PA

Sound Tribe Sector 9

Stage AE

Pittsburgh, PA

10/10/14

 

SET I: 4 Year Puma > F Word, Gobnugget, The Rabble, Equinox, Vibyl, Only Light Remains, Circus

SET II: Evasive Maneuvers, 20-12, Golden Gate, Hidden Hand Hidden Fist, The Paint, Frequencies Peace 2 > 3, World Go Round, When The Dust Settles

ENCORE: Music Us, Dance, Crystal Instrument > World Go Round Reprise > Crystal Instrument

 

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Ville Festival: No Hassles or Bad Attitudes

20140830-_DSC0023For many, Labor Day weekend is spent over a grill in their backyard with neighbors and family, but for some they choose to spend their weekend camping with like-minded folks in Ohio at The Ville Music Festival. Formally known as Hookahville, the Ville is a long running holiday tradition for Ekoostik Hookah fans since it first started as a camp-out in founding member and primary songwriter Dave Katz and band manager Jeff Spencer’s backyard in 1994. Over the years, it has been held at different venues on Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends before coming to its current location. The band has a simple motto that sets the mood for the weekend “no hassles or bad attitudes.”

 

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This past Labor Day weekend brought thousands together for the fourth time in two years to Clay’s Park Resort for a weekend of swimming, camping, and music at The Ville Music Festival. With its abundant amenities and gorgeous location it is quite possibly the best location this event has ever been held at. Clay’s water park is connected to the camping and stage area by a short walk. A large sandy-bottom lake provides festival goers with all sorts of water activities when taking a break from the music and provides a well needed place to cool down from the heat. From kayaking, swimming, a suspended log roll, water slides and zip-lines there is something exciting for all ages. You could easily expect to find fans spending a few good hours cooling off while the hot sun drove them from their camps to relax in the water before the music started every morning.

 

The Ville has an amazing Main Stage area with a large permanent stage at the bottom of a soft grassy bowl providing great sight 20140830-_DSC0279lines and incredible sound quality. Vendors line the right of the stage and wrap all around the top of the hill. In the mix of cold drinks, stir-fry, and tie dye clothes was an unexpected surprise. The famous Merry Pranksters Further Bus was parked off to the side. Driven by Ken Kesey’s son Zane, the bus was on its 50th Anniversary Tour and had stopped by to share a piece of history and join in on the fun. It was great to see children’s faces light up while staring in amazement at the crazy, psychedelic-inspired paintings inside and out on the bus. Kids who had no idea about the history they were looking at pointed out their favorite paintings as they inspected every inch of the 1939 International Harvester school bus.

 

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The gates opened Friday for attendees who chose to take advantage of the “Early Bird” special. For an extra $20 they were able to camp an extra night and have first pick of where they would call home for the weekend. Music started later that day at 4pm at the Wood Stage with Boogie Matrix Mechanism. Set in the middle of the woods, the stage is cool all day from the shade provided by the surrounding tall pine trees. Following Boogie Matrix Mechanism on the Main Stage were Dead Ahead Ohio and Derrick Howard who gave way to headliner and fan-favorite Keller Williams and his bare-foot, one-man show. While Keller’s variety of bands always entertain, it is great to see him by himself doing what he does best.   His high energy one-man show always gets the crowd going, stomping dust in the air while they spin and dance. At midnight the boys from Ekoostik Hookah took to the Wood stage to play an intimate acoustic set joined by Blue Moon Soup that lasted until late in the night.

 

Saturday morning started early with a nod to the famous Merry Prankster’s bus parked on the grounds as West Virginia’s KR3 hit the stage with their rocking their ’60 psychedelic-style of progressive-improvisation that helped wake any of the late sleepers. The field filled up slowly as it seemed of the majority of people were either cooling down at the water park or hiding from the sun in the wooded camping area where you could still hear the music coming through the trees. Local Ohio bands The Mucklebuck, KrisB, Jones for Revival, Big Leg Emma, and Aliver Hall filled the day with music that kept fans going from the Main Stage to the Wood Stage with quick stops at friends camps along the way. Ekoostik Hookah headlined the night with a stellar two-set show that started at sunset and went until midnight. Rounding out the night were the Rumpke Mountain Boys joined by Blue Moon Soup in the late night slot.

 

Sunday morning was greeted with a good dose of Grateful Dead inspired music starting with Willy Mac and the Leftovers and

20140831-_DSC0151continuing with Terrapin Moon. Staying with the Dead theme, The Main stage filled up early for a special Larry Keel set billed as “Larry Does Jerry.” For many the following band Pink Talking Fish was the highlight of the weekend with a jam-packed set of fan favorites. Ekoostik Hookah wrapped up the weekend on the main stage with yet another spectacular set that served as the perfect capstone to a weekend that truly lived up to the motto they set forth: No Hassles or Bad Attitudes.