Music Friday Blog

  • Exist Elsewhere tells us what it is like to tour high schools to stop bullying

    three_boys_1600x590.jpgLos Angeles based emerging rock band, Exist Elsewhere, is teaming up with the anti-bullying organization NVEEE on the unique REACH 2014 national high school tour.  Exist Elsewhere band members believe that artists have a responsibility to influence and communicate with their fans, and I congratulate them for that.  We will talk about their music - which is wonderful and gaining popularity rapidly  - and  their REACH tour to take advantage of the face to face interaction that live performances present. They are out there on stage day after day to inspire positivity and communicate on the important, on-going issue of bullying in the United States.

    Their tour will span 14 cities in 6 states over a three week period, launching in Los Angeles, where they will begin their first live performance/lecture of the series. Each lecture is set to include a proprietary “beating bully with music” component that has been designed by the NVEEE organization specifically for the tour. Directly following each performance students will have a chance to hear the band’s take on overcoming bullying through an intimate Q&A segment. The campaign and what it stands for is close to band leader Noah Benardout's heart. A teen himself, he has seen firsthand the effect that bullying can have, both in his personal life and through experiencing the battle with bullying that his younger sister has experienced. His passion for outreach and prevention, and utilizing music as a tool to take a stand, is a major reason why Exist Elsewhere are taking part in the “Be Upstanding” initiative.

    It did not take me much research to learn that every 30 minutes a child takes his or her life as a direct result of bullying - it's called "bullycide". Every day, 30% of American high school students face some kind of bullying, whether they’re the victim or the bully. Even more alarming, 80% of students experience cyber bullying, while 77% of each incident is verbal. Bullying has a profound effect on each victim, giving them emotional and psychological battles to face throughout their life, from depression to poor self-esteem that can derail their everyday lives. Shockingly, in 85% of each of these cases nothing is done to intervene. That’s why Exist Elsewhere and NVEEE are determined to influence and inspire change through the power of music on the REACH 2014 High School Tour.

    I look forward to talking to them about their work to stop bullycide and bullying and about the music that is driving the tour..


  • Eric Zayne brings his unique take on alt pop to Music Friday Live! this Friday

    headshot_299.jpgI first saw Eric Zayne at a pre-Grammy party at Busby's in mid-town LA.  I sat there on a couch in the front row and said to myself, where did he comfrom?  And why haven't I heard of him before.  He is really, really good.  so I talked with him afterward and booked him on the show, although his tour schedule is so tight that we had to wait a month to find a Friday morning he was free andnot on th road or recording. His song "Nepture" - and the accompanying video - are hypnotizing.  His latest release, "Maneater" goes even father in embedding itself in your brin.  Eric Zayne is a separate universe from most of the male pop singers out there.

    Zayne plays and produces soul infused pop-rock  blenind  electronics to create a sound that is edgy and captivating.  And he crates videos with his music that set a new bar in quality and creativity.  At 13 years old, Zayne started playing in multiple bands throughout his home city, Montreal. His first major gig was a five year tour across Asia where he played keyboards, guitar and sang in a funk band; these formative years taught Zayne about songwriting, performing and how to connect with an audience.  Zayne arrived on the Los Angeles music scene in February 2013 and focused his music on pop alternative although his influences range from Prince to the Beatles to Maroon 5. Recently signed by the independent record label What If Records, he spent this summer touring in California promoting his singles 'Spin the World' & 'Maneater' while also recording and producing his first EP Between Us. Zayne is currently recording a new mixtape called "AutobiograMe" which features Matisyahu and Amber Riley from Glee. This mixtape will be a free release in early 2014.


  • Yoshiki announces USA/World tour. Music Friday was there.

    head301.jpgMusic Friday's crack team braved the media frenzy and the fans last night to meet Yoshiki who announced his new tour.  Surprise!  He will be at SXSW - should be interesting.  He has not yet crossed over from Asia to the US markets although he has been producing and living in LA for years. We will watch him and see if he can grow from his base of totally dedicated rabid fans to a broad appeal.   See the full video at our YouTube Channel.  



  • Claudia Schmidt returns to Music FridayLive! with new music. 2.21.14

    claudia_schmidt_302sq.jpgClaudia was on Music Friday Live! last year and I and the audience loved her.  Her songs bring a bit of America's past to the modern world, and bring the modern world to folk music.  She has released a new album, "The New Whirled Order".  When her label pinged me with the news and I jumped at a chance to have her on the show.  She is so much fun.

    For those of you who may not know her, for most four decades as a touring professional have found Michigan native Claudia Schmidt traversing North America as well as Europe in venues ranging from intimate clubs to 4,000 seat theaters, and festival stages in front of 25,000 rapt listeners. She has recorded fourteen albums of mostly original songs, exploring folk,blues, and jazz idioms featuring her acclaimed 12-string guitar and mountain dulcimer playing. This  Friday right here on Music Friday Live!

  • Scarlet Roads rocks live, has new album in the studio. And then they come here. 2.21.14

    logo.jpgI saw Scarlet Roads last week in a California club.  I had gone to review another band and they just jumped out at me.  so much R&B and rock energy.  The back of the club was full o dancing people and the front full of people who would dance if there had been room.  These 6 kids not far out of music school nailed it.

    Scarlet Roads are on a musical journey that has taken them from the U.S. to Canada and Europe. Armed with a dynamic dose of R&B/Rock flavored jams, the six members that make up the band are true road warriors. In fact, the name Scarlet Roads was inspired by their constant traveling to play gigs. Says James Jannetty (keyboards / lead vocals) “the name comes from traveling from Hollywood to the desert to play shows...taking the Scarlet Roads.”

    Like so many great bands before them, Scarlet Roads have honed their skills on the road in front of live audiences and earned a solid following built at legendary clubs like The House of Blues, The Viper Room, Malibu Inn, Molly Malone’s, The Hood, Schmidy’s Pub, and the iconic Red Barn in Palm Desert, to name a few. Most weekends you can find Scarlet Roads playing a local club somewhere in Southern California. Their unique blend of R&B and rock keeps fans dancing all night long. 

    “We guarantee you will hear great music AND have a great time at a Scarlet Roads show,” says Kaylee Bergin, lead vocalist. "The only thing we can't guarantee is whether it will be a night in which Saxy does one of his famous bar walks with his sax or a night in which audience members will start taking their clothes off."

    Scarlet Roads was formed in the halls of the famed Musician’s Institute in Hollywood, CA. Each band member has studied their craft of songwriting, musicianship, and performing for years and that dedication shows on stage and in the studio. Despite the band members average age of 24, this band rocks like seasoned music veterans. 

    “Being up on stage with the band is a very important outlet for me because my expression is deeply rooted in performing and improvising,” said Frank Caito, bass. “I love when the energy on stage is received by the audience and given back to us, it creates a great cycle.”

    The band recently entered Westlake Studios with Grammy-Award winning producer Bob Cutarella to record a slew of original songs that showcase the band’s high energy sound and musical chops. The resulting record will be released sometime early 2014. 

    Scarlet Roads is: Peter RJ Bergin (drums/percussion/backing vocals); Kaylee Bergin (lead vocals/keyboards); Frank Caito (bass/backing vocals), Stephen “Saxy” Herring (saxophone/percussion/backing vocals); James Jannetty (keyboards/lead vocals) and Claudio Tristano (lead guitar/backing vocals).  They come from a variety of backgrounds including Vancouver, Canada and Pomarico, Italy as well as Connecticut, Alaska, and Alabama, USA.   And they are coming to Music Friday.

  • Dona Oxford kills at Witzend Live. On the show in March

    We were at the Witzend Live in Venice California for Valentines's Day.  One of the best musical nights ever.  We came to see Junk parlor, which did a steller job with its junk gypsy punk rock, and found scarlet Roads who blew the roof off the place (and will join us this Friday.  But we danced ourselves silly to boogie woogie blues rock by Dona Oxford and her band.  Check out this video .

  • Junk Parlor here for Valentine's Day. I get to see an old friend and you get great music.

    sleeping_laddy_smal300x300l.jpgRt. Goodrich, the drummer for Junk Parlor is a friend of mine.  Well, mostly, his wife Jessica is an old friend of mine.  She and her mom ran the tack and feed store in Northern California where my wife and I hung out. When she married Rt. he was in a another band and we saw them at the Viper Room in Hollywood and really liked him and his music.  Since then, he has joined Junk Parlor, a Northern California-based gypsy junk rock band born from the mind and musical wanderings of Jason Vanderford.  Junk Parlor plays rock, gypsy jazz rhythms and a 50's tinge supporting Vanderford’s throaty howling voice. Backed by  the electric fretless bass of Tim Bush, and of course, Rt. Goodrich,  Junk Parlor’s debut album "Wild Tones" was released October 2013.  They recently completed a Pacific Northwest tour and are now touring in Southern California. Jason and Rt.join us at 2:05 pm ET.  I will be at their show at the Witzend Live! in Venice Friday night and their show Sunday night at the Trip in Santa Monica.

  • Robin Yukiko sings from her album "Love War" for Valentine's Day

    yukiko_bw300sq.jpgI met Robin Yukiko on the internet - really.  I met her on twitter through RT's of one of my #FF's or #MM's.  And I am glad I did.  She is a great talent with a very interesting story.  And she is a new mom!  A Pennsylvania-based eclectic pop and blues singer/songwriter and a music producer,.Robin can be serious, romantic, lighthearted and melancholoy . Robin has operatic and choral training and an international background, including a stint in Japan, where she has family.  She left her opera training to produce her debut album Me & My Apathy, an eclectic suite of 11 original songs.  She released a second album, “Love War” and performs locally, writes and produces songs for other bands  while keeping up with her new baby.  She will be on Music FridayLive! at 2:30 pm ET 

  • Kris Gruen folk and story- a perfect combination

    kris_gruen300_300pg.jpgI first saw Kris Gruen at the Sanctuary in Santa Monica.  He immediately commanded my attention, but in a gentle way.  He started out with a story, a soft story about childhood that sort of flowed into a song.  Over the next hour or so, Kris told several stories, painted pictures of childhoods - his and others, some imaginary - and demonstrated a seasoned skill with the guitar, with poetic lyrics and most importantly, with his connection to the emotions of his audience.

     Gruen writes songs about grown up life and childhood, infused with mystic wonder, that soften the world’s sharp edges.  Growing up steeped in classic records and  influenced by  great narrative songwriters like Cat Stevens and Paul Simon, Gruen’s voice is reminiscent of 60's folk but completely current. A New York City native who’s put down roots in Vermont, Gruen effortlessly blends witty lyrics and emotional depth.  His sound has been compared to Iron And Wine, Andrew Bird, Ryan Adams, and The Decemberists.  Building off of the success his critically acclaimed albums, Lullaby School and Part Of It All, last year he released New Comics From The Wooded World  and is now on tour.  

    Gruen's father is the famed rock photographer Bob Gruen, so he had plenty of opportunities to see the great ones close up, but his fascination with the musicality of poetry attracted him to songwriting rather than rock. Playing percussion for a New Orleans rhythm and blues band that formed out of a class he was taking at Goddard College in 1996, Gruen reluctantly but successfully took on vocals. After college in 2000, Gruen began recording on a four track, which led him to pursue the guitar. His cousin gave him a cheap Ovation and taught him how to tune a standard E tuning. Starting off with using only the E string to create melodies on the four track,  and teh rest is history.  We get to hear that history this Friday at 2:30 pm ET.

  • Maggie is determined to be a singing star- and seems to be doing it.

    MAGGIE_BLACK_LACE_303.jpgMaggie, who goes only by her first name, has been determined to be a singing star since she was a child.  She ang for family and locala events in grammar school, and at 13 started writing songs.  By that time she had had several years of experience - not something you find in your usual 13 year old.  Maggie spent her middle and high school years  performing whenever possible and attending songwriting seminars. She wrote and recorded her own EP while she played in her school bands. As high school began winding down, and most students begin to feel pressures about what schools to apply to, and what to “be when they grow up”, Maggie was getting ready for the next step in her musical career - Nashville.

    Maggie packed  the contents of her life into her car and headed to Nashville, Tennessee, a place she had never been before, and a place she knew little about except that Nashville was where you  learned to write songs professionally and, if things worked out, became a star. It took two years of learning, writing and gigging to be ready to go back home and record her first album, Now Hear Me Out , produced b y Justin Gray Joss,  The single, "Lovesick" hit the charts and heavy rotation and she was chosen by Perez Hilton as his 2012 "Can YOU Sing?" contest winner hailing Maggie as the next big superstar of 2013. 

    Now in the musical capital of the world, Los Angeles, Maggie has a fan base of many thousands, Maggie is headed for the top and we are proud to have her on Music FridayLive! this week.