Unsigned Spotlight

A Rock for Life: A Wide Spread Family – AKMusicScene.com

Rock for Life Concert Series: RfL 17Years ago, I started designing websites for local musicians. The very first website I did was for a band called Hybrid. Steve Craven, Matt Ferrante, Tim Henry, and John Couslin made up that band. Through the years I’ve followed the scene while these group of men have moved on to different bands. Steve and Matt have been in a few bands since those days, but one thing that has remained constant is that they give back to the scene and community through their Rock for Life concert series. The mission of Rock for Life is to provide financial support to needy individuals residing in Western PA who are suffering from life threatening diseases. Rock for Life sponsors music festivals and other music-related and general fundraising events to raise the monies necessary to support its purpose.

Over the years, I have taken probably thousands of photos at various Rock for Life concerts. I’ve updated their websites, facebook, twitter, & more. I consider what I do a small cog in the machine that has done so much good for going on 16 years now.

I didn’t realize how much these concerts, these people, these fans actually affect the benefactors of the series until this past year. The 15th year benefited, Alicia Hruby, a student of mine. She has defied the odds and has gotten her liver transplant. Her life is starting to turn back to “normalcy”. What really makes me be proud of Rock for Life, not just the concerts and the people behind it, are the people in the fields and in the venues. Don’t get me wrong the people on the stage, playing for free, who are bringing the crowds in to support the cause are awesome people, but it is the people in the field throwing their hands in the air, head banging, listening that I’m writing about today.

The last few Rock for Life recipients have started calling the fans & band members their Rock for Life Family. There is a reason for this. These people who come together to have some fun, help out a cause, and listen to some of the best unsigned music in the area do something else. They actually do SUPPORT the family and children that Rock for Life strive to help. They help them not just monetarily through their support of the concert series, but also through keeping up with the children and family through social media, visiting them in the hospital, sending them get well cards, praying for them, and just about anything else you would expect from family.

From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank every single person that has ever had anything to do with Rock for Life.

I always thought the word, “family”, meant you had to be related by blood. I’m finding that to be only half true. My parents, sister, and I had somewhat of a normal life with parents working, Alicia and I going to school, dance classes after, and swimming with friends in the summer. Then something happened that changed our “normal” lives forever. We found out my little sister was very ill with multiple complications, and after many tests in just a few years, found out she would need a new liver. School days, dance, and going to the pool turned to hospital stays for her. A place a teenage girl should not be. This isn’t the end to the story though, not even close. Through what seemed like an awful journey for us, we met the most loving, spectacular, kind-hearted people I could ever dream of knowing! People in our lives, in our community, were coming together to support us. One person in particular was mine and Alicia’s middle school science teacher, Bill Domiano. He had mentioned about a benefit where a bunch of people get together and put on rock shows to raise money and my sister would be the recipient for that year. We accepted. We attended, and couldn’t stop at one show. Our family expanded so much from that day on. We had just met them, and it seems like we had known them for a lifetime. You see, “family” means more than blood. Way more. It involves love and caring for one another. We have laughed and cried together. THEY are our FAMILY now, and we are theirs. I can’t thank the Rock for Life community enough and everyone involved.

-Taylor Hruby

Jeff Defalco – Local Spotlight – AKMusicScene.com

AKMS: You’ve been a main stay on the local music scene for quite some time. What would you say has been the biggest change in our music scene during that span?

Jeff: I really don’t think a lot has changed over time other than.. maybe a lot of the older clubs that were around are no longer around. New ones seem to be popping up all the time. Music is music! It just keeps rolling on!

AKMS: What venue that you’ve played is your favorite, and why?

Jeff: I dont really have a favorite. When the place is rockin’ and full of energy ..that would be my favorite at that time! We have played Heinz Field for the Steelers games quite a bit! Those are really cool.. And we got to play at the Penguins Winter Classic a few years ago…

AKMS: What about your music career are you most proud of, and why?

Photo Courtesy of Reina Peli - www.reinapeli.com/

Photo Courtesy of Reina Peli – www.reinapeli.com

Jeff: probably that ive been able to do this non stop for over 30 years…..and its so awesome of a feeling to be able to play with your own kid!…. He is a drumming beast!.

AKMS: You currently play in Glitz, Rockness Monsters, and Thieves. Can you give a brief description of what someone new to these bands might expect to see at one of their shows?

Jeff: GLITZ is 100% hair metal. We pride ourselves on sticking to that for the last 13 plus years. The sound and light show is super cool, too. We try to make it seem like 1985 all over again… that’s what GLITZ is about.

ROCKNESS MONSTERS is more or less heavier alternative. More on the 105.9 the X side of things. We do a lot of our own twist on a lot of songs. We call it MONSTERIZE (ha) We cover a lot of ground and eras!

THIEVES is an acoustic band. Mostly classic tunes. We do mix it up pretty good with the song selection. We are big on the 3 part harmony thing.

AKMS: Hendrix, Eddie, or some other guitar god?

Jeff: Guitar god?… My favorites are George Lynch, Randy Rhoads & David Gilmour. And acoustically would be Michael Hedges and Steven Stills.

AKMS: You teach guitar in the valley, what advice would you give a kid starting out on guitar with dreams of being on stage?

Jeff:  Advice? Well, to be on stage in a working band takes years to acomplish to be successful at it. Its like a marriage, if its meant to be.. It will,  But more importantly would be that since I’ve been a teacher for many many years now, my advice would be to practice a lot!!!!!  And try to get better every day! And make it fun! Because if you don’t, you probably won’t be doing it for long… And the best advice I’d give would be never be in competition with other players to see who is best!  Just be your best! Thats your biggest competition!

AKMS: What embarrassing songs might we find on your phone or MP3 player?

Jeff: My ipod has so many songs that are on there because my students want me to teach them how to play certain songs. Justin Beiber! (haa) Lady Gaga… Katie Perry…(ugh)

AKMS: Sticking with embarrassing things, have you ever had an embarrassing moment on stage?

Jeff: The most embarrassing!…got it! When Brandon (my son) played his first GLITZ gig, first song of the night, my mind was racing. To make sure everything went off without hitch … Well, not paying attention to my own self, I grabbed the wrong guitar, which was in a different tuning than the one I was supposed to be using! We started rockin’ out and had to stop about 15 seconds into the show! All because of me!.. haaa…ya… A little embarrassing, I’d say… I wanted to hide!

Please list websites or contact info for all 3 bands:

Please list upcoming shows for all 3 bands:

  • GLITZ at Blue Haven this Saturday, March 7, 2015
  • THIEVES at Falcon’s in Ford City on March 20, 2015
  • ROCKNESS at Blue Haven on march 28, 2015

Western PA Local Music Scene – Local Spotlight – AKMusicScene.com

Interview with John Klazon from Western Pennsylvania Local Music Scene

John Klazon of Western Pennsylvania Local Music Scene

John Klazon of Western Pennsylvania Local Music Scene

1. How did you originally get involved in the local music scene?
A: I’ve always liked bars and bar bands. I married someone that absolutely did not. 15 years of wedded bliss lead to a divorce and my freedom. I re-discovered my love of both once I regained my freedom in 2008 and never looked back.
2. What was the best concert you have ever been to that involved big name bands?
A: 1986. Tarrant County Convention Center Ft. Worth, Texas. Ozzy and Metallica. Ultimate Sin and Master Of Puppets. I was fortunate enough to not only get great tickets but see Cliff Burton play.
3. What was the best local concert you have been to?
A: Tie. The Mayan Apocalypse Show at the Leechburg Moose in 2012 with Skell and Gigaroo 2014.
4. What past local band that is no longer together would you like to see get back together?
A: Dragline
5. How did Western Pennsylvania Local Music Scene come about?
A: After a few years going to shows, meeting the bands and seeing how Facebook was being used I thought I may be able to do my part spreading the word. I actually kicked around the idea for over a year. One night as I was on my way to a show, I stopped in a bar for a cold one on a karaoke night and the place was packed. After my beer, I went to the show and saw a really great local band playing to a half-full house. That did it. I then created the group over the course of one sleepless night and began inviting people to join. I re-posted what I was receiving in my news feed regarding shows, bands, etc. I then set out to discover just what was here in Western PA. In two years the group has grown to 3,800 members. Participation is the key. Bands need to get their shows, music, videos and Facebook pages in the group. Everyone should try to post pictures and videos of the bands they go to see as well. Shows the band they are reaching people with their music. Everything posted in the group is Public, so fans should feel free to re-post anything posted to their Timelines or ‘networks’, if you will. Spread the word.
6. What do you see as the singularly most important thing about our local scene?
A: Participation. Hands down. Without participation, it would be a shadow of what it is now.
7. You are a local band t-shirt connoisseur. Which band gets the honor of being your first? Which shirt is your absolute favorite? Which band’s t-shirt is your most recent purchase?
A: My first band T-shirt (not event, mind you) was Big House Pete. On the back was a Paul Petersen greeting to all terrorists. Some of you may remember that shirt. I still have it. My most recent purchase was a Dave Iglar shirt that I bought at the Town Tavern in W. Leechburg. My favorite shirt? You’re not putting me on the spot that easy.
8. What was the first local cd that you ever obtained? What is the most recent cd that you have purchased? Are there any cds in particular that you recommend for fans of the scene?
A: First local music CD was Hybrid. For whatever reason my ex-wife decided to open the cell door and let me out for a night. I wandered into Vandergrift and they were playing at the Gazebo in Kennedy Park. I can’t remember who was handing them out. Took it home and listened. Liked what I heard. Can’t seem to locate it, though. My last purchase was Silk9’s “Exit The Pain” EP. My last acquisition was Slant 6’s “No Regrets” (Thank you, Matt Ferrante). Wow, recommendations? Really, it depends on what you are looking for. That’s what I like about the “Scene” here in Western PA is that whatever your tastes, you’re bound to find something you like in original local music.
9. What is your favorite venue to attend a show at?
A: Hands down, Iselin Ballfield for an outdoor venue. I’ve attended 6 years of the Rock For Life shows at the Ballfield without missing a single show. Each year it gets better. I bought a camper specifically for the Ballfield. I even had a very minor part in building the new stage. Indoor, if I am looking for that dive bar atmosphere and some great local music in a more “intimate” atmosphere, the Sidebar in Kittanning. In Pittsburgh, I like the Altar Bar for a larger indoor venue. Like music, there are so many great venues in this area. Hard to give the nod to any particular indoor venue.

Beardly Customs – Local Spotlight – AKMusicScene.com

Interview of Rick Link from Beardly Customs

Rick Link of Beardly Customs

Rick Link of Beardly Customs

1. How did originally get involved in the local music scene? I answered an ad in the Rock N Roll Reported back in 2000 for a band looking for a bassist. That band was Chronic Groove, which eventually evolved into Camp Element.

2. What was the best concert you have ever been to that involved big name bands? Primus when they toured for the Green Naugahyde album. It was just them, no openers.

3. What was the best local concert you have been to? Halloween 2013 at Mr Smalls. The Ruckus Brothers played Michael Jackson’s Thriller in full. Amazing show.

4. What past local band that is no longer together would you like to see get back together? Brave the Fire. Some of the best dudes ever to exist and they were such an awesome band. Vulture is a close second.

5. What do you see as the singularly most important thing about our local scene? I would say the networking. With facebook, twitter, etc it makes hooking up with bands and venues so much easier than back in the day.

6. What was the first local cd that you ever obtained? What is the most recent cd that you have purchased? Are there any cds in particular that you recommend for fans of the scene? Oh man….. I have no idea what my first one was. I would recommend anything from Old Lords, Solarburn, Victims of Contagion, Vulture, etc.

7. What is your favorite venue to attend or play a show at? At the moment, Altar Bar. Great venue, great stage, great PA system.

8. What is Beardly Customs? Beardly Customs is my custom bass, guitar, and now butcher block company. I build one of a kind, handmade instruments based on my client’s wants.

9. How did Beardly Customs get started? I always modified my instruments because i wanted specifics. So i decided to try and build exactly what i wanted. It was a success and i have been doing it for 4 years now.

10. What is your process for creating a new guitar or bass? I need specifics from a client. Once we nail down the details, i proceed to order all the supplies and parts. Once those arrive i get to the building process.

11. How does one go about ordering from you? You can contact me at beardlycustoms@gmail.com, message me on facebook, or message me on instagram.

12. Is there anything specific that you’d like to tell us about your band Camp Element? We are putting the finishing touches on our first full length cd. Our CD release show will be December 27 at Altar Bar.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/beardlycustoms
E-mail: beardlycustoms@gmail.com
Website: www.facebook.com/beardlycustoms
Phone: 724.263.5081
instagram: @beardlycustoms