Scar Strangled BangerTHEY'RE ANTI-HEAD cheese, intimate with power tools, and regularly remove embedded metal from body parts. Eli Freeman does lyrics, Eddy Dolgner is the sampling guy and guitar player, Taylor Hardy bangs drums and Patrick Forsythe plays bass for this far, far out-of-the-ordinary Tucson industrial band.
"It's at least 50 percent performance art" says Hardy, a glint of mischief in his eye. Or is that just the light hitting a forgotten piece of The Gunther stuck in his flesh? A thick, pointed, phallic, metallic pole, The Gunther holds a prominent place in SSB's performances and legend.
"The lead singer from Betty Stress once impaled a cow's head on The Gunther," Hardy continues. The bizarre tale escalated from there. "Someone was talkin' to our sound guy, Fletch, and told him this whole story about how Eli brought a cow on stage and Eli sawed off its head. I think Fletch just let the guy hang with the story."
How did a cow's head get on the stage in the first place? It must have something to do with this anti-head cheese philosophy (Eli's a vegetarian). The band, ever concerned with their audience, makes sure various oddities are available as they play their instruments--and their power tools.
Dolgner enjoys the fact that they were "sort of endorsing" Makita products. "But Makita stuff is small and dark," he complains, "So we found this company, DeWalt. They make florescent yellow, big, big power tools. We even have an extension chord that lights up."
Hardy muses about the fans. "People we don't even know come up with stuff. Last time we played at the Downtown Performance Center some woman asked to be hung naked from her ankles above the audience. So we rigged a harness from the ceiling."
Is there anything these guys won't do? Negative, implies Dolgner. "It's shock value."
Adds Hardy, "We do this just to frighten people."
Says Dolgner, "It works."
Hardy chuckles, and there's that glint again. To get your very own scar, follow the rumors to their next gig.
"ALL MY EARLIEST memories are about being out in the woods behind our house." Folk singer/songwriter, Eb Eberlein, never lost that early connection to the outdoors.
And after forced violin lessons ("we're talking violin, not fiddle here") that ended in so much tinder with strings attached, Eberlein found the guitar in his early teens, about the same time he started serious solo camping, and stuck with it. After all, it "seemed natural to me to take it when I went hiking and backpacking."
By high school he was hitchhiking up and down the East coast, and out west, guitar in tow, picking up songs, stories and experiences in the side-of-the-road, out-back-of-the-shed school we call oral tradition. ("Put your fingers here and strum like this.") After that, years of working in forestry gave him time off between contracts to continue his American travels.
The release of his own CD, Voice in the Wilderness, with An authentic folk musician, Eberlein can sing a great story. "I don't abstract a lot and I don't fictionalize a lot. It's straight from experience. The Woody Guthrie songs--he's not making any of that stuff up." Eberlein isn't either and his own songs are unschooled in the best way--raw, accessible, real.
guests Terry Pollock and Molly Who, is a turning point. Locally respected and greatly appreciated as a generous supporter of other musicians, Eberlein has hosted countless open mike sessions as well as KXCI's Musician's Showcase for years.
"I got to sit and listen to at least 200 local acts and ask a couple of questions. It was great."
Unlike the typical recording artist, Eberlein ultimately wants to "lead backpacking trips with music as part of the package. I'm happiest when I'm about two or three miles from the nearest road and there's a campfire going and I have a tent up and that's where I enjoy playing the most."
Don't pack yet, tie on your hiking boots and make it to Eberlein's CD release party at the Southwest Center for Music, 2175 N. Sixth Ave., on Sunday, August 20, at 7 p.m. Admission is $4. You'll be glad you did.
Put together two science fiction freaks, a straight-edge junk food junkie with corporate tendencies, and at least one artist and what do you get?
"Cock rock at its finest," says Mike Ahern, Capricorn, lead vocalist, and guitarist for Beyond 7.
Joining Mike in his Bic lighter rock crusade are Rocco Digrazia (Gemini), also on vocals and guitar. Jack Vaughn (Capricorn), on drums and Jason Steed (Tequila), on bass.
Dropping some of the rock opera melodrama of their earlier days to concentrate on a stronger, tighter, more seriously committed sound, Beyond 7 cranks out hard, fast guitar-riffed songs about women and cars. With both guitarists migrating in from the Midwest and heavily influenced by AC/DC, Fugazi, MC5, and Seventies classic rock, the band crash tests classic punk and rock into a refreshingly unique sound.
"People tell us we don't sound like a typical Tucson band," says Digrazia. "Usually they really dig us or they hate up, not a lot in between."
Beyond 7 emerges from an earlier configuration, started by Mike and Jack, called Mummichog. Since evolving into a four-piece and broadening the scope of their sound, the band has begun to infiltrate a larger crowd scene beyond their already established University of Arizona and Downtown Performance Center fans.
"Biker guys like us a lot and so do really young girls...like sixteen-year-olds," says Rocco.
Beyond 7 has been extremely active touring, recording three CDs under Vaughn's fledgling label, Third World Underground, and snagging some very decent opening gigs.
"We've opened for Love Battery, Alice Donut, 7 Year Bitch, Jawbox, and Run DMC," tallies Ahern.
In spite of the activity, local impact has been relatively minimal until recently.
Ahern and Digrazia agree that the presence of Steed (of Dog and Pony Show) as well as Mike's unspoken adoption into that band has helped.
"Jason has a lot of connections and knows a lot of people. It's who you know and Jason's been great," Ahern says.
Having just produced their first demo tape with Steed in tow, Beyond7 is planning a Labor Day weekend mini-tour through California and consulting their ouija board for management advice.
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