Friday, April 27, 2012

Once in a Lifetime

I am not a writer, or a musician of any accomplishment but music is still my life's blood. Nothing can fill my life with the kind of excitement a great CD, new band, or live performance can. It's better than coffee!
  When I got the idea to do a series of posts about music and how it inspires writers, I emailed some of my favorite authors asking them to be a part of things. To my delight and shock all were on board. Get ready folks this “chain gang” is about to get busy!, 
So you may ask yourself( apologies Mr. Byrne) what makes Synde so qualified to do something like this? Perhaps a little about myself will help:

  I can't remember a time when music wasn't a factor in my childhood. My mother has “loungeish” taste, and played the likes of Tom Jones, Engleburt Humperdink and Dusty Springfield. We watched Ed Sullivan as a family and I hid away alone to watch Soul Train, American Bandstand, and the Reele Don Steele show. My older brother and sister taught me about the British Invasion, Glam, and early Metal. By the age of twelve I was cutting my teeth on the likes of The Doors, Alice Cooper, David Bowie and Deep Purple. In high school I wrote record reviews for both Creem and Hit Parader magazines, as well as my high school newspaper. I was Carlsbad High's answer to Robert Hilburn or Jann Wenner.
 After that I went on to work for a small number of bands... The Cure, The Cult, Adam Ant, Lords of the New Church, The Ramones, Patti Smith, The Smiths, The Police, King, and U2 and more
 Even after all these years away from the business( I officially left in 1999) music still runs through these ol' veins.
 I would never call myself an authority on music, because hell, my younger friends bring me new shit daily! But I am a fan! And that my friends is what qualifies me to do this: the love of music pure and simple. I hope you enjoy the series, please comment and share your own favorites!
 Stay tuned!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Summoning the Music


Jenn Bennett is one of my favorite writers, her books are smart,exciting, gritty and often hilariously funny. She incorporates magic and demons into her world in a way, new to the Urban Fantasy genre. Her first book in the Arcadia Bell series is out, it's called Kindling the Moon and you can find a post about it here.
 Her second book in the series Summoning the Night, just came out . Here is a little bit about it...

 After narrowly escaping her fate as a sacrificial scapegoat, Arcadia Bell is back to normal. Or at least as ordinary as life can be for a renegade magician and owner of a tiki bar that caters to Earthbound demons. She’s gearing up for the busiest day of the year—Halloween—when a vengeful kidnapper paralyzes the community. The influential head of the local Hellfire Club taps Cady to track down the fiendish bogeyman, and now that she’s dating red-hot Lon Butler, the club’s wayward son, she can hardly say no. Cady and Lon untangle a gruesome thirty-year trail of clues that points to danger for the club members’ children. But locating the person behind the terror will require some metaphysical help from Cady’s loyal bar patrons as well as her potent new Moonchild powers—and she’d better figure it out before the final victim disappears and her own darkest secret becomes her biggest enemy. 

 I asked Jenn to come over and talk to us about how music inspires her writing, so with further ado.. Here's Jenn..........................

 I'm one of those writers who needs complete silence to write. I can't even stand to hear the dull murmur of the television in another room. I have, on occasion, put on a set of ear buds connected to absolutely nothing, just to block out noise. Yes, I'm crazy.

 But music is still a vital part of my creative process. I listen to it when I'm daydreaming book ideas, plotting my scenes, and getting revved up to write. Different projects require different vibes. If you're interested in what inspired to me when I was working on the latest Arcadia Bell book, SUMMONING THE NIGHT, look no further. Here's a peek into the tunes that helped me dream up the events, people, and places in Cady's world:

1. "The Next Movement" by The Roots. I've got a major crush on Questlove, the brilliant drummer for the Roots. (Who, by the way, has some of the best hair in hip hop, hands down. Very Jupe-y, don't you think?) The Next Movement is one my favorite Roots songs. They've got the hot-hot music, the hot-music.

 2. "Jailbreak" by Thin Lizzy. I think this would probably be one of Lon's favorite songs. It's definitely one of mine. Perfect old-school, asskicking rock. I listened to Thin Lizzy a lot when I was writing SUMMONING. More Jupe hair. Maybe there's a trend here.

 3. "Help Me Rhonda" by the Beach Boys. Hey, this is one of the best songs of ALL TIME. It's pretty cheeky. The guy's basically begging this cute girl to help him get over his breakup by sleeping with him. I picture Lon being miserable before Cady showed up—still not quite over his ex, Yvonne—and maybe this went through his head when he was getting to know her. I think he still hums it to himself when Cady's around, but he'd never, NEVER admit it. Don't think of the Beach Boys after they got fat and started whoring themselves out on film soundtracks and playing state fairs. Remember them as they were: one of the bands that shaped the entire world's vision of California and an iconic American band.

 4. "Red Right Ankle" by The Decemberists. When the Decemberists are on, they are ON, buddy. And this song tears out my heart. I listened to it when I needed to dig deep for Cady and Jupe's tear-jerky scene, when Cady is realizing that Jupe and Lon are a package deal. (If you haven't read the book yet, you'll know the scene when you get to it.)

 5. "Oblivion" by Mastodon. I love metal. Mastodon is one of my favorite bands. They're from Atlanta, where I live, so occasionally my husband and I see band members around town, which is kind of cool.

 6. "Porcelain Heart" by Opeth. Did I mention I love metal? This is a Swedish band. I come from hearty Swedish stock, which is probably why I like both Opeth and ABBA. The video for this song is pretty delicious and creepy. And the lead singer has a mustache. Mmm.

 Nice! Thanks Jenn for coming by, as always a pleasure to have you here.

~ you can find Jenn at the following places

her website~

on twitter~

on facebook

you can find her books here~
Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million

Friday, April 20, 2012

The original She-Devil, Betty X comes to visit

I am very very pleased to have scored a interview with the elusive Betty X, amazing singer, performance artist and all around activist. I have nothing but awe for this woman. She does it all, quite well.
Here is a bit about her~

Considering herself first and foremost a conceptual artist and performer rather than a singer, Betty X’s sardonic wit and unapologetic temperament is mirrored in both her music and her powerful stage performances. Her music has been described as everything from enigmatic and surreal to aggressive and hostile, with lyrics that are often cleverly disguised social commentary.
With a background in fine art, Betty got her start in music back in the 90's when she formed the sleazy and provocative art rock band, Salon Betty. As the years progressed, her music steadily grew darker, heavier and more politically-charged. In 1999, she formed her current self-titled solo project.
In recent years, Betty X has quickly become one of the most recognized names in conceptual art metal.

Welcome Betty,or do I call you Betty X? Thanks for coming over to the blog..
I love to showcase underground music.

You can call me Betty.

Is performance art really your calling? How did music come into the mix?

I've always sang and wrote my own quirky songs on piano and keyboards since
I was very young.

I started experimenting in performance art in college. I was taking video art, theatre, music and painting. I started off with painting but felt it lacked something.
I wanted the paintings to come alive instead of being a static moment or a
single frame of film caught in time.

This is where video and film experimentation came into play.
I was inspired by David Lynch and the No Wave art movement.
One of my favorite poets and performance artist is Hugo Ball
of the Dadaist movement in the early turn of the century.
I identified with the Dadaist concept of "anti-art."
I was also inspired by the Meat Joy performance piece in
the 60's by Carolee Schneemann, as well as the Neo-Dada
movement and the Beat Movement. Way too many performance
artists that I admire to mention without writing an entire book on the subject.

As for how the music and performance art came together,
it seemed like the logical conclusion. I wanted to reflect society,
point out its insanity and diseases by creating anti-music,
or what I like to call 'ugly music for ugly times'. I lost interest
in creating beautiful replicators of landscapes, still-lifes and portraits.
A camera would suffice for that; no point of beating a dead horse.

Did you know Ivan (ex-White Zombie, Scum of the Earth) raves about you..

That's cool. I love his work. I love both bands.

What instruments do you play...

Besides singing...piano, keys, guitar (very badly). I'll play anything poorly,
that's the goal.
Anything worth doing, is worth doing very badly, right? Maybe, one day
I'll get the hang of it.

Yes absolutely.. I also subscribe to that way of thinking.
lets talk influences...
What music really has shaped you into the artist you are now? why?
Any books?

Personal influences? Suzi Quatro and The Quatro sisters.
Before there was Joan Jett there was Suzi. The Quatro's
were real trail blazers...the original "bad girls" in rock in the 60's.
I was always drawn to the tough chicks that didn't take anyone's shit..
.I identify with that. I am not a girly prima donna diva that wants to put
on "pretty princess" dresses or fawn over shoes all day long. I'm much
more comfortable swilling beer with the guys.

As for musical influences, I have eclectic tastes that run the gambit from
classic jazz to metal. I love the old 40's and 50's crooners, as well as the
sultry jazz singers from the 20's and 30's. I'm also into old school heavy
metal and punk/new wave. Patti Smith and Nina Hagen were huge
influences. Ministry is still my favorite aggro band. Al is well-versed
in conspiracy theories and political history...he has something to say
and I tend to agree with his world beliefs. I am a hopeless conspiracy
nut and cannot resist a good theory.

Books? You said one of my favorite words. Orwell, Huxley, H.G.Wells,
Thomas More, The Communist Manifesto; I've read all those authors'
works at the early age of 13 and have been obsessed with dystopian
society ever since. More recently, The End of America by Naomi's a must read.

Whiskey or Vodka?

Yes, please.

If you could have dinner with 5 historical figures(whoever) living or
dead who would they be?

That depends on who tastes best with a nice Chianti...

So what's up next for Betty X?

I'm finishing up a new studio album as well as putting together a tight group of backing musicians for the live shows. I can't say much, but I will say this; I think fans have no idea what they're in for.
Thanks again for coming by...

you can find Betty's music here
and here

you can find Betty X and her band at the following places...
her official website~

on twitter~

and facebook~

Friday, April 6, 2012

Light the Keg, Powderburn has arrived

As some of you know I am not known for being a new-school metal fan, but recently a couple of close friends made me aware of a metal band out of Austin, Texas called Powderburn. Since my middle name is skeptical, I didn't hold out for too much, but boy was I wrong! Without trying to be too cliché here, Powderburn is essentially a breath of fresh air in a stagnant genre.

I acquired their last EP One Fix and while not every song is perfect, the ratio of good to bad is heavy on the good. They posses real music competency, something I look for in a band regardless of genre. Not just a hook and three chords in a revolving cycle. This band veers away from the metal formulaic screaming and gives the listener some real depth. Pertinent lyrics and honest musicality give them a healthy mainstream appeal.

Vocalist Ken Lockman isn't a one trick pony at all, he carries melodies well and along with guitarist Eric Anthony and bassist Greg Enkler real harmonies are up and carried through. Drummer Pat Swift is the heartbeat of the band.( Swift has since left the band)

Slowly Divide is a song that has Santana flavored influences, and is methodical in its relentless force. It's like driving on a dark road in the rain; you can't help but watch for the curves thrown at you. This is shot of Bushmills in the album, smoky and sweet, it goes down hot.

The Lights Go Down is clearly the most accessible song on the album. It worms its way into your brain, and you find yourself singing it at the oddest times. Emotional lyrics and headbanging music (omg did I just say headbanging... gasp...) make this song a winner.

The Descending is anthemic in its stompy-ness... Anthony's relentless guitar coupled with Enkler's torturous bass put together the stuff horror soundtracks are made of. Sneaking up on you, and grabbing you by the neck, this song demands your attention. Lockmans vocals are spot on too. This is my favorite song on the album. Beautiful and creepy. Love it.

Rumors in my neck of the woods ( you know those creepy ones where “things” sneak up on you) say they are releasing a new EP quite soon. But in the meantime, pick up One Fix to tide you over.

You can find it here.


you can find and follow the band here

twitter ~@Powderburn

on facebook~

or their website