I have to admit I really like this band. It's like, the back to basics pop punk sound - these guys do so well. Do you like crunchy driving guitar lighting bolts? This band has 'em. The songs have well crafted lyrics and tracks like "Bible Camp" - have a uniquely Grand Rapids religious twist, that is fresh - and weirdly haunting at the same time. I have yet to see them live, but am digging the music videos that I have shared here. Both videos have a strong graphic quality that I really love. You can download a couple of their tunes here.
I was sharing the package design for the new Wealthy Orphans album with a couple of friends a little while ago and the one of them asked if I was familiar with the African saying about chicken teeth. I said no, and he went on to explain that where he grew up in Africa, sometimes they would say, "That will happen when chicken have teeth." This saying would be similar to us saying "when hell freezes over". Impossible!
I have for many years been slowly building my reputation and career as a visual artist. This has included art competitions, writing for grants, working with galleries around the country and even a couple museum shows. I am now 52 years old and have been able to support my family doing this for now many years. I am thankful for this -- and it has often felt like we are doing the impossible.
In 2005, I released my first music album entitled Seamless Life. Our family moved to Brooklyn NY that summer and lived there for a year. I continued to make art, but I also began to seek out ways to get my new CD heard -- as well as find opportunities to perform. I played in coffee shops and the open mic at the Side Walk Cafe. I did have one gig at the Side Walk Cafe, the birth place of the Anti Folk movement, where I played to 5 people on an early Sunday evening -- and one show at the now defunct CBGBs Gallery stage. Even though I didn't get very far, I had begun, and I was learning.
It is seven years since the release of that first CD and I now have a band (we call ourselves the Wealthy Orphans) - which is two years old. We have our first new album as a band, entitled Throwing Glory (Which is a phrase that is lifted from the French lyrics of the Talking Heads song Pyscho Killer) online now. With A Little Piece Of The Pie, this makes my third album to date. There have been a lot of new developments in the ways we can access music in these last seven years -- and it continues to evolve every day.
Trying to build a profile as a professional musician at this stage of my life sometimes feels like looking for a chicken that has teeth. Building a new career along side an existing one -- and keeping both potent, also feels like an adventure of constant learning. Who could want for more? One of my favorite quotes by Picasso is; “I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.” I love that attitude and want to make it my own.
Photo by Eric Tank, Bull Horn embellished by Ryan Brady
The Wealthy Orphans played their show at the DAAC this past Friday in spite of the blizzard that blew through Michigan that night. The Wonder Wagon was taken downtown in the morning of the show and brought back Sunday night with our dear friends and family.
The DAAC is located in a portion of our city where there is a high concentration of street people. I often think of CBGBs with regard to the DAAC. They both were situated in tough neighborhoods which contributed to their rough edgy vibe. We had a man come in that night who we had to forcefully escort out in order to ensure the safety of our guests. This venue is a place where some of the most exciting new music in our city happens and because of that it is also unpredictable. In the art district of Amsterdam they have a saying that, you can not have a culture with out a subculture. I think that is a powerful statement.
Good music happened that night, a new danced performed, and a new young photographer shared her work. Relationships were cultivated and memories made.
If you couldn't make this show, the Wealthy Orphans will be playing the Jammies at the Intersection February 14 in the front room at 6PM. You can go here for a complete schedule.
I was teenager in Kentwood Michigan listening to a John Denver record on my parents stereo system laying on burnt orange shag carpeting when this performance happened at CBGBs in the Lower East Side of NYC somewhere in the mid 70s. I had no idea this was happening at the time because Kiss was the big thing at my high school.
To see David Byrne with his band The Talking Heads here in his humble beginings is really amazing considering how he grew as a performer over the years. We all start somewhere and many don't have the tenacity to continue the journey on to deeper levels and greater vistas. I for one want to keep pressing on.
Our band The Wealthy Orphans have a show at the Pyramid Scheme next week Thurdsay night. (We take the stage at 10:45PM) We were rehearsing Pyscho Killer last night and feeling the strange power that resides in this song. The title comes from the Hitchcock film Pyscho and the Fa Fa Fa's come from the Otis Redding song Called Fa Fa Fa (which sounds nothing like what Bryne ended up with.)