June 30, 2017 – The Mission Creeps

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To close out a month of images of performers, musicians, circus acts, and poets, I decided to reach back to the Zombie Prom and the band The Mission Creeps, and a photograph of lead singer James Arr. The following is lifted from their website, which describes their style and method more effectively than I imagine I could:

“Hailing from Tucson, the same diverse music scene that spawned Calexico and Bog Log III, The Mission Creeps spin tales of a different, darker kind of desert, one of lonesome highways and ghost stories. Inspired by art and film noir and horror movies, The Mission Creeps take their cues from bands following similar inspirations, such as The Cramps, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, Joy Division, and Deadbolt.

Rue Morgue Magazine described their sound as “awash in surf guitar” and noted singer James “Arr’s ability, much like Nick Cave, to switch between seductive narrative and a raving yelp.” Supported by the throbbing rhythms of bassist Miss Frankie Stein and drummer George “of the Jungle Beat” Palenzuela, a scary good time can always be had at their shows. With six releases, they continue offer up musical tales populated with witches, killer gnomes, and parties for the undead while providing beats that keep the body moving and the demons at bay.”

Every performance is memorable. These guys don’t phone it in.

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June 25, 2017 – Terry Wolf

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Artist, musician, rancher, motorcycle enthusiast, hippie, and so many things more, Terry Wolf is a force of nature. I don’t have her life story, but my understanding is that she has lived near and far, done a fair bit of traveling, and has endured about as much as life can throw at a person. She has her own patch of land outside of Historic Bisbee where she raises wolf pups and, on occasion, has bonfire celebrations where she invites the whole town to come down and dance, drink, and be merry by the fire.

She used to work a couple of days a week down at Mimosa Market, a small bodega up Brewery Gulch. Two of her wolf pups would sleep on the worn wooden floors all day while Terry stood behind the glass counter, manning the register. Her first husband’s ashes were scattered on the hilltop above Mimosa Market, where a man had constructed a makeshift shrine decades ago; the white cross at the top of the hill can be seen from the outskirts of town. She was also the very first person in Bisbee to buy one of my paintings – a Dia de los Muertos themed mariachi piece – which was a huge boost to a new artist in town struggling to get his footing.

Some of my favorite memories are listening to Terry play the guitar while John Cordes would play the fiddle – springtime afternoons on the outside porch at The Copper Queen Saloon. Folks from out of town would sit outside on Sunday mornings, drinking cold beer a mimosas, while Terry did her thing. On occasion Mark Pierce – another of this month’s performers – would drag out his stand-up base and play with the band.

Check out Terry Wolf and the Back Porch Swing here.

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June 17, 2017 – John Doe

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John Nommensen Duchac, professionally known as John Doe, is a signer, songwriter, actor, poet, and guitarist. He is most broadly known for co-founding the LA punk band X – a group he still participates in – but he has also been performing as a solo artist. His compositions span a variety of genres, including rock and roll, punk, country, and folk. In today’s image, we see him performing in his country mode at The Bisbee Royale.

I am genuinely of the impression that most artists – true, in the bloodstream, unable to turn it off artists – naturally progress and experiment and often dip into different styles, experiment with blending genres, and even migrate to different media (from music to painting, or sculpture to poetry, or any combination you could imagine) in the pursuite of novel ways of expressing ideas and keeping their creations challenging on fresh – not just to the rest of the world, but to themselves as well.

John Doe is one of these people. Always trying new things. The leap from punk to country may not seem feasable, and it takes people like John Doe to throw his hands in the air and say “fuck it, guys – it ain’t that big a deal.” The leap from music to film is probably a little more intuitive; Doe has performed in dozens of movies and television shows including, just to name a few, Road House, Wyatt Earp, Boogie Nights, Carnivàle, and Roswell.

I only met him briefly, but he seemed appeared undeniably pleased to be playing to a thankful audience in an out-of-the-way small town. He was all smiles and handshakes and put on a great set.

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June 16, 2017 – Serena Rose

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This hard-working multi-instrumentalist is more than just a musician. She’s woman who performs in multiple bands, makes amazing photographs, and pursues her creative impulses with an elegance and casual calm that causes photographic artists like me to pause, re-hinge my jaws, and ask “how on earth did she do that?” I first met Serena when I became acquainted with Randall Swindell, the front-man of Ensphere, several years ago.

I photographed Ensphere at their rehearsal/performance space downtown and managed to nab some photographs at a few of their performances at venues down on 4th Avenue, the highlight of which was the record release performance at Plush for their album ‘Corpuscle.’ Serena and Ensphere alum Michael Ludovici share a creative and romantic connection, performing together with Ensphere and with a side project as a duo under the moniker Dyadic.

Beautiful, multi-talented, and kind beyond measure, I recommend checking out Serena’s work:
Dyadic
Serena Rose Photos
Ensphere

Here’s one of my favorite photographs from Serena’s “Levitation” series.
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June 15, 2017 – Swindy

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Randall Swindell has been on the music scene in Tucson for years. I was fortunate enough to meet him several years back when he was the front-man for Ensphere. The ambient/progressive rock team has been through a couple of iterations throughout the years and have recently begun performing again. Randall also began his own solo project, Swindy, in July 2016 after teaming up with drummer Mike Jenney(Alter der Ruine & Assemblage 23) and guitarist Jeff Sargent (vocalist for Industrial Band 51 PEG).

Randall is a consummate performer, having also worked with Flam Chen, a pyrotechnic theater troupe here in Tucson. Swindy has shared the bill with Orgy, Powerman 5000, Trapt, Otep, Dope, Combichrist, William Control, and many others. He is a hard-working performer, an incredibly kind and generous personality, and continues to book shows out for 2017 while working on an upcoming full-length record.

Check out Swindy’s acoustic set of “Reflection” at KFMA below and hit them up on Facebook here.

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June 11, 2017 – Ghost Town Gospel

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Lifted from their website, I couldn’t say it better myself:

‘Ghost Town Gospel is straight out of Oakland, blending traditional American folk influences with elements of punk, pop, and protest music driven to create a candid portrait of life in a broken America. Relentless touring musicians, you’ll be sure to find Ghost Town Gospel at a music hall, festival, dive bar or sidewalk near you.’

I had the pleasure of connecting with this group a few years ago, just before New Years Eve. One of their band-mates was an old college friend of mine, and they played a set at The Bisbee Grand Saloon before crawling up the mountain to unpack their gear at my hilltop home. A booze-fueled evening of living-room jams, huddles around laptops watching videos, telling stories and pouring beverages ensued, until that sun came up.There’s nothing like connecting with energetic creative folks, and there’s nothing like live music. If you ever get the chance, this is a group of people worth looking into.

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June 01, 2017 – The Song-Man

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I’ve been trying to pick some kind of theme for each month and, after looking through the endless archive of images I’ve collected over the years, decided that I would see if I could identify a month’s worth of interesting “music and theater performance” images to share. I’m not a veteran concert photographer and I’ve always have a difficult time getting good images; low light environments and a pitiful lack of knowledge regarding flash photography and artificial light, I’m sad to admit that the terrible photographs outweigh the good ones by a sizable margin.

Nevertheless, I have managed to squeeze-out a few good moments.

We begin today, on the first of June, with the image of a guitar-man wielding his instrument. I lament that I don’t even recall his name. All I recall is that he was an opening performer at a night club in Bisbee, Arizona – a one-man band whose performance was nothing short of mesmerizing. He made the guitar do things I hadn’t seen before, making it both a percussive instrument as well as constructing a melody. It was close to magic, what he was able to do, and the room fell completely silent when he began to play.

If you recognize this man, please add his name in the comment section at the bottom of this post.
“Performance June” has officially begun. See you all tomorrow!

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