I read something yesterday that kind of struck me as an universal truth. It was from a column by The Great Jaime Lees in the RFT. She had interviewed Jimmy Griffin and he said, “One of the first things we always tell them is that nothing ever goes right in rock and roll. And it's the guy that you don't want to kill at a truck stop in the middle of Oklahoma at two in the morning that stays in your band, you know? A lot of things about music involve bending and being able to go with the flow and figure out your place in a group.”
“Bending and being able to go with the flow”…That alone is great advice for anybody regarding anything. It hit me because so many times you start off doing one thing but because of other people and circumstances, you end up doing something else. However, if you “bend” and “go with the flow”, you might find things turn out for the best anyway.
I offer the painting above as an example. It’s of the St. Louis band Maximum Effort playing at CBGB from a show on July 3. In the painting you not only have the members of Maximum Effort but also an audience made up of musicians from some of the best local groups in St. Louis right now. Starting with the bass player on the left, Chris Keith, who I first met when he was playing with Jason Hutto’s last band Warm Jets USA. Then you have the drummer, Tom Valli, who is also a member of the incredible band Shaved Women. In the center of the painting is Zeng who is a personal hero of mine. Not only is he in Maximum Effort but also Bug Chaser and the awesome Catholic Guilt and maybe more I’m not aware of. He’s a South City Rock and Roll God. On the far right playing guitar is Adam Hoskins who has also been in many local groups but is probably best known in the South City Three which plays with Pokey LaFarge.
In the audience is a wide assortment of musicians as well. Down on the left is Ben Salyers from Shaved Women, close to the center is Matty Coonfield who I first met when he played in the fabulous The Electric twelve years ago, but is currently in Bug Chaser and Tone Rodent. Then to the right is Elly Herget who fronts The Skekses and right behind her is Brice Baricevic from Rat Heart and Bob Reuter’s band Alley Ghost. And in the far back is Jeff Robtoy, who is another personal hero of mine. He fronts Pillow Talk and handles guitar in Tone Rodent and does so many other things behind the scenes that it’s impossible to list.
Now, back to the above mentioned quote and how this painting came into existence. Early this summer I was talking with my friend Thomas Crone about different ideas and ways for us to collaborate. He’s a writer and I’m an artist. What can we do? Well, one thing we can do is cover local events and see if anyone is interested. OK, great, what event?
The first thing on our radar was a New Music Circle event that was happening in a refurbished building down by the river just north of Downtown St. Louis. The event was part of the Contemporary’s Open Studio that’s done each year to try and get exposure for local artists. Musicians were set up in the William A Kerr Foundation building and encouraged to play quietly, sometimes complementing each other while other times conflicting with each other, but creating an interesting mixture of sight and sound. A concept that was also explored a decade ago by Eric Hall at his yearly event at Dunaway Books. The idea was for me to do illustrations of the performers and Thomas to write about the event. We met up, soaked in the astrosphere, I snapped some photos to work from and we were off. I did pieces on Dave Stone, Laura Dempsey and
“Bending and being able to go with the flow”, that’s the key to most things in life. What you plan for or think will happen, might very well not happen but if you can bend and go with the flow, it may turn out just as well or even better.
now playing - Maximum Effort
now playing - Maximum Effort