New Songs for Old People: “Strange Heart” by Banditos

Southern blues rockers take fans for a musical ride at Minneapolis tour stop.


Nashville-based, Alabama-bred Banditos perform live at the 7th Street Entry in Minneapolis on Thursday, September 28. For those who don’t know, the Entry is the little sister venue adjacent to the First Avenue night club made famous by Prince in the 1984 film, Purple Rain.

Additionally, saying the words “night club” makes me feel like it’s the 1980s again.


Banditos Steal Hearts with Southern Psychedelics

“This is alright,” drawls banjo player, Stephen Pierce, opening up the set.

Lead singer Mary Beth Richardson channels Janis Joplin in voice and manner. Taking to the floor at one point, she mills about the crowd, singing, stomping, and grooving, despite having a cold, no doubt attributable to many months on the road in support of new record, Visionland out on Bloodshot Records.

According to the group, the title is a nod to a “defunct $60 million theme park that was built in the late ‘90s near some of the band members’ childhood homes in Bessemer, Alabama.”

Get Banditos Tour Dates

For a country-folky-hippie-bluesy thing, check out Banditos as they head back out on the road next month with a first stop at the Revelry Room in Chattanooga December 8.

Banditos perform “Strange Heart” from new album, Visionland at JBTV.

Tequila Tuesdays: TSA Stands for What?

It was the shortest airport security line I had ever seen. That should have been my clue that something was amiss.

There have been a few airline incidents lately where passengers, or in some case, potential passengers, have been treated less-than-stellar. With that in mind, I will share a fun anecdote from a recent flight of mine.


I was going through security, minding my own business when something truly unexpected happened. After setting off the nuclear-radiation, full-body molecular scan sensor, I was herded over to a giant man who growled something indistinguishable.

Suddenly a lady appeared and groped my crotchal area noting that my pants were “saggy.”

“Well, you took my belt,” I offered helpfully.

She asked if I wanted to go someplace private. I figured the genital exam would go much faster, with fewer liberties taken, if I allowed them to perform it in the middle of the concourse. It reminded me of my last trip to Vegas – minus the cocktails.

By the time my clothing and personal effects were returned to me in plastic bins, I wandered unsatisfied to a bar for two shots of Patron (not enough). I also ate nachos and my wife and I posed with matching sweatshirts in front of a Minnesota Twins sign for an impromptu selfie. A girl striding by this red carpet experience took pity on our contortionist routine as we struggled for the perfect shot and offered to snap our picture.

Some time after that we boarded a plane.

Oh, and TSA stands for Tequila Somewhere Ahead. Just remember that.

Tequila Tuesdays: I’ll tell you a story, often involving tequila. You can drink.


P.P.S – I usually post stuff European time because they get up earlier. Go figure! LOL 🙂

Zach Rogue Returns to St. Paul’s Turf Club with New Record 5/25

PHOTO – Zach Rogue discusses musical project Release the Sunbird behind the Turf Club in St. Paul, MN with Caitlin Gutenberger and Jameson Swanagon in 2011.

By Melany Joy Beck

Coincidently, I last caught up with Rogue Wave’s Zach Rogue in an alley behind the Turf Club in St. Paul back in 2011. He was on tour promoting another musical project, Release the Sunbird’s Come Back To Us.

“I want it to have a living room vibe,” Rogue says of Release the Sunbird’s live show. “With Rogue Wave, it’s like dynamics and jumping around and teetering and falling over and being on the edge of falling apart. This is a little more intimate.”

The Release the Sunbird set can be described as ‘cozy.’ With sparse, thoughtful instrumentation and warm vocal harmonies, Come Back To Us is a kind of musical comfort food, a panacea to soothe away the world of worries and conjure images of crackling fires and over-stuffed couches, a vibe Rogue nurtured by recording the record in the sleepy town of Bloomington, Indiana.

“With Rogue Wave, it’s like dynamics and jumping around and teetering and falling over and being on the edge of falling apart.” – Zach Rogue

“I felt really inspired. I wanted to make a pastoral record,” says Rogue on Release the Sunbird. “Bloomington doesn’t really change – the natural beauty, peace and quiet. Every morning I would walk about a mile to the studio and all I heard were birds tweeting.”

“I feel like our music is inclusive,” says Rogue. “It’s not hip or edgy, it’s just melodic and it has a sensibility where I feel it opens its arms up to everybody.”

Following up the last Rogue Wave album, 2013’s Nightingale Floors, Delusions of Grand Fur is scheduled for a 4/29 release.

Rogue Wave cover170x170

01 “Take It Slow”
02 “In The Morning”
03 “California Bride”
04 “Look At Me”
05 “Falling”
06 “Curious Me”
07 “What Is Left To Solve”
08 “Frozen Lake”
09 “Endless Supply”
10 “Ocean”
11 “Last Picture Show”
12 “Mimento Mori”


Rogue Wave — 2016 Tour Dates
05/05 Oakland, CA @ Starline Ballroom
05/06 Mill Valley, CA @ Sweetwater Music Hall
05/07 San Francisco, CA @ The independent
05/10 Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Ballroom
05/11 Buffalo, NY @ Tralf Music Hall
05/12 Boston, MA @ The Sinclair
05/13 New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom
05/14 Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
05/15 Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda’s
05/17 Washington, DC @ Black Cat
05/18 Carrboro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle
05/19 Atlanta, GA @ Terminal West
05/20 Nashville, TN @ Mercy Lounge
05/21 St. Louis, MO @ Old Rock House
05/22 Kansas City, MO @ Riot Room
05/24 Milwaukee, WI @ Turner Hall
05/25 Minneapolis, MN @ Turf Club
05/26 Chicago, IL @ Thalia Hall
06/09 Dallas, TX @ Club Dada
06/11 Austin, TX @ Mohawk Outdoors
06/12 San Antonio, TX @ Paper Tiger
06/17 Los Angeles, CA @ Teragram Ballroom
06/18 Solana Beach, CA @ Belly Up

Editor’s Note: Portions of this article first appeared as part of the Curve Magazine blog, She’s Electric in December of 2011.


About the Author

Melany Joy Beck is a writer, musician, and award-winning independent filmmaker. Her Kickstarter project, short documentary Bring It 2 Peter (co-produced with Janelle Sorenson) was selected Special Jury Prize at the Nevada Film Festival 2011, Best Documentary at the Central Wisconsin Film Festival 2011, and Official Selection at the Minneapolis Underground Film Festival 2012.


Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros Front Woman Shines at First Avenue


Editor’s Note: This article first appeared as part of the Curve Magazine blog, She’s Electric in September, 2010 as “Un-Jaded with Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.”

By Melany Joy Beck & Janelle Beck

It’s easy to write off Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros as one of L.A.’s newest musical shticks. With their psychedelic prairie garb, dreadlocks and obvious appreciation of a certain herbal substance, the band is easy to stereotype. It is also true that their lineup includes a former ABC Family star, an American Apparel model and a cadre of west coast scenesters, including former Ima Robot front man, Alex Ebert who now dresses like the next messiah. However, Edward Sharpe and their free-loving ethos is a Kool-Aid worth drinking.

One of two women in the ten-person ensemble and the ingénue behind their breakthrough single, ‘Home’ is Jade Castrinos. Channeling Grace Slick at her most affable and Janis Joplin at her most lucid, Castrinos’ voice conjures images of wide open spaces and the fantasy of some nameless, long-forgotten west. But the singer becomes humble at the evocation of such icons and seems hard-pressed to claim any rock-idol throne.

“That’s a fucking honor, man. My dad and I were in a jam band and we would jam Janis Joplin,” she says, taking a seat backstage at Minneapolis’ First Avenue nightclub. “Strangely, I just picked up a biography on her and the first page I opened up to was a story about her sleepwalking as a kid and her mom woke her and asked what she was doing and she said, ‘I’m going home, I’m going home.’ That instantly hooked me.”

The sentiment of ‘Home’ has hooked a lot of people on Jade Castrinos too.

“The other night we had a show in Montana and it was just incredible,” she muses. “We had one of those moments when everyone is jamming and we become a unit and everything syncs up in the room.” She shakes her head and focuses her eyes on a seemingly empty patch of dressing room wall. “Those are the ones. The soul shakers. The moments when I understand why I’m on earth.”


In an industry where competition is par for the course, Castrinos maintains an holistic view of her musicianship and why she twirls and wails and bangs the tambourine in the Edward Sharpe rock collective.

“It’s not just about me,” she says. “It’s about us making a sound together and being of service to song and love and supporting each other. The opposite of jealousy and competition is admiration and sharing. That’s the side of it that I’m on.”

The overall essence of Castrinos reaches beyond the notion of taking the stage. Marveling at the state of the world, our country, and even the music being written she is visibly struck by the sudden magnitude of import.

“What really matters when you go to your death bed?” she asks, raising her hands up and letting them flutter back down to smooth her tunic. “It’s not about the fuck-you songs to the government. I don’t think that’s what it should be about. It’s about shining a light and being a light and not cursing the darkness. We are all born into a world that is at war. Brothers and sisters don’t recognize each other and we all are living in this illusion of duality.”

At the sold-out show with opening act, Dawes, there is no hint of disharmony as Castrinos and Ebert echo the anthemic chorus of ‘Home’ to close out the night. In this band of brothers, sister Jade shines.


About the Authors:

Melany Joy Beck and Janelle Beck are writers and filmmakers. Their short documentary Bring It 2 Peter was awarded Special Jury Prize at the Nevada Film Festival, Best Documentary at the Central Wisconsin Film Festival, and Official Selection honors at the Minneapolis Underground Film Festival. They can also be heard in vocal harmony on the Delavan song, Pistols Blazing.

All content and images copyright Melany Joy Beck, Janelle Beck 2016©

Story Behind the Song – Pistols Blazing

I’m starting a new series on this blog called Story Behind the Song. This won’t be for everybody. Some people prefer NOT to know the story behind the song because it definitely can take some of the magic out of it. Other people love to know how things were created, so if you’re the latter read on.

Delavan L to R, Mark Larson, Melany Joy Beck, James Gould, Vero

Delavan L to R, Mark Larson, Melany Joy Beck, James Gould, Vero

The genesis for Pistols Blazing, my new song with my band Delavan actually happened while I was watching Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady where she plays an ailing former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. I had consumed several shots of whiskey and it was getting on in the evening. I won’t ruin the movie for anyone who hasn’t seen it, but what struck me was how Thatcher pressed on toward the inevitable despite her faculties succumbing to what all bodies and minds fall to eventually.

I thought about how many people I’ve known that have spent greater and lesser amounts of time in the public eye and how there grows an increasing responsibility with this over time. It’s the same for anyone responsible for things bigger than themselves. Kids. A job. Art. We give until there is nothing left when it comes to the things we love. We cope as best we can. We pick ourselves up, often with the help of others, and we go on. Occasionally we resort to self-destructive means simply to drag ourselves out the door and be that person that people seem to so desperately need us to be. There is a particular poignancy when we know we’re fading. We know the end of the story. And we keep on going anyway, while everybody waits and hopes for that one last flash of greatness.

That’s what the song is about. Lyrics are below. You can also download it at http://bit.ly/1dUNiqD.
Pistols Blazing

Shot glass on the table, lights go dim

Something on your mind

Swear to God it’s like back in time again

We’re still waiting

This is what you do

Take your time until we’re through


And you’re gone, gone, gone pistols blazing

We don’t know what you’re saying

But when you’re on, on, on your shit’s amazing

Take your time, we’ll wait in line

It’s long, but the show got to go on


Gonna pick you up, set you down

Put it in your mouth

Pretty soon you’ll be back around

To dance, dance, dance

Get on about it

Forget your lines, you tried and tried to keep your mind


But you’re gone, gone, gone pistols blazing

We don’t know what you’re saying

But when you’re on, on, on your shit’s amazing

Take your time we’ll wait in line, it’s long

But the show got to go on


And the candle burns down too

Everybody is still paying

You gotta keep on playing

Keep on playing

Keep on playing



Playing till you’re gone, gone, gone pistols blazing

We don’t know what you’re saying

But when you’re on, on, on your shit’s amazing

Take your time, we’ll wait in line

It’s long, but the show got to go on

You got to go on