Pulse Shots | August 2015
Ben Carroll brings Fantasy Rock n’ Roll Camp Home.
By Matt Erhartic
$10,000. That’s the average cost of Rock-n-Roll Fantasy Camp ~ a five day, four night Las Vegas experience rubbing shoulders with some of the road ravaged, rock star elite. Campers get to trade licks and get schooled in the mighty ways of “rawk” by some of the greatest musicians in town. Now unless you have a trust fund and a silver spoon dangling from your mouth, the closest thing to chasing that dream would be an all night session of Simon…er, I mean Guitar Hero. Ben Carroll has made it easier for those of us with a champaign taste on a beer budget to learn from an industry pro.
The Southbridge resident made a name for himself as the guitarist for Universal Records recording artists Ra. After several months of touring the states with bands like Korn, Disturbed and Evanescence, Carroll retreated to his home studio to rekindle an old passion ~ teaching guitar. “My favorite aspect of teaching guitar is seeing someone’s excitement when they pull something off that they couldn’t play before.” Carroll explains. “It reminds me that at the end of the day playing an instrument is supposed to be fun…plus, it keeps my chops in great shape.”
Carroll honed his “chops” while attending Berklee College of Music in Boston. Despite the intense studying, he compares his experience at the prestigious school to “…being in Disney Land every day,” but found that the temptation of taking a stab at the rock-n-roll big time was too intense ~ it was a temptation that eventually drove him to leave Disney for the Hollywood Hills.
With years of experience and schooling under his belt, Ben seeks new ways to engage each student by custom designing each lesson with that pupil in mind ~ not just lecturing out of a Guitar 101 book. “I try to follow the direction that the student is most interested in…whether it is technique, song writing and recording, theory…whatever, but eventually I try to tie them all together.”
Ben hasn’t quite put rock-n-roll on the back burner just yet, as Ra continues to work diligently on their upcoming release, Black Sun. The new album is set drop in the early spring, as is an instrumental album that Carroll has been casually tinkering with over the last few years, or “…whenever inspiration hits.”
At $30 a 1/2 hour and $50 an hour, Ben Carroll makes learning from a world class pro affordable and accessible ~ making it time to finally put the video game down and learn the art of guitar from a real Guitar Hero.
Photo courtesy of minty pics (mintypics.com).
Krave: You Know You Want It
By Rachel Shuster
Your heart pounding, beads of sweat dripping down your cheek, hands shaking with anticipation, and a fiery desire rushing through your veins…Yearning for a little something to satisfy you? Well stop stressing and just head to the place whose name says it all! Introducing Krave, located at 320 Main Street in Worcester. As one of Worcester’s newest and most enticing bars and lounges, Krave has it all, no matter your mood.
Formerly a different bar, the name Krave stuck after a tough decision-making process. With all that Krave has to offer, it’s no doubt that folks will be visiting the bar on a regular basis. Kevin Morgan, Krave’s veteran special events promoter, describes it as a “neighborhood bar” that always has something new to offer the community. Open seven days a week, Krave offers a night bar from 9pm to 2am with “…really cheap drinks,” Morgan says enthusiastically, and a day time café which “…will be opening soon. ”Krave is 18+ for both guys and girls, and amazingly has “…an exclusive no cover, all the time,” Morgan points out. Pretty awesome!
With its chic decor of warm browns and reds, paintings and artsy furniture, Krave definitely sets the mood for a good time. Make sure to check out special events and offers such as holiday parties, Monday night football events, birthday parties with complimentary champagne, college nights with full blown beer pong competitions, ladies’ nights with contests to win cash and prizes like gift certificates and spa packages, afterhour party offers and much more.
One of the most prominent aspects of Krave is its emphasis on music. You can always count on a night full of dancing with different local DJs spinning Top 40 and other popular music. “It’s like a combination of 94.5 and 108FM,” Morgan says. “The DJs mix it up. They know how Worcester works!” Just like the music, Morgan explains that the clientele is “…a diverse crowd,” ranging from young to older. Everybody is welcome at Krave. One thing that never changes, though: “We always get an enthusiastic group.”
Now that you know you have somewhere to go to satisfy your desires for an outing full of fun, inexpensive drinks, good food, pumping music and exciting special events, get down to Krave!
New Pond Fondle
“Come get fondled!”
By Sam Femino
New Pond Fondle is: A. An arousing fraternity rites of passage act or B. A hip jam-rock outfit.
Ok, so either answer could essentially work, but for now the focus is on New Pond Fondle the band, right out of Fitchburg, MA. The…interesting…name actually comes from a painting a local musician gave the band and it stuck almost immediately, or so says NPF’s bassist Kyle Shattuck.
Since its inception in 1995, New Pond Fondle has built up quite the local following with a sound flavored with sweet jams, reggae influences, and a rocking vibe. They’ve played hundreds of shows throughout New England at many of the top bars, nightclubs, and venues. They also have three albums to their credit: The Blue Disc, Organic Chemistry, Anxious for Mellow, all of which you can catch at www.myspace.com/npfbluedisc
Although many local clubs have turned a good number of their nights towards karaoke and cover-only performers, the band doesn’t plan on ever compromising their energetic and improvisational live feel. “We differ from a lot of local bands because we often will play an entire set of original music. When we play covers we try to do them in our own style and never learn the songs note for note,” says Shattuck.
Like most jam-bands, New Pond Fondle relies on a healthy amount of improvisation from its members, especially Mat Babineau. Babineau’s guitar attack fuels the band and pushes it creatively. Shattuck adds, “Dan Cormier (keyboardist) fills in the rest of the sound around Babs which usually involves a lot of jazz style chords.”
New Pond Fondle can be found honing their ever expansive set list at Tammany Hall in Worcester, Partners Pub in Fitchburg, and frequently at The Boulder in Fitchburg – which Babineau owns.
The best time of the year for the band is definitely summer. “We throw our own party called ‘Ashby Arts & Music Festival’ in the summertime at a friend’s house….the vibe and feel outside by the pond and bonfire with the moon as a backdrop just can’t be beat.”
When asked if Shattuck and other members (the full line-up is Dan Cormier – Keyboardist/vocals, Mat Babineau – Guitar/vocals, David Harrington – Lead vocals, Greg Secino – Drums) have far-reaching touring ambitions, he made it clear that they’ve already found a rewarding niche for their upbeat sound and are quite not straying far.
“At this point NPF would like to play locally for our loyal friends and followers and occasionally branch out to other venues around Vermont, New Hampshire and maybe even a weekend warrior trip to Virginia Beach during the summer months.”
Check out New Pond Fondle February 9 @ Ralph’s Diner w/ Castine, Trebek and Swill Merchants. And who knows; a totally improvised tune like “Potato Gun” (myspace.com/newpondfondle) may just be your reward!