Burns From Within, like a Pheonix, was birthed from the ashes of disbanded band Skulltoboggan in April of 2009. “It was bitter sweet at the time; but, it definitely worked out the way it should’ve,” said guitarist Tommy Ward in a mid-afternoon interview. Having only been gigging a few months, the quintet ~ comprised of Lindsey Bucci, 21, with stunningly melodic vocals, Jefferson Bourguignon, 26, shredding lead on a 6 or 7-string Ibanez guitar, Tommy Ward (a.k.a. T-bone), 33, keeping rhythm on his ESP axe, Eric Corbett (a.k.a. E-dawg), 36, slammin’ on a 5-string bass and Bob Dexter (a.k.a. Dexx), 34, with sticks on a drum kit behind it all ~ has already been making noise on both the Worcester and New England scenes.
Burns From Within creates a brand new and must-hear sound by combining years of experience, three five-hour practices a week, raw, grungy, palm-muted rhythm guitar, fast leads, aggressive drums and the energetic sound of a skilled female vocalist sailing over the entire cacophony. This Worcester-based hardcore group does not fit the screaming, swearing-for-swearing’s-sake, insensitive stigma of their genre. As Ward reported with a grin on his face and jewelry in his mouth, “[While] our roots are in hardcore stuff… I wouldn’t go as far as to say ‘pretty’ [regarding their sound]… but, it’s ~ pretty.”
Furthermore, the group composes serious songs about serious topics. For example, “Boots and Sand,” featured on their myspace page, is an exploration of what it’s like to be fighting a war in Iraq when one doesn’t believe in the cause. Another song, one of their first, is about Ward losing custody of his daughter. Another is “an ode to making wrong choices in life… They’re all very personal,” Ward shared. “We bear our souls out there, showing our fans ‘Hey, this is what makes us burn from within.’” And typically, the audience responds: “We’ve already got a sizeable, small fan base going that’s continued to grow…every time someone hears it, BOOM, they come back for more.”
Having already been in close contact with both New England Concerts and Live Nation Events, things are looking up. As Ward explained, “You’re not gonna see Burns From Within playing on small stages for a lengthy amount of time…You’re gonna see us playing with bigger bands like Killswitch Engage in the not too distant future… no joke, we’ll be there.”
With such prowess, promise and confidence, this band is bound for success in a big way. Check out www.myspace.com/burnsfromwithin for tour dates, tunes and personal contact information.
With folk music again on the upswing to mainstream popularity, we must wade through a wave of pretenders. James Keyes, however, is no pretender, but a step in the right direction for modern folk music; make note, though, he is a lot more than just a folk musician.
What sets Keyes apart from his counterparts is that he makes an effort not to make art for art’s sake.
“I can’t stand bands or singers who are full of pretentious bullsh*t,” says Keyes, “I try to get straight to the point with something straight from my gut.”
This no-nonsense attitude is evident in his style. It is hard to peg Keyes as being just a folk musician because his music is too dynamic to be thrown into that generalization. His music is laced with that dirty and grungy blues of the south and has hints of bluegrass and old country with a bit of a punk rock edge, and a lot more in between. It is not hard to compare Keyes to the likes of Johnny Cash or Tom Waits, but his style is his alone.
“[It’s] low key,” Keyes says, searching for the right words, “maybe dark folk music. It has got bits of blues, folk old time and bluegrass but it isn’t any of those things really.”
His music is at once melodic, uplifting and punch-me-in-the-heart sad, but he sings always of simple truths “You Got Nothing,” for example, is a simple bluesy-folk song with lyrics like “…you ain’t got nothing if you got nothing to break your heart.”
“Writing [music] is reactionary,” Keyes says, “definition in negative space. I’m inspired to write something that I’d like to hear because there’s so much crap out there that I don’t want to listen to.”
“I either sit around at the piano or with the guitar,” Keyes adds, “at that point melodies and rhythms either come or they don’t but I don’t try and push it. It is more of a channeling [process] than the building of a house.”
With his new record Ruminations in its final stages at Toad Hall Studios and a Tuesday night residency at Nick’s Bar and Restaurant on Millbury St, expect to hear more from and of James Keyes.
For more on James Keyes, head over to www.myspace.com/jameskeyesmusic.
is expected in October 2009.
Worcester has a new band that everyone needs to know about: Orange Diesel. They can best be described as a local super-group put together with members of all-different, well-established local bands ~ Officer Down, Knockdown, Infused, and many more. But if their resume is not enough to impress right off the bat, they’re music is.
The well-experienced crew got together only a year ago and immediately began writing songs. With no real goal aside from just jamming, they suddenly realized they were on to something better than ordinary. “Of all the bands that I’ve been in, this has been the most fast paced,” said lead singer Jamie. “We’re all a little bit older and more experienced, so we know all the things we need to do,” added guitarist Vinny Pendleton.
The band has a simple approach to their music. Keep it fun. Where other bands start treating their music like a business, the guys in Orange Diesel are quick to turn the other way. “We’re all focused on writing the best songs we can, and having a great time and living. Otherwise why would we do this? If it’s not fun, it’s not for me,” Jamie said.
The band describes their sound as a cross between rock, blues, and even metal. “It’s progressing into something a little bit heavier,” Jamie said. “We all have different musical backgrounds, and we all respectfully come together to make our sound,” Pendleton added. The mix of influences is obvious, as at times they sound like Black Sabbath, at others like Alice In Chains. Regardless, though, they never sacrifice their melody. The songs maybe a little on the dark side, but the vocals pull them back into the rock side of things.
Orange Diesel currently have a 3 song demo available at shows, and 4 songs available for free on their myspace page, along with a music video they made for the song “Fire Glowing.” The guys fully support music downloading, and don’t mind giving their music out for free. And they encourage others to do the same. “There’s a big gap between old rock and roll and new rock and roll… here’s our music for free… now you’ll come see us,” Jamie said. When most bands act like a business, it’s nice to see a band more interested in the music for once.
The guys in Orange Diesel are the real deal. Working hard on a new CD, they hope to have it out this fall, self-released of course. They’ll continue working on their brand of metal influenced rock and roll songs until it’s not fun anymore, which we hope won’t be any time soon. When it comes to performing, Jamie closed with, “Look at me, I’m a clown, I’m a jester up on stage, you can throw bottles at me, but I’m still going to sing, and I’m still going make music, just to make everyone happy.” It may be a simple way of looking at things, but it’s the right attitude to have.
Worcester is a city teeming with bands. Every genre of music is well spoken for. But within this city of live music, CJ/DJ is working hard to stand out and make a name for himself. And he’s succeeding.
Chris Charron (aka CJ/DJ) is an up and coming DJ who holds nothing back. He approaches DJ’ing a club the way a band writes music, with the primary goal being a positive reaction from the crowd. “I’d love to have 400 people dancing to what I’m playing,” Charron said. “To me, that’s the ultimate rush.” But DJ’ing is not the only thing keeping him busy. He’s been putting all his efforts into starting a production company in Worcester. More on that below.
His career started innocently enough, as a young DJ at a roller rink. Spinning records for all the skaters sparked his interest, and DJ’ing officially entered his blood. A love of music led to him doing all his own production, and he quickly moved on to DJ’ing clubs.
His production work is what truly sets him apart from other DJs. Charron will mesh together songs and beats to create a sound that’s upbeat and dance-ready. “It doesn’t matter who the DJ is, or how popular he is, as long as he’s putting down a solid beat, and everyone’s dancing and having a good time, that’s what it’s all about,” he said. But he stresses that the song itself is not what gets the crowd going. It’s the added production that sticks out. “You can’t just play top 40 and think you’re a great DJ,” he said.
DJ’ing clubs is not the only thing he’s up to. Charron started an entertainment company called EKG Entertainment, creating his own beats and doing re-mixes of already popular songs. The company is working with several other DJs and with local rapper E. Jerome. Charron recently put together a Michael Jackson tribute, where he mixed some of the King of Pop’s beats with current top 40 artists like Pink.
Through EKG, and his website sounzlikefun.com (which is currently under construction), he has been putting together an online radio station. The station will stream DJs’ productions from all over the world, helping out the DJ community in the process.
Being a club DJ is his true passion, and adding a new element to the club atmosphere is what Charron wants to make happen. But he does have one complaint. “It’s…tough to get the club owners to do anything,” he said, speaking of how some of his innovative ideas (like a 1-on-1 DJ battle) get shut down, but that he’s determined to get local owners to listen.