Sonic Snapshots: Tom Petty: A Tribute by Ross Barnes

On October second, one of the great American rock artists passed into the great beyond. Tom Petty was a wonderful musician, taking part in bands Mudcrutch and the supergroup Travelling Wilburys, as well as his own Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. His death is a tragedy tacked on to the many musicians of the ‘70s and ‘80s who have been lost over the past couple of years. The best way I can think to honor him is with my personal favorite playlist of his songs:

1. Learning to Fly
2. Free Fallin’
3. Runnin’ Down a Dream
4. American Girl
5. Night Driver
6. I Won’t Back Down
7. End of the Line (Travelling Wilburys)
8. Refugee
9. Breakdown
10. You Don’t Know How It Feels

Tom Petty was one of the first artists I ever listened to, and his music has certainly helped with why I decided to become a musician myself. I hope you all enjoy.

QPC’s Kick-Ass Column: Spyder Bonez Returns

Spyder Bonez is a MONSTER of a band, comprised of a huge sound and larger than life personalities. Wildly popular not only for their exciting music and energetic live shows, they also became known for their insanely fun — and oftentimes out of control — after-parties. With a camaraderie closer to that of a gang than a band, they have an element of reckless abandon surrounding them. Their reputation conjures up the sleaze, attitude, and danger usually reserved for Hollywood’s Sunset Strip, e.g., Guns N’ Roses or the Rolling Stones in their heyday. Sex, drugs, and rock and roll! They formed in 1997 in Greensboro, NC, when singer Devon Cochran began writing music with guitarists Chris “Rip” Pittman and Tuggie Turner; bass player Wayne Wilson (promptly replaced by Todd Bullard) and drummer Brian “Bull” Bentley followed suit shortly thereafter. In 2000, with the exception of a handful of reunion shows, the band went on an indefinite hiatus with an undefined future.

In 2017, Spyder Bonez lives and breathes again! With the rejuvenating energy and fresh blood of new members Brad Autwell and Rob Wojnar on bass and drums, respectively, the legacy of the band carries on, and they’ve somehow managed to maintain the respect and loyalty of their fans through all those lost years. It’s a testament to the immense impression they’ve made in the hearts and the minds of their fan base. With a brand new album, Indignant, pristinely recorded by Jamie King at The Basement Recording, Spyder Bonez intends to show 2017 that they’re here to stay! They’ve rubbed elbows with and opened for such national acts as Black Label Society, Biohazard, and Nothingface, to name a few. Currently number 1 locally, number 5 nationally, and number 8 globally on the ReverbNation charts, any chance to catch their amazing live show is a can’t-miss opportunity.

Sonic Snapshots: 2017 Songwriter Standoff by Ross Barnes

It was a warm night on August 31st and it was even warmer inside the packed room of Delurk Art Gallery. With a small setup of beers and waters by Hoots Roller Bar & Beer Co. and a vast row of chairs in front of the stage, the 2017 Songwriter Standoff held a cozy atmosphere appropriate for the charming songs that would bless the ears of all who attended.

For those who don’t know, the Songwriter Standoff is a locally held battle of the bands for acoustic, singer/songwriter musicians to get a shot at 50% of the entry revenues. The competition consists of three rounds of one song by each competitor, where five songwriters continue on to the second round with a different song, and then two continue to the final round with a third song.

Each artist that performed was wonderful, either because they had beautiful stories to tell — be it heartbreak, wanderlust, or simply comic relief — or because the combination of tones they produced, combined with the calming melodies and cadences of their voices, simply drifted you away to a meadow of serenity, nestled between the peaks of snow-capped mountains. Every tale left you wanting more from each artist, and from only five were you able to fulfill that desire. Those five were Kendra & Zach Harding, Laura Jane Vincint, Tracy Colletto, Tom Troyer, and Jeff Wall.

Each of these five artists brought their own flavor of songwriting; even when they were of the same genre, each artist was refreshingly unique. The Hardings had a lovely cohesion, uniquely fitted by a couple with many experiences together and a shared love for music. Laura had wonderful presence coupled with traditional folk vibes and topped beautifully with swooning vocals. Tracy Colletto, the far-travelling Pennsylvanian, had the sound and cadences of a theatre production, skillfully throwing spoken word into her phrases, giving each line personality and sincerity. Tom Troyer, of the Greensboro band Farewell Friend, had thick and full folk-rock vocals expertly hushed over the quiet nature of an acoustic guitar. The towering comedian, Jeff Wall, is the last who played of these five. With songs titled “Love Everybody” and “Battery Operated Boyfriend,” Jeff brought an exquisite air of comedy and light-hearted fun throughout the room. Unfortunately, of those five, only two could continue to the final round, and after a hot and sweaty five-minute hiatus, we found out who those two were.

The Pennsylvanian and the swooning traditionalist. Tracy Colletto sang of human experience, of the frustrating day-to-day interactions that a soft-spoken observer would regularly come across, but shrugs off the inconvenience, because everybody has off days. Laura Jane Vincint sang a bluesy tale, one of the country, one that you would hear over the PA after a loud show to close out the night, one that could just lull you while you rest on a hammock enjoying the mountain air. It was a perfect closer, and a strong finish, worthy of making Laura the winner of the 2017 Songwriter Standoff.

Stage equipment was handcrafted and provided by Thomas Williams of Blue Maple Design LLC and sound tech was provided by SoundLizzard Productions. Without their help, the night couldn’t have been so beautiful.

My Grunge

by Jim Pica


Growing up, I listened to and appreciated a variety of types of music.
My high school years started during the early ’90s when grunge rock

I was there when it “smelled like teen spirit.”
I was there when they came to “snuff the rooster.”
I was there when we “got time, time, to wait for tomorrow.”
I was there waiting for that “black hole sun” to come.

And yes.
I was there when “Jeremy spoke in class.”

I remember when we lost Cobain.
I remember when we lost Staley.
I remember when we lost Weiland.

And now Cornell.

The death of Cornell stings hard. I feel like my teenage self again, filled with all that angst and sadness. Depression is a crazy thing, whether you’re rich and famous or just an average Joe. It is a horrible thing that can push people to the edge. We will never understand what went through Cornell’s mind, or any of the great grunge lead singers’ minds, that made them make their final decision.

It is truly a big loss, and a very unexpected one of Cornell. I can only hope that Eddie Vedder stays with us for a long time and continues the sound I grew up with.

Whether you enjoyed their music or not, they were all still people who expressed themselves in a very unique and artistic way.

I write this just to say I appreciate all that they have given us musically. Again, I know not everyone liked their music or artistic expression, but they were people. People like you and me. People with problems and demons.

Just like you and me.

Stay strong, my friends, and let their music live on.