EXCLUSIVE: Shockra Talks The Early Jam Scene & Playing With Phish Ahead Of Reunion Show

first_imgIn March, the Fox Theatre in Boulder, Colorado, celebrated its 25th anniversary, inviting an extensive list of big-name acts that have played the venue over the years, including The String Cheese Incident, The Motet, Leftover Salmon, and The Greyboy Allstars, to return to the 600-person venue. The Fox will celebrate its 25th one more time before 2017 ends, as on, Saturday, December 9th, Shockra will bring it back to the earliest days of the jam scene (purchase tickets here).For those that may be too young to remember, Shockra—who played one of the first shows ever at The Fox—helped forge the earliest beginnings of the jam scene back in the late 80’s. Shockra frequently collaborated with acts like Phish, Blues Traveler, Widespread Panic, and Col. Bruce Hampton and the Aquarium Rescue Unit, with many of these act sitting in with each other, touring together, and throwing late-night jam-sessions, making for a wildly creative and inspired environment for all the musicians involved.We got to chat with drummer Dave Watts (who would later go on to found Colorado’s own The Motet), Felix Rentschler (guitar), Edwin Hurwitz (bassist), and Jeff Grove (tenor sax/vocals) about the early beginnings of Shockra, as well as the group’s epic collaborations with members of Phish and Aquarium Rescue Unit and playing old-school venues such as The Wetlands, The Middle East, and more.Live For Live Music: How did Shockra come together?Jeff Grove: Around ‘84 or ‘85, I was starting a blues-based band with Fabian Hollander. We had tried a number of people when a bass player we knew turned us on to Edwin. He quickly brought along Felix and Jonathan Abel (who became the first drummer of Shockra). You guys brought the funk, and the jam-band sensibility way back then. We started gigging around the scene, but things got played out after a year, and we all moved on.Edwin Hurwitz: Shockra came together almost by default. In 1988, I was offered a gig in a blues band called Graffiti. Jeff Grove was the singer/sax player. We needed a drummer, so I called up my friend Jonathan Abel from my days at Berklee. We played a few gigs, and it seemed like we could still use another member, so I called up Felix Rentschler—another partner in crime from Berklee. After a while, Jonathan, Felix, and I were itching to play some more adventurous music, so we moved on from Graffiti and started rehearsing, playing parties, and generally figuring out what kind of fun we could have.We decided we needed a keyboard player and played with a bunch of them, but nothing really clicked. One day, I went with my roommate to see her brother play a solo piano bar gig in the financial district of Boston. I asked him to play “Falling Grace,” and he went for it. That was Dan Coutu. I knew right away he was up for anything, and he should come jam with us. This version of Shockra played around Boston and up into New Hampshire and Vermont for about year, with some epic gigs, including loft parties in the South End, benefits for various causes (including a marijuana legalization rally that just happened to be scheduled right next to a Boy Scout gathering), colleges, and wherever we could.Then Jonathan decided to move on, and we cast about for a new drummer. I think we auditioned something like fifty people without finding anyone. We took the last of our cash and went camping in the White Mountains, wondering if we’d ever find someone funky and powerful enough. When we got back, Dave Watts answered our flyer, and it was clear he had what we were looking for. At that moment, Shockra was born.L4LM: You guys were playing during the early beginnings of what we now know as the jam scene. Could you tell there was something special going on at the time?Edwin: Absolutely. Even beyond what became the jam scene, there was a ton of great music in Boston, New York, and all around the East Coast. There was lots of cross-pollination between styles and scenes. While the pop music of the 80’s and 90’s was happening, there was a strong underground growing that embraced rock, funk, African music, Indian music, jazz, and anything else that could be brought into the mix.Clubs like The Middle East, Johnny D’s, the Paradise, etc., had incredibly eclectic mixes of bands. In New York, The Wetlands was taking off and looking at their schedule was a “Who’s Who” of all the bands coming up. The great thing about it was that every band was really different. There was no generic sense of jam band, and every band was there for the community. There was very little sense of competition and a lot of hanging out and sharing of musical influences and jamming strategies. While it was clear that something was beginning to happen, it felt very organic.L4LM: There was also a lot of cross-pollination with groups like Phish, Aquarium Rescue Unit, Blues Traveler, and Widespread Panic. Shockra even had all members of Phish sit-in for the entire second set of your show at K.D. Churchill’s in Burlington back in ’92. What was that like?Edwin: While these bands were all on the way up, remember that in the early 90’s, they were still essentially underground bands. Rolling Stone magazine covers and huge venues were still in the future. The whole thing felt very natural—everyone was not just accessible but excited about coming together and collaborating. All the bands you mention and more were exploring a way to have a life in music that wasn’t just playing the game of success—a way to be completely authentic and true to the music first and foremost.Having sit-ins with bands like Phish and ARU were just opportunities to have fun. It wasn’t exciting because they were “famous” but because it was exciting to play music with like-minded people—with friends—and to see what we could come up with in the moment. All of them were up for everything. We especially took advantage of that with Jon Fishman, who readily agreed to do whatever crazy idea we had—from reading passages from James Joyce or Buckminster Fuller to lurking behind a door with a trombone, ready to come out blasting every time we knocked. It was a lot of fun.L4LM: The Burlington and greater Northeast music scene really seemed to be, and still even to this day, an extremely creative environment. It certainly sounds like it was a fertile environment for creativity. Felix Rentschler: I don’t know a lot about the Burlington scene, but I loved getting invited to the Phish house to jam and plan out a sit-in at our show. The next morning I got to sit in with Trey and Matt from the Jazz Mandolin Project at a little brunch spot.Edwin: Also, hanging out with Phish and discussing rehearsal techniques was pretty cool, too.L4LM: What are some of your most memorable moments playing with Shockra?Felix: Memorable highlights include after-hour parties at Neptune, hanging out, and jamming with members of many bands, such as Phish, Widespread Panic, Aquarium Rescue Unit, and local Boston bands. Also, Jon Fishman joining us on vacuum cleaner at the Wetlands, and Jimmy Herring and Oteil Burbridge sitting in with us in Ohio.Dave Watts: Touring out to Colorado for the first time was an incredible experience for us. Phish gave us their mailing list to promote the tour, so we had great crowds everywhere we went. Because of a snowstorm in Telluride, we stayed longer and played four shows in a row at the Fly Me to the Moon Saloon. That was definitely a mind-expanding experience for us.L4LM: There is a Shockra flyer hanging up in The Fox, which happens to also be one of the first shows ever put on at the venue. How does it feel to be bringing it back to The Fox twenty-five years later?Dave: It’s a great feeling to know that this music, which we put our hearts and souls into so many years ago, still lives on. The support that we still get from our fans is the reason we are doing this show. It’s exciting to revisit these songs and envision them with (quite) a few more years of musical maturity and experience under our belts. It’s also exciting to have an opportunity to perform these songs in front of a younger audience, some of whom probably weren’t even alive when this material was written!Tickets for Shockra at The Fox Theatre on December 9th are on sale now and can be purchase here. For show updates and additional information, join the Facebook Event page.Check out this full recording from a Shockra show at Burlington’s K.D. Churchill’s back in ’92, which sees the members of Phish sit-in during the entire second set of the show:[via taper james_dineen]Setlist: Shockra | K.D. Churchill’s | Burlington, VT | 2/1/92Set One: Give It Up, Spread The Word->Dimension Extension, Tone Clone*Set Two: Sippin Pippa*->The Worms Crawl In *, Don’t Let It Stop Ya ** With all members of PhishNotes via phish.net: On February 1st, the members of Phish joined Shockra for their show at K.D. Churchill’s in Burlington. Mike was taking lessons in slap bass from Shockra’s bassist Edwin around that time and the two bands were spending some time together with Shockra opening some classic Phish concerts in the Northeast in 1991. On the 1st, Phish took the stage with Shockra for their second set, performing Shockra staples like “Tone Clone,” “Don’t Let it Stop Ya,” and “Underground People” as well as some funky, syncopated jamming. This was the first of a number of live jams the bands played together through the years at Boston’s Neptune House and later at Shockra club performances in 1992 and 1993.Enter To Win A Pair Of Tickets:last_img read more

A tourist agreement was signed between Lika-Senj County and the Chinese province of Shanxi

first_imgThe Office for Culture and Tourism of Shanxi Province and the Sino-Croatian Association for Cultural and Economic Cooperation organized a conference on tourism cooperation between China and Croatia, with the aim of strengthening tourism cooperation. With this agreement, Lika-Senj County opens tourist cooperation with a very important Chinese province with over 37 million inhabitants, which is certainly a great potential and opportunity for countless tourist cooperation. On that occasion, cooperation agreements were signed, including an agreement on tourist exchange and cooperation between the Chinese province of Shanxi and Lika-Senj County, writes the portal Likaclub.eu. The agreement was signed by the director of the Lika-Senj County Tourist Board, Ivan Radošević, and the leader of the Chinese province of Shanxi. The form is there, and now it’s the most important thing – the content and radical changes in the connection. And not only through tourism, where the Plitvice Lakes National Park is certainly one of the main motives for the arrival of Chinese tourists, but also in the economic field through new investments. Photo: Pixabay.com / Source: Likaclub.eulast_img read more

McIlroy strengthens Open chances

first_img McIlroy led the 2010 Open at St Andrews after an opening 63 only to shoot 80 in the second round in atrocious conditions. Four years on he benefited from being on the right side of the draw with an early start on Thursday and late start on Friday, a day which had caused him so many problems this season. In 2014 he had been 50 under par in the first round and nine over in the second until Friday’s 66 saw him match Woods’ halfway total of 132 from 2006. The 72 players who made the halfway cut – including Woods right on the mark of two over par – had been sent out in groups of three rather than two, with defending champion Mickelson alongside past and present US PGA champions Jason Dufner and Keegan Bradley in the first match out. McIlroy, looking to become just the third man in the modern era after Woods and Nicklaus to win three majors by the age of 25, began his third round just after 11am and immediately saw his four-shot advantage cut in half. The former world number one found a greenside bunker with his approach to the first and a poor escape led to just his second bogey of the week, while playing partner Dustin Johnson holed from three feet for birdie. As Johnson’s challenge faded with a hat-trick of bogeys, Fowler took up the charge with four birdies in his first six holes and three more in succession from the 10th – coupled with a McIlroy bogey on the 12th – meant the Florida neighbours were tied on 12 under par. Four holes later Fowler was five behind after carding three bogeys in four holes as McIlroy birdied the 14th and hit a 252-yard four-iron onto the 16th green to set up an eagle from 18 feet. McIlroy also bogeyed the 17th from a similar place as Fowler – who is the only player to finish in the top five in both majors this season – and although Fowler made birdie on the last, McIlroy stamped his authority on the tournament with another eagle from 10 feet. “Obviously the finish speaks for itself,” he said. Loud and clear. A “significant risk” of storms and an amber weather warning led the R&A to employ a two-tee start for the first time in championship history on Saturday, with play getting under way at 9am from the first and 10th tee. But with perfect timing a spell of heavy rain ended in time for the leaders to tee off and returned as McIlroy gave his post-round press conference after repelling a spirited challenge from fellow 25-year-old Rickie Fowler with two eagles in the last three holes. A round of 68 gave McIlroy a 16-under-par total of 200 – just two shots outside the all-time Open record set by Tom Lehman in 1996 – and a six-shot lead over Fowler, who also returned a 68. Spain’s Sergio Garcia and American Dustin Johnson were a shot further back on nine under. McIlroy will now attempt to become the second wire-to-wire winner of a major in succession after Martin Kaymer won the US Open at Pinehurst last month by eight shots, the same margin by which McIlroy won the 2011 US Open and 2012 US PGA Championship. And if the Northern Irishman succeeds in lifting the Claret Jug, the winner of the Open will have completed three legs of the career grand slam for the second year running. Phil Mickelson’s victory at Muirfield means he needs to win the US Open to join Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods as the only men to have won all four majors. For McIlroy, the Masters would be the only trophy missing from his collection, a tournament he led by four going into the final round in 2011 only to collapse to a closing 80. “It would mean a lot of hype going into Augusta next year,” McIlroy correctly predicted when asked about the impact of winning on Sunday. “Not a lot of people have achieved the career grand slam and if everything goes the right way tomorrow, to get three-quarters of the way there is some achievement by the age of 25. “I’d be in pretty illustrious company so it would mean an awful lot. I never thought that I’d be able to be in this position. I didn’t think that I’d even have the chance at 25 to go for three legs of the grand slam so I’m going to try to put all of that out of my head. “It would be way too much to think about and way too much to ponder. First things first. Just play a good solid round of golf tomorrow and if that means that I’m going to Augusta next year with a bit of hype, then so be it.” The predicted thunderstorms failed to materialise, but Rory McIlroy provided plenty of fireworks to take a stranglehold on the 143rd Open Championship at Royal Liverpool. Press Associationlast_img read more

Swinging hard lifts Champ into contention in PGA

first_img SUBSCRIBE TO US LIVE TV Last Updated: 8th August, 2020 07:07 IST Swinging Hard Lifts Champ Into Contention In PGA John Daly famously won a PGA Championship 29 years ago by swinging as hard as he could every time he got on the tee. Cameron Champ just might do the same thing this weekend at Harding Park WATCH US LIVE Written By John Daly famously won a PGA Championship 29 years ago by swinging as hard as he could every time he got on the tee. Cameron Champ just might do the same thing this weekend at Harding Park.“Usually whenever I swing a little harder it goes a little straighter,’’ Champ said after shooting a 64 Friday to move into contention in San Francisco.Swinging hard comes naturally to Champ. Before Bryson DeChambeau bulked up and began crushing drives this year, the 25-year-old was the gold standard on the PGA Tour when it came to swing speed and distance.And on Friday he swung hard enough to hit it both long and straight on his way to a round that put him 5-under midway through the championship. Champ was first in driving distance and strokes gained off the tee among the morning wave of players, and it wasn’t even close.“Today I hit the driver very well,’’ Champ said. “I think I missed one fairway on the front side, which is great. It just gave me a lot more chances to make birdies.’’Champ made seven of them in his second round, against a lone bogey on the tough par-3 eighth. It was a relatively stress-free round, the kind that players appreciate even more under the harsh test of a major championship.And while he’s not exactly a “grip it and rip it’’ kind of player like Daly, he’s got the length and temperament to be in contention to get his own name on the Wanamaker Trophy on Sunday.“Everyone wants to talk about distance, yeah, it’s our new modern era,’’ he said. “The long ball is what attracts everyone. You know, which it should. Nowadays guys are hitting it longer and longer and longer. But it’s definitely not something that bothers me or anything like that. To me, yes, you can hit it far, but you’ve still got to put up a score.’’Champ’s story is a familiar one to avid golf fans, though more people talk about his 330-yard drives than his two PGA Tour wins. His grandfather who died last year introduced him to the game when he was young, and he took advantage of the First Tee program to learn the fundamentals.Coming from a family of modest means — his father, Jeff, was a low minor league player in the Baltimore organization — Champ relied on scholarships and grants to travel and play in junior events outside of his hometown of Sacramento. He had success in college at Texas A&M and won in his first year on the Korn Ferry Tour before making it to golf’s big leagues.So far this year his biggest splash came when he tested positive for COVID-19 at the Traveler’s Championship. Two negative tests days after that prompted the PGA Tour to change its guidelines and he was playing in Detroit the next week.Now, after rounds of 71-64, he’s lurking just off the lead on a golf course he’s played before in an area where he’s quite comfortable.“It definitely feels kind of like home,’’ he said. “I’ve played a lot of golf down here, just all over California, honestly. It’s just nice to be back here.’’He doesn’t need the comfort to free up a swing that has been clocked at 192 mph. Hitting the ball hard comes naturally to Champ, who like any other kid always wanted to be the longest in his group growing up.That hasn’t changed as a pro, even in a major championship. Champ didn’t go for the green on the driveable par-4 16th hole because he was in between a 3-wood and a driver on the shot, but otherwise subscribed to pretty much the same theory Daly had in 1991 when he wowed everyone with his power at Crooked Stick.“I’m not worrying about trying to keep it low and trying to make sure it cuts so it stays in the fairway versus if I just go at it,’’ Champ said. “if I miss the fairway I’m going to be a lot further up there and just deal with it. Then obviously if I found my groove kind of like I did today, then I’ll hit a lot of fairways.’’It’s a winning combination, though the pressure of being in contention in a major might change things over the weekend.Even for the best players, hitting the ball hard isn’t always easy.Image credits: AP center_img COMMENT Associated Press Television News First Published: 8th August, 2020 07:07 IST FOLLOW USlast_img read more